Tag Archives: Lonetrek

Home from Hakonen

The deployment to Hakonen was declared over earlier this week.  GSOL, the logistics masters who make deployments possible, quietly packed up their stuff first to go pave the way back to Delve. Then the official announcement came for caps and subcaps to start heading south for home.

A variety of reasons have come up to explain our return to Delve including Pandemic Horde deploying to attack the region, TEST moving in next door to Hakonen letting the north concentrate on both of us easily, the developing situation in the southwest of null sec, TEST deploying back home, the foreseeable break between TEST and CO2, or the fact that we only planned to hang out for about a month in Hakonen in any case.

Pick whatever narrative or combinations thereof you prefer.  Regardless of which you choose, we were told to come home.

My usual plan for moves is to get in the first subcap move op I see, because I rarely find a second one.  I wanted to get my Typhoon back to Delve.  I traveled light for the trip up to Lonetrek, but then bought ships, including the battleship, so my hangar had filled up.  Some of the ships I planned to just have an alt fly to Jita to disassemble and sell on the market, but the Typhoon had suddenly become special, having acquired kill marks in that last capital battle.  So I wanted to get that back home.

Two more orange dots on a hull with many orange dots… but they are special dots

Of course, I missed that first subcap move op… and a second one, which also appeared to be the last one for USTZ… so I was on my own to get stuff back to Delve.

Normally that would be no big deal.  The route back to Delve is mostly through high sec, but I had a couple of problems.

First, having spent time flying the ECM Burst Atron in low sec meant that my security status was bad, having dropped below the -5 threshold.  You can read up on security status here, but that meant I would be a flashing outlaw in everybody’s overview and the faction police in high sec would be calling out my name and shooting at me.  I wanted to fix that before I flew some ships back south, including the wallowing armor tanked Typhoon.

Fortunately for me, you can fix that.  Corrupt CONCORD lets you buy them off by just visiting one of their stations, and there is one just two gates from Hakonen in the system of Jan.  You don’t pay them off directly, instead giving them clone soldier tags for which they will wipe all that bad behavior off your record.  I am sure they resell those tags again and pocket the ISK.  People only join CONCORD for the corruption I am told.

The sec status cleaning interface

You can buy the tags on the market, and I had a neutral alt in Jita ready to buy some and run them over, but it turned out they are for sale in such abundance in the CONCORD station that the price is cheaper than Jita.  So I bought what I needed and was soon a citizen in good standing again.

My sec status repaired

I repaired my sec status because of the second problem.  In order to avoid gate guns and other issues that come from fighting a war in some place other than null sec, there had been a number of cross declarations of war between alliances.

Everybody loves a war!

War declarations mean you can freely shoot people from the other side in high sec space, making the run back to Delve, which is mostly through high sec, more risky.  I didn’t want to be tackled by somebody with a war dec on us and have the faction police come and finish the job for them.  That is what happened on this kill mail.  I’m bad enough at PvP without the NPCs coming in to assist.

So, all set, I started out with a couple of small ships, my alt flying a Purifier stealth bomber and Wilhelm flying a Jackdaw destroyer.

The station undock was camped, but we put an Astrahus citadel straight off the undock so you can insta-warp to it upon loading in space before anybody can lock and shoot you.  I landed at the citadel, then warped off to the first gate.  I opted to avoid the straight, obvious route out off Hakonen through Nalvula and Jan, as both those gates were camped as well at various times.  Instead I headed to Oimmo in high sec and then started navigating for home from there.  A slightly different path, and two extra gates, but much safer.

The Purifier, warping faster, ended up getting ahead, so I decided to see if he could take a Lucky Clash event site on his own.  They were scattered all over New Eden when I started the move.

A Lucky Clash casino station

The Purifier had no problem taking on the one Redtail Shark attacker by warping in at range and pelting him with torpedoes from a distance.

Purifier off to loot the wreck

Meanwhile, no war targets had appeared.  The thing about wars decs in high sec is that the hostiles tend to just sit in Jita assuming that you’ll go there.  That undock is hot if you have a war dec, but I flew past Jita, going through Sobaseki, and through Amarr, the next big trade hub, without any problem at all.

I even had the Jackdaw try its hand at a Lucky Clash site, which it handled without issue.

Jackdaw taking on a site

It was an uneventful journey home, save for a LowSechnaya Sholupen pilot sitting in a smart bombing battleship on one of the gates in Aridia, and he was out of position and only caught the Purifier with a single cycle which did almost no damage.  I think he was looting the wreck of a Pandemic Horde interceptor that had passed me along the way.  Either way, I was soon home and dry in Delve.

Jumping back to Hakonen with my main, I decided to bring out my Hurricane next.  Again, it was easy to warp past the camp on the undock and head out via the bypass into high sec space.  The Hurricane, moving more slowly than the last two ships, gave me some time to sight see in a way.

It had been interesting being up in Lonetrek again.  All of the battles took place just a few jumps from where I started playing EVE Online.  My first “home” system was Hageken and back in 2006 through 2007 I ranged from there, ran my first missions, started mining, and began playing market games.  Evidence of the latter still exists in the form of dozens of local stations showing up as having crap of mine stored in them.

Assets in Lonetrek, just the top of the list…

So as I flew the slower Hurricane through the region, I looked through the assets list and put things up for sale.  A lot of it I listed pretty cheap, but as some of it has been sitting around for a decade, cheap is relative and it is probably better to have a little ISK out of it than to let it sit even longer.  It was mostly missiles and expanded cargo holds and warp core stabilizers, all of which I was attempting to collect from mission hubs and sell.  There was one ship, a Moa, still sitting in Hageken that was probably the biggest ticket item.

Soon enough though I moved out of Lonetrek and left behind a still unexamined pile of items.

Again I ran into no war targets on my run and, again, I took a moment to run a Lucky Clash site just because.

Hurricane blapping the Lucky Clash intruder

That was it for the night.

I resumed last night thinking that, after two milk runs, I would just roll the fat Typhoon home, passing through Lonetrek and listing more leftovers for sale.  So I jumped back to Hakonen, undocked, and hit the Astrahus again to align out for the same route as before.

Typhoon at the Astrahus and aligning

The slow moving Typhoon lumbered off into high sec space and meandered from gate as I paid more attention to listing things on the market than anything else.  One residual of my days as a trader is that I can list up to 241 items on the market and can do so from many jumps distance.

Eventually I moved out of Lonetrek, but as I did I noticed a war target, first in local, then on my overview.  He was in a frigate and so warped ahead of me as the Typhoon struggled to just align.

Now I am not a very aggressive pilot.  I see a war target in high sec, I am generally by myself and not on voice coms, so I just attempt to evade and escape.  I am not a threat.  But this chap was in Mercenary Coalition, a feisty organization, and headed away from home.  I wondered if he was on coms telling somebody that a fat target was wandering along by itself waiting to be shot.

Sure enough, as passed out a Niarja through the Madirmilire gate I found a Proteus waiting for me on the other side flown by one CJ Longstreet, the same guy in that kill mail I linked above, on the very same gate.  He hit me with a warp scrambler, which meant I couldn’t just use my MJD to jump away.  I figured he would surely web me and that I would never make it back to the gate, so I locked him in return and started shooting and neuting him.  I also headed for the gate, just in case.

As it turned out he did not have a web fit, or didn’t think to use it, because I was soon at the gate, and safety lay on the other side.  Instead, he was neuting me in return, which wasn’t doing very much as he was running a small energy neutralizer and the Typhoon is a passive fit.  Meanwhile,  I certainly wasn’t going to blow him up as the first chap, the one who spotted me a while back, arrived in an Oneiros to rep him and give him capacitor.

So there I was at the gate.  Of course, now I had a weapons timer, a two minute count down before I could jump through, so I stopped firing and watched the clock count down as he slowly chipped away at my layers of armor, hitting me for 300-500 points of damage every attack with his Heavy Electron Blaster IIs.

Waiting is the hardest part…

At one point he figured out what I was up to and stopped shooting, no doubt thinking to follow me through the gate.  But then he changed his mind and started shooting again.  I am not sure how much that respite helped, but it certainly didn’t hurt.  I was closing in on 10% armor when the timer finally ended and I was able to jump through the gate.  Hurray for 132K of EHP!

On the far side there were no hostiles.  There was, however, a selection of citadels open to the public.  So I headed to a nearby Fortizar and tethered up to repair.  I was safe for the moment.

Repairing quietly

Fortunately I have been past war target camps in Niarja.  While it is a bottleneck system on the route between Jita and Amarr, once you are in Niarja you have other options.  There were a few other routes home for me.  So I went to DOTLAN, found a likely looking choice, and headed out again.

I saw one MC pilot in local as I passed through Ashab, something of a bottleneck system as well, but I wasn’t going to or from either of the obvious gates.  And so I went through safely, made my way to Aridia and down into Delve, again without issue.

So all my stuff… well, all my important stuff… is back home in Delve.  There are a few cheap ships still up in Hakonen like the ECM Burst Atrons that I will let a neutral alt pick up and bring to Jita.

The deployment itself was a success for me, but my criteria isn’t likely to be the default for many people.  I saw some big fights, got some good screen shots, got a prestige kill mail, didn’t lose a ship, learned a few new things, got to fly around some old familiar space, and had fun along the way.  That is about all I could ask.

Now to see what is going on back at home.

Foray into Nalvula

HICS JOIN THAT FLEET – HAVE TITANS TACKLED – WE ARE DREADBOMBING – GO GO GO

~~~ This was a broadcast from the_mittani to all at 2017-08-20 22:45:34.680221 EVE ~~~

A flurry of pings showed up Sunday afternoon, of which the one quoted above is merely a representation of what I was seeing.  It looked like something interesting was going on and I happened to be sitting down at my computer at almost exactly the correct moment.

It isn’t as though there haven’t been any ops to go on.  There have been plenty, and I have been out on some of them.  But none of them seemed to pass the threshold of interesting, or at least interesting enough to write about.  Do I need to write a post about another run into Tribute to reinforce another tower?  We did dash across New Eden via a pair of Thera wormholes in order to catch some capital ships down in Wicked Creek, but the fact that we got there too late takes some of the edge/interest out of the tale.  Without a fight the story becomes more about travel, indecipherable Scots accents, and the occasional person being dumb on coms.

Anyway, I digress.  Coms were not an issue for this fleet op.  Getting in and getting to the destination was laid out pretty simply.  I was a couple of minutes behind the curve, so when I got online and in coms Asher was telling people to undock and warp to a titan to be bridged.  At the far end of the bridge, targets were already being called.  I just had to get there.

I was a bit worried about that.  I wasn’t in Hakonen, I was in Jita.  That put me a jump clone and a couple of session changes behind the fleet.  EVE Online protects itself, in its way, but not letting players do some things with a delay.  After jump cloning the session timer keeps you from doing a number of things, like swapping ships or joining a fleet for 10 seconds or so.  It feels like forever when you are in a hurry, but I bit my lower lip and hummed as I watched the tiny white timer circle in the upper left hand corner finish its revolution so I could get in fleet.  They I got into a Typhoon and undocked.  I considered joining up in a Guardian again, but I was late, Asher was saying that more DPS was better, and some days just shooting things is all you want to do anyway.

As I was entering warp to get to the titan, Asher said on coms that people who were not in GSF, and who thus could not just wander through the POS shields to get to the titan, should warp to a planet, then warp to the target to avoid getting stuck.  So I hit the POS shield and bounced off as I watched others stream past be, unobstructed by the defense barrier.  It is at times like this that I wonder why I just don’t join KarmaFleet and enjoy the benefits of not being that guy stuck outside the bubble.

I was able to warp off to the planet indicated, then warped back to the titan at 10km, so as not to bump it.  I landed and pulsed my propulsion module once to speed up the time it took to close the gap between me and the titan, whose bridge was already up and sending people on their way.  I was almost there.

Need to be within 2,500m

And then the moment I was within range the bridge expired and disappeared.

Fortunately the plan was to just keep bridging people as they showed up, so in a few seconds the titan, a Leviathan, was again aglow with bridging goodness.  I right clicked on it to select the destination to jump through to, and couldn’t find it for a second.  I am so used to null sec designations for systems, being in all caps and sporting a hyphen, that an actual name name just blends into the list.  I looked, didn’t see it, right clicked again, just in case I had done so too early for the name to draw, didn’t see it again, right clicked a third time and really looked, found it, and selected the destination.

As the titan bridged me through my next thought was, “Nalvula? Isn’t that literally next door to Hakonen?”

Yes, Nalvula is connected to Hakonen via a gate.  But sometimes it is better to bridge people in even that short of a distance.  Doing so landed us directly in the middle of the fight and avoided any sort of gate camp that might have been setup along the direct and obvious route.

Nalvula was a busy place when I landed.

A pile of titans and other capitals on grid

Hostile titans were on grid as advertised, though I am not sure I would go so far as to declare them “tackled.”  That word implies we hold some sort of advantage and that we need to rush in and start shooting quickly lest the tackled titans escape.  There were more than a few about as the system filled with people.

Local under 1,000 when I arrived

Furthermore, they seemed to be multiplying.  Being within easy jump range of their super capital staging, PL/NC’s response to a titan being tackled was to log on more titans and pile on so they could use their big shiny toys to shoot things.

The glare of more ships jumping in

When I got into the system and on grid with the fight, I locked up the first target.  We were going after hostile force auxiliaries.  The Typhoons were putting their missiles on the one broadcast, being instructed to find and put their energy neutralizer on another with a name that starts with the same letter as you own name (“W” for Wilhelm in my case), and launching drones to try and pick off hostile fighters that were roving the battlefield.

Time dilation was about in full effect, not at 10% most of the time, but in the low teens as the battle went on.  That is a fine distinction, 12% isn’t much faster than 10%, but when it hit 10%, the minimum speed, and the system is still stressed, odd things start to happen.  So 12% can be immeasurably better than 10%, since 10% can have added problems.

Slowly I got targets locked, starting sending missiles and drones down range, and found a hostile Apostle whose pilot’s name started with a “V,” the closest letter I saw, and started motoring into range so I could put the energy neutralizer on him to drain his capacitor.  Meanwhile, the ball of capital ships was lit by explosions and doomsday effects.

Explosions in the midst of the ball

The first Apostle we targeted went down, but a secondary target had already been broadcast, so we were on to that.  I had managed to get within range of my neutralizer target only to realize he wasn’t a hostile but one of our cooperating, but not blue, allies, so I started sorting the list by name again to see who else I could go after.

The second target went down and we locked up and started in on a third.  My drones were wiped out by somebody’s smart bombs, so I launched the remaining ones in my drone bay and sent them after some fighters further afield, away from the thick of the smart bombs.  Ships were exploding almost constantly on the field, with doomsdays lancing out to strike the dreadnoughts that had jumped in with us.  As somebody noted on coms, they aren’t called “suicide dreads” without reason.

At some point along the way a command destroyer activated its area effect microjump drive nearby, booshing some of us 100km away from the fight.  Given the range the Typhoon missiles have, this didn’t stop any of us from blazing away with them.  However, it put a damper on any thoughts of getting my energy neutralizer on a target.  It also likely ensured I survived the battle, as I was now annoyingly far off for fighters to bother with.

As the third target went down for us, we stared on a fourth.  But then the FC at the moment… Asher was not on grid with us… had us change to target Grath Telkin, the volitile CEO of Sniggardly, one of the main corporations in Pandemic Legion.  He would be what one might call a “prestige target.”  Everybody likes to shoot CEOs, FCs, and anybody mildly space famous.

And Grath seemed to be going down well enough when there was a hiccup and my client started behaving badly, then quit on me.

Client chooses this moment to die on me…

You can see that Grath was into deep structure by that point.  He was going down for sure, but if I wasn’t online there was a good chance I wouldn’t be on the kill mail.  What good is a prestige kill mail if you don’t get on it?

I shut the window and clicked the button on the launcher to get Wilhelm back online with one of those firm clicks you use to let the computer you mean business.  Surprisingly the computer seemed to take notice of my emphasis for once and I was back in the game quickly.  Meanwhile, tidi did me a favor.

In a normal, non-tidi battle, if you disconnect the game warps you off to a “safe” spot and leaves you there.  When you log back in it then warps you back to where you were previously, which can be awkward if your fleet has moved on, and slow if you’re in tidi.  But with tidi in full effect, the game never got around to warping me off, so I was back on and in my spot.  I got back into fleet, targeted Grath, and had missiles down range in time to hit him to ensure I was on the kill mail.

Later I noticed that not only was I counted on the kill mail, but that I got in the final blow, which made it my kill mail, such that that matters.

The luck of the final blow

If you’re going to be on a prestige kill mail, then getting the final blow in is about all you can ask for I suppose.  However, I did not notice that I had gotten that kill mail, or another one, for a while.

We were still shooting targets as they were broadcast and the hostiles were still jumping more and more capitals into the system as our dreadnoughts were scourged from the field.  Afterwards Asher noted that for a dread bomb to work, you need enough dreads to kill the target, plut 3-4 more for every force auxiliary the enemy fields, and the enemy was pouring Apostles onto the field.  That was why we were shooting and neuting them, but it wasn’t enough.

There was a titan far from the enemy pack at one point, and we turned out attentions towards it, hoping that it might get tackled since it was too far off for help from the Apostles.  However he dropped off of targeting as he entered warp, signalling and end to that effort.  And then the command to “take fleet warp” came over comes.  With the enemy still dumping capitals on us, our own dreadnought force almost spend, and our Typhoons being chewed up by fighters, it was time to extract.  We had done about as much damage as we were going to do.  I let my Typhoon align towards the Hakonen gate, tried unsuccessfully to recall my drones, and took a few last screen shots as I warped away from the fight.

Local closing in on 1,300 as I warped off

It was about then that I noticed that I had gotten the kill mails, so I had to zoom in on my ship to find the kill marks, the other benefit you for getting in the final blow.  When you’re in main fleet with a couple hundred people, getting the final blow is a rarity.  These were the first two marks I received on a Typhoon.

Two more orange dots on a hull with many orange dots

On the long warp to the gate I thought the battle went pretty well… for me.  Not a lot of dithering or travel before hand, just shooting stuff for a while when we got there, another vista of capitals and super capitals to survey, a short trip home, and a couple of kill mails.  What more could I ask from a fleet op?

For the coalition however, the battle report was pretty grim.

Battle Report Header

There wasn’t an objective to win, save for “blow up ships,” which leaves us with the ISK war.  That did not go our way at all.  Even removing our two temporary allies from our loss column only drops the total by 10%.  Still, a victory for Jita I suppose as both sides resupply from the nearby trade hub.

And a victory for those wanting some screen shots.

 

Fortizar Down in Hakonen Again

Round three of the battle to secure a Fortizar in Hakonen ended pretty much the same way that the previous two attempts did, with the Fortizar in question exploding.  I sat on grid to watch it after most everybody else has stood down.

One might well paraphrase Wellington for this fight.  “We deployed it in the same old way and they blew it up in the same old way.”

The now familiar pattern started as the timer drew down.  They first arrived with Machariels and Abaddons supported by Apostles for triage.

Battleships spreading out on arrival

Then a cyno went up and the mass of super carriers and Apostles, with a few titans in support, jumped into the system.

Hostile supers on grid

They in turn put fighters and drones on the Fortizar, stopping the timer at 13m 51s, a point from which the repair cycle never budged.

Timer stopper

We had capitals on stand-by, but did not bring them out to face the super capital gauntlet again.  No aggressive drops of dreadnoughts in hope of knocking out a few supers happened.  We stuck with sub caps for this round.

I was with the ECM Burst fleet again, hovering on a perch in my Atron, waiting to be warped in on hostiles to break their target locks.

Again my Atron swoops down upon the foe

After a few runs my security status was down to -7.1.  I am no longer safe to wander through high sec.  I will have to do quite a bit of ratting at some later date to fix that.

Our main striking force was a pair of Typhoon fleets whose progress I could mark from my perch by following the explosions.

Typhoons blowing up, they didn’t align in time

At one point both Typhoon fleets warped in on the far side of the fight, putting the hostiles between themselves and the Fortizar.  I put my camera on the fleet as it began to erupt in a near continuous series of explosions.

They did not stay on grid for long, warping off after taking quite a few losses in exchange for a few Machariels.  Our defense was called off shortly thereafter.

The fight itself was not plagued by as much time dilation as the previous two rounds, something a people on coms were quick to attribute to the fact that many of the groups in the conflict declared war on each other since the last fight.  That was alleged to lighten the load on Crime Watch, though the fact that there were 800 fewer people in local for the fight seemed a more likely explanation to me.  The war decs will likely just mean less worry about gate guns firing on people.

The battle report reflects the fact that we spent less time on grid fighting, with total losses adding up to less than 10% of the second fight and only 25% that of the first.

Battle Report Header for Round Three

The ratio of losses remained close to the same 70/30 split of the previous two fights, so we are consistent on that front.  We clearly lost the ISK war, but we drew some blood.

As a skeptical line member, whose only insight into overall strategy is what he reads in the papers, I am not sure where this Fortizar plan is headed.  It was reported that the fight managed to cover the deployment of a couple more Astrahus citadels in hostiles space.  These “roach motels,” as they have been dubbed, are set to be open to anybody, so if you want to camp in Tribute or Vale of the Silent, there are now rest stops where you can tether and repair or dock up for the night.

Attempts to return the favor by dropping citadels in Delve have been thwarted so far.

And even as we were fighting last night, another Fortizar was anchoring in Hakonen.

Aptly named “Another One”

This Fortizar is different in two ways.

First, it is in a slightly different location, since it was deployed while the one that just died was also going online.  Everybody will have to make new bookmarks.

Second, it is set to anchor and hit its 15 minute repair cycle during EUTZ, giving out European brethren a bite at the apple and some content of their own.  Will Jay Amazingness and the European members of the Imperium fare any better than we in the USTZ have done?  I suppose we’ll get the answer about two hours after this post goes live.  The fun is supposed to start at some point after 18:00 EVE time.

Anyway, as the line member space tourist, I’ll keep logging on for these fights.  It is what I signed up to do.  Join the Imperium and see New Eden!

An Astrahus Dies in Hakonen

And it wasn’t even ours.

Despite not having anything major going on this past weekend I somehow managed to sit down at my computer 30 minutes after a fleet op had formed up and left.  So it goes in New Eden, where action operates on its own schedule, and if you’re not around you miss it.

But as the weekend drew to a close I managed to get into one fleet.  Thomas Lear pinged for a Typhoon fleet and a support fleet of Jackdaws and ECM.  We were forming up to shoot an Astrahus that Pandemic Legion dropped in the system.

Look for the PL logo…

Being a Pandemic Legion citadel it had to follow the long standing practice of being named with a Game of Thrones spoiler.  And people ask who the bad guys are in this war.

Names omitted to save your purity…

I hope I blurred that enough.

As with the Fortizars we dropped and lost to our foes previously, it was the expedient course to kill the Astrahus as it went online, removing the need to deal with multiple timers.  Shooting it immediately would kill it right then and there.

I joined up with the Typhoon fleet in a Guardian again as logi seems to be in somewhat short supply.  I think everybody just wants to fly their el cheapo tier 1 battleships and shoot things.  While the fleet didn’t fill instantly, it was still nearly full by the time we undocked and got down to business.

Typhoons scattered about with logi cap chaining in the middle

When we landed on grid with the Astrahus a mobile cyno inhibitor was deployed to keep our foes in Tribute from jumping straight in and on grid to defend the citadel, should they have a mind to do so.

Mobile cyno inhibitor

It is glowing orange-ish because logi was asked to lock it up and put a rep on it in order to keep it safe from attack.

Logi reps on the cyno inhibitor

This turned out to be a good plan, not due to any enemy action, but rather due to a few anxious fleet members keen to shoot anything unfamiliar appearing on their overview.

The enemy did not show up in force.  A couple of Bifrosts attempted to play booshing games with us, jumping a few fleet members 100km off.  But the Typhoon fit of the day included a microjump drive fit, so anybody who was jumped of in a boosh was able to align back to the fleet and make the return trip with a jump of their own.

The one bit of comedy I suppose was a Hurricane that undocked to contest our fleet… I guess… he showed up.

A wild Hurricane appears…

The support fleet went right after him and he was locked down pretty quickly.

There is a Hurricane in there somewhere

The distraction of the Hurricane did not last long however.  The ship was soon coming apart in anticipation of a final explosion.

Ships burning and going critical are pretty…

No opposing fleet arrive however, so after a the requisite amount of time… there is a damage cap for shooting citadels which means there is a minimum amount of time it takes to kill one, which in the case of an Astrahus is something like 22 minutes if I recall right… the target exploded with the usual fury.

Astrahus inferno

It did not brew up with very many pre-explosions, or I was watching from the wrong angle.  But there was the explosion followed by the wreck on grid which was quickly salvaged by somebody in the fleet.

The wreck barely lasted longer than the light effects…

At that point we were cleared to shoot the cyno inhibitor, as once you deploy one it cannot be recovered.  A small kill mail to add to the Astrahus.  I managed to get on both kill mails.  Bad logi pilot that I am, I always carry a combat drone and I managed to sneak off into range of the Astrahus to add it to the attack before scampering back to the ball of logi.

The operation over, Thomas warped us back to an insta-dock bookmark on the station we are currently working out of.  As it happened, we landed inside the model which ended up looking like a bunch of Typhoons were stacked vertically by the opening.

Typhoons stacked… and sticking out the bottom

Not exactly Elite: Dangerous docking there.

Another day in Hakonen, and more ops are planned for this week.

Another Day, Another Fortizar Down in Hakonen

Last night was the return match.  After Monday’s fight another Fortizar was put down in the same spot in Hakonen.

Second Fortizar coming online

There was a Fireside chat scheduled before operations were supposed to begin, which was marred by network issues that dropped a large portion of the audience off the server.  “Something, something, fleets will be going up…” was about all I got.

Fleets did go up.  There was a ping for two Typhoon fleets and a Jackdaw fleet as well as a call for capital ships to be ready.  And there were a few special fleets forming up, including another small ECM Burst fleet, which I joined.

We were in the same Atrons with the same plan.  Since the Fortizar had been dropped in the same position as the previous one, our perch bookmarks were all still viable as well, though I went out beforehand and burned out to make a few more.

We formed up, Atrons were handed out to the people who hadn’t been on the Monday op, and went over the “how to” of the fleet.

It looked like our bookmarks might be troublesome.  The new ones I burned were a little closer in than the originals and there was a gang of five Raptors zipping around the area, not too far from one of my perches.  They got close enough to another pilot in our fleet to decloak and blow him up.  As they edged towards me I weighed the option of decloaking and warping off versus just sitting tight.  I chose the latter, which turned out okay.

The timer was counting down on the Fortizar, our fleets were undocking, and the enemy subcap fleets started landing on grid.  There looked to be two Machariel fleets and an Abaddon fleet, supported by Apostles.  Once on grid they lit a cyno and more Apostles jumped in along with a fleet of super carriers with four titans for support.  The arrival of these fleets and their supporting ships drove the roving third parties off and my perch was never in peril after that.

As the timer hit zero there were about 2,600 people in system and the time dilation was very light.  And then everybody, launched fighters, dropped drones, or otherwise opened fire and tidi quickly got down to 10%.

Opening the fight around the fort

Our little ECM Burst contingent did not have as much to do this time around.  The battleship fleets ended up a toe-to-toe slugging match, running smart bombs to clear drones and fighters.  In this situation we had to take care where we dropped lest we end up annoying our side as much as our foes.

So there were runs on the periphery and runs where we had to warp off without running our busts.  We tagged a few people, though some runs were pretty minimal in effect.

Two from my own fleet

The outcome of the Fortizar itself did not seem at all in doubt.  The repair timer was paused by damage just seven seconds into its fifteen minute count down and stayed fixed at that point throughout the fight.

Repair timer paused

So for a while I was mostly sitting on a perch, cloaked up, and able to watch the fight unfold.  Not a bad view.

TEST showed up again with their Nightmare fleet and joined in shooting NCDot, PL, and their assorted allies.  There was a sore temptation to take a shot at one of the Nightmares in the fleet, but we focused on the enemy at hand, leaving other scores to be settled later.

Its like a friend coming to your party with your ex

Then somebody noticed a couple of enemy super carriers warping off in somewhat random directions.  In a battle like this there are always lots of disconnects, and when you get disconnected your ship automatically warps off to a distant spot in space.  However, the ship is still in the game and can be probed down.  Azure and Argent, our FC, had us change fitting to add a warp scrambler and set us off to join in hunting these missing super carriers.

The first was a Nyx.  A Broadsword heavy interdictor had landed on it already and started to tackle it.

Broadsword and the Nyx

He then lit off a cyno and soon some friendly dreadnoughts started landing on grid with the Nyx.  The pilot had reconnected by then and was trying to get himself turned about and back to the relative safety of his fleet.  However, the dreadnoughts neuted out his capacitor as they oped their attack on him.

Nags on grid taking down the Nyx

I managed to get in close enough to get in a few hits… and take a few hits from the smartbomb the Nyx was running… so was on the kill mail.

We went after a second Nyx, but it was down before I arrived on scene, while a third Nyx just managed enter warp to escape as dreadnoughts were landing on it.

That seemed to be about the extent of the disconnect super kills to be had and we headed back to refit and then went to our perches to join back in the main fight.

The situation had changed some since we left.  While the Fortizar still seemed as unlikely to survive as ever, TEST had dropped a ball of dreadnoughts on grid at range to try to long distance volley faxes and super carriers.  Thi caused NCDot and PL to cyno in titans, who turned their doomsday weapons on the dreadnoughts.  The big guns were out and anybody who had not previously seen a doomsday in action got their chance as they shot dread after dread.  TEST ended up sustaining a third of the losses on our side of the battle, about 94 billion ISK, due to dreads being popped.

We only made one more run in to fire our ECM Burst projectors before we were told we could dock up.  I stayed on grid, cloaked up again at one of my perches, so see the Fort explode.  It had been a long fight for a week night, passing the three hour mark, and people were clearly ready to be done.  The hostiles were jumping out of the system even as explosions began to erupt on the doomed citadel.

Flames begin to appear on the Fortizar

The battle itself had about the same exchange rate as Monday night, favoring the foes in about a 70/30 split.  However, looking at the battle report, the total destruction was much greater, with almost three times the ISK destroyed, though only about 300 more ships were blown up.  Throwing in dreads and killing some super carriers no doubt added to the growing ISK total.

Battle report header

There also were not as many random third parties showing up.  The alliance list on Monday was much longer.

And so the battle was over.  I somehow missed getting a PAP link, but I imagine that I will get enough while we’re deployed to not sorely miss one.

The post-battle bit of “story time” where we head a bit about what happened indicated that we had dropped small citadels in Tribute set to come out at the same time as the Fortizar, so the enemy would have to choose.  They chose to kill the Fort, which would have been a major strategic asset to us, but now we have places to hole up in the middle of their territory, places where fleets can linger and dreadnoughts can safe up and wait to drop on targets.

Now we’re building replacements for many of the hulls we lost thanks to the Raitaru and Abzel we have in Hakonen, while the Jita market is booming because of the resupply efforts of both sides.  Now would be a very lucrative time to have a researched Tyhpoon BPO.

That is my own limited view of the battle.  Other reports I have seen so far:

And, of course, sitting on a perch, watching the fight, means I have plenty of screen shots.  We shall see when round three comes up.

Fortizar Down in Hakonen

The flip side of your staging system allowing you to jump into hostile space is that your enemy can easily return the favor and jump into your staging.

One of our goals is to get a Fortizar up in Hakonen to stage out of.  That would free us from a station undock that can be camped and let us set up our own market, free from people screwing with contracts and such. (The latter has happened to me.)

So a Fortizar, along with a few more Astrahus citadels, was anchored and set to come online at 02:00 UTC.

Fortizar waiting for 02:00

A fight was clearly expected and early pings went out advising people to have their doctrine ships ready and to be logged on by 01:30.  The enemy would not want us able to set up in the comforts of a large citadel.

This time around though I did not go with the Typhoons or the Hurricanes.  Asher had a special small fleet setup for some of the Reavers.  We would be going to battle in the lowly Gallente Atron frigate.

My Atron with the YC119 Yoiul skin

Fit with ECM burst modules, our job was to sit on a perch cloaked up and, when called for, decloak and warp into the midst of the enemy.  At that point we were to set off our over-heated ECM busts, breaking the target locks of the ships around us, and then warp off to our perches again to cloak up and wait for the next call.

We got out early and set up perches and cloaked up, waiting for things to start happening.  That gave me a bird’s eye view of the battlefield.  I saw our Typhoons and carriers undocking as well as the hostile battleships, carriers, and super carriers arriving on grid.

And then the timer ticked down to zero and the fight was on for sure, with the hostiles pausing the timer almost immediately.

Timer paused

The goal for our side was to keep the enemy off the Fortizar long enough for that timer to run down to zero.  At that point the Fortizar would be online, could be manned and equipped with defenses, and killing it would require the dread three cycles of attacks.

The enemy’s goal was to apply enough damage to pause the timer and then burn the structure down.  That would allow them to blow it up right then and there, no need for any return trips.

The fight itself did not go our way.  In a clash of carriers versus carriers and super carriers, the enemy was able to clear our fighters from space, leaving our carriers defanged and unable to assist the fight further.  Then the blows began to rain down on our Typhoon fleet.  Fighters chew up sub caps, so losses started to mount.  Our side was able to re-ship, but more people kept piling into the system, with the peak number in local exceeding 2,700 pilots, which also meant time dilation kicking in hard.

Local plus the expected tidi

The tidi seems a bit worse than usual, though fights in low sec space add a layer of complexity.  In null sec nobody cares who you shoot, but in low sec it has to account for your initiating aggression and modify your security status and set a suspect timer along with the usual combat timer.  (Imperium Logi King Arrendis is making the case to turn some of that off when tidi hits.)

I ended up with my client crashing twice during the fight, though I suspect that was more from memory usage than anything else.  Task Manager showed the client trying to load more and more RAM until it couldn’t address any more.  This is where having a 64-bit client would help.

Turning off some of the graphics features seemed to sate the clients need for RAM, and once I did that I was stable.  I didn’t go into full potato mode, but I turned off trails and drones and launcher effects and a couple other items.

As the battle ranged we started making our runs into the thick of things.  With each run you get a count of the number of people you aggressed.  We called these numbers out in fleet, with the range being anywhere from a dozen to over 150 hit with our ECM bursts.

I hit 72 on this run

That was an easy way to whore on kill mails.  You just have to get a hit on somebody with your area effect and you get counted on the list if they get killed.  It is also a handy way to burn through your security status.  Initiating aggression on low sec causes a reduction in that number for each person engaged, so I managed to go from a 4.8 security status to 1.1.

I ended up getting on a lot of kill mails, but a good portion of them were allies, this was in part because the fleets were close, but also because our side was dying in greater numbers.  We were losing a lot of Typhoons for each Machariel brought down.  With the carriers no longer of use and no supercaps of our own to call upon, after about two hours of slogging through tidi we were told to break off the fight and dock up.  The Fortizar was left to its fate and blown up shortly thereafter.

The battle report tells the tale.  While we got in some blows, we lost a lot more.

Battle Report Header for Hakonen

If you go down the list on our side you will see a number of people counted twice because they reshipped in system and rejoined the fight.  TEST is also counted on our side as they showed up with a Nightmare fleet to join in on the fight.

So the first shot at putting up a Fortizar failed.  Word is that the combat commanders are working on changes to the battle plan for the next run.

So far the only write ups about the battle I have seen:

Meanwhile, sitting on a perch and occasionally diving into the fray means I have some screen shots which still look pretty nice even with some of the effects turned off.

 

An Exchange of Threatening Looks in Tribute

All right, I tell you.
Monday we watch-a Firefly’s house, but he no come out. He wasn’t home.
Tuesday we go to the ball game, but he fool us: he no show up.
Wednesday he go to the ball game, but we fool him, we no show up.
Thursday it was a double-header, nobody show up.
Friday it rained all day, there was no ball game, so we stayed home, we listen to it over the radio.

-Chicolini, Duck Soup

As expected, after reinforcing two Sotiyos on Saturday there was an op announced to have another run at them on Sunday.  When the ping went out the population of local in Hakonen swelled past 1,600 as we all sought a slot on one of the four fleets announced.

Initially the call was for two Typhoon fleets, one Hurricane fleet, and a Jackdaw fleet.  They Typhoon fleets filled up quickly and in less than 30 seconds the adverts were down for them to leave a few slots for boosters or additional logi.  I was already online and found the first Typhoon fleet full so had to get into the second fleet under Corbzilla before it closed its doors.

The core elements of each fleet had been in place for a while… I saw the logi anchors being sorted out on Jabber well in advance… so we did not hang about in our hangars very long before the call to undock came and a mass of Typhoons spewed out of the station.

So many Typhoons… not enough skins

Our warp off to the waiting titan was less that perfect.  The POS shield was between us and our ride so we ended up way around the sphere and ended up having to warp off to the sun in order to aim for the right spot.  And so we got a close up look at the orange star of Hakonen.

Typhoons at the sun

The new star effects remain a joy to look at.  The intense color of each star and the roiling plasma surface.   Plus the way it reflects on ships close to the corona…

Typhoons in a misty orange dawn

From the sun we were able to warp back to the POS and take up station near the titan that would be sending us, and the other Typhoon fleet into Tribute.

The POS that sends people places

We’re the tight ball of Typhoons in the lower right, with the other Typhoon fleet spread out in the usual “keep at range” pattern.  If you click on the screen shot and view it full size you can see the dots of other fleets getting in range of titans.

Rather than sitting in hangars it turned out we were going to sit on titans for a while.  Some waiting was good as it turned out the template fit for the Typhoon in the fleet MOTD was wrong, so people had to warp back to station to change up.  This has happened a few times since we have deployed, where the fit is wrong, or gets changed, or includes modules the FC happened to have but which are not on the list of refits line members are supposed to carry according to the doctrine.

So there was a lot of that going on.  Meanwhile, Corbzilla clicked in space or something and flew in and out of the POS shield a couple of times, which was mildly annoying.  Logi is supposed to keep their capacitor chain up at all times, just in case.  So we were motoring around with the chain running.  But the moment somebody enters the POS shield they can no longer target or bet targeted, so the chain breaks.  If you’re zoomed out you might not know why until you try to reconnect and get the error message about the shields.  Also, if you aren’t in the GSF alliance, you can’t go into the shields without a password… and nobody is giving out the password for the POS holding our titans… so people like me end up bouncing off the shield as the fleet sails in.

Corbzilla was busy in command coms however, so we just had to deal with this minor annoyance ourselves until he got us all together outside the POS again just in time to see the first Typhoon fleet bridge out.  It was our turn to get in range of the titan, which some people did with such vigor that they bumped it, much to the annoyance of Jay Amazingness.  Due to how the titan model works, bumping the Leviathan and making it spin actually moved it closer to me.  The mysteries of New Eden.

Anyway, the bridge went up for us and we jumped into V0DF-2, the system adjoining MJI3-8, where the first Sotiyo to enter its repair cycle lay.

There we joined three other fleets in forming up around the gate to MJI3-8 and waited.

Sitting around the MJI3-8 gate

That screen shot is another one of those “need to click on it to be able to see any details” additions.  You can see the two Typhoon fleets and the Hurricane fleet because the capacitor chains, the yellow/gold lines, are visible around the gate.  The Jackdaw fleet was on the gate itself, in the middle of the yellow hexagon in the center of the picture, which is their booster cycling.

The four fleets, at about 250 pilots per fleet, sat there in space, watching the gate… and disconnecting every so often.  Disconnects and people needing to get back into already full fleets has been an issue that has plagued us since we landed in Hakonen.  I don’t think CCP was quite ready for our influx into the area.  Still, we had a over a thousand ships milling about, plus an additional Jackdaw fleet somewhere else and a fleet of dreadnoughts ready to cyno in should they be needed.

The situation in system

Meanwhile, on the far side of the gate PL and NCDot were waiting for us, with over 1,200 ships of their own ready to go.  While I didn’t see how they were arranged, I have to imagine it was pretty much the same thing as the day before when they blockaded the gate in PBD-0G with bubbles and titans and all sorts of other ships.

Something like this

A directional scan showed the ships undocked and on hand waiting for us.  I am not sure how long those dscan links stay active, but this is the summary listing:

Waiting for us in MJI3-8

The “by ship” break out showed that the 1,237 ships included 265 Machariels, 156 Cerberuses, 111 Abaddons, to back up the 107 titans, 127 super carriers, and 122 force auxiliaries.

A formidable force.  Pretty much a death trap for us, had we chosen to go through the gate.

Not wishing to feed them easy kills or give their titan pilots a chance to use their fancy fun sub cap slaughtering area doomsday weapons,  we did not go through the gate.  So we hung out one system over and they won the objective.  We flew back to our staging and that was the end of that.

This led to the usual narrative posturing on Reddit.  Goons are bad because we wouldn’t walk into their pre-planned murder box and NC/PL clearly didn’t want to fight because if they did all they had to do is take a gate, leaving their Satiyo unguarded.  But if the sides were swapped I doubt the results would have been different.  Each side did what was in their best interest.  We’ll see which side gets tired of forming up.

Meanwhile, over in PBD-0G, NCDot started taking down the Sotiyo there to move it elsewhere no doubt.  It certainly wasn’t going to be producing any supers because, as I understand it, you have to configure the ihub in the system to allow that, which requires that you own the ihub, a situation we managed to change.

The situation in PBD-0G August 7, 2017

The station is now a freeport so I can go and get that stack of liquid ozone I left behind last year.

And so it goes, with us continuing to set timers.  NCDot was recently doing the same thing to us down south from their staging in Gehi, reinforcing structures and not showing up for the timer, so their protestations on Reddit might sound a bit hollow.  Of course, they decided to show up for a timer down in Delve, assuming we were all up in Hakonen, and it cost them a few Lokis.

On the propaganda front, a Star Wars inspired “The Imperium Strikes Back” theme seems to be taking hold, buoyed by this excellent piece from Prog:

Asher gets a starring role at last

The highlight for many is the TEST dino stand-in for a tauntaun and the morale Rorqual.

We’ve now been through the first weekend of the deployment and are into the weekdays where huge form ups are less likely.  Maybe I will find some time to play LOTRO.