Category Archives: Null Sec

Fighting the Blood Raider Menace or How I Rat

l have been meaning to write this for a while.  This isn’t any sort of guide on how to rat, but a checkpoint wherein I describe how I currently approach the task.  It is one of those posts that I wish I had written, say, yearly, just to see how things progressed.  I expect people will comment to tell me I am doing it wrong, which is welcome, if only so that others might learn from my mistakes.

If I had written this a year ago it would have been about fighting the Guristas menace.  But now we live in Delve and it is the Blood Raiders we seek to suppress.

Also, this post should not be confused with the Crimson Harvest event, which is kicking off today.  I only realized that was hitting today after I had written most of this, so the timing is coincidental.  But I’ll still use the Blood Raiders graphic from event.

Blood Raiders! Wooo!

Blood Raiders! Wooo!

My ratting ship of choice is the Ishtar, and I am still using the same hull I hauled down from the north in my carrier a couple of months back.  Or maybe I flew it down on its own.  I don’t remember off hand.  Anyway, I have since refit the modules and now run it with an armor tank rather than a shield tank as I did previously.

The main defensive modules on my Ishtar are a Reactive Armor Hardener, which nicely adapts to whatever damage type is being thrown at you (EM and thermal in the case of the Blood Raiders), a Medium Armor Repairer II, which keeps the armor belt on the ship repaired, and a 100MN afterburner that keeps the whole thing moving along fast enough to avoid fire without increasing the ship’s signature radius.  Most everything else fitted are modules to enhance drone range, speed, or damage.

Ratting, as I do it, consists of taking out anomalies in the system which I call home.  The term always conjures up the mental image of hunting asteroid belt rats back in the day.  Our home has an upgraded ihub and affords a range of targets when I open up the scanner.

What I see on the scanner

What I see on the scanner

There is a whole hierarchy of difficulty in anomalies, which you can read about over at EVE University.  Out of habit or tradition or whatever, I always run the local flavor of Forsaken Hubs.  Somebody (Gaff I think) once told me that they were the best effort to ISK value.  At one time they were very easy, because they spawned nothing smaller than a cruiser and never used tackle or ewar.  That got changed a while back, and now there are frigates that will point you.

Forsaken Hubs tend to be popular and if I find them all occupied I step up to Havens, which yield more ISK but are also more work.

When it is time to rat, I undock from the citadel and choose a Forsaken Hub from the list of Cosmic Anomalies.  I warp off to the one I have chosen… you can just right-click or click on the “warp to” button… with an overview up that shows blues.  If I land and see somebody else in the anomaly, I move off to another one.  If the anomaly is empty, has no wrecks, and shows the starting wave (which is always the same) I settle in to fight.

The broken orange crystal asteroid, the center piece of all forsaken hubs

The broken orange crystal asteroid, the center piece of all forsaken hubs

The first thing I do is make sure my hardeners are on.  Then I deploy my mobile tractor unit.  That will collect up all the wrecks and loot them for me.  After that is deploying I set myself to orbit the MTU at 25km and turn on the afterburner.  At about that point the Blood Raider ships are generally waking up to the fact that I have arrived and start targeting me.

This is where I sometimes forget to save the location of the MTU as a bookmark.  I will want to come back to that spot after the anomaly despawns and is no longer on the scanner.  So far I have only lost a single MTU because of this, but it is still an “Oh yeah, I need to do this!” part of the routine.  I also swap to the an overview that only shows hostiles, NPC or otherwise.

Once all the NPCs have me locked and are shooting at me (red boxed) I launch my drones and send them after one of the battleships.  Every so often the first wave will suddenly change its mind and target one of my Praetor II heavy drones and I have to call it back.  Once it is back in the drone bay fire generally resumes on me and I send out a replacement drone to join the fight.

The point of maximum incoming damage generally happens when my ship is motoring out to its orbital range.  Once in a while that happens in such a way that my path lines up with the hostile lasers and every shot is a hit and I have to change course.  But once I am out in my orbit and past about 750 m/s in velocity, most shots miss.

Lots of shots, not many hits on me

Lots of shots, not many hits on me

After that, the anomaly is pretty hands off.  The drones, set to group and be aggressive, just move from target to target blowing them off.  I will mention the drone settings if only because for the longest time I did not know they existed and used to have the “problem” of my drones running off and picking individual targets.  The “focus fire” option fixed that for the most part.

Drone Window Settings

Drone Window Settings

At this point I usually find something else to do while the anomaly runs.  I keep an eye on local and the intel channel and the health of my drones, just in case, as I work on bills or outline a blog post or go through screen shots or play a game on the iPad.  Last night I filled in my vote by mail ballot while running a forsaken hub.  It is not exciting game play and I cannot bring myself to do more than two anomalies at a sitting.  I get restless.  But if I have something else to work on, it is at least a lucrative side activity.

Our intel channel is quite active and the only time I haven’t had a lot of warning about somebody coming our way is when they came through a wormhole in our system.  I still have to click on the systems where hostiles are reported now and again to see how far away they are, but I am starting to learn the nearby systems.

When the waves with frigates come up I generally step in, target them, and make the drones kill them off first.  Then the rest of the wave runs by itself.

Drones take care of another NPC

Drones take care of another NPC

At the end I will have blown up ~40 ships.  The first few waves are consistent, the final couple seem to vary as the wreck count and the bounties paid out seem to fluctuate from one run to another.  The bounties totally up to about 25-28 million ISK per run.

I made this much ISK while voting

I made this much ISK while voting

Once the last NPC ship is down, I head back to the MTU and scoop in the cargo hold so I don’t forget it.  Then I load up whatever loot is left in the can that the MTU leave behind.  The Ishtar’s hold can sometimes carry all of the loot.  Even when it cannot, all that is left are usually a couple of larger items like smart bombs.

Then I warp back to the citadel and dock up.  If I have a damaged drone, I stay tethered a bit before docking to let the citadel repair it. (The repair progress doesn’t actually show, but when I go out again the drone is repaired.)  Once docked I take all the drops and move them into the cargo bay of the blockade runner I use to move loot so it doesn’t clutter up my hangar.  Then I swap over to my Noctis.

The Noctis

The Noctis

The Noctis is fit with salvage rigs and a full set of salvagers in the high slots.  I warp it off to the bookmark, as the anomaly has generally despawned by that point.  If I get the pop-up that indicates that it hasn’t, I usually hold off a minute or two and sit there tethered.  Etiquette as I was taught is to let your anomaly despawn before you go back to finish looting so as not to hold up the next spawn, as only so many of each anomaly can be present in the system at one time.

Once I arrive at the bookmark I pick up any remaining loot and then set about salvaging all of the wrecks that were piled up at the MTU.  I used to leave the MTU and all the loot for the Noctis to pick up, but then I kept forgetting to move the MTU back into the cargo hold of the Ishtar.  Coming up with a routine that minimizes errors is a priority for me.

Digging into the salvage

Digging into the salvage

Once the site has been swept clean, it is back to the citadel to drop the salvage and remaining loot in the blockade runner. (Also, it is surprisingly difficult to get all the salvagers running on individual wrecks then turn off the UI and take a decent screen shot before some of them have cycled and turned off.)

Eventually the blockade runner starts to fill up and I have to figure out what to do with all of the loot.  Back up in the north, when shipping to Jita was cheap, I used to send it all there to be sold.  Now with shipping being more than double the price, I pick through what to send to Jita and what to sell locally.  There are lots of low ball buy orders to ignore, but for things like salvage there are some that are competitive with Jita prices, so I sell locally.

Some things are just over saturated in Jita so the prices are depressed.  Propulsion modules seem to be a bit too common in Jita, so I tend to just list them all at our staging base where I get a much better price.  They sell out pretty quickly.  Other items get shipped back to Jita to be sold.  All told, the loot side of running an anomaly can generate almost as much as the bounty side of things, though getting that ISK is much more hands on.

That is my ratting routine, such that it is.  It isn’t nearly as lucrative as my selling skill injectors, something I can do from the safety of Jita 4-4, though that business makes ISK mostly because I don’t care about buying PLEX for that account.  I just buy skill extractors, pull skill points out every 8 days, and sell the injectors, pocketing 300+ million ISK in the process.  But ratting still puts some ISK in my pocket and is something I can do when I have other, real world things to do as well.

Bhaalgorns to Fountain

About a month back in one of the weekly fireside chats, The Mittani promised us a new doctrine, a battleship doctrine.  About two weeks back, the doctrine was revealed.  It would be centered around a mix of Bhaalgorns and Abaddons.  Last night, after leaving some time for the supply chain to catch up, it was time to undock to doctrine for the first time.

Turnout wasn’t bad for an op called in the later USTZ and which had a parallel capital operation running at the same time.  We didn’t fill the fleet, but our number was well over 200.  I was going to grab an Abaddon… Bhaalgorns are cool, but they are also half a billion ISK and I like to let a doctrine settle down and become a standard before I invest that much ISK… but I was late to the market.  All the Abaddons had been bought out.  But that was okay, as the doctrine used the same logi fits for Oneiros and Guardians as our other armor doctrines, so I was able to pull out a Oneiros and join in.

The Bhaalgorns, being a Blood Raiders faction ship, naturally has the Blood Raiders style paint job.  And a skin of the same style for the Abaddon was part of a past event so was pretty readily available, so a number of pilots were able to match up.

Hanging on the Fortizar waiting to go

Hanging on the Fortizar waiting to go

The Oneiros needs a decent skin.  There are three available from CCP, but they all turn a mostly dark colored ship into a slightly different but mostly indistinguishable dark colored ship.  There isn’t even a Quafe skin for the Oneiros.  It needs something bright and shiny.  Gallente Problems.

The fleet’s destination was Fountain, to face The-Culture and assail their holdings in the region, with Asher getting the honor of leading the new fleet doctrine for its first run.

Going to Fountain always brings back memories of the Fountain War.  So many systems there bring back memories of events now three years gone. (A summary of my posts from the war here.)  It was also a time when I was very active and always flew in main fleet.

Of course, being in main fleet again reminded me of the downsides of being there.  It wasn’t horrible… often it was unintentionally funny to me… but after a long stretch of smaller fleets and my time in Reavers, it was chaotic coms and me thinking “Can you just shut up?” as people ran off at the mouth about unrelated items.  I tend to be very good at coms discipline and take it seriously, and when you get 200+ people together… more than that because the battleships were sharing coms with the capital fleet… there is always somebody who picks the wrong time to start talking.

The-Culture put out a fleet of Ishtars to oppose us at one point, but things were not in their favor and they withdrew that after a while, content to just harasses us with interdictors when they could.  The counter to this in our new doctrine is smart bombs.  Each of the Bhaalgorns was fit with a smart bomb, a weapon that shoots out a burst that hits anything within a limited radius of your ship, friend or foe.

This led to more unintentional comedy.

There is a joke that is not really a joke wherein one says, “Did he say jump?” when holding on a gate.  When everybody is there waiting for the word, just saying the word “jump” even in the sentence “Do not jump!” will cause some people to hit the button and go through the gate.  Everybody is hanging on, waiting for that one word and sometime they won’t process the context until after they have acted.

Well, having smart bombs on our shiny new doctrine ships seemed to end up with the same sort of thing, wherein any time somebody used the words “smart bomb” the Bhaalgorns would start lighting them off, even when those words were embedded in the phrase, “Will you stop using your fucking smart bombs!”

Did you say "smart bomb?"

Did you say “smart bomb?”

I am not sure if we killed any of our own that way, but small stuff had to get the hell away from the Bhaalgorns, everybody had their shields stripped away, and logi spent some time running armor reps to repair this self-inflicted damage.

Once the enemy Ishtar fleet retired, our job of covering the capital fleet left us chasing around various interdictors who were trying to bubble us and the capitals just to make everything go slower for us.  As part of that I got to watch one of our pilots in a command destroyer use that ships special AOE micro jump drive to “boosh” interdictor bubbles off of the fleet. (“Boosh” is the term of art for using that drive.)

The micro jump drive spinning up to boosh a bubble

The micro jump drive spinning up to boosh a bubble

This actually seemed to work pretty well, given that it takes a bit of skill as the pilot must align and time their jump to get things done right.  Only once did things go awry, when a bunch of us who had gotten out of a bubble by turning our prop mods on had the bubble dropped on us a while later.  At least it was off the capital ships.

As the op began to reach its conclusion, we met some of the capitals at one of The-Culture’s POSes where they were building capitals.

Prime Targets

Prime Targets

The tower was but into its reinforced state as we arrived, but the subcaps joined in to take care of some of the modules, especially the jump bridge array.  First we shot it until it was past shields and armor and into structure.

Shooting the jump bridge

Shooting the jump bridge

Then it was time for logi to rep the armor back up to half full.  We could have destroyed it, but then it would just take a couple guys about 30 minutes to drop a new one.  Left as it was, they would have to either destroy it… which would mean burning down through half armor and structure… or repair it… which would mean repping up from half armor and structure.

This is what is know as a “dick move” designed to cause the enemy the maximum amount of inconvenience.

We also knocked out a couple of faction modules they had on the POS.  Then, as we waited for the caps for form up and get on their way, we shot Thomas Lear in his Damnation, just to see how tough that command ship really was.  Then we set ourselves to shepherding the capitals back to Delve.  Once they were within range to jump back to their staging, we were released to burn home ourselves.

The fleet ran past the three hour mark and was a reminder of the ups and downs of being in main fleet.  Now a bunch of timers have been set in Fountain though, so main fleet will be returning soon to contest them.

Addendum: I missed to follow up op, but The-Cultre assembly arrays were destroyed.

Finding Ways to Help the Coalition

Okay, back to what was slated to be yesterday’s post before the big news dropped and I pushed this out to write a very quick… and perhaps a bit too smug… nod to a big change in New Eden.  Back to me being more like me, long winded and meandering.  At least that post has lots of links out to other posts on the topic, with varying points of view, perhaps its one redeeming point.

In the backwards way I sometimes look at the world, I tend to approach guilds and in-game organizations with the question, “What can I do for them?” rather than “What can they do for me?”  There is probably some self-esteem issue manifest in that, when my first thought is trying to figure out why a guild would want me.  Or maybe it is ego, thinking I might matter.

Or maybe I just know how my varied my interest and schedule can be.  Some weeks I have the time and I am all in, other times things are busy or I just can’t build up the interest.

So I often end up in little guilds or corps with a few friends, eschewing larger guilds and the greater opportunities they can sometimes afford.  Check out a post I did a few years back about guilds I’ve been in.  Never going to be a raider with those credentials.

Which sort of makes my time in the CFC/Imperium a bit of an oddity.  The corp I am in started on the usual path, with Gaff already in it and getting me to come along for the ride.  (Potshot was even in there for a bit during the Fountain War.)  The corp itself wasn’t big and largely flew in EUTZ, so I was sort of free to pursue whatever I wanted.

That didn’t leave me with a strong sense of corp identity… my corp CEO is going to read this too, sorry Hir… but there was a war going on at the time, which ended up making me identify more with the coalition than my corp.  It was the Winter war against White Noise and Raiden and I wanted to be useful to the coalition.

You can, of course, be useful just showing up to fill out the fleet numbers.  I was able to do that, especially when the main doctrine changed to Drake Fleet, a ship I had skilled up for long before I came to null sec.  And being counted in the fleet helped my corp and alliance.

But I felt like I needed to do more, and so began what is now an almost five year search for how best to be useful balanced with finding things I can actually build up some enthusiasm for doing.

The first and longest standing of those things I have gone after is being a logi pilot.  Since I didn’t need to train anything for Drake Fleet, I went after Logistics V and the ability to strap on all of the ships the accomplished space priest might choose to fly.  And flying logi remains my stock in trade for being useful.  I keep one for each fleet doctrine on hand… fortunately the coalition has tried to keep logi fits somewhat unified lately, so I don’t have too many in my hangar… and whenever logi comes up short or Arrendis pings for more logi, I try to fill that position.

Though some days I do just want to shoot something.  Especially when we fly a laser doctrine.  I rarely flew logi when we had an Apoc doctrine because I just enjoyed being part of the light show too much.  But I am mostly ready to fly logi in any fleet.  I have never quite gotten myself to the point of being the logi anchor… but I’ll play the healer most days of the week.  And I think I am reasonably good at it.

After I had logi trained up I started thinking about other roles I might take up.  There were times when I had to work on training for the main fleet doctrine… when Megathrons were the mainstay, I found I was lacking in gunnery skills, while a switch to armor doctrines showed up my long focus on shield skills.  But I found time to train towards new goals and side projects along the way.

One I went after a while back was fleet booster.  Aside from Fleet Command V, I have all the fleet boosting leadership skills trained all the way up.  And then I actually realized what being the booster actually meant… sitting alone, away from the battle, running links and hitting dscan to see if anybody is trying to probe you down.  I appreciate those who actually take on this task, but it sounds like the dullest assignment in the world and not the way I want to spend any fight.  (I do have hope for the boost changes coming with Ascension.  Maybe I will end up using those skill.)

I also trained up to fly interdictors, heavy interdictors, the Archon, the Naglfar, and probably a few other specialty ships that I never ended up flying.  I did buy the Archon, but I have never flown it in action, just using it to haul stuff now and again.  It was very handy in getting my stuff out of Tribute the day before the word went out to evacuate.  And, of course, it made the long trip down to Delve carrying a lot of my stuff.

Wars came and went.  The Fountain War was probably the peak of my fun being a line member in the main fleet.  After that my participation tapered off somewhat.  I logged on to make sure I was still showing the flag and being useful, but no more than that.  By sheer luck I happened to pick some of the more memorable battles to attend, including the last part of B-R5RB.

As my interest fell off I tried flying with the USTZ SIG called Freedom Squad.  That gave me something to do, but it tailed off itself, eventually being replaced with Reavers.  Reavers was new and interesting, flying in much smaller groups and living out of a POS in the middle of enemy space.  That meant new things for me to learn and new skills to train as Reavers quickly became my home in the game.  I haven’t been on every op, but I believe I have been on every deployment.

That went on until the great war in the north, the Casino War or World War Bee, the beginning of which are just about a year old at this point, as things began to heat up in Cloud Ring in what Noizy dubbed “The Kickstarter War” last November.  From that point until our retreat south in July was a time of almost continuous fighting for us.  Reaver deployments tapered off as we fought in the north in a wearing campaign that saw, among other things, a constant series of doctrine changes on our side as we sought a way to come to grips with the foe.

After that, there was the road south to Delve, the conquest of the region, and setting up a new home.  At first one could help out by just ratting or mining to help raise ADMs.  My trusty Ishtar, refit from fighting the Guristas menace in the north to the Blood Raider menace in the south, could engage in that.

Again, lasers are more fun than guns or missiles

Again, lasers are more fun than guns or missiles

Easy enough once the region was a bit secure and lucrative as well.

That ushered in a somewhat more normal rhythm to life in the coalition.  Reavers deployed again to our old stomping ground in Querious… now very close to hand… a staging system was set, jump bridges starting going up, a home defense system started working, with capitals ready to drop on any interlopers, and Delve became our new home

But more was needed and the word went out asking people to help out if they could.  The first involved scanning for wormholes.  We have a third party tracking system that lets you log in and uses CREST to map where you are so you can scan down wormholes, you just enter them and the connection gets recorded.

Having done scanning for a bit way back when wormholes were a new thing, I decided I could go after that.  I had trained up all the skills to at least four and in some cases five.  And I still had the ship I used to scan in back in… 2009.  It has been a while.

Buzzard from long ago... and the TNT logo

Buzzard from long ago… and the TNT logo

So I got out the ship, flew it to Amarr, stripped it, found a fit online I could use (here), bought the additional modules I needed along with probes, and set about trying to figure out how to scan again.

Fortunately, I found a video that got me back up to speed.


Soon I was scanning down cosmic signatures again… if not like a champ, than at least well enough to actually get the job done.

Found one!

Found one!

So now I have something to do when there is a bit of free time and no fleet ops going up.

There was also a request to start helping build up our own supply of raw materials in the region.  While Delve has its upsides, proximity to the Jita market is not one of them.  It is a long way to New Eden’s space WalMart, so there was a promise that if people went out and mined and such, various organizations would make sure that buy orders existed at decent rates so we wouldn’t have to ship stuff back to Jita to sell and industrialist wouldn’t have to ship stuff from Jita to make things.

Like SynCaine, I decided to give Planetary Interaction a try.  This was alleged to be low effort if done right, and I had trained all the skills up to four at some point in the past.

Of course, doing it “right” is an exercise left to the student to figure out.  I still haven’t found a decent tutorial that tells you exactly how to make things work.  I suspect that this is largely due to the usual abominable CCP UI choices.  Once you figure it out, it becomes natural and you forget you have to tell people how many clicks it really takes to setup a link and then a functioning route between two structures.

Eventually though, I did get something working.  As there were many barren planets to hand, several warnings about not working with gas planets, and encouragement to make parts used to create fuel blocks, I went into mechanical parts production.

Something setup on a barren planet

Something setup on a barren planet

So I just setup to harvest base metals and noble metals, refine them into reactive metals and precious metals, and then combine those into mechanical parts.  Every couple of days I check to make sure harvesting is running, and then when I am in the system I stop at each customs office, grab the output, and sell them to the buy order which also happens to be in our system.

Mechanical Parts sales

Mechanical Parts sales

It isn’t a huge amount of ISK, but it very low effort and the output is used locally to keep us running.

And so it goes.  I try to do my bit for the team.  All of which is a lot of words for a post that was originally just going to be “hey, I’m doing scanning and PI now.”  Like I said at the top, back to my rambling style.

Scenes from an Astrahus Kill in Querious

Another night out in Querious, another structure to kill.  In this case, an Astrahus owned by Voxis accord

Target for tonight

Target for tonight

They were alleged to have paid Mercenary Coalition money to come down and fight for them.  MC were down in Querious for the weekend, with NCDot in tow… because NCDot didn’t have a war to fight or blues to awox I guess. (A side note, you must listen to this ode to the NCDot life.)  But tonight it was just Voxis Accord and their doomed Astrahus versus Reavers and some of the locals keen to see Voxis gone.

The end result was an explosion and a dead Astrahus.  Not much else to say about it really.  Not my first Astrahus kill, but I did get some nice screen shots.

The Schadenfreude War

Haw haw!

-Nelson Muntz

The Casino War is long over now.  We lost, were driven out, had alliances, corps, and many individuals jump ship.  But we managed to find a new home in Delve in very short order.  In that, at least, husbanding our resources rather than squandering them against overwhelming odds worked out.  There we setup shop, made new friends, scared the neighbors, and settled into peacetime null sec life again down in south, far from our old digs.

Up in the north, with the primary foe gone, all of New Eden has been able to watch and see if the Casino Coalition would break up as promised.

Initially it seemed like the whole place would be blue in all but name, with skirmishes allowed but only the occasional political issue or failscade allowed to change the the map. (e.g. Short Bus Syndicate and TISHU)

Sovereignty seemed safe.

Even Darius “We’re not here to destroy the game, we’re here to destroy your game” JOHNSON and his GoonSwarm (not to be confused with the Imperium’s Goonswarm Federation) was given some systems to call home when they were evicted from Delve, while Mordus Angels, with a long history of being the insurgent, decided to settle down and be a sov holder and mind NCDot’s moons once bereft of their traditional Goon foe.

The north looked to be settling down to peacetime as well, its new occupants content to fight the Guristas menace between skirmishes.

The north currently

The north currently

Well, they are not ALL new occupants.  There is still Circle-of-Two sitting in Tribute.  Circle-of-Two who changed sides before the fighting was done at M-OEE8, who joined the war against us, who gave our foes intel about our capital building locations.

The war that started LONG before Easter...

The war that started LONG before Easter…

Their betrayal got them what they wanted.  They got to keep their sovereignty, plus the TNT sov they had been demanding from the Imperium for the last year (they were bad neighbors), their moons, plus whatever casino ISK they were able to wheedle out of those financing our foes.

It would be fair to say that there is a little bad blood left over from the war between us and CO2’s leadership.  I’m not on The Mittani’s “revenge on all the things” bandwagon, but I would make an exception in the case of CO2.

So imagine the collective grin in the Imperium when it came out that Pandemic Legion family of alliances, Pandemic Legion, Sniggewaffe, and Pandemic Horde, along with their side-kick NCDot, decided that they liked the far end of the Tribute region, where CO2 lives, so much that they decided to take it.  This came from the Pandemic Horde forums:

We are going to war.

Target is the tribute region, specifically CO2 sov:

The first targets are the systems UMI and AW1. Timer for UMI is already coming up on Tuesday.

– Expected enemies are CO2, TEST and Snuff/PM.
– Have a Maelstrom ready if you can fly and afford one.
– Pull out your wands and start entosing as many hostile systems as you can.
– Summer’s over, let’s go boys

The plan is for Pandemic Horde to eventually move their home staging system from deep in Fade to M-OEE8 in Tribute should they take the region away from CO2.

Tribute is an improvement over our current space. M-O is in direct JF range from jita and easily accessible for new players coming from empire. That also means cutting down the load for logistics to one third compared to our current staging. This makes a big difference especially once alpha clones are here. Tribute maintains great access to content (brave and gotg) while getting us closer to TEST and to lowsec (10 jumps from Tama).

Basically, like all real estate related transactions, the primary aspects are “location, location, location.”  As for their feelings towards CO2… well, if you can’t screw over your friends, who can you screw over?

CO2 have been good allies during WWB and made a massive difference in the war against goons. Afterwards they became good neighbors regularly bringing fights to 7rm (ruptures, ONIs ecc…) and to lowsec. There is no component of hate for CO2 in this campaign, they are a good alliance full of great guys. The goal of this war is to secure a better access to empire and superior space while fighting together with NC and PL. It is my belief that CO2 will eventually lose this war whether Horde joins in or not, and then I would rather be the ones holding Tribute than letting test or a new alliance grab this key area.

As a spectator… I can now be one of those sideline loudmouths with no skin in the game but lots of opinions… this is a dream match.

On one side there is our traditional foe, NCDot, against whom we have fought multiple wars in just my five years in null sec. (And they have lost every time they didn’t have PL backing them up.)

On the other side there is CO2, the last remnants of the old north still up there and… well… not our friends to say the least.

Watching just those two groups square off… with various allies lending a hand… should be interesting to watch.  I hope for a long and bloody war that ends up with CO2 finding a new home.  We shall see who has the stomach for it I suppose.

The propaganda war on /r/eve kicked off strong for the defenders.  If that could win wars, TEST would own all of null sec.  But instead the war is focused on the first couple of systems in the western end of Tribute, which is a long way from M-OEE8.

CO2 did attempt to really take the war to their foes by entosising all of the Brothers of Tangra systems in Malpais.  Those are part of the last remaining rental empires in New Eden and an income source for the attackers.  However CO2 did not follow up on that and have not touched those systems since, making me wonder if they got word that striking into Drone Region Federation territory would widen the war against them.

Anyway, we get to watch this one from the bleachers in Delve.  While it is starting slowly, I wonder if the Alliance Tournament is impeding the attackers some and if, once that is over, things will get bloodier.

Coverage of the war is available at the Game of Sov site, which keeps track of such things.

Other coverage that has shown up so far:

Addendum: Does CO2 bringing down a citadel (which then got stolen) mean they are evac’ing already?

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!