Tag Archives: Pandemic Horde

The Coming Battle in 9-4RP2

Not too long after this post goes live the first fleets will be forming up.  Fleets of ships, each as big as 255 pilots in size, will start to coalesce and begin their last minute preparations.  The final timer for a Pandemic Horde Keepstar in the system  9-4RP2 in Cloud Ring set to expire later today.

I logged in last night to take one last peek.  There were fewer than 40 people in system.  The Imperium citadels ringing the Keepstar sat in silent vigil, watching the timer tick down.

Less than a day to go at that point…

That was at about 04:00 New Eden time, which puts the the start of the Keepstar repair cycle at about 22:00.

In a bit of a quirk, a bunch of the citadels around the Keepstar hit their vulnerability window a few hours before the big fight, so there is the possibility of some early action, though Asher says that nobody defends on the shield timer, so it might just be some attackers and people gunning the citadels exchanging shots, but it will be a side show to the main event.

The PH 9-4RP2 Keepstar

As these things tend to go, the form up and the start of any fight will happen while I am still at the office.  The earliest I can possibly be home and logged in is about 23:00 New Eden time, which is a full hour after the timer.

That is still better than last week, as the times have crept later and later with each fight.  But, if nobody shows up to defend the Keepstar… or if nobody shows up to attack it… the whole thing will be over in 30 minutes and I won’t even be on the road home by then.

I’m pretty sure the attackers are going to show up.  Imperium Jabber has been full of pings about the coming battle over the last five days… which probably means half the coalition still doesn’t know about it.  There have been no end of move ops to get ships pre-positioned for the fight, while the capital ops have been opened up, and reimbursement offered, to people who can only qualify for CrapSwarm, to fill out as many capital fleets as possible.  We shall see if people will risk their ratting carriers.

Which leaves the defenders.

I suppose the easiest option for Pandemic Horde would be to play the “Didn’t want that Keepstar anyway, made you form!” card and just let the Keepstar die without forming.  That at least has a reliable result.  Other options involve more risk and may not save the Keepstar.  But if they go that route, the question then would be “What will they defend?”  The Imperium might just move forward and try their Keepstar at C4C-Z4 in Fade to see. (We were there recently.)

On grid with the PH Keepstar in C4C-Z4

Ideally for them, they and their allies would both save the Keepstar and destroy copious Imperium capitals and super caps.  Saving the Keepstar but losing a lot of supers would not bode well however.  I strongly suspect that the Imperium’s primary goal is to destroy as many super capitals belonging to the coalition of the north as possible, the Keepstar just being the bait to get them on the field.

The Imperium would happily trade titans with them all evening and consider themselves the winner based solely on their ability to replace losses.  You have seen the production numbers for Delve from the December Monthly Economic Report, right?

December 2017 – Production Values by Region – Bar Graph

I suspect that were not just building Rorquals and ratting carriers down there.

And, of course, there is the “good of EVE Online” aspect to this.  Big fights like this generate headlines in the wider gaming press and bring attention… and new players… to the game.  I wonder what is going on at CCP as the battle looms?

From my own selfish point of view, I hope for a big fight as well because then time dilation will kick in and the fight will drag out to the point that I can get home, get settled, and log in to see things unfold.

The view from the Fortizar where I am docked

Maybe I will even get on a few kill mails with my stealth bomber.  We shall see.

Anyway, the coming timer is the topic du jour over on Reddit, with plenty of speculation, advice, and memes to be had.  Elsewhere there are some reviews of what has happened so far and previews as to what may come.

Time and the TiDi Wait for No Man

So many pings.

Things have begun to stir in null sec here in the new year.  The Imperium has risen from its ratting and mining binge… krabbing is us… to focus on blowing something up.  It isn’t really a war.  We’re not off to conquer more territory.  Instead we are focusing on a Pandemic Horde Keepstar in the system 9-4RP2 in Cloud Ring.

And so the alerts have been going out to rally people to be ready to join the fight, even asking people to resubscribe their capital and super capital pilots.  This started in earnest after the first attack set a timer on the Keepstar, practically becoming the Jabber equivalent of the old “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! See “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, Shirley “Cha-Cha” Muldowney…” radio ads as the directorate tried to get the troops rallied and eager.

I was eager myself, ever keen to be part of a big fight, even if it was only to be a timer fight rather than a possible kill.  The problem was the time.  Form up for the fight on Tuesday was slated for 18:00 and the timer itself would come up a bit past 20:30.  Those are New Eden times, which runs on UTC, which puts those event at about 10am and 12:30pm on a week day out here on the left coast of the United States.  Even though I tend to be early into the office, I am never so early as to be able to be home by lunch time.

Still, I had a hope of seeing some of the action.  If the fight developed into a big enough brawl, if the goal expanded beyond the timer and became a slug fest between super fleets looking for titan kills, time dilation could help me out.  I couldn’t get into the game until 23:00 UTC at the earliest, but if everybody was running at 10% tidi then a fight might still be under way.

To get myself setup for that possibility, I hopped into a stealth bomber, made sure I had a couple of bombs and a stack of torpedoes, and flew out to Cloud Ring so as to be pre-positioned for any fight.

The flight out went without incident, it being late US/early AU time when things can be quiet, but when I arrived in 9-4RP2 I realized I had to find the Keepstar still.  It doesn’t show up on the overview and I hadn’t bothered to find out even a general location for it.  But I saw we had some citadels in the system as well… more than a dozen, including a Fortizar.  I figured I could just hole up in one of those and find the fight when the time came, so I warped to one only to find they were all still in the process of deploying.

That meant no docking up for me as well as an interesting angle to the coming fight.  In addition to the armor timer for the Keepstar there would be a range of Imperium citadels coming online and vulnerable just to confuse the issue.  If the locals stuck to the Keepstar, we would have a bunch of bases in the system.  If they attacked the vulnerable citadels, they might lose the Keepstar timer.

Anyway, warping to a deploying citadel did help me out, as I found that they were all on grid with the Keepstar.

The Pandemic Horde 9-4RP2 Keepstar

The timer was running down, but the event was still about 15 hours away.

Distant Keepstar timer running

I looked around for a bit, then went off to make myself a safe spot.  I did not want to log back in on grid with the fight lest I find myself in the midst of hostiles.  Once I had a nice location bookmarked I uncloaked and did a safe logoff.

That long 30 second wait to be safe

The next day at the office I watched the pings come in on my phone.  There were early form ups, late form ups, supers and sub-caps, battleships and destroyers, and all the sundry in between forming up and heading towards Cloud Ring.

I saw a report of two hostile titans having been blown up, another that we lost the timer, and a third that because the Keepstar was again vulnerable that we were going to re-do the shield timer yet again to start the event again.  Taking a quick peek at the INN stream it appeared that we were doing the shield timer via a  mass of fighters that had somehow formed themselves ala Voltron into an Avatar class titan. (Source: INN stream and Joe the Barbarian)

A titan and the fighter formation compared

The overwhelming fighter super capital assault was enough to drive off the enemy.

There were more than 3,000 people in local at the peak of the fight, but by the time I got home, logged int, and warped onto grid that number had dropped closer to 30.  We had set the shield timer again, so success on that front.

The timer running again… cloaked Purifier in the foreground

We also seemed to do very well with our own citadel array as there was now a constellation of CONDI citadels around the target, including a Fortizar in which we could hide dreads and carriers.

The view from the Fortizar

In addition there was another Fortizar going online, just to add to the collection.

Another Fortizar deploying

That left the a growing Imperium citadel count in system.

Imperium Citadel Count in 9-4RP2

Even though I missed the fight, there was some upside for me.  Because the shield timer got set later in the day, there was a greater likelihood of my being able to get home and online to see the next day’s fight.

However, yesterday’s fight went even more quickly that the previous one.  By the time I got home the system had again emptied out.  We did win the armor timer fight.  That meant a six day wait for the final fight.

I was more than 2 hours late…

That will put the battle for the destruction of the Keepstar early Tuesday afternoon next week when, naturally, I will be at work.

But I have hope.  Timers are timers and not so serious, so people slack off.

This fight though, this could mean the destruction of a significant Pandemic Horde asset, so I suspect the defenders will be pulling out all the stops in order to get people in system and on grid to defend the Keepstar.

And on our side there are already ‘”fight coming” pings going out in multiple languages to make people aware of this fight.

Then there are the third parties who will show up looking for kills, and maybe even a Keepstar kill.

With all of that I have high hopes that it will be everybody to the limit and time dilation at 10% and the system still lagging for a long fight into the night, leaving me plenty of time to get home, get logged in, and get on grid to see how it plays out.

In the mean time the Keepstar waits.

Look, it is an unsubtle metaphor!  Imperium surrounding Pandemic Horde!

Of course, that is just my story.  I’m still sitting in system waiting for the big fight.  For what actually happened this week the following stories have been posted:

There are also a number of posts on Reddit with good pictures of the first two fights.

Now to see if Tuesday brings a B-R5RB level blood bath.

VNI Victory in Fade

I HATE this kind of BR because it looks like we didn’t fight a lot of guys but what actually happened was they didn’t kill anything and the only living ships on the BR from their side are the ones that smartbombed their own ships that did die.

-Asher Elias, post-op ping

I have been slacking on the New Eden front of late.  I haven’t really logged on since that mid-November hot drop up north.  Things to do, pet battles to fight, and so on.

It already being a week into December I figured I had best check in and at least see what was going on.  As it turned out I got back in Jabber at an opportune moment.  Not only were we still deployed up north, so I was parked in the right station still, an op had just been announced.   Going along on the op would require me to purchase a new ship however.  The Vexor Navy Issue was the ship of choice.

The VNI, as it is commonly called, is a faction cruiser, a drone boat, and, in my experience, often the favored ship of low budget ratters in null sec who take on anomalies with the doughty little craft.

A VNI in station showing its distinctive color scheme

It has enough speed and shields when fit correctly to survive forsaken hubs and the like, but it isn’t a hard target.  Those who come into our space to hunt ratters often choose to go after VNI pilots because they are viewed as easy kills if they get caught unaware.

But the VNI is cheap… well, cheaper than an Ishtar and much cheaper than a carrier… so if you get a few anoms in the ship has paid for itself and you can afford to get another one.

So not exactly a combat ship of the line in my experience.  But Asher always has something new going on and I’ll buy into whatever doctrine he has in mind just to be able to go along for the ride.  There were some up on GSF alliance contract so I got somebody to buy me one in advance so I would be ready.

Being me I also looked to see if I had a SKIN for the VNI.  Oddly… or perhaps not… I had no SKINs for that hull.  While the VNI is actually a sharp looking ship, I always like to look a bit different.  However, out in the deployment station there weren’t any SKINs on the market for the VNI.  But CCP has a new SKIN set for Gallente up in the New Eden Store, the Kopis Edge style.  Somebody described the look as Gallente trying to disguise themselves as Amarr, but the cruiser SKIN was only 55 PLEX so I bought one and activated it.

Khopis Edge VNI

I got myself set for the op then busied myself with other things.  As I waited I saw a ping come up for a TNT op.  My alliance is also up north, though hanging out in a different system.  They too were calling for a VNI fleet, which made me wonder if the null sec meta had changed in some way since I had last been on.  Two separate VNI ops on the same night, though the TNT op was forming a good 30 mins before the Reaver op.

Of course there wasn’t really two ops as I found out a little later, but a single op.  My alliance and my SIG were joining forces for a fight.  The destination was DW-T2I in the Fade region where the Imperium had dropped an Astrahus to annoy the locals, in this case Pandemic Horde, and force them to come out and fight.  Dropping on their ratters and miners wasn’t enough, we wanted to shoot them in larger numbers.

As our op came together TNT made their way to us and we joined up on the way the the target system.  There we found the friendly citadel already into its timer with a PH Tempest fleet, supported by some anti-bomber destroyers, already hitting it, the timer paused at 11m 49s.

The state of things on our arrival

We landed on the citadel and tethered up.  After getting ourselves together and anchored on Asher, he had us drop sentry drones in small groups around the Astrahus.  When everybody had their drones deployed we were given a target to lock up and began shooting.

One, two, three, four, the hostile logi, tech II Guardians, were blown up as the Astrahus gunner joined in with void bombs and points when he could.  The hostile response was to try and pick off some of our drones and to smart bomb, presumably to shake off any tackle that might come their way.  Our drones were not going to come get them.  Sentry drones are immobile.

PH smartboming away

They managed to wipe out some of their own logi support with the smart bombs, but not much else.  After we shredded their logistics support they turned and warped off.  A few stragglers were tackled and blown up, but most got away.  Our losses so far were a single Sabre against 8 Guardians, a Damnation command ship, a Tempest, a Loki, and a Stiletto.

A good exchange from our perspective.

A gaggle of Mordus Legion Cormorants showed up about then and tried to take a shot at us. But after losing a couple of their ships for none impact on us they buggered off and found a wormhole to Delve where I understand they found a warm reception.

There was still time to go before the Citadel would be safe, and Asher figured they would be back with their Tempest fleet, this time with force auxiliary support to keep them from getting popped.   So he had us dock up, abandoning our sentry drones for the moment, but leaving them all on grid, and swap in some heavy drones in our bays.

The sentry drone menace still on grid

We then undocked and resumed our lolling about the citadel, anchored on Asher, waiting to see if they would return as expected.

Crowd of VNIs anchored up

Pandemic Horde did show up again as expected, their Tempest fleet landing at range to keep away from the sentry drones.  The began firing, pausing the citadel timer again, this time with just under a minute to go.

Not much time left…

We turned for them and launched heavy drones this time, sending them after the hostiles before their fax support showed up.  But no force auxiliaries ever arrived.  They were back with the remains of their force just to see if they could find an angle to hit the Astrahus without us killing them.

That plan proved to be futile.  We knocked out a Loki first as they tried to head shot Asher.

Their Loki going down to drones

After that we began to chew up the Tempests again.  They started to smartbomb but were far enough apart, and their caps were denuded by several well placed void bombs, that it was not seem very effective.  Half a dozen Tempests went down before the rest escaped.

A Tempest about to explode

They left behind their own drones, which we mopped up, leaving the field to us.

An Acolyte II’s shield flaring from hits

Meanwhile the citadel timer ran down so it was safe for the next six days.

Safe for now

All told, according to the battle report, we popped 45 enemy ships… well, they killed a few of their own, but we’ll claim them… worth about 6.2 billion ISK for the loss of a single interdictor.

Unfortunately, as Asher noted in the quote at the top of the post, since they barely killed anything besides their own ships, only those we blew up and those that smartbombed their own comrades appear, plus whoever got our dictor.

From there we were able to head home, enjoying Asher’s joke, which was to fight them in the same sort of ratting ships they are usually flying when we hunt them.

Later we went hunting for their VNIs in interceptors and I got popped by a Serpentis dreadnought.  I learned that they will point and neut you pretty fast, and all the more so if you boost your signature by lighting your microwarp drive so he can target you faster.  You live and learn… or die and learn.  I did get my pod back home in one piece, denying the an easy kill I suppose.

A Long Way to Go to Die to Rorquals

There was word that there might be a Reavers op about the time I arrived home from work.  And, sure enough, shortly after I was able to sit down at my computer a ping went out from Thomas Lear to get into his fleet.  It was going to be an opportunity to use our Sleipnir doctrine again, an expensive command ship we fly on occasion.

However, he broadcast the fleet ping to all-all rather than just to Reavers, so he had to spend a while weeding out non-Reavers who joined the fleet.  They were at least relatively easy to spot, not being in Sleipners.

Once that was sorted, along with getting boosters for the fleet, we were off to the local jump bridge on our way out.

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

From the far side of the jump bridge we took a gate and warped to a conveniently located wormhole that sent us directly to the Placid region.  From there we passed into Cloud Ring and null sec space.  As we moved Thomas explained that we were on our way to a fight between Brave Newbies and Pandemic Legion.  PL had an Astrahus citadel going online in 9-4RP2, a system Brave recently took from the Imperium North group, Initiative Mercenaries.

(The Mittani said in a recent Fireside that The Initiative, while off on its own, was still considered to be part of the Imperium.  There are actually some familiar old names in The Initiative these days, including WALLTREIPERS and Fweddit.)

We were going there to third party on the fight, to shoot targets of opportunity from both sides.

Our first targets were a fleet of Pandemic Horde Talwars that cross jumped us at a gate on our way.  We managed to put an interdictor back through the gate quickly and jumped as many people back into QXW-PV as possible to blap the PH destroyers.  We got a fair number before getting back on course for the real fight.

Once in 9-4RP2, the Astrahus was going online, sitting in its vulnerable self-repair deployment process where an attacker can kill it in one go rather than having to wait for the vulnerability window and going through three attacks spaced by two timers.

Brave Newbies was out with an Augoror Navy Issue fleet to attack the citadel, while PL a small Rorqual fleet sitting tethered on the Astrahus along with the remaining PH Talwars.

We started off hitting the PH fleet as they were in range, taking down some more Talwars along with a couple of their logi support.  I took a target of opportunity and blapped a Rifter that was coming straight at us, so there was no tracking issue for my arty fit Sleipnir.  I almost got a solo kill on that, but one of our Sabres managed to get a hit in on him.

However, while we started off easily plinking small stuff, PL got themselves into action soon enough, dropping a battleship fleet to support them.

A GotG ball of Maelstroms and Rokhs, with a Minokawa for logi support

A ball of PL Maelstroms and Rokhs, with a Minokawa for logi support

The Rorquals had deployed sentry drones and put them into action against us as we got in range and things started to go downhill.  The PL drone trigger targeted me and I called for reps early, but we did not have much logi along with us, so while I lasted for a bit, the firepower of the Rorqual drones chewed me into armor and then into hull, popping my Sleipnir.

Sleipnir out of control

Sleipnir out of control

You can see my ship in the above screen shot, glowing with erupting explosions and turning out of control.  My pod had already ejected by that point, but the death animations continued on for a bit.  So dramatic.  A Brave Newbies pilot got on my kill due to some bomb damage from earlier, along with some Initiative pilots that were running ECM bursts.

The fight was pretty much done for me at that point.  I had hit a few targets before I blew up, so got on the kill mails after they went down even though I was in my pod at that point.  So I pottered about on grid for a bit and tried to take some screen shots of the Rorquals.

Rorqual Gaggle

Rorqual Gaggle

Sitting there with their sentry drones shooting as one, they reminded me a bit of the old wrecking ball carrier tactic from back in the day, except rather than being spider tanked and able to rep each other, the Rorquals can make their whole fleet invulnerable for a bit should they get in trouble. via the dread Pulse Activated Nexus Invulnerability Core that came in with the Ascension expansion.  Combat Rorquals are a thing.

On coms it sounded like we were losing ships slowly but surely.  Meanwhile, the Brave Newbie fleet left the scene.  Apparently we unintentionally blew up their FC and the fleet decided to get off grid after that.  That left us as the main target and it sounded like time for us to make an exit as well.

As that was coming together I suddenly realized, as Iolled about in my pod in the middle the battle, that I had implants in my clone.  Not super expensive, like a full set of Slaves or anything, but a couple of implants that were a bit pricey for me.  50 million ISK here, 90 million ISK there, soon that starts to add up into real currency.  I decided that I had best be on my way as well, heading for the out gate ahead of the fleet.

I didn’t feel the need to keep together with the fleet, since I wasn’t going to be able to help them at all, instead running ahead as something of a pod scout.  Fortunately, there was nothing between us and the wormhole back home to worry about.  It was also fortunate that I remembered to bookmark the wormhole when we arrived.

Pod back at the wormhole

Pod back at the wormhole

I got back through and arrived home safely, minus one Sleipnir.  It even had a kill mark on it for a short period of time.

Looking at the battle report I rolled up for the engagement, we lost the fewest ships, but the ships we lost were expensive.  Nine Sleipnirs down adds up fast.  Now to see what sort of reimbursement I will get for my loss.

Pandemic Legion carried the day, winning both the object and the ISK war.  Another small skirmish in the ongoing conflict that is New Eden.

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.

Last Flight of the Raven

We have a huge timer at 0230 tomorrow, so tonight we’re going to do a relaxing fun fleet.

FC: Asher Elias || Fleet name: Ferox Flun Feet || Op 8 || Peacetime
Ships: Feroxs + Ravens + support

FLeet departs in 20 minutes

~~~ This was a broadcast from asher_elias

When this ping popped up I hadn’t undocked for a fleet op so far this month.  Granted, a week in Hawaii took me out of the running for most of that, so it wasn’t like I was missing it much.

Being away also meant that I missed the six hour Entosis tug-of-war op versus Northern Army, where two small fleets could basically make no headway against one another until one side just gave up in exhaustion.  Fozzie Sov fun FTW!  Asher goes over some of that in his podcast this week where he covers our deployment down south.

Anyway, a relaxing fun fleet seemed a fine way to get back into fleet ops after a break, and all the more so since I could bring my Raven.

The Raven was left over from a doctrine we tried out last summer in Querious.  My own Raven had been saved after the fall of ED-L9T and stowed away safely in Khanid to await another deployment.

So I logged right in… waited for the launcher to verify and update yet again… is this any better with the new launcher… cloned jumped down to our staging station, got in my Raven and joined the fleet.

I also insured the Raven, since “fun fleet” often means we’re going to die.  But what better ship to sacrifice than this one, which had been gathering dust in a hangar for the last six months.  Sure, it had some history.  It was my ratting Raven as far back as 2007 and had, among other things, made the run up to Deklein and back for the Revenant kill.  But a ship is a ship, and in the zen of EVE Online, you must be prepared to let go of any possession which you undock.  Plus, you know, fun.

There was a minor fitting change; I had to remove the MJD and fit a MWD, but otherwise when I undocked it was pretty much the same ship I left in the station last summer… the same to the point that I should have looked in the cargo hold as I had clearly used it to haul some extra modules and a spare mobile depot back down from Deklein.  I might have cleared some of that out had I noticed.  Ah well.  And so it was we did undock.

Undocking in Khanid

Undocking in Khanid

Asher steered us towards Querious.  We also had Lazarus Telraven along for the op and he was streaming the whole thing on his Twitch channel, including our voice coms, so any hostile in the area would have all the intel they could want with just a 15 second delay.

As it happened, we were headed towards Pandemic Horde’s home at A2-V27, where we warped to the station and hung around on their stoop hoping that they might come out and play.  Eventually they obliged, undocking a sizable fleet relative to our own, including a triage carrier in support.

After a some initial losses we began to chip away at them, warping off and back as Asher tried to position us to play to our strengths versus their numbers.  Then again, Asher also warped us into an asteroid belt at one point, something he specifically mentioned had been an issue in past fights as big ships got caught and bounced off rocks, delaying align times and warps.

Ravens aligning out of an asteroid belt

Ravens aligning out of an asteroid belt

We shook off drones by activating the smart bombs that most of us had fit, which had the side benefit of getting us on some blue kill mails for fun, but at the final point of the fight it was clear that we were rapidly losing our ability to put enough damage on our foes to get kills.

The last point of the fight

The last point of the fight

My own Raven went down on that last grid as our logi gamely tried to save me.

I'm sure that tracking disruptor was really hurting me...

I’m sure that tracking disruptor was really hurting me…

As my ship exploded I warped off grid and then back at 100km to watch the remains of the fight.  We lost a few more ships, including Xenuria (See, he undocks! Xenuria for CSM 11!), as Asher got the remainder of the fleet headed outbound.  My staying alive a bit longer meant that my pod got on six kill mails, five of which were fleet members, due to damage I did before my Raven went down.  My pod is currently listed as the fourth most deadly ship for our corp this month… mostly because we kind of suck at PvP.  If I am the top killer for the month (I’m on 19 kill mails, seven of them blue, six of them in a pod) something is hilariously wrong.

Then somebody spotted my pod and I got popped and sent back to our staging station the quick way.  I listened on coms as the remains of the fleet extracted.  Pandemic Horde used a jump bridge to cut off the fleet’s escape, so Asher just had everybody safe up and log off when they could.  Not sitting still and dying made a few of our foes angry, and they went to Reddit to complain in the usual way.  The battle report shows we lost the ISK war, yet somehow we appear to have won on the rage front.  You would think people would be happy about us delivering some easy content to their doorstep.  Did we forget to say “gf” in local?

After a short time Asher had everybody log back in and brought people home.  We shall see if I can get on for the fight tonight to defend our station in 60M-TG.  Another Entosis struggle looms.

Below are the screen shots I took along the way in gallery form.  I also left the new camera on for the duration of the op to try it out. (You can see the new controls in that HUD screen shot.)  Once I changed the movement slider all the way to the fastest motion, it seemed to be okay.  And then, during the fight, I had the camera on a hostile as we warped off and it pretty much went crazy and wouldn’t stay pointed at anything, so I had to go turn it off to be able to keep space from flicking around me so fast it threatened to induce motion sickness.  Not quite ready for prime time.

 

 

Reavers Move South Again

We had known that a Reavers deployment was in the offing for a couple of weeks now.  There had been talk about doctrines and changes to fits.  There had been some briefings about what to pack and who we might bring along with us.  But when Asher started doing briefings for KarmaFleet, who would be joining us for the deployment, things were clearly getting close.  Then we were told to be ready to move and to have our security status at least up to -2.0 as we would be moving through high sec.

The things is, with these sorts of things, operational security dictates that the line members be kept in the dark as much as possible so that information doesn’t leak and we find the route to our deployment camped by hostiles.  We were all guessing where we might go, but Asher wasn’t telling.  I was hoping for a return to Querious as I already had some ships at our old staging system lined up.

The first call for a move op came on Saturday just as The Meta Show was wrapping up.  Pilots at our various staging bases were given directions as to where to head.  I had to log in and decide what I was going to fly out to the deployment.  I had a couple of the doctrine ships with me in D2-HOS, but figured I had best take a Basilisk for the first run.  We always need logi, so having that on hand seemed the best idea.  And we had been told that we would be staging out of a station and that shipping from Jita would be arranged, so we could buy and ship additional ships out later.

I undocked the Basilisk and warped to catch up with the fleet leaving the system via the jump bridge.  Various groups were moving from stations around Deklein and Pure Blind converging on the Torrinos gate in EC-P8R, one of the gateway systems between null sec and empire space.  We would form up there for our run into low, then high sec space.

It was there, while waiting for people to arrive that we got our first kill of the deployment.  Granted, it was a blue on blue kill when, after Asher said we could clear some of the warp disruption bubbles on the gate, one of my TNT compatriots thought launching an electron bomb into the bubbles was a good idea.  He didn’t even get a kill mark on his Purifier for the Cheetah, since he blapped a fleet member.

We're so proud

Our first kill of the deployment. We were so proud

Sitting around on the gate for a while, we did manage to bring the deployment back to an “ISK positive” state as we were able to knock off some of the steady flow of ships attempting to slip into null sec through the gate.

Hanging Around on the Torrinos gate

Hanging Around on the Torrinos gate

I even managed to launch a combat drone and get on the kill mail for a Hurricane that sat on the other side of the gate for a while… letting us all get ready… before jumping in to his death.

After a bit of a wait, punctuated by enough kills that we started to joke about the Torrinos gate being the deployment, Asher got our attention and had us set our destination to Sarekuwa in Lonetrek.  Those who had failed to get their security status up sufficiently were sent off to burn there and dock up while the rest of us were to move as a group just in case we ran into somebody who had a war dec against anybody in the fleet.  Then it was off to fly through high sec, ~100 ships causing a small bow wave of time dilation, and leaving behind a pile of spam in local, as we passed though Caldari space.

Warping on through high sec

Moving on through high sec

We met up in Sarekuwa and formed again for the run to the next waypoint, which turned out to be our final destination.  We were heading to Querious.  I was at once happy… our operations in that region are part of the Reavers legend, including the taking and heroic defense of the station at ED-L9T… and annoyed because I already had two Basilisks parked at our staging for the region, so I would have flown something else had I known.

Querious is, of course, a different place compared to our last visit.  Darkness and their friends are out and Pandemic Horde, Brave Newbies, Northern Army, are now residents with some others.  Phoebe Freeport Republic is moving in, having left Scalding Pass.  Even Red Frog appears to have a system in the region.

The state of Querious - Jan. 25, 2016

The state of Querious – Jan. 25, 2016

So it looks like Querious could be a region of fun.

The last leg of the run out was uneventful and we arrived at the Reaver home away from home once again.

Landing on an old familiar station

Landing on an old familiar station

Small ops started pretty much right away, though I had to run after the deployment cruise and didn’t get back into a fleet until the next day.

At that point we had a Ferox fleet going out with Entosis things to do.  There had already been a run at the station in ED-L9T, but it had been repulsed by the locals, so we were off to try for some other stations.

I have to say, as an aside, that the new UI feature that came with the January update which shows beneficial effects on your UI is the best thing ever as a logi pilot who is in a capacitor chain.  I can see when the chain is up and who has me.

Cap chain buddies shown

Cap chain buddies shown

So I am very happy about that.

Along the way we popped a couple of pilots from the corp Isogen 5 who were running around the area.  They alerted us to a Brave Newbies ratting carrier, after which we agreed to stop shooting them so we could help them shoot the carrier instead.  Our tacklers ran out ahead as we followed along.

The Archon was caught.  A couple of friends had run over to help him, but they were brushed aside as we went in for the kill.

Archon held down and waiting to die

Archon held down and waiting to die in a Haven

We got the ship, worth about 2 billion on the kill report, and the pod, which ended up having a set of High Grade Slave implants, which made it worth more than the ship.  A happy diversion, but then we had to get back on our way to our target before the vulnerability window closed.

We were headed to OGY-6D, a Pandemic Horde system, in order to Entosis their station.  We got there in time, passing through some of PH, got in the system, and set up on the gate to catch them if they followed up in.  As we sat in readiness, an Entosis ship warped to the station and started his work.

Entosis in progress

Entosis in progress

Pandemic Horde seemed content to stay on their side of the gate while we did our work.  As it appeared they wouldn’t be coming in, Asher sent another Entosis ship off to start on the ihub, however the vulnerability window closed before the end of the Entosis link module’s warm up cycle ended, so the ihub was safe for the moment.

When the station was done, our Entosis pilot rejoined the fleet and there was a decision to be made; should we fight Pandemic Horde or just try to blow past them and head home?  The numbers were against us, but we decided to give it a go and piled into their side of the gate, in K7D-II, to see how we might fare.

Things did not go our way.  Our boosting ship got caught trying to slip through to setup, so we were without the benefit of that.  We decloaked, formed up, and started what became a short, bloody fight where we were coming off the worse.  PH had some very effective EWar hitting our logi.  We kept Asher’s command ship alive and only lost one Basilisk, but they were tearing through our Feroxes, so we aligned out and headed for home.  A surprising number of us were able to warp off despite them having several of us tackled as the order to align out was given.  The battle report shows we lost a lot, but we probably should have lost even more.

All in all, not a bad first outing in Querios for me.  A nice carrier and pod kill for a warm up, the strategic objective accomplished, and a bloody fight on the way out.  And the deployment has only just begun.

One side note.  There is Pandemic Horde video up about the fight in D2-HOS that was part of a post I did last week.  They were very proud about the Jay Amazingness headshot during the fight, before they got wiped out, but in the last moments of the video (at about 8:10) somebody speculates that Goons might get mad and invade Querious over it.  Quite the prophetic statement.  I wouldn’t call us an invasion, but there are Goons in the region now.

Meanwhile, a gallery of the screenshots I have so far.