Tag Archives: Fade

A Five Keepstar Day

While I was at work the Keepstars I highlighted earlier in the week were destroyed.  The EU time zone team got some shiny kills.

The Keepstar lineup on zKillboard

While I only mentioned four in my post it turns out that there was a fifth ready to be knocked off down in Tenerifis which TEST took care of.  The five kill mails:

All told that is at least a trillion ISK in losses inflicted in a single day without much in the way of resistance.

The question is now what happens next in the war?

 

Four Keepstar Targets in Fade and Pure Blind

Ops have already run in order to reinforce the remaining four northern Keepstar in Fade and Pure Blind.  The are scattered across two zones, so I ended up using the multi-region map for the area that is available at DOTLAN.

And then I flew out to take a peek at each of them just to see where the timers stood.  I have a general idea as ops area already on the calendar, but sometimes you just want to know the exact time.  So off I flew, first to C4C-Z4 and the first Circle of Two Keepstar.

Circle of Two Keepstar in Fade

From there I zipped over to DO6H-Q and the NCDot Keepstar.

NCDot Keepstar in Fade

Then I headed down into Pure Blind to 3V8-LJ to find the second CO2 Keepstar.

The CO2 Keepstar in Pure Blind

Then I made the last leg of the trip over to 7X-VKB to see the Darkness Keepstar.

Darkness in Pure Blind

All four are set to go this coming Wednesday, September 19th, at various early hours of the day.  At least early for me, sitting here on the West coast of the US.

Map of Fade, Pure Blind, and Cloud Ring – Times are in UTC

I doubt I will make it onto any of those kill mails.  But their destruction seems inevitable as northern forces draw back deeper into their own territory.  The question is whether or not there is a war once these are destroyed.  I am sure there will be some lesser structures to clean out of the area.  But once cleansed, the Imperium isn’t planning on moving in and they will stick around if CO2 comes back.  So who will end up in Fade?

Focus on DW-T2I in Fade

After the climactic battle over the NCDot Keepstar in X47 the headline level events in the north dried up a bit.  The war carries on though and, while titans aren’t occluding the sun in mass blobs as often, things are happening.

Mostly docked up and waiting for that next apex battle

Things are once again focused on the Fade region where Circle of Two lives.  Given CO2’s position at the top of the list of Imperium enemies after their betrayal in the Casino War means that it is no surprise that we are camped on their doorstep.  The defection of The Judge and the subsequent downfall of CO2 in Impass, which included GigX being banned from the game, was not enough.  CO2 is back on the sov map and, more importantly, GigX is back, perma bans being transitory things I guess.

And so everybody is formed up in and around Fade.

Fade forces disposition

CO2 remains in DW-T2I with their Keepstar, which we failed to kill previously due to not understanding how cynojammers work.

Other northern forces are staged in DO6H-Q where NCDot now has a Keepstar.

The main Imperium staging is at the Keepstar in 6RCQ-V, planted there back in July.

And then there are the Imperium SIGs and squads in NPC Pure Blind, where we have been knocking about, dropping on local ratters and miners, and deploying structures since at least last November.  Longest deployment ever.  My annual Reavers review post is going to be all about Pure Blind.

The target for the Imperium remains, as I expected, the CO2 Keepstar.  But to be able to go after that we have to disable the cynojammer which means killing the infrastructure hub in DW-T2I so that our mighty blob of titans can drop on it the way it did in X47.

Doing that means entosis warfare and all which that entails.  The Imperium has been chewing on the near end of Fade, attacking both ihubs and TCUs.  If you look at the Fade map at DOTLAN you will see a couple more systems have been turned since I made the map above.  But all that has been a mere clearing of the brush between the Imperium and its target.  It is the ihub in DW-T2I that is the real objective, the necessary first step towards destroying the CO2 Keepstar.

We had a shot at the ihub on Saturday.  Early evening on Saturday EU time, and mid-morning Saturday at my end of the world, pings went out for form up for a run at the ihub.  It actually came about an hour earlier than had been announced, but I was up and wandering about the house, so saw the ping and was able to get into a fleet just before we departed.  The Baltec fleet was full when I got on, but there was also a Jackdaw fleet coming along, so I joined up there in a Jackdaw.  I had one of those handy already and didn’t want to buy a Scalpel just to fly logi.  I am already accumulating ships in 6RCQ-V, something that happens every deployment.

Anyway, I wasn’t in fleet for long before we were undocking and getting to a titan to bridge out towards our destination.

Watching the Baltecs bridge out as we approach

After jumping through we followed the Baltec fleet through a gate and into CR-IFM where a fight erupted around the gate.  The locals and their neighbors had formed up in greater numbers than we expected, their Muninns all over the place.

Battle around the gate, little Jackdaw sticks visible

While we were killing things, we were not exchanging well, and the Baltec fleet logi seemed to be taking an especially hard pasting.  Apple Pear, who was leading the op, had us align to a friendly Raitaru in the system and burn out of the bubbles, shooting any hostile interdictors that showed up.  We cleared out, leaving the field crowded with targets for a bombing run by pilots from Initiative.  That tipped the overall ISK exchange in the fight well in our favor accoring to the battle report.

Battle report header

However, any thought of contesting the entosis event for the DW-T2I ihub went out the window.  A weekend in the EU evening time slot was just about optimum for the defenders, who tend to be stronger than us in that time zone.

On the Raitaru Apple Pear had us dock up and log off.

Ships disappearing into the Raitaru

The plan was to go away for a few hours and then log back in to make our way back home when the system wasn’t camped and ready for us.  And so we logged off and went and did whatever it was we had planned for the day.

The ping for the extraction came a few hours later with a five minute warning to get in or be left to your own devices.  Of course, I only walked by my computer and saw that about ten minutes after it went up.  At that point I should have just kept walking and come back late in US time to fly out on my own.  But I thought that if the fleet was leaving then they would be headed towards Cloud Ring and our staging I might be able to head the other way towards Pure Blind and slip out.

I undocked and even as I started into warp I knew I had made a mistake.  Despite having a perch well off the gate already bookmarked I warped straight to the gate and landed in the bubble I fully expected to find when I got there.  Dumb once again yields a dead ship.  At least I had an empty pod and was sent home the fast way.

In any case, I was headed the same direction that the extraction fleet was, so all eyes were on my route and looking for stragglers, so it was a poor choice.  The nice, clean DOTLAN region maps don’t really show the distances between the systems in space.  If you using the jump planning map you’ll see if you’re going to bridge out there are places in Pure Blind closer to Cloud Ring that the systems at that end of Fade.

The morning’s operations were enough to put the system at the top of the list for kills in 0.0 space.

CR-IFM leads the way

Not a huge battle, but the biggest one on Saturday.

Operations picked up on Sunday where we repeatedly clashed with the locals, killing enough Munnins that I have to wonder if the price on those are going to start climbing.  In the end we managed to entosis the ihub in DW-T2I again, so we are set for another clash.  This time it will be on Tuesday in EUTZ, when I am at the office.  I will miss it, but I am sure everybody will carry on without me.  We will see if a weekday time slot works out better for us.  We only have to win the ihub fight once to move on to the Keepstar while the locals have to win it every time to keep it safe.

Imperium Ignorance Saves the CO2 Keepstar in DW-T2I

After laying down a Keepstar in Cloud Ring last week, the Imperium went straight to work on Circle of Two, reinforcing their Keepstar in DW-T2I the next day.  The Imperium staged in Cloud Ring meant that most of Fade was in capital range, if those capitals took the gate between the two regions.

Fade Map with Locations noted

With the Keepstar in DW-T2I reinforced, the next big even was set to be the armor timer.  To destroy a fueled citadel you have to go through three battles.  The first is the shield layer.  You can attack at any time and if you get the citadel’s shields down to zero, a timer comes up.  When that timer finally counts down the citadel goes into a 15 minute repair cycle.  You have to form up and shoot it again, this time shooting its armor layer down to zero.  By applying enough damage you can stop the repair cycle and get through the the final timer.  When that comes up you do the same thing again, only shooting away the structure.  If you succeed, the citadel blows up.  If you fail, you get to start all over again.

So it was the second round, the armor timer, that came up yesterday.  It was set to hit at a little after 19:00 EVE Online time, which is UTC.  However, because fleets had to move and get in position, the call to form up came a good four hours before then.

That was before I got out of bed here on the west coast.  I turned on my computer to find fleets already forming and heading out from Delve.  But that was okay.  I wasn’t interested in heading out with main fleet for the long drive there and back to visit CO2.  I hung around waiting for something to form up in Pure Blind.

And I was rewarded for waiting with a fleet ping from Dabigredboat.

Some might not consider that a reward.  Boat can be an acquired taste.  But he works hard, gets you in the action, and tells you what is going on.  Plus, he was handing out free ships.  We were going to head out in Tengus to snipe targets of opportunity and run down disconnects.  I was happy enough to be in a Tengu again that I bought the snappy new Ghostbird SKIN for it.

55 PLEX well spent to my mind

Meanwhile I already had an alt online in a stealth bomber in DW-T2I to watch what was happening with the Keepstar and the system in general.  CO2 had been busy.  Both of the gates into the system were heavily bubbled, so any fleet trying to gate in to contest the timer would have to get past that.

The P-33KR Gate

You can just barely see the Keepstar in the background of that screen shot, through the dense layer of bubbles laid about the gate.  The array of bubbles was big enough that if I pulled back to get them all in the screen shot, the gate and the small bubbles around it become difficult to see.

The same gate from a distance

Everything seemed to be coming together for a big fight.  While Boat was arranging a black ops bridge up to DW-T2I my alt sat and watched CO2’s allies start to show up.  Darkness and their coalition brought a Tempest Fleet Issue fleet.

Darkness in a ball

Ranger Regiment brought an Ishtar fleet.  NCDot brought a Machariel and a Cerberus fleet.  CO2 undocked a fleet of Megathrons.  And capitals began to form up about the Keepstar.

Boat got us a bridge into system and we went off to safe spots to cloak up and wait for something to do.

Tengus on the way

In system Boat was keeping us up to date about what was going on while also looking for something to shoot.  We went and tried to pick off some transports that were parked near the O-CNPR gate.  We didn’t get a kill, but we scared them off at least.

Then Boat said we were going to go try and shoot the cyno jammer in system.

This was the first of many times I would hear the words “cyno jammer” during the op.

Boat explained that the previous day and evening the Imperium spent time putting up POS towers on every free moon and reinforcing the towers that CO2 or anybody else had deployed in the region.  This was to keep a cyno jammers from being deployed.  A cyno is a beacon which lets ships with jump drives travel to it.  You need a cyno lit in a system in order to jump into it.

A cyno jammer, as you might imagine, blocks cynos from being lit.  The ones on a POS jam the whole system, and CO2 had one in DW-T2I.

(Cyno jammers do not block covert cynos, which only black ops capable ships may use, such as our Tengus, which is how we got into the system.)

So Boat warped us over to the POS with the cyno jammer and had us start shooting it.  Very shortly a Minokawa force auxiliary logged on just outside the POS, close to the cyno jammer, and started to repair it.  CO2 had prepared for an attack on the jammer and, later, more Minokawas were spotted on the POS.  The Minokawa was repairing faster than we could inflict damage, so Boat warped us off and we went to our safe spots again.

As we sat around I turned up the volume on the INN stream of the event and heard Boat talking about the situation.  There, and on our own coms later, he explained that somebody running the preparatory ops believed that cyno jammers would not function on reinforced POSes.

This turned out to be a fairly wide-spread belief.  Progodlegend, on the same stream, said that they had just done the reinforce thing to Fraternity recently.  However, it appears that Fraternity just didn’t try anchoring a cyno jammer on a reinforced POS, no doubt because they believed the same thing.

GigX however, knew better it seems.

If we had known some simple contingencies could have been put in place, like leaving behind some logged off dreadnoughts to knock out the cyno jammer quickly to let fleets start pilling in.  But we didn’t so we were stuck.

That left the only way in to the system for the converging Imperium fleets… with more capitals on the way than the defenders had ships on hand… with one way into the system; through the O-CNPR gate.  But, as I mentioned, that gate was heavily bubbled.

The O-CNPR Gate

And it wasn’t just heavily bubbled.  It was also heavily defended.  The direction scan of the vicinity of the gate showed the following:

O-CNPR Gate DScan

Yes, you cannot possible read that unless you click on it.  But among the things on the list were 425 battleships, 124 super carriers, 35 carriers, 683 fighters from the carriers and super carriers, 504 drones from various ships, and a titan.

That titan, just sitting in a bubble waiting to boson somebody

So while it was possible that the Imperium could have thrown everything through the gate and eventually muscled past the defenses, it was going to be a slog.  Defending on a bubbled gate like that is referred to as “water boarding,” because it is torture that the attackers cannot escape.  With more bubbles no doubt set to be deployed and inderdictors on the field, a hostile fleet could be kept writhing in that mess for hours.  Certainly they could be held in check until the repair cycle on the Keepstar finished up.

Instead everybody turned around and went home.

That was it.  GigX won the day and saved his Keepstar.

As far as I can tell the biggest fight in the whole event was a smart bombing drop by NCDot on an Imperium Jackdaw fleet.  They did kill a lot of ships, 64 according to the battle report.  However, they lost 20 of the black ops battleships they used, destroyed by their own fleet’s smart bombs, which left the cost of the operation at roughly ten times the ISK of the hostiles they destroyed.  Not a good trade.

Battle Report Header from the Black Ops Drop

That was fine for everybody else.  However those of us in Boat’s fleet were still in the system and he was on the INN stream talking about events as they unfolded.  However, the stream wrapped up pretty quickly once it was announced that the Imperium was not going to show up.

Boat did not forget about us, though he forgot about his titan in the super fleet for a bit and almost got left behind.  He got a black ops battleship in to send us all back to Pure Blind, staying behind to cover two people who had gone AFK long after some FCs would have left them to their fate.  I got one last look at the Keepstar before we bridged out.

Still 35 minutes left on the clock

I was glad again to not have schleped all the way up from Delve in a Baltec fleet only to have to turn around and go home again.  But that was still shorter than having a fight before the return trip, so a bunch of people got some of their day back.

The Mittani held the weekly Fireside Chat on coms where he explained what went wrong and how we were going to go back to doing things the old fashioned way, grinding and suppressing the region until CO2  retreats.

Not our most brilliant hour.  Reddit will be filled with comments about Goons being dumb and not knowing POS mechanics for a while.

I guess we know the answer

But everybody knows about that POS mechanic now for sure, so if if anybody else falls for it… well, more of the same on Reddit I suppose.

So the war goes on.  We still have a Keepstar of our own on the border of Fade and SIG and Squads are still roaming north from Pure Blind.  The fun is not over, but it may be a while before we pave our way to the Keepstar to do anything more than keep it reinforced.  I suspect we’ll keep reinforcing it to ensure that CO2 can’t pack it up and move away.

Meanwhile there was no saving the TEST Keepstar down in 4-GB14 in Immensea.  They couldn’t even use GigX’s cynojammer trick since hostiles had already grabbed the ihub for the system, and if you don’t own the ihub you can’t setup a cynojammer.  And so that Keepstar died.  It wasn’t their capital Keepstar, but losing one hurts no matter what.

And then there was the Provi Bloc Keepstar, anchored down in 9UY4-H, which went online successfully.  This event also involved a cyno jammer, that being the EVE Online word of the day.  Hostiles sacrificed dreads to incapacitate it, but Provi just finished it off and anchored a fresh one, leaving the attackers without an easy way in.  Even being able get the cyno jammer offline doesn’t mean you’re good to go.

[Update: Or maybe Provi repaired the jammer. I’ve heard both stories now.]

So it was quite a day for null sec Keepstars, with one successfully defended, one destroyed, and a new one online.  And we all know just a bit more about POS mechanics, just in time for them to go away at some point in the near future.

Others on this topic:

CO2’s Keepstar Reinforced in DW-T2I

As expected, with our own Keepstar safely installed in 6RCQ-V the night before, operations directly against Circle of Two in Fade began.

Fade is not a big region, and while CO2 also holds a bit of Pure Blind as well, the bulk of its holdings are in Fade, including its capital and Keepstar in DW-T2I.  So that system and Keepstar are not far from where the Imperium’s own Keepstar is now planted as well as being close to NPC space in Pure Blind where Imperium SIGs & Squads have been based for the last few months.

Fade Map with Locations noted

Fleets were called up for various tasks last night, including Reavers.

I actually missed the initial ping, but reports were that nothing really happened and I managed to get online and catch up with the fleet as we headed off to DW-T2I.  There we hung out for a while on one of the Raitarus we have anchored in the system, waiting to see what CO2 would do when another group started shooting their Keepstar.

We spend a lot of time hanging around structures

While somebody was at the helm of the Keepstar and using its weapons to hit the attackers, no resistance showed up in ships, so we were allowed to run off and shoot something on our own.  Our target for the night was the Draccous faction Fortizar that replaced the station in system when CCP did the great outpost conversion back in early June.

CO2’s Draccous Fortizar

We approached this with some caution.  We were not a big fleet and a Fortizar’s defenses are not without teeth.  But nobody was at the helm and when scanned we found that only the default fittings that came with the conversion, the rigs and services, were there.  Without defenses we were clear to fly around and let our drones reinforce it… and goof off a bit.

HarleyQ trying to catch up to us

Aside from a lumbering point Proteus falling behind the fleet… somebody may have webbed him… the shoot went without incident.  The armor timer was set to go early on Saturday.

Draccous Reinforced

After that we warped over to the gate that would send us in the direction of home.  That gate is on grid with the CO2 Keepstar and we stopped to watch the attacking fleet for a bit.  There were some titans with fax support with Megathrons and Ravens along for the shoot as well.

Titans in defensive bubbles, battleships just barely visible

Looking at the related kills over on zKillboard, it looks like the Keepstar defenses were able to pick off some of the battleships, but none of the capitals were in danger.  And, looking at some of the kills, at least one was blue on blue.  I don’t know what Kun’mi did, but all the pilots on the kill mail for his Nestor are in the Imperium.

The Keepstar didn’t have much further to go.  It was down to the last few percentage points of shield when we arrived, so we saw a bit of shooting before it was reinforced.

Keepstar reinforcement timer

After that we were off for home, the evening’s work done.

The next attack, the armor timer, is set to come out on Saturday… if I am doing my calculations correctly… at about noon Pacific time, which is 3pm Eastern time, or 19:00 EVE Online time.  that makes it an evening event for the Euros and an afternoon fight in USTZ.

This puts the fight in contention with the final timer for the TEST Keepstar down south, so I suspect many of the possible allies of CO2 will punt on the armor timer to get in on a potential Keepstar kill at the other end of New Eden.  We shall seem come Saturday.  Meanwhile ops continue in the north to suppress the locals and reinforce other structures they have about.

Welcome to the New North

Which is pretty much same as the old north.  At least the north as I last wrote about it, and it has been a while.  I mean, sure, some of the names and colors have changed.

The North around Pure Blind – July 5, 2018

Mordus Angels folded up and most of its corporations moved to other alliances in the area, many of them to Circle of Two.

MOA Dropping Off

Circle of Two, having suffered a stinging defeat when The Judge defected to GoonSwarm, stealing a huge amount of assets on his way out last September, lost Impass and had to spend some time on a couch in Vale of the Silent to rebuild under the protective umbrella of Pandemic Legion.

Good times… good times…

However, Circle of Two is back now, sent from the safe couch to fill in part of the hole in the front lines left by MOA’s departure, taking over Fade and part of Pure Blind.  Their leader is The gigX, who is rumored to actually be gigX, whose account was banned after threatening The Judge.  I am not sure if this is true, but even if it is not, it is somebody flaunting their defiance to CCP.

Meanwhile the Imperium SIGs and squads took a break for the first half of June, which no doubt helped CO2 get settled in.

But that has since ended, as has my own vacation time during the back half of June, and now we are back to our usual business of trying to draw out the locals to get them to fight.  The three usual methods are back in play.

The first is shooting their structures, setting timers, in the hope of getting them to come out and defend.

Shooting up an Astrahus just last night

The second involves planting our own structures around their space.  If the locals come out we get the fight we’re looking for, and if they do not then we get a safe spot to tether up and repair in their space.

Another Raitaru anchored and repairing

And third there is the ongoing hunt for their ratters and miners.

A CO2 Rorqual under attack

I was back from vacation just in time to get on that kill.

This is a priority, hunting down miners and ratters in order to suppress the income of the locals.  The Imperium, as reported over at the New Eden Register, has stepped this campaign up a notch by creating the National Goons Surveillance Agency.  Under this plan people will get participation links for cloaky camping hostile systems in the north, systems being doled out to get maximum coverage, as well as bounty payouts if they call in a hot drop that ends up in a kill.

The response to this from our foes was naturally dismissive.  They questioned the economic sense of it… to which one can only ask if they read the Monthly Economic Report… and claim to have setup an always on-call coalition-wide defense fleet of capital ships ready to counter-drop any Imperium activity.

The latter could be a thing.  We do, after all, operate under what should be their capital umbrella.  However, though I haven’t been out on a ton of ops this month, I have yet to see evidence that this counter force is in place.  It certainly didn’t show up to help that Rorqual, and we had to wait out its PANIC module.  Plus, it had a cyno and fuel.  So what happened?

Yes, they did counter drop a couple days later and made a save.  That proves that they don’t really have to deply a lot in order to counter-drop.  But Rorquals still seem to be shy in the north.

Anyway, the usual tempo of operations… we’ve been at this since at least November with a few breaks… continues.  We’ll be out on the evenings USTZ to play the structures game and the cloaky campers will be on the look out for targets on which to drop, all the while waiting to see what the north does in response.

A Return to Quiet in Fade

After the thousand ship battle of the previous night I wondered if GotG would keep that up to clear our structures from their space.  However, it seems that level of effort two nights running wasn’t going to happen as we formed up again and headed to DO6H-Q.

We went back to their staging system again, this time with less than a hundred ships, to cover a couple of things.  We were, once again, dropping a pair of Raitarus on their Keepstar grid.  In addition, the remaining Raitaru was coming into its final timer, so if GotG wanted to destroy it, this would be the time.

The Keepstar from the active Raitaru

The GotG response, however, was desultory.

We arrived in system and not much was going on.  We roamed around the grid where the two new Raitarus were deploying, but no forces were forming up to meet us, much less chase us off.

Two Raitarus deploying

To pass the time we went off to one of their towers to shoot their jump bridge module.  This, as before, meant more work for logi as the tower on which the jump bridge had been anchored was armed.  Lots of calls for reps.

Shooting a jump bridge module again

As we did that a few of the locals headed out to the structures to hit them as a way to annoy us.  We warped back a couple of times and caught a few after which they became a bit more wary.  Back on the jump bridge a couple of game pilots tried to bomb us.

It was at the jump bridge that we suffered our only loss, a Vigil that got popped by the tower.

A Raitaru deploying

The Raitarus take six days to come online due to being in space owned by somebody else.  Those will be future fights.  After we popped the jump bridge, deciding to make them spend the ISK to replace it rather than making them repair it, we were back to the online Raitaru to watch its timer tick down.

Just two minutes or so to go…

That went without issue and the Raitaru was saved, leaving GotG to start over again on the cycle to destroy it.  I understand that they got out a small fleet of bombers and Eagles to shoot it this morning to get that under way.

After that we had a Raitaru in a system next door to watch as it came online, leaving us another place to tether and dock up.  As we roamed around I noticed another Raitaru coming online in their space.

Another location coming soon

Overall as we did that we managed to pick off enough of the locals to make it worth generating a battle report to get the tally.

Battle Report Header

We ended up blowing up a few pilots multiple times, and got the pods on some, which is how the number ends up with 48 ships but only 23 pilots.

Meanwhile, as we did that in one fleet I had an alt in another fleet that was cruising around and blowing up leftover Pandemic Horde structures.

Astrahus going up

Aside from running into some Caldari faction warfare pilots, who chased us off, but then killed the Astrahus we were shooting, so goal accomplished, it was an easy op delivering torpedoes on one target after another.  And while PH is no longer in the area, these being gone means less places for any of the locals to tether up.

And so it goes.  One night a thousand people in local.  The next night almost nobody is there to resist us.  So we laid the groundwork for further fights.  We shall see when GotG chooses to rise up and defend again.