Tag Archives: EWN-2U

Returning to EWN-2U a Year Later

A year ago I was posting about what was really my first big fight in null sec.  I had been on some fleet ops previously, but had either been so lost, or the fights had been so fast, that I barely knew what was going on.  So up to that point I had only really experienced the joy of POS shoots.

And then came EWN-2U.

White Noise was all but gone and the CFC was rubbing up against Raiden in the Branch region.  The war in the north was entering its second stage, which ended up with the restoration of the Razor Alliance to the Tenal region.

Drake fleet was the new doctrine, and one that seemed made for me, since I had already maxed out almost all of the Drake related skills.  Time dilation was a new thing.

And all of this came together at EWN-2U, a sprawling battle with hundreds of ships engaged.  I even made a YouTube video about what I saw at the battle.  And I got on my first ship kill mail.

Fun stuff!

Fast forward exactly one year to the day and there I was again in EWN-2U.

One of the newer Goonwaffe FCs, Fyzick, wanted to get out our spaceships, get a fleet formed, and get a fight because, contrary to what some might say, fleet battles are good, m’kay.

EWN-2U isn’t the front line of a conflict any more.  It is the Branch territory of the SpaceMonkey’s Alliance, which puts it in the middle of a whole bunch of CFC alliances.

In that brown spot of Monkey poo

It is in that brown spot of Monkey poo

However, it is just a few jumps in from Venal, and NPC held section of null sec, which I guess is what explains The Retirement Club (which is made up of former Band of Brothers players it seems, and which has the excellent alliance ticker “401k”) having a tower in the system.

(And hey, look, my alliance, TNT, is now three purple dots on the map… though I still just live in that northern most dot.)

So the plan was to get a fleet together and go shoot at their tower in EWN-2U until they came out to tell us to get the hell off of their lawn… or something.

But that meant getting a fleet together, which took some time.  I saw a call for a Drake fleet go out over Jabber just as we were getting ready to have dinner at our house.  I was kind of bummed, as it looked like I was going to miss a fleet op.  We had dinner, watched Modern Family, cleaned up, and then I went back to my computer to find that the fleet was still forming.

So I grabbed one of my still-insured Drakes and joined up.  The timing was just about right, as the fleet looked to be getting under way at last with a complement of ~56 ships, of which about half were Drakes.  Those of us in VFK met up with the contingent from Branch along the way, arriving as a group in EWN-2U, where we started in on the tower defenses.

We knocked the defense guns offline, then started poking at the tower.  We flew around and around the bubble, missiles flying.  Roland Hova put a movie on SyncTube, the hilariously bad live-action Dragon Ball, so we could all watch together.  The tower slowly lost shields.  A handful of Drakes makes for a long POS shoot.  A friend in Capswarm asked what we thought we were doing, shooting towers without inviting them.  They live for tower shoots I guess.

The movie ended.  I had coms running through my speakers as was playing Prose with Bros on the iPad.  The tower dropped below the 85% mark.  A video of Blazing Bunny’s recent op was linked, which had a titan doomsday shot in it.  A discussion about what the next movie ought to be started (I think Frankenhooker was winning out).  And then word was passed along that The Retirement Club titan had logged on.  One of their pilots in a cyno fit Falcon had already been shadowing us.  It looked like action might be imminent.

We shook out our formation a bit, aligned for a planet, and got ready…. and nothing happened.  So we went back to shooting the tower.

As the tower dropped below 80%, word came that a cyno was up in an adjacent system.  hostiles were bridging in and would be headed our way.

Fyzick told us to align and then jump to “four four,” which my brain, only half paying attention, translated as “planet 4, moon 4,” as in “Jita 4-4.”  And so there was a few moments of confusion for me as I realized that planet 4 only had a single moon.  Most of the rest of the fleet warped off, and I decided to just warp to Fyzick, which brought me to the 4-48K1 gate. (Which my brain would have gone to if the phrase “four tack four” had been used.)

We anchored up on Fyzick just as reds began appearing on grid.

Things started off well.  We knocked off some of their logistics support and a couple of Muninns.  However, the reds soon got their act together and started knocking us off in return.  A limited logistics was working hard, but unless you were very quick to call for shield reps, you were dead.  I got primaried and my Drake was into armor before I clicked the button and was flying along in my pod before any help could possibly come.  The Drake went boom.

At least it was still insured.  The down side was that the Drake was an older one, and wasn’t of the current fleet doctrine fit, which means no reimbursement for me.  That will teach me to head off in a hurry I guess.

I headed out of the bubble we were in and headed for home, left alone in the fight.  While a slow pod trip home was annoying, I am now up to clone grade Tau, which means every time I lose a pod it is 30 million ISK.  That stings a bit.

As I scooted away, it became clear, listening to coms that the battle was not going our way.  Fyzick said he made an error at one point that caused us to, in his words, get “dumpstered.”  The result in EWN-2U was 27 ships lost for us.  There were a number of cheap frigates on that list, as well as the now-expenable Drakes, but also Roland Hova’s command ship.

In return we knocked down 10 Muninns and Scimitars, which are pricey, so the ISK balance wasn’t as bad as the ship count, but we still lost.

Fyzick was still upbeat on the way home.  He said he learned from the action, thanked us all for coming out, and was keen to try another trip.  Having a few more Drakes sitting in the hanger, I am up for that sort of mission again.

It wasn’t the epic battle of a year ago, but it was a nice little fight.  And in the absence of a “real” war, it is all we have.

Screen shots of the mission.

Drake Fleet goes to EWN-2U

The economic war in the north of New Eden continues.

It is we of the CFC, versus Raiden and their allies, in an effort to deny each other the economic largess of tech moon profits.

It is a war of timers and time zones as each side attempts to disrupt production and destroy infrastructure.

And so the call went out again for another fleet operation.  Structures in one of our systems, EWN-2U, had been put in reinforced mode, meaning that when the timer ran out on that, Raiden would be able to destroy them.

For a weekday fleet operation, this one started later than usual.  Thank the timer I suppose, but I was able to join up after work.  Again I was part of the Drake fleet.

We rallied in the usual location and moved off for our forward staging area.  I was a bit surprised to come out of warp right on top of one of our Avatars, a titan class supercapitals.

The face of an Avatar

The Avatar was there to bridge us out to where we would defend.  The question was, would the enemy show up?

We waited for the cyno to be lit, the target for the jump, while we all hovered at 2,000m from the titan.

Fleet awaiting deployment

By default, the hold ranges you can pick are 500m, 1,000m, and 2,500m, but by this point I had finally figured out that the “hold at range” button on the overview could be set to a different value.

So we hung there in space, waiting.  Would we go, or would we stand down once more?

The announcement came through that the cyno was lit.  We were to jump through, deep into the Branch region.

We jumped in one system over from our destination, EWN-2U.  As with the previ0us night, Zarks was our fleet commander and Raegelan was the Drake anchor ship, the person we were all supposed to follow every time we dropped out of warp.

We formed up, if only for practice in the system, PKG4-7.  As somebody noted, having the systems “BKG” and “PKG” in the same region seemed… unfortunate.

We flew around a bit, then got the order to align to the gate to EWN, which happened to be 90 degrees off of our course, so our trail formation turned to become line abreast as we took the warp to the gate.

Then we were in EWN.  We flew to the station bubble where the Maelstroms of the Alpha Fleet were waiting.  We cruised some more, wondering what would happen.

And then the count of players in the local channel started to climb rapidly.  Raiden was coming to contest the tower.  They were going to play in our time slot.

We warped away from the station, then warped again, then warped back to within sight of the station and could see the Alpha Fleet already engaged.  Blobs of enemy ships appeared around them.

The battle joined in the distance

We warped to one and the routine of battle started.

Shots hitting Alpha Fleet

Zarks would call targets, flagging them in the fleet window, where we would lock them up and get a shot.  Zarks, who sounds calm at all times, would read out the first three letters of the name of the target and call it “primary” or “secondary.”

This would change rapidly as an enemy ship would warp away after taking damage or become the targeting of shield reinforcing ships and become practically invulnerable.  Lock, fire, lock, fire, lock, lock, lock, fire.

The changes in targets often came faster than my ship could target them.  For a while I was hitting every other indicated target.  If my launchers were cycling at the wrong moment I could miss two or three targets.

Then the other fleet would warp a few hundred kilometers away and we would follow.  Then when we started taking damage, we would warp away.

Turning to align for another warp

This went on for a while.  Only once was I targeted by the enemy, and I barely had time to notice.  As my shields went down, I called for reinforcement and then we warped away from the battle for a moment.  So while my shields never got repaired, I never got hit again either.  Score one for the psychic reppers I suppose.

We went back in again, but during this pass both Zarks and Reagelan were unshipped and warped us to an asteroid belt to regroup.  We were taking damage and losing ships.

Drake popped in our formation

But then the news came down the line that the Alpha Fleet was in much worse shape.  The Maelstroms were taking heavy losses.

The decision was made to merge the two fleets.  We left Drake Fleet and joined Alpha.  Or most of us did.  It turned out that we were a bit better off than we thought, as a reinforcement fleet also showed up at about that time.  Those of us who could warped to Dabigredboat, the Alpha Fleet leader and went back into action.

Dabigredboat, or just Boat, has a different style.  While Zarks has the calm demeanor of a DJ on a classical music station, Boat is much more… frantic.  But he does impart an energy as he shouts target names over coms.

Pouring out missile fire

For a while it was the same as before, lock, lock, shoot, warp, lock, lock, shoot as primary and secondary targets were called out.  And then there was a change, a moment where the battle turned, where we had peeled back enough of their support ships and suddenly we were making kills.

Two kills, not sure whose

Boat changed up and started calling out to just shoot anything in range, which always makes me a bit nervous, since the overview has a habit of flagging a friendly every so often.  But it was lock and shoot and kill.

Then the enemy faded and we were on the field alone.

And we had won.

We warped to the PKG gate to catch as many as we could trying to flee and managed to catch a few, but that was the end of organized resistance.  The tower was still up, repaired, and out of danger for the moment.

Boat then announced it was time to loot while he went and got his dinner out of the oven.  I managed to scoop up some faction ammo before my tiny Drake cargo bay was full.

And then people started clamoring to head home.  Boat however was still off getting his dinner ready.  So people started organizing their own groups to head home.  A few people tried to burn though solo, but it was a long way by slow boat and there was, of course, a gate camp.  There is always some PvP corp waiting for battles so they can pop stragglers.

The route back to Deklein

We nearly had a decent size blob of ships ready to pound through and gate camp, because even a 20 ship camp comes apart when 100 Drakes jump through, when Boat finally got back on coms.  He got people pointed in the right direction and started the flight back home, though we had to stop and chase every single red or neutral than we came across, all the while hearing about how juicy and tender his chicken dinner was and how somebody at some time tried to bed some other player.  But we got home.

The kill mails had already started getting linked around.

The overall battle shows us making 161 kills for 217 ships lost.  When measured by ship value, the ratio was a little closer, with use killing 21 billion ISK worth of ships for a loss of 24 billion ISK.  The joy of cheap Drakes taking down Tengus worth ten times the price.

While we lost more ships, we ended up in possession of the system and the moon mining operation, something that can generate several billion ISK in revenues every month, continued.  The Raiden summary seems to align with this.

And I managed to get my first ever PvP kills in EVE Online.  I only started playing the game in August of 2006.  It just took me a while to get around to it.

Over 600 pilots we involved.  Time dilation, the slowing down of the battle so that the server side end of things can keep up, kicked in during the battle.  I think we got down to running at 65% speed at one point.

And, because I am never happy just playing the game, but feel some need to chronicle these sorts of events, there is an associated movie on YouTube.

This is clipped together to give some sense of how it felt, while the music, another title from the EVE Online sound track, gives the whole thing the proper frantic feel.  There is a segment in the middle where I left the UI on so you can see me flailing about to target and shoot.

And so went my first actual null sec fleet battle.  It was frantic fun while it lasted.  It didn’t seem like two and a half hours.  Except listening to Boat talk about his chicken.  That did seem to be on time dilation.