Tag Archives: Deklein

Deklein Falls, Goon Splinter Groups Double

The last system in the Deklein region, homeland of the Goonswarm Federation for more than five years fell during the wee hours of the morning.

Deklein - April 25, 2016

Deklein – April 25, 2016

Deklein joins Branch, Tenal, and Tribute as regions completely lost by The Imperium.  Fighting continues is Fade, Pure Blind, and Vale of the Silent.

Meanwhile, Darius JOHNSON, former Goon leader, former CCP dev, and former TMC contributor, has announced his return to the game, decrying ally alienating decisions made by the current GSF/TMC leadership and heaping scorn on the pubbies that make up the coalition as a whole, and the alliance specifically.  He says he doesn’t want to fight The Imperium, but he doesn’t want to associate with it either.  He just wants to make a home for “true Goons,” of which he estimates there are about 200 in the whole coalition.  Getting those 200 to flock to his banner would boost the numbers in his new corporation, Ten Dollar Bond, to nearly 250 pilots.  With that he says he has a plan to rescue their assets in Deklein.

Ten Dollar Bond

Ten Dollar Bond

I am told that idea doesn’t sit well with another Something Awful splinter group in New Eden, The Greater Goon, part of the Clockwork Pineapple alliance, which joined forces with the Moneybadger Coalition to attack The Imperium.

The Greater Goon

The Greater Goon

We shall see how well they and their 80 members do against Darius JOHNSON’s handpicked 46 to win the hearts and minds of “true Goons” in New Eden.  Not being a “true Goon” (though I paid my $10 to SA back in 2008) neither side is likely to see me as anything but a target.

No Last Stand in VFK as War Comes to Deklein

I opined a couple weeks back that I had nailed my colors to the mast for this war and would go down with the metaphorical ship, ready for that last ditch fight at VFK-IV, the one-time center station of the CFC and still a location with historical weight to it.

Of course, that grand vision ended up being made moot as we abandoned all our null sec staging systems and fell back to the hills of low sec to conduct a guerilla war out of the Quafe Company Company Warehouse in Saranen where we cannot be bubbled or camped effectively and where, while we lack cloning services, we have a nearly limitless supply of pretend carbonated beverages.

Effectively The Imperium logo now

Effectively The Imperium logo now

What I am waiting for now is somebody to put together a picture of The Mittani with a Che Guevara beret holding a bottle of refreshing Quafe or Quafe Zero.

Meanwhile the Moneybadgers have finally turned their attention to the heart of Goon space, the region of Deklein.  Relatively peaceful up until earlier this week, leaving aside the botched attempt to take VFK-IV on April Fools Day and repeated attempts to hack that one TNT system in the region, the MBC chose to put its weight into the effort and first reinforced, then finally blockaded and took two key systems in the region, VFK-IV, which has symbolic value, and YA0-XJ, the previous staging system for the coalition and the one-time biggest market station in null sec by a significant margin.  (When I checked EVE Market Data rankings earlier, Provi Bloc’s station at F-YH5B had eclipsed the current YA0 market, while the market at our staging station in Saranen had pulled ahead.  That said, it would seem there is still a lot of stuff in YA0.  Not everybody shipped their stuff out when I did I guess.)

So the map of Deklein now has this on it:

VFK and YA0 in new hands

VFK and YA0 in new hands

I would be interested to know how the MBC decided who got to take which system.  Certainly TEST and NCDot have suffered defeat at the hands of the CFC in the past, NCDot on repeated occasions after coming at the CFC.  Did TEST get VFK to make up for the fact that at the end of the Fountain War, their bitter rival from their own time in the CFC, Fatal Ascension, was allowed to take their capital at 6VDT-H?

Anyway, the oft stated slogan of “VFK by <date>,” first summed up after a White Noise pronouncement back in late 2011, has finally been achieved.

The war will continue in Deklein, however the numbers our foes can bring to bear and the distance from our staging system pretty much assures that we will lose the region sooner rather than later.  So we hole up in the back room of a soda pop warehouse and make our plans while The Mittani polishes his Goonhammer and talks about the wonder weapons that will send our foes fleeing before us.

I favor Vanilla Quafe myself

I favor Vanilla Quafe myself… also, Caroline’s Star visible

Of course, with TMC having pissed off I Want ISK, causing them to vow to continue to fund the war forever if necessary (Casino War eternal), we may be here for a long time.  At least I have the appropriate skin for my Megathron.

War Footing, War Fever

We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.

-Benjamin Franklin

While I have spent some time getting myself ready for war, I spent last night tidying up some loose ends and looking to see if there was anything else I should package up and ship off.
I can be lazy about leaving ships and fittings and what no sitting about in various stations.  But past wars have encouraged that.  We have always been fighting in somebody else’s space, so there has been no worry about leaving anything laying about.  It would be there when I got back.

This war is different.  After four and a half years, war has come to our space.  It was time to get things together.  According to once EVE utility I had more than 15 billion ISK in ship and fittings and what not just sitting in stations.  Better to send that back to Jita, to turn it into ISK.  Better to have more liquid assets in such times.

I had already jumped my carrier into low sec after moving it out of Tribute.  That left one more load of non-essentials in the region for me to retrieve, a blockade runner full of my remaining ratting loot and excess ammunition sitting in L-VXTK.  I just had to get that out and to a station from which I could ship it all to Jita and I would have nothing left but combat ships in the area.

TNT’s holdings in Tribute are going down.  We have managed to put together some resistance.  Fleets come out from Saranen to help.  But as always, there are multiple fights going on at any given time and Tribute tends to be the furthest away.

Of course, the fighting over the region almost got my blockade runner blown up.  I hadn’t checked, so was caught off guard when, trying to slip past hostile space and into Venal, I found myself in the middle of a Fozzie Sov command node tug of war.  There is nothing like sitting cloaked off a gate in the middle of two dozen Mercenary Coalition ships who would view my presence with the same enthusiasm a starving man might give the unexpected arrival of a Chicken Delight delivery truck.

Still, I managed to survive, holding my cloak, watching the timer count down, only to have them all warp off to a node with about 10 seconds to spare.  Just another day in a war zone.

I scooted along carefully, passed into UMI-KK, our fallen capital, and then off into the wasteland of Venal.

Former home of TNT

Former home of TNT

I wasn’t surprised to find Venal empty as I passed through.  It was rarely ever a busy place, but it has been more quiet since the null sec changes.  Somebody should do a study on the effects of Fozzie Sov on NPC null sec regions.

And then I was into Deklein.

I hadn’t flown about Deklein much of late.  I scooted off to YA0-XJ to drop off my load then checked my asset list to see what else I had stashed away in the region.  I had a couple loads worth of stuff still sitting in my old home station 0P-F3K that I never quite got around to moving down to Tribute after we left Deklein.  Good call in hindsight.

I also had a small pile of stuff and a few ships in QPO-WI, where we have staged now and again.

And, much to my surprise, I had a whole bunch of stuff, including half a dozen old doctrine ships, sitting in VFK-IV.  I can’t even remember when a Digi-Canes stopped being a doctrine.  There was also a Megathron from the Fountain War, the same one that refused to fire back Z9PP-H, which I named the San Ramon for reasons that escape me today.  And, of course, another Drake from the era when MWD Drake fleets ruled the skies, unleashing torrents of scourge missiles at our foes.

So I move around, picked up the loose items in the blockade runner, the flew about in my pod to ferry ships back the the shipping station.  Once there I repacked them all, created courier contracts for one of the alliance shipping services, and sent them all to Jita.  Almost 100 million ISK in shipping fees, at 320 ISK per cubic meter.  The shipping services are making some money this month.  But there was probably a couple billion ISK worth of stuff in what sent down. (And I awoke this morning to find it all safely delivered.)

Some of it I will just sell.  Some of the hulls I will buy fittings for and ship out to Saranen.  Megathrons are back in style, so I can use that Quafe skin again.  And I had a few interceptor hulls which, given the loss rates being sustained by that class of ship in the war, are actually worth a lot more in Jita than what I probably paid for them, shipping included.

If you are in the interceptor building business, it looks like fat city is here.  Look at the spike in that last line and the prices for hulls in Jita.  Industrialists rejoice.

The one thing I did not have to do during a couple hours of flying around Deklein during US prime time was dodge any hostiles.  I didn’t actually see a hostile ship until I decided to YOLO back down to Saranen in a surplus Hawk, rather than waiting for my jump clone timer, and got caught in a gate camp in Fade. (A kill that doesn’t seem to have shown up yet on zkillboard or I would link it.)

Yes, I passed by a couple of systems with somebody cloaked up.  There is always that guy watching the cyno beacon in YA0-XJ.  But a lot of systems were blue.  Intel didn’t report a single gang roaming the region while I was about.  It was, frankly, more peaceful yesterday than it was during peace time.

And here we see the fiction, for now, in the name “World War Bee.”

It is alleged by our foes to be a war against Goons.  They are the target.  They are the ones that the Moneybadgers say they want to take down.  Allies in The Imperium are just meat shields, casualties of Goon callousness.

But actions speak louder than words… or, if you prefer, inaction.  If our foes really want to attack Goons, they sure are taking their time getting to it.  Despite having effectively taken Fade and holding stations on the path to Deklein in both Pure Blind and Tribute, a look at the map of Deklein shows you this.

Deklein - April 6, 2016

Deklein – April 6, 2016

There is exactly ONE system under attack in the entire region… and it is the ONLY one that isn’t held by GSF.  Some war against Goons!

No, so far this is the war against Goon allies.  Even in Pure Blind the enemy goes after the few non-GSF systems first.  They are going after us because they believe their own propaganda and think we are weak and oppressed and will rise up against Goons because everybody hates Goons.  They think we’ll thank them for coming after us.

They don’t even think they need to negotiate with us.  Their offer is to let us keep what we currently have, which is exactly the sort of offer you present to somebody you don’t think is in a position to negotiate;  the sort of offer you give to somebody you feel you can take care of later.  And all the while they keep hitting us and telling us Goons did that.

We’ll see how that works out.  Certainly The Imperium is suffering, with LAWN and Bastion already displaced, SMA on its way out of Fade, TNT’s remaining systems cut off on in Tribute, The Initiative driven out of Tenal, and Branch under assault. (Nosy Gamer has summaries for Fade and Tenal.)

That is World War Bee.  That is the attack on Goons.  I am starting to think that MOA did more damage in Deklein during any month in 2015 than the Moneybadgers have done so far during this war.

I am starting to think I should ship an Ishtar up to Deklein.  As Gevlon inadvertently points out, it is clearly safe to rat up there and GSF has opened up all of its systems to allies for ratting and mining.

Probably the best summary of the mindset of the Moneybadgers I have seen is this post, where after mocking The Mittani and his GSF CEO Update, the author disdains the Goon allies in The Imperium as worthless, tells us there is no shame in treason because Goons are bad for the game, and then goes on to a daydream about how wonderful the NEXT war will be, once Goons are gone.

This is counting ones chickens before the eggs are even laid.  You may have seen Jester was back for a guest post, cataloging the sins of the Goons.  One of the things he used to complain about back in the day was Goons casting themselves in the role of the underdog even when they held military superiority.  It was the role they made for themselves during the Great War (read the book), it is a role they find comfort and solidarity in, and the game has just put them back in that role again.  Among the alliances seeing a boost in membership is GSF.  The engines of war are being assembled.  The undock of our staging system is almost constantly lit by cynos bringing in supplies for the fight.

The sixth one went out before I could take a screen shot

Also I just wanted to use this screen shot because it looks pretty neat

So it may be a while before null sec is just happy little constellation versus constellation wars, all the while hoping PL or NCDot hasn’t decided it is your turn to provide them entertainment.  What, do you think that power bloc will go away?

As for “bad for the game,” well… I am not sure I buy that.  Bad for how you may want the game to be, your vision of a perfect little New Eden, sure.  But if you want to promote the game, Goons have a way of doing things that make headlines and draw new players to the game in droves. (Only to be driven off by the still horrible a decade after it should have been fixed new player experience.)  What else brings that kind of attention to the game?  How are esports working out?  Does the annual Alliance Cheating Tournament cause a subscription boost?  How about Fozzie Sov?  Did Fozzie Sov bring people into the game?  Do you think PL showing up to tell you to feed them kill mails or lose your constellation will boost subscriptions?

What drives up the PCU count?  What makes the grass grow?

PCU count tops 40K for the first time in ages

PCU count tops 40K for the first time in ages

They are so bad for the game that the CCP marketing department wouldn’t know what to do without Goons.

Anyway, I’ve already said where I will be for the duration of the war.  I may be something of a space tourist and not fully on board with our propaganda line, but I am not a traitor. (And hey, look, disagreeing with Dear Leader publicly doesn’t get you booted.)  If we get kicked out of sov null I will follow The Mittani into the hills to carry on the struggle by guerilla tactics, though he’ll need to grow a better beard if he wants to be Fidel.  It will be a new experience.

But the Moneybadgers will actually have to attack Goons first.

Farewell to Home in Deklein

There was a bitter sweet change on the sovereignty map with Tuesday’s update, as my own alliance gave up most of their systems in Deklein as part of the realignment of systems required by the changes to the sovereignty mechanics this summer.

20150602SovChangesTactical Narcotics Team, or TNT, handed over a system I have considered home for most of my time in null sec.  While TNT’s main base was CU9-TD, and the coalition staging systems have been VFK-IV and YA0-XJ, I have always considered 0P-F3K as home, the place where I hung my hat, stored all my excess junk, ratted, and always had a jump clone.

Under new management... mostly

Under new management… mostly

For the moment TNT still holds 4U90-Z and K5F-Z2, the latter being the current champion for a system continuously held by a single alliance, having been acquired by TNT back on December 2, 2009.  Five and a half years is a long, long time in New Eden.  That was before Goonswarm had come north, when they still lived down in Delve and Querious… on purpose and not because they recently invaded it yet again… and Pandemic Legion held sovereignty for themselves and Atlas Alliance owned the southeast.

When I moved into null sec at the end of 2011, and at the start of the war with White Noise and Raiden, the then-CFC was packed into less space.

CFC Land, December 2011

CFC Land, December 2011

The CFC then stretched out, at one time running all the way from Period Basis in the far southwest to Tenal in the extreme northeast, in an arc that covered about half of the area of sovereign null sec, if not half of the actual systems.  During that time TNT expanded its holdings, picking up systems in Pure Blind and Tribute to tend for the coalition.

Then came the announcement of Fozzie Sov.  With the Phoebe expansion, and the coming of jump fatigue, Period Basis, Querious, and Delve were sold off.  And, as the next round of changes loomed, Fountain was abandoned as well, leaving the newly minted Imperium focused back in the north… with a couple of groups still operating in other regions.

Regions of The Imperium - June 2015

Regions of The Imperium – June 2015

Contrary to what I previously wrote, we do not appear to be letting go of Cloud Ring.  Fweddit, or J4LP, or I Whip My Slaves Back and Forth, or whatever they should be called, appears to be taking up residence in the region, which is not all that large but which has a couple of important connections to other regions.  Fweddit has been part of the coalition for a while now… I think.  I just don’t hear much about them, they disappeared of the sov map for a while, and their logo doesn’t appear in official Imperium propaganda videos.

The Imperium Alliances... sans the Fweddit space chicken I guess...

The Imperium Alliances… sans the Fweddit space chicken I guess…

But there they are holding space in Cloud Ring along side Goonswarm, so they must still be on the team, and they’ll be our bulwark against Black Legion.

That all means we are holding eight regions, which annoys me for purely aesthetic reasons.  I thought “The Seven Regions” was close enough to “The Seven Kingdoms” from Game of Thrones to be amusing.  I guess I won’t be able to beat that joke into the ground.  The lands of The Imperium have condensed though.

Imperium Space - June 2015

Imperium Space – June 2015

So amidst all of that, TNT is focusing on Tribute as our new home, a region we will be sharing with Circle of Two.  That puts us on the doorstep of Venal, and NPC controlled null sec region, and just a few jumps away from our friends in Mordus Legion.  It also, oddly enough, puts me potentially a couple jumps away from the first system I was blown up in (such a tale too, go click on that link) playing EVE Online, M-OEE8.

The move also puts me close to my original home in Caldari space.  It is just five gates from M-OEE8 to Hageken, the system where I first set up shop after finishing up my initial missions in Jita.  I remember feeling like I had gone WAY off the grid back then.  It was the wild west, with people looting jet cans and getting feisty over asteroids and such.  I lost a very badly fit Caracal to a jet can thief.  That 0.6 security status was off the hook!

Now I look at the map and see I made it all of six jumps from Jita on my first venture.  Well, it seemed daring back then!  I still have a pile of stuff, including a Moa cruiser, in the Caldari Navy Assembly Plant station in Hageken.

So that is where I will be headed, at least once I get back north.  I’ve moved most of my stuff down there already, leaving some strategic doctrine ships, and a jump clone, up in the coalition staging system at YA0-XJ.  But the bulk junk is down in Tribute.  We shall see how the new location plays out.

(As usual, sovereignty maps swiped from the usual source, with regional maps coming from DOTLAN.)

An Ibis in Immensea

We had gotten word earlier in the week from our CEO that we needed to go on more fleet ops.  Or, more specifically, that we needed to click on more participation links for fleet ops.  Eight such links a month was the requested amount.

And eight such links for eight such ops wouldn’t be a problem at all for me… if there was a war going on or if the Reavers were deployed behind enemy lines.  I’ve gotten eight over a weekend under the right conditions.

However, there is no war going on currently.  The Reavers are all back in their home systems waiting for orders.  And hanging on a gate with some buddies trying to grab a couple kills via hapless passers by do not count.  You only get participation links for fleets that have been broadcast alliance or coalition-wide over Jabber, are led by an anointed fleet commander, and gets a minimum amount of participation… the number 10 has been bandied about… before before the operation can be given a participation link.

And, honestly, I’ve been a bit busy so far this month (you can tell I’m busy because I start writing about games as opposed to about actually playing games… which usually means I am not playing much…) so that as Sunday hit us, and the promise of a corp meeting, I had zero participation links for the month of March.

So I figured I had better get on that if I didn’t want to be evicted from null sec!

I was online and in coms 2 hours before the corp meeting… because my brain couldn’t quite remember how daylight savings time worked… and I had been doing bad things to my brain the night before.  So I had some trouble working out that “spring forward” meant that EVE Online time… which runs on UTC… would actually be earlier and not later.  It seemed a lot more complicated before I had some caffeine.

Anyway, the meeting was at 19:00 EVE time and there I was logged in and on coms at 17:00 and wondering why nobody was saying anything about the corp meeting.  I probably scared some of my corp mates as I am pretty sure that me being on TNT coms, in the corp channel, when there isn’t a corp meeting or event is one of the harbingers of the apocalypse.  I don’t spend a lot of time playing with my corp.  Anyway, we can now add “or its the start of daylight savings time” to the list of possibilities.

There I was, feeling a bit silly, realizing that the meeting wasn’t for a good two hours, when somebody dropped into our channel asking for more people to join a fleet that had just been broadcast… a fleet I had opted not to join because we had a corp meeting.  Well, I figured I had better get in on that action so I would show up to the meeting with at least one participation link in hand.

The first thing I had to do was get where the fleet was forming up.  I was logged in and sitting in Amarr space in my training implant clone, so it was time for a clone jump.  I paused my training queue… please removed to start and stop training queues in order to clone jump on the list of things to do CCP… and started rummaging through my clones looking for the one in the system closest to the one we were forming up in.  The winner appeared to be the clone I still had sitting in VFK-IV.   The one I actually clicked on however was the clone in XS-K10, at the north end of Immensea, just a couple of jumps from B-R5RB.

Well, I wasn’t going to make that fleet.

I had a clone in XS-K10 because for a brief bit of time we were helping some Russians in their conquest of Northern Associates rental space.  The last time I was down there, The Initiative owned the system.  However, I only ran a few ops there before the Reavers were called up to start hitting things at the other end of NA space in order to provide a distraction.  That apparently did not help enough as The Initiative collapsed and lost their holding in the region.

So there I was in the middle of hostile space with a Basilisk and an Ibis.  I put the Basilisk up for sale on contract at a bargain price so as to at least extract a bit of ISK from a ship I would probably never return to claim and then mounted up the Ibis and set a course for home.

And it looked to be a bit of a trip...

And it looked to be a bit of a trip…

I have developed an aversion to self-destructing.   I would rather risk an impossible run and go out in a blaze of something akin to glory than sit there and watch the self destruct timer run down.  Also, content creation!  So I set my destination and started flying towards home, pretty sure that I would find somebody along the way to speed up the process.  And what the hell, a pod doesn’t cost anything these days, and who cares about losing an Ibis.  I have too many of the damn things sitting around already.

An Ibis loose in Immensea!

An Ibis loose in Immensea!

I made it as far as Catch when I got caught by a drag bubble behind a gate… how does that even work, putting a drag bubble 20km behind your landing point and somehow you get pulled into it, how does the lore explain that… and got popped by a solo camper.  I was afraid I was going to make it all the way to HED-GP before that happened, space in the area being exceedingly bare.

Unfortunately my death clone had been set to XS-K10.  I tried to check that while I was there, but since I couldn’t use station services that was out.  But at least EVE won’t drop you back in a hostile station when you die.  Instead it put me back where my clone was originally set way back in 2006.  It put my at the Caldari Navy Assembly Plant and Jita Planet IV Moon 4.  Jita 4-4, the center of the known universe.

There was a time when that was where the Caldari new player experience dumped you.  Your first real agent was right there at Jita 4-4, which I am going to guess is how that because the most popular station in the entire game. (Also, back then, started a Caldari gave you a leg up with a few combat skills, so it was the default choice for many people.)  I remember when I finally moved away from Jita and set up shop in Hageken.  I felt like I was out in the freakin’ wilderness.

Anyway, I was closer to home and, if nothing else, at a station where I could equip myself for the run back.  I fitted out a Crow because that happened to align best with my skills, undocked safely, as nobody is paying the Marmites to keep us under a declaration of war any more, and continued along the route home.

If I had been thinking, I would have altered my course and gone in via the “safe” route to home, through which I have dragged any number of awkward ships over the years.  Instead I just followed the shortest, most direct route.  After all, I was in an interceptor.  They are invincible, right?

I blew through some familiar low sec names, made it to M-OEE8 and saw that we had the route camped as usual, and headed onward.  Just as I the gate to E-OGL4 was prepping to send me to that system, I saw that a friendly hand in local had written, “Wilhelm Arcturus don’t jump into E-OGL4!”

Well, what trouble could I possibly get into in an interceptor, being determined to fly through as opposed to fight?  I landed in E-OGL4 and held my cloak, but the coast looked clear.  There wasn’t anything on my overview.  So I set myself to jump for the next gate home, breaking cloak and starting to align when suddenly I found myself short a ship.  There were two of those new Svipuls camping the gate and, for whatever reason, not showing up on my overview.  I had best check that.  Anyway, they were set to insta-lock and stripped the Crow right off of my pod which, thankfully, continued the transition to warp and sped off to the next system.

While losing the pod would have cost me nothing, I hadn’t bothered to reset my death clone location yet, so I would have ended up back in Jita.  Instead I was able to carry on.  The next system put me on the jump bridge network and I was able to get a bit deeper into CFC territory where I picked up a siege bomber and flew the rest of the way to my usual home in Deklein, YA0-XJ as my jump fatigue/space ebola started counting down.

That about ate up all the time before our corp meeting.  I had put myself in the AFK channel in TeamSpeak, so I pulled myself back up to the corp channel to listen to the proceedings.

As I was doing that a ping came up for a “quick op” to chase down a hostile carrier close by.  I figured I could get in on that.  It was in our staging system down in QPO-WI.  I grabbed a Harpy, got on Mumble, put myself in the No Chatter channel so I would only hear the FC, since the corp meeting was just starting up as well and I was listening to that at the same time, and flew to QPO. There the FC, Alterair Phoenix, announced that we needed more logistics so I bought a Burst… they cost less than 10 million ISK, which is pretty much a “who cares?” level of pricing… and joined the fleet as we undocked.

My Burst undocking

My Burst undocking

From there we headed out towards the intended targets who were, of course, on the far side of YA0-XJ.  Some times I wonder why I ever leave that system for fleets.  Inevitably I make the run to QPO just to turn around and fly right back to YA0.  It is only a few jumps, so not a big deal, but if just seems amusing.

It turned out that the carrier in question got safe, but we did managed to catch a Triumvirate Ishtar and Cerberus on the gate in E-FICO.  And thanks to somebody loading up the Burst drone bays with a Warrior II I was able to get just enough of a bite on each of those to get on the kill mails.  I don’t need a lot of kill mails, but I like to show up on the boards at least once each month to prove I am still alive.

Orbiting our camp... also, Caroline's Star

Orbiting our camp… also, Caroline’s Star

As that was going on, our CEO listened to concerns about hitting eight participation links during a time of relative peace, so knocked that number down to four for now.  The meeting went on for a bit, focused on our industrial achievements and what might happen come the null sec phase II changes, at which time mining might get the respect it deserves given how it will impact the defense values of systems.  The fleet op wound down and Alterari Phoenix brought us back to QPO, generating a participation link for us.  25% of my monthly minimum in the bag.  And then, almost immediately, another op came up, again under Alterari Phoenix, where we chased some Mordus’ Angels ships around for a while until they buggered off for home, getting me a second participation link.

And that was about the extent of space operations for me on Sunday.  I did remember to reset my death clone before I logged of so I will end up back at home the next time my pod gets popped… and somebody bought the discount Basilisk.  So I have a bit more ISK.

The Deklein to Delve Tower Bash Commute

There has not been a lot going on when it comes to the strat op front in EVE.  There is no summer war.  The groups in the nearby NPC space have stopped coming out in force, apparently feeling content to gank ratters they can catch.  And, I have to admit, as amusing as a Baby Lemba fleet can be, ops that are billed as 2-3 hour roams just don’t make me happy.  I like a kill of opportunity as much as the next capsuleer, but I also like ops to have a mission, a purpose beyond “lets find something to shoot.”

I am just an objectives oriented person.  This is why I like quests and levels and reputation and achievements and all sorts of other things that are now in the default MMO bag of tricks.  This aspect of my personality can, at times, make EVE Online a questionable game for me.  My career in New Eden has been a series of goals which, once achieved, tend to leave me knocking around looking for something else to do.  Null sec has worked out so far because, as a coalition, we often have discreet, concrete objectives.  Defend space.  Cover capital ops.  Defeat opposing fleets.

Even a tower shoot works for me.

So I was happy enough to go along to put a couple of Black Legion towers into reinforce the other day.  As with a number of other ops of late, the form up was in VFK-IV, but as soon as we were in motion, it became clear that we were headed down to Delve.  It is one of those things… if I hadn’t just clone jumped to VFK to get to where the main fleet was staging, I would have just jumped to our old staging system in Delve where I keep a jump clone and ships for a few doctrines, at least one of which we still use.

Not that the trip was a big deal.

By gates, according to DOTLAN, the quickest route is 47 jumps, taking you from Deklein into Pure Blind and Cloud Ring, then the full length of Fountain, and across half of Delve, to arrive at the nominal “capital” of Delve, NOL-M9.

Deklein to Delve route via gates

Deklein to Delve route via gates

But the jump bridge network cuts that down to roughly a third of the jumps, so the trip goes fairly quick even in battleships.  The route is well known by this point, it is pretty close to the gate route suggested by DOTLAN, and frequently camped, so you do not want to fall behind or leave late and try to catch up when an op is on.  But the presence of 90 battleships and another 30 support ships landing on a camp is enough to get them to scatter for a while.

The op actually ran a bit longer than I expected.  We got down there in short order and formed up with the forces that were already down in Delve there or along the way,  The LAWN gnomes live down in Delve now and Fatal Ascension is in Fountain.  But the capital ships were poking along, taking their time.  Dreadnaughts always show up for tower shoots these days, as they speed things up.  Baltec fleet is mostly there to cover them while they are sieged up and during the shoot.  So we went ratting as a fleet for a while and ran through an anomaly that actually had an escalation, which kept us busy for a bit.  But eventually the dreads were in range and it was time for business.

Black Legion tower

Black Legion tower

There were two Black Legion towers that had been dropped in the CFC rental space.  We hit them without incident.  The dreads pulled out and we began to withdraw as well.  There was some chasing about as the Delve contingent went to head home and ran into hostiles, and news that there was going to be activity in the pipe from Delve to Deklein must have gotten out, as there were several camps looking for stragglers.  One camp even hung out too long as we piled through a gate, allowing me to lock up and get a shot off at an interceptor before it blew up.  I didn’t do any damage, but my beams were on the way, so I was credited on the kill mail.

While we ended up having to circle back a couple of times to rescue somebody, eventually we all arrived home, op success.

Another day in space.  Hardly worth a mention, except for the few screen shots I included at the end of the post.  Space is always pretty.

However, it is currently in vogue to debate exactly the sort of thing we did in that op.  Force projection and the ability of the three null sec powers (PL, N3, and the CFC, ignoring any alliance between PL and N3) to get fleets around space quickly to maintain their empires against all external threats is the current favorite topic in the ongoing “null sec is stagnant and/or broken” discussion.

Over at EVE News 24 there was a post last week suggesting that capital ships needed to be nerfed, followed up by a post with a longer laundry list of things to kill off “easy” force projection, which included things like nerfing jump bridges into complete uselessness. (And another one slipped in while I wasn’t looking, and another.)  Over at The Mittani there is a post up that includes interviews with a few stakeholders in the argument that seems to argue that changing force projection would cut both ways… the big null sec blocs are the ones most likely to be able to adapt to any changes… and that other mechanics in play, such as the fact that time dilation holds battles in stasis so that force projection can be leisurely and still get their in time, as well as the long standing complaints about how sovereignty works, mean that just focusing on travel time won’t change much.

This is one of those “something is wrong so we need to do something, anything to fix it” discussions that seems ripe for unintended consequences and subject to conflicting goals.

I do not think there is a universally agreed upon place where people want null sec to go.  “More fun” gets brought up now and again, but fun is subjective, to the point I have been told I suffer from cognitive dissonance when I find things fun that don’t meet some criteria.  So how do we figure out what fun is in a game that can be argued is objectively not fun (Press F1. Whee.) and when people find fun in so many different things?

And then there are the different groups who are clearly working at cross purposes.  CCP wants more big fights, because that makes the news and gets subscribers, as do a lot of the line members in null sec alliances.  Those running the current power blocs want fun some fun for their line members, for whatever definition they may choose, as that keeps them subscribed and in space, while not having their power degraded.  There is a vocal group that wants to see null sec Balkanized into a series of small holdings where space isn’t empty, as most systems in null tend to be, but teeming and lived in and bloody from constant conflict.  And then there is a current pushing for null sec to be… well… for lack of a better term, useful, at least for something more than just epic space battles.  Some aspect of CCP wants that, given some of the industry changes they were proposing for Kronos. (Which got pushed out due to their controversial nature.)  And there are probably groups out there I haven’t accounted for that want any number of other things.

But there is certainly no unified vision of what null sec ought to be that I have seen.  There isn’t even such a thing from CCP that I have run into.

And, in something of an ironic twist, null sec might be getting more use right now than it has in the past.  Sure, there are no giant battles, and the likelihood that any group in game is going to be able to dislodge one of the three great powers is exceedingly small.  Internal rot and collapse seems to be the only hope on that front.  But what do you see when you look at the sovereignty map? (From the usual source)

Null Sec - July 8, 2014

Null Sec – July 8, 2014

You can say “stagnation.”  That is a defensible answer.  There were no sovereignty changes today.  There were none yesterday.  There will likely be none tomorrow.

But I cannot help looking at all the space devoted to the rental empires.  On the map, Northern Associates, Brothers of Tangra, and Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere color in most of space.  And while that is certainly a case of the rich getting richer, each of the power blocs make a lot of ISK through the renting of null sec space, that also means that there are more than 600 corporations currently in null sec working systems… ratting, mining, whatever… that likely wouldn’t be out there if space rental was not an option.  Yeah, I want more big fights, more objectives, more systems to take, but is the rental aspect of the current situation a bad thing?

I don’t know the answer.  I am not sure I understand the question.  But I am very suspicious of anybody solution put forth that suggests that a simple change focused on one area will result in everything being better when it comes to a complex system like EVE Online.

So I’ll just play the tourist.  Here are some pictures our time in Delve.

 

In the Quiet of Deklein

The instance group continues to garner a very small turnout these days.  This past week it was, again, just Potshot and I.

Which, in a way, is kind of liberating.  Of the group, he and I play the largest spread of games.  So we have a lot of options.

On the flip side of that, we also have a long tradition, going back to high school, of “what should we do tonight?”  Having a wide range of possibilities has never been our friend in that situation.  It has generally lead to the paralysis of choice.

Fortunately, we have adapted our own way around that, which is somebody suggests exactly one idea for the nights plan.  If we like it, we go with it and do not bring up any alternative plans.  This adheres to the ABC theory of selling, “Always Be Closing.”  When you have agreement, you don’t muddy the water with further choices.  If you don’t get agreement, you then move to other options.

We happened to be in EVE Online already and chatting on coms when the “what to do” part of the discussion came up.  I happened to be on with my alt who was back up in our home region of Deklein where systems were surprisingly empty.

Deklein - Oct 17, 2013

Deklein – Oct 17, 2013

The deployment down to Curse has had its impact.  I flew threw several systems and never saw more than one or two blues.  More importantly, I saw no hostiles.

For the few weeks between the fall of Delve and the Curse deployment, Pandemic Legion was apparently at loose ends and so decided to set up an around the clock hot drop operation on our part of the region.  There were any number of nights where I logged on and found two or three cloaked hostiles… either PL members or easily pegged as PL alts… in just about every system in our area.  And lest you think that they were AFK cloaking just to annoy people, I saw them drop on people foolish enough to attempt to run anomalies or otherwise expose themselves in-system.

Basically, if you see a hostile in your system in null sec when you were planning to do something in that system, you just change your plans.  You should rat or mine or put up a tower or otherwise linger in space or you may find a hostile blackops fleet suddenly on top of you.  Welcome to ~elite PvP~ in null sec.  They do it.  We do it.  It is the way of things.  You cannot scan them down unless they screw up badly and cyno jammers do not block covert cynos used by blackops fleets, so you are just stuck.

But it also meant that the deployment to Curse, as awkward as getting down there tended to be, at least gave us something to do.  In the week before that I was logging on every time, checking to see that our systems were still cloaky camped, finding that they were, and then logging off.  Having another game to play when EVE isn’t cooperating with your plans remains a good idea.

However, since the Curse deployment, and the subsequent population drop in the cluster of systems I tend to think of as home, the cloaky camping has ceased.  It is like nature took its course, and with the absence of prey, the predators moved on.  They, it seems, also moved on to Curse, where they too are sitting on gates and otherwise engaging in more ~elite PvP~ in its various forms.

In the absence of conflict in our home region, I suggest that we could try mining.

How odd was that?

Potshot agreed to that option, probably for the same reason I suggested it: I wanted to see where I stood on that front, equipment-wise, and what we could accomplish in a few hours of burning down rocks.

So both of got our mains and our alts (one each) into Deklein to sort out what we had.  I had a barely fit Hulk and a Mackinaw fit for ice mining and completely lacking in a tank.  The latter was a setup left over from our last corp day when were were out working ice in order to get the raw materials for the fuel blocks needed by our towers, while the former has just sat in the hanger since the last time I tried mining out in null.

The first problem out of the gate was just equipping the ships with what was available in the immediate area and could be accommodated by the skills of each character.  The second bit was a real sticker.  While I had both characters trained up for mining in high sec, I had not invested much training time in the null sec ore varieties.  So I ended up with a Mackinaw fit with tier I strip miners, which could mine anything, and a Hulk fit with modulated strip miners, but which could only mount crystals for a couple of the juicer asteroid options.

The Mackinaw was ready first, so I put my alt in it and sent him out to the belts.  With the huge ore hold of the Mackinaw… being the exhumer with the big capacity its post-rebalance role… I figured my alt could mine away for a bit while I sorted out the Hulk.  Potshot likewise had a Mackinaw ready, and soon we were out in the belts.

And the first thing I noticed was that all the asteroids were a long ways away from where I had landed… to the point that I was wondering if I accidentally warped in at an extended range.  But Potshot reported the same thing upon warping to the belt at zero, so that is just the way things are I guess.

We began slowly motoring out to some likely looking spots in the belt while I considered the viability of strapping a microwarp drive to the Mackinaw.  Moving 30km or so at ~100m/s takes a while when you are just staring at the screen.

Meanwhile, I managed to scrape together a minimal tank for the Hulk and had just landed in the field when some rats spawned.  Tech II scout drones and a sketchy tank turned out to not be up to the task and we all ended up warping back to the station.

There I pulled out Wil’s ratting Tengu and went to go sit on the belt and pop rats while others mined and hauled.  Potshot and I flew our Mackinaws back out to the belt.  As it turned out, the 1MN microwarp drive I had handy did not improve the velocity of the Mackinaw all that much, boosting it to all of 130m/s.  But it was something.

And then we burned rocks.

Mackinaw Mining

Mackinaw Mining

I hit a patch of Dark Ochre, which seemed like a good idea until I realized that it was the only type for which I had no refining skill whatsoever.  Potshot went after some rocks near by while pulling out his cloaked Mammoth to haul for us.  When the Dark Ochre ran out, I hit the close by Hemorphite and then Jaspet.

Once you are settled in to the mining routine, it is relaxing.  We spent time chatting and planning what we ought to have on hand to make this go better.  Doing this sort of off-the-cuff meant making do.  There is some equipment I should ship out for next time.

Among the things that I had forgotten about was that I had trained up Wil in the mining boss leadership skills.  Just sitting there he was boosting yield per cycle by 10%.  I probably could have mounted a mining foreman link on the Tengu if I had had one handy.

So we ground away for a while, then collected our ore together, paid the corp tax on mining (by contracting 5% of the yield to the corp), and called it a night.

The next day, with the area still quiet, I brought out the Tengu and ran a Guristas Forsaken Hub anomaly.

Tengu doing its thing...

Tengu doing its thing…

That netted me about twice as much ISK in about a quarter the time as the previous night’s mining operation.  Of course, the Tengu is optimized for that and the Guristas Forsaken Hub is the best time/money yield.

But with some planning our next mining op should be more profitable.  We were well aware we were doing things badly, but it gave us a chance to at least enumerate all the things we could do better.