Tag Archives: Malpais

Hopscotch in the Northern Dronelands

Om Saturday evening I was settling down to play some RimWorld and listen to a few podcasts.  It seemed like a good way to hunker down for the evening as my wife and daughter were watching some of “their” shows on the TV.

But then a ping came though on Jabber for the Zungen Ops list.  That is the Black Ops auxiliary group in the coalition, which I am included in by virtue of being in Reavers.  At one point the two groups were working closely together, and since then we’ve been able to tag along on their ops without being full fledged members of their group. (We get to sit in the Foreign Legion channel.)

The ping said there was a capital to kill.  They often say that.  The ping could me a quick bridge to drop on somebody, or it could mean moving into position or waiting for long periods.  But I didn’t have anything else besides RimWorld going, so I logged in and jump cloned my alt out to their staging and grabbed a Purifier bomber I had in my hangar.  Then it was time to undock and wait on the black ops battle ship until it was time to go.

Hard to see us on the undock, but we’re there…

It had been a while since I had been out on a Black Ops run.  A really long time.  I think the last time I went out with them was when PanFam was pulling back into Malpais and The Kalevala Expanse and many targets could be found just one Black Ops bridge from the outpost in NPC Geminate.  There are still targets in that range now and then, but all the juicy ratting and mining ops have faded well out of one bridge reach.  So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that our first bridge was just a travel bridge.

Home and where the targets are

We landed in a system with a wormhole… a new sort of wormhole I hadn’t seen before.  I guess I haven’t been paying attention to wormholes.

Headed for the wormhole… since when do they have structures?

We were warped to the wormhole and landed about 100km off of it and were told to burn to it.  It was then that I realized I had made a mistake.  There were two Purifiers in my hangar when I clone jumped to the station in Geminate and I just grabbed one and undocked. (Actually, two mistakes, as I also forgot to set a jump clone in the station in case I died.)

The Purifier I picked was a leftover from the Liberty Squad deployment to Geminate and was fit to meet the needs of that, which was largely structure shooting.  It still had most of the right mods on it, including a target painter, but the propulsion module was an afterburner and it quickly became apparent that the fleet was fit with microwarp drives, making everybody faster to burn than myself.  I watched the whole fleet pull away from me.  My only saving grace was that the fuel truck had only a somewhat higher top speed than mine, so people had to wait for that to catch up with me only slightly behind.

I was in danger of being “that guy” who has shown up to the party dressed incorrectly and gets called out for it.  At one point, later on during the op, Zungen actually called out over coms, “Why don’t you have your prop mod on?” and I felt a bit of panic knowing that my failure had been discovered.  But it turned out that one of the Loki pilots had literally not lit their MWD as we burned for another wormhole, so I was overlooked as I watched the fuel truck burn past me yet again.

We took two wormholes and did a jump and ended up sitting in an empty system in Malpais waiting for a target.  At that point I was tabbing back to RimWorld every so often, only to notice that when I tabbed back to EVE Online I ended up with that odd bug where you cannot move your camera anymore, which can be awkward when you need to find the black ops battleship after it decloaks and click on it to bridge through.  You can clear that problem, but you have to fiddle with it a bit and I ended up staring at a moon for a bit when it happened.  So I closed RimWorld.  No need for any additional complications.

Anyway, I got that cleared up in time to ready for the jump to our first target, a pair of Rorquals.  We landed near one that went into PANIC pretty quickly.

Rorqual number one

There was a second Rorqual about 100km off in the anomaly and some people rushed off to get that on tackled as well… and to put up a second cyno inhib to keep help from jumping in.  I took up station at about the mid point between the two so I could shoot both without having to move too far.  Again, that AB made me slow.

But help did arrive.  A Rapier warped into the anomaly and lit a cyno before that second inihib was deployed and soon the super carriers were landing on us.

The Rorqual rescuers arrive

Zungen warped us off to safety, but then decided to warp us back in to see if we could blap the Rapier quickly and then run off again.  However, the supers had their fighters out already and as we landed and got in range people started taking damage.  A few of our bombers were blown up and I came very close to going down myself, warping off just in time.

55% structure left, plenty of buffer…

We grouped up again and bridged out to another system.  There we got a report of another Rorqual idling on a beacon, apparently AFK.  This was declared bait for a trap right away, but we bridged out again just to see.  We got in some hits, but it wasn’t long before super carriers started jumping in to get us.

Bait Rorqual is Bait

Off we went again to safe up and jump out to wait for another opportunity.  At this point we were a little down on the balance sheet, with some losses for no kills in return.  So Zungen found us a quick win.  There was an Apocalypse Navy Issue doing an anomaly nearby, so we jumped in and blapped him… so quickly that I didn’t even get  a screen shot.  My alt got top damage, which meant for the first time I completed the daily Skilling is Just a Means of Communication task, earning me 10K skill points.

Also, in another first for me, the Apoc died and launched a frigate from its escape bay, an Imperial Navy Slicer, which was quickly tackled and blown up as well.  I didn’t even get on that kill mail it went so fast.  And then we got the pod.  As Issabella said on coms, the frigate escape bay basically gave some people another kill mail in this situation, which put her firmly in favor of the idea.

After that we grouped up again to wait for another target.

Getting on the blops, not even cloaked

The Apoc was fun and at least put us on the board, but the next target was more of a meal.  We dropped on a Thanatos that was out ratting and quickly had him tackled and down.

Thanatos grabbed and in trouble

That was followed by another Thanatos that was likewise caught flat footed and did not last long.

The second Thanatos brews up

Those are the sort of kills that make you feel like you’re doing your job to stimulate the economy.

We also picked off his fighters and, of course, his MTU.  Death to structures, large or small.

At that point we had been out for a couple hours, so Zungen turned us towards home.  Again, we ran through wormholes and again I felt exposed as the slow guy in the AB Purifier.  That was when the prop mod comment I mentioned above happened, but nobody pointed at me.  I managed to just barely keep up and arrived safely back at our staging system, where I got myself tethered on our Astrahus to repair the armor and hull damage I had been carrying around since our first encounter.

Repairs for free if you just wait

As I sat there on tether, somebody spotted an Eos going through one of the gates in the system and started following them.  Zungen call for people to get on the blops again and, when the Eos and its three sister ships, a Vexor and two Prophecies, were tackled, we dropped in on them.  The Vexor and one of the Prophecies were blown up fairly quickly.  The other Prophecy got away while we had to chase the Eos around a bit.  It got out and warped to the sun.

Out at the sun

By the time I got out of the bubbles and to the sun the Eos had warped off to the TCU or the Ihub… both were called and I warped to the wrong one… where he was blown up.  But I had gotten a few hits on him back in the bubble, so I got on the kill.  The Prophecy we blew up had an entosis link fit, so it was suggested that they might have been out doing some sovereignty stuff.

After that it was back to base.  I docked up and logged out, then back in with my neutral Jita alt who fit up a Purifier according to the Black Ops doctrine and flew it out, then flew the AB fit Purifier back to Jita.  Next time I will have the right fit, though in hindsight I could have probably just bought one off of contract in the station we’re in.  They are up on alliance contracts and, since I moved from TNT to KarmaFleet, I am actually now in the alliance under which they are posted.  I’ll remember that for next time.

Anyway, I’ll be ready to go.  Zungen and his team do a lot of work so that people like me can ride along and shoot big stuff.  The least I can do is try to show up with the right fit.

Post War Moves and Drops in Null Sec

While the Imperium attack on the north, with its intent to “glass” the Tribute and Vale of the Silent regions, did not produce any record setting or headline worth spaceship battles, there was still a considerable amount of destruction.  In addition to blowing up all of the infrastructure hubs in Tribute and a good number in the western side of Vale of the Silent, the tally in the forums shows we blew up the following list of structures during the deployment, in something like descending order of value:

  • Keepstar : 4
  • Sotiyo : 11
  • Faction Fortizar : 1
  • Fortizar : 36
  • Tatara : 18
  • Azbel : 18
  • Athanor : 57
  • Astrahus : 73
  • Raitaru : 69
  • Ansiblex Jump Gate : 20
  • Pharolux Cyno Beacon : 4
  • Tenebrex Cyno Jammer : 68

Then the Drifters showed up and the war ended as everybody in null sec had to scramble to figure out what that really meant.  For us it meant move ops home, delayed because the people who would be leading those ops were the same people able to gun structures at home, and the were not able to do both.

As tends to happen, people adapted to the Drifter menace… though CCP dialed it up for a day last week, the attacks faded about the time the “no local” message started getting out… and the various groups started looking into what the post war world of null sec was going to look like.

The word going about is than PanFam, made up primarily of Pandemic Legion, Northern Coalition, and Pandemic Horde, were going to move.

Tribute has been pretty much abandoned by PanFam as being too hard to defend, and echo of what we learned during the Casino War.  It’s handiness to Jita and other regions is a blessing and a curse.  The Territorial Control Units mostly still show NCDot and PL, but that is mostly because TCUs do not have much in the way of value aside from being markers on the map these days.  It is the ihubs that count, and they were wiped out.

Tribute – July 7, 2019

In some parts of Tribute some new people have started moving in.  In the 03C-SU constellation, which is highlighted, the new owners even put down ihubs.  I guess they intend to stay.

I am not sure what is going to happen with Vale of the Silent, except that PanFam will no longer live there.  The word is that the coalition will be moving deeper into the Dronelands in eastern null sec, calling the regions of Malpais and The Kalevala Expanse their new home.

A leaked announcement that has shown up a few places, including Reddit, has Pandemic Horde setting up shop in TKE.

Horde instructions – click to make more legible

The word is that PL and NCDot will live next door in Malpais, while the renters that currently occupy both regions will be relocated to Geminate.  I am sure that will make those hunting ratters and miners happy as they will be.

Those wishing to hunt PanFam however will be less happy as they are moving to a similar model to what we have in Delve.  From a central staging point they will be able to drop supers and titans on anybody in their territory, being able to land on an estimated 200 systems.  The lack of nearby NPC null space, as we have in Delve, makes their situation all the more secure.  Dread bombs will take some work.

The Mittani, who has been showing up in the Talking in Stations Discord had some comments on the situation:

Mittens on Malpais

So that is the new null sec reality.  We have out are in the southwest of null sec, PanFam has their new center in the northeast of null sec, and if we’re going to brawl in any major way it will likely be due to us meeting in the middle somewhere.

But if people are moving, that means move ops and people wandering to their destination solo.  And for Pandemic Horde, there is a pair of systems through which they must pass in order to move from Geminate to where they want to be in TKE.  The gap between the two regions is too far for a direct jump unless you’re in a jump freighter.  Their extended range can bridge the gap, but everything else has to gate or go a long way out of the way.

The gap from DOTLAN navigation

And any place where you have a bunch of stragglers wandering blind through a choke point, you’re going to get some people waiting on a black ops ready to drop on them.

Sitting on a Redeemer in Geminate

The Drifter invasion stopped wars and got the null sec groups to cooperate and agree to a general non-invasion pact, but that doesn’t mean we stopped shooting each other.  Once the Drifter stuff was under control we all went back to roaming each other’s space looking for targets.  Even the blue donut isn’t all that blue.

So I got to spend some time with Black Ops (being in Reavers made me something like a Black Ops auxiliary back when we were operating out of Pure Blind in 2018) dropping on the occasional straggler.

This sort of operation involves a lot of waiting.  I sat around and wrote yesterday’s post while sitting on that Redeemer waiting for somebody to tell us to wake up.  But when the time comes you do get some fun kills.

The first drop was on a Thanatos that was caught on the gate in 9P4O-F.

Thanatos caught by us

This guy wasn’t particularly valuable according to the kill mail, but it is always feels good as a subcap pilot to kill a capital ship.  We blew up the wreck, so there was nothing left to recover.  There were some people in system, but nobody came to help him.  Like us, PH was probably telling people to no yolo on their own, so those that do at least serve as an example to the rest.

The next guy though, another Thanatos, he was hauling his stuff.  He made it through the gate, so we jumped through and caught him on the other side and blew him up.

Another Thanatos brewing up

The kill mail showed this to be a suitcase, carrying a bunch of his stuff to his new home.  That wreck got blown up as well, so nothing was recovered.

A little while later we also managed to grab a Charon freighter, though this time around some of the locals came to help.  We got the kill, but couldn’t stick around to blow up the wreck.  Still, a decent amount of stuff destroyed.

I couldn’t stick around all day, but the kills when they happen are exciting.  And sometimes you snatch something valuable right from under their nose.  That Ark was sitting on a Fortizar untethered.  The PDS from the citadel got top damage.

Rorqual Kills in Malpais

When the ping says “Rorquals and Supers Tackled get in fleet now” you go.

After a three day weekend where I missed out on a number of fleets simply by being a minute late and getting the “fleet is full” message… :goonrush: is a thing and I’ll have some more on that in another post… clone jumping back to our SIG staging to jump into stealth bomber for some capital kills seemed like a good idea.  And when the follow up came asking for dreads I sent my dread alt back over there as well.

PanFam has decided to concentrate their forces in SH1-6P as a base of operations in order to strike at any exposed Imperium operations in Tribute.  That has pulled forces away from other areas of their holdings, including Malpais, where ratting and mining had previously been under the protective umbrella of NCDot.  This, in turn, has led groups like Bomberwaffe and Black Ops to start hunting for targets there.  They found nine Rorquals happily mining away in an anomaly and the call went out.

I logged in and clone jumped down to our old staging, which was just two gates from where Zungen had a black ops battleship ready to bridge us.  He sent us to a mid point, jumped in with us, then after a bit of a cool down sent us on our way to the target system in Malpais.  One DBRB and his bomber fleet had already dealt with one Rorqual by the time I dropped in, but there were plenty more on the field.

I arrived in time to see that first one blow up

The Rorquals on field were in various states of defense.  We were sharing coms with DBRB’s fleet, which was a bit of a challenge at times.  Those familiar with his enthusiastic style will know some of what I mean, but he also kept forgetting that there were two fleets on grid and in coms and had to be reminded to call out target names rather than just saying, “Shoot the target I just broadcast.”

Rorqual getting hit, another in the background

We were only a couple of kills in when the first defense response showed up in the form of a small Jackdaw fleet.  That would have done for DBRB’s fleet, but Black Ops dropped in Lokis, which were enough to chase off the Jackdaws.  A few bombers showed up to take shots at us as well, including one guy in a Manticore who managed to get the final blow on himself with his own bomb.  It has to sting to get your own kill mail.

Meanwhile we were still shooting and watching the time for the Rorquals that had gone into PANIC mode.

Rorqual with the PANIC mode active

Six Rorquals had gone down and we were working on a seventh when NCDot showed up with a Muninn fleet.  When they appeared on grid with us it was time to go.  We warped out, got to safe spots, and cloaked up.

Zungen got his fleet cloaked up on his black ops battleship and we were soon back at the Astrahus mid-point from which we had dropped on the Rorquals.  That was as far as my dead alt had made it.

Dreads tethered up on the Astrahus

The part about supers tackled didn’t pan out, so there was no call to jump the dreadnoughts in.  That’s a pity, as my insurance is going to expire soon on my Naglfar, so I’m disposed towards losing it.  I’d have jumped it in on the Rorquals if asked even knowing it was doomed.  But I guess I at least got to undock it and drive it around a bit.

We bridged back to our initial jump point, followed by the dreads, and escorted them back to our staging.

The Rorquals all top the price list for recent kills I am on

This is the reason I log in when Zungen pings.  At least half the time we end up just sitting on the black ops battleship waiting to bridge, only to stand down as the target was spooked or moved on.  But when it does pan out, it is always a blast to drop in and blow up something big.