Tag Archives: Delve 2016

Finding Ways to Help the Coalition

Okay, back to what was slated to be yesterday’s post before the big news dropped and I pushed this out to write a very quick… and perhaps a bit too smug… nod to a big change in New Eden.  Back to me being more like me, long winded and meandering.  At least that post has lots of links out to other posts on the topic, with varying points of view, perhaps its one redeeming point.

In the backwards way I sometimes look at the world, I tend to approach guilds and in-game organizations with the question, “What can I do for them?” rather than “What can they do for me?”  There is probably some self-esteem issue manifest in that, when my first thought is trying to figure out why a guild would want me.  Or maybe it is ego, thinking I might matter.

Or maybe I just know how my varied my interest and schedule can be.  Some weeks I have the time and I am all in, other times things are busy or I just can’t build up the interest.

So I often end up in little guilds or corps with a few friends, eschewing larger guilds and the greater opportunities they can sometimes afford.  Check out a post I did a few years back about guilds I’ve been in.  Never going to be a raider with those credentials.

Which sort of makes my time in the CFC/Imperium a bit of an oddity.  The corp I am in started on the usual path, with Gaff already in it and getting me to come along for the ride.  (Potshot was even in there for a bit during the Fountain War.)  The corp itself wasn’t big and largely flew in EUTZ, so I was sort of free to pursue whatever I wanted.

That didn’t leave me with a strong sense of corp identity… my corp CEO is going to read this too, sorry Hir… but there was a war going on at the time, which ended up making me identify more with the coalition than my corp.  It was the Winter war against White Noise and Raiden and I wanted to be useful to the coalition.

You can, of course, be useful just showing up to fill out the fleet numbers.  I was able to do that, especially when the main doctrine changed to Drake Fleet, a ship I had skilled up for long before I came to null sec.  And being counted in the fleet helped my corp and alliance.

But I felt like I needed to do more, and so began what is now an almost five year search for how best to be useful balanced with finding things I can actually build up some enthusiasm for doing.

The first and longest standing of those things I have gone after is being a logi pilot.  Since I didn’t need to train anything for Drake Fleet, I went after Logistics V and the ability to strap on all of the ships the accomplished space priest might choose to fly.  And flying logi remains my stock in trade for being useful.  I keep one for each fleet doctrine on hand… fortunately the coalition has tried to keep logi fits somewhat unified lately, so I don’t have too many in my hangar… and whenever logi comes up short or Arrendis pings for more logi, I try to fill that position.

Though some days I do just want to shoot something.  Especially when we fly a laser doctrine.  I rarely flew logi when we had an Apoc doctrine because I just enjoyed being part of the light show too much.  But I am mostly ready to fly logi in any fleet.  I have never quite gotten myself to the point of being the logi anchor… but I’ll play the healer most days of the week.  And I think I am reasonably good at it.

After I had logi trained up I started thinking about other roles I might take up.  There were times when I had to work on training for the main fleet doctrine… when Megathrons were the mainstay, I found I was lacking in gunnery skills, while a switch to armor doctrines showed up my long focus on shield skills.  But I found time to train towards new goals and side projects along the way.

One I went after a while back was fleet booster.  Aside from Fleet Command V, I have all the fleet boosting leadership skills trained all the way up.  And then I actually realized what being the booster actually meant… sitting alone, away from the battle, running links and hitting dscan to see if anybody is trying to probe you down.  I appreciate those who actually take on this task, but it sounds like the dullest assignment in the world and not the way I want to spend any fight.  (I do have hope for the boost changes coming with Ascension.  Maybe I will end up using those skill.)

I also trained up to fly interdictors, heavy interdictors, the Archon, the Naglfar, and probably a few other specialty ships that I never ended up flying.  I did buy the Archon, but I have never flown it in action, just using it to haul stuff now and again.  It was very handy in getting my stuff out of Tribute the day before the word went out to evacuate.  And, of course, it made the long trip down to Delve carrying a lot of my stuff.

Wars came and went.  The Fountain War was probably the peak of my fun being a line member in the main fleet.  After that my participation tapered off somewhat.  I logged on to make sure I was still showing the flag and being useful, but no more than that.  By sheer luck I happened to pick some of the more memorable battles to attend, including the last part of B-R5RB.

As my interest fell off I tried flying with the USTZ SIG called Freedom Squad.  That gave me something to do, but it tailed off itself, eventually being replaced with Reavers.  Reavers was new and interesting, flying in much smaller groups and living out of a POS in the middle of enemy space.  That meant new things for me to learn and new skills to train as Reavers quickly became my home in the game.  I haven’t been on every op, but I believe I have been on every deployment.

That went on until the great war in the north, the Casino War or World War Bee, the beginning of which are just about a year old at this point, as things began to heat up in Cloud Ring in what Noizy dubbed “The Kickstarter War” last November.  From that point until our retreat south in July was a time of almost continuous fighting for us.  Reaver deployments tapered off as we fought in the north in a wearing campaign that saw, among other things, a constant series of doctrine changes on our side as we sought a way to come to grips with the foe.

After that, there was the road south to Delve, the conquest of the region, and setting up a new home.  At first one could help out by just ratting or mining to help raise ADMs.  My trusty Ishtar, refit from fighting the Guristas menace in the north to the Blood Raider menace in the south, could engage in that.

Again, lasers are more fun than guns or missiles

Again, lasers are more fun than guns or missiles

Easy enough once the region was a bit secure and lucrative as well.

That ushered in a somewhat more normal rhythm to life in the coalition.  Reavers deployed again to our old stomping ground in Querious… now very close to hand… a staging system was set, jump bridges starting going up, a home defense system started working, with capitals ready to drop on any interlopers, and Delve became our new home

But more was needed and the word went out asking people to help out if they could.  The first involved scanning for wormholes.  We have a third party tracking system that lets you log in and uses CREST to map where you are so you can scan down wormholes, you just enter them and the connection gets recorded.

Having done scanning for a bit way back when wormholes were a new thing, I decided I could go after that.  I had trained up all the skills to at least four and in some cases five.  And I still had the ship I used to scan in back in… 2009.  It has been a while.

Buzzard from long ago... and the TNT logo

Buzzard from long ago… and the TNT logo

So I got out the ship, flew it to Amarr, stripped it, found a fit online I could use (here), bought the additional modules I needed along with probes, and set about trying to figure out how to scan again.

Fortunately, I found a video that got me back up to speed.

 

Soon I was scanning down cosmic signatures again… if not like a champ, than at least well enough to actually get the job done.

Found one!

Found one!

So now I have something to do when there is a bit of free time and no fleet ops going up.

There was also a request to start helping build up our own supply of raw materials in the region.  While Delve has its upsides, proximity to the Jita market is not one of them.  It is a long way to New Eden’s space WalMart, so there was a promise that if people went out and mined and such, various organizations would make sure that buy orders existed at decent rates so we wouldn’t have to ship stuff back to Jita to sell and industrialist wouldn’t have to ship stuff from Jita to make things.

Like SynCaine, I decided to give Planetary Interaction a try.  This was alleged to be low effort if done right, and I had trained all the skills up to four at some point in the past.

Of course, doing it “right” is an exercise left to the student to figure out.  I still haven’t found a decent tutorial that tells you exactly how to make things work.  I suspect that this is largely due to the usual abominable CCP UI choices.  Once you figure it out, it becomes natural and you forget you have to tell people how many clicks it really takes to setup a link and then a functioning route between two structures.

Eventually though, I did get something working.  As there were many barren planets to hand, several warnings about not working with gas planets, and encouragement to make parts used to create fuel blocks, I went into mechanical parts production.

Something setup on a barren planet

Something setup on a barren planet

So I just setup to harvest base metals and noble metals, refine them into reactive metals and precious metals, and then combine those into mechanical parts.  Every couple of days I check to make sure harvesting is running, and then when I am in the system I stop at each customs office, grab the output, and sell them to the buy order which also happens to be in our system.

Mechanical Parts sales

Mechanical Parts sales

It isn’t a huge amount of ISK, but it very low effort and the output is used locally to keep us running.

And so it goes.  I try to do my bit for the team.  All of which is a lot of words for a post that was originally just going to be “hey, I’m doing scanning and PI now.”  Like I said at the top, back to my rambling style.

Delve Conquest Complete

The return to peace time life and normlacy continues in the south as we wrapped up the conquest of Delve.  The map now shows all sovereignty in our hands.

Delve - September 14, 2016

Delve – September 14, 2016

Along the way to pacifying Delve, the Imperium picked up a new alliance, with Brother’s in Arms joining us and getting a constellation in the region.

Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms

The only system not held by the Imperium now, aside from NPC space, is 9GNS-2, which is held by United Systems of Aridia (USA), a member of the coalition that holds Period Basis with whom we have a non-agression pact.  Aside from that, and a couple of stations that are still in the freeport state, Delve is done.  We just have to wait for the sovereignty indexes to rise to install the jump bridge network and we will be set.

One item of note that came up recently is that the sovereignty index numbers displayed over at DOTLAN EVE Maps are not necessarily correct.  I gather from a ping that went out that they are being calculated based off of the date/time of when the TCU was dropped… how it worked in Dominion sovereignty… but with Fozzie Sov it is now the Infrastructure Hub drop time that determine the sov index.  So there a lot of those numbers are wrong. (Especially for systems with no ihub installed.)

That just means more work and more things to keep track of for GSOL, the infrastructure team that places all the towers, installs upgrades, keeps things fueled, and all of that.

And, just in case GSOL was not busy enough already, there were also some operations going on in Querious.

While not interested in conquering the whole region, the Imperium has decided to take what is called “Fake Querious,” a stretch of systems that are flagged as part of the region, but which only connect to Delve.  You cannot get to those systems via gates without going through Delve, so that is our Alsace I suppose, if you want a horrible historical metaphor.

Querious - September 14, 2016

Querious – September 14, 2016

And, were that not enough to keep GSOL busy, the Reavers deployed to the other end of Querious for what was planned to be a long term operation to take moons of value in the region.  We took a couple of systems just to stage from, liberated the station at ED-L9T, a location of legend from a past deployment, to free up any supplies left behind, entosised some things, shot some things, but generally didn’t have to do much as the locals, as Asher put it, folded like ironing boards.

I had my alt just entosis stuff at random some times...

I had my alt just entosis stuff at random some times…

Those that didn’t just get the hell out of Dodge with the dissolution of the Querious Fight Club seemed happy enough to sell us prime locations for a bit of ISK and a short count to let them get away.  Instead of getting fights we added revenue assets to the coalition which, as noted, GSOL has to run around to setup and maintain.

So that deployment was over much sooner that expected, leaving me time to start getting adjusted to life in the south.

As I said in the previous post, it doesn’t seem quite like home to me yet.  The system names are all foreign to me and I have to have click on systems that get mentioned in the intel channel to see how far away they are in order to tell if I should be worried about a couple of Svipuls on the loose.  Are they next door or on the other side of the region?  Something that will just take time to get a feel for.

I am also figuring out the logistics of living down south.  Back up in Deklein and Tribute I never worried about hauling anything in and out of null sec.  The proximity to Jita meant that shipping was cheap and quick.  Down in Delve though… Jita is a long way away, the prices have tripled, and the schedules are less reliable.

There are some alternatives.  Amarr is closer and therefore cheaper to haul from, though the market there isn’t as robust as Jita.  I can also get things back down to below the rates in the north if I don’t mind hauling stuff across high sec to a waypoint on the delivery run.

Of course, once I have gotten things that far, the question becomes, “Why not just haul it myself?”  I had a Deep Space Transport loaded with supplies, including a module refit for my ratting Ishtar sitting on the edge of low sec and said, “What the hell.” and just went.  Why wait when you can get same day delivery on your own?  All you have to do is simply not get blown up!

Mastodon on the way

Mastodon on the way

My decision was influenced by my past experiences in low sec… no warp disruption bubbles means getting away from anything by an overwhelming camp is reasonably likely… and the fact that we have the start of a jump bridge network already up and running in Delve.  So all I had to do was get into Delve and I could bypass most of the danger there.

My old friend the jump portal array

My old friend the jump portal array

That got me to the main staging system in Delve, where I dropped off some of my stuff.  But I still had to get the Ishtar fit out to where our Fortizar was so I could help keep ADMs high in our home constellation while making ISK.

Fortunately, that is within jump range of a carrier, so I loaded my good into the Archon and then… needed a cyno.  I had to log on my alt, give him a cyno ship, and have him fly out to the destination to light it, which slowed things down a bit, but wasn’t a high risk operation.  Things are pretty quiet in Delve.

Soon enough I was able to jump my carrier out to my destination and refit the Ishtar.  The old Guristas fit sort-of worked.  It could manage a hub, but I had to be careful not to get in over my head or things would go south quickly.  The new recommended Ishtar fit however, it works brilliantly.

Ishtar dodging beams at a Blood Raiders hub

Ishtar dodging beams at a Blood Raiders hub

I was tempted to go with the Rattlesnake fit that SynCaine mentioned in his post.  There is nothing like feeling secure in a tanky battleship, plus Caldari supremacy and all that.  But I already had the Ishtar, and while the module refit was extensive, going from a shield to an armor tank, it was still cheaper than even the Rattlesnake hull.  Plus the Ishtar is a drone loving machine.  I fly in circles around my MTU while the drones go do all the work.  I just watch the intel channel and listen to a podcast while watching the scenery.

Floating Stonehenge, with lasers

Floating Stonehenge, with lasers

So we continue to settle in down south.  I keep looking at the map on DOTLAN, hoping to remember the names of systems.  And life in New Eden goes on.

A Return to Normalcy in Delve

America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality.

-Warren G. Harding, 1920 Presidential campaign

Such was the election winning sentiment of the nation after WWI.

Some sense of normalcy is also what the Imperium clearly sought after departing the north of New Eden in defeat at the end of the Casino War just under two months ago.  And so we packed up and headed south towards Delve, basing first in Sakht, then 1-SMEB, and finally in D-W7F0, dropping citadels everywhere, as the conquest of the region progressed.

Another Fortizar going up

Another Fortizar going up

The locals set up to hold the line against the Imperium, but were seriously out numbered and required allies from the north in order to commit to any sort of serious resistance.  Fights around the first constellation were largely supported by Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition.

Later, as the Imperium expanded its hold on the region, and the locals began to evacuate, TEST formed up and came down to make common cause with the remaining residents against us.

The low point for them was getting a Machariel fleet bottled up in a dead-end constellation with an incursion running in it, which had the bonus effect of blocking cynos.  It isn’t clear why they chose that constellation, though a going theory was they were going to run the incursion to help raise our ADMs.  But, there they were, so we setup a blockade.  SynCaine and I were both in the initial fleet for that.

Camping a gate, waiting patiently

Camping a gate, waiting patiently

This led to them logging out, then logging back in later to try and slip away. (Their leader was not so patient and got popped early on trying to run the gauntlet.)  The blockade stayed in place, watching the exits, and a confirmed 30 Machariels were killed, along with half a dozen other ships from the fleet and an unknown number of self-destructs.  As I mentioned in the August in review post, one pilot ejected from his Machariel (screen shot) rather than face the apparent shame of giving us the kill mail, at which point Jay Amazingness hijacked the ship; pretty much a direct transfer from TEST to GSF.

Shortly thereafter TEST declared their deployment a success and set a course back to Vale of the Silent, though as last as this morning errant Machariels were still being knocked off trying to slip away.  TEST pilots reportedly have three days to get back to Vale. (Reference: Progodlegend coms meltdown early in the Delve deployment, after which “three days” became a meme in the Imperium.)

None of which did much to slow down the sovereignty grind, so that now almost all of Delve is in the hands of the Imperium.  Just a few systems left to go.

Delve - September 7, 2016

Delve – September 7, 2016

The remaining members of the Imperium interested in holding sovereignty have been given a couple token systems each.  TNT, like LAWN and Bastion, got the TCUs in two systems, though GSF holds the ihubs and stations still.  I guess this was a point of pride, being back on the map or some such.  But since ratting and mining is now a free-for-all in all Imperium held space, it isn’t as though we were restricted to just those two systems.

And ratting is very much under way, with a standing fleet and coordinated response teams, to help raise ADMs and the boost our wallet balances.

Blood Raiders use lasers, which is a change from the Guristas

Blood Raiders use lasers, which is a change from the Guristas

We even have our own Fortizar online.  I visited it at one point while it was going up.

Fortizar deployment under way

Fortizar deployment under way

Later, after it was live I docked up and found that I had been given access to the defenses!

Take Control? Don't mind if I do!

Take Control? Don’t mind if I do!

I was able to see the fighting interface for the citadel, which looks just like the interface for ships, with a special module or two.

Gunning the Fortizar

Gunning the Fortizar

So now I just need somebody to attack the damn thing when I am around so I can shoot them.  However, that doesn’t seem likely in the near term as resistance has fallen off in the region.  even next door in Querious a number of the locals have packed up and moved away.  Some, such as Brave, were already absentees, while others in the region are looking to make deals with the Imperium over space.

Western Querious - September 7, 2016

Eastern Querious – September 7, 2016

The Imperium has spilled over into the region in a few places, but hasn’t been actively pursuing sovereignty. (Though some former Delve residents are trying to settle in.) I’m not sure Red Frog Freight, for example, could stand up to were we determined to take the region.  It is more a place to look for fights and to test out new doctrines.

Giant griddles roaming Querious

Giant griddles roaming Querious

But even with the some groups in region keen for fights, we have had to wander further afield at times, into Catch or Providence, to find hostile fleets.

All in all, it is a quiet time now after the six months of continued warfare that went on during the first half of the year.  People are settling into their new homes in Delve.  For some, it is a return to a familiar place.  For me it is still a bit strange.  I’ve been down to Delve on deployments a number of times (back in 2012 we helped TEST conquer the region and I’ve been back a few times since), but I have never lived there, so I still have to keep DOTLAN EVE Maps handy to figure out where I am, where reports on intel channels are happening, and how to get to places in the region.

And so we live in Delve now.  Just a few more systems to grab, a bunch more citadels to drop, and then the wait for the sovereignty levels to rise up enough to get a jump bridge network in place and we will be set.

Addendum: It seems SynCaine also chose today to write about making a home in Delve.

Addendum: Also, it looks like that LUMPY Fortizar went *boom* as it came online. Pictures.

Committed to Delve Now

When move ops were announced late last week and over the weekend I was a little confused.  Were people still back in Saranen?  Was the Rakapas Cartel getting anxious?  The pings were a little vague about the end points of these ops.

However, when I actually looked into what was going on, it turned out that this wasn’t about the move down from the north.  This was another move.  We were giving up our low sec staging base in Sakht and moving into Delve proper.  We were moving to D-W7F0, highlighted below on the map of the Delve region.

Delve - August 16, 2016

Delve – August 16, 2016

At a glance the system doesn’t look to be the worst spot on the map, but it seems like one might choose better when it comes to a staging system.  There isn’t even a station there.   However, this is one of those instances where Wollari’s wonderful maps do not really reflect the shape of space.  The region maps on DOTLAN are setup to show all the systems and the interconnection of gates between them.  These maps do not show the actual distance or relative position of systems in space.  For that you need to use the Range option under Navigation over at DOTLAN, which will show you a different map.

Where can I jump from D-W7F0

Where can I jump from D-W7F0

That map shows the relative positions of the systems in the game, and every one of them in red is within 5 light years of D-W7F0, which means a capital ship can get there in one jump.  There are 72 systems within jump range of D-W7F0 and, while eight of those systems are in Querious, that still covers a substantial number of the 97 systems in Delve.

As for there being no station in D-W7F0, we look to be living out of citadels now.  There are three Fortizars and a couple of Astrahuses setup in the system for us to dock up in.  One has been designated as our staging citadel and, thanks to last week’s update, which added contracts to citadels, pre-fit doctrine ships are available in addition to the market getting stocked.

Now all we lack is the ability to insure ships in a citadel, which seems like something that ought to have been added already, but who knows what the code looks like or what CCP’s reasoning behind its absence might be.

That is home now, which meant getting stuff out of Sakht.  For me that includes a carrier and a bunch of sub caps.  I took care of the carrier first, loading it up with all the ships I could cram into it, grabbing about fuel for a couple of trips, just in case, and undocking.

Carrier on grid!

Carrier on grid!

This was between the Astrahus busting fleets on Saturday night when Asher setup a move up for us.  It was supposed to be for subcaps only.  He has setup a bridging titan in 1-SMEB while RatKnight1 (of the Ratkingbois meme from our Wicked Creek deployment) kept a cyno going at the Fortizar.  But with lots of ships covering and a cyno in place, he said we could take our chances if we wanted to move a capital via the cyno in fleet.

This meant doing things with my carrier that I had not done before.  So far, I have only ever jumped station to station, with the exception of that jump to a citadel from Rakapas.  I actually had to warp the carrier.

And it warps slowly

And it warps slowly

At the end of the warp, I had to take the gate from Sakht to 1-SMEB.

How do supers fit through this thing?

How do supers fit through this thing?

I had to do this because the jump gates between Sakht and 1-SMEB are of the very long range region connecting variety, so the distance covered is well beyond the 5 light year range limit.  Again, the DOTLAN route planner illustrates the path you would have to take to bypass the gate.

So I took the gate and jumped to the cyno once I was clear.

On the Fortizar

On the Fortizar

Then it was time to move some subcaps.

I remember back around the Phoebe release CCP was expressing concern that we might simply all use death clones to move about to bypass jump fatigue, especially after they removed clone costs.  It was part of the justification for restricting how one could set their home station. (Which also happens to be in the same time frame when we left Delve back in 2014.)

But if you are moving a ships between two points, death clones make it easy.  After docking up my carrier, I got out of it, undocked, and set my pod to self-destruct.  Upon my destruction, my death clone was activated in Sakht, where I boarded a subcap, took the gate to 1-SMEB, then Asher’s titan bridge back to D-W7F0, where I docked up, got out of the ship, undocked, and kicked off the self-destruct yet again.

Rolling up to a titan for a bridge

Rolling up to a titan for a bridge

A few rounds on that with both my main and my alt… and a little jump fatigue… and I was pretty quickly out of Sakht.  Everything I moved south is now in a Fortizar in the middle of Delve.  Time to settle in, evict the current residents, and help put down the natives.  It is no longer the Guristas for ratting, but Blood Raiders instead.

Blood Raiders use lasers

Blood Raiders use lasers

I just have to remember to not to go AFK in an anomaly when the doorbell rings.  At least I had gotten a couple of runs out of that Myrmidon and remembered to insure it.

So I am fully committed to Delve.  All my stuff is there now.

And it seems as thought TEST might have some commitment to Delve as well.  According to their latest (and very short) state of the alliance recording, they are being paid to come down to Delve and shoot Goons.

Astrahus Busting in Aridia

Citadels are all over New Eden at this point, with the medium sized model, the Astrahus becoming a common site just about any place I fly.

Saturday gave us the opportunity to clean up a few of these citadels.

A fleet went up on Asher Saturday evening (at which point it was already Sunday in New Eden) with the objective to go shoot some things, which is usually a euphemism shooting structures.  It was an Augor Navy Issue fleet, which meant lasers, which are good for structure shoots as you generally don’t have to reload a laser unless a frequency crystal burns out over time.

I was actually in the middle of something and didn’t see the fleet was up until almost 45 minutes after it had been announced, generally a sign that it might be too late to catch up.  But it was Saturday evening, structures take a while to shoot, and we haven’t been going too far afield for these sorts of things, so I decided to log in all the same to see if I could join in.

Logged in and on coms, I was able to spot where they were using the map option that shows where fleet members are located and the destination was linked in fleet after I had set out, so I was able to take gates and link up with the fleet shortly after they had arrived at what sounded like was their second target for the night, an NCDot Astrahus that was coming online.

An Astrahus in Aridia

An Astrahus in Aridia

When a citadel finishes its deployment cycle, it then has to go online, a process which isn’t too long, but which can be interrupted by shooting at it.  This is the best time to kill a citadel, as it cannot defend itself during that time and you can kill it right then and there without any additional timers.

I appreciate that CCP decided not to carry on with the whole entosis link module thing when it came to citadels.  Everybody shooting something is at least a bit more interesting (and much prettier when you’re using lasers) than a fleet sitting around watching one person use their Fozzie laser on a structure or command node.  But to keep citadels from just being blapped quickly out of existence by a supercap fleet when coming online, there is a cap on the amount of damage that can be applied.

For an Astrahus, if you are applying damage at the cap, it takes 22 minutes to kill one when it is vulnerable.  So we were out there with our Fountain allies, LowSechnaya Sholupen, blazing away at the citadel named, if I recall right, Steak and Onions.

ANIs shooting the citadel

ANIs shooting the citadel

This was the second NCdot Astrahus on the list of targets for the night, another having been popped earlier in the evening.  NCDot apparently wanted to seed the route down to Delve with citadels to cover any potential move op, but didn’t use a neutral alt corp and subsequently didn’t show up to defend the citadels as they went online.

And so I got to see my first Astrahus explosion. (kill mail)

Citadel goes critical

Citadel goes critical

I will put the explosion sequence I caught in the gallery at the end of the post.

After that, our we diverted off to help LowSechnaya Sholupen with a tower belonging to The-Culture (formerly that part of Black Legion that wanted to live in null sec) that was coming out of reinforcement.  They even provided a titan to bridge us over to the fight.

An Avatar tethered on an Astrahus

An Avatar tethered on a different Astrahus

Given how careful we tend to be with our titans, it was kind of fun just to see one hanging out on a citadel waiting to bridge us.  We were bridged out but arrived a little too late to get a kill on the tower.  The shields were already up past 50%, so they could add more stront.  Along the way there Asher was looking for somebody with a cyno… and eventually somebody had to go buy one… during which time it came out that, while nobody had one, several of us came armed with festival launchers.  SynCaine was in fleet and called me out for being on that list, so I targeted him and sent some copper fireworks his way.

SynCaine's ANI

SynCaine’s ANI

The cyno was so we could bring in a few LowSechnaya Sholupen to join us in the fight that eventually developed around the tower, where we traded a few ANIs for a Minokawa fax machine and some Rattlesnakes, which won us the ISK war for sure.  On the down side, mine was one of the ANIs that went down.  Hopefully somebody looted that festival launcher.  Good thing I brought down an extra.

If you look at that kill mail, I clearly forgot to clear my cargo hold after moving the ship down to Delve.  Ah well.  I was at least reminded to empty out the cargo holds of a few other ships.

I was able to watch the battle from my pod as the hostiles couldn’t spare any attention to blow me up.  That put me on a couple more kill mails as a pod, including the one for the Malediction that had tackled me.  When the fight was over I had to warp over to the POS to get somebody to blow me up and send me home.

That was it for the moment.  The fleet headed back home and there were some administrative things to look into.  But a while later a Confessor fleet went up in order to bust the third Astrahus of the night, and the second for me.  Keeping to what seemed to be a food theme, this one was called Meatball Sub.

Your meatball sub is up

Your meatball sub will be up in about two and a half minutes

This citadel shoot also went uncontested.  We got ourselves anchored up and, once the timer finished its count down, opened fire on it.

Confessors firing on the Astrahus

Confessors firing on the Astrahus

LowSechnaya Sholupen and a couple of their allies joined in for this kill as well.  Even with a smaller fleet… no dreadnoughts helping out this time around… we seemed to be able to hit the damage cap fairly easily.  You can tell when you’re there as you will start registering zero damage hits every so often as the damage output exceeds the cap.

I tried to get a different camera angle on the second Astrahus when it exploded, but the underside view wasn’t dramatically different.  And it all leaves the same wreckage in the end.

Astrahus remains

Astrahus remains

Once done it was back home to Delve.  Not exactly a huge set of blows against NCDot.  Astrahuses are pretty expendable.  But it was nice to finally get to see a couple of them explode.  If you’re going to shoot structures, you ought to get a pretty payoff when they blow.  More explosion pictures in the gallery from the op below.

Last Ship out of Saranen

Getting subcaps out of Saranen has proven to be considerably easier than getting my carrier down to Delve.  That week long adventure represents most of my effort when it comes to the move down to Delve. (The five days of jump fatigue I accrued faded away and was never an issue, so I won on that front I guess.)

On the plus side, I was able to stuff quite a few ships in the carrier, so when it finally docked up in the station at Sakht, I had a pile of ships at my disposal.  But that still left me with a few ships up in Saranen to fly south.

We had been told to leave behind a few current doctrine ships in order to cover capital move ops, should that become necessary.  While I understand there are caps and supers still in transit south, the bulk seemed to have made it down and ops out of Saranen tapered off, aside from the occasional subcap move op.

It came time to send my remaining subcaps south to join my carrier and whatever else I had hauled out.  The run down south is a bit of a haul.  The most direct route is 41 jumps, but requires flying through Syndicate, which is null sec, which means bubble camps and the like.

I opted for a safer route, putting Amarr in as a way point, which added 5 jumps, but kept me our of null sec.  Low sec can be dangerous as well, but there has to be a determined camp able to point you almost immediately and with the firepower to blap you before you can get back to the gate laying across your path.  During the first couple of days after the move south was announced, those were pretty common.  But as the days ran on they seemed to disappear.  I was kind of hoping to meet a frigate gang when I was flying out my heavily tanked clownshoe Sigil.

Sigil on the move

Sigil on the move

Fit to be an expendable entosis ship with enough tank and shield regen (giving it something like 70K EHP) to survive interceptors until help arrives, I thought it might be fun to watch somebody plink away at it while I motored back to the gate even as the gate guns blazed away at my attackers.  But it was not to be.  Even my ideas about the Sigil being bait… I was traveling paired up with my arty fit Hurricane… didn’t pan out.  My ships all flew through unscathed and unchallenged.

The only other possible threat was from a war dec from NCDot, which meant they could shoot me even in high sec space.  However, they weren’t camping the route either.

I did see two NCDot pilots in space along the way.  One looked like he might have been pursuing my Crane in a Vexor, though he might have just been traveling the same direction.  Either way, my faster warp speed meant he fell further behind at each gate until I no longer saw him.

The other I saw landing on a gate at 15km just as I was warping off, indicating he was auto-piloting through high sec.  I considered turning around to blap him but, as noted, I was moving my ships in pairs, and the Hurricane was already slowing the Sigil down as it was, so I just carried on.  Some Marmite probably got him later.  Clearly, I lack the killer instinct, focusing on the mission rather than kills.

Finally I had one last ship up in Saranen.  Well, two actually.  One was a cyno Kestrel that I put up on contract for two million ISK, which sold pretty quickly.  I should charge more I guess.

The other was a Vigil setup with target painters.  It was then that I noticed that I still had a bunch of stuff in the station.  A Vigil isn’t a big ship and I wasn’t going to be able to carry it all out.  I put the the expendable stuff up on the market.  Somebody got a Warrior II drone for cheap, along with a couple of shield repair bots.  Then I packed everything else into the Vigil and undocked.

Vigil leaving Saranen

Vigil leaving Saranen

Then it was down the path south one last time.  I was a bit worried a couple of gates into the trip, as there was about a dozen NCDot pilots in local in Tamo.  However, they seemed to be up to something other than camping the out gate, so I slipped by unseen.

The high sec run was likewise quiet, especially after Amarr.  The Kor-Azor region, never a hotbed of activity when I was there, was quiet.  Of course, flying through there on Wilhelm I saw that I still had piles of ore sitting around in stations from some buy order I did ages ago.  I think the plan was to go around from station to station in a freighter to pick it all up to move to market.  I no longer own a freighter and it was so slow I am pretty sure that I was deterred from doing the collection run back when I had it. Ah well.

Then from Kor-Azor it was into Aridia and the last few gates to my destination in Sakht.

Docking up in Sakht

Docking up in Sakht

That was it, the last items to move.  I am as out of Saranen as I can be and pretty much all-in on Delve.  My last bit of cargo hauled in the Vigil was:

Valuables

Valuables

Because you can never have enough fireworks handy.

A Fortizar Goes Online in 1-SMEB

TODAY 23:00 MAX NUMBERS DIVORCE YOUR CHILDREN, SACRIFICE YOUR WIFE AT THE ALTAR STRAT OP, SUBS, CAPS, SUPERS, TITANS, RORQUALS. BE THERE.

~~~ This was a broadcast from asher_elias to all at 2016-08-01 18:29:53.901185 EVE ~~~

Somebody was trying to impress upon us the importance of the 23:00 op.

As it happens, 23:00 is about the earliest time on a weekday when I can possibly make a fleet op, and I was home in time, online, and ready to pile into Asher’s fleet once the official ping went out and the fleet went up.  This was officially a Proteus fleet and I got into my Oneiros again.

The fleet filled up quickly enough and a second fleet went up on Apple Pear, one of our EU TZ FCs who was up late.  His fleet seemed to be… less discriminating.  There was a call to get people in fleet, alts included, in whatever ship was to hand.  So I logged on my combat alt, put him in a Crucifier, and had him join Apple Pear’s fleet.

Meanwhile, there was a capital fleet forming up… and all of us were using the same coms channel.  While confusing at times, this is generally a sign that we are doing some sort of coordinated op.

With one fleet full, another filling up, and the caps doing whatever it is they do as they assemble, we began to undock, with Asher’s fleet going first.

Once more out of the Genolution Biotech Production station

Once more out of the Genolution Biotech Production station

We undocked, headed to the 1-SMEB gate and jumped through.  The Apple Pear’s fleet undocked, warped to the gate, and then stood to there as the capitals began to hit the gate.  The landed there in two streams, one from the station and one from the safe POS, and jumped through.

Caps landing on the 1-SMEB gate in Sakht

Caps landing on the 1-SMEB gate in Sakht

On the 1-SMEB side, once most of the caps were through, Asher warped us to a spot on grid.  Had I been more aware of my surroundings, I would have seen it on the overview.  But, as I have grown used to citadels showing up there, another one didn’t strike me as something worth noting.  But as when we landed on it, I saw what was going on.

Fortizar going online

Fortizar going online

Yeah, I know, big deal, right?  There are lots of Frotizar’s in New Eden now.  We lived under the unblinking gaze of three of them in the Quafe Factory Warehouse back in Saranen.

You can see three Fortizars on grid now

You could see three Fortizars on one grid in Saranen

But this was ours.

The Imperium has put down dozens of Astrahus medium citadels.  They were in Saranen, all over Venal, in Pure Blind, and dotted the route south to Delve.  But for us to actually bother putting down a Fortizar, as common as they may be, is something of a statement I suppose.

And we were all there to make sure it went online without a hitch.  So all three fleets spread out around it and watched it count down through its final period of vulnerability, after which it could be gunned and would require the whole timer routine to kill.

Supers in a semi-circle around the Fortizar

Supers in a semi-circle around the Fortizar

One hostile landed on grid with us during the process, but warped off quickly.  Otherwise nobody showed up to try and keep our new citadel from going online.

When the counter finished and it was live, there was some cheering.  Asher and another titan pilot shot off their lance doomsday weapons.  And Jay Amazingness let us shoot his Chimera, a sacrifice to the welp gods in Delve no doubt.  We were also encouraged to troll Reddit by putting up pictures with 1-SMEB replaced with 93PI-4.  Somebody did one that looked pretty good.  My own attempt was a bit more… raw… in the grand MS Paint tradition.

And that was that.  We had a large citadel in Delve.  It isn’t a Keepstar, but we’ll get there I bet.

Then it was time to run the whole thing in reverse, with subcap fleets covering each side of the gate as the capitals went back home.  A participation link was generated, my first one for August, and I got to click on it with both my main and my alt. (Though, since they are both linked to my forum account, I am not sure if that really means anything.  But I did it anyway.  Never not click on pap links.)

Not a terribly exciting event, but one that was good for the team.  Once we were done shepherding the capitals back, the op was done.  We were encouraged to go mine and rat in 1-SMEB to build up the ADM.  I got out my Procurer to help out, but as it turns out 1-SMEB only had two asteroid belts (one of which was already mined out, and the other was almost gone) and wasn’t spawning any mining anoms, which put a damper on that plan.

So I decided to use the time to jump clone back to Jita to list all the items I shipped there from Saranen.  More assets converted to ISK.  I also stopped to look at the TNT Delve 2016 video.  See, we’re still a thing, we have a video!

The array of ships around the Fortizar as we babysat it was pretty neat, and a number of people put up good screen shots:

And I have my own screen shots from the Fortizar op: