Tag Archives: Pandemic Legion

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.

Keepstar Down in Kinakka

In something of a replay of the Keepstar kill in Aeschee I wrote about yesterday, the Imperium and various locals formed up again earlier today to kill another Keepstar in low sec space.

This time around the Keepstar in question belonged to Waffles, the former low sec arm of Pandemic Legion.  While SniggeWaffe, the main corp that made up Waffles, was folded into Pandemic Legion late last year, Waffles still exists and holds some assets, including the late Keepstar in Kinakka.

Closing soon…

As with the Shadow Cartel Keepstar, there was a big form up for the kill, with at least seven fleets headed out to low sec, leaving time dilation effects in their wake as they traveled.

Even before we left it sounded like there would be no defenders.  As we metered fleets into the system, the titans landed and started firing, stopping the repair timer and beginning to eat away at the structure.

Titans framed between the uprights firing

I was in Kendarr’s fleet in the logi wing again.  It was the fourth subcap fleet to be pinged out, as the first three filled up before I had even logged in.  I didn’t get to spend a lot of time watching the Keepstar however as we went off to go camp the gate to the high sec system Onnamon.  That kept the faster locking combat ships in our fleet busy, knocking out about 40 kills.

We did get warped on to the Keepstar grid for a chance to get on the kill mail.

More fleets on grid

Unfortunately Kendarr would only warp us in at 100km off the Keepstar for our tag.  While I brought along a sentry drone so I would be able to drop it and take a long shot at the Keepstar, I needed to be inside of 60km to make that happen.  So I missed out on another Keepstar kill mail.  But nearly 2,000 other people made it on.  While somebody was gunning the Keepstar, no fleets came to support it.  Still, Kinakka topped the low sec charts for kills.

Kills happening in Kinakka

And so another structure on the periphery of the fight was destroyed.  The main front in Fade continues to be a grapple over i-hubs.  To get at Circle of Two we need to take those down to remove the cyno jammers so we can go after their Keepstar again.  That will be a while coming.

Friday Bullet Points from New Eden

Time for a Friday catch-up post, this time focused on EVE Online.. with a few items I won’t roll together a post for yet feel I should mention.

  • Pandemic Legion Escapes!

The bubble camp in failed to hold back an organized breakout in UALX-3.

The location of the camp

After several days of feeding TEST and the Legacy Coalition dreadnoughts and subcaps, the fleet trapped by the initial Keepstar fight in UALX-3 finally got its act together.  A subcap force cleared the area early on the 25th, allowing most of the capital force to log in and jump out, denying TEST further easy kills.  The full story, complete with video, is up over at INN.

Of course, over on Reddit, where TEST and Brave had been smugging hard in /r/eve, the tables turned as the formerly trapped returned the favor with a savage mocking of their own, made all the worse by the /r/eve moderators being on strike and only removing TOS violating posts, as opposed to their usual effort to trim back repeats and low effort bad posting.

  • More Keepstars In Peril

The war continues.  While the Legacy Coalition was sitting at their camp to try and keep the northern fleet from being a fleet in being, the Imperium moved back north and resumed its grind against the foes up there.  One Keepstar went down without a fight last night (more on that in another post) and one is set for its final timer later today tomorrow.

  • New Referral Program

This has been in place since early in the month, but I thought I would mention it here.  I stuck it in the position where you put the weakest item on your list, which is to say neither first nor last.

Earlier this month CCP announced an updated/changed/new referral/recruitment program, the details of which are here.  Structured like an event for The Agency, you can accrue better rewards by recruiting more people to the game, including special ship SKINs.

Are you recruited or have you been recruited?

All of this hit with the usual damp squib effect for which CCP can be famous.  The forum thread about it accrued a long series of “fix my thing!’ posts and other complaints about the game, not one of them new.  The video released to push recruiting also had its detractors.  It certainly didn’t feature much of the game, with the whole thing feeling more like a Farmer’s Insurance ad.

The old recruitment links have been migrated to the new system, though I am not sure that will help me.  I’ve had a recruitment link up at the bottom of the side bar over on EVE Online Pictures for more than five years, have had people click it and tell me they have subscribed, and have never received any reward or notification.  So my own reaction to the program was cool as well.

  • Alliance Tournament Starts Tomorrow

The annual Alliance Tournament kicks off tomorrow, speaking of things to which my reaction has always been a bit chilly.

Episode XVI – EVE NT Takes Over

I tend to be a purist about EVE Online.  In my world view, everything that affects the game happens within the game on the single server which we all share.  So an e-sports event, with a set of arbitrary rules, which only certain elites can join in on, that takes place outside of the game, and which rewards the winners with PLEX and special ships that come back into the game, is contrary to the spirit of the game in my view.

Also, EVE Online is difficult to watch on a stream if you want to get a good sense of what is really happening and the volunteer commentators… can vary in quality.  Not everybody can be Elise Randolph or Jin’taan’s tie.

But some of the kids seem to like it and certain groups pretty much fold up shop to concentrate on it every year.  I am surprised there is a war on currently, as I have no doubt key people are fully invested in it.

Anyway, the first rounds of the Alliance Tournament start tomorrow.  There is a detailed Dev Blog up about the event, with links out to all the information you need.  There is also a site setup where you can see all of the pending matches and make your own predictions, and INN has a post up with the prize ships and a last minute rule change.  The matches themselves will be streamed on the CCP Twitch channel throughout the weekend.

While CCP is providing the prizes as usual, this year also marks the handing over of the running of the Alliance Tournament to the staff at EVE NT, who will be streaming the event from their studio.

Addendum: Four teams are out of the event, so four other teams get a pass in the first round.

Astrahus Brawl in GE-8JV

Monday night a ping went out from Asher Elias noting that he would be leading a fleet Tuesday evening.  I am always happy to go on an Asher fleet so I made sure I was home and ready to go at the appointed time.  I wasn’t sure what we were up to, but I was willing to  go along for the ride.

When the ping for the fleet went out on Tuesday as expected the doctrine was Cerberuses and Caracals.  We would be spewing heavy missiles.  I had a doctrine Cerberus ready, a ship I hadn’t flown since Asher took us up to Tribute for one of the battles around Circle of Two’s Keepstar in M-OEE8.  I still had the remote sensor booster fit from that fight that was used to boost Asher’s FC ship.  I mentioned that in fleet chat and he told me (and a few other pilots) to leave the remote sensor booster fit and do the same for this fleet.

Meanwhile another ping went out for CapSwarm, of which I am also a member, calling for a dreadnought form up.  The a ping for a frigate support fleet to take off the excess pilots from the Cerb fleet as it had filled to capacity very quickly.  A fight was said to be likely and the dreads seemed to indicate that a structure might be involved.

Dreads undocking from the Keepstar

It seemed to me that we might just be shepherding the capital ships to a target, where they would do the shooting while we flew cover, swooping in at the last bit to tag the target so as to get on the kill mail.  So off we went, taking a jump bridge as the caps jumped, then it was time to spread out and cover gates and the might dreadnoughts lumbered along.

Watching Naglfars take a gate

However, once there the situation was different than I had assumed.  There has been an ongoing series of battles in the Catch region around GE-8JV and V-3YG7 between the locals, made up of Brave Newbies, TEST, CO2, Drone Walkers, and FCON and a force being led by Pandemic Legion that includes their usual host of allies from the north.  PL already has a foothold in the region so fights have been coming up nightly.  SynCaine was in one of the fights the night before.

This particular fight was over the armor timer of a Brave Newbies Astrahus in GE-8JV.  Nothing to do with us in the Imperium really.  Some locals a couple regions over trying to fight off PL who has grabbed a foothold in order to farm them for fights.

But we were not there to third party.  We were actually there to help Brave Newbies, working with them and TEST to shoot Pandemic Legion and its allies.  But it was a bit complicated.  We mostly didn’t shoot at Brave, and restrained ourselves from shooting TEST too much, but their other allies, such as CO2 and FCON, enjoyed no such prohibition on our part.  At one point during the fight an FCON Svipul fleet hove into range and we shot it up with gusto.

But mostly we shot Pandemic Legion and their friends, who were out there with Machariels and some dreads of their own.

Hostiles Machs ahoy… the target is painted

Our fleet was there to kite, moving fast into range to spew missiles but never sitting still long enough to get pinned down, Asher leading us from his Phantasm.  I even remembered to take the right drugs for the op.

Some drugs are good, mkay

The flight time bonus for Antipharmakon Toxot (part of the reason few use drugs is you cannot tell what they hell they do from the name) is for missiles, effectively giving them an extended range.  Missiles take time to move from launcher to target, but they will chase things down so long as they have the range to get to them.

The fight itself was both fast and slow.  Zooming around in the fast cruiser fleet put us all around the battle.

Cerbs and Caracals zooming through bubbles

However, there was also time dilation to deal with.  It wasn’t as bad as in some fights, but it got bad enough a couple of times that I was having problems cycling my launchers on to new targets.  They would get stuck in the red flashing cool down state and I would have to hit F1 a few times to clear them.  A side effect of that is a couple of times the next target was gone before the launchers cycled, so the missiles would launch against Asher, who I had to keep targeted to run the remote sensor booster on him.  A volley now and then barely scratched him, though if he had been blown up… and a group tried to headshot him at one point… it might have been a bit awkward to be on his kill mail.  We’re not NCDot.

As it turned out the dreadnoughts, who I thought might be playing the starring role in our effort, were merely a force in being for the fight, hanging out in the vicinity as a warning to others against escalating to supers.  They just sat and waited.

Fortunately the wait wasn’t too long.  The armor timer limited the amount of time we were going to stick around, though I honestly never saw if the Brave lost the timer or if Astrahus repaired itself and reset the whole destruction process.  At one point I saw the citadel repairing, but I didn’t see the end result.  It wasn’t ours and there wasn’t a kill mail to be had on it this fight, so I wasn’t paying close attention to that.

Our fleet did well enough.  We had a few deaths, mostly due to people falling off the anchor and flying off into space on their own due to a mis-click or not having their MWD running.  The ECM frigate fleet that went with us however got roasted.  I think the FCON Svipuls were shooting them while we were shooting the Svipuls.

There is a battle report that shows the results of the fight.  Of course, results are in the eye of the beholder.  That report is laid out from our point of view, with green being us, red being the people we were trying not to shoot, and blue being those we shot early and often.

GE- Battle Report, Imperium Perspective

If you were one of the locals, you might sort the columns in a different way.  My only regret was that I did not divert off course long enough to get on Dirk MacGirk’s kill mail, though looking down the list I see at least one of the pilots in our fleet took that route.  It is always just a bit more fun to get on the kills of the space famous.

But once the object was complete… for somebody… it was time for us to rally up and then escort the dreads back home.

Cerb fleet together

That was slow, but not intolerably slow.  The dreads were willing to build up a little extra jump fatigue at the end of the night, so just about three hours after we started to form up we were back at the keepstar with the capital ship size bee floating above it.

Capital of the Imperium

And since it was at the three hour mark, we got a second participation link.  So in one fleet I got some kills, a kill mail of my own (top damage and the final blow, so another kill mark on my Cerb), and half my participation quota for the month.  5/5 – would fleet up again.

INN has a post up about the fight, which is much more high level than this.  I only saw it after I finished up this post.  Technically the Imperium wasn’t there to third party because we were helping one side, though we effectively third partied because I think we ended up shooting everybody at some point.  I am on one Brave and five TEST kill mails.  Oops.

Addendum: This fleet is also where I first heard about Swarm Simulator, a time waster browser game my daughter called “Cookie clicker with just numbers!”

FR-B1H – Force Auxiliaries can Save Your Supers

In hindsight, it was probably a pretty sure thing that an alliance prone to dropping capitals without sufficient force auxiliary support would end up paying for it.  Faxes aren’t that expensive as far as capitals go and enough of them will save your supers.

And so it happened to Circle of Two when they collided with Pandemic Legion and Goonswarm yesterday in FR-B1H in Impass.  There is a report about the fight up at EN24 by a member of PL that details how things played out.  But the net result was five CO2 titans down and about 870 billion ISK in losses overall for the alliance.

Battle Report divided into the usual sides

This all happened while I was at work, as these things tend to.  Even B-R5RB started while I was at the office, it just carried on long enough for me to finish work, go home, eat dinner, and then join in.  But it was all over Reddit and the topic of the day on coalition coms last night.  I’ve already heard/read a few variations of the fight and how it escalated, but the main items seem to agree and from that a couple of items stand out.

The first is the use of force auxiliaries, or faxes, and CO2’s lack of them as they jumped into the fight.  This allowed the CO2 supers to be destroyed as there were not enough repair reps on field to save them.  CO2 seemed to be following a policy of “jump first, organize later” in order to first save the initial Rorqual and then to counter the growing PL capital fleet.

And I compare this to my own experience with this sort of situation.  In fact, not that many hours before the events in Impass the Imperium faced a similar situation in Y-OMTZ in Delve.  Again, Pandemic Legion was dropping dreads, this time on a Rorqual in our space.  A Ping went out for an fast fleet form with an emphasis on faxes.  The coalition has been pushing for everybody to train into and have a fax on hand.  We formed up, got undocked, and once a critical mass had been met… and the cyno inhibitor that PL dropped was destroyed… we jumped in as a mass.  That led to a less out-of-balance battle report result.

The drop at Y-OMTZ

We were even able to save a Leviathan that jumped in on its own and looked to done for until we landed and were able to rep it with the faxes on grid.  Coming in mass with lots of reps changed the result.  PL came out ahead, but the exchange hit both sides about the same.  If we had been able to save the single Hel we lost, the ratio would have been in our favor.

The counter drop on the field in Y-OMTZ

The second item that stands out from what I heard was how fighters were deployed on both sides.  PL came armed with space superiority fighters, the fighters meant to shoot down opposing fighters.  On the CO2 side of things it is alleged that, when asked whether or not his carrier pilots should bring space superiority fighters, GigX responded that they should not because he would not be calling fighters as targets.

This led to CO2’s carriers and super carriers losing almost 400 squadrons of fighters (seen here), adding 5 billion ISK to their loss total and rendering many of their carriers impotent as they ran out of fighters to deploy.  That couldn’t have helped out the CO2 cause.  Having counters to fighters ought to be another lesson learned here.

Another day in New Eden.

I haven’t been keeping close count of titan kills for a while, but adding FR-B1H to the last list I made sorts events out as such:

  • B-R5RB – 74 titans down (plus one on the way to the fight)
  • FR-B1H – 5 titans down
  • Okagaiken – 4 titans down
  • Asakai – 3 titans down
  • KVN-36 – 2 titans down

Have there been any other multi-titan loss events to add to that list.

Finally, I guess I have to give credit to CO2 for one thing.  In our battle we failed to save two of the three Rorquals that got dropped.  CO2 saved theirs.  So they have that going for them.

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.

Another Night, Another Keepstar Fight

This is becoming a regular thing.

Saturday night, after having gone out to see Rogue One, gone out to dinner, come home and watched Star Wars: Episode IV, I finally wandered around to my computer to see what was going on in New Eden.

Jabber had been up long enough that there was a ping about reinforcements going off to attack a Pandemic Legion CHAOS Keepstar up in the system of Vey.  The Imperium New Twitch stream was showing live video from the fight which showed the Keepstar coming online and the repair timer paused due it being attacked.  It seemed like there could be yet another Keepstar kill this month.

I was keen to get there and whore on the kill mail help out our fleet.

However, Vey is in the Placid region, which is Gallente empire space, and something of a haul from way down in Delve.  Also, the reinforcement fleet was well on its way.  A run by myself wouldn’t be impossible, but there were a lot of potentially hostile gates to pass through on the way there.

My first thought went to my Alpha Clone alt, Reynaldo Fabulous, who is now truly and Alpha as his account has lapsed.  He was parked in one of his hull tanked Thorax cruisers less than a dozen jumps from Vey.  I got him out… which meant I couldn’t log anybody else into the game… and headed that direction, but got caught on a gate camp in Renarelle and blown up, sending him back to Jita.  I put the kill rights he got up for sale at a low price and logged him out.

Getting to the fight now meant doing something with my coalition characters, both of whom were down in Delve.  I logged them in and looked at where they had jump clones.  Wilhelm’s closest was in Badivefi, which isn’t much closer than Delve.  But my alt had a clone in Amarr, which wasn’t too far from the fight.  So I jumped him up there.

Once in Amarr, I grabbed the fitting for the target painting Vigil that goes along with most of our fleet compositions and bought that and fit it all up (“buy all” and “fit” buttons for the win!) and set a course for Vey.  Once in motion there, I jumped Wilhelm to Badifevi and put him in a support Crucifier I had stashed there, undocked him, and set his autopilot to the last high sec station on the way to Vey, just in case I needed backup.

Then it was back to my alt who quickly got into Placid, bypassing any trouble right up the gate from Agoze to Vey… and the trouble there was time dilation.  I went from fast moving space straight into the soul-sucking sludge that is 10% tidi surrounding a big fight.  The warp tunnel almost seemed to stop and everything was in super slo-mo.

Which was a bit of a surprise after the 5,337 pilot battle at M-OEE8 because the numbers were less than half that when I hit the system.

Time dilation factor 10

Time dilation factor 10

From what I heard over the weekend, the big fight at M-OEE8 actually got to use the super Jita node (so the Jita market had problems that day) while this fight was just a standard reinforced node.  Judging from coms, the node had not been up to the load and people had been dumped from the game a while back.  But I was there at last and joined up with Asher’s Machariel fleet because… well.. Asher.

Landing on the Machs

My Vigil landing on the Machs

They were right in at the Keepstar.  I got in an orbit around the anchor and started painting the targets being called, which at that moment were fighters.

Target painter running as I fly under the structure

Target painter running as I fly under the structure

I also locked up the Keepstar and sent a missile its way just to get some damage in while I had the chance.  It still had quite a ways to go, but seemed to in peril.

Keepstar and two fighters targeted

Keepstar and two fighters targeted

However, by that time Pandemic Legion had gotten themselves assembled and began dropping their considerable capital ship assets on the Keepstar in order to defend it.  The weight of that turned the tide in their favor.

Capitals landing on the Keepstar

Capitals landing on the Keepstar

While others in the fleet had been going for five hours or more for this battle, including time spent forming up and flying out, we were now aligning for the out gate and heading home just minutes after I had arrived.  I tabbed out and stopped Wilhelm’s slow autopilot progress to the fight and sent him back the way he came, then aligned with the rest of the fleet as we, TEST, and other attackers sought to exit the system.  The Keepstar was going to be saved.

We slowly warped off to the gate and then waited there a bit until everybody arrived.  Then we jumped through and back into playing EVE Online and its normal pace, leaving all but residual bits of time dilation behind us as we made the trip back down to Delve.  That put us into Cloud Ring and then through the well trod path down the length of Fountain to Delve.  I stuck with the fleet for the ride home just in case we ran into any opposition… though a nearly 200 ship strong Machariel fleet would need some serious opposition for there to be a real problem.

Aside from a Sabre along the way, the route was clear and we arrived in Delve where a titan was waiting on a citadel to bridge us back to the staging system.  A cyno was put up at the far end, the bridge went up, and we went to jump through.

Bridge up on the titan

Bridge up on the titan, second titan in the background

However, before much of the fleet managed to jump, the titan, ran out of helium isotopes, the fuel consumed to put up the bridge and then to send each ship through, so those left behind were not going to be taking that bridge.  I made it, but others were still sitting there.  However the fleet was in luck as there was another titan on the citadel. It had a jump portal generator fit and enough fuel in its bay to send the rest of the fleet on home.  The fleet op was over. (More about jump drives and such if you are interested.)

We did not get a Keepstar kill, but the whole thing… and the fact that this was the third Keepstar battle in just over a week… made me start wondering about the state of Keepstar and citadel proliferation.  Pandemic Legion and its allies are going back to the old rental space model in null sec starting with the territory they just conquored in Tribute, which will likely expand into the Vale of the Silent region now that TEST and CO2 are moving south to stage in Derelik with an eye towards taking territory in Catch.

With a solid income stream behind them again and a strong capital fleet available to drop in defense (that whole “last war” polemic has not aged well) Pandemic Legion can keep putting up Keepstars and Fortizars to make a fairly unassailable perimeter. They won’t be able to hold more than half of null sec like the Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition rental empires of old, but they may not need to.  Fozzie Sov upgrades to null, citadels, jump fatigue, and overwhelming local superiority in supercaps likely means they can settle in for a long and lucrative stay in the north in some prime territory with easy access to Jita.  The ISK rolls in while whatever neighbors they have will keep the line members entertained.

With more than seven thousand citadels deployed already back during EVE Vegas, maybe citadel proliferation should be a Blog Banter topic?  Or maybe supercapital proliferation as a topic, since “build more supers” seems to be on every null sec power’s list of things to do?  Or maybe we can just do a Blog Banter about how the more things change, the more they stay the same or Malcanis’s Law or any of the usual tunes we all know the words to after more than a decade in New Eden?

Addendum: And the official rental space announcement is up on Reddit.  You can join Rate My Ticks (RMT, ticker: WERMT) and rent some prime space real estate in Tribute.  It is good stuff.  I know, I used to live there.

Addendum: EN24 has a post about the wider battle, as my perspective was pretty narrow.