I was a bit disappointed on Saturday. There were a couple of strat ops planned, but they were both during time frames where I was not going to be able to come along. I like strat ops because they tend to be based on timers or some other event that forces both sides to show up. And they tend to be focused on a specific mission beyond shooting whoever we can find.
But as I was poking around early Saturday afternoon, an op came up in Jabber asking people to get in fleet fast for action in F2OY-X.
That sounded like my kind of deal. A fight in our staging system meant no travel. Of course, it was likely to be a chimera, the possibility of a fight that would never materialize. But I was sitting around and I wasn’t going to be around for the later strat op, so I jump into the game. I would get a participation link for showing up at least.
But on getting into the game, a fight looked more than likely. There were over a thousand people in the system, TiDi was already starting to hit hard, and even as I got into Reagalan’s Baltec fleet he was telling us to undock and align. It was time to go, so I got my Apocalypse pointed in the right direction and went.
There were warp disruption bubbles of one flavor or another all over space within sight of the station. We actually had to warp to a mid point to get around some to drop in on the fight. Along the way, we passed within sight, if not range, of a TEST pilot who wanted us to be sure of who to shoot.
We slowly made our way to the engagement, tidi dipping to 10% already and, on arriving, started shooting the targets called. Initially we did not have much success. A later count showed that the hostiles brought a lot of logistics with their Tengu fleet, so were catching sufficient reps when targeted to shrug off our fire. Remote reps have come up as part of the larger “fix null sec” thread of posts that has been banging about the EVE Online world. You only get kills if you can out-damage the remote repair abilities of your foes. So the game becomes “bring more dudes” while your FC yells at you to get into a logistics ship. More reps means life, so nerfing reps is now being discussed.
Logistics become a lynchpin in engagements. You keep your logistics alive, which tend to be easier to kill than your ships of the line, by having your logistics anchor keep as far off on the other side of the fight from your foes as possible. Out of range means being safe.
Fortunately for us, the reach of Baltec fleet is pretty far. An Apoc with range scipts and the right crystals can reach out and hit things as far as 150km off if you have the right skills trained. Not that we needed that. Their logistics seemed to be close to hand, within the range of our short-to-medium range ammo. So Reagalan had us swap to targeting their logistics. That worked and we started getting kills, breaking Scimitar tanks one by one.
That was an investment into the future of the fight. However, killing logistics now leaves all the hostile firepower still on hand to shoot at you. We had enough logistics for the fleet, so long as you paid attention and clicked the “need armor” button as the hostiles were just starting to target you. That is indicated by the yellow boxes around ships in your overview. I was not paying close enough attention and only hit the button when I noticed those yellow boxes starting to turn red, which means that you are now being shot at.
Soon I was floating around in a pod. But first I got to see my ship explode in slow motion. The tidi was bad enough… it had clearly pushed beyond the level that was showing as the backend systems struggled to keep up with things running at one tenth speed… that my ship was gone as far as my controls were concerned a good 30 seconds before it actually exploded on screen.
Then I was sort of stuck. There were layers and layers of warp disruption bubbles to fly through so I would be clear to warp back to the station and re-ship. I took that time to go through the contracts, pick out, and purchase a new Apocalypse. Reagalan was cajoling us to return in Celestises in order to sensor damp the hostiles, as not being able to target and shoot things apparently induces rage in our foes, but those had all been bought out. So it was back to a big ship.
Pods move slowly, put-putting along at 187 meters a second, made all the more slow by tidi inflicting is penalty. Eventually though I wandered out into open space and was able to warp back to the station. Docking and reshipping went very quickly given the TiDi situation, and I even remembered to check the fitting to make sure the guns were online before I undocked. They were not. Ships on contract sometimes get fit by an alt that cannot use all the modules, so they are with the ship but offline. It is embarrassing to be in a hurry only to get undocked and find you can’t actually shoot anything.
Then it was time to find my own way back to the fleet, which meant finding a wreck or something to warp to, since the direct route from the station was still blocked by bubbles.
I got back in time to see the end of the initial engagement. The long range ammo was out now and we were taking shots beyond the 100km mark as the hostiles headed away from us. The last kill we got there was Doombunny. As the hostiles began to fall out of range, Reagalan warped us off to the staging POS to regroup. There we were joined by one of the hostiles.
I am not sure how this happened, but one of the enemy Scimitars warped to the POS with us, getting stuck outside the shields.
Of course, we were all “Shoot her, shoot her!” but were, for the most part, stuck inside the POS shields and unable to target or shoot. So we started to burn out of the POS towards her. Those who had forgotten to enter the POS password (I do not remember entering it myself, but somehow I landed at the tower) and were bouncing off the shield got a quick kill before we could get there.
We then warped onto the enemy Tengus again and were able to bubble them up and start shooting. By this point their logistics had been pared down so that we were able to alpha Tengus off the field fairly regularly. It became a race to lock up hostiles before they disappeared and the targets called quickly stretched out into a long list. And then they were off again. We warped around a bit trying to catch them, ending up hanging around on the 1DH gate for a while. But that was the end of things for us.
Return, getting a warp in, more shooting. Warping about, catching some more. Warp back to POS, scimitar joins us. Hanging on gate, no joy. The action was over for us.
The fight itself seemed to develop as a slow boil on our side of things. Black Legion, Northern Coalition, and their allies dropped in and established an early dominance with a mass of tengus, which cost use a lot of losses amongst those who came out to meet them at the start of the fight. There was a point where they were “winning” for whatever definition you choose, and if they had been able to extract at that point, they could have made the case for victory. At the end of the first round, Reagalan seemed pessimistic about how we were doing, hoping for a draw on the ISK war after we were mauled early on.
But rather than leaving the hostiles lit cynos and jumped people in as the CFC pot came to a boil. As things moved on the pings for fleets built up on our side, filling out the Harpy fleet and then bringing out a wrecking ball of carriers deploying even as the rest of us were reshipping and returning to the fight. We were fighting right there in our home system, so people logging on had no problem jumping on. The end result of the battle shows things tilted very much in our favor.
Total kills were close, with 358 kills for our side against 315 for the hostiles. But the ISK war fell heavily in our favor, as we lost 16.5 billion ISK in ships to their loss of 37 billion.
We lost a lot of inexpensive ships. If you look at the ships engaged, there are a lot of dead interdictors and Celestises and tier 1 logistics listed for us, all pretty cheap as far as things go, while the hostiles lost mostly Scimitars, Tengus, and Huggins. Those are pricey.
The fight ended up about two hours before the start op I was going to miss, but I had gotten my share of internet spaceship kills for the day, so was satisfied to leave that to others. It was certainly better than the fleet op on Sunday where we flew out to Aridia through a mess of TiDi only to arrive at a fight that had just ended. Pandemic Legion invited us out to help, but I wonder if they just wanted to inflict pain on us as we took 16 very slow gates out to Soliara and then 16 back home again.
There is a write up of the larger, strategic view of the fight at F2OY-X over at TMC. which answers the whole “so how did this happen?” aspect of things.
And naturally, I have some screen shots from the fight after the cut.