Category Archives: Null Sec

Losing 600 Billion ISK on Your Own Cyno Beacon

I have to laugh at us in the Imperium.  The past weekend’s big story was the huge, hours long time dilation Keepstar battle in M-OEE8 that had over 4,400 people in system at one time and where an estimated 266 billion ISK in ships were destroyed.  That was Sunday.

And then on Monday the Imperium lost ~600 billion ISK in ships destroyed in its own staging system on its cyno beacon, including a Revenant super carrier, the second one we’ve lost in a week. (The first one.)  Remember when losing a Revenant was a rare and newsworthy event?

Sir Edmund's Revenant on the field in happier times

Sir Edmund’s Revenant on the field in happier times

I was at work when all of this went down, and I haven’t seen anybody try to sum things up in a single post anywhere yet, but the story on comms seemed to run liked this:

-There was a known hot dropper in the system watching the cyno beacon (a POS module that allows jump drive capital ships to jump to it, which makes it an obvious spot to watch) waiting for some unsuspecting capital to jump in, at which point he would light a cyno and his buddies would drop in and kill it.

-Knowing this, somebody decided to bait the hot dropper with an empty industrial of some sort.  I saw a jump freighter mentioned, but am not sure if that was true or not.

-The camper took the bait and cyno’d in his team.

-We responded with a huge overkill force including titan pilots looking for kills.

-Pandemic Legion, which had bought a pile of dreads that TEST left behind after Progodlegend’s  ill fated “let’s attack Delve” campaign earlier this year, dropped the whole lot, with some support (e.g. faxes and tackle Rorquals), on the fight.

While PL lost their entire force, which was expected, they managed to take out 3 titans, 4 super carriers, 2 carriers, a fax machine, and some small stuff including a number of fighter squadrons, which count as kills.  That left a battle report which summed up as:

D-WF70 - Dec. 5, 2016

D-WF70 – Dec. 5, 2016

My summary is probably off.  There was something about how the forces were positioned that helped out PL, but nobody has written up yet that goes through the battle in detail.  Reddit is just full of well earned smugness at the moment.  I’ll update this with links should somebody break the situation down.

But the net result is that the Imperium lost a lot of ISK in the form of supers yesterday.  We would own the whole “most valuable kills in the last seven days” banner on ZKill if it hadn’t been for Wolverine007Miner’s Viator.  Meanwhile, most of the initial hot droppers got away.

So that was a moment worth noting.

The Mittani has been saying that since Ascension and the update to Rorquals, we have been mining the shit out of Delve, an assertion supported by the November economic report, which shows over 2 trillion ISK in value having been mined out of the region.  The next closest region was The Forge, in high sec and close to Jita, which saw 1.35 trillion ISK in mining.

With all those minerals, and the new engineering complexes, which let you queue up many super caps for production, it seems like super proliferation is going to be a worse issue than ever.  I am sure we will be adding to the problem.

Other posts about the battle:

Addendum: Jay Amazingness (Sir Edmund) and the video of his Revenant loss.

Targets of Opportunity in Tribute

As I noted the other week, the once simmering war in Tribute came to something of a boil recently as Circle-of-Two saw themselves driven out of system after system as NCdot, Pandemic Legion, and assorted allies marched towards their capital in M-OEE8.

Tribute - December 5, 2016

Tribute – December 5, 2016

CO2 lost their capital on Friday, leaving them with only a couple of systems in the region, plus their holdings in Vale of the Silent, where they have the constellation DMXN-3.

There was some war news the week before last on the Meta Show when guests revealed that Pandemic Legion had decided they did not want to move to M-OEE8 any more, the ostensible reason for the whole conflict.  Back in October they were saying how great M-OEE8 would be, now they are not interested.

However, despite that news, NCDot, Pandemic Legion, and their allies planned to continue to prosecute the war, including taking down the Keepstar that CO2 had raised in M-OEE8.  CO2 moved their capitals to low sec, within jump range of their Keepstar and the fight for the massive citadel was on.

Killing a citadel takes three attempts.  There is the shield timer, the armor timer, and then the final battle to kill the structure.  If the attackers fail at any step, it is back to the start again.  The attackers did the shield round successfully, and it was time for the armor timer yesterday.

Yesterday was round two

The system after yesterday’s fun

The armor timer was nicely timed as it was set to come out around 19:00, putting it in the Sunday sweet spot between Euro and US time zones, allowing the maximum number of players to pile in on the fight. Of course the Imperium wanted to drop in on the action as well, so an op was set to form up at 17:00 to take the trip north to shoot all the things.

Asher had warned the jacket pals to have Cerberus fleet ships ready to go for the expedition, and when the ping for the fleet finally went out it filled up fast… so fast that a second frigate fleet had to go up to take the overflow.  There was a bit of wrangling to get the right people into the fleet, but fleet formation has simplified somewhat since boosting was separated from the fleet hierarchy, rendering the roles of squad commander and wing commander superfluous. (But they are still there just to confuse people.)

Form up actually went smoothly.  The Cerberus doctrine ships on contract ran out quickly, but the fleet was not lacking for number.  There were a couple of special items we were asked to carry, and a few of us X’d up to fit remote sensor boosters to enhance the targeting abilities of Asher’s Loki FC ship, but nothing big got in our way and we were soon out and in range to the titan atop our own Keepstar and bridging out to the first leg of our journey north.

Bridge up, everybody jump

Bridge up, everybody jump

From the cyno, we had a free burn for a few jumps and then held to group back up again, at which point we were guided to a wormhole.

Waiting to go through

Waiting to go through the wormhole

Boosters and logi went through first, then the ships of the line.  But we need not have worried, as the hole was fresh and still looked good after we passed through.

The hole put us in Daras, a low sec system not too far from M-OEE8.  We moved along together, then held up at the station in Taisy, the low sec connection to M-OEE8, and docked up for a final set of bio breaks and drink refills.

Once set there, we undocked and warped to the gate.  From there we had only to jump to enter the fray.  The fray and time dilation and lag and all the issues of a big fight.  You could see the point at which you ceased to be in Taisy on the jump and were part of the load on M-OEE8.  The warp tunnel itself slowed dramatically as we passed through into the maelstrom.

On the plus side, CCP had clearly been notified that the fight was pending and had reinforced the system.  It appeared to be on its own node and not bringing down the surrounding systems.  If you were in Taisy, for example, you might not know what was going on next door, aside from the high amount of traffic passing through the system.

On the other side however, the time dilation began.

It actually wasn’t so bad when we landed in the system, hovering in the teens.  But the timer hadn’t run down yet, so the shooting had yet to begin, and there were still people piling into the system.  Asher warped us to a perch on the Keepstar grid and we could see the forces arrayed about the citadel.  And the time came and the universe went to hell.  More people piled in.  I saw Local go above 4,400, though I tried to keep that window closed as it was both full of the usual spam and processing that text was causing a noticeable drag on frame rate.

4,400 and 10% TiDi

4,401 in system and 10% TiDi

The thing with time dilation is that it can slow actions down to as low as 10% of normal speed, but sometimes that is not enough.  This was one of those times.  When you go beyond that, the system load manifests itself in other fun ways.

Modules fail to activate or deactivate.  One of our problems was simply being able to get the fleet to activate missile launchers, launch a volley or two at a target, and then deactivate them in order to switch targets.  The launcher modules would site there blinking red at us for ages.

Sometimes user input would just be missed or ignored.  At one point I was trying to put missiles on a target but the launcher activated on Asher, who I had locked up in order to use the remote sensor booster on him.  I turned them off after one volley, but this is why I ended up on his kill mail. (Along with a couple of other members of fleet running remote sensor boosters on him.)

At one point Asher asked on coms why I was broadcasting “Enemy Spotted!”  That is one of the least useful fleet broadcasts, which I turned off ages ago.  The default key for that is “Z” in the settings.  I have the toggle UI option set to Alt-Z.  However, the systems was losing my keyboard inputs (I had to make several attempts each time I toggled the UI) and it was sometimes just catching the “Z” causing me to broadcast.  I went and turned that off, but for a bit I was “that guy” in fleet again.

Then there was the UI, which has a good chance of drawing incorrectly in such situations.  I totally lost the Route view in the upper left of the screen, which I only noticed when we were leaving.  My overview ended up with a couple of ships stuck on it at 0m that simply were not there.  And when warping the UI didn’t always match up.

Warp drive active at

Warp drive active at 2,382 m/s?  It said that for most of my failed warp.

And sometimes the client would just give up.  There was a moment when the point defense system on the Keepstar was activated and it was reported that a couple hundred people were knocked offline.  I was knocked offline a few times during the fight, including at the point defense activation.  The first time it took me 15 minutes to get back into the game.  My ship had been warped off to a safe, so I had to wait while it slowly warped back.  Fortunately our fleet hadn’t moved too far so I was close enough to catch Asher’s next warp, which got me back in the ball of Cerbs again.

The next time the client gave up, I was back into the game in about five minutes, as I was still in formation, targets still locked, and providing remote sensor booster support to Asher.  Great!  And then a bit later the ship did its disconnect routine and warped off the a safe and then back to the grid, leaving me off on my own again.  Fortunately Asher would slow down every once in a while to let people catch up.

But for all of that, it was an epic battle with sights you do not see every day as multiple fleets of sub caps flew around the grid, dreadnoughts dropped on the citadel, and the defense batteries blazing away.

Somebody even grabbed some video of us swooping through the fight with the Keepstar in the background.

We were there for targets of opportunity, willing to shoot either side in the conflict as they came into range.  The only thing we were not there to shoot was the Keepstar itself.  Since it was just the armor timer, there would be no kill mail, so we were not inclined to waste missiles helping the attackers.  They had plenty of firepower on hand, once they brought it to bear.  There was a gap when the repair timer started its 15 minute count down and when the attackers got enough damage onto the citadel to halt it.

Timer past half way and still running

Timer at the half way point and still running

But at just shy of the four minutes left mark the damage stopped the clock and there it stayed until the armor was slowly stripped away.

There is a conspiracy theory going about that the Imperium was there to support CO2 and TEST, but it has no basis in reality.  Apparently somebody in CO2 temp blued us, which makes sense, because we were not there to shoot the Keepstar, so why bother with us?  And still, that didn’t keep them from killing Xenuria.

Our first target was a CO2 machariel, after which we took shots at a PL Typhoon fleet, various bombers that landed in the vicinity, and then a fleet of dreads that dropped on grid for the fight.  As it happened, our targets tended to be the attackers, as the defenders were sticking close to the Keepstar while we were hunting out along the periphery.

Then, after the fight had dragged on, the defenders started pulling back, the armor layer looked to be well on its way destruction, Asher had been alpha’d off the field, and it looked like time for us to head home.  Corbzilla took over the FC position and tried to get us to the Taisy gate.  This ended up taking about half an hour, and not merely because the warp was 104 AU.  Several of us had problems just getting the ourselves into warp.  I ended up in the strange warping but not warping state which actually moved be about 30 AU and then stopped.  Eventually I was disconnected and then had to warp away, then back to the Keepstar (at which point my overview was totally hosed, as it showed nobody on grid with me besides the citadel), and then off to the Taisy gate.

And still I was not the last fleet member through the gate.  The fleet was holding on the far side and there was a rush of joy as the slow warp tunnel suddenly sped up and spat me out into low sec.  In some ways it was like being able to breathe again.

Corbzilla moved us back to Daras and the wormhole back south.  It was still there, so he had the boosters and logi move through first, then gave the word for the rest of jump, but the wormhole collapsed before the whole fleet got through, so some of us had to move through high sec while others had a much shorter ride home.  I lucked out and got through the hole.

Of course, nothing is ever easy.  An incursion had dropped in the constellation where our wormhole put us, so Plaid Rabbit shepherded us through that until we were clear to fly freely back to our staging.

Approximately six hours after we undocked to get on the titan I docked back up in our Keepstar.  It was a long day, though I still had time to put the Christmas lights up on the house afterwards.

I don’t mind a long op like that for an epic fight, but it isn’t something I can do every day.  Still,  the draw of the fight helped boost the player count past the 50K mark again, though we didn’t pass the high water mark of two weeks ago.

Still, not bad for a Sunday

Not bad for a Sunday, but not quite 50,958

And now we have a six day wait for the final timer on the Keepstar in M-OEE8, which comes out on Saturday.  I suspect that the system will see even more people in local as they try to get in, shoot some people, and get on the Keepstar kill mail.  We shall see if I can make that.  Not sure I have another all day fleet op in me this week though.

For a timeline of events, there is a post up over at Imperium News that has you covered.  I haven’t seen any battle reports yet, as zkillboard seems to still be digesting the battle and trying to handle all the people hitting it looking for a battle report.  I’ll link whatever else shows up here later.

And, finally, I have a series of screen shots from the battle.

Tribute Comes Alive!

Back in early October NCDot, Pandemic Legion, and the usual assortment of hangers on announced that they were going to invade Circle of Two’s space in Tribute and take it from them.  Pandemic Horde coveted the system of M-OEE8, which its easy access to Jita, so they and all their friends were going to go get it.

Horde has a vision

Horde has a vision

This was exciting news and seemed, in some ways, the final encore of the Casino War as the final pre-war resident of the region, Circle of Two, was set to be evicted.  Of those who invaded the north, TEST was CO2’s only major ally.

Of course, the only reason CO2 lasted that long in the north is that they sold our the Imperium before the first battle in their territory even began.  Stewing territorial grievances (among other things they resented having TNT, my alliance, in Tribute from the day we showed up) and bad cash management got them to switch sides, hand over intel, and actively join the fight against the Imperium.

As you can imagine, the thought of the Circle of Traitors getting their own comeuppance was a happy one.  I dubbed the whole thing the Schadenfreude War, as the two sides grinding against each other was going to be entertaining no matter who won, just so long as there was blood.

TMC and EN24 picked up the story right away.  War is always big news.

 

But rather than a supercapital blitzkrieg, it was more of a sitzkrieg, a phoney war in space.  There were a few skirmishes, but the greater effort seemed to be going into propaganda creation for Reddit. (Examples collected here and here.)  The TEST baby dino propaganda was especially good, I hope somebody has collected it all up somewhere.  And then there was the magnificent Be In NCDot piece.

So adorable

So adorable

Propaganda without a war… well, that pretty much defines the EVE Online subreddit most days, cesspit that it is.  At one point my going theory was that NCDot was attempting to slowly bankrupt CO2 by dropping bait titans in order to kill off all of CO2’s tackle ships.

The was was dull and other events overtook it.  The Alliance Tournament, the coming Ascension expansion, the end of gambling in New Eden, and EVE Vegas all took their turns in the spotlight as Tribute simmered away.  There were no headlines about it on the various EVE Online sites, though both the major news sites, EN24 and INN, seemed to be pretty quiet overall.  I didn’t so much give up hope for that comeuppance as forgot it was even an option.

But the war apparently ground on without me paying it any attention, so that this past week I was surprised to see NCDot talking up the war in their recent state of the alliance as well as a reports of a battle in M-OEE8.  I headed on over to DOTLAN to check the Tribute map, and it looks like the aggressors have been busy.

Tribute - November 22, 2016

Tribute – November 22, 2016

Pandemic Legion, Pandemic Horde, and NCDot now hold 16 former CO2 systems in Tribute, with more under siege including CO2’s capital system, M-OEE8, where NCDot has taken the ihub.

So the war has progressed, and that moment of schadenfreude for those of us in our new homes in Delve may come to pass.  There is also the usual null sec symmetry to the whole thing.  Back in 2012 I was there when we took UMI-KK in Tribute War of 2012 from NCDot, after which they pretty much gave up and moved south.  Now they are back again, invading down the same route we took, scooping up those very same systems the left behind four years back.

Election Night in Fountain

He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen.

-Harry Truman, on Eisenhower and the presidency

Just another Wednesday on a blog mostly about video games.

When I got home yesterday afternoon things seemed settled about the house.  My daughter was busy with something, hockey was starting on the TV, which would occupy my wife for a couple of hours, and a ping for a fleet had just come up on Jabber.  I figured it was a sign, and I logged into EVE Online and joined up.

We formed up an armor T3 fleet and by the time I was logging in there were threats that we were not going anywhere until there was more logistics support.  Fortunately that is what I generally fly… I don’t even own a doctrine Proteus or Legion… so it was into my medical white Guardian and into the fleet just in time for us to get going.

Guardians lolling about

Guardians lolling about, cap chain up

We rolled out with a capital fleet bobbling along ahead of us, turned north, passed through that long regional gate jump between ZXB-VC and Y-2ANO, and headed deep into Fountain where we have been fighting sparring with The-Culture off and on for the last couple of months.  It was a passage through history for me yet again, with system names in Fountain more familiar to me from past wars than my own current neighborhood in Delve.  I cannot, for example, go through KVN-36 without thinking about that doomed capital convoy op we ran way back when.

Holdings in the Southwest - Fountain, Delve, and Querious

Holdings in the Southwest – Fountain, Delve, and Querious

Our first destination was an Astrahus citadel of ours that The-Culture had been busy attacking over the past week.  It was coming down to its final timer and there seemed to be some likelihood that they would call in some help from the north to contest it.  A fight seemed possible and there were reports on coms that they had almost 100 people of there own in captials and ready to go.

We tethered up on the Astrahus and waited.  We were there early, so had to run down the timer before the event started, then sit through the whole fifteen minute exposure window.

Hanging off the Astrahus

Caps hanging off the Astrahus

However The-Culture wasn’t able to get a force together to contest the timer, so it ran out and the Astrahus was saved.

That left a couple hundred of us hanging about in Fountain, so the subcaps split off to go shoot a couple of towers The-Culture had in A-HZYL.  This took the evening from some sitting about waiting to a game of whack-a-mole for the logistics wing of the fleet.  Both of the towers had quite a few defense modules.  As nobody was there to direct them, they fired in their random sort of way which meant that people were calling for reps almost constantly as the automated guns changed targets at a maddening rate.

Meanwhile, The-Culture put together a small group of Artillery fit Claw interceptors (example fit from one we popped) who managed to warp in and pick off a few smaller ships (and one Legion) as we did our tower shoot.  I am not sure how they got the Legion, but they were able to alpha small ships (like B33R’s Bifrost) off the field in a single volley.

While The-Culture was big on defensive modules on their towers, they did not bother to put any strontium clathrates in them.  So rather than having to go through the multiple shoot routine of reinforcement mode, we were able to kill them right then and there.

That's right Pee-wee, the secret word is "Unstronted!"

That’s right Pee-wee, the secret word is “Unstronted!”

Fortunately the capital fleet sent us a few dreadnoughts to speed things up so the logi repping madness didn’t last as long as it could have.  We popped one tower and then a second.  After that we had to take the remaining modules offline and cover GSOL as they put up replacement in the place of the ones we just blew up.

A new tower going up!

A new tower going up!, old hardeners still in place

That left us with some time to kill, which we did in the usual way.  The FC, Thomas Lear, had logi start repping one of the fleet members… in this case fellow jacket pal Norrec Lafisques… and then had the rest of the fleet shoot him to see if they could break his tank.

Norrec as the focus while the tower goes online

Norrec as the focus while the tower goes online

However, but that time we had lost some fleet members… we were past the three hour mark… while logi was still strongly represented and all still awake after the tower, so we kept him alive without any fuss.

Once the towers were set, it was time to head home, shepherding the capitals and keeping together to avoid being picked off by the still lurking Claws of The-Culture.  That took a while, but eventually we made it back to the staging Keepstar and were able to call it a night.  We were rewarded with three participation links, which covers 75% of my minimum for the month.

During the whole fleet any discussion of politics was banned.  Politics is generally one of the forbidden topics on fleet ops, but given it was election night it was being strictly enforced.  So there were not any updates while I was playing EVE Online during that gap of time.  Before the fleet started I had looked at Google’s election coverage and the real time live forecast that the New York Times had put together on their web site.  So when I looked as the fleet was kicking off, every indicator said Clinton was going to win.  The needles were all deep in Clinton territory and Trump had faint hope.  When The fleet was done… well… things had changed as indicated by this chart which I clipped from their site.

What a difference a fleet makes

What a difference a fleet makes

I think the fleet actually started about a half hour earlier now that I think about it, but you get the picture.  And while I wasn’t completely news free during the fleet… I checked Twitter and saw a few indicators come up… the radical shift was still a bit of a surprise.

My daughter, actually paying close attention to a presidential election for the first time, was disturbed by the apparent outcome.  I had to reassure her that the system is designed to suppress drastic change.  The government is slow and inefficient on purpose.  It is a feature.  Just as Harry Truman noted about Eisenhower I would note about Trump.  Being the President isn’t like the military, or like a business, where you just tell people to do things and they happen.  It is frustrating when you think something should be done.  President Obama couldn’t even close Guantanamo Bay, a 2008 campaign promise, over two terms.  But it pays back when something you don’t want is proposed.

The apocalypse isn’t upon us.  I’ve seen bigger mandates and grander ambitions ground down by the wheels of government.  Even that Republican congress answers to their constituencies first… or maybe it is lobbyists first, I forget… while the President is somewhere way down the list.  And that will all get tossed in the air in again in two years.

We’ll see what happens.  But as Scarlett O’Hara sagely noted, tomorrow is another day.

Following in the Footsteps of Vegas Alpha

At EVE Vegas one of the presentations was from CCP Rise.  Ostensibly it was about the new clone states, but it was really about his own experiment in-game playing a clone with only the skill set that an Alpha clone will be allowed come the Ascension expansion.  It was a great presentation in an goofy sort of way and I enjoyed it immensely.  You can watch it here if you like.

CCP Rise’s basic plan was to create an Alpha clone skilled character and see what he could do with it in real fights on Tranquility.  And so the character Vegas Alpha was born.  You can see his combat record over at zKillboard.  He set out to kill a Svipul and managed to do that and more.

In watching the presentation, I was particularly interested in his fit for the Gallente Thorax cruiser.  It is hull tanked, which seems like an interestingly deceptive choice.  When somebody is shooting you and the blow through your shields and armor, they are unlikely to suddenly spook and run away when they hit structure.  But that is where the bulk of the hit points are on this fit.  So I stored that fit away to play with another day.  Here it is in EFT format if you like.

[Thorax, Vegas Alpha]

Damage Control II
Reinforced Bulkheads II
Reinforced Bulkheads II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

50MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive
Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier
Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier
Initiated Compact Warp Scrambler

Modal Ion Particle Accelerator I, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Ion Particle Accelerator I, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Ion Particle Accelerator I, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Ion Particle Accelerator I, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Ion Particle Accelerator I, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M

Medium Transverse Bulkhead I
Medium Transverse Bulkhead I
Medium Transverse Bulkhead I

Acolyte I x5

That is maybe the third ship fitting I have posted in ten years.  The drones are different, but you can change that out if you like.

On Saturday night I was sitting around.  My wife was watching hockey, my daughter playing online with her friends, so I had some free time but no plan.  I wasn’t feeling like WoW, I’d already played enough Stellaris for the week, and there were not any fleets going in EVE Online, so I was just sitting there wondering what to do.  I decided to go fit up a few Thoraxes.

As I mentioned previously, I have a Gallente character that I have been training up to have all of the Alpha clone skills available to him.  Enter Reynaldo Fabulous again.  As of Saturday night he was still a couple of skills shy of a full Alpha loadout, but he was close.  Close enough that I sent him some ISK from my main so he could get out of his implant clone, fit five Thoraxes, and go on an adventure.  I undocked, set a course for Saranen, the only low sec system that sprang to mind, and headed that way.

Thorax away!

Thorax away!

The goal here was to find a fight and lose or, should I win, find another fight and so on until the ship got blown up.  The ship was insured, wasn’t that expensive, and what the hell, right?

This was, of course, pretty much opposite day for me, a bizarro world reversal of my usual intent when traveling alone in New Eden.  It is always work to not get into a fight, so actually getting into one ought to be easy, right?

Oh, the other side of the coin.

When I travel and don’t get caught I just think I’ve been lucky.  But here I was out in low sec on a Saturday night trying to find somebody, anybody to shoot at and not having any luck.  I was there to take the fight, any fight, it just wasn’t happening.  Sitting on gates, sitting on station undocks, going to anomalies, all came up dry.  Granted, I might have been less than patient, but trouble seems to find me when I am flying an industrial.

I wandered around from system to system, heading towards Okagaiken, another name I seem to remember, which got me into Black Rise and factional warfare.  I played with factional warfare for about two hours when it came out back in… wow, was that 2008… and haven’t really thought about it since.  But there were more people in these systems, so I thought I would see if I could catch somebody.

I first found a Kestrel sitting still in a site about 100km off from where I landed.  This being the best opportunity I had run across so far, I lit the MWD and headed towards him.  He didn’t seem to notice, though when I got about half way to him I saw that he was in LAWN, an Imperium alliance and started to wonder if I should shoot him or not.  Technically Reynaldo is in a non-Imperium corp, but the info page about that corp shows Wilhelm Arcturus as its founder, and shooting blues is frowned upon.  However, he woke up long before I got into range and warp off.  Decision averted.

So I started hitting other sites, looking for targets.  I actually got in range of a couple, like this guy.

Locking up Peon Neon

Locking up Peon Neon

Yeah, he was in a frigate and I was in a cruiser, but I was long past being picky.  That was actually my second go at him.  I warped into his site, he warped off, so I warped off, then I warped back to the site almost immediately and found him right back there again.  Cocky!  And I was almost on top of him so I was able to lock him up and throw all the goodies on him… and he shook off my tackle and warped away again.

I got some opportunity rewards for that, but no kill.

I did the things and got paid

I did the things and got paid

Oh, to feel the pain of being Rixx Javix, a hunter in a land of warp core stabilizers.

I had a couple more encounters like that before I got bored of the failed tackle routine.  I figured I was close to null sec at that point, I would take a gate there.  For sure somebody would shoot me in null sec.

Headed to Cloud Ring

Headed to Cloud Ring

I wandered through Cloud Ring, warping straight between gates, getting caught in unattended drag bubbles, motoring my way to gates, only once did I see another ship… an industrial who probably was cursing their ill luck but who got away safely before I could close.  Luck favored him rather than me in the end.

At this point I was past the two hour mark and was looking to resolve this in a fight sooner rather than later, so I set my course for DO6H-Q, that intersection between Fade, Deklein, and Pure Blind that is also, if I recall right, the capital system for Brave Newbies.  Somebody would be home there!

Traveling there was uneventful.  More unattended drag bubbles and empty systems.  I landed in DO6H-Q, but nobody was at the gate to greet me.  I warped around to a couple of locations only to come up empty, so I decided to go kick the hornet’s nest and warp to 100km off their station.

That got me some attention.  A small group landed on me, pretty much ensuring my doom, so I tried to pull range on them in the hope that I might be able to turn on one of my pursuers and finish them before they all piled on.  However, their tackle got on me pretty quick.  I closed with them and got him down to structure before I got hit with EWar and lost lock.  My drones were out and carried on the fight, but it wasn’t enough.  The ship exploded, followed shortly by my pod and I was quickly back in Jita where I started.  They got a little something for their evening, while I got an insurance payout and another opportunity bonus.

Death pays... at least the first time

Death pays… at least the first time

And that was that for my first Thorax run.  I have a few more handy, though I think the next time I give this a try I will go out earlier in the evening.  It was already late-ish USTZ when I started (PCU was ~20k), so maybe if I dial it back to late-ish EUTZ I won’t have to wander so far before I find somebody willing to blow me up.

Anyway, that was my Vegas Alpha inspired adventure, a clone that has since been biomassed.  Maybe someday Reynaldo will get a Svipul too.

 

Two Years of Reavers

The real Reavers anniversary date is October 14th so far as I can tell.  That is the earliest mention of it I can find in the forums.  But, for no real reason, the fact that another year has gone by doesn’t seem to occur to me until a week or so after that date has passed.  As it happened last year, so it happens this year.

Reavers forum bee

Reavers forum bee

And as I did last year, I will mark this passing with another summary post.  For those wishing to revisit the first year, here is the summary:

The first year of Reavers saw many changes to the game.  There was a long transition from Dominion sovereignty to Aegis or Fozzie Sov.  That saw the introduction of jump fatigue, entosis links, and constellation-wide sovereignty contests.  It also saw the end of the vast rental empires that funded several groups, as you can see in this year over year sovereignty map that I posted last year.

October 14, 2014 and October 14, 2015 compared

October 14, 2014 and October 14, 2015 compared

There is still some rental space in null sec, but it is confined to the northeastern corner of New Eden.

As Reavers played through changes in sovereignty mechanics in its first year, the SIG played through a host of changes in its second year.  Again the map changed and a year later finds us in a new home in the southwest of New Eden.

October 14, 2015 and October 14, 2016 compared

October 14, 2015 and October 14, 2016 compared

The long war in the north… you can make the case that we fought from November 2015, in what was called the Kickstarter War at the time, until our retreat from Saranen in July at the end of the Casino War… wore us out and drained our finances.  While the Phoebe jump fatigue changes made that migration south painful, it also kept our foes from pursuing us down south to continue the war as well, at least according to Elise Randolph on Asher’s recent podcast.

And while other changes came during the last year… citadels being one of the most obvious… the specter of war cast a shadow over much of the year as far as Reavers were concerned.  While I saw jacket pals in many fleets and flew with Asher Elias often enough (he even got us some titan kills), but actual Reaver deployments were few.

We went down to spar with TEST in Wicked Creek last November, the FISHKINGBOIS deployment:

There was an experiment with Typhoons:

There was a deployment down to Querious, the second home to all Reavers, to chase Pandemic Horde around after the returned home from Cloud Ring.

And after that there is the long gap in Reavers ops, when the Casino War kept all available pilots occupied in the north.

The Reavers tag on the blog did not get used again until September of this year, when the conquest of Delve was wrapping up and there was a return to normalcy.  Then it was time for Reavers to head off to Querious again, a region I know better than Delve at this point, in order to take moons and pacify the region.

That is just nine Reavers posts over the course of the last year, compared to 27 the year before.  The war dominated most of the year.  With a new settled homeland Reavers can now range out on deployments.  Or we will, once we get Querious settled.  Always some work to be done somewhere.

Barghests Down in Querious Astrahus Fight

As Delve has been quiet, Reavers have been deploying to Querious off and on.  Since Delve and Querious are so close together… a chunk of Querious is actually something of a functional enclave within Delve, which is sometimes called either Fake Delve or Fake Querious depending on who is speaking and whether or not they remember what they called it last time it came up… there was some discussion as to what to do about the region.

Querious - October 23, 2016

Querious – October 23, 2016

The previous inhabitants for the most part moved on to other areas of null sec rather than live under the shadow of the Imperium.  Our first deployment to the region after Delve was to take the valuable moons.  However, the holders were mostly willing to sell them to us… along with a couple of citadels… to finance their move elsewhere.

After that, the region was somewhat sparsely held.  I ran around in a Raven and was unmolested as I ran sites during the Purity of the Throne event.  Of course, a sparsely held region invites people to show up uninvited.  To keep the worst kind of baddies from moving in, the coalition gave Asher the green light to try and turn the region into a fight club.  Details of the idea were posted on Reddit a while back.

There have been a few takers and Reavers have been back in Querious off and on to help people move in and evict people who have declined to join.  We popped a Voxis Accord Astrahus earlier in the month after they said no to the idea.  Last week we started on Brute Force Solutions and their Astrahus in 0-WT2D. (BFD on the map above.)  They had been giving Asher the run around, claiming they needed 6-8 weeks to process his request, along with doing a level of trash talking in local above their weight class.  They seemed keen to provoke a fight, so their citadel had to go.

Killing an citadel requires three passes.  You have to get through the shield layer, after which it goes into reinforced mode for 24 hours.  Then you go through the armor layer.  After armor, the reinforcement timer is related to local sovereignty.  Since they owned the system and ihub and had flagged it as their capital, the ADM was up to 6, which meant a six day wait for the final structure event.

I was there for the shield event, a Barghest fleet where I flew logi, but missed the armor event where BFD dropped carries on our fleet, so we countered with some caps and our bridging titan, which left BFD down 10 carriers.  The final event was slated for Saturday night in later USTZ.

After the second event Asher asked people to get more Barghests down in our staging for the final fight.  The previous fights had been more logi and support than actual combat ships of the line.  Being ISK rich (for me) I invested 900 million ISK in one of the space griddles and flew it out from Jita during the week to have it ready for Saturday night.

An Unblooded Barghest

An Unblooded Barghest

As the time approached on Saturday, the ping went our for Reavers to form up and get ready.  There were about 60 of us online, in fleet, and on the titan ready to bridge into the event.

Anal Thunder's Leviathan breaching the POS bubble

Anal Thunder’s Leviathan breaching the POS bubble

Reavers is not all of the Imperium, so for us getting 50-60 people deep in USTZ is about par for the course.  That would still give us an edge on BFD, as they and their local allies seem to be good for about 50 pilots while we would have our own local pals, Sarcos Federation and Imperium Divine along to help.

My Barghest on the Fortizar

My Barghest on the Fortizar

The wild card would be what help BFD would be able to call in.  Asher said up front, as we sat on the titan, that intel indicated that Pandemic Legion had been called and might be joining in on the fun, so we could be in for a serious fight.  We bridged in a little before the Astrahus entered its vulnerability.

We setup as the timer counted down.  Once vulnerable, there is a 15 minute timer.  If that runs down, the attack fails and the Astrahus goes back into its initial state and we have to start the whole routine again.  The timer is paused by applying sufficient damage to the citadel, which also wears down the structure.  If you keep the timer paused and finish off the structure, the Astrahus explodes.  There is also a cap on the damage so you cannot burn it down in less than ~25 minutes. (The dev blog about all of this here.)

We setup around the Astrahus, dropped our sentry drones, anchored up on Asher, and when the time came opened up on the citadel.

The target with undock bubbled

The target with undock bubbled

BFD and their local friends had some assets on the field and we exchanged blows with them.  They brought out some dreadnoughts and carriers as well.  At that point things were going our way, the frying pan fleet was getting a few kills while our logi was keeping us safe.  Then a cyno went up, which we zapped pretty quickly.  A couple of Pandemic Legion caps got in on a cyno.

Capitals bubbled up

Capitals bubbled up

And then a Tech III fleet made up mostly of Legions and Proteuses got into the system and the fight started to go badly for us.  We outnumbered what BFD had fielded, but the Pandemic Legion fleet had numbers on us and, when combined with BFD, put us at a serious disadvantage with the odds about 2 to 1 against.  We were hard pressed to break any of the T3s, managing to knock just one off the field (on which I got the kill mail).  On the other hand, they trimmed our logi back and then started knocking off the Barghests one by one.  I lost my fresh Barghest when we were just trying to get out of bubbles and get away.  I still had all the refits in the cargo too, so pretty much a complete loss of my purchase.  Only two Barghests got away.

It seemed like we were done.  Asher put out on intel that there were some caps to shoot, which got a few Imperium CapSwarm capitals and supers to drop on the fight.

Supers on the gate looking for targets of opportunity

Supers on the gate looking for targets of opportunity

However, there was still a few minutes left on the Astrahus timer and most of the Reavers had their clone set in our Fortizar just six jumps away, so the decision was made to give it another run in the Cerberus doctrine.  I have my clone set in Delve, but I had a doctrine Scimitar set and ready to fly there, so I burned back towards Querious.  With a jump bridge the fight was 14 gates away.

As I burned I could hear the fleet arriving back at the Astrahus where they managed to apply damage and stop the timer with very little time left on the clock.  It sounded like they got chased off but got back to apply damage again, stopping the timer with just seconds to go.

Dramatic interpretation of the timer

Dramatic interpretation of the timer

At about that point I had finally gotten back to the system.  However, in getting to the fleet I managed to warp in pretty much on top of the Pandemic Legion fleet, which meant my Scimitar got popped pretty much immediately.

I managed to get away in my pod and flew back to our staging to pick up a Vigil I had sitting there in hopes of getting back before the fight ended.  However, before I got back our Cerbs had been mostly eliminated allowing the timer to start back up again and finish before any further damage could be applied.  BFD’s citadel had been saved.

The battle report, which is broken up into Imperium and allies, Pandemic Legion’s fleet, and BFD and its local allies is… deceptive.  The raw numbers look even, 129 vs 136.  However, everybody who shows up in a Cerb, along with a few Scimitars, are counted twice because we went back and reshipped.  Then there are the Imperium caps, which killed a couple carriers but didn’t move on the citadel.  And then there was an Imperium Confessor fleet which showed up just long enough to kill a Magus before heading off.

If we had managed to coordinate all of that, we might have gotten the Astrahus.  But we did not, so it is back to the reinforce cycle to try and kill it again next weekend.  Life in space, such that it is.

Meanwhile, SRP on my Barghest was 400 million ISK. (And I think I got a Reavers bonus payout at that.)  So while the Scimitar was covered, the Barg was an expensive one fight ship.

Addendum: Asher also has a new podcast up where he talks to Elise Randolph about the war in Tribute and the Alliance tournament.