Category Archives: Null Sec

YC119.3 Update Brings Rorqual Nerfs and Bubble Decay to New Eden

This month’s update for EVE Online, YC119.3, brings some significant changes to New Eden.

I am once again content to use CCP’s logo for the update

The Rorqual and its capabilities are once again in the sights of CCPs nerf gun.  The industrial capital ship, which long languished in POSes across low and null sec space as an AFK booster for mining ops, was given a serious boost of its own with the Ascension expansion back in November.  Suddenly its new mining drones were the path to wealth in null sec.  Even after the previous nerf to mining yields, Rorquals from Delve to Cobalt Edge were still out making bank according to the February economic report.

February 2017 report mining value by region

This was bringing down mineral prices thus, according to Dinsdale Pirannah, who I am going to troll on this front (“Trolling Detected” tag deployed), depriving high sec miners their inalienable right to grown rich by mining veldspar two jumps out of Jita. (Note the mining value of the high sec regions around Jita, Lonetrek and The Forge, on that chart.)

So, despite the likely overall net benefit of making production cheaper and lowering prices for all (plus the insane nearly 103 trillion ISK negative trade balance Delve, the mining capital of New Eden, was running on that report, which means that ISK was likely enriching high sec, not impoverishing it) that had to be fixed!

Okay, the Rorqual has been too much of a money printing machine of late, but I wanted to point out that the economics aren’t as simple as “high sec loses.”  So now the billion ISK mining drones that Rorquals use (which will also now provide kill mails) will have higher skill requirements to get tech II benefits, while a change to spread out the asteroids in mining belts and anoms means that drone round trip time will effectively reduce yield.  This will reduce overall productivity of the Rorqual by an estimated 25%.

High sec has been protected from belt spread by having the lock ranges of mining barges increased proportional to the change.

Meanwhile, the invulnerable PANIC jump hictor usage of the Rorqual has been curtailed a bit, as the ship now needs to have an asteroid locked in order to activate its PANIC module.  So long as Jay can keep his super carriers out of asteroid belts, this should improve his quality of life.

Also on the null sec nerf parade is carrier ratting, likely the greatest source of individual null sec wealth.  (If CCP is controlled by Goons, how come they can’t stop this?)  Fighter signature radii are being increased and NPCs will view them as more threatening, thus making fighters both easier to hit and more likely to be targeted in the first place.  The range of responses I have seen to this change have gone from “carrier ratting is dead” to “no big deal if you pay attention.”

Since I haven’t mined in ages and still rat in an Ishtar, neither of these changes make a difference to me personally, but the drama around the changes has been mildly entertaining.  And fighters are getting a UI pass as well, so maybe I’ll figure out how to use them properly some day.

Another big change coming up for null sec relates to mobile warp disruptors, or anchorable bubbles as I generally hear them called. (I love when player terminology deviates from the official terminology.)  Up until today, these things lasted forever once you dropped them, were a pain to shoot, had enough passive regen to make them somewhat proof against solo attacks, and after all that work didn’t even provide a freakin’ kill mail.  Each of these items has been addressed in some way.

The biggest deal is that bubbles will die of their own accord when left in space.  The timers are:

  • Two days for all T1 bubbles
  • One week for all T2 bubbles
  • Two weeks for all Syndicate bubbles

Meanwhile, hit points have been reduced, regen has been toned down, and they now provide kill mails.  Let the bubble holocaust begin!  Also, the updates entry for these changes uses a screen shot I took at 319 station in Delve back in 2012.

319 Station, Many Bubbles Ago

Then there is a great big change to scanners and probes and that interface.  That has really been a work in progress since I started player, but maybe this time for sure!  I will have to see it in action to see if it makes any difference to my own indifferent scanning skills.

I mentioned the change to the Caldari Cormorant destroyer in a post last week, but the Caldari Chimera carrier is also getting a new look.  We will see how the former sits with me once it is live in space.  The latter… well the old model always looked like some sort of amphibian life that was trying to wade ashore, so I suppose it couldn’t get much worse… could it?

Those are what I think are the big items coming with today’s update, which has been deployed.  For further details the patch notes and updates page are both available.  And, as always, it isn’t an EVE Online release/update without another music track to go with it.

Getting Home from Oasa

The ping said that if we got in Cainun’s fleet fast, there was a chance of a big kill.  The call was for the armor T3 cruiser fleet doctrine, which features the Legion and Proteus strategic cruisers along with armor logi and support.  I happened to be at my desk at just the right moment to log in, get in fleet, get into my Oneiros and undock as we warped off to a titan to get bridged on our way.

Off we go, are we committed yet?

The bridge off the titan sent us to another system where a wormhole to Thera awaited us.  We formed up on the null sec side of the wormhole, waiting for the orders to go through.  The wormhole was not fresh and there was concern about how much mass we would be pushing through it.

To this end we were asked to go to our fitting window and offline the armor plates on our ships to reduce the mass going through the whole, though I admit that I did wonder how you can turn off something like an armor plate.  Armor isn’t like a shield, it doesn’t go away when you turn off the switch.  But I followed New Eden logic and set mine offline.

Lolling about at the first wormhole

Tackle was sent through first, and they zipped off to the exit whole in Thera, through, and off to catch up our intended target.  Then the call was for command ships and logi to go through the hole and into Thera.  After we were in successfully, the DPS ships were called to jump through.  That was enough to collapse the hole, though only about a dozen ships got left on the other side.  No wormhole adventure for them and they got to head home.  That still left over 200 ships in the fleet.

Once we were warped to the out hole in Thera, we followed the same routine.  Tackle had already gone through, so the call was for command ships and logi, with yet another follow up reminder to turn off armor plates in case somebody hadn’t done it when asked the previous dozen times.  Command ships and logi went through successfully, so the call went for DPS ships to make the transition.  About six DPS ships made it through before the hole collapsed.

That left us in something of an awkward position.  A small fleet consisting mostly of logi was now in 1-HDQ4 in the Oasa region, a long way from home, while more than 150 T3 cruisers were hanging about in Thera where the direct hole home had already closed and the hole to the target was no longer available to them either.  Those left in Thera docked up at one of the stations there.

Those of us stranded up in Oasa were told to start burning to KED-2O where an Imperium Caracal fleet, which had used the same holes before us, was already engaged.  They had killed a Rorqual up there and had a titan tackled.  So off we went with Thomas Lear now leading us.  Why not?  We were already there and didn’t have anyplace else to be.  But even as we closed in on the destination system, word came down the line that a titan kill wasn’t going to happen.  The defenders had been successful at blowing up any tackle and the big ship got away.

So there we were, up in Oasa, a long way from home, 33 ships made up of boosts, lots of logi, and a few DPS ships.  We were like the incarnation of old school WoW paladins in New Eden; we weren’t going to die, but neither was anything we rolled up on.  It was time to figure out how to get back to Delve.

As it turned out, there was another Thera wormhole about 20 jumps from our current location, over in The Vale of the Silent in 9-GBPD.  We just had to get there.  Getting there though, turned out to be a bit of a chore.  Going gate to gate for 20 jumps takes some time, but that got multiplied as we went through Russian space in Perrigen Falls.  The Russians have a habit of covering gates around their space with anchorable warp disruption bubbles.  Lots of them.

The gate inside the bubbles

So for a series of gates we ended up landing 60-90km off of a gate, slow boating with after burners lit to jump through, then slow boating on after burners out of the inevitable bubbles on the other side of the gate.

Out of the bubbles on the far side for another warp

The bubbles were all around the gates, so there was no sending somebody ahead for a perch around them, and we didn’t have enough DPS to blow them up as we went. (Though I think we did destroy a single small bubble as we motored to a gate, just out of boredom and anger more than anything else… launch logi whore drones!)

The bubbles probably didn’t cost us all that much extra time, but subjectively, having to motor on ABs felt like a long time.   Ironically, tomorrow’s patch is making a change to anchorable bubbles so that they decay and go away after a given amount of time, so this might be the last time we have to drag ourselves through a series of forever bubbles.  And if our trip felt like a long time to us, I am sure the rest of the fleet wasn’t happy about it either.

While we had been gating about the northeast of New Eden, the rest of the fleet had been hanging out in Thera just waiting for us to get back.  Jay, who was with us, started trying to get them to rise up against Cainun to get him to take them home rather than waiting for us.  I have to admit, keeping more than 160 people hanging about waiting for 30 or so of us had a lot going against it.  On the other hand, our detachment was made up of the boosters and logi pilots.  Everybody tells us we’re special… everybody who just wants to fly DPS and get kill mails… so I guess it was time for them to show us just how special we were.

We made it past the bubbles gates and finally arrived in 9-GBPD where B33R was sitting on the wormhole as a warp in.  We went through and found Cainun and the rest of the fleet sitting there waiting for us.

Back with the fleet in Thera… also, the only good Oneiros SKIN

Once we were all through and back into Thera, Cainun warped us to the out connection.  There, we had a plate check once again.  Then he called out four Guardians to stay behind before sending people through.  This hole was also questionable, but there was another Thera connection option if this one collapsed.  Cainun just wanted to be sure any fleet that had to take an alternate route had some logi support.

And he was correct, the whole did collapse before we all got through.  I was through and in the system I-ME3L in Stain.  That put us 23 jumps from home on a route through Period Basis, Delve, Fake Querious, and Delve again.

Down in Stain

Fortunately, there was only a single anchorable bubble on the route home, reported by our scout, and it was down before we even got to the system where it was.  We were able to gate home without incident.

All told, that was about a two hour adventure which took some of us on a multi-region tour the length of New Eden.

Our route, Blue for wormhole travel, Red for gate travel

You could certainly find systems more distant from each other than we hit, but Oasa to Period Basis does cover a lot of the breadth of New Eden.  And it also shows how handy wormholes can be and the hazards of them collapsing on you.

I Survive My First Capital Op

While Burn Jita was still raging on Saturday afternoon, I was back in Delve and going out on my first real Cap Fleet operation.

I have formed up a couple of times for operations that never went anywhere, and I went on last week’s training on SiSi, the public test server, but those don’t really count.  But yesterday I happened to be sitting down at my computer just in time to see a ping from Thomas Lear for a CapSwarm form up.  I was already in our staging, so I hopped into my Apostle and got undocked to wait for instructions.

Cold Iron Apostle on the Keepstar

Cold Iron Apostle on the Keepstar

And then I docked back up because we were told to fit 500MN MWDs to aid in speeding up warping between gates.

I chose to go with the Apostle because I ran with my carrier during the training op on SiSi, which proved to me that I have no clue how to use fighters.  I have to find a guide somewhere about the basics of moving them, as everything I have seen so far seems to operate under the assumption that you have that part mastered and just need to hone your technique.

Anyway, I undocked with the MWD fit and waited for instructions again.  That was a bit difficult as we were sharing coms with Asher’s subcap fleet that was coming along to cover us.  There is an oft repeated joke that USTZ fleets are much more… talkative… on coms than EUTZ fleets.  I don’t buy it fully, as I have been on some EUTZ fleets that could sperg with the best of them, but this fleet seems set to prove the rule.  For the first time in a long time I had to go down to the “no chatter” channel, where you only hear people on the command channel.  And even that channel was a bit chatty as there seemed to be a bunch of people there across the two fleets.

We were first given a destination, then told to warp off to another citadel as the first gate we needed to take was on the back side of the Keepstar, so attempting to warp straight to it would end up with some of us just bumping off the face of the citadel.

I picked a nearby Astrahus and warped off, then turned about and headed for the gate.

Apostle warping off

Apostle warping off

While capitals have jump drives and can move 6 light years at a jump, jump fatigue keeps us from using those drives unless we have to.  So we went by gates to the first system in Fountain.  Once there we took off the MWDs and used our jump drives to put us close to our target, hopping over some hostile space, then took a few more gates to the target.

Caps and subcaps landing on a gate

Caps and subcaps landing on a gate

The subcap fleet did managed to bubble us on an in gate at one point due to the presence of hostiles, so we had to hang about for a short bit while that came down.  No hostiles were trapped.

Partially bubbled cap fleet

Partially bubbled cap fleet aligning out

The only tense moment for me during the trip either way was when I lost connection.  We were jumping through a gate and I was stuck in the warp tunnel for a long stretch, then got disconnected.  When I got back in game an rejoined the fleet, I had to go through the return from disconnect routine.  My ship had been warped off, so it had to go back to the spot it left from, which happened to be a few hundred km off the gate.  I had to warp to the gate again and jump.  Looking at local though, the fleet had left me behind, but there were half a dozen hostiles in system.  However, they didn’t show up and I was able to jump the gate and catch up with the fleet at the first target, a tower belonging to The Culture in G95F-H.

There wasn’t much for faxes to do during the first shoot.  I put out some Warrior drones and shot modules with the carriers, but other than that we were orbiting around Thomas Lear while the carriers and dreads did their work. (I even got on the kill mail for a couple of modules, though I didn’t think you could kill modules unless you killed the tower, only incapacitate them.)

We then went after a second tower, which was also reinforced.  This one had a jump bridge, which required the usual special treatment wherein you burn it down to half structure, then rep the armor back up to half again, so the owner has to either take the time to rep it back up or put damage on it to destroy it and replace it.  When it came time to apply reps the faxes were told to go into one cycle of triage.  The triage module greatly boosts the amount of repair a fax can put out, but you cannot recieve reps, move, or warp.  I lit mine for a cycle and started applying my reps.

The blue effect indicates Triage mode

The blue effect indicates Triage mode

And then, as I watched my capacitor drain away, I realized I did not bring and charges for my cap booster.  Well, something for the list.  So I turned off the repair modules after a bit and just let the triage timer run down.  Something to remember for next time.  Once we were done with that it was time to turn around and head for home.  Enough time had elapsed for our jump fatigue to wear off, so after a couple of gates we were able to jump to Y-2ANO and then gate back to our staging.  I managed to get through the op without screwing anything up too badly.

One thing I did notice was that, while the Cold Iron skin for the Apostle looks really good, in the darkness of space it can sometimes be too dark.  I ended up changing to the all white Purity skin every so often just so I could see myself.

Skin change in progress

Skin change in progress

But otherwise I was able to keep up with the fleet, jump when told, and find my way back when disconnected.  I just have to remember those cap boosters for next time.

And Sometimes You Sit on a Keepstar While Things Go Wrong

I managed to get into a fleet last night that went out into low sec where we blew up a tower belonging to Darwinism.

One of the modules exploding for effect

One of the modules exploding for effect

The tower had been reinforced previously, so it was a quick shoot.

We also went about reinforcing one of their Raitaru engineering complexes.

Fleet getting boosts near the complex

Fleet getting boosts near the complex

That one will have to wait as it has to go through the three stage process required to destroy an operational citadel or complex.

If I understand correctly this operation, and a number of other ones that went out yesterday to hit Darwinism structures, was in response to Darwinism hitting Merch Industrial structures.  Merch is a long time Goonswarm Federation corporation probably best know for being the home of DBRB.  It even got a MiniTru video.

Basically, the usual order of things in New Eden; somebody pokes us, we poke them back.  The highlight of the op were managing to kill a 2.6 billion ISK pod and my running an Oneiros with the Guardian’s Gala SKIN, which may be the first skin for the ship that is worth having.

Oneiros orbiting near the fleet

Oneiros orbiting near the fleet

A fine day’s work in New Eden, and I logged off after that and had dinner, watched a bit of television, and let the night roll on.  As it got later I went back to my computer to tinker with an alt I rolled for an upcoming event which I will write about later.  As I was running him through the new player experience, a ping came in.

This has meme potential

This aspect of the NPE has meme potential

It was one of those ping, sent to, and in, ALL CAPS, with an urgent call to get in fleet NOW!

This was followed by a similar ping for a subcap fleet, but I figured “what the hell!” and logged in, got in my Apostle, and joined the fleet.  Then it was pointed out to me that the ping only called for carriers and dreads, so I swapped to my Archon and undocked.  Then I saw that lots of people were bringing faxes, so I docked back up again swapped back to my Apostle, and undocked once more to sit tethered at the Keepstar.

Sitting on the Keepstar

Sitting on the Keepstar

As we sat there, the story unfolded… rather loudly at times… as to what was going on.

A group of Peoples Liberation Army corporation Rorquals had been dropped on by Pandemic Legion in NIDJ-K, which just happens to one of the TNT vanity sovereignty system, so we can say we do hold sov.

The PL fleet tackled them and then put up a cyno inhibitor.  We sat there listening as one of the PLA guys tried to light us a cyno so we could jump in and help.  He managed to get a cyno up, but in the wrong fleet before the inhibitor went up.  He also did not speak English very well… PLA is a Chinese corp… and was apparently playing inside of a wind tunnel judging from the background noise, which did not help the cross-lingual communications.

A titan bridged a few subcaps out with cynos to try and get somebody in close enough to be a jump target for us.  The subcap fleet itself took a jump bridge to the vicinity of the fight and set up to block egress.

An Avatar bridging out some scouts and interdictors

An Avatar bridging out some scouts and interdictors

In the end though, the PL fleet killed all seven Rorquals that PLA had in a mining anomaly along with a Hulk, some mobile depots, and several ships that warps in to assist.  We eventually killed the cyno inhibitor.  The battle report shows it to be a lopsided victory in favor of PL.

That Viziam guy was in a Revelation

That Viziam guy was in a Revelation

I got an alt out to help search and scan, but the PL fleet looked to have logged off to wait for another day.

As we sat there on the Keepstar, I came to an important decision.  I decided that, while the Purity white SKIN looks pretty good on the Apostle, the Cold Iron SKIN is the one to have.  So I bought one.

Cold Iron Apostle

Cold Iron Apostle

I still can’t remember which way the Apostle is facing, but at least it looks a bit more menacing with a dark SKIN.

So that was New Eden for me yesterday.

In summary:  Some things got blown up and I got new SKINs for two of my ships.

 

Some Days You Just Sit on the Titan

I haven’t written much about operations in EVE Online of late for a couple of reasons.

First has been because I have been busy with other things.  Life will get in the way.  And, second, there has also been a drawn down in the number of ops I am likely to join.

The so-called Winter War between Stainwagon and the refugees from the north ended up in a Stainwagon collapse, with the defenders now mostly pushed off the sovereignty map as TEST, Circle-of-Two, and the Drone Walkers… soon to be joined by Brave Newbies… moved in. (Images grabbed from the usual source.)

Just six weeks passed...

Just six weeks passed…

That has put and end to that for us.

Which isn’t to say there haven’t been ops running.  There is always some op forming up to go do something; roam, homeland defense, poke a bear, or some such.  But I have become a picky bitter vet of sorts.  I want strat ops and concrete objectives or, barring that, an FC I trust.

Last week it was Thomas Lear who took us out in Sleipnirs.  Earlier this week it was Asher, who called us out for one of his plans.  He had some bait planned and moved us out to sit on a titan and wait for the right moment to spring the trap.

We even brought the titan with us

We even brought the titan with us

Sometimes that sort of things pays off, sometimes it goes badly awry, and some nights nothing at all happens.  This time around it was the last item.  The bait was out but nobody seemed interested in taking it.  So we sat there at a POS… at least a change from sitting on a citadel, which is the new normal… staring at the titan and wondering if we would go or not.

My Guardian floating there behind the Ragnarok

My Guardian floating there behind the Ragnarok

This is the nature of sandbox PvP.  Sometimes nobody shows up at your party.  We sat there for a while before Asher eventually called it a night and bridges us back home.  At least we took one bridge.

It wasn’t all that bad.  Being on-call let me tab out and work on other things.  I have screen shots lined up for my other blog into next month now.  And with a wireless headset I was able to get up and do things around the house, like put something in the oven for dinner, get a package from UPS off the door step, and use the bathroom.  My thoughts about broadcasting the latter over coms were held back by the fact that my push to talk button is mapped to the keyboard, which was still sitting on my desk.  Probably better for all concerned.

But other than getting what might be my last peak at a moon mining operation before it is changed to drilling rigs in the fall, there wasn’t much going on.

Moon mining modules running

Moon mining modules running

At least it yielded as strategic participation link, a strat PAP, the collection of which is one of the few reasons I think my corp keeps me around.  It certainly isn’t for my deep involvement in alliance activities.

Later I ran a couple of anomalies and actually netted an escalation finally.  It has been months since I got the last one.

It was the Dark Blood Fleet Staging Point escalation, which is a three part project, only our local escalation running service will only do the third part.  That isn’t bad.  The first two parts are doable, it just means I have to pack up the Ishtar and take it on the road.

The first part was in a nice dead-end pocket and I was able to complete it and drop off the resulting loot in a citadel to pick up later.  We have citadels… usually multiple citadels… in every system in Delve at this point.

The second part however was in one of the heavily traveled pipe systems, which meant I spend about two hours running what is maybe a 20 minute encounter.  Every time I would get settled in intel would announce some roaming gang was in an adjacent system and I would get myself lined up.  Then they would jump in the system and I would pull drones and warp off to a citadel, only to have them just pass through.   Then it was back to the start point, motor to the acceleration gate, and back into the encounter only to have intel ringing the bell yet again.

Somebody finally put up a homeland defense fleet to chase off one gang that had been roaming the area for a while and I was able to wrap things up at last.

Then I got the third part alert, which was in a nice quiet system as well, so it looked like I was in luck to get it run for me.  The last two… the only two… escalations I have had in the region both ended up in NPC Delve, and Lucky Runners doesn’t go there.  Too many hostiles buzzing about.

I went to the escalation, bookmarked the beacon, names it correctly, contracted it, and waited for the ISK to show up.  And then, many hours later, I got a note saying the contract had been rejected due to a contract bug.  But there was still about six hours left on the third stage.  You only get 24 hours from when each part appears in which to run it.  So I contracted it again and actually got paid this time.

So that is life in Delve at the moment.  I’ve been able to build up my ISK reserves, but I haven’t gone on many fleets.

Moving Day Again

If there is one bad habit I have had in New Eden, it is my propensity to collect crap.  The “All Items” tab in the Assets window is a scary place for me.  Once it took so long to load I thought I had crashed the server by opening it.

Just a snippet out of the long, long list of places

Just a snippet out of the long, long list of places

I have a recurring nightmare about having to go out in a ship and haul everything back to Jita or Amarr.  Some of that stuff has been out there for a long time too.  I don’t think I have spent time in Hageken for nearly a decade.  And then there was that unfortunate region-wide buy order in Domain.

So when it was announced yesterday that the coalition was moving to a new staging system, I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the thought of moving my stuff yet again.  We were not moving too far, just a couple gates, but there was still the prospect of a lot of hauling in my future.

Dead pods mark move ops

Dead pods mark move ops

However, things didn’t turn out as bad as I thought they might.  I managed to stuff my Mastadon full of stuff and moved most of the loose modules and other items in three runs under the protective eyes of the local standing fleet.

After that, it was time to move all the ships I had stored up.  That is usually the tough part.  But as it so happens, I haven’t been collecting quite so many ships lately.  I used to buy a couple ships for every doctrine, but the coalition has been trying to keep logi stable between doctrines, so I have been able to re-use the same ships.  That, plus the fact that I now have an Archon and an Apostle, both of which have hangars capable of hauling assembled ships, meant I was able to carry almost everything over to the new staging rather than flying each ship.

Apostle ready to jump

Apostle ready to jump

So having two capital ships finally pays off.

The only downside to the whole thing is that the ships you are carrying in the hangar can only have ammunition and other charges for modules in their cargo.  So I had to pull out all the refits and mobile depots and nanite repair paste and what not and shove them in the cargo hold to be sorted out later.

So move op completed for me more quickly than usual.  Everything I had in the old staging Keepstar is now in the new one.  However, it still feels like I have a ton of stuff rolling around in my inventory bin.  Also, I have to go through all the fits and figure out which ships need modules in their holds.  I might save that task for the start of an actual op.  There is always some lag time while we assemble.

A Long Way to Go to Die to Rorquals

There was word that there might be a Reavers op about the time I arrived home from work.  And, sure enough, shortly after I was able to sit down at my computer a ping went out from Thomas Lear to get into his fleet.  It was going to be an opportunity to use our Sleipnir doctrine again, an expensive command ship we fly on occasion.

However, he broadcast the fleet ping to all-all rather than just to Reavers, so he had to spend a while weeding out non-Reavers who joined the fleet.  They were at least relatively easy to spot, not being in Sleipners.

Once that was sorted, along with getting boosters for the fleet, we were off to the local jump bridge on our way out.

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

From the far side of the jump bridge we took a gate and warped to a conveniently located wormhole that sent us directly to the Placid region.  From there we passed into Cloud Ring and null sec space.  As we moved Thomas explained that we were on our way to a fight between Brave Newbies and Pandemic Legion.  PL had an Astrahus citadel going online in 9-4RP2, a system Brave recently took from the Imperium North group, Initiative Mercenaries.

(The Mittani said in a recent Fireside that The Initiative, while off on its own, was still considered to be part of the Imperium.  There are actually some familiar old names in The Initiative these days, including WALLTREIPERS and Fweddit.)

We were going there to third party on the fight, to shoot targets of opportunity from both sides.

Our first targets were a fleet of Pandemic Horde Talwars that cross jumped us at a gate on our way.  We managed to put an interdictor back through the gate quickly and jumped as many people back into QXW-PV as possible to blap the PH destroyers.  We got a fair number before getting back on course for the real fight.

Once in 9-4RP2, the Astrahus was going online, sitting in its vulnerable self-repair deployment process where an attacker can kill it in one go rather than having to wait for the vulnerability window and going through three attacks spaced by two timers.

Brave Newbies was out with an Augoror Navy Issue fleet to attack the citadel, while PL a small Rorqual fleet sitting tethered on the Astrahus along with the remaining PH Talwars.

We started off hitting the PH fleet as they were in range, taking down some more Talwars along with a couple of their logi support.  I took a target of opportunity and blapped a Rifter that was coming straight at us, so there was no tracking issue for my arty fit Sleipnir.  I almost got a solo kill on that, but one of our Sabres managed to get a hit in on him.

However, while we started off easily plinking small stuff, PL got themselves into action soon enough, dropping a battleship fleet to support them.

A GotG ball of Maelstroms and Rokhs, with a Minokawa for logi support

A ball of PL Maelstroms and Rokhs, with a Minokawa for logi support

The Rorquals had deployed sentry drones and put them into action against us as we got in range and things started to go downhill.  The PL drone trigger targeted me and I called for reps early, but we did not have much logi along with us, so while I lasted for a bit, the firepower of the Rorqual drones chewed me into armor and then into hull, popping my Sleipnir.

Sleipnir out of control

Sleipnir out of control

You can see my ship in the above screen shot, glowing with erupting explosions and turning out of control.  My pod had already ejected by that point, but the death animations continued on for a bit.  So dramatic.  A Brave Newbies pilot got on my kill due to some bomb damage from earlier, along with some Initiative pilots that were running ECM bursts.

The fight was pretty much done for me at that point.  I had hit a few targets before I blew up, so got on the kill mails after they went down even though I was in my pod at that point.  So I pottered about on grid for a bit and tried to take some screen shots of the Rorquals.

Rorqual Gaggle

Rorqual Gaggle

Sitting there with their sentry drones shooting as one, they reminded me a bit of the old wrecking ball carrier tactic from back in the day, except rather than being spider tanked and able to rep each other, the Rorquals can make their whole fleet invulnerable for a bit should they get in trouble. via the dread Pulse Activated Nexus Invulnerability Core that came in with the Ascension expansion.  Combat Rorquals are a thing.

On coms it sounded like we were losing ships slowly but surely.  Meanwhile, the Brave Newbie fleet left the scene.  Apparently we unintentionally blew up their FC and the fleet decided to get off grid after that.  That left us as the main target and it sounded like time for us to make an exit as well.

As that was coming together I suddenly realized, as Iolled about in my pod in the middle the battle, that I had implants in my clone.  Not super expensive, like a full set of Slaves or anything, but a couple of implants that were a bit pricey for me.  50 million ISK here, 90 million ISK there, soon that starts to add up into real currency.  I decided that I had best be on my way as well, heading for the out gate ahead of the fleet.

I didn’t feel the need to keep together with the fleet, since I wasn’t going to be able to help them at all, instead running ahead as something of a pod scout.  Fortunately, there was nothing between us and the wormhole back home to worry about.  It was also fortunate that I remembered to bookmark the wormhole when we arrived.

Pod back at the wormhole

Pod back at the wormhole

I got back through and arrived home safely, minus one Sleipnir.  It even had a kill mark on it for a short period of time.

Looking at the battle report I rolled up for the engagement, we lost the fewest ships, but the ships we lost were expensive.  Nine Sleipnirs down adds up fast.  Now to see what sort of reimbursement I will get for my loss.

Pandemic Legion carried the day, winning both the object and the ISK war.  Another small skirmish in the ongoing conflict that is New Eden.