Tag Archives: Insmother

On The Road Again in New Eden

The Chaos Era has been a bit of a bust for me.  I don’t rat or mine, so I am not on that declining indicator, but with a lot of people turtling up there are not as many defense fleets to go save people.  I am also not a solo PvPer, so I haven’t been out hunting.  I generally depend on SIG or squad deployments for my content and, aside from the short one up to Placid… which was low sec, so no Chaos Era benefits there… I haven’t had much to get me to log in.

There has been talk of a Reavers deployment, but things kept getting in the way, like a hurricane Dorian headed straight for Asher’s home.  That eventually passed and last week Asher got us grouped up.  It was going to be a very traditional Reavers deployment, with Ishtars and support and no station to dock up in.  I had a couple of Guardians left over from past operations already correctly fit, so I put one on my main, one on my alt, and waited for the ping announcing our departure.

I didn’t plan to dual box Guardians.  Keeping up with reps and the cap chain on two screens during a fight is too much for me.  Instead my alt was basically hauling out a reship.  If my main got his ship popped, he could just grab the extra from my alt, while if he got blown up and podded, he could just fly out in an interceptor and swap ships with my alt, who could then fly home.

Soon enough the ping came and we loaded up our ships with the intent to live out of them in hostile space and headed out.

A small fleet warps off

As is tradition, our destination was not announced in advance.  We just went to a series of waypoints along the route to our area of operation.  But Asher couldn’t hide which direction we were going.  We were headed east and were soon into Legacy Coalition space, where the jump gates seemed to be set to less us pass through.

Using the middle management dino gate

I was wondering whether this was a default setting, if Legacy was letting us use their gate network to let Imperium forces pass through their space in order to join in on fights in the east or if we were getting some special treatment.  The war between Legacy and Winter coalitions, which has been running off and on for ages now, continues to bubble down in the southeast of New Eden, with third parties like Pandemic Legion showing up to grab some content.  Certainly the Imperium had sent fleets east before during the war.

However, not all gates were green… or blue I guess… to us.  At an XIX gate we had to stop and hold, hanging in space while Asher found somebody to flip the switch for us.

Waiting for the gate to let us through

That he had to get on a channel somewhere to get us a pass seems to indicate that at least an “Imperium flies free” policy isn’t Legacy wide.  So we sat and waited, no doubt scaring a few of the locals who jumped through to find a fleet of not blue Ishtars and support hanging about.

We had our own fat targets, but no shots were taken

Asher found the right person and we were able to jump through and continue on our way, heading past Legacy space and into Winter Coalition’s domain.  No jump gate travel for us there.  But it was also well past prime time for the locals, and we were able to pass through their space using gates without much notice.

My Guardian aligning out from another gate

The blackout was in effect, so they would have needed to lay eyes on us or catch us on a dscan to know we were there.  Finally a bit of the Chaos Era working in my favor.

Another gate to pass through

Eventually we found a spot to safe up in Insmother, made our safe spots, got out our mobile depots, and fit cloaks in order to be able to cloak up and stay safe.

Living out of a mobile depot

Once there we had to find something to do.

Initially we found a couple of unfueled Fraternity towers, which we proceeded to shoot.  That is all part of the Reavers plan.  We set up in space the start shooting things until somebody shows up to chase us off.  If the hostiles for big, we just cloak up and disappear.  If they form a fleet about our size, then we take the fight if we can.  So we blew up the towers.

An old Minmatar tower blows up

All that yielded was a “But why?” from somebody in local… and I am not even sure they meant us.

The next time I was on we went looking to stir things up with one of the Winter Coalition members more in our time zone, the Lord of Worlds Alliance (LORDE).  Their alliance logo is an angry unicorn on a pink shield, which I guess gives them some synergy with GoonWaffe (GEWNS), whose logo is a unicorn in front of an outline of a heart.

The comparison

This similarity came up on coms and, while the GoonWaffe logo was no doubt chosen for irony, who actually chose it and why has been lost to the mists of time.

Anyway, we went out to entosis a couple of their infrastructure hubs to see if they would come out to play.

The ihub awaits

The word was that they were on during our time frame and would form up and fight if the numbers worked out.  After tinkering around a bit to get and entosis link on the right ship… it started on a Tengu and there was some awkward work with people swapping ships and using mobile depots in order to get it fitted on an Ishtar… we commenced to fly in circles around the ihub and run the magic entosis wand over it.  Exciting game play.

Entosis coming from the Ishtar in the middle

There was a bit of trouble with the Ishtar running out of capacitor, but one of the Guardians in the cap chain just diverted one of their cap transfer modules onto it and we were set.  And then around and around we went.

The locals did come out to play, but apparently couldn’t get enough people together for a stand up fight.  Instead they came out in bombers and interceptors to try and and interrupt the entosis ship.  That was mildly annoying, but not enough to get us to break orbit, and we ended up getting a couple of kills.  Ishtars racing in a circle with props on move pretty quickly so you have to anticipate where they’ll be before you bomb.  The locals were not quite that good.

Things were quiet enough that I put EVE Online on my second monitor and played WoW Classic for part of the op.  That is EVE Online some days, a game that lets you watch movies or play other games.

That ended up with a couple of ihubs reinforced, after which we went back to where we were living, where we safed up, put on our cloaks, and logged out again.  I didn’t do much with EVE Online over the weekend.  I missed any ops we might have run.  But today things changed.  As CCP announced on Saturday, the blackout is over.  We’re no longer invisible in space.  People can now see us in the local channel when we log in.  Our extra cloak is gone.  But we have always had to deal with that in the past.  And us being logged in and cloaked up can be a deterrent on its own.  And so it goes, living out in hostile space on another Reavers op.

Home from Camping in Insmother

Somebody once opined that moon mining was a “risk-free” source of income.  The tower just sits there and harvests the moon goo and all you have to do is drive by in your hauler once in a while to pick it up.  Practically free money.

I was reminded of that post as we roamed around Insmother, first reinforcing and later destroying tower after tower in the region as the locals looked on in dismay.  Most of those towers… and I heard the count went past 30… were moon mining operations.

Another tower goes boom

Another tower goes boom

It appears that “risk-free” includes the unstated assumption that you can defend your moon mining operations from attack, which is a bit of a stretch.  Even the CFC, which nobody would accuse of being short of pilots, is fighting a series of skirmishes over towers in the north as Black Legion and Nulli Secunda use the last bit of pre-Phoebe time to travel far and wide and reinforce CFC moon mining operations.  And a reinforced moon mining operation is a non-producing moon mining operation.

Such is life.

Anyway, we are back in Deklein having extracted out of Insmother over the weekend.  Getting there and back are the tricky bits, as Insmother isn’t exactly in our regular neighborhood.

Deklein to Insmother

Deklein to Insmother

You might look at that map and think, “Well, that doesn’t look too far” if you ignore the scale of all of empire space, high and low sec, which is that black blob in the middle.  In the middle of hostile territory, with no NPC stations to hole up in like our local pests.  We had to pack with us all we needed to live rough, in space at all times.  It was like camping… in the pack a tent and sleep under the stars way, not the sitting on a gate waiting for travelers was we use the word in New Eden.  A tower was set up for use to use, our tent, but otherwise we were out in the wilds.

As a learning exercise, it was quite useful both on an organizational level as well as a personal one.

More after the cut.

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Notes from an Undisclosed Location in the Insmother Region

The big, pre-Phoebe alliance update was posted yesterday addressing the new order in sovereign null sec.  Since the CFC is as riddled with spies as any other organization in New Eden, updates from The Mittani get posted directly over at The Mittani dot com, saving people the trouble of stealing/distributing them and generating some ad revenue as some people rage against The Mittani in the comments.  You can view it at your leisure.

Some of what was mentioned had been gone over before in less formal venues not long after the Phoebe changes were announced.  In fact, such fireside chats in Mumble with The Mittani started as a campaign to calm down some of the super capital pilots who were losing their heads in the forums about the death of their gold-plated space coffins.  When you opt to fly a super cap, that is pretty much all your character does from then on.  Of course, a bunch of us line grunts piled into the room as well because Mittens is a good public speaker if nothing else and these became 400+ pilot events.

For the super cap pilots, the message was that supers were becoming more powerful and more likely to be used in combat because, with Phoebe in place, a fleet of local supers no long has to fear a group of hostile supers dropping on them from the other side of New Eden.  Super cap fleets cease being a huge stick to be brought down literally anywhere in null sec on a very short notice, something only the three large powers could manage.  Instead they become the local super powers that can drop on anybody within 5 ly immediately, and within 10ly pretty quickly, becoming less of a blue water navy by analogy and more of a coastal defense force.  Without the threat of incoming forces from all over New Eden you can drop on your are much more likely to drop on your own zone of control.  Even Gevlon seems to agree with the idea that supers will not fall by the wayside, and the goblin would find a technical reason to oppose Mittens if the CEO update declared the sky to be blue.

The rest was more about how the Phoebe changes favored us more… or at least hurt us less… than our rival superpowers (My joke about the genie at the end of my own first cut at Phoebe seemed to match that), how much this will favor the defender who actually lives in their space, and some plans under way to help us adapt to the new world.  Stepping up MiniLuv operations to harass jump freighter operations so as to make pre-Phoebe prep more difficult for our null sec opponents was mentioned early, as was a new group called the Reavers.  More on the latter further down the page.

That was all a couple of weeks back.  Since then more obvious preparations for the coming expansion have surfaced all over null sec.  Pandemic Legion has divested itself of nearly half of its rental empire.  The Mittani says that Northern Coalition is abandoning space in the east to the Russians and looks to be headed towards the southwest where it was announced that the CFC is pulling out, drawing back into the northwest of null sec, abandoning Querious, Period Basis, and Delve as being too far from our core and too sparsely populated to defend itself with local residents.  Phoebe working as intended for many. (EN24 has a null sec movement rumor mill post up that is worth a look.)

Farewell southwest null!

Farewell southwest null!

A joke going around is that the Goons, having invaded and taken Delve six times already, gave up the region out of habit just so they could invade it again later.  Hell, even I have been through two Delve invasions at this point.  But I am still shipping all my stuff in our forward deployment base in Querious back to Deklein before the expansion.

It isn’t quite setting the clock back two years, but with the CFC pulling back into the northwest and Russians possibly resurgent in the east,  it seems like all we have to do it get Intrepid Crossing back into Cobalt Edge and we would practically have the band back together.

2012 vs. 2014

2012 vs. 2014

The 2012 map looks like it has a lot more entities on it, but if you count the various Russian alliances as one coalition, they overlap a lot with N3’s rental empire.  And that brings us to the renters.  In an age of static null sec, one upside has been an ample supply of stable and relatively safe null sec systems to rent, which has lead to a lot of corporations being able to move out to null and mine, rat, or whatever.  PL’s rental empire, Brothers of Tangra, had more than 10K pilots in it until they started to divest, while N3’s rental space, Northern Associates, currently has nearly 14K pilots spread over about 360 corporations in nearly 700 systems across 15 regions.

That is a lot of players… a lot of entities that just don’t show up on the map… for whom the much ballyhooed “blue donut” era has been a benefit.  Where will they go when Phoebe, Rhea, and expansions beyond make holding vast tracts of sovereign null sec untenable?  Phoebe and beyond, working as intended, means a lot of different things.  The CFC will hunker down and weather the storm, PL will consolidate, NC has its own core defense perimeter in sight, but there will be areas in null which will become the wild west.  That will likely be a good thing in the larger scope of the game, but may suck mightily if you’re a PvE sharecropper in a null sec empire that has abandoned you because they can no longer move fast enough to defend far flung space.

So we will see new entities on the map… or old entities returning… while a mass of invisible entities may well be at the mercy of whoever shows up.  Will the find new landlords to protect them or barbarians who will drive them back to empire space.

Interesting times.

Back to Reavers.  This is a new formation in the CFC, and I joined up because they look to be the place where things might be happening going forward.  It is actually the first CFC group I have joined.

As noted in The Mittani’s post, we are tasked during war time to deploy into the enemies rear areas to be partisans.  We will destroy infrastructure, siphon moons, and basically terrorize the PvE locals who stayed behind.  This will be made a viable strategy by Phoebe, which will keep anybody attacking our territory unable to move quickly back to defend their own.  We will slip in, shoot up the place, and move on.

As part of the plan we have been on a practice deployment down in Insmother, where we have had a few days of token resistance as we reinforced and blew up towers. (Let’s hear it for low stront and no stront towers!)  Even in this pre-Phoebe stage, where fast travel is still a thing, N3 seems to be more focused on trying to hit our structures in the north than defending their holdings in the east.  I hear they may have woken up to what we are up to at last, so we may have to move on.  But as a learning exercise it has been good, and a lot of fun.  It is also nice to be in on the creation of a group, where the traditions and procedures (and inside jokes) are being formulated.  You end up feeling more a part of things.  I even spoke on voice coms… once.

And it is even a new section of space for me.  The Goons have a history out here, but I have never been deeper in the east than B-R5RB… though that was a memorable visit.  So new sites for the tourist in me.

We will see how the deployment fares.  In the mean time I have a few postcard screen shots from the deployment which (I hope) do not violate operational security.

 

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.

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Onward to Jerusalem – The Bloodbath at C-J6MT

In our darkest hour, only one alliance reached out to us amidst the hate and persecution of the opening days of the Great War. Where every wretched honorpubbie pointed fingers and demanded that we be purged from the game ~for the good of EVE~, Red Alliance – at the time Death, Nync, and Mactep – offered us succor. They gave us a place in Insmother, making C-J6 the second sacred goon homeland after S-U8A4.

History matters. Death and the new RA have their backs against the wall facing the southern Russian bloc, and while we don’t normally get involved in this war except to vulture the odd supercap kill, C-J6, capital of Insmother, is holy ground – so holy that we will be temp-blueing PL and their allies to help ensure that C-J does not fall. We have helped defend C-J6 many times over the years, and tonight is no different. Tonight C-J6 is in its final timer, and -A- will be bringing absolutely everything to bear to capture the Jewel of Insmother. This fight will last hours – prepare yourself.

Vee will be forming Drakes. We need a minimum of 35 Scimitars or we won’t make it. This will be too far a deployment to reship, so SCIMITARS. Scimitars >Drakes> etc.

That means form up NOW, jerkfaces.

***  This was a broadcast from the_mittani to all-all, replies are not monitored ***

This is the message that Gaff forwarded to me through IM while I sat at the office.  And epic battle was in the works.  A proof that history matters, that memories are long, that some things transcend momentary alliances in EVE.  If only it would hold on until I could get home from work.

What would happen at C-J6MT?

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