Tag Archives: Imperium

Consolidating for Casino War II

The word is out that war may be coming to us again.

In the middle of last week there was a special weekday fireside chat in the Imperium where The Mittani told us that, based on intel received, a chunk of New Eden might be forming up to take another shot at us.  For the first time since we were driven out of the north and started our move to Delve war will be coming to find us.

This past weekend the regular weekly fireside repeated this message and the weekend was spent on preparations for a possible war.  If was was coming, we needed to tighten up out lines of defense and be ready.

Since we set up shop in Delve back in 2016 most of our time fighting has been part of deployments to other regions.  From our foray to Hakonen three years back to the current Cloud Ring deployment, we had been on the road a lot.  The Eye of Terror Jump bridge network extends all the way up into Pure Blind.  We had a staging Keepstar for a while in KQK1-2, on the edge of Tribute, far from home, left over from driving PanFam out of Tribute and Vale.  That one got killed when we tried to remove it via stealth.  The rest of them will be taken down with fleets watching over them as we prepare.

And so I spent some time over the weekend shepherding fleets here and there, keeping capitals safe and hostiles at bay.

Watching big stuff jump and gate

The Goonswarm Expeditionary Force deployment was pulled back from Cloud Ring to Fountain… basically two jumps… to put fleets within the perimeter of the Imperium.  I managed to get all three ships I had there back on the first try.

Mostly though it was watching capital blobs move here and there, getting ready for operations in the coming week to cover structure removal.

Capital will blob up

After that we will be back to our core areas, which are Delve, Fountain, Period Basis, and a little bit of Querious.

The thought of war, of hostiles coming for us, did spur some enthusiasm in those of us who were around through the time in Saranen, when hostile fleets were on the station undock most hours of the day.  Despite the loss and the retreat, it is a time looked back on fondly by many of us for the pretty much non-stop action.  We would form up, undock, fight, dock up, and then do it again.  I probably went on more ops during that time than I have done in any comparable time frame.

Then the situation became untenable as our ISK balance ran down while the hostiles enjoyed essentially unlimited ISK from the now banned casinos.

Things are, of course, much different now.  Delve is much more of a fortress than Deklein ever was.  We won’t be as concentrated as we were in Saranen, as our space is still a lot of ground to cover.

Part of me felt during the fireside on Saturday that this might be all too much to hope for.  With Guardians of the Galaxy/Dead Coalition actually dead and gone, we are back to a tri-polar set of super powers in null sec.  There is PanFam and its allies in the northeast, Legacy Coalition in the southeast, and the Imperium in the southwest.  It isn’t unlikely that two of those powers would join forces against the third.  Certainly Legacy and the Imperium have joined up a few times to go after PanFam.

But PanFam isn’t that close to us now, with a few regions laying between the and Fountain, and they have not shown an inclination to deploy that far from home.  Legacy Coalition butts right up against us, but we have a non-invasion pact, the NIP, with them.  We are not blue with them and we shoot each other freely and roam each other’s space, but the NIP keeps it to that.  We don’t shoot each others structures in the home spaces of the others and we don’t mess with sovereignty.

So one of the questions at the fireside on Saturday was, “What about the NIP?”  It was, at that time, still in place and The Mittani said that if Legacy broke it without warning there would never be another agreement between the two coalitions again.  And without breaking it, an invasion seemed unlikely.

But all this intel could have been wrong.  Intel often gets interpreted with more hope than reality.  People might be seeing shadows.  And Goons have a certain level of institutional paranoia built into their mind set about the galaxy being out to get them.

But it is probably still a good thing to clean up our forward outposts and be ready just in case.  And, since the even the most basic spy has access to the firesides, the word quickly spread.  Over on r/eve the attitude seems mostly dismissive of the idea and was viewed as a chance to mock The Mittani.

And then yesterday an announcement came up on Reddit.  Legacy Coalition announced that the NIP between them and the Imperium would expire on July 5, 2020, basically giving two weeks notice, with a strong indication that war would come then.  The tone on r/eve changed some.  Skepticism remains, but there is also some hope for a big war and the propaganda machines are starting to roll out fresh memes.  Look at all those pink “propaganda” tags in the subreddit today.

We shall see where this ends up.  There is work to be done all around between now and then.

Other coverage:

Addendum: I am reliably informed that the Imperium plans to call this war, should it come to pass, “World War Bee” because “screw you narrative.”  So I guess I can get that tag going for real now.

Rebuffed Again in X-7OMU

We had another op out of Cloud Ring run last night.  The ping popped up as I was sitting down, so I logged right in and got in the fleet.  We were once again headed out in Sacrileges, so I went with the logi wing in my Guardian.  As we were getting ready I stepped away for a minute, got distracted, and when I got back I heard the FC, Kocicek, telling us to align for the Ansiblex.  I quickly hit the undock button and got out just in time to pick up the warp and follow the fleet, jumping through not too far behind.  By the next gate I was caught up.

Sac fleet outbound

We took the same route we took the other day after the move op, heading up to 6RCQ and into Pure Blind.  It was gate, Ansiblex, gate, and so on until we hit our first waypoint, KLY-C0.  There an armor timer was coming out on a Pandemic Horde Raitaru, which we formed up and shot, sending it to the final timer.

Just a blob of us flying around

That done, we warped off to a Fortizar of our own and met up with a titan who quickly bridged us off to our next destination, X-7OMU.

Off we go

There again.  That was where we had a tough time after the move op, and PanFam and the locals were formed up and waiting for us again, with Abaddons and Muninns and capital support, again.  This was another armor timer, thus not the final fight for the structure, so I suppose there was some question as to whether they would show up.  Question answered.

We got on grid with the Astrahus, as we did back on Saturday, and started putting damage on it as the time came out.

Circling the Astrahus

Unlike the last fight, where we left the citadel grid to take the fight elsewhere, this time we stuck it out.  It did not go well.  The gunner on the Astrahus was throwing a mix of damage and void bombs at us, the latter which can disrupt even cap chaining Guardians.  The void bomb hits and your capacitor is suddenly empty to the point that your cap transfer modules turn off and if you’re not paying attention you can find yourself drained and falling behind.

Meanwhile the damage bombs were keeping everybody broadcasting while the web on the Astrahus was on our anchor to slow us down, though we kept swapping anchors in order to mitigate that.  And then the hostile fleets came out to get us.  Things seemed to fall apart about then, though I was very busy following broadcasts for damage.

At one point Kocicek warped us and I caught the warp just as an interdictor bubbled the fleet, so I was alone until I could turn around and warp back to the fleet with a couple other ships that happened to be as quick to align as I.  That broke the cap chain where I was until I got back in range, by which time one of my cap buddies was down, as were two of the alternate anchors.

Kocicek told us to starburst as a bubble went up and warp to a safe.  I was getting yellow boxed as that happened, but had quickly scooted out of the bubble that was on us and was warping off as damage began to hit.  I was going to get away.

Almost on my way out… just pixels left on that align bar…

And then another bubble went up and I was just inside of it, cancelling my warp.  I scooted out of that, overheated my hardeners, and set myself to warp once more.  Damage was landing and I had to move to align and things looked pretty dicey for a bit there.  And the warp drive kicked in and I was off.

The hull is still half full, right?

I had warped to a planet, but wanted to get away from there, so warped to another in order to make at least a mid-point bookmark.  But X-7OMU is one of those huge systems and I fell out of warp before I made it to my destination, my capacitor drained.

So there I was, wandering at a mid-point in the system, halfway into my structure, heat damage on my lowers (and no nanite repair paste, I seemed to have forgotten it), and not really in any shape to do anything but hide.  However, Kocicek spoke up and told us to warp to him when he said to… so I got that up and ready to click… and he said “Warp to me…” and I was off.  And then he counted down from three, so I landed way off from him, but still on grid and close enough to get the fleet warp that pulled us all off to the J-CIJV gate, where we jumped out of the system.

An unguarded way out

We went from there to G95-VZ where we tethered up on yet another Fortizar we have hanging around the region and the repair function slowly took care of my hull, armor, shields, and heat damage.

Repairing on the Fort

From there the way home was pretty straightforward.  Once everybody was ready we made our way back to the end of the Ansiblex network and headed back to Cloud Ring from whence we had started.

Back in the Cloud Ring nebula

The fight, such that it was, did not go well for us.  The battle report, which looks incomplete to me… though if you don’t get on a kill you don’t appear on the list and we got precious few kills… shows us taking a pasting for very little gain.  We lost the objective and over 100 ships for only 9 real kills.

Battle Report Header – Click to Enlarge

But we cannot win them all.  Mistakes were made, ships were lost, and hopefully some lessons were learned, as I am sure we will be back again.

During the fight I did see Riverini get called as a target, one of the few I I recall coming up.  The experience of the fight was invigorating enough that he actually wrote about in on EN24, his first post in quite a while.  There was also a short AAR on Reddit, again highlighting that this was not a shining moment for the Imperium.

Fortizar Defense Brawl in JE-D5U

Another trip up north, up the Eye of Terror and into Pure Blind.  I’ve been up north a few times to defend one structure or another and a fight has yet to show up for me.  Not that there haven’t been some fights lately, it just hasn’t seemed to happen when I’ve been on the op.

But last night things finally rolled my way.  There was yet another Fortizar to defend up in the north and the word was that PanFam and the locals were going to form for it.  Maybe the other side was emboldened by killing our Keepstar. (Unanchored, and in a freighter, but they still killed it in the end.)

Anyway, the call went out for the op, but Asher had pinged Reavers a bit before looking for some people to fly ECM burst interceptors.  I’ve done that before and not many people were X’ing up, so I figured I had best jump in to help there.  Also, the ships are handed out for free and during the battle you get to sit above it all and see the whole thing… not that the view helps me much, I still never get what is going on half the time even when I can see it.  I took an Ares from the offer and got ready.

Asher was set to lead the Sacrilege fleet, so he had a newer FC, Kappa Hutt lead us on to the field.  So the Sac fleet and a Baltec fleet set off for the north with our interceptors flying along, peeking ahead to scout, then letting the others catch up.

My Ares in with the battleships

As we made our way along the route we caught up with some bigger ships that had started out ahead and were also making their way to the fight.

Some dreads in the mix now

We zipped ahead though… there was a gate that had been seriously bubbled, but that doesn’t bother interdiction nullified interceptors… and arrived in JE-D5U up in Pure Blind ahead of most of our fleet, but there were already over 300 hostiles in the system according to local.  There was going to be a fight it seemed, and the timer was counting down.

Less than six minutes to go

As the other fleets arrived we set about bookmarking our perches over the potential battlefield.  The plan is generally that we sit cloaked on a perch while the FC scans down a potential target, often the FC of a hostile fleet who is usually out in front of the pack.  Then we get the word to uncloak, overheat our burst jammer, and align, at which point the FC warps everybody beside himself onto the target.  We land, started warping back to a bookmark, then set off our ECM burst.  If the warp was good we’ll be in the middle of some hostiles and break some of their target locks… this is especially good if we land in the logi… and be warping back before anybody has a chance to take a shot at us.  Done right you don’t even get any heat damage on your mid slots because the burst goes off as you’re going into warp, which shuts down the module.

So we got ourselves in place as the timer counted down and the fleets got into position.  A fight seemed guaranteed as there were quickly over a thousand people in the system, with TEST dropping in to third party on the event, and even some notable PanFam FCs on grid like Vince Draken and Headliner leading Muninn fleets.

Hostile Muninn fleets getting ready

The timer hit and the repair cycle started, which meant we had to defend the Fortizar for 30 minutes while it repaired, though that 30 minute timer could be paused or pushed back by hostile fire on the Fort.  It was on.

Fight around the fort begins

Kappa Hutt was having a bit of a problem getting a probe signature on a good target.  Time dilation and system responsiveness was really bad, with the tidi number well below 30% for most of the fight, and into the 10% for some stretches.  Still, he got something and we got ourselves ready to go.

Uncloaked on a perch above the fight

We were then thrown into the fray to set off our jammers.  I landed pretty well the first time and got off some jams.

In with the hostile logi even

Meanwhile, the forces on the fort broke tether and were shooting up the attackers as they ran past the structure.

A Baltec Megathron on the fort

We warped off and back to our perches where we waited for the next target.  The scanning interface was acting up for Kappa still and for a few runs SpyFly Catharsis found wrecks for us to warp to, which worked as well if we timed it right.

Once again into the mix

We were getting good warps and I don’t think I went in even once where I didn’t get at least break a few target locks on hostiles when I landed.

Along the way I got a pop up that a bounty had been collected on Nkosis when his Sacrilege went down.  I think I have mentioned him before, but he is a newer addition to the coalition who is so enthusiastic and positive about the game that he has become something of a celebrity in his own right in the Imperium.  But being a celeb means he gets razzed as well and at some point he got a bounty place on him, which he didn’t like and said so, at which point everybody started adding to his bounty total with an eye towards getting him to the number one spot.  He was into the top ten last I checked.  I, too, put a bounty on him, so now I get a notification every time he gets blown up when I am in game. (I used to put bounties on our FCs as that pop up was often the quickest way to find out the FC was down.)

We had a bit where we had gone so many times in a row that we didn’t have enough capacitor to make a run, the ECM module needing over 200 units of power to activate on top of the bit you need to get your warp in and out.  This was when the system was into the 10% tidi zone, which is the slowest the game will go and, if that isn’t enough, controls begin to lag and your commands may get ignored.  Waiting for cap to refill during that was excruciating.  Somebody suggested we wait for our weapons timer to go down and just warp to the fort to tether and fill up our capacitors, but at 10% tidi having just 15 seconds left on the time meant nearly a three minute wait.

Still, tidi hits everybody.  The targets were as slow as we were and were not going to get away.  Cap was restored and we were sent in again for more runs.

Aligned for another run

By the the tidi was starting to relax a little bit, or at least get up into the low 20s, and Kappa was able to get good probe locks on some likely targets, so we spent some time dropping on names I recognized.

Coming for Vince

Down around the fort, the repair timer vacillated between running down and being paused, but kept moving slowly towards the structure being repaired.  By the time we got past the worst tidi it stood at around ten minutes.  We kept on going.

Landing on the hostiles again

At about the eight minute mark on the timer it seemed like the battle had been decided.  The hostiles pulled some distance and “gf” for “good fight” started getting spammed in local by them.  Some “fofofo” appeared in local as well, which I am going to guess was from Asher’s sac fleet as he is the only FC I know who still does the “fofofo” for victory.

From that point tidi began to ease up and we were released to go loot the field if we wanted.  Being in interceptors would seem to give us an advantage, but Goons will plunder like no others.  I didn’t come up with anything.

Somebody dropped an MTU, which is always a target on a battlefield no matter which side drops it.  I zipped over and got in on that kill.

Not that I needed another kill mail.  Landing on fleets and setting off an ECM burst puts you on the kill mail of anybody you jammed should they get blown up after you’re there.  My kill board was well padded by the end of the battle, with 111 new entries, enough to get me momentarily onto the top ten for KarmaFleet.  (The last time I did that I was also doing ECM bursts.  It is a kill mail whore’s dream.)  Most of them were hostile ships, but there were not a few blue targets on the list and quite a few pods.  A few of us even got the final blow for pods that were self destructing when we hit them.

The timer ran down and the fort was safe.

Tethered off the save Fortizar

At that point we were done.  Kappa set us free to head home, which should have been a quick ride in some interceptors.

Back through gates towards Delve

There were some bubbled gates along the way, but an Ares just passed through bubbles.  I was feeling somewhat invulnerable flying home, which I should recognize by now as a sign of impending doom.

My usual travel Ares has a 1.83s align time, and the game lore is that if your align in under 2 seconds you cannot be caught unless you are extremely unlucky.  But this Ares, fit for ECM burst runs, had a 2.03s align time, which means 3 seconds by the way EVE Online calculates, which means it can be caught.  It isn’t likely, but somebody who is good in the right ship can get you.

And they got me in Cloud Ring with a camp that was primed and ready to catch anything possible.  Normally I am inclined to attribute losses to my own incompetence rather than claim my foe was really good, but I think this crew was actually pretty good at this.  I was toast and knew it almost instantly.  Kind of a sour point to end the evening and I always feel bad when I lose a hand out ship, but it happens.

As for the fight, it seemed to be lauded by both sides as a good fight.  Asher posted a salute to the attackers on Reddit and other related posts seemed to be similarly warm and fuzzy about a real fight going down, which was a bit of a change from the acrimony over the Keepstar thing I mentioned earlier.

The results… well, pick your battle report generator and get your results.  EVE Battle Report Repair Tool seems shy of the mark for totals while the zKillboard report is detailed but has a habit of pulling in things outside of the fight.  For a report header image I am going to go with EVE Fleet Manager, which is close to the zKillboard totals, but which lets me pull out a few oddities.  I don’t think the Guristas, for example, really took sides in that fight.

Battle report header – trimmed to the top 7 alliances –  click on it to enlarge

Overall quite a fight.  A big brawl, fairly evenly matched, lots of losses on both sides that went largely our way as we had the Fortizar to tip the balance.  And there was quite the array of space famous names from both sides.  I even saw Bad Juice, who once challenged Asher to an MMA style cage match back during a Reavers deployment.  I was happy to report in the Reavers channel that he was still around and that I managed to get on his kill mail.

That battle would probably be the beat event of the month for me, but the word is that the Goon Expeditionary Force will be deploying later today, so the promise of more fights is out there.  Or at least more structure shoots.  Mittens was using the term “glassed” again, so we might just be burning down structures somewhere.

Ranger Regiment Joins the Imperium

Another item that came up while I was gone for a week was that the Ranger Regiment alliance had joined the Imperium.

Their DOTLAN status as of Feb 19, 2020

Ranger Regiment is one of what I think of as the Chinese diaspora groups that left the Serenity server in China after the Pan-Intergalactic Business Community essentially won EVE Online on that server, which drove people away. (Rooks & Kings did a video about the end of days on Serenity that is worth watching.)  So they and some other groups including Fraternity, The Army of Mango Alliance, and P.L.A came to the Tranquility server in order to play in a sandbox where one group didn’t own all the sand.

The rather brief post about Ranger Regiment making the move to the Imperium did not go very far into why they might have sought to join.  Not that I think there is much mystery as to why they were inclined to join.  The war in the north started with TEST attack Dead Coalition allegedly over something Sort Dragon, CSM member and head of the latter, said to which Vily, also a CSM member and military chief of the former, took grave offense or something.  Wars in New Eden have started over less.

This developed into a alliance between TEST and its coalition and Pandemic Horde and its coalition, against Dead Coalition, there being some bad blood there as well.  That balance saw the Imperium deploy a brand new SIG, about which I wrote previously, in support of Dead Coalition.

But Ranger Regiment has born the brunt of the attack.  Looking at their changes page on DOTLAN, the last month has seen them lose much of their holdings in Branch and Tenal, the once safe ratting and mining grounds of Dead Coalition.  The null sec influence maps paint the picture more graphically.

Ranger Regiment Northern Losses

A big block of those losses came after the announcement, so could be perhaps attributed to them packing up and leaving, but they have still been under pressure for more than a month and had been losing systems steadily over that time.  They still hold some systems in Branch and a chunk of Deklein, though I imagine they will let those go to somebody unless the Imperium wants to expand the arc of its holdings past the outpost systems in Cloud Ring and Fade that are at the far end of the Eye of Terror jump gate system.

I am not sure that we want to have to cover that much territory, and I am sure that wouldn’t make Sort Dragon particularly happy.  We’re allied for the moment, but it is a casual agreement that can change with the situation.  We shall see.

This also marks the first time in a while where an alliance size group has applied to join the Imperium.  There have been some other temporary alliances and agreements when we have worked with other groups, but most of my posts about the state of the coalition membership are from the Casino War era when come alliances were keen to exit.

The Imperium – August 10, 2016

If you look at the recent null sec influence maps, we are in an era where some areas between the coalitions have opened up to smaller, independent groups.  But there are still four key coalitions in null sec right now; Darkness and Dead Coalition in the north, Pandemic Horde and PanFam in the northeast, TEST and Legacy Coalition in the southeast, and Goonswarm and the Imperium in the west.  They have realigned to grind against each other multiple times now, which has caused them to consolidate and reorganize at points.  I suppose the question at the moment is whether or not Dead Coalition, which just lost an alliance, can hold up under the current onslaught.  The Imperium deployed a SIG to come help, but did not call the whole coalition out nor bring any super capitals north, so our commitment to their defense is less than all we could do.

Meanwhile, Dead Coalition is the one group that does not have an obvious and well known new player group that can funnel fresh recruits into the coalition.  They are already more of a regional power than the other three, and if they cannot bulk up they may end up as another small buffer state between them.

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.

KarmaFleet

I joined KarmaFleet.

My new calling card I suppose

As I mentioned early in the month, our long time corp Black Sheep Down was folding up shop.  With just a few active players I gather there was some pressure to be absorbed into a larger corp in TNT.  I doubt I would have left Black Sheep Down otherwise, as it enabled me to do what I wanted to do in EVE Online, which mostly involves repairing space ships in fleets and blowing up structures.

But given the need to move I also now had the incentive to consider where I should land.

This is a lesson that all companies, real or virtual need to remember.  Customers will often stick with you simply because it is easier to deal with the known than consider the unknown.  But if you force somebody to consider it, they might decide they would be better off elsewhere.

And so I ended up in KarmaFleet, the then CFC response to the “levee en masse” idea that started to become a part of war in null sec.  Once it was difficult to get into null sec alliances.  Many considered themselves elite.  But the math of “N+1” is what ended up winning wars and now any coalition beyond a certain size has to have some form of easy entry, new player friendly organization to keep fleets full and fresh blood replacing attrition.

Why KarmaFleet?

Dear kindly social worker,
They say go earn a buck.
Like be a soda jerker,
Which means like be a schumck.
It’s not I’m anti-social,
I’m only anti-work.
Glory-osky! That’s why I’m a jerk!

-Gee, Officer Krupke, West Side Story

KarmaFleet has their own answer to that question and produces propaganda around that.

What KarmaFleet Offers

I’ve pointed a few people in the direction of KarmaFleet in the past as place to get access to the null sec aspect of EVE Online.  (Tellingly, I never suggested TNT or our old corp.  Being around me is not a lot of help in game really.)

Of course, they also produce propaganda that might be more on point.

The real progression

I may already be in that final state even as I join.

I certainly didn’t need free skill books or free ships, I had access to almost all the SIGs and squads when I was in TNT, and I am in a post-ISK state of denial, living off of the modest reserves I acquired in my more enthusiastic days.

Instead, the move to KarmaFleet was more of a simplification of my time.  Being in TNT gave me access to all of the GSF infrastructure.  In fact, it is a requirement to be integrated with their auth services, forums, coms, and what not in order to participate.

But TNT also has its own auth services, forums, coms, and SIGs, which are also required, such that to be in TNT means keeping up basically a dual set of services.  That wasn’t exactly a huge burden, largely because I mostly failed to keep them going.  I would update TeamSpeak for corp meetings when they happened, but I was mostly in a state of lapsed compliance.  Having, for example, a that second Jabber account TNT that would echo every Goonswarm all/all ping but wasn’t hooked into SIGs and squads wasn’t all that useful.

Now, in KarmaFleet, all the things I already had setup and maintained remain the same and the stuff I would occasionally have to get back into compliance with are no longer an issue.  That and a few other small items have streamlined things for me a bit.  I wasn’t going to leave our corp just for that, but since I had to leave anyway, I figured I might as well find what benefits I could.  So I indulged my laziness.

Getting In for Normal People

Of course, that is why I went.  How I went, that is a bit of a tale in its own.  As with many things, what you’re told and what actually happens do not always exactly align.

The application process is simple.  You go to the KarmaFleet site, click on the “Click Here to Apply” and follow instructions.  You create an account, add you API data for your characters, and fill out an short application that asks about your history with the game mostly.  The characters part is the sticking bit for most people.  I have seen it come up on their Discord multiple times and it was the only question directed at me; did you list ALL you characters in the game.

I foolishly said I thought so but that I had been playing since 2006.  So I had to answer the question in a couple more ways before I got an “alight” in response.  I’m pretty sure a spy would have just said yes, they were certain, but whatever.  Spying is still a bit of a mania.

After that you wait for a bit… I waited for almost three weeks… and then somebody will give you the yea/nay on your application.  If you’re accepted there will be a corp invite waiting for you in game… which was the only notification I got.  Accept that and you are in KarmaFleet.  An automated in-game email will show up full of all the things you need to do to register for and access the various alliance resources.

Getting In for the Encumbered

Of course, I was a bit different.  I was already in the coalition and already registered and on the various services and there is honestly not a lot out there about how to move forward from there.

I had dropped roles in Black Sheep Down a while back, so when the invite came I accepted it and was in KarmaFleet right then.  I knew from having heard in the past that I would have to re-apply to the various SIGs and groups to which I belonged.  But while I was in KarmaFleet nothing else had changed.  I still had access to all my old groups and various identifiers still showed me as belonging to TNT.

Here is what to do; be patient.

At some point the system will poll and notice that your current status does not match what it has stored for you, and it has only one response to change… to purge you as an inactive.  At that point you will get an email telling you this with a link the the authentication system and instructions to go log in and click the button to restore yourself.

Once you do that you will be set to go.  Your info will be correct and you will have access to all the default forum areas and such that you get as a corp member.  You have to reapply to all your old groups again, but that is pretty easy.  I was back in Reavers pretty quickly, for example.

I did not know the “be patient” part.  I last changed corps back in 2013 and almost everything in the API and authentication area has changed since then. So I asked in the general Jabber channel how long it would take for the data to refresh.  Somebody told me I needed to go push a button in the auth interface and everything would be fine.

But it wasn’t.  The system hadn’t gotten around to noticing something had changed yet.  It seems to poll about every couple of hours I would guess.  And until it notices you and takes action, there is no button to press that will move things along.

Somebody had indicated that there was something I could do and, having forgotten to calculate in the value of advice from random Goons in a general chat channel, I spent a futile hour or so poking various things in the hope of forcing an update.  Only then did I decide to be patient and went off to do other things.  Later, when the email arrived, I went and pressed the button and things were fine.

Now to wait for EVE Who and zKillboard to update while I reapply to my various SIGs and squads (and one new one that was just formed).  I actually might not reapply to all of the ones I was in previously.  I never was of much use in CapSwarm nor in the fleet booster SIG.

I just need to figure out how to get Pidgin to stop trying to log into their Jabber/XMPP conference channels every time I launch it.  I can’t find a UI element that controls that, but it knows to try and log me in every time, so there is probably a config file somewhere I can edit.  (Also, maybe I should upgrade my seven year old copy of Pidgin to the latest version.)

Quote of the Day – Being Risk Averse in Null Sec

The problem here is that being risk averse is the intelligent move. As stated above, null groups always have to be thinking about not just this fight, but the next one, the next ten, the next war. It’s coming. Whether you win or lose this one,  it’s coming. It’s coming whether you still have your space, your stuff, or even your pilots. If you’re in sov null, War Is Coming. And if you’re not getting ready for it, GET OUT. You have no business being there. Go to NPC null. Go to lowsec. Just get out of the way now, before the avalanche starts.

-Bill McDonough (Arrendis), Why the Null Sec Blackout Won’t Fix EVE

The blackout of local in null sec was met with much acclaim, followed by a variety of disappointments.  There is always something else needed to be done in order to “fix” null sec.

Arrendis has a piece up over at INN about why the blackout isn’t the fix for null sec or EVE Online.  In an epic length article he explores why null sec isn’t the blood bath of constant conflict that many feel it ought to be.  Leaving aside how much work a war can be for null sec leadership… the position of Sky Marshall has often been a one war job because it tends to burn people out quickly… Arrendis pins the blame for the risk averse behavior of null sec alliances and coalitions on one thing.  Can you guess what it is?  I’ll give you a hint.

Goonie Goons and their filthy titan blob

Titans.  Titans are the apex weapon in null sec.  To take and hold space over time, to be secure in your conquered domain, to be able to survive against hostile powers, you need titans.

But there is a catch.  A Catch-22, if you will.

In order to show up in null sec, take some space, and hold it over time, you need titans.  But you cannot get titans unless you hold null sec space.  You can build carriers and dreadnoughts in NPC stations in low sec, but for a titan or a super carrier you need to be able to deploy an ihub, install upgrades, drop a Sotiyo, and configure it correctly before you can start your first titan build.

So no null sec power will risk their titans, because to lose them is to cease to be a null sec power.  And once you’ve lost them and been evicted you’re out.  The best case scenario going forward is to have to depend on the titans of another power to cover you.

So how can CCP break this cycle?  Arrendis has some suggestions, which you should go and read.  I’ve stolen enough of his thunder here.  The article is long, but worth the effort.  Even the comments on the article are worth reading, save for the one that starts off with “Eh. Kinda too long to read.”

Anyway, you can find the article over at INN.

Stomping About in Pure Blind and Tribute

Suppose They Gave a War and Everyone Came?

When you bring the whole team out to play it can sometimes get crowded on the field.

The war against PanFam, the “glassing of Tribute” was promoted heavily in the Imperium and that promotion was responded to enthusiastically.  As I pointed out, over a thousand individuals were on coms for the first move ops north, almost two weeks back.

A giant armada, arriving in the north and keen to blow things up… leads to some problems now and then.  There is at time a :goonrush: to get into fleets, even fleets that are not promising kill mails or combat.  I have started seeing this dialog pop up quite often.

feel the :goonrush:

That is something I am used to seeing if there has be an op pre-pringed and hurfed about before hand.  Everybody wants to go to the big battle.  But over the weekend I was seeing that come up for ops pinged as “we need to chase some people away” or “we’re going to reinforce a structure.”

At one point yesterday there was a call to sweep away a 15 person gate camp that had the temerity/bad luck to setup on a gate in our staging system and, even though I was already logged in and tabbed over to join the fleet immediately on seeing the ping, I was too late.  The fleet was full.

The gate camp seemed quite put out, complaining in local about having a 256 person fleet dropped on their camp.  Somebody pointed out that they were happy enough getting kills at a 15:1 advantage, so getting dropped on by a fleet with a 17:1 advantage over them seemed appropriate.

So, when the command team can arrange it, they do set up opportunities for larger groups to shoot things.  There was a call to blow up a Fortizar one gate over in Pure Blind from our staging.  I went over with the Eagle fleet that was called up first.  And then another fleet joined.  A fleet of Leshaks added their firepower after a bit.  Then supers dropped in.  Then the titans landed.  Everybody got a chance to take a shot at the structure.

Fortizar in the face of overwhelming force

So an undefended Fortizar… as somebody pointed out, an alliance with the name Skeleton Crew could probably not be expected to have the staff to cover such events… that the dozen Leshaks could have easily killed on their own ended up with a kill mail that had over 500 people listed on it. (There is a 4K video of this shoot if you are interested.)

For one of these ops I actually got my alt out in an Ibis just to get that on the kill mail.

Ibis supremacy

The tale of the Ibis is mildly amusing and might become a post of its own if I run out of things to write about this week, which is feeling like a distinct possibility.  I need another big fleet fight or Daybreak to do something silly or I’ll end up writing about things like the CSM14 elections.

Anyway, moving on.

The other problem with having a thousand eager pilots on hand and ready to go at any given hour of the day is that the locals in Tribute are perhaps rightly not inclined to come out to play, seeing how eager we are to drop the hammer even on immobile, undefended targets.

We did get that fight last week and, even having lost the objective and had the ISK war turn against us at a ratio of 2:1, the appetite for fleets and ops seemed to have only gone up.  People on our side came out of that fight eager for more.  In the Eagle fleet it felt like a win despite knowing the result.

The next night the call went out to form up to cover some more entosis operations and, as before, fleets filled up.

Two full fleets sitting on titans ready to go

Our goal was just to keep the enotsis ships safe as they vied with the locals over the nodes in the constellation.

The humble Drake as enotosis ship

We ended up in PNDN-V while PanFam ended up forming and sitting on the other side of the gate in 15W-GC.  Ships from either side that went through that gate got melted pretty quickly.  The gate also split the constellation in two, with us holding two systems and the locals controlling three.  That meant that we were unlikely to win the entosis war.  However, the same also went for the locals as enough nodes were spawning in our two systems that they couldn’t finish the defense.

Sitting around with not much to do, a streamer who was covering the event was linked in fleet, so we got to watch their view.  They had two views, one from either side of the gate, so we could see them and they could see us.

The streamer in question, Lumpymayo, was clearly on the PanFam side of things and much of the chat seemed to be him and his supporters calling us cowards for not coming through the gate to fight them despite the fact that we out numbered them by at least a 5:4 ratio.

Every so often we would get called to type, “Hon hon hon” into the Twitch chat, that being the adopted meme/war cry of the deployment.  This came about after we anchored the Keepstar on the doorstep of Tribute and Asher came on coms to tell us “op success.”  He asked everybody on the coms, close to a thousand people again, to all key up at once and say, “Hon hon hon,” which was to be done with a heavy French accent.  The coms chaos, recorded here, was enough to crash my client.  But the Keepstar was renamed “Hon hon hon” and that is now our local spam of choice.

After an hour or so of that the FCs had us go to the gate and jump through, and we took on the locals and their camp.  I was again in the Eagle fleet and we quickly anchored up and started shooting targets as they were broadcast.

Anchored on the Monitor

This went much more our way.  While a small engagement compared to the previous night, it was satisfying to get to blow things up all the same.   I once again got to lock up and shoot at Dreyden Trovirr from the Open Comms show.

Locked up yet again

This time around their logi was unable to support itself so Dreyden blew up along with a lot of their logi.  The enemy was chased off grid after a short clash.  The battle report showed things tilted our way.

Battle Report Header

After that there was much “Hon hon hon” in Lumpymayo’s Twitch chat and even he had to concede we had won the field that time.

Lumpymayo signals the results

Not only did we get a nice little blood letting, but we won the objective.  However, the objective wasn’t the entosis struggle in Tribute.  Rather, we were there to pin down the locals while Dead Coalition (formerly GotG) reinforced systems in Tenal, leading to the renters up there handing over a pile of structures to them.  Tenal had been the happy crabbing grounds for PanFam.  Now, however,

Over the weekend we also spent time working on the ihubs and TCUs in the 1P-VL2 constellation, which includes the famed system M-OEE8, scene of a number of famous battles.

Ihub entosis work

This went largely uncontested and on the initial pass all of the ihubs and TCUs were reinforced.  Following up on this the focus was on M-OEE8, which is the gateway system to empire space and which houses a Keepstar.  The ihub was destroyed, the TCU was flipped, and the Keepstar was reinforced.

 

GSF on the map in Tribute

The Keepstar is now down to its final timer and the question is whether or not there will be a fight over it or if this will be akin to the Fortizar mentioned at the top of the post, where we pile in a bunch of ships just to get on the kill mail of an otherwise undefended structure.

It seems possible that the locals will pass on this fight.

The rumor is that PanFam is even now planning to withdraw into the drone lands in eastern null sec, to the Malpais region, which is the core of their rental empire.  Lacking any nearby NPC or empire space, that would likely put them out of reach of the Imperium and its ability to project sufficient power to do more than harass them.  There is also word that PanFam, after the fiasco in Tenal where renter groups handed over citadels to the attackers without a fight, that they will no longer allow renters to deploy their own structures.

We shall see how much more fighting goes on in Tenal and Tribute.

Supporting sources on this topic are, unfortunately, all from INN since other sources, including Reddit, seem somewhat subdued on the topic right now.  I’ll add more if/when they show up.

Push into Pure Blind

Last Saturday the Imperium began moving forces north, out of Delve, and into Cloud Ring, stopping at the Keepstar in 6RCQ-V that was the base of operations for the was last summer.

We were told this was a temporary location, that our final staging point would be announced later.  Certainly Cloud Ring was too far away from Tribute to be an effective spot from which to launch operations.  Not that we didn’t run some into Tribute all the same from there.  The Initiative owns some ihubs in Pure Blind so there are some Ansiblex jump gates to get subcaps around.  But for capital ships it just wasn’t an ideal spot.

I previously speculated about where we might end up basing for our assault on Tribute, thinking that Hakonen, where we based previously, might be an option.  It covers the south of the region and is easily resupplied from Jita.

However, that was not the plan.  Instead GSOL dropped a Keepstar for us in KQK1-2 in Pure Blind.  The Keepstar survived its initial vulnerability window.  We just had to be sure it successfully anchored and came online.

With that in mind, the call went out for another mass form up for capitals and subcaps alike.

As the pings went out and the form up began, there were three subcap fleets called, all of which filled up almost immediately.  I had my main and my alt in two different fleets in order to move the only two ships I had on the deployment on to our new home.  I felt that this was as much a move op as anything.  It seemed unlikely that the locals would rise up against this show of force… recall how this went when we deployed the 6RCQ-V Keepstar.

When the capital fleets were called… six of them… space began to open up in the subcap fleets as capital pilots swapped over and just put their subcaps in their ship hangars to carry along with them.

As with the move op on Saturday, everybody was in the same voice coms channel, meaning that some coms discipline had to be enforced.  And, as with the move op, the capitals jumped out first, then the subcaps.  The Eagle fleet, which I was in, moved out last, though it quickly caught up with then passed the slower Baltec battleship fleet, where my alt was.

Not that anybody was going fast.  Two full fleets moving through relatively lightly populated space, plus capital jump, meant we were dragging our own bubble of time dilation with us through every constellation, spiking it with every gate jump.

We met up with the capitals on a Fortizar in low sec where we had to pick out the titan that was going to bridge us from the ball of titans surrounding the structure.

Pick a titan, any titan

This started in the usual ass backwards way with somebody telling us to “Get on the titan!” on voice coms without actually telling us which titan.  Saying, “The only one in the fleet!” wasn’t all that helpful if you had brackets turned off, and with this many ships on grid you pretty much had to have brackets turned off to get anything more than slide show level performance out of your video display.

Eventually people got their acts together and had the respective titans x-up in fleet so people could watchlist them and keep at range.  Finding the right titan from the group within 2km of you is a much easier task.

This time the Eagles went first, and we were bridged to a Fortizar in Pure Blind where we were chivvied onto first one titan then another and told to be ready to bridge.

Landing on the second Fortizar

In hindsight we were being made ready to jump in to defend the Keepstar which, at that point, was already in its repair phase.  However, we were not called to jump in and so sat on our titan as we watched the rest of the force jump in around us.

Titans making a big splash as they arrive

This time the various fleets jumped in to cynos that were a bit more spread out, so we ended up being sorted out into visibly distinct groups.

Fleets around the fort

The titans were still a big blob, but you can see the fax fleet off on the far side along with the relatively tiny capitals and subcaps.

There we waited until Asher announced over coms that the Keepstar in KQK1-2 was now online.  Then, slowly, fleet by fleet, we jumped or bridged to our new home.  Again, the Eagle fleet went last, just behind the fax fleet.

Off we go at last

Once there we were able to stand down and dock up in the new Keepstar, the 47th Keepstar owned by the Imperium.  The fuel costs alone must be a pain.

Our base in Pure Blind

It is named the Taqostar, which I am told was a Sadus suggestion.

Move ops to the new base will likely continue through the weekend.

Of course, you might ask what was the advantage of staging in KQK1-2 in Pure Blind.

If you go to DOTLAN maps and use the jump range navigation feature, it nicely shows you how many systems in Tribute are within titan jump range of KQK1-2.

Where can titans land from KQK1-2?

That is a lot of the region, enough for us to set to work on as we blow up ihubs, destroy any structures not yet taken down, and basically reset the region back to its starting state.

In the great circle of time, I have actually hung around long enough that I was in the operations that took these systems from NCDot back in 2012 and then again when we lost them all in 2016.  And now, here we are again.

Other coverage:

 

Lurching North Towards Tribute

The word did come down via the State of the Goonion on Saturday that we would indeed be moving north for war and that Tribute would indeed be our target.  That seemed the most likely scenario even a week ago.

In anticipation of the move ops to come I had logged into the game an hour ahead of time to figure out what I wanted to bring north.  I didn’t know where we were headed yet, but I wanted to be ready.  I was not alone.  I found almost 2,000 people in local and when I undocked I found titans practically frolicking about the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A.

Conga lines and fireworks

Closer in my Megathron… I decided to take a battleship north… reflected the glow of the fireworks being set off.

The rocket’s red glare indeed

As the time for the SotG approached, the number in local climbed, peaking at just past 4,000 as The Mittani’s speech ended.

In Mumble as well people started filing into the SotG channel.  There the numbers climber, passing 2,600 during the speech.

SotG Numbers

That is a better representation of how many people were present since you get only one forum account and Mumble login no matter how many alts you have.

At the speech The Mittani confirmed what had be widely rumored, that we would be heading to Tribute to drive out Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition.  We were not going to take the region in order to hold it, but merely destroy all we could, reducing the infrastructure back to its lowest ebb.

Mittens gave us no dramatic raison de guerre.  He said he would not be waving a bloody shirt and calling for war.  The reasons for us going north to “glass” Tribute was simply to widen the gap between us and our traditional foes that we might deny them the ability to ever assail us again.  I am sure that the fact that those in Tribute remain among the organizations that sent us packing during the Casino War that haven’t been displaced or made to pay tribute fed into the decision as well.  Something, something, pays our debts.

The speech was short and our actual staging destination was left unstated.  We would have to go on move ops to find out.  But move ops were being pinged immediately.  Six fleets for capital ships went up and they began departing 1DQ1-A immediately.  The local count because to taper off some.

Those of us in subcaps had to wait about an hour before we were called.

This became one of those move ops where everybody was stuffed into the same coms channel.  All the capital fleets and all the subcap fleets would share coms, which meant we were told to keep quiet.

I was wondering how that would play out.  People often don’t know or care that there might be 2,000 other people on the line and start speaking up because they can’t find this or that in their hangar or asking where the fleet is or some bit of trivia about their day that really doesn’t play in front of a large audience.

But it did not work out too badly.  There were the inevitable people wandering in and chatting away like they were on a small gate camp as opposed to a 2,000 person move op, but they were hushed and things on coms remained mostly the command staff giving instructions to the various fleets about who should jump and who should hold.

When subcap fleets got called I piled into the Baltec fleet, which Cainun was running.  We hung around for a bit and it was explained that we would have to keep a close eye on the in-game fleet chat as that would be where most of our orders would appear.

CCP Please, let me pull the chat window out to another monitor.

I had been listening on voice coms and watching Jabber in another window while I played Minecraft.  But if instruction were going to be in fleet chat that mean keeping the EVE Online game window up where I could see it.  Oh well.  We eventually undocked and headed to the Eye of Terror jump gate chain to start our move north.

Aligned out for travel

Even in slow old battleships with TiDi hitting along most jumps, we were able to move along at a fairly brisk pace, jumping and aligning over and over.

Going through an Ansiblex jump gate

It wasn’t long before we had caught up with the capital ships.  They were jumping by groups and then waiting out their timers so as not to build up jump fatigue, so we caught up to the tail end of the big ships half way through Fountain.

Baltecs catching up with the stragglers

Some clever person in a dictor put up a bubble off the gate that stopped us short at one point and we had to burn through a mass of capital ships to get to the gate and jump.  That put us pretty much in the thick of the capital ships.

Capitals streaming to a gate

On entering Cloud Ring we ended up in a capital traffic jam.  The caps were supposed to jump in, warp to a structure, then warp to a gate.  However, time dilation was down to 10% from just us moving and jumping, people felt like they were falling behind and started trying to warp straight to the gate which meant they were bumping off the people still trying to warp to the structure.  And then a whole fleet of Apostles came through the gate.

When you really need traffic control

We orbited the gate… you can’t even see our tiny battleships in that blob… and waited for things to get sorted.  Eventually everybody got themselves pointed in the right direction and warped off.  We hung around to see off the final capitals before heading out ourselves.

From there it was just a couple of gates for us, then another ansiblex to the Kirkland Protein Star, the Keepstar we dropped back in July of last year to support the war against Circle of Two in Fade.

The Kirkland Protein Star

We moved out of there in October in a massive move op and I diligently carried all of my stuff home because I thought we were supposed to take down that Keepstar.  However, there it stood.  If I had just left my stuff there… which included the Megathron I had just moved up there… I would have been set already because that is where we stopped.  That is where the move op ended, well short of Tribute.

We were told that this was a preliminary staging point, that after we got more people up into Cloud Ring we would be moving forward to our final staging point for the assault in Tribute.  But for now we sit in Cloud Ring.

Others on this topic:

  • INN (includes link to the SotG recording)