Tag Archives: Pandemic Horde

First Day of Null Sec Blackout Roam

Everybody seemed to have a plan for the first day of the null sec local blackout.

Well, not everybody.

One question I heard fairly often was about whether chat was broken again because nobody was in local.  No matter how far and wide you think the word has been spread nor how much build up any change to the game has, there will always be a significant percentage of the population that won’t get the memo.

But at least various groups had plans.  And the plans seemed to mostly involve roaming into other null sec areas looking for targets.  I saw a ping for a DBRB interceptor fleet seeking to roam far across null sec and, about an hour later, a ping for an armor assault frigate fleet under Silvana Cadelanne.  Those two fleets were connected, but I didn’t know that when I joined the second.

Armor assault frigates, usually a Retribution/Wolf/Enyo mix in the main line, means getting out one of my lesser flown logi ships, the Thalia.

Thalia sitting on tether ready to go

I don’t get to undock this guppy-shaped tech II Navitas variant because we tend to fly Harpy fleet more often.  But this time I was able to clean up this ship, long languishing in a dark corner of my hangar in 1DQ1-2.  I could have bought a Deacon, the Amarr logi frigate, but it is seriously one of the most awkward looking ships in the game.  There are some lines I cannot cross.

Silvana Cadelanne got us undocked and headed via Ansiblex jump gates towards TEST space.  We gated out was into their space through the strange quietness of silent local, doubly weird in any location where Dreddit might be recruiting.

Assault frigates over a gas giant

But we were not there for TEST or Brave or anybody else in the south.  We were there for a wormhole that sent us into the Metropolis region.  There we headed towards Geminate.  However, arriving there, the FC informed us that our plan… which was to link up with DBRB’s fleet in order to assist in taking down a titan or a super or something… had been thwarted by DBRB lighting off after some distant target with his interceptors.

We were in Geminate already, so the FC decided we ought to do something, with “a blaze of glory” being mentioned as a possible plan.  He did seem a bit nonplussed at the lack of Pandemic Horde activity in Geminate, though he had been drinking and had likely forgotten that PH had moved to The Kalevala Expanse.  With that straightened out, we headed towards TKE looking for trouble.

Bubbles on the gate into TKE

We slipped into the region and went straight for their staging in R1O-GN.  Uncloaking there, in full sight of their Keepstar, and taking a few pot shots at people close by, it became a question as to what we should get up to while the locals figured out what to do about us.  Then somebody spotted an abyssal signature… the in-space indicator that marks somebody running an abyssal pocket will exit… and we decided to hang out on that.  Maybe we would get a Gila kill.

On the abyssal marker

As we anchored up and flew around the marker, the locals began to stir.  An Abaddon first landed near us, which gave us our first target.  From that point forward the fight was on.  Hostiles began warping in on us and we were suddenly very busy

Fight on! Enemy Keepstar just visible at the bottom of the screen shot

What came about was an odd bit of asymmetrical warfare.

The locals began piling on us with everything to hand, from frigates to carriers and dreadnoughts, looking to stomp us with sheer weight of numbers.

Some of the closer hostiles on my overview

However, this kitchen sink fleet composition was coming at us in dribs and drabs and was not coordinating their effort.  That meant that our fleet, unified in doctrine and taking targets from the FC, was able to inflict quite a bit of damage relative to our numbers on the field.  For several minutes our assault frigates were able to skate around the battlefield taking down targets while our logi was saving people and each other.  Being in the logi wing then was a very busy time.

That advantage was fleeting however and, as more and more hostiles landed on us, they began to get their act together and focus on the logi.  They seemed more eager to pop the Deacons than my Thalia, and soon I was the last logi left.  I had all reps on the FC, who was now primary for many of the locals, when he warped us out.  That came just in time for me.

Entering warp in structure is always fun

The FC’s ship blew up even as we were warping.  Our moment of glory had passed.  It was time to get out if we could.

The FC directed us to warp to the “QG” gate.  However, R1O-GN is one of those systems that has exit gates to two systems with very similar names. (There is one system where two adjacent systems that start with the same three letters, which always causes confusion.)  We were close to the “GQ” gate when he said that, so people asked if he was sure and, since he had been drinking, he had to check.  Eventually he confirmed what he said and, as we warped, he gave us a destination.

Take the gate? Don’t take the gate?

Jumping through the gate we found that the route to the destination led us back into R1O-GN.  He checked again and gave us another destination.  By that point we were getting spread out, some of us having gone back into R1O while others waited for a new desto.  I was a bit ahead of the pack, free burning for the way out.  However, as I noted last weekend in the post about dropping on PH’s move ops, there is only one way back to where we came from, and you have to pass through 1S-SU1.  The locals were well aware of this and were waiting on the LEM gate in that system.  I was one of the first through so was too late to heed the warning about the camp.  I decided to just press on, since my only other choice was to crash the gate, and given the state of my ship it wouldn’t take much to blow me up.

And they got me.  I was pretty quickly blown up, then podded, then back in my hangar in 1DQ1-2.  End of the fleet op for me.  Some people did get out.  For whatever reason the hostiles didn’t bubble the 1S-SU1 side of the gate, which let some people slip through.  Others turned around and went out via Vale of the Silent.

But, not matter what, we got our money’s worth out of that fleet.  A blaze of glory was achieved.

I would like to summarize the outcome, but with ZKillboard down, you cannot create battle reports or even see kills for which you did not get the final blow.  For me, ZKill being blacked out is one of the downsides to this event.  I want to see the battle report.  I want to see how many or few hostiles we managed to zap before we ran off.  I want to see how the brawl played out, with nice columns of time stamped kills dammit.  I want the data.

I know some people are cheering it being down, and even asking that it be kept offline, but I am not in that camp.  The main argument against ZKill seems to be a nebulous argument that kill boards ruin the game, which strikes me a being akin to suggesting scores in kids sports are bad.

But beyond that, bragging about your kill board is so looked down upon in the EVE Online community that before you can talk about your kill board you must first write a paragraph declaration about how you much you do not care about your kill board, before going on to prove that you probably really do.  Basically, we already have a system of social control around kill boards, so just let us have the information about what happened and get on with it.

Anyway, that was my big blackout inaugural roam.  And it was pretty good.

I did go on another op later in the evening which had its own bit of comedy.  We were in an Eagle fleet, flying through Delve to cover a timer, and while watching the local intel channel, it became clear that people were using their directional scanners, but perhaps not paying as close attention to the results as they should.  Several times we saw something like this:

The Eagles! Get them!

Given that dscan reports the name of your ship as well as the type, and that the most common ship name in our fleet seemed to be “GSF Standard,” which is what you end up with on a lot of pre-fit contracts, it seems like a bit of thought should have to occur before people panic.

Then again, if I were a hostile FC I might just have my whole fleet rename their ships “GSF Standard” if only to sow confusion.

Addendum:  Now that ZKill is back up and has caught up on its backlog processing I was able build a battle report to see what happened in out little brawl.  Here is the header from the battle report.

Brawl in R1O-GN in TKE

The ISK total gets balanced out if you add in the losses to the gate camp in 1S-SU1, though we did pick up a couple of kills along the way as well.  All in all a fun, chaotic fight and I was fine not having to walk all the way back to Delve.

The Triglavian Boat Roam

Dabigredboat, DBRB, announced earlier in the week that we wanted to have a celebratory roam.  I am still not clear on what we were celebrating… destruction in Tribute, a safe return home, some nice summer weather… but the roam was on.  The only restriction was the requirement to bring along a Triglavian ship.  It was to be an all-Triglavian roam.

That actually covers a few options these days.  Since CCP released the Into the Abyss expansion back in May of 2018 they have regularly added new Triglavian ships to the list.  The EVE University is behind on the list, showing only the seven available from before the Invasion expansion, leaving out the Nergal (Assault Frigate), Ikitursa (Heavy Assault Cruiser), and the Draugur (Command Destroyer).

These new ships actually got me to turn training back on with my main, since I was quickly falling behind in my old goal to be able to fly all of the subcaps.  For the two people who miss my skill point progress update posts, you can rejoice, as another one will probably hit in August.

As of right now, I can fly the whole lot of them, and even mount the tech II disintegrator on the Leshak battleship.  However, I didn’t actually own any of them.  As far as hulls go, they are still pretty exotic and more expensive that their empire contemporaries, especially the new tech II hulls.  And for a DBRB roam, where the expectation is always that you’re going to get blown up, buying into something that expensive seemed like a bad decision.

But I did have a cheaper option stashed away.  One of my high sec alts has been running level 3 abyssal sites off and on and had collected a enough materials and a BPC to build a Damavik, the Triglavian frigate, the baby of the bunch.  But DBRB didn’t say I had to have a Leshak or anything exotic, just something Triglavian.  So I had my alt fly it up into Aridia where I picked it up with my main.  I was soon docked up in 1DQ1-A and ready for the roam.

Of course I bought a SKIN for it

My fit, for those interested, was:

[Damavik, ▷▼◇△▶▽◄ ▷▼▶▽◄ ▷▼◇]
400mm Rolled Tungsten Compact Plates
Damage Control II
Limited Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane I

Initiated Compact Warp Scrambler
Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier
5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive

Light Scoped Entropic Disintegrator

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Anti-Kinetic Pump II
Small Trimark Armor Pump II

Acolyte II x5

Nanite Repair Paste x8
Baryon Exotic Plasma S x500
Meson Exotic Plasma S x500
Tetryon Exotic Plasma S x500

That seemed enough like a tackle fit for me.  I couldn’t fit the tech II disintegrator, but I also wasn’t keen to pay the price for one either.  Anyway, if you’re going to tackle you don’t need a big gun.

When DBRB pinged for the fleet, I got into game and into the fleet, ready to go.  The fleet managed to swell up to about 100 players and, as DBRB reported, we had at least one of each of the Triglavian ships, with quite a few Leshak’s in the mix.

DBRB had us all name out ships using the Triglavian triangles text (some here) and spam local as we moved with that.  With that set we were soon warping off to adventure.

On our way at last

We took the Eye of Terror up into Cloud Ring, then headed off into Deklein to see if anybody was home.

A Damavik and a Vedmak in warp

Nobody was home.

To be fair, Ranger Regiment, a Chinese alliance, lives there now, and we were way out of their prime time.  But it was odd roaming through our old space with nobody about.

We traveled through there a while when DBRB decided that we ought to head more towards the east and Pandemic Horde.  As we headed into Tribute we ran across a Talwar fleet from Darkness, which the Leshaks pretty much destroyed.

Disintegrators hitting Talwars

43 Talwars and 2 Sabres were blown up, as the last few ships got away.  But I had to stick close, as our smaller ships were at risk.  The enemy managed to pick off a Kikimora and a few Damaviks, which balanced the ISK war out, probably in their favor, as I think Zkill undervalues the Kiki.  But at least it was action.

After that DBRB pointed us in the direction of Geminate and Pandemic Horde.  They seemed to be home and maybe up for a fleet action against us.  Word was that they were forming Feroxes to come and get us.  We hauled up on a gate not too far from PH space and waited for them to head our way.

Triglavians hanging around a gate

After some shifting around, we ended up meeting the Ferox fleet in 0-R5TS.

Things did not start auspiciously for us.  The Ferox fleet naturally wanted to keep at range and managed to take out a couple of our ships, including DBRB’s Leshak.  However, we managed to get a command destroyer to boosh us on top of the Ferox fleet and our Sabre… there are no Triglavian interdictors yet, so he was allowed in… managed to get a bubble up.  At that point a slaughter of Feroxes commenced.

At that point it also turned out that DBRB got some backup.  Seeing that the Ferox fleet outnumbered us substantially, he got The Initiative to show up with 50 bombers who joined in on the fun.  This time around I was able to get in close enough to get on a few kills, though having drones along for the ride made that possible as the tech I disintegrator is a short ranged weapon, even with the long range ammo.  The battle report went heavily our way.

Battle Report Header

After that DBRB reshipped in a Leshak when somebody needed to log off.  There was talk of PH reforming and chasing us down again.  However the Initiative bombers hung around behind us, and before we could turn around to assist they had inflicted enough damage to drive the hostiles off.

That left us up in Vale of the Silent, a long ways from Delve.  DBRB had us head to low sec, with the fleet docking up in Obe, not too far from Jita.  From there we were left on our own to get our ships back home.

I enlisted my high sec alt again, who flew out to Obe to pick up the Damavik and fly it back to Aridia again.  I was going to self destruct my main for a quick jump back to 1DQ, but the decided to just follow my alt through high sec in a capsule on auto pilot, daring anybody to take the shot.  An empty pod is worth less than most anything that can kill it before CONCORD steps in, so I arrived safely, picked up the Damavik to fly home.

And so it went.  Not necessarily a roam for the ages, but it was fun to see all those Triglavian ships hauling about space.

Triglavian ships in some fireworks

They’re still too expensive for me to thrown around, but they are a change from the norm.

Where Will War Land in New Eden Next Week?

The Mittani was promising us a war last week, asking us to tune into the weekly fireside chat to get an update.  There were more than 600 people in the channel for that on Saturday before a ping went out to get people logged in.

A past visual from The Scope of The Mittani speaking

However, the news for us was rather sparse once the fireside got going.  We were assured that was was coming, that the next fireside would be replaced by a Station of the Goonion meeting (which differs mostly from a fireside in name, though it tends to be shorter and more on point) which would announce the target of our war, after which move ops would commence immediately while those already forward deployed would begin hitting targets.

It was also stated that this would not be a war of conquest… Delve is already making us rich, so we don’t want more space… but a war of destruction to lay waste to the infrastructure and disrupt the economic output of a region.

The question, left deliberately unanswered was which region?  Where will we be heading?

We’ll know come Saturday.  Until then there are some likely guesses.

First, given that SIGs and squads were told to carry on with what they have been up to it seems likely that we will be moving into the northeast of New Eden to operate from low sec in Caldari space.  Lonetrek or The Forge are where those groups are now, so it seems likely that a big move op on Saturday will use the Eye of Terror and cyno chain to move up through Fountain and then east into Caldari space.

Where we will likely deploy

Where exactly we will base depends on the actual target. (Base map from DOTLAN.)

The leak from Headliner on Reddit indicates that we will be assaulting Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion in their home region of Tribute.  That would mean basing in Lonetrek, likely in Hakonen again, though maybe Taisy right on their doorstep.  We’ve been in Hakonen before, back during the summer of 2017, which led to a series of battles (example) that went against the Imperium.

That deployment had not super or titan support, so the locals were able to drop those on us with impunity.  This time we will be bringing all of the big toys so clashes may not be so one sided against us.

In favor of this target is the fact that it hits an an old enemy, NCDot, which harbors the remains of Band of Brothers, as well as Pandemic Legion.  In addition, there is already a war going on with Guardians of the Galaxy, who live in our old space in the north, and who would no doubt be keen to join in on the fun after having to pay us for peace last summer.

The path to Tribute

A war here would also draw support away from other locations in the north allow SIGs based in The Forge to continue a merry harassment campaign in the backfield, forcing Pandemic Horde to choose between defending its timers or helping its allies.

An alternative to the above would have us move a bit further along, into The Forge, from which we could attack into either PL/NCDot and their holdings in Vale of the Silent.

Into Vale and Geminate

This gets us stuck right into Pandemic Horde if we go into Geminate, pitting strength against strength, while The Vale of the Silent is a big region with a lot of targets.  Geminate, like Tribute, means a head-on assault and supers being thrown around.  Vale means the locals have to reinforce from Tribute and Geminate, but can stay based mostly at home.  It still lets GotG harass from the north end and SIGs at the south end, though both local forces would be able to respond to either more readily.

Finally, there is a possible focus on the rental income of the locals.

Where the rental money comes from

The Kalevala Expanse, Malpais, and The Spire represent prime null sec rental space from which the locals derive income.  Again, The Forge puts us about as close as we can get those regions without getting into NPC null sec space.  But those regions do not have handy NPC space for us to land in. (Otherwise there would probably already be a SIG in there.)

Going after those regions would give us a nice “going after bots” narrative, though the recently revived Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Imperium rental alliance that operates in Period Basis, featured in the latest round of bot bans, so one might be tempted to ask when we’ll be opening a front there. (Or against Fraternity.)

The problem is that, while those are tempting targets, you cannot get a super fleet in there without multiple gates and jumps.

So I suspect that the first option I mentioned, an attack on Tribute, will be the actual destination announced this coming Saturday.  It has the advantage of being close to low sec staging as well as close to Jita for re-supply. (Now would be a good time to build up stocks if you’re a seller.)  The leak posted on Reddit was based on something said in the Imperium leadership channel according to The Mittani.  That gives it some weight, even when Mittens wondered aloud whether or not it was a ruse.

Northeast Null Sec Influence Map – May 12, 2019

(Map from Null Sec Influence maps)

My guess is that Hakonen or Taisy will be our destination on Saturday and, once the capital fleets arrive, a Keepstar will be dropped in one of those systems to kick off the conflict.  Supers will cover the initial deployment and the enemy will have to either come attack it when the 24 hour cycle finishes and the initial repair timer goes live.  They will have to either face our fleet then or allow us to setup a a difficult to assail base right on their front step.

Meanwhile, SIGs and squads will use the distraction of the main front in Tribute to harass and set times in rental space.

That seems to me to be the most likely war scenario.  However, I have no inside information whatsoever… hostile groups with spies know more than a line member like me… so your mileage may vary.

We will see in about a week.

An Evening of Explosions in Etherium Reach

Cainun had pre-pinged that we had a big op planned for last night, that he wanted as many of us who could make it.  He was determined to undock and take whatever fight was offered after standing down a few times when Pandemic Horde and its allies brought out multiple fleets.

The enemy was laying in wait for us again, though Cainun had called in some help.  In addition to our Eagle fleet, which swelled to over 200 pilots when we undocked, not bad for just a squad like ours, we had an additional fleet of Cerbs fly out from Delve, and bomber fleet led by DBRB come along, a fleet from TEST, and another from GoTG to all converge on LXQ2-T in Etherium Reach.

We sat on one side of the gate in Paala while Pandemic Horde and its allies sat on the other.  And then we went in and the battle started.

The first stage of the evening took place around the Paala gate in LXQ2-T, which PH had thoroughly bubbled.  Those of us in the logi wing were immediately busy as the fleet started moving and engaging the battleship fleet close to hand.

Bubbles around the Paala gate

Things did not appear to be going too badly for us so far as I could tell.  We were catching people and repping them before they died, including one lucky Eagle pilot who was way into structure before we saved him.

Hemo Lived… once we got reps on him

He ended up on a lot of battleship kill mails and made it through the night.

But as you can see in the first screen shot of the gate, the pink spots at about 11 o’clock of the gate, PH dropped in capital ships, carriers and super carriers, to support their battleships.

Even the capitals were not so bad at first.  Fighters take some time to get around and are vulnerable.  Drones were sent against them as we popped battleships.

But eventually the fighters started to overwhelm us, focusing on the logi in the fleet.  There were more than 30 people in the chain channel and as one would be blown up they would drop out.  The fighters were overwhelming our reps more quickly as each Basilisk went down and I spent then last two minutes of the fight trying to swap up who I was chained with for capacitor as the losses were hitting faster than I could lock people up.  I was the next to last person in the logi wing before I too went down.

I happened to be near the edge of one of the bubbles… and a good 100km off the gate, so I motored out and warped off.  With the logi gone Cainun took the rest of the fleet out as well and tethered up at a citadel we had in the system.

The fight at a distance from my pod

I don’t know why I felt I needed to get out.  It was an empty pod, no implants, so getting blown up would just put me back in our staging station.  That would have been convenient too, as Cainun was calling for logi to reship and get back into Paala.  But the word was that there were no more Basilisks up on contract and I had been using my backup Basi already, not having replaced the one I lost previously, so it seemed like we were done for the night.

Still, I figured I would try to get back to our staging.  I warped into the thick of things and started to motor to the gate, pretty sure that somebody would shoot me eventually.  It took a while, and I had decided to self-destruct rather than wait, but then I was painted, marking me for a quick return home.

Pod express all set

Being back in our station didn’t help much.  There were still no Basis on contract.  But Cainun kept telling logi to reship and get into Paala.  And then I checked the contracts for the third time in 20 minutes and found that somebody had listed a bunch.  So I reshipped and headed to Paala where we tethered on an Astrahus and waited for instructions.

Fresh Basi on the Space Violence citadel

The situation was unclear to me at that point.  Actually, it is still unclear to me now.  I have tried to build up a battle report for the events, however the data the tool gets in dramatically incomplete.  I suspect that the new push to keep people from giving zKillboard their API might be having an effect.  Long a Pandemic Legion tactic, somebody recently decided that you give away too much intel if you have your API linked there.  So a lot of kills do not show up on the battle report, including my own.  But my kill is there on zKill, so maybe the tool is the problem.

Meanwhile, our fleet was split up.  Cainun and the bulk of the Eagles and surviving support were sitting tethered on a citadel in LXQ2-T while the reconstituted logi wing was doing the same in Paala, with just a gate and a killing ground between us.

Eventually he called for us to warp to the LXQ2-T gate and hold.  We sat there for a bit, then he called for us to jump and anchor up and the fleet was back together again.

However, by that point the whole thing had been going on for almost two hours and most of the locals had moved off to other things.  We were not alone, but there wasn’t much to shoot at in the mass of bubbles.  So Cainun took us out of the bubbles and warped us off to the 8KE-YS gate where we jumped in.

There we were able to find a solo Apostle hanging around in space, which we quickly jumped on and bubbled and started to shoot.

Tackled Apostle

However the Apostle was able to cyno in some friends and we soon had nine HAW dreads drop in to join the fight.  At least I could nine on the kills, eight Revelations and a Naglfar.

Dreads arrive to assail us

This didn’t seem to bother anyone despite our mauling at the hands of a single HAW dread just the other night.  However, that dread had a subcap support fleet.  This pack of capitals were on their own.  PH was busy elsewhere, though a Jackdaw fleet did show up to try and support the caps.  However, the Cerb fleet from Delve was still roaming around looking for targets, so they came and chased the Jackdaws off, leaving us to our work.

I was bummed at this point as I had been in a hurry to get to Paala when Basi contracts went up so I forgot to buy some drugs and I forgot to stuff a combat drone in the drone bay to whore on easy kills, and this group turned out to be pretty easy.

Cainun just pulled us back out of the optimal range for high angle weapons and proceeded to pick the dreads off one by one.  The fax slowed us down, and the first dread was well fit, so that first kill took a while, but eventually we got there and it exploded.  And then another exploded.

A dread explodes

The dreads seemed happy to sit around unbubbled for quite a stretch, accepting their fate while trying to score a kill.  Still, we wanted to kill them all so a call went out to get some more dictors in fleet and over to help hold them down and maybe keep away any rescue attempt.  I had my alt already logged in.  He was in a Naglfar, as there was the possibility of us counter dropping, but I swapped him to a Sabre and zipped off to join the effort.

Meanwhile another dread explodes

Eventually we were down to the Apostle, and then the drag began.  The Apostle had armor repairers mounted and was able to counter the firepower the fleet was able to bring to bear.  Now I really wished I had some combat drones with my Basi, we needed every last DPS.  I even put the little guns of the Sabre on the Apostle.

Eventually Pittsburgh2989 dropped by in a Revelation to add his firepower to the fight, and even then it wasn’t going well.  There was talk of getting a second dread to join up with us.  But eventually the tide started to turn and with each rep cycle the armor on the Apostle was pushed back ever so slightly from the previous peak.  Soon we could see damage bleeding through into structure and the end seemed in sight.  The Apostle was doomed.

Our Revelation as the Apostle explodes

With the Apostle down… and he did not go easily into the night… we had ten capital kills under our belt for the evening.  I am not sure that balances out losing 30 Basilisks earlier, but it made us all feel pretty good.

At that point it was time to wander back towards home.  We stopped again in LXQ2-T to loot the battlefield and shoot the drag bubbles still arrayed about the gate.

Back at the Paala gate

With a full cargo hold (do I really need 150 cap batteries?) and no combat drones I just orbited the gate until we were done.  Then we moved on to our staging and stood down for the night.  We were almost at the four hour point by then, so a second PAP was issued for those of us who stayed around after the first action.

Meanwhile The Mittani was pinging about war on Jabber, so I am wondering if this was the opening salvo.  We will find out on Saturday, or so I am told. (Though, naturally enough, Reddit claims to know the target already. We shall see.)

Addendum: Another battle report tool (there are no end of EVE Online tools out there), mentioned in a Reddit post about the battle, shows an about even split when it comes to the ISK war, though PH won the objective, installing an ihub in LXQ2-T. (We didn’t really talk about the ihub in fleet that I recall.)

LXQ2-T and 8KE-YS combined report

That report includes both systems where I fought and includes my dead Basi as well as the Apostle that tanked us for so very long.  That group of dreads and the Apostle helped balance out the ISK war.

Quote of the Day – Goblin Gets His Due

Gevlon was right

-The Mittani, Imperium Fireside May 4, 2019

I previously mentioned the ongoing conflict in Perimeter over control of trading citadels.  Last year the Imperium and Legacy Coalition began to assail the trading citadels set up by Pandemic Horde.  Those were blown up and replaced by citadels run by TEST alliance, including a Keepstar.

Shop at the sign of the middle management dino

Why Perimeter?  Well, it is one of the eight systems that connect directly to Jita.

Jita and Perimeter

More importantly, it is one of the five neighboring system in The Forge, the same region as Jita, so if you are in Jita and searching for something to buy, goods in Perimeter will show up in your results as well.  As to why Perimeter won out over the other four, my guess is that being on the direct route to Amarr, the second trade hub of New Eden, probably tips the scales.  People try to set up in the other systems, but the listings there are even more meager.

Anyway, since the swap over to Legacy Coalition holding the trade stations in Perimeter a low scale conflict has carried on to try and wrest control away or at least make life annoying.  I had not heard much about that conflict of late.  As it turns out that was likely due to negotiations going on over the whole thing.

At yesterday’s fireside The Mittani announced that a deal had been reached and that going forward the Imperium, Legacy Coalition, and Pandemic Horde would all work together to defend the structures of the Tranquility Trading Corporation, consisting of the Keepstar, two Sotiyos, and one Tatara in Perimeter.

Instead of fighting, each of the three groups will now share in the profits from the trading complex.

This is where Gevlon comes in.  Somebody sent the link to one of Gevlon’s posts where he predicted something like this would come to pass to The Mittani, and Mittens had to admit that Gevlon was right on that particular point.  Some null sec powers did come together to hold a trading citadel together rather than fighting over it.

Of course, Gevlon was wrong on just about everything else in that post.  It is debatable as to whether or not the Imperium, led by Goonswarm Federation, Legacy Coalition, led by TEST, and Pandemic Horde add up to being “everyone significant” when it comes to null sec powers.  It most certainly does not mean peace between the three powers.  Even as I was writing this I got a ping to log in and shoot Pandemic Horde and expect to continue with the campaign against them and NCDot in TKE and The Spire, striking straight at their rental income.  These are not staged “gud fites” but an actual campaign meant to hurt them.

And then there is the effect on Jita.  While some trade is going through Perimeter, it seems to be mostly focused on some high price density items, things like PLEX, skill injectors, and the like.  Trade at the station at Jita 4-4 carries on pretty much as before, three years after the Citadel expansion brought this player run trade center option to the game.

Whether people keep trading in Jita out of habit, ignorance, or mis-trust or player run citadels… some of those trade citadels have been blown up after all… doesn’t matter, people still do most of their buying and selling in Jita.

This means that Gevlon’s assumptions and ISK estimates are all completely bogus.  If his prediction had come to pass we should have seen some sort of drop in the Broker’s Fees collects on the ISK sink side of the chart in the MER.  However, compared to his numbers from the February 2016 MER, the broker’s fees collected were actually up in the March 2019 MER.

As for how much the owners of the trade citadels have to discount their fees in order to attract business… well, he was way off once more.

Fee comparison

In Perimeter they had to cut the broker’s fee to the bone to get the business they have, and that hasn’t moved very much out of the much more expensive Jita.  Even if they got the level of business he predicted, the net profit would be nowhere near his cataclysmic outlook.

And Gevlon said he left EVE Online because of this, because of his grim predictions of what was to come with player run markets in citadels.  I guess he could have stuck around.  The null sec empires are still getting rich, but it doesn’t have much to do with markets in Perimeter.

Taking the Eye of Terror to Lonetrek

Every so often I go on a main fleet op just to remind myself why I don’t go on main fleet ops any more.  Plus I happened to still be sitting in 1DQ1-A from the Reavers race (still in my Gnosis) and Pittsburgh2989, who is in Liberty Squad, was the FC.  So when the ping went out festooned with no fewer than three animated parrots I joined up.

I thought if Pitts was here we might not be having a Liberty Squad op.  I was wrong, but I only figured that out when it was too late.

The call was for Baltecs, a fleet composition built around the Megathron battleship.  I actually had a few options for this, including a Megathron left over from last year’s war, sitting in my hangar.  I decided to go with Logi though, hopping into an Oneiros and putting on the Emergency Response SKIN.

Oneiros in the hangar

I could have gone with a Guardian… I have a few of those sitting around as well… but being free of the cap chain for an evening had its appeal.  So I got in the logi channel while the fleet came together.

There are any number of reasons why I avoid main fleet ops.  They tend to be ponderous operations, full of strangers who will talk on and on in a fleet of 150 people about not being able to find a something in the hangar.  There are a variety of FCs, each with their own quirks and pet peeves.  And they fly battleships, which are slow to get places.  This is why you join SIGs and squads, to fly with a regular group… usually in cruisers.

While things were getting sorted I undocked and sat on tether, wondering where we were headed.

Hanging on the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A

Of course, the battleship slow travel problem isn’t always problem.  Not when you have the reconstituted Eye of Terror jump bridge network running from Period Basis all the way up into Cloud Ring.  When the fleet got going Pitts essentially gave us three way points, each corresponding to an Ansiblex jump gate.

We were headed up to Cloud Ring and the trip was essentially “take a normal gate, take an Ansiblex, take a normal gate, take an Ansiblex, take a normal gate, take an Ansiblex, take a normal gate” and we were way up north, passing a series of Keepstars along the way.

Also, who puts a Keepstar AT THE SUN?

In Cloud Ring we took a gate into low sec and sat on a titan for a while.  The word filtered down to us that we were there to jump on anybody who formed up against an op already in progress.  We lingered there for a while… for longer than it took us to make the trip there for sure… until it was decided that nobody was going to show up.  So a cyno was lit and the bridge went up.

Time to go

We landed in Nannaras, which is way up in Lonetrek, a location that seems like a long way from home.

Obligatory fleet landing screen shot

Looking at DOTLAN navigation, that is about 40 gates away from where we started.

Up the western edge of New Eden

But with the Ansiblex network it felt like we hadn’t gone that far at all.

As for what was in Nannaras, there was a Pandemic Horde Fortizar there in its final timer.

A kill mail to be had

We warped up within range of it and joined in the shoot.

Somebody was there to gun it, so bombs were launched our way repeatedly.  This led to a lot of people hitting the “need shields” button in the fleet window, an annoyance to those of us in the logi wing because Baltecs are an armor doctrine fleet.  There was nobody around to rep shields.

But even announcing that on comms didn’t stop people from broadcasting for shields.

I actually had some shield repair drones.  Since there was little else to do for the moment, I put those out and repped some of the pricier ships.

Shield rep drones on a Bhaalgorn

However, I missed a bomb launch… there was something nobody was announcing on comms… and it wiped out my drones in one go.  So that was the end of that.  A few people were unlucky enough to drop into armor due to bombs, but otherwise it was a simple shoot.  I put out a combat drone towards the end… among other benefits, the Oneiros has a big drone bay… to get in some hits on the Fortizar just to get on the kill mail.

The small ships in the fleet also warped in to get their hits in as well, which prompted the gunner to turn on the point defense system.  That meant I didn’t have to worry about recalling my Warrior II drone, as it died pretty quickly.  But the Fortizar followed suit shortly there after, and I was on the kill mail.  Priorities.

Another dramatic explosion scene

From there we had to actually slow boat back to the Ansiblex gate network.  But we were only seven jumps or so away.  And once we arrived we were let off the leash to free burn home.  As somebody pointed out in comms, the first thing that happens is that the logi, which are all cruisers, leave the slower warping battleships behind leaving the potential for comedy/disaster.

But nobody bothered us and we were all quickly back in Delve and docked up.

Not a bad op, for main fleet.  Comms were subdued.  There were relatively few Game of Thrones spoilers mentioned and only one fan theory brought up. (The “Due to a time travel loop Bran IS the Night King” theory.)  I am not saying that comms should be silent, but there are people who seem to forget they have an audience of 150+ people.

Even with a good main fleet op I’ll be happy to be back in a Liberty Squad fleet when I have the chance.

Setting Ansiblex Timers in Geminate

Another night, another fleet.  The ping was for Eagles as usual, so I logged in and got the important bit out of the way; deciding which SKIN my Basilisk would wear.

In the new dark and moody hangar lighting

I have to figure it out in advance because you can’t change your SKIN when somebody has you locked and, being in the logi wing, I was set to be in the cap chain and locked by two other people for most of the op.  Usually I run the Emergency Response SKIN, which is done up like an ambulance, complete with flashing lights, since that goes with the Police SKIN the Liberty Squad FCs usually run on their Monitors.

This time I figured I would go all red with the Rataa Sunset SKIN.  Liberty Squad is full of faux patriotism and I tried to get the logi wing to go all red, white, and blue SKINs at one point.  In what is probably a reflection of the general population, about half the fleet embraces SKINs in some way, while the other half rejects then and wants nothing to do with them.

And so it goes.

While I was pondering that our FC, Zintage Enaka, was trying to get the fleet composition together.  Our problem of late seems to be getting the right number of boosters for the fleet.  Not that that is a new problem.  I think half the fleets I’ve gone on over the years has spent some amount of time trying to find the required boost, with a good percentage of those threatening not to undock unless they get them.  I always feel a tinge of guilt during that scenario, as I have the skills to fly a booster.  And, when it comes down to it, the job isn’t difficult.  Boosts up when the FC says, boost down when he calls for that, gently remind the FC now and again when boosts are still up when they are determined to suddenly travel.  I just hate the waste of being a booster.  Inevitably I have the wrong implant so have to buy the right one and destroy the old one to put the new one in.  Then on the next fleet they’ll need somebody with the old one and the cycle will repeat.  I’m not poor, but I’m not keen waste that much ISK nearly every fleet.  And FCs can be insistent about your implant.  I had an FC threaten to kick me if I didn’t change my implant for a move op.  A freaking move op, with no fixed doctrine and a wide mix of ships, but my implant was somehow critically important. So I gave up on that.

Instead I sat quietly in the logi channel while that got sorted.  I take comfort in the fact that, after boosters, logi is the other thing that the FC will call for before they undock.  At least I am filling one of the critical roles.

And things did indeed get settled.  Boosters were found, sufficient logi pilots filed into the fleet, and we at last undocked.  However, rather than turning the usual direction to head into The Kalevala Expanse or The Spire, we headed for a different gate.  We were headed into Geminate, the core home area of Pandemic Horde.

As we flew into their space Zintage explained that PH was off to fight with Guardians of the Galaxy… because the north is still fighting amongst themselves in addition to having us lurking about… and we were going to use this opportunity to do what we do best… fly around in circles and shoot structures.

And, specifically, Ansiblex jump gates.

Eagles shooting another Ansiblex

These have the advantage of being a bit less of a commitment than reinforcing something like a Fortizar as well as the immediate impact of disrupting the local jump gate network.  When you put them into their reinforced state they stop being able to pass ships.

While PH was away these were mostly undefended.  Mostly.  People put them on grid with Fortizars and Keepstars for a reason.

Fortizar on grid with us as well.

And somebody did wander out to take potshots at us from the Fortizar.  Killing subcaps at that distance with a Fortizar takes some serious luck, but it did mean that logi had to wake up and rep somebody now and again.

He’s shooting the boosters just to drive home some sort of point I’m sure

The gunner had his fun I guess, though he mostly complained in local about the state of Upwell structures.  He did not stop us from reinforcing the the Ansiblex under his care.

This timer means we might be back

PH times their structures for USTZ, which means we might form up for a return visit.

We moved on to the next Ansiblex on Zintage’s list.  This time nobody came out to gun the Fortizar so we just flew around the Ansiblex and fired away.

I took more screen shots

When that one was about in the bag Zintage did an ammo check to see if we had hauled enough rounds along to reinforce a third Ansiblex.  People were running dry on T1 structure bash ammo.  It turned out a lot of people had been getting deflections all along, meaning their shots were over the damage cap and weren’t being counted. Had we started out the evening with guns split and pilots only shooting half their rack we likely would have had the ammo for another target.  But thinking about that two structures in meant we were not going to make it that far.  It was time to turn for home.

Word from the north was that PH had a mixed bout with GotG up in C4C-Z4 in Fade.  However, further word was that their Munnin fleet got caught by somebody on the way home that turned the loss meter way up for them.

Zintage looked into positioning us to intercept the remains of their fleet as it gated home… some of their jump routes now being in operable… but they took a route back out of our way.  So we turned for home ourselves.

Eagles through the gate towards home

Another op success in the smoldering east of New Eden.