Tag Archives: Pure Blind

Rebuffed Again in X-7OMU

We had another op out of Cloud Ring run last night.  The ping popped up as I was sitting down, so I logged right in and got in the fleet.  We were once again headed out in Sacrileges, so I went with the logi wing in my Guardian.  As we were getting ready I stepped away for a minute, got distracted, and when I got back I heard the FC, Kocicek, telling us to align for the Ansiblex.  I quickly hit the undock button and got out just in time to pick up the warp and follow the fleet, jumping through not too far behind.  By the next gate I was caught up.

Sac fleet outbound

We took the same route we took the other day after the move op, heading up to 6RCQ and into Pure Blind.  It was gate, Ansiblex, gate, and so on until we hit our first waypoint, KLY-C0.  There an armor timer was coming out on a Pandemic Horde Raitaru, which we formed up and shot, sending it to the final timer.

Just a blob of us flying around

That done, we warped off to a Fortizar of our own and met up with a titan who quickly bridged us off to our next destination, X-7OMU.

Off we go

There again.  That was where we had a tough time after the move op, and PanFam and the locals were formed up and waiting for us again, with Abaddons and Muninns and capital support, again.  This was another armor timer, thus not the final fight for the structure, so I suppose there was some question as to whether they would show up.  Question answered.

We got on grid with the Astrahus, as we did back on Saturday, and started putting damage on it as the time came out.

Circling the Astrahus

Unlike the last fight, where we left the citadel grid to take the fight elsewhere, this time we stuck it out.  It did not go well.  The gunner on the Astrahus was throwing a mix of damage and void bombs at us, the latter which can disrupt even cap chaining Guardians.  The void bomb hits and your capacitor is suddenly empty to the point that your cap transfer modules turn off and if you’re not paying attention you can find yourself drained and falling behind.

Meanwhile the damage bombs were keeping everybody broadcasting while the web on the Astrahus was on our anchor to slow us down, though we kept swapping anchors in order to mitigate that.  And then the hostile fleets came out to get us.  Things seemed to fall apart about then, though I was very busy following broadcasts for damage.

At one point Kocicek warped us and I caught the warp just as an interdictor bubbled the fleet, so I was alone until I could turn around and warp back to the fleet with a couple other ships that happened to be as quick to align as I.  That broke the cap chain where I was until I got back in range, by which time one of my cap buddies was down, as were two of the alternate anchors.

Kocicek told us to starburst as a bubble went up and warp to a safe.  I was getting yellow boxed as that happened, but had quickly scooted out of the bubble that was on us and was warping off as damage began to hit.  I was going to get away.

Almost on my way out… just pixels left on that align bar…

And then another bubble went up and I was just inside of it, cancelling my warp.  I scooted out of that, overheated my hardeners, and set myself to warp once more.  Damage was landing and I had to move to align and things looked pretty dicey for a bit there.  And the warp drive kicked in and I was off.

The hull is still half full, right?

I had warped to a planet, but wanted to get away from there, so warped to another in order to make at least a mid-point bookmark.  But X-7OMU is one of those huge systems and I fell out of warp before I made it to my destination, my capacitor drained.

So there I was, wandering at a mid-point in the system, halfway into my structure, heat damage on my lowers (and no nanite repair paste, I seemed to have forgotten it), and not really in any shape to do anything but hide.  However, Kocicek spoke up and told us to warp to him when he said to… so I got that up and ready to click… and he said “Warp to me…” and I was off.  And then he counted down from three, so I landed way off from him, but still on grid and close enough to get the fleet warp that pulled us all off to the J-CIJV gate, where we jumped out of the system.

An unguarded way out

We went from there to G95-VZ where we tethered up on yet another Fortizar we have hanging around the region and the repair function slowly took care of my hull, armor, shields, and heat damage.

Repairing on the Fort

From there the way home was pretty straightforward.  Once everybody was ready we made our way back to the end of the Ansiblex network and headed back to Cloud Ring from whence we had started.

Back in the Cloud Ring nebula

The fight, such that it was, did not go well for us.  The battle report, which looks incomplete to me… though if you don’t get on a kill you don’t appear on the list and we got precious few kills… shows us taking a pasting for very little gain.  We lost the objective and over 100 ships for only 9 real kills.

Battle Report Header – Click to Enlarge

But we cannot win them all.  Mistakes were made, ships were lost, and hopefully some lessons were learned, as I am sure we will be back again.

During the fight I did see Riverini get called as a target, one of the few I I recall coming up.  The experience of the fight was invigorating enough that he actually wrote about in on EN24, his first post in quite a while.  There was also a short AAR on Reddit, again highlighting that this was not a shining moment for the Imperium.

Lurching into Cloud Ring for War

As I mentioned in a previous post, the promise of a deployment was set to be fulfilled this past weekend.  The Mittani told us that come the Fireside on Saturday we would learn our destination and foe and the Goon Expeditionary Force would sail off on a new adventure.

The left bee is the official one, but I still like the CompuServe logo on the other one…

And then we got to the Fireside and he didn’t tell us.  We were still going.  It was still the traditional short speech and then into fleets to head out.  But he declined to tell us our destination or foe.

His justification was that some of the null sec watchers had declared that they knew exactly where we were going, but wouldn’t say where or even hazard a public guess, so Mittens said he wanted to keep them guessing since that was a pretty sure sign they didn’t know.

This sort of thing happens every time the word is out that we are going to deploy.  I was writing about the same thing almost exactly a year ago in the run up to our deployment north to glass Tribute.  So I don’t doubt that this time was any different.  And we would find out soon enough as the meeting ended and pings for move op fleets went up.

The doctrines for the deployment had been announced, the the usuals taking the lead.  I got out a Guardian for the Sacrilege fleet doctrine, loaded it up with extra drugs and replacement drones and a few other special refit items and got undocked and ready to go.  I always want to go in the first move op.  That is usually where you learn the most… and where the most screw ups happen.

Once again on the Keepstar undock

You can see a bunch of capitals… dreads, carriers, and faxes… on the undock with me.

I put my alt in a bomber as there was a special ping for those, so I figured that would be the next most important doctrine to get up there.  I was wrong on that.  Something for the Jackdaw fleet would have been better, but there is always time for another run.

The capitals jumped to their first destination while the subcaps formed up on a titan to be sent on our way.  It was quickly clear we were headed north, going up the Eye of Terror towards Cloud Ring and points north.  This is a well worn route for me these day.  When we lived up north we flew to Delve or Fountain to fight every summer.  Now we live in Delve and we fly north to fight every summer.

So we landed in ZXB-VC to cover the capitals as they took the gate into Fountain.

That gate sees a lot of traffic

The trip through Fountain can be short.  There is an Ansiblex from the first system to a mid point, where everybody takes a gate to get on the Ansiblex to the last system and the gate to Cloud Ring.  This can be a 2 minute run in an interceptor.

Pushing a thousand people… and there were over a thousand in the ops channel, which means there were more ships passing though as many of us were flying two or three… through the pipe ends up with time dilation hitting pretty hard.  At times we saw it drop well into the teens.

That is some slow times

So we shepherded the caps as they moved along.  For the Anisiblex jumps they had to put their armor plates offline in order to get under the maximum mass limit for the jump bridges.  This was where we found a few people who brought the wrong ship, like the guy in the Nyx who complained on coms that the Ansiblex wouldn’t let him go through.  Supers and titans cannot pass though, so he was stuck part way up the pipe with a convoy that was going to leave him behind.

Others had to be prompted to offline their plates repeatedly and there was the usual person who decided to AFK in their capital mid-op or who ended up going the wrong way.  There is always room for confusions on these ops.

There was also a bit of waiting for a few titans that were coming with us, no doubt to bridge us places later, who had to make the jumps themselves rather than using the Ansiblex jump bridges.  So it was a slow time getting to J5A-IX at the far end of the region.

Hanging on the gate to Cloud Ring

Once the last big boy passed we were finally able to move into Cloud Ring.

And it fits?

There, if anything, the tidi got worse.  This was no doubt because the fleet was all together again and because Cloud Ring isn’t really a busy region, so it doesn’t have the most robust servers running it.  We turned to take the jump bridge, which sent us to F7C-H0.  At that point I thought we were going to head into low sec, which is even worse when it comes to tidi and moving big fleets.  Our jump got us to max tidi.

The system is working hard now…

But rather than venture further, we settled into the Keepstar there.  This was our destination, at least for now.

On the Keepstar

That told us our destination, but I wasn’t exactly clear who our foes were going to be.  From that location we could move into Fade or Pure Blind, but we were also on the boarder of low sec regions Placid and Black Rise.

And the first op I went on didn’t help out much on that score.  We formed up a Sacrilege fleet and flew into Pure Blind, passing through 6RCQ-V where we have a Keepstar from a past deployment already.

Sac fleet going through the gate

From there we flew to X-7OMU to attack a Pandemic Horde Astrahus that was at the armor timer.

Astrahus in sight

They were waiting for us and we ended up in a brawl with a fleet of Muninns and some Abaddons with Fax support.  Some Jackdaws showed up to help us, and it turned into a running fight over a few systems.  We lost the objective and the ISK war, but it was a pretty intense brawl.

It was in the middle of that brawl that I realized I hadn’t taken all the extra stuff I had packed along out of the cargo hold.  However, I managed to survive my turn as the primary, though we ended up losing half of our Guardians along the way.  The Muninn fleet logi was also hard hit as the same people in fresh Scimitars was killed a few times after reshipping.  Towards the end of the fight they started showing up in Kirins, frigate logi, as the word was that they had run out of Scimitars.

Most of the fight took place in KLY-C0, but it ran across a few systems.  I think I caught it all in the battle report.

Battle report header – click to enlarge

The odds were pretty even, and the enemy was able to reship and rejoin the fight, so you’ll find a few logi who were blown up a couple of times.  The joy of fighting on your own turf.

Despite a couple of close calls, and that guy at the end in a Cynabal who chased me for a bit, I was able to get home with the remains of the fleet, where I pulled all the extra baggage out of my cargo hold.

So I guess we’re fighting… whoever is near by.  Pandemic Horde and the Conifers and their allies.  We shall see.  More move ops happened as the weekend went on and the order is to get the market stocked for people to be able to reship.  So as long as CCP doesn’t go full Hurricane Hilmar on us again, like they did last year, we seem to be stuck in for a fighting deployment.

Somebody did a video with some scenes from the move op, if you want to see it in action.

 

There is a section in the video of some subcaps sitting on the ZXB gate. (It is the small gate, a smuggler’s gate, that is different from the empire gates.)  I am in that fleet.

So we’re up north.  At least we made the move without getting ambushed, which was what happened during a similar move op five years ago this month.

Fortizar Defense Brawl in JE-D5U

Another trip up north, up the Eye of Terror and into Pure Blind.  I’ve been up north a few times to defend one structure or another and a fight has yet to show up for me.  Not that there haven’t been some fights lately, it just hasn’t seemed to happen when I’ve been on the op.

But last night things finally rolled my way.  There was yet another Fortizar to defend up in the north and the word was that PanFam and the locals were going to form for it.  Maybe the other side was emboldened by killing our Keepstar. (Unanchored, and in a freighter, but they still killed it in the end.)

Anyway, the call went out for the op, but Asher had pinged Reavers a bit before looking for some people to fly ECM burst interceptors.  I’ve done that before and not many people were X’ing up, so I figured I had best jump in to help there.  Also, the ships are handed out for free and during the battle you get to sit above it all and see the whole thing… not that the view helps me much, I still never get what is going on half the time even when I can see it.  I took an Ares from the offer and got ready.

Asher was set to lead the Sacrilege fleet, so he had a newer FC, Kappa Hutt lead us on to the field.  So the Sac fleet and a Baltec fleet set off for the north with our interceptors flying along, peeking ahead to scout, then letting the others catch up.

My Ares in with the battleships

As we made our way along the route we caught up with some bigger ships that had started out ahead and were also making their way to the fight.

Some dreads in the mix now

We zipped ahead though… there was a gate that had been seriously bubbled, but that doesn’t bother interdiction nullified interceptors… and arrived in JE-D5U up in Pure Blind ahead of most of our fleet, but there were already over 300 hostiles in the system according to local.  There was going to be a fight it seemed, and the timer was counting down.

Less than six minutes to go

As the other fleets arrived we set about bookmarking our perches over the potential battlefield.  The plan is generally that we sit cloaked on a perch while the FC scans down a potential target, often the FC of a hostile fleet who is usually out in front of the pack.  Then we get the word to uncloak, overheat our burst jammer, and align, at which point the FC warps everybody beside himself onto the target.  We land, started warping back to a bookmark, then set off our ECM burst.  If the warp was good we’ll be in the middle of some hostiles and break some of their target locks… this is especially good if we land in the logi… and be warping back before anybody has a chance to take a shot at us.  Done right you don’t even get any heat damage on your mid slots because the burst goes off as you’re going into warp, which shuts down the module.

So we got ourselves in place as the timer counted down and the fleets got into position.  A fight seemed guaranteed as there were quickly over a thousand people in the system, with TEST dropping in to third party on the event, and even some notable PanFam FCs on grid like Vince Draken and Headliner leading Muninn fleets.

Hostile Muninn fleets getting ready

The timer hit and the repair cycle started, which meant we had to defend the Fortizar for 30 minutes while it repaired, though that 30 minute timer could be paused or pushed back by hostile fire on the Fort.  It was on.

Fight around the fort begins

Kappa Hutt was having a bit of a problem getting a probe signature on a good target.  Time dilation and system responsiveness was really bad, with the tidi number well below 30% for most of the fight, and into the 10% for some stretches.  Still, he got something and we got ourselves ready to go.

Uncloaked on a perch above the fight

We were then thrown into the fray to set off our jammers.  I landed pretty well the first time and got off some jams.

In with the hostile logi even

Meanwhile, the forces on the fort broke tether and were shooting up the attackers as they ran past the structure.

A Baltec Megathron on the fort

We warped off and back to our perches where we waited for the next target.  The scanning interface was acting up for Kappa still and for a few runs SpyFly Catharsis found wrecks for us to warp to, which worked as well if we timed it right.

Once again into the mix

We were getting good warps and I don’t think I went in even once where I didn’t get at least break a few target locks on hostiles when I landed.

Along the way I got a pop up that a bounty had been collected on Nkosis when his Sacrilege went down.  I think I have mentioned him before, but he is a newer addition to the coalition who is so enthusiastic and positive about the game that he has become something of a celebrity in his own right in the Imperium.  But being a celeb means he gets razzed as well and at some point he got a bounty place on him, which he didn’t like and said so, at which point everybody started adding to his bounty total with an eye towards getting him to the number one spot.  He was into the top ten last I checked.  I, too, put a bounty on him, so now I get a notification every time he gets blown up when I am in game. (I used to put bounties on our FCs as that pop up was often the quickest way to find out the FC was down.)

We had a bit where we had gone so many times in a row that we didn’t have enough capacitor to make a run, the ECM module needing over 200 units of power to activate on top of the bit you need to get your warp in and out.  This was when the system was into the 10% tidi zone, which is the slowest the game will go and, if that isn’t enough, controls begin to lag and your commands may get ignored.  Waiting for cap to refill during that was excruciating.  Somebody suggested we wait for our weapons timer to go down and just warp to the fort to tether and fill up our capacitors, but at 10% tidi having just 15 seconds left on the time meant nearly a three minute wait.

Still, tidi hits everybody.  The targets were as slow as we were and were not going to get away.  Cap was restored and we were sent in again for more runs.

Aligned for another run

By the the tidi was starting to relax a little bit, or at least get up into the low 20s, and Kappa was able to get good probe locks on some likely targets, so we spent some time dropping on names I recognized.

Coming for Vince

Down around the fort, the repair timer vacillated between running down and being paused, but kept moving slowly towards the structure being repaired.  By the time we got past the worst tidi it stood at around ten minutes.  We kept on going.

Landing on the hostiles again

At about the eight minute mark on the timer it seemed like the battle had been decided.  The hostiles pulled some distance and “gf” for “good fight” started getting spammed in local by them.  Some “fofofo” appeared in local as well, which I am going to guess was from Asher’s sac fleet as he is the only FC I know who still does the “fofofo” for victory.

From that point tidi began to ease up and we were released to go loot the field if we wanted.  Being in interceptors would seem to give us an advantage, but Goons will plunder like no others.  I didn’t come up with anything.

Somebody dropped an MTU, which is always a target on a battlefield no matter which side drops it.  I zipped over and got in on that kill.

Not that I needed another kill mail.  Landing on fleets and setting off an ECM burst puts you on the kill mail of anybody you jammed should they get blown up after you’re there.  My kill board was well padded by the end of the battle, with 111 new entries, enough to get me momentarily onto the top ten for KarmaFleet.  (The last time I did that I was also doing ECM bursts.  It is a kill mail whore’s dream.)  Most of them were hostile ships, but there were not a few blue targets on the list and quite a few pods.  A few of us even got the final blow for pods that were self destructing when we hit them.

The timer ran down and the fort was safe.

Tethered off the save Fortizar

At that point we were done.  Kappa set us free to head home, which should have been a quick ride in some interceptors.

Back through gates towards Delve

There were some bubbled gates along the way, but an Ares just passed through bubbles.  I was feeling somewhat invulnerable flying home, which I should recognize by now as a sign of impending doom.

My usual travel Ares has a 1.83s align time, and the game lore is that if your align in under 2 seconds you cannot be caught unless you are extremely unlucky.  But this Ares, fit for ECM burst runs, had a 2.03s align time, which means 3 seconds by the way EVE Online calculates, which means it can be caught.  It isn’t likely, but somebody who is good in the right ship can get you.

And they got me in Cloud Ring with a camp that was primed and ready to catch anything possible.  Normally I am inclined to attribute losses to my own incompetence rather than claim my foe was really good, but I think this crew was actually pretty good at this.  I was toast and knew it almost instantly.  Kind of a sour point to end the evening and I always feel bad when I lose a hand out ship, but it happens.

As for the fight, it seemed to be lauded by both sides as a good fight.  Asher posted a salute to the attackers on Reddit and other related posts seemed to be similarly warm and fuzzy about a real fight going down, which was a bit of a change from the acrimony over the Keepstar thing I mentioned earlier.

The results… well, pick your battle report generator and get your results.  EVE Battle Report Repair Tool seems shy of the mark for totals while the zKillboard report is detailed but has a habit of pulling in things outside of the fight.  For a report header image I am going to go with EVE Fleet Manager, which is close to the zKillboard totals, but which lets me pull out a few oddities.  I don’t think the Guristas, for example, really took sides in that fight.

Battle report header – trimmed to the top 7 alliances –  click on it to enlarge

Overall quite a fight.  A big brawl, fairly evenly matched, lots of losses on both sides that went largely our way as we had the Fortizar to tip the balance.  And there was quite the array of space famous names from both sides.  I even saw Bad Juice, who once challenged Asher to an MMA style cage match back during a Reavers deployment.  I was happy to report in the Reavers channel that he was still around and that I managed to get on his kill mail.

That battle would probably be the beat event of the month for me, but the word is that the Goon Expeditionary Force will be deploying later today, so the promise of more fights is out there.  Or at least more structure shoots.  Mittens was using the term “glassed” again, so we might just be burning down structures somewhere.

Northward for Structure Defense

There was supposed to be a big USTZ op on Friday night, but it didn’t come off.

That was fine by me as I hadn’t been on Jabber for a couple of days so totally missed the build up.  But on the Fireside on Saturday The Mittani brought it up, apologized that it  didn’t happen, but assured us that an op would be coming up at 02:00 EVE time in order to defend timers on a couple of Fortizars up north that are part of the coalition power projection network.

The primary doctrine was to be the Sacrilege fleet, which was hyped a few times during the Fireside and in pings as the day went along, so it was probably not surprising that when 02:00 came around and the ping for the evenings fleets went out, that is the one that filled up almost immediately.

Asher was our FC and while the speed with which the fleet filled might not have been surprising, the fact that we were all in the right ships, with sufficient mainline DPS ships, boosters, and enough logi did seem to surprise him a bit.  It is a rare thing for everybody to show up on time with the right fit.  I guess if you ping at us enough about getting ready for a fleet some of us pay attention.

I opted to go with the logi wing for this op, refitting a Guardian I had in my hangar in order to meet the changes that the Surgical Strike update made necessary.  And naturally I went with the  Frontier Safeguarder SKIN from the Generosity Celebration event.  I collected the whole set for subcaps as well as a couple for force auxiliaries.

Bright and flashy

I like those SKINs even more than the Emergency Response set.  They are loud and colorful and the red and blue lights flash and it is a pretty obnoxious package, which is what I look for in a SKIN.

Meanwhile Asher was having to tell people there was no room in the fleet.  We were at 256 and he needed space to get scouts in with us.  People went off to the Munnin fleet, which I might have done as well, but I always fly with Asher when I can so I stuck with it.

We later found out that somebody in a Sacrilege joined the Munnin fleet but stayed on our coms and somehow made it through the whole evening without realizing they were messed up.  John Hartley, the Munnin FC said the Sac just carried on with them, sometimes on anchor, sometimes not, but never seemed to be fazed by their predicament.

The Munnins filled up too and a third fleet, this time Jackdaws, was formed up to handle the overflow, and then a bomber fleet for people who wanted to go that route.  This was a pretty big form up considering it was well outside of EUTZ and well into Saturday night… though I guess people aren’t really going out on Saturday night right now.

Asher was especially happy with the fleet composition as it only had a single Vigil frigate.  The Vigil is a newbie friendly option that lets people target paint to help the main line apply damage.  But you only need a few and there are times when vets pile in with them just to go along for the ride.  But when you have just one Vigil in the fleet, that pilot suddenly becomes special, their ship is the fleet morale ship, and ends up on the logi watchlist, and so it was with M4X HEADR00M.

Pilot of our morale Vigil

Once important issues like that were settled it was time to undock and start heading north.  Our destination was Pure Blind and we were off down the Eye of Terror network of Ansiblex jump gates.

To the Ansiblex

The route, at least to the Pure Blind boarder in Cloud Ring is generally a quick run… it is only 11 gates or so… until you start pushing about 700 pilots through it at the same time.  There were a lot of us jumping through together.

Gate activation for a fleet, each line representing a ship landing

And things got progressively worse as we moved along.  Delve is always active and so gets processing resources assigned to it that meant we only saw a little time dilation kicking in.  Through Fountain, a quieter region, it was more noticeable.  And then we hit Cloud Ring and we were clearly stressing the system.

Tidi hitting us hard

That is the game slowing down to 17% of normal speed for us.  We weren’t shooting anything, we were just using gates to travel.  But loading into a system is a heavy task and with three fleets going though at once.

But we pressed on, getting to the Keepstar on the boarder.

Sac fleet in warp

It was about then that information began to get passed along about the disposition of the enemy fleets.  Pandemic Horde had put together a Harpy fleet with about 100 pilots, while NCDot had wrestled together around 50 pilots for a Munnin fleet, which meant that the likelihood of there being a big fight was about nil.

At that point the fleets split up.

The Munnins went off and found a Naga fleet to wreck, then headed back home.  I never heard what the Jackdaws got up to, but word was that the bomber fleet managed to get itself wrecked shooting a structure.  And so it goes.

And the Sac fleet, we stood to and watched over the repair cycle of the Fortizars that had been reinforced.  We saw Horde in their Harpies come by a couple of times, but they didn’t want to close with us and were more than quick enough to stay out of our way.  We sat on a gate hoping to maybe catch them, but it wasn’t to be.

Sprawled about a gate in Pure Blind

At that point Asher sought to entertain us with story time in fleet.  He asked people to x-up in fleet chat if they met certain criteria for a miss-spent youth then called on people who did x-up to have them tell their story.

I thought this was going to be the time to go to the no-chatter channel, as the average person has trouble keeping stories of their life short and to the point.  My experience in life is that when somebody finally gets to the phrase, “to make a long story short…” it is far too late to hit any definition of the word “short.”

But Asher was a pretty good emcee for this, and kept people from getting too far into the weeds.  And we all learned about Jason Padgett, who became a mathematical savant after somebody beat him up.  Only one person ended up saying, “…to make a long story short…” at which point several people keyed up to say, “Too late!” as the tale had already rambled into the weeds.

The Forts repaired themselves and the hostiles didn’t look like they had much fight in them, so we flew off to reinforce a Pandemic Horde Astrahus, just to leave a calling card.  The Astrahus hadn’t even been fit yet, so we were able to knock it down through shield and armor.  Meanwhile, the “describe your crime” show went on.

After that we went over a couple of systems and shot a United Federation of Conifers Fortizar.  This had been fit, but nobody was home so we just put drones on it.  Then somebody from the UFC flew in to gun the Fort, so people who were paying attention pulled their drones.  Those who were asleep at the switch promptly lost their when the point defense system, the PDS, was switched on, wiping them all out.  So it was on to missiles to set the first timer.

Sacs firing away

Meanwhile the gunner started launching bombs at us, which woke logi up as we had to start repping people as they took damage.  I got  a good look at the logi wing around then, and was happy to see that my cap transfer buddies were both using the same SKIN I had chosen.

Cap buddies represent

Apparently we were shooting this because Brisc Rubal said on the Meta Show that he does not like the UFC, to the point that he has a coffee mug in support of his statement.  I guess they shoot at him or have some TISHU refugees or something.

Brisc, who will be running for CSM15 I hear

That kept us busy for a while, though at one point, just as we were done, M4X HEADR00M veered off and took a lot of damage from a bomb or the PDS or something got him.  It looked like the morale Vigil might go down.

Vigil in trouble!

However, he managed to survive by warping off.  At least I think he did.  I checked over on zKillboard and didn’t find a kill mail.

After that Asher warped us to one of the Guristas sites from The Hunt event, not knowing that you needed a key to get past it and had to be flying a destroyer or a frigate even if somebody had a key.

The Gate to nowhere

That lesson learned, we turned for home.  With just out fleet coming back we put less stain on CCP’s servers and did not invoke as much tidi as before.

Back home through Cloud Ring

Once you get through Cloud Ring it is just a few gates and you’re back home in Delve.

The last gate home

Overall the fleet lasted about three hours, which was kind of long.  We got two PAPs for it, which was good for those who need more.  And we even had the swarm DJ spinning for us, if you cared to tune him in. KarmaFleet has a regular Saturday Night Swarm op that usually includes him, but that had been cancelled in favor this.

It would have been better if we had gotten a fight, but it wasn’t too bad and the story time was amusing enough to keep us going.  And, of course, our structures were saved.  Op success.

Defending Distant Sovereignty

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

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

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

A grinning Avatar sends us on our way

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

Taking the Eye of Terror

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

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

On the map from DOTLAN

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

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

It is just what Sleepers are into

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

Scanning my Scalpel

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

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

Not so fast Mr. Tempest

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

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

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

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

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

Stomping About in Pure Blind and Tribute

Suppose They Gave a War and Everyone Came?

When you bring the whole team out to play it can sometimes get crowded on the field.

The war against PanFam, the “glassing of Tribute” was promoted heavily in the Imperium and that promotion was responded to enthusiastically.  As I pointed out, over a thousand individuals were on coms for the first move ops north, almost two weeks back.

A giant armada, arriving in the north and keen to blow things up… leads to some problems now and then.  There is at time a :goonrush: to get into fleets, even fleets that are not promising kill mails or combat.  I have started seeing this dialog pop up quite often.

feel the :goonrush:

That is something I am used to seeing if there has be an op pre-pringed and hurfed about before hand.  Everybody wants to go to the big battle.  But over the weekend I was seeing that come up for ops pinged as “we need to chase some people away” or “we’re going to reinforce a structure.”

At one point yesterday there was a call to sweep away a 15 person gate camp that had the temerity/bad luck to setup on a gate in our staging system and, even though I was already logged in and tabbed over to join the fleet immediately on seeing the ping, I was too late.  The fleet was full.

The gate camp seemed quite put out, complaining in local about having a 256 person fleet dropped on their camp.  Somebody pointed out that they were happy enough getting kills at a 15:1 advantage, so getting dropped on by a fleet with a 17:1 advantage over them seemed appropriate.

So, when the command team can arrange it, they do set up opportunities for larger groups to shoot things.  There was a call to blow up a Fortizar one gate over in Pure Blind from our staging.  I went over with the Eagle fleet that was called up first.  And then another fleet joined.  A fleet of Leshaks added their firepower after a bit.  Then supers dropped in.  Then the titans landed.  Everybody got a chance to take a shot at the structure.

Fortizar in the face of overwhelming force

So an undefended Fortizar… as somebody pointed out, an alliance with the name Skeleton Crew could probably not be expected to have the staff to cover such events… that the dozen Leshaks could have easily killed on their own ended up with a kill mail that had over 500 people listed on it. (There is a 4K video of this shoot if you are interested.)

For one of these ops I actually got my alt out in an Ibis just to get that on the kill mail.

Ibis supremacy

The tale of the Ibis is mildly amusing and might become a post of its own if I run out of things to write about this week, which is feeling like a distinct possibility.  I need another big fleet fight or Daybreak to do something silly or I’ll end up writing about things like the CSM14 elections.

Anyway, moving on.

The other problem with having a thousand eager pilots on hand and ready to go at any given hour of the day is that the locals in Tribute are perhaps rightly not inclined to come out to play, seeing how eager we are to drop the hammer even on immobile, undefended targets.

We did get that fight last week and, even having lost the objective and had the ISK war turn against us at a ratio of 2:1, the appetite for fleets and ops seemed to have only gone up.  People on our side came out of that fight eager for more.  In the Eagle fleet it felt like a win despite knowing the result.

The next night the call went out to form up to cover some more entosis operations and, as before, fleets filled up.

Two full fleets sitting on titans ready to go

Our goal was just to keep the enotsis ships safe as they vied with the locals over the nodes in the constellation.

The humble Drake as enotosis ship

We ended up in PNDN-V while PanFam ended up forming and sitting on the other side of the gate in 15W-GC.  Ships from either side that went through that gate got melted pretty quickly.  The gate also split the constellation in two, with us holding two systems and the locals controlling three.  That meant that we were unlikely to win the entosis war.  However, the same also went for the locals as enough nodes were spawning in our two systems that they couldn’t finish the defense.

Sitting around with not much to do, a streamer who was covering the event was linked in fleet, so we got to watch their view.  They had two views, one from either side of the gate, so we could see them and they could see us.

The streamer in question, Lumpymayo, was clearly on the PanFam side of things and much of the chat seemed to be him and his supporters calling us cowards for not coming through the gate to fight them despite the fact that we out numbered them by at least a 5:4 ratio.

Every so often we would get called to type, “Hon hon hon” into the Twitch chat, that being the adopted meme/war cry of the deployment.  This came about after we anchored the Keepstar on the doorstep of Tribute and Asher came on coms to tell us “op success.”  He asked everybody on the coms, close to a thousand people again, to all key up at once and say, “Hon hon hon,” which was to be done with a heavy French accent.  The coms chaos, recorded here, was enough to crash my client.  But the Keepstar was renamed “Hon hon hon” and that is now our local spam of choice.

After an hour or so of that the FCs had us go to the gate and jump through, and we took on the locals and their camp.  I was again in the Eagle fleet and we quickly anchored up and started shooting targets as they were broadcast.

Anchored on the Monitor

This went much more our way.  While a small engagement compared to the previous night, it was satisfying to get to blow things up all the same.   I once again got to lock up and shoot at Dreyden Trovirr from the Open Comms show.

Locked up yet again

This time around their logi was unable to support itself so Dreyden blew up along with a lot of their logi.  The enemy was chased off grid after a short clash.  The battle report showed things tilted our way.

Battle Report Header

After that there was much “Hon hon hon” in Lumpymayo’s Twitch chat and even he had to concede we had won the field that time.

Lumpymayo signals the results

Not only did we get a nice little blood letting, but we won the objective.  However, the objective wasn’t the entosis struggle in Tribute.  Rather, we were there to pin down the locals while Dead Coalition (formerly GotG) reinforced systems in Tenal, leading to the renters up there handing over a pile of structures to them.  Tenal had been the happy crabbing grounds for PanFam.  Now, however,

Over the weekend we also spent time working on the ihubs and TCUs in the 1P-VL2 constellation, which includes the famed system M-OEE8, scene of a number of famous battles.

Ihub entosis work

This went largely uncontested and on the initial pass all of the ihubs and TCUs were reinforced.  Following up on this the focus was on M-OEE8, which is the gateway system to empire space and which houses a Keepstar.  The ihub was destroyed, the TCU was flipped, and the Keepstar was reinforced.

 

GSF on the map in Tribute

The Keepstar is now down to its final timer and the question is whether or not there will be a fight over it or if this will be akin to the Fortizar mentioned at the top of the post, where we pile in a bunch of ships just to get on the kill mail of an otherwise undefended structure.

It seems possible that the locals will pass on this fight.

The rumor is that PanFam is even now planning to withdraw into the drone lands in eastern null sec, to the Malpais region, which is the core of their rental empire.  Lacking any nearby NPC or empire space, that would likely put them out of reach of the Imperium and its ability to project sufficient power to do more than harass them.  There is also word that PanFam, after the fiasco in Tenal where renter groups handed over citadels to the attackers without a fight, that they will no longer allow renters to deploy their own structures.

We shall see how much more fighting goes on in Tenal and Tribute.

Supporting sources on this topic are, unfortunately, all from INN since other sources, including Reddit, seem somewhat subdued on the topic right now.  I’ll add more if/when they show up.

Push into Pure Blind

Last Saturday the Imperium began moving forces north, out of Delve, and into Cloud Ring, stopping at the Keepstar in 6RCQ-V that was the base of operations for the was last summer.

We were told this was a temporary location, that our final staging point would be announced later.  Certainly Cloud Ring was too far away from Tribute to be an effective spot from which to launch operations.  Not that we didn’t run some into Tribute all the same from there.  The Initiative owns some ihubs in Pure Blind so there are some Ansiblex jump gates to get subcaps around.  But for capital ships it just wasn’t an ideal spot.

I previously speculated about where we might end up basing for our assault on Tribute, thinking that Hakonen, where we based previously, might be an option.  It covers the south of the region and is easily resupplied from Jita.

However, that was not the plan.  Instead GSOL dropped a Keepstar for us in KQK1-2 in Pure Blind.  The Keepstar survived its initial vulnerability window.  We just had to be sure it successfully anchored and came online.

With that in mind, the call went out for another mass form up for capitals and subcaps alike.

As the pings went out and the form up began, there were three subcap fleets called, all of which filled up almost immediately.  I had my main and my alt in two different fleets in order to move the only two ships I had on the deployment on to our new home.  I felt that this was as much a move op as anything.  It seemed unlikely that the locals would rise up against this show of force… recall how this went when we deployed the 6RCQ-V Keepstar.

When the capital fleets were called… six of them… space began to open up in the subcap fleets as capital pilots swapped over and just put their subcaps in their ship hangars to carry along with them.

As with the move op on Saturday, everybody was in the same voice coms channel, meaning that some coms discipline had to be enforced.  And, as with the move op, the capitals jumped out first, then the subcaps.  The Eagle fleet, which I was in, moved out last, though it quickly caught up with then passed the slower Baltec battleship fleet, where my alt was.

Not that anybody was going fast.  Two full fleets moving through relatively lightly populated space, plus capital jump, meant we were dragging our own bubble of time dilation with us through every constellation, spiking it with every gate jump.

We met up with the capitals on a Fortizar in low sec where we had to pick out the titan that was going to bridge us from the ball of titans surrounding the structure.

Pick a titan, any titan

This started in the usual ass backwards way with somebody telling us to “Get on the titan!” on voice coms without actually telling us which titan.  Saying, “The only one in the fleet!” wasn’t all that helpful if you had brackets turned off, and with this many ships on grid you pretty much had to have brackets turned off to get anything more than slide show level performance out of your video display.

Eventually people got their acts together and had the respective titans x-up in fleet so people could watchlist them and keep at range.  Finding the right titan from the group within 2km of you is a much easier task.

This time the Eagles went first, and we were bridged to a Fortizar in Pure Blind where we were chivvied onto first one titan then another and told to be ready to bridge.

Landing on the second Fortizar

In hindsight we were being made ready to jump in to defend the Keepstar which, at that point, was already in its repair phase.  However, we were not called to jump in and so sat on our titan as we watched the rest of the force jump in around us.

Titans making a big splash as they arrive

This time the various fleets jumped in to cynos that were a bit more spread out, so we ended up being sorted out into visibly distinct groups.

Fleets around the fort

The titans were still a big blob, but you can see the fax fleet off on the far side along with the relatively tiny capitals and subcaps.

There we waited until Asher announced over coms that the Keepstar in KQK1-2 was now online.  Then, slowly, fleet by fleet, we jumped or bridged to our new home.  Again, the Eagle fleet went last, just behind the fax fleet.

Off we go at last

Once there we were able to stand down and dock up in the new Keepstar, the 47th Keepstar owned by the Imperium.  The fuel costs alone must be a pain.

Our base in Pure Blind

It is named the Taqostar, which I am told was a Sadus suggestion.

Move ops to the new base will likely continue through the weekend.

Of course, you might ask what was the advantage of staging in KQK1-2 in Pure Blind.

If you go to DOTLAN maps and use the jump range navigation feature, it nicely shows you how many systems in Tribute are within titan jump range of KQK1-2.

Where can titans land from KQK1-2?

That is a lot of the region, enough for us to set to work on as we blow up ihubs, destroy any structures not yet taken down, and basically reset the region back to its starting state.

In the great circle of time, I have actually hung around long enough that I was in the operations that took these systems from NCDot back in 2012 and then again when we lost them all in 2016.  And now, here we are again.

Other coverage:

 

A Five Keepstar Day

While I was at work the Keepstars I highlighted earlier in the week were destroyed.  The EU time zone team got some shiny kills.

The Keepstar lineup on zKillboard

While I only mentioned four in my post it turns out that there was a fifth ready to be knocked off down in Tenerifis which TEST took care of.  The five kill mails:

All told that is at least a trillion ISK in losses inflicted in a single day without much in the way of resistance.

The question is now what happens next in the war?

 

Four Keepstar Targets in Fade and Pure Blind

Ops have already run in order to reinforce the remaining four northern Keepstar in Fade and Pure Blind.  The are scattered across two zones, so I ended up using the multi-region map for the area that is available at DOTLAN.

And then I flew out to take a peek at each of them just to see where the timers stood.  I have a general idea as ops area already on the calendar, but sometimes you just want to know the exact time.  So off I flew, first to C4C-Z4 and the first Circle of Two Keepstar.

Circle of Two Keepstar in Fade

From there I zipped over to DO6H-Q and the NCDot Keepstar.

NCDot Keepstar in Fade

Then I headed down into Pure Blind to 3V8-LJ to find the second CO2 Keepstar.

The CO2 Keepstar in Pure Blind

Then I made the last leg of the trip over to 7X-VKB to see the Darkness Keepstar.

Darkness in Pure Blind

All four are set to go this coming Wednesday, September 19th, at various early hours of the day.  At least early for me, sitting here on the West coast of the US.

Map of Fade, Pure Blind, and Cloud Ring – Times are in UTC

I doubt I will make it onto any of those kill mails.  But their destruction seems inevitable as northern forces draw back deeper into their own territory.  The question is whether or not there is a war once these are destroyed.  I am sure there will be some lesser structures to clean out of the area.  But once cleansed, the Imperium isn’t planning on moving in and they will stick around if CO2 comes back.  So who will end up in Fade?

X47L-Q Preliminaries at Tosche Station

The north has been simmering since last week’s titan destroying battle in X47L-Q.  That fight was just the penultimate round for the NCDot Keepstar in the system.  The armor timer was beaten, leaving open to opportunity to destroy the giant citadel today.

Preparations for what might be the final battle over the station have carried on since.  I mentioned an operation that we ran on Saturday to cover the deployment of a Fortizar in X47L-Q on the same grid as the Keepstar.  That set a three day timer before it would be set.

The wait for anchoring begins

The deployment timer for that came due last night and we formed up to cover it again, this time to see that it went online.  Two subcap fleets were called up, a Baltec fleet under Thomas Lear and a Cerberus fleet under Asher Elias.  I already had a Scimitar to fly logi for Cerbs from a fleet the night before, also to cover a citadel coming online, so I went with Asher’s fleet.

Minmatar Liberation Day SKIN on the Scimi

Both subcap fleets were bridged to a mid-point system early to wait on citadel until the timer hit.  The subcap fleets hung there with the capital fleet that was also called up.  We were serious about getting this Fortizar online, so there were titans, super carriers, and faxes out for the fleet.

I had an alt in X47L-Q cloaked up on grid with the Keepstar and our Fortizar in order to see what was going on.  Watching the system, it did not seem to be as active as one might expect if a battle were expected.  There were fewer than 150 people in the system, many of them Imperium pilots.  We had plenty of eyes on things.

The count in the system went up as the timer transition moved closer.  First Black Legion arrived with a fleet of Muninns led by Elo Knight, followed by NCDot and their own Muninn fleet.  Local moved above the 500 mark, and then the Fortizar anchored and began its 15 minute repair cycle.

Power Converters available soon

The locals put their Munnins in range of the Fortizar and opened up, pausing the timer easily enough.

Munnin mass flying about

But the cyno for us went up shortly and we jumped in, docked up, then undocked to get around the tether delay, the headed on out towards the Munnins.  The Baltecs were there as well, along with a bomber fleet under Dabigredboat and the capitals, so the Munnins withdrew after a short clash.  We moved back to the Fortizar to tether up and keep an eye on things.

Hanging on tether under the Fort, Keepstar in sight

Asher told us then that Zungen from Black Ops had decided to try and start anchoring another Fortizar, no doubt hoping that all eyes would remain locked on X47L-Q.  However the locals could see that we were serious, with caps on field, something they didn’t seem keen to counter at the moment, so the Black Legion fleet broke off and went to kill Zungen’s Fortizar.

At some point, as we hung on tether, a Minokawa force auxiliary of ours ended up on the Keepstar.  Asher had us align and we warped in to try and shepherd it to safety, but we arrived just in time for the Keepstar doomsday to hit.

Cerbs caught in the arc… also, Caroline’s star!

We lost a couple of ships in the fleet, but the brunt fell on the Minokawa, which began to come apart.

A subcap explodes as the Minokawa begins to fail

A few of the locals in the NCDot Muninn fleet, which stayed behind, got in range to get on the kill.  We were able to return the favor by popping some of them, but the Minokawa exploded all the same, the Keepstar having done 99% of the work.

During that exchange the hostiles managed to headshot Asher, blowing up his Phantasm, despite logi getting reps on him right away.  We went to a backup anchor, The Pink Pansy, and shot a few more hostiles before everybody withdrew to their citadels to tether up.  Asher was able to reship into a Sleipnir and carried on leading the fleet from that.

Meanwhile, a few systems over, Zungen’s Fortizar was destroyed, so the locals got their success for the night.  Well, they got the Fortizar and slaughtered a host of bombers that flew over to try and defend the citadel.

When the repair timer on the Fortizar in X47L-Q finished up and the citadel was secure, the subcaps headed out to see if we could catch the hostiles from the other fight.

Subcaps smacking into a gate after using MWDs to get clear of a bubble

We ended up behind them, catching up with them on the gate in O-N8XZ, where a few shots were fired and a couple of ships exploded, but no decisive clash took place.

When that had peter we headed to one of our citadels to sit with the capitals while their jump timer cleared.

Sitting on another Fortizar, waiting to go home

When the capitals were ready to go they began jumping back to our Keepstar in 6RCQ-V.  We were bridged back as well and docked up.  The operation was over, lasting a little over 100 minutes from form up to dismissal.

Operationally, we accomplished what we set out to do.  We have a Fortizar on grid for the Keepstar final timer.  ISK-wise, we would have done very well had the second Fortizar not been dropped and lost along with so many bombers.  That cost us the ISK war according to the battle report I put together.

Battle Report across Three Systems

The numbers of players on the battle report are comparable, and the ISK war was in our favor in X47L-Q, even with the Minokawa loss.  But roping in all of the events across three systems seems like a more fair assessment of the evening.

All of which leaves us waiting for today’s events.  Before this post goes live… the joys of scheduled posts… fleets will have formed up and moved into the jump range or on grid in anticipation of the timer on the Keepstar running down.  A fight seems almost certain as there was a report at NER on Monday that Pandemic Legion, Pandemic Horde, and NCDot were moving capital ships away from the southern front and their war with TEST and towards the north and the coming Keepstar contest.

Before I am likely to even have considered lunch, the fight will have begun as the 30 minute repair timer begins.  Time dilation will likely keep any fight that occurs on the field long enough for me to get home from work and peek in… my alt is logged off in the system… and maybe even join a reinforcement fleet.

The question is really whether or not this will be another titan bloodbath.  Both sides no doubt learned from the last fight and nothing has changed since then, so it will be interesting to see how the two sides adapt to the situation.

Anyway, tomorrow’s post will be, at a minimum, the results of the fight.  I cannot cover the drama over this Keepstar and then not report the final result.