Tag Archives: Immensea

30 Weeks of World War Bee

After a couple weeks of what one might describe as malaise on the part of PAPI, they finally came back strong this past week, taking advantage once again of their overwhelming numbers.

The big news for the week was probably the M2-XFE titan breakout.  After several feints and aborted attempts, PAPI finally committed to freeing their titans and went all in on it just after downtime on the 27th.  It was a costly operation for PAPI, which sacrificed more than 2 trillion ISK in losses… an amount made up largely of 400+ destroyed dreadnoughts… as the battle report shows.

Battle Report Header

But they managed to extract ~170 of their trapped titans, losing only 6 along the way, leaving 130 or so still in M2-XFE.  That can only count as a significant morale win for PAPI as they now have that many more titans to bring to bear if the situation calls for it.  The remaining titans are estimated to belong to the following groups:

  • Test Alliance Please Ignore – 47
  • Pandemic Horde – 39
  • Northern Coalition – 29
  • Brave Collective – 9
  • The Army of Mango Alliance – 8
  • Evictus – 2
  • Already Replaced – 2
  • Eternal Requiem – 1
  • Sev3rance – 1
  • VENI VIDI VICI – 1
  • Federation Uprising – 1
  • Fraternity – 1

PC Gamer’s Steven Messner wrote an article about the M2-XFE situation and the breakout which even mentions me briefly. (Wish he’d linked to the blog and not just the image, but whatever.)

The breakout coincided with a noticeable rise in participation on the part of PAPI pilots, demonstrating the morale boost the escape has given them.

Delve Front

Delve was far and away the most active area of the war, as one might expect.  After allowing the Imperium to push back some of their gains, the resurgent PAPI began successfully defending ihubs in the region.  One of those was in the system 1-SMEB, where PAPI was able to put up cyno jammers successfully and destroy the Keepstar there without opposition.

They also began to put in a lot of effort retake ihubs in Delve that the Imperium had snatched back.  They have been keen to get ihubs in systems with Keepstars and have been especially invested in reinforcing the ihub in M2-XFE, no doubt to keep their remaining trapped titans from having to extract from under a cyno jammer in another ten days.  After failing on the 28th, managed to secure the grid and reinforce the ihub on the 29th by dropping carriers to support entosis faxes on the ihub, finally claiming it after almost an hour over overtime in the contest.

Battle for the ihub in M2-XFE

That led to another battle yesterday over the ihub, one that ground on for hours because of Fozzie Sov and the fact that the RNG put multiple nodes in the M2-XFE system, which meant that a couple hours went by before even a single node was hacked by either side.  But, after the long tidi grind, PAPI numbers won the contest and now their trapped titans need no longer fear the looming cyno jammers in the system.  Looking at the battle report, compared to some other battles in this war, the cost seemed not so bad.  I supposed when you consider a quarter trillion ISK destroyed and nearly 1,500 kill mails “not so bad” you might be a bit jaded.

That leaves the ihub balance in the region looking like this.

Delve – Jan 31, 2021

PAPI has pushed back and taken ihubs in Keepstar systems.  If they can keep up their numbers advantage it seems likely that we will lose all of those Keepstars.

Also, we now have two metaliminal storms running through Delve, both of which found their way in through the same door.  Given the breadth of null sec, ending up with two such storms in the primary theater of operations… well, if I were a more suspicious person I might think CCP was pushing the RNG just to see what would happen.  They created the feature, no doubt somebody there wants to see how it might affect the war.

Other Theaters

I am demoting Catch to the “other theaters” category, not because of a lack of action there but because it most of the focus is on Delve while Catch is now in there with Esoteria and Immensea and other PAPI backfield regions that are under attack from specific Imperium groups.

In Catch The Initiative has been setting up in U-QVWD, dropping its own structures and sieging  the Legacy Coalition structures located there.

Catch – Jan 31, 2021

Near the connection to Querious Imperium and allied forces have continued to attack ihubs in order to force Legacy to respond.  Operations in Catch have spilled over to the neighboring region of Immensea, where ihubs have started to fall as well.

Immensea – Jan 31, 2021

Meanwhile, the metaliminal storm that had been hanging around in the region took the exit to Stain and is now meandering there.

Over in Querious the dead lands in the east remain unoccupied as neither side has any interest in dropping any further ihubs there it seems.

Querious – Jan 31, 2021

The metaliminal storm that came in from Catch has now moved on into Delve, as noted above.  An incursion has also shown up in one of the eastern constellations.  We shall see if anybody can be bothered to try and fight it.

And, finally, I am going to re-run the same Estoteria map again.

Northwest Esoteria – Jan 31, 2021

The ihub ownership has not changed despit some action over structures in the region.

And up in the north, a small unaligned group operating under the name Freemen of the North has been using the war as an opportunity to assail Fraternity, which has a large number of players back in the home space ratting and mining according to the MER.

My Participation

I did not get into many of the big fights over the past week as a lot of the action was happening in EUTZ.  Downtime is at 11:00 UT, 5am my time, which pretty much guarantees I am asleep when it passes.  But that is when a lot of the action around M2 occurs.  I did get into the big siege of the M2 ihub on Friday with two characters at different times.  At the end, during the “overtime” period, I flew in some ECM burst interceptors to try and help break the locks that hackers had on the ihub.  That ended up costing me three Maledictions, so my losses for the war are now:

  • Ares interceptor – 15
  • Malediction interceptor – 7
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Scimitar logi – 3
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 3
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

The Imperium finished issuing shares related to the war bond sales.  The UI for handling shares has been unsurprisingly described as “clunky.”  I now have my five shares.  The first dividend payment is due today.

Visible in my wallet

CCP CEO Hilmar Petursson participated in the Venture Beat’s Into the Metaverse summit, speaking about EVE Online.  He tried to jump on the GameStop frenzy by claiming that New Eden faces market manipulation as well, though he apparently couldn’t sight any examples. (pssst: the ice interdiction or Hulkageddon would have done)  He also said that EVE Online added 1.3 million players in 2020, for specific definitions of “added” no doubt.  The online user count certainly doesn’t seem to reflect much in the way of a dramatic influx of users.  But he also didn’t mention how many of them logged in once and never returned, which is the usual problem with the game.

Still, while we’re nowhere close to the record peak users of 2013, this past week did see numbers rise on Sunday at the prime time when both EUTZ and USTZ overlap.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)
  • Week 28 – 34,713
  • Week 29 – 35,996
  • Week 30 – 38,323

Related

24 Weeks of World War Bee

We are at week 24 of the war proper, having started officially back on July 5th, but it has been a full six months since the invaders were caught out in their plans and the two week count down to the start began, so I am celebrating six months of writing about World War Bee.  Compare that to the Fountain War back in 2013, which covered just two months, or the Casino War, which started in earnest in February 2016, had us in Saranen by mid April, and in Delve come July.  And we’re not done yet.

This week saw an address by Progodlegend to Legacy and TEST where he both said the war was pretty much a foregone conclusion and that we will all soon begin to abandon the Imperium.  The Initiative attacking in Catch was held up as a prime example of the Imperium collapsing.  Once the war is over Legacy will lay claim to both its old territory, such Esoteria, which they previously said they were abandoning for Delve, as well as Delve, Querious, Period Basis.

Basically, all they need to do is wrap up the Imperium pockets in 1DQ1-A and E3OI-U and they’re done, the war is over.  Those will be the last big fights of the war.  The timeline for that, however, is fairly vague.  Progodlegend says the will come very soon at one point and maybe in  a couple more months elsewhere.  Goons being driven from the game is assumed in there somewhere.

Pandemic Horde had a town hall meeting last week as well, where they distanced themselves from the Vily message of driving Goons from the game.  They are just in it to damage the Imperium economically.  They seem less patient when it comes to assaulting 1DQ1-A and E3OI-U, suggesting if the current strategy wasn’t working in the first few weeks of December that they might try something different.  Also, the second pass on Fountain has been seen to be something of a wasted effort which will likely not continue.

On the comedy front, there was this 5.3 billion ISK Vince Draken pod that got caught trying to slip through Delve in a covert ops frigate.

Delve Front

The Delve front saw quite a bit of action.  Also, that metaliminal storm has found its way into NPC Delve, keeping people from cloaking in the systems marked around it.

Delve – Dec. 20, 2020

The Imperium strategy of retaking ihubs before the 35 timer runs down and allows PAPI to cyno jam the system has not been working out for us.  We were not able to retake the ihub for NOL-M9 as they were able to put many more people on the field to defend it that we would manage.  NOL-M9 now has a cyno jammer setup and the Keepstar there seems likely to be destroyed this week.

PAPI titans at the armor timer shoot

A similar fate seems likely for the Keepstar in D-W7F0, where PAPI also holds the ihub.

The strategy, or that aspect of it which I can see, appears to have moved to preventing enotsis ops on the ihubs that remain in our hands where Keepstars remain.  This had led to a number of fierce skirmishes, like the ones that have happened around 5-CQDA.

Battle Report Header

The other twist that has been coming up more recently is forcing PAPI to choose between objectives.  PAPI can put enough pilots in Delve to force an objective there, but a simultaneous timer elsewhere, like Catch, will be lost because they had to make the choice.

Catch Front

This week I am elevating the Catch region to have its own category as it remains the most active theater outside of Delve and is the place where Legacy is being forced to make choices.

Legacy came back and reinforced the staging Fortizar of The Initiative, but were distracted by a Delve objective that allowed The Initiative to put down a backup Fortizar in their staging in 0SHT-A.  The odd thing was that, when the final timer came up for the original Fortizar, Legacy started to commit to it, lost a bunch of ships to The Initiative, then stood down, losing both the objective and the ISK war.

That left The Initiative with two Fortizars in 0SHT-A after the fight.

Meanwhile, ihubs in Catch, and even next door in Immensea, have been falling.  We took the DY-P7Q ihub and then blew up the no longer operational Ansiblex jump gate and Pharolux cyno beacon on the grid with the Keepstar anchored there.

The Ansiblex blowing up, taking over a billion ISK in fuel with it

The Initiative now holds the ihub and TCU for HED-GP, the gateway system into the region from high sec.

And, as Progodlegend said, Imperium SIGs have been active in Catch as well.  Asher, accused of abandoning the war to hide in Catch, had gathered up the Reavers SIG to deploy out to 0SHT-A along with The Initiative, so I have been out there some myself.  We have been shooting structures… like the two above… as well as doing some of our own entosis work.  Not bad for a “30 man SIG.”  (We have Dawn Rhea of Theta Thursdays with us as well, so add at least one woman to the total.)

Popping a node during an entosis event

Things do not look so bad for Legacy when you look at the map of Catch right now.

Catch – Dec. 20, 2020

They have taken back some ihubs, including the one at 4-07MU, which connects to Querious.  But having lost them, they have to wait 35 days after restoring them before they can install Ansiblex jump gates to restore their easy travel routes.  Instead they either have to gate, use titan bridges, or jump clone between Delve and Catch.

Furthermore, rumor has it that The Watchmen alliance, which holds a large section of Catch for Legacy, is about to fold up shop and disband.  That would set quite a few systems back to the 35 day clock before they can be used for travel infrastructure.

Other Theaters

Despite Progodlegend declaring the Esoteria efforts a failure, citing The Initiative’s move to Catch as evidence, the groups remaining down there, The Bastion, Ferrata Victrix, and the Stain Russians who hate TEST, have continued to make a nuisance of themselves.  They have pushed back on The Army of Mango’s attempt to assert itself in the region and have expanded to hacking new systems.

NW Esoteria – Dec. 20, 2020

Then there is Querious, which is largely a dead zone as both sides have tired of planting new ihubs in the region.

Querious – Dec. 20, 2020

A range of systems remain empty while those still occupied by Brave continue to be assailed, meaning Brave has to deal with entosis events both here and in Catch.

And then in Fountain, as noted above, the PAPI invasion has pretty much ceased, with NCDot left holding a single ihub in LBGI-2 for now.

My Participation

I was able to jump in on a few ops, including two fights in 5-CQDA, including the one mentioned above.  I was also off on a few side missions over in Catch.  I ended up losing a few ships, including two Malediction interceptors that were used for burst jamming in one fight (the hostiles love that), a Scimitar in another fight, an Atron entosis frigate, and a Drake.

Probably the most amusing fight was in Catch on Saturday night when we landed on a gate with a Maller gang fit with smart bombs who were looking for ESS banks to rob.  We murdered them.

Murder report header

The one ship of ours they got was a Griffin ECM frigate.  Otherwise they were tackled and blown up.  In that quick clash I somehow managed to get the final blow on five of them with my sentry drones, which gave me a nice little line of five kill marks on my Ishtar.

5 orange kill marks in the upper left on my Blaze SKIN Ishtar

I do not think I have ever had a hull last long enough to earn five kill marks.

Anyway, my losses for the war so far now are as follows:

  • Ares interceptor – 12
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Malediction interceptor – 4
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 2
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Scimitar logi – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

CCP did a Fireside Chat on Twitch with CCP Burger and CCP Hellmar where they mentioned, among other things, that more than 1.9 million new players had logged into EVE Online in 2020, a number greater than the previous three years combined.

That seems like amazing news, though the fact that the online numbers peaked back in April and have been slowly sliding down as the year has begun to fade suggests that CCP has not solved the player retention problem they brought up at EVE North back in 2019.

The CSM 14 summit meeting minutes had a list of priorities that were:

  1. Stop the bleeding
  2. Fix the stupid
  3. Excite and teach
  4. Incentivize return

It feels like they haven’t really addressed the first point yet as 1.9 million people have poured into the game this year and apparently right back out again.  This number of new players was so huge that I had to check to see if they were including EVE Echoes in their count, but EVE Echoes has claimed more than 2 million players on its own, so I couldn’t tell you where those 1.9 million went.

And that brings us to this week’s peak concurrent user number, which was down again.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)

That is now the low water mark for the war, with even the holiday events and the Luminaire snowball fight failing to entice people into the game.

Related

FCON Shows Up in Immensea

One headline from the litany of bad news for The Imperium last week was about Fidelas Constans, or FCON, leaving the coalition.  While they gave a general statement about seeking sovereignty somewhere else, no details were immediately forthcoming.

Down nearly 1,000 since last week

Down nearly 1,000 members since last week

Well, they have popped up on the sovereignty map already.

While the alliances that are part of the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition, including Darkness, The Methodical Alliance, Nerfed Alliance Go Away, and Blades of Grass are busy taking over some of the territory ceded by FCON (and Executive Outcomes) in Branch

Branch - April 19, 2016

Branch – April 19, 2016

…FCON is down in Immensea and Detroid attacking systems from those same alliances, with its flag already planted in a few places.

Immensea - April 19, 2016

Immensea – April 19, 2016

I doubt this is any sort of agreed upon exchange, especially since it looks like everybody besides TMA is contesting at least some of the timers down there.  However, if the GotG coalition is serious about setting up shop in Branch, it is going to be very difficult for them to hold onto territory down south in Immensea if FCON is determined to push into the area.  Of course, we’ll have to see how other residents in the area react to having new neighbors.

Immensea is a distant location for me, though I have been there a few times.  We never ended up in the region for Reavers, but there was a special deployment (including a long flight home), the Halloween war forward staging , and of course, the epic battle of B-R5RB.

An Ibis in Immensea

We had gotten word earlier in the week from our CEO that we needed to go on more fleet ops.  Or, more specifically, that we needed to click on more participation links for fleet ops.  Eight such links a month was the requested amount.

And eight such links for eight such ops wouldn’t be a problem at all for me… if there was a war going on or if the Reavers were deployed behind enemy lines.  I’ve gotten eight over a weekend under the right conditions.

However, there is no war going on currently.  The Reavers are all back in their home systems waiting for orders.  And hanging on a gate with some buddies trying to grab a couple kills via hapless passers by do not count.  You only get participation links for fleets that have been broadcast alliance or coalition-wide over Jabber, are led by an anointed fleet commander, and gets a minimum amount of participation… the number 10 has been bandied about… before before the operation can be given a participation link.

And, honestly, I’ve been a bit busy so far this month (you can tell I’m busy because I start writing about games as opposed to about actually playing games… which usually means I am not playing much…) so that as Sunday hit us, and the promise of a corp meeting, I had zero participation links for the month of March.

So I figured I had better get on that if I didn’t want to be evicted from null sec!

I was online and in coms 2 hours before the corp meeting… because my brain couldn’t quite remember how daylight savings time worked… and I had been doing bad things to my brain the night before.  So I had some trouble working out that “spring forward” meant that EVE Online time… which runs on UTC… would actually be earlier and not later.  It seemed a lot more complicated before I had some caffeine.

Anyway, the meeting was at 19:00 EVE time and there I was logged in and on coms at 17:00 and wondering why nobody was saying anything about the corp meeting.  I probably scared some of my corp mates as I am pretty sure that me being on TNT coms, in the corp channel, when there isn’t a corp meeting or event is one of the harbingers of the apocalypse.  I don’t spend a lot of time playing with my corp.  Anyway, we can now add “or its the start of daylight savings time” to the list of possibilities.

There I was, feeling a bit silly, realizing that the meeting wasn’t for a good two hours, when somebody dropped into our channel asking for more people to join a fleet that had just been broadcast… a fleet I had opted not to join because we had a corp meeting.  Well, I figured I had better get in on that action so I would show up to the meeting with at least one participation link in hand.

The first thing I had to do was get where the fleet was forming up.  I was logged in and sitting in Amarr space in my training implant clone, so it was time for a clone jump.  I paused my training queue… please removed to start and stop training queues in order to clone jump on the list of things to do CCP… and started rummaging through my clones looking for the one in the system closest to the one we were forming up in.  The winner appeared to be the clone I still had sitting in VFK-IV.   The one I actually clicked on however was the clone in XS-K10, at the north end of Immensea, just a couple of jumps from B-R5RB.

Well, I wasn’t going to make that fleet.

I had a clone in XS-K10 because for a brief bit of time we were helping some Russians in their conquest of Northern Associates rental space.  The last time I was down there, The Initiative owned the system.  However, I only ran a few ops there before the Reavers were called up to start hitting things at the other end of NA space in order to provide a distraction.  That apparently did not help enough as The Initiative collapsed and lost their holding in the region.

So there I was in the middle of hostile space with a Basilisk and an Ibis.  I put the Basilisk up for sale on contract at a bargain price so as to at least extract a bit of ISK from a ship I would probably never return to claim and then mounted up the Ibis and set a course for home.

And it looked to be a bit of a trip...

And it looked to be a bit of a trip…

I have developed an aversion to self-destructing.   I would rather risk an impossible run and go out in a blaze of something akin to glory than sit there and watch the self destruct timer run down.  Also, content creation!  So I set my destination and started flying towards home, pretty sure that I would find somebody along the way to speed up the process.  And what the hell, a pod doesn’t cost anything these days, and who cares about losing an Ibis.  I have too many of the damn things sitting around already.

An Ibis loose in Immensea!

An Ibis loose in Immensea!

I made it as far as Catch when I got caught by a drag bubble behind a gate… how does that even work, putting a drag bubble 20km behind your landing point and somehow you get pulled into it, how does the lore explain that… and got popped by a solo camper.  I was afraid I was going to make it all the way to HED-GP before that happened, space in the area being exceedingly bare.

Unfortunately my death clone had been set to XS-K10.  I tried to check that while I was there, but since I couldn’t use station services that was out.  But at least EVE won’t drop you back in a hostile station when you die.  Instead it put me back where my clone was originally set way back in 2006.  It put my at the Caldari Navy Assembly Plant and Jita Planet IV Moon 4.  Jita 4-4, the center of the known universe.

There was a time when that was where the Caldari new player experience dumped you.  Your first real agent was right there at Jita 4-4, which I am going to guess is how that because the most popular station in the entire game. (Also, back then, started a Caldari gave you a leg up with a few combat skills, so it was the default choice for many people.)  I remember when I finally moved away from Jita and set up shop in Hageken.  I felt like I was out in the freakin’ wilderness.

Anyway, I was closer to home and, if nothing else, at a station where I could equip myself for the run back.  I fitted out a Crow because that happened to align best with my skills, undocked safely, as nobody is paying the Marmites to keep us under a declaration of war any more, and continued along the route home.

If I had been thinking, I would have altered my course and gone in via the “safe” route to home, through which I have dragged any number of awkward ships over the years.  Instead I just followed the shortest, most direct route.  After all, I was in an interceptor.  They are invincible, right?

I blew through some familiar low sec names, made it to M-OEE8 and saw that we had the route camped as usual, and headed onward.  Just as I the gate to E-OGL4 was prepping to send me to that system, I saw that a friendly hand in local had written, “Wilhelm Arcturus don’t jump into E-OGL4!”

Well, what trouble could I possibly get into in an interceptor, being determined to fly through as opposed to fight?  I landed in E-OGL4 and held my cloak, but the coast looked clear.  There wasn’t anything on my overview.  So I set myself to jump for the next gate home, breaking cloak and starting to align when suddenly I found myself short a ship.  There were two of those new Svipuls camping the gate and, for whatever reason, not showing up on my overview.  I had best check that.  Anyway, they were set to insta-lock and stripped the Crow right off of my pod which, thankfully, continued the transition to warp and sped off to the next system.

While losing the pod would have cost me nothing, I hadn’t bothered to reset my death clone location yet, so I would have ended up back in Jita.  Instead I was able to carry on.  The next system put me on the jump bridge network and I was able to get a bit deeper into CFC territory where I picked up a siege bomber and flew the rest of the way to my usual home in Deklein, YA0-XJ as my jump fatigue/space ebola started counting down.

That about ate up all the time before our corp meeting.  I had put myself in the AFK channel in TeamSpeak, so I pulled myself back up to the corp channel to listen to the proceedings.

As I was doing that a ping came up for a “quick op” to chase down a hostile carrier close by.  I figured I could get in on that.  It was in our staging system down in QPO-WI.  I grabbed a Harpy, got on Mumble, put myself in the No Chatter channel so I would only hear the FC, since the corp meeting was just starting up as well and I was listening to that at the same time, and flew to QPO. There the FC, Alterair Phoenix, announced that we needed more logistics so I bought a Burst… they cost less than 10 million ISK, which is pretty much a “who cares?” level of pricing… and joined the fleet as we undocked.

My Burst undocking

My Burst undocking

From there we headed out towards the intended targets who were, of course, on the far side of YA0-XJ.  Some times I wonder why I ever leave that system for fleets.  Inevitably I make the run to QPO just to turn around and fly right back to YA0.  It is only a few jumps, so not a big deal, but if just seems amusing.

It turned out that the carrier in question got safe, but we did managed to catch a Triumvirate Ishtar and Cerberus on the gate in E-FICO.  And thanks to somebody loading up the Burst drone bays with a Warrior II I was able to get just enough of a bite on each of those to get on the kill mails.  I don’t need a lot of kill mails, but I like to show up on the boards at least once each month to prove I am still alive.

Orbiting our camp... also, Caroline's Star

Orbiting our camp… also, Caroline’s Star

As that was going on, our CEO listened to concerns about hitting eight participation links during a time of relative peace, so knocked that number down to four for now.  The meeting went on for a bit, focused on our industrial achievements and what might happen come the null sec phase II changes, at which time mining might get the respect it deserves given how it will impact the defense values of systems.  The fleet op wound down and Alterari Phoenix brought us back to QPO, generating a participation link for us.  25% of my monthly minimum in the bag.  And then, almost immediately, another op came up, again under Alterari Phoenix, where we chased some Mordus’ Angels ships around for a while until they buggered off for home, getting me a second participation link.

And that was about the extent of space operations for me on Sunday.  I did remember to reset my death clone before I logged of so I will end up back at home the next time my pod gets popped… and somebody bought the discount Basilisk.  So I have a bit more ISK.

Have Basilisk, Will Travel

And how I will travel.

As I mentioned in my “wait, where am I” new year’s post about EVE Online, I left things strewn about space after the last deployment.  And, with a new deployment promised for this week, I figured I had better get myself together.

Oddly, the new deployment, which was slated as a general admission operation, was going to use the same ships and fits as the Reavers, right down to mobile depots and cloaks and such.  But it was not going to be a Reaver op.

Still, that made things handy.  I had a couple of Reaver fit ships, I just had to get them to the jump off point for the operation.  The not-so-handy part was where they were.  The ship I wanted to fly, a Basilisk logistics cruiser, was way down in the southwest corner of Amarr space, not too far from a jump gate to HED-GP, while the staging point was back up in Deklein.  And I didn’t even have a jump clone in the system where the ship was, because we ended the deployment down there by flying Crucifiers back home as part of a potential DBRB trap that didn’t quite work out.

Also, I left a crucifier parked somewhere...

Also, I left a crucifier parked somewhere…

So I had some flying to do.

And, yes, I could have just bought a new ship.  But I am not exactly overflowing with ISK, being pretty lazy on the income front for the last year or so, and the Basilisk down in Amarr space was still insured.  Waste not, want not, and all that.  So the evening before the deployment I set out to get my Basilisk back home, because there is no minute like the last minute.

The first step was to get jump to the clone nearest the ship.  I was up in YAO and the nearest clone was one jump out of Amarr in Bhizheba.  I have sufficient standing with the Amarr Navy to install jump clones with them in stations that have medical facilities, and Bhizheba is the nearest such facility to the trade hub of Amarr itself.

I jumped there, bought the cheapest shuttle in the station, a Minmatar model, and flew down to Badivefi, where the Basilisk was docked, a quick 19 jump run.

Shuttle run... and Caroline's Star

Shuttle run… and Caroline’s Star

Once there I repackaged the shuttle and listed it on the market for more than I paid for it (and it sold in a couple of hours) and boarded the Basilisk, making sure it was fit for travel, which includes having a cloak, for the journey back to Deklein.  The most direct route back to YA0-XJ is 47 jumps, and pretty much avoids low sec, making the transition to null sec at EC-P8R.

Unfortunately, that is kind of a hot location.  Always a lot of camps, and then the route goes through NPC null in Pure Blind, where lots of not-blue strangers wander about.  That is a bad part of town and you are likely to get mugged.

I chose instead to use my old standby route and slip into Cloud Ring via Black Rise, a 33 jump journey that would get me into null sec, but leave me a long way from my destination.  However, it would put me on the jump bridge route between Deklein and Fountain.  I could take just two jump bridges and land just four jumps from YA0-XJ.  Granted, I would have to wait out the jump timer before I could use the second jump bridge, a 10 minute count down, but I had my cloak so I could just disappear for a bit and go do something else while that problem took care of itself.

The journey itself was uneventful.  The usual Marmite camp in Niarja was looking for fatter targets than I, and while low sec Black Rise is always full of people, they are usually off doing Factional Warfare stuff and have almost no interest in somebody just passing through.  Entering Cloud Ring I found myself pretty much alone.  It is kind of a “fly over” region in CFC space, or so it seems to me, so I used the first jump bridge, traveled to the second, cloaked up for a bit, then used it, landing back amongst the blue where I was able to dock up in YA0-XJ without incident.  I had a bit of jump fatigue, but that would wear off soon enough.

The next evening I got on a little bit before the form-up and took gates from YA0 to the start system, QPO-WI.  I joined the fleet, led by Lazarus Telraven, as soon as it went up.  I got in the logi channel and then the cap chain channel, where Arrendis was running the show, so we were in good hands on that front.  Our ball of Ishtars and Basilisks and assorted other support ships eventually undocked, and the first thing we did was fly back to YA0.

This has happened before.  Sometimes I wonder why I leave the system.

From there we headed west, following approximately the wagon trail to Fountain.  Our final destination had not been given for operational security reasons and every time somebody asked on coms, a new objective was named.  Fountain, Delve, Stain, Catch, Thera, and Providence were all mentioned at various times as we plodded through space, one full fleet of 255 plus a second fleet with another 30 or so traveling along.

Things were, of course, slow.  Travel ops are slow, pushing 280 people through jump gates causes time dilation to kick in, and the FC is hooked into the intel channel and talking to his scouts about the route ahead, so isn’t always sending us to the next system right away.  Plus Laz was also streaming and trying to get a covops past the Marmite camp in Amarr or some such.

Holding up on another gate

Holding up on another gate

We stumbled along for a while, going maybe 20 or so jumps before we were finally pulled up short and told to warp to an individual.  We had reached our wormhole.  This was how we were going to get across space, closer to our eventual destination.

Into the wormhole

Into the wormhole

There seemed to be a question as to whether all 280 of us would make it through the wormhole before it collapsed.  The logi went through first, so in we went.  And on the other side we found ourselves in Thera!

Not much to show for it...

Not much to show for it…

I was actually pretty excited about this.  Thera was the new special wormhole space that was added with the Rhea expansion.  Maybe Thera was our destination?  Maybe we were going to set up shop in here for a while a shoot things.  That seemed like something new and different.

And then we warped to the exit hole.  We were just passing through Thera on our way elsewhere.  But at least I had been there for a visit, even if I only saw the stations on my overview.

Things in Thera

Things in Thera

We passed through the exit wormhole, logi first again, and it went critical as the final ships passed through, and found ourselves in Wicked Creek.  There was a hostile, bubbles were deployed, not much happened.  Par for the course.

You don't get this stuff in low sec

You don’t get this stuff in low sec

From there we continued the slow gate crawl from one destination to another.  At one point Laz got some intel that the way ahead was camped so wanted us to stop a few jumps shy of the original destination he had broadcast.  However, there were two potential paths to where we were headed, and the in-game route finder changed its mind on which path we should take, so that those who set the destination to the new broadcast got one route while those who kept the original destination and just planned to stop at the broadcasted system were set to travel another route.  This meant stopping everything for a while as Laz tried to get us all back in the same location.

The fleet slowly moves forward

The fleet slowly moves forward

Meanwhile, the discussion on coms had turned to exactly what equipment a eunuch has left after he becomes a eunuch.  The no chatter channel, where you can only hear the fleet commander, was starting to sound like a good idea, but I stayed on the main coms because Baby Lemba was doing voices again, which I find funny, but which isn’t always conducive to coms discipline.  And then Laz lost another covops while trying to get us organized and I thought his head was going to fall off.  I had the stream up so I could see the look on his face.

Eventually this was sorted out and we were able to move forward.  We hit no camp and eventually arrived at our destination, which was XS-K1O.  We are bunking with The Initiative, which owns the system.  That is just three gates from B-R5RB, site of the giant titan battle almost a year ago and not too far from where we were based in Immensea last year at this time.  I still have a Dominix in B-R5RB and a couple more ships in AF0-V5, our old staging system.

I tried to put all my travels this week on the influence map, but the arrows got a bit confusing.  If I  haven’t been to the four corners of New Eden, I have certainly been beyond the four corners of empire space.  And I am not sure how I would even draw the two hour trip from Deklein to Immensea.  Two hours is about par for the course for such things, unless it turns into a trail of tears.

Estimated locations of key points in my move

Estimated locations of key points in my move

And that is where we are set up.  There is a write up over at Crossing Zebras about the situation in the area, which is both confused and very Russian.  There is also a write up over at The Mittani which includes our staging system, so I am not violating operation security by mentioning it.  And my Basilisk made it down there in one piece.

Cap chaining in Immensea... Caroline's Star visible

Cap chaining in Immensea… Caroline’s Star visible

We are down there to get fights or, if no fights come up, help tear down Northern Coalition’s rental empire.  So far, fights are not happening, so it is structure shoots.

Looking for trouble in Immensea

Looking for trouble in Immensea

We don’t want the space, we just don’t want NC to have it any more.  We will see what happens this weekend as we start setting timers.

Another infrastructure hub reinforced

Another infrastructure hub reinforced

Now should I nip over and pick up my long lost Dominix, or just leave it in B-R5RB where it had its big moment?  Meanwhile, I am still more than 20 jumps away from all those ships I left in Curse back in

Echoes and Repercussions from the Battle at B-R5RB

So the big battle at B-R5RB is a week in the rear view mirror at this point I thought I would try to tie together a bunch of things that came from the event into one post, with a lot of links out to people who probably know what they are talking about… at least relative to me.

So, in no real order, what came to mind…

New Players

I always go on about how much these sorts of events mean to CCP, that the press coverage of such battles really do more for the game than almost anything else that goes on inside New Eden.  And this time around we have some real, tangible proof of what the impact can be.

Players were already noting a boost in new characters being created post-battle.  But this weekend even CCP had to make some adjustments because of the influx.

Tidi in the new player zone is a problem CCP probably likes to see.  Now, how many of those free trials will turn into actual subscriptions once they find out what EVE Online is really like… that is the question.  It can be quite a gap from seeing huge titans duking it out in an epic battle to flying your Ibis through the tutorial.  And even out in null sec, there can be long waits between such battles.

Any post that claims to share everything you need to know inevitably barely scratches the surface.

Will this new influx amount to anything?  Is this the next generation of capsuleers entering New Eden?  Or will the game continue to eat its young?  Will the harsh realities of the game be too much?  Maybe that new New Player FAQ will help.

What the Press Likes to Cover

Another aspect of this whole thing is what gets the press to cover a big spaceship battle like B-R5RB.

Money.

Every headline I have seen in the mainstream press about the battle emphasizes the cost in real world money, usually US dollars.  And while I find the connection to be specious… you can buy PLEX and convert that into the in-game currency, but that doesn’t mean you can pretend that every unit of ISK in the game was so purchased… big numbers do grab attention.  But those numbers seemed to grow and morph.  Nosy Gamer has a post up looking at various permutations of the AP wire story that went out about the battle which ended up in many a local paper, including my own.  You should take a look, as the dollar range of headlines varied from $200K to $500K for dubious reasons.  And that doesn’t even include the since revised International Business Times story that pegged the cost of the battle at three quarters of a million dollars. (They ran another story that brought that number down to half a million.)

The best, and possibly most out of control, spin on this whole thing has to be the Taiwanese Animators video recreation of the event which indicates that sovereignty dropped in B-R5RB because a player’s credit card was rejected.

Because that is the way EVE Online works.  You have to setup a credit card terminal in your bedroom if you want to hold null sec sovereignty.  Maybe the most hilarious distortion of the game ever.  But that is a nice Avatar model they threw together on fly!

Meanwhile, the gaming press seemed much more subdued on the subject.  A big fight in EVE is worth a post, but not something to get worked up about.  Heck Massively, which purports to cover MMOs in general, and EVE Online in particular, didn’t even bother putting up a post until days after the battle.

On The Bandwagon

I found this ad to be amusing.  My browser is stuffed with cookies that flag me to get every EVE Online related banner ad at whatever site I visit, which is odd when you think about it.  Well, it is odd when you realized that it means that I end up getting ads for EVE Online just about everywhere.  Since I already play, that is unlikely to be worth anything to CCP.  But every once in a while somebody decides they want in on the EVE Online demographic.  Usually it is Wargaming.net, makers of World of Tanks.

And with all this talk about money in the press, another company saw an opportunity.

EntropiaUniverseAd_450

Entropia Universe would like you to come play their real money space game.

I know next to nothing about Entropia Universe outside of what Gary and Ryan mentioned about it on the Massively Online Gamer podcast when they tried it out several years back, but it does not exactly sound like the sort of game that would attract people who played EVE Online long enough to grow sick of it. (To me that means people who actually played for a while, not those who ended up hating right away.)

Oh, and the Entropia Universe people were involved in the Planet Michael idea.  I remember that as well.

Entropia Universe seems more akin to Second Life in purpose, though I am sure that fans of either would resent the comparison.  The focus is more on virtual world aspects with the ability to cash out real world money.  So you can see the correlation with current events at least.  All that talk of EVE Online in the press with real world dollar figures being tossed about is the obvious link.  I wonder how it will work out for them.

Now if Chris Roberts starts running “Sick of EVE Online?” ads, well, watch out.

The War

And what is going on with the war that spawned this battle?  Pandemic Legion is out of the war for now.  Nulli Secunda is pulling back to Detorid.  Insidious Empire is done with their side-show.  (Oh, and now NCDOT is out.) That isn’t the whole of the force opposing the Russians and the CFC, but they make up a big enough faction as to put the brakes on offensive operations by the N3 coalition for now.  There will be consolidation of sovereignty by the Russians as they expand into the region and N3 can make that annoying without much risk.

And then what?  Will the Russians be satisfied with another region of sovereignty, or will they want to drive into Insmother and the heart of the once mighty Russian drone region empire with its capital at the emotionally significant system, C-J6MT?  Red Alliance lost that to SOLAR Fleet almost two years back in another of those giant null sec battles.  It traded hands again before becoming a part of the current NCDOT renter holdings.

So there is potentially more drama left to come.

The Future of Null Sec Battles

Now that we have had the biggest super capital battle ever, what happens next?

Jester, ever fond of absolutes and military analogies, likens B-R5RB to the battle of the Philippine Sea, the largest naval carrier battle ever seen.  He draws the parallel between US dominance in aircraft carriers after that and CFC dominance in titans.  No more big super capital battles ever is Jester’s pronouncement.  This was the last war in null sec.  The CFC… which is to say the Goons… own it now.  We’re done there, pack it up and lets move on to more interesting things.

I have to wonder if there isn’t a bit of wishful thinking in his estimation.  EVE Online is a complex game and there are many things players can get immersed in.  But null sec politics commands the lion’s share of the attention outside of the game, which has built up no small amount of resentment.  I am sure there would be a lot of people happy to see null sec become a literal big blue doughnut, and thus garnering no further external attention, while at the same time decrying the lack of conflict in null sec.  We see something like that every time there is a lull in null.

And Jester’s analogy, like all analogies, falls apart when examined too closely.  To start with, there is a matter of details.

PL alone is clearly better off than the Imperial Japanese Navy was back in 1944.

It isn’t clear at all that the CFC has, or will ever have, the sort of dominance that the United States enjoys in aircraft carriers.  N3 has yet to be crushed and Pandemic Legion is off rebuilding a new force.  And then there are the lessons of the cold war and how a continental power like the Soviet Union planned to deal with the aircraft carriers of the United States, which has traditionally been a maritime power.

The Soviet response was a mass of smaller weapons, especially cruise missiles, to take out the very expensive and limited US carriers.  Soviet naval design favored ships that bristled with weapons that frequently had no reloads.  The idea was to get into range, fire the lot, and prepare to die, tactics that sound vaguely like those that the CFC used when they were entering null sec back in the day.  Doctrines change to suit the forces you have and what your foes are using… and what CCP has recently nerfed. (Woe is the poor Drake.)

So Jester could be correct in the long term, but at this juncture he is just guessing… or projecting wishes… or something.

My own theory is closer to my “joking, but not as much as you might guess” post comparing the three great null sec blocs to the state of the world in Orwell’s Nineteen Eight-Four, where conflict is eternal and each side knows that its own internal structure depends on perpetual war with the others.

Eternal War

Eternal War

Borders might be pushed this way and that.  Wars might erupt over resources, as happened in the Fountain War last year.  But each of the three blocs knows that to win outright contains the seeds of self-destruction.  In that world, the CFC will not press its victory and will allow the foes to rebuild so they remain a threat against which to rail.  Not only have we always been at war with Eastasia, we must always be at war with Eastasia… or we might just stop logging in.

Then there is the CCP factor.  As noted earlier in this post, the publicity from such battles is a clear win for the game and the company.  The mere idea that there might be no more such great battles must surely horrify everybody in Iceland from Hilmar on down.  So you can bet that they will turn knobs, twist dials, and otherwise try to shake things up as best they can should null sec settle into a peaceful renter economy, plagued only by occasional raids by the barbarians from empire space.

Who knows, maybe that whole countdown to Wednesday thing has some relation to all of this?

Or, you can take even that a step further, strap on the tinfoil hat, and run with the CCP interference idea as Abbath Egdald has in his great conspiracy post about the battle at B-R5RB.  Maybe CCP won’t need to change anything because they are already directing the battle anyway!

Plenty of food for thought on this.

Titanomachy

Finally, there is the monument to the most expensive battle in EVE Online history (so far), the Titanomachy.  Named for the 10 year struggle in Greek mythology, it sits out at the site of the battle now.

TitanomachyAlert

Stuck out in null sec, in B-R5RB, far from any sort of “safe” space in New Eden, and in a dead end system way off the main travel routes, it might not get as many visitors as it deserves.  But should you be able to get out there, it is something your should pull off the road to see.  Over at EVE Travel there is a nice guide to the site that you should take a minute to read.

Since I ended up marooned in the system after the battle, I was able to hang around for a few days until the memorial was put in place.  The plaque includes a listing of all 74 pilots who lost titans in the battle.

Start of the list...

Start of the list…

I also have some screen shots from the memorial after the cut, plus a whole pile of additional screen shots from the battle at B-R5RB over on my other blog.

Continue reading

Into a Wine-Dark Immensea

The big battle at B-R5RB continues to cause ripples in the war.  The first bit of new that came down after I got home from work was that we are moving staging systems.  We will be bidding farewell to G-0Q86 and all of its lack of charm.  There seems to be universal relief at that.

We will be heading to a CFC owned system deep in the Immensea region.  On the bright side, being in the midst of hostile systems, will ensure that there is plenty of action.

On the down side, the logistics of getting myself and some ships there may be a challenge.  Part of that is because I cannot get back to G-0Q86 in Curse directly, as I am still stuck with my Domi in B-R5RB.  That is actually further into Immensea that our new staging system, yet still far enough away, and with enough hostile systems in between, as to make it very unlikely that I could just fly there using jump gates.

The Situation in Immensea

The Situation in Immensea

Sure, it looks like Nulli Secunda (S2N, or the green systems, on the map) is pulling out of Immensea, but that will likely mean more hostile activity and more danger in the short term.

So it is looking like I have to take a jump clone out of B-R5RB.  But I do not have one back in Curse, because I do not have standing with the NPCs who own the station so I couldn’t dump one there before we headed out for the big op, something I would normally do.  So I have to jump to one of the clones I have scattered about New Eden.  I am glad I trained up so I can have 9 jump clones.

The temptation is to jump back to Deklein, the home I haven’t seen in ages at this point, grab my carrier, which has sat in station since the day I bought it, and try to fly it down to G-0Q86.  Then I could load up my ships and make the jump to the new staging system.   That last bit is the easy part.  Getting down to G-0Q86 is the tricky bit.  I need three station stops in low sec with somebody there to light a cyno at each.  So that will take a bit of doing.

In the mean time, I did manage to contract my backup Domi to my alt, who was able to take it on a convoy to the new staging system.  So I have a Domi waiting for me there.

Getting out of G-0Q86

Getting out of G-0Q86

If needs be, I can fly down in an stealth bomber or an interceptor… isn’t that how I always get down to Curse and beyond… and link up with my Domi that way.  But I have a small pile of ships to deal with in Curse still and Immensea is a step or two further away from where I will have to start.  Everything in EVE Online can be an adventure though.  You just have to accept that you’re going to lose your ship, and then if you happen to get through okay, it feels like a win.

Addendum: And it sounds like Pandemic Legion will be leaving the war in the south in exchange for being allowed to extract assets from B-R5RB.