Tag Archives: OTEC

Weekend War in Venal

In null sec wars are like buses; if you wait long enough another one will show up.

Which is a good thing, since war and the accompanying fleet operations are my favorite null sec activities.

OTEC, which previously brought various parties together, isn’t quite holding together it seems.  The upcoming nerf to technetium production… which will either kill tech moons and make us all poor or is purely for show and won’t change a thing, depending on who is speaking… seems to have shaken at least one member of the coalition out of the ranks and into conflict with the rest of the cartel

Tech moons were already under attack in Venal, which like Stain, is one of the more amusingly named regions.  Black Legion and our old foes from the south, Nulli Secunda were on the move there.  But then Northern Coalition, a member of the cartel, joined in as well.  I do not know if this was a dispute over other cartel members dumping tech on the market and killing the price or if they were just looking for something to do after the “mate war,” but things were on. (I have to go listen to the intel collected from NC comms.)

And so the weekend consisted of a series of fleet engagements base on reinforcement timers, starting on Friday night.

Friday night was pretty much a bust for me.  The fleets started off before I was home from work so by the time I could log in everybody was headed for home.

I have one shot.  I happened to be on coms and at the staging system as fleets were coming back when Black Legion tried to hot drop on our Drake fleet in 9-R6GU.  There were carriers on the field and I burned out to join the fight.  However, by the time I got there not much was left.  I managed to lock up an Abaddon and get missiles launched before it blew up, so I got on the kill report with 0% of the damage.

Saturday morning though, that was a different story.  Everybody seemed to be hungry for a big battle.  One of Northern Coalition’s tech moons was coming out of reinforcement the word was that they were going to gather up some friends and fight for it.

On our side we filled up an Alpha, a Tengu, and a Drake fleet and then had to make another Drake fleet.  Even The Mittani logged in and got into a fleet.  Just moving ourselves from VFK to the staging system brought up some serious time dilation.

13% TiDi and we haven’t even left yet!

I joined up with the first Drake fleet.  The FC was Zarks who has the cool demeanor of a late night FM disk jockey (if such a thing still exists).  Somebody in the fleet was complaining that the FC was “shouting” at them, and idea of which made people laugh and openly mock the person.  I have never heard Zarks speak in anything but the most moderate tone imaginable.

To counter that, we did have Suas along to be the Drake anchor.  And unlike Zarks, Suas always sounds like he is shouting with that finely honed British tone of voice that seems to imply that we are all morons because he had to even bring up a particular item, much less shout it at us to get us to pay attention.  So it was sort of Good FC/Bad FC.

We slowly bridged out to Venal and started burning towards the target system, N6G-H3.

Red in the ships/pods killed view

In what seemed like an odd turn of events to me, we did not face that much of a threat before Northern Coalition’s tower was destroyed.  Some stealth bombers came our way, but that was it.  Of course, that was just the part of the battle I was in.  The count in local was up beyond 1,200 people and TiDi was heavy, so something was going on.

With the tower blown, we joined the real battle.  With one of the first targets being a carrier that was inside the tower shields.  That went before I could lock it up.  Then the combined force from Northern Coalition, Black Legion, Nulli Secunda, Ev0ke, Ewoks, and Intrepid Crossing, with a few Gypsy Band ships thrown in for fun, collided with the CFC fleets.

Drake fleet in the fight

This followed the pattern I have seen in such battles in the past.  Once one side starts chewing away at the other, the balance of things quickly gets out of hand.  Our own targets were battleships and logistics at first, then the opposing Drake fleet until the focus became keeping them from escaping.

One of their battleship fleets retired to another station they had in the system where they were safe within the POS shield.

Battleships in the POS Shield

There were a few other skirmishes after that.  Stealth bombers plied their trade, attacking us while we roamed around the fleet safely in the shields.  The password to get in was known by us and at one point we flew into the shields and attempted to bump some ships out to face the waiting guns of the lurking Alpha fleet.

Drake formation in the enemy POS bubble

While an Iteron V that was sitting on the edge of the shields did get bumped out at one point, the exercise was not very successful.  If a ship is under way it is difficult to bump it very far, and the enemy fleet set themselves up orbiting the tower once we started bumping which put an end to our ambitions.

The end results, like the odds, favored us.  We put nearly double the number of ships in the system in the end which lead to us dominating the kill board for the fight.  This of course brought up the usual arguments about how the CFC is bad at PvP and needs to bring favorable odds in order to win.  That still leaves the open question, “If we are bad, why would we do anything else?” along with “If you’re so good, why do you need such evenly matched odds to win?”

I ended up with 84 kills for the day, though 44 of them were POS modules.

Kill totals for the weekend

I am not sure how I ended up with 43 out of those 44 kills.  I only shot the tower.  But I guess you somehow get credit for the module that are destroyed or collected afterwards.

Both sides drifted off the field and we headed back to the staging system where I parked my Drake in anticipation of the ops that were set to go on Sunday.

The Sunday ops were early in the morning for me.  As much as I like fleet ops, I wasn’t going to get up before 5am in order to participate.  It seemed like I wasn’t needed in any case.  These ops were to defend and rep our own towers that had come out of reinforcement, as opposed to going after the towers of the opposition, so Northern Coalition and friends were less inclined to go head to head.  I got on coms near the end of the second of the mornings three ops and it sounded like it was more of a cat and mouse game with a lot of scanning and probing.

And by the time the third op went out, the opposition had had enough of that, so we flew around hindered only by TiDi and our own incompetence.  Our inability to follow orders when we aren’t actually shooting things is phenomenal.  At one point, on the way home our FC, Reagalan, said one destination system in voice coms, then quickly changed it to another destination, which he said a few times, which was linked in the fleet channel, and which was broadcast in the fleet window, and still a good 10-20% of our fleet wandered off in the wrong direction.

We were also very lucky.  While the Tengu fleet went out with 55 Scimitars to support it, we had just two.  That would be about 18 shy of sanity.  And then one of them dropped off, which left us with just a single logistics ship, the pilot of which seemed quite concerned.  It is the logistics ships that keep us from getting turned into so much wreckage most days of the week, so we were primed for disaster.  But nobody showed up to fight us, so we hung around until our towers were repaired… we even sent our sole scimitar off to help… what good was it going to do us… and then headed home.

Moon Harvesting Array

The war of the moons in Venal continued on last night while I was asleep.  We shall see if it continues on with as much vigor next weekend or if, like so many past wars, the stand up fights come early and after that it turns into another bug hunt.

Hulkageddon V – Destruction Comes to an End… Mostly…

Hulkageddon V is now over.  The last API verified kill has been counted.  The event, having run from April 29th through May 29th, is now over.

(That is EVE Online game time, which runs on UTC.)

Hulkageddon V – The oft used picture

It was both the longest and most destructive iteration of the event, running for a full month and leaving almost 7,600 wrecked mining vessels in its wake worth a (low) estimated 1.47 trillion ISK.  That is the API verified number from the leaderboard.


Champion kills are exhumers and Orcas, while Junior kills are tier 1 mining barges.

EVE-Kill.net shows more than 8,600 kills.

But that includes manually entered kills, and with Goonswarm offering a bounty of 100 million ISK for every 10 exhumer kills, you have to figure some of that is bogus.  Who could resist trying to scam the Goons after all.

I will stick with the lower number for the purpose of comparing past events.

And here is the comparison.  This is how past events have totaled up.

  • Hulkageddon IV ran for just 9 days and say a little over 1,400 mining ships destroyed, putting the rate of destruction at about 155 a day.
  • Hulkageddon III posted over 2,400 mining ship kills over its 9 day run, putting the kill rate at about 267 vessels a day.
  • Hulkageddon II ran for just 7 days, but saw a kill rate of 214 per day, with over 1,500 mining ships destroyed during its run.
  • And the first Hulkageddon was a very modest, 2 day affair, with just 88 exhumers and mining barges meeting their end.

So Hulkageddon V lead to the destruction of more mining ships than all past iterations of the even combined.  Of course, it also ran more than three times as long as past events; more days means more kills.  So when averaged out, Hulkageddon V appears to be shy of the rate of kills set by Hulkageddon III, with a rate of about 244 kills per day. (Or 278 kills per day if you take the eve-kill.net number for true.)

I suspect that the rate of kills per day would have been higher had the event been shorter.  Things got off to a very fast start and was close to the 4,000 kill mark only 11 days into the event.  If it had kept up that pace we would be talking bigger numbers.

Of course, even after the event is over, the anger from some rages on. (hat tip to Jester on that one)

And, to a certain extent, the event itself continues to rage on with an announcement from The Mittani that Goonswarm payouts for exhumer kills will continue until further notice.  This announcement even has its own official thread in the EVE forums now.

Another fine OTEC moment.  Every Hulk destroyed is more technetium sold for its replacement.  We shall see if this keeps high sec mining suppressed.

OTEC – The Cartel Bares Its Teeth…

The spice must flow

The Spacing Guild, Dune

As usual, the hint that something was up on Sunday afternoon came in the form of a Jabber broadcast.

We’re going to be doing something special tonight at 3:00 EVE, forming up in VFK with Alphafleet. It’s special enough that I’m not telling you what we’re doing at all – except that I will personally be logging in to ‘Eve Online’ and going on this fleet, which hasn’t happened in, christ. The last invasion when I wasn’t banned, I guess.

There will be an op post up shortly – but it will be similarly empty of relevant information, except VFK, Alphafleet, Mystery Op, and Me Logging In.

This one was from The Mittani himself and promised not only a special fleet op for that evening, but in it he declared that the op was so special that he would actually log into the game, undock from a station, and fly as part of the op.

The Mittani.  He posts in the forums and on Twitter.  He broadcasts to the CFC over Jabber.  He shows up on voice coms for the State of the Goonion and on ops now and again.  And, of course, he appears live and uncensored on Fanfest video streams.

But I have never personally seen him in space playing the same game I play.  This held the promise of being an interesting event.

And many in the CFC shared my interest it seems.  Despite kicking off at 03:00 EVE time (03:00 UTC, 20:00 PDT, my time zone) near a Sunday/Monday transition for most of us, there was quite a crowd out for the fleet.

Originally there was going to be an Alpha fleet.  Then it became an Alpha fleet and a Drake fleet.  And then as both of those fleets filled up, another Drake fleet was added and got up to 150 members.  A fleet can have 256 members, and the first two fleets were full, so we are talking about ~650 people online and committed to this mystery operation.

Well, committed is a stretch for some.  I do not think I ever saw more than about 550 people in local, so there were clearly some people in the fleet but not with the fleet.  But that always happens.

We left VFK for a jump bridge, then jumped into the connecting system where two titans were waiting to bridge us to the final destination.  I did not arrive early enough for the main fleet with The Mittani, so I was in the Drake fleet Dabigredboat.  After arriving at our titan… there was one for us and one for the Alpha fleet… we all formed at at 2,000m and waited for titan bridge to go up and the signal to jump.

Fleets waiting to bridge

For about the first 30 minutes on coms there were the usual stragglers.  Somebody would ask if we had left VFK yet and they would get told where the fleet was.  Then the jump bridge ran out of fuel, so some people slow boated out while others waited around for GSOL to refill it.

There turn out in expectation of an Alpha fleet was so big that a good percentage of the Drake fleet was Malestroms.  They and their burst of firepower are the backbone of Alpha fleet, but they are not so useful in Drake fleet, which depends on moving at MWD speeds at all times.  The Maelstroms could not catch up.

The Alpha fleet on station

As it turned out, most of the Maelstroms in our fleet were Fatal Ascension pilots.  A plan was put together and they were bridged out to a base where they would swap out for Drakes and then get bridged back to fleet.

While this was going on, one of our cats threw up on the bed.  So I went AFK, fully expecting to find the fleet gone by the time I got back.  My wife and I stripped the bed, made it up again fresh, and I tossed the now cat barf soiled sheets in the washing machine.

I returned to find the fleet still there.  The titan had pulled all of us into the POS bubble.  As it turns out, I happened to have put in the shield password already, so I was not one of those people bouncing against the shield.

And on coms, the same jokes were going around.  For some reason… well, the reason was to distract us… DBRB started up with the Star Wars “Red Two Ready” sequence, encouraging people to come up with other “red” things.  So there was plenty of “Red Skelton ready!” and “Red Bull ready!” on voice and in fleet chat.

That did not really hide the fact that an hour after the op started moving, we were still sitting on the titan waiting for the go code.

People were looking at ships.  I found The Mittani and took a screen shot to prove he was in space.

The Mittani sends his regards

(The ship label is the result of my getting a Liberty Prime overview, which I saw mentioned somewhere… but I cannot remember where, so that link was thrown out to the first site I could find that mentioned it.  Missing from their FAQ, how to remove their changes.)

There was also the lone Raven in our fleet, with the name “Hilarious Lossmail,” along with a Harbinger and a Rifter that were along for the ride.  It is something of a requirement that there be a Rifter in any CFC fleet operation.

I also picked Aleph Gideon out of the fleet.  He is a regular reader and always says hello to me in fleet chat.  He said I had to do a post about this operation… though he said that really early on, when it looked like we might do something.  This will teach him.

Somebody with the right privileges began changing the name of the POS in which we were sitting.  This became my main source of entertainment for the next 20 minutes or so, as I let the usual nonsense on voice coms wash over me.  I took screen shots of them all, but they didn’t get saved.  During the op I noticed that it was taking a few seconds to save screen shots, which I figured was because the screen shot folder was pretty full up with nearly a thousand pictures in there.

I tend to take a lot of screen shots.

So I renamed the folder, foolishly assuming that any programmer worth their salt would check that the folder existed when trying to save to it, and finding it missing, would create a new folder.  Or, at the least, save them to the root directory where the executable lives.  But no, the EVE client just fails to save the screen shot without any error.

Do they not teach exception handling to young programmers any more?  Everybody likes to code the happy path, nobody likes to catch the people who wander off of it.

Anyway, I am saved from cropping and assembling a couple of dozen pictures of the tower with names like “Hey, I’m talking to you!” and “DBRB make me a sandwich!”

In the midst of my amusement with the tower a Northern Coalition Tengu showed up.  The tower said hello.  I thought perhaps we might get to shoot something.  That Tengu was followed by a small fleet, all of which sailed right through our POS shield, because all of our enemies know the default password, even though half of our own fleet does not.  Or so it seems.

And then DBRB got on voice coms and explained what was going on.

This was an OTEC operation.  Apparently Against All Authorities (-A-) put at least one Pandemic Legion (PL) tech moon into reinforce, and it was set to come out.  Since PL is a member of OTEC, the rest of the cartel was called up to defend their moon.  So we sat on call, ready to come and help defend their moon mining operation.  We could see the PL fleets in fleet finder and they could see ours because we were all temporarily set to be friends.

However, DBRB told us over coms that PL had several triage carriers on the tower and that -A- was unable to break their tank, so gave up and went home.  Black Legion also showed up, but were not able to make any progress either.  We did not bother to jump through as, showing up in such force would almost guarantee no fight.

So, instead, the titan opened up a jump bridge to VFK and we jump back to where we started a little more than 90 minutes after we left.

Another sit and wait op.

However, we now have a measure as to how serious OTEC really is.

And I saw The Mittani in space.  There has to be an achievement unlock for that.

This also looks like it might be an ongoing thing.  Last night -A- apparently had 40 Tengus attacking a tech moon.  However, without the lure of The Mittani, turn out for fleet ops was not quite so overwhelming.  Vily was calling us names on Jabber trying to get people to fleet up.  I chose to go to bed.

Hulkageddon, Technetium, and the Circle of Life

Hulkageddon is coming!

I think that is the motto on Helicity Boson’s family crest.

(May they fare better than the Starks.)

And that means the destruction of many mining barges.  Of course, this time around, for Hulkageddon V, there is a new player.

The Mittani and Helicity together on one stage!

Goonswarm is stepping up as a sponsor of the event and is offering a payout of 100 million ISK if you kill 10 Hulk or Mackinaw exhumers.

This is the “everybody wins” aspect of this round of Hulkageddon.  You do not have to be a top performer on the kill board to get a payout.

And, if I heard things right, the reward process will be at least semi-automated.  You won’t have to apply for your reward, you will just have to be registered on the kill board to get your 100 million ISK and congratulatory note after every 10th Hulk/Mackinaw kill.

The Hulk and the Mackinaw are, of course, two of the high end, Tech II if you will, mining barges.  They are what you aspire to fly when you first start off mining in your Bantam or Osprey.

They are expensive ships, but they harvest at such a rate that they pay themselves off pretty quickly with regular use.  When you get to the Hulk is when you start getting annoyed by small asteroids.

These ships are expensive because they require all sorts of special materials to create, plus the whole cycle of invention to create the blueprint.

Hulk bill of materials

Like all the Tech II blueprints I have seen, you have to start with a basic tech version of the item.  In this case, a Covetor.  And then you have to come up with all sorts of exotic materials.  You might have some morphite sitting in your hanger, though if you do it is likely from reprocessing something.  And I once got some construction blocks as a drop from a mission.  But most of the rest you have to go out and make.

Let’s take Photon Microprosessors as an example.  You need 2,200 of those for the Hulk.  You can buy a blueprint for those, but again the bill of materials may look a little foreign.

Photon Microprocessor BOM

Among the items it needs is Nanotransistors.  Those are created via the Nanotransistor Reaction, which requires, among other things, Platinum Technite.  And that requires Technetium.

And that is just one of the components.  I won’t run them all down to their base materials.  Instead I will point out that I recently saw an estimate that Technetium makes up something like 40% of the sale price of a Hulk.

And Hulks are going for 270-300 million ISK at the moment, so I suppose there could be a good 100 million ISK in technetium in each one of those.

And where does Technetium come from?  It comes from tech moons in the north in null sec.  And who owns most of those moons now?  Goonswarm and its CFC allies.  That was one of the main benefits from the war in the north for the CFC, control of most of the tech moons. (Jester wrote of the stuff and its uses.)

So it is not a huge stretch of imagination or mathematics to wonder if paying out 10 million ISK per Hulk or Mackinaw destroyed (payable only when you have killed 10 total) might be less of a charitable reward for gankers and more of an incentive program to keep a profitable enterprise going… and going stronger than ever.

This whole thing just needs one further twist and then I bet even Gevlon shows a bit of envy.

Oh, wait, there it is.

Yeah, that is starting to get some comments, but I am not sure people have seen the full scope of the cartel yet.  It seems like every Hulk that needs to be replaced means ISK heading to the Goons.

Addendum: Posted at EVE News 24 (I hate when I get alliance updates this way, but at least it means I can talk about them freely)

The New Bropacts and OTEC

During the Venal campaign, Ev0ke approached us about a tech deal; after we had made good on the agreement, NCdot approached us as well. Having taken so many moons so rapidly that GЅОL was beginning to thrash about worryingly, foam at the mouth, and mis-time the same moon twice in a row, we decided to declare victory and go home to VFK. Perhaps amusingly, NCdot’s pets have loudly declared that they were /also/ victorious; perhaps it’s a scenario where everyone wins!

Everyone winning is the goal of OTEC, our new diplomatic initiative. OTEC – the Organization of Technetium Exporting Corporations – is here to regulate galactic technetium supply and ensure stable pricing so everyone in the market can benefit. Just like with the real world’s OPEC, ‘Everyone’ in this case means ‘us’ and ‘benefit’ means ‘ahahaha fuck you scrubs’. With discussion of ‘ring mining’ being a method of nerfing tech income, most of the organizations in nullsec that have tech moons are interested in jacking the prices as high as the market will bear, with twin benefits: making us (CFC/NCdot/Ev0ke/PL) comically wealthy at the expense of literally everyone else in the game, and making literally everyone else in the game howl in a rage about it.

I have announced OTEC before it actually exists just to see if I could spook the tech markets by tweeting; I now have almost 4000 nerds following me, and fuck it. Turns out I can (the price rocketed almost to 200k) and now we’re playing catch up to actually make OTEC a reality.