Tag Archives: Fountain

Flying with Main Fleet While on Break from the Pure Blind Front

After a successful op last week… which I missed… Asher declared we were going to take a break from the north for a while.  We were to leave everything in place in our station, but we free to run off an rat or run abyssal pockets or whatever we wanted for a while.

Of course, I not only missed that op, I somehow missed the move op from our temporary foray into Venal back to our NPC staging station, so first had to work on getting my ships back to where I would need them when we returned.

Fortunately we have somebody who does shipping for us and who took care of those of us who got left behind.  I had to repackage some ships, which meant I lost the rigs and will have to import a fresh set to use those ships later, but at least they were back where I wanted them.

Then I had to think about what I was going to do while we were on a break.  Pretty much all I have done for most of the last 6-8 months has been Reavers ops, with the occasional diversion into an event now and again.

First on the list was to get a participation credit.  We took a break at the start of the month and I had to get in some PAP links in so my corp would know I was still alive and not kick me.  I swear that is all I do for them most months, add to the corp PAP total.

I usually aim to get a few right away at the start of the month, as you never know what is going to come up. (The earlier ops I mentioned that I missed were due to ill health.)  Without Reavers though, it looked like I was going to have to go on some main fleet ops.

I used to enjoy main fleet and the chaos and silliness and the lack of responsibility and such.  I did almost nothing but main fleet ops for years, from my landing in null sec through the Fountain War.  I saw many great battles and had good times.  But it started to wear on me after a time.  And then Reavers was formed and I managed to get in when they were taking anybody who signed up, and it changed my experience in null sec.

I will train any skill, fly an doctrine, and go on any op with Asher leading.  His fleets, for lack of a better term, are a quality experience and I enjoy them quite a bit.  They keep me playing EVE Online long after I otherwise might have taken a break.  I almost feel like I am part of the team.

So to go from that to a main fleet op I knew I was in for a let down.  But it was even worse than I expected.  We had an FC from a GSF corp who had all his pals in the fleet and it became a very in-group thing.  I’m already somebody who usually feels like the outsider, and with an in-group running the fleet… and all in the command channel so I couldn’t even escape it in the “no chatter” channel… it was more painful than I had expected.

It wouldn’t have actually been that bad, except that I also forgot how slowly main fleet ops move.  They have to ping for a form up an hour before we need to undock because it takes that long to get everything sorted out.  I wasn’t even going to go because I saw the first ping 15 minutes late, which usually means “too late” in Reavers.  But then more pings came out looking for logi and then boosters, so I logged in and clone jumped back to Delve to join in.

It was a Batlec fleet, so I bought an Oneiros off contract to join in as logi and added a couple of combat drones so I could get on the kill mail promised in the ping. (That promise meant it would be a structure shoot.)  I had to buy a ship because last September I wasn’t feeling it for the game and packed up all my stuff and moved it to low sec thinking I might take a break.  Then in October Asher took us on the current deployment and I’ve been happy doing that since.

Eventually everything got together and we undocked and burned off for our first waypoint.

Baltec Fleet on the move at last

We rallied up at a citadel then moved into Fountain.  From a Keepstar there we were bridged to the destination.

Baltec Fleet Bridging Out

There we found the expected structure, a Gang Bang Team tower, waited as I expected.

Tower Shoot Begins

I only brought a couple of light drones, which cannot hit a tower in a POS shield.  But I knew from long experience that all I had to do was hit one of the modules outside of the shield to get on the kill mails of everything we blew up, and we were there to blow everything up.  Capitals dropped in to help us with the shoot.

An Erebus titan with the 15th Anniversary SKIN

I realize I was bitching about the FC and his friends having fun together, and you shouldn’t take that too seriously.  I appreciate the FCs in the coalition.  They have a difficult job and I try to do everything I can to make their job as easy as possible, which usually means following instructions.

This is where my fellow line member F1 monkeys can make such fleets a pain.  I mean, I screw up all the time, so I can’t point fingers for being bad.  Just a week or so back in tabbing between windows I managed to decloak myself while we were all waiting on a black ops for a drop and I apologized and logged off in shame I felt so bad.  But I listen and try to do what the FC asks.  Our poor FC was trying to get people to follow simple instructions and failing, as tends to happen on main fleet.  For example, he wanted the main DPS arm of the fleet to orbit him, something he kept repeating.  Yet, as the tower went down there was still a ball of ships stuck to him.

Those Megathrons should not be there… and a Cerb?

Anyway, we blew up the tower and I got my kill mails.  In addition to PAPs I like to get on zKillboard at least once a month to prove I am alive.

An Amarr tower going up

I was okay with that.  I go on POS shoots now wondering which one will be my last, since they are slated to be removed from the game at some future date.

Then we turned around and headed for home, escorting the caps to their destination first.

An Avatar in Red

Caps warp slow, so it was a while getting home.  Eventually we arrived home, nearly three hours after I logged in.  And all we did was go 15 gates, shoot a thing, and come back.  As I said, the logistics of main fleet and the need to shepherd people of all levels of skill and listening ability.

I may bitch about main fleet, but it is a necessity.  Things have to get done in space.  But it just isn’t something I enjoy as much as I once did back in the day.  I look forward to the Reavers deployment resuming ops.

Tower Repair in Fountain

Before I was done with work on Tuesday a ping had gone out for an op to defend assets from our neighbors to the east.  That actually ended up being three fleets worth of people heading out to defend a timer… enough people that nobody showed up to oppose if I heard right.

There was a follow-up ping from Asher indicating that there would be another USTZ fleet going out later for those of us who were busy or lived on the wrong coast.  That seemed to mean me, so when that ping showed up later I was ready to go in the coalition staging Keepstar.  The call was for Cerberus fleet.

Once we had formed up a good enough composition… with three fleets already out we were not likely to get an ideal form up… we undocked and flew north to meet up with a titan to get a bridge.

Getting in range for the bridge

We were heading into Fountain where The Culture had put three of our towers into a reinforced state.  We were there to fly cover and counter The Culture if they showed up to try to finish off the towers once they came out.

Cerbs over the POS shield

There we met up with a couple of force auxiliaries who proceeded into siege mode to repair the tower shields once it had exited reinforcement.

A Lif in the foreground, a Minokawa behind

They went about their slow work while we waited to see if The Culture would respond.  Scouts out reported nobody coming our way, so we flew in a lazy formation following Asher in his dirty Phantasm. (It seemed much shinier back in Saranen, though that might not be the same ship.)

Does not use the “clean ship” button

I have been on any number of such operations over the last five years.  You go out to the tower and see if there is going to be a fight.  If not, you just wait until the tower’s shields are repaired back up to 50%, at which point the tower can be refueled with strontium clathrates, which enables the tower to go into reinforcement mode.

With two faxes and our own logi the tower took a while to get back to 50%.  But once there GSOL showed up to get things into shape.

GSOL rides in Rorquals

That was one tower down.  However, there were three in the system, all of which had come out of reinforce and needed to be repaired and refueled.

Fortunately a few more faxes ended up joining us so the second and third towers ended up going by much more quickly.

Minokawas join us at the tower

Once the last tower was finished we were set to head home.  Nobody showed up to oppose us, so it was more of a “cost of doing business” sort of op.  We got our participation credit to show our service to the coalition.

These specific sorts of ops will be coming to an end at some point.  All three of these were moon mining towers.  Those are fairly passive operations, just needing to be fueled regularly and have the output collected now and again.

Come the winter however, CCP is suppose to implement refineries.  Mentioned back in March, these will act as moon mining platforms while will be much more hands on when it comes to harvesting the output.  These platforms are supposed blow chunks of moons into orbit where they will need to be harvested by mining ships.

CCP’s image of a moon chunk

At that point it will be an Upwell Consortium structure running the operation, which will no doubt be more akin to the Citadels and Engineering Complexes already available in its mechanics.  The somewhat strange mechanics of POS towers will be a thing of the past.

Currently we hold a moon mining towers outside of our home region.  We shall see how that works out when moon mining becomes a more active operation.

I Survive My First Capital Op

While Burn Jita was still raging on Saturday afternoon, I was back in Delve and going out on my first real Cap Fleet operation.

I have formed up a couple of times for operations that never went anywhere, and I went on last week’s training on SiSi, the public test server, but those don’t really count.  But yesterday I happened to be sitting down at my computer just in time to see a ping from Thomas Lear for a CapSwarm form up.  I was already in our staging, so I hopped into my Apostle and got undocked to wait for instructions.

Cold Iron Apostle on the Keepstar

Cold Iron Apostle on the Keepstar

And then I docked back up because we were told to fit 500MN MWDs to aid in speeding up warping between gates.

I chose to go with the Apostle because I ran with my carrier during the training op on SiSi, which proved to me that I have no clue how to use fighters.  I have to find a guide somewhere about the basics of moving them, as everything I have seen so far seems to operate under the assumption that you have that part mastered and just need to hone your technique.

Anyway, I undocked with the MWD fit and waited for instructions again.  That was a bit difficult as we were sharing coms with Asher’s subcap fleet that was coming along to cover us.  There is an oft repeated joke that USTZ fleets are much more… talkative… on coms than EUTZ fleets.  I don’t buy it fully, as I have been on some EUTZ fleets that could sperg with the best of them, but this fleet seems set to prove the rule.  For the first time in a long time I had to go down to the “no chatter” channel, where you only hear people on the command channel.  And even that channel was a bit chatty as there seemed to be a bunch of people there across the two fleets.

We were first given a destination, then told to warp off to another citadel as the first gate we needed to take was on the back side of the Keepstar, so attempting to warp straight to it would end up with some of us just bumping off the face of the citadel.

I picked a nearby Astrahus and warped off, then turned about and headed for the gate.

Apostle warping off

Apostle warping off

While capitals have jump drives and can move 6 light years at a jump, jump fatigue keeps us from using those drives unless we have to.  So we went by gates to the first system in Fountain.  Once there we took off the MWDs and used our jump drives to put us close to our target, hopping over some hostile space, then took a few more gates to the target.

Caps and subcaps landing on a gate

Caps and subcaps landing on a gate

The subcap fleet did managed to bubble us on an in gate at one point due to the presence of hostiles, so we had to hang about for a short bit while that came down.  No hostiles were trapped.

Partially bubbled cap fleet

Partially bubbled cap fleet aligning out

The only tense moment for me during the trip either way was when I lost connection.  We were jumping through a gate and I was stuck in the warp tunnel for a long stretch, then got disconnected.  When I got back in game an rejoined the fleet, I had to go through the return from disconnect routine.  My ship had been warped off, so it had to go back to the spot it left from, which happened to be a few hundred km off the gate.  I had to warp to the gate again and jump.  Looking at local though, the fleet had left me behind, but there were half a dozen hostiles in system.  However, they didn’t show up and I was able to jump the gate and catch up with the fleet at the first target, a tower belonging to The Culture in G95F-H.

There wasn’t much for faxes to do during the first shoot.  I put out some Warrior drones and shot modules with the carriers, but other than that we were orbiting around Thomas Lear while the carriers and dreads did their work. (I even got on the kill mail for a couple of modules, though I didn’t think you could kill modules unless you killed the tower, only incapacitate them.)

We then went after a second tower, which was also reinforced.  This one had a jump bridge, which required the usual special treatment wherein you burn it down to half structure, then rep the armor back up to half again, so the owner has to either take the time to rep it back up or put damage on it to destroy it and replace it.  When it came time to apply reps the faxes were told to go into one cycle of triage.  The triage module greatly boosts the amount of repair a fax can put out, but you cannot recieve reps, move, or warp.  I lit mine for a cycle and started applying my reps.

The blue effect indicates Triage mode

The blue effect indicates Triage mode

And then, as I watched my capacitor drain away, I realized I did not bring and charges for my cap booster.  Well, something for the list.  So I turned off the repair modules after a bit and just let the triage timer run down.  Something to remember for next time.  Once we were done with that it was time to turn around and head for home.  Enough time had elapsed for our jump fatigue to wear off, so after a couple of gates we were able to jump to Y-2ANO and then gate back to our staging.  I managed to get through the op without screwing anything up too badly.

One thing I did notice was that, while the Cold Iron skin for the Apostle looks really good, in the darkness of space it can sometimes be too dark.  I ended up changing to the all white Purity skin every so often just so I could see myself.

Skin change in progress

Skin change in progress

But otherwise I was able to keep up with the fleet, jump when told, and find my way back when disconnected.  I just have to remember those cap boosters for next time.

Election Night in Fountain

He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen.

-Harry Truman, on Eisenhower and the presidency

Just another Wednesday on a blog mostly about video games.

When I got home yesterday afternoon things seemed settled about the house.  My daughter was busy with something, hockey was starting on the TV, which would occupy my wife for a couple of hours, and a ping for a fleet had just come up on Jabber.  I figured it was a sign, and I logged into EVE Online and joined up.

We formed up an armor T3 fleet and by the time I was logging in there were threats that we were not going anywhere until there was more logistics support.  Fortunately that is what I generally fly… I don’t even own a doctrine Proteus or Legion… so it was into my medical white Guardian and into the fleet just in time for us to get going.

Guardians lolling about

Guardians lolling about, cap chain up

We rolled out with a capital fleet bobbling along ahead of us, turned north, passed through that long regional gate jump between ZXB-VC and Y-2ANO, and headed deep into Fountain where we have been fighting sparring with The-Culture off and on for the last couple of months.  It was a passage through history for me yet again, with system names in Fountain more familiar to me from past wars than my own current neighborhood in Delve.  I cannot, for example, go through KVN-36 without thinking about that doomed capital convoy op we ran way back when.

Holdings in the Southwest - Fountain, Delve, and Querious

Holdings in the Southwest – Fountain, Delve, and Querious

Our first destination was an Astrahus citadel of ours that The-Culture had been busy attacking over the past week.  It was coming down to its final timer and there seemed to be some likelihood that they would call in some help from the north to contest it.  A fight seemed possible and there were reports on coms that they had almost 100 people of there own in captials and ready to go.

We tethered up on the Astrahus and waited.  We were there early, so had to run down the timer before the event started, then sit through the whole fifteen minute exposure window.

Hanging off the Astrahus

Caps hanging off the Astrahus

However The-Culture wasn’t able to get a force together to contest the timer, so it ran out and the Astrahus was saved.

That left a couple hundred of us hanging about in Fountain, so the subcaps split off to go shoot a couple of towers The-Culture had in A-HZYL.  This took the evening from some sitting about waiting to a game of whack-a-mole for the logistics wing of the fleet.  Both of the towers had quite a few defense modules.  As nobody was there to direct them, they fired in their random sort of way which meant that people were calling for reps almost constantly as the automated guns changed targets at a maddening rate.

Meanwhile, The-Culture put together a small group of Artillery fit Claw interceptors (example fit from one we popped) who managed to warp in and pick off a few smaller ships (and one Legion) as we did our tower shoot.  I am not sure how they got the Legion, but they were able to alpha small ships (like B33R’s Bifrost) off the field in a single volley.

While The-Culture was big on defensive modules on their towers, they did not bother to put any strontium clathrates in them.  So rather than having to go through the multiple shoot routine of reinforcement mode, we were able to kill them right then and there.

That's right Pee-wee, the secret word is "Unstronted!"

That’s right Pee-wee, the secret word is “Unstronted!”

Fortunately the capital fleet sent us a few dreadnoughts to speed things up so the logi repping madness didn’t last as long as it could have.  We popped one tower and then a second.  After that we had to take the remaining modules offline and cover GSOL as they put up replacement in the place of the ones we just blew up.

A new tower going up!

A new tower going up!, old hardeners still in place

That left us with some time to kill, which we did in the usual way.  The FC, Thomas Lear, had logi start repping one of the fleet members… in this case fellow jacket pal Norrec Lafisques… and then had the rest of the fleet shoot him to see if they could break his tank.

Norrec as the focus while the tower goes online

Norrec as the focus while the tower goes online

However, but that time we had lost some fleet members… we were past the three hour mark… while logi was still strongly represented and all still awake after the tower, so we kept him alive without any fuss.

Once the towers were set, it was time to head home, shepherding the capitals and keeping together to avoid being picked off by the still lurking Claws of The-Culture.  That took a while, but eventually we made it back to the staging Keepstar and were able to call it a night.  We were rewarded with three participation links, which covers 75% of my minimum for the month.

During the whole fleet any discussion of politics was banned.  Politics is generally one of the forbidden topics on fleet ops, but given it was election night it was being strictly enforced.  So there were not any updates while I was playing EVE Online during that gap of time.  Before the fleet started I had looked at Google’s election coverage and the real time live forecast that the New York Times had put together on their web site.  So when I looked as the fleet was kicking off, every indicator said Clinton was going to win.  The needles were all deep in Clinton territory and Trump had faint hope.  When The fleet was done… well… things had changed as indicated by this chart which I clipped from their site.

What a difference a fleet makes

What a difference a fleet makes

I think the fleet actually started about a half hour earlier now that I think about it, but you get the picture.  And while I wasn’t completely news free during the fleet… I checked Twitter and saw a few indicators come up… the radical shift was still a bit of a surprise.

My daughter, actually paying close attention to a presidential election for the first time, was disturbed by the apparent outcome.  I had to reassure her that the system is designed to suppress drastic change.  The government is slow and inefficient on purpose.  It is a feature.  Just as Harry Truman noted about Eisenhower I would note about Trump.  Being the President isn’t like the military, or like a business, where you just tell people to do things and they happen.  It is frustrating when you think something should be done.  President Obama couldn’t even close Guantanamo Bay, a 2008 campaign promise, over two terms.  But it pays back when something you don’t want is proposed.

The apocalypse isn’t upon us.  I’ve seen bigger mandates and grander ambitions ground down by the wheels of government.  Even that Republican congress answers to their constituencies first… or maybe it is lobbyists first, I forget… while the President is somewhere way down the list.  And that will all get tossed in the air in again in two years.

We’ll see what happens.  But as Scarlett O’Hara sagely noted, tomorrow is another day.

Bhaalgorns to Fountain

About a month back in one of the weekly fireside chats, The Mittani promised us a new doctrine, a battleship doctrine.  About two weeks back, the doctrine was revealed.  It would be centered around a mix of Bhaalgorns and Abaddons.  Last night, after leaving some time for the supply chain to catch up, it was time to undock to doctrine for the first time.

Turnout wasn’t bad for an op called in the later USTZ and which had a parallel capital operation running at the same time.  We didn’t fill the fleet, but our number was well over 200.  I was going to grab an Abaddon… Bhaalgorns are cool, but they are also half a billion ISK and I like to let a doctrine settle down and become a standard before I invest that much ISK… but I was late to the market.  All the Abaddons had been bought out.  But that was okay, as the doctrine used the same logi fits for Oneiros and Guardians as our other armor doctrines, so I was able to pull out a Oneiros and join in.

The Bhaalgorns, being a Blood Raiders faction ship, naturally has the Blood Raiders style paint job.  And a skin of the same style for the Abaddon was part of a past event so was pretty readily available, so a number of pilots were able to match up.

Hanging on the Fortizar waiting to go

Hanging on the Fortizar waiting to go

The Oneiros needs a decent skin.  There are three available from CCP, but they all turn a mostly dark colored ship into a slightly different but mostly indistinguishable dark colored ship.  There isn’t even a Quafe skin for the Oneiros.  It needs something bright and shiny.  Gallente Problems.

The fleet’s destination was Fountain, to face The-Culture and assail their holdings in the region, with Asher getting the honor of leading the new fleet doctrine for its first run.

Going to Fountain always brings back memories of the Fountain War.  So many systems there bring back memories of events now three years gone. (A summary of my posts from the war here.)  It was also a time when I was very active and always flew in main fleet.

Of course, being in main fleet again reminded me of the downsides of being there.  It wasn’t horrible… often it was unintentionally funny to me… but after a long stretch of smaller fleets and my time in Reavers, it was chaotic coms and me thinking “Can you just shut up?” as people ran off at the mouth about unrelated items.  I tend to be very good at coms discipline and take it seriously, and when you get 200+ people together… more than that because the battleships were sharing coms with the capital fleet… there is always somebody who picks the wrong time to start talking.

The-Culture put out a fleet of Ishtars to oppose us at one point, but things were not in their favor and they withdrew that after a while, content to just harasses us with interdictors when they could.  The counter to this in our new doctrine is smart bombs.  Each of the Bhaalgorns was fit with a smart bomb, a weapon that shoots out a burst that hits anything within a limited radius of your ship, friend or foe.

This led to more unintentional comedy.

There is a joke that is not really a joke wherein one says, “Did he say jump?” when holding on a gate.  When everybody is there waiting for the word, just saying the word “jump” even in the sentence “Do not jump!” will cause some people to hit the button and go through the gate.  Everybody is hanging on, waiting for that one word and sometime they won’t process the context until after they have acted.

Well, having smart bombs on our shiny new doctrine ships seemed to end up with the same sort of thing, wherein any time somebody used the words “smart bomb” the Bhaalgorns would start lighting them off, even when those words were embedded in the phrase, “Will you stop using your fucking smart bombs!”

Did you say "smart bomb?"

Did you say “smart bomb?”

I am not sure if we killed any of our own that way, but small stuff had to get the hell away from the Bhaalgorns, everybody had their shields stripped away, and logi spent some time running armor reps to repair this self-inflicted damage.

Once the enemy Ishtar fleet retired, our job of covering the capital fleet left us chasing around various interdictors who were trying to bubble us and the capitals just to make everything go slower for us.  As part of that I got to watch one of our pilots in a command destroyer use that ships special AOE micro jump drive to “boosh” interdictor bubbles off of the fleet. (“Boosh” is the term of art for using that drive.)

The micro jump drive spinning up to boosh a bubble

The micro jump drive spinning up to boosh a bubble

This actually seemed to work pretty well, given that it takes a bit of skill as the pilot must align and time their jump to get things done right.  Only once did things go awry, when a bunch of us who had gotten out of a bubble by turning our prop mods on had the bubble dropped on us a while later.  At least it was off the capital ships.

As the op began to reach its conclusion, we met some of the capitals at one of The-Culture’s POSes where they were building capitals.

Prime Targets

Prime Targets

The tower was but into its reinforced state as we arrived, but the subcaps joined in to take care of some of the modules, especially the jump bridge array.  First we shot it until it was past shields and armor and into structure.

Shooting the jump bridge

Shooting the jump bridge

Then it was time for logi to rep the armor back up to half full.  We could have destroyed it, but then it would just take a couple guys about 30 minutes to drop a new one.  Left as it was, they would have to either destroy it… which would mean burning down through half armor and structure… or repair it… which would mean repping up from half armor and structure.

This is what is know as a “dick move” designed to cause the enemy the maximum amount of inconvenience.

We also knocked out a couple of faction modules they had on the POS.  Then, as we waited for the caps for form up and get on their way, we shot Thomas Lear in his Damnation, just to see how tough that command ship really was.  Then we set ourselves to shepherding the capitals back to Delve.  Once they were within range to jump back to their staging, we were released to burn home ourselves.

The fleet ran past the three hour mark and was a reminder of the ups and downs of being in main fleet.  Now a bunch of timers have been set in Fountain though, so main fleet will be returning soon to contest them.

Addendum: I missed to follow up op, but The-Cultre assembly arrays were destroyed.

Towers Still Give Kill Mails

In the age of Fozzie Sov, with jump fatigue, Entosis Link “warfare,” unrest in large sections of null sec, and updates every six week…  just listed them all out and on about half of them my brain was, “Oh yeah, that one, I remember it now”… there is a certain comfort in the fact that you can still go shoot a player owned starbase, or POS, in the same old way to which we’ve grown accustomed.

Not that I have any particular love for POS shoots.  But they have remained a staple of null sec… and low sec… operations throughout my time out there.  My first big fleet op in null, nearly four years back, was a POS shoot and included my first kill mail (it is interesting to see who of the 561 pilots on that kill mail I recognize as active today; The Mittani is in there), and I have been on many more since then.

Attack on the last tower

Shooting a White Noise POS in December 2011

And they do give kill mails, which can be a surprising draw.

Shooting a POS September 2015

Shooting a POS in September 2015

You can debate kill mails and what they mean and how we should count them or score them or flaunt them or ignore them, but people like them all the same.  A ping for a fleet that just says “POS shoot” will earn groans… and command is aware of that, so they never say “POS shoot” in a ping unless it will be a kill.  If they add that, then people will pile in.

A kill mail is surprisingly important to people.  I do not know anybody who talks about the quantity, or even the quality, or their kill mails.  Aside from the occasional amusing one… I hope they didn’t spend all of Gevlon’s money on that… that gets shared around, they don’t get talked about a lot where I fly.  Yet getting one is still a big deal.  I think it is more a matter of recording a moment of time where you were in space and in a fight and making a difference.  Even in a fight you lose, it is cheering to be able to have drawn a little bit of blood from a foe.  I try to get on at least one kill mail every month as something of a heart beat to prove I am still alive in the game.  This can be tough because I usually fly logi, but I keep a combat drone handy just in case.  Again, kill mails are important to me for a somewhat oblique reason.

And the absence of kill mails is something which people have pointed at as a flaw of Fozzie Sov.  While sitting around and shooting ihubs, TCUs, and SBUs, is a thing of the past, so are the kill mails for those items.  Instead, somebody in an interceptor waves their magic Fozzie laser over a thing while the rest of the fleet stands guard.  It saves on ammo, but we still have to hang around, and it isn’t any more exciting if the other side fails to show… and the other side usually fails to show.

But we still have towers.  The graphics have been updated and some of the details have changed, but a POS shot today isn’t much different that a POS shot back in 2011.  Everybody gets on grid, the defenses, if there are any, get shot offline, then everybody shoots the stick… the control tower, the central structure for a POS… and hopes that the defenders didn’t bother to fuel it up with Strontium Clathrates.  If the defender has, the tower will go into a reinforced mode and we’ll all have to come back when the timer runs down if we want a kill mail.

A tower timer is supposed to allow both sides to be able to prepare for a fight.

But if the defender has neglected to “stront” their tower… and the attacker doesn’t know the status on that until the tower shields get down below the 25% mark… it is possible you’re going to get a kill mail tonight.

And that is what the Reavers have been up to of late, shooting towers, setting timers, hoping that the owner forgot to fuel up, and getting the occasional fight, all in the chaos of Fountain.

We’ve been there for a while now, which if you follow kill mails of known jacket pals… kill mails are intel amongst other things… and care about what we’re up to you could have figured out, so I suppose this is safe to write about now.  I try to balance operational security with my desire to record what I have been doing.

Yes, back to Fountain, which is probably just behind Delve and Querious when it comes to null sec regions where I have never lived yet have spent a lot of time flying in and through.  And, as was pointed out on a fleet the other night, Fountain also seems to be the breaker of alliances.  People who live in and own space in Fountain seem to head to low sec or crumble.  TEST, Brave, Fatal Ascension, and most recently Black Legion have all lived there and ended up being changed by the experience.  I think only LAWN came out of the region unscathed, and that was likely because the LAWN gnomes felt at home in a region with constellations named after things like unicorns and griffons.  Mythical creature solidarity.

Is it the region or the people it attracts that does this?

Anyway, the region is, as noted, now in a state of some chaos with Black Legion’s sovereignty being picked up by a range of successor groups, including an alliance named, perhaps a moment of hubris, The-Culture.  Love the reference, but can they live up to that name?

The Balkanization of Fountain

The Balkanization of Fountain

So the region, which also remains convenient to home, has become a place to blow up some towers and, as noted, look for the occasional fight. (Map clipping from the usual source.)

A tower goes down

A tower goes down

One of the oddities of alliances coming to the edge of collapse in the region is that it is fairly valuable space.  The ratting is good and we invaded the place back 2013 for the stated reason of taking the moon income. (There is my timeline of the Fountain War for those interested in reliving the “good old days.”)  So it is a place worth holding.  We will see who ends up with it in a few months I suppose.

In the mean time, there is no point in not exploiting a few of the better moons.

Putting up a tower in Fountain

Putting up a tower in Fountain

That will generate some income… or at least attract hostiles for fights.  Plus it “feels” like EVE Online as we know/knew it, shooting something out in space with the possibility of danger lurking.  And it gives us something to do besides watching the comedy of Northern Coalition, who wants fights, and who has teamed up with Mordus Angels, who clearly does not want fights, trying to coordinate together to do something in Imperium space.  They make a timer and call it ~content~.  And so it goes in the New Eden of Fozzie Sov.

Finally, on a side note, Reavers chief Asher Elias has started a podcast to talk about null sec and ships and doctrines and getting fights and has posted the first episode over at SoundCloud, with the first guest being Ron Mexxico of Pandemic Legion.

Doing the Null Sec Shuffle

The pre-Fozzie Sov re-alignment of New Eden continues apace.  If you look at the Null Sec Player Influence Maps site you can see changes on the map daily.  Black Legion has taken a big chunk of Fountain, the Northern Associates rental empire has all but disappeared from the map, and, likewise, The Imperium’s Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere rental space is rapidly shrinking down to nothing.

Over at DOTLAN EVE Maps you can see various alliances swapping, gaining, or dropping sovereignty.  Even CCP’s lore focused videos from The Scope has commented on the changes and possible power vacuum in null sec as the empires align themselves.

Up in the north, in the seven regions of The Imperium, the sovereignty shuffle is well under way.  The Initiative has set up shop up in Tenal.  LAWN just took over sovereignty in the Vale of the Silent, while Bastion soaked up the rest of the region.  My own corp and alliance is slated to head south from our long held home in Deklein to the Tribute region, space we took back during the Tribute War in late 2012.  I was there for that!

For me that means moving a lot of stuff I have accumulated over the last four years.  It is amazing how much stuff starts to collect in you hangar.  So I took my reactivated alt account and set him up to be a cyno monkey and got out my Archon to move some ships down to Tribute.

Archon... landing too far from the station...

Archon… landing too far from the station…

Here is where the Phoebe expansion changes rankle a bit.  First there is jump fatigue and the jump activation timer, which means waiting between jumps in the carrier as well as effectively limiting the number of jumps I can make in an evening.  That part isn’t so bad.  I can wait.  And I don’t want to spend all night moving stuff in any case.

Jump Fatigue timer counting down...

Jump timer counting down…

But then there is the second part of the Phoebe change, which limited jump range of capital ships.  Pre-Phoebe, having trained up Jump Drive Calibration to 5, my Archon could have made the jump from our old staging to our new in one go.  Now, with the 5 light year cap, it is three jumps.  So there was a bit more work for me, getting my cyno placed and then jumping the carrier in and docking up in one station after another.  You adapt to the game at hand, and fortunately I was able to get most of the ships I wanted to bring south into the Archon for one run.

The rest of the ships were a bit scattered.  But I managed to get them down safe, including some of the fat targets.

A Notcis on the go is easy mean

A Notcis on the go is easy meat

Moving stuff down was a bit easier.  There is a convenient jump bridge that goes most of the way down and haulers get a break on the amount of jump fatigue incurred.

Heading down in a Crane

Heading down in a Crane

After I got myself setup in the new staging, I started trying to reel in some of the more scattered ships I have strewn about null sec, starting with that Harpy I left in Fountain.  We still hold the staging system at 4-EP12, but as I mentioned above, Black Legion has moved into the area in a big way.

The route out of Fountain is through Black Legion space now

The route out of Fountain is through Black Legion space now

I figured with the Harpy I had a chance making a run for home through their space.  So I undocked and took the direct route to B-DBYQ and Cloud Ring, where I could again use the jump bridge network to at least shorten my route home.

The last Harpy out of Fountain

The last Harpy out of Fountain

Fortunately, Black Legion seemed to have business elsewhere.  I zipped through the few systems, some very familiar to me still from the war two years back.

I remember fighting TEST here...

I remember fighting TEST here…

In Cloud Ring I picked up the jump bridge network as planned.  It was later in the evening on the West coast, so it seemed good odds that I would have a smooth trip from there, with just a few waits on jump activation timers before I could log off and let that Jump Fatigue wear off while I slept.

However, trouble found me where it often does, in  W-4NUU, a system I had to pass through on the route, and one that is adjacent to low sec, so which is easy for random people to camp.

I came through the gate into the system only to see a couple neutrals in local, which included a Garmur on the gate just waiting for me to break cloak.  Since I have found that my best odds in solo PvP drastically improve when I don’t fire my guns, I decided to just burn for the gate and head back the way I came.

As soon as I broke cloak and lit my afterburner the Garmur started locking me up.  He had me webbed and scrammed and was firing on me by the time I got into range of the gate, but that just meant I could jump through while he would have to wait a minute for his aggression timer to run down.  However, while he was shooting, his partner in crime uncloaked and declined to open fire, following me through the gate in an Ishtar.  Once through the gate and half a step ahead, I knew I could outrun the Ishtar.  I think he was just hoping to get lucky on the other side of the gate, that I might hang around.

Instead I headed for the alternate jump bridge route, which would actually bring me closer to our new alliance staging system.  However, there was an issue.  When you land on a jump bridge, you expect to see something like this:

A jump bridge module, ready to send you 5 ly down the road

A jump bridge module, ready to send you 5 ly down the road

Instead, when I landed at the POS on the alternate route, I found this.

A jump bridge still in its shipping container

A jump bridge module still in its shipping container

The jump bridge I was expecting to find was unanchored and just hanging in space in the box it came in, waiting for some good soul from GSOL to set it up… or take it away… one or the other.  So no jump bridge route down to Tribute.  Still, I wasn’t all that far from Deklein, so I just headed up and through fade, waving to the Space Monkeys as I passed through their staging system, and on into our old home.  One more ship back in the seven regions.

And while that was going on, there was a ping for a Reavers op.  Having used my jump clone recently, Wilhelm wasn’t going to be able to get down there.  But my alt was available, had a clone not too far away from our staging system in Querious, and could fly the Ishtar fit that the Reavers favor, so off he went.

The war down there has been carrying on, with Darkness taking back a bunch of systems.  But we still hold ED-L9T and have gone back to our more normal mode of operation, avoiding stand-up fights unless we have the numbers, docking up when we don’t, and shooting structures and setting timers whenever we can just to be annoying.

Foothold in Querious

Foothold in Querious

All that is more difficult without a second front to draw the enemy away, but we have cut deals with a number of the locals who got screwed over by N3, so we have some support.

I have been busy up north so I have been missing out on some of the bigger Reavers ops.  Last time I was down in Querious we got slaughtered, but recently we have had some wins with our allies down there.  I was a day late for our last big win, and that apparently but Darkness in a down mood as they declined to come out to play.  That was a shame because a group from Karma Fleet took a wormhole down to join in the fun.  They were all in frigate and were sent to go sit on the Darkness undock and taunt them while we went about our business.  We shot one of their towers, saved one of ours, and planned what to do next time around.  I have a few screen shots from that, though nothing terribly exciting.

And so the null sec churns and I fly all over the place as we all wait for the big sovereignty changes to finally hit.