Tag Archives: Liberty Squad

The End of Liberty Squad

I first posted about Liberty Squad back at the start of last year.  The group was formed as a USTZ effort to deploy out of Delve and find fights in other null sec regions.  When I joined up we were off to Geminate to pick fights with Pandemic Horde.

The Liberty Squad forum bee

There was always a bit of a problem with Liberty Squad in that the membership had a large overlap with Reavers, such that either one or the other could deploy, but both could not… unless they went somewhere together… as they mostly the same people.  But that wasn’t a huge issue as Asher, the head of Reavers, is a lot more involved in coalition-wide operations these days, being one of the rare sky marshals to run a campaign and not quit the game in exhaustion once it was done.

Anyway, we got word earlier this month from Cainun that the leadership of Liberty Squad was going to take their corp out of GSF and go try something new.

By now, I expect many of you have either heard some rumors, or noticed some movements. Come this time tomorrow, the Terrifying League of Dog Fort will have left the alliance. With them go Thomas, Zed, Mapache, and myself, on a new misadventure of our own making. Liberty Squad will be without leadership, and I expect will be closed as a result. Some have expressed an interest in trying to step up to take over the reins, but those possibilities are not mine to decide, or attempt to influence.

It has been a fantastic 18 months building, and running this squad regardless of its ups, and downs. Our Uemon deployment in particular, will always be one of the more fun periods I’ve spent playing this game. It has been a pleasure running this squad, even with all you meme-riddled bastards making every drake related remark imaginable every 15 seconds on fleets. I wish all of you the best in your search for fun, and enjoyment in this terrible little game we all play. :911:

FC grants you eternal permission to always bring your Drake from now on, fly well.

And so it goes.  I actually met most of that group at EVE Vegas last year.  They all got Liberty Squad buttons from me, including a special Canadian Drake one for Zed.

My EVE Vegas buttons

It is a bit sad to see that group go.  I flew with them many times and their fleets were a lot of fun.  But when your friends want to run off and try new things you wish them well and hope they find what they are looking for.

With this announcement there was an attempt in the forums to drum up support for a new group to be called Freedom Squad.  This made me chuckle a bit both because USTZ groups seem to always have to play on faux patriotism as a gimmick and because we had a Freedom Squad back in the day, the remnants of which became the core of Reavers.  However, this attempt was shut down pretty quickly by a director.

The thing is, creating a group to cater to those of us who just want to deploy to foreign parts was nationalized by the coalition with the formation of the Goon Expeditionary Force earlier this year.

I’m not sure which one is our forum bee yet

I think that came about because there is always some of us who want to know when the next war or whatever is going to happen and the coalition finally decided to harness that drive officially rather than leaving it to the sometimes random attention of smaller, self-formed groups that tend to depend on a small leadership group.

Which doesn’t mean those groups are going away.  Reavers and Space Violence and Black Ops are all still around.  But none of them are open to all comers these days.  They are selective.  So the GEF scratches the deployment itch for all and sundry who just want to go on the road and shoot structures… or get fights, which also happens some times.

Things change.  People move on.  Spaceships remain.

Flying Home From Placid

The Liberty Squad deployment up to low sec in Placid wrapped up over the weekend.

The stated reason for heading home was that our two primary FCs have been busy with real life, which I am sure is true.  However, I suspect that if we had been been getting the “good fights” we had been hoping for, we wouldn’t be leaving.  Instead, after proving that Snuff and its local allies were set to simply out-escalate us in every fight they chose to take (See fights one, two, and three.) we started looking for other things to do.   But in the shade of those supers not much else grows.  So we packed up and headed back to Delve.

I managed to miss the move ops home.

I am certainly not one to claim “I have a life” or anything, but any Saturday night op comes behind my wife wanting to go out to dinner or something, so I was off doing that while the move op happened.

Late in the evening though I decided to see if I could just slip back home.  I didn’t have much to move, and the online count was under 18K, which makes for a lot of empty space.  I had a Guardian on my main, and a Harpy on my alt that could scout for him.  I undocked and headed back towards Delve.

Harpy occluding the sun

The fastest route home according to DOTLAN was a good 36 jumps.

From Placid back down to Delve

I’ve done longer trips alone through null sec, but that many gates does expose you to some risk, even if most of the trip is through friendly territory.

However, DOTLAN doesn’t know about the reconstituted Eye of Terror, the Ansiblex jump gate route that runs from Pure Blind down to Delve, Period Basis, and the boarder with Catch down in Querious.

The route home using space mass transit

I remain a bit mystified as to why CCP replaced POS jump bridges, which had jump fatigue associated with them… granted, a greatly reduced and and capped jump fatigue compare to what was introduced with the Phoebe update…, with the fatigue free Ansiblex.   I don’t think anybody in null sec was asking for that big of a pass.  We were good with the old jump bridge routine, fatigue and all.  But we use what we’re given.

So rather than 36 gates home, I had to take just five gates through low sec to get on the Eye of Terror system, after which it was just four Ansiblex gates, with a normal gate in between each.

Including that one parked right on the sun in Delve

That cut my total system transitions down to 14, which doesn’t even account for the safety factor.  They Ansiblex jump gates tend to be on grid with the gate they most likely server, so you drop into system on a perch over your next jump.  That and watching intel channels makes such a trip much less dangerous than it might otherwise be.

Of course, there is a cost.  You get charged for each jump.

Fuel tolls

I’ll pay that, even if INIT charges us more.

And the blackout?  Well, if nothing else, it does give you a false sense of security.  I did not see any hostiles on the way home.  Maybe there were some.  Maybe they were cloaked.  Maybe they just were not on grid.  I’ll never now.

The whole thing went smoothly enough that I clone jumped my alt back to Frarie and grabbed my last ship, a Sabre, and ran the route again.

Permaband SKIN online!

I try not to run the same route twice in a row right away, if only because it tends to court danger.  But space seemed empty enough, the intel channels were quiet, and what the hell.  The Sabre got home safely as well.

And so ends another deployment.  I probably won’t bother undocking again for the rest of the month.  CCP has thrown all the skill points at us already and there aren’t any wars or deployments going on, save for Black Ops, and I am not actually a member of Black Ops.  But mostly it will be due to WoW Classic going live later today.  I expect that will keep me busy for a bit.

Raitaru Fight in Frarie

We had another timer waiting for us last night in Frarie.  Snuffed Out had previously reinforced a Raitaru we had dropped not too far from our Fortizar and the final event was at hand.

Counting Down

We formed up in Abaddons again, wondering if Snuff would show up for the timer or not.

Word was that they too were forming, and eyes on their home in Rakapas said they were putting together a mix of Machariels and Apocalypse Navy Issues with fax support.  A few minutes after the repair cycle had started they bridged in.  At that point we undocked and warped straight onto them with out pulse beam fit Abaddons, with our own fax in tow, and a brawl ensued.

The Abaddons off the Raitaru

At that point I got very busy as I was once again out in the dirty Guardian doing my logi thing.  Cainun was targeting Machariels to make them pay in ISK while they were going after logi to make killing the rest of the fleet that much easier.

Our logi was holding and a few Machariels had died when Snuff upped the ante and started dropping in dreadnoughts.  Our logi chain was broken and our fax wasn’t able to keep up. Guardians were alpha’d off the field by their battleships while the HAW dreads starting hitting Abaddons.  The dirty Guardian was no more.

We had the option to escalate as well.  We have some anti-cap dreads of our own that could have come into the fight.  However, the word was that they had their titan and super pilots logged in and sitting in Rakapas waiting to jump in as well if we did so.

Cainun’s last act was to warp us all back to our Fortizar before his own ship exploded.  Our fax went down as well, as did the Raitaru.  The battle report shows the ISK war against us as well.

Battle Report Header

This fight, and our previous encounters with Snuff, does make me question the value of this deployment.  Liberty Squad leadership wanted to go somewhere where we could get “good fights” on something like a regular basis.  But we chose to base ourselves under the capital umbrella of Snuffed Out without bringing anything like enough to counter that.  That leaves them the option to escalate, something they have done in every fight.  We have had them drop titans on us more than once already.

Titans loll about a previous fight

And yet Snuff clearly wants us there.  They have more than enough capitals on hand to take out our Fortizar if they wanted to.  As with any such arrangement, the price to keep them from doing that is to fight them… entertain them… and lose.  If we stop, you can bet the Fortizar will be their next target.

This is, as always, the problem with low sec for me.  There is nothing here to win.  Nothing changes, we just form back up again another night to repeat the same event.

It makes me want to jump my clone over to the Black Ops deployment where they cyno in to gank somebody and about half the time it doesn’t go as planned and the locals jump us instead and we have to scramble to get out.  At least there is some question as to how the fight will end and a chance to get away with something before the supers start landing on you. (Fortunately I have an alt there already.)

Oh well, that is the nature of EVE Online without a war going on.

Addendum:

Somebody recorded last night’s fight.

 

Learning Restraint in Placid

Our Fortizar in Frarie still stands.  Maybe there will be an actual fight over it at some point.

Named “Little House on the Frarie”

Last night wasn’t the night however.  I got home and saw a ping that we would be forming up to defend it.  Snuffed Out had come by and set the armor timer yet again.

Time running down…

As the time ticked down, we formed up in the Fortizar in our Abaddons and Guardians.  A scout in their home system of Rakapas reported that they were logged in and had eyes on their bridging titan.

But they did not come.  The timer ran down and the Fortizar was no longer in danger.

We were formed up and ready to go, and it was clear that Snuff was as well, though their bridging titan logged off.  They were not going to come to us.  They were expecting, not unreasonably after our past performance, us to come shoot one of their structures like we did on Saturday.

However, Cainun decided that we were not going to reward them with a feed for not showing up to the timer.  The Abaddon fleet stood down, we all got our PAP, and that was that.  Another doctrine was called later and Liberty Squad roamed elsewhere.  No fight with Snuff.

Abaddons in Low Sec Again

The Liberty Squad “good fights” deployment in Placid carries on.  There are no objectives to take, no territory to defend, and not much infrastructure to assail in low sec, unless you want to get involved in faction warfare, and we haven’t started doing that yet.

We are up there just to pick fights with the local power, Snuffed Out, and their allies.  And they seem willing to oblige now and then.

One way they seem to be interested in fighting us is economically by seeding our staging station with contracts for mal-fit doctrine ships that are just a bit cheaper than the fits being imported by the squad.  And, it doesn’t matter how often people say or broadcast about not buying contracts from random third parties, people will just buy the cheapest contract that sounds about right.  I know, I’ve made that mistake myself.

To combat this, Liberty Squad dropped a Fortizar in Frarie, the smallest structure that allows the owner to setup a market.

Named “Little House on the Frarie”

In theory this should stop the bad contract nonsense, since the locals lack docking rights.  In reality, enough people are still in the station that people keep buying the bad contracts.

The Fortizar also gives us another potential point of conflict, a target for the locals.  And they did take us up on that, reinforcing the Fortizar last week.  The armor timer was set to come out last night and squad leadership had pre-pinged about the potential for a fight.  It was time to get the Abaddons out again.

However, the timer came and went and Snuff did not show up.  This is the sort of thing that gets Cainun worked up, so he decided if they were not going to come to us, we were going to go to them, that having worked out so well previously.  So we all piled onto a titan, ready to be launched in the general direction of Snuff.

A Ragnarkok in a POS

We were bridged into their home area where we started looking for something to shoot.  I was in a Guardian this time around, with my alt on the second monitor in an Abaddon.

I still haven’t washed that Guardian

We ended up in Rakapas to shoot a Fortizar of theirs.  At that point things got very busy for me.  Attacking a gunned and defended Fortizar means a lot of bombs flying your way and lots of calls for reps.

Snuff undocked Machariels, at which point we became much less about shooting the Fortizar and much more about getting in position to fight their fleet.  This led to a series of warps back and forth around the Fortizar where Snuff seems disinclined to break tether.

After a while of this Cainun decided a fight was not going to happen.  By his estimation, Snuff Was not going to have a go at us unless everything was tilted in their favor, so he had us align out and head home.

The scout left behind reported that the Machariels warped off to a POS to get on a titan of their own once we left.  It looked like they were going to drop on us on our way home.  And when we spotted the cyno Cainun decided to give that a shot to see what they would bring.

The Machariel fleet dropped on us in Nennamaila and we were in close enough range to engage.  And while they did not bring HAW dreads along with them, they did jump fax support in to keep their Machs alive.  After a few attempts we were only able to break the tank on one Machariel while they were chewing up Abaddons one after another.

Once again, things were quite busy in the logi wing as we tried to keep people alive.

As the battle titled against us, the likelihood of us getting another Mach kill fell away, and Cainun decided to warp us out.  My alt, in an Abaddon, was tackled by one of the Machs however, so while my Guardian warped off to the station to dock up, the Abaddon sat there in the middle of hostiles waiting to die.  This was a double whammy because my alt had gotten the kill mail for the one Mach we killed, so that Abaddon was going to have a very short lived kill mark.

And then I was no longer pointed.  I don’t know if the person who had me tackled found a better target or if I just wandered out of range before it was my turn, but I wasn’t going to stick around and ask.  Already aligned and at speed, I warped right out and docked up with the rest of the survivors who made it out.

That Mahcariel we killed was expensive, but not expensive enough to offset out own losses.  We lost the ISK war by about a 6 to 1 margin according to the battle report.

Header from the Battle Report

And that total doesn’t include what we lost on the Fortizar in Rakapas, which would add another 3 billion ISK on top of that.  At least Abaddons insure well.

We waited in the station until they got bored and left.  They had already gotten their kills, so they didn’t hang around for very long.  After that we went back to Frarie to dock up in the Fortizar.

We shall see if they reinforce it again.  Doing that has worked out pretty well for them so far.  They haven’t killed any of our structures, but when they don’t show up for the timer Cainun feels the need to go find trouble, and he tends to get it.

Faction Fortizar Throw Down in Sujarento

At least my efforts in moving that Naglfar across New Eden were rewarded.

Liberty Squad deployed north over the weekend, and after the structure shoots in Tribute our FCs were clearly looking for some blood.  From the moment we arrived at our new staging in Frarie we were out trying to provoke a fight with Snuffed Out and their local allies.

It started with some reinforcement timers in Frarie.  We have citadels there and so do they.  But when, on Sunday evening they declined to show up for one of them after we had formed, Thomas Lear and Cainun led us out to Sujarento, about 8 gates away, to reinforce a faction Fortizar owned by one of Snuff’s allies Pen Is Out.

They gunned the Fortizar for that, which made it a busy time for our logi wing as our Abaddon fleet set the first timer.

Hanging around the Fortizar

With the timer set to come out in less than 24 hours we had effectively scheduled the next big op, all while only losing a single Augoror.  Of course, then we lost five Abaddons on the way home because the locals formed a small fleet to catch stragglers and we apparently cannot all align.  You cannot spell “Abaddon” without “bad” I guess.

You don’t tell me where to align!

Anyway, the blood lust was on us.  Pings went out to get people on.  We were going to take this fight.  And, the next evening, at 23:00 UTC, we were piling into fleet while it was reported that the Snuff and allies had about 200 people logged into their staging system.

Low sec still has local.

Once we got a pile of Abaddons together, along with some Leshaks, Cainun had us undock.  The call was for battleships ahead of logi, so I left my filthy Guardian in the hangar and went with the fat boys.  I trained up lasers ages ago so I like to use them when I get the chance.  So pretty.

An Abaddon blob undocking

We had battleships together, which were bridged in a group to the target, and dread alts on standby, logged in, in the fleet, and insurance windows open, ready to go if the fight escalated as we expected it might.

When we arrived we aligned to the target, which had already begun its 15 minute repair cycle.

The Pen Is Out Fortizar

Snuff had a Machariel fleet waiting for us, which was what we had hoped to get stuck into.  We got on grid… maybe a little too close, since we the station PDS was hitting us… and the Leshaks began hitting the Fortizar while the Abaddons began engaging the Machs.  That was a fairly busy time, especially for our logi wing again.  But even in the Abaddons there was much to do, including capacitor management.  The fit isn’t cap stable and when the station is throwing void bombs at you that drain your cap… cap you need to fire the guns and keep your hardeners going… you spend some time feeding in cap boosters and turning things on and off just to get another shot in.

We were exchanging when my turn came up to be primary.  Logi was busy so many of us were letting our armor sit unrepaired until it got critical, so when I saw the yellow boxes light up on my overview it seemed unlikely that I would get enough reps in time.

Sure enough, my ship exploded.

I was floating around in my pod, nobody had time for me at the moment, when Snuff began jumping dreadnoughts into the fight.  As soon as that happened Thomas called for our dreads to insure and undock.  I swapped windows, dragging my main over to the second monitor and my alt onto the main, and undocked the Naglfar.  We jumped into the fight, sieged up, and began hitting targets.

I think was the third time I had used a dread in combat, which pretty much means I had little idea what I needed to do beyond going into siege and shooting the broadcasts… and hitting the emergency hull energized when I became primary.

You know how this ends… Fortizar visible in the background

By the time my number came up Snuff had dropped titans on us.  I lasted long enough that I had a titan on my kill mail.  That might be another first for me, first capital loss and first capital hit by a titan.  The hull energizer kept me alive for a while, which may have saved somebody else as people had to keep shooting me for a bit.  But I was dead soon enough.

After that I was sitting around in system in two pods.  At that point I realized that my main actually had implants and that maybe I shouldn’t let him just sit around.  I gated him safely home to our staging.

My alt was implant free however, so he stuck around on grid taking screen shots of the unfolding fight, some of which I put in a gallery at the end of the post.

Once the titans were on grid the battle was decided.  Dreadnoughts were as far as we could escalate, so after a few more targets people who could jump out did.

By any reasonable measure, we lost the fight.  We failed the objective, lost more ships, lost more in ISK value.  But it was the battle we had been aching for.  I, for one, had been dragging that Naglfar around with me since March waiting to drop it into a desperate fight.

I tried to do a battle report, but as I always say, low sec is strange.  Low sec groups can be as clannish as any null sec coalition, so it is difficult to tell who was there with Snuff and who was just there, so I sorted the header into Imperium and everybody else.

Battle Report Header – Click to Make Legible

That was a lot of people in system during the fight.  Enough to help make Sujarento the most violent system in the last 24 hours per DOTLAN.

Most Violent Winner of the Night

And lest you wonder, the vast majority of that violence occurred during a pretty tight time frame.

That peak, that is us

However, despite the pile up of players in system over a short duration, there was no time dilation invoked that I saw.  Maybe somebody had the foresight to reinforce the system.  There have been times in low sec where just gating a group of 60 ships have brought tidi into play.

Anyway, we have introduced ourselves to the locals by throwing them a nice party.  We’ll see how things develop from there.

Related Items

Selected screen shots from my pod.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Moving my Naglfar to a New Deployment

Before the Imperium’s attack on Tribute in late May and June Liberty Squad was deployed over near Geminate, putting us in the neighborhood of Pandemic Horde for fights.

Then the glassing of Tribute intervened.  We moved some ships up to Pure Blind and left some behind.  Well, I did.  Then the Drifters came and we all went back to Delve.

But even that has settled down and Liberty is off to a new deployment.  The move op was awkwardly set for Friday at 6pm local time for me.  I don’t want to be “that guy” but my wife does like to go out for dinner or a movie or something on the weekend, so I missed that.  But I was able to get on later in the evening and YOLO a Guardian up to the deployment so I was at least present and accounted for.  That Guardian had been in my hangar for a long time, and was caked in grime.

My hope was that the dirt would hide me

I usually clean my ships, but beyond a certain point it is more fun to just leave the schmutz all over the hull.

I still had ships in the east however.  (You might be able to guess the vicinity of the deployment via the nebula in that screen shot.)  The squad arranged a short shipping window during which you could have any excess hauled to Jita.  I repackaged a few ships and sent them along.  However, I still had a dreadnought sitting out there.  I wasn’t shipping that to Jita.

I had bought it while deployed and had insured it at one point when it seemed like we were on the edge of dropping on a super carrier.  However, that did not come to pass and I still have nearly 30 days left on the insurance.  I thought about just gating it through low sec until I was tackled and blown up so as to get my insurance payout and be done with it.

But that just isn’t me.  I am mostly at peace with losing ships in EVE Online.  You have to be in order to play over the game long term.  But I cannot bring myself to deliberately throw them away.  So I went to DOTLAN EVE Maps and looked into how many jumps it would take to get to the new deployment from my current position.

DOTLAN told me it would be just five jumps.  I could manage that.  So I got out a cyno alt and started him off towards the first stop on the list.  He was in a Kestral with a cyno and some liquid ozone and nothing else.

On the way!

This is the thing with capital ships; you really need two or more accounts if you want autonomy when moving.

I put the two together in a fleet, made one last check of assets in the system (which is good, because I left a Sabre in another station, so I shoved that in the Naglfar’s maintenance bay), setup the cyno in the target system and undocked to jump.

First cyno lit

The dread landed about as far away from the undock as it could manage, but was able to motor over and dock up before any trouble showed up.  There were a few people in system and, where I am from, a cyno on the overview attracts attention.

And then came the wait.  When you light a cyno it has a 10 minute cycle time.  While that was counting down somebody showed up and blew up the Kestrel.  Not unexpected.  I picked the Kestrel because I happened to have one handy and had used it as a cyno ship before.  But I realized that my cyno alt now had Cyno V trained.  With each level you train up you use less fuel, and fuel is the gating aspect.  At level V he only needed 250 units of liquid ozone, which will just fit in the cargo hold of the Ibis rookie ship.  And since CCP kindly put a rookie ship dispense button in every structure, I changed my plan.

it is complimentary

Instead of using a Kestrel, I was able to buy one close by along with another cyno module and some liquid ozone, I would just fly to the next stop, press the button, fit the cyno to the Ibis, and use that as my jump target.  When I was done I would just strip the cyno off, put it in the Kestrel, then fly off to the next destination.  I fit a couple of war stabilizers as well, since I would only be traveling.  The dread had liquid ozone in the cargo, so after each jump I topped off the Kestrel’s supple for the next one.

I zipped off to the next destination, set up the Ibis, and lit the cyno.  By that time the red jump timer had run down on the dread and I was able to make the next hop.

Naglfar arriving at another station

I had initially planned to just make one or two jumps then go to bed.  It was already past midnight for me at that point.  However, that also meant it was a low population time in general, so I pressed on.  Nobody bothered my cyno Ibis and my Kestrel flew pretty freely through low sec as it went from station to station.

It wasn’t until the final station that I got a bit ahead of myself.  I landed, docked up, summoned another Ibis and fit it out.  Then I undocked, move to a likely spot, and lit the cyno.  In the other client I undocked the dread and went to jump… and I didn’t go.

I had forgotten to check the jump timer.  CCP has toned down jump fatigue quite a bit.  But it does still add up after a few jumps.  Previously it had run down by the time I was in position for the next jump, such that I stopped checking.

Now I had five minutes on the clock before I could go.

The cyno would last ten minutes, that was no problem.  But this was our staging system, so it was more heavily populated that all of the previous system and my cyno alt is still in the starter NPC corp.  Still, it was late and nobody was around.  The minutes ticked by slowly.  After three minutes a Malediction undocked from the station.  He looked to be aligning out to go somewhere, but then he stopped turned around, and just sat facing me.

The Malediction’s gaze

I wasn’t sure what I should do.  He was clearly looking me over.  Do you say “friend!” in local?  Would he believe it, or would that make me even more suspicious.  Null sec is always wheels within wheels that way.  I just sat tight and put “Kick ASCEE” in the local text box, to send that if he blew me up.  That was is corp ticker, and “Kick ASCEE” is not an uncommon refrain.

After watching me for over a minute, he aligned out and flew off.  I guess he figured that since we were in the midst of move ops, that cyno might be for one of our supply freighters jumping in with ships to put up on contract.

Finally, the jump timer ran down.  I jumped to the cyno, docked up, and was done.  My Naglfar had made it to the next deployment.  Now if I can just lose it in the next couple of weeks… or, if not, I guess I can use it to haul ships home.  I’ve already got a few on hand now, so I might as well use that ship maintenance bay if I have it.

That is always a problem for me in New Eden; I collect stuff then have to move it.  How many jumps to get back to Delve?