Tag Archives: Goon Expeditionary Force

Structure Shoots in Venal

I kind of enjoy shooting structures in EVE Online.  That probably has some roots in the early Reavers operations where, deep in hostile space, we would fly around and shoot towers to see if we could get the locals to respond.  Structures are conflict points, places that you can force your foes to come and defend… unless they didn’t want that structure anyway.

And given that we are out in Venal, which is NPC null sec, structures are all the more important as both sides are a ways from home.

A Pandemic Horde Astrahus – A likely target

There has also been a variety of fleets to roll out with.  I flew down in a Jackdaw, which is a staple doctrine for the coalition, and I had a chance to use that from pretty much the moment we arrived.

It is always good when the FC calls for sniper mode

There are also the torp bomber operations, a staple of the coalition since the Fountain War back in 2013.  With a black ops in support they can be bridged out to a target without all that messy mucking around taking gates everywhere.

Bridge up, time to jump!

Once out at the target even a modest fleet of bombers has enough firepower to hit the damage cap smaller Upwell structures, so they can be used for any timer stages.  With only three launchers, a couple thousand torpedoes in the cargo hold will last for a few shoots.

Torpedoes flying

While stealth bombers are easy enough to kill, if hostiles show up they can just cloak up and fade away if the opposing force is too big to handle.  And if they don’t show up, we set the timer or get the kill.

Previously pictured PH Astrahus

In addition to those old standbys, and the Sacrilege doctrine I mentioned last week, we have a new fleet doctrine just for this deployment based around the Typhoon battleship hull.  We have been north with Typhoons before, as during the Hakonen deployment.  Being cheap and easy to fit for line members, they are back again and represent the ships of the line for fighting PanFam and their battlecruiser doctrine.

A Deacon logi ship in with the Typhoons

When we heard that the hostiles are forming up to fight us over a timer it is time for the Typhoons to assemble.  If we get numbers things tend to go fairly well for us.

For Typhoons I decided to fly with the logi wing, which means a Thalia or a Deacon.  The Deacon is preferred, being cap stable, and only looks a bit like the sorting hat trying to consume a horn of plenty.

Of course, I stuck a combat drone in its drone bay so I can tag targets when things are quiet, though things are generally only quiet when we’re shooting structures and the hostiles don’t show up.

Another structure down

And so it goes.  The deployment so far has been pretty good.  Most evenings when I have some time and a desire to log in there has been a fleet running that I can get into.  And things have been pretty active overall.  My momentary jump to the top of the KarmaFleet kill board has since been thoroughly eclipsed, showing that there have been fights happening.

Given the situation out in Venal, things could stay active for quite a while.  Both sides seem to want fights and there are a lot of structures out there as yet untouched.

That Athanor needs to be hit before the moon chunk is ready

Structures keep things going.

I Burst to the Top of the Chart

I’ve barely been in KarmaFleet for a week and I’ve already made it to the top of their list on zKill.  What a success story!

Feb 4, 2020 – 04:30 UTC

How did that happen?  Did I suddenly get good at EVE Online?

No, of course not.  As with many things, I happened to be in the right place at the right time.

The deployment northward has taken us into Venal where we have begun to fight with PanFam and Fraternity who were previously pushing up against Dead Coalition in our old homeland.  Now both sides are busy shooting each other structures and fighting when timers hit, which is just how things are meant to go.

A fight was brewing over a Raitaru that we had dropped and pings had gone out for a fleet based around a new Sacrilege doctrine.  I didn’t have one of those to hand, having only brought along a Jackdaw on the move op, and I wasn’t too sure I wanted to invest in a half a billion ISK ship at the moment.  I suppose I could have logged in and checked contracts for the logi ships that go with the doctrine, which were no doubt cheaper, but I was on the fence about even logging in.

And then there was a ping from Kun’mi with a call for a few people for a special task… and ships would be handed out.  I’m always keen for an op where I can lose somebody else’s ship.  I logged in, got in his fleet, and opened up a trade to get one of the ships.

It was a Malediction interceptor fitted to be quick and agile with the sole purpose of landing in the middle of hostiles in order to set off an ECM burst to break all of their target locks.  Our job was to go out and sit on a perch away from the battle, aligned towards it, and have Kun’mi fleet warp us onto the hostiles when things looked ripe.  We would land on them, align ourselves to warp off, set off the ECM burst, and warp away.

Aligned towards the fight and ready to be warped

If this sound vaguely familiar, it was because I was in a similar fleet during the Hakonen deployment back in late 2017.  During those battles we were using cheaper Atron frigates with ECM bursts fitted.

My ECM burst Atron swoops down upon the foe

We were able to get away with the T1 ships there because those fights were in low sec, so there were no warp disruption bubbles present.  Now, up in Venal, we cannot just be fast and have warp stabs fit, we also have to get through the the thick of the fight with fleets locked down in interdictor bubbles, which means using fleet interceptors which are not constrained by those bubbles, or any bubbles, in null sec space.

Warp bubbles don’t scare me

So we got on our perch and Kun’mi flung us at the hostiles over and over and his am was often good and true.  I would land and set off my ECM burst to be rewarded with a long list of targets affected zipping by on my screen.

And, as it goes, I was then marked for everybody who I reached out and touched with those busts of ECM, so when any of them were blown up I got on the kill mail, as did any of the other interceptors that were on this op.  That got me on 91 kill mails over the course of about 30 minutes.

It seemed like less time than that, and we were under tidi for much of the time (as well as the additional lag from whatever is going on with the game still this week), so it wasn’t a huge number of runs for us.

Of course, not all of those 91 kill mails were hostiles.  The ECM burst knows no friends and its effects hit everybody within range when it goes off.  So my kill board for the evening looks… very blue in stretches, like this sample.

I got some hostiles on there!

That Legion of Zintage’s is my most valuable kill mail at the moment, followed by the Zarmazds I managed to hit.  Ooops.  But I did get on some good targets, though I think the Pandemic Horde players in rookie ships… like the Impairor and the Reaper… were my favorites.  They both ate several ECM bursts, then were killed by a bombing run by their own side.

Lots of blue on blue action that night.

The battle itself though, that did not go our way, as the battle report indicates.

Battle report header

We were, if nothing else, down in strength compared to the hostiles.  The core of our fleet were the Sacrileges, and we lost 48 our of 74 counted, while the PanFam core was  135 Muninns, and they only lost one of those, though we did rack up a decent count of their logi.  But that wasn’t enough.

So the battle ended as the Raitaru at its center was destroyed.  Our fleet wrapped up and I warped to one of the other structures we had in system to use the tether to repair some armor damage I had taken when we landed in the midst of somebody’s bombing run.  Then I docked up and returned the ship.  The little ECM burst fleet was otherwise unscathed, save for one that was blown up by NPCs.  As such it did not make it on the battle report.

A while after that we went and hit a hostile Astrahus when its armor timer came up.

An Astrahus goes that color when you reinforce it

Also, since I wrote this I have been passed on the KarmaFleet list on zKill.  At least the lead was taken by somebody who was in the Sacrilege fleet.

Fleets in Motion

It wasn’t a surprise that the coalition packed up and started deploying north on Saturday.  It had been hinted at… more than hinted at, there were pings that said we were going on the road somewhere after the weekly fireside and a Jabber channel had been created for the move to match up people with things to move with people with free space in their capitals… for the last week or so.

There was even a new SIG created to serve as the umbrella organization for those wishing to deploy.  Open to everybody in the coalition… no vouch required… the new group is called the Goon Expeditionary Force.  There is, or course, work on forum bees to represent the new group.

Two leading candidates

The acronym is GEF and it is pronounced “Jeff.”  That could indicate where Imperium leadership stands on the “GIF” pronunciation conflict.

You might ask what the purpose of a SIG is that pretty much has no barrier to entry.  I suspect it is really just an opt-in for pings related to deployments.  There is back end work already done to make SIG-only pings and there has long been a minor issue of “all all” pings going out and having people not deployed joining fleets from back in Delve.  That is my theory in any case.

There was, however, some worry about getting the whole thing off the ground.  There is a war going on  in the north, with PanFam lurching out from Malpais towards Darkness and Dead Coalition territory, which has meant fights in Venal and Deklein.   We just had to get there, but the game… the game has been having problems for a week now.

CCP was saying it was a DDoS attack early on, then switched to “network issues” as apparently you’re not supposed to give your attack the satisfaction of acknowledging an attack.  I’m not sure that works if you change stories mid-week.  Either way, a lot of people, especially those more distant from the London data center, have been getting this message when logging in.

Never a good sign

On the upside for some people, myself included, if you dismiss this error and click the “connect” button that is at the bottom of the client you end up in the game all the same.  CCP was even tweeting about that:

There was some talk on the fireside about using a VPN client to get around the problem.  People reported that with a VPN service that lets you set your connection to be as though you were in London (Express VPN was mentioned) seemed to make things better for some people.  Asher, who had been unable to connect before, was able to get in via VPN.

Of course, this being CCP, getting connected didn’t fix all problems.  Even if you could get into the game there seemed to be a 50/50 chance of chat working for you.

I saw this a lot

I had two clients running and one got connected to the chat server and the other consistently failed.  And, even when connected, things were not right.  You know something is up where local shows less people listed than you see in the station list with you. (Or when you log an alt into Jita and see just 75 people in local.)  I suppose you could estimate how many people were failing to get into the chat server by comparing the fleet chat number with the member count in the fleet window itself.

Anyway, the problems were annoying, but enough people were able to get in to make our own lurch northward a viable proposition.  So the move op commenced.

What can I say about a move op that I haven’t said already?  Lots of ships… multiple fleets, both capitals and sub caps (but no supers)… moving north along the Eye of Terror as we have done many times before.  I know the systems almost by heart.  So it is gates and jump bridges and time dilation and waiting around for other groups to catch up.

Also, alliance logos on structures not loading… put that on the list

The item of note for the operation was probably the fact that, in the name of speeding up the move, the capital fleet was shoved through Ansiblex jump gates just like the sub caps.

Dreads jumping through with the sub caps

GSOL said they could keep the Ansiblex jump gates fueled as we moved north, at least until we got to the edge of their domain.  So the capital ships were not delayed by jump timers or jump fatigue until we were into Cloud Ring.  GSOL seemed to be up to the job, though there were a couple of points where there was a bit of a wait for an Ansiblex refuel.

After that it was jumping as usual for the caps, though the sub caps were able  to use the Eye of Terror a bit further along.  Eventually though even we were gating our way deeper into the north, through old familiar systems from when we used to live in there.

Sub cap fleet landing at another gate

One amusing thing did come up unique to this move op.  I mentioned the Jabber channel that was created up at the top.  The name of the channel was “Geffrey.”  However, some PanFam spies apparently mis-understood the idea of the channel and thought the Imperium was using an in game channel with that name, so joined it… created it by joining it then joined it… and spent some time talking to each other about how we apparently can’t setup in game channels with the right permissions.

This got around so some people in our fleet joined the channel to troll and post memes.  I would have joined but the chat server was having none of it.  It seemed to think that because I had been allowed into the fleet channel and local that I had enough channels and could live with those.

Anyway, laughs were had.

And the move op concluded successfully without anything much to report.  We’re now working out of an NPC station in the north.

Our deployment home

We shall see if the game stays stable enough for us to do much up there.  Even when connected successfully I have seen quite a bit of lag when it comes to responding to commands.  A small op I went on yesterday afternoon was somewhat spoiled by the fact that people’s clients seemed to be working on their own timeline leading people to warp, bubble, shoot, or whatever in dribs and drabs rather than as a group.  CCP has some work to do here still.

Addendum: There is a forum thread tracking the three main issues the game is experiencing now (connections, chat, and lag) if you want to see the current status.  CCP is updating it as things evolve.