Tag Archives: Delve

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.

We Pay Black Legion a Visit

We are suddenly living in interesting times in New Eden.  Change is coming.  A lot of people think they know how things will play out, but when CCP is telling people that they cannot predict the results, it can be hard to tell which pundit has some deep insight versus just some wishful thinking.

In addition to my own minor predictions, I am going to guess that, over the next few weeks, we will be witnessing the last hurrah of easy jump drive and jump bridge travel.  The Phoebe expansion and its huge travel changes, expected to drop in early November, looms and all good pilots in New Eden are at least making contingency plans.  The wise are making sure all their jump clone related skills are up to snuff.  The traders are stockpiling goods, the industrialists materials.  Those needing to have stuff shipped are doing it now rather than later, as shipping charges are expected to jump.  And I am willing to bet that alliances with supercapital heavy doctrines will be looking to get in some last-minute cross-region hot drops.

And those of us who have been flying subcaps back and forth across half the galaxy in order to defend the empire… we’ll be eager to do a few last farewell flings across space as well.

So it was Saturday when Reagalan put out a ping on Jabber that he would be doing something hilarious and that he had a fleet up, but that the doctrine was as yet undecided.

Once nearly 200 people showed up and piled in on that promise, it was time to pick ships.  Reagalan wanted to go with the new Hawk fleet doctrine which he has been championing, however logistics held us back.  There just weren’t any Hawks up on contract.  Some of us had them, but most of the fleet did not.  So the doctrine was changed to Harpy fleet, while asking some people to stay with Hawks to give us some more tacklers.  I opted for a Harpy because I happened to have three in the station, so I figured I might as well lose something I already had backup on.  Besides which, as I found out with Sunday’s fight, the Hawk fleet configuration changed a bit and my Hawk needed to be refit to be brought up to date.

The act of nearly 200 of us swapping ships brought up TiDi in the system.  CCP is going to have to put some more CPU power behind our new home, what with fleet assemblies and Black Legion coming to visit.

Once shipped, it was time to undock and head out to… wherever it was we were going.

Most dramatic undock screen shot yet

Most dramatic undock screen shot yet

That was some more TiDi, as was the move through the first few gates.  Other ops were likely in progress.

We started down a route I had not previously been aware of, and Reagalan had been very quiet about our actual destination, no doubt in the name of operational security.  But eventually he had to tell us where we were headed.  We ended up joining the old convoy route to Fountain, and by the time we got to J5A he had put NOL-M9 in as a destination for fleet.  We were headed to Delve.

Which was something of a pisser.  I have a jump clone and the correct doctrine ship down in Delve.  I could have just landed down there and waited for everybody else to take the jump bridge highway from Deklein.

Looking at another jump bridge array...

Looking at another jump bridge array…

That is the problem with op sec.  You can’t just ping that you want people for form up in YA0 and then add in the bit about jump cloning to Delve if you’re trying to keep the hostiles from being totally aware that you are coming.  So my jump clone sat unused, still saved for a rainy day, or Phoebe, whichever comes first.  I suppose I did get to update some jump bridge bookmarks.  The Oceanus expansion last week changed the rules a bit on where jump bridges could be anchored, so some of them had to move, obsoleting some bookmarks.

We were headed to Delve to support our southern cousins in the CFC.  FA had a fleet coming from Fountain, while the LAWN gnomes were forming up along with The Initiative to defend their turf.   A tower in NPC null had been put in reinforce so there was going to be a timer fight and Black Legion, also crossing the galaxy for a fight, was expected to be there.  Time for a bit of pay back for our losses at YA0 Thursday evening.  We had to fart about a bit camping a gate to see if we could grab anybody headed to the fight, but eventually we jumped into G-TT5V, warped to the tower in question, and found a fight in progress.

Landing at the tower

Landing at the tower

We were a little far off from the fight, so Reagalan warped us off and then back on top of Black Legion where we anchored up and started in.  Bubbles went up around the fight.  The numbers were in our favor, so the key to things was to pin them down, kill off their logistics, and then chop them up one by one.

Ball of Tengus in the bubbles

Ball of Tengus in the bubbles

As a percentage of their force, their logistics was not as prevalent as they were at YA0 two days before, and they did not seem to be as well coordinated.  This may have been due to there being different fleets calling different targets, thus spreading the Scimitar reps more thinly.  Whatever it was, we were able to start breaking the tanks on their Scimitars, and pretty soon they were going down as quickly as we could lock them up and start shooting.  With support down, our path to juicier targets was clear.

Black Legion Chimeras

Black Legion Chimeras

Black Legion had three Chimera carriers on the field, which we proceeded to target and turn to scrap one by one.

A Chimera wreck, and a soon to be wreck

A Chimera wreck, and a soon to be wreck

Three carriers down and the battle was really going our way.  Without logistics to support them, bubbled up and unable to flee, the Tengus were meat before us, waiting to be consumed.

And then, as we were laying down another round of  bubbles on Black Legion, some allied stealth bombers dropped on the Tengus and bombed them.  This was unfortunate, as they did not have nearly the firepower to do more than scratch the Black Legion fleet, but they had more than enough blast to clear away the bubbles.  The Tengus, already burning to get out of the bubbles, was clear to warp away.

There was some chasing about.  We managed to drop on and tackle one hostile in an asteroid belt.

Harpies unleash

Harpies unleash

But Black Legion had freedom of action and was able to dock up in the Blood Raiders station in system to avoid further loss.

We kept the station under guard while the other fleets finished up their business and withdrew.  The most expendable fleet gets to fly cover while the more expensive assets pull out.

Sitting on the Blood Raiders station

Why does every Amarr structure look like it was made out of Apoc parts?

We sat outside and made chicken sounds and attempted to goad Black Legion into undocking, but Elo Knight merely responded in local that sticks and stones might break his Tengus, but words would never hurt him.  At least I think that is when he uttered those words.  That might have happened on Sunday when we had him holed up in the station at 5ZXX-K.  I forget which.

Once everybody was clear, we were able to withdraw and get on the jump bridge highway back to the north.  Our movements may be hampered come November, but it is still October.  Black Legion also headed north.  As noted in the previous post, we ended up facing them along with Nulli Secunda in Pure Blind just a day later, and then again later that night up in Deklein.  They were not able to repeat their performance at YA0 and the Sunday night brawl devolved into us chasing their Ishtars all over 2R-CRW in Hawks while they tried to escape.

But the fight at G-TT5V at least got a little payment back for YA0, with the ISK war tilted in our favor this time according to the battle report.

Losses - Team 1: CFC, Team 2: Black Legion

Losses – Team 1: CFC, Team 2: Black Legion

A lot of our losses were wrapped up in a Naglfar that The Initiative threw into the brawl to hit the Black Legion carriers.  Being fixated on my own little corner of the battle, I completely missed the dreads dropping in to assist.

For a wider view of the battle, what it was about, who did what, and so on, there is a post up over at TMC by Arrendis, who was also our anchor for the main part of the fight.

I expect, with Black Legion, Nulli Secunda, and a few other groups now in the north to take advantage of the last few weeks of easy travel in null sec, that we will have more fights on our hands .  The final days before Phoebe will be bloody because nobody is really sure what we will be doing once the travel changes clamp down.  So we will take our fun while we can get it.

Leaving a Pile of Stuff Behind in Delve…

Another Summer in Delves comes to an end.  The word came down on Friday that our deployment to Delve would be closing down and that there would be many… that was the term used… convoys heading back to Deklein so we could get various ships safely home to our new staging system.

Having piled up a number of ships, as I tend to on these deployments, I was looking to get a few of the more expensive ones home.  So I was keen to into one of these “many” convoys.  I made sure I had installed a jump clone down in F2OY-X so I could hop back and be ready to bring up the next ship after the first convoy.  I had a couple ships picked out to drive back up to Deklein.  All I needed was convoys to commence.

The first one came up Friday evening.  It was specifically called to get Tengu fleet ships back up north due to an op set to roll about an hour later.  However, we could only get about 20 ships in the fleet.  That turned out to be insufficient mass to gets us cleared to move out, so we stood down.  Due to other operations going on, no further convoys were called that night.

Saturday morning I managed to catch another call for a convoy op headed north.  I jumped into my Apocalypse this time, it being the most annoying of my vessels to get back to Deklein, shoveled any excess items from my hanger into the cargo hold, and joined the fleet.  This was about at the time when TNT was losing its match in the Alliance Tournament.  We managed to get about 35 people in the fleet, which was just enough to be cleared to head out.  And so a pack of battleships set off.

Getting aligned northward...

Getting aligned northward…

This ran like most convoys… actually, with so few people, it ran better than most… and we slowly moved from jump bridge to jump bridge through null sec, from about 7 to approximately 1 o’clock on the dial.  There was a point in Fountain where our scout spotted a 40+ fleet from the Battlement Coalition in our path.  That was enough to be a concern, as a convoy fleet is generally not fit to fight on equal terms, being a pretty random selection of ships, and depends on numbers to keep hostiles away.   An outnumbered convoy needs to be wary.

The hostiles were in a system where one of our jump bridges is anchored, so going around meant a long diversion off of our way.  But as we waited to see what they were up to, they left, missing out on a juicy target and never to be heard from again during the op.  We moved onward through Fountain, Cloud Ring, Pure Blind, and into Deklein.

The distinctive colors of the northwest

The distinctive colors of the northwest

A couple of jumps from our destination we were cleared to free burn to the staging systems.  A participation link was provided and the op was over.  I docked up, left my ship, a clone jumped right back down to F2OY-X in hopes of catching another convoy north.

However, no further convoys were announced while I was online on Saturday… or on Sunday.  And since I was logged into Jabber for most waking hours over the weekend, I am going to guess that it wasn’t just bad timing on my part.

The FC on the first convoy op, which stood down, speculated that with the push to get people into capital ships in the CFC, carriers were becoming pretty common.  And if you have a carrier deployed… and we had quite a pile… it is pretty easy just to shove a few sub caps into the hanger bay… yours or your friends… and hop home with the rest of the capital fleet.

Not being part of the capital fleet, and with most of the people I consider close enough friends that I would start asking for favors not playing EVE Online right now, I am somewhat dependent on the whole convoy thing to get bigger ships home safely.

I do own a carrier.  I bought it nearly two years back and then never really used it.  I am stuck in a chicken and egg thing on that front.  I am not confident enough in my ability to use it to sign up for capital fleets.  I literally have no clue as what to do, and while everybody is happy enough to answer questions in a frigate fleet, the more expensive the ships get the less tolerant of questions people get, or such is my observation.  And while I don’t mind being the idiot in fleet once in a while, when it starts putting people’s expensive toys at risk, I get really nervous.   But I cannot get any experience without joining up.

So, while theoretically I could fly my carrier down to Delve, pick up some ships and fly in back, the reality is that I lack the confidence to put my Archon at risk for a set of ships that cost significantly less than the carrier itself.  Meanwhile, over at DOTLAN, the route down and back they suggest is five jumps either way.

There and back...

Potentially there and back…

That means getting somebody in each of those systems with a cyno as a jump target for the Archon and being at risk for at least four of the five jumps.  Add in the fact that our alliance leader hates when people lose carriers in anything but strat ops, so a round of public humiliation and a quarter billion ISK fine are part of the bargain if I screw up, and I am seriously considering just selling the Archon.  I am just not invested enough in the game right now to want the complications it brings.

Meanwhile, I’ll just leave a jump clone and a collection of ships down in Delve.  It’s not like we won’t be back.

 

Tower Watch in Fountain and Delve

It looked like it might be a good week for fights.  The word came down that the rest of the N3 coalition was going to deploy to Delve to join Northern Coalition and help boost their numbers.  NC and Black Legion had also gone out of their way to reinforce a number of CFC towers in both Delve and Fountain, which I took to be a good indicator.  As much as null sec veterans loathe the sovereignty mechanics, timers mean fights.  Both sides have a vested interest in showing up and being on grid when the tower comes out of reinforce.

However, it was not to be.  At least not for the times I was online.

During the week we rolled out to cover some tower swaps in Delve.  I was in Baltec fleet for that run.  We headed out to 1-SMEB to stand by as a small tower of ours was blown up so it could be replaced with a larger one.  Hostiles were reported forming up, but could not get the numbers to come fight us, so the only kill mail for Baltec fleet was our own tower.

On the way back from that we stopped at the BL staging system and hung out around the undock in hopes that somebody would come out.  CFC Sky marshal Blawrf McTaggart even flew around the station in a pod daring the enemy to emerge and pop him.

The Skymarshal's capsule

The Skymarshal’s capsule

But they didn’t have the numbers to come out.  Meanwhile, people started locking Blawrf up just for fun.  He was getting reps from several of the logis in the fleet.  Then Jay Amazingness put a target painter on him which lead one of the Fatal Ascension dudes to open fire… because FA.  So essentially we ended up popping him for BL.

Blawrf painted, getting reps, as the fatal beam lands...

Blawrf painted, getting reps, as the fatal beam lands…

It is all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.

After that it was back to base.

Saturday looked to be a prime day for a fight.  There were several towers in reinforce up in Fountain and Blawrf had been pinging us well in advance to get people out for the timer.

I was on early for the first call, as were a load of people.  We had well over 100 people in the Tengu fleet before the announcement that the fleet was up went out.  There was also a Baltec fleet and a Celestis fleet up as well along with the carriers that would be needed to rep the towers after they came out of reinforce.  Of course, we were gummed up for a while trying to get boosters for the fleet.  You need one for each wing and one for the fleet itself, each of which has to fly a very expensive ship and, in the case of the wing boosters, hang around in a safe spot during the battle giving boosts while hoping not to be scanned down.  I am still a long way from my training plan for that fleet role.  Maybe next war.

But eventually we got the support ships we needed and we off to Fountain.  We bridged through various systems and got to the first tower and hung out.  Intel came down saying that the hostiles could only get about 100 people into fleets because they were all watching the Alliance Tournament.

(Editorial: The Alliance Tournament is never going to be a popular esport because an outsider can’t tell what is going on by looking at the stream. You either see a single ship, which doesn’t give context, or you see the grid with some icons on it which is dull.  And even the announcers can’t keep up with what is going on with all the ships.)

So with 600 of us stomping about Fountain, there didn’t seem much point for them to come out to play.  But we still had to stick around and cover the capital fleet and their tower operations just in case.  That meant staying system, but we didn’t have to sit on the tower itself, so the FC took us through some anomalies just to shoot stuff.

Tengus blowing stuff up

Tengus blowing stuff up

That got us some ISK for bounties as we melted anything that showed up.  A lot of us were shooting, so those bounties at least exceeded the cost of the faction ammo we were shooting for most of us.

We also got to admire baltec1 and his amazing fast Megathron.  People were moaning about a battleship being in a Tengu fleet, assuming it would slow us down in fleet warps… which adjust to move at the speed of the slowest ship… not knowing how it was fit.  I had seen it previously flying with a Harpy fleet where, jumping alone in a race against the fleet, it landed ahead of the Harpies every time.

Fast Megathron is fast

Fast Megathron is fast

We stayed at that until the caps were done and then headed home.  We did get two participation links out of the deal.  Participation links, or PAP links, are the metric by which corps and alliances in the CFC see who is pulling their weight, to the point that we have all become a bit obsessive about getting our PAP links for each fleet.  Some alliances pay members for each PAP link.  In our alliance we just get yelled at for not clicking enough of them.  (I was the #3 clicker of PAP links for our corp last month, behind our CEO and a corp member who is also an alliance FC.  Not bad for a lazy, on-call pilot.)

Sunday morning saw a call up for a Harpy fleet to go shoot hostile capital ships.  That is the sort of fleet everybody loves, especially when the caps were reported to be just a few jumps from home.  The fleet was already under way when I got in, but they were running via gates so I was able to catch up by taking jump bridges to PR-8CA where the hostiles were reported to be.  It turned out to be a safe route as a CFC Tengu fleet was headed out that way, so I had plenty of cover and arrived in the target system at about the same time as the rest of the fleet, albeit through a different gate.

By the time we arrived any capital ships had vanished.

We did, however, run across an NC/BL Ishtar fleet and were able to bubble them up and pick off some of their logistics in hopes of setting up a dunk.  They slipped away a couple of times and eventually headed to a POS where a titan was waiting to bridge them out.  We had to sit and watch them jump away, though we did knock off about a dozen of them during the chase, including Futurama reference of the day, 25star-General Zapp Brannigan.

So that was my weekend in space.  A lot of running about and hanging around with a few moments of combat.

On the hopeful side for the future, there is a report up that a group of 14 alliances has formed a new coalition.  Called “Battlement Coalition” they are declaring that they are coming after the CFC to reclaim content.

Battlement Campaign Message

Battlement Campaign Message

I am a little confused by a quote attributed to leader, PantsuFan:

CFC has taken a lot of content away from the pilots in EVE and we are here to rectify that. CFC controls nearly one half of the game content in eve now.

As far as I can tell, we haven’t take any content, we ARE the content, at least in null sec.  And even then, our wars hardly matter to most EVE players, except that they sometimes drive up market prices and occasionally cause TiDi in the odd low or high sec system.

The new coalition includes a number of alliances we were shooting at anyway, such as Triumvirate and Mordu’s Angels.  How this will play out has yet to be seen, but I can only imaging that more fights will work for us, given how many pilots we had piling into the game for the timers this past weekend.  This might actually be a boon for the CFC, since I think the most likely reason it might crumble is lack of fights. (The Mittani responds to this development, complete with competing PowerPoint presentation.)

And that is about all the news I have from space for the past week.  Some fleets, a few kills, the promise of a new foe, and screen shots… always screen shots after the cut.

Continue reading

Weekend Fleet Ops in Delve

The “Good Fites” war in Delve continues on, giving us something to do during our summer vacations, such that they are.  As usual, I tend to just sit and do other things until Jabber pops up and tells me it is time for a space fight.

Saturday morning seemed to be a rich time for ops.  I missed an earlier tower defense, but happened to just sit down at my computer when a call went out for Harpy fleet.  They had suffered some losses during a fight and were re-shipping in F2OY-X, so there was an opportunity to jump in.  I quickly got online and on coms and was off with the fleet to NOL-M9 where a Northern Coalition Tengu fleet was in the process of being pinned down.  NOL is about at the edge of what is the current radius of action around the NPC null sec stations in Delve.

The hot corner of Delve

The hot corner of Delve

We arrived just in time to find the NC Tengu fleet bubbled up and heavily committed.  We were able to warp to the fight and join in at extreme range for Harpies, using Spike ammo and range scripts.

Rolling in on the bubbled Tengus

Rolling in on the bubbled Tengus

Time dilation was running close to 10% at times with a lot of ships on grid, but we were able to close and get in on our share of kills before the remaining hostiles slipped the trap.  We then bounced around quite a bit trying to catch them on their way home, but there was no further action for the Harpies and we eventually headed home ourselves.

That fleet slaked my need for a fight, but when a call came up two hours later for a Baltec fleet to go and kill some super capitals, I was in as quick as I could be.

On coms the word was that there were supers tackled and so it was time to go go go!  Reagalan was FC and, as proof that we were in a hurry, he had us warp to zero when traveling to the titan waiting to bridge us, causing it to get a severe bumping. (Don’t bump the titan is the mantra of almost every bridging operation.)  We bridged immediately to another POS where another titan was waiting to bridge us soonest out to Rilera, where the supers were said to be waiting.

However, once we got there, the supers had slipped away.  We were left with a Black Legion carrier on the field though, which we proceeded to blow up as quickly as we could, and then we cleared out all the drones that the supers left behind.  Super pilots leave so much litter behind I swear I saw a crying space Indian… or native American… or whatever.

No splitting fire with just one target

No splitting fire with just one target

We then managed to corner a Black Legion Ishtar fleet and took a bite out of them before they got away.  There were a lot of people hanging around the system for a while, and then people faded and Reagalan had to figure out what to do with us.  We were in a low sec system, which was fine, but to get back to Querious and F2OY-X, we needed to travel through high sec.  Rilera is a pocket of low sec surrounded by high.

The route to low sec

The route to low sec

For me this was no big deal.  My security status is 4.98.  But there were a lot of people in fleet with negative security status, all the way down to -10 if coms are to be believed.  And I have yet to be in a CFC fleet that has to pass through high sec where anybody seemed to know definitively what will happen if low security status pilots go into high sec.  Will CONCORD shoot them, will faction police shoot them, will they get pointed or just webbed before being blown up, will they be able to get through in a battleship… always questions with half a dozen conflicting answers on coms.

Reagalan eventually just got us lined up on the jump gate to Col, gave everybody the destination, and told us to just fly as fast as possible through high sec.  There was nothing else for it, nobody was going to risk jumping a titan out to low sec just to rescue a few relatively cheap battleships.  So we went.

And, as far as I could tell, nobody got blown up.

From there it was just a matter of getting to null and the jump bridge network for The Initiative, which we can use, and hey presto we were home.  A lot of anxiety for naught.

That was it for me on Saturday, but Sunday held the promise of more fights.  One of our towers was reinforced in 1-SMEB and the timer was set to come out at around 19:00 EVE time.  Skymarshal Blawrf McTaggart was putting up pings on Jabber about this operation, counting down to the undock time and practically promising a fight.

STRATOP FORMING IN 30 MINS. We’ll be forming large – tengufleet as first fleet, baltec as second, fyf & harpies as third. BE IN F2O FOR A SUNDAY BRAWL

Since 1-SMEB is in the Delve hot pocket, I figured this would be a short commute for a fight, so got into the Tengu fleet.  I am starting to acquire a ship for every occasion in F2OY-X.

We formed up, caused a lot of TiDi undocking, bridged to 1-SMEB, got to the POS and watched the tower count down the minutes.

And nobody showed up.  Well, we showed up, but the other side did not.  We ran off to a blocking position in another system, lest this be some trickery of some sort.  But the hostiles were not going to fight us.  Eventually Blawrf was back on Jabber telling us the fight wasn’t going to happen.

After broadcasting for guarenteed fight all day, the lowsec pirates sit on a titan and ref a moon before docking again. Sorry that we didn’t get a fight.

We wandered back home and stood down.  Unfortunately, that was about all I had time for on Sunday.  I left Jabber up and it looked like there were fleets of opportunity throughout the day, but I was done.  Still, two fights out of three tries isn’t a bad record for null sec.

Some screen shots of the various ops after the cut.

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Fight at the POS in A-ELE2

The battle had been raging for a while when I sat down at my computer and saw a list of pings from Blawrf McTaggart, CFC Skymarshall.  Most of them were old enough to discard, fleets long since off to the races, and trying to catch up by yourself is a mugs game.  But the last one was only six minutes old, a call to get into a reinforcement fleet and get on a titan for a bridge into the current fight.

Multiple doctrines were being called up; Harpies, Celestis, and Apocalypses were in demand.  I was in my high sec implant clone, still working away at my leadership training plan, but my timer had run down and I was clear to clone jump immediately.  So it was back to my clone in F2OY-X where I jumped into my Apoc, primarily because I had the power grid implant needed to fly the doctrine fit already installed in the clone, and if I was going to lose it I figured I might as well lose it in the ship I need it for.

I was on the bounce right away, into the fleet with the titan to get a bridge, undock, enter the POS password, warp to the titan at 10km so as not to bump it, into the bubble, and then a quick burst of speed with the microwarp drive to get in range because the bridge was already up and I didn’t want to have to wait around for the next group to form up and get bridged.

Passing into the POS

Passing into the POS

We landed in A-ELE2 and things slowed way, way down.  There were about 1,100 people in the system and TiDi had everything running at 10% of normal speed.

A-ELE2 is not that far away from our staging system in F2OY-X, but it is in the hot zone corner of Delve, the NPC null sec, where our foes are staged and where there are often camps and where a lot of the action happens.

Where things happen in Delve

Where things happen in Delve

I dropped the reinforcement fleet and changed com channels to find out what the Baltec fleet was doing.  Reagalan’s was the FC and he was calling targets already.  It was time to get out there, but servers were balking at doing anything.  It took half a dozen tries to get into fleet even though there was space available and then it was time for the long, slow warp to join the battle.

Landing on grid was agonizing.  My ship seemed to spend an eternity stopped at the battle but still in warp.  I could see the targets being broadcast, they were in my overview, but I could not lock them up because I was still flagged as being in warp.  Finally, the server relented and I was back in normal space and able to engage targets.  Despite TiDi, the enemy, a host of Black Legion Augoror Navy Issues were in a bubble and going down fast.  Locking a target took ages, and when you finally got somebody locked they would appear to be only lightly damaged before suddenly blinking out in the familiar destroyed sequence.  They cycle time of my lasers was the gating factor for kills.  I launched some drones and got those into action to give myself an additional way to deal damage… and to whore on kill mails.

Reagalan had the fleet orbiting the POS tower, which is at the very center of the defensive bubble/shield, at just enough range to be outside of the bubble and able to fire, but also able to duck back in and become immune should they get targeted.  After the action, Reagalan asked how many pilots managed to pull off this maneuver, and there was quite a show of hands.  That, and reports shared with us about Black Legion complaining about us constantly blowing up their anchor or target caller because we had a spy in their midst, seemed to be tiling things our way.

And then, as often is the case, Black Legion got free of the bubbles and warped off, leaving us alone in space orbiting the POS with no targets.  TiDi dropped from the heart crushing 10% to a bearable range as the server was no longer having to keep track of hundreds of ships moving and locking and firing and taking damage.

We sat there for a bit.  There was a report of a fight at the 1DH gate, but Reagalan warned us not to just jump in willy nilly thinking we would get a few more kills.  So we stayed in orbit of the POS for a bit until the time was ripe, then he warped us all off to the gate together where the Brave Newbies Moa fleet had been bubbled.  Then it was a race to lock up targets again before the exploded.  Reagalan was broadcasting targets, but they were popping so quickly I just took to sorting by range and locking up everything possible in hopes of getting in a shot or two.  That did not last long, the Moas melting like snow under a hot sun.

Then it was back to the POS and into orbit.  There was actually a very nice starburst pattern of ships as we landed in a ball on the tower and then turned on MWDs to get out of the shields and into orbit.  We waited there for a while to watch the POS for any further hostiles and cover the carriers that had been sitting in a happy, self-repping ball all this time.  My corp CEO was in the carrier ball, in one of two Chimeras in a sea of Archons.  He wanted me to get a good shot of him, which I figured I had better do because I haven’t done much with the corp in ages.  I go on strat ops and click on participation links.  I don’t play with our towers, mine, do planetary interaction, or even rat much these days.

After the carriers pulled out, we headed to the 1DH gate where there was a scramble to get through as the ISboxer bombers were out and about and waiting for us to land on the gate.  All those people piling on the gate caused a bunch of people to drop, so there was a long wait until people got back online, through the gate, and back with the fleet.  Then it was another gate back to F2OY-X and then to the station and done.

I never did get the story as to how this fight started, except that it was over the POS where the brawl took place.

According to the battle report, there were more than 1,200 players involved with over 1,500 ships on the field over the course of the fight, with losses of nearly 48 billion ISK for both sides combined.  The split in forces was 686 CFC to 528 hostiles on grid, so not excessively unbalanced.  Black Legion and their allies ended up with more kills, destroying 435 ships to the 251 we blew up.  On the ISK war, things tilted our way, with the hostiles losing some expensive ships.

CFC is Blue

CFC is Blue

That comes out to about 21 billion in losses for the CFC and a little over 26 billion for the hostiles.  And we ended up with the POS still intact.  So I guess we won.

One bit of intel that got passed along was about TEST, who apparently had 60+ Ishtars formed up at one point, but then did not join the battle.  That force might have changed the ISK war if not the overall result of the battle.

Addendum: There is now a write up about the battle over at TMC.

After a quiet week or so, where I mostly collected participation links for sitting on titans by never bridging into combat, or chasing around reluctant foes when we did, it was nice to get into a stand up fight that did not involve us getting blow up in Ruptures. (Rupture doctrine is now dead.)  It managed to push me over the 1,000 kill mail mark, though EVE Kill and Zkillboard cannot agree on exactly how many kill mails I have been on over the years. (And Battle Clinic says I have less than 700. No idea what the right number actually is.)

And, as usual, screen shots from the fight after the cut.

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