Tag Archives: Delve

And Sometimes You Sit on a Keepstar While Things Go Wrong

I managed to get into a fleet last night that went out into low sec where we blew up a tower belonging to Darwinism.

One of the modules exploding for effect

One of the modules exploding for effect

The tower had been reinforced previously, so it was a quick shoot.

We also went about reinforcing one of their Raitaru engineering complexes.

Fleet getting boosts near the complex

Fleet getting boosts near the complex

That one will have to wait as it has to go through the three stage process required to destroy an operational citadel or complex.

If I understand correctly this operation, and a number of other ones that went out yesterday to hit Darwinism structures, was in response to Darwinism hitting Merch Industrial structures.  Merch is a long time Goonswarm Federation corporation probably best know for being the home of DBRB.  It even got a MiniTru video.

Basically, the usual order of things in New Eden; somebody pokes us, we poke them back.  The highlight of the op were managing to kill a 2.6 billion ISK pod and my running an Oneiros with the Guardian’s Gala SKIN, which may be the first skin for the ship that is worth having.

Oneiros orbiting near the fleet

Oneiros orbiting near the fleet

A fine day’s work in New Eden, and I logged off after that and had dinner, watched a bit of television, and let the night roll on.  As it got later I went back to my computer to tinker with an alt I rolled for an upcoming event which I will write about later.  As I was running him through the new player experience, a ping came in.

This has meme potential

This aspect of the NPE has meme potential

It was one of those ping, sent to, and in, ALL CAPS, with an urgent call to get in fleet NOW!

This was followed by a similar ping for a subcap fleet, but I figured “what the hell!” and logged in, got in my Apostle, and joined the fleet.  Then it was pointed out to me that the ping only called for carriers and dreads, so I swapped to my Archon and undocked.  Then I saw that lots of people were bringing faxes, so I docked back up again swapped back to my Apostle, and undocked once more to sit tethered at the Keepstar.

Sitting on the Keepstar

Sitting on the Keepstar

As we sat there, the story unfolded… rather loudly at times… as to what was going on.

A group of Peoples Liberation Army corporation Rorquals had been dropped on by Pandemic Legion in NIDJ-K, which just happens to one of the TNT vanity sovereignty system, so we can say we do hold sov.

The PL fleet tackled them and then put up a cyno inhibitor.  We sat there listening as one of the PLA guys tried to light us a cyno so we could jump in and help.  He managed to get a cyno up, but in the wrong fleet before the inhibitor went up.  He also did not speak English very well… PLA is a Chinese corp… and was apparently playing inside of a wind tunnel judging from the background noise, which did not help the cross-lingual communications.

A titan bridged a few subcaps out with cynos to try and get somebody in close enough to be a jump target for us.  The subcap fleet itself took a jump bridge to the vicinity of the fight and set up to block egress.

An Avatar bridging out some scouts and interdictors

An Avatar bridging out some scouts and interdictors

In the end though, the PL fleet killed all seven Rorquals that PLA had in a mining anomaly along with a Hulk, some mobile depots, and several ships that warps in to assist.  We eventually killed the cyno inhibitor.  The battle report shows it to be a lopsided victory in favor of PL.

That Viziam guy was in a Revelation

That Viziam guy was in a Revelation

I got an alt out to help search and scan, but the PL fleet looked to have logged off to wait for another day.

As we sat there on the Keepstar, I came to an important decision.  I decided that, while the Purity white SKIN looks pretty good on the Apostle, the Cold Iron SKIN is the one to have.  So I bought one.

Cold Iron Apostle

Cold Iron Apostle

I still can’t remember which way the Apostle is facing, but at least it looks a bit more menacing with a dark SKIN.

So that was New Eden for me yesterday.

In summary:  Some things got blown up and I got new SKINs for two of my ships.

 

Some Days You Just Sit on the Titan

I haven’t written much about operations in EVE Online of late for a couple of reasons.

First has been because I have been busy with other things.  Life will get in the way.  And, second, there has also been a drawn down in the number of ops I am likely to join.

The so-called Winter War between Stainwagon and the refugees from the north ended up in a Stainwagon collapse, with the defenders now mostly pushed off the sovereignty map as TEST, Circle-of-Two, and the Drone Walkers… soon to be joined by Brave Newbies… moved in. (Images grabbed from the usual source.)

Just six weeks passed...

Just six weeks passed…

That has put and end to that for us.

Which isn’t to say there haven’t been ops running.  There is always some op forming up to go do something; roam, homeland defense, poke a bear, or some such.  But I have become a picky bitter vet of sorts.  I want strat ops and concrete objectives or, barring that, an FC I trust.

Last week it was Thomas Lear who took us out in Sleipnirs.  Earlier this week it was Asher, who called us out for one of his plans.  He had some bait planned and moved us out to sit on a titan and wait for the right moment to spring the trap.

We even brought the titan with us

We even brought the titan with us

Sometimes that sort of things pays off, sometimes it goes badly awry, and some nights nothing at all happens.  This time around it was the last item.  The bait was out but nobody seemed interested in taking it.  So we sat there at a POS… at least a change from sitting on a citadel, which is the new normal… staring at the titan and wondering if we would go or not.

My Guardian floating there behind the Ragnarok

My Guardian floating there behind the Ragnarok

This is the nature of sandbox PvP.  Sometimes nobody shows up at your party.  We sat there for a while before Asher eventually called it a night and bridges us back home.  At least we took one bridge.

It wasn’t all that bad.  Being on-call let me tab out and work on other things.  I have screen shots lined up for my other blog into next month now.  And with a wireless headset I was able to get up and do things around the house, like put something in the oven for dinner, get a package from UPS off the door step, and use the bathroom.  My thoughts about broadcasting the latter over coms were held back by the fact that my push to talk button is mapped to the keyboard, which was still sitting on my desk.  Probably better for all concerned.

But other than getting what might be my last peak at a moon mining operation before it is changed to drilling rigs in the fall, there wasn’t much going on.

Moon mining modules running

Moon mining modules running

At least it yielded as strategic participation link, a strat PAP, the collection of which is one of the few reasons I think my corp keeps me around.  It certainly isn’t for my deep involvement in alliance activities.

Later I ran a couple of anomalies and actually netted an escalation finally.  It has been months since I got the last one.

It was the Dark Blood Fleet Staging Point escalation, which is a three part project, only our local escalation running service will only do the third part.  That isn’t bad.  The first two parts are doable, it just means I have to pack up the Ishtar and take it on the road.

The first part was in a nice dead-end pocket and I was able to complete it and drop off the resulting loot in a citadel to pick up later.  We have citadels… usually multiple citadels… in every system in Delve at this point.

The second part however was in one of the heavily traveled pipe systems, which meant I spend about two hours running what is maybe a 20 minute encounter.  Every time I would get settled in intel would announce some roaming gang was in an adjacent system and I would get myself lined up.  Then they would jump in the system and I would pull drones and warp off to a citadel, only to have them just pass through.   Then it was back to the start point, motor to the acceleration gate, and back into the encounter only to have intel ringing the bell yet again.

Somebody finally put up a homeland defense fleet to chase off one gang that had been roaming the area for a while and I was able to wrap things up at last.

Then I got the third part alert, which was in a nice quiet system as well, so it looked like I was in luck to get it run for me.  The last two… the only two… escalations I have had in the region both ended up in NPC Delve, and Lucky Runners doesn’t go there.  Too many hostiles buzzing about.

I went to the escalation, bookmarked the beacon, names it correctly, contracted it, and waited for the ISK to show up.  And then, many hours later, I got a note saying the contract had been rejected due to a contract bug.  But there was still about six hours left on the third stage.  You only get 24 hours from when each part appears in which to run it.  So I contracted it again and actually got paid this time.

So that is life in Delve at the moment.  I’ve been able to build up my ISK reserves, but I haven’t gone on many fleets.

Back and Forth Across Fountain and Delve as Dominion Fades

The repulse of the attack on Fountain and the subsequent punitive invasion of Delve have been going well for the CFC.  I joke about Goons invading Delve out of sheer habit at this point, but the joke has its basis in fact; this is my fourth year in the CFC and at least my fourth time into Delve.

In the near corner of Delve, N3 continues to lose systems, with 15 now having been taken from them, a jump of 8 since Thursday.

The conquest continues

The conquest continues

As that was going on I missed what might have been one of the most glorious moments so far in Reaver history.  Sure, we’ve caught and killed some supers in the past, but this was even better.  The Reavers managed to break NCdots hold on one of their systems in Querious, so that they lost sovereignty for a short stretch of time.

In ED-L9T the Reavers, with some help for the final fight, managed to temporarily wrest sovereignty away from NCdot.

ED-L9T slips away for a few hours

ED-L9T slips away for a few hours

N3 lost more in that fight than we did, including a big fat Moros dreadnought, and had to pull allies back who should have been defending Delve (in addition to offering ship replacement coverage to their renters) in order to retake and hold the system while their TCU came online.  The system now has to go through the slow process of regaining “levels,” something that just happens over time as you hold a system, in order to restore full capabilities to the system and station.

This is exactly what the Reavers are supposed to do, keep prodding behind enemy lines until the hostiles have to respond in force, at which point we fade away.  Asher gave us a day off from operations to celebrate this coup so we could satisfy any need we might feel to join the main fleet and help burn a bit of Delve.

All of which is a lot of fun, but which also ignores the longer term question as to what the CFC plans to do when the sovereignty changes come this June.  We gave up Delve, Querious, and Period Basis, selling them to N3, before the Phoebe changes back in November, and nothing has changed to make me think that we will suddenly be able to hang on to Delve in the longer term.

Then, over the weekend, the other metaphorical shoe dropped and it was announced that the CFC will be pulling out of Fountain before the June Fozzie-Sov hits.  This came as a statement directly from The Mittani and via the LAWN state of the alliance update.

That means that at some point in the near future, the CFC is going to hold, the relinquish, possession of Fountain and Delve (circled in red below) before moving back to the north, outlined in blue. (Map from the usual source.)

April 12 map, marked up in MS Paint

April 12 map, marked up in MS Paint

The CFC will back at the top of the map, alliances packed into closer proximity so as to better defend our space during the chaos of change.  Because there is still a question as to what Fozzie Sov will bring.

I doubt it will bring down any of the established null sec organizations.  That would require a system where the best organized groups were put at a disadvantage, which would seem like a pretty counter-productive long-term goal for CCP.  Punishing the people who are likely the most invested in your game would be a bad plan.  But the goals laid out in early March made it clear that CCP wants to make sovereignty easier to take, which should still favor the organized.  And, as a counter to that ease of conquest idea, there is the plan that sovereign space that gets used for things like mining or ratting should receive a defense bonus.

What I have yet to hear… and I haven’t dredged through the 200 page long threadnought regarding the Fozzie Sov changes, so maybe it has been fully addressed… is whether or not null sec space is going to get any sort of boost to make it worth keeping.  Because, right now, there are systems in null sec, in the space I live in, that are held merely because they are adjacent.  They don’t spawn anomalies worth doing (and spawn very few at that) nor do they have belts worth mining.  Add in systems on heavily traveled paths through null sec, so nobody wants to rat or mine there as potential hostiles are always passing through, and you will find a not insignificant number of systems in null that nobody will want to invest time in.  I will be interested to see if there is a plan for those, or if they will simply become the weak parts in any sov holding entity’s armor by design.

Meanwhile, it looks like a good time to get into null sec if you are a new player.

Back when I started, getting into null meant establishing a reputation and knowing somebody already in an alliance to vouch for you.  Recruitment of newbies wasn’t all that common aside from certain groups that could pull from their external source, like the Goons from Something Awful or TEST from Reddit.  I got into null because I knew Gaff, and he got in because he knew somebody through another game, and how he got into null I am not sure, but it was probably through yet another recommendation.  There was something of a wall between new players and null, enough to cause some rage to be directed at me when I highlighted one day old character tackling in a fleet op because those results were not typical or available to everybody all the time.  How dare I pretend null sec entities want new players by telling an anecdote about a fleet op!

And then Brave Newbies, a group that specializing taking on new players, got into null sec, and the flood gates were open. (Not that it was tough to get into TEST, but it required a little effort.  BNI removed even that minor effort.)

The success of Brave Newbies and their ability to field large numbers apparently had some impact.  Goonswarm opened up Karma Fleet, which allowed just about anybody to join up and get into the fight in null sec.

Seriously, anybody was getting in for a while... though not everybody was allowed to stay...

Seriously, anybody was getting in for a while… though not everybody was allowed to stay…

Since then, Pandemic Legion has announced their own new player friendly enterprise, the Pandemic Horde, which already has more than 600 pilots, not all of which can be spies.

I would suspect that other null sec entities would want to get in on that influx of new players in order to bolster their own numbers, lest they find themselves at an even greater disadvantage, and to provide a pool of potential candidates to promote into their core organizations… if they can get over their elite PvP bias.  I suppose you could view renting as an ingress, but it really isn’t the same thing.  There is a distance between the renters and the landlords.

So Fozzie Sov, when it arrives, will at least start with the CFC in a smaller space and probably with a scramble for the soon-to-be-abandoned Delve and Fountain sovereignty.  I wonder who our new neighbors will be?

Addendum: And judging from how Jabber is humming today, there should be an epic GSF Alliance Update out in the next day that will be full of smug.

The Fall of ZXB-VC and the End of Dominion

Today was what will likely be the last gigantic battle of Dominion. We killed 170b and lost 15b~ of shit, our enemies sacrificed upwards of 60 caps and TCUs are onlining within the next two hours in ZXB-VC, the Entrance to Delve. We have our foothold, we’ve kicked down the door, and we’re in.

-Blawrf McTaggart to all at 2015-04-08 23:59:11.908198 EVE

As I sat at the office yesterday working on an issue from a customer, the war in Delve reached a crescendo as the final time for the system ZXB-VC counted down.  Our foes had already lost several systems in Delve up to this point.  But those losses, while indicative of the way the war was going, were not all that important; those were tolerable losses.

But ZXB was different.

ZXB has a station in it, a place the CFC could turn into a forward staging system within Delve, making the commute to conquest all that much shorter.  And it was also the staging system of our foe, so their forces were already on hand, ready to defend.  Capital ships battled and subcap fleets clashed as I sat at my desk at work.  I pulled up a Twitch stream at one point and saw a mass of titans engaging the station.

ZXB Station Besieged

ZXB Station Besieged

The CFC won even with Brave and a drifter battleship assisting N3.  According to the narrative over at TMC (EN24 apparently declined to cover the battle at this time) the total combined losses for both sides added up to at least 153 billion ISK (or just ove 4.1 million WoW gold at today’s exchange rate) with losses tilted heavily against N3.

Seven systems have now changed hands in Delve, up from the three earlier this week. (Not sure who the EON Alliance is, but they now have sovereignty in Delve.)

South East corner of Delve

South East corner of Delve

The war could be far from over.  There are 78 more conquerable systems in Delve held by N3, with 44 stations, along with twelve NPC systems, each of which has an “open to all” station from which the enemy could stage to prolong the fight.

On the CFC side we are, of course, hearing the usual “hostiles are evac’ing to low sec” rumors.  And while the latest alliance updates from Darkness and The Kadeshi say that the fight will go on, N3 does appear to be under considerable pressure with the hammer of the CFC capital fleet hitting them in Delve, the Reavers burning fields in Querious, and now Pandemic Legion, having been hired by the CFC, going after N3 holdings in Esoteria and Feythabolis.  There might be more fights or it might be time for N3 to pull back into a tighter defense, if peace is out of the question.

So CFC Sky Marshall Blawrf McTaggart (who was getting some attention over at Polygon during the fight) might end up being correct in calling this the last gigantic battle during the era of Dominion sovereignty, because, come June, CCP says it will be rolling out a new set of sovereignty mechanics.  Gone will be the SBUs and myriad of timers and what not, and in its place we will have the Entosis links and an attempt to meet some goals laid out in early March.

The Dominion expansion changes will be thrown down.

Dominion - December 2009

Dominion – December 2009

At this late date I think it is safe to say that the Dominion sovereignty changes, if not universally reviled, are at least not viewed as an ideal way to run the whole conquerable space aspect of EVE Online.  There are voices from all parts of the game asking for change.

So, as we approach the June changes, it seems like an appropriate time to look back at Dominion and what CCP was trying to do back in late 2009.

Fortunately Sugar Kyle already has a post up, as part of her review of EVE Online expansions, that goes over the Dominion expansion.

I was there and playing the game when this dropped, but barely remember a bit of what came out.  But I wasn’t in null sec at the time and I was probably paying more attention to the Siege of Mirkwood expansion that was landing in LOTRO at about the same time.

So sitting here in 2015 reading the Breaking the Chains Dev Blog that speaks to the planned changes for Dominion brings about an eerie sense of… well… not exactly déjà vu, but certainly a feeling of familiar ground.

You can pull some quotes out of CCP Abathur’s 2009 post that would fit right into the current discussions of null sec sovereignty.  At one point I was flipping between that dev blog and the March 2015 sov dev blog and I lost track of which one I was reading.

Perhaps my favorite quote in the whole 2009 document is this one:

…there is no one thing that causes more consternation amongst players than the seemingly endless task of shooting towers.

Okay, I know that in the pre-Dominion scheme of things, towers were how sovereignty was held, so the reasons to attack them have changed, but I’ll be damned if the seemingly endless task of shooting towers has abated one bit.  In Reavers we shoot towers night and day.  There are people who have become connoisseurs of tower configuration, and I hear each tower we hit critiqued on coms as we reinforce it.  (Sometimes module locations even contain a message.)

More on point, there is this quote:

No matter what happens, there will always be important things to shoot.  The key is finding a balance between allowing smaller gangs of raiders to disrupt the day to day operations of your space against requiring massive battleship and capital fleets to actually remove you from the same space.  Conquest of space in Dominion will differ greatly from what exists currently, as will the ability of roaming gangs to cause an ‘AFK Empire’ no end of frustration.

Just as raiders will be presented new opportunities to create havoc, aggressors intent on all out conquest will have to carefully weigh their plans and make decisions on what and where to attack first.  Strategies that work in one system may completely fail in the next.  Defenders of space in Dominion will have new ways of defending their space as well.  These tools will not replace a proper defense force but they will provide new and exciting options which ensure that not every fight is the same and will reward investment in military infrastructure.

You could almost pull that directly forward into the 2015 dev blog and have it make sense in the context of the current discussion.  I am looking forward to the June changes myself… a little bit of chaos can be fun… but a little voice in the back of my brain is saying, “This time for sure!” in a mocking tone.  We shall see.

Anyway, the war in Delve is still on for now, Reavers are still roaming Querious, Pandemic Legion has its contract for the other side of N3 space, and CCP’s sovereignty changes are still a ways out.  There is plenty of time left for another big battle or two if both sides want it.

Tales from the War in Delve and Querious

As Sun Tzu once said, “Stop quoting me about a video game.”

-kcolor, Jabber broadcast to all

The war in Delve continues, with operations running around the clock, at least judging from the pings in Jabber.  Three systems have been taken so far in Delve, T5ZI-S, 4X0-8B, and KEE-N6.

Highlighted with red, as DOTLAN seems fixated with the color yellow

Highlighted with red, as DOTLAN seems fixated with the color yellow

And preparation has gone in to taking the first big system, ZXB-VC.  I addition, judging from the kill boards of people I know in the capital fleet, the CFC has been reinforcing and wiping out towers all over the region, sometimes replacing them before the owners have even noticed that they are gone. (As with this loss, where a shuttle loaded with blueprints warped to where their jump bridge USED to be.)

So Delve is capital ships and fleets and hundreds of players roaming out at a time in order to crush our foes.

Operations in Querious though, that is a bit different.  There the Reavers roam about in small groups hitting undefended targets, reinforcing towers, blowing up defensive SBUs and dropping our own, and occasionally hitting the local renters when they become too complacent about us and start going about their business as though we were not there.

When the enemy forms up a fleet to defend a timer or puts some carries on an ihub to rep it, we fade away, mission accomplished.  Every pilot down defending sovereignty in Querious is a pilot not defending Delve.  The whole thing works at a slower pace though, with small fleets and limited capabilities and often the same people night after night in a given time zone.

And while we are there to harass, reinforce, interdict, and otherwise make a nuisance of ourselves, we do like a kill mail once in a while.

For example, the other night a pilot name s1thl0rd (which is ‘sith lord,’ though your brain can be forgiven for resolving those characters as ‘shit lord’) was attacking one of the SBUs we dropped with an expensive ship, a Barghest, the Mordu’s Legion battleship that came in with the Kronos expansion about a year back.

It was felt that we should kill it, what with it brazenly shooting our SBU, so a plan was devised.

For reasons still not completely clear to me, we decided to hot drop on it.  That meant stealth bombers and a black ops battleship to deliver us to the target.  We had some stealth bombers around, but the person with the battleship wasn’t on.  So we sent somebody to Amarr to go buy a Panther, fit it, and fly it back down.  I flew along to go grab a stealth bomber so I could join in.

We flew up, made our purchases, and flew back.  As we did that, a couple of tacklers were stealthed up and close by s1thl0rd, who kept on shooting the SBU.  If I heard things on coms correctly, he even decloaked one of the tacklers and didn’t think to fly off.

When we got back everybody who was going to drop on s1thl0rd formed up and flew to a system within drop range.  There was a short lesson on how to hot drop and stay stealthed and all that, required by the way we all failed to do so when forming up.

Our blops finally arrives

Our blops finally arrives

Finally, we were all set and the person on the gate with the cyno went to go light it so we could drop in… and it failed.  He decloaked, which didn’t seem to bother s1thl0rd, and found that the system had a cyno jammer in it.  We needed a covert cyno generator, which nobody happened to have handy.  There was a call out to see who online could actually fit and use one, and I x’d up in fleet and was tasked with lighting the cyno.

I just didn’t actually have a covert cyno handy.  So I went off to buy one and bring it back.  I was on my way back… at this point we were about two hours into this “we’re totally going to kill this guy” operation and not only were we still trying to get it together, but the target was still in place… when a couple of wormholers dropped into the target system and blew up s1thl0rd and his shiny ship.

At that point people were more laughing than disappointed as the total amount of time we spent trying to set up for that one kill… and our dependence on our target just sitting there for all that time… made the whole situation comical.

Besides which, we got to kill his shiny, billion ISK Rattlesnake a couple days later, along with his pod full of implants.  I even got the kill mail on his pod, as Asher let the logi pilots get first crack at it.

Otherwise, the operational tempo in Querious remains about the same.  We shoot stuff up until we become annoying enough that NCdot has to respond.  Just to do things even more on the cheap, we have even started using laser Vexors, which end up costing a couple million ISK if fully insured, so you can go AFK if you need and not be too worried about losing anything if hostiles show up.  The beams just keep cycling until you or the target are done.

Laser Vexor

Laser Vexor

Still, I have been a bit jealous of my corp mates who have been off fighting on the Delve front.  Big fleets, big battles, systems being taken, and all that.  So Sunday afternoon I decided I would clone jump to Fountain to take part in the Easter operation in ZXB-VC.  That operation was being pinged for hours and hours in advance, so it seemed like it might be an important fight.  I thought it would be nice to be there when a system went down.  So when the time came I was in place and in a big fat newly purchase Dominix, because that is the main battleship doctrine yet again, and ready to go.

However, when we finally got to ZXB, it turned out to be just the station timer.  We were going just there to put the station into the armor reinforce cycle.

ZXB shield timer counts down...

ZXB shield timer counts down…

We were the first of a few fleets to drop on the system.  As we sat around the station we were encouraged to shoot the station services to knock them out.

Choose a service you want to kill...

Choose a service you want to kill…

However we barely got into that before we were sent off to one of the gates to guard an SBU, lest NCDot and friends drop in and kill it during a window of opportunity and cause us to have to restart the whole reinforce cycle again.  So we sat out there, spread out in a ball, while the capital fleet came in and very quickly put the station into its armor reinforce time.

The times is visible in the distance

The times is visible in the distance

All we had to entertain us was the Circadian Seekers who kept showing up to fly around and scan us every so often.  I started seeing those in Reaver fleets.  In Reavers we are sharp enough to not start shooting them.  However, with 240 of us sitting on the gate with nothing to do but wait for orders, somebody was bound to shoot one of them.  And they did, eventually having to warp to the gate and exit the system to break the cycle of escalations that comes with starting that fight.

With the station reinforced again and no hostiles to speak of (920+ people in system, I counted 3 non-CFC pilots in local) I opted to head to the gate with the capitals, parked myself in Y-2ANO, and went to have dinner with my wife and watch a bit of TV. (We just finished up The Wire and are starting on Treme.)  My Domi will be safe there and will be set to join any operations headed for Delve if I want to pile in.

Meanwhile, while I was off experiencing battleship travel, time dilation, and the sitting and waiting that comes with covering the capital ships, down in Querious Asher was pinging for more pilots because we actually had a fight going down with the locals.  I chose poorly, but I couldn’t get back to Querious quickly enough to help out.  I will jump back down when my jump clone timer runs down and join the small harassing ops on the fringe of NCDot space.  There is no time dilation and there is always something to shoot.

On the bright side, I did get a few big fleet screen shots, which at least was a change from what is becoming an ongoing series of “Basilisk goes to…” events, so I have some fresh fodder for my other blog.

Punitive Expedition to Delve

I’m back from Fanfest and I’m FUCKING BORED – this ‘invasion’ we faced last week was the most laughably, pathetically weak attempt at our shit in years, and that says something. For too long we’ve been dealing with our foes thinking they can assault us and get away with these ‘fake invasions’ for funsies.

It’s almost April. It’s ~that season~. Who’s up for a bit of bloody-handed, oldschool reprisal? Get your face-stomping boots on boys. We’re not going to ~take space~ but we might make some ‘freeports’ or just give shit to Pizza, whatever. I have literally no idea except this urge to twist the knife and we’re going to do exactly that.

-broadcast from the_mittani to all at 2015-03-25

Like Goons need an excuse to invade Delve.  I think some of them were getting the shakes at not having invaded Delve recently.

Still, we brought a lot of toys down to Fountian, sent the Reavers south into Delve, took back the one system the hostiles grabbed, defended against their other attack on a system, and generally spent a lot of time chasing around after a seemingly reluctant foe.

You can say that CFC has greater numbers, but everybody knew that long before NCDot and friends came to Fountain.  If you’re going to poke the beehive you had better have a plan.  So both TMC and EN24 are reporting the Delve invasion as a go.

The main force of the CFC is packing up their Domis and convoying south to 319-3D… we’ve been there before… to hole up in the Blood Raiders station while they are not burning Delve to the ground.

319 Station, Many Bubbles Ago

319 Station, Many Bubbles Ago

Of course, if the main fleet is headed for Delve, then the Reavers have to find a new place to operate.  We operate in small groups behind enemy lines, not up front with the main fleet unless there is a special need.  So we had to wrap up our business, drop one final tower, then start packing.

A jump bridge module without a tower isn't very useful... still, we blew it up too

A jump bridge module without a tower isn’t very useful… still, we blew it up too

Then there was an immediate convoy operation to get us to our new forward base.

That big ship... it's... a Drake! Yeah!

That big ship… it’s… a Drake! Yeah!

We are now set up and running ops into the enemy’s backfield.  Now to see what the enemy has in mind.

The initial rumors were that Darkness and The Kadeshi were just going to fold up shop and evacuate to their other holdings in the N3 empire.  But war rumors always include some theme about the enemy running away.  I am sure that NCDot had rumors early on that the CFC was going to evacuate Fountain.

Other, more substantial news has been showing up though.  Just yesterday Brave announced that they would be joining in the fight and helping to resist the CFC invasion. (More on Brave here.)

Brave words

Brave words

Brave, of course, brings numbers along with a willingness to fight against the odds if needs be.  With them entering the fray I feel a bit jealous of my Domi fleet comrades back in Delve… at least until I start thinking about the time dilation that comes with big fleet fights.  I can live with that, but it generally isn’t an issue with Reavers.

So the Southern Coalition N3 empire looks like this at the moment, with major moves noted.

The south end of space, Goons on the left, Russians on the right

The south end of space, Goons on the left, Russians on the right

Unless somebody can mount a credible threat on the far side of CFC space and distract us, it looks like it might be an interesting time in Delve in April.  We sold it to N3 back before the Phoebe expansion hit, I wonder if we can sell it back to them again when we’re done?

Fountain, Wartime Jabber, and Points South

It isn’t much of a war, but it’s the only war we’ve got, so enjoy it

-Major General Charles Timmes, Military Assistance Advisory Group 1962

The war in Fountain continued from last week through the weekend.  By Thursday we had moved enough numbers to the region to stand up on every timer as well as to start reinforcing hostile targets on our own.

The enemy host was able to grab a foothold in Fountain while we were still getting organized.  D4KU-5 on the border with Aridia (Amarr low sec) fell while we were still involved with move operations.  An embarrassing loss of territory, but not a system with a station in it.

FW2015D4KUHowever, a push on Y-2AN0 and LBGI-2… both station systems, the latter being the system NCDot held briefly during their last fling in fountain… were both thwarted and both systems remained in CFC hands.

Y-2ANOThat is the extent of the strategic situation, with D4KU-5 timers set to run down today during Euro time, so the system might be back in CFC hands before I get home from work.  They will have held the system less than six days.

Generally I only keep Jabber up and logged in to the GSF feed when I am home and might be able to make a fleet.  But during a war I use the iOS Trillian client and keep myself logged in all the time.  The Jabber feed will include a lot of fleets I will never make, but there are wartime updates and bits of news and propaganda… like the assertion that Black Legion is steadfastly refusing to join its current allies in structure shoots or how BL’s leader has earned the nickname “Flee-lo Knight”… and basically keep me up on how things are going.

And I need Jabber up to stay in touch with how the war is doing, since I am not on the front lines.  No, the night after the big move op push to Fountain, Reavers had their own move op to push across the frontier and behind the lines of our foes.  We slipped through the gate to Delve and headed to the far end of the region to setup shop and start blowing up or reinforcing anything we could find.

Of course we’re in Delve.  Even the name of the place is like a magic incantation around Goons.

If your goal is to shoot Goons, all you have to do is lay in some ships and put a jump clone in one of the NPC Blood Raiders stations in the region and wait.  Goons will show up eventually.  They won’t pass up a chance and feel almost put out if they aren’t fighting there at least once every calendar year.    So while we could have staged out of high sec Amarr or gone deep into Period Basis, we ended up in Delve.

I suppose it is close to the war, so that we can lend (or get) support when needed, though I am not sure that is really in line with Reaver doctrine.  But our friends in Top Goon have been out our way, which has been nice.  And there are those NPC stations, which can be used to park clones and resupply losses.  Besides which, shooting structures plays out about the same in any region, so we might as well scratch that “must march on Delve!” itch for the GSF members, who make up most of Reavers.

So there we are.  I have spent a few hours on ops shooting structures.  Unlike past deployments, we seem to have actually brought an abundance of logi ships this time around.  I haven’t had to be the sole Basilisk in fleet more than once, and there have been a couple of times where it was requested that people swap out for Ishtars so that we have enough firepower to reinforce something while we’re all still young… or young at heart.

It has been the usual thing, shooting with occasional interference from the locals.  We were hitting a large tower with a small force… we were knocking down the shields at a rate of 1% gone every minute and a half, and since you have to get the shields down to 25% to reinforce, that was going to be nearly a two hour shoot… when a couple of the locals showed up and started deploying guns to try and stop us.  We had just enough firepower to offline the first couple of guns before they were up and ready to shoot, but we were clearly falling behind and could have been in danger had they been able to persist.  However, they stopped after about six guns.  The speculation was that they simply did not have any more on hand.

Then they moved to trying bomb us to kill our drones.  However, they started by hitting us with a single bomber, which won’t kill a sentry drone, and by the time they moved up to two bombers, we were all just sitting on our drones and able to pull them in before bombs hit.  Then they gave up on even that and we were able to reinforce the tower, though they did push the duration of the whole thing out to nearly three hours.

Otherwise, it has been the usual routine behind enemy lines.  The occasional gate camp to try and catch us moving around alone (and official doctrine is to never move alone or without a scout) and some attempts to interfere with our shoots, but no real organized defense as yet.  But we are starting to drop towers and make a nuisance of ourselves, so at some point the hostiles on the Fountain front will have to drop back to defend or we’ll actually start getting to real timers.  But with the way the war on the Fountain front is going, they may not have much left to do up there soon.

Addendum:

And NCDot lost D4KU-5 right on schedule.  Now we just have to sit on it for a bit.

NCLosesD4KUAnyway, the war doesn’t seem like it will go on much longer.  There has been a frenzy of ops running around the clock according to Jabber, but unless the hostiles have it in them to keep attacking, things could taper off very quickly.  Time to get on some ops while they last.  At least I got my combat drone out an onto one tower kill so I could prove I was there.

Some pictures from our time in Delve so far.