Tag Archives: Low Sec

Adventures with The Imperium in Low Security Space

Leaving my existential angst where it belongs… something for the middle of the night, quiet moments in the car, or where I need a blog post on a Friday… it was back to the only war The Imperium has at the moment… in space, at least.

Operations in Cloud Ring seem to have been left to SMA, and our light blue ally Fweddit, who together hold most of the sov in the region now, with 33 of 40 systems in their control.  I’m not sure why SMA want its, but they have their share.

Cloud Ring - Dec. 6, 2015

Cloud Ring – Dec. 6, 2015

However, that is null sec.  The other part of the war, so called, is our assault on moon mining operations and such in low security space, a destination where The Imperium has fared poorly in the past.  Asakai is often listed as an example, or the trap at Daras.

But I am not sure The Imperium has ever really settled in and tried to attack targets in low sec as part of a sustained campaign against residents there of.   So a new adventure.

The low sec meta… and I know some cringe when that word gets used, but it is the term of art… differs from null sec.  You cannot use warp disruption bubbles.  There are guns at gates and stations that will shoot you if you aggress.  Security status has some relevance, and people will often avoid things, like shooting pods, that will cause a big hit to their sec status.  And, of course, it is empire space.  There is no CONCORD, but there are NPC stations and infrastructure about. (And the lighting is better for screen shots.)

This leads to different behavior.  The locals form up against us in expensive faction battleships… nearly two billion ISK Machariels being the hull of choice… with pods full of high grade implants, in order to achieve a qualitative advantage over The Imperium.  A blobbing via stats versus blobbing by number match up.  How do you balance that out?  People whine because we bring two times the ships, but we’re fighting faction fit faction battleships that run 3-4x the cost of our ships.  I mean, here is a fight where we lost six times as many ships, yet won the ISK by almost two times.  How do we figure the qualitative advantage into those numbers?  Is ISK alone a good enough measure? (serious questions, not just rhetoric)

Not that we fly threadbare doctrines.  We’re transitioning from a Tengu to a Proteus focus for our main fleet, neither of which are cheap.  But we also fly lesser doctrines, like artillery Hurricanes and the much loved Harpy fleet, where losses are allowed and expected because the fits just don’t cost that much.  And every one of our doctrines has come cheap, low skill ships so that new members can join in operations right away.  But nothing we fly comes close, in a ship to ship comparison with bling fit Machariel.

And so The Imperium have been wiped out a couple of times now, something loudly proclaimed on Reddit.

I had not been on any of these low sec ops until this weekend.  It has been a busy week and the ops and timers seem to favor either our Euro or Australio-Korean contingents.  My first run was with a Hurricane fleet that went out to bust a small tower that was coming out of its reinforced state.

A small Gallente tower belonging to Project.Mayhem

A small Gallente tower belonging to Project.Mayhem

For this we headed out of D2-HOS and straight into low sec via Manternault in Placid, through Black Rise, ending up in Saranen in the Lonetrek region, where the tower lay.  We were paranoid about lurking Machariels.  We arrived at the system and setup for the shoot, opening fire as soon as the timer ran down.  Some SMA ewar support showed up to cover us as we started.

Starting the tower shoot

Starting the tower shoot

As it so happened, nobody came out to contest the tower.  We blew it up and headed back home.  Home, as it turned out, was only one gate and one jump bridge away.  We ran through low sec for no real reason that could be explained, other than a vague mention of “op sec.”

I think somebody just didn’t notice until we were already on our way, but what do I know?

First low sec op for me done.

Saturday night, another opportunity to join in came up.  There was a late-ish USTZ op against a Snuff Box tower.  Snuff Box is one of the groups that had a hand in our big welps so far.

This was going to be a big op, the foes were expected to show up in force, with their Machariels forming the backbone of the defense.  Pings went out early.  As it so happened, I missed all the early pings, having spent the afternoon first at my daughter’s play, then as part of the group of parents to had to tear down the set after that final performance.  But I saw the one from Asher at just after 9pm Pacific time calling for everybody to get into the fleet.

My wife was out with a friend, my daughter and I had just finished watching a movie (Nightcrawlers, which was pretty good, but felt like it needed Matthew McConaughey as the lead. That would have taken it to a new level.), and I had some free time, so I launched EVE, got on coms, and settled in to see what was going on.

It was going to be a Tengu fleet.  I was reluctant to buy a new Tengu, or a Basilisk, off contract as I already have enough of each ship hanging around in other stations. (Known problem)  However, there was also a call to get a lot of electronic warfare ships into the fleet as well, and they were handing out Crucifiers for free, so I took one of those to play the ewar role.

Free Crucifier is free

Free Crucifier is free

As it turned out, I wasn’t the only one with some free time on Saturday night.  The fleet filled up by the second ping and the ewar contingent got moved to their own fleet under Malkuth Tre.  There was the usual mucking about, finding boosts, getting everybody settled on what the plan was, then repeating that plan a few times for those who joined late, were AFK, or who just have short attention spans.  For my part, those in Crucifiers were to apply range dampeners to Machariels in order to reduce their effectiveness.

Eventually the order came to undock, and our wee frigates slipped out of the station.

Undocking at last...

Undocking at last…

From there we went to the jump bridge, bridged out, and then flew through 15 gates to arrive in the target system, Anchauttes… which was literally five gates from where we started, so I just give up.  I go where the FC tells me.

We started setting up around the tower, staying at range as the Tengu fleet landed.  Our job was fairly straight forward.  We warped out an back a couple of times to get ourselves setup, but things mostly went well for us.  We had a couple of interceptors try to harry us and set our drones on them.  There was a small group of Griffins, the Caldari ewar frigate, that showed up to try and jam us in return.  When they got too close our drones chewed them up some.  And a few ANIs and Cerberuses  tried dropped on us a for a bit, managing to pop some of us over time, including our FC, at which point Cartras Vokan took over.

It was hard to tell how the main battle for the tower was going.  It came out of its reinforced state and SnuffBox and its allies stuck close to it, their faction battleships and logi on the edge of the bubble, wandering inside when they needed to break locks on their attackers.

Machs at the POS shield

Machs at the POS shield

We damped the faction battleships and their logi when we could, threw drones at people who wandered too close, warped off when we had to, and otherwise kept dancing about the field.  We were on our own voice coms, so the status of the battle wasn’t clear to us.  We had our own things going on.

However, once a combined fleet of Imperium carriers and super carriers dropped onto the battle, I figured this were going our way.

Carriers landing

Carriers landing

All of that on grid made the defenders look for an exit, eventually leaving the grid for the local station, allowing us to concentrate on the still vulnerable station tower, which went down.  Oddly, we were out of system by the time it popped, so I did not get on the actual tower kill mail, despite having plinked it a few times.  However, I ended up on the kill mail for a pile of the modules.  Not sure how that worked out.

We were not there because, after picking up some loot from the field (I harvested some Bouncer II sentry drones) we were sent off to escort another capital ship fleet, including dreadnoughts, to hit another tower.

That was an uneventful operation, as no resistance formed to oppose it.  That gave us time to look at other things, at which point somebody noticed that we had a couple of Red Alliance pilots in our fleet.  Red Alliance, which was losing a war the last I checked, to the point of folding up shop and joining SU, is not an Imperium ally, they have no official standings with us, and are not anywhere close to us in null sec space.  Yet we had a couple of their pilots in fleet.

So we kicked them, only to have them rejoin.  We kicked them again, they rejoined.  They also brought a few friends back with them.  We started looking for who might having personal standings with them, but nobody would confess.

I was the wing 2 commander, but it wasn't me!

I was the wing 2 commander, but it wasn’t me!

We took away the fleet advert.  We changed the standings needed to join to +10.  We changed the fleet so that the fleet boss had to approve anybody joining the fleet.  But no matter what we did, the Russians would just appear back in fleet and troll us with “your mom” jokes in bad English, which actually made them all the more choice.  They also clicked on our participation link, so their efforts were officially recorded.

The fear is that we have a Russian infestation and that we might have to burn down the whole alliance to get rid of them.  They certainly seemed persistent.

That gave us something to focus on as we shepherded our capital charges to their target and then back home again.  At one point a Sabre landed on a gate with us and some caps and my first thought was, “Oh crap, capitals tackled!”  But then I realized we were still in low sec, so no bubble was coming.  We just popped him and that was that.

The battle report from Anchauttes looks like the ISK war was pretty evenly split, while the tower we were after went down, so op success I suppose.  The war will continue as we learn and adapt to the methods of our foes… and dropping supers on them when we have to.

Addendum: Snuff Box has a video from their side of the battle.

A few more screen shots from the events above.

End of the Month Op Success in Low Sec

The back half of September has been somewhat quiet in space.  At least for me.  There is always something going on somewhere, but since the move back to Deklein and Freedom Squad hell camping Mordus Angels back into their station and taking all their towers earlier in the month, there has not been a regular set of foes in space.

I tend to leave Jabber up most evenings, and not a lot of op announcements have been showing up.  And those that did pop often came at awkward times.  I have to be at my computer and ready to go and have the free time available when things get rolling.  A non-strategic fleet op tends to get moving somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes after it has been announced, and once an op is undocked and on its way somewhere, catching up can be a dubious proposition.  Travel in EVE Online is not trivial.  Catching up to a fleet op solo in anything other than an interceptor can be a dubious proposition.  Gate camps that will hide from the main body of the fleet tend to close in to try and grab stragglers and you have to cover every inch of space that the fleet has covered.  Nobody can summon you to the raid, you have to fly there on your own.

Flying Alone...

Flying Alone…

Still, sometimes it works.  I did managed to get into a fleet already 30 minutes live, fly out, and get on a kill mail before getting blown up myself.  I managed to warp into spot that made me the closest target and that was that.

Saturday night I gave it another shot.  There was a call for a Harpy fleet already 15 minutes old when I sat down at my desk.  As my wife was going to be away for a couple of hours, I figured I had time enough to give it a shot.  I logged in and got in my Harpy and then couldn’t get in the fleet.  I commented on the CFC general channel that the fleet was full and the FC, Alphastarpilot, got back to me in less than a minute with a “try now.”  And, hey presto, I was in.

And I was behind.

They were already 8 jumps down the pipe towards their destination and the FC was calling for people to catch up.  I undocked and immediately started down the route posted in the MOTD in fleet chat.  Three jumps in and then the FC began calling for people to reship to Bursts, as we were short on logistics.  I had to stop and ask myself if, already running behind, I should further compound that by turning around and reshipping or if I should just press on to catch up.  I decided to press on rather than miss out.  And it started to sound like the J4LP guys coming from another direction might have us covered on the logistics front.

I got to within a couple of jumps of the fleet before it started moving again, so it was just warp and jump and warp again trying to catch up.  Eventually the fleet stopped.  Part of the plan was to pass through a wormhole that the Circle of Two team had found that would get us a big leap towards our destination.  But he wanted everybody to go through together so nobody ended up lost in W-space where you actually have to know how scan and such to get out.  I managed to join the fleet on the wormhole.

Landing on the wormhole

Landing on the wormhole

Once we were assembled, we passed into W-space, flew to the exit wormhole, and ended up in Black Rise, Caldari low sec space.  From there Alphastarpilot had a plan.

Based on intel he had, we were going to drop on a group attacking a POCO in Pavanakka.  Our Harpy fleet, with about 70 people present, would land on them and attack in hopes that the would call in reinforcements in the form of a carrier.  So the FC got us into position and we landed on them and starting shooting up their logistics support.  Some of them were spooked, but the rest held on, a cyno was lit (which we were told not to shoot) and an Archon landed in our midst.

The big target arrives

The big target arrives

At this point Alphastarpilot calls in a Razor fleet that has been hanging around the area and we all drop on the Archon for the big kill.  Op success.

At that point the whole thing was probably the best fleet op I had been in all month.  A capital ship kill is always worth the effort, and another 16 kill mails was nice.  We could have gone home happy at that point.

But, according to intel, the people we dropped on were pissed and looking for a rematch.  Razor went on their merry way, happy to have helped, but we were still hanging around many jumps from home with nothing else to do, so we decided to stick around.

The one thing we had lost was logistics, so while our foes got themselves sorted out, we docked up in a station and started scrounging for replacements for our lost Bursts.  The J4LP guys managed to come up with a couple of Bursts and a few logistic fit Bantams for us, which gave us just enough coverage to go back for a second run.

Again, intel managed to put us in the right place at the right time and alerted us to the fact that our foes had phoned in for some help in the form of some ECM Blackbird support, no doubt in hopes of locking us down to be easy meat.

However, that did not end up working out for them.  When we clashed again, this time in Akidagi, Alphastarpilot called the targets, we shot them with a minimal amount of target splitting (when you get a secondary in the midst of a reload cycle, it is easy to think you should just move on to the secondary target if the primary looks like it is going down), and managed to get on top of things, again taking few losses and tearing a strip off of our foes.  I was on kill mails for 9 of the Blackbirds that came out in support.

They broke off and we chased around trying to find them again, catching one big fat target on the gate in Hikkoken.

Where we fought in Black Rise

Where we fought in Black Rise

From there we headed to the station when they seemed to be hold up and hung around the undock in hopes that they might come out for another round, but it did not look promising.  After a while playing undock games, Alphastarpilot pointed us back towards our wormhole and brought us home.

All in all, it was the best op of the month for me and ended a slow September on a high point.  I tried to assemble a battle summary to sum up who was there.  Alphastarpilot and his team did a great job.  I also have to commend Alphastarpilot for just being a great FC, calling all the right targets, and being able to pronounce, seemingly off the cuff, every low sec system we passed through.  I know a couple of time I thought to myself, “Ah, so that is how you say that name.”

And I also had a new ship spotting.  I saw my first Mordu’s Legion ship, as we had an Orthrus cruiser along for the ride.  It takes a while for new ships to filter into fleets.

As is the norm, I have some screen shots from the op, including a couple of the Orthrus, after the cut.

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Postcards from the Trap at Daras

Baltec Fleet Time – looks like some fools need to be smacked around a bit. Red Crown’s Fleet, Mumble Op 1 – formup VFK for stratop.

*** This was a broadcast from red_crown to all-all at 2014-05-15 02:00:24.017258 EVE Standard, replies are not monitored ****

That’s the way it started for me.  After the last couple of short fleet ops, where we were always shy of logistics, I decided to pick up a Guardian.  So that was what I join Red Crown’s fleet with, even remembering to insure it.  I did not need the insurance this time around, but others did.

According to the latest update about the fight over at The Mittani, it was a trap laid by Pandemic Legion and Black Legion, who worked together to lay the bait POS in Daras, a low sec system in Lonetrek.  CFC caps and supercaps were drawn in, along with the subcaps in Baltec fleet, to go after Black Legion supers, and then Pandemic Legion dropped in as well.

We were told not to shoot PL at first, as it appeared they were dropping in to join us in rolling up Black Legion.  But then they started shooting us and the who op went to hell from our perspective.  The kill board is still updating at this point, but PL and BL clearly came out on top.  It wasn’t anything like B-R5RB or even Asakai… if nothing else, it was over quickly… but it was a loss for the CFC.

The summary that came out over Jabber as we moved slowly back to null sec… tidi was running at 10% making everything slow… was:

And that’s why we don’t go to lowsec

But, playing the tourist as usual, I got a few screen shots.