Tag Archives: NCDot

The Keepstar Fight at 6RCQ-V

There is a war on.  Or a war is on.  Another one.

Over the past weekend The Mittani said we would be mobilizing and come Monday INN announced that the target was the northwest end of null sec.  Pandemic Legion had been moving its capital fleets down to the southeast of New Eden to assail TEST, Brave, and the rest of the Legacy Coalition.

That move left a vacuum up north, a serious reduction in the number of capital ships the locals could bring to bear on any invader.  The Imperium plans to move in and fill that vacuum.  Pandemic Legion and NCDot are seen as the biggest threat to the Imperium, so with PL away and just NCDot and the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition left to watch their homeland, an opportunity was seen.

Of course, Reavers and a few other SIGs and squads have been up north since at least November of last year hunting the locals and trying to bring them out to fight.  We’ve seen change over that time, with Pandemic Horde moving from Fade to Geminate, Mordus Angels collapsing in Pure Blind, and most recently, the resurrected Circle of Two taking up the space in Fade.  The locals have occasionally put some effort into trying to suppress our operations.

Our station wrapped in bubbles at one point

But more often than not they avoid us, leave our structures alone unless we’re on a break for a couple of weeks, and only form up for final timers on their structures or when we’ve got another Rorqual tackled.  I am sure there is a not unreasonable idea that if we get bored we’ll go away.  But Reavers live to shoot structures and do things that seem boring, knowing that it can all lead to a fight if we persist.

Anyway, once Imperium forces were on the move from Delve northward the first objective was to setup a deployment base.  So a Keepstar citadel was dropped in the system 6RC8-V in the Cloud Ring region.

The first staging in the war

The Gallente Militia alliance Federation Uprising owns the territorial control unit there, so they get their name on the map, but The Initiative owns the infrastructure hub, and since they are part of the Imperium any structure we drop there takes just 24 hours to come online.  (It can take days if you drop them in hostile systems.)

The location is right on the boarder with Fade, where Circle of Two lives.  If we were allowed to plant a Keepstar there, that would put them under a hostile capital and supercap umbrella.  We could drop forces on CO2 which they would be hard pressed to resist.

It became vital that the locals kill the Keepstar as it came online.  That is the point of vulnerability.  After it is online and can be armed it becomes much more difficult to take out.  So a big battle was brewing.

Fortunately for me this was all set to happen in the evening my time, which is the middle of the night EVE Online time.

I was already up in the north so planned to go with the SIGs and squads deployed there.  I did, however, fly an alt over to 6RCQ-V and put him on grid with the Keepstar just to make sure I could keep an eye on what was happening there.

And that turned out to be a good thing.  While fleet after fleet was getting called up and ready to move from Delve and Fountain to the fight, we undocked to take care of other business.

Undocking our Ishtars

While all eyes were on the Keepstar our fleet ran out and dealt with smaller structures.  We covered a Raitaru on grid with the hostile Keepstar in DW-T21, CO2’s capital.  It was in its final timer and we were there to make sure it got through that so the hostiles would have to start over reinforcing it.

We also reinforced a CO2 Astrahus on that grid, giving the locals something to form up and defend later.

Hitting the Astrahus

We then started in on a CO2 Sotiyo, which was gunned, hoping to reinforce that as well.

The view from the Sotiyo, our fleet boost visible in the distance

The Sotiyo was going to take a while however, and before we got even half way done there we were called off to help support the main fight by setting up to block hostile reinforcements.  We managed to knock-off a Gila and a few bombers while doing that.  We never actually went into the 6RCQ-V system.

That was probably a good thing, because in 6RCQ-V things were happening.  As the timer counted down on the Keepstar a cyno went up and the Imperium supercap fleet began to land on the structure.

Titans visible on the Keepstar

And then another cyno went up and a second group started landing.

Some more titans arriving

And then a third cyno went up and then a fourth as super capitals arrayed themselves in and around the Keepstar.

And even more titans start landing

There ended up being a lot of titans on the field, possibly as many as I have seen on the field since B-R5RB.

So many titans

What is hard to see is the super carries mixed in with those fleets.  They are big ships when compared to subcaps, but they seem so small when mixed in with titans.

Meanwhile the locals were forming up as well, with CO2 dropping a Muninn fleet into the system.

Muninns landing near the gate

Likewise Darkness and other GOTG groups formed up an Ishtar fleet and was circling the gate to Fade as they waited for the timer to count down.

Ishtars with the Keepstar in the distance

More and more people kept piling into the system, but things were not too bad… and then the shooting started.

My alt got knocked offline a few times during the fight, but things were not as bad as during the 9-4RP2 fight, the so-called “million dollar battle” where getting back in was pretty much impossible.  If your client died… and I could see my client grabbing more and more RAM until it expired… need a 64-bit client… you could get back in with a bit of patience.

But this fight wasn’t as hyped as the 9-4RP2 battle was, and we were well shy of the 6,142 players in system that earned that fight a Guinness record.  The peak I saw when my alt was in system was just past 3,800.

3,813 and 10% tidi

The fight itself involved the hostiles using Gilas and Ishtars and some long range fit dreadnoughts to stop the timer and start chipping down Keepstar.  They were successful for a while, getting enough damage on the citadel to stop the timer with 10 minutes of online repair to go and they did break it down to 85% of its hit points.

But the weight in numbers was against them.  While they got out in front of things, the titans and super carriers had been joined by a dreads and subcaps who chipped away, cutting back the attackers until the repair timer started up again and the outcome became inevitable.

Titans firing on attackers

Once the timer started up again the prospects for the attackers dimmed and they began to extract.

The Kirkland Protein Star about to go online

Tidi was still bad though, but my main was on the other side of the gate in Fade trying to catch some hostiles coming and going.

Asher, whose ongoing Kirkland Protein Bar meme helped name the Keepstar (though the name changed a couple of times), was not there to the Reavers.  He is now the Sky Marshall, the overall commander and coordinator of fleets and in charge of strategy.  I am glad he has an opportunity to move all the pieces on the map.  There are not many games where you can drive the actions of literally thousands of other players.  But I do worry a bit as the position tends to burn out those who sit in the Sky Marshall chair during a war.  I would miss him if he left the game.

Zed Starshine was leading us for the evening.  He has led us on some ops before.  He got us out to our targets, then to block the comings and goings of the locals, and then the hell out of the way when the hostiles packed up to head home en masse.  Our little fleet wasn’t going to stem that tide, we’d just be a snack for them on the way.  So we got home early and never had to face any tidi.

The Keepstar went online.

With a big flash

The capitals and super caps didn’t have to head home.  They were home.  They could dock up and be ready for ongoing ops against CO2 and GOTG.

The fight itself saw more than a thousand ships blow up.

Most violent system on DOTLAN

Most of those ships belonged to those attacking the Keepstar, as the battle report indicates.

Battle Report Header

[Corrected that battle report as I had CO2 on the wrong side initially.]

The ISK count wasn’t that big however, barely a titan’s worth of ships destroyed.  TEST and Brave, who are now allied with us against PL and NCDot, sent forces north to join in and cover the Keepstar coming online.

But once that Keepstar was online the situation in the north changed.  6RCQ-V is close enough to CO2’s capital and Keepstar in DW-T2I that the super fleet can just take the gate into E9KD-N and then jump straight there.  And you can bet that their Keepstar, and all of their structures, are clearly in our sights.  If they stand there will be more fights.

Rumor has it however that they might pack up shop and head to Venal.  There are still NPC stations there, places that cannot be destroyed.  That is, however, just a rumor at this point, as is the rumor that Slyce might join them.

But if they hang around there will be more titans on grid and more battles over structures in the weeks to come.  Maybe even another node killing, 6,000 player, “million dollar” battle.

Other coverage:

Escalating Battle Sizes in Fade

Asher always warns us to not talk to much about our deployments while they are in progress.  Talking about them… especially on Reddit… brings attention to the fact that there are decent, small scale fights happening somewhere in null sec regularly which gets other people to considering flying over to join in on the fun.  Then things escalate as more people show up and sooner or later you’re back to time dilation sized fights, which are fun once in a while but not something you want to face every night.

So our deployment up into Pure Blind to hound Pandemic Horde and Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t get a lot of mention for a while.  We’ve been up there since November and for most of that time we’ve done our thing with small fleets, occasionally teaming up with TNT, who have a had a fun times deployment like our own going in Lonetrek, but mostly keeping things light.  We prod the locals, drop on their ratters and miners, and dock up when things get too hot for our band.

Then Pandemic Horde moved to Geminate and Guardians of the Galaxy started coming apart under the pressure of our presence, pulling back from trying to camp us, letting us drop structures in their staging, and letting us get away with things an organization that size ought to be able to stomp on given their local capital and super capital dominance.  One of their FCs quit the game while a number of high level defections hit their moral, while some of their internal reactions embarrassed them in public, all of which was documented over on the /r/eve section of Reddit.

Anyway, enough preamble.  GotG’s leader Sort Dragon is back from vacation and knows he is facing a crisis that requires the coalition to stand up and win some fights, while all of this passing through Reddit means that more outsiders will be showing up for battles.

And so it was last night.  One of the Raitaru’s we had anchored on grid with their Keepstar in DO6H-Q was in its final timer and GotG was keen to kill it.  Removing us from line of sight of their staging point would be a good start towards boosting moral.

The Raitaru in question as seen from the Darkness Keepstar

To make sure that they won GotG enlisted the help of their allies NCDot, Mercenary Coalition, and Pandemic Horde for the fight.

At our end Asher was pinging about a big fight to get as many of us on as well as getting the TNT deployment to come over and join us.  In addition TEST, stepping beyond just watching and spamming local in DO6H-Q, brought over a fleet to help us.  We also got a fleet of Jackdaws from Federation Uprising (FEDUP), a faction warfare group that took some space in Cloud Ring on a lark a while back in September and are still there more than six months later. (Kirith Kodachi is part of FEDUP.)

At our end we formed up with the TNT group and were bridged up into Fade to get into position.

Bridging into Fade yet again

There we hung out on the Raitaru with TEST, led by Vily, who once long ago was an FC for the CFC.  They had brought a Cerberus fleet.

Vily in his command ship

There we watched the enemy form.  GotG was forming up a Loki fleet with Hendrink Collie as the FC, flying one of the new Monitor FC ships.  That was the first one I had seen on the live server.

Hendrinks new ride

GotG also had carriers out and were sending fighters towards the Raitaru as the timer counted down.  Also on the field were NCDot in Cerbs, MC in Feroxes, and PH in Jackdaws.

The timer was already in play and the fighters were slow boating towards it before anything happened.  It was not obvious as to whether or not the fighters would get there in time to hit the Raitaru when Asher had the Ishtars spread out around the structure, drop sentry drones, and then led us off tether and into combat.

The Ishtar Train speeds along

Our formation was pretty simple.  We all follow Asher with prop modules on.  The Ishtars shoot the targets called, the support ships bubble, boost, paint, or apply ewar, and the logi tries to keep up with calls for reps.  As with the last fight, life in the logi channel was very busy right off the bat as the enemy tried to trim us back so they could kill off the Ishtars.

That was also when things began to slow down.  Time dilation began to rear its ugly head, so what seemed like a long and busy fight from my own subjective view did not last too long in game time as it was moving at about 20% of normal.  More than a thousand people in local will do that.

Popular Fight

We seemed to be fixed mostly on the Loki fleet which was following Hendrink around in a tight ball.

Monitor and Lokis

They had an advantage on their side.  Being in their staging system they could replace losses very quickly and more than once I heard a target called that we had blown up once already.

A Loki going, only to return again

Our losses ended up jumps away in our staging system with a hazardous path back to the fight.  However our Ishtar fleet was big enough this time around to take down Lokis while we hand substantially more logi than last time so were able to save many ships.  In this the tidi helped with that.  When the game is moving slowly it becomes easier to lock up and get reps on people because the pace becomes leisurely.  The only frustration is that it does take time for modules to spin down, so it can feel like you’re not going to get reps on somebody in time.  But we did pretty well, saving people deep in armor (or sometimes in structure) before they blew up.

The haze of the cap chain and reps in the battle

Meanwhile we kept in contact with the Loki fleet, chipping away at them.

Inside the Loki ball

At one point GotG dropped an Apostle force auxiliary on grid with us and the Raitaru to help rep the Loki fleet.  This became a priority target and was blown up before too long.

The Apostle coming apart

Somewhere along the line I had launched the Warrior IIs in my drone bay and then lost track of them.  They were likely done in by smart bombs in the Loki fleet.  But that meant not having anything to send towards the Apostle to get on that kill.  Ah well.

Meanwhile I am not sure how much the fax helped GotG.  Their fleet zoomed by the wreck not long after the Apostle was lost.

Lokis near the Apostle wreck

As this was all going on the fighters from the carriers had arrived on the Raitaru with about a minute left on its timer and were able to stop it as they chewed away at its structure.

The Raitaru in the middle of all of this

There came a moment of decision.  There was a mass of fighters on the Raitaru.  We could try to shoot them and maybe save the citadel, though it was not certain we could do it, or we could shoot GotG ships some more.  Asher opted for the latter and among the eventual victims was Hendrink Collie’s Monitor, aptly named, “Asher NOOOOOOOOO.”

Target the Monitor

That was the first Monitor kill for almost everybody though again, having lost my drones somewhere, I missed out.

By that point the Raitaru had exploded, fighters were being recalled, and our reason for being there had expired.  It was time to go.  Asher sent the Ishtars off to scoop up their drones, sentry drones being stationary, long range models.  That actually led to a series of Ishtar losses.  There were still hostiles on grid with us and they started picking off lone Ishtars.  They would broadcast for armor but were mostly out of range of reps and sometimes out of lock range, so we took some last minute losses that might have been avoided.  Nothing like being on top of broadcasts for a long stretch and then getting a string where you can’t help.

We then headed out, keeping together so as to prevent stragglers from being picked off.  The tidi outside of DO6H-Q was worse than inside the system as several fleets pushed through gates.  Asher told us we needed to get back to our staging and reload drones as there was another objective to hit.  But by the time we got back to the station that event had already played out and we were done for the night.

On the GotG side of things they managed to complete their main objective in DO6H-Q.  They destroyed the Raitaru in question and another without any resistance.  The battle report shows they paid a price for that objective.

Battle Report Header

The ISK war clearly went in our favor.

Furthermore, as Asher notes in his after action report post on Reddit, while this was going on other forces were able to go out and kill a Tatara and an Athanor, so you can understand why we might feel pretty good about how the night turned out. (Also his AAR explains the broader fight as opposed to my narrow logi view.)

There is also a video of the fight up on YouTube now that shows a few items I mentioned above.

And a thousand ships is a sizable fight.  It seems like we might be past the time of 60-80 person fleets going out for objectives.  The fights are growing in size as the nature of the conflict escalates for GotG into a need to prove they can defend their own space.

 Addendum: Another video of the fight, this one with some of our coms, including bad puns.

A Tower Without Stront

The ongoing skirmishes in the north continue in and around Pure Blind.  Some times they are big.  More often they are more modest in size.  With the departure of Pandemic Horde from the area, the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition has had to pick up the slack.  That started off aggressively.   During the time of the failed million dollar battle, when our attention was elsewhere, GotG and PH cleared out all of our citadels and towers and dropped their own, towering up all the moons in the system.   On our return to Pure Blind they started bubbling our station in an attempt to camp us in.

The situation upon our return

Their resolve in this seemed to waver as we showed up regularly to break their camp and clear out the bubbles.  Their aggressive stance slackened and responses to our activity dropped off, allowing us some nice kills now and then.

Meanwhile Pandemic Horde left behind a bunch of POS towers that slowly but surely ran out of fuel and became regular targets for us to shoot.

Drones tickling an unfueled tower

We also began the slow process of rebuilding our structure base, dropping citadels and engineering complexes.  Those were contested regularly… until they weren’t, and slowly we’ve added more structures to the mix.

There was a gap in the back half of March that I missed, which included that fight where GotG lost five titans, but I’ve been back and on ops since the weekend and the pace of things has changed.  Getting capitals and super caps dropped on us was a regular event before, now we seem to be able to roam in numbers often without that.  Also, NCDot has starting getting involved, looking for some fights close to home no doubt.

They were the ones who showed up to shoot a Raitaru we had dropped, a fight that would have happened had Comcast not dropped Asher just as we were forming, leaving us without an FC.

The next night though we were back again, with another structure coming online and nobody around to oppose us.  Formed up to cover that, Asher took us to one of the towers that NCDot had dropped so we could shoot it to see if anybody would show up.

Shooting a tower with lots of hardeners

At a glance this fresh tower in our midst looked formidable, with many hardeners to up its damage resistance, portending a long and dull shoot to put it into reinforced state.  However, the person who put up the tower had placed the hardeners but hadn’t gotten around to putting them online.  So they were merely decorative.

As nobody seemed to be forming to fight us, Asher called out a bit of heavy support to speed things along.

Nags add their weight to the shoot

They came in for a siege cycle then docked back up as the shield quickly approached the 25% level, at which point the tower would be reinforced and become a target for another day.

And then the tower dropped to 24% and we realized that, in addition to the hardeners, the tower also lacked any strontium clathrates, the ice mining derivative that fuels a towers reinforcement mode.  Without that we could just sit there and burn the tower down and kill it.

That’s right Pee-wee, the secret word is “Unstronted!”

And, in a moment of things just not rolling NCDot’s way, seemingly just seconds after the shields dropped below 25% an NCDot pilot warped into the POS shields, no doubt carrying some stront with which to fuel the tower.  However, once the shields are below 50% you can neither add nor remove any stront, so he was already way too late, but it seemed especially galling that he should arrive just when the tower’s fate was sealed. (The amount of stront determines how long the tower will remain reinforced, so defenders will tinker with the amount in a tower being attacked to get a favorable time period for the next round.)

We kept on shooting, all the more enthusiastic now that a kill mail was on the menu.

My alt in a laser Vexor adding to the firepower

Once we were past the shields, where the bulk of the Caldari tower’s defenses lay, things went much more quickly and we were rewarded with that tower kill mail along with kill mails for all of those hardeners.

The hardeners being popped

The day when POS towers will be removed from the game is still coming.  In a way I will miss their quirks compared to the citadel defense mechanics.  And few things can brighten up a structure shoot than learning that the tower you’re shooting won’t require a second visit because the defenders forgot to fuel up with stront.

And so the game goes on in the north.  We shoot their stuff and drop our own structures.  If they don’t come to defend, then we move outward to shoot stuff closer to their home.  If they do defend then we get a fight.

Tribute Comes Alive!

Back in early October NCDot, Pandemic Legion, and the usual assortment of hangers on announced that they were going to invade Circle of Two’s space in Tribute and take it from them.  Pandemic Horde coveted the system of M-OEE8, which its easy access to Jita, so they and all their friends were going to go get it.

Horde has a vision

Horde has a vision

This was exciting news and seemed, in some ways, the final encore of the Casino War as the final pre-war resident of the region, Circle of Two, was set to be evicted.  Of those who invaded the north, TEST was CO2’s only major ally.

Of course, the only reason CO2 lasted that long in the north is that they sold our the Imperium before the first battle in their territory even began.  Stewing territorial grievances (among other things they resented having TNT, my alliance, in Tribute from the day we showed up) and bad cash management got them to switch sides, hand over intel, and actively join the fight against the Imperium.

As you can imagine, the thought of the Circle of Traitors getting their own comeuppance was a happy one.  I dubbed the whole thing the Schadenfreude War, as the two sides grinding against each other was going to be entertaining no matter who won, just so long as there was blood.

TMC and EN24 picked up the story right away.  War is always big news.

 

But rather than a supercapital blitzkrieg, it was more of a sitzkrieg, a phoney war in space.  There were a few skirmishes, but the greater effort seemed to be going into propaganda creation for Reddit. (Examples collected here and here.)  The TEST baby dino propaganda was especially good, I hope somebody has collected it all up somewhere.  And then there was the magnificent Be In NCDot piece.

So adorable

So adorable

Propaganda without a war… well, that pretty much defines the EVE Online subreddit most days, cesspit that it is.  At one point my going theory was that NCDot was attempting to slowly bankrupt CO2 by dropping bait titans in order to kill off all of CO2’s tackle ships.

The was was dull and other events overtook it.  The Alliance Tournament, the coming Ascension expansion, the end of gambling in New Eden, and EVE Vegas all took their turns in the spotlight as Tribute simmered away.  There were no headlines about it on the various EVE Online sites, though both the major news sites, EN24 and INN, seemed to be pretty quiet overall.  I didn’t so much give up hope for that comeuppance as forgot it was even an option.

But the war apparently ground on without me paying it any attention, so that this past week I was surprised to see NCDot talking up the war in their recent state of the alliance as well as a reports of a battle in M-OEE8.  I headed on over to DOTLAN to check the Tribute map, and it looks like the aggressors have been busy.

Tribute - November 22, 2016

Tribute – November 22, 2016

Pandemic Legion, Pandemic Horde, and NCDot now hold 16 former CO2 systems in Tribute, with more under siege including CO2’s capital system, M-OEE8, where NCDot has taken the ihub.

So the war has progressed, and that moment of schadenfreude for those of us in our new homes in Delve may come to pass.  There is also the usual null sec symmetry to the whole thing.  Back in 2012 I was there when we took UMI-KK in Tribute War of 2012 from NCDot, after which they pretty much gave up and moved south.  Now they are back again, invading down the same route we took, scooping up those very same systems the left behind four years back.

In Which We Blob

The purging of Cloud Ring continues, though mostly while I am asleep.  Waffles and Pandemic Horde changed their vulnerability widow to be during AUTZ, so the Entosis Link ops have been left to Lemba’s Korean’s in DOKDO and Arsehole squad, the AU/NZ time zone SIG in The Imperium.  So I wake up in the morning and can see the fleet pings that went out overnight.

While The Mittani’s optimistic six day forecast now seems… well, optimistic… the purge doesn’t seem to be in doubt.  The desired end state though… I’m not sure what that is.  We don’t want any hostiles living in that region, so we are purging them.  But we don’t want to take the sov ourselves, so we didn’t, for example, drop a TCU in W-4NUU after we killed the Pandemic Horde TCU, which allowed them to drop one and take the sovereignty right back. (Though reset to 0, so the system is easier to take/retake.)  And we have seen that our only friend in the region, Fweddit, can’t hold the whole region by itself, so I am not sure who we expect to come live there.  Who wants to live next to us?

Anyway, there has been day by day coverage over at The Nosy Gamer under the Kickstarter War tag.

Having avoided Cloud Ring completely, I did get into one fleet over the weekend, once that ended up in a fight.  There is a story about it up at TMC that I find a bit confusing.  The copy makes it sound like the whole thing was a surprise when, in fact, there were pings out for a “max dudes stratop” nearly 24 hours in advance.  Maybe I have misunderstood.  I guess we did pour in over time.

Anyway, the pings were out far enough in advance for me to get down to our staging system in Pure Blind and be online and ready to go.  Well, mostly ready to go.  I ran down in an interceptor and wasn’t keen to buy a doctrine ship off contract until I knew what fleets were going up.

When the ping for fleets went out, the initial options were Tengu fleet or Harpy fleet.  Later Cawk fleet was added to handle all the people piling into the system and trying to get into a fleet.  I opted for Harpy fleet because, if nothing else, a Harpy is cheap and warps faster than a Tengu and looks better as well.

Harpy out and flying about

Harpy out and flying about

Also, with three Basilisks lost already this month, I might be past my limit on reimbursement.  No need to risk losing a Tengu or a Basi.

Anyway, I got into fleet and immediately began looking forward to the next Reavers deployment.  It has been a while since I have been in the main fleet during an op.  Somewhere around 500 of us showed up, got in fleets, and starting flying towards some distant destination, leaving time dilation and tasty stragglers for MOA in our wake.

We reached UMI-KK about an hour after I joined the fleet, a system where I had both a jump clone and a Harpy standing by, so if I had known I could have saved myself the first part of the journey and the price of a Harpy.  The cost of op sec.

We didn’t have to go the whole way by gates.  We did take one jump bridge.  When we arrived there, the guy who said he had a three day timer before he could take a jump bridge and was told we would be taking one, again announced his timer issue.  I suppose he expected us to all slog an additional half dozen gates to keep him safe.  We took the jump bridge and let him fend for himself.

We left one Harpy behind

We left one Harpy behind

From the far end of the jump bridge it was a few more jumps through tidi until we finally arrived at MR4-MY in Geminate.  Our FC was hurrying us along at that point, as it sounded like the fight was going to end soon.  Sure enough, things certainly seemed to be in progress when we got there.

Fight in MR4-MY

Fight in MR4-MY, many bubbles

After some mucking about just out of range of all of the fun, our FC pointed us at the two biggest targets on the field, the two Archon carriers supporting the NCDot fleet.

The prized on the field

The prized on the field

Everybody loves a capital ship kill.  And certainly everybody seemed to get on those kills.  There were 741 involved parties on the first carrier kill, and 717 on the second.  I also managed to get on the kills of a Proteus, a Damnation, and a Devoter.   But that was about it.  After that, the field was clear and it was time to head back home.

The battle report shows 865 of us blobbing 121 of them, inflicting 43 billion ISK in damage for about 5.5 billion in losses.  That is the old CFC way.

And then it was another hour getting back to our staging system.  The whole thing went a little longer than three hours, so at least we got two participation links for the effort.  But it was a reminder of what big fleet fights can be like in the main fleet, with time dilation, hours of travel, uneven levels of skill, and coms that made me hide in the “no chatter” channel.  After that, a Reavers deployment feels like a vacation.

The Same Old Rumor of War

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.

-Matthew 24:6, New International Bible

It all started with a move operation, hours before the rumors began to swirl.  Pings went out over Jabber declaring the end of our mini-deployment to the frontier with Venal, just five gates away from our main staging point in YA0-XJ.

Of course, this came just as I finally gave in and moved a few ships from YA0 to the staging system, but I guess that at least gave me some ships to join in with.  So at the undock at QPO-WI, just about every sort of ship you might find in null sec was heading out.

Traffic control needed on the undock

Traffic control needed on the undock

Fleets were formed and convoys were run back and forth for quite a while on Saturday, occasionally interrupted by opportunistic hot droppers.  But that at least gave us somebody to go chase around for a while.

I am still not used to seeing capital ships taking gates.  And I am not sure that the capital pilots have all of the changes down either.

Ragnarok on the undock?

Ragnarok on the undock?

Despite the fact that there were convoys for subcaps and capitals, we had some carriers taking gates with us as we ranged back and forth between the to stations.  As it turns out, a carrier can be fit to warp pretty quickly.

Of course, as we were doing that, the rumors started on coms.  If we were pulling back to our main base it could only mean that we had something more interesting to do, some place better to deploy, some targets fatter than the residents of Venal, the latter having been somewhat thin on the ground since Black Legion departed for more fruitful hunting grounds.

The war in the east seemed to have wound down, with one Russian faction having secured control over the other and all having settled into a minor routine border conflict, while there didn’t seem anything new about the ongoing Brave vs. PL fun fest.

Then an item popped up in the forums over at EVE News 24 that indicated that Northern Coalition, a couple of their allies, and Black Legion were forming up for another run at Fountain while EVE Fanfest was going on in Iceland.

Black Legion, NCDot, The Kadeshi, and Darkness

Black Legion, NCDot, The Kadeshi, and Darkness

That started as whispers in the wind but the post eventually got firmed up and updated and became a front page story on the news end of the site, indicating that those four were forming up in ZXB-VC in Delve.

But while that was still just speculation, we got our own news in Jabber from fearless leader himself, who summed up the hostile plan as…

Let’s try to move on the CFC just before Fanfest – third time’s the charm, right?  They just can’t get enough ~Dominion Sov~ action.

-The Mittani, Jabber broadcast

With that out, there was a summary over at TMC as well about the pending conflict, and an alliance update when up in the GSF forum late yesterday, which will probably end up posted over at TMC today at some point.  I’ll link that when it arrives.

Anyway, I expect that means that move ops will continue.  We are still playing by the Dominion expansion sovereignty rules, with CCP’s proposed summer changes to the sovereignty mechanics still being discussed.  So more move ops will be going on, with capitals and subcaps alike moving out.

Carriers and dreads undocking

Carriers and dreads undocking

Of course, the CFC has a standard response to and sort of assault on its sovereignty.  A force will go out to contest timers, shoot SBUs, reinforce and hostile towers, and generally turn the whole thing into the usual trench warfare that is Dominion sovereignty, where one side can only win when the other side gives up, unless they can bring overwhelming force to bear.

While that is going on, the Reavers show up in the backfield of the attackers and start reinforcing towers, dropping their own SBUs, and generally attacking timers until the hostiles have to make the choice to either keep attacking our sovereignty or deploy back to defend their own.  Time to warm up the Basilisk and get ready for a wormhole trip and some space camping.

Landing on the wormhole

Always another wormhole to jump through…

We shall see if our foes have come up with a different plan this time around.  If not, I’ll throw in a third quote for this post… which is really hitting my limit… about how I expect things will turn out.

They came on in the same old way and we defeated them in the same old way.

Wellington at Waterloo

Not that there won’t be some fun had.  Look for updates soon enough.  Timers will bring opposing fleets together now and again, but without a new angle the outcome seems per-ordained.

 

Blow Up at F2OY-X

I was a bit disappointed on Saturday.  There were a couple of strat ops planned, but they were both during time frames where I was not going to be able to come along.  I like strat ops because they tend to be based on timers or some other event that forces both sides to show up.  And they tend to be focused on a specific mission beyond shooting whoever we can find.

But as I was poking around early Saturday afternoon, an op came up in Jabber asking people to get in fleet fast for action in F2OY-X.

That sounded like my kind of deal.  A fight in our staging system meant no travel.  Of course, it was likely to be a chimera, the possibility of a fight that would never materialize.  But I was sitting around and I wasn’t going to be around for the later strat op, so I jump into the game.  I would get a participation link for showing up at least.

But on getting into the game, a fight looked more than likely.  There were over a thousand people in the system, TiDi was already starting to hit hard, and even as I got into Reagalan’s Baltec fleet he was telling us to undock and align.  It was time to go, so I got my Apocalypse pointed in the right direction and went.

There were warp disruption bubbles of one flavor or another all over space within sight of the station.  We actually had to warp to a mid point to get around some to drop in on the fight.  Along the way, we passed within sight, if not range, of a TEST pilot who wanted us to be sure of who to shoot.

Ship naming fun

Ship naming fun

We slowly made our way to the engagement, tidi dipping to 10% already and, on arriving, started shooting the targets called.  Initially we did not have much success.  A later count showed that the hostiles brought a lot of logistics with their Tengu fleet, so were catching sufficient reps when targeted to shrug off our fire.  Remote reps have come up as part of the larger “fix null sec” thread of posts that has been banging about the EVE Online world.  You only get kills if you can out-damage the remote repair abilities of your foes.  So the game becomes “bring more dudes” while your FC yells at you to get into a logistics ship.  More reps means life, so nerfing reps is now being discussed.

Logistics become a lynchpin in engagements.  You keep your logistics alive, which tend to be easier to kill than your ships of the line, by having your logistics anchor keep as far off on the other side of the fight from your foes as possible.  Out of range means being safe.

Fortunately for us, the reach of Baltec fleet is pretty far.  An Apoc with range scipts and the right crystals can reach out and hit things as far as 150km off if you have the right skills trained.  Not that we needed that.  Their logistics seemed to be close to hand, within the range of our short-to-medium range ammo.  So Reagalan had us swap to targeting their logistics.  That worked and we started getting kills, breaking Scimitar tanks one by one.

That was an investment into the future of the fight.  However, killing logistics now leaves all the hostile firepower still on hand to shoot at you.  We had enough logistics for the fleet, so long as you paid attention and clicked the “need armor” button as the hostiles were just starting to target you.  That is indicated by the yellow boxes around ships in your overview.  I was not paying close enough attention and only hit the button when I noticed those yellow boxes starting to turn red, which means that you are now being shot at.

Never a good sign...

Never a good sign…

Soon I was floating around in a pod.  But first I got to see my ship explode in slow motion.  The tidi was bad enough… it had clearly pushed beyond the level that was showing as the backend systems struggled to keep up with things running at one tenth speed… that my ship was gone as far as my controls were concerned a good 30 seconds before it actually exploded on screen.

I go boom... eventually

I go boom… eventually

Then I was sort of stuck.  There were layers and layers of warp disruption bubbles to fly through so I would be clear to warp back to the station and re-ship.  I took that time to go through the contracts, pick out, and purchase a new Apocalypse.  Reagalan was cajoling us to return in Celestises in order to sensor damp the hostiles, as not being able to target and shoot things apparently induces rage in our foes, but those had all been bought out.  So it was back to a big ship.

Pods move slowly, put-putting along at 187 meters a second, made all the more slow by tidi inflicting is penalty.  Eventually though I wandered out into open space and was able to warp back to the station.  Docking and reshipping went very quickly given the TiDi situation, and I even remembered to check the fitting to make sure the guns were online before I undocked.  They were not.  Ships on contract sometimes get fit by an alt that cannot use all the modules, so they are with the ship but offline.  It is embarrassing to be in a hurry only to get undocked and find you can’t actually shoot anything.

Then it was time to find my own way back to the fleet, which meant finding a wreck or something to warp to, since the direct route from the station was still blocked by bubbles.

I got back in time to see the end of the initial engagement.  The long range ammo was out now and we were taking shots beyond the 100km mark as the hostiles headed away from us.  The last kill we got there was Doombunny.  As the hostiles began to fall out of range, Reagalan warped us off to the staging POS to regroup.  There we were joined by one of the hostiles.

I am not sure how this happened, but one of the enemy Scimitars warped to the POS with us, getting stuck outside the shields.

Visiting Scimitar

Visiting Scimitar

Of course, we were all “Shoot her, shoot her!” but were, for the most part, stuck inside the POS shields and unable to target or shoot.  So we started to burn out of the POS towards her.  Those who had forgotten to enter the POS password (I do not remember entering it myself, but somehow I landed at the tower) and were bouncing off the shield got a quick kill before we could get there.

We then warped onto the enemy Tengus again and were able to bubble them up and start shooting.  By this point their logistics had been pared down so that we were able to alpha Tengus off the field fairly regularly.  It became a race to lock up hostiles before they disappeared and the targets called quickly stretched out into a long list.  And then they were off again.  We warped around a bit trying to catch them, ending up hanging around on the 1DH gate for a while.  But that was the end of things for us.

Return, getting a warp in, more shooting.  Warping about, catching some more. Warp back to POS, scimitar joins us.  Hanging on gate, no joy.  The action was over for us.

The fight itself seemed to develop as a slow boil on our side of things.  Black Legion, Northern Coalition, and their allies dropped in and established an early dominance with a mass of tengus, which cost use a lot of losses amongst those who came out to meet them at the start of the fight.  There was a point where they were “winning” for whatever definition you choose, and if they had been able to extract at that point, they could have made the case for victory.  At the end of the first round, Reagalan seemed pessimistic about how we were doing, hoping for a draw on the ISK war after we were mauled early on.

But rather than leaving the hostiles lit cynos and jumped people in as the CFC pot came to a boil.  As things moved on the pings for fleets built up on our side, filling out the Harpy fleet and then bringing out a wrecking ball of carriers deploying even as the rest of us were reshipping and returning to the fight.  We were fighting right there in our home system, so people logging on had no problem jumping on.  The end result of the battle shows things tilted very much in our favor.

Total kills were close, with 358 kills for our side against 315 for the hostiles.  But the ISK war fell heavily in our favor, as we lost 16.5 billion ISK in ships to their loss of 37 billion.

Always the ISK war

Always the ISK war

We lost a lot of inexpensive ships.  If you look at the ships engaged, there are a lot of dead interdictors and Celestises and tier 1 logistics listed for us, all pretty cheap as far as things go, while the hostiles lost mostly Scimitars, Tengus, and Huggins.  Those are pricey.

The fight ended up about two hours before the start op I was going to miss, but I had gotten my share of internet spaceship kills for the day, so was satisfied to leave that to others.  It was certainly better than the fleet op on Sunday where we flew out to Aridia through a mess of TiDi only to arrive at a fight that had just ended.  Pandemic Legion invited us out to help, but I wonder if they just wanted to inflict pain on us as we took 16 very slow gates out to Soliara and then 16 back home again.

There is a write up of the larger, strategic view of the fight at F2OY-X over at TMC. which answers the whole “so how did this happen?” aspect of things.

And naturally, I have some screen shots from the fight after the cut.

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