Tag Archives: Curse

Silverspring and the Big City

Out of the starter zone and into the first big city in Taborea.  Or maybe the only big city in Taborea.  I don’t really know since I have been next to nowhere in the game.  Anyway, I continue on with Runes of Magic.

I didn’t so much run down all the quests in the Howling Mountains as started seriously out leveling the zone.  There are a lot of quests to choose from so some will no doubt end up getting left behind.  That might be a good thing, though I will get to why another time.  So I headed north to Silverspring, the next zone to explore.

Welcome to Silverspring

Silverspring also has a city, a real city and not some jerkwater town astride a goat path, a city that is done up in the grandiose style that seems to both feel out of place and be a regular part of the fantasy MMORPG genre.  So the first thing I did on entering Silverspring was head to the city of Varanas.

Welcome to Varanas

Varanas is a big enough place… both in scale and area… and has all of the necessities of a big city, including a series of quests that make you run all over the place.

Varanas layout

It isn’t as big as Stormwind and it doesn’t seem as well integrated into the local terrain as cities in other MMORPGs.  Qeynos and Freeport and Darnassas and Ironforge all like ogranic parts of their region, or at least it is obvious why a city might have sprung up in that location.  Varanas, on the other hand, is this giant walled-in city in the middle of a sketchy neighborhood, sticking out like a brand new McMansion in a neighborhood of old, run down tract homes.  It doesn’t even have a port to justify its existence.  It is just there because somebody decided to put a city there.

It also betrays some of the early design choices of the genre, with lots of partitions and curtain walls and such, so that you can only ever see a small section of the city at one time and thus limits the number of characters being rendered on your screen.  There are also a series of teleporter NPCs to move you about districts of the city so you don’t have to wade through any crowds.

Not that crowds seem to be a problem these days.  The last time I made it this far in Runes of Magic… and this is about as far as I ever made it previously… I was greeted by gold selling bots spamming the local channel.

My primary memory of the entry to Varanas

This time around things were quiet; very quiet.  My co-worker told me they had done a server merge a while back, but still the population at this end of the game seemed pretty sparse.  Perhaps I will run into more people as I progress.

Anyway, I ran around the city doing some of the fetch and carry quests as I explored the place.  While doing that was when I realized that back at character creation I had left the height slider set at the smallest setting.  Out in the countryside I didn’t notice.  How do you get scale when you’re dealing with wild animals?  On the other hand, once I was in a place like the bank, my child-like stature was a bit more noticeable.

I’m here, on the other side of the counter!

I found that I could re-do my character features by spending diamonds, but decided I would stick with my “cousin of lil’ sweet” look for the time being.  At least I won’t hit my head on anything, save the under side of a coffee table.

After exploring the city I headed back out into Silverspring to take on the quests it had for me.

Before I got to that though, I had noticed something with Curse client, which recently became the Twitch client.  It offers up addons still, in the way Curse did, and it noticed that I had installed Runes of Magic.  In a bit of a surprise, it turns out that there are still addons for the game.

Runes of Magic addons

I browsed through until I spotted an old school addon for an old school WoW-esque experience; Quest Helper.

Inspired by the WoW addon

I am glad I did too.  I did not really need more information crowding out an already busy screen.

Ah, Quest Helper gives me yet another quest listing…

However the upside was pretty good.  The quest descriptions are improved, locations are listed and shown on the map, and some details that I might have otherwise had to go look up were included as well.

It shows where to find things

Its space on the screen also gives you some additional options, like being able to use the built-in auto-move feature to get you to a location (not recommended in areas with aggro mobs) and the ability to postpone quests until certain criteria are met.

Some right-click options

And I was doubly glad to have the addon as Silverspring features a copy of one what might be one of the most famous/infamous quests from Vanilla WoW; The Green Hills of Stranglethorn.

You remember it, right?  The quest chain that took up five quests slots in your already crowded quest log as well as all your available bag space?  Runes of Magic has pretty much duplicated the whole thing as the Legends of Taborea quest chain.

There are only three, rather than four, quests that require you to pick up pages for the chapters, and then a quest to assemble the chapters into the book, and then a quest to deliver the book, but it is all about the same.  You still have to go out and kill mobs in the zone to get the pages to drop and you still end up with dupes of many pages while still missing a few.

My first idea was to go to the auction house and see if I could buy a couple of my missing pages.  However, not many pages were for sale.  I found one I needed… then listed some of my dupes… by I was still held up.  But looking at the quest details, as updated by Quest Helper, I got a line on where I might camp for kills to get the right drop.

Quest Helper to the rescue, must find page 10!

I still had to camp the location for a while and kill quite a few mobs… and collect many more duplicate pages… but eventually I got the final page I was missing and was able to finish the whole thing up in a single session.  I am not sure I ever managed that with the old vanilla WoW version of the quest.

So that is where I stand, running quests in Silverspring.  And there are a lot of quests too.

My progress has slowed down a bit.  In part, that is to be expected.  That was the model back in the day, that every level had to take a little longer than the last, all else being equal.

But I am also slowing down some as I am finding mobs harder to kill.  Even though they are lower level than I am, fights can get pretty tough and adds make things tricky at times.  I suspect that this is because my gear, which I have collected rather haphazardly, mostly from quest rewards, sucks.  I might have to make this a priority, and maybe look into crafting to see if that will offer any decent upgrades.  For now though, I plod along.

Home from Wicked Creek

We deployed down to Curse, holing up in a station in H-ADOC, the Monday before EVE Vegas.  Karma Fleet and LAWN joined us as we headed down south.  As I mentioned in a previous post, our main mission was to hit TEST sovereignty down in and around Wicked Creek so they would come out and fight.

Wicked Creek area of New Eden

Wicked Creek area of New Eden

And for the limited goal of getting fights, the operation was a success.  The fights, when they happened, were good and not heavily out of balance due to numbers.  I managed to miss most of the “good fights,” even when I was there in the fleet, but fun times were had.  Even under Fozzie Sov, in the Balkans of the south east of New Eden null sec, attacking somebody’s infrastructure will force people to come out and fight at a specific time and place.

We also got to fly a few doctrines.  We had our usual Tengus, and Ishtars returned to the fold during the deployment.  And with Karmafleet along, there were also Cormorants and Ferox fleets to join.

Sitting with Feroxes at the sun

Sitting with Feroxes at the sun

And if the enemy doesn’t come out to fight, then it costs them.  We managed to drop TEST sovereignty in LKZ-CY when they couldn’t get numbers together to come and fight us.  The did show up, but ended up declining to engage and for a bit the system was unowned.

There went your TCU...

There went your TCU…

I actually got to successfully Entosis a node during that op, flying a Cormorant.  I was also one of the few kills for TEST on that op as I had moved to do a node in LKZ-CY and then they showed up.  They didn’t go after the main fleet, but the dropped in to kill me.

Cormorant on a command node

Cormorant on a command node destined never to be finished

On the flip side, I was also involved in at least one Fozzie Sov endless tug of war horror show.  A couple hours after dropping LKZ-CY, another opportunity came up to hit S-E6ES, which is right next to our staging.  However, we only got about 20 people in the fleet, so the hope was that TEST wouldn’t show up and we could ninja the whole thing.  But TEST did show up after a bit with about 40 people.  That was too many for us to hit directly, and they did not seem inclined to come and get us to force a show down, so we each went off to one side of the constellation or the other and hit nodes.

We had gotten there first and eventually go the balance to tilt 90% in our direction.  But they have more links running, and so the number see-sawed between 80% and 95%, slowly working its way in their favor.  It eventually became clear that, unless we got more numbers… and it was past EUTSZ prime time on a Sunday night… the event was eventually going to go to TEST, the question was just how long were we willing to drag this out.  Sitting around running Entosis Links not being as fun as promised, we opted to stand down and end the madness.

There was a final event, a last battle, on Monday night my time where we ran out what forces we could round up in an Ishtar fleet to try and contest a timer in 1L-OEK.  In anticipation Slyce, which owned the system, put up drag bubbles on every gate between H-ADOC and their system, making us take a detour around to another route.

We ended up squaring off on the 1L-OEK gate in Q-GQHN (which gets pronounced Qui-Gon, as in Qui-Gon Jinn) where the numbers were only slightly against us.  We got there first and repaid the route blockage by having everybody with a deployable bubble drop it around the gate, leaving a small mess for the locals to clean up later.

Marlborough

Bubbles on the 1L-OEK gate

When the locals arrived, the fight was very tight, though we were losing a ship now and again as logi tried to keep everybody up and going.  Our work did not go unnoticed, even by our foes.

Pandi Borgia of TEST

Pandi Borgia of TEST

And then Pandemic Legion dropped in on the fight, landing pretty much in our midst.  At that point the requests for shield reps suddenly spiked and the logi pilots got very busy… to the point that I did not notice I had been yellow-boxed again and was soon wandering around in my pod, my Basilisk a wreck in my wake.

At least then I had a moment to survey the battle.  I set my pod to approach a Nestor in the PL fleet, just to get a closer look.

The shiny Nestor in the bunch

The shiny Nestor in the bunch

My sight seeing tour was short lived, as somebody eventually decided to pod me.  That was probably a favor as I didn’t have to try to fly home through bubble-ville, I was sent there directly and without cost.

The battle report shows the slaughter, with us losing 61 of 104 ships, including all but one of the Basilisks.  There are comments on the battle in one thread over at Reddit. (And a comment from Asher about bubbles, the fight, and our deployment goals.)

After that we were done in the south.  Tuesday evening USTZ the first fleet for home formed up.  I only had a Ferox to bring home, having left three Basilisk, three Crucifier, and two Cormorant wrecks behind in Wicked Creek.

We happened to get a fortuitous direct wormhole and the return op should have been very quick, but then CCP was having a problem with one of its ISP connections in London.  This meant that at a couple of points nearly a third of the fleet would drop from the game as we transitioned through a gate, and then would struggle to get back on.  So we spent more time waiting than we did moving.

Sitting on another gate waiting for people to reconnect

Sitting on another gate waiting for people to reconnect

There were moans at the start of the fleet because an Abaddon was along for the ride and was going to slow down our warps.  In the end though, that was less of an issue than the game itself.  Eventually things seemed to clear up and we got everybody to the wormhole.

Approaching the wormhole

Approaching the wormhole

On the far side of the wormhole we were just a half a dozen gates from the current coalition staging station at 3V8-LJ in Pure Blind.  We were soon landing on the station, docking up, and calling it a night.

Landing at 3V8-LJ

Landing at 3V8-LJ

And so ends another Reavers deployment.  Fun and fights were had deep in hostile territory.

I am going to steal one thing from Asher’s Reddit thread on that final fight.  At some point during the deployment we began spamming local now and again with the word “RATKINGBOIS” linked to the character profile of RatKnight1.  This seemed to start while I was off in Vegas, but I joined in when I got back and spammed local with the team and renamed my ship.  Later the word of the day got changed to “FISHKINGBOIS.”

Asher offered up an end of deployment tale on Reddit of where this all came from.

Oh I promised to explain RATKINGBOIS at the end of the deployment to some of the Test guys who were asking – but be forewarned, like I said before, it’s a shitty story: We were going to Test renter space to ref it and it’s kinda far away so it’s a long boring trip, I was looking through my fleet and I saw the name “RatKnight1” which I decided might be the worst name I’ve ever seen, so I asked him if RatKnight without a number was already taken because it’s such a desirable name. Well Mr. RatKnight1 then very earnestly describes how he is the original RatKnight but he lost access to him so he’s got the number now and we all had a good chuckle because he never seemed to grok that we were busting his balls over his terrible name. So the next day someone called us “RATKINGBOIS” because I guess they forgot the actual rank of the rat, he’s only a knight, not a king. And we were earnestly corrected by said Knight about his rank. So it just stuck after that. RatKnight1 seemed to enjoy the notoriety and being the mascot. And then it became FISHKINGBOIS because we were staging in H-ADOC – which sounds like haddock – which is a fish. So, you know, now you can put this on urban dictionary and your mom can look up why your in-joke is soooooo hilarious.

I had gotten the haddock part of the joke, largely because Sadus trolled it regularly on coms.

So deployment complete.  Now there is a rumor of war and an announcement coming tomorrow to indicate where it will be.

While We Were Away…

On the Monday before EVE Vegas the Reavers, along with a couple of other groups, started deploying south to Curse.  With no real war on, and things turning quiet in Pure Blind, NC seeming to slow down and MOA off to greener pastures, the deployment was something to keep us busy.

The ostensible reason for the deployment was to defend the Phoebe Freeport Republic, which had been under assault by TEST.  That was your role play hook, if you needed one.  In reality, it wasn’t like we set standings to blue with PFR.  We just wanted to go brawl with TEST and whoever else we could find.  So we packed up our various doctrine ships and started heading south.

I see at least three doctrines, plus logistical support

I see at least three doctrines, plus logistical support

I actually got in the first move fleet with both my main and my alt each flying a Basilisk, the current favored shield logi.  They work with Tengus, they work with Feroxes, and… hrmm… not sure about Cormorants.

We moved via the usual route, which is to say through wormholes.

Fleet standing off a wormhole waiting for orders

Fleet standing off a wormhole waiting for orders

With battlecruisers and support ships and a couple of carriers along with the usual mix of ships, we were pushing the limits on the wormholes we used.  Our exit hole went critical and collapsed when one of the carriers went through, sending it off into the weeds in the system.  Fortunately, it was also the last ship through so nobody was stuck.  But nobody was going to be following our route or catching up later via that path.

We managed to get to our staging system in Curse and got people setup with setting the station as their home.  There were more move ops to follow and a few ops to start off against TEST, but by the time we got to that point it was time to start packing for EVE Vegas.  I jumped my main and my alt to high sec clones with learning implants and left EVE Online the game behind for almost a week. (According to Raptr I played less than one third as much as usual last week.)

I did, however, have Jabber running on my iPad and could see that ops were being called.  You can see from the latest report over at the Null Sec Updates blog that a series of battles were fought between us and TEST down in “Content Creek” as it has been dubbed. (You might need to scroll down a bit to find links to all of the battle reports.)  We apparently even took the system R4N-LD for a bit, though not everything went our way it seems.

So yesterday afternoon I saw a warning from Asher that we had a timer coming up and an op planned at approximately 23:00 EVE time.  I got myself into game early, clone jumped to our staging system down south, strapped on the Basi, and waited.  Like a few other people, I even got onto voice coms early in anticipation of the upcoming op.  Azure and Argent even put up a fleet just to keep us occupied and to get a pilot count as we waited.  The time designated time came and passed and still we sat and waited.

Then the word came down that there would be no op down south.  Something else had been going on while I was away.  Well, I and apparently a large portion of officers and FCs in The Imperium.  It seems to be a regular occurrence with Fanfest and Vegas, with that group away somebody shows up to take advantage.  This time NC apparently used this opportunity to reinforce things in Pure Blind, so the call was to clone jump back up to the north to join fleets running up there.

Of course, having just jumped both characters, I was out of sync.  But it looks like more timers and more fights possible up in Pure Blind tonight.  And we shouldn’t have too far to travel, as the coalition staging system, 3V8-LJ, if where one of the timers will come out.

So back to space and stabilizing the situation after time away.

Into a Wine-Dark Immensea

The big battle at B-R5RB continues to cause ripples in the war.  The first bit of new that came down after I got home from work was that we are moving staging systems.  We will be bidding farewell to G-0Q86 and all of its lack of charm.  There seems to be universal relief at that.

We will be heading to a CFC owned system deep in the Immensea region.  On the bright side, being in the midst of hostile systems, will ensure that there is plenty of action.

On the down side, the logistics of getting myself and some ships there may be a challenge.  Part of that is because I cannot get back to G-0Q86 in Curse directly, as I am still stuck with my Domi in B-R5RB.  That is actually further into Immensea that our new staging system, yet still far enough away, and with enough hostile systems in between, as to make it very unlikely that I could just fly there using jump gates.

The Situation in Immensea

The Situation in Immensea

Sure, it looks like Nulli Secunda (S2N, or the green systems, on the map) is pulling out of Immensea, but that will likely mean more hostile activity and more danger in the short term.

So it is looking like I have to take a jump clone out of B-R5RB.  But I do not have one back in Curse, because I do not have standing with the NPCs who own the station so I couldn’t dump one there before we headed out for the big op, something I would normally do.  So I have to jump to one of the clones I have scattered about New Eden.  I am glad I trained up so I can have 9 jump clones.

The temptation is to jump back to Deklein, the home I haven’t seen in ages at this point, grab my carrier, which has sat in station since the day I bought it, and try to fly it down to G-0Q86.  Then I could load up my ships and make the jump to the new staging system.   That last bit is the easy part.  Getting down to G-0Q86 is the tricky bit.  I need three station stops in low sec with somebody there to light a cyno at each.  So that will take a bit of doing.

In the mean time, I did manage to contract my backup Domi to my alt, who was able to take it on a convoy to the new staging system.  So I have a Domi waiting for me there.

Getting out of G-0Q86

Getting out of G-0Q86

If needs be, I can fly down in an stealth bomber or an interceptor… isn’t that how I always get down to Curse and beyond… and link up with my Domi that way.  But I have a small pile of ships to deal with in Curse still and Immensea is a step or two further away from where I will have to start.  Everything in EVE Online can be an adventure though.  You just have to accept that you’re going to lose your ship, and then if you happen to get through okay, it feels like a win.

Addendum: And it sounds like Pandemic Legion will be leaving the war in the south in exchange for being allowed to extract assets from B-R5RB.

B-R5RB by the Numbers – CCP Dev Blog Details the Fight

The big fight on Monday is over, but the analysis continues.  CCP, ever the heroes when it comes to providing details about EVE Online, has weighed in with a Dev Blog Post about the Bloodbath at B-R5RB.

You should read it.  It has charts, graphs, a narrative, talk about technical impacts and time dilation, and all sorts of fun stuff about the battle.  This is why we love CCP.

An Avatar doomsday strikes home

An Avatar doomsday strikes home

As a tease, and so I have the numbers to hand going forward, here are some of the details:

  • Around 21 hours of total fighting
  • 7,548 unique characters belonging to those two coalitions participated in the overall battle (i.e. landed on at least one killmail).  6,058 participated directly in the B-R5RB system with 2,670 in system at max
  • This wasn’t the largest single battle in terms of numbers of participants in system at once. That record still belongs to the battle for 6VDT-H, which reached 4,070 pilots in system.
  • 717 unique player Corporations
  • 55 unique player Alliances
  • Titans losses – 75 (74 in system, one on its way to the fight) N3/PL lost 59 titans and CFC/DTF lost 16 titans
  • Titan losses by type: Gallente Erebus – 37, Amarr Avatar – 25, Minmatar Ragnarok – 13, Caldari Leviathan – 0
  • Supercarrier Losses – 13 (12 in system, one as it tried to escape the system)
  • Dreadnought Losses– 370 (356 in system, 14 in connected skirmishes as both sides attempted to stop the other from bringing reinforcements)
  • Carrier Losses – 123 (109 in system, 14 in connected skirmishes as both sides attempted to stop the other from bringing reinforcements)
  • Approximately 775 doomsdays were fired, which is about 24% of all the doomsdays fired in the last two years inclusive. The Battle for HED-GP, which preceded this one in the Halloween War, had about 200 doomsdays.
  • Estimated economic impact: 11 TRILLION ISK.

That is just scratching the surface of what CCP has posted.  Meanwhile, a few other numbers have bubbled up.

So they still have a lot of capital ships to spend in the war… unless, of course, a lot of them in the station at B-R5RB, the loss of which is what set off the battle.

Something missing from all of this that I would love to read: The diplomatic conversation between Nulli Secunda, which dropped the ball on the sov bill and set off the fight, and PL/NC, who were the hardest hit by the fight, at least when ISK is used as a measurement.

Addendum: The Mittani has a good companion post up about the battle that goes into ship costs and sovereignty and other details with an aim to making them understandable.

Eastasia Routed at B-R5RB! 70+ Titans Down!

(Today’s title is a reference to a post about null sec I wrote last week, in case you’re going, ‘Huh?”)

What to say about the fight at B-R5RB?

It was a battle to eclipse Asakai, the capital ship engagement that took place exactly one year before.

It was one of those events that demonstrates the scale of the possible in EVE Online in terms of players involved and resources consumed as well as the time frames required.

The first notification that a fight might be going down was broadcast about 8am PST yesterday when it was reported over at The Mittani that sovereignty dropped on the system B-R5RB after down time.  Nulli Secunda forgot to pay their recurring sovereignty bill (you get a reminder and it pretty much adds up to pressing a button) and so they lost the system.

They set about restoring their sovereignty while Russian and CFC units started poking around to investigate what was going on in what Pandemic Legion and other N3 forces had been using as a staging system for operations in the war in the south east.

If what I heard on coms last night was correct, Lazrus Telraven took the command decision for the CFC to go “all in” on contesting the system.  The fight was on.

I’m going all in.  Get here.

-Lazrus Telraven, convo with Mister Vee

I was at work, done with my morning tea and busy poking away at test application.  These things always seem to start on Euro time while I am at the office.

I checked Twitter throughout the day as EVE-Kill, which tweets every expensive ship loss, and ever super capital makes that grade, called out the losses one by one.  If you want to know when something big is going down in New Eden, that is a Twitter account to follow.

Titan kills kept getting reported all day long as capital fleets piled into the system.  Several live streams were up.  When I finally got home, I checked into the Pandemic Legion stream to see what they were saying.

Pandemic Legion Live from B-R

Pandemic Legion Live from B-R

They were reporting 20 Russian/CFC titans down for 38 N3 titan losses with less than 2,000 people in system.  There was a call for a Dominix fleet about then, so I logged in and joined up.  However, we were left hanging in a POS for quite a while before being dismissed.  There was nobody available to bridge us anywhere, all the titans online were engaged in the fight.  I logged back off and went and had dinner with the family, then watched the Sherlock that got recorded Sunday night.  The wedding episode.  Fun stuff.

After that and a bit of cleaning up I headed back to my computer.  By this point the Pandemic Legion stream had stopped counting losses.

Wait, what?

Wait, what?

When I shoved off earlier it sounded like the fight might be winding down.  There was loose talk about extracting our forces, some of whom had been on for nearly 12 hours at that point.  There was also a call for reinforcements for the Dominix fleet I had left earlier.  A titan had been found to move us around and the fleet had been sent out eventually.  I got back into my Domi and out with some other reinforcements (eluding the Dirt Nap Squad camp in our own staging system) only to be sent off to a system a few jumps from the main fight in order to shoot structures.

Joy.  A structure shoot during the biggest event in a long time.

We were there to try and draw off some of the capital ships that were assisting N3 in the big fight.  This had apparently worked a couple of times previously.  Carriers had been dropped on Domis, or so I was told.   But by the time I was out with the fleet N3 had lost interest in what we were doing.  Eventually Reagalan, our FC, decided that the venture was fruitless and arranged a bridge back to G-0 for us.  The fleet was standing down.

But that was only for a short break.  A new fleet went up on Lyris.  The Mittani himself got on coms to tell us we would be bridging into the fight in B-R5RB.  We were to refit out Domis to have four energy neutralizers in our high slots and get on the titan.  Our job was to drain the capacitors of hostile titans so that their repair modules would cease to function, making them easier to kill.  We were not to launch drones.  Nobody wanted to crash the system at this point… nobody on our side anyway… while there were still at least a dozen titans on the field to kill.

After a short wait, the bridge went up.

And then there was a much longer wait in the warp tunnel to B-R5RB.

Reports were that the system was responding much better than it had been earlier in the day.  Modules were responding to commands within a few seconds and things were generally working.  But time dilation was still at 10% and updates in the UI were sketchy at best.  So riding the bridge into system took quite a while.  I spent 15 minutes in limbo, from the point I selected the “jump through” option to when I was actually up and systems systems functioning in B-R5RB.  Somewhere along the way the system lost track of me and warped me off to a safe spot, so that when I finally loaded I had to endure what I would call a Zeno’s Paradox warp, where the distance to the final destination kept dropping in half, but never seemed to want to finish.  I think I was down to 122 meters until warp bubble collapse before the system finally decided I was there.

And then I was on grid amongst the battle of titans.  The field was a mass of warp disruption bubbles and giant ships.  There were titans strewn about, as the N3 ships were trying to move out of the bubbles to escape.  But each was pinned down.  Meanwhile, hundreds of super carriers, carriers, and dreadnoughts hung about the field, secondary targets when compared to the big fish.  My screen shots are in a gallery after the cut at the end of this post, but they do not do the fight justice.  It was like no other fight I have been in.

But it was time to get to business.  We moved to the first titan on our list, bushy2, and began to neut him down.  Things went slowly.  We drained him and then watched the capital ships burn him down.  We moved on to Chris baileyy.  My capacitor and velocity read-outs in the UI stopped functioning.  We applied neuts as the next target was called, Mandrake Seriya.  Then it was Ryan Coolness, then Needa3, and then Maggy Lycander.  Doomsdays flared from our titans, burning down the drained targets as dreadnoughts and super carriers kept up a constant stream of fire.

In all, from the time I dropped into system to the point of the 6th kill more than two and a half hours had gone by.  It was now midnight my time and 16 hours had passed since the fight started to develop.  It was well past my weeknight bed time.  But what to do?  There was no way I was getting back to G-0 at that point, and I wasn’t keen to stay up until at least downtime, three hours hence.  So I just left myself logged in and following the fleet, turned off the monitor and hit the sack.  What the hell, I got on some titan kills.

When I checked in the morning, I had been logged out for downtime, but there was no kill mail for me, so I appeared to have survived.  My Domi is sitting in B-R5RB waiting for me to log in again.  But there are lots of ships in that state.  Our forces managed to kill the final N3 titan about 90 minutes after I went to bed and then started in on the super carriers until downtime.  And, in looking at the coalition broadcasts, there will be camping and mop-up operations going on for some time to try and catch N3 capital ships as they log back in to try and escape.

You can see the ebb and flow of the fight in the report from DOTLAN.

DOTLAN kills for the last 24 hours

DOTLAN kills for the key 20 hours

There was the initial rush, the mid-period when the system was at its slowest, then as things started to thin and the Russian/CFC forces started to get the upper hand, the kills increased until downtime, which is the red bar.  And then kills resumed.

Or kills tried to resume.  Today is also the Rubicon 1.1 patch, which appears to have broken any number of things.  There are reports of friendly stations shooting people and CONCORD issues and all sorts of fun things… because CCP.  We shall see which side all of that favors, if any.

And what does all this mean?   This wasn’t the biggest fight in terms of people involved or total ships killed, I think 6VDT-H still wins there, but it surely must be the most expensive fight in the history of the game.  CCP put up a coy tweet about the total titan losses.

That is 75 titans down in one day, each one of which cost at least 100 billion ISK.  Some of them were more than double that, when fit with officer modules.  I think, over the last seven years, I might have had a total of maybe 10-12 billion ISK all combined, so for me that is a staggering amount of destruction.  Call it at least a 7.5 trillion ISK day as an opening estimate.  I am sure CCP will roll out the stats as soon as they can.  In the mean time, they are in there with an offer to help rebuild!  Expect prices in Jita to go up on speculation alone.

As CCP_Fozzie asked, "Too soon?"

As CCP_Fozzie asked, “Too soon?”

And now the post-battle has begun, as people try to figure out what really happened in that 20 hour stretch in New Eden.  There will be lots of reports in the gaming press and even the mainstream press I am sure.  There will be a crazy, nothing to do with reality, dollar amount attached to the losses in this battle.  Some links so far:

Massively remains oddly absent from the list of sites covering this.  If I got all my news from them, I’d think it was just another ho-hum week in space.  Even my local paper is ahead of them.

As for what it means to the three big null sec coalitions… I don’t know.  I imagine that NC and Pandemic Legion have enough reserves that this won’t hurt them too badly in the long term.  They will rebuild.  In the shorter term, their ability to project power and drop supers onto fights has been diminished.  We will see how that plays out.

And for me, well, I am on six titan kill mails and I saw another giant battle.  Good enough for me!

Screen shot gallery after the cut.

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The Long Wait for the NS2L-4 Incursion Fleet

Another moment of opportunity.  I missed a fleet call early in the evening, but happened to sit down at my computer just as a broadcast went out from Reagalan for a Harpy fleet with the hook:

This is going to be funny . . . Seriously, join this fleet, if it gets 100 dudes there’s gonna be something hilarious, Hilariously hilarious.

Hilarious works.  The time in-game happened to be 03:37 when the message went out.

I logged in and realized I didn’t have a Harpy handy.  No problem, there were a bunch up on contract, so I just bought one, jumped in it, insured it… since hilarious pretty much requires bloodshed… and sat waiting for the word to undock.  Finally, Rudazara gave the word to undock and warp to the titan that would bridge us out.  I popped out of the station with about 100 other Harpies and warped to the person indicated in fleet, only to realize, just as I entered warp, that all of the modules on this fresh Harpy were offline.  Somebody else mentioned the same thing in coms, so it was a quick U-turn for a couple of us back to the station to quickly online everything.  Then back out to the titan for a short wait until the bridge went up.

Bridge up for Harpy Fleet

Bridge up for Harpy Fleet

Things moved along and inside of 25 minutes we had formed up, bridged out, and were sitting on a gate out in Immensea waiting for the word on what was going to happen.

And we waited.  And waited.

Eventually Reagalan passed along the word that we had intel that an N3 fleet consisting of Domis, Ishtars, Onerioses, and Guardians, was running an incursion in NS2L-4 and that we were there to catch them after they finished up.

Only they were not finishing up very quickly.  The command site they were doing was taking a lot longer than anybody seemed to think it should.

Eventually we poked our nose into the system and even took the warp gate into the first area of the site to see what was going on.  Then we moved over to an adjacent system with the plan to catch them leaving when they were done… whenever that was.

We formed up on the anchor and flew around the gate waiting for something to happen.

Finally, just past the 90 minute mark since the call went out for the fleet, we moved back into range of the gate to NS2L-4 and held.  Then Rudazara gave us the word and we jumped in, interdictors heading to the hostiles to bubble them up.  We were warped to the action and started targeting the hostile logistics.  And the same time a Black Legion Zealot fleet jumped in as well and started tearing into the N3 fleet as well.  Then it was just a matter of shooting the targets as they were called.

There were, of course, issue.  The EVE-kill related kills list is a mess because we ended up shooting Black Legion and they ended up shooting at us on occasion, so the sides are completely intermingled.  I tried to clean it up using the Battle Summary Doctor. (I think I got that mostly right.  I know the big names, but I am rubbish when it comes to the smaller alliances.)  That summary shows we ended up popping more than twice as many ships as we lost… 49 killed for 20 of ours down… and that we lost some relatively inexpensive ships compared to what we killed.  I will call that a clear win.

And then it was time for a swift retreat.  We headed back to G-0Q86 via gates, avoiding any retribution (and the potential gaze of Black Legion now that our cooperative operation was over), only running into a drag bubble one just one jump out from our base, which caught a couple of people before the sole proprietor of the bubble was chased off.

In the end it was a long wait, but a fair ration of kills pays for a lot of hanging about on gates.  Most of an expensive incursion fleet killed, hilarious indeed.

And the usual share of snap shots from the battle after the cut.

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Drone Assist Slaughter at BW-WJ2

I have been shirking my responsibilities in EVE Online of late.  With the return to Azeroth and the sudden burst of enthusiasm from the instance group I have been allocating most of my gaming time to World of Warcraft.

And, honestly, it is easy enough to do that.  WoW, being the PvE solo-friendly world that it is, is always ready with something to do… so long as you are up for that sort of thing.  Interstellar space wars in EVE Online on the other hand do not necessarily work with your schedule.  Just because you have a block of time doesn’t mean that anything will be going on, and I hate to clone jump back to Deklein to rat or mine because that will lock me out of action in Curse for a 20 hour stretch.  So the last few weeks have been mostly about skill training and reading about battles I missed.

Finally on Sunday, with a chunk of free time, I decided I would drop into whatever fleet was announced, so long as I could get into an appropriate ship.  I was rewarded with a directorbot announcement almost immediately.

so I literally just woke up to find 500 people on mumble and shit happening, idk what shit but i wanna kill it. DOMIS on Reagalan – Op 1 – STRATOP – get in fleet let’s goooooooooooooo

Dominix fleet.  I had an appropriately fit Domi at our staging station in G-0Q86 (as well as an incorrectly fit one, which I have to fix at some point), so was able to join the fleet right away.  The situation, as described, sounded similar to the last fleet I actually flew out with, back at E-YJ8G nearly a month ago.  There were Slowcats on grid, things were bubbled, supers were arriving, and we were going to go add our weight to the fight.  Sounded like another node crash in progress to me, but what the hell.  Every fleet is its own story in New Eden.  We stacked up our potato fleet on the titan and waited for the bridge.

Dominix - The opposite of sleek

Dominix – Makes the Erebus look sleek

I am not sure where the actual capital fight went down.  We bridged out, and started to move in that direction until we made it to BW-WJ2.  At that point we held up as there was a report of a Nulli Secunda fleet laying in wait for us.  We sat for a while at the XVV-21 gate in BW-, aligned towards the S4-9DN gate waiting for the word as to whether we would go forward or retire.  Eventually the decision was made to turn around and head back as the route was going to be too hot.  Reagalan warped the fleet to a point in space not too far out so we could all turn around and warp directly to the XV gate.

However, some people missed the fleet warp and warped directly to the S4 gate instead.  The S4 gate had hostiles on both sides of it and it seemed sure that those we went there would be lost.  Some who warped there jumped through the gate into S4 in one of those “there is no situation so bad that you cannot make it worse” moves.  Reagalan, in a moment of compassion, decided to warp to the S4 gate to try and rescue those who had at least remained in system.  This was a 49 AU warp in 10% time dilation, in battleships, which is one of those “everybody is clear for a bio” times, as that takes a while.

As the gate came into view those landing first reported that the hostiles had apparently come through the gate and there was essentially a sizable cruiser fleet sitting, freshly arrived and embarrassingly far from the gate, just waiting for us to slaughter.  Rather than a rescue mission, Reagalan called for bubbles to trap the cruisers, for us to drop drones and assign them to him, and for everybody to start neuting any logistics so that reps would be unavailable to the hostiles.

The last 4K kilometers to the gate had to be the longest I have ever experienced.  When you are there, you see the bubbles up, you have instructions to follow, and targets are waiting to be destroyed, waiting for your ship to finish up its warp so you can start is like watching the kettle, waiting for it to boil.  The mere act of staring at it makes the whole experience seem to stretch out beyond all reason.

Eventually the universe relented.  I dropped out of warp, launched drones, assigned them, and then locked onto that one Onerios in the hostile fleet to apply my neuts in order to drain the energy from his capacitor.  Me and most everybody else in the fleet chose the same target.  I am sure his capacitor went dry pretty quickly… or as quickly as it could in 10% tidi.  The reddish beams in the picture below are energy neutralizers working on him.

He's still repping...

He’s still repping… or being repped

Slowly but surely Reagalan moved from target to target, popping one after another while our own logistics kept us all alive.  Ships that jumped through into S4 were able to come back and join the fleet in its slaughter.  The enemy fleet quickly decided that they needed to leave and began either heading towards the edge of the bubbles or towards the gate to jump out.  It became something of a scamble to hold and pop as many as we could.  Our one-sided battle began to wrap up as hostiles disappeared, either escaping or being destroyed.  A spike on the system graphs at DOTLAN marks our time there.

Our time in BW-WJ2

Our time in BW-WJ2

The EVE-Kill listing for the clash shows that we blew up quite a few ships.  37 cruisers and a smattering of other ships gone, along with a couple of golden pods.

We did not have much time to celebrate our victory though.  The word at that point was that a Nulli Secunda bomber fleet was headed our way to take us out.  We were told to pull in drones and align towards the XVV-21 gate.

During the fight I had managed to wander off my sentry drones, which are immobile when dropped, so went to move back towards them as we got set.  When moving the camera around for screen shots, clicking in space will sometimes set your ship in motion.  I did not realize that my drones were positioned in such a way that I would end up heading the opposite direction as everybody else in the fleet, which made me the idiot of the moment as people got mad at me for bumping them.  My camera was zoomed out far enough that I didn’t even notice my ship moving that way until people began complaining.  Still, I managed to scoop my drones and get aligned myself before Reagalan fleet warped us to the XV gate, so nobody was harmed by my transgression.

From there it was a race, with a pack of fat happy battleships running away from a fleet of stealth bombers looking to get in some hits of their own.  There were a couple of points where the hostiles were appearing through a jump gate as we were warping off to the next one.  That isn’t really a viable position for a stealth bomber, unless they want to chance taking their own bomb in the teeth.  We kept moving back through Catch to Derelik to Curse, where we were able to catch a bridge from an allied titan back to our starting point in G-0Q86.

The fleet stood down at that point, which was good as my chunk of free time was coming to an end.  Further fleets went out later, though so far as I heard there was no node crash because of too many drones in play.  And I did managed to get in a fleet and on the kill board for the month.  So mission accomplished there and I can tell my CEO I did something in December.

More snapshots of our trip to BW-WJ2 after the cut.

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Node Crash at E-YJ8G

So, today was another 10% tidi slugfest involving a series of unfortunate escalations culminating in CCP proving once again they have almost no clue how to balance a game, let alone make it function. Over 100 hostile carriers and dozens of hostile supers escaped our thousand-strong subcap horde via a crashed node, which seems to be the only strategy the N3zis have that works consistently. As a consolation prize we got to execute about 50 or so tech 3 ships.

Original broadcast from Reagalan

Well, on the upside, I got into my first big fleet action of the Curse campaign.  A battle brewed up in E-YJ8G when hostile capital ships were tackled.  The wider story is available here.

On the downside, things followed the now predictable course of events.

We poured subcaps into the system to stomp the carriers.  N3 dumped reinforcements in to save carriers.  We dropped dreadnoughts in to push up the damage.  The dropped in super caps.  The numbers in local kept climbing, not helped by the fact that we’re still abusing the whole drone assist thing with our Dominix fleet doctrine.  Time dilation, which wasn’t so bad when there were only 600 people in the system dropped to the usual 10% when the number passed a thousand and our Dominix fleet got on grid and joined the fight.  Somewhere past 1200 people in local the system started behaving like it did at KW-I6T, with people doing things without actual result.  And, well, the whole thing went poof on us.

E-YBadMessage

Yeah, that is never a good sign.

Also on the downside list, just before the system went non-responsive my shiny new Dominix got called as primary by the hostile carrier FC and I started taking fire.

Taking fire

Taking Bouncer fire

I actually called for armor and the fleet logi team started to reinforce me.  But in the lag, it took the hostiles a while to all focus on me, so it looked like I had been saved for a bit and the logis moved on to the next call.  And then fire began to rain down on me and my ship wasn’t long for the battle.  Look at all those Bouncer drones hitting me.

If only they had waited another minute, because once they got my pod targeted, the system started misbehaving.  My pod took dozens of hits without registering any damage.

The invincible pod

The invincible pod

Semi-safe and the system clearly headed for a fall, I used my remaining time to move the camera around and take screen shots.  I am ever the tourist.  Then the error message above came up and most of us were thrown out of the game.  After that it was the wait, staring at my portrait on the new login screen, for the system to recover and let us back it.

Looks dramatic in Black & White

Looks dramatic in Black & White

Once in, some passer-by in an Ares popped my popped my pod, which at least saved me the trouble of flying home.  Then it was time for a break at my end.  Dinner was at hand and I was figuring out where to file for my reimbursement.  But the fight went one, at least on a smaller scale.  As noted in the initial quote, we got to pop some tech 3 ships.  Then it was working on the withdrawl from Catch back to our home base in Curse.

While the result of piling people into a system isn’t much of a shock at this point… Garth was mocking null sec about it recently… I am starting to wonder if it could start being an official “how to save your tackled capital ships” strategy.

Anyway, as noted, I had time to take some screen shots.  Lots of capital ships and our Dominix fleet, along with the new graphics for the various forms of warp bubbles.  All after the cut.

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A Return to Curse

On reading about our new deployment, my first thought was along the lines of “Didn’t I just get the hell out of Curse?”

It wasn’t as though our gate camp deployment down there was bad.  It just seemed like more of a training exercise than a mission with some concrete end goals.  And given the proximity of Curse to my various caches of ships and supplies, it seemed like we could have gone elsewhere for training.

New Eden Simplified

My stuff vs. Curse

Even after the big battle at KW-I6T, when our fleet headed for “home” in Curse, I preferred to take my chances solo and head back to Deklein.

But when the call came I still packed myself up and headed down there via my now well worn route.  I even did so with some enthusiasm.  You see, there is a war on.

Headed on down to Curse again...

Headed on down to Curse again…

Granted, it isn’t our war, but you make due with what you have.  According to the GSF CEO update, the core group of the Russians have managed to set aside their differences and have allied to take on the N3 coalition holding the east of the New Eden, which includes Northern Coalition, Pandemic Legion, Nulli Secunda, and some more Russians.

And our role in this?  We aren’t taking sides or flagging anybody blue.  But we do have an agenda.

We are now going to do to NCdot and their friends in N3 exactly what they did to us in Fountain. We are going to be ‘honourable third parties’ in this war and make their lives and their gameplay hell. At every turn where they complain on the forums about how we are ruining their ‘good fights’ and ‘blobbing’, we will remind them with a sweet, false smile that this is exactly what they tried and failed to do to us.

The plan appears to be to drop on in any of the fights that crop up between the warring parties (like those at KW-I6T and L7ZS-5) to shoot N3 or, when fights are not available, to drop into N3’s backfield to sew terror and discord with their renters by sweeping them from space, attacking their structures, and generally being pains in their collective asses.  For this our forward base at G-0Q86 in Curse is pretty well situated.

Curse, in the midst of the troubles

Curse, in the midst of the troubles

And since this was to be an official CFC deployment to Curse (except for at least one alliance, which seems to be devoted to knocking off systems at the north end of the N3 coalition while the battles are happening in the south), logistical support could be expected.  I just had to get myself down there and buy a few doctrine ships on contract… the mix looks to be Siege Fleet stealth bombs, Dominix Fleet, and Prohpecy Fleet, which both my main and my alt can fly in… and wait for fleet ops to be announced.  And there were fleet ops running almost right away and all through the weekend.

I was fortunate in that my alt still had a jump clone down in Curse and a Harpy in the station with it, so he just had to jump and get over to G-0.  This was actually a bit risky, but he made it, docked up in the station in G-0 with the medical offices, set his death clone to there, and then warped over to the other station where we are staging.  Why we aren’t using the station with the medical facilities to stage seems like a pertinent question.  The official response I have so far is, “because we’re idiots.”

Then I just had to get Wilhelm down there.  I grabbed the last stealth bomber I had handy in Deklein and took the usual route into high sec then back to into null sec through the Great Wildlands.

That orange nebula south of Hek

That orange nebula south of Hek

I managed to make it through unmolested late on Sunday night.  I did hit a couple of active systems with a few people running around in them, but I just waved in local and they waved back.  I am going to guess that they were ratting or some such and were thus as uninterested in a fight as I was.

Anyway, I got through, did the clone thing, got myself set up with some doctrine ships, and am now ready for whatever operations might be in store.

Of course, I am wondering if I should have invested much in such ships.  The Rubicon expansion drops tomorrow.  CCP already has their mile-long list of patch notes posted, as well as dev blogs going into detail about balancing ship and modules, warp speed changes, mobile structures, and all sorts of other things.  And such updates tend to change the way wars are fought in null sec.  So next week we might be swapping out to an interdictor and interceptor only fleet doctrine or some such.  We shall see.

But I am in Curse again and ready to go.