Tag Archives: Ranger Gama

A Venture to HED-GP

Ranger Gama was back again with another frigate race for Reavers.  You may (but most likely do not) recall the race I wrote about back in December that had us racing Daredevils about the north.  That was enough fun that Ranger has made it a semi-regular thing in Reavers.  There was a second race a few months back that I missed, but I was around this weekend for the third one.

As has been the case in the past, Ranger Gama wouldn’t tell us where we would be headed in advance, nor what we would be flying, aside from the fact that he figured some of us might need to train up the skill.

That prompted me to see if there was any frigate that I could not fly.  Aside from the new Triglavian frigate, the Damavik, I seemed to be covered.  But if I had had to guess, I would have said the Venture was a likely candidate, being a mining frigate.  And, sure enough, when the time came Ranger Gama had some specially fit Ventures for us.

A Venture waiting to race

Ranger only had a few to hand out, so only the first 9 people who joined fleet were going to get one, which led to me hitting refresh on the fleet finder until his fleet advert popped up, at which point I joined (followed shortly by a couple other people) before the ping for the fleet was even sent out.  The fleet had to be disbanded until the ping, at which point people piled back in.

There were more people than frigates, but the fit was simple and cheap, so a couple people were allowed to buy their own in order to join.  As you can see from my eventual kill mail (we’ll get to that) it just fit a pair of mining lasers, a festival launcher, an MWD, an AB, a survey scanner, and a Nanofiber in the low slot.  We did get rigs to let us warp faster, so at least we had some speed.

There were questions about what we were allowed to do.  Not allowed was changing the fit.  Everybody had to race with the fit provided, though a couple of people felt that meant they could add some drones.  But otherwise people were allowed to run with implants if they so desired and take any route or mode or transportation they wished, so long as they stayed in their Venture.  We were then given the route and were sent on our way.

The race route

We started in 1DQ1-A, the capital of the Imperium, and our first waypoint was HY-RWO in Catch.  Most people headed straight down the most direct path, but four of us, myself included, got out GARPA to check the local jump bridge network, and turned the other direction to catch a jump bridge that shaved nearly a dozen gates off the route.  That put the four of us, Sicarius Bile, Grodd Gandar, Zarakik, and myself, way out in front of the pack.  In that group of four I was the second through the jump bridge.

The gate route, all 52 jumps

Part of the idea of the race is that hostiles along the way will cause trouble for the leaders who may (or may not) choose to share intel on what is happening.  However, Saturday night in Catch seemed to be pretty quiet.  TEST and their allies in the Legacy Coalition were not out roaming their space along our route, so the four of use made it to U-QVWD without incident.

Sicarius Bile got there first, and I jumped into the system just after.  I waited until he said he was on the TEST Keepstar in the system before warping to him and then moving off to pull distance while staying on grid.  Since grids… what is essentially the local bit of space where you can see other players and structures… are pretty huge now thanks to citadels, there is a lot of room to work with.

Nobody came out to molest us however.  I did see that there were a couple of player corpses on the undock of the Keepstar, which I suggested ought to fetch a prize bonus if collected (which somebody then did, because of course they would) but otherwise not much happened.

On grid with the Keepstar in my Venture

As we were winding down our five minutes on the Keepstar those who did not take the jump bridge began to arrive.  Asher seemed to be at the back of the pack, but unperturbed, with a calm in his voice, which made people suspect that he had a plan.

Then the early four headed out for the loop around TEST space.  During that run the lineup of the first four changed as Zarakik passed me.  I suspect that he might have opted for the warp speed implants.  But later he said that he was physically close to the London data center where the EVE Online servers are, giving him a consistent 7ms ping, which basically allowed him to load system faster than I could, eight time zones away from London, allowing him a small but tangible head start through each gate.

We started arriving back at the Keepstar for our second five minute stay on grid just as the last of the second group was leaving after their first.  Somebody in the second group tried to use the drones they packed to thin out the pack, but that did not work out.

I made a bookmark on the first stay so was able to warp straight in and start my five minute timer.  Again, there was little to remark on during our stay.  An interceptor undocked, but didn’t seem to have any use for us.  We speculated what they might be saying on their intel channel about a small gang of mining frigates hanging out around their Keepstar, but whatever it was, nobody came to get us.

So after our five minutes elapsed, we headed out for the final waypoint, Sicarius Bile in the lead, Zarakik next, and myself and Grodd Gandar close behind, smug with the distance of our lead.

And then we all died in SV5-8N, just one gate shy of the finish line.  Brave had a gate camp with drag bubbles up on the HED-GP gate.  Sicarius Bile died first and told us about the gate camp.  Then we proceeded to pile on and die, one by one, until eight of us were down.

Who is missing a jacket?

We didn’t all just bumble in with a direct warp.  I, like most of the later group, tried to find a bounce point which might bring me in behind the camp and let me get to the gate without getting caught.  But they had four drag bubbles up arrayed about the gate so that there was no joy on that front.

That left Asher Elias, Locke Erasmus, Elisha Okaski, and Boris Agnon (who got away in his pod) still in the race.  Back in 1DQ1-A I asked if I refit a Venture if I could just race to HED-GP, but the ruling came back that I would need run the whole route again for it to count.  Given that the alternate route to HED-GP was another 34 gates, I didn’t think it was worth the effort.

It got quiet on coms as those left considered their options.  A long diversion from the easy path seemed to be the choice.  And then Asher called out that he had made it, long before he could have run the full way around.

He told us that he looked at the killmails that we had linked and started convo’ing the FC of the gate camp to bribe him to be let through.  As it turned out the FC just wanted Asher to bring a fight, and since Saturday Night Swarm was starting in HED-GP in just a bit… that was why it was the end point of the race… he was able to offer that up.  So they let him through and he won.

We asked what other plans he might of had, since he seemed to linger behind as the race started, so there was speculation that he might have been looking for an opportune wormhole to get an edge.  However, it came out that he convo’d TEST (and former GSF) FC Vily to ask him to set Asher blue to TEST so he could use TEST jump bridges.  Vily told him he couldn’t do that himself, but would try to find somebody who could.  It looked like Vily was good to his word and actually did get Asher set blue, but nobody got back to Asher so he ended up not using the jump bridge network.

Then after a time, Locke and Elisha made it to HED-GP via the long route and we had out winner.  The prize pool of 1.5 billion ISK was divided up, with 50% slated for the winner, 30% for second place, 15% for third, and 5% set aside for the first person to arrive in a pod.  Those finishing the race were:

  1. Asher Elias
  2. Locke Erasmus
  3. Elisha Okaski

Boris Agnon opted not to take the long way around in his pod, so the 5% for that was rolled over into the prize pool for the next race, along with Elisha’s prize money at his insistence.

And so the third Reavers frigate race ended, with most of us dying quickly at the gate camp in SV5-8N.  Brave popped me so fast I did not have a chance to launch fireworks at them.  Somebody had enough time to grab a direction scan of the camp, but that was about it.

What was waiting on the gate?

Despite not getting a prize I ended up 103,545.20 ISK ahead for the evening, that being the payout for losing an uninsured Venture.  I went with a clean pod, so losing that cost me nothing.

There was some talk as to what else we could have done with the race.  Since we were in mining frigates it was suggested that filling our ore holds ought to be a requirement… something Locke said he did anyway… but as not everybody had mining skills (the advent of skill extractors meant a lot of combat pilots ripped out the mining skills they trained as newbies back in the day) that was set aside.

Ranger Gama has promised to hold another race in the future.  We will have to see how that plays out and what surprises he comes up with.

Daredevil Race

Ranger Gama drew Asher in the Theta Squad Secret Santa gift exchange, so his problem immediately became, “What do you get the 23rd best FC in the Imperium?”

He decided to get Asher a Reavers event since Theta just krabs in Delve day and night I suppose.

The event was to be a frigate race.  The route and frigate type were to be announced at the time of the race when Ranger Gama would hand them out.  He imported ten frigates, one for himself, one for Asher, and eight more for whoever showed up in time to claim one.

The planned time for the race was delayed on a couple of occasions, which worked out for me as I happened to sit down at my desk just after Asher pinged Reavers to let them know it was on.  I was in soon enough to claim one of the frigates, which turned out to be a Daredevil, a Serpentis faction frigate.

Me being me, I quickly logged an alt into Jita to buy a SKIN because I just can’t undock anymore without one.  The Glacial Drift SKIN was available and cheap, but then I saw some of the Serpentis Victory SKINs listed as well.  Those were given away as part of Alliance Tournament XV.  They were much more pricey, going for over 300 million ISK, but also more rare.  So I picked up one of those and contracted it to myself and activated it.

Daredevil in the hangar with a new SKIN

The race was originally going to be a point-to-point run, but Asher suggested something to make it more interesting… or dangerous… or both… so the instructions were updated in the fleet MOTD.

The route, with one five minute stop

Each of the ships had a name for the occasion.  I ended up with the ship named “In.”

We undocked our frigates and met up on a citadel in ROIR.  From there the race began.

The frigates themselves were setup for speed, capable of well over 5km/sec with the included faction MWD burning.  Otherwise, as you can see from one of the Daredevils that got caught, there was a bit of shielding and some festival launchers armed with fireworks to use along the way.

Festival Launchers on the ship

As we flew off Apple Pear showed up and was given a ship.  Only seven had been handed out so he started off a few gates behind us.  Given that the route was static and everybody was warping at the same speed he needed some hostile intervention to help his cause.

The rest of us warped along towards the first destination.

Daredevil in warp

This was where I started to have problems.  I was up with the leaders when one of our cats managed to get himself caught in the handle of a shopping bag which was hooked over the door across the hall from me and began to thrash wildly, seeming more likely to harm himself via that than anything the bag would do.  I dropped my headset, grabbed him, lifted him up to take off any strain, then calmed him for a bit before slipping his head out and letting him run off.  He was okay and I had my daughter dispose of the bag, but now I was behind the pack, though still out in front of Apple Pear.  At least I was still alive, having sat uncloaked on a gate for a bit.

Then I ran into another issue.  When we arrived in JU-OWQ in Deklein, my auto-pilot route sent me back the way we came to get to C4C-Z4.  I still do not understand why, as I checked later and did not see any systems anywhere close by on my avoid list.  So I passed by Apple Pear going the other way, made it through CCP-US, where he had reported a gate camp on both gates, and on towards Fade.

Fortunately there was nothing in the rules about the route, just the requirement to hit the specified waypoints, so that my route differed from the route everybody else took didn’t matter.

Some space maps with routes

Well, it did matter a bit.  My route was two jumps longer, but it turned out to be a bit safe as Asher and the rest of the pack ran into some trouble, with two Daredevils getting popped in K4YZ-Y.  I made it to C4C without incident, but was easily 3 minutes behind Asher, Ranger Gama, and Norgraad. I warped on grid with the Keepstar and started burning away from it and the few carriers that had fighters out to try and nab us.

On grid with the PH Keepstar

Asher and Ranger Gama seemed to do okay, but Norgraad managed to get popped by the locals, though gamely carried on in his pod.  They warped off, heading to the next waypoint while I lingered on grid watching the stopwatch on my iPhone slowly count off the minutes.  The leaders were reporting some people waiting for them ahead, but by the time I was able to warp off towards the next destination they seemed to have given up.  I left Apple Pear behind on the Keepstar grid and went in chase of the leaders.

While there was mutterings on coms about the dangers ahead, they were often vague, like the leaders did not want to help those chasing them catch up.  But it didn’t really matter.  The only hope I had of catching up was to warp straight from gate to gate and just hope to crash or burn past any gate camp.  So off I went.

Fortunately for myself an Apple Pear, the path through was pretty sparsely populated.  At least that was fortunate for us as far as staying alive went.  It also meant that there wasn’t much to slow down Asher or Ranger Gama or even Norgraad in his pod.  Norgraad’s slow warps mean I was able to pass him at least.  He got caught in Cloud Ring while I burned on.

The Cloud Ring nebula

The only real peril for me was at the Alsavoinon gate in F7C-H0.  There, on the boarder between null sec and low was the expected camp with a bubble setup.  I landed straight in it and the campers were slow enough to react to my arrival that I thought I might make it through to the gate unscathed.  However, burning in as fast as I did I hit the gate and bounced off it so far that I had to burn in again.  I took some damage, dropping to half shields, as I made my way back to the gate again, but got through and was on my way.

Low sec space posed no threat and it wasn’t until the path brought me back into null sec that I ran into some additional trouble.  There was a drag bubble in EWOK-K on the O-N8XZ gate that pulled me out of warp shy of the gate.

Burning to the gate again

However, no hostiles were minding the store and a lone TNT pilot was plinking away at the bubble to take it down.  I would have joined in to help… Asher and Ranger Gama were already over the finish line… but fireworks don’t do much.  After that it was just a few more empty gates and I was over the finish line myself.  There I burned over to Asher and Ranger Gama and joined in the shooting of fireworks.

Apple Pear showed up after a bit, followed by Elisha Okaski, who made it all the way from K4YZ-Y in his pod, earning him a special commendation.

For my third place finish I won a free ship of the line for whatever Asher’s next Reavers doctrine ends up being, mostly because Ranger Gama was the organizer so counted himself and Asher out of the contest.  Elisha Okaski will get a ship as well for persevering through most of the race in a pod.

I handed Ranger Gama back my ship so he could use them for some future event and thanked him for setting this up and, of course, declaring me one of the prize winners.  We’ll have to see what the next doctrine ends up being.

That was probably my last op of the year.  Below some screen shots of us shooting fireworks.  We had to turn the MWDs off as the ships were otherwise outrunning the launchers.