Another trip up north, up the Eye of Terror and into Pure Blind. I’ve been up north a few times to defend one structure or another and a fight has yet to show up for me. Not that there haven’t been some fights lately, it just hasn’t seemed to happen when I’ve been on the op.
But last night things finally rolled my way. There was yet another Fortizar to defend up in the north and the word was that PanFam and the locals were going to form for it. Maybe the other side was emboldened by killing our Keepstar. (Unanchored, and in a freighter, but they still killed it in the end.)
Anyway, the call went out for the op, but Asher had pinged Reavers a bit before looking for some people to fly ECM burst interceptors. I’ve done that before and not many people were X’ing up, so I figured I had best jump in to help there. Also, the ships are handed out for free and during the battle you get to sit above it all and see the whole thing… not that the view helps me much, I still never get what is going on half the time even when I can see it. I took an Ares from the offer and got ready.
Asher was set to lead the Sacrilege fleet, so he had a newer FC, Kappa Hutt lead us on to the field. So the Sac fleet and a Baltec fleet set off for the north with our interceptors flying along, peeking ahead to scout, then letting the others catch up.
As we made our way along the route we caught up with some bigger ships that had started out ahead and were also making their way to the fight.
We zipped ahead though… there was a gate that had been seriously bubbled, but that doesn’t bother interdiction nullified interceptors… and arrived in JE-D5U up in Pure Blind ahead of most of our fleet, but there were already over 300 hostiles in the system according to local. There was going to be a fight it seemed, and the timer was counting down.
As the other fleets arrived we set about bookmarking our perches over the potential battlefield. The plan is generally that we sit cloaked on a perch while the FC scans down a potential target, often the FC of a hostile fleet who is usually out in front of the pack. Then we get the word to uncloak, overheat our burst jammer, and align, at which point the FC warps everybody beside himself onto the target. We land, started warping back to a bookmark, then set off our ECM burst. If the warp was good we’ll be in the middle of some hostiles and break some of their target locks… this is especially good if we land in the logi… and be warping back before anybody has a chance to take a shot at us. Done right you don’t even get any heat damage on your mid slots because the burst goes off as you’re going into warp, which shuts down the module.
So we got ourselves in place as the timer counted down and the fleets got into position. A fight seemed guaranteed as there were quickly over a thousand people in the system, with TEST dropping in to third party on the event, and even some notable PanFam FCs on grid like Vince Draken and Headliner leading Muninn fleets.
The timer hit and the repair cycle started, which meant we had to defend the Fortizar for 30 minutes while it repaired, though that 30 minute timer could be paused or pushed back by hostile fire on the Fort. It was on.
Kappa Hutt was having a bit of a problem getting a probe signature on a good target. Time dilation and system responsiveness was really bad, with the tidi number well below 30% for most of the fight, and into the 10% for some stretches. Still, he got something and we got ourselves ready to go.
We were then thrown into the fray to set off our jammers. I landed pretty well the first time and got off some jams.
Meanwhile, the forces on the fort broke tether and were shooting up the attackers as they ran past the structure.
We warped off and back to our perches where we waited for the next target. The scanning interface was acting up for Kappa still and for a few runs SpyFly Catharsis found wrecks for us to warp to, which worked as well if we timed it right.
We were getting good warps and I don’t think I went in even once where I didn’t get at least break a few target locks on hostiles when I landed.
Along the way I got a pop up that a bounty had been collected on Nkosis when his Sacrilege went down. I think I have mentioned him before, but he is a newer addition to the coalition who is so enthusiastic and positive about the game that he has become something of a celebrity in his own right in the Imperium. But being a celeb means he gets razzed as well and at some point he got a bounty place on him, which he didn’t like and said so, at which point everybody started adding to his bounty total with an eye towards getting him to the number one spot. He was into the top ten last I checked. I, too, put a bounty on him, so now I get a notification every time he gets blown up when I am in game. (I used to put bounties on our FCs as that pop up was often the quickest way to find out the FC was down.)
We had a bit where we had gone so many times in a row that we didn’t have enough capacitor to make a run, the ECM module needing over 200 units of power to activate on top of the bit you need to get your warp in and out. This was when the system was into the 10% tidi zone, which is the slowest the game will go and, if that isn’t enough, controls begin to lag and your commands may get ignored. Waiting for cap to refill during that was excruciating. Somebody suggested we wait for our weapons timer to go down and just warp to the fort to tether and fill up our capacitors, but at 10% tidi having just 15 seconds left on the time meant nearly a three minute wait.
Still, tidi hits everybody. The targets were as slow as we were and were not going to get away. Cap was restored and we were sent in again for more runs.
By the the tidi was starting to relax a little bit, or at least get up into the low 20s, and Kappa was able to get good probe locks on some likely targets, so we spent some time dropping on names I recognized.
Down around the fort, the repair timer vacillated between running down and being paused, but kept moving slowly towards the structure being repaired. By the time we got past the worst tidi it stood at around ten minutes. We kept on going.
At about the eight minute mark on the timer it seemed like the battle had been decided. The hostiles pulled some distance and “gf” for “good fight” started getting spammed in local by them. Some “fofofo” appeared in local as well, which I am going to guess was from Asher’s sac fleet as he is the only FC I know who still does the “fofofo” for victory.
From that point tidi began to ease up and we were released to go loot the field if we wanted. Being in interceptors would seem to give us an advantage, but Goons will plunder like no others. I didn’t come up with anything.
Somebody dropped an MTU, which is always a target on a battlefield no matter which side drops it. I zipped over and got in on that kill.
Not that I needed another kill mail. Landing on fleets and setting off an ECM burst puts you on the kill mail of anybody you jammed should they get blown up after you’re there. My kill board was well padded by the end of the battle, with 111 new entries, enough to get me momentarily onto the top ten for KarmaFleet. (The last time I did that I was also doing ECM bursts. It is a kill mail whore’s dream.) Most of them were hostile ships, but there were not a few blue targets on the list and quite a few pods. A few of us even got the final blow for pods that were self destructing when we hit them.
The timer ran down and the fort was safe.
At that point we were done. Kappa set us free to head home, which should have been a quick ride in some interceptors.
There were some bubbled gates along the way, but an Ares just passed through bubbles. I was feeling somewhat invulnerable flying home, which I should recognize by now as a sign of impending doom.
My usual travel Ares has a 1.83s align time, and the game lore is that if your align in under 2 seconds you cannot be caught unless you are extremely unlucky. But this Ares, fit for ECM burst runs, had a 2.03s align time, which means 3 seconds by the way EVE Online calculates, which means it can be caught. It isn’t likely, but somebody who is good in the right ship can get you.
And they got me in Cloud Ring with a camp that was primed and ready to catch anything possible. Normally I am inclined to attribute losses to my own incompetence rather than claim my foe was really good, but I think this crew was actually pretty good at this. I was toast and knew it almost instantly. Kind of a sour point to end the evening and I always feel bad when I lose a hand out ship, but it happens.
As for the fight, it seemed to be lauded by both sides as a good fight. Asher posted a salute to the attackers on Reddit and other related posts seemed to be similarly warm and fuzzy about a real fight going down, which was a bit of a change from the acrimony over the Keepstar thing I mentioned earlier.
The results… well, pick your battle report generator and get your results. EVE Battle Report Repair Tool seems shy of the mark for totals while the zKillboard report is detailed but has a habit of pulling in things outside of the fight. For a report header image I am going to go with EVE Fleet Manager, which is close to the zKillboard totals, but which lets me pull out a few oddities. I don’t think the Guristas, for example, really took sides in that fight.
Overall quite a fight. A big brawl, fairly evenly matched, lots of losses on both sides that went largely our way as we had the Fortizar to tip the balance. And there was quite the array of space famous names from both sides. I even saw Bad Juice, who once challenged Asher to an MMA style cage match back during a Reavers deployment. I was happy to report in the Reavers channel that he was still around and that I managed to get on his kill mail.
That battle would probably be the beat event of the month for me, but the word is that the Goon Expeditionary Force will be deploying later today, so the promise of more fights is out there. Or at least more structure shoots. Mittens was using the term “glassed” again, so we might just be burning down structures somewhere.