Tag Archives: DBRB

First Day of Null Sec Blackout Roam

Everybody seemed to have a plan for the first day of the null sec local blackout.

Well, not everybody.

One question I heard fairly often was about whether chat was broken again because nobody was in local.  No matter how far and wide you think the word has been spread nor how much build up any change to the game has, there will always be a significant percentage of the population that won’t get the memo.

But at least various groups had plans.  And the plans seemed to mostly involve roaming into other null sec areas looking for targets.  I saw a ping for a DBRB interceptor fleet seeking to roam far across null sec and, about an hour later, a ping for an armor assault frigate fleet under Silvana Cadelanne.  Those two fleets were connected, but I didn’t know that when I joined the second.

Armor assault frigates, usually a Retribution/Wolf/Enyo mix in the main line, means getting out one of my lesser flown logi ships, the Thalia.

Thalia sitting on tether ready to go

I don’t get to undock this guppy-shaped tech II Navitas variant because we tend to fly Harpy fleet more often.  But this time I was able to clean up this ship, long languishing in a dark corner of my hangar in 1DQ1-2.  I could have bought a Deacon, the Amarr logi frigate, but it is seriously one of the most awkward looking ships in the game.  There are some lines I cannot cross.

Silvana Cadelanne got us undocked and headed via Ansiblex jump gates towards TEST space.  We gated out was into their space through the strange quietness of silent local, doubly weird in any location where Dreddit might be recruiting.

Assault frigates over a gas giant

But we were not there for TEST or Brave or anybody else in the south.  We were there for a wormhole that sent us into the Metropolis region.  There we headed towards Geminate.  However, arriving there, the FC informed us that our plan… which was to link up with DBRB’s fleet in order to assist in taking down a titan or a super or something… had been thwarted by DBRB lighting off after some distant target with his interceptors.

We were in Geminate already, so the FC decided we ought to do something, with “a blaze of glory” being mentioned as a possible plan.  He did seem a bit nonplussed at the lack of Pandemic Horde activity in Geminate, though he had been drinking and had likely forgotten that PH had moved to The Kalevala Expanse.  With that straightened out, we headed towards TKE looking for trouble.

Bubbles on the gate into TKE

We slipped into the region and went straight for their staging in R1O-GN.  Uncloaking there, in full sight of their Keepstar, and taking a few pot shots at people close by, it became a question as to what we should get up to while the locals figured out what to do about us.  Then somebody spotted an abyssal signature… the in-space indicator that marks somebody running an abyssal pocket will exit… and we decided to hang out on that.  Maybe we would get a Gila kill.

On the abyssal marker

As we anchored up and flew around the marker, the locals began to stir.  An Abaddon first landed near us, which gave us our first target.  From that point forward the fight was on.  Hostiles began warping in on us and we were suddenly very busy

Fight on! Enemy Keepstar just visible at the bottom of the screen shot

What came about was an odd bit of asymmetrical warfare.

The locals began piling on us with everything to hand, from frigates to carriers and dreadnoughts, looking to stomp us with sheer weight of numbers.

Some of the closer hostiles on my overview

However, this kitchen sink fleet composition was coming at us in dribs and drabs and was not coordinating their effort.  That meant that our fleet, unified in doctrine and taking targets from the FC, was able to inflict quite a bit of damage relative to our numbers on the field.  For several minutes our assault frigates were able to skate around the battlefield taking down targets while our logi was saving people and each other.  Being in the logi wing then was a very busy time.

That advantage was fleeting however and, as more and more hostiles landed on us, they began to get their act together and focus on the logi.  They seemed more eager to pop the Deacons than my Thalia, and soon I was the last logi left.  I had all reps on the FC, who was now primary for many of the locals, when he warped us out.  That came just in time for me.

Entering warp in structure is always fun

The FC’s ship blew up even as we were warping.  Our moment of glory had passed.  It was time to get out if we could.

The FC directed us to warp to the “QG” gate.  However, R1O-GN is one of those systems that has exit gates to two systems with very similar names. (There is one system where two adjacent systems that start with the same three letters, which always causes confusion.)  We were close to the “GQ” gate when he said that, so people asked if he was sure and, since he had been drinking, he had to check.  Eventually he confirmed what he said and, as we warped, he gave us a destination.

Take the gate? Don’t take the gate?

Jumping through the gate we found that the route to the destination led us back into R1O-GN.  He checked again and gave us another destination.  By that point we were getting spread out, some of us having gone back into R1O while others waited for a new desto.  I was a bit ahead of the pack, free burning for the way out.  However, as I noted last weekend in the post about dropping on PH’s move ops, there is only one way back to where we came from, and you have to pass through 1S-SU1.  The locals were well aware of this and were waiting on the LEM gate in that system.  I was one of the first through so was too late to heed the warning about the camp.  I decided to just press on, since my only other choice was to crash the gate, and given the state of my ship it wouldn’t take much to blow me up.

And they got me.  I was pretty quickly blown up, then podded, then back in my hangar in 1DQ1-2.  End of the fleet op for me.  Some people did get out.  For whatever reason the hostiles didn’t bubble the 1S-SU1 side of the gate, which let some people slip through.  Others turned around and went out via Vale of the Silent.

But, not matter what, we got our money’s worth out of that fleet.  A blaze of glory was achieved.

I would like to summarize the outcome, but with ZKillboard down, you cannot create battle reports or even see kills for which you did not get the final blow.  For me, ZKill being blacked out is one of the downsides to this event.  I want to see the battle report.  I want to see how many or few hostiles we managed to zap before we ran off.  I want to see how the brawl played out, with nice columns of time stamped kills dammit.  I want the data.

I know some people are cheering it being down, and even asking that it be kept offline, but I am not in that camp.  The main argument against ZKill seems to be a nebulous argument that kill boards ruin the game, which strikes me a being akin to suggesting scores in kids sports are bad.

But beyond that, bragging about your kill board is so looked down upon in the EVE Online community that before you can talk about your kill board you must first write a paragraph declaration about how you much you do not care about your kill board, before going on to prove that you probably really do.  Basically, we already have a system of social control around kill boards, so just let us have the information about what happened and get on with it.

Anyway, that was my big blackout inaugural roam.  And it was pretty good.

I did go on another op later in the evening which had its own bit of comedy.  We were in an Eagle fleet, flying through Delve to cover a timer, and while watching the local intel channel, it became clear that people were using their directional scanners, but perhaps not paying as close attention to the results as they should.  Several times we saw something like this:

The Eagles! Get them!

Given that dscan reports the name of your ship as well as the type, and that the most common ship name in our fleet seemed to be “GSF Standard,” which is what you end up with on a lot of pre-fit contracts, it seems like a bit of thought should have to occur before people panic.

Then again, if I were a hostile FC I might just have my whole fleet rename their ships “GSF Standard” if only to sow confusion.

Addendum:  Now that ZKill is back up and has caught up on its backlog processing I was able build a battle report to see what happened in out little brawl.  Here is the header from the battle report.

Brawl in R1O-GN in TKE

The ISK total gets balanced out if you add in the losses to the gate camp in 1S-SU1, though we did pick up a couple of kills along the way as well.  All in all a fun, chaotic fight and I was fine not having to walk all the way back to Delve.

The Triglavian Boat Roam

Dabigredboat, DBRB, announced earlier in the week that we wanted to have a celebratory roam.  I am still not clear on what we were celebrating… destruction in Tribute, a safe return home, some nice summer weather… but the roam was on.  The only restriction was the requirement to bring along a Triglavian ship.  It was to be an all-Triglavian roam.

That actually covers a few options these days.  Since CCP released the Into the Abyss expansion back in May of 2018 they have regularly added new Triglavian ships to the list.  The EVE University is behind on the list, showing only the seven available from before the Invasion expansion, leaving out the Nergal (Assault Frigate), Ikitursa (Heavy Assault Cruiser), and the Draugur (Command Destroyer).

These new ships actually got me to turn training back on with my main, since I was quickly falling behind in my old goal to be able to fly all of the subcaps.  For the two people who miss my skill point progress update posts, you can rejoice, as another one will probably hit in August.

As of right now, I can fly the whole lot of them, and even mount the tech II disintegrator on the Leshak battleship.  However, I didn’t actually own any of them.  As far as hulls go, they are still pretty exotic and more expensive that their empire contemporaries, especially the new tech II hulls.  And for a DBRB roam, where the expectation is always that you’re going to get blown up, buying into something that expensive seemed like a bad decision.

But I did have a cheaper option stashed away.  One of my high sec alts has been running level 3 abyssal sites off and on and had collected a enough materials and a BPC to build a Damavik, the Triglavian frigate, the baby of the bunch.  But DBRB didn’t say I had to have a Leshak or anything exotic, just something Triglavian.  So I had my alt fly it up into Aridia where I picked it up with my main.  I was soon docked up in 1DQ1-A and ready for the roam.

Of course I bought a SKIN for it

My fit, for those interested, was:

[Damavik, ▷▼◇△▶▽◄ ▷▼▶▽◄ ▷▼◇]
400mm Rolled Tungsten Compact Plates
Damage Control II
Limited Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane I

Initiated Compact Warp Scrambler
Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier
5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive

Light Scoped Entropic Disintegrator

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Anti-Kinetic Pump II
Small Trimark Armor Pump II

Acolyte II x5

Nanite Repair Paste x8
Baryon Exotic Plasma S x500
Meson Exotic Plasma S x500
Tetryon Exotic Plasma S x500

That seemed enough like a tackle fit for me.  I couldn’t fit the tech II disintegrator, but I also wasn’t keen to pay the price for one either.  Anyway, if you’re going to tackle you don’t need a big gun.

When DBRB pinged for the fleet, I got into game and into the fleet, ready to go.  The fleet managed to swell up to about 100 players and, as DBRB reported, we had at least one of each of the Triglavian ships, with quite a few Leshak’s in the mix.

DBRB had us all name out ships using the Triglavian triangles text (some here) and spam local as we moved with that.  With that set we were soon warping off to adventure.

On our way at last

We took the Eye of Terror up into Cloud Ring, then headed off into Deklein to see if anybody was home.

A Damavik and a Vedmak in warp

Nobody was home.

To be fair, Ranger Regiment, a Chinese alliance, lives there now, and we were way out of their prime time.  But it was odd roaming through our old space with nobody about.

We traveled through there a while when DBRB decided that we ought to head more towards the east and Pandemic Horde.  As we headed into Tribute we ran across a Talwar fleet from Darkness, which the Leshaks pretty much destroyed.

Disintegrators hitting Talwars

43 Talwars and 2 Sabres were blown up, as the last few ships got away.  But I had to stick close, as our smaller ships were at risk.  The enemy managed to pick off a Kikimora and a few Damaviks, which balanced the ISK war out, probably in their favor, as I think Zkill undervalues the Kiki.  But at least it was action.

After that DBRB pointed us in the direction of Geminate and Pandemic Horde.  They seemed to be home and maybe up for a fleet action against us.  Word was that they were forming Feroxes to come and get us.  We hauled up on a gate not too far from PH space and waited for them to head our way.

Triglavians hanging around a gate

After some shifting around, we ended up meeting the Ferox fleet in 0-R5TS.

Things did not start auspiciously for us.  The Ferox fleet naturally wanted to keep at range and managed to take out a couple of our ships, including DBRB’s Leshak.  However, we managed to get a command destroyer to boosh us on top of the Ferox fleet and our Sabre… there are no Triglavian interdictors yet, so he was allowed in… managed to get a bubble up.  At that point a slaughter of Feroxes commenced.

At that point it also turned out that DBRB got some backup.  Seeing that the Ferox fleet outnumbered us substantially, he got The Initiative to show up with 50 bombers who joined in on the fun.  This time around I was able to get in close enough to get on a few kills, though having drones along for the ride made that possible as the tech I disintegrator is a short ranged weapon, even with the long range ammo.  The battle report went heavily our way.

Battle Report Header

After that DBRB reshipped in a Leshak when somebody needed to log off.  There was talk of PH reforming and chasing us down again.  However the Initiative bombers hung around behind us, and before we could turn around to assist they had inflicted enough damage to drive the hostiles off.

That left us up in Vale of the Silent, a long ways from Delve.  DBRB had us head to low sec, with the fleet docking up in Obe, not too far from Jita.  From there we were left on our own to get our ships back home.

I enlisted my high sec alt again, who flew out to Obe to pick up the Damavik and fly it back to Aridia again.  I was going to self destruct my main for a quick jump back to 1DQ, but the decided to just follow my alt through high sec in a capsule on auto pilot, daring anybody to take the shot.  An empty pod is worth less than most anything that can kill it before CONCORD steps in, so I arrived safely, picked up the Damavik to fly home.

And so it went.  Not necessarily a roam for the ages, but it was fun to see all those Triglavian ships hauling about space.

Triglavian ships in some fireworks

They’re still too expensive for me to thrown around, but they are a change from the norm.

Rorqual Kills in Malpais

When the ping says “Rorquals and Supers Tackled get in fleet now” you go.

After a three day weekend where I missed out on a number of fleets simply by being a minute late and getting the “fleet is full” message… :goonrush: is a thing and I’ll have some more on that in another post… clone jumping back to our SIG staging to jump into stealth bomber for some capital kills seemed like a good idea.  And when the follow up came asking for dreads I sent my dread alt back over there as well.

PanFam has decided to concentrate their forces in SH1-6P as a base of operations in order to strike at any exposed Imperium operations in Tribute.  That has pulled forces away from other areas of their holdings, including Malpais, where ratting and mining had previously been under the protective umbrella of NCDot.  This, in turn, has led groups like Bomberwaffe and Black Ops to start hunting for targets there.  They found nine Rorquals happily mining away in an anomaly and the call went out.

I logged in and clone jumped down to our old staging, which was just two gates from where Zungen had a black ops battleship ready to bridge us.  He sent us to a mid point, jumped in with us, then after a bit of a cool down sent us on our way to the target system in Malpais.  One DBRB and his bomber fleet had already dealt with one Rorqual by the time I dropped in, but there were plenty more on the field.

I arrived in time to see that first one blow up

The Rorquals on field were in various states of defense.  We were sharing coms with DBRB’s fleet, which was a bit of a challenge at times.  Those familiar with his enthusiastic style will know some of what I mean, but he also kept forgetting that there were two fleets on grid and in coms and had to be reminded to call out target names rather than just saying, “Shoot the target I just broadcast.”

Rorqual getting hit, another in the background

We were only a couple of kills in when the first defense response showed up in the form of a small Jackdaw fleet.  That would have done for DBRB’s fleet, but Black Ops dropped in Lokis, which were enough to chase off the Jackdaws.  A few bombers showed up to take shots at us as well, including one guy in a Manticore who managed to get the final blow on himself with his own bomb.  It has to sting to get your own kill mail.

Meanwhile we were still shooting and watching the time for the Rorquals that had gone into PANIC mode.

Rorqual with the PANIC mode active

Six Rorquals had gone down and we were working on a seventh when NCDot showed up with a Muninn fleet.  When they appeared on grid with us it was time to go.  We warped out, got to safe spots, and cloaked up.

Zungen got his fleet cloaked up on his black ops battleship and we were soon back at the Astrahus mid-point from which we had dropped on the Rorquals.  That was as far as my dead alt had made it.

Dreads tethered up on the Astrahus

The part about supers tackled didn’t pan out, so there was no call to jump the dreadnoughts in.  That’s a pity, as my insurance is going to expire soon on my Naglfar, so I’m disposed towards losing it.  I’d have jumped it in on the Rorquals if asked even knowing it was doomed.  But I guess I at least got to undock it and drive it around a bit.

We bridged back to our initial jump point, followed by the dreads, and escorted them back to our staging.

The Rorquals all top the price list for recent kills I am on

This is the reason I log in when Zungen pings.  At least half the time we end up just sitting on the black ops battleship waiting to bridge, only to stand down as the target was spooked or moved on.  But when it does pan out, it is always a blast to drop in and blow up something big.

Imperium Ignorance Saves the CO2 Keepstar in DW-T2I

After laying down a Keepstar in Cloud Ring last week, the Imperium went straight to work on Circle of Two, reinforcing their Keepstar in DW-T2I the next day.  The Imperium staged in Cloud Ring meant that most of Fade was in capital range, if those capitals took the gate between the two regions.

Fade Map with Locations noted

With the Keepstar in DW-T2I reinforced, the next big even was set to be the armor timer.  To destroy a fueled citadel you have to go through three battles.  The first is the shield layer.  You can attack at any time and if you get the citadel’s shields down to zero, a timer comes up.  When that timer finally counts down the citadel goes into a 15 minute repair cycle.  You have to form up and shoot it again, this time shooting its armor layer down to zero.  By applying enough damage you can stop the repair cycle and get through the the final timer.  When that comes up you do the same thing again, only shooting away the structure.  If you succeed, the citadel blows up.  If you fail, you get to start all over again.

So it was the second round, the armor timer, that came up yesterday.  It was set to hit at a little after 19:00 EVE Online time, which is UTC.  However, because fleets had to move and get in position, the call to form up came a good four hours before then.

That was before I got out of bed here on the west coast.  I turned on my computer to find fleets already forming and heading out from Delve.  But that was okay.  I wasn’t interested in heading out with main fleet for the long drive there and back to visit CO2.  I hung around waiting for something to form up in Pure Blind.

And I was rewarded for waiting with a fleet ping from Dabigredboat.

Some might not consider that a reward.  Boat can be an acquired taste.  But he works hard, gets you in the action, and tells you what is going on.  Plus, he was handing out free ships.  We were going to head out in Tengus to snipe targets of opportunity and run down disconnects.  I was happy enough to be in a Tengu again that I bought the snappy new Ghostbird SKIN for it.

55 PLEX well spent to my mind

Meanwhile I already had an alt online in a stealth bomber in DW-T2I to watch what was happening with the Keepstar and the system in general.  CO2 had been busy.  Both of the gates into the system were heavily bubbled, so any fleet trying to gate in to contest the timer would have to get past that.

The P-33KR Gate

You can just barely see the Keepstar in the background of that screen shot, through the dense layer of bubbles laid about the gate.  The array of bubbles was big enough that if I pulled back to get them all in the screen shot, the gate and the small bubbles around it become difficult to see.

The same gate from a distance

Everything seemed to be coming together for a big fight.  While Boat was arranging a black ops bridge up to DW-T2I my alt sat and watched CO2’s allies start to show up.  Darkness and their coalition brought a Tempest Fleet Issue fleet.

Darkness in a ball

Ranger Regiment brought an Ishtar fleet.  NCDot brought a Machariel and a Cerberus fleet.  CO2 undocked a fleet of Megathrons.  And capitals began to form up about the Keepstar.

Boat got us a bridge into system and we went off to safe spots to cloak up and wait for something to do.

Tengus on the way

In system Boat was keeping us up to date about what was going on while also looking for something to shoot.  We went and tried to pick off some transports that were parked near the O-CNPR gate.  We didn’t get a kill, but we scared them off at least.

Then Boat said we were going to go try and shoot the cyno jammer in system.

This was the first of many times I would hear the words “cyno jammer” during the op.

Boat explained that the previous day and evening the Imperium spent time putting up POS towers on every free moon and reinforcing the towers that CO2 or anybody else had deployed in the region.  This was to keep a cyno jammers from being deployed.  A cyno is a beacon which lets ships with jump drives travel to it.  You need a cyno lit in a system in order to jump into it.

A cyno jammer, as you might imagine, blocks cynos from being lit.  The ones on a POS jam the whole system, and CO2 had one in DW-T2I.

(Cyno jammers do not block covert cynos, which only black ops capable ships may use, such as our Tengus, which is how we got into the system.)

So Boat warped us over to the POS with the cyno jammer and had us start shooting it.  Very shortly a Minokawa force auxiliary logged on just outside the POS, close to the cyno jammer, and started to repair it.  CO2 had prepared for an attack on the jammer and, later, more Minokawas were spotted on the POS.  The Minokawa was repairing faster than we could inflict damage, so Boat warped us off and we went to our safe spots again.

As we sat around I turned up the volume on the INN stream of the event and heard Boat talking about the situation.  There, and on our own coms later, he explained that somebody running the preparatory ops believed that cyno jammers would not function on reinforced POSes.

This turned out to be a fairly wide-spread belief.  Progodlegend, on the same stream, said that they had just done the reinforce thing to Fraternity recently.  However, it appears that Fraternity just didn’t try anchoring a cyno jammer on a reinforced POS, no doubt because they believed the same thing.

GigX however, knew better it seems.

If we had known some simple contingencies could have been put in place, like leaving behind some logged off dreadnoughts to knock out the cyno jammer quickly to let fleets start pilling in.  But we didn’t so we were stuck.

That left the only way in to the system for the converging Imperium fleets… with more capitals on the way than the defenders had ships on hand… with one way into the system; through the O-CNPR gate.  But, as I mentioned, that gate was heavily bubbled.

The O-CNPR Gate

And it wasn’t just heavily bubbled.  It was also heavily defended.  The direction scan of the vicinity of the gate showed the following:

O-CNPR Gate DScan

Yes, you cannot possible read that unless you click on it.  But among the things on the list were 425 battleships, 124 super carriers, 35 carriers, 683 fighters from the carriers and super carriers, 504 drones from various ships, and a titan.

That titan, just sitting in a bubble waiting to boson somebody

So while it was possible that the Imperium could have thrown everything through the gate and eventually muscled past the defenses, it was going to be a slog.  Defending on a bubbled gate like that is referred to as “water boarding,” because it is torture that the attackers cannot escape.  With more bubbles no doubt set to be deployed and inderdictors on the field, a hostile fleet could be kept writhing in that mess for hours.  Certainly they could be held in check until the repair cycle on the Keepstar finished up.

Instead everybody turned around and went home.

That was it.  GigX won the day and saved his Keepstar.

As far as I can tell the biggest fight in the whole event was a smart bombing drop by NCDot on an Imperium Jackdaw fleet.  They did kill a lot of ships, 64 according to the battle report.  However, they lost 20 of the black ops battleships they used, destroyed by their own fleet’s smart bombs, which left the cost of the operation at roughly ten times the ISK of the hostiles they destroyed.  Not a good trade.

Battle Report Header from the Black Ops Drop

That was fine for everybody else.  However those of us in Boat’s fleet were still in the system and he was on the INN stream talking about events as they unfolded.  However, the stream wrapped up pretty quickly once it was announced that the Imperium was not going to show up.

Boat did not forget about us, though he forgot about his titan in the super fleet for a bit and almost got left behind.  He got a black ops battleship in to send us all back to Pure Blind, staying behind to cover two people who had gone AFK long after some FCs would have left them to their fate.  I got one last look at the Keepstar before we bridged out.

Still 35 minutes left on the clock

I was glad again to not have schleped all the way up from Delve in a Baltec fleet only to have to turn around and go home again.  But that was still shorter than having a fight before the return trip, so a bunch of people got some of their day back.

The Mittani held the weekly Fireside Chat on coms where he explained what went wrong and how we were going to go back to doing things the old fashioned way, grinding and suppressing the region until CO2  retreats.

Not our most brilliant hour.  Reddit will be filled with comments about Goons being dumb and not knowing POS mechanics for a while.

I guess we know the answer

But everybody knows about that POS mechanic now for sure, so if if anybody else falls for it… well, more of the same on Reddit I suppose.

So the war goes on.  We still have a Keepstar of our own on the border of Fade and SIG and Squads are still roaming north from Pure Blind.  The fun is not over, but it may be a while before we pave our way to the Keepstar to do anything more than keep it reinforced.  I suspect we’ll keep reinforcing it to ensure that CO2 can’t pack it up and move away.

Meanwhile there was no saving the TEST Keepstar down in 4-GB14 in Immensea.  They couldn’t even use GigX’s cynojammer trick since hostiles had already grabbed the ihub for the system, and if you don’t own the ihub you can’t setup a cynojammer.  And so that Keepstar died.  It wasn’t their capital Keepstar, but losing one hurts no matter what.

And then there was the Provi Bloc Keepstar, anchored down in 9UY4-H, which went online successfully.  This event also involved a cyno jammer, that being the EVE Online word of the day.  Hostiles sacrificed dreads to incapacitate it, but Provi just finished it off and anchored a fresh one, leaving the attackers without an easy way in.  Even being able get the cyno jammer offline doesn’t mean you’re good to go.

[Update: Or maybe Provi repaired the jammer. I’ve heard both stories now.]

So it was quite a day for null sec Keepstars, with one successfully defended, one destroyed, and a new one online.  And we all know just a bit more about POS mechanics, just in time for them to go away at some point in the near future.

Others on this topic:

Three Rorquals Down

After the previous night’s VNI fight, things started to go downhill a bit for me. First, as I noted at the end of the last post, during an interceptor roam through Pandemic Horde space, I managed to avoid the hostiles only to get popped by a Serpentis dreadnought.

Then last night I got back on in again, a little late to catch Asher, but was able to join DBRB’s bomber fleet to join the defense of one of the citadels we have scattered about the north right now.

My Purifier with the Empress Catiz I jubilee skin

That did not go well however.  We never got a good run on them, and were probably shy of the numbers we needed to be effective, so lost some bombers, including my own, while the hostiles were able to kill the Raitaru.

Tempests inside the new blood orange hictor bubble

Still, these things happen.  I fetched a replacement Purifier out to our staging and then logged off for a bit to do some things around the house.  But I came back to find another Asher ping forming a fleet with targets in mind.  I was good to go for that and only a couple minutes late, but was able to get out and on the black ops battleship to wait with the rest of the fleet as things got set up.

The targets were a pair of Rorquals, the capital mining ships that have boosted the mining numbers all over null sec, up in Deklein.  The plan was to drop on them, bomb the Rorquals, kill their excavator drones with torpedoes, then see if we couldn’t maybe kill one of the Rorqs before the inevitable defense fleet showed up to see us off.

The time came, the bridge went up, and we dropped on the pair.  I let my bomb go on one of the Rorqs, then missed getting any of the excavator drones because I had a warp disruptor fit and was rushing in on one of the targets to hold it down and keep it from getting away.  I was a bit quick on that… or people were a bit slow with their bombs… because I ended up getting my shields stripped away and some armor damage from them.  But I got my target locked down and started blazing away at it with my own torps.

In on the first Rorqual

Asher called for everybody to start hitting it and it seemed to be going down pretty well when first one, then the other Rorq activated their PANIC modules.

Still taking fire while invulnerable in the PANIC bubble

This made the pair invulnerable for several minutes, during which I suspect they both expected to be rescued by a defense fleet.

By that point we had done what we had set out to do, which was kill some excavator drones.  Now we had the option to hang out and see if we could get one of these ships when the PANIC modules went down, but that meant also hanging about for a defense fleet we knew was coming and facing that peril in our flimsy bombers

The pair of them in their PANIC bubbles

We cloaked up and warped off to wait out the PANIC cycle as the defense fleet arrived in system.  A mix of Cerberus and Caracals with support, they did not seem very energetic in their attempt to defend the pair.  When the two Rorquals were vulnerable again the fleet did not go after the bombers, even the ones locking down their comrades.  Of course, we dropped in a distraction.

A cyno went up and we brought in a sacrificial Revelation dreadnought to try and pound down at least one of the Rorquals.  A Rorq is worth a few dreadnoughts on the market, so worth the exchange if we could get just one.

Revelation on the scene

The defense fleet seemed entranced to have a big shiny target of their own to shoot and focused on that while the dread and the bombers hit the first of the Rorquals.

Let the pounding commence

At that point I was headed in to help hold the Rorqual down when another bomber pilot let loose with a bomb to help speed things along and I caught it full in the face, destroying my Purifier.  People who had hit me previously were apparently down or gone, so Jinx Hita, the bomber pilot, got credit for a solo kill.

Freed from the demands of combat I hung around to watch the fight.  The hostiles left me alone for a while, so I was able to watch things unfold, including the destruction of the first of the Rorqual.

Rorqual down, op success!

Since I was still alive, on grid, and had done damage to the Rorqual recently, I appeared on the kill mail.  That’s what it is all about, right?

At that point we were ahead of the game, we couldn’t lose enough for the enemy to win the ISK war.  But we were not done yet.  The second Rorqual was going down fast, and even after the hostiles dropped a Minokawa force auxiliary on grid to try to save it, it was too late.  The second Rorqual went down.  Again, I was still alive and had done some damage, so got on that kill mail as well.

At about that point I caught somebody’s eye and my pod got popped and I was sent home to grab another Purifier.  As I started flying the new ship out to our staging, I heard the ongoing fight on coms, where our dread pilot was able to pop a Cerberus and a few Caracals before finally meeting their end.  That put the final tally at about 3.5 billion ISK lost by us versus about 24 billion ISK lost by the enemy.  And it all happened in 0P-F3K, which was my home system way back in the day when TNT was in Deklein.

The survivors left the scene and we were all happy with our success.  But even as we were starting to think about getting back home, word came down that another Rorqual was lolling about, oblivious to danger, not too far away.  High on two kills already, we were keen to try for a third.

I hurried at best speed back to our staging system to join those who had to reship.  However there was still a good chunk of the fleet that was off in Deklein, while our target was in Fade.

Soon we started running into that series of obstacles that can often pull apart an op.  We had to get everybody together at a third staging point, we needed two black ops battleships, we needed fuel for bridges, jumps, and cynos, half of us needed bombs, and we needed a plan.  The target, which had been joined by a second Rorqual at this point, was in a cyno-jammed system, so we weren’t going to be able to drop another dreadnought, and close to where we expected a defense fleet to form up and come get us.

Those of us at staging got bridged to the mid-point first, the Astrahus we had defended with the VNIs previously.  After two bomber losses that night I decided that the Empress Catiz I SKIN might be unlucky and changed to Rata Sunset.

My third Purifier of the night tethered at the Astrahus

We sat around there and listened on coms as the building series of complications tried to get sorted.  It seemed to me at several points that Asher was just going to call the thing off.  The plan, as it eventually shook out, was to slip somebody into the system, put a deployable warp disruption bubble between the anomaly with the Rorquals and the Fortizar in system where they would likely dock up, then spook one or both of them to get them to warp to safety, only to catch them in the bubble, drop on them, bomb them, point them, and kill them, all before a defense fleet a couple gates away showed up to wipe us out.

I could hear the skepticism in the whole idea in the voices of several people on coms and could see how it all depended on the hostiles obliging us at a few points.  And if it didn’t come off, we wouldn’t even get any excavator drone kills.  But we were all there, ready to go, and were far enough ahead on the night with the two previous Rorqual kills that we went for it all the same.

We listened as the drag bubble got deployed, the covert cyno was put in place, and then as the Rorqual, tipped off to flee, at which point it actually warped off exactly as we wanted.  The cyno was lit and the bridge went up.

A Redeemer black ops battleship with bridge up

As we arrived we were rewarded by the sight of a Rorqual caught in a drag bubble and waiting for us to go after him.

Landed on our target, already under fire

We plowed into him, Asher called for people to overheat their launchers to increase their rate of fire, as we tried to take him down before the enemy could react.

As we hit the Rorqual we saw a Rifter flying around us.  A few of us took a shot at him, but he seemed disinclined to get involved.  But then a Stabber showed up on the scene.  He was a lot more interested in getting some kills and he chose me out of the bunch.  I though I was surely going to lose my third Purifier for the night as he chewed through shield and armor and nearly 40% of my structure, but we popped him before he was able to finish me off.  Then it was back to the Rorqual.

Rorqual showing heavy damage

We were able to kill it as the local defense fleet showed up.  However they seemed a bit hesitant to jump on in and we cloaked up, warped off, and plotted our escape.

Then, of course, we had to get out of there.  This entailed a few awkward steps in getting fuel and black ops battleships together in the right location, bridging the fuel truck, transferring fuel, dealing with the people left behind on one bridge and the guy who went through the wrong bridge with the fuel truck, which was headed back into the system we were leaving.

Eventually that got sorted.  Asher said that those of us hanging about were free to burn back to our staging.  My Purified, having been repaired by the tethering service, was ready to go.  Of course, once I got one gate along one of the black ops pilots bridged people back home.  But I got there safe all the same.

We ended up getting out of the second drop having lost a pair of bombers while knocking out a Rorqual, a Stabber, and a Cormorant from the responding defense fleet.  About 100 million ISK loss for us and close to 10 billion ISK for the hostiles.  That, with the previous two Rorquals downed made for a pretty good night.

Below a gallery of screen shots from the evening, with a few that I couldn’t fit into the post along the way.

Fast Times with Boat in Fade

If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Deklein is gone.  I have a Harpy, a Burst, and a Scimitar left in a couple of stations up there, ships I dropped off in out of the way places.  But that does not mean that things have been quiet.

If you have been listening to The Mittani on The Meta Show, and given the rage in chat some of you just can’t help yourselves I guess, you have heard that The Imperium is picking its battles, fighting where it can win.  The target for that has been Fade, where Pandemic Horde has set up shop.  If they have came to the North seeking fights, we have obliged them.  In addition, we have also taken back a few systems in the region.

Fade - April 25, 2016

Fade – April 25, 2016

Fade, once entirely conquered by the Moneybadgers, has eight systems controlled by The Imperium as of this point.  We may not hold them for long, but now they have to come back and retake them.

A large part of this attack on PH has been led by Dabigredboat who has been leading fleets of bombers and coordinating with interceptor gangs to keep the horde busy while racking up a large number of kills, putting GSF at the top of the list over at zKillboard.

zKillboar Lists - April 25, 2016

zKillboard Lists – April 25, 2016

While I have been hearing about the exploits of Dabigredboat, or Boat, or DBRB, I wasn’t able to get into one of his fleets until Sunday.  The ping showed up announcing that he wanted to try something new.  Leaving behind his stealth bombers and interceptors, Cormorants were the ship of the day and he would be handing out 100 for free to those who joined his fleet.

Free ships got a response and he actually had to get 30 more together to hand out and, once the pre-op nonsense and confusion was resolved, we undocked our fleet.  No logi, no links, a couple of support ships, and a whole lot of Cormorants.

Cormorants undock

Cormorants undock

I actually splurged and bought a skin for my Cormorant, the Guristas 30-Day version, which somebody thoughtfully stocked in our staging system.

Guristas Cormorant Sking

Guristas Cormorant Skin

Then it was off to the usual destination for DBRB this past week, O1Y-ED in Fade.

It was another fine example of DBRB in action.  He is loud and excitable.  He gets frustrated quickly when people makes mistakes, but that passes as quickly as it shows up.  And clearly enjoys taking advantage of the enemy when they make a mistake.  We rolled up on our target, the staging station for PH.

Aptly named or not?

Aptly named or not?

DBRB has the area around the station well bookmarked, so we began what would become a routine over the next two hours of warping, aligning, and warping off again while looking for a tactical advantage.

The horde however, wasn’t sure what to do about us for a bit.  We were able to knock off a few ships around the station, the best probably being a Vargur that apparently felt he could tank a bunch of Cormorants.  That loss alone was probably worth more than our entire fleet.

We did get a couple of small surges where the pattern for the afternoon seemed to get set.  Horde seemed set to headshot DBRB at every opportunity, and he ended up losing four Cormorants during our time in system.  However they never managed to pod him and so he was able to re-ship… somebody in fleet would jump out of their Cormorant and DBRB would take it and continue to lead us in the fight.

Eventually PH got together a Ferox fleet and started to chase us around in that.  That was not a winning proposition for us, so we warped around them for a while… occasionally hitting a lone Ferox that wandered off from the pack…  until they tired of that.  We remained trailing our coats within site of their station.

Cormorants still there...

Cormorants still there…

Then it was time to come after us with frigates and destroyers, which is when the kill mails began to pour in for us.  There were a couple of points where we landed in amongst a PH formation and took down targets as fast as we could lock and shoot.  The battle report I was looking at after the fight showed we had racked up more than 500 kills during our visit. However, it kept updating after that and the total now appears to be beyond 600 kills.

O1Y-ED Report

O1Y-ED Report

Not all of those kills were ours.  There was another group zipping around hitting PH.  But not all of those deaths were ours either.  Still, out time there added greatly to the total of kills in the system over the preceding 24 hour period.

The most effective response to us came from a few intrepid stealth bomber pilots who managed to score hits now and again.  For a while there we were able to catch bombers or warp away in time… except for people who were not aligned as instructed.  Towards the end though we got caught a couple of times.  When we finally turned for home I had taken a few hits and was about halfway through my armor.

Shield regeneration kept me going!

Shield regeneration kept me going!

So my ship was looking a bit chewed up when I arrived back in Saranen.

Armor damage on the Cormorant

Armor damage on the Cormorant

Of course, my ship had some additional markings as well.

Kill marks

Kill marks

I think those are two “5 kill” round-up marks on the ship, though I am a little confused on the whole count, as I only got 7 final blows during the fight.  This was a handout ship however, so maybe it had three kills on it already?  I didn’t check before the fight and I *think* I can see marks on the side in one of the screen shots above that might be the same marks… so I might be looking in the wrong spot.

Edit: Those are the kill marks, the kill marks are located here:

7 kill marks in a neat row

7 kill marks in a neat row

Anyway, I got home safe with the remains of the fleet and repaired the ship for next time.  DBRB let us keep the ships for now.  We shall see if I can get out with it again and add to its kills.

Overall though it was one of the best fleets I have been on in a while and a prime example of what happens when Boat is let loose in the right situation.

Learning to do the Fozzie Sov Shuffle

After the false start of Wednesday, when downtime was extended well into the Icelandic evening and jokes about Fozzie Sov killing EVE Online were starting to feel uncomfortably close to real, it looks like people really dove into the whole new sovereignty mechanic with a vengeance.

If you look at the Timer Board web site that somebody put together to use the updated API’s ability to tell you what systems are in play, you will see… as of when I am writing this… more than 200 things are being assaulted.  Obviously, not all of them are going to get taken.  A lot of timers look to be past their mark.  But clearly Entosis Link trolling is a thing, if nothing else.

Meanwhile Wollari over at DOTLAN EVE Maps has integrated some of the new data available into the map options on the site.  In addition to the usual sovereignty view of a region, you can also now choose views that show systems that are vulnerable, which systems have which of the three key structures (TCU, ihub, station), and what the active defense multiplier is for systems.

That last one is important for both attackers and defenders.  For attackers it determines how long the Entosis Link module has to run to capture something, a range of 10 to 60 minutes depending on the multiplier.  And for defenders, it essentially lets you know what your response time has to be for given systems and where you might want to focus some effort in order to boot that number.  (I am waiting for somebody to put that ADM data together into a chart to show how many sovereign null sec systems people actually use regularly.  If the ADM is 5 or greater, people live there.  3-4 shows some life.  But if it is less than that, not so much.)

This has lead to some changes of behavior, at least in The Imperium.  Before now, the carebears amongst us were, at a minimum, kidded about spending their days ratting, mining, building, or otherwise whiling away the hours in space not shooting people.

Now though, with their behavior influencing the ADM, the call goes out for shock workers to perform hero ratting in low multiplier systems.  Strategic mining ops are called and participation links given out for burning rocks.  Industrialists are now hailed as heroes of the coalition.  I am not making this up.  Well, maybe I made up that last one, but the first two are real.

It is a good time to be a carebear in The Imperium.  And it isn’t a bad time for combat operations as well.  Mordus Angels and Pandemic Horde have been making runs at systems in Pure Blind and Fade in small, easily destroyed fleets.  I managed to get into a homeland defense fleet that caught MASSADEATH himself and a small Cerberus fleet trying to finish off a vulnerable node in Pure Blind.  We got some kills, drove them off, and made the save.

Making the save

Saving the ihub

The theory seems to be that if they get in quick with a small fleet, they can get away with it.  But small gangs and squishy Entosis Link ships just feed the Feroxes of the Homeland Defense fleets.

Feroxes for Freedom

Feroxes for Freedom

The Timer Board site only shows a few systems of The Imperium under attack out of that list of 200+, and mostly on the periphery where hostiles have easy access.  It is a little early to make much of a claim, but it feels like having the coalition contract into a smaller perimeter that consisted of space that was mostly occupied and in use on a regular basis was a good plan.  Attacks are only really getting any traction where we are thin on the ground.

And the ihub upgrades for rats seem to be having an effect.  A system I ratted in pre-Aegis used to generate a single Guristas Forsaken Hub, the best generally available ISK/effort anomaly.  After that system got the upgrade, it was generating three Guristas Forsaken Hubs and a Haven.

I also had an opportunity to go out and be part of the offensive side of the Fozzie Sov equation.  Last night Asher Elias and the patron saint of welps, Dabigredboat, ran a joint Reavers/Bomberwaffe operation down to the Reavers’ home away from home, Querious.

A test run, we went down in Caracals and interceptors via a convenient (if more rare) null-to-null wormhole to  see if Darkness would defend some of their space.  Ideally it would have happened in ED-9LT, the former Reaver outpost in the region.  That was not an option.  Instead we were headed to UYU-VV in the 8BO-IH constellation.  (This is going to mean learning system AND constellations now, isn’t it?)

We faced no opposition on the first Entosis Link attack and pushed the event into the “scatter round” when additional command nodes appear throughout the constellation… in this case six systems… forcing us to break up into smaller groups.

The group that stayed in UYU-VV actually faced a bit of opposition.  The group I was in, sent off to W6V-VM, was not bothered.  We flew off to the Territorial Claim Unit Command Node that spawned in the system.

TCU Command Node

TCU Command Node

That appears to be the overview marker for the actual target, the Structure Command Node.

Timer on the command node

Timer on the structure command node

Of course, in the grand CCP tradition, the option in the overview to actually SEE these nodes is unchecked by default, harkening back to the battle cruiser split when one of them… attack battle cruisers I think… didn’t show up on overviews by default.

You need to check the right box...

You need to check the right box…

Upon finishing off the node inW6V-VM , two more nodes spawned.  Our Entosis Link fit interceptor went after one while we flew cover and, upon finishing that one, we were called back to UYU-VV.  Enough other modules were running that we did not need the additional one in our system.  And while Darkness appeared in small numbers, they did not seem interested in hitting any of the Structure Command Nodes to contest or operation.

The results bar tipping heavily in our direction

The results bar tipping heavily in our direction

And so the system was rolled.  Later, Plaid Rabbit ran out, grabbed a TCU, and planted it in UYU-VV, thus taking sovereignty for Reavers in Querious yet again.

Our constellation

Our constellation

It would have been nicer if it had a station, but I am not sure we’re going to spend ISK upgrading a system we grabbed on a whim at the other end of New Eden.

After that we had the option of starting the process on another system or going 20 jumps on the off chance we might get into the middle of a fight.  The killers won the poll, clearly betraying out Reaver philosophy, and off we went.

We did catch a blockade runner along the way just idle near a gate.  I am going to guess the pilot went AFK cloaked and then got decloaked by somebody passing too close.  That was a quick kill.  And while I understand that eventually some of us got on a dreadnought kill or two, I ended up getting popped when we crossed paths with a Northern Coalition fleet headed for the same fight, and so missed out.  Life in a combat zone.

So that has been my experience with Fozzie Sov and the Entosis Link module dynamics so far.

CCP has put out a video detailing how the mechanics of the new system work.

How the new system will actually play out over time though, that is a horse of a different color.