Tag Archives: Querious

The Imperium Loses the XZ-SKZ Infrastructure Hub

I was just on about entosis warfare and now one of the first big fights over sovereignty took place earlier today when the Imperium formed up to defend the the infrastructure hub in the system XZ-SKZ in Period Basis.  That is one of those systems on the invasion routes I pointed at in my Tuesday post.

Where the ihub was

There was a fair size battle spread out over the constellation where the system is located in order to contest the nodes.  The battle report shows some fighting took place, though the losses were small… a combined 65 billion… relative to the number of capsuleers listed on the battle report.

Battle Report Header

I managed to jump in a reinforcement fleet that was late to the party (lunch time while I was working from home) and saw no action, so there were more people floating around the constellation that the battle report indicates.

While the Imperium won the ISK war by a small margin, that is cold comfort now that TEST controls the ihub in the system.  That will allow TEST to more easily anchor Upwell structures in the system which will allow them to use it as a bridgehead into Imperium territory.

Jin’taan has a bit of footage from the fight, with a video that sums up with “1 down, 239 to go.”

The next timer down in Period Basis will be around the TCAG-3, on the route from Paragon Soul, which will happen early in the day (for me at least) on Friday.

Period Basis DOTLAN Map

TEST tried to deploy an old fashioned POS in TCAG-3 last night, with an eye to safing up a bridging titan in the system… to the point that the titan was through the gate and in the system… but they were pushed back and the POS tower was destroyed.

They will have to wait for the timer fight I guess.  We had best win that one.  Losing XZ-SKZ we can route around, but losing TCAG-3 would cut off a large chunk of Period Basis from easy access… sort of, the DOTLAN map makes it look further away than it is, so bridging and Ansiblex jump gates are still viable… and perhaps put the battle line at the south end of Delve.

Meanwhile, over in Querious, we did win the contest over the AO-N1P ihub.  That is in the constellation that includes 49-U6U, which is the route in from Catch.

Entosis Drake on the job

The war carries on.

Entosis Warfare

I don’t think anybody who has to use the Fozzie Sov… or Aegis Sov… mechanics with entosis modules and such is going to argue about it being something of a drag at times.  Some of my most tedious moments in New Eden have been centered around sov wands.

The humble Drake as enotosis ship

The fun thing is that Fozzie Sov is really annoying only when you are determined to take or defend space.  When you feel you have to do it, it can be a serious grind.  But if you just want to troll the sov owners it can be a bit of a low investment lark.  That was certainly what we were up to in the opening hours of the war when we hit Paragon Soul.

Systems with an orange boarder have been reinforced

We had no intention of taking those systems then.  Certainly not with the odds arrayed against us.  But everybody in TEST got notifications about the ihubs being under attack and then reinforced and then again when then nodes decloaked.  It was a bit of a finger in the eye.

Naturally enough they have, as I previously mentioned, returned the favor.  They haven’t been able to manage a sweeping result like the one pictured above, but they do persist.  It is a low effort operation to send out small ships with entosis links to hit ihubs, and we have to respond.  I spent a few hours in quick reaction fleets moving from one location to the next to blap hackers and chase off any cover fleets that might be trying to protect them.  You have to work to catch the cover fleets as they always spook and run when we show up.  Giving us a fight would be satisfying and would undermine the effort to frustrate us.

Because that is surely part of the exercise here, to drive us a bit crazy and get us down as we run after each of these notifications.  But we cannot ignore them, because the ihubs are critical to ADMs.  Lose them and the systems because much easier to take.

An ihub out in space

So sometimes we just stay out, patrolling, chasing down notifications, and doing a bit of ADM work when nothing else is going on just to pass the time.

Jackdaw QRF doing a haven

If nothing else, that pays back the Ansiblex fees that come from traveling back and forth.  (GSOL must be doing a lot of work though, as I have yet to run into one down for lack of fuel.)

Keeping people out constantly on patrol with not much in the way of action is a good way to burn people out, so it isn’t really a viable long term plan.  So the coalition came up with an incentive plan to help combat the entosis hacker menace.

Under the banner of some fresh Cyro Huren propaganda

If you are out and managed to get the final blow on a hacker in our space, you can post the kill mail in the forums and receive a 50 million ISK bounty.  If the entosis module drops you can contract it to the alliance for an additional 10 million ISK if it is tech I and 150 million ISK if it is tech II.

As an incentive program, this started out pretty well.  There were a few people racing to chase down hackers, with one guy in a Tengu knocking out quite a few.

I wasn’t sure what would be a suitable hunter, but I went out to return the favor of annoyance with a bit of my own when I had some spare time.  I parked an Ares interceptor with an ECM burst jammer and a 2 second align time in the middle of Querioius and waited around for some notifications.

When a notification came up I would just zip out to the system and warp to the ihub.  Once there I align out to the nearest structure, click warp, then set off the ECM burst, an area effect target lock breaker, and then away I go before anybody can lock me up.

Aligned out for warp

If I land right and the ECM burst hits, I land on the structure I warped out to and look back to see that the attackers are no longer making progress.  CONDI making progress means op success.

Hit on that one

That means the entosis link lost its lock and the hacker is sitting there waiting for it to finish its five minute cycle so they can start it up again.  And if I missed, then I just warp back in again until I get a hit.  Since I am too fast to lock up I just land, burst, and warp off.  I had a dozen Caracals sitting on one hacker unable to stop me.  At another they had a Sabre with them and kept putting up warp disruption bubbles, but the Ares is interdiction nullified, so it passes through bubbles without a care.

And, if I keep them hanging around until a response fleet shows up I get on the kill mail, having applied electronic warfare damage to them.

Of course, even with all of that, some hackers slip though.  It looks like they hostiles managed hit six ihubs successfully yesterday, though five of those were on the far fringes of the region.  We will see if they come back to contest the capture event when the time comes. (Edit: A check this morning shows that most of the timers were allowed to lapse without contest.)

The conflict is heating up on the border between Catch and Querious, and the gate in 49-U6U is now watched a lot more closely.  A few ihubs on the far end of the region might not matter compared to trying to push us back from the boarder so they can establish a foothold in the region.

Theaters of Operation

Fighting in Delve ought to seem almost normal to me.  I think we spent time every summer from 2012 through to 2016 invading Delve and kicking whoever lived there out.

Delve – Summer 2012 Poster

We went there with TEST and Pandemic Legion in 2012 (seems like strange times now), against TEST in 2013, against somebody nearby in 2014 (we owned the place for a bit, but gave it up), against Darkness and NCDot in 2015, and then finally against LUMPY and a few others when we fled the north after the Casino War to set up shop in the region in 2016.

And yet, here in 2020, I don’t feel like I “know” the region all that well.  I know some of the key spots, our staging in 1DQ1-A, the path up into (and through) Fountain down which I traveled so many times, and some key intersections, like 1-SMEB and the run through Aridia.  But now that we are fighting a war, I wanted a clearer visualization of the region.  Despite living there for four years, I have spent most of that time deployed in space belonging to others and fighting there.  Since we arrived we’ve only had to chase small gangs out of Delve.  We’ve not been invaded.  Time for something new.

I went looking for a map that would cover the area where the war is taking place.

DOTLAN EVE Maps was my first stop.  It has logical maps of all the regions.  That is very useful for navigating within and individual region, but less so when you want to show more than one region.  They do have a combined Delve/Querious/Period basis map, which shows three of three of the regions we are defending.

Also, DOTLAN’s maps, being logical in an attempt to get the systems nicely lined up showing the jump gate connections in as little space as possible, do not reflect how the systems are oriented in space or the distance between stars, which plays into where Ansiblex jump bridges can be deployed and where capitals can jump.

The in-game map shows the distances between star systems fairly well.

Looking at the in-game map

You get some sense of the distances between regions… far further than any capital can jump or Ansiblex can bridge… which explains why some foothold systems like TCAG-3 are going to see plenty of action.  However, readability of the in-game map is, frankly, shit.  As I have said, it is an impressive site to show your friends if you’re showing them the game, but it isn’t all that useful when you’re trying to navigate New Eden.

It isn’t completely useless.  You can get some information out of it, see systems where battles have been going on.

The hot spot in Period Basis

TCAG-3 has been a focus point because it is at one end of the regional gate that lays between Period Basis and Paragon Soul, regions held by the Imperium and Legacy Coalition respectively.  Legacy getting control of that system and being able to lay down structure would let them roll up our southern flank. (That particular number reflects a Legacy push into the system.  We lost more ships, but held the field. I went out for lunch about five minutes before the pings went out for that fight, so completely missed it.)

But back to maps.

In between the DOTLAN and the in-game map is GARPA Topographical Survey, the home grown map tool available to Imperium pilots.  It has been around for quite a while, and there was even a version released to the general public at one point.  It is less readable than DOTLAN, but much clearer than the in-game map.  Also, it has nice pastel shades for regions.

The GARPA view of the southern theater

That shows how Delve, Querious, and Period Basis are lined up, along with the strange way that Querious bisects Delve, linking the two regions rather intimately.

You can also see the Legacy regions of Catch, Paragon Soul, Esoteria, and Impass and the routes through which those invading us must come. (Stain is NPC null, but there is a path in from there as well.)  Viewed close up, with system names visible:

Might need to click on this to read system names…

As I mentioned above, most of the action up to this point has been coming our of Paragon Soul and into Period Basis, with some ventured out of Catch and Aridia.  However, that seems likely to change, with the emphasis likely to be on the Catch route into Querious and Delve.  The two staging Keepstars, and the super fleets they are holding, are in FAT-6P in Catch, and the first target seems likely to be 4-07MU, which is the Imperium outpost in Catch.

The Foothold in Catch

At least I assume that is why they are amassing a super fleet there.  They can’t jump into our space, so they have to take the gate to 49-USU in order to get within range of anything.

And then there is Fountain, which doesn’t fit nicely on the above map without making it huge.

The northern theater of operations

There are three was into Fountain besides Delve.  Outer Ring is an NPC null sec region, while Cloud Ring, the route we took during the Fountain War back in 2013, seems quiet for the moment.  PandaFam has instead set up shop in Hophib in Aridia, which lets them base out of a low sec NPC station which cannot be assailed.  That is the upside.

The downside for them seems to be that getting to Hophib is a bit of a pain and doesn’t put them close to anything vital.  The main spine of the region runs between KVN-36 and C-4NOD, that epic gate jump up the left side of the region that is the primary highway for the Imperium to head north, and the axis on which our activity there centers. (Those two systems are simply next to each other on the DOTLAN region map.)  PandaFam has to go quite a ways to disrupt that, while the jump bridge network lets The Initiative respond to them speedily from the center.

Still, PandaFam, after some initial setbacks, appears to have made more progress than their allies in the south, reinforcing the Taurus constellation next door to their staging.

All reinforced as I write this

They still have to get in and fight the node contest, but that will be chaotic with nodes for all six systems spawning in a short time frame.  A foothold there won’t break the Imperium, but if they can snap the jump bridge network that lets The Initiative deploy there quickly it could force us to defend further back or spend a lot of time taking gates to get all the way around to where PandaFam is pushing.

Anyway, that is where we are fighting and will likely continue to be fighting for a while.  We will see what the new day brings.

Day One of World War Bee

Sunday morning found many alerts in my inbox when I logged into EVE Online.  It seemed that our foes were set to strike back after we reinforced most of the Paragon Soul ihubs last night.

Entosis alerts

This is something I never saw much of in TNT because Goonswarm Federation holds all the ihubs in our space, the ihub being the important bit in an capturable null sec system. (The EVE University wiki has more on this if you are interested.)  Every time somebody starts to hit one with an entosis wand we all get a notification.

So there were pings for fleets as soon as Jabber came up, so I jumped in a Jackdaw fleet being led by Havish Montak that filled up quickly then sped off to defend our space.  Other fleets were out for various things, and our first task was to push NullSechnaya Sholupen out of 1-SMEB again, where they were shooting the jump bridge and being pests.

After chasing them off, killing more than a few along the way, we turned around and headed towards Querious, where Legacy had been hitting ihubs.  Another fleet was out to go after the entosis ships while we went after the Brave Collective cover fleet.  We caught up with them in OGY-6D and, outnumbering them heavily, sent them running after blowing up more than fifty of their fleet (plus capsules), including their two battlecruiser boosters.  We then chased the remainder half way across the region as they tried to get away.

Out in the bubbles in my Scalpel

When the chase was over we went back and covered and ADM fleet before returning to base.  More fleets went out almost immediately, one warping off just as we were arriving back.

They’re warping off as we land

I helped with another quick op to clear out some local gates.  It is a bad time to travel alone in Delve.  The hostiles have been setting up gate camps all along key routes, sometimes right on the gates in 1DQ1-A.  It is also kind of a crazy time to travel as GSOL has been re-working the jump bridge map to facilitate movement to the various battle fronts, often setting up parallel routes.  That is good for moving us into battle, but maybe not so good if you haven’t updated the jump bridge list in GARPA in the last couple of hours.  Things have been changing a lot.

After that I took a break and went about the day.  By the time I got back things were pretty quiet.  I think that, perhaps, starting a war on Sunday might have been a bad plan.  While I know Imperium people who basically stayed up all night long from the start of the war, the game tends to peak around 19:00 UTC and then drops off as the Euro folks who have to go to work in the morning head off for the night.  So on my return we were back to a slower pace, with ADM fleets going out and not many pings.

A few things went on while I was away.  Up in the north The Initiative managed to pop three anchoring Pandemic Horde Raitarus as well as a POS in the PandaFam staging system of Hophib, with only minor losses for the effort. (Somebody lost a Claw.)  On the down side and TEST Muninn fleet and an Evictus Eagle fleet savaged an Imperium Baltec fleet and managed to reinforce the Ansiblex jump gate in TCAG-3 down in Period Basis, where we skirmished a bit with them last night.

Meanwhile, Progodlegend gave the TEST SOTA at 19:00 UTC, quotes from which, as well as a link to the whole thing, are available here. (I’d have linked something other than INN, but nobody else seemed to have covered the SOTA.) I find even listening to our own propaganda to be trying, but this was eye rollingly bad from where I sat.

Good propaganda should always have a simple theme.  The Mittani focused on TEST in his SOTG on Saturday.  TEST is our new main enemy, and as long as they exist we’ll be targeting them.  Our long time desire to burn down NCDot, where many of the original corps for Band of Brothers still reside, is now a thing of the past.  TEST is the focus.

Progodlegend spent quite a while telling people that Goons were bad at EVE, never leave Delve, never take fights, and never deploy anywhere without TEST holding their hand.  With that build up, we ought to be a push over.  But we’re also dangerous.  A mysterious new Goonswarm has shown up and actually fights.  I am not sure where they came from given most of the speech.  Did we hire somebody?  But New Eden is coming together to crush us… because the other coalitions have been forced by us to just sit in their space until now?  I was there back in 2016 when we fled to Delve and it sure seemed like they could have put in the effort back then.

It struck me as trying to have it both ways, that Goons are a foe that can’t fight, yet has somehow oppressed the rest of null sec to the point that they have had to band together 102 alliances to come and get us.

I know, it would be unlike Progodlegend to over-hype something.

Anyway, these sorts of speeches rarely have any sort of impact on the outcome of wars.  I learned that early on in my null sec career when the first foes I faced declared that Goons would be driven from Deklein.  Didn’t work out that way.  Both sides talk themselves up, yet one side inevitably loses.  Somebody will end up being proven to be wrong.

On the plus side for TEST, their Keepstar in FAT-6P anchored successfully, though it remains a point of amusement for propaganda purposes.

Visit today!

A second Keepstar was put down in FAT-6P as well, then transferred to NCDot, which was spotted moving capitals down south as part of a PandaFam fleet.  They’re allied with TEST, but won’t be sharing a Keepstar with them.  Trust seems to be an issue.

So it goes.  There were a few skirmishes in the evening, and quick response fleets zipped around dousing the occasional spark (and doing ADM work when idle), but nothing much changed.  And for all the entosis effort that the enemy seemed to be putting in early on, the net result appeared to be just three ihubs reinforced in Querious.

But it was just day one and not everybody was even deployed yet.  There will be more to follow I am sure.

Also, as a side note, there was a CSM15 statement posted to the forums asking CCP to pretty please not do something to inadvertently mess up the war.  They did that last year when they dropped Drifters on Delve, with their annoying behavior, while we were off fighting in Tribute and Vale of the Silent.  The forum post got the usual angry, twisted reactions that most any forum post gets.  There is no winning.

Opening Moves in the War

It was a busy day in null sec yesterday.  A lot happened.  There were a massive number of ships in motion.  Yet almost nothing of real consequence came to pass.

So it goes.

The day started full of promise.  There was a fireworks event planned at the Imperium’s main Keepstar in 1DQ1-A, with more than 1,700 people in system and fireworks going off all over, which was enough to drag you frame rate down into the low teens.

The Keepstar lit by fireworks

The firework effects are relatively small compared to the size of the structure, but the cumulative effect of them going of lit up the whole tableau.

I had to peek in on that via an alt, as a couple hours before that kicked off there was a ping from Asher Elias to Reavers that was too hard to pass up.

SUPER IMPORTANT. TORP BOMBERS UNDER TOM FLOOD, NEED AT LEAST 25 REAVERS FOR THIS. IF IT SUCEEDS YOU’RE HEROES FOREVER. USE REAVERS SIG COMMS

Special operations can be a treat.  I love a big fight and, frankly, I am happy enough just shooting structures when it comes down to it, but something out of the ordinary is always welcome.

So a pack of Reavers flew off… and almost messed up the mission when our first black ops battleship warped with us straight into a gate camp in 1DQ1-A and got popped along with a couple of bombers.  The fuel truck got through the gate with 8% left in structure and had to tether up on the other side to repair.

A replacement blops was found, a Marshall, which is an 8 billion ISK ship.  But it looks good and, as fit, it aligned and warped off faster than the bombers as we moved to our destination.

Our hot rod blops

We moved carefully, eventually setting up shop in a dead end system in Stain that would allow us to drop onto a range of systems where Legacy Coalition was expected to drop a new Keepstar.

This Keepstar was to be the new staging base for their invasion of Delve.  But we had eyes all over and watched likely freighters come and go, bridge this way and that, because they knew they were being watched and no doubt feared that we would crash the party when they decided to anchor the structure.  And our hope was no less than to drop on the freighter and blow it up as it prepared to disgorge the Keepstar.

We even knew the timing that they wanted to align with, as they wanted the Keepstar live and deployed to in time for their own 19:00 UTC state of the alliance meeting to announce the start of the war.  Since it takes 24 hours to online a Keepstar in your own territory, the window of opportunity was pretty clear.

But being watched made them dither.  Meanwhile, as time went on, more and more Imperium luminaries slipped out of 1DQ to join our fleet.  Most of the major alliance FCs and one of our CSM reps were cloaked up on the blops with us before the decision point came.  Some poor Russian kept asking us in local to leave and go back to Delve so he could carry on farming LP for Nirvana implants, but we never answer back in local.

As we sat there, the Meta Show kicked off, where The Mittani, who had been on coms with us a few times, taunted Vily, the CSM member and leader of Legacy Coalition, that we knew what he was up to, that we were in his head.  If we couldn’t kill the Keepstar, we would at least mess with them.

The likely candidate systems were being watched, but we only had so many eyes, and in the end, after hours of hustling around and PM’ing our lurkers to see if anybody would answer, they dropped the Keepstar quickly in FAT-6P, a few systems over from our foothold in Catch at 4-07MU.

The Foothold in Catch

We got a covert ops cyno in position, but there was enough going on in the target system that tidi was up and it took a bit for the bridge to go up.

The Marshall is ready to send us

But the cyno ship got popped before more than a few of us could get through.  I ended up stuck with the blops.  But that was okay, as there were not many of us and the Keepstar was already anchoring.  In their haste to get things going, rather than giving it a meme name, as TEST tends to do, they named it “1111,” which we took as a sign than we has indeed made them nervous.  It also wasn’t very carefully positioned.  When you lay down a structure you try to face the undock in a useful direction.

Not one of their usual clever names

Asher, who had been through to see the Keepstar only to have his Purified popped, too a moment to ping out this to the coalition.

Congrats to Test for starting the anchoring if their non-aligned keepstar panic-named “1111”. They meant to start anchoring it 3 hours ago so it came out with their 19:00 SOTA but a few brave bomber boys kept them flummoxed and confused for 3 hours while they cyno’d around Stain and Catch trying to lose us. A great start to the war for them! Looking forward to their pilots waiting for 3 hours after their SOTA before they can do anything!

With that ping “1111” became the new battle cry as people at the fireworks party in 1DQ began to repeat that in local.

GIF of 1DQ local

Expect “1111” to come up a lot.  At least you’ll know where it came from now.

This Keepstar was placed in the buffer zone between Legacy and the Imperium, which was yet another violation of the Non-invasion pact between the two powers, but with only a few hours to go before it ended, it was hardly going to change anything.

We made out way back home, disappointed that we hadn’t gotten to kill the Keepstar, but happy enough to have had an impact.  I actually had to leave part way through the vigil on the blops to go fire up the BBQ and cook some lunch for my family.  I had enough time to do that, eat, and get back on the blops again before anything happened.  Sometimes we just sit and wait.

It was about time for the State of the Goonion.  The Mittani read a prepared speech, the text of which has been posted on INN, in which he announced that our own war aim was to destroy TEST Alliance Please Ignore, that they were to be the Carthage to our Rome.  An list of 102 alliance might arrayed against us, but we would have one real target.

And once that was over, the form up for war began.  TEST seemed to have some plan to start the war well into July 5th, but so far as we were concerned, if the NIP between the Imperium and Legacy was to end on a date, we were going to get started at 00:01 EVE Online time, so declined to wait around for them to have their SOTA or for their Keepstar to anchor.

This led to a series of clashes across the map.  Up north PandaFam came out of their staging in Hophip and into Fountain where they fought several engagements with The Initiative, which was watching that way into our space.

Meanwhile, down south, TEST seemed to be ready to form up for battle on the Period Basis/Paragon Soul border, where the systems TCAG-3 and G-M4GK form the connection between our territories.  This led to… not much at all.  I flew on down with the spec ops group in an ECM frigate, ready to cause trouble.

ECM birds flying

However, while a fight threatened to develop, with TEST forming up fleets, they would inevitably stand them down or leave them idle.  They did poke into Querious and manage to reinforce the Ansiblex in 49-U6U, and there was a brief clash as they came through into TCAG-3, but no huge brawl developed.  They seemed to still be on their own timetable, set to have a meeting at 19:00, move into the new Keepstar once it anchored, and then get on with the war.

So the opportunity was taken to go in and reinforce a bunch of their infrastructure hubs in Paragon Soul and a few more in Esotaria.

Systems with an orange boarder have been reinforced

We seem to have stolen a march on the invaders, though these are more morale points than anything tangible.  The first day of counting coup was fun, but made no real change to the situation.  We are still greatly outnumbered by foes who plan to assail us from multiple directions.  They will get their act together and come for us, sooner rather than later.

Delve – Now With Contract Values

The Monthly Economic Report for March dropped on Friday and contains all the usual fun data to peruse.  This is the first MER since CCP Quant left the company, so we get to blame any errors on the new minder of the report, CCP Larrikin. (We’ll get to that.)

Going down the usual path I want to look at mining first.

March 2018 – Mining Value by Region

Mining value was up in Delve by almost a trillion ISK.  This came in the face of sagging mineral prices in the market overall.

March 2018 – Economic Indices

That means that there was just more mining going on in Delve, likely related to the ever expanding moon mining operations in the region, all of which left Delve at the top of the stack again.

March 2018 – Mining Value by Region – Bar Graph

Of note are the rather static month over month value of Querious.  I was wondering if that might go up due to Locust Fleet, the attempt to mine out all of the moon mining operations in a single day.  Perhaps that did not go as well as planned.  I heard it was of to a rough start, but did well enough to carry on again this month, running yesterday.  We’ll look back again next month to see if that raises Querious.

Also of note are the falling mining output numbers for Fade, Pure Blind, and Deklein, regions in the north that have been hunted by several Imperium SIGs.  They are all down noticeably over last month, more so than the dip in prices would explain. With the departure of Pandemic Horde for Geminate, the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition has pretty much ceded the staging systems being used against them and has adopted a defensive posture, allowing the Imperium to do its fighting on their home turf, inhibiting mining and ratting operations in those regions.

And since we’re on about that, I might as well move to NPC bounty payouts where, as expected, Delve remains at the top.

March 2018 – NPC Bounties by Region

The change is moderate, up about a trillion ISK for Delve… what a world when that much ISK is a moderate change… so holds its place in the stack ranking.

March 2018 – NPC Bounties by Region – Bar Graph

As noted above, the regions in the north being stalked by Imperium forces saw some impact.  Deklein, once number three on the list, fell back to fifth, having shed nearly a trillion ISK from its 3.6 trillion ISK February number.  In this case a trillion ISK represents more than a 25% drop.  Likewise, Fade saw a significant drop, while Pure Blind wasn’t hurt too bad, but its February number wasn’t that hot to begin with.

As usual, null sec remained the prime recipient of NPC bounties, with its percentage dropping a bit, from 93.3% last month to 93.1% this month.

March 2018 – Bounties by Space Sec Rating

Overall however bounties saw a noticeable dip on the sinks and faucets chart during March, though it recovered somewhat by the end of the month.

March 2018 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets

I am not sure what was going on during that part of the month, but overall NPC bounties are down some.

On the production front Delve saw a huge surge in March, jumping from 29 trillion ISK in value in February to just past 40 trillion ISK last month.

March 2018 – Production Values by Region

This surge managed to push Delve past The Forge, the region that is home to Jita, in total production value.

March 2018 – Production Values by Region – Bar Graph

That is quite an accomplishment but, as I have noted in the past, Jita sits at the intersection of three regions, The Forge, Lonetrek, and The Citadel, so production centered on the marked hub of New Eden still exceeds Delve overall.  Still, the Imperium is building a lot of stuff as The Mittani encourages people to train into titans.

On the trade value front The Forge remains dominate.  There is a reason manufacturing is clustered around there, it is the place to sell things.

March 2018 – Trade Value by Region

The dominance of The Forge and its Jita market nexus is made starkly clear by the bar graph.

March 2018 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph

The next two contenders, Domain, home to Amarr, and Delve, fade in comparison to such an extent that CCP provides the same graph without The Forge every month, just so you can see how the rest of New Eden compares.

March 2018 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph, Forge Excluded

There you can see how the other regions compare to each other when the shadow of The Forge is removed.

This month we got an additional insight into trade when CCP Larrikin added charts about the value of contract transactions per region.  Unfortunately, the main chart appears to have problems.  It is not labelled correctly (it just says trade value by regions) and the number for The Forge is clearly wrong. (Blame assigned.)  However, the accompanying bar chart appears to be correct both in labeling and data, so I will toss that in.

March 2018 – Contracts Trade Value by Region – Bar Chart

Here The Forge is still on top, but Delve is not too far behind.  This is likely due to the fact that doctrine ships are generally purchased by line members assembled and loaded via contract and because capital and super capital purchases are also often done by contract.

Finally, I will end on the usual chart, the comparison of various stats across key regions.

March 2018 – Regional Summary Stats

Things to look for next month:

  • Will Fade, Pure Blind, and Deklein remain down?
  • Will the Space Violence SIG showing up in the north push them down further?
  • Will the “Bee Control” attacks on Delve suppress its numbers?
  • Will the Locust Fleet boost Querious mining?
  • Will Delve production remain this high?
  • Am I going to have to bring up Fountain at some point?

Anyway, that is my look at the New Eden Monthly Economic Report.  The report itself has many more charts and the raw data on which they were based, so if numbers are your thing you should go take a look.  Over at INN they have taken the raw data and rolled a few of their own graphs, if you want to see some of the data presented in a different way.

Barghests Down in Querious Astrahus Fight

As Delve has been quiet, Reavers have been deploying to Querious off and on.  Since Delve and Querious are so close together… a chunk of Querious is actually something of a functional enclave within Delve, which is sometimes called either Fake Delve or Fake Querious depending on who is speaking and whether or not they remember what they called it last time it came up… there was some discussion as to what to do about the region.

Querious - October 23, 2016

Querious – October 23, 2016

The previous inhabitants for the most part moved on to other areas of null sec rather than live under the shadow of the Imperium.  Our first deployment to the region after Delve was to take the valuable moons.  However, the holders were mostly willing to sell them to us… along with a couple of citadels… to finance their move elsewhere.

After that, the region was somewhat sparsely held.  I ran around in a Raven and was unmolested as I ran sites during the Purity of the Throne event.  Of course, a sparsely held region invites people to show up uninvited.  To keep the worst kind of baddies from moving in, the coalition gave Asher the green light to try and turn the region into a fight club.  Details of the idea were posted on Reddit a while back.

There have been a few takers and Reavers have been back in Querious off and on to help people move in and evict people who have declined to join.  We popped a Voxis Accord Astrahus earlier in the month after they said no to the idea.  Last week we started on Brute Force Solutions and their Astrahus in 0-WT2D. (BFD on the map above.)  They had been giving Asher the run around, claiming they needed 6-8 weeks to process his request, along with doing a level of trash talking in local above their weight class.  They seemed keen to provoke a fight, so their citadel had to go.

Killing an citadel requires three passes.  You have to get through the shield layer, after which it goes into reinforced mode for 24 hours.  Then you go through the armor layer.  After armor, the reinforcement timer is related to local sovereignty.  Since they owned the system and ihub and had flagged it as their capital, the ADM was up to 6, which meant a six day wait for the final structure event.

I was there for the shield event, a Barghest fleet where I flew logi, but missed the armor event where BFD dropped carries on our fleet, so we countered with some caps and our bridging titan, which left BFD down 10 carriers.  The final event was slated for Saturday night in later USTZ.

After the second event Asher asked people to get more Barghests down in our staging for the final fight.  The previous fights had been more logi and support than actual combat ships of the line.  Being ISK rich (for me) I invested 900 million ISK in one of the space griddles and flew it out from Jita during the week to have it ready for Saturday night.

An Unblooded Barghest

An Unblooded Barghest

As the time approached on Saturday, the ping went our for Reavers to form up and get ready.  There were about 60 of us online, in fleet, and on the titan ready to bridge into the event.

Anal Thunder's Leviathan breaching the POS bubble

Anal Thunder’s Leviathan breaching the POS bubble

Reavers is not all of the Imperium, so for us getting 50-60 people deep in USTZ is about par for the course.  That would still give us an edge on BFD, as they and their local allies seem to be good for about 50 pilots while we would have our own local pals, Sarcos Federation and Imperium Divine along to help.

My Barghest on the Fortizar

My Barghest on the Fortizar

The wild card would be what help BFD would be able to call in.  Asher said up front, as we sat on the titan, that intel indicated that Pandemic Legion had been called and might be joining in on the fun, so we could be in for a serious fight.  We bridged in a little before the Astrahus entered its vulnerability.

We setup as the timer counted down.  Once vulnerable, there is a 15 minute timer.  If that runs down, the attack fails and the Astrahus goes back into its initial state and we have to start the whole routine again.  The timer is paused by applying sufficient damage to the citadel, which also wears down the structure.  If you keep the timer paused and finish off the structure, the Astrahus explodes.  There is also a cap on the damage so you cannot burn it down in less than ~25 minutes. (The dev blog about all of this here.)

We setup around the Astrahus, dropped our sentry drones, anchored up on Asher, and when the time came opened up on the citadel.

The target with undock bubbled

The target with undock bubbled

BFD and their local friends had some assets on the field and we exchanged blows with them.  They brought out some dreadnoughts and carriers as well.  At that point things were going our way, the frying pan fleet was getting a few kills while our logi was keeping us safe.  Then a cyno went up, which we zapped pretty quickly.  A couple of Pandemic Legion caps got in on a cyno.

Capitals bubbled up

Capitals bubbled up

And then a Tech III fleet made up mostly of Legions and Proteuses got into the system and the fight started to go badly for us.  We outnumbered what BFD had fielded, but the Pandemic Legion fleet had numbers on us and, when combined with BFD, put us at a serious disadvantage with the odds about 2 to 1 against.  We were hard pressed to break any of the T3s, managing to knock just one off the field (on which I got the kill mail).  On the other hand, they trimmed our logi back and then started knocking off the Barghests one by one.  I lost my fresh Barghest when we were just trying to get out of bubbles and get away.  I still had all the refits in the cargo too, so pretty much a complete loss of my purchase.  Only two Barghests got away.

It seemed like we were done.  Asher put out on intel that there were some caps to shoot, which got a few Imperium CapSwarm capitals and supers to drop on the fight.

Supers on the gate looking for targets of opportunity

Supers on the gate looking for targets of opportunity

However, there was still a few minutes left on the Astrahus timer and most of the Reavers had their clone set in our Fortizar just six jumps away, so the decision was made to give it another run in the Cerberus doctrine.  I have my clone set in Delve, but I had a doctrine Scimitar set and ready to fly there, so I burned back towards Querious.  With a jump bridge the fight was 14 gates away.

As I burned I could hear the fleet arriving back at the Astrahus where they managed to apply damage and stop the timer with very little time left on the clock.  It sounded like they got chased off but got back to apply damage again, stopping the timer with just seconds to go.

Dramatic interpretation of the timer

Dramatic interpretation of the timer

At about that point I had finally gotten back to the system.  However, in getting to the fleet I managed to warp in pretty much on top of the Pandemic Legion fleet, which meant my Scimitar got popped pretty much immediately.

I managed to get away in my pod and flew back to our staging to pick up a Vigil I had sitting there in hopes of getting back before the fight ended.  However, before I got back our Cerbs had been mostly eliminated allowing the timer to start back up again and finish before any further damage could be applied.  BFD’s citadel had been saved.

The battle report, which is broken up into Imperium and allies, Pandemic Legion’s fleet, and BFD and its local allies is… deceptive.  The raw numbers look even, 129 vs 136.  However, everybody who shows up in a Cerb, along with a few Scimitars, are counted twice because we went back and reshipped.  Then there are the Imperium caps, which killed a couple carriers but didn’t move on the citadel.  And then there was an Imperium Confessor fleet which showed up just long enough to kill a Magus before heading off.

If we had managed to coordinate all of that, we might have gotten the Astrahus.  But we did not, so it is back to the reinforce cycle to try and kill it again next weekend.  Life in space, such that it is.

Meanwhile, SRP on my Barghest was 400 million ISK. (And I think I got a Reavers bonus payout at that.)  So while the Scimitar was covered, the Barg was an expensive one fight ship.

Addendum: Asher also has a new podcast up where he talks to Elise Randolph about the war in Tribute and the Alliance tournament.

Scenes from an Astrahus Kill in Querious

Another night out in Querious, another structure to kill.  In this case, an Astrahus owned by Voxis accord

Target for tonight

Target for tonight

They were alleged to have paid Mercenary Coalition money to come down and fight for them.  MC were down in Querious for the weekend, with NCDot in tow… because NCDot didn’t have a war to fight or blues to awox I guess. (A side note, you must listen to this ode to the NCDot life.)  But tonight it was just Voxis Accord and their doomed Astrahus versus Reavers and some of the locals keen to see Voxis gone.

The end result was an explosion and a dead Astrahus.  Not much else to say about it really.  Not my first Astrahus kill, but I did get some nice screen shots.

Chasing Purity Skins in Querious

I still have not decided if I should acknowledge the obvious backronym of Super Kerr-Induced Nanocoatings and write “SKINs” in all caps like an acronym or just go with my gut and call them what they are, “skins” we can apply to our ships.  Things that keep me up at night.

The whole SKIN thing

The whole SKIN thing

That bit of trivia aside though, I am a fan of the whole ship SKIN/skin thing in EVE Online.

Granted, I am something of an odd duck in New Eden in that I am often more enchanted by how the game looks than how it plays.  I try to keep my screen as clear of view-obscuring windows as possible and often have the UI turned off at the worst possible times.  But hey, screen shots.

I am also the person most likely to grab a skin for a ship I fly regularly.  I am the guy in fleet the red Basilisk or the Raata Sunset Guardian.  So the current Purity of the Throne event had my interest piqued due to the fact that it rewarded skins… lots of skins… skins for every Amarr ship.  I have to admit that I let the lore reasons for the event slip by… I am not so concerned about why these skins are out and about as opposed to the fact that they give me the option to paint my ship a different color.

You get a random skin from killing the final spawn in the Purity of the Throne sites that have been spawning all over New Eden, and people have been farming them like crazy, so I figured I would just pick some up in Jita when the market dipped low enough as supply outran demand.  I wasn’t planning on actually running any sites unless I happened upon them by chance, as with the Operation Frostline sites.

And then I ran into what appeared to be the headquarters of the Purity of the Throne movement.

Reavers were doing a move op back to Delve from Querious and I was shuffling ships about when I noticed a few of the sites in the YB7B-8 constellation as I was passing through in my Raven (with the Wiyrkomi skin naturally), a ship left over from a past deployment.

I stopped to run a site.  The Raven wasn’t the optimal choice for such a thing, the NPCs being largely frigates while the battleship was armed with cruise missiles, which are only suitable for much larger targets.  But with those and the drones in my bay, I was able to kill off the purists easily enough, looting a skin from the final spawn as a reward.

That's the guy with the skin

That’s the guy with the skin

Then I ran another site and got another skin.  And then I ran another.  And then I realized that I was going to be late for the fleet and I parked the Raven in the station at 60M-TG, installed a jump clone, and raced back in my pod to catch the fleet home.

Once I had my doctrine ship back in Delve, I jump cloned back to 60M-TG and carried on running sites in that constellation.  They were thick in space and there was almost nobody in the area.  Querious was almost eerily quiet and I was left to pick off sites and collect skins in peace.

Naturally, running what is essentially the same battle over and over again led to some attempts to optimize my attacks and make a game out of efficiency.  The efficiency aspect largely concerned smart bombs.  The old Reaver Raven doctrine included a smart bomb fit to the ship and once I noticed it, I decided that this would be a better way to kill the frigates that spawned than trying to swat them with inefficiently over-sized missiles.  So I started sending my drones after the cruiser sized ships, which were further off, letting the frigates some in close.

Frigates orbiting my Raven

Frigates orbiting my Raven

And then I would light off the smart bomb and let it cycle until the frigates popped, which usually took about three cycles.

Frigs go boom... but I missed one...

Frigs go boom… but I missed one…

Of course, then the real goal became to get every frigate in a wave to pop on the same smart bomb cycle.  The main wave has five, so I had to take care, let them all get within 5km radius of the smart bomb, and then start up it up to kill them.  It took a couple tries, but eventually I started popping them all on the same pass.

Five explosions... one behind the structure...

Five explosions… one behind the structure…

And so I started collecting skins, taking down sites as I cruised around the constellation otherwise unmolested.  After two evenings or running them, hitting almost 40 sites on my own, they suddenly stopped spawning in the area.  My hunting… and the random number generator… sent them elsewhere, and I was left alone to sort through my loot.

I did get a couple of skins that I wanted.  The Archon skin was probably my best drop.  But I mostly got skins for ships I don’t fly regularly, often the Navy Issue version of a ship I wanted. (Crucifier? A doctrine ship!  Crucifier Navy Issue?  Never even seen one.)  And, of course, I managed to get nearly a dozen dupes, because the loot fairy in New Eden is a cast iron bitch.

Mostly I wanted a skin for the Guardian, the Amarr tech II logi cruiser, as I thought a space priest in medical white would be appropriate.  For that though I had to hit Jita where I filled in the glaring gaps in my list.

My skin list now...

My skin list now…

Prices had fallen drastically since I checked at the start of the event, so I picked up missing skins for ships I know I would fly… Crucifier, Confessor, and the Guardian… along with a few for ships I might fly some day.  If I train into the Apostle, I will have a nice medical white skin for it.

My Guardian with the white skin

My Guardian with the white skin

Of course, once you have a white surface, it starts to look like a canvas if you stare at it too long and you start to want to draw on it.

I couldn't get a nice, even red cross...

I couldn’t get a nice, even red cross…

Anyway, the event nearly doubled my skin count.  They aren’t the best skins in the bunch, but I like to have the option available to me.

And now a gallery of me popping frigates with smart bombs… because, explosions!

Delve Conquest Complete

The return to peace time life and normlacy continues in the south as we wrapped up the conquest of Delve.  The map now shows all sovereignty in our hands.

Delve - September 14, 2016

Delve – September 14, 2016

Along the way to pacifying Delve, the Imperium picked up a new alliance, with Brother’s in Arms joining us and getting a constellation in the region.

Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms

The only system not held by the Imperium now, aside from NPC space, is 9GNS-2, which is held by United Systems of Aridia (USA), a member of the coalition that holds Period Basis with whom we have a non-agression pact.  Aside from that, and a couple of stations that are still in the freeport state, Delve is done.  We just have to wait for the sovereignty indexes to rise to install the jump bridge network and we will be set.

One item of note that came up recently is that the sovereignty index numbers displayed over at DOTLAN EVE Maps are not necessarily correct.  I gather from a ping that went out that they are being calculated based off of the date/time of when the TCU was dropped… how it worked in Dominion sovereignty… but with Fozzie Sov it is now the Infrastructure Hub drop time that determine the sov index.  So there a lot of those numbers are wrong. (Especially for systems with no ihub installed.)

That just means more work and more things to keep track of for GSOL, the infrastructure team that places all the towers, installs upgrades, keeps things fueled, and all of that.

And, just in case GSOL was not busy enough already, there were also some operations going on in Querious.

While not interested in conquering the whole region, the Imperium has decided to take what is called “Fake Querious,” a stretch of systems that are flagged as part of the region, but which only connect to Delve.  You cannot get to those systems via gates without going through Delve, so that is our Alsace I suppose, if you want a horrible historical metaphor.

Querious - September 14, 2016

Querious – September 14, 2016

And, were that not enough to keep GSOL busy, the Reavers deployed to the other end of Querious for what was planned to be a long term operation to take moons of value in the region.  We took a couple of systems just to stage from, liberated the station at ED-L9T, a location of legend from a past deployment, to free up any supplies left behind, entosised some things, shot some things, but generally didn’t have to do much as the locals, as Asher put it, folded like ironing boards.

I had my alt just entosis stuff at random some times...

I had my alt just entosis stuff at random some times…

Those that didn’t just get the hell out of Dodge with the dissolution of the Querious Fight Club seemed happy enough to sell us prime locations for a bit of ISK and a short count to let them get away.  Instead of getting fights we added revenue assets to the coalition which, as noted, GSOL has to run around to setup and maintain.

So that deployment was over much sooner that expected, leaving me time to start getting adjusted to life in the south.

As I said in the previous post, it doesn’t seem quite like home to me yet.  The system names are all foreign to me and I have to have click on systems that get mentioned in the intel channel to see how far away they are in order to tell if I should be worried about a couple of Svipuls on the loose.  Are they next door or on the other side of the region?  Something that will just take time to get a feel for.

I am also figuring out the logistics of living down south.  Back up in Deklein and Tribute I never worried about hauling anything in and out of null sec.  The proximity to Jita meant that shipping was cheap and quick.  Down in Delve though… Jita is a long way away, the prices have tripled, and the schedules are less reliable.

There are some alternatives.  Amarr is closer and therefore cheaper to haul from, though the market there isn’t as robust as Jita.  I can also get things back down to below the rates in the north if I don’t mind hauling stuff across high sec to a waypoint on the delivery run.

Of course, once I have gotten things that far, the question becomes, “Why not just haul it myself?”  I had a Deep Space Transport loaded with supplies, including a module refit for my ratting Ishtar sitting on the edge of low sec and said, “What the hell.” and just went.  Why wait when you can get same day delivery on your own?  All you have to do is simply not get blown up!

Mastodon on the way

Mastodon on the way

My decision was influenced by my past experiences in low sec… no warp disruption bubbles means getting away from anything by an overwhelming camp is reasonably likely… and the fact that we have the start of a jump bridge network already up and running in Delve.  So all I had to do was get into Delve and I could bypass most of the danger there.

My old friend the jump portal array

My old friend the jump portal array

That got me to the main staging system in Delve, where I dropped off some of my stuff.  But I still had to get the Ishtar fit out to where our Fortizar was so I could help keep ADMs high in our home constellation while making ISK.

Fortunately, that is within jump range of a carrier, so I loaded my good into the Archon and then… needed a cyno.  I had to log on my alt, give him a cyno ship, and have him fly out to the destination to light it, which slowed things down a bit, but wasn’t a high risk operation.  Things are pretty quiet in Delve.

Soon enough I was able to jump my carrier out to my destination and refit the Ishtar.  The old Guristas fit sort-of worked.  It could manage a hub, but I had to be careful not to get in over my head or things would go south quickly.  The new recommended Ishtar fit however, it works brilliantly.

Ishtar dodging beams at a Blood Raiders hub

Ishtar dodging beams at a Blood Raiders hub

I was tempted to go with the Rattlesnake fit that SynCaine mentioned in his post.  There is nothing like feeling secure in a tanky battleship, plus Caldari supremacy and all that.  But I already had the Ishtar, and while the module refit was extensive, going from a shield to an armor tank, it was still cheaper than even the Rattlesnake hull.  Plus the Ishtar is a drone loving machine.  I fly in circles around my MTU while the drones go do all the work.  I just watch the intel channel and listen to a podcast while watching the scenery.

Floating Stonehenge, with lasers

Floating Stonehenge, with lasers

So we continue to settle in down south.  I keep looking at the map on DOTLAN, hoping to remember the names of systems.  And life in New Eden goes on.