Tag Archives: Dawn Rhea

24 Weeks of World War Bee

We are at week 24 of the war proper, having started officially back on July 5th, but it has been a full six months since the invaders were caught out in their plans and the two week count down to the start began, so I am celebrating six months of writing about World War Bee.  Compare that to the Fountain War back in 2013, which covered just two months, or the Casino War, which started in earnest in February 2016, had us in Saranen by mid April, and in Delve come July.  And we’re not done yet.

This week saw an address by Progodlegend to Legacy and TEST where he both said the war was pretty much a foregone conclusion and that we will all soon begin to abandon the Imperium.  The Initiative attacking in Catch was held up as a prime example of the Imperium collapsing.  Once the war is over Legacy will lay claim to both its old territory, such Esoteria, which they previously said they were abandoning for Delve, as well as Delve, Querious, Period Basis.

Basically, all they need to do is wrap up the Imperium pockets in 1DQ1-A and E3OI-U and they’re done, the war is over.  Those will be the last big fights of the war.  The timeline for that, however, is fairly vague.  Progodlegend says the will come very soon at one point and maybe in  a couple more months elsewhere.  Goons being driven from the game is assumed in there somewhere.

Pandemic Horde had a town hall meeting last week as well, where they distanced themselves from the Vily message of driving Goons from the game.  They are just in it to damage the Imperium economically.  They seem less patient when it comes to assaulting 1DQ1-A and E3OI-U, suggesting if the current strategy wasn’t working in the first few weeks of December that they might try something different.  Also, the second pass on Fountain has been seen to be something of a wasted effort which will likely not continue.

On the comedy front, there was this 5.3 billion ISK Vince Draken pod that got caught trying to slip through Delve in a covert ops frigate.

Delve Front

The Delve front saw quite a bit of action.  Also, that metaliminal storm has found its way into NPC Delve, keeping people from cloaking in the systems marked around it.

Delve – Dec. 20, 2020

The Imperium strategy of retaking ihubs before the 35 timer runs down and allows PAPI to cyno jam the system has not been working out for us.  We were not able to retake the ihub for NOL-M9 as they were able to put many more people on the field to defend it that we would manage.  NOL-M9 now has a cyno jammer setup and the Keepstar there seems likely to be destroyed this week.

PAPI titans at the armor timer shoot

A similar fate seems likely for the Keepstar in D-W7F0, where PAPI also holds the ihub.

The strategy, or that aspect of it which I can see, appears to have moved to preventing enotsis ops on the ihubs that remain in our hands where Keepstars remain.  This had led to a number of fierce skirmishes, like the ones that have happened around 5-CQDA.

Battle Report Header

The other twist that has been coming up more recently is forcing PAPI to choose between objectives.  PAPI can put enough pilots in Delve to force an objective there, but a simultaneous timer elsewhere, like Catch, will be lost because they had to make the choice.

Catch Front

This week I am elevating the Catch region to have its own category as it remains the most active theater outside of Delve and is the place where Legacy is being forced to make choices.

Legacy came back and reinforced the staging Fortizar of The Initiative, but were distracted by a Delve objective that allowed The Initiative to put down a backup Fortizar in their staging in 0SHT-A.  The odd thing was that, when the final timer came up for the original Fortizar, Legacy started to commit to it, lost a bunch of ships to The Initiative, then stood down, losing both the objective and the ISK war.

That left The Initiative with two Fortizars in 0SHT-A after the fight.

Meanwhile, ihubs in Catch, and even next door in Immensea, have been falling.  We took the DY-P7Q ihub and then blew up the no longer operational Ansiblex jump gate and Pharolux cyno beacon on the grid with the Keepstar anchored there.

The Ansiblex blowing up, taking over a billion ISK in fuel with it

The Initiative now holds the ihub and TCU for HED-GP, the gateway system into the region from high sec.

And, as Progodlegend said, Imperium SIGs have been active in Catch as well.  Asher, accused of abandoning the war to hide in Catch, had gathered up the Reavers SIG to deploy out to 0SHT-A along with The Initiative, so I have been out there some myself.  We have been shooting structures… like the two above… as well as doing some of our own entosis work.  Not bad for a “30 man SIG.”  (We have Dawn Rhea of Theta Thursdays with us as well, so add at least one woman to the total.)

Popping a node during an entosis event

Things do not look so bad for Legacy when you look at the map of Catch right now.

Catch – Dec. 20, 2020

They have taken back some ihubs, including the one at 4-07MU, which connects to Querious.  But having lost them, they have to wait 35 days after restoring them before they can install Ansiblex jump gates to restore their easy travel routes.  Instead they either have to gate, use titan bridges, or jump clone between Delve and Catch.

Furthermore, rumor has it that The Watchmen alliance, which holds a large section of Catch for Legacy, is about to fold up shop and disband.  That would set quite a few systems back to the 35 day clock before they can be used for travel infrastructure.

Other Theaters

Despite Progodlegend declaring the Esoteria efforts a failure, citing The Initiative’s move to Catch as evidence, the groups remaining down there, The Bastion, Ferrata Victrix, and the Stain Russians who hate TEST, have continued to make a nuisance of themselves.  They have pushed back on The Army of Mango’s attempt to assert itself in the region and have expanded to hacking new systems.

NW Esoteria – Dec. 20, 2020

Then there is Querious, which is largely a dead zone as both sides have tired of planting new ihubs in the region.

Querious – Dec. 20, 2020

A range of systems remain empty while those still occupied by Brave continue to be assailed, meaning Brave has to deal with entosis events both here and in Catch.

And then in Fountain, as noted above, the PAPI invasion has pretty much ceased, with NCDot left holding a single ihub in LBGI-2 for now.

My Participation

I was able to jump in on a few ops, including two fights in 5-CQDA, including the one mentioned above.  I was also off on a few side missions over in Catch.  I ended up losing a few ships, including two Malediction interceptors that were used for burst jamming in one fight (the hostiles love that), a Scimitar in another fight, an Atron entosis frigate, and a Drake.

Probably the most amusing fight was in Catch on Saturday night when we landed on a gate with a Maller gang fit with smart bombs who were looking for ESS banks to rob.  We murdered them.

Murder report header

The one ship of ours they got was a Griffin ECM frigate.  Otherwise they were tackled and blown up.  In that quick clash I somehow managed to get the final blow on five of them with my sentry drones, which gave me a nice little line of five kill marks on my Ishtar.

5 orange kill marks in the upper left on my Blaze SKIN Ishtar

I do not think I have ever had a hull last long enough to earn five kill marks.

Anyway, my losses for the war so far now are as follows:

  • Ares interceptor – 12
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Malediction interceptor – 4
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 2
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Scimitar logi – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

CCP did a Fireside Chat on Twitch with CCP Burger and CCP Hellmar where they mentioned, among other things, that more than 1.9 million new players had logged into EVE Online in 2020, a number greater than the previous three years combined.

That seems like amazing news, though the fact that the online numbers peaked back in April and have been slowly sliding down as the year has begun to fade suggests that CCP has not solved the player retention problem they brought up at EVE North back in 2019.

The CSM 14 summit meeting minutes had a list of priorities that were:

  1. Stop the bleeding
  2. Fix the stupid
  3. Excite and teach
  4. Incentivize return

It feels like they haven’t really addressed the first point yet as 1.9 million people have poured into the game this year and apparently right back out again.  This number of new players was so huge that I had to check to see if they were including EVE Echoes in their count, but EVE Echoes has claimed more than 2 million players on its own, so I couldn’t tell you where those 1.9 million went.

And that brings us to this week’s peak concurrent user number, which was down again.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)

That is now the low water mark for the war, with even the holiday events and the Luminaire snowball fight failing to entice people into the game.

Related

Robbing Some Space Banks

I mentioned in Tuesday’s post the introduction of the newly revised and now mandatory Encounter Surveillance System that was foisted on null sec with this months update.  There was a whole dev blog about it if you want to read up on it.

To me the whole thing seemed silly in that familiar way when CCP introduces a contrived mechanic and their expectations as to our behavior appear unrealistic.

To put it simply, when you rat in null sec now about a third of your bounty payments go into the ESS “bank.”  The ESS runs on a cycle where it will pay that out every three hours.  The timer is for everybody, so if you just missed it you’re waiting the whole time (though you do not have to be logged on to get paid), and if your tick hits just before it pays out, you get paid right away.

The ESS bank is in deadspace behind an acceleration gate, so you can warp directly to it, and inside of a warp disruption bubble that keeps people from warping or cloaking and from using MWDs or MJDs.  You also cannot light a cyno or set off a filament.  Afterburners are okay, and once you are out of the bubble, which is 75km in diameter and centered on the bank, you can warp off.

Also, the acceleration gate will only let in cruisers, battlecruisers, and battleships, which narrows down the options and keeps little fast things from zipping in to do the steal.

I have already seen people working on min/max ideas for both defending and attacking the ESS bank.  This what players in EVE Online do, and some winning tactic will emerge soon enough and CCP will either make changes that will simply start the search over again or ignore it an that is the way things will be.

Since I don’t really rat, I can sit on the outside and admire the solutions players craft, and I was treated to a trial run Wednesday night.  Asher pinged out to Reavers that he wanted to go out and try stealing some ESS bank loot.  I was down with that, as I wanted to see how the whole thing really worked.

He had some fits for us to buy and use and the plan was to use a Needljack Signal filament to yeet us into hostile space… which is pretty much all out null sec for us these days… so we could go find some banks to rob.  We undocked, grouped up on Asher, and off we went.

Y is for “Yeet!”

We ended up out in Tenerifis, Legacy Coalition territory.  There we had to go find a bank worth robbing.

In what I consider a great injustice, the search function for finding ESS banks is in The Agency, and interface not commonly used out in null sec.  It is like CCP was trying to hide it from us.  Fortunately we had Dawn Rhea with us, who actually does some high sec stuff that uses The Agency, so she was able to search for some close by banks while some of us were still figuring out where to find this functionality.

The Agency -> Encounters -> Electronic Surveillance System

That will give you some details and you can narrow your search using several parameters.

Dawn had a system for us, so off we went to get it.

Flying through Tenerifis

Every system in null sec now has a little bit of the UI devoted to the ESS.

all about the bank

Near the top you can see the bounty risk modifier, which is part of the Dynamic Bounties feature also introduced on Tuesday,  At the bottom is the ESS info, which shows you how much money is in the bank.  The aqua colored bar is a visual indicator as to how long before the next payout is due.  When it fills up, it is payout time.

The location of the ESS acceleration gate shows up on your overview if you have beacons set to show.  Likewise, the acceleration gate is just another of a class already around, so no new adjustments need be made.

Overview viewed

You just warp to the beacon, take the acceleration gate, and you’re sent into the big bubble around the ESS.  That, however, is a new item that you will need to add to your overview.

The bank revealed

Once you spot it, somebody has to get within 10km of it.  Then you can right click on it… or on its icon in the overview if you have added it there… and select the Access ESS option.  From there you get the ESS window, which shows you the details.

Somebody is robbing the bank

The main bank is what you can rob.   The reserve bank has yet to be made accessible by CCP.

In that window you click on the “Link” button… why link?  I don’t know.  CCP being CCP… and that starts the theft.  You then have to wait for a five minute timer before you get the loot.  If you’re not the one doing the stealing, you get that nice, small red count down bar.

When it starts, the system owners and anybody in the system gets an alert pop up that the bank is being robbed.

We’re stealing, not intruding

Up on the main UI the attempted theft is note, indicating who is doing the stealing.

Theft in progress

In our case Merkelchen, head of KarmaFleet and CSM member, was our test case.

You will note that the ESS interfaces indicates that the bank is 70% “convertable.”  That means, in robbing the bank, you only get 70% of the value of what is in the bank.  Furthermore, it is paid out in bonds of specific denominations that need to be taken to CONCORD stations to redeem.

We had 18 people in the fleet to do the robbing, which meant that the locals in Tenerifis, who were few and far between, let us get away without our theft.

After a couple of runs there we used another filament which sent us up north.  We rolled into Vale of the Silent and robbed some more banks.  I took a turn at a smaller total that appeared in a bank we had just looted just to try it out.  I got to see the UI timer you get when you’re the one doing it.

Now I am the robber

The main difference is that as the one doing the intrusion you get a larger time that isn’t red.  I kind of like the small red one better, but whatever.  I also got my name up in the UI.

The big score

A ratting tick hit while I was waiting on the timer, so the total went up to 8 million ISK before it was done, boosting my haul.

Bank successfully robbed!

I was in the system alone with five ratters and nobody came to get me.

The bonds come in standard denominations (you can see them on the market if you search for “bond”) that add up to the amount you’ve stolen.

New Eden bearer bonds

five 1 million bounty bonds, six 100K bounty bonds, and three 10K bounty bonds will get me 5.63 million ISK when I go turn them in.

After getting the easy bits in Vale, we used another filament to jump to another area.  Over time we jumped about, ending up in Omist, Malpais, and The Kalevala Expanse, and finally Oasa.

It wasn’t until we got to Oasa that the locals really began to get feisty.  We had a couple of supercarriers on a gate and a Sabre bubble us, but Oasa was where the real fun began.

You might recognize Oasa from the Monthly Economic Report.  It is the home of Fraternity and is the crab capital of New Eden currently, topping the charts for bounties and null sec mining.  They are serious about their ISK and the did not like us showing up in their space.  On starting to rob a bank there with 357 million ISK, they started jumping right in with us.

Locals came to fight

Our fleet had numbers, but not enough firepower to burn down a couple of marauders.

We got out of the bubble and ran off to another nearby system where the bank had 120 million ISK and was very close to payout.  We started the robbery and setup to pop anybody who warped in prematurely.

There was less than five minutes on the clock for payout, but we found that if you’re in the middle of a robbery, the payout is suspended.  You can start an intrusion with fewer than five minutes on the clock.

The bank has a hold on that payment

We managed to blow up a couple of eager pilots, including a Cynabal that came for us, but the locals quickly piled on.  We lost a couple of ships on the way out, including Asher, at which point Tom Flood took over.  We ran from the locals for a few gates, heading towards Venal, waiting for our timers to run down so we can use another filament.

We had been out for a while at that point, and had said that any filament that got us close to home would be the end of the op, but they kept pulling us deeper and deeper into hostile space.  This last filament was no exception.

The filament lined us up on landing

There was, however, a Thera wormhole not too far from where we were.  We flew to that and jumped through just as it collapsed of old age.  Most of us docked up in Thera to call it a night.

The next day the EVE Scout site said there was a wormhole from Thera straight to Delve, so I took that using their shared bookmark library in-game and was safely back in 1DQ1-A in almost no time.  I am not very adept with wormholes, but EVE Scout makes it easy.

Home with my bonds, I realized I probably should have first taken one of the wormholes to high sec and dropped off the bonds for an alt to pick up, but I am not sure I’ll miss that big 5.6 million ISK payout.

But now I can said I’ve robbed a bank in EVE Online.  I’m not sure if that is the way it works in GTA V, but it can still lead to a bit of conflict… up until somebody figured out how to defend the ESS with smart bombing battleships or rail tengus or something else that will pop people coming in to steal.