Tag Archives: Oasa

Robbing Some Space Banks

I mentioned in Tuesday’s post the introduction of the newly revised and now mandatory Encounter Surveillance System that was foisted on null sec with this months update.  There was a whole dev blog about it if you want to read up on it.

To me the whole thing seemed silly in that familiar way when CCP introduces a contrived mechanic and their expectations as to our behavior appear unrealistic.

To put it simply, when you rat in null sec now about a third of your bounty payments go into the ESS “bank.”  The ESS runs on a cycle where it will pay that out every three hours.  The timer is for everybody, so if you just missed it you’re waiting the whole time (though you do not have to be logged on to get paid), and if your tick hits just before it pays out, you get paid right away.

The ESS bank is in deadspace behind an acceleration gate, so you can warp directly to it, and inside of a warp disruption bubble that keeps people from warping or cloaking and from using MWDs or MJDs.  You also cannot light a cyno or set off a filament.  Afterburners are okay, and once you are out of the bubble, which is 75km in diameter and centered on the bank, you can warp off.

Also, the acceleration gate will only let in cruisers, battlecruisers, and battleships, which narrows down the options and keeps little fast things from zipping in to do the steal.

I have already seen people working on min/max ideas for both defending and attacking the ESS bank.  This what players in EVE Online do, and some winning tactic will emerge soon enough and CCP will either make changes that will simply start the search over again or ignore it an that is the way things will be.

Since I don’t really rat, I can sit on the outside and admire the solutions players craft, and I was treated to a trial run Wednesday night.  Asher pinged out to Reavers that he wanted to go out and try stealing some ESS bank loot.  I was down with that, as I wanted to see how the whole thing really worked.

He had some fits for us to buy and use and the plan was to use a Needljack Signal filament to yeet us into hostile space… which is pretty much all out null sec for us these days… so we could go find some banks to rob.  We undocked, grouped up on Asher, and off we went.

Y is for “Yeet!”

We ended up out in Tenerifis, Legacy Coalition territory.  There we had to go find a bank worth robbing.

In what I consider a great injustice, the search function for finding ESS banks is in The Agency, and interface not commonly used out in null sec.  It is like CCP was trying to hide it from us.  Fortunately we had Dawn Rhea with us, who actually does some high sec stuff that uses The Agency, so she was able to search for some close by banks while some of us were still figuring out where to find this functionality.

The Agency -> Encounters -> Electronic Surveillance System

That will give you some details and you can narrow your search using several parameters.

Dawn had a system for us, so off we went to get it.

Flying through Tenerifis

Every system in null sec now has a little bit of the UI devoted to the ESS.

all about the bank

Near the top you can see the bounty risk modifier, which is part of the Dynamic Bounties feature also introduced on Tuesday,  At the bottom is the ESS info, which shows you how much money is in the bank.  The aqua colored bar is a visual indicator as to how long before the next payout is due.  When it fills up, it is payout time.

The location of the ESS acceleration gate shows up on your overview if you have beacons set to show.  Likewise, the acceleration gate is just another of a class already around, so no new adjustments need be made.

Overview viewed

You just warp to the beacon, take the acceleration gate, and you’re sent into the big bubble around the ESS.  That, however, is a new item that you will need to add to your overview.

The bank revealed

Once you spot it, somebody has to get within 10km of it.  Then you can right click on it… or on its icon in the overview if you have added it there… and select the Access ESS option.  From there you get the ESS window, which shows you the details.

Somebody is robbing the bank

The main bank is what you can rob.   The reserve bank has yet to be made accessible by CCP.

In that window you click on the “Link” button… why link?  I don’t know.  CCP being CCP… and that starts the theft.  You then have to wait for a five minute timer before you get the loot.  If you’re not the one doing the stealing, you get that nice, small red count down bar.

When it starts, the system owners and anybody in the system gets an alert pop up that the bank is being robbed.

We’re stealing, not intruding

Up on the main UI the attempted theft is note, indicating who is doing the stealing.

Theft in progress

In our case Merkelchen, head of KarmaFleet and CSM member, was our test case.

You will note that the ESS interfaces indicates that the bank is 70% “convertable.”  That means, in robbing the bank, you only get 70% of the value of what is in the bank.  Furthermore, it is paid out in bonds of specific denominations that need to be taken to CONCORD stations to redeem.

We had 18 people in the fleet to do the robbing, which meant that the locals in Tenerifis, who were few and far between, let us get away without our theft.

After a couple of runs there we used another filament which sent us up north.  We rolled into Vale of the Silent and robbed some more banks.  I took a turn at a smaller total that appeared in a bank we had just looted just to try it out.  I got to see the UI timer you get when you’re the one doing it.

Now I am the robber

The main difference is that as the one doing the intrusion you get a larger time that isn’t red.  I kind of like the small red one better, but whatever.  I also got my name up in the UI.

The big score

A ratting tick hit while I was waiting on the timer, so the total went up to 8 million ISK before it was done, boosting my haul.

Bank successfully robbed!

I was in the system alone with five ratters and nobody came to get me.

The bonds come in standard denominations (you can see them on the market if you search for “bond”) that add up to the amount you’ve stolen.

New Eden bearer bonds

five 1 million bounty bonds, six 100K bounty bonds, and three 10K bounty bonds will get me 5.63 million ISK when I go turn them in.

After getting the easy bits in Vale, we used another filament to jump to another area.  Over time we jumped about, ending up in Omist, Malpais, and The Kalevala Expanse, and finally Oasa.

It wasn’t until we got to Oasa that the locals really began to get feisty.  We had a couple of supercarriers on a gate and a Sabre bubble us, but Oasa was where the real fun began.

You might recognize Oasa from the Monthly Economic Report.  It is the home of Fraternity and is the crab capital of New Eden currently, topping the charts for bounties and null sec mining.  They are serious about their ISK and the did not like us showing up in their space.  On starting to rob a bank there with 357 million ISK, they started jumping right in with us.

Locals came to fight

Our fleet had numbers, but not enough firepower to burn down a couple of marauders.

We got out of the bubble and ran off to another nearby system where the bank had 120 million ISK and was very close to payout.  We started the robbery and setup to pop anybody who warped in prematurely.

There was less than five minutes on the clock for payout, but we found that if you’re in the middle of a robbery, the payout is suspended.  You can start an intrusion with fewer than five minutes on the clock.

The bank has a hold on that payment

We managed to blow up a couple of eager pilots, including a Cynabal that came for us, but the locals quickly piled on.  We lost a couple of ships on the way out, including Asher, at which point Tom Flood took over.  We ran from the locals for a few gates, heading towards Venal, waiting for our timers to run down so we can use another filament.

We had been out for a while at that point, and had said that any filament that got us close to home would be the end of the op, but they kept pulling us deeper and deeper into hostile space.  This last filament was no exception.

The filament lined us up on landing

There was, however, a Thera wormhole not too far from where we were.  We flew to that and jumped through just as it collapsed of old age.  Most of us docked up in Thera to call it a night.

The next day the EVE Scout site said there was a wormhole from Thera straight to Delve, so I took that using their shared bookmark library in-game and was safely back in 1DQ1-A in almost no time.  I am not very adept with wormholes, but EVE Scout makes it easy.

Home with my bonds, I realized I probably should have first taken one of the wormholes to high sec and dropped off the bonds for an alt to pick up, but I am not sure I’ll miss that big 5.6 million ISK payout.

But now I can said I’ve robbed a bank in EVE Online.  I’m not sure if that is the way it works in GTA V, but it can still lead to a bit of conflict… up until somebody figured out how to defend the ESS with smart bombing battleships or rail tengus or something else that will pop people coming in to steal.

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.

Getting Home from Oasa

The ping said that if we got in Cainun’s fleet fast, there was a chance of a big kill.  The call was for the armor T3 cruiser fleet doctrine, which features the Legion and Proteus strategic cruisers along with armor logi and support.  I happened to be at my desk at just the right moment to log in, get in fleet, get into my Oneiros and undock as we warped off to a titan to get bridged on our way.

Off we go, are we committed yet?

The bridge off the titan sent us to another system where a wormhole to Thera awaited us.  We formed up on the null sec side of the wormhole, waiting for the orders to go through.  The wormhole was not fresh and there was concern about how much mass we would be pushing through it.

To this end we were asked to go to our fitting window and offline the armor plates on our ships to reduce the mass going through the whole, though I admit that I did wonder how you can turn off something like an armor plate.  Armor isn’t like a shield, it doesn’t go away when you turn off the switch.  But I followed New Eden logic and set mine offline.

Lolling about at the first wormhole

Tackle was sent through first, and they zipped off to the exit whole in Thera, through, and off to catch up our intended target.  Then the call was for command ships and logi to go through the hole and into Thera.  After we were in successfully, the DPS ships were called to jump through.  That was enough to collapse the hole, though only about a dozen ships got left on the other side.  No wormhole adventure for them and they got to head home.  That still left over 200 ships in the fleet.

Once we were warped to the out hole in Thera, we followed the same routine.  Tackle had already gone through, so the call was for command ships and logi, with yet another follow up reminder to turn off armor plates in case somebody hadn’t done it when asked the previous dozen times.  Command ships and logi went through successfully, so the call went for DPS ships to make the transition.  About six DPS ships made it through before the hole collapsed.

That left us in something of an awkward position.  A small fleet consisting mostly of logi was now in 1-HDQ4 in the Oasa region, a long way from home, while more than 150 T3 cruisers were hanging about in Thera where the direct hole home had already closed and the hole to the target was no longer available to them either.  Those left in Thera docked up at one of the stations there.

Those of us stranded up in Oasa were told to start burning to KED-2O where an Imperium Caracal fleet, which had used the same holes before us, was already engaged.  They had killed a Rorqual up there and had a titan tackled.  So off we went with Thomas Lear now leading us.  Why not?  We were already there and didn’t have anyplace else to be.  But even as we closed in on the destination system, word came down the line that a titan kill wasn’t going to happen.  The defenders had been successful at blowing up any tackle and the big ship got away.

So there we were, up in Oasa, a long way from home, 33 ships made up of boosts, lots of logi, and a few DPS ships.  We were like the incarnation of old school WoW paladins in New Eden; we weren’t going to die, but neither was anything we rolled up on.  It was time to figure out how to get back to Delve.

As it turned out, there was another Thera wormhole about 20 jumps from our current location, over in The Vale of the Silent in 9-GBPD.  We just had to get there.  Getting there though, turned out to be a bit of a chore.  Going gate to gate for 20 jumps takes some time, but that got multiplied as we went through Russian space in Perrigen Falls.  The Russians have a habit of covering gates around their space with anchorable warp disruption bubbles.  Lots of them.

The gate inside the bubbles

So for a series of gates we ended up landing 60-90km off of a gate, slow boating with after burners lit to jump through, then slow boating on after burners out of the inevitable bubbles on the other side of the gate.

Out of the bubbles on the far side for another warp

The bubbles were all around the gates, so there was no sending somebody ahead for a perch around them, and we didn’t have enough DPS to blow them up as we went. (Though I think we did destroy a single small bubble as we motored to a gate, just out of boredom and anger more than anything else… launch logi whore drones!)

The bubbles probably didn’t cost us all that much extra time, but subjectively, having to motor on ABs felt like a long time.   Ironically, tomorrow’s patch is making a change to anchorable bubbles so that they decay and go away after a given amount of time, so this might be the last time we have to drag ourselves through a series of forever bubbles.  And if our trip felt like a long time to us, I am sure the rest of the fleet wasn’t happy about it either.

While we had been gating about the northeast of New Eden, the rest of the fleet had been hanging out in Thera just waiting for us to get back.  Jay, who was with us, started trying to get them to rise up against Cainun to get him to take them home rather than waiting for us.  I have to admit, keeping more than 160 people hanging about waiting for 30 or so of us had a lot going against it.  On the other hand, our detachment was made up of the boosters and logi pilots.  Everybody tells us we’re special… everybody who just wants to fly DPS and get kill mails… so I guess it was time for them to show us just how special we were.

We made it past the bubbles gates and finally arrived in 9-GBPD where B33R was sitting on the wormhole as a warp in.  We went through and found Cainun and the rest of the fleet sitting there waiting for us.

Back with the fleet in Thera… also, the only good Oneiros SKIN

Once we were all through and back into Thera, Cainun warped us to the out connection.  There, we had a plate check once again.  Then he called out four Guardians to stay behind before sending people through.  This hole was also questionable, but there was another Thera connection option if this one collapsed.  Cainun just wanted to be sure any fleet that had to take an alternate route had some logi support.

And he was correct, the whole did collapse before we all got through.  I was through and in the system I-ME3L in Stain.  That put us 23 jumps from home on a route through Period Basis, Delve, Fake Querious, and Delve again.

Down in Stain

Fortunately, there was only a single anchorable bubble on the route home, reported by our scout, and it was down before we even got to the system where it was.  We were able to gate home without incident.

All told, that was about a two hour adventure which took some of us on a multi-region tour the length of New Eden.

Our route, Blue for wormhole travel, Red for gate travel

You could certainly find systems more distant from each other than we hit, but Oasa to Period Basis does cover a lot of the breadth of New Eden.  And it also shows how handy wormholes can be and the hazards of them collapsing on you.