Tag Archives: Asher Elias

Five Years of Reavers

Here we are on Reaver’s founding day.  I’ve always pegged the date as around the middle of October, but somebody said on an op that October 15th was the date and that is good enough for me.  So happy fifth birthday to the Reavers SIG.

Reavers forum bee

I have a special affinity for Reavers.  I happened to wander in and join right as it was formed from the remnants of Freedom Squad.  I flew ops with Freedom Squad, but never joined officially, so Reavers was the first Imperium (or CFC back then) group I became a member of.

Also, being there from the start I feel like I know a lot of the story of the SIG.  While I have not been on every op, I believe I have gone on every deployment.

Finally, being a member of Reavers has let me experience a lot of things that you don’t always get to do on main fleet or homeland defense or during big war operations.  There have been a few points where I have felt tired of New Eden, but a new Reavers deployment has refreshed my interest and kept me going.

So, as I do every year, I will try to summarize what the SIG has been up to over the last twelve months.  You can find past summaries here:

To go along with the now established tradition of these posts, I’ll start with a look at the null sec influence map, comparing the current state of null sec with what it looked like last year.

October 2018 and 2019 compared

Delve and surrounding regions stayed largely the same, with Red Alliance disappearing from Period Basis.  The region fell to the Imperium to hold, lest somebody else try to move in.  The north and east saw quite a bit more change.  Dead Coalition (formerly GotG) shook up its membership, with Slyce leaving, while Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition were driven out of the north due to the “Glass Tribute” campaign this past spring, sending them to reform in Malpais, which was their rental space.  Further south, new names have popped up around Fraternity, which remains at war with TEST and its Legacy Coalition.

As for Reavers operations, it was a fairly quiet year for a number of reasons.

To start with, the shape of war has changed.  Back in the day Reavers would go off behind enemy lines during a war to act as a distraction.  We did peace time operations as well, but those were more to keep us busy and annoy some of our traditional foes than part of any grand strategic plan.

Circumstances have flipped Imperium doctrine on its head.  SIGs and squads are now the harbingers of war, going out to camp in hostile space and stir up trouble until a war sees possible, at which point the fleets mass to come join us and our operations are folded into main fleet.  And all the more so with Reavers, as Asher is the war time sky marshal, running all the big strategic ops.  So, things like the “Glass Tribute” campaign Reavers end up in main fleet rather than having their own deployment.

And then there is Liberty Squad, new US time zone group that formed up about a year or so ago.  There is a lot of overlap between the Reavers and Liberty Squad rosters.  Being on a Liberty Squad op is almost like being on a Reavers op, as almost all the voices on coms are the same.

Because of this, Asher put off doing deployments for a while to let Liberty Squad come together.  So my posts for this year cover more Liberty ops than Reavers.

Still, it was not a year without operations.  So I will run down the list I have based on the last twelve months of posts.

In December we went to wormhole J115405, otherwise known a Rage, to help evict Hard Knocks.  This was setup by The Initiative, who deserves all the credit.

The Initiative logo in spaceships

However, they invited other groups to come participate, and Reavers went as a group.

After that there was a long dry spell for Reavers as Liberty Squad deployed out to harass Pandemic Horde in Geminate.

We did have a couple of Reavers races, set up by Ranger Gamma.

After that there was the war in Tribute, which ran up to the Drifter invasion of null sec and the launch of the Chaos Era.  Liberty Squad did a bit during that, and I spent some time on Zungen Ops, which I get pings for by being in Reavers, but there were no Reavers deployments until recently.  With things quiet elsewhere, Asher formed us up and we went out to Insmother, passing through Legacy Coalition space to join in against Winter Coalition, moving to Cache there after.

That was an old school Reavers deployment, with us living in space without a station or structure to base from.  Mobile depots for everybody.

Swapping out my cloak

However, that also put a bit of a crimp on the numbers.  People who missed the move op out had to find their way out into the middle of hostile space, some opting not to bother.  Numbers were low for ops at times and we ended up coming home this past weekend.

And that is where we stand currently at the the end of five years, back home from a venture out in the wilds of Cache, where we were living in space, shooting at structures, and looking for fights.

My posts do not cover all the Reavers ops.  I know I missed a few out in Cache, and some good ones too from what I hear.  But I believe that covers the deployments the SIG has done over the last year.

A Wormhole Home from Cache

In one of those moments of extreme good timing, about 30 seconds after I launched Jabber last night a ping from Asher popped up saying that if anybody wanted to head home early there was a wormhole up in Cache that led Amarr low sec space, which is conveniently close to Delve.

I immediately logged on my main and alt, joined Asher’s fleet, followed the instructions in the MOTD, jumped through the wormhole, and found myself about a dozen gates from Delve.  In about 20 minutes I traveled from the far east of New Eden to the far west with both of my Guardians tethered up outside a Keepstar.

Waiting at the back door

Doing that route the hard way, going gate to gate, would involve passing through 55 gates and 8 regions before arriving in Delve.  Even the expected move op home, which might get to use Legacy Coalition Ansiblex jump gates, as we did on the way out, will likely have to make more jumps than I did.

As for why we are headed home, participation has been low.  A bunch of people made it out with the original move op, but interest has tapered off and anybody who missed the move out faced a long and hazardous trip to get to us.  That is one downside of living out of mobile depots in hostile space as opposed to basing out of NPCs stations.

So I am back home in Delve.  Now I have to figure out how to move all of my stuff.  While we were away there was a change to which Keepstar was going to be the staging point and market for Delve.  It is in the same system, but moving all of the crap I have collected over the last year or two is going to be either awkward or expensive… or both.

Further Structure Bashing in Cache

Asher got us together again for another structure, this time an Astrahus timer, the timer that TEST had set while we were out bashing that tower a couple days before.  Being a final timer that might see the structure destroyed, the thought was that the locals might form up and defend leading to a fight.  And if they didn’t fight… well.. structure kill mail.

We logged in, once again totaling less that 30 ships, swapped out our cloaks and formed up to travel to M-MCP8, where we sat on the P7-45V gate.  The latter is Vindictive’s staging, so we hoped to catch some people passing through.

On the gate, bubble up

We did catch a Fraternity Dominix on the gate, and a couple other minor target.  The Domi seemed like a good sign, that maybe Vindictive would be getting some support from their Winter Coalition allies, since they were not leaving the coalition until the end of the month.

They would need some help and somebody else we caught in our bubble was Seddow, the FC of the Legacy Coalition Loki fleet that mauled the Vindictive Machariel fleet while we were shooting that POS tower.  We were asked not to shoot him.

So it seemed like they would be coming back to finish off the Astrahus.  They set the timer, so why wouldn’t they?

Our eyes on the Vindictive staging Keepstar was reporting various activity and even a titan up and perhaps ready to bridge a defense fleet in on the Astrahus.  They had a couple of force recons, the only viable cyno ships these days, hanging about.  Asher even had us drop our mobile depots in safe spots in the system in case things went against us and we had to either reload drones from cargo or get our cloaks on and hide.

However, for all the activity, not much happened.  When the timer ran down on the Astrahus we started shooting it, waiting for something to drop.  But nothing did.  Instead, a gunner in the Astrahus took shots at us, neuted us, hit us with tracking disruptors, and generally tried to make our time hitting the structure as taxing as possible.

Another bomb from the Astrahus goes off

The gunner did manage to kill off some drones, something of an annoyance to a group with a long supply line back to Delve, but did not slow down the inevitable all that much.  Legacy showed up with their Lokis again as expected.

Legacy Lokis join the shoot

Then final outcome was determined, the Astrahus exploded.

Another Upwell structure destroyed

We scooped our mobile depots and formed back up.

Then it was over to P7-45V, where an Athanor was also in its final timer.  There was no defense put up there either, so another structure kill mail was shared between us and the Legacy Loki fleet.

Athanor brews up

After that it was back to our staging system and our safe spots, cloaks once again fitted and running, waiting for our safe log off timers to run down so we could leave space safely.  Another night in Cache.

A Tower Bash in Cache

The current Reavers deployment has has some stretched of inactivity.  We were delayed deploying due to a hurricane (other than Hilmar) bearing down on Asher, then he was away on vacation for a bit.  My main and my alt had been logged out in hostile space for a while now, though since WoW Classic has been getting most of my attention, I wasn’t complaining.

But Asher got back and settled and it was time to log back in late last week.  We had something to do, so we dropped our mobile depots to refit and get rolling.

Off with the cloak

The target picked was a simple one, another powered down POS sitting out in space.  Maybe somebody would come get us, alerted by our attack.  We formed up and flew out to the target system, M-MCP8 in Cache, only to find it somewhat more populated than expected.

The residents, Vindictive alliance, were out in force, with 50 or so appearing in local as we jumped into the system.  We had fewer than 30 ships in our fleet, but Asher figured we might get a fight so we warped on grid with the tower and started shooting.

Tower hits

As we slowly circled the tower, formed up and following Asher’s Legion, more people started piling into the system, and we saw local rise even further.  The newcomers appeared to be from Legacy coalition, with TEST making up the bulk of them in local.  Of course, with TEST in system, local began to come alive with chatter.  We kept on orbiting the tower, chipping away at it.

Following Asher

As it turned out, there was another operation going on parallel to ours.  A group from Legacy had been running ops into Vindictive space for a while now and had recently set the armor timer on an Astrahus in the system.

The timer was set to come out just a few minutes after we arrived.  So people were showing up to that party.

Our target was a remnant left behind by Dragon Empire, who now live up in Geminate, so were unlikely to run out to save an anchored by unfueled tower.  Likewise, nobody in system had anything to do with the tower, so no notifications were going to them.  They were content to focus on their own battle, ignoring the small fleet of Ishtars easily within dscan range, it being one of the smaller systems in the area.

A clump of Ishtars

The tower took a while.  Even a small faction tower has a lot of shield hit points, but we kept on flying around it, letting our drones to the work.  In local it sounded like things were not going well for the owners of the system.  There were recriminations and some mocking going on.  It seemed that the defense, a small Machariel fleet had been swept aside by Legacy Loki fleet.

At our end, we eventually cut through the shields and were able to get through the armor and structure layers rapidly.  Soon the tower blew up with a satisfying display.

Brewing up, ready to burst

By that point the fight over the Astrahus had been resolved.  The final timer had been set and Legacy had finished spewing in local and headed home.  We too headed for the exit, our own small mission complete.

The out gate

However, as we landed on the gate to P7-45V an Vindictive Machariel landed as well and jumped, no doubt hoping to get away ahead of us.  And his hope was not unwarranted.  Aggression timers were still live on some of the fleet.  I still had a few seconds remaining on my own timer as we saw him jump.  But the call went out to jump through and tackle him if we could.  We jumped as soon as we could… and it was just soon enough.  A bubble went up to keep him from warping off and we piled on.

Machariel getting ganked at the gate

He put on speed to get out of the bubble but had a web on him as well, so exploded well before he reached the edge.  The kill mail showed a modest fit for a Mach, and no implants in his pod, but a good solid kill.

Having already deployed around the gate with a bubble up, we hung around and camped the gate for a bit, and were rewarded with a few more kills and the locals attempted to move back and forth between the two systems.

We even got the Machariel pilot again trying to slip through in a Cormorant this time.

But such a gate camp is a temporary thing.  We were in the heart of their space and they were just standing down from a defense operation, so it seemed likely they could form up enough Machs to sends us running if they had the heart for it, so we moved on back to our own staging in their space, warping off to our safe spots to once again deploy out mobile depots, mount our cloaks, scoop the depots, and cloak up safely while out logoff timers ran down.

I am not sure how much heart Vindictive would have had though.  They withdrew from Winter Coalition the next day, no doubt due to the attention Legacy had been giving them.  We haven’t moved on yet though.  There were ops on over the weekend (which I missed) including another camp on that same gate which was fruitful yet again.  But it is possible we might pack up to hunt elsewhere soon.

On The Road Again in New Eden

The Chaos Era has been a bit of a bust for me.  I don’t rat or mine, so I am not on that declining indicator, but with a lot of people turtling up there are not as many defense fleets to go save people.  I am also not a solo PvPer, so I haven’t been out hunting.  I generally depend on SIG or squad deployments for my content and, aside from the short one up to Placid… which was low sec, so no Chaos Era benefits there… I haven’t had much to get me to log in.

There has been talk of a Reavers deployment, but things kept getting in the way, like a hurricane Dorian headed straight for Asher’s home.  That eventually passed and last week Asher got us grouped up.  It was going to be a very traditional Reavers deployment, with Ishtars and support and no station to dock up in.  I had a couple of Guardians left over from past operations already correctly fit, so I put one on my main, one on my alt, and waited for the ping announcing our departure.

I didn’t plan to dual box Guardians.  Keeping up with reps and the cap chain on two screens during a fight is too much for me.  Instead my alt was basically hauling out a reship.  If my main got his ship popped, he could just grab the extra from my alt, while if he got blown up and podded, he could just fly out in an interceptor and swap ships with my alt, who could then fly home.

Soon enough the ping came and we loaded up our ships with the intent to live out of them in hostile space and headed out.

A small fleet warps off

As is tradition, our destination was not announced in advance.  We just went to a series of waypoints along the route to our area of operation.  But Asher couldn’t hide which direction we were going.  We were headed east and were soon into Legacy Coalition space, where the jump gates seemed to be set to less us pass through.

Using the middle management dino gate

I was wondering whether this was a default setting, if Legacy was letting us use their gate network to let Imperium forces pass through their space in order to join in on fights in the east or if we were getting some special treatment.  The war between Legacy and Winter coalitions, which has been running off and on for ages now, continues to bubble down in the southeast of New Eden, with third parties like Pandemic Legion showing up to grab some content.  Certainly the Imperium had sent fleets east before during the war.

However, not all gates were green… or blue I guess… to us.  At an XIX gate we had to stop and hold, hanging in space while Asher found somebody to flip the switch for us.

Waiting for the gate to let us through

That he had to get on a channel somewhere to get us a pass seems to indicate that at least an “Imperium flies free” policy isn’t Legacy wide.  So we sat and waited, no doubt scaring a few of the locals who jumped through to find a fleet of not blue Ishtars and support hanging about.

We had our own fat targets, but no shots were taken

Asher found the right person and we were able to jump through and continue on our way, heading past Legacy space and into Winter Coalition’s domain.  No jump gate travel for us there.  But it was also well past prime time for the locals, and we were able to pass through their space using gates without much notice.

My Guardian aligning out from another gate

The blackout was in effect, so they would have needed to lay eyes on us or catch us on a dscan to know we were there.  Finally a bit of the Chaos Era working in my favor.

Another gate to pass through

Eventually we found a spot to safe up in Insmother, made our safe spots, got out our mobile depots, and fit cloaks in order to be able to cloak up and stay safe.

Living out of a mobile depot

Once there we had to find something to do.

Initially we found a couple of unfueled Fraternity towers, which we proceeded to shoot.  That is all part of the Reavers plan.  We set up in space the start shooting things until somebody shows up to chase us off.  If the hostiles for big, we just cloak up and disappear.  If they form a fleet about our size, then we take the fight if we can.  So we blew up the towers.

An old Minmatar tower blows up

All that yielded was a “But why?” from somebody in local… and I am not even sure they meant us.

The next time I was on we went looking to stir things up with one of the Winter Coalition members more in our time zone, the Lord of Worlds Alliance (LORDE).  Their alliance logo is an angry unicorn on a pink shield, which I guess gives them some synergy with GoonWaffe (GEWNS), whose logo is a unicorn in front of an outline of a heart.

The comparison

This similarity came up on coms and, while the GoonWaffe logo was no doubt chosen for irony, who actually chose it and why has been lost to the mists of time.

Anyway, we went out to entosis a couple of their infrastructure hubs to see if they would come out to play.

The ihub awaits

The word was that they were on during our time frame and would form up and fight if the numbers worked out.  After tinkering around a bit to get and entosis link on the right ship… it started on a Tengu and there was some awkward work with people swapping ships and using mobile depots in order to get it fitted on an Ishtar… we commenced to fly in circles around the ihub and run the magic entosis wand over it.  Exciting game play.

Entosis coming from the Ishtar in the middle

There was a bit of trouble with the Ishtar running out of capacitor, but one of the Guardians in the cap chain just diverted one of their cap transfer modules onto it and we were set.  And then around and around we went.

The locals did come out to play, but apparently couldn’t get enough people together for a stand up fight.  Instead they came out in bombers and interceptors to try and and interrupt the entosis ship.  That was mildly annoying, but not enough to get us to break orbit, and we ended up getting a couple of kills.  Ishtars racing in a circle with props on move pretty quickly so you have to anticipate where they’ll be before you bomb.  The locals were not quite that good.

Things were quiet enough that I put EVE Online on my second monitor and played WoW Classic for part of the op.  That is EVE Online some days, a game that lets you watch movies or play other games.

That ended up with a couple of ihubs reinforced, after which we went back to where we were living, where we safed up, put on our cloaks, and logged out again.  I didn’t do much with EVE Online over the weekend.  I missed any ops we might have run.  But today things changed.  As CCP announced on Saturday, the blackout is over.  We’re no longer invisible in space.  People can now see us in the local channel when we log in.  Our extra cloak is gone.  But we have always had to deal with that in the past.  And us being logged in and cloaked up can be a deterrent on its own.  And so it goes, living out in hostile space on another Reavers op.

Out of the Hole and Back to Delve

After the second Keepstar kill a lot of those not in the Initiative took move ops out of the J115405, the wormhole known as “Rage,” having gotten the show for which they came.

But looking at the kill mails, the second Keepstar wasn’t as popular as the first.  Close to 1,400 people managed to get on the first one, but the second time around the number fell below 900.

I guess a second act isn’t as big of a draw.

The word had come down that Reavers would be sticking around in the hole for a while longer to join in on the structures still remaining.  As pings came up about fleets leaving for Delve or other ways out of J115405, the question about what we were doing would show up in Jabber.  The response from people like Zed Starshine was always that we were staying.  That persisted until Sunday when Asher pinged that we should get back home by any reasonable method.

So I blame Zed for my late start.

At that point I had passed up at least two fleets heading back and wasn’t sure if the alternate plan was still available.  I might have to scan myself out, though that was why I dragged along my alt in an Astero.  Now that the word had been given to bug out, I cleaned out my hangar, loaded up my ships, and got ready to travel.  Anything I couldn’t carry I stuck on the Hound that I looted, which I insured and had my alt undock.  Then I set it to self destruct and shot it for good measure.

Insurance fraud on the undock

I wasn’t the only one doing insurance fraud.  The way out was being reserved for cruisers and smaller ships.  Battleships and battlecruisers were not being let through on the threat of being blown up.  If you had a big ship you would either have to wait until official move ops were done or blow it up for the insurance payout.

While I missed a couple of fleets, the Initiative had a ratline back to normal space setup to get people out on their own.  To us that they had a fleet setup with instructions in the channel MOTD.  You had to warp to a carrier guarding the current out hole.

The Nidhoggur guarding the hole

There you would get a set of bookmarks that would guide you from hole to hole until you got to normal space.  I grabbed the bookmarks with my alt.  At the time there were two routes home.  I took the shortest one, which dropped into low sec.

I then dropped the fleet and formed one with my two characters.  I figured I would warp in with my alt, then have my main warp to him.  So I jumped through the first hole, then realized I didn’t know what to do with the bookmarks.  I motored off the hole I just went through and cloaked up and I Googled how to use bookmarks in your cargo hold.

It turns out you just need to open up your people and places window, go to the places tab, and drag the bookmarks onto it.  Easy.

That done, I remained confused for a bit as the first of the two bookmarks didn’t show up.  I realized, once I dragged the second one that the first was for the hole we had just gone through.  So once the second was in my places, I warped my alt to that, found the hole, and warped Wilhelm there to go through.

The Guardian goes through first

On the far side of the hole I found myself in Aridia.  That is a handy place to be if you’re heading back to Delve.  I was just eleven jumps from 1-SMEB, the gateway system to the region.

Of course, if I had been paying attention, I would have noticed that I was also only four jumps from Fountain and a direct connection to the new jump bridge network.  I actually knew I was close to Fountain, but I was uncertain about the state of the new jump bridges and it wasn’t until I was well on my way home that somebody linked the updates jump bridge map that would have showed me how to get home that way.

I know that for next time I guess.

But the route home via gates in Aridia wasn’t exactly a tough alternative.  And I saw a few people who were clearly taking the same path.  My Astero went ahead to check the path as the Guardian plowed on behind.  But the path was clear.  There was word that Black Legion had been staging in Sakht, the system in Aridia that connects to 1-SMEB and Delve, but while I saw a couple of them there they were not out in force.  They certainly were not camping the gate, so it was through and into Delve and the jump bridge towards 1DQ1-A.

The jump bridge in 1-SMEB

From there it was just two gates to home, where I warped to the Keepstar, only to find I was on the wrong Keepstar.

On the wrong Keepstar

I wasn’t even aware that we had two Keepstars in 1DQ1-A.  That is what happens when you stay deployed in the north for almost a year.  Also, the Imperium has so many structures in the system that I am surprised I can find any specific structure I want.

And so ended the wormhole expedition with both of my ships back where they started, a few kill mails and paps on my record, and a bit of loot in my cargo hold.  It was kind of a strange time being in a wormhole for a week.

I wasn’t there long enough to get used to logging in and seeing nobody in local.  Well, at least I didn’t see an accurate, up to date count of players in system at the top of the local chat window.  Various members of the Imperium were talking in local at any given point of time.

I was, however, in the hole long enough to feel the sense of isolation.  One of the things I am used to in New Eden is the ability to just get up and go where you need to.  It isn’t always safe or wise, but you can just set your destination and take gates to where you want to be.  When you’re in a wormhole, life is not so simple.  You cannot just jump clone out and back as I understand it, and I am not even sure how people can find the same wormhole twice when scanning things down.  Definitely a different EVE Online lifestyle.

Anyway, a recap of the whole thing in my posts:

And then what has been written elsewhere about it:

Fort Knocks Way Down in the Hole

There in J115404 the Keepstar was waiting for us.  The trip into the hole on Saturday was going to pay off.

Fort Knocks over a planet

The Keepstar called Fort Knocks had been initially reinforced by the Initiative.  The whole venture was the culmination of about a year’s planning and logistics and it was came to its culmination last night.  The Initiative had jumped into J115405, the wormhole system colloquially known as “Rage,” taken over the static hole into the system, and reinforced the Keepstar named “Fort Knocks” last week.

Fort Knocks, as noted over at PC Gamer, was the first Keepstar to be brought online in New Eden.  That article will also tell you a bit about Hard Knocks, the alliance that built it.

As noted, once the Initiative launched their plan, bringing out their pre-positioned assets and taking over access to the hole, the Imperium was invited along to participate, and Asher brought the Reavers into the hole on Saturday.

Sunday saw the armor timer for Fort Knocks come and go uncontested.  Hard Knocks gunned the structure, hurling bombs, running the PDS to shake off drones, and zapping those who dared stray too close with the doomsday.  But they didn’t undock a fleet or otherwise put a serious attempt into defense, nor did allies or other wormholers come to help them.

There is a legend that wormholers will band together in the face of outsiders, k-space dwellers, coming in to attack them.  But, then again, Hard Knocks has played the role of wormhole tyrant in the past, so perhaps that sense of unity did not apply to them.

Instead, Hard Knocks looked to be preparing for the end largely by shifting some assets about and by undocking and self-destructing capital ships to collect the insurance before the end.

Not that they were not beyond some hijinks.  Putting capital ships on the undock and self-destructing them was an ongoing temptation for those besieging the system to warp in and take a shot in order to get on the kill mail.  And then the doomsday would fire from the Keepstar and some unfortunate would get to “ride the lightning” for their trouble.

Even Asher lost his Monitor FC ship when he warped our fleet over to a Moros stuck in a bubble after somebody in fleet reported it as being far enough off the Keepstar to be safe.  It was not and Asher got to ride the lightning as well.

That, in a wormhole, is a pretty big pain in the ass.  At least he did not lose his capsule as well, because then you’re in your clone in normal space.  There is no jump cloning to wormholes.  Still, even with a capsule left you pretty much have to fly into the hole the ship you plan to use, as wormhole space isn’t just another system in New Eden.  You can’t just get a ship and fly back.  You have to find the right hole, or series of holes, to go through to get there.  Fortunately, somebody lent him a ship and he was able to arrange to get another one sent in, likely via an alt, so he was back in a Monitor by last night.

Anyway, come last night we were pinged to log on at about 01:00 UTC, or 5pm my local time.  We were forming up for the final timer.  We got into fleet and sorted ourselves out as usual, undocking to hang off the Raitaru and survey the system.  There was about a half an hour left to go before the big event.  Wrecks of capital ships were still lingering on the undock of the Keepstar.

Capital wrecks on the undock

But before that there was a Hard Knocks Sotiyo that had been reinforced.  We flew off to do the armor timer, anchoring up on Asher to hang about avoiding the defenses as we shot the structure.

Cruising around the Sotiyo

We had enough firepower to stop the timer, but not enough to hit the damage cap on the structure, so we were still shooting it when the Keepstar timer hit.  But the Initiative was already on the job and stopped the clock there right away.

Timer paused at Fort Knocks

As expected, the Initiative was out with the structure killing Raven doctrine, a mass of cruise missile spewing battleships trolling at long range and being jumped every so often to avoid bombs.

The Raven blob commeth

They have pretty much perfected this doctrine and have killed structures in the face of titan support without capital ships to back them up.  They shoot and then they scoot as the blob gets booshed along.

The jump effect forming before the fleet

They also had a fleet of torpedo bombers out as well taking shots at the Keepstar, giving enough well handled firepower that the result was never in doubt.  Without a fleet of their own, Hard Knocks could annoy the attackers, unshipping some, sending others back to K-space if they got podded, but could not stop them.

We finished up reffing the Sotiyo and then set on a Raitaru and watched as the circling fleet chewed away at the structure of the Keepstar.  The more damage the citadel received, the more the lights in the hangars, and even the Hard Knocks logo, dimmed and flickered.  A nice effect by CCP.

As the end of the structure grew near, Asher warped us in at 30km to get in some hits so we could get on the kill mail.  However, we were in and out too quickly for my light drones to get in a hit.  I had a sentry drone in my cargo bay for just this situation, but had forgotten to swap it out, making this this third Keepstar kill mail this year I failed to get on because I was in the logi wing.  There was no time to go back as the structure soon began to brew up.

Keepstar Coming Apart

My alt, cloaked up in an Astero 40km off the Keepstar did have a Bouncer sentry drone in his bay, so I was able to launch that and get in some hits, so at least he got on the kill mail in time.

The kill mail is here, and over a thousand people managed to get on it.

And then there was the big boom as the Keepstar blew up, leaving a huge wreck behind.

The remains of the first Keepstar

But that wasn’t all that was left behind.  In normal space, all the stuff in an Upwell structure goes into what is called “asset safety” and is delivered to the nearest low sec station 30 days later, where it can be retrieved for a fee.  This was CCP’s response to years of null sec outposts changing hands, locking people out of their homes and leaving all of their stuff stranded.

In wormhole space however there is no asset safety.  Instead, Upwell structures are giant loot pinatas, and the oldest Keepstar in the game might have been the biggest and richest loot pinata of them all.  When it blew up all of the items people left in hangars was spewed out into space, forming a ball of loot consisting of almost 2,000 hangar containers.

The loot ball with tags on

Each one of those little yellow tags contains what was left in somebody’s hangar.  Each of them is a present in space, waiting to be opened.

A hangar container floating about

Some of those containers held great wealth.  There were dreadnoughts with 10 billion ISK fits.  Huge piles of PI materials.  Officer modules.  Freighters.  Blockade runners and Deep Space Transports.  And there was combat ships galore.

There were also cap boosters.  Somebody wryly seeded many people’s hangars with a single 3200 cap booster, the equivalent of getting coal in your stocking at Christmas.

And so a frenzy of looting began.

Because this was their operation, based on all of their planning and hard work, the Initiative was given exclusive access for the first 30 minutes after the Keepstar blew up.  But there was so much loot on the field, and it kept showing up for quite some time as CCP’s code processed through the hangar of each and every capsuleer who ever left anything in that Keepstar… and some who didn’t, because you can “deliver” things to people in Upwell structures now, which is how Doomchincilla ended up losing so many ships during this event despite being nowhere in the vicinity so far as I know… that there was still a huge pile to sort through when we were given the all clear to join in.

The PL killboard sullied with all those frigates

The code even went a little wonky, throwing out containers around the other Keepstar that were flagged as belonging to LAWN.

What followed can only be described as a sacking of a Keepstar as people filtered through cans, ejecting ships to fly around, grabbing items, and blowing things up they couldn’t carry off.  It was such a crazy event that I would be in favor of foregoing asset safety in null sec if this could be a regular spectacle after every structure kill.

That might get too crazy in normal space where every random outsider could try and show up to claim some loot, leading to even bigger numbers straining nodes during such fights.  In wormhole space the crowd is fairly well constrained.

Of course, we were also all stuck there in wormhole space.  You could grab huge items and haul them off to a local structure, but actually getting stuff out of the system was another matter indeed.  A couple of people in Reavers managed to grab dreadnoughts.  Ratknight1 was the first, picking up a Moros out of a can.  He flew it to the friendly Fortizar, insured it, then undocked it to self-destruct in order to collect the insurance.

Ratknight1’s Moros exploding

I was in time to help out with that, so at least I got on one kill mail this month.  That is all I ask, just to prove I’m still around and playing.

As time went on people went from grabbing all they could to blowing up everything in sight.  A gaggle of Praxis battleships was disgorged from one can close by me, but as I closed in with my pod I couldn’t board any of them as they were all locked up and being shot.

My alt managed to jump into an Ishtar and fly it off, taking out some time to shoot Ratknight1 as well, then docked it up to go out again.  He got a Hound stealth bomber next, allowing him to zip about to check cans… though it was only an afterburner fit, so maybe “zip” isn’t the right word.  But when it became clear that we had reached the time of just blowing stuff up, he just joined in to shoot things.

The pillaging looked set to carry on for quite some time still, but I tired of it once it turned to blowing things up.  I docked back up, leaving the two ships I snagged to inspect later.  I’ll see if there is anything worth stripping off of them then likely insure them and blow them up.

Even as I was logging off there was an Imperium fleet up to get people back to Delve.  But Reavers are hanging around for a bit.  There are still structures to blow up in J115405, like that Sotiyo that is coming out soon, and the other Keepstar looming across the way.  Where there are structures to shoot, Reavers will be there.

Other coverage of the event: