Category Archives: Null Sec

Mordus Angels Sovereignty in Pure Blind

Last night we were out and about in the south attacking a few constellations and getting a few kills against TEST and friends in the process.

Maybe Senpai will notice me

I hope Senpai will notice me

The nice thing about flying in a smaller fleet is that you get the kill mail a lot more frequently than you do when you are out with 250 of your close friends.

Anyway, while we were out it was announced on coms that Mordus Angels had finally wrested some sovereignty from The Imperium after diligently attacking various points in Pure Blind since the day Fozzie sov went live.  They took ION-FG from FCON.

The loss...

The loss…

This was FCON’s, or Fidelas Constans’ (Latin for “Reliably Bad”), only holding in Pure Blind, a lone system without a station, some distance from their main territory up in the Branch region, but just eight jumps from the Mordus Angels staging system 5ZXX-K.

Still, a victory for Mordus Angels.  They are now, if not actually on the sov map, at least listed on the changes with the other big alliances.

Top of the list no less!

Top of the list no less!

Now of course the question is, what happens next?  Mordus Angels has a grip on a system without a station in a region where The Imperium has been hunting them for the last two weeks.  Their own hold on the system was attacked once somebody woke up and saw that the system had fallen.  And it is a pretty safe bet that a large Imperium fleet will drop on that constellation when the timer runs down and the system becomes vulnerable.  The count down is already up on Timer Board.

So, Fozzie sov working as designed or not?

A smaller alliance (~1200 pilots) was able to take sovereignty from a larger alliance (~4x their size) and a giant coalition (~40K pilots).  They system is working!  We ran out and did the same thing to Darkness a little while back, way down in Querious, and we’re doing the same thing in another region down south as well.

On the flip side, there is no chance they will be able to hold that system.  Sneaking in and taking a system is very different than holding it.  Holding a system requires you to stand up to the attacker.  We lost our gain down in Querious and I don’t suspect we will hold anything else down south.  We just don’t live there.  But we can make the people who do live there run around chasing us.

Sovereignty that is easier take… remains easier to take, and has the potential to turn into a new sort of sov grind where, instead of ongoing fights over the old structures with huge fleets until one side is exhausted, it will be ongoing defense fleets to drive off interlopers until one side is exhausted.  It is just easier for a smaller force to tire out a larger one now.  But the smaller one still can’t hold a system until the other side gives up.

I suspected that when Fozzie sov hit, we would be a while hitting the new equilibrium in null sec, the inevitable stable state that is generally reached some point after a change to the game.  The changes are only two weeks old at this point, so nearly 280 systems in play is probably to be expected.  But what will it look like in a month or two when exhaustion does set in?

A Call for Space Carebears

At one time in the distant past, the CFC eschewed the idea of renting and those who set themselves up as landlords were derided.

And then, as null sec politics evolved and we ended up with essentially three power blocs, two of which were heavily financed by rental space, the tune of the CFC changed.  The Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere was born about two years ago.  The CFC became landlords, pragmatism winning out over exclusion and any spurious  feelings of ideological purity.

That this venture remained a distant third behind the other two main rental empires was no surprise.  The surprise, to my mind, was that it got any renters all.  After years of rental and recruitment scams, who would actually rent from Goons?

As it turned out, quite a few people would, and that rental ISK helped filled the coalition coffers.

And then came the looming threat of what became known as Fozzie Sov.  With the Phoebe expansion, the ability to range across New Eden was throttled and the CFC let go of some of its southern holdings.  As the details of the Summer of Sovereignty changes came out, plans for further consolidation were drawn up.  Fountain and most of Cloud Ring would have to go as well and the coalition, now renamed The Imperium, who fortify itself in the north. (SMA holds that bit in Cloud Ring, J4LP having been reset some time back.)

Regions of The Imperium - June 2015

Regions of The Imperium – June 2015

Now the changes has hit.  Null Sec is choatic as various factions explore the dynamics of the Entosis Link module.  The Timer Board site shows a lot of systems in play.

Up in the north though, things have been relatively quiet for The Imperium.  We have lived there for so long because the systems are decent for ratting and mining.  There are a few lemon systems, but the active defense multiplier… the measure of how much a system gets used, which influences how hard it will be to take… for a lot of the north was pretty high straight out of the gate on the 14th.  Where we live is defended.  However, some places where we have not traditionally lived are pretty weak, with low ADM numbers.  This is particularly true in Pure Blind where, in the past, many of the systems haven’t been worth ratting or mining.

However, with the PvE upgrades that were announced just before the sovereignty changes hit, the systems in Pure Blind are suddenly viable.  The Imperium just needs somebody to live there.  We have been encouraged to rat there and strategic mining fleets have been running out that way.  I think I have personally raised the ADM of one system in the region.

Doing the Ishtar thing in Pure Blind

Doing the Ishtar thing in Pure Blind

But all of that is a temporary measure.  Not many people live in the vicinity.

So a new plan has been announced.  GSF is going to allow corps to join if they want to live in, rat, and mine, in Pure Blind.  There will be a fee to sign up and a tax on ratting and a charge for system upgrades, but otherwise corporations will be able to carebear to their heart’s content as there will be no fleet participation requirements.

In addition there will be a corp in GSF for individuals who want to sign up for that plan.  Ratting will have a 25% tax, but mining will be free.

GSF already has a way for anybody is keen to join to get on board through Karmafleet, which has greater access, so is the more likely conduit for spies and awoxers.

So we’ll see if there are any takers who want to live and rat and mine in Pure Blind.  It is close to Lonetrek, so getting things back to high sec in general, and Jita specifically will be easier than most places.  Is greater population density the answer to Fozzie Sov?

 

Learning to do the Fozzie Sov Shuffle

After the false start of Wednesday, when downtime was extended well into the Icelandic evening and jokes about Fozzie Sov killing EVE Online were starting to feel uncomfortably close to real, it looks like people really dove into the whole new sovereignty mechanic with a vengeance.

If you look at the Timer Board web site that somebody put together to use the updated API’s ability to tell you what systems are in play, you will see… as of when I am writing this… more than 200 things are being assaulted.  Obviously, not all of them are going to get taken.  A lot of timers look to be past their mark.  But clearly Entosis Link trolling is a thing, if nothing else.

Meanwhile Wollari over at DOTLAN EVE Maps has integrated some of the new data available into the map options on the site.  In addition to the usual sovereignty view of a region, you can also now choose views that show systems that are vulnerable, which systems have which of the three key structures (TCU, ihub, station), and what the active defense multiplier is for systems.

That last one is important for both attackers and defenders.  For attackers it determines how long the Entosis Link module has to run to capture something, a range of 10 to 60 minutes depending on the multiplier.  And for defenders, it essentially lets you know what your response time has to be for given systems and where you might want to focus some effort in order to boot that number.  (I am waiting for somebody to put that ADM data together into a chart to show how many sovereign null sec systems people actually use regularly.  If the ADM is 5 or greater, people live there.  3-4 shows some life.  But if it is less than that, not so much.)

This has lead to some changes of behavior, at least in The Imperium.  Before now, the carebears amongst us were, at a minimum, kidded about spending their days ratting, mining, building, or otherwise whiling away the hours in space not shooting people.

Now though, with their behavior influencing the ADM, the call goes out for shock workers to perform hero ratting in low multiplier systems.  Strategic mining ops are called and participation links given out for burning rocks.  Industrialists are now hailed as heroes of the coalition.  I am not making this up.  Well, maybe I made up that last one, but the first two are real.

It is a good time to be a carebear in The Imperium.  And it isn’t a bad time for combat operations as well.  Mordus Angels and Pandemic Horde have been making runs at systems in Pure Blind and Fade in small, easily destroyed fleets.  I managed to get into a homeland defense fleet that caught MASSADEATH himself and a small Cerberus fleet trying to finish off a vulnerable node in Pure Blind.  We got some kills, drove them off, and made the save.

Making the save

Saving the ihub

The theory seems to be that if they get in quick with a small fleet, they can get away with it.  But small gangs and squishy Entosis Link ships just feed the Feroxes of the Homeland Defense fleets.

Feroxes for Freedom

Feroxes for Freedom

The Timer Board site only shows a few systems of The Imperium under attack out of that list of 200+, and mostly on the periphery where hostiles have easy access.  It is a little early to make much of a claim, but it feels like having the coalition contract into a smaller perimeter that consisted of space that was mostly occupied and in use on a regular basis was a good plan.  Attacks are only really getting any traction where we are thin on the ground.

And the ihub upgrades for rats seem to be having an effect.  A system I ratted in pre-Aegis used to generate a single Guristas Forsaken Hub, the best generally available ISK/effort anomaly.  After that system got the upgrade, it was generating three Guristas Forsaken Hubs and a Haven.

I also had an opportunity to go out and be part of the offensive side of the Fozzie Sov equation.  Last night Asher Elias and the patron saint of welps, Dabigredboat, ran a joint Reavers/Bomberwaffe operation down to the Reavers’ home away from home, Querious.

A test run, we went down in Caracals and interceptors via a convenient (if more rare) null-to-null wormhole to  see if Darkness would defend some of their space.  Ideally it would have happened in ED-9LT, the former Reaver outpost in the region.  That was not an option.  Instead we were headed to UYU-VV in the 8BO-IH constellation.  (This is going to mean learning system AND constellations now, isn’t it?)

We faced no opposition on the first Entosis Link attack and pushed the event into the “scatter round” when additional command nodes appear throughout the constellation… in this case six systems… forcing us to break up into smaller groups.

The group that stayed in UYU-VV actually faced a bit of opposition.  The group I was in, sent off to W6V-VM, was not bothered.  We flew off to the Territorial Claim Unit Command Node that spawned in the system.

TCU Command Node

TCU Command Node

That appears to be the overview marker for the actual target, the Structure Command Node.

Timer on the command node

Timer on the structure command node

Of course, in the grand CCP tradition, the option in the overview to actually SEE these nodes is unchecked by default, harkening back to the battle cruiser split when one of them… attack battle cruisers I think… didn’t show up on overviews by default.

You need to check the right box...

You need to check the right box…

Upon finishing off the node inW6V-VM , two more nodes spawned.  Our Entosis Link fit interceptor went after one while we flew cover and, upon finishing that one, we were called back to UYU-VV.  Enough other modules were running that we did not need the additional one in our system.  And while Darkness appeared in small numbers, they did not seem interested in hitting any of the Structure Command Nodes to contest or operation.

The results bar tipping heavily in our direction

The results bar tipping heavily in our direction

And so the system was rolled.  Later, Plaid Rabbit ran out, grabbed a TCU, and planted it in UYU-VV, thus taking sovereignty for Reavers in Querious yet again.

Our constellation

Our constellation

It would have been nicer if it had a station, but I am not sure we’re going to spend ISK upgrading a system we grabbed on a whim at the other end of New Eden.

After that we had the option of starting the process on another system or going 20 jumps on the off chance we might get into the middle of a fight.  The killers won the poll, clearly betraying out Reaver philosophy, and off we went.

We did catch a blockade runner along the way just idle near a gate.  I am going to guess the pilot went AFK cloaked and then got decloaked by somebody passing too close.  That was a quick kill.  And while I understand that eventually some of us got on a dreadnought kill or two, I ended up getting popped when we crossed paths with a Northern Coalition fleet headed for the same fight, and so missed out.  Life in a combat zone.

So that has been my experience with Fozzie Sov and the Entosis Link module dynamics so far.

CCP has put out a video detailing how the mechanics of the new system work.

How the new system will actually play out over time though, that is a horse of a different color.

So Many Wiyrkomi Skins

One of the more natural complaints about the ship SKINS program… and I will capitalize it just this once to acknowledge the force fed lore acronym, Super Kerr-Induced Nanocoatings… was that at its introduction, there were not a lot of skin choices.

Basically, why doesn’t MY favorite ship have a special skin?

There seemed to be a huge gap in the range of skins available.  There were skins for capital ships, no doubt because if you’re going to invest billions into a hull… and live in that hull forever in the case of super caps… you are probably likely to want a new paint job for it.

Then there were skins for a range of tech I ships, so new players could spruce up their look.

And in between, in the land of tech II hulls… there wasn’t much happening.

This pain was made more acute by the temporary bug in the skin system that allowed players to apply any skin to any ship if they knew how.  It was agony seeing every ship done up in the Police Pursuit Comet skin, knowing that it was a fleeting moment of awesome.

Police Pursuit all the things!

Police Pursuit all the things!

Some of the skins looks awful when applied to the wrong ship, but enough looked good enough… or even damn good… that there no doubt lived within many of us a faint hope that CCP would not fix the bug.  You can see some other examples at EN24, from whom I borrowed the above image.

Still, even with the tech II skin gap, I managed to find some skins to spend my ISK on.  And I actually got to use a couple of the skins I picked up in Jita.  We ran Ravens for a bit during the Reaver Querious campaign.

My Raven with the Wiyrkomi skin applied

My Raven with the Wiyrkomi skin applied

And I also got to use the Rokh skin for a one-way suicide venture to Fountain at one point.

Both of those used the Wiyrkomi corporation skin, which is a decent olive drab finish with some white highlights at key points.  It isn’t very showy as far as skins go, but it has a martial air to it.  This is a color you would paint a combat ship.  The Kaalakiota or Nugoeihuvi colors, with their red chevrons or red tiger stripes, may feel more savage, but Wiyrkomi is pretty good.

And CCP had its explanation for why it wasn’t rushing out skins for the tech II ships as part of one of its skins updates.

Another concern of allowing any SKIN on any ship is making Tech 1 ships resemble Tech 2 ships which would have visual gameplay implications. While deciding what SKINs to offer in the release of this feature we carefully selected SKINs for ships by making sure that if we offered a SKIN for that ship the same look was not used by its Tech 2 counterpart. This is the reason why for example there is no Sarum SKIN for the Apocalypse, as it would too closely resemble the Paladin.

Okay, I get that.  If you make a Merlin skin… which the had, including one done up in the flat olive of the Wiyrkomi corporation colors… it wouldn’t be much fun to then to have the very same skin on the Harpy of the Hawk, the tech II variations on the Merlin hull.

And then with the Aegis expansion and the Fozzie Sov patch we got a lot more skins, including a bunch for those neglected tech II ships.  The situation for me literally went from “no skins for any ship I fly regularly” to “skins for damn near every ship I fly regularly.”  And if they had done something for the Tengu… and with the subsystem configurations that change how the hull looks I get that such a skin will be a pain to make for any of the tech III strategic cruisers… I would have been pretty much setup.  Just look at the list for Caldari ships alone in those two drops:

  • Harpy Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Hawk Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Buzzard Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Manticore Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Kitsune Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Crow Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Raptor Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Caldari Navy Hookbill Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Flycatcher Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Cerberus Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Eagle Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Onyx Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Basilisk Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Falcon Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Rook Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Caracal Navy Issue Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Osprey Navy Issue Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Crane Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
  • Bustard Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)

That is 19 new skins, and I know just off hand that I have eight of those ships sitting in a hangar in either YA0-XJ or UMI-KK, which means I might even fly them once in a while.

You can open up that New Eden store and be treated to a veritable sea of olive drab ship skins.

My olive drab cup runneth over...

My olive drab cup runneth over…

The thing is, CCP seems to have changed its mind on the whole “making sure that if we offered a SKIN for that ship the same look was not used by its Tech 2 counterpart” aspect of their skin program.  While I haven’t bought the skins and compared them side by side, the Wiyrkomi skin for the tech I Merlin looks exactly the same as the Wiyrkomi skins for the tech II Harpy and Hawk.  Likewise you can compare the Osprey, Osprey Navy Issue, and the tech II Basilisk in the store and not see an iota of difference.  (If you can see such a difference, your eyes are better than mine!)

And there are similar skin matches between tech I and tech II in the Gallente, Amarr, and Minmatar line ups.  That Ishtar Intaki Syndicate skin looks a lot like the Vexor Intaki Syndicate skin and so on.

Which leaves me with a somewhat split opinion.

On the one hand, I appreciate CCP getting some new skins out there for all of these ships, and I know that cranking out this many skins… and they have promised us new skins every Tuesday this month… means that they cannot all be special snowflakes of uniqueness.

On the other hand, that is a lot of olive drab paint splashed over those Caldari hulls.  In that dev blog about skins coming this summer, the whole custom mask issue was explained, but there were also a lot of color options shown.  I feel like the tech II ships might have been treated to at least something a little different.

But with two more Tuesdays left in July, maybe CCP will show us something different.

Strategic cruiser skins maybe?

Well, once they get the game running again.  Fozzie Sov post-patch issues.

The Age of the Entosis Link Module is Upon Us

It feels like it has been a long time coming, but this morning CCP announced the successful deployment of the final step in their null sec sovereignty revamp.  Back in November 2014, the Phoebe expansion gave us jump fatigue and reduced structure hit points as the lead-in features to the journey to alter the face of null sec.

Jump Fatigue timer counting down...

Jump Fatigue timer counting down…

That put a leash on the free ranging super capital fleets while managing to make capital fleets more viable for local defense.  Pandemic Legion could not longer drop a pile of supers on people anywhere in New Eden with half an hour of notice.  Instead we got the Bizarro world vision of supers taking gates across space.

Caps landing on the J5A gate

Caps landing on the J5A gate, just a thing these days

That change also gave rise to the whole Reavers concept, where during a war a small group could go deep into enemy territory, shoot structure, drop SBUs, set timers, siphon moons, kill ratters, and otherwise cause enough pain that the hostiles would have to choose between fighting on the main front or pulling back to secure their home turf.

There was then a second round of proposed sovereignty changes centered around the Entosis Link Module and the idea that, as somebody summed it up, constellations are to be the new regions.

Entonsis Link beam

Entonsis Link beam hitting a station

This has all been summed up… if that is the right term… in a series of dev blogs and updates that have come out since March of this year:

But for all of those posts, the final patch notes for this between releases drop are surprisingly concise:

  • Territorial Claim Units, Infrastructure Hubs, and Outposts are no longer subject to regular weapons damage. Instead an Entosis Link module is required to capture and control them.
  • Ownership of Territorial Claim Units, Infrastructure Hubs, and Outposts has now been decoupled from one-another. Each different structure in a solar system can be deployed, owned, attacked and destroyed by different alliances at the same time.
  • Territorial Claim Units no longer require an upkeep bill. Instead, the running costs have been moved over to bills on Infrastructure Hubs.
  • Each alliance can set a Default Vulnerability Time for their sovereignty structures. This is a daily interval where structures will become vulnerable to Entosis Links. The length of this interval is based on the Activity Defense Multiplier. The ADM in turn is based on the Strategic, Military and Industrial levels of the solar system. Changes to the Default Vulnerability Time will take 48 hours to come in to effect.
  • Each alliance can set a single Capital System on one solar system where they control a Territorial Claim Unit. Structures controlled by an alliance in their Capital System receive a bonus to their ADM, making them easier to defend. Changes to the Capital System will take 7 days to come in to effect.
  • Destroying/capturing another alliance’s sovereignty structures requires attackers to use Entosis Links on the structure during its daily vulnerability window. If this action succeeds, the structure will become invulnerable. At some some point between 24 and 72 hours later, Command Nodes will begin spawning around the constellation. Attackers and defenders must capture these nodes using Entosis Links in a tug-of-war battle in order to destroy/secure the structure.
  • Sovereignty Blockade Units are now obsolete. Any SBUs in space will automatically self-destruct, whilst SBUs in hangars can be sold back to NPC buy orders.

Yes, there is a lot of assumed information in those notes.  You have to go through the dev posts to get the full picture.  But that is the essence distilled down to its basic form.  And apparently capsuleers in New Eden are off to the races right away.

One of the new aspects of this, freeport stations, where anybody can dock up, friend or foe, have started showing up.

You can see this over on DOTLAN as well.  Somebody will have to come up with a freeport feed.

So today is one of those before/after points.  The sovereignty system brought in with the Dominion expansion is finally gone.  Fozzie-Sov, brought in over a number of small expansions, is now was sovereign null sec functions.  We should take a look at today’s sovereignty map for comparison with what it will look like three or six months down the road.  Will this lead to a big shake up in who holds space in null sec? (From the usual source.)

Sovereignty Map - July 14, 2015 - Happy Bastille Day

Sovereignty Map – July 14, 2015 – Happy Bastille Day

That is null sec space as it stands now.  The Imperium is tucked up in the north.  Black Legion is sitting on most of Fountain since Brave left under with the philosophy of “…we will certainly come out on top again if we succeed in being defeated!”

A lot of other areas have been carved up into smaller domains, though a lot of the long time players still remain.  Against All Authorities in particular just keeps popping back up in that same spot on the map.  And then there is that huge chunk or renter space in the Northeast, with Shadow of xXDEATHXx and Brothers of Tangra still providing opportunities for those who wish to sublet in null.

Are we headed for a new realignment in null, or will the status quo, having condensed in some cases and started recruiting new players en masse in a couple others, hold on to their current domains?

And, of course, who is going to lose sov because they forgot to pay the bill since that changed as part of the patch as well.

Life in Tribute

I suppose the real end of TNT in Deklein was when we finally handed over sovereignty in K5F-Z2 a couple of weeks back.

K5f-Z2HandoverThat was the end of an era, as the alliance had held that system since early December 2009, making for a five and a half year run of continuous occupancy.  I was told on a number of occasions that TNT dominion over K5F was the longest running sovereignty still current, and I could find nothing to dispute that claim.  Now that title will have to pass to another system and another alliance.  I am not sure who wins that prize, though I suspect that it might fall to Goonswarm and their holdings in the region.  Deklein has been a rock of stability for a long stretch.

But now we are coalescing down in Tribute, which has its ups and downs.

Tribute Region - July 2015

Tribute Region – July 2015

After several years of traveling to and fro in Deklein, I have found that I actually know the neighborhood fairly well.  It turns out that the seemingly random alphanumeric designations of systems in null sec isn’t any harder to get used to than the odd, and sometimes seemingly unpronounceable, system names of high and low sec.  (I’m looking at you, Uosusuokko.)  And the standard voice coms practice of designating a system by its first three letters ends up working and makes routes easy to remember over time. (Though there are any number of systems where I am not sure if they include the letter O or a zero in their designation, since everybody just says, “Oh” on coms.)

Now I have a new neighborhood to learn.  My knowledge currently stops at UMI-KK, which was the staging system for a war a some time back.  And we have new neighbors in the form of the Circle of Two alliance.  They have apparently taken a hard line with us, objecting if we stray into their systems in pursuit of hostiles.  After having free run of Deklein with Goonswarm, that is something of a change.  Then again, Circle of Two seems to be known for making friends.  If we’re out on ops and working with Pandemic Legion, they are fine cooperating with most of us, but will go out of their way to shoot anybody from Circle of Two.  So they have that going for them.

It also puts me an awkward distance away from the coalition staging system in YA0-XJ.  That used to be a few gates distant, but now it is a ways off.  I can get there via a jump bridge and some gates, but for a form-up it will most likely have to be a jump clone move to get there and not have any jump fatigue hanging over me.

I have been glad of having a carrier finally.  During the move down to Tribute and then setting myself up in a constellation in which to rat on the occasional off day when I am up for it, I have ended up doing more jumps in my Archon in the last month than I had done in the first 18 months after I bought it.

Archon... landing too far from the station...

Archon… landing too far from the station…

I have found myself a system with a station off the beaten path where a pile of Euro TZ miners seem to hang out… and they start logging off about the time I start logging in, so that I have gotten the system to myself later in the evening a few times.  I have even used that ratting fit Ishtar I built quite a while ago but only just undocked last week.  I at least got a couple of anomalies done with it before the Aegis expansion Ishtar nerf.  I’ll probably got back to my heavy missile Tengu again after that, since missiles are getting a boost.  We’ll see.

It is also somewhat strange to look at the map of Tribute and see low sec systems I recognize from my early days in EVE Online.

I started out as Caldari back in 2006 when the initial tutorial ended up sending you to Jita, which wasn’t quite the big city back then, but still felt a bit crowded.  So I packed up and moved to what I felt was a distant location… Hageken, all of six jumps from Jita… and spent quite a bit of time there before deciding to move to Amarr space.

But names I remember from way back then, like Navula, where I was blown up a couple of times, are suddenly quite close.  Hell, even Jita suddenly seems quite close.  Deklein felt like it was deep into null sec, but Tribute is a border region.  Even our staging system is a single jump freighter hop to the low sec systems favored by coalition shipping operations.  Not that the proximity seems to lower the price any.  Those that actually deliver to UMI-KK charge the same 300 ISK per m3 as a delivery to YA0-XJ, despite that requiring an extra jump.  I suspect that we are a low-volume market compared to the heart of Goonswarm, so we’re probably lucky that somebody stops by on demand.

And then there is what will come with Fozzie Sov on the 14th.  I have just been logged into the Goonswarm Jabber for updates for quite a while now, since that is where Reaver messages pop up.  But I will have to get back into TNT coms more thoroughly as well, as local defense against people testing out Entosis Links on the frontier.  We shall see how lively things get in the region once that hits, but for now it is actually fairly quiet when I have been on since the move.

Departures from Querious for Points North

With the fall of our foothold in Querious at ED-L9T, I was left in a bit of a bind.

When we lost the shield timer a couple days before that, I took a bit of time and moved out some of the excess items I had stored there, lest they end up locked in a hostile station. My plan was to be able to move everything left out with the chances I could create if we lost the station.

And, of course, we lost the station.  So it was time to assess how to move out.

If it hadn’t been past midnight after a long day at the office and a full Saturday of outdoor activity waiting in the morning, I would have used the brief window we had left after the fight on Friday night to make a couple of round trips and I would have been done.  But I opted for bed and not being completely wiped out the next day.

The bind was that, as I left things, I had to take care of the trapped asset problem before I could really do anything else in EVE Online.  My alt was okay, docked in the station in ED-L9T with only a single ship.  He could jump clone out and come back later.  But my main, also docked up in the station after the fight, had two ships to move.

Well, three actually, but one was a disposable, cheap-fit Vexor that was destined to die as an AFK structure shoot ship anyway.  I could forget about that one.

Cheap Laser Vexor

Cheap Laser Vexor

But with a jump clone installed and there in the station, I had two outbound runs available and two ships to move out.  I couldn’t jump clone off and do something else without leaving behind a ship.  So I was determined to get both ships out, stuck until I got one out, and impatient.

Saturday evening, past the usual European prime time, I logged in my main and my alt to just see how things look.  I saw a dozen people in local, but ten were docked up with me in the station.  Feeling like the moment might be right, I decided to go for it with my alt.  I just had to go a couple of jumps and I would be safe.  It was just a question of which route to take.  There happened to be three possibilities.

The first was the straight route.

ED9LTAreaDirectRouteJust take a gate to 3-FKCZ and then on to Efa and the bubble-free joy that is low sec.

Of course, that was also the most likely route to be camped.  People are lazy or think they can just slip through, so why not just go for it?  I have been tripped up by that thinking many times myself.

At the opposite end of the spectrum was the long way to safety.

ED9LTAreaBadRouteHead to LS-V29, then to I1Y-IU, then into 3-FKCZ, and finally into Efa.  That would certainly be the least expected route.  However it also meant going through the staging system the hostiles were using, I1Y-IU and would maximize the amount of time exposed to risk or bumping into the wrong people.

In the middle was the middle route.

ED9LTAreaIndirectRouteGoing via 9SBB-9 would avoid the direct route and the most likely gate camp or drag bubbles that would no doubt be on the direct route.  That was clearly the one to choose.

(And yes, these little diagrams seemed like a good idea at the time.)

So I undocked my alt in his Ishtar.  I found myself in a mobile warp bubble anchored just off the undock.  However, nobody was minding the store.  I aligned to the 9SBB-9 gate, lit the MWD, and motored out of the bubble.  Then it was a quick warp to the gate, which proved to be clear, then a warp across 9SBB-9, which proved to be clear, then that one last cross-system warp to the Efa gate, which proved to be unobstructed.  My alt was in Efa and moved on the Badivefi without any further worry.

That was easy!

I decided not to push my luck immediately though.  I logged off my alt, lest anybody who might have been cloaked or otherwise keeping an eye on this notice that there was a breakout attempt going on, but left my main logged in.  Let them get used to just seeing me idle in local… nothing going on, no undock planned… while I watched some TV.

I came back a couple hours later and compared local with those docked up.  There were half a dozen hostiles out in the system.  That did not bode well.  I left myself logged in… let them camp me while I am AFK… and went off to get ready for bed.

A while later I was wandering up the hall after having given my daughter a push in the direction of bed when I decided to peek in on the game.  There were only three hostiles in space in ED-L9T.  It might be time.

But which ship to take?

The Basilisk was faster, but was fit to work in a group of like ships chaining capacitor between them.  Alone it would run out of cap just leaving the MWD on.  Then there was the Raven; large, awkward, and slow, but cap stable and fitted with a Microjump Drive.  That is still a new module to me, but seemed like it might come in hand for this sort of venture.  So I decided that the Raven would be the one to try to sneak out.

I left the station and found the undock still bubbled, but otherwise clear.  I aligned to the 9SBB-9 gate and triggered the MJD.  It spun up and then launched me 100km ahead, well clear of the bubble.  From there I warped directly to the gate.

And found myself in trouble.

There was a Malediction sitting on the gate.  This little Amarr interceptor immediately locked me up and pointed me.  I wouldn’t get away in system.  As that was happening, another ship landed on the gate, a Stratios.  The Stratios locked me up but did not engage me, knowing that to do so would put him on a one minute aggression timer.  He wouldn’t be able to jump through the gate with me if that happened and I would likely get away.

So there we sat, the Stratios waiting, the Malediction keeping me from warping off and plinking away at me.  I regretted using the MJD to get out of the bubble, though they might have scanned me down and warped to me if I had tried to slow boat out of it.  The re-use timer on the MJD seemed very long as I sat there.  But as it wound down I decided to jump through.

On the other side of the gate the Stratios appeared.  I held my cloak until it faded on its own then, even as I was aligning towards the 3-FKCZ gate, he locked my up and pointed me.  I wouldn’t be warping off, but I remembered that MJDs are immune to warp disruption and the cool down timer was just about up.

As I started to activate the MJD a Loki came through the gate and uncloaked along with the Malediction.  Now I had some real trouble on hand.  I could tank the Stratios and the Malediction for a long time, but the Loki could likely burn me down faster than the MJD would recycle again.

Then the MJD went off and I was 100km away.  A second or two later the warp disruption effect faded and I was able to warp off to the far gate.  I landed at zero and sat there.  The Stratios locked me up again and this time he began banging away at my shields, thus triggering his aggression timer.  The Malediction just sat there, as did the Loki, waiting for me to jump through.  My shields were slowly being eroded, but I had time.  I waited for the MJD to get close to the end of its cool down.  I jumped through into 3-FKCZ and immediately aligned for the Efa gate.  The Malediction was through the gate as well and on me with its warp disruption module.  Then I triggered the MJD and jumped that 100km and was able to enter warp before the Malediction was able to cover 30km in its attempt to catch me on grid.

The Malediction followed me to the Efa gate, but the Loki and the Stratios apparently gave up the chase.   They must have decided they didn’t have enough to force my hand on either side of a gate.  So I was into Efa and then on to Badivefi.

The Raven runs free

The Raven runs free

I was particularly proud of not dying, even if my escape ruse wasn’t all that clever.  And, once again, I proved that I am much more likely to survive any hostile encounter if I don’t bother shooting at anybody.

And now the pressure was off.  I still had my Basilisk to retrieve, but I could do that at some distant date if I so desired.  I logged off and went to bed.

The next afternoon I was online but tinkering with other things when a ping came in on Jabber announcing a Reavers fleet.  I suspected it might be a break-out fleet so, when the appointed time came, I logged in and got on coms to see what the plan might be.

It was indeed going to be a break-out fleet.  However, the break-out was going to take a while as we all logged in and got into the station in ED-L9T.  There was much discussion of who had space to carry what out and what was worth carrying.  I had already made my plan and only had some cheap ammo, some tech I armor and hull repair drones, and that throw away Vexor I mentioned.  I put the cheap stuff up on the market and put the Vexor up on contract for 11 million ISK, which is what I paid for it, and waited for things to get sorted out.

Of course, a bunch of us all showing up in local and docked up in the station was a bit of a give away.  Hostiles started showing up and by the time we were ready to go our cloaked eyes on the station said that they had formed a merry little kitchen sink camp.

For reasons that escape me we decided to push Ohno no Borrox out of the station first in his Arazu on the theory that once everybody started locking him up the logi could undock and save him.  That didn’t quite work out.  By the time we got undocked and started locking him up, he was already in his pod.

But then everybody in a combat ship undocked, the logi anchored up and got the cap chain running, and we killed or drove off the hostiles on the undock and then blew up their mobile warp disruption bubble.  I even managed to drop a combat drone and got on one of the kills.

The station grid clear, the haulers undocked to join us and we all aligned for 3-FKCZ to take the most direct route out of Dodge.

As we were aligning out and about to warp, a Vexor undocked and took some shots at us and was promptly blown up for his effort.  At least I assume it was. The kill mail never made it to the kill board, but Asher commented that the fit looked like the AFK Vexor fit we had been using at one point during the war.

When he said that I immediately checked my contracts window and found that one of the pilots that was camping the undock, and who lost his ship, had docked up and bought the Vexor in order to take another run at us.

Contract complete

Contract complete!

That was my money back on that ship.  And then we were off to Badivefi.

A ragtag fleet heads for home

A ragtag fleet heads for home

Once back in high sec there was a short side task to take care of, after which everybody formed up to take a wormhole back north to the home regions of The Imperium.  I skipped that trip home.  It was time for dinner and I wasn’t in any hurry to move my ships back north.  The last time I put in the effort to get all my ships home from a Reaver deployment to Querious, we were right back in the same spot just a month or two later.

So that was that. the end of our deployment to Querious.  We started heading down south with the main fleet back in the middle of March and now we’ve returned home long after the main fleet has retired.  And on our departure I cannot help but have a specific mental image of what we have left behind after our deployment.

Darkness basking in their victory

Darkness basking in their victory

We had no real business taking that system, but we certainly made the locals pay to get it back.

Now for some quiet time after an exciting campaign while we wait for Fozzie Sov to hit.

Addendum: Arrendis has a post summarizing our time in the south over at TMC if you want a wider view that I can provide, and includes an interview with Sort Dragon of Darkness.

There is also a summary of the war up on EN24 as well.