Tag Archives: J5A-IX

A Massive Move Op Gets Me Home from the War

The peace of the north, where the Imperium agreed to withdraw forces back to Delve and not bother the north of null sec for a month and GotG for a full six months, came into effect on Saturday.  And with that began the first big move operation.  It was planned for 18:00 UTC, 11:00am for me, on that Saturday.

The first call to form up came at seven minutes before the hour in a ping and I was ready for it.

The whole operation had been announced almost a week in advance, so I had plenty of time to prepare.  As usual during a deployment, I managed to acquire a range of subcaps in my hangar.  Actually, in both of my hangars, the one in the Keepstar in 6RCQ-V and the one in the station in ROIR-Y in Pure Blind, where Reavers had been based for almost a year.

Usually the accumulation of ships means flying my main and my alt together in multiple move ops and maybe finding somebody with a bit of space in the ship maintenance bay of their capital ship to carry a couple of bombers or such.

This time however, one of the ships I managed to accumulate was a Naglfar dreadnought, a prize from the race that Ranger Gamma ran back in late December.  It was supposed to be a suicide dread, something expendable to drop on a valuable target like a titan   I only managed to use it one, during the first Keepstar battle at X47L-Q, and it survived so I had it to move back.

That turned out to be a bit of a boon.

With almost a week’s notice I was able to pack my ships into the Naglfar and jump it from ROIR-Y to the Keepstar at 6RCQ-V.  There I was able to stuff almost all of my remaining ships into the the ship maintenance bay along with the assorted modules and other stuff that ends up rattling around the corners of your station hangar when you stay in any one place for more than a week or two.  So much nanite repair paste mocking me because I forget to overheat most of the time.

The only ships that did not fit were a couple of travel interceptors, which are easy enough to jump clone to and fly out, and a Megathron battleship for the Baltec doctrine that I think I flew exactly once. (But that was one more time than the Ferox I had there as well.)

The Megathron was problematic.  A Battleship is big and takes up a lot of space in a ship maintenance bay, so I was reluctant to try to foist it off on another cap pilot.  But tech I battleships insure nicely and I wouldn’t miss it if it was gone, so I decided to just fly it home on its own.  I figure, best case, I might scatter a small gate camp and get a kill, while the worst case would be to lose it, collect the insurance, and not have to worry about it anymore.

Megathron in Cloud Ring

So on Wednesday night I undocked it and headed towards Delve.  I knew the risks. The coalition had pinged multiple times “Don’t move yourself!”  But I was going to go for it.  I already knew the route home.  Many trips over the years through the area hes left me with the lay of space.  You get into Fountain, you take the jump bridge to the mid-point of the region, you take the gate that cover the mid-region gap, you take the jump bridge to the gate to Delve, and in Delve you take a jump bridge to where you want to be.

Megathron on its way

The trip went off without incident.  It was even relatively quick.  With the revisions to jump fatigue I only had to wait for a timer to cool down a bit before hitting the next jump bridge.

My small op was done.  The big op was coming.  I was on and ready to go before the first ping came.

The first ping was for four capital fleets, divided up by type, and an overflow fleet.  Those quickly filled up and a second overflow fleet was called.  Then two subcap fleets were called.  If I recall right there was also an overflow fleet for subcaps eventually, and then a final fleet for people who could fly Apostles to help get the strategic force auxiliary reserves home.  I got my alt in for that, so had two accounts running for the move op.

If I had know that was going to be a thing I could have shoved the Megathron in the Apostle to carry it home.  Oh well, it was done already.

Move ops can be long and exasperating affairs, as demonstrated by the classic Endie “trail of tears” graphic memorializing an all day move to Delve from the north.

The Trail of Tears move op

That was back when capitals were rare and the pilots alleged to be the elite.  Now almost any scrub who rats in Delve has at least one capital ship and many of them have supers or titans.

And now, on a Saturday morning I was going to move to Delve with more than 1,800 other capital ships and a couple of fleets of subcaps, all of us sharing the same voice coms channel. (For those interested, there were about 1,400 actual people in the voice coms channel for the ~2,000 ships being moved, so less than a 2:1 ratio of accounts to people.)

There was a non-zero chance of this becoming a nightmare.

Instead, it all ran surprisingly smoothly.  People used all the advance notice we had to get ready, so a fleet of capital ships jumped to the first cyno just a little bit after 18:00.  The dreadnought fleet went at 18:17, while the Apostle fleet, the last to go, was cleared to jump at 18:25, landing on a Fortizar.

About 1,800 capitals tethered

Our first jump was a few gates shy of critical gate to Fountain, but we had jump fatigue to burn off, so we were sent by fleet forward to the last system in Cloud Ring, then gated again by fleets in order to keep time dilation from going crazy.  We held up together on a Fortizar in B-DBYQ, the last system in Cloud Ring, and the jumping off point for the Fountain War five years back.

Aligned in B-DBYQ

Again we were sent through the gate by fleets.  That put is in J5A-IX at the top of Fountain, where we regrouped on the Keepstar there, docking up.

At 19:34 we got the call to undock and, in a moment of hubris, the command was given for all fleets to jump.  That cranks up the tidi to 10% and ended with some disconnects, but for the most part it was just slow.  We got through, landing on the Keepstar in C-N4OD to dock up.

By 19:50, once people got through and things settled down, we were again called by fleets to undock and take the gate to KVN-36, the place where we were ambushed on another move op back in 2015. It ended up looking like a stream of titans being fired from the Keepstar.

You could walk back to the Keepstar on those titans

There we aligned to the Keepstar, then were sent by fleets to dock up, the Apostles going last to avoid bumping.

Apostles aligned and waiting

That put us in the southern half of the region.  We were told that for the next jump, which would bring us to the Delve gate in Y-2ANO, our arrival on the Keepstar would be recorded for use as a propaganda video, so we were all going to jump at once again, but this time we were not to dock up because that wouldn’t look as cool as all the ships arriving and just hanging on the citadel.

Again, lots of time dilation due to all of us going at once, but most people got through okay.  Traffic control was up for a lot of people and was even giving positions in the queue to jump.

412th position in the queue

My dreadnought went through, but the jump by the Apostle was cancelled by the delay.  I set it to jump again and it went through fine on the second go.

A batch of caps arriving in Y-2

I will be interested to see what the footage of us coming in looked like.

After that we all aligned to the ZXB-VC and waited for cynos to get in place in 1DQ1-A.   Another chain of titans was then fired at the gate.

Once through we were cleared to jump to the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A.  The cyno in the Apostle fleet disconnected, but by 20:41 the cyno was up again and I was docked in the Keepstar contracting the Apostle back to the person who handed them out.

Back at the Delve Keepstar

So from the time of the first ping at 17:53 to my being done and able to log off was just about three hours, which is amazing for a move op of this size and complexity.  Pilots new and old managed to make it down.

I think we’ve gotten a bit better as a coalition, but also the leadership has gotten better at keeping these sorts of operations moving.  For one thing, there were markers called at various points, that if you hadn’t reached a certain objective you were too far behind and told to log off and wait for the next move op.  The whole move op didn’t stop people one person disconnected or didn’t follow instructions.

Of course, citadels have made this sort of thing easier as well.  At every jump or gate there was a citadel waiting for us, usually a Keepstar, letting us tether up or dock.

And so it goes.  I am back in Delve for the first time since November of last year.  When I go back to put together all the posts for this deployment, this ought to be the final one.

A gallery of my screen shots from the op:

Another Fight in J5A

Another day, another 1,000+ ship fight in Fountain.

Screen shots from Gaff, who was there in a Caracal.

That is pretty much a giant battle every day for the first week of the campaign in Fountain.  A hectic pace for a what will no doubt end up being a long war of attrition.

TEST Finds Their Motivation, Saves J5A

DoraTheExplora Taft > Log the fuck in and get your friends in!  Ill be raffling plexes away at random to people if we get over 900 in our fleets.  Ill start off with 5 plexes and add an extra plex to each additional 50 pilots we get.

-A TEST motivational technique in action

The war over Fountain has been through its first big weekend.  The CFC picked up five systems in the region over the weekend.

Fountain - June 10, 2013

Fountain – June 10, 2013

But the biggest point of conflict was the system J5A-IX.  If TEST controls that system, they can stage there and make CFC operations difficult while being able to strike at the CFC staging system at the other end of the jump gate.  If the CFC takes the system, then they can stage for operations in Fountain more easily and it takes some pressure off of B-DBYQ.

TEST couldn’t get the numbers for the first round on Friday night/Saturday morning.  The CFC had more than a thousand pilots roaming around J5A while TEST couldn’t get the numbers to fight back.

Sunday night/Monday morning was the final timer for J5A.  It was the make or break point for the system.  Sunday the CFC had been busy running around Fountain shooting structures.  I was on an op with Caracal Fleet to turn the station in XUW-3X.  It is kind of silly to send cruisers out to turn a station, and we ran out of ammo at one point despite being told to fill out holds.  The capital ships, which would have made short work of the station, were busy elsewhere with other targets.

I ended up having to leave before the op was done, so stayed in one of the NPC stations.  That left me stuck in Fountain.  Not wanting to risk flying solo back to B-DBYQ, I jump cloned back for the next big op, the final J5A fight.

The CFC rallied over a thousand pilots divided up amongst Tech Fleet, FU Fleet, Tengu Fleet, Caracal Fleet, and the usual suspects in the capital ship fleet.  Time dilation was out in full force.  B-DBYQ was running at 10% as we undocked, staged, and then finally moved into J5A.

In J5A we held in our staging POS.  The number of players in system peaked shy of 1,200 as we waited for TEST to arrive.  Multiple fleets were hanging around in there at various times.  I am sure I was probably in proximity of Poetic Stanziel, who has his own report up about the battle.

Time ticked by.  Tension mounted as we were told to be quiet on coms.  All the fleet commanders were getting news on the intel channel as to what was going on, and us talking in their ear at the same time was a distraction.

Then a cyno went up in system.  And then another.  The count in local began to rise, slowly at first, then by great chunks.  It topped 2,200 when orders began to come through.  We were to align to the B-DBYQ gate.  We were fleet warped to the gate and told to jump through or we would die.

Then began the longest gate transition I have ever experienced.  I think we were all stuck in the transition for a good 10 minutes, watching that gray Doctor Who tunnel slowly churn by at 10% tidi speed.  Many of us had session change duration errors come up, which actually let you invoke a debug stats window that at least showed you that things were still happening.

As that was going on, we were let in on some of the strategic situation.

TEST, in addition to bribing their own members to log on, had been getting other alliances on board with the “You hate Goons? Come kill Goons!” message.  So in addition to TEST and Tribal Band, they also had Black Legion, Retirement Club, Northern Coalition, Nulli Secunda, Pandemic Legion, and more riding with them, swelling their numbers past 1,700 according to intel I heard.

We were going to fall back and let them come get us.  It was assumed that they would not commit their capital fleet to a battle in B-DBYQ, thus evening up the odds some.  Once we were through, we sat on the gate, bubbles up, watching.

The first few ships that came through and broke cloak were picked off easily.  Then the numbers began to mount and the bloodbath began.

I got popped not too far into the fight, they must have been sorting Z to A or by distance, which was probably a good thing, as the operation had been going on for two and a half hours at this point and I had to call it a night.  Work was still going to be there in the morning.  I did get on a few kill mails, but the battle had a long ways to go.  As I tried to make my way to the edge of the bubbles in my pod, I was hit by a smart bomb and then it was just my corpse floating in space.  Back to the station and done for the night.  Judging from kill boards, the slaughter went on for at least another hour… which at 10% tidi is six minutes of actual combat at normal speeds.

In strategic terms, this was a win for TEST.  They let the CFC grab systems in Fountain already, but they managed to rally a huge force to defend J5A.  However, J5A is back in reinforce again.

The tactical results of the battle are less clear.  I haven’t seen a kill board result yet that I fully trust (this one maybe?), but it looks like the CFC, sitting on its own turf and able to reship and return to battle, was able to extract a greater cost on TEST and its allies than it had to pay.  I’ll link battle reports here as I see them.

The real question is what this battle portends.  Will TEST be able to motivate the troops and rally allies every time they face a decisive situation?  Black Legion and Retirement Club might be willing, but there was a rumor going around that Pandemic Legion had a break with TEST during the fight.  No idea on the real story there.

I suppose the next big fight will tell the tale.  The battle of attrition has begun.

Now I just want to know who in TEST won PLEX for showing up.

As usual, I have some pictures from operations on Sunday.  Wide angle shots are from Gaff.

TEST at J5A – Saving that Last Rifter for Another Day

MY PEOPLE: TEST is vowing to stand down and cede us J5A, leaving the first ‘battle’ of Fountain to us. Why? Of 900 online in their alliance, barely more than 300 are in Karan, their new lowsec staging point. Our response to this will be more sieging and flaying. TEST is vowing to return for the J5A armor timer.

DBRB is going to go on a rampage to hurt the remaining infrastructure

-Jabber Broadcast from The Mittani to a thousand online CFC pilots

One of the theories flying around after the beginning of the war for Fountain was that TEST was a sure thing to win because they bring the numbers, as happened at NOL last earlier.  Meanwhile, it was speculated that Goons wouldn’t show up in numbers for a fight that is over mere ISK.  Gevlon, ever the people person, assured us that is not how Goons are motivated and that The Mittani has made a fatal mistake in that regard.

Now, we are only one fight into the war, but like many pre-war theories from ages past, that one might need to be revised a bit.  We shall see.

Last night we were getting ready for our first big attack of the war and, as noted, TEST was expected to put up a defense.  Time dilation was running in B-DBYQ an hour before the 03:30 EVE time call for fleets.  I sat outside the station and watched capital ships jump in, with as many as nine cyno beacons running at once.

When the time to move off to the fight came, time dilation quickly fell into the 10-15% range as three fleets went to undock and move first to staging points and then to the gate to J5A.

J5A1-tidicomes

Earlier in the day I had taken a jump clone back to VFK where I bought a Caracal, as that is one of our fleet doctrines for this war.  It is cheap and I wanted to shoot something.  I caught a convoy back to B-DBYQ later, as the route to the front has been heavily camped.  Everybody knows where we are going.

So I got out my Caracal and joined Raeglan’s fleet.  And then we farted around in B-DBYQ for about 45 minutes trying to overcome tidi, mumble issues, and the usual problems of getting a thousand people pointed in the same direction.  At one point we were sitting in a POS and a Ragnarok jumped straight in with use sending people flying.  In Soviet POS, titan bumps you.

Eventually enough people made transitions… they left the station or they jumped into or out of the system… that the tidi went away.  The Caracals moved out and made the jump to J5A.  There, we flew to another POS and waited.  Then the announcement at the top of this post came through.  There would be no contest for the ihub at this time.

We went by and took a couple of shots at the ihub as the cap fleet was putting it into reinforce.  Then we jumped back to our POS while the coalition leaders decided what to with the forces at their disposal.  There was talk of putting more things into reinforce.  While we were there, we got the message about the ihub.

J5A-ihubmessage

At that point we had been out and about for 90 minutes and I was ready to call it a night.  I had been up early for work that day and I had to get up early again for my daughter’s soccer tournament in the morning.  So I broke off from the fleet and headed for home.

Lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that there were more than a thousand of us in the vicinity, I jumped back into B-DBYQ and headed straight for the station undock without checking anything.  This was, of course, a mistake.  I set myself in motion and tabbed out to another window, then tabbed back to find that Rote Kapelle had set up a bubble on the way to the undock.  Ripard Teg, aka Jester, was there, making it the first time I have seen him in game, even if the meeting was  extremely short.

B-DBYQ undock welcoming committee

B-DBYQ undock welcoming committee

There went my Caracal and capsule.  You snooze, you lose.

My first loss in the war.  It certainly won’t be my last.

I had at least set my medical clone to the station, so I popped right back into game at my destination.  And it looks like more ships are going up on contract at B-DBYQ, so I shouldn’t have to fly back to replace my loss.  And I have my two logis and a Celestis that Gaff hauled out for me.

Gaff got tapped for cap fleet and took a few screen shots of their op for me.  I have some of my side of the operation as well.

And the war goes on.  Gaff has been out and about with cap fleet today.  I am sure there will be more to follow.  Fights loom.

Meanwhile, Endie has a summary of the war so far.

Deploying to the Front Lines in Fountain

I was keen to get down to the staging base for the was in Fountain.  So as soon as I could get into the game, I started looking for a convoy op that was headed down to B-DBYQ, the initial CFC base of operations for the war.  I remember the delopment to Delve last year around this time, where I missed the first couple of days and convoys stopped getting formed.  I had to make my way down solo, which meant dying.  I think I have learned something since then.

B-DBYQ is essentially the last system in CFC space and sits on one end of a jump gate connection that covers the big gap between Cloud Ring and the J5A-IX system in Fountain.

If I am looking at the map right...

If I am looking at the map right…

That is our gateway into Fountain.

Fortune was with me, as a convoy was forming up for the run from VFK-IV down to B-DBYQ right then.  The question was, what to pack?  Or what to fly?

The State of the Goonion announcement said there would be no call for Alpha Fleet ships.  Drake fleet is no longer really a thing.  And I do not have any ships, other than logistics, for the remaining doctrines that we will be using.  So logistics seemed to be the way to go.  I pulled out my Tech Fleet Oneiros, joined the convoy fleet, and flew out to the staging POS to wait for the FC, Reelism, to get us under way.

Oneiros in the POS

Oneiros in the POS

Tech Fleet logistics seemed to be a good plan.  I saw a lot of Tech Fleet ships, especially Tempest Fleet Issue battleships, along for the ride in the convoy.

Tempests on the way

Tempests on the way

I realized, as we started off on our journey, that this was the first time I had really been in space since Odyssey launched this week.  So there were actually new things to see.  For example there is the sensor overlay effect that happens every time you enter space or jump into a new system.  This gives sort of a 360 degree sweep of the system around you, highlighting points of interest.

My first impression of that was it wasn’t really all that practical.  Often when I jump into a system I am busy doing other things while that scan happens, and I am not sure if it can be invoked again later.  But it is something.

And then there are the update jump gates.  The graphics of the games themselves have been updated to be more active.  There are elctro-static effects and such ships are jumping through.

Jump gate discharge

Jump gate discharge

And then, once you jump, your camera is aimed down the center of the jump gate, there is a whole new “warp tunnel” effect as you travel, and then a somewhat sudden transition as you arrive at the far end.

Because of its newness, there was some discussion of all of this on voice coms.  The consensus seemed to be that, while it was perhaps not the best thing since sliced bread, it sure beat staring at a loading screen or a progress bar or the like.  Give then bittervet demographic in the fleet, that seems to be an endorsement of the change.

The trip down was otherwise pretty quick.  The distance wasn’t all that great, but I have been on convoy ops where we have taken an hour to go 8 jumps.  And there wasn’t much opposition.  There was a report about some TEST bombers… TEST bombers are shooting us on purpose now, which given past events, might mean we are actually safer… but we managed to avoid any encounters.

Once down in B-DBYQ, I met up with Gaff who had a couple of spare ships for me that he hauled down in his carrier.  He had a Scimitar logistics ship and a Manticore stealth bomber for me.  The Scimitar was good.  I now have logistics ships for all of the likely fleet types.  The Manticore was cool though.  I trained for stealth bombers a while back, but never got around to buying one.  And the updated Manticore model looks pretty neat.  At this moment, it is featured in the blog header.  Plus, that gave me a potential “shooting” ship for operations.

And then it was time to look for something to do.  Jabber was quite active.  However, it was almost all for convoy ops to B-DBYQ from various points in CFC space.  Gaff was off on a POS shoot with the capital fleet.  He sent me a couple of screen shots.

Caps shooting a POS

Caps shooting a POS

Around B-DBYQ, there was a lot of travel activity.  There were capital ships all around the undock.

Big ships on the undock

Big ships on the undock

There was even a titan hanging around the station on bridging duty.  Seeing a titan no longer counts as a big deal for me I guess.  But it is still rare to see one sitting by itself in space, rather than inside a POS bubble or in a fleet.

Ragnarok on the station

Ragnarok on the station

Titans are extremely high value targets and titans that get caught alone in space tend to attract hostiles like flies.  Everybody wants to be on a titan kill mail.

So I pottered about.  I flew my new stealth bomber around just for the sheer hell of it.  I had dinner.  I watched some hockey.  I checked Jabber every so often.

Eventually DBRB and his Tengu fleet arrived back in the neighborhood and I was able to hop in a Scimitar and fly with them.  Not that we went very far.  We ended up camping a gate in J5A-IX, the system next door, our foothold system in Fountain.

Scimitars

Scimitars

This meant keeping bubbles up on the gate and hoping that TEST would stumble into the system.  A couple of singletons did show up, but the highlight was when 50 TEST Talwar destroyers jumped showed up and were shredded.

Destroyers to pods to corpses

Destroyers to pods to corpses

Coming up against a Tengu fleet, the Talwars pretty much had no chance at all.  Our mix of ships was off the biggest contingent was logistics, so we were even able to save most of our frigates.  We saved a Rifter that got targeted.  Total losses were approximately 50 Talwars for the loss of one Atron.

And then things were quiet as we flew around the gate.  The Mittani showed up in our op channel after the repeat State of the Goonion, this time with questions and answers, and there was a promise of going off to do something at some point.  But we mostly just sat at the gate.  I flew around, looted a couple of wrecks (I have a pile of faction light missiles now! Go me!), looked at the SBU that was off the gate, and listened to coms.

SBU with our bubbled gate

SBU with our bubbled gate

We eventually pulled back to our in-system POS to wait for a titan to show up so we could bridge out for whatever was planned.  That ended up taking a while and, it being a week night, I wasn’t able to hang around any longer, so I called it a night and headed back to the station in B-DBYQ.

I am deployed down by Fountain though, ready to be part of the fight.  The theme for the day, due to the date, was the D-Day invasion.  We are going to liberate Fountain.

TEST says that they are going to fight to the last Rifter.  This weekend should be interesting if that is true, but it can be hard to tell what is propaganda for the troops and what reflects the real situation.  I remember the famous declaration from White Noise a year and a half back.  At least TEST is not claiming they were surprised by all of this.