Tag Archives: Oxygen

Defending Distant Sovereignty

The ping was later in the evening on Saturday night.  It was a call for a Jackdaw fleet with Oxygen as the FC.  Jackdaws are usually quick to get places so I figured I might as well get my duty to the state validated yet again.  I logged in, got in a Scalpel I had to hand, and joined the fleet, settling into the logi channel.

When it was announced over comms that there was a need for a few entosis Drakes as part of the fleet I was tempted to just log off then.  Entosis ops are often quite dull.  At least I was smart enough not to volunteer for one of the Drakes again.  And I figured we couldn’t be going very far.  The requirement specified GSF pilots for the enotsis Drakes, which meant defending GSF sovereignty specifically, and that is pretty much limited to Delve, Period Basis, and a bit of Querious.  Somebody must have set a timer on us and now we had to go out and make sure nothing was turned.

So it still seemed like it might be a short op.  We hung about a bit as things got put together, but even with the entosis ships it was a small fleet, with about 30 of us rolling out when Oxygen finally called for us to undock and get on the titan.  At least we would be getting a ride to where we were going.

A grinning Avatar sends us on our way

We were sent off to ZXB-VC, which is the boarder system with Fountain.  We jumped into that region and took the Ansiblex jump gates to the boarder with Cloud Ring in J5A-IX.

Taking the Eye of Terror

From there it was into Cloud Ring and a couple systems over to get the Ansiblex that would take us to 6RCQ-V, the staging system for the past wars in the north.

But we were not done yet.  From there it was into Fade then Pure Blind, where it turns out GSF still holds the sovereignty in KQK1-2, the staging system setup for the “glassing of Tribute” campaign back in the Spring.  That is kind of a long way from home.  Sure, the Aniblex network, the “Eye of Terror Mk III,” makes the trip fairly quick.  But that is still a distant point to be holding relative to our home.

On the map from DOTLAN

And we were out there because somebody set the timer for the territorial control unit, or TCU, for the system.  In the age of Fozzie Sov, the TCU just marks ownership on the map but otherwise does not come with any benefits.  It is the infrastructure hub that is the important one.  But the rules of power are that if you let somebody get away with little things like taking your TCU then they will just be encouraged to move on to bigger things.

So the bulk of the fleet, such that it was, sat in the middle of the constellation where the entosis event was running while interceptors fanned out to scout and Drakes turned on their magic sov wands.  As we hung around the gate some Sleepers rolled up and scanned us.  We had the sense not to shoot at them and nobody had any corpses in their cargo to set them off.

It is just what Sleepers are into

If you go orbit them they will scan you.  I got a couple scanning me at one point.

Scanning my Scalpel

But even they got bored hanging around the gate and warped off to find something else to scan.  The NPCs of New Eden have their own lives.

We did managed to catch and kill one of a group of ships that passed by our little camp, a Tempest that was tackled and dispatched.

Not so fast Mr. Tempest

Of course, with a drone bay large enough for a single light drone on my Scalpel I chose to put a combat drone in it.  Sure, I could have gone with the doctrine specified armor repair drone, but then I wouldn’t have gotten on the kill mail, the proof of life assignment I have for myself every month.

Of course, I wasn’t the only Scalpel so armed.  Three of us each had a different drone too.  If only a fourth had shown up with a Hornet we would have had the light drones from each empire.

That kept us busy for a little bit, but we were soon back to orbiting the gate and waiting for things to wrap up.  Fortunately nobody showed up to contest things… a sizable fleet might have just brushed us away… and the whole thing was wrapped up with the minimum number of entosis operations.

Of course, after that we had the schlep all the way back home, which would have been quick in frigates, but we had those Drakes to carry along.  And then, back in Delve, I found out why we got a titan bridge on the way out.  It looks like GSOL was in the process of taking a bunch of Ansiblex jump gates offline to move them due to the changes that went in last week that require them to be at least 500km off the nearest Upwell structure.  So there were a few more gates to take, though it is still pretty quick to get from Cloud Ring to Delve.

And so it goes.  I have seen a few sovereignty defense fleets going on this month, so apparently we’ll saddle up and ride out every time somebody trolls us by hitting a TCU on the other side of New Eden.  It keeps us busy I suppose.

Betrayal at M-OEE8

I had finally gotten home, and clone jumped to our staging system just in time to catch Oxygen leading a Hurricane fleet to the battle for the M-OEE8 ihub.  Oxygen got us out to a titan within bridge range of the 1P-VL2 constellation where the biggest battle in ages was playing.  We landed on the titan and waited for a bridge.

Waiting for Jay to bridge us...

Waiting for Jay to bridge us…

And waited.

And waited.

And then somebody linked a post on Reddit.

It was, of course, initially dismissed as a troll.  No doubt somebody made a fake account to look like TheJudge.  Then I clicked on the name, just to see if it had been freshly created and was greeted by what looked like an authentic history.  It looked to be real.

As we sat there, watching the entosis tug-of war swing towards the hostiles, The Mittani sent out a broadcast:

It appears that after spending the entire day with us fighting on their behalf to defend their home, C02 has chosen to reset the entire coalition in approximately the next 30 minutes. That’s a pretty impressive backstab, and it’s apparently all our fault. This is a shame, but there’s no question of right or wrong on this one: we’ve expended a tremendous amount of blood and treasure defending C02 assets in Hakonen and Tribute over the past two months, and this is the spit in our eye after an all-day defense of their homeland.

Apparently C02’s senior leadership met this morning and decided to play this card regardless of how this M-O fight went down. That explains why we discovered this morning to our shock that there were no cynojammers in the target constellation, and that they knew they would flip on all of us even as we were doing our best to be loyal defenders of their territory. It also explains why the hostiles had their capfleets ready and waiting; they hoped for us to risk our supers, in hopes of C02 turning on us. The easter holiday off, the invitation of every random Eve 3rd party to join an otherwise irrelevant ihub timer: all becomes clear. This was a planned trap, one which we thankfully were not dumb enough to stick our super fleet into. This is why it is all the more crucial that we evacuated the LAWN/Bastion superfleet from Vale.

So there it was.  Circle of Two let us fight for them all day against impossible odds as every hanger-on within range joined in the fight.  Another hammer blow against The Imperium.

Battle Report Top

Battle Report Top – CO2 gets its own column, as their losses aren’t ours or our foes really…

I would have included the whole screen shot, but the list or organizations arrayed against us scrolls of the page and around the block, and I can’t get the link to work because the battle report generator and the kill board are still working overtime to catch up and generate the final numbers.  I’ll put a link here when it settles down. (Turns out that there were so many foes on the list that the URL is too long for the site to parse correctly.  The battle broke the battle report generator.  Best I can do is link my start point.  You have to click ‘Analyze’ yourself.)

So there we were on the titan.  The reason we hadn’t bridged was that nobody would light a cyno for us.  CO2 wouldn’t, having just publicly announced their betrayal, and no Imperium pilots were keen to bridge in more fellows to be sacrificed for naught.  So Oxygen turned us around and brought us home.  The ihub was lost, but it wasn’t our problem any more.

Now Tribute has been laid open to our foes and it is TNT’s turn on the front line.

Tribute - March 28, 2016

Tribute – March 28, 2016

We shall see how well we are able to defend now that the front line is yet closer to our staging system.  Vale of the Silent fell to us back in the day without a fight, but now we are in territory I recall battling for back in the day.  UMI-KK, the TNT capital, was our staging foothold in the region after it fell back in 2012. which let us advance from QPO-WI.

At least the evac from Vale seems timely now, as CO2 turning into a hostiles before then would have cut LAWN and Bastion off from the rest of the coalition.  Small favors.  And the war goes on.

Meanwhile, all of this is likely good news for CCP.

A bloody spaceship battle with thousands of players always attracts attention in the gaming media and gets new players to try out the game.

Skulls for the Icelandic skull throne

Skulls for the Icelandic skull throne

We shall see if this battle, which by the count of the battle report I rolled up, had more than 5K individual pilots involved at various points, gets any press come the morning.  It has all the usual internet spaceship drama.

Elsewhere on this:

And Then a Perfect Brawl in Fade

I suppose “perfect” is overselling things, not to mention the whole “perfect for who?” aspect.  But after more than a month spent in fleets policing sovereignty and mostly denying hostile entosis ships their targets by hanging out on ihubs and nodes, it was a damn good fight.

And I almost missed it.

The usual post-work evening activities went their usual way and as I sat down at my computer to see what was up, I saw that there had been a call for a Hurricane fleet under Oxygen about 25 minutes before.  I figured I was probably too late for that, but even as I sat there thinking it, another ping came in for the fleet.  It was a request for more logi in the fleet.  That meant it hadn’t left yet.

I figured I could make it and, having half a dozen Basilisks strewn about our various staging locations, I was pretty sure I could fulfil the logi end of the bill as well.  So I logged in, found myself in a station in Tribute.  I quickly un-assed the ship I was in, opened up the character panel, stopped my training queue, swapped to the jump clone tab, and clicked on the clone in Saranen.

After a momentary transition, I was there… and I didn’t have a Basilisk.  As I would later figure out, I had swapped that Basi to my alt to fly a while back and had never quite gotten around to swapping it back.  But it didn’t matter, the fleet was already undocked and on the move.  It was too late to log my alt in and do the swap or start skimming the local contracts for a correctly fit Basi.  But I had a Hurricane… and a correctly fit one at that.  After the Higgs Anchor fiasco, which came about because I didn’t want to use a slightly out of date fit, I went through and made sure all my ships were up to date.

So into the Hurricane and after the fleet.

They were not too far ahead to catch, so long as I didn’t waste time.  But you never know what the travel plan is, if we will just be burning gates or if there is a titan waiting to bridge us or what.  As it was, a jump bridge was part of the plan and I first caught site of the fleet as the were bridging out from it.

There they go, just as I arrived...

There they go, just as I arrived…

Oxygen held up on the other side so I was able to get through and join the fleet.

From there it was a run into Fade.

It had been a bad day for The Imperium.  We had lost a CSAA fight earlier and, been beat in Fade, and NCDot had managed to take a TCU in Fade. (Who says there are no more big fights?)  The CSAA meant that a baby super capital was aborted, while the TCU loss gave our foes an additional moral boost.  It is one of the ways that Fozzie Sov is different, and not necessarily in a good way, from Dominion Sov.  Under Dominion, taking the TCU would have meant that the system had been totally conquered, since to take that you would have had to take the ihub and the station first.  In the world of Fozzie Sov, those three elements are all now independent.  So this cool change on the sov map over at DOTLAN only means they took the TCU.

NCDot in the 7X-X1Y Constellation in Fade

NCDot in the 7X-X1Y Constellation in Fade

The station and the ihub, the latter of which affects ADM, are still owned by SMA.  It would have snapped any jump bridge in the system, had their been one, since the sovereignty level, which is accrued by holding the TCU over time, would have been reset to zero.  The sov level has to be three in order to support a jump bridge if I recall right, which takes about a month.

Anyway, some people in the fleet had been on all day and were looking to inflict some damage on our foes, and we were headed to the 7X-X1Y constellation in Fade to do just that.

NCDot and TEST and a few hangers on were headed there in numbers as well.  Our Hurricanes would be set against their combined fleet of T3 Destroyers… mostly Confessors… and Slepnirs, the command ship variation of the Hurricane, or so intel reported.

Before we faced them, Oxygen drilled us a bit on how this was going to have to play out for us to have any success against the more heavily tanked Slepnirs.  We were going to have to fire as a unified volley so as to apply our damage in as concentrated a burst as possible, which should allow us to break through the defenses of an individual ship and destroy it before any reps from their logi could make a difference.

This is sort of the meta at the moment in our part of null, it is how the Machariel fleets operate as well, and is something of a return to a state of affairs that was going on when I first joined TNT back in late 2011 when the Maelstroms of the Alpha fleet doctrine were being used to do the same thing.

That bit of practice done, we went into YKSC-A to face the enemy.  Our first targets were the Confessors and supporting ships around us.  That was the TEST fleet.  For that we were told to sort by distance and fire at will, and we popped quite a few of them before turning towards the Slepnirs.

The battle the FIO1-8 gate in YKSC-A

The battle the FIO1-8 gate in YKSC-A

For that Oxygen would call a target and wait until we had a good number of people ready to fire, then have us volley as a group.  We were able to successfully volley off a nine Slepnirs in succession.

However, the enemy had not been sitting around watching us do this.  They too had been locking up Hurricanes and blowing them up with a single volley as well.  I got that treatment about halfway into the skirmish, which left me in a pod and able to watch how things were evolving.

NCDot Slepnirs in a bubble

NCDot Slepnirs in a bubble

Hurricanes were dropping quickly, and the fleet soon reached a point where the combined damage of a volley would no longer take down a Slepnir.  It was time to pull back.  Oxygen was still going at that point, but got tackled as we warped away and his Onyx popped.

We lost 96 ships in that go, worth about 7 billion ISK, but we managed to take down 130 ships in exchange.  They were mostly cheaper ships, but the more expensive Slepnirs weighed down the ISK exchange, so that we inflicted 10.8 billion ISK in damage.  The round to us on points I suppose, though we had to leave the field to regroup.  Still, not bad considering the numbers were almost 2 to 1 against us.

Here is a battle report for that part of the fight.

Hanging about, my pod got cleaned up and I was back in Saranen to pick up a new Hurricane off contract (a good contract, from a Goon source) because we were headed back.  We were going to return for round two, as both sides still seemed keen to brawl.

We flew back to Fade as a group to rejoin the survivors of the first round who had holed up in a station a couple jumps back from the fight.  Having reunited, we headed towards the foe again, burning through a bubble to the YKSC-A gate to resume the fight.

Hurricane fleet burning

Hurricane fleet burning

On the far side things started as before, with us hitting small stuff.  But the enemy was not so keen to sit and exchange volleys this time.  In the ensuing fight we managed to pin down and kill some WAFFLES Cerberuses that had joined in, but the Slepnirs we being more circumspect, leaving the field after a few losses.  We ended up chasing them into FIO1-8 and then E9KD-N, extracting a few more kills, before they headed out and the fight was over.

The second round was almost exactly evenly matched when it came to ship count, with us losing 36 ships to their 71, leaving an ISK balance of 2.6 billion in ISK lost by us to 7.4 billion in ISK lost by our foes.

Here is a battle report for round two.

There was a combined battle report for both rounds being circulated, but it is missing some data… specifically, it was missing me.  I am not sure how the two individual reports managed to include me but not the combined.

Anyway, a win for us at the end of a bad day, unless you have some new metric for victory that discounts ISK, ship losses, the odds, or who ended up holding the field at the end of things.  It doesn’t make up for the drubbing earlier in the day, but it was something.

And because we held the field, we now had to clean up.  That meant sending our support off to chase down some individual entosis ships in the region, sitting on an ihub node ourselves for a bit, and then watching an entosis ship reinforced the NCDot TCU in E9KD-N.

Back to the excitement of Fozzie Sov

Back to the excitement of Fozzie Sov

The ADM for the system… ADM supported in part by the SMA ihub… applied to the NCDot TCU, in another fun quirk of Fozzie Sov.

Sitting there would have been dull except for the curious case of Madlightning and the fastest Hurricane in New Eden.

Madlightning reports a problem with his modules when going into the second round of the fight.  They would not activate.  To fix this he docked up and fiddled with them, the undocked to catch up, jumping through the gate to join us.

Once he was through the gate he reported a new problem.  He thought he had been bumped by something big, because he was suddenly moving at very high rate of speed.  Very, very high.  He sent us a screen shot, from which I clipped this:

Go Madlightning, Go!

Go Madlightning, Go!

My Hurricane, with the same MWD lit, goes about 1,500 m/s, so 999,854 m/s would be… more.

A couple of frigates in the fleet tried to warp to him to see this in action, but reported that Madlightning would move off grid even as they were landing.  As he experimented with this, it appeared to be related to activating his MWD.  Somehow the upper limit or his ships mass or the power of the MWD had been messed up, allowing him to pilot his Hurricane at phenomenal rates of speed.

He filed a bug report about it, the spent his time simply enjoying his new found ability.  At a couple points he tried to join us and orbit the TCU, but he would flash by and disappear off grid quickly.

A Madlightning sighting!

A Madlightning sighting!

That about wrapped up our evening.  After the TCU had been reinforced, we headed for home, popping in on a couple of systems to shoo away the last couple of entosis jockeys as the vulnerability windows for SMA space closed for the night.

The war goes on, but fights like that, where even the losing side extracts a price, keep people engaged.

Going Pipe Bombing

I’ve mentioned a bit about pipe bombing in EVE Online before.

There was that Rooks & Kings video I posted here that was an epic tale of pipe bombing.  R&K and their pipe bombing even made it into last year’s spectacular This is EVE video from CCP.

And, of course, I have been on the receiving end of a pipe bombing operation.  If I recall right, that was the first of pipe bombing incidents that has given the FC Papusa a bit of a reputation.  But even Mister Vee gets pipe bombed once in a while.

But I haven’t had the opportunity to be on the giving end of a pipe bomb attack… not until the past weekend.

Oxygen has been putting together some pipe bombing fleets lately.  He has a handful of pre-fit battleships to hand out, since it is a pretty specific fit that nobody is likely to have sitting around ready to go, so he can get a fleet together.  I happened to be about and ready to play when a ping went out for one of his fleets, so got to try it out for myself.

(I was actually headed for one of his fleets last week, but my main had just clone jumped back to Jita to shop, so I ran to the staging system with my alt only to find that he didn’t even have Amarr Battleship I trained.  105 million skill points, but no Amarr Battleship.  The ignominy!  That’s been fixed since.)

I jumped to the staging system, got in fleet, and got handed a battleship…  an Abaddon, to be specific… and after checking to make sure I could fit everything, it was time to wait.

Waiting is something you do a lot in this situation.

First there was the wait for everybody to get ready.  Once everybody was settled and had the right fit… true to form, one of the Abaddons was not like the others and had to be changed out… it was time to undock.

Pouring out of the station

Pouring out of the station

I am the blue fish in that school.  I applied the Kador skin to my Abaddon, which I had picked up for cheap in Jita a while back, so I stood out in the group.

We then traveled to a systems were a titan was parked in a POS.  This was to be our launch point.  And then the real wait began.

How this works is that all of our ships were fit with a set of smart bombs, which are an area affect weapon that hit everything in the vicinity of your ship, caring not for who is a friend and who is a foe.  All of the smart bombs were of the same model, so did the same type of damage.  (In EVE Online, there are four types of damage, EM, thermal, explosive, and kinetic.)

To protect ourselves from fratricide, each of the ships is also fit with a set of hardeners to resist the same damage type as the smart bombs.  That way we can all sit in a cluster, smart bombs cycling away, and destroy whatever we land on while not killing each other in the process.

The tricky bit to all of this is finding somebody drop on.  We had a scout out in the travel corridors of the region… the pipes, if you will… looking for likely targets.  His job was to find somebody traveling through such a system, catch them in a warp disruption bubble, motor out of the bubble, and put up a cyno.  At that point the titan we were all sitting out would open up a bridge, we would travel through and light up whatever was on the other end.

So the battleships in such a fleet spend most of their time sitting on the titan waiting for something to happen.

Waiting for our moment

Waiting for our moment

This is actually no a bad sort of waiting.  Unlike sitting on a gate or somewhere else out in space, you’re tucked up in a POS and reasonably safe, so you can tab out of the game and do other things.  I launched Minecraft and started building my next project.  All you have to do is sit on coms and listen for the FC to tell everybody to wake up and take the bridge once it is up.

The frustrating bit is hearing the missed opportunities.  The FC is on intel coms as well and gets word of fleets heading towards are area of operation.  Unfortunately, such prey has their own set of goals and will wander in and out of the target area at time without ever getting into the position required.  It requires some patience for an FC and his scouts.  The rest of us just have to be semi-alert and keep ourselves otherwise occupied.

The idea is to catch some fleet traveling unawares and destroy them suddenly with a mass of area affect weapons.

Time passed.  I made progress on my construction project in Minecraft as we waited.

Finally the FC said, “Everybody wake up!” on coms.

I tabbed back to EVE Online, selected the titan and got ready to right click and select the jump option once the bridge was up.  There was a moment of doubt on coms as the FC wavered between bombing right away or holding for a bit before bombing.  Then the bridge went up and Oxygen told us to light up the field on landing.

I selected the option to jump and was off to the target.  On landing I turned on my hardeners first… very important… and then lit up the smart bombs in my high slots.

Smart Bombs are go!

Smart Bombs are go!

I am the Abaddon at the top of that screen shot at the edge of the bubble.

I was rewarded with a kill mail pretty quickly.

Final blow AND top damage

Final blow AND top damage

Op success as far as I was concerned!

I also got the kill mail for our scout’s pod.  Blue kill mail!  But the scout is expected to die in the hail of fire that is a pipe bombing.

Unfortunately, that Svipul appeared to be the only ship we got in our drop.  That would have been a fair exchange for our scout, as the Svipul was a little more expensive than the Sabre we sacrificed.  But then one of our battleships got attacked and, if I heard right, another stopped to help him instead of warping out and he got tackled and eventually blown up.  Losing a 250 million ISK battleship put us deeply in the red for the op.

But I did get to experience my first such operation.

Then it was time to fly back to the titan to wait for another opportunity.

Blue Abaddon heading back

Blue Abaddon heading back

However, once we were back and our armor topped back up again… Azure and Argent remembered to bring along some armor repair drones for that… the FC decided it was time for a break.  We headed back to the staging system and contracted the Abaddons back to him so that the next group could use them.

Not a hugely successful op, or something that had a dramatic impact on the region, but still an interesting time and I got to experience something new.  And, of course, I got a lot done in Minecraft while I was there.

I’d try that again.  It is probably glorious when you get a good drop, and it is still pretty funny even when you don’t.