Tag Archives: Delve

Two Weeks of World War Bee

I think my biggest disappointment so far in the war is the lack of coverage it is getting.  Huge forces are arrayed against each other, clashes of hundreds happen regularly, and thousands have collided several times.  And yet there hasn’t been much written about what is going on.

Last week CCP released a video with the title TOTAL WAR RAGES IN NEW EDEN and I thought surely that this was the coverage I had been waiting for, official acknowledgement by the company.  But, no.  The video was solely focused on the Triglavian Invasion event which currently, if I followed the video, involves about 4 systems total in the game.

I don’t want to begrudge anybody their PvE fleets or attention to the Triglavian events.  The game supports all sorts of different play styles.  But when 100+ alliances are lined up to evict us and four full regions are in play, my sense of what constitutes “total war” in all caps seems to be measured on a different scale.

Basically, Alton Haveri and The Scope seem to be indulging in a bit of sensationalism.  Damn click-bait journalism. *shakes fist*

In looking for coverage I am sure somebody will want to point at a couple of streamers, or Reddit, or a five hour long episode of Talking in Stations where somebody spoke about how they felt about the war, but I don’t have the time or patience for any of that.

I long for the coherent written word (which leaves /r/eve out of the running 99% of the time), and on that front the usual suspects, INN and EN24, haven’t said much. (And New Eden Report seems to be dead again, though every time I say that an article gets posted, followed by another long silence.)  I will give credit to January Valentine for trying to do a series of summary updates on Reddit for a bit, but that fell by the wayside after about a week.

In the past I have generally depended on other sources to get a sense of what is really going on in a war.  I remember a time of ongoing written updates and opinion pieces about such conflicts.  As a line member in a coalition I am probably less well informed than any decent spy.  All I have as a baseline source is a war update thread in the GSF forums which tracks big fights and battles over objectives.  Otherwise, I just write about the bits and pieces of the war I see in person.

Of course we are not really into the interesting bit of the war either.  As I noted last week, we’re not yet to the part where we’re fighting over Keepstars or where titans are clashing, the things that generate headlines, at least when the ISK to real world money calculation is high enough.

But the war so far has kept me engaged, providing that sense of purpose that gets me to log in regularly.  And there are fleets forming and going out pretty much all hours of the day, so there is opportunity to join in as well.

Since I mentioned my PAP link status last week, I’ll keep going with that as a metric.  I was a 33 for the month last week.  That number has risen to 46 as of this writing.  I wouldn’t use that number as a literal representation of my investment… none of that time spent lurking in Catch is counted, for example… but it does show I am logging in.

Another metric I can add in is ship losses.  So far in, in war related activity, I have lost the following ships:

  • Ares interceptor – 5
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Atron entosis frigate – 1
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 1

Nothing bigger than a frigate really so far, though that Purifier loss was on a rough op.  A returning FC brought us out for what turned out to be a work up cruise to get him back into running bombers and they bit off more than they should of in TEST space.  But that is what SRP is for.

For the wider war, the northern front in Fountain saw a lot of action.

The northern theater of operations

PandaFam has been attacking aggressively from their base of operations in Hophib.  The constellations on the Fountain side of the regional gate have had their ihubs reinforced multiple times, so the map there often looks like this:

The Hophib adjacent constellations

As of this writing on Sunday afternoon, according to the structure list on DOTLAN for the region, PandaFam has managed to capture 7 ihubs in the region, along with 2 TCUs, which represents quite a bit of work.

They still have not captured ihubs in any of the critical systems that would break the Ansiblex travel infrastructure which allows us to move fleets from Delve to support The Initiative, though there was an attack on the Ansiblex in KVN-36, on the critical backbone of the Fountain bridge network, that destroyed the structure.  But an Ansiblex is easy to replace.  Attackers need to take the ihub in the system to prevent us from putting up a new one to have anything more than a short term impact.

On the southern front things have been less active.  In Period Basis TEST and their Legacy Coalition allies have managed to keep us from taking back the ihub in XZ-SKZ.  There have been several skirmishes over it, and the ihub remains reinforced, but they still hold it.

Where the ihub fights have been

Otherwise, while there have been fights in the south, the attacks have been nowhere as aggressive and what PandaFam has been doing in Fountain.  Legacy seems content to defend their one foothold in Period Basis, troll entosis in Querious, and scatter POS towers around in hopes of securing an advantage.

Even in Delve, which is closer to Legacy than PandaFam, it is PandaFam that gets out and organizes gate camps and such.

We clash with Legacy often.  There are lots of short, sharp fights with 5-20 billion ISK in losses between the two sides.  So I wouldn’t say they aren’t out fighting, but their allies up on the Fountain front, who had to move across New Eden for this operation, as opposed to just living next door, seem to be putting in a lot more effort.

So it it looks to me two weeks in.

Addendum: Somebody at INN is writing weekly updates on Sunday night as well it seems.  You can try to line that up with what I wrote, if you are so inclined.  That post has more details.

Addendum 2: The New Eden Post has some coverage of the war, so I will have to keep an eye on them as well.

A Week of World War Bee

It has been a busy time in Imperium space.

There is a Jabber command Imperium pilots can use to display how many fleet participation credits, PAPs, you have earned during the current month and over the last 30, 60, and 90 days.

I stand at 33 PAPs, which isn’t a ton compared to some people… I have heard counts beyond 80 for the month… but is a lot for me.  My 90 day total is 57 at the moment and there was a deployment during that time, so having a dozen counts as a pretty active month for me.

Granted, that doesn’t mean I went on 33 fleets of multi-hour duration.  There were a couple where a fast form ping went up and I got into fleet only to have it stand down due the threat having passed.  And I somehow managed to be in fleet at the exact right moment for a capital move op.  It was just a log in, undock, jump to the cyno, then log out level of effort, maybe five minutes maximum.  And on possibly the longest fleet op for me so far, when we flew out to D4KU-5 to support The Initiative and cover a couple of timers with them, we actually ended up with three PAPs because Asher gave us two for a long, dull fleet op, but somebody else captured a PAP for us as well.

A thousand of us kept an eye on the Hophib gate

Still, even with that, I have been out and seen my share of action.  I only regret passing on the fleet that flew one jump and destroyed yet another Pandemic Horde Cormorant fleet. (The kill board pegs the cost of a Corm at about 15 million, but apparently the PH line members are paying 35 million each for them at their staging in Hophib.  Their main FC seems a bit testy if you bring this up.)

And PAP links do not cover the time I have spent out on my own doing things, from moving ship to chasing entosis alerts, to roaming around in hostile space and ringing the entosis alarm for them now and again. (That will get its own post at some point due to my making some non-fatal but amusing errors at the start.)

Out returning the favor

So there has been plenty to do, fleets running at all hours of the day, and fights have been very common.  There has been enough going on that I have pretty much only played EVE Online since the war started.

That said, looking at the big picture, not a lot has happened.  The Mittani was complaining on The Meta Show on Saturday that he hasn’t had a lot to do so far in the war.  I imagine this is in part because the attackers really didn’t start on the war until July 5th while we had been getting ready for the attack for a couple of weeks before hand.

The biggest incursion into our space has been the TEST capture of the ihub in XZ-SKZ, which is the gateway system from Stain into Period Basis, which I posted about last week.

Where the ihub was

Our attempt to take it back failed the first time, and they eventually managed to drop a POS tower in the system.  That would allow them to get a titan in there to bridge people around and give them more mobility in our space.

Dreads landed too late to stop the stront delivery

However, to be used for that the POS would have to survive for a while.  That one died after the reinforce, as did the next one they dropped.

There has also been an ongoing pitched battle up in Fountain between PandaFam and The Initiative over the Taurus constellation, which is the way in to the region from their staging in Hophib.  The ihubs there have been reinforced once more, the way they were a week ago.

Reusing this picture

But, as I wrote last week as well, it is easy to entosis troll and reinforce things or trigger response fleets, but it is work to follow through, to make it stick.  And you have to go after the ihubs.  That is what signifies ownership, what allows you to deploy things like Ansiblex jump gates.  Brave has been making a big deal about taking a territorial control unit, a TCU, here and there.

A TCU taken in Querious

But, since Fozzie Sov became a thing, the TCU is just a flag.  It has no function.  You need the ihub.  So they no more own that system than we own XZ-SKZ down in Period Basis.  The TCU doesn’t do anything.

There have been daily clashes of fleets, wins and losses on both sides, but the big guns have yet to come out.  Capitals haven’t clashed yet, titans haven’t been unleashed yet, Keepstars haven’t been threatened.  Instead, forces are still building up around the various invasion routes where camps have set up on either side of regional gates to keep the enemy fleets from breaking through and running amok.

Bubbles on the regional gates

That doesn’t stop hostiles from getting in.  It is still hazardous to travel solo in anything that can’t get past a warp interdiction bubble.  A group has set up shop repeatedly in 1DQ1-A, our home system, camping the gates leading off the the active fronts and collecting an ongoing harvest of ships ignoring the intel channel and warping to the gate.

Here, in our home system

All the wrecks and little corpses of those who were podded.

Of course, I cannot be too hard on them as I lost my first ship of the war there as well.  I had eyes on the gate and the camp had warped off, no doubt to get a juicy target on one of the other gates.  But before I could warp and finish jumping through, their Sabre returned with some tackle and I was caught just on the edge of the bubble.  One more wreck… but no corpse.  My pod got away.

I was impatient and paid the price.  So it goes.  At least it wasn’t a pricey ship.

And so goes the war so far for me at least.  Nothing huge has happened yet, but it keeps me busy.  And wars like this always start slowly.  It takes a while to establish a foothold in hostile space.  Things only speed up when one side stops showing up.

Addendum: INN has a broader review of the first week of the war.

Entosis Warfare

I don’t think anybody who has to use the Fozzie Sov… or Aegis Sov… mechanics with entosis modules and such is going to argue about it being something of a drag at times.  Some of my most tedious moments in New Eden have been centered around sov wands.

The humble Drake as enotosis ship

The fun thing is that Fozzie Sov is really annoying only when you are determined to take or defend space.  When you feel you have to do it, it can be a serious grind.  But if you just want to troll the sov owners it can be a bit of a low investment lark.  That was certainly what we were up to in the opening hours of the war when we hit Paragon Soul.

Systems with an orange boarder have been reinforced

We had no intention of taking those systems then.  Certainly not with the odds arrayed against us.  But everybody in TEST got notifications about the ihubs being under attack and then reinforced and then again when then nodes decloaked.  It was a bit of a finger in the eye.

Naturally enough they have, as I previously mentioned, returned the favor.  They haven’t been able to manage a sweeping result like the one pictured above, but they do persist.  It is a low effort operation to send out small ships with entosis links to hit ihubs, and we have to respond.  I spent a few hours in quick reaction fleets moving from one location to the next to blap hackers and chase off any cover fleets that might be trying to protect them.  You have to work to catch the cover fleets as they always spook and run when we show up.  Giving us a fight would be satisfying and would undermine the effort to frustrate us.

Because that is surely part of the exercise here, to drive us a bit crazy and get us down as we run after each of these notifications.  But we cannot ignore them, because the ihubs are critical to ADMs.  Lose them and the systems because much easier to take.

An ihub out in space

So sometimes we just stay out, patrolling, chasing down notifications, and doing a bit of ADM work when nothing else is going on just to pass the time.

Jackdaw QRF doing a haven

If nothing else, that pays back the Ansiblex fees that come from traveling back and forth.  (GSOL must be doing a lot of work though, as I have yet to run into one down for lack of fuel.)

Keeping people out constantly on patrol with not much in the way of action is a good way to burn people out, so it isn’t really a viable long term plan.  So the coalition came up with an incentive plan to help combat the entosis hacker menace.

Under the banner of some fresh Cyro Huren propaganda

If you are out and managed to get the final blow on a hacker in our space, you can post the kill mail in the forums and receive a 50 million ISK bounty.  If the entosis module drops you can contract it to the alliance for an additional 10 million ISK if it is tech I and 150 million ISK if it is tech II.

As an incentive program, this started out pretty well.  There were a few people racing to chase down hackers, with one guy in a Tengu knocking out quite a few.

I wasn’t sure what would be a suitable hunter, but I went out to return the favor of annoyance with a bit of my own when I had some spare time.  I parked an Ares interceptor with an ECM burst jammer and a 2 second align time in the middle of Querioius and waited around for some notifications.

When a notification came up I would just zip out to the system and warp to the ihub.  Once there I align out to the nearest structure, click warp, then set off the ECM burst, an area effect target lock breaker, and then away I go before anybody can lock me up.

Aligned out for warp

If I land right and the ECM burst hits, I land on the structure I warped out to and look back to see that the attackers are no longer making progress.  CONDI making progress means op success.

Hit on that one

That means the entosis link lost its lock and the hacker is sitting there waiting for it to finish its five minute cycle so they can start it up again.  And if I missed, then I just warp back in again until I get a hit.  Since I am too fast to lock up I just land, burst, and warp off.  I had a dozen Caracals sitting on one hacker unable to stop me.  At another they had a Sabre with them and kept putting up warp disruption bubbles, but the Ares is interdiction nullified, so it passes through bubbles without a care.

And, if I keep them hanging around until a response fleet shows up I get on the kill mail, having applied electronic warfare damage to them.

Of course, even with all of that, some hackers slip though.  It looks like they hostiles managed hit six ihubs successfully yesterday, though five of those were on the far fringes of the region.  We will see if they come back to contest the capture event when the time comes. (Edit: A check this morning shows that most of the timers were allowed to lapse without contest.)

The conflict is heating up on the border between Catch and Querious, and the gate in 49-U6U is now watched a lot more closely.  A few ihubs on the far end of the region might not matter compared to trying to push us back from the boarder so they can establish a foothold in the region.

Theaters of Operation

Fighting in Delve ought to seem almost normal to me.  I think we spent time every summer from 2012 through to 2016 invading Delve and kicking whoever lived there out.

Delve – Summer 2012 Poster

We went there with TEST and Pandemic Legion in 2012 (seems like strange times now), against TEST in 2013, against somebody nearby in 2014 (we owned the place for a bit, but gave it up), against Darkness and NCDot in 2015, and then finally against LUMPY and a few others when we fled the north after the Casino War to set up shop in the region in 2016.

And yet, here in 2020, I don’t feel like I “know” the region all that well.  I know some of the key spots, our staging in 1DQ1-A, the path up into (and through) Fountain down which I traveled so many times, and some key intersections, like 1-SMEB and the run through Aridia.  But now that we are fighting a war, I wanted a clearer visualization of the region.  Despite living there for four years, I have spent most of that time deployed in space belonging to others and fighting there.  Since we arrived we’ve only had to chase small gangs out of Delve.  We’ve not been invaded.  Time for something new.

I went looking for a map that would cover the area where the war is taking place.

DOTLAN EVE Maps was my first stop.  It has logical maps of all the regions.  That is very useful for navigating within and individual region, but less so when you want to show more than one region.  They do have a combined Delve/Querious/Period basis map, which shows three of three of the regions we are defending.

Also, DOTLAN’s maps, being logical in an attempt to get the systems nicely lined up showing the jump gate connections in as little space as possible, do not reflect how the systems are oriented in space or the distance between stars, which plays into where Ansiblex jump bridges can be deployed and where capitals can jump.

The in-game map shows the distances between star systems fairly well.

Looking at the in-game map

You get some sense of the distances between regions… far further than any capital can jump or Ansiblex can bridge… which explains why some foothold systems like TCAG-3 are going to see plenty of action.  However, readability of the in-game map is, frankly, shit.  As I have said, it is an impressive site to show your friends if you’re showing them the game, but it isn’t all that useful when you’re trying to navigate New Eden.

It isn’t completely useless.  You can get some information out of it, see systems where battles have been going on.

The hot spot in Period Basis

TCAG-3 has been a focus point because it is at one end of the regional gate that lays between Period Basis and Paragon Soul, regions held by the Imperium and Legacy Coalition respectively.  Legacy getting control of that system and being able to lay down structure would let them roll up our southern flank. (That particular number reflects a Legacy push into the system.  We lost more ships, but held the field. I went out for lunch about five minutes before the pings went out for that fight, so completely missed it.)

But back to maps.

In between the DOTLAN and the in-game map is GARPA Topographical Survey, the home grown map tool available to Imperium pilots.  It has been around for quite a while, and there was even a version released to the general public at one point.  It is less readable than DOTLAN, but much clearer than the in-game map.  Also, it has nice pastel shades for regions.

The GARPA view of the southern theater

That shows how Delve, Querious, and Period Basis are lined up, along with the strange way that Querious bisects Delve, linking the two regions rather intimately.

You can also see the Legacy regions of Catch, Paragon Soul, Esoteria, and Impass and the routes through which those invading us must come. (Stain is NPC null, but there is a path in from there as well.)  Viewed close up, with system names visible:

Might need to click on this to read system names…

As I mentioned above, most of the action up to this point has been coming our of Paragon Soul and into Period Basis, with some ventured out of Catch and Aridia.  However, that seems likely to change, with the emphasis likely to be on the Catch route into Querious and Delve.  The two staging Keepstars, and the super fleets they are holding, are in FAT-6P in Catch, and the first target seems likely to be 4-07MU, which is the Imperium outpost in Catch.

The Foothold in Catch

At least I assume that is why they are amassing a super fleet there.  They can’t jump into our space, so they have to take the gate to 49-USU in order to get within range of anything.

And then there is Fountain, which doesn’t fit nicely on the above map without making it huge.

The northern theater of operations

There are three was into Fountain besides Delve.  Outer Ring is an NPC null sec region, while Cloud Ring, the route we took during the Fountain War back in 2013, seems quiet for the moment.  PandaFam has instead set up shop in Hophib in Aridia, which lets them base out of a low sec NPC station which cannot be assailed.  That is the upside.

The downside for them seems to be that getting to Hophib is a bit of a pain and doesn’t put them close to anything vital.  The main spine of the region runs between KVN-36 and C-4NOD, that epic gate jump up the left side of the region that is the primary highway for the Imperium to head north, and the axis on which our activity there centers. (Those two systems are simply next to each other on the DOTLAN region map.)  PandaFam has to go quite a ways to disrupt that, while the jump bridge network lets The Initiative respond to them speedily from the center.

Still, PandaFam, after some initial setbacks, appears to have made more progress than their allies in the south, reinforcing the Taurus constellation next door to their staging.

All reinforced as I write this

They still have to get in and fight the node contest, but that will be chaotic with nodes for all six systems spawning in a short time frame.  A foothold there won’t break the Imperium, but if they can snap the jump bridge network that lets The Initiative deploy there quickly it could force us to defend further back or spend a lot of time taking gates to get all the way around to where PandaFam is pushing.

Anyway, that is where we are fighting and will likely continue to be fighting for a while.  We will see what the new day brings.

Day One of World War Bee

Sunday morning found many alerts in my inbox when I logged into EVE Online.  It seemed that our foes were set to strike back after we reinforced most of the Paragon Soul ihubs last night.

Entosis alerts

This is something I never saw much of in TNT because Goonswarm Federation holds all the ihubs in our space, the ihub being the important bit in an capturable null sec system. (The EVE University wiki has more on this if you are interested.)  Every time somebody starts to hit one with an entosis wand we all get a notification.

So there were pings for fleets as soon as Jabber came up, so I jumped in a Jackdaw fleet being led by Havish Montak that filled up quickly then sped off to defend our space.  Other fleets were out for various things, and our first task was to push NullSechnaya Sholupen out of 1-SMEB again, where they were shooting the jump bridge and being pests.

After chasing them off, killing more than a few along the way, we turned around and headed towards Querious, where Legacy had been hitting ihubs.  Another fleet was out to go after the entosis ships while we went after the Brave Collective cover fleet.  We caught up with them in OGY-6D and, outnumbering them heavily, sent them running after blowing up more than fifty of their fleet (plus capsules), including their two battlecruiser boosters.  We then chased the remainder half way across the region as they tried to get away.

Out in the bubbles in my Scalpel

When the chase was over we went back and covered and ADM fleet before returning to base.  More fleets went out almost immediately, one warping off just as we were arriving back.

They’re warping off as we land

I helped with another quick op to clear out some local gates.  It is a bad time to travel alone in Delve.  The hostiles have been setting up gate camps all along key routes, sometimes right on the gates in 1DQ1-A.  It is also kind of a crazy time to travel as GSOL has been re-working the jump bridge map to facilitate movement to the various battle fronts, often setting up parallel routes.  That is good for moving us into battle, but maybe not so good if you haven’t updated the jump bridge list in GARPA in the last couple of hours.  Things have been changing a lot.

After that I took a break and went about the day.  By the time I got back things were pretty quiet.  I think that, perhaps, starting a war on Sunday might have been a bad plan.  While I know Imperium people who basically stayed up all night long from the start of the war, the game tends to peak around 19:00 UTC and then drops off as the Euro folks who have to go to work in the morning head off for the night.  So on my return we were back to a slower pace, with ADM fleets going out and not many pings.

A few things went on while I was away.  Up in the north The Initiative managed to pop three anchoring Pandemic Horde Raitarus as well as a POS in the PandaFam staging system of Hophib, with only minor losses for the effort. (Somebody lost a Claw.)  On the down side and TEST Muninn fleet and an Evictus Eagle fleet savaged an Imperium Baltec fleet and managed to reinforce the Ansiblex jump gate in TCAG-3 down in Period Basis, where we skirmished a bit with them last night.

Meanwhile, Progodlegend gave the TEST SOTA at 19:00 UTC, quotes from which, as well as a link to the whole thing, are available here. (I’d have linked something other than INN, but nobody else seemed to have covered the SOTA.) I find even listening to our own propaganda to be trying, but this was eye rollingly bad from where I sat.

Good propaganda should always have a simple theme.  The Mittani focused on TEST in his SOTG on Saturday.  TEST is our new main enemy, and as long as they exist we’ll be targeting them.  Our long time desire to burn down NCDot, where many of the original corps for Band of Brothers still reside, is now a thing of the past.  TEST is the focus.

Progodlegend spent quite a while telling people that Goons were bad at EVE, never leave Delve, never take fights, and never deploy anywhere without TEST holding their hand.  With that build up, we ought to be a push over.  But we’re also dangerous.  A mysterious new Goonswarm has shown up and actually fights.  I am not sure where they came from given most of the speech.  Did we hire somebody?  But New Eden is coming together to crush us… because the other coalitions have been forced by us to just sit in their space until now?  I was there back in 2016 when we fled to Delve and it sure seemed like they could have put in the effort back then.

It struck me as trying to have it both ways, that Goons are a foe that can’t fight, yet has somehow oppressed the rest of null sec to the point that they have had to band together 102 alliances to come and get us.

I know, it would be unlike Progodlegend to over-hype something.

Anyway, these sorts of speeches rarely have any sort of impact on the outcome of wars.  I learned that early on in my null sec career when the first foes I faced declared that Goons would be driven from Deklein.  Didn’t work out that way.  Both sides talk themselves up, yet one side inevitably loses.  Somebody will end up being proven to be wrong.

On the plus side for TEST, their Keepstar in FAT-6P anchored successfully, though it remains a point of amusement for propaganda purposes.

Visit today!

A second Keepstar was put down in FAT-6P as well, then transferred to NCDot, which was spotted moving capitals down south as part of a PandaFam fleet.  They’re allied with TEST, but won’t be sharing a Keepstar with them.  Trust seems to be an issue.

So it goes.  There were a few skirmishes in the evening, and quick response fleets zipped around dousing the occasional spark (and doing ADM work when idle), but nothing much changed.  And for all the entosis effort that the enemy seemed to be putting in early on, the net result appeared to be just three ihubs reinforced in Querious.

But it was just day one and not everybody was even deployed yet.  There will be more to follow I am sure.

Also, as a side note, there was a CSM15 statement posted to the forums asking CCP to pretty please not do something to inadvertently mess up the war.  They did that last year when they dropped Drifters on Delve, with their annoying behavior, while we were off fighting in Tribute and Vale of the Silent.  The forum post got the usual angry, twisted reactions that most any forum post gets.  There is no winning.

Opening Moves in the War

It was a busy day in null sec yesterday.  A lot happened.  There were a massive number of ships in motion.  Yet almost nothing of real consequence came to pass.

So it goes.

The day started full of promise.  There was a fireworks event planned at the Imperium’s main Keepstar in 1DQ1-A, with more than 1,700 people in system and fireworks going off all over, which was enough to drag you frame rate down into the low teens.

The Keepstar lit by fireworks

The firework effects are relatively small compared to the size of the structure, but the cumulative effect of them going of lit up the whole tableau.

I had to peek in on that via an alt, as a couple hours before that kicked off there was a ping from Asher Elias to Reavers that was too hard to pass up.

SUPER IMPORTANT. TORP BOMBERS UNDER TOM FLOOD, NEED AT LEAST 25 REAVERS FOR THIS. IF IT SUCEEDS YOU’RE HEROES FOREVER. USE REAVERS SIG COMMS

Special operations can be a treat.  I love a big fight and, frankly, I am happy enough just shooting structures when it comes down to it, but something out of the ordinary is always welcome.

So a pack of Reavers flew off… and almost messed up the mission when our first black ops battleship warped with us straight into a gate camp in 1DQ1-A and got popped along with a couple of bombers.  The fuel truck got through the gate with 8% left in structure and had to tether up on the other side to repair.

A replacement blops was found, a Marshall, which is an 8 billion ISK ship.  But it looks good and, as fit, it aligned and warped off faster than the bombers as we moved to our destination.

Our hot rod blops

We moved carefully, eventually setting up shop in a dead end system in Stain that would allow us to drop onto a range of systems where Legacy Coalition was expected to drop a new Keepstar.

This Keepstar was to be the new staging base for their invasion of Delve.  But we had eyes all over and watched likely freighters come and go, bridge this way and that, because they knew they were being watched and no doubt feared that we would crash the party when they decided to anchor the structure.  And our hope was no less than to drop on the freighter and blow it up as it prepared to disgorge the Keepstar.

We even knew the timing that they wanted to align with, as they wanted the Keepstar live and deployed to in time for their own 19:00 UTC state of the alliance meeting to announce the start of the war.  Since it takes 24 hours to online a Keepstar in your own territory, the window of opportunity was pretty clear.

But being watched made them dither.  Meanwhile, as time went on, more and more Imperium luminaries slipped out of 1DQ to join our fleet.  Most of the major alliance FCs and one of our CSM reps were cloaked up on the blops with us before the decision point came.  Some poor Russian kept asking us in local to leave and go back to Delve so he could carry on farming LP for Nirvana implants, but we never answer back in local.

As we sat there, the Meta Show kicked off, where The Mittani, who had been on coms with us a few times, taunted Vily, the CSM member and leader of Legacy Coalition, that we knew what he was up to, that we were in his head.  If we couldn’t kill the Keepstar, we would at least mess with them.

The likely candidate systems were being watched, but we only had so many eyes, and in the end, after hours of hustling around and PM’ing our lurkers to see if anybody would answer, they dropped the Keepstar quickly in FAT-6P, a few systems over from our foothold in Catch at 4-07MU.

The Foothold in Catch

We got a covert ops cyno in position, but there was enough going on in the target system that tidi was up and it took a bit for the bridge to go up.

The Marshall is ready to send us

But the cyno ship got popped before more than a few of us could get through.  I ended up stuck with the blops.  But that was okay, as there were not many of us and the Keepstar was already anchoring.  In their haste to get things going, rather than giving it a meme name, as TEST tends to do, they named it “1111,” which we took as a sign than we has indeed made them nervous.  It also wasn’t very carefully positioned.  When you lay down a structure you try to face the undock in a useful direction.

Not one of their usual clever names

Asher, who had been through to see the Keepstar only to have his Purifier popped, took a moment to ping out this to the coalition.

Congrats to Test for starting the anchoring if their non-aligned keepstar panic-named “1111”. They meant to start anchoring it 3 hours ago so it came out with their 19:00 SOTA but a few brave bomber boys kept them flummoxed and confused for 3 hours while they cyno’d around Stain and Catch trying to lose us. A great start to the war for them! Looking forward to their pilots waiting for 3 hours after their SOTA before they can do anything!

With that ping “1111” became the new battle cry as people at the fireworks party in 1DQ began to repeat that in local.

GIF of 1DQ local

Expect “1111” to come up a lot.  At least you’ll know where it came from now.

This Keepstar was placed in the buffer zone between Legacy and the Imperium, which was yet another violation of the Non-invasion pact between the two powers, but with only a few hours to go before it ended, it was hardly going to change anything.

We made out way back home, disappointed that we hadn’t gotten to kill the Keepstar, but happy enough to have had an impact.  I actually had to leave part way through the vigil on the blops to go fire up the BBQ and cook some lunch for my family.  I had enough time to do that, eat, and get back on the blops again before anything happened.  Sometimes we just sit and wait.

It was about time for the State of the Goonion.  The Mittani read a prepared speech, the text of which has been posted on INN, in which he announced that our own war aim was to destroy TEST Alliance Please Ignore, that they were to be the Carthage to our Rome.  An list of 102 alliance might arrayed against us, but we would have one real target.

And once that was over, the form up for war began.  TEST seemed to have some plan to start the war well into July 5th, but so far as we were concerned, if the NIP between the Imperium and Legacy was to end on a date, we were going to get started at 00:01 EVE Online time, so declined to wait around for them to have their SOTA or for their Keepstar to anchor.

This led to a series of clashes across the map.  Up north PandaFam came out of their staging in Hophip and into Fountain where they fought several engagements with The Initiative, which was watching that way into our space.

Meanwhile, down south, TEST seemed to be ready to form up for battle on the Period Basis/Paragon Soul border, where the systems TCAG-3 and G-M4GK form the connection between our territories.  This led to… not much at all.  I flew on down with the spec ops group in an ECM frigate, ready to cause trouble.

ECM birds flying

However, while a fight threatened to develop, with TEST forming up fleets, they would inevitably stand them down or leave them idle.  They did poke into Querious and manage to reinforce the Ansiblex in 49-U6U, and there was a brief clash as they came through into TCAG-3, but no huge brawl developed.  They seemed to still be on their own timetable, set to have a meeting at 19:00, move into the new Keepstar once it anchored, and then get on with the war.

So the opportunity was taken to go in and reinforce a bunch of their infrastructure hubs in Paragon Soul and a few more in Esotaria.

Systems with an orange boarder have been reinforced

We seem to have stolen a march on the invaders, though these are more morale points than anything tangible.  The first day of counting coup was fun, but made no real change to the situation.  We are still greatly outnumbered by foes who plan to assail us from multiple directions.  They will get their act together and come for us, sooner rather than later.

Shooting Our Own Structures in Delve

As I posted last Friday, the Forsaken Fortress update has led to a plethora of structures ending up in the new “abandoned” state, which means that they can be killed without any intervening timers and there is no asset safety, so all the stuff inside drops into space and can be looted.

The latter represented a considerable shift in policy for CCP, which had previously said that nobody would trust Upwell structures if you could lose all your stuff from them.  Times change.

So there were suddenly structures in the “abandoned” state all over New Eden, including down in Delve.  While alliance structures are maintained by GSOL, and active corps maintain their own, there were apparently some alt corp structures about that had been left untended and unfueled, which left the coalition with a choice.

They could leave them be, which would be an invitation to outsiders and random passers by to try and kill them and carry off the loot, or we could kill them and loot them ourselves.

I suppose the post title gives away which option was selected.

The Mittani announced on the Saturday Fireside that we would be purging abandoned structures in our territory.  Attempts had been made to contact the various owners, and shooting blues wasn’t anybody’s first choice, but letting somebody else get the kills and the drops was declared to be worse, so we would be blowing them up.

The announced plan was to nationalize the loot.  We would go from structure to structure, blowing them up, while GSOL followed behind to haul off the drops to be processed, re-used, or sold off, with proceeds going into the SRP fund.

After the Fireside a fleet went up to start in on the job.  It was a Muninn fleet, and all I had handy for that was a Scimitar, but you can always throw some combat drones in the drone bay, so I went along with that.  We shoved off to the first shoot.

Being bridged off to our first targets

The targets were an Azbel and a couple of Raitarus.

Abandoned Azbel

And Azbel is a large structure, so it took us a while, though we were able to hit the damage cap and still get some people to start on the other two structures.  With no opposition… nobody was going to jump into the gunner’s seat or rush to the defense… I even drove an alt out there in an Ibis just to get him on one of the kill mails.

An Ibis at a Raitaru destruction

Once the three were down came the dull bit, as we had to fly cover for GSOL to pick through the station hangars and pull out the good stuff.  Everybody’s individual station hangar gets kicked out with the destruction and is floating around in space.

A station hangar in the wild

We also had to listen to the FC warn people time and again not to go start grabbing loot for themselves.  Fortunately there were not too many hangars to go through, though it still took time.

The hangar containers around the Azbel as it explodes

After that was done we were off to a Fortizar a few systems over.  This was a different story.

The shoot went as expected and the whole thing blew up nicely.

I never get tired of these explosions

But this Fortizar was one of the early ones set down in Delve, which meant that a bunch of people had ended up using it over the years.  It was owned by an alt corp with one person in it, and that person, who apparently had gone missing.  It kicked out a lot of station hangars.

The hangar ball from the Fortizar

That is not nearly as many as the Hard Knocks Keepstar we blew up in wormhole space about a year and a half back, but it is still a sizable number of cans floating in the aftermath.

You might be able to spot the icons of ships… including freighters… checking through the containers.  All those yellow cans needed to be gone through.  And, as before the FCs had to warn off… and blow up in a few cases… people who just could not keep their hands off the loot.

Meanwhile, we sat there and watched.  Without much to occupy us, attention was on the loot spotted and the ships being ejected from the hangars.  I had to go into the “no chatter” channel to avoid that, after which I could only hear the command channel broadcasts to us, which were often asking people to stop talking about every ship that showed up on the overview.

To get at ships people had stored away, they have to be ejected into space… and there were a bunch of ships.

Ejected ships on the overview

You can tell they are unoccupied as the pilot name is the type of ship on the overview.  Also, being unpiloted, they show up as neutrals in space.  Some very big toys were discovered that way.

A Nomad jump freighter somebody left behind

And there were a few strange ones as well.

Wait, what?

I am not sure how you get an unoccupied capsule, but there it was floating in space.

We were occasionally tasked to warp out and blow up some of the ships that were not worth flying off.  This also became something of a fiasco.  People were quick to lock and shoot, so I didn’t bother launching drones, but some pilots couldn’t resist just shooting at whatever ship was on their overview despite.  Over and over voices from the command channel would tell people to only shoot broadcasted targets and then would start calling people out for shooting things that had not been broadcast.

The kill mails for these ships showed whose hangar they came from, which was another odd element as I saw a couple from people who I know are active.  I guess they didn’t get the in gaming warning about the impending destruction.  That seems about on par for this.

All in all it was quite trying and I ended up just docking up in another structure and playing Minecraft, still listening to FC coms in case something was needed, but otherwise unenthused by the op.  The FCs eventually stopped letting people shoot ships because a few people couldn’t follow instructions.  It was painful to listen to.

I feel for the GSOL team, who had to slowly pick through all of those cans in space.  The haul was said to be impressive, but it is dull work… though not as dull as having to just sit and watch it.  After the three hour mark we got a PAP.  The fleet was going to carry on in a semi-permanent state until they had hit all the structures on the abandoned list, but I was done with that for the day.  I flew back home.

The work carried on.  There were more structures to take care of, though not as many as in high sec space, where the big stories about this have been focused. I hope there were not too many more as full as that Fortizar.  GSOL was being worked hard to take care of just one structure like that.

And it is all a side effect of the changes CCP made with the Forsaken Fortress patch.

The November MER and the Surge in Outer Passage

The EVE Online monthly economic report is out for November so it is time to see if New Eden has settled down to a new “normal” now that the company seems to have finished with the “Chaos Era” and has laid off null sec nerfs for now.

The target for CCP for much of the year has been NPC bounty proliferation, so I we had best start there one more time.

November 2019 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time

NPC bounties appear to have settled at a new plateau that is a bit below where things had settled before the Chaos Era over the summer.  Chaos, with the Blackout, saw a very steep drop, but that recovered once local chat returned, with the cyno changes having a fairly small impact overall.  Blackout aside, the changes that CCP did between February and June appear to have had the biggest impact on NPC bounties.  The overall monthly numbers for 2019 so far:

  • January – 83.8 trillion
  • February – 69.8 trillion
  • March – 71.4 trillion
  • April – 57.2 trillion
  • May – 55.5 trillion
  • June – 48.2 trillion
  • July – 29.1 trillion
  • August – 21.1 trillion
  • September – 20.6 trillion
  • October – 41.5 trillion
  • November – 44.8 trillion

The surprise this month was which region ended up at the top of the list for NPC bounties.  The top ten regions for November were:

  1. Outer Passage – 6.30 Trillion
  2. Delve – 4.86 Trillion
  3. Branch – 2.95 Trillion
  4. Deklein – 2.91 Trillion
  5. Cobalt Edge – 2.51 Trillion
  6. Esoteria – 2.40 Trillion
  7. Fountain – 2.04 Trillion
  8. Tenerifis – 1.95 Trillion
  9. Omist – 1.50 Trillion
  10. Malpais – 1.35 Trillion

Delve, last month’s top of the list, was up a bit, having done 4.7 trillion ISK in October, but Outer Passage, went from third to first, jumping from 3.7 to 6.3 trillion ISK in bounties.

Who lives in Outer Passage?  Right now Circle of Hell owns most of the systems in the region, but Fraternity, evicted from the south, along with allies Blades of Grass and Lord of Worlds have moved into the south end of the region, and they have every reason to want to build up a fresh war chest now that they are being sheltered by PanFam and NCDot.

On the mining front things were more in line with the usual expectations, which is to say that Delve was at the forefront.

November 2019 – Mining value by region

The top ten region list for mining value in November was:

  1. Delve – 4.55 Trillion
  2. Esoteria – 2.43 Trillion
  3. Outer Passage – 2.00 Trillion
  4. Querious – 1.39 Trillion
  5. Domain – 1.14 Trillion
  6. The Forge – 993 Billion
  7. Malpais – 953 Billion
  8. The Kalevala Expanse – 910 Billion
  9. Feythabolis – 781 Billion
  10. Sinq Laison – 737 Billion

Compare that to the October top ten list:

  1. Delve – 3.7 trillion
  2. Esoteria – 2.2 trillion
  3. Querious – 1.19 trillion
  4. Domain – 1.19 trillion
  5. Fountain – 1.16
  6. The Forge – 1.1 trillion
  7. Malpais – 900 billion
  8. Lonetrek – 805 billion
  9. Cobalt Edge – 801 billion
  10. Metropolis – 795 billion

While Delve remained at the top, as with NPC bounties, Outer Passage again vaulted up the list, landing in third spot.  There is definitely some economic binging going on there.

Meanwhile high sec remained a viable mining location.  Overall, the amount of ore mined must have gone up fairly steeply, as not only are the numbers up for many regions, the price of minerals was down again for November, so the value or ore mined was less.

November 2019 – Economic Indices

While mineral prices are at a low point for recent history, the long term price indices shows that prices still remain above the all time low the New Eden economy saw back in 2010.

November 2019 – Economic Indices – Full History

The 2010 low point was related to the fact that, at the time, the drone regions in eastern null sec did not have NPC bounties.  Instead, the drone NPCs there, from which the area derives its name, used to drop minerals.  As such, to cash out of ratting there required hauling minerals to market in places like Jita.

As usual, you can find all the charts and the raw data available to download on the dev blog page for this MER.

Related economic posts:

The Strange September MER

CCP was quick to get the Monthly Economic Report for September into our hands this month.  Due to a number of factors, I have been slower actually getting to it.

Still, there is something to gawk at this month and I am going to go straight to my favorite chart this time around, which is the sinks and faucets over time.

September 2019 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time

And the key item on this chart is the gold line that represents NPC bounty payouts.  As I have noted, and as the chart shows, bounty payouts had been tapering off since their peak at the start of the year as CCP nerfed various aspects of null sec anomalies.  Then came the blackout in null sec and they fell off a cliff.  However, the player count also took a hit, so in mid September the blackout ended.

However, just a week before that we got the September update which introduced the cyno changes.

So if you look at that chart closely, examining its behavior between September and October, you can see that NPC bounties fell off even further.  They pretty much dropped off another, smaller cliff as capital ship ratting was pulled up short and the various null sec coalitions developed strategies with which to cope with the change.

In the Imperium people were told not to rat in capitals or supers until the was figured out, and I have heard that other groups did the same.

Eventually though new fits were worked out and strategies setup to counter the problem of not being able to light a cyno on your capital or super (or Rorqual) to get rescued if trouble showed up. (Hint: having an alt in a force recon with a cyno cloaked up on grid and ready to go is a big part of the answer.)  After that was settled the crabs once again undocked and commenced their harvesting yet again and we can see the line going right back up at the end of the month.

So the question probably is whether or not that line has momentum, whether or not it will keep on climbing back into the untenable zone where CCP will feel it has to step in again in order to reign in what was once the biggest ISK faucet in the New Eden economy.

We’ll be back to this chart when the October numbers come out for sure.

As for who grabbed the most of those NPC bounties, the chart shows that the usual regions were at the top of the list.

September 2019 – NPC Bounties by Region

The top ten regions for September were:

  1. Delve – 2.2 trillion
  2. Deklein – 1.5 trillion
  3. Cobalt Edge – 1 trillion
  4. Esoteria – 975 billion
  5. Fountain – 957 billion
  6. Branch – 699 billion
  7. Oasa – 686 billion
  8. Detorid – 528 billion
  9. Tenerifis – 496 billion
  10. Insmother – 454 billion

If the Imperium is home then Delve is at the top.

A lot of those numbers are down from the August, full blackout but pre-cyno change top ten:

  1. Delve – 4.39 trillion
  2. Insmother – 1.30 trillion
  3. Detorid – 1.23 trillion
  4. Esoteria – 1.05 trillion
  5. Querious – 753 billion
  6. Cobalt Edge – 705 billion
  7. Metropolis – 543 billion
  8. Omist – 526 billion
  9. Fountain – 515 billion
  10. Malpais – 514 billion

Delve was down by half in September, and other regions fell off as well, but not all of them.  Cobalt Edge, was up in the northeast of New Eden was up by 250 billion.  So location, reaction time, and the proximity of a war no doubt played into it.

The big sinks and faucets chart shows NPC bounties were down overall compared to August.

September 2019 – Sinks and Faucets

The August chart had NPC bounties at just over 21 trillion ISK, while for September that number fell by nearly a trillion ISK, with NPC bounties pegged at just over 20 trillion ISK.

That kept commodities out in front as the largest faucet in New Eden, though those fell a bit as well, dropping from nearly 24 trillion in August to 21.6 trillion in September.  While that is down some, the peak back in January was 26 trillion, so there hasn’t been any huge shift there.  It is the top faucet because NPC bounties (which were over 83 trillion back in January) have been brought low.

You can also see from that chart that more ISK came out of the New Eden economy this month than went in.

Since the blackout and cyno changes also impact mining operations, at least in null sec, I should probably spend a moment looking at those numbers as well.

September 2019 – Mining value by region

Pulling numbers from the spreadsheet, the top ten regions for mining were:

  1. Delve – 3 trillion
  2. Domain – 1.3 trillion
  3. The Forge – 1.2 trillion
  4. Esoteria – 1.1 trillion
  5. Querious – 879 billion
  6. Lonetrek – 876 billion
  7. Sinq Laison – 848 billion
  8. Metropolis – 847 billion
  9. Fountain – 768 billion
  10. Genesis – 705 billion

Delve being on top should probably surprise nobody.  The Imperium is the top crabbing organization in the game, which also figured into Querious and Fountain being on the list.  And Esoteria should be renamed TESToteria.

But the rest of the list is high sec.

The numbers overall seem to be down from the August top ten:

  1. Delve – 3.62 trillion
  2. Domain – 1.59 trillion
  3. Esoteria – 1.46 trillion
  4. The Forge – 1.40 trillion
  5. Querious – 1.10 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 1.02 trillion
  7. Lonetrek – 972 billion
  8. Metropolis – 895 billion
  9. Everyshore – 777 billion
  10. Tash-Murkon – 773 billion

However, mineral prices, on which these numbers rest, were also down in September.

September 2019 – Economic Indices

With the prices down, the value is down.

Finally I want to grab the destruction numbers for New Eden.  The blackout, the cyno changes, and the Chaos Era in general were suppose to be at least in part in furtherance of destruction.  Hilmar wanted to see more things blow up.

September 2019 – Destruction value by region

For September the top regions for destruction were:

  1. The Forge – 2.4 trillion
  2. The Citadel – 1.7 trillion
  3. Delve – 1.7 trillion
  4. Detorid – 1.6 trillion
  5. Sinq Laison – 1.2 trillion
  6. Domain – 1.2 trillion
  7. Lonetrek – 1.1 trillion
  8. Esoteria – 906 billion
  9. Metropolis – 882 billion
  10. Deklein – 865 billion

We have high sec trade hubs, Delve, the war zone of Detorid, TESToteria, and Deklein, the last no doubt in relation to the increase in ratting that put Deklein in second place for NPC bounties.

Those numbers are a bit down from August, especially around Jita it seems.  The August top ten:

  1. The Forge 3.2 trillion
  2. The Citadel – 1.9 trillion
  3. Lonetrek – 1.8 trillion
  4. Detorid – 1.6 trillion
  5. Delve – 1.5 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 1.5 trillion
  7. Domain – 1.5 trillion
  8. Fade – 1.4 trillion
  9. Metropolis – 1.1 trillion
  10. Black Rise – 1.0 trillion

Overall the total destruction numbers according to the August and September regional stats spreadsheets were 39.7 trillion and 31.2 trillion respectively.  So destruction seems down, and not just in null sec where the crabs were docked up for a couple weeks out of the month.  The Forge being down by a quarter seems significant.

Did the 3 minute cap on being bumped before warping cut down ganks?

Anyway, that is the meat of things for me, and it gives me something to look at next month when perhaps things will have settled down enough to see a pattern.  Or maybe there will be chaos! Chaos!  CHAOS!

If you are interested in the data and charts, CCP provides them all here in a nice zip archive so you can dig into them and make your own lists and graphs.

A Wormhole Home from Cache

In one of those moments of extreme good timing, about 30 seconds after I launched Jabber last night a ping from Asher popped up saying that if anybody wanted to head home early there was a wormhole up in Cache that led Amarr low sec space, which is conveniently close to Delve.

I immediately logged on my main and alt, joined Asher’s fleet, followed the instructions in the MOTD, jumped through the wormhole, and found myself about a dozen gates from Delve.  In about 20 minutes I traveled from the far east of New Eden to the far west with both of my Guardians tethered up outside a Keepstar.

Waiting at the back door

Doing that route the hard way, going gate to gate, would involve passing through 55 gates and 8 regions before arriving in Delve.  Even the expected move op home, which might get to use Legacy Coalition Ansiblex jump gates, as we did on the way out, will likely have to make more jumps than I did.

As for why we are headed home, participation has been low.  A bunch of people made it out with the original move op, but interest has tapered off and anybody who missed the move out faced a long and hazardous trip to get to us.  That is one downside of living out of mobile depots in hostile space as opposed to basing out of NPCs stations.

So I am back home in Delve.  Now I have to figure out how to move all of my stuff.  While we were away there was a change to which Keepstar was going to be the staging point and market for Delve.  It is in the same system, but moving all of the crap I have collected over the last year or two is going to be either awkward or expensive… or both.