Tag Archives: Eye of Terror

A Final Fight then Home From Venal

The fall of Darkness, the alliance at the core of the Dead Coalition… once the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition… a couple of weeks back was a sign that the fighting in and around the Venal region was likely going to fall off.  Not immediately, of course.  Wars have their own momentum, and being deployed up in Venal with the Goon Expeditionary Force and ready to fight meant there were still some sizable clashes after the news.

The final fight for me was a dust up between a GEF Typhoon fleet and a Pandemic Horde Ferox fleet in Q-7SUI, just a jump from where we were staged.

Typhoons undocking

There was a call for more firepower so I bought a Typhoon, figuring I would regret it when it came time to move home, that being one more ship to get back to Delve, but whatever.  So got ourselves in range of PH and their Feroxes and the shooting began.

A Ferox exploding in the pack

My worry about hauling home a Typhoon was unfounded as I managed to get it blown up during the fight.  That left me hanging out and watching things transpire.

Just a capsule in the bubbles

A couple of PH pilots locked me up at various points to try and pop by pod, but their Ferox fleet was moving fast and they we not often in range.  I took a few hits but was able to motor to the gate and jump through to dock up.  This was fortunate as I realized at that point that I had deployed in my Reaver’s speed implant clone and, while it wouldn’t have been a tragic loss, it would have cost me a couple hundred million ISK to replace it.

As I was gating out HAW dreads were dropping in to join the fight.

Cyno off to the right

I got back to the station and re-shipped in a logi hull, but the fight was over by then.  While we had killed more more ships, the battle report showed the ISK went well in favor of PH and company.

Battle Report Header

That pretty much wrapped up the deployment for me.  There were some further fights… a couple of good ones from all accounts… but I missed out.  But when the first call came to fly home… I kind of missed out on that too.  I think I was playing Pokemon Sword.  And it is unlike me to miss the first move op.  It has long been my practice to be on the first one because there have been times when there has not been a second such op.  I was on the first move op to the deployment.

Fortunately, there was a second op… or whatever op it was I got in on earlier this week.  I joined the mixed bag of subcaps who wanted to go home.  Given that ranged from frigates to battleships, it was going to be a slow move.  I grabbed the largest ship I had out on the deployment, a Jackdaw, and undocked with everybody else.

The flight home wasn’t too bad.  It ran about an hour.  However, it would have been a lot quicker if we had been closer to the Eye of Terror, the Ansiblex Jump Gate network that runs from Querious around into Pure Blind.  Being out in Venal meant we had about twenty gates to take to get to the terminus to the network.

Move op landing at another gate

Mixed bag we were, but it was a big mixed bag, with about 150 in fleet.  So while we didn’t make up a coherent doctrine, we had the mass to pass and the locals left us alone.  Once we got to the travel network about three quarters of the time in fleet had passed.

Welcome to the Eye of Terror

After that it is about eight connecting gates and five jump gates and you’re back at the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A.  While it was slow going for a bit, with align and warp and align again, it was safe.

That done, there was still a bit of time left in the evening, so I clone jumped back up to Venal, where I still had two more ships to bring home.  I grabbed the Purifier stealth bomber and ran the route again solo.  This is not always advisable.  A move op often signals to everybody that people are trying to get home and highlights the route to camp if you want to pick off stragglers.  However I managed to slip through without any issue and was soon making the warp from the final Ansiblex on my route.

I cloak up for every warp. You never know who will be there when you land.

And so ends the deployment for me.  There were a few good fights for me, and enough structure shooting to keep me satisfied.  Now we’ll stand down for a bit until somebody figures out what we ought to get up to next.  Isn’t it about time for a Burn Jita or something?

Flying Home From Placid

The Liberty Squad deployment up to low sec in Placid wrapped up over the weekend.

The stated reason for heading home was that our two primary FCs have been busy with real life, which I am sure is true.  However, I suspect that if we had been been getting the “good fights” we had been hoping for, we wouldn’t be leaving.  Instead, after proving that Snuff and its local allies were set to simply out-escalate us in every fight they chose to take (See fights one, two, and three.) we started looking for other things to do.   But in the shade of those supers not much else grows.  So we packed up and headed back to Delve.

I managed to miss the move ops home.

I am certainly not one to claim “I have a life” or anything, but any Saturday night op comes behind my wife wanting to go out to dinner or something, so I was off doing that while the move op happened.

Late in the evening though I decided to see if I could just slip back home.  I didn’t have much to move, and the online count was under 18K, which makes for a lot of empty space.  I had a Guardian on my main, and a Harpy on my alt that could scout for him.  I undocked and headed back towards Delve.

Harpy occluding the sun

The fastest route home according to DOTLAN was a good 36 jumps.

From Placid back down to Delve

I’ve done longer trips alone through null sec, but that many gates does expose you to some risk, even if most of the trip is through friendly territory.

However, DOTLAN doesn’t know about the reconstituted Eye of Terror, the Ansiblex jump gate route that runs from Pure Blind down to Delve, Period Basis, and the boarder with Catch down in Querious.

The route home using space mass transit

I remain a bit mystified as to why CCP replaced POS jump bridges, which had jump fatigue associated with them… granted, a greatly reduced and and capped jump fatigue compare to what was introduced with the Phoebe update…, with the fatigue free Ansiblex.   I don’t think anybody in null sec was asking for that big of a pass.  We were good with the old jump bridge routine, fatigue and all.  But we use what we’re given.

So rather than 36 gates home, I had to take just five gates through low sec to get on the Eye of Terror system, after which it was just four Ansiblex gates, with a normal gate in between each.

Including that one parked right on the sun in Delve

That cut my total system transitions down to 14, which doesn’t even account for the safety factor.  They Ansiblex jump gates tend to be on grid with the gate they most likely server, so you drop into system on a perch over your next jump.  That and watching intel channels makes such a trip much less dangerous than it might otherwise be.

Of course, there is a cost.  You get charged for each jump.

Fuel tolls

I’ll pay that, even if INIT charges us more.

And the blackout?  Well, if nothing else, it does give you a false sense of security.  I did not see any hostiles on the way home.  Maybe there were some.  Maybe they were cloaked.  Maybe they just were not on grid.  I’ll never now.

The whole thing went smoothly enough that I clone jumped my alt back to Frarie and grabbed my last ship, a Sabre, and ran the route again.

Permaband SKIN online!

I try not to run the same route twice in a row right away, if only because it tends to court danger.  But space seemed empty enough, the intel channels were quiet, and what the hell.  The Sabre got home safely as well.

And so ends another deployment.  I probably won’t bother undocking again for the rest of the month.  CCP has thrown all the skill points at us already and there aren’t any wars or deployments going on, save for Black Ops, and I am not actually a member of Black Ops.  But mostly it will be due to WoW Classic going live later today.  I expect that will keep me busy for a bit.

Taking the Eye of Terror to Lonetrek

Every so often I go on a main fleet op just to remind myself why I don’t go on main fleet ops any more.  Plus I happened to still be sitting in 1DQ1-A from the Reavers race (still in my Gnosis) and Pittsburgh2989, who is in Liberty Squad, was the FC.  So when the ping went out festooned with no fewer than three animated parrots I joined up.

I thought if Pitts was here we might not be having a Liberty Squad op.  I was wrong, but I only figured that out when it was too late.

The call was for Baltecs, a fleet composition built around the Megathron battleship.  I actually had a few options for this, including a Megathron left over from last year’s war, sitting in my hangar.  I decided to go with Logi though, hopping into an Oneiros and putting on the Emergency Response SKIN.

Oneiros in the hangar

I could have gone with a Guardian… I have a few of those sitting around as well… but being free of the cap chain for an evening had its appeal.  So I got in the logi channel while the fleet came together.

There are any number of reasons why I avoid main fleet ops.  They tend to be ponderous operations, full of strangers who will talk on and on in a fleet of 150 people about not being able to find a something in the hangar.  There are a variety of FCs, each with their own quirks and pet peeves.  And they fly battleships, which are slow to get places.  This is why you join SIGs and squads, to fly with a regular group… usually in cruisers.

While things were getting sorted I undocked and sat on tether, wondering where we were headed.

Hanging on the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A

Of course, the battleship slow travel problem isn’t always problem.  Not when you have the reconstituted Eye of Terror jump bridge network running from Period Basis all the way up into Cloud Ring.  When the fleet got going Pitts essentially gave us three way points, each corresponding to an Ansiblex jump gate.

We were headed up to Cloud Ring and the trip was essentially “take a normal gate, take an Ansiblex, take a normal gate, take an Ansiblex, take a normal gate, take an Ansiblex, take a normal gate” and we were way up north, passing a series of Keepstars along the way.

Also, who puts a Keepstar AT THE SUN?

In Cloud Ring we took a gate into low sec and sat on a titan for a while.  The word filtered down to us that we were there to jump on anybody who formed up against an op already in progress.  We lingered there for a while… for longer than it took us to make the trip there for sure… until it was decided that nobody was going to show up.  So a cyno was lit and the bridge went up.

Time to go

We landed in Nannaras, which is way up in Lonetrek, a location that seems like a long way from home.

Obligatory fleet landing screen shot

Looking at DOTLAN navigation, that is about 40 gates away from where we started.

Up the western edge of New Eden

But with the Ansiblex network it felt like we hadn’t gone that far at all.

As for what was in Nannaras, there was a Pandemic Horde Fortizar there in its final timer.

A kill mail to be had

We warped up within range of it and joined in the shoot.

Somebody was there to gun it, so bombs were launched our way repeatedly.  This led to a lot of people hitting the “need shields” button in the fleet window, an annoyance to those of us in the logi wing because Baltecs are an armor doctrine fleet.  There was nobody around to rep shields.

But even announcing that on comms didn’t stop people from broadcasting for shields.

I actually had some shield repair drones.  Since there was little else to do for the moment, I put those out and repped some of the pricier ships.

Shield rep drones on a Bhaalgorn

However, I missed a bomb launch… there was something nobody was announcing on comms… and it wiped out my drones in one go.  So that was the end of that.  A few people were unlucky enough to drop into armor due to bombs, but otherwise it was a simple shoot.  I put out a combat drone towards the end… among other benefits, the Oneiros has a big drone bay… to get in some hits on the Fortizar just to get on the kill mail.

The small ships in the fleet also warped in to get their hits in as well, which prompted the gunner to turn on the point defense system.  That meant I didn’t have to worry about recalling my Warrior II drone, as it died pretty quickly.  But the Fortizar followed suit shortly there after, and I was on the kill mail.  Priorities.

Another dramatic explosion scene

From there we had to actually slow boat back to the Ansiblex gate network.  But we were only seven jumps or so away.  And once we arrived we were let off the leash to free burn home.  As somebody pointed out in comms, the first thing that happens is that the logi, which are all cruisers, leave the slower warping battleships behind leaving the potential for comedy/disaster.

But nobody bothered us and we were all quickly back in Delve and docked up.

Not a bad op, for main fleet.  Comms were subdued.  There were relatively few Game of Thrones spoilers mentioned and only one fan theory brought up. (The “Due to a time travel loop Bran IS the Night King” theory.)  I am not saying that comms should be silent, but there are people who seem to forget they have an audience of 150+ people.

Even with a good main fleet op I’ll be happy to be back in a Liberty Squad fleet when I have the chance.

FLEX Structures and the Return of The Eye of Terror

The first presentation on Saturday of EVE Vegas was from CCP Lebowski.  Titled “FLEX, Decs, & What Comes Next,” it covered a stretch of topics, but opened with the latest round of structures from the Upwell Consortium.  You can watch it here.

FLEX structures are set to replace the last few null sec infrastructure roles that still require Player Owned Starbases.  After that the noble POS and the horrible code base that supports it, long complained about by CCP, can be retired.  Maybe.  A POS is still a pretty hand structure, so they may still need something to replace the simple ability to drop a safe spot in hostile space.

Anyway, the new FLEX structures are coming, FLEX standing for “Fast Logistical EXpansion,” and they share some characteristics.

The Basics of FLEX Structures

There are three FLEX structures coming, each replacing a POS function.  There is the Pharolux Cyno Beacon, on which many an unwary capital pilot will probably die, the Tenebrex Cyno Jammer, which will let you stop capital drops in your territory, and the Ansiblex Jump Gate, which is going to open a can of worms we’ve seen before.

And it is that last one, the Ansiblex Jump Gate, that I want to bring up here, because it has some interesting features.

Jump Bridge becomes Jump Gate

There are some very spiffy aspects of this new structure.  The model looks good, they align in space to the star system they to which they are connected, and the animations for it are superb. The latter will also be used with the upgraded art and animations for jump gates throughout New Eden.

But the thing I want to highlight is how unlike the old jump bridge the Ansiblex really is.  It is the last two bullet points that are key here:

  • No Jump Fatigue
  • No Ship Size Restrictions

My first thought on seeing those two items was that these were, in essence, player made star gates, something that had been mentioned as a possibility quite some time back.  I was kind of hoping that such structures would send us into new space, maybe with some new rules, but these seem to fit the bill if you get right down to it.  Promise delivered on, if not in the way expected.

My second thought, which came very close on the first, and which I heard echoed by Dirk MacGirk amongst others, was, “Here is the return of the Eye of Terror!”

The Eye of Terror!

The Eye of Terror was a jump bridge network setup during the Great War.  While I was playing EVE Online at the time, I was nowhere near null sec.  It is, however, an item of legend, so I went to the Goon Wiki to get a description:

The original Eye of Terror was a series of jump bridges finished in December of 2007 during The Great EVE War. It ran from 46DP in Tenerifis to P8- in Feythabolis, enabling a constant stream of Goons into RISE’s living room for 24/7 harassment.

Since late August, RISE had been increasingly penned in to the “RIT Triangle,” their cluster of home station systems past the P8- choke point, and the constant presence of Black Ops and Pandemic Legion kept their station systems disabled and left them with no means of escape.

By the time the Eye of Terror actually opened RISE resistance had already been reduced to sitting in stations with the odd, terribly fit ship to attempt to escape. The stream of ships through the Eye rapidly destroyed their towers, many of which ran out of fuel as RISE logistics had given up or were trapped in stations.

That was the first Eye of Terror, and legend has it that its construction and effectiveness led to CCP changing the rules for jump bridges, restricting them to one per system so that fleet would at least have to expose themselves to gates along the way rather than just warping from POS to POS and jumping in relative safety.

Then there was the second Eye of Terror, the jump bridge line that I took so often back in the day, the one that first led to the beachhead in Cloud Ring for the invasion of Fountain.  Later it was extended, first through Fountain, then Delve, and then into Querious.

If a fight was happening in way down south we could just hop in our ships up in Deklein and be down there in a pretty short time.  And so battles like HED-GP came along and crashed the server.  Yes, there were other factors, like the proliferation of drones and the Slowcats doctrine that were not helping.  But the fact that people could log in anywhere in null sec and get to an escalating fight… all the easier because time dilation slowed the fight down while those traveling were moving at full speed… led to a pile on after pile on.

So CCP changed the way travel worked in null sec.  The Phoebe update came along and introduced jump fatigue.  Capital ships could no longer make jumps in rapid succession, and the same applied to jump bridges.  Then we got Fozzie Sov, which sought to disperse battles over sovereignty.  Small fights were going to break up the stagnation of null sec.

Certainly, some groups responded by consolidating their holdings.  The Imperium drew back into a much smaller footprint in the north though, in the end, that was still more than could be held by the coalition.  The Casino War proved that well enough.  There was that and other shake outs, but in the end there was still something of an equilibrium.  Outsiders and pundits still speak of the “blue donut” as though repeating it makes it so.

And then… something happened at CCP.  I think they decided big fights were in their best interest.  But the jump fatigue penalties started getting pared back.  At the start, with Phoebe, you could make a character useless for months by taking too many jumps.  That got reduced to five days.  Now it is down to five hours.  But it still injects a wait period between jumps.  You can’t just jump or take jump bridges in rapid succession.

Only soon you will be able to again, and I am at a loss to explain why.  Travel is a factor you must plan for in New Eden.  Jump fatigue seemed to have a purpose in that.  Now that whole “3 minutes per light year” travel time metric goal of just four years ago will be straight out the window.

When the new FLEX structures go in, when the Ansiblex Jump Gate becomes a thing, travel in null sec will lose its burden again.  Subcap fleets will be able to cross large distances at will, giving coalitions the power to hold onto more territory.  And it won’t just be subcaps, because capitals, supercaps, and titans will be able to take those new jump gates as well.

Yes, CCP points out that it will cost in liquid ozone.  But I suspect they underestimate the abilities of GSOL, the miracle working logistical arm of the Imperium.  I bet if The Mittani told them that there was a need to move every titan in the coalition in the next 24 hours, they would have supplies laid in and ships ready to refuel jump bridges along the whole route.  I think we’ve already demonstrated that cost and effort are not really barriers.

So there we’ll be soon enough.  But the gate animations will be cool.  I’m tempted get FRAPS setup again to take videos of giant fleets passing through these new structures as the third Eye of Terror takes shape.