Tag Archives: 4-EP12

Slipping out of Fountain

I have a bad habit of leaving ships all over New Eden.

Part of the reason I have jump clone related skills trained up to V is that I feel a need to leave a jump clone behind, when I can, to go and rescue these ships.  I can have a total of 10 jump clones and I would say five of them are just sitting in distant stations where I have a ship… or two… or three… to pick up and return home some day.

I’ve mentioned my jump clone usage before, including the fact that I had a jump clone, a Caracal, and a pile of ammunition sitting in Fountain, in our old staging system at 4-EP12.  The ammo all sold finally… there was way too much to carry back in a Caracal… so that jump clone seemed superfluous.  I could have just deleted it, but I still had that Caracal sitting there.

I hate to just leave stuff behind.  According to one utility I have nearly 8.5 million “things” sitting in various stations around New Eden. (8,453,486 items to be exact, taking up 56,763,749.86 m3 in volume, and of an estimated 15,475,474,834.55 ISK in value, if these things are to be believed.)  Better to clean some of that stuff up that leave more of it about.

Besides which, flying a ship home alone through dangerous space… especially a cheap ship you don’t really care about losing… is a bit of a challenge.  Adventures in moving and all that.

So I decided later in the evening, after the Russians were fast asleep, when even the night shift Euros should be getting tired, and the US East Coast players ought to be fading, to see if I could undock and slip back into Imperium space.

The route wasn’t too long.  According to DOTLAN, just 21 jumps.

The path out of Foutain

The path out of Fountain

And some of it was through low sec.  There aren’t even warp disruption bubbles in low sec!

So I undocked the Caracal, knowing that was an irreversible move… The Culture owns the system and the station, and we have no docking rights with them… and headed off down the line.

Caracal aligning for warp

Caracal aligning for warp

The first few systems were empty and I made straight jumps from gate to gate.

In EI-O0O there were a couple of neutrals, so I did a bounce off a planet between the gates, which turned out to be a good move as there was a drag bubble in line between the gates.  Then I jumped into J5A-IX, the capital system for The Culture, and found a lot of people.

A Huginn picked me up on the gate and followed me to my bounce, where I was nearly done in.  I warped to the planet at 100km and got hung up on the customs office trying to warp out.  The only thing that save me was that he warped to the planet, so had to cover some distance to get in range.  After one of those agonizing rounds of “warping… no, not warping… warping any second now… no, not warping…” I zipped off to the B-DBYQ gate.  When I hit the gate there were a couple of ships waiting there, but I was though and in B-DBYQ and warping off to the DY-F70 gate before the Huginn appeared.  He wasn’t very interested in chasing me though, as I never saw him again.

Caracal in warp

Caracal in warp

Then it was a couple more jumps through quiet space before I hit low sec, jumping into Alsavoinon.  Factional warfare low sec is a strange beast to somebody from null sec.  The systems are often full of people and your overview is crowded with stuff.

What is all this stuff?

What is all this stuff?

And yet that mix seems to keep people busy, as I have often flown through systems in the past with a couple dozen people and saw not a soul.  They generally appear to be off doing whatever it is you do in FW.  Even when I have run into somebody on a gate, they have seemed uninterested in me.  But with gate guns and all that, attacking somebody on a gate requires a bit of commitment.

Or at least that had been my experience.  It has been a while since I last left Jita, slipped through Black Rise, and ended up in W-4NUU, one of the waypoints on the old Deklein to Delve jump bridge network.

Long gone is that network and the wide empire it once girded.

A jump or so into low sec in the Placid region, I picked up a friend.  An Exodus pilot in a Succubus, one of the Sansha’s Nation faction ships, had me yellow boxed as I was warping off a gate, no doubt trying to point me.

He landed with me at the far gate and tried again after we jumped, failing to grab me.  However, he also picked up a friend in a second Succubus.  At that point I knew I was as good as dead, it was just a question of when.

At the next gate my original pal jumped through while his friend stayed on the out gate with me, where another pal in an Exequror Navy Issue dropped in to join the fun.  They yellow boxed me, meaning I was targeted, but I waited until the Succubus aggressed by pointing me before jumping through.

On the far side the original Succubus locked me up and pointed me as I aligned towards the out gate.  I figured this was the end of my journey, unable to warp off, so I started to lock him up, set my hardeners to pre-overheated state, ready to turn on once I started taking damage.  But as I was right clicking to launch my drones, just to throw every tool I had in the box at him, I think I must have passed just out of range of his point, because it dropped off of me any my ship warped to the far gate.

However, by that the aggression timer on the other two apparently had dropped as the second Succubus met me at the far gate as I was jumping through.  Once through into Odamia, four jumps shy of my destination and what would be the final system on the trip, I tried to align for the next gate hoping there was enough time to get away, but the Succubus was already through and close enough to point me without worrying about me wandering out of range.

As before, I locked up the aggressor, set hardeners to the pre-overheated state, then on once I started taking damage, launched my drones, and started spewing out heavy assault missiles.  My only hope was that maybe my EC-3000 drones might break his lock on me and let me warp off.

It was not to be.

The Exequror Navy Issue showed up next and started pounding me, then the other Succubus, and finally a Malediction arrived on scene to add its point to the mix.  If I had been quicker, I might have been able to do in the Exequror.  I locked it up later in the fight and noticed that it had taken a lot of damage, no doubt from the gate guns, so I tried to turn my missiles on him in hopes of getting some small victory out of the battle, but I was way too late.  Already in armor, the Caracal blew up before I got a missile off.

And then they blew up my pod, which basically sent me to my destination the quick way.  No implants lost or anything.

Whee! Out of that stuff pod at last!

Whee! Out of that stuffy pod at last!

A loss, but for a ship I was considering just abandoning in any case, not a very expensive one.  More fun than just leaving it behind.  And my record remains intact.  Never once have I survived an encounter where I was alone, not in a fleet, and turned my weapon systems on another player.  Complete, 100% loss rate on that front.

Now I just have a Basilisk down near Providence, a Manticore and a Prophecy in Curse, and that Dominix in B-R5RB, veteran of the big fight, to try and fly back some day.

KW-I6T – The Long Guy Fawkes Day

I am not sure how the fight began.  I am not sure who was fighting whom.  All of that is part of the bigger picture, into which I am generally not plugged.  And in this case, it wasn’t even a CFC fight, we were just there for targets of opportunity and to support some people we aren’t really allied with (they aren’t blue to us, but they are not red either) against some other people who I know we aren’t allied with (they are red to us).

I am not even sure when the fighting began.  I saw something come up on the RSS feed from EVE News 24 as I was eating my lunch at the office.  And there was something on Twitter from EVE-Kill.net.

Down in Catch, a region in the south of New Eden, a timer had run down in KW-I6T, the last Nulli Secunda system in the region.  And they were going to fight for it.  (Okay, if you want to know all that, there is a summary over at The Mittani.  But I didn’t know any of it until after the fight.)

It was one of those fights that snowballed, bringing in capital ships and supercapitals, as it kept on going and going.

Big red ball at KW-I6T

Big red ball at KW-I6T

It was still going when I got home from work and Gaff IM’d me asking if I was going to try to get down and join the CFC contingent already engaged.  I didn’t think that I was going to get down there on my own, so I looked in on the streams.  Both Mad Ani and Dabigredboat were broadcasting, though I had to go with Boat because not only was he also leading a fleet (the man can multitask without any degradation to his level of performance… what that level is, of course, is the question up for debate), but he was playing some of the best/worst 80s pop music I could imagine on his stream.

Then around 5pm my time, a call went out for a reinforcement fleet to head to the fight.  Reagalan already had a Baltec fleet down in the fight.

The "How To" of Baltec Fleet

Remember Baltec Fleet?

They were on grid with an Erebus titan that they had bubbled and were slowly bumping away from its triage carrier support. (Diagram of this effort at TMC.)  They fully planned a titan bonfire that night and we were going to fly on down there to help out.  So a fleet went up under Kari Trace with a rally point in 4-EP12.

More words and pictures after the cut.

Continue reading

Fountain – The Fighting Goes On

The war in Fountain has been declared over.

Boodabooda has said that TEST is leaving the region.  The CFC is busy picking up systems and knocking down the remaining TEST towers.  The latter seem to be all empty of strontium and conveniently labeled.  We hit one last night with the name “TEST R16 reimbursement fund moon.”

Who needs scanning?

Who needs scanning?

Systems are going our way.

Fountain - July 30, 2013

Fountain – July 30, 2013

The map is slowly turning our color.

Fountain turns yellow... eew...

Fountain turns yellow… eew…

What will happen beyond Fountain seems in doubt however.

Boodabooda is saying that the CFC will “almost definitely attack Delve.”  And certainly, in terms of chance, Goons attacking Delves seems only slightly less likely than there being a maintenance downtime on any given day.  It is almost habitual at this point.  They all have supplies and stuff sitting in stations from the last few ventures.  Even I still have stuff in Delve from last summer’s expedition.  So it is practically the natural order of things to head to Delve.

Arguing against an invasion of Delve are several factors.  It will be at least a month until sovereignty rises high enough in Fountain for a jump bridge network to be established to create a pipe into Delve.  It was a big deal for us to get the jump bridge from J5A to 4-EP, as it meant holding those systems for 35 days straight.  Now we have to wait that same 35 days after taking systems before a full jump bridge network can be established.

There is also the nature of the war from the CFC point of view.  The stated reason for taking Fountain was to possess the moons.  You may ascribe whatever additional sinister motives you like, but the moons are still important.  They are a source of income and they need to be protected.  We cannot all go back to Deklein and Branch and Tribute and expect these moons to remain unmolested.  Which means somebody needs to live in Fountain.  I expect that in a couple of weeks there will some realignment of sovereignty to cover the Fountain front, and a lot of people will be moving into new homes.  It is difficult to do that in the midst of a war.

And then there is the question of what happens if we do invade Delve.  Best case scenario is that TEST rolls over and dies, leaving us Delve in their will.  We march in and then face Northern Coalition in Querious and Tribal Band down in Period Basis.

The Delve Neighborhood

The Delve Neighborhood

Last summer when Delve was taken, the war moved immediately to Querious and would likely do so again, what with a competent foe holding a grudge and in possession of a lot of support sitting right there.  That means war with just about everybody from Cobalt Edge to Querious.  And while the most deluded conspiracy theories see total null sec domination as part of the vast Goon conspiracy, the idea of a great Goon donut strikes me a implausible.  Even if it were manageable militarily… and I wouldn’t grant that one… and could be held against all comers… and there would be many… I am not sure they could find enough competent and trustworthy satraps to administer and empire without them coveting each others possessions, fighting amongst themselves, or attempting to break with the empire altogether.  I think a Goon null sec Caliphate would be a very brittle entity before long.

And, finally, there is the fact that the war isn’t over.  Did I say that it was?  Yeah, I was clearly full of VF day enthusiasm when I wrote that headline.

Sure, TEST is pulling out of Fountain.  And they are not contesting timers any more.  Sovereignty is rolling over to us.  But there is no agreement in place, no peace plan in process.  Boodabooda is digging trenches in Delve waiting for the Goon onslaught.  We’re busy camping 6VDT station trying to keep TEST from evacuating anything valuable.  Gates are camped.  TEST is still red.

And just last night Northern Coalition and friends… and they let TEST tag along this time… attempted to pick off another CFC titan.  This time they dropped right into 4-EP to try and get it.  An observant CFC member noticed NC dreads in the system while a Baltec fleet that had been forming  for a structure shoot was able to jump right into the fight.  The siren went off on Jabber and a big battle ensued, with the NC fleet losing more than 20 capital ships.  And while they took down a few in return, no titans were killed.  Titans did, however, drop on the field and got to doomsday the hostiles.  See my current site banner (which I stole) or this NC video of the fight.   Here is the battle report.  (A write up at The Mittani as well.)

CFC kills in blue

CFC kills in blue

I missed that fight by just five minutes, but got into fleet in time to chase people all over Fountain and then go shoot some structures.

Titans were still hanging around when I got there

Titans were still hanging around when I got there

So fighting continues and seems likely to carry on for some time.  Grinding out sovereignty… even when uncontested… goes much faster with capital ships, and when capital ships are flying somebody will inevitably seek to blow them up.

Last night in comms, somebody said that TEST is the new Intrepid Crossing, an alliance that used to be on our border in Cobalt Edge and which we used to raid for fights, but which we never sought to conquer. (That is until Razor pushed the joke too far one day and IRC’s house fell over.  And now Razor owns Cobalt Edge.  Nice going.)  And that seems like an apt enough analogy.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of “win” in attempting to exterminate TEST, but having a hostile neighbor we can tangle with has value.  If nothing else, it gives us something to do and someone to fight on a regular basis.  That might not be something you would want in real life but, in a game like EVE, that could be the best possible situation for now.

Or such is the way things look to me.  But I am just a CFC grunt and the most exalted position I have ever aspired to is that of squad commander in a fleet. (I trained Leadership V somewhere along the way.)  I have no special insight into alliance politics.  I go where they tell me and shoot who the FC calls out.

So feel free to correct my assumptions and tell me where you think this whole situation is headed.

4-EP12 – Moving To Fountain Proper

The word went out last night that the invasion of Fountain was taking a step forward.  The system J5A-IX that we fought so hard for more than a month back just made it to sovereignty level 3, which meant that a jump bridge could be laid down to connect that system to 4-EP12.

A jump bridge lets us avoid traveling through four systems with the accompanying jump gate, tidi, fleet coordination, and potential gate camp issues.  The route forward becomes B-D to J5A to 4-EP.  So the decision was made to have everybody redeploy to 4-EP12.

North Fountain - July 20, 2013

North Fountain – July 20, 2013

All of which meant it was moving day.  And, as things tend to go in EVE Online, I managed to accumulate quite a bit of stuff in our staging station in B-DBYQ.  Noticeably absent from my list of stuff was any sort of hauler.

Fortunately, the haul to 4-EP is short, unlike the deployment convoy route from Deklein.  Plus my pal Gaff happened to have his carrier available and was able to haul most of my ships over in a matter of minutes.  I flew the last couple of big ships myself.  Meanwhile, the jump freighter operations that serve the CFC jumped right into action and added 4-EP to their list of destinations.  So for a bit of ISK I was able to get all my ammo and supplies on the list for delivery to our new station.  I expect it will all be there tonight.

Six cynos lit at 4-EP12 Station

Six cynos lit at 4-EP12 Station

All of which puts the bulk of our forces right in the midst of Fountain.  A large number of systems are now just a single titan bridge away, while TEST and its allies are still in Karan in the low-sec region of Aridia, which requires them to use a titan bridge just to get to Fountain.  And while the map of Fountain at DOTLAN is not accurate when it comes to distances between systems, that does put the CFC a lot closer to potential fights than TEST.

The question is, how do things go from here?  Poetic Stanziel is asking if TEST ought to just give up now.  What does TEST have left in their bag at this point?

TEST Stands Down on the 4-EP12 Timer

I am the man who arranges the nodes
That run the game of EVE Online
I spin them around and bring some down
Whoops! Was that a battle there?

-CCP IT Song, sung to the tune from Tetris

One result of yesterday’s aborted battle at Z9PP-H was that when the reinforce timer for the infrastructure hub in 4-EP12 came up, TEST and friends could not muster a force to finish it off.  Not the first time TEST has had problems mustering forces during the war in Fountain.  This time though, there were special circumstances.

North Fountain - July 5, 2013

North Fountain – July 5, 2013

4-EP12 is an important system in that it has the only station in Fountain currently held by the CFC.  TEST should have contested it.

The reason TEST couldn’t collect enough forces for a fight over 4-EP12 is that a lot of there fleet is still sitting, logged off, in Z9PP-H.  When the node remap error happened, it logged everybody in the system off in place.  TEST saved about 100 carriers and an untold number of battleships by simply telling everybody not to log back in.

Immediate problem solved!  Though there were still a lot of ships blown up.

Ship kills in ZP99-H in the last 24 hours

Ship kills in ZP99-H in the last 24 hours

Longer term, however, TEST still has to get all of those ships out of the system, which means getting people logged on and safely back to Karan, their staging system in low sec space.

This is not an impossible task.  While we know exactly where they are, nobody is keeping a 24/7 watch on the location.  As I understand it, they had already managed to slip about 30% of their marooned forces out by the time the CFC started assembling fleets for the 4-EP12 timer.  So no joy for TEST.

And no fight for the CFC.  We had three Megathron fleets out and about.  I managed to get in the second fleet under Vily.  And while we expected no battle, we still had to form up and be there to ensure that nothing went awry.

On the way we shot a couple of sovereignty blockade units that had been dropped on CFC held systems and we put the infrastructure hub in Z9PP-H back into reinforce.  So there is another timer running and another battle coming.

The timer is counting down again

The timer is counting down again

While we were shooting the ihub in Z99PP-H, one of the logged off TEST pilots decided to try and log in and escape.  Some seriously bad timing.  He tried to get away, but we caught him on the gate.

Smog890 loses a Vulture

Smog890 loses a Vulture

After that it was off to 4-EP12.

In 4-EP12 we stood guard on the ihub for a while, where a TEST bomber fleet actually got a decent run at us.  They didn’t kill any Megathrons, but managed to kill off some of our support ships.  Their second run failed however and they lost a chunk of their bomber force.  The irony of the whole episode is that, had the node remap gone off correctly and not ended the battle at Z99PP-H, TEST would have had a larger number of pilots available today and might have been able to fight for the timer at 4-EP12… though I am guessing TEST would rather have those carriers.

After that, we went off to kill the SBUs that were still on the system and then stood by in a POS while the ihub was repaired.  Everything safe and back in place, we were bridged out to J5A.  From there it was back to our own staging system to stand down.

Bridging Out

Bridging Out

It was mentioned in coms that TEST was having a State of the Alliance meeting while we were out at 4-EP12.  I imagine it opened with a prayer of thanks to the patron saint of server administration incompetence.  I suspect there will be a recording of the meeting along with a summary up on The Mittani before the day is out.