Tag Archives: Elo Knight

Structure Shoots and Eagles in the East

I have probably been more active in New Eden than my posting would indicate.  I’ve been out with Liberty Squad, which is one of the Imperium groups that has deployed out the east of null sec to tangle with Pandemic Horde and its allied.

Freedom Squad – Of Course We Fly Eagles

The thing is, a lot of ops do not really have much to report.  We go out and reinforce a structure.  Sometimes we get to kill one, like that Athanor a couple of weeks back.  That was mildly interesting because it was mid-frack, so we go to see the moon chunk disappear.  But an op to reinforce a structure, or even to blow up something small, that doesn’t always yield a tale worth telling.

An Oracle wearing the Blaze SKIN at a Raitaru kill

Meanwhile, I don’t hear enough about the strategic picture to make much of a comment on that either.  I get a sense that things are not going well for PH over in The Kavala Expanse region, where the ADMs are low and almost all of the ihubs have either been destroyed or are reinforced.   My alliance, TNT, even took the TCU in A-YB15 after destroying the ihub, probably just for fun.  The TCU declares ownership of the system, puts the alliance name on the map, but it is the ihub that upgrades a null sec system to make it livable and useful.

Meanwhile, we have to go pretty far into PH space to find Ansiblex jump gates to knock out.

An Ansiblex jump gate offline and waiting to be blown up

We caught that one down in RQOO-U and blew it up, snapping another connection.  We had to dodge bombs coming from the Fortizar near which it was anchored, but that wasn’t enough to deter us… or even keep those of us in the logi wing very busy.

Not that there haven’t been fights.  I’ve heard tale of them.  But I seem to have spent most of the month missing the ops where the locals show up.  I know they are around.  We got a peek at them last week when we slipped in with some bombers to get on the killmail for a Triumvirate Fortizar that was unwisely hanging about in a war zone without an allies about.

Another Fortizar brews up

We had initially tried to bomb the Pandemic Horde fleet coming in to the shoot, but managed only to bomb a couple of our own.  My bomb, launched a bit late, got a solo kill on a blue capsule.  I don’t feel bad though.  Black Ops bombed us the other day when we were both going after the same target.  It happens.  And somebody learned not to MWD ahead of the pack on a bomb run that day.

Anyway, after a lot of quiet ops over the last couple of weeks, it was nice to show up yesterday and have some ships at which to shoot.

It started with us forming up and flying out in Eagles again.  We sat on a titan for a bit.

I just like screen shots of titans

Then we were bridged into Erstet, in low sec Metropolis, where NCDot was assailing a friendly Azbel with a few dreadnoughts supported by a Minokawa force auxiliary.  We went after the dreads, hitting a Phoenix first.

Phoenix shields flaring under impact

However, we were not able to out pace the Minokawa and its ability to rep, so a couple of dreadnoughts from out side were called up and jumped in, after which we managed… after much struggle… to deploy a cyno inhibitor on the field in order to keep NCDot from reinforcing their structure bash.

The extra firepower turned the tide and the Azbel was saved.  We exchanged a few subcaps for a Revelation, two Phoenixes, and the Minokawa force auxiliary, the wrecks of which stayed on the field.

The remains of the fight

We had to hang about a bit after that.  This took place in low sec, where things are complicated.  Our way back home was through high sec, so we had to wait out suspect timers.  This wait was extended because some of us in the logi wing had combat drones handy and got on a couple of the kill mails.  However, if you rep or cap boost somebody with a suspect timer then you too get the suspect timer, and we were all in Basilisks running a capacitor chain, so it became a self-refreshing round of suspect timers until somebody mentioned we would have to go through high sec, at which point we dropped the chain and tethered on the Azbel to wait out the 15 minutes.

Emboldened by our successful op, Thomas Lear, who was leading us, flew us off to another structure to reinforce it.

Eagles on the move again

Pandemic Horde gave chase with an Ishtar fleet, trying to get around us to cut us off and, if intel is to be believed, ended up with us sitting between them and home.  Finding themselves cut off instead, they then decided not to engage, docked up, and jump cloned back to their staging, leaving their ships parked for another day.  I cannot speak to the truth of that, but it does sound like an odd move.  There are other ways in and out of their space, as we were soon to learn.

After reinforcing another PH structure, Thomas decided that we would go deeper into their space and reinforce one more before calling it a night.  I have no idea what we were going to shoot though, because when we arrived in the system a Black Legion Munnin fleet, led by Elo Knight.  We were apparently not going to take that fight and spent the next hour trying to break contact with them and eventually flying the long way around south through the Great Wildlands and Metropolis before arriving back at our staging system once more.

And so it goes.  We made it back home again, and were out long enough to earn ourselves a second PAP.  But I still have managed to avoid anything akin to an actual fleet fight for over a month now.

A Short Visit to Geminate

Peace is dull.  I don’t mine nor do I rat any more.  I have accumulated enough ISK to tide me over for some time, helped along by alliance SRP payouts for losses.

SRP is the “ship replacement program,” where the alliance uses its wealth to compensate pilots for ship losses.  There is some nominal payout for peace time operations, but operations that are considered strategic get better returns for losses.

Also, strategic ops have that element of purpose, a sense of “doing something” that a separates them, in my mind at least, from the random roam or other attempt to fleet up just to find trouble.  That is probably my professional life bleeding over, as I am inevitably the person in sprint planning meetings pointing out that a sprint isn’t just a random three week period of time to do whatever.  If there is no goal or deliverable or whatever we might as well not bother diligently creating new sprints.

Anyway, I live for the Jabber ping that has a fleet flagged as “strategic,” and after going nearly half a month without seeing such a ping, one popped up yesterday.  Two, actually, though the first one was just a call to roll a wormhole and clean up some bombers that leaked through into Delve.

The second one though, that was a call for a Cerberus fleet to run out to get in on a fight that was brewing somewhere undisclosed.  And Thomas Lear, long a member of Reavers before he split off to form Liberty Squad, was going to be the FC.  That looked to be exactly my cup of tea.

I got into game, into fleet, and into a Cerberus, which I had to buy off contract because I appeared to have mislaid the one I thought I had hanging about.  After some cajoling about numbers… we had a lot of support and not enough Cerbs… things finally got under way and we undocked and got on a titan.

Three Avatars in a row

We were getting a titan bridge out because the new, fatigue free jump bridge network was still in the process of getting deployed.  In fact, CCP Fozzie announced the first connection between the new modules just this morning.

The old jump bridge network is still up and functioning, and I suppose we could have take that to get our first leg over, but a titan was handy so we used that instead.  The bridge went up and off we went.

Sent on our way

We were headed east.  As the story eventually came to me, TEST had reinforced a Pandemic Horde Sotiyo up in Geminate previously and were now set to contest the armor timer.  We were invited along to help them as they were expecting a fight.

So we gated our way into TEST space where they provided a titan to bridge us a bit further along.  Then it was up through Scalding Pass and  the Great Wildlands towards our destination, 04-LQM in Geminate, where the Sotiyo lay.

That gave us plenty of time to see the new gate graphics along the way.

A fiery Minmatar gate

We moved as a group through system after system in that familiar warp ball, our destination slowly moving closer, the 255 of us causing time dilation now and then as we transitioned.

Cerbs moving together

Unfortunately the dithering about getting the fleet composition right as well as having to gate most of the way (there was a wormhole, but it collapsed before we got to it) made us late to the party.

By the time we arrived in 04-LQM, the combined fleets of Pandemic Horde, NCDot, and Black Legion had destroyed much of the TEST battleship fleet and sent the rest packing.  There was only two minutes left on the repair timer when we arrived on grid as well as a lot of hostile ships already loaded and looking for fresh targets.  It was not our best timed arrival.

Still, we had come all that way, wrapping around half of null sec, driving from Delve to Geminate.  Thomas wasn’t going to go home empty handed.

Thomas brought us through the gate to LX-ZOJ and had our interdictors bubble it up in the hope that we could pin the enemy down and take some out at range with missile volleys.  The enemy followed through as expected, Elo Knight in his Monitor being one of the first ships to break cloak.

Looking at the bubbled gate from range

Cainun, who was shepherding logi and support, called targets for us, starting with the expected Munnins.  The plan was one volley per target in the hope that enough damage would land when the missiles arrived to alpha the ship.

Following the Muninns was a fleet of Nightmare battleships, which became the targets of choice.

Nightmares down in the bubbles

However, our volleys were falling short of our hopes.  I saw several Munnins and Nightmares knocked down into structure only to survive because the threat had passed as we moved to the next target.  A second volley might have pushed a few over, but I could see reps hitting many of those close calls so that follow on missiles would have to face full shields and reps.

Meanwhile we were losing our own ships as the hostiles started popping Cerbs.  Pilots who overheated their shield hardeners, remembered to trigger their assault damage control, and broadcasted for reps quickly, and in that order, likely survived.  But those who were slow or who slipped up went down quickly, long before any help could reach them.

With the death of Cerbs, our ability to alpha targets with a single volley stopped being a viable plan.  While we got in a few kills, we were losing more than we killed and things were tipping even more against us as time went on.  Thomas had us align out and we managed to escape, bubbling the gate behind us to slow pursuit.

Having already won the objective and the ISK war, the locals seemed content to wave bye-bye as we left.  They didn’t have anything left to prove.  The battle report tells the tale.

Battle report from the full fight

At least I got my strategic participation counted and got myself on a few kill mails, proving my existence in the game for yet another month.

Of course, we were still way the hell out in Geminate and a long way from home.  The route back to Delve was about 60 jumps.  While I like touring the new gate graphics, I wasn’t feeling the need to see that many gates.

As we were heading back the word came down that there might be a wormhole for us, running from Insmother, about a dozen jumps from our then current location, to Aridia, the low sec space adjacent to Delve.  That would cut a lot of gates out of our journey.  The problem was that the person with the wormhole information was getting it second hand and nobody actually had their eyes on the wormhole to know its state.  It could have been ready to collapse.

Eventually the person reporting it got there, saw it was up, and went through to verify that it did, indeed, poke through to Aridia.  Off we went, forming up at the wormhole.

Waiting on the wormhole

While some anxious people went through early, most of us waited until Thomas gave us the green light to enter the wormhole.  It stayed up for the whole fleet.  From there it was just a dozen gates or so to Delve.  Amarr gates, to compare with the Minmatar gates. (Both of which look better than the Caldari gates.)

An Amarr gate with the new doodads

We ran into a LowSechnaya Sholupen smart bombing battleship gate camp, which claimed an interceptor that was scouting ahead.  But they got out of the way when a nearly full Cerb fleet started landing on them.

From there it should have been simple.  However, there was an incursion going on in the constellation that includes 1-SMEB, the system that connects to Aridia.  So we grouped up there before going through, lest the incursion rats, known to camp gates and tackle passers by, take their toll for passage.

The gate into Delve, Fat Bee present, ships jumping through

As it was though, the incursion rats apparently had other business to which to attend, so everybody passed safely through to the jump bridge and through to home.

It was good to shake the rust off a bit and get something of a fight.  All this peace is too much to bear.

X47L-Q Preliminaries at Tosche Station

The north has been simmering since last week’s titan destroying battle in X47L-Q.  That fight was just the penultimate round for the NCDot Keepstar in the system.  The armor timer was beaten, leaving open to opportunity to destroy the giant citadel today.

Preparations for what might be the final battle over the station have carried on since.  I mentioned an operation that we ran on Saturday to cover the deployment of a Fortizar in X47L-Q on the same grid as the Keepstar.  That set a three day timer before it would be set.

The wait for anchoring begins

The deployment timer for that came due last night and we formed up to cover it again, this time to see that it went online.  Two subcap fleets were called up, a Baltec fleet under Thomas Lear and a Cerberus fleet under Asher Elias.  I already had a Scimitar to fly logi for Cerbs from a fleet the night before, also to cover a citadel coming online, so I went with Asher’s fleet.

Minmatar Liberation Day SKIN on the Scimi

Both subcap fleets were bridged to a mid-point system early to wait on citadel until the timer hit.  The subcap fleets hung there with the capital fleet that was also called up.  We were serious about getting this Fortizar online, so there were titans, super carriers, and faxes out for the fleet.

I had an alt in X47L-Q cloaked up on grid with the Keepstar and our Fortizar in order to see what was going on.  Watching the system, it did not seem to be as active as one might expect if a battle were expected.  There were fewer than 150 people in the system, many of them Imperium pilots.  We had plenty of eyes on things.

The count in the system went up as the timer transition moved closer.  First Black Legion arrived with a fleet of Muninns led by Elo Knight, followed by NCDot and their own Muninn fleet.  Local moved above the 500 mark, and then the Fortizar anchored and began its 15 minute repair cycle.

Power Converters available soon

The locals put their Munnins in range of the Fortizar and opened up, pausing the timer easily enough.

Munnin mass flying about

But the cyno for us went up shortly and we jumped in, docked up, then undocked to get around the tether delay, the headed on out towards the Munnins.  The Baltecs were there as well, along with a bomber fleet under Dabigredboat and the capitals, so the Munnins withdrew after a short clash.  We moved back to the Fortizar to tether up and keep an eye on things.

Hanging on tether under the Fort, Keepstar in sight

Asher told us then that Zungen from Black Ops had decided to try and start anchoring another Fortizar, no doubt hoping that all eyes would remain locked on X47L-Q.  However the locals could see that we were serious, with caps on field, something they didn’t seem keen to counter at the moment, so the Black Legion fleet broke off and went to kill Zungen’s Fortizar.

At some point, as we hung on tether, a Minokawa force auxiliary of ours ended up on the Keepstar.  Asher had us align and we warped in to try and shepherd it to safety, but we arrived just in time for the Keepstar doomsday to hit.

Cerbs caught in the arc… also, Caroline’s star!

We lost a couple of ships in the fleet, but the brunt fell on the Minokawa, which began to come apart.

A subcap explodes as the Minokawa begins to fail

A few of the locals in the NCDot Muninn fleet, which stayed behind, got in range to get on the kill.  We were able to return the favor by popping some of them, but the Minokawa exploded all the same, the Keepstar having done 99% of the work.

During that exchange the hostiles managed to headshot Asher, blowing up his Phantasm, despite logi getting reps on him right away.  We went to a backup anchor, The Pink Pansy, and shot a few more hostiles before everybody withdrew to their citadels to tether up.  Asher was able to reship into a Sleipnir and carried on leading the fleet from that.

Meanwhile, a few systems over, Zungen’s Fortizar was destroyed, so the locals got their success for the night.  Well, they got the Fortizar and slaughtered a host of bombers that flew over to try and defend the citadel.

When the repair timer on the Fortizar in X47L-Q finished up and the citadel was secure, the subcaps headed out to see if we could catch the hostiles from the other fight.

Subcaps smacking into a gate after using MWDs to get clear of a bubble

We ended up behind them, catching up with them on the gate in O-N8XZ, where a few shots were fired and a couple of ships exploded, but no decisive clash took place.

When that had peter we headed to one of our citadels to sit with the capitals while their jump timer cleared.

Sitting on another Fortizar, waiting to go home

When the capitals were ready to go they began jumping back to our Keepstar in 6RCQ-V.  We were bridged back as well and docked up.  The operation was over, lasting a little over 100 minutes from form up to dismissal.

Operationally, we accomplished what we set out to do.  We have a Fortizar on grid for the Keepstar final timer.  ISK-wise, we would have done very well had the second Fortizar not been dropped and lost along with so many bombers.  That cost us the ISK war according to the battle report I put together.

Battle Report across Three Systems

The numbers of players on the battle report are comparable, and the ISK war was in our favor in X47L-Q, even with the Minokawa loss.  But roping in all of the events across three systems seems like a more fair assessment of the evening.

All of which leaves us waiting for today’s events.  Before this post goes live… the joys of scheduled posts… fleets will have formed up and moved into the jump range or on grid in anticipation of the timer on the Keepstar running down.  A fight seems almost certain as there was a report at NER on Monday that Pandemic Legion, Pandemic Horde, and NCDot were moving capital ships away from the southern front and their war with TEST and towards the north and the coming Keepstar contest.

Before I am likely to even have considered lunch, the fight will have begun as the 30 minute repair timer begins.  Time dilation will likely keep any fight that occurs on the field long enough for me to get home from work and peek in… my alt is logged off in the system… and maybe even join a reinforcement fleet.

The question is really whether or not this will be another titan bloodbath.  Both sides no doubt learned from the last fight and nothing has changed since then, so it will be interesting to see how the two sides adapt to the situation.

Anyway, tomorrow’s post will be, at a minimum, the results of the fight.  I cannot cover the drama over this Keepstar and then not report the final result.