Category Archives: Null Sec

Last Ship out of Deklein

I am going to have to make a “Last Ship” tag or some such for the blog, as I seem to be, from time to time, trying to fly one last ship back from a deployment or some station in hostile space.  And so it was again last night.

Down in the south, the incursion running SIG is getting rolling again and I thought it might be about time to get back to that to earn a little ISK between deployments.  I still had my incursion fit Scimitar and my clone with the required implants.  There was just one problem; the ship and the clone were still in Deklein.

Time for another off-peak extraction.

The ship and the clone were docked up in 2R-CRW, one gate from our old staging at YA0-XJ.  The question was which route to take out of Dodge.  From 2R-CRW there are two equidistant null sec exits, EC-P8R and 93PI-4.  It was 14 systems to either of them, all through hostile territory.  The EC-P8R route ran through the heart of Pure Blind though, while the 93PI-4 route made a run up what has often been a quiet part of space.  That made the 93PI-4 route more attractive.  Also, my recollections of EC-P8R, with its connection directly to high sec, is that it was always a good gate to camp as people would wander into null sec unwittingly.  So 93PI-4 was my destination, though if there were problems there, EC-P8R was only two more jumps.

The way out

The way out

I got the route all set before I clone jumped because I wanted to be on my as quickly as possible before local intel got anybody on my tail.  So it was a jump to the station, into my ship, a quick check of the inventory to make sure I wasn’t leaving anything behind, then undock and on my way.

Undocking into the red light of 2R-CRW's star

Undocking into the red light of 2R-CRW’s star

There was only one person in system with me, a Brave pilot, as I aligned for the out gate and warped off.  I would be crossing their space soon enough.

In the next system I took a moment in warp to check my possessions in Deklein to see what I might be leaving behind now that my last clone was leaving.  I was bit surprised to see that the cupboard was bare.  I am rarely ever that efficient at cleaning up after myself.

Nothing left in Deklein

Nothing left in Deklein

The same isn’t true for Tribute, and I still have stuff rattling around in Pure Blind as well, but Deklein, where I set up camp for more than three years, was clear.

From CCP-US there was the jump into Fade and DO6H-Q, which is Brave Newbies capital.  There were quite a few people in local, but the gates were not being camped and I slipped through, using a bounce, and exited into Pure Blind via the U-INPD gate.  The bounce was a bit hairy though, as I dropped in on two Brave pilots, but they didn’t seem to notice and I sped off unmolested.

That put me into Mordus Angels space.  That was empty for a few jumps, until I made it to BDV3-T, which turned out to be their capital system and which had about a dozen of them in local.  I decided to use an old corp bookmark as a bounce, though it turned out to be a poorly named one as it dropped me onto the station grid.

That was unfortunate

That was unfortunate

I turned for the out gate and warped off, but I had been spotted.  A Legion had been sitting on the undock, so unless he was asleep my ship had been reported.  I jumped into WW-KGD, which was empty, and warped off to the next gate.  It was a short warp, but even before I arrived, two MOA pilots I have seen in BDV3-T jumped in with me.

The next system was another short warp to the out gate, and I made it before my pursuers arrived in system.  I pressed on hoping that they did not have any friends ahead.  I passed by a GSF Atrahus, still sitting there, a happy sanctuary in the midst of hostile space, and considered stopping there for safety, but decided to press on.  By that point I was getting close to low sec and didn’t really want to make this journey a multi-day epic.

No further MOA pilots were spotted and I finally jumped into 93PI-4, which is held by NCDot.  There were a pile of reds in local there, so I decided to hit a bounce and then head to the gate.  However, yet another bad bounce choice meant that I still hit one of the drag bubbles around the Saranen gate.  I quickly reversed course and lit the AB to get out of the bubble and ready to warp off to a safe… and then I noticed that nobody was on the gate.  There, within sight of the NCDot Keepstar citadel, I decided to just motor to the gate.

In the distance, a Keepstar

In the distance, a Keepstar

Nobody came out to take a look and I was able to jump into Saranen and low sec.

Of course, low sec, where I feel safer because there are no warp disruption bubbles, is where I ran into a problem.  I hit the gate out of Saranen at the same time as an NCDot pilot and came through on the other side in Karjataimon to find another one, who attempted to lock me up.  I warped off in time, headed for the Nannaras gate.

Fleeing through low sec

Fleeing through low sec

I beat them there, but they were landing as I jumped, and on the other side I found yet another red waiting for me.

This time I decided to head to a station, dock up, and log off quickly in the hopes that they might try to follow, not see me, and figure I went to a different gate.  I would just disappear from local and not be where ever they went.  After I logged out I went and rousted my daughter to get her to finish folding her laundry and get ready for bed.

I don’t know if this worked as intended or not, but when I logged back in a bit later my pursuers were gone.  At that point is was just a few more jumps to high sec.  We have a couple of war decs going on at the moment, but they generally hang around Jita looking for fat targets.  I did not see any war targets as I moved into Amarr space.

Back to Amarr jump gates

Back to Amarr jump gates

Once in Amarr space it was time to head to Aridia and more low sec space and then Delve and home.  One last ship out of Deklein.  Of course, once I got back I decided to go to the Incursion SIG section of the forums to see if I had to update my fit… and found out that we switched to an armor tanking doctrine a while back.  I haven’t been keeping up with that SIG since early in the year it seems.

Anyway, one more ship to hand, which won’t go to waste, a jump clone freed up for use elsewhere, and another minor adventure in New Eden.

Chasing Purity Skins in Querious

I still have not decided if I should acknowledge the obvious backronym of Super Kerr-Induced Nanocoatings and write “SKINs” in all caps like an acronym or just go with my gut and call them what they are, “skins” we can apply to our ships.  Things that keep me up at night.

The whole SKIN thing

The whole SKIN thing

That bit of trivia aside though, I am a fan of the whole ship SKIN/skin thing in EVE Online.

Granted, I am something of an odd duck in New Eden in that I am often more enchanted by how the game looks than how it plays.  I try to keep my screen as clear of view-obscuring windows as possible and often have the UI turned off at the worst possible times.  But hey, screen shots.

I am also the person most likely to grab a skin for a ship I fly regularly.  I am the guy in fleet the red Basilisk or the Raata Sunset Guardian.  So the current Purity of the Throne event had my interest piqued due to the fact that it rewarded skins… lots of skins… skins for every Amarr ship.  I have to admit that I let the lore reasons for the event slip by… I am not so concerned about why these skins are out and about as opposed to the fact that they give me the option to paint my ship a different color.

You get a random skin from killing the final spawn in the Purity of the Throne sites that have been spawning all over New Eden, and people have been farming them like crazy, so I figured I would just pick some up in Jita when the market dipped low enough as supply outran demand.  I wasn’t planning on actually running any sites unless I happened upon them by chance, as with the Operation Frostline sites.

And then I ran into what appeared to be the headquarters of the Purity of the Throne movement.

Reavers were doing a move op back to Delve from Querious and I was shuffling ships about when I noticed a few of the sites in the YB7B-8 constellation as I was passing through in my Raven (with the Wiyrkomi skin naturally), a ship left over from a past deployment.

I stopped to run a site.  The Raven wasn’t the optimal choice for such a thing, the NPCs being largely frigates while the battleship was armed with cruise missiles, which are only suitable for much larger targets.  But with those and the drones in my bay, I was able to kill off the purists easily enough, looting a skin from the final spawn as a reward.

That's the guy with the skin

That’s the guy with the skin

Then I ran another site and got another skin.  And then I ran another.  And then I realized that I was going to be late for the fleet and I parked the Raven in the station at 60M-TG, installed a jump clone, and raced back in my pod to catch the fleet home.

Once I had my doctrine ship back in Delve, I jump cloned back to 60M-TG and carried on running sites in that constellation.  They were thick in space and there was almost nobody in the area.  Querious was almost eerily quiet and I was left to pick off sites and collect skins in peace.

Naturally, running what is essentially the same battle over and over again led to some attempts to optimize my attacks and make a game out of efficiency.  The efficiency aspect largely concerned smart bombs.  The old Reaver Raven doctrine included a smart bomb fit to the ship and once I noticed it, I decided that this would be a better way to kill the frigates that spawned than trying to swat them with inefficiently over-sized missiles.  So I started sending my drones after the cruiser sized ships, which were further off, letting the frigates some in close.

Frigates orbiting my Raven

Frigates orbiting my Raven

And then I would light off the smart bomb and let it cycle until the frigates popped, which usually took about three cycles.

Frigs go boom... but I missed one...

Frigs go boom… but I missed one…

Of course, then the real goal became to get every frigate in a wave to pop on the same smart bomb cycle.  The main wave has five, so I had to take care, let them all get within 5km radius of the smart bomb, and then start up it up to kill them.  It took a couple tries, but eventually I started popping them all on the same pass.

Five explosions... one behind the structure...

Five explosions… one behind the structure…

And so I started collecting skins, taking down sites as I cruised around the constellation otherwise unmolested.  After two evenings or running them, hitting almost 40 sites on my own, they suddenly stopped spawning in the area.  My hunting… and the random number generator… sent them elsewhere, and I was left alone to sort through my loot.

I did get a couple of skins that I wanted.  The Archon skin was probably my best drop.  But I mostly got skins for ships I don’t fly regularly, often the Navy Issue version of a ship I wanted. (Crucifier? A doctrine ship!  Crucifier Navy Issue?  Never even seen one.)  And, of course, I managed to get nearly a dozen dupes, because the loot fairy in New Eden is a cast iron bitch.

Mostly I wanted a skin for the Guardian, the Amarr tech II logi cruiser, as I thought a space priest in medical white would be appropriate.  For that though I had to hit Jita where I filled in the glaring gaps in my list.

My skin list now...

My skin list now…

Prices had fallen drastically since I checked at the start of the event, so I picked up missing skins for ships I know I would fly… Crucifier, Confessor, and the Guardian… along with a few for ships I might fly some day.  If I train into the Apostle, I will have a nice medical white skin for it.

My Guardian with the white skin

My Guardian with the white skin

Of course, once you have a white surface, it starts to look like a canvas if you stare at it too long and you start to want to draw on it.

I couldn't get a nice, even red cross...

I couldn’t get a nice, even red cross…

Anyway, the event nearly doubled my skin count.  They aren’t the best skins in the bunch, but I like to have the option available to me.

And now a gallery of me popping frigates with smart bombs… because, explosions!

Delve Conquest Complete

The return to peace time life and normlacy continues in the south as we wrapped up the conquest of Delve.  The map now shows all sovereignty in our hands.

Delve - September 14, 2016

Delve – September 14, 2016

Along the way to pacifying Delve, the Imperium picked up a new alliance, with Brother’s in Arms joining us and getting a constellation in the region.

Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms

The only system not held by the Imperium now, aside from NPC space, is 9GNS-2, which is held by United Systems of Aridia (USA), a member of the coalition that holds Period Basis with whom we have a non-agression pact.  Aside from that, and a couple of stations that are still in the freeport state, Delve is done.  We just have to wait for the sovereignty indexes to rise to install the jump bridge network and we will be set.

One item of note that came up recently is that the sovereignty index numbers displayed over at DOTLAN EVE Maps are not necessarily correct.  I gather from a ping that went out that they are being calculated based off of the date/time of when the TCU was dropped… how it worked in Dominion sovereignty… but with Fozzie Sov it is now the Infrastructure Hub drop time that determine the sov index.  So there a lot of those numbers are wrong. (Especially for systems with no ihub installed.)

That just means more work and more things to keep track of for GSOL, the infrastructure team that places all the towers, installs upgrades, keeps things fueled, and all of that.

And, just in case GSOL was not busy enough already, there were also some operations going on in Querious.

While not interested in conquering the whole region, the Imperium has decided to take what is called “Fake Querious,” a stretch of systems that are flagged as part of the region, but which only connect to Delve.  You cannot get to those systems via gates without going through Delve, so that is our Alsace I suppose, if you want a horrible historical metaphor.

Querious - September 14, 2016

Querious – September 14, 2016

And, were that not enough to keep GSOL busy, the Reavers deployed to the other end of Querious for what was planned to be a long term operation to take moons of value in the region.  We took a couple of systems just to stage from, liberated the station at ED-L9T, a location of legend from a past deployment, to free up any supplies left behind, entosised some things, shot some things, but generally didn’t have to do much as the locals, as Asher put it, folded like ironing boards.

I had my alt just entosis stuff at random some times...

I had my alt just entosis stuff at random some times…

Those that didn’t just get the hell out of Dodge with the dissolution of the Querious Fight Club seemed happy enough to sell us prime locations for a bit of ISK and a short count to let them get away.  Instead of getting fights we added revenue assets to the coalition which, as noted, GSOL has to run around to setup and maintain.

So that deployment was over much sooner that expected, leaving me time to start getting adjusted to life in the south.

As I said in the previous post, it doesn’t seem quite like home to me yet.  The system names are all foreign to me and I have to have click on systems that get mentioned in the intel channel to see how far away they are in order to tell if I should be worried about a couple of Svipuls on the loose.  Are they next door or on the other side of the region?  Something that will just take time to get a feel for.

I am also figuring out the logistics of living down south.  Back up in Deklein and Tribute I never worried about hauling anything in and out of null sec.  The proximity to Jita meant that shipping was cheap and quick.  Down in Delve though… Jita is a long way away, the prices have tripled, and the schedules are less reliable.

There are some alternatives.  Amarr is closer and therefore cheaper to haul from, though the market there isn’t as robust as Jita.  I can also get things back down to below the rates in the north if I don’t mind hauling stuff across high sec to a waypoint on the delivery run.

Of course, once I have gotten things that far, the question becomes, “Why not just haul it myself?”  I had a Deep Space Transport loaded with supplies, including a module refit for my ratting Ishtar sitting on the edge of low sec and said, “What the hell.” and just went.  Why wait when you can get same day delivery on your own?  All you have to do is simply not get blown up!

Mastodon on the way

Mastodon on the way

My decision was influenced by my past experiences in low sec… no warp disruption bubbles means getting away from anything by an overwhelming camp is reasonably likely… and the fact that we have the start of a jump bridge network already up and running in Delve.  So all I had to do was get into Delve and I could bypass most of the danger there.

My old friend the jump portal array

My old friend the jump portal array

That got me to the main staging system in Delve, where I dropped off some of my stuff.  But I still had to get the Ishtar fit out to where our Fortizar was so I could help keep ADMs high in our home constellation while making ISK.

Fortunately, that is within jump range of a carrier, so I loaded my good into the Archon and then… needed a cyno.  I had to log on my alt, give him a cyno ship, and have him fly out to the destination to light it, which slowed things down a bit, but wasn’t a high risk operation.  Things are pretty quiet in Delve.

Soon enough I was able to jump my carrier out to my destination and refit the Ishtar.  The old Guristas fit sort-of worked.  It could manage a hub, but I had to be careful not to get in over my head or things would go south quickly.  The new recommended Ishtar fit however, it works brilliantly.

Ishtar dodging beams at a Blood Raiders hub

Ishtar dodging beams at a Blood Raiders hub

I was tempted to go with the Rattlesnake fit that SynCaine mentioned in his post.  There is nothing like feeling secure in a tanky battleship, plus Caldari supremacy and all that.  But I already had the Ishtar, and while the module refit was extensive, going from a shield to an armor tank, it was still cheaper than even the Rattlesnake hull.  Plus the Ishtar is a drone loving machine.  I fly in circles around my MTU while the drones go do all the work.  I just watch the intel channel and listen to a podcast while watching the scenery.

Floating Stonehenge, with lasers

Floating Stonehenge, with lasers

So we continue to settle in down south.  I keep looking at the map on DOTLAN, hoping to remember the names of systems.  And life in New Eden goes on.

A Return to Normalcy in Delve

America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality.

-Warren G. Harding, 1920 Presidential campaign

Such was the election winning sentiment of the nation after WWI.

Some sense of normalcy is also what the Imperium clearly sought after departing the north of New Eden in defeat at the end of the Casino War just under two months ago.  And so we packed up and headed south towards Delve, basing first in Sakht, then 1-SMEB, and finally in D-W7F0, dropping citadels everywhere, as the conquest of the region progressed.

Another Fortizar going up

Another Fortizar going up

The locals set up to hold the line against the Imperium, but were seriously out numbered and required allies from the north in order to commit to any sort of serious resistance.  Fights around the first constellation were largely supported by Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition.

Later, as the Imperium expanded its hold on the region, and the locals began to evacuate, TEST formed up and came down to make common cause with the remaining residents against us.

The low point for them was getting a Machariel fleet bottled up in a dead-end constellation with an incursion running in it, which had the bonus effect of blocking cynos.  It isn’t clear why they chose that constellation, though a going theory was they were going to run the incursion to help raise our ADMs.  But, there they were, so we setup a blockade.  SynCaine and I were both in the initial fleet for that.

Camping a gate, waiting patiently

Camping a gate, waiting patiently

This led to them logging out, then logging back in later to try and slip away. (Their leader was not so patient and got popped early on trying to run the gauntlet.)  The blockade stayed in place, watching the exits, and a confirmed 30 Machariels were killed, along with half a dozen other ships from the fleet and an unknown number of self-destructs.  As I mentioned in the August in review post, one pilot ejected from his Machariel (screen shot) rather than face the apparent shame of giving us the kill mail, at which point Jay Amazingness hijacked the ship; pretty much a direct transfer from TEST to GSF.

Shortly thereafter TEST declared their deployment a success and set a course back to Vale of the Silent, though as last as this morning errant Machariels were still being knocked off trying to slip away.  TEST pilots reportedly have three days to get back to Vale. (Reference: Progodlegend coms meltdown early in the Delve deployment, after which “three days” became a meme in the Imperium.)

None of which did much to slow down the sovereignty grind, so that now almost all of Delve is in the hands of the Imperium.  Just a few systems left to go.

Delve - September 7, 2016

Delve – September 7, 2016

The remaining members of the Imperium interested in holding sovereignty have been given a couple token systems each.  TNT, like LAWN and Bastion, got the TCUs in two systems, though GSF holds the ihubs and stations still.  I guess this was a point of pride, being back on the map or some such.  But since ratting and mining is now a free-for-all in all Imperium held space, it isn’t as though we were restricted to just those two systems.

And ratting is very much under way, with a standing fleet and coordinated response teams, to help raise ADMs and the boost our wallet balances.

Blood Raiders use lasers, which is a change from the Guristas

Blood Raiders use lasers, which is a change from the Guristas

We even have our own Fortizar online.  I visited it at one point while it was going up.

Fortizar deployment under way

Fortizar deployment under way

Later, after it was live I docked up and found that I had been given access to the defenses!

Take Control? Don't mind if I do!

Take Control? Don’t mind if I do!

I was able to see the fighting interface for the citadel, which looks just like the interface for ships, with a special module or two.

Gunning the Fortizar

Gunning the Fortizar

So now I just need somebody to attack the damn thing when I am around so I can shoot them.  However, that doesn’t seem likely in the near term as resistance has fallen off in the region.  even next door in Querious a number of the locals have packed up and moved away.  Some, such as Brave, were already absentees, while others in the region are looking to make deals with the Imperium over space.

Western Querious - September 7, 2016

Eastern Querious – September 7, 2016

The Imperium has spilled over into the region in a few places, but hasn’t been actively pursuing sovereignty. (Though some former Delve residents are trying to settle in.) I’m not sure Red Frog Freight, for example, could stand up to were we determined to take the region.  It is more a place to look for fights and to test out new doctrines.

Giant griddles roaming Querious

Giant griddles roaming Querious

But even with the some groups in region keen for fights, we have had to wander further afield at times, into Catch or Providence, to find hostile fleets.

All in all, it is a quiet time now after the six months of continued warfare that went on during the first half of the year.  People are settling into their new homes in Delve.  For some, it is a return to a familiar place.  For me it is still a bit strange.  I’ve been down to Delve on deployments a number of times (back in 2012 we helped TEST conquer the region and I’ve been back a few times since), but I have never lived there, so I still have to keep DOTLAN EVE Maps handy to figure out where I am, where reports on intel channels are happening, and how to get to places in the region.

And so we live in Delve now.  Just a few more systems to grab, a bunch more citadels to drop, and then the wait for the sovereignty levels to rise up enough to get a jump bridge network in place and we will be set.

Addendum: It seems SynCaine also chose today to write about making a home in Delve.

Addendum: Also, it looks like that LUMPY Fortizar went *boom* as it came online. Pictures.

The Battle at SH1-6P and Null Sec Ongoing

I wasn’t sure I was going to do a post about the fight at SH1-6P, seeing as I wasn’t there for it and I try to keep the blog to things I’ve seen and done.  That is the major premise of the whole effort here at TAGN.

On the flip side, over time one of the minor but valuable sub-notes in the disharmonious chord that is this blog has been the noting of events and milestones, such as game launches (and closures), expansion releases, and major events of note… like battles in EVE Online where titans get blown up.

A picture CCP used, maybe even from the battle...

A picture CCP used, maybe even from the battle…

So, there was a battle at SH1-6P, a system where CO2 had a POS with a capital ship assembly array, which PL and NCDot had previously put into a reinforced state.  When the reinforcement timer ended, the battle erupted between CO2 and its allies battled PL/NCDot and their allies.  Capitals, and then super capitals were dropped into the time dilated maelstrom around the POS.

Included in the battle were a large number of third parties (battle report), including a fleet from GSF that flew across New Eden for a chance to kick CO2 in the nuts.

CO2 escalated the battle to a super cap conflict and came out the worse for the effort, with it and its allied losing around 1.2 trillion ISK, including six CO2 titans down, while inflicting less than 200 billion in damage on its foes.  That is a one trillion ISK damage deficit.

There are battle reports up at the usual competing sources.

I think TMC wins out on details and insight.

In addition, The Asher Hour podcast episode 23 followed up the battle with a show featuring Asher talking with Ron Mexxico, Killah Bee, and Doomchinchilla to get sense of how things went from the PL side of the battle.

The event itself now takes second place on the list of battles that involved titans being blown up.  The list, so far as I recall it:

  • B-R5RB, January 2014 – 75 titans destroyed
  • SH1-6P, August 2016 – 6 titans destroyed
  • Okagaiken, July 2016 – 4 titans destroyed
  • Asakai, January 2014 – 3 titans destroyed

As things settle down the usual post-fight posturing is taking place.  You can catch that in the comment threads of both articles linked above.

And then a blog post, styled as An Open Letter to CCP, by the pilot Capri Sun Kraftfoods (yes, that is his in-game name) started its own waves as it took CCP to task for generally going down a path away from such large scale fights with Fozzie sov.  This led to a threadnought on Reddit with over a thousand comments, a surprising amount of which were not complete shit, along with a post over at Crossing Zebras trying to sum things up.

Unfortunately, none of what came up was really new.  I couldn’t begin to count how many times people who have actually had to go out and take or defend sovereignty have called out the entosis mechanic as a bad idea.  The fact that citadels didn’t go with entosis seems to indicate that even CCP isn’t sold on the idea.  Better to just shoot things, give kill mails, produce explosions, and have some sort of damage cap to extend events if you want to keep things from being blapped too quickly.

Likewise, jump fatigue has been moaned about for ages.  We’re coming up on Phoebe’s second anniversary and some people are still angry about it.

ADMs seem to be the only widely approved of mechanic from Fozzie Sov, as they reward groups that live in their space.  Of course, “living” in null sec means mining and ratting, which the PvP purists tend to despise, but at least it gives them some targets I suppose.

Being, as I noted recently, something of a fatalist when it comes to game mechanics, I take what I am given and try to work with them.  And I do not see any indication that CCP is going to change any of the current sovereignty mechanics.  Despite complaints about CCP being focused on null sec, Fozzie Sov seems to be clearly in the rear view mirror when it comes to development.  Maybe we’ll get another pass in a few years.

But the whole thing, Fozzie Sov, citadels, big fights, and how CCP responds to things does seem worth note.  One certainly couldn’t look at the bigger picture and come away thinking CCP is unified in their vision for New Eden.

The duality of man. The Jungian thing.

The duality of man. The Jungian thing.

On the one hand there is Fozzie Sov which, among its stated goals, sought to disperse fights across a constellation.  This seems like an attempt to reduce the size of sovereignty battles.  There have been some big battles over Fozzie Sov objectives.

The war that started LONG before Easter...

Excuse me, that is the “Casino War” TYVM

But in my experience, sovereignty, when it is contested, tends to turn into a long slog with both sides chasing each other around in a constellation-wide game of competitive whack-a-mole.  Less big fights when you disperse targets.  Working as designed.

However, this contrasts with how readily CCP jumps on any big event to drive press coverage.  CCP loves big battles and grand events, from Burn Jita to B-R5RB to anything else that gets a huge number of players in close proximity and destroys a lot of ships.  CCP threw together (another) screen shot contest immediately after SH1-6P. (The first Keepstar citadel getting blown up drew little water from the company though.)

And well they might jump on such events, as they do get wider press coverage and represent some of the “exciting” bits of the game in a world where coverage of the game can often stray into how boring the game can seem to those on the outside.  Of course, the press coverage of the exciting bits also brings in new players, though with the state of the new player experience, that often seems like a wasted opportunity.  Even letting people have a go at New Eden for free on Steam generates a spike in new character creation, but no noticeable effect on PCU.

Basically, another day in New Eden, where the highs can be incredibly high, while the everyday operations can wear you down if you don’t see a payoff somewhere down the road.

Committed to Delve Now

When move ops were announced late last week and over the weekend I was a little confused.  Were people still back in Saranen?  Was the Rakapas Cartel getting anxious?  The pings were a little vague about the end points of these ops.

However, when I actually looked into what was going on, it turned out that this wasn’t about the move down from the north.  This was another move.  We were giving up our low sec staging base in Sakht and moving into Delve proper.  We were moving to D-W7F0, highlighted below on the map of the Delve region.

Delve - August 16, 2016

Delve – August 16, 2016

At a glance the system doesn’t look to be the worst spot on the map, but it seems like one might choose better when it comes to a staging system.  There isn’t even a station there.   However, this is one of those instances where Wollari’s wonderful maps do not really reflect the shape of space.  The region maps on DOTLAN are setup to show all the systems and the interconnection of gates between them.  These maps do not show the actual distance or relative position of systems in space.  For that you need to use the Range option under Navigation over at DOTLAN, which will show you a different map.

Where can I jump from D-W7F0

Where can I jump from D-W7F0

That map shows the relative positions of the systems in the game, and every one of them in red is within 5 light years of D-W7F0, which means a capital ship can get there in one jump.  There are 72 systems within jump range of D-W7F0 and, while eight of those systems are in Querious, that still covers a substantial number of the 97 systems in Delve.

As for there being no station in D-W7F0, we look to be living out of citadels now.  There are three Fortizars and a couple of Astrahuses setup in the system for us to dock up in.  One has been designated as our staging citadel and, thanks to last week’s update, which added contracts to citadels, pre-fit doctrine ships are available in addition to the market getting stocked.

Now all we lack is the ability to insure ships in a citadel, which seems like something that ought to have been added already, but who knows what the code looks like or what CCP’s reasoning behind its absence might be.

That is home now, which meant getting stuff out of Sakht.  For me that includes a carrier and a bunch of sub caps.  I took care of the carrier first, loading it up with all the ships I could cram into it, grabbing about fuel for a couple of trips, just in case, and undocking.

Carrier on grid!

Carrier on grid!

This was between the Astrahus busting fleets on Saturday night when Asher setup a move up for us.  It was supposed to be for subcaps only.  He has setup a bridging titan in 1-SMEB while RatKnight1 (of the Ratkingbois meme from our Wicked Creek deployment) kept a cyno going at the Fortizar.  But with lots of ships covering and a cyno in place, he said we could take our chances if we wanted to move a capital via the cyno in fleet.

This meant doing things with my carrier that I had not done before.  So far, I have only ever jumped station to station, with the exception of that jump to a citadel from Rakapas.  I actually had to warp the carrier.

And it warps slowly

And it warps slowly

At the end of the warp, I had to take the gate from Sakht to 1-SMEB.

How do supers fit through this thing?

How do supers fit through this thing?

I had to do this because the jump gates between Sakht and 1-SMEB are of the very long range region connecting variety, so the distance covered is well beyond the 5 light year range limit.  Again, the DOTLAN route planner illustrates the path you would have to take to bypass the gate.

So I took the gate and jumped to the cyno once I was clear.

On the Fortizar

On the Fortizar

Then it was time to move some subcaps.

I remember back around the Phoebe release CCP was expressing concern that we might simply all use death clones to move about to bypass jump fatigue, especially after they removed clone costs.  It was part of the justification for restricting how one could set their home station. (Which also happens to be in the same time frame when we left Delve back in 2014.)

But if you are moving a ships between two points, death clones make it easy.  After docking up my carrier, I got out of it, undocked, and set my pod to self-destruct.  Upon my destruction, my death clone was activated in Sakht, where I boarded a subcap, took the gate to 1-SMEB, then Asher’s titan bridge back to D-W7F0, where I docked up, got out of the ship, undocked, and kicked off the self-destruct yet again.

Rolling up to a titan for a bridge

Rolling up to a titan for a bridge

A few rounds on that with both my main and my alt… and a little jump fatigue… and I was pretty quickly out of Sakht.  Everything I moved south is now in a Fortizar in the middle of Delve.  Time to settle in, evict the current residents, and help put down the natives.  It is no longer the Guristas for ratting, but Blood Raiders instead.

Blood Raiders use lasers

Blood Raiders use lasers

I just have to remember to not to go AFK in an anomaly when the doorbell rings.  At least I had gotten a couple of runs out of that Myrmidon and remembered to insure it.

So I am fully committed to Delve.  All my stuff is there now.

And it seems as thought TEST might have some commitment to Delve as well.  According to their latest (and very short) state of the alliance recording, they are being paid to come down to Delve and shoot Goons.

Astrahus Busting in Aridia

Citadels are all over New Eden at this point, with the medium sized model, the Astrahus becoming a common site just about any place I fly.

Saturday gave us the opportunity to clean up a few of these citadels.

A fleet went up on Asher Saturday evening (at which point it was already Sunday in New Eden) with the objective to go shoot some things, which is usually a euphemism shooting structures.  It was an Augor Navy Issue fleet, which meant lasers, which are good for structure shoots as you generally don’t have to reload a laser unless a frequency crystal burns out over time.

I was actually in the middle of something and didn’t see the fleet was up until almost 45 minutes after it had been announced, generally a sign that it might be too late to catch up.  But it was Saturday evening, structures take a while to shoot, and we haven’t been going too far afield for these sorts of things, so I decided to log in all the same to see if I could join in.

Logged in and on coms, I was able to spot where they were using the map option that shows where fleet members are located and the destination was linked in fleet after I had set out, so I was able to take gates and link up with the fleet shortly after they had arrived at what sounded like was their second target for the night, an NCDot Astrahus that was coming online.

An Astrahus in Aridia

An Astrahus in Aridia

When a citadel finishes its deployment cycle, it then has to go online, a process which isn’t too long, but which can be interrupted by shooting at it.  This is the best time to kill a citadel, as it cannot defend itself during that time and you can kill it right then and there without any additional timers.

I appreciate that CCP decided not to carry on with the whole entosis link module thing when it came to citadels.  Everybody shooting something is at least a bit more interesting (and much prettier when you’re using lasers) than a fleet sitting around watching one person use their Fozzie laser on a structure or command node.  But to keep citadels from just being blapped quickly out of existence by a supercap fleet when coming online, there is a cap on the amount of damage that can be applied.

For an Astrahus, if you are applying damage at the cap, it takes 22 minutes to kill one when it is vulnerable.  So we were out there with our Fountain allies, LowSechnaya Sholupen, blazing away at the citadel named, if I recall right, Steak and Onions.

ANIs shooting the citadel

ANIs shooting the citadel

This was the second NCdot Astrahus on the list of targets for the night, another having been popped earlier in the evening.  NCDot apparently wanted to seed the route down to Delve with citadels to cover any potential move op, but didn’t use a neutral alt corp and subsequently didn’t show up to defend the citadels as they went online.

And so I got to see my first Astrahus explosion. (kill mail)

Citadel goes critical

Citadel goes critical

I will put the explosion sequence I caught in the gallery at the end of the post.

After that, our we diverted off to help LowSechnaya Sholupen with a tower belonging to The-Culture (formerly that part of Black Legion that wanted to live in null sec) that was coming out of reinforcement.  They even provided a titan to bridge us over to the fight.

An Avatar tethered on an Astrahus

An Avatar tethered on a different Astrahus

Given how careful we tend to be with our titans, it was kind of fun just to see one hanging out on a citadel waiting to bridge us.  We were bridged out but arrived a little too late to get a kill on the tower.  The shields were already up past 50%, so they could add more stront.  Along the way there Asher was looking for somebody with a cyno… and eventually somebody had to go buy one… during which time it came out that, while nobody had one, several of us came armed with festival launchers.  SynCaine was in fleet and called me out for being on that list, so I targeted him and sent some copper fireworks his way.

SynCaine's ANI

SynCaine’s ANI

The cyno was so we could bring in a few LowSechnaya Sholupen to join us in the fight that eventually developed around the tower, where we traded a few ANIs for a Minokawa fax machine and some Rattlesnakes, which won us the ISK war for sure.  On the down side, mine was one of the ANIs that went down.  Hopefully somebody looted that festival launcher.  Good thing I brought down an extra.

If you look at that kill mail, I clearly forgot to clear my cargo hold after moving the ship down to Delve.  Ah well.  I was at least reminded to empty out the cargo holds of a few other ships.

I was able to watch the battle from my pod as the hostiles couldn’t spare any attention to blow me up.  That put me on a couple more kill mails as a pod, including the one for the Malediction that had tackled me.  When the fight was over I had to warp over to the POS to get somebody to blow me up and send me home.

That was it for the moment.  The fleet headed back home and there were some administrative things to look into.  But a while later a Confessor fleet went up in order to bust the third Astrahus of the night, and the second for me.  Keeping to what seemed to be a food theme, this one was called Meatball Sub.

Your meatball sub is up

Your meatball sub will be up in about two and a half minutes

This citadel shoot also went uncontested.  We got ourselves anchored up and, once the timer finished its count down, opened fire on it.

Confessors firing on the Astrahus

Confessors firing on the Astrahus

LowSechnaya Sholupen and a couple of their allies joined in for this kill as well.  Even with a smaller fleet… no dreadnoughts helping out this time around… we seemed to be able to hit the damage cap fairly easily.  You can tell when you’re there as you will start registering zero damage hits every so often as the damage output exceeds the cap.

I tried to get a different camera angle on the second Astrahus when it exploded, but the underside view wasn’t dramatically different.  And it all leaves the same wreckage in the end.

Astrahus remains

Astrahus remains

Once done it was back home to Delve.  Not exactly a huge set of blows against NCDot.  Astrahuses are pretty expendable.  But it was nice to finally get to see a couple of them explode.  If you’re going to shoot structures, you ought to get a pretty payoff when they blow.  More explosion pictures in the gallery from the op below.