Tag Archives: RatKnight1

More Structure Busting in the East

There are still a lot of somewhat low key operations running in the east of null sec on a regular basis.  My own alliance has a deployment running and a lot of ops, though they tend to run when I am at the office.  But Liberty Squad has me covered for US time zone evening ops.

There had been a warning ping about the approaching op, so when the real ping came over Jabber I was already logged into the game and ready to go.  We were advised to bring plenty of structure bashing ammo (read: cheap T1 rounds) so it was clear what we would be up to.

Once we got the fleet assembled… which took a bit because there were other competing ops running… we were able to undock and head out.  We even got a ride to our destination rather than having to gate our way out.

A Ragnarok sends us on our way

We landed in A-YB15 out in The Kalevala Expanse, which meant back to hitting Pandemic Horde structures to keep them from being able to turn the region into a rental income area.

We set up on anchor at a Fortizar and started shooting that, but it was clear to me what the real target of the night would be.  We were just setting up the Fort for later, but there was an Ansiblex Jump Gate on the grid that would be ready to kill in under an hour.

Less than an hour on the clock

We were just biding our time, setting ourselves in place for the real target and to be ready if Pandemic Horde came to defend it.  But for the time being we were pretty much left to our own devices.  Nobody even came out to gun the Fortizar.

The idea was to take up the time waiting for the Ansiblex by reinforcing the Fort, but we ended up done with that and still had 20 minutes on the clock before the main event.  So we found a Raitaru in the system and shot that as well.  That didn’t take long either.  It was even unfueled, which meant we burned through both the shield and armor.  We blamed RatKnight1 for speeding us up with his high DPS Kikimora.

The Kikimora

It took me a moment when I first saw him out there.  To my brain a solid red beam is a target painter and not the Triglavian weapon system.  When spun up to full power he was doing considerably more damage than the average Eagle was.

With the Raitaru set, we just loafed around the Ansiblex, waiting for the timer to get down to zero so we could start shooting.  There was some concern that Pandemic Horde would come out to defend it, since this would be a kill and, while it is easy enough to just drop a new one… it used to be the same deal with the POS jump bridges and so we wouldn’t kill them, just burn through their armor so the owner would have to work to finish the kill or repair the module… it does cost ISK to set these up over and over again as we kill them.

But they let us be and when the timer hit zero we opened fire.

The Fortizar visible in the distance

I had a couple of combat drones in my drone bay and we were close enough that I was able to set them on the structure to get on the kill mail.  However our FC, Zintage, was once again reminded that you cannot use a target painter on structures, and since that is all the monitor can mount, he did not get on the kill mail.  But he had already been in on a Brothers of Tangra  Ansiblex kill earlier, so he was ahead of the game.

The Ansiblex blew up shortly, leaving a glowing wreck behind as we aligned back for our staging base.

After the explosion

Thanks to cooperation with some of the locals we had a ride most of the way home as well, using one of their Ansiblex jump gates.

Sent back the easy way

With rides both ways it ended up being a fairly short op for how much shooting we did.  But I am sure there will be more to shoot again tomorrow.

Fort Knocks Way Down in the Hole

There in J115404 the Keepstar was waiting for us.  The trip into the hole on Saturday was going to pay off.

Fort Knocks over a planet

The Keepstar called Fort Knocks had been initially reinforced by the Initiative.  The whole venture was the culmination of about a year’s planning and logistics and it was came to its culmination last night.  The Initiative had jumped into J115405, the wormhole system colloquially known as “Rage,” taken over the static hole into the system, and reinforced the Keepstar named “Fort Knocks” last week.

Fort Knocks, as noted over at PC Gamer, was the first Keepstar to be brought online in New Eden.  That article will also tell you a bit about Hard Knocks, the alliance that built it.

As noted, once the Initiative launched their plan, bringing out their pre-positioned assets and taking over access to the hole, the Imperium was invited along to participate, and Asher brought the Reavers into the hole on Saturday.

Sunday saw the armor timer for Fort Knocks come and go uncontested.  Hard Knocks gunned the structure, hurling bombs, running the PDS to shake off drones, and zapping those who dared stray too close with the doomsday.  But they didn’t undock a fleet or otherwise put a serious attempt into defense, nor did allies or other wormholers come to help them.

There is a legend that wormholers will band together in the face of outsiders, k-space dwellers, coming in to attack them.  But, then again, Hard Knocks has played the role of wormhole tyrant in the past, so perhaps that sense of unity did not apply to them.

Instead, Hard Knocks looked to be preparing for the end largely by shifting some assets about and by undocking and self-destructing capital ships to collect the insurance before the end.

Not that they were not beyond some hijinks.  Putting capital ships on the undock and self-destructing them was an ongoing temptation for those besieging the system to warp in and take a shot in order to get on the kill mail.  And then the doomsday would fire from the Keepstar and some unfortunate would get to “ride the lightning” for their trouble.

Even Asher lost his Monitor FC ship when he warped our fleet over to a Moros stuck in a bubble after somebody in fleet reported it as being far enough off the Keepstar to be safe.  It was not and Asher got to ride the lightning as well.

That, in a wormhole, is a pretty big pain in the ass.  At least he did not lose his capsule as well, because then you’re in your clone in normal space.  There is no jump cloning to wormholes.  Still, even with a capsule left you pretty much have to fly into the hole the ship you plan to use, as wormhole space isn’t just another system in New Eden.  You can’t just get a ship and fly back.  You have to find the right hole, or series of holes, to go through to get there.  Fortunately, somebody lent him a ship and he was able to arrange to get another one sent in, likely via an alt, so he was back in a Monitor by last night.

Anyway, come last night we were pinged to log on at about 01:00 UTC, or 5pm my local time.  We were forming up for the final timer.  We got into fleet and sorted ourselves out as usual, undocking to hang off the Raitaru and survey the system.  There was about a half an hour left to go before the big event.  Wrecks of capital ships were still lingering on the undock of the Keepstar.

Capital wrecks on the undock

But before that there was a Hard Knocks Sotiyo that had been reinforced.  We flew off to do the armor timer, anchoring up on Asher to hang about avoiding the defenses as we shot the structure.

Cruising around the Sotiyo

We had enough firepower to stop the timer, but not enough to hit the damage cap on the structure, so we were still shooting it when the Keepstar timer hit.  But the Initiative was already on the job and stopped the clock there right away.

Timer paused at Fort Knocks

As expected, the Initiative was out with the structure killing Raven doctrine, a mass of cruise missile spewing battleships trolling at long range and being jumped every so often to avoid bombs.

The Raven blob commeth

They have pretty much perfected this doctrine and have killed structures in the face of titan support without capital ships to back them up.  They shoot and then they scoot as the blob gets booshed along.

The jump effect forming before the fleet

They also had a fleet of torpedo bombers out as well taking shots at the Keepstar, giving enough well handled firepower that the result was never in doubt.  Without a fleet of their own, Hard Knocks could annoy the attackers, unshipping some, sending others back to K-space if they got podded, but could not stop them.

We finished up reffing the Sotiyo and then set on a Raitaru and watched as the circling fleet chewed away at the structure of the Keepstar.  The more damage the citadel received, the more the lights in the hangars, and even the Hard Knocks logo, dimmed and flickered.  A nice effect by CCP.

As the end of the structure grew near, Asher warped us in at 30km to get in some hits so we could get on the kill mail.  However, we were in and out too quickly for my light drones to get in a hit.  I had a sentry drone in my cargo bay for just this situation, but had forgotten to swap it out, making this this third Keepstar kill mail this year I failed to get on because I was in the logi wing.  There was no time to go back as the structure soon began to brew up.

Keepstar Coming Apart

My alt, cloaked up in an Astero 40km off the Keepstar did have a Bouncer sentry drone in his bay, so I was able to launch that and get in some hits, so at least he got on the kill mail in time.

The kill mail is here, and over a thousand people managed to get on it.

And then there was the big boom as the Keepstar blew up, leaving a huge wreck behind.

The remains of the first Keepstar

But that wasn’t all that was left behind.  In normal space, all the stuff in an Upwell structure goes into what is called “asset safety” and is delivered to the nearest low sec station 30 days later, where it can be retrieved for a fee.  This was CCP’s response to years of null sec outposts changing hands, locking people out of their homes and leaving all of their stuff stranded.

In wormhole space however there is no asset safety.  Instead, Upwell structures are giant loot pinatas, and the oldest Keepstar in the game might have been the biggest and richest loot pinata of them all.  When it blew up all of the items people left in hangars was spewed out into space, forming a ball of loot consisting of almost 2,000 hangar containers.

The loot ball with tags on

Each one of those little yellow tags contains what was left in somebody’s hangar.  Each of them is a present in space, waiting to be opened.

A hangar container floating about

Some of those containers held great wealth.  There were dreadnoughts with 10 billion ISK fits.  Huge piles of PI materials.  Officer modules.  Freighters.  Blockade runners and Deep Space Transports.  And there was combat ships galore.

There were also cap boosters.  Somebody wryly seeded many people’s hangars with a single 3200 cap booster, the equivalent of getting coal in your stocking at Christmas.

And so a frenzy of looting began.

Because this was their operation, based on all of their planning and hard work, the Initiative was given exclusive access for the first 30 minutes after the Keepstar blew up.  But there was so much loot on the field, and it kept showing up for quite some time as CCP’s code processed through the hangar of each and every capsuleer who ever left anything in that Keepstar… and some who didn’t, because you can “deliver” things to people in Upwell structures now, which is how Doomchincilla ended up losing so many ships during this event despite being nowhere in the vicinity so far as I know… that there was still a huge pile to sort through when we were given the all clear to join in.

The PL killboard sullied with all those frigates

The code even went a little wonky, throwing out containers around the other Keepstar that were flagged as belonging to LAWN.

What followed can only be described as a sacking of a Keepstar as people filtered through cans, ejecting ships to fly around, grabbing items, and blowing things up they couldn’t carry off.  It was such a crazy event that I would be in favor of foregoing asset safety in null sec if this could be a regular spectacle after every structure kill.

That might get too crazy in normal space where every random outsider could try and show up to claim some loot, leading to even bigger numbers straining nodes during such fights.  In wormhole space the crowd is fairly well constrained.

Of course, we were also all stuck there in wormhole space.  You could grab huge items and haul them off to a local structure, but actually getting stuff out of the system was another matter indeed.  A couple of people in Reavers managed to grab dreadnoughts.  Ratknight1 was the first, picking up a Moros out of a can.  He flew it to the friendly Fortizar, insured it, then undocked it to self-destruct in order to collect the insurance.

Ratknight1’s Moros exploding

I was in time to help out with that, so at least I got on one kill mail this month.  That is all I ask, just to prove I’m still around and playing.

As time went on people went from grabbing all they could to blowing up everything in sight.  A gaggle of Praxis battleships was disgorged from one can close by me, but as I closed in with my pod I couldn’t board any of them as they were all locked up and being shot.

My alt managed to jump into an Ishtar and fly it off, taking out some time to shoot Ratknight1 as well, then docked it up to go out again.  He got a Hound stealth bomber next, allowing him to zip about to check cans… though it was only an afterburner fit, so maybe “zip” isn’t the right word.  But when it became clear that we had reached the time of just blowing stuff up, he just joined in to shoot things.

The pillaging looked set to carry on for quite some time still, but I tired of it once it turned to blowing things up.  I docked back up, leaving the two ships I snagged to inspect later.  I’ll see if there is anything worth stripping off of them then likely insure them and blow them up.

Even as I was logging off there was an Imperium fleet up to get people back to Delve.  But Reavers are hanging around for a bit.  There are still structures to blow up in J115405, like that Sotiyo that is coming out soon, and the other Keepstar looming across the way.  Where there are structures to shoot, Reavers will be there.

Other coverage of the event:

Waiting for a Hole

We had been warned that something might be coming up.  We had been given hints about when it might be and had been asked to have doctrine ships ready to go in 1DQ1-A.

Doctrine ships were no problem for me.  I had left them all in the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A when we returned from the war up north in the big move op.  So I figured we were ready to go.

Finally, yesterday, the ping came.  Asher was going to take us out for some sort of deployment again.  People logged in, got in fleet, and waited.  I got into my Guardian, put on the Emergency Response SKIN, and sat on the undock ready to go.

Guardian waiting

And there I waited for a while.  Asher told us where we were going.  There was an operation afoot to kill the Hard Knocks Keepstar in wormhole space.  There info about that over on Reddit as well as an update this morning over at INN.  We were waiting for a wormhole that would get us there.  In the meantime we were advised to pack for a week’s stay without any resupply and likelihood of living in space the whole time.

I docked back up.

I had not stocked up on enough supplies for that sort of expedition.  So, as we waited, I grabbed a mobile depot, a cloak, enough drugs for four long battles, replacement drones, a couple of sentry drones in case we shot a POS so I could whore on the kill, the extra modules we are supposed to carry but which I tend to leave in the station because we never swap them out.

I also got out my alt with the perfect scanning skills and put him in his Astero.  I was going to drag him along to get myself out of the wormhole should I get left behind.  I loaded up the Astero with extra probes, a back up mobile depot, extra drones, extra drugs, and a few more items.  If there was room in the fleet he was coming with us.

There were discussions going on as to how much to bring with us and what else we might need.

But eventually we went back to waiting.  The hole that we had logged in for hadn’t been right, so we were waiting for the next one.  Comms quieted down.  Asher, with not much else going on, went to appear on the Meta Show.  I pulled up the iPad and watched U.S.S Callister episode of Black Mirror.  I also undocked my alt and zipped around the system for a bit to see the new jump gate.  I didn’t really have to go far to see that.

The jump gate right off the Keepstar

As I idled on tether at the Keepstar I noticed an orange glow on one of the uprights that could only be an explosion.  I looked up in time to see a Rorqual coming apart.  A neutral had jumped to the cyno beacon and had been bubbled and blapped.

I didn’t quite get the camera on the beacon in time for the excitement, but if you are sharp eyed you can see the Rorqual wreck at the top of this screen shot.

Cyno Beacons are always bait

Before the Meta Show ended, while Asher was still on, a whole became available.  He pinged us to be ready go and had us free burn into Fountain.  There we grouped up and took our first ride on one of the new jump gates.  My first ride at least.

Jump Gate Ready

I had already setup the auto-pay on Wilhelm, but my alt wasn’t set yet and I have to approve a payment for 2,900 ISK in fuel to jump his Astero through.

From there we had another burn, though we traveled as a group this time.  Well, some of us did.  The more eager took the destination as a free burn.  Those of us more familiar with Asher’s style knew that if he didn’t say to free burn we would be going together and everybody should just jump through every gate and then align to the next one in order to be fleet warped.

Landing on another gate

Eventually we arrived at our hole.  The fleet gathered together so we could go through as a group.

Waiting for the word to go

When we all seemed to have arrived, Asher sent us through.  We were in Thera.

Once there we took the long warp to another hole, only to find somebody had been left behind.  DBRB went back to be a warp in for him.  One the lost sheep was collected, it was through the hole.

Only it collapsed before everybody got through.  A chunk of the fleet had been left behind and had to eventually wind their way back to wait for another fleet.  Apparently the Initiative had just pushed a fleet through that hole, so it wasn’t as fresh as we had been led to believe when we set out.

Those of us in the new hole were scattered about the system, the effects of a hole collapse.  I seemed to be inside of the sun.  Asher warped some people to our next hole, but that only caught some of the fleet so we had to wait a bit to collect.  Then we were off again, through nearly half a dozen more holes until we arrived in J115405 and saw the Hard Knocks Keepstar.

The Hard Knocks Keepstar in J115405

The armor timer was already running, the shields having been hit already.  The armor timer was set for late USTZ, so it seemed likely that I would be able to get online to see the fights that developed.

And that was really only the first Keepstar.  They have two together on the same grid, along with an array of other smaller structures.

The second Keepstar across from the first with a Fortizar in the middle

The first Keepstar was named Fort Knocks, while the second was Unassailable Wealth.  We shall see about that.  But there is a lot of fighting to be done here.

In addition to the Hard Knocks structures, somebody on our side had gone in and dropped over two dozen Raitarus in the hole in order to get us some place to tether and dock up.  I am sure most of those will get destroyed, but only a couple need to survive to make our foothold more tenable.

On arriving there wasn’t much else to do.  We scattered about the system, made safe spots, cloaked up if we were going to hang around or safe logged if we were not.

The only thing we’ve done so far is help the Initiative guard a hole into the system to keep Hard Knocks from getting anything in.  That mostly meant anchoring on Zed Starshine for a while and orbiting the hole, with the occasional trademark Zed Crazy Ivan turn to scatter us about and let the slower ships catch up.

Following Zen

Anyway, it is good to have a deployment of some sort going on.  I had been fairly dormant in null sec since returning from the war.  We shall see if more Keepstar kills result.  You can keep an eye on the kill board for the hole over at zKill to see what is dying.  Some POS towers are already down.

Two Days to Delve

We had been deployed long enough.  We got some good fights, annoyed the locals, and blew up a Fortizar, but things were starting to slow down.  Asher had been busy with Alliance Tournament practice, things were brewing on the home front, and there was the promise of a different adventure on the horizon.  It was time to pack up our belongings from our favorite fishy referencing system in Curse and get back to Delve.

Of course, packing up is easier said that done.  We came out with two fleet doctrines and added a third while we were there, and being remote means keeping an extra ship or two on hand for each doctrine along with extra ammo and charges for things like boosts or interdiction bubbles.

The latter was exacerbated by Asher’s fondness for a Boy Scout level of preparedness, meaning we carry mobile depots and modules so we can refit to match the occasion, leading to full cargo holds and an oft repeated meme.

If we could strap things to our ships, Asher would make us…

On the bright side, we also brought carriers and dreadnoughts over to Curse, so there was some space available to carry extra ships.

As the time to the move op home ticked down, I made arrangements.  Ships I was unlikely to ever use again were stripped, repackaged, and shipped to Jita.  I organized what was left, decided what would just stay in the NPC station to await our eventual return, and tried to figure out how to get the rest home.

The smaller ships were not so bad.  RatKnight1 took my Scimitar, two interdictors, and three Vigils in his carrier.  That left me two Typhoons, a Damnation, and a couple of covert ops scanning ships.  I decided to leave a Typhoon and the cov ops behind, along with jump clones, so I could go back to hunting Fraternity deployables at some future date.  They were leaving MTUs around for me to shoot for a while.

That meant flying home a Typhoon and a Damnation.  A lot of people chose to fly their Typhoons back, battleships being awkwardly large, though I did see smaller ships along as we moved.

My Damnation near one of the local Minmatar gates

Tuesday night the appointed hour came and we all logged on and got into the fleet, captials and subcaps sharing the same fleet and voice coms, something that always leads to a bit of confusion.  Actually, most of us had been logged in for hours before the fleet, leaving the system empty under the threat of a few dozen Imperium pilots hanging about with nothing to do.

Then came the call to undock.  Capitals undocked first and jumped off to wait for their first dose of jump fatigue to wind down and for the sub caps to catch up.  Then the subcaps undocked, heading for our first waypoint on the road home.

The rag tag fleet in motion

We made it to the appropriately named system 0SHT-A, where we met up with the capitals.  The system is on one side of a inter-regional jump gate that the capitals had to take in order to continue on the way home.  The distance covered by the gate is beyond the capital jump range, so they either take the gate or travel a much longer, and more dangerous, route home.

The capitals logged on and got undocked and ready to go as the subcaps went through the gate to U-QVWD in order to cover them.  They came through and jumped to the next cyno.  However, as that was in motion, the locals showed up with a Loki fleet.  The system is an obvious choke point, so them showing up wasn’t any act of amazing foresight.   Any Imperium fleet traveling through the area is likely to show up in that system.

We sat there on the gate with a bunch of hostiles in local as the carriers and dreadnoughts came through and made their jump.  The Loki fleet showed up on grid, though far off from us just as the last few capitals were coming through.  Asher had us point towards the Astrahus we have in the system and somebody put up their fleet boosts… likely Asher… just in case a fight started.  I took that cue and ran the boosts on my Damnation for a cycle as well.  And then the Lokis warped to us, just as the last dread was jumping away, and Asher warped us to the citadel where we tethered up in safety… except for Asher, who left his boosts running, something that sets an aggression timer and keeps you from tethering or jumping through a gate.  He had to warp off and back to get safe.

We were not totally outnumbered by the Loki fleet, but they were a coherent combat fleet while we were a mix of various doctrine ships traveling together for safety in numbers rather than looking for a fight.  We were not going to challenge them.

So we all docked up.  The capitals had docked up at their end.  All we could do is wait.  However the Loki fleet seemed to be patient, so Asher called the fleet for the night, got us our participation link, and said we could go but asked that we stay logged on if we could just to keep our friends in the Loki fleet hoping for kills they were not going to get.

So ended the first night of the move op.  We were scheduled to reconvene the next night to finish the run home.

Wednesday night had most of us sitting at the login page waiting for the word to get into the game and resume our journey, there being no desire to show up early and tip off the locals again that we were in town.

Waiting to log in

As people got themselves set and got onto voice coms, the subject of pizza came up because Thomas Lear was ordering Dominoes for dinner.  What started as a condemnation of the position of Dominoes in the hierarchy of pizza quickly devolved when the New Yorkers on coms adopted the standard line that there is no good pizza outside the five boroughs of New York.

Having worked with people from New York in the past… one of the oddities of Silicon Valley is that so many people here are from somewhere else, so you learn which parts of the country think their the only ones who can do a given thing… I opted to stay out of that discussion since you might as well argue with a brick wall as a New Yorker on that topic.

Then, however, the topic somehow slid into the relative merits of regions BBQ styles in the United States, at which point it seemed like the SIG might break up as passions flared and intemperate phrases were tossed around about coloration and the appropriateness of vinegar and other ingredients in something as sacred as BBQ sauce.  Quick thinking saw a straw poll put up on the topic asking us stand up for whichever variety we supported.

BBQ Poll in Fleet

I did not bring up Alabama white sauce lest I be accused of some form of heresy and be branded as beyond the pale of polite company.  I voted for Kansas City style, less out of any true passion than because it is the style I grew up with and what is used at my favorite local BBQ place, where I have been eating since I was a kid.

Tempers cooled as everybody was able to vote for their choice.  There seems to be a calming effect to being able to have your view counted.  The discussion then somehow moved to the prevalence of spam in Hawaii and eventually sputtered out as the call to log in came.  The caps logged in and made their jump and then the subcaps got into the game, undocked, and continued the journey back to Delve.

Nobody formed up to oppose us as we settled into the usual routine of jumping and aligning as we Asher warped us from gate to gate.  An Imperium Jackdaw fleet caught up with us and moved with our fleet for a while, reducing the likelihood of anybody showing up to challenge us.

Aligned out for another warp

Along the way we learned that not only does Thomas Lear have bad taste in pizza… the only aspect of the pizza discussion on which we could all agree… but that he had never been to a concert in his life.  So that was added to the list of his sins.

Eventually we wandered into Querious, then Delve, and found ourselves in jump of the Imperium staging Keepstar.  From there it was onto a titan and a bridge to the cyno which, by tradition was lit inside the model of the citadel, a position known as the “twerk zone” because of the way ships bounce around when they land.

Damnation in the Twerk zone

From there we could bounce around if we liked or dock up and be done for the evening.  Our deployment was over… except for the people who did not make the move op.  There is always somebody who can’t make it and needs to be extracted at a later date.

As with the fleet, I expect any comments on this post will focus on the critical issues of BBQ sauce, pizza, and what concerts Thomas Lear should attend in the wilds of Kansas.

A Fortizar in the Great Wildlands

A Fortizar belonging to Silent Infinity waited for us in the formerly desolate region of the Great Wildlands.

Not AFK that night…

The Great Wildlands, a region of NPC null sec space with only three stations, used to be very empty.  I remember flying through the region for a deployment to Curse back in the day and hitting empty system after empty system.  I mean, a lot of null sec is empty at any given time, but usually not in such great strips.  A lot of space with no place to dock up and hide.

Then came citadels.  You don’t even need fuel for a basic Astrahus, and it is much more annoying to kill one of those, with the vulnerability window and three timers, than a POS.

Suddenly you could make a home amongst the Thukkar Tribe space in the Great Wildlands.  It is still crap space, since you can’t upgrade it with an ihub since it is NPC space, but it is null sec all the same.  There is some value to be found there ratting and mining.  Value enough for somebody to drop a Fortizar out there in the system H-8F5Q along a dead end path, no doubt hoping to escape notice.

It did not escape notice, and while I cannot speak to who did the groundwork for the first two timers, Shadow Cartel invited us out to join in the final battle over the citadel.  We are deployed not too far away and were even given some help getting out to the fight via a titan jump bridge.  It is always a bit dicey letting people you might otherwise shoot sit on your titan, but we were good and just took the bridge.

We showed up in Typhoons with a pair of Apostles to supplement logi support.

Typhoons on the way out, with the yellow Hazard Control SKIN stripes on a pair

I had the second monitor hooked up to dual box for the fleet.  I was in a Typhoon on my alt while flying a Damnation command ship for boosts on my main.

We arrived on grid after the repair timer for the Fortizar was already running, landing and anchoring up to open fire at considerable range.  The idea of the Typhoons is to have max missile skills and boosts so as to be able to hit targets with cruise missiles from beyond the 250km mark.

However we could not quite achieve that mark as the pilot running the relevant boost only had command ships trained up to level 4, and every level you train adds 3% to the effectiveness of the boost.  As it turned out, that last 3% was necessary, so we had to settle in and shoot at closer range, inviting the citadel, gunned and manned, to fire back on us.

We spread out around the Apostles to stay clear of the capacitor emptying void bombs the Fortizar was throwing our way.

The citadel was concentrating on the Apostle flown by Izalis.

Apostle under attack

The Fortizar was able to overwhelm any support we were able to muster for Izalis and her Apostle went down with what I would consider disconcerting speed.

The explosion fades on the wreck of her Apostle

In one of those twists of fate, the kill mail for the fax went to one of us.  RatKnight1, who has achieved fame/notoriety on past deployments, had run his smart bomb with the rest of us to shake some small ships.  He happened to have been in range of the Apostle when he did, applying some damage.  When the Fortizar killed it, due to how EVE Online accounts for these things, he ended up getting credit for the final blow… and top damage.  I thought that the person gunning the citadel would get credit, but I guess not.  And, in a testament to the dysfunction of the system, zKillboard even credits RatKnight1 with a solo kill.

So he was hearing about that for the rest of the fleet, letting Thomas Lear off the hook from hearing about how he jumped his titan rather than bridging earlier in the week.

Losing a fax so soon in the fight was something of a blow, but we carried on, re-positioning to shoot the citadel, leaving Izalis’ first capital wreck behind.

Arrendis in our remaining fax did not get hit and was moved out of range.

We remained focused on the citadel for a while until the defenders undocked a Vexor/Vexor Navy Issue fleet with Basilisk logi support to assist in the defense of the Fortizar.

Asher took the opportunity to warp in on them and we ended up wrecking quite a few of their ships.  At one point a command destroyer from the enemy fleet slipped in and used its area affect micro jump drive to boosh a few of us 100km off the fight.  However, the jump was not well planned as it dropped us on top of the bulk of the sentry drones that the Vexor fleet had deployed.  It was easy enough for us to activate the aforementioned smart bombs on our ships to clear away a great chunk of their supporting fire.

I was slow boating back in my Typhoon when we decided to move again and resume shooting the citadel.  We warped off and got ourselves pointed towards the dying citadel.

Timer still paused

It was at this point that we discovered the whole lock 250km lock range issue.  So we left Arrendis in his Apostle and warped into range of the Fortizar again more to make sure we got on the kill mail than because our DPS was needed.  With the enemy cleared from the field and some more firepower having arrived, the end was now a foregone conclusion.

We warped in, took some shots, then warped off.  Asher turned us around and warped us in again, but accidentally warped at zero, landing us in the the midst of the point defense system.  We left again in a hurry then warped back in at a more prudent range to get in a last few shots before the Fortizar started coming apart.

Explosions begin to erupt

You can see the ball that is our fleet hanging there in front of the citadel.  From that point we were about done.  There were some MTUs on the field, and Asher has declared war on all MTUs, friendly or not, so they got blown up.  Then we were off for home, Arrendis tagging along until he got within range to make a jump to cut a decent number of gates off of his trip.  That also allowed us to speed along.

The kill mail shows 141 capsuleers involved.  I tried to do a battle report, however there were so many groups represented on the field… often by just one or two pilots… that in many cases I couldn’t declare somebody for, against, or a third party.  The main thing that it showed was that there were fewer than 300 pilots recorded as involved in the battle.

Basically, a battle of an objective where the forces were not totally lopsided and both sides drew blood.  EVE Online working pretty well.

Pictures from the battle.

Camping in Impass

Asher told us we would be going on an old fashioned Reavers deployment, a chance for the veterans to relive the “good old days” and the new members to figure out just how rose colored our glasses really were when it came to said “good old days.”

We would be packing up ships with mobile depots and refits and reloads and plenty of nanite repair paste to mend our overheating woes and heading deep into hostile space to live in safe spots far from support or easy resupply.  We even got a new doctrine.

One of the fun bits of Reavers is Asher likes to try/fly different ships.  Of course, the downside is that I have ended up with a few ships sitting in my hangar with a fit we used just once.  Such is life.

This time around we were going out in the Sisters of EVE cruiser, the Stratios, beloved hull of Stunt and his Anime Masters.  On learning our main doctrine hull, I immediately made sure I had SKINs for it.  Oh, and I also bought a couple hulls in Jita lest the :goonrush: drive up the prices.

Stratios with the SOE Fire Cell SKIN

Once we got the fit, I bought all of that in Jita as well and flew the ship out to Delve to be ready to go.  There were some additional support ships on the list, including a Rapier.  I had an entosis Rapier left over from the Casino War which my alt could fly, so I updated the fit for that and was ready to go.

Then there was the wait for the go sign.  Asher wanted a wormhole to take us close to our as yet undisclosed destination.  Eventually the ping came, a fleet was formed, the ships were undocked, and we headed out for parts unknown.

Stratios fleet on the move

As we started out Asher followed tradition and asked us to put who we felt our target was in fleet chat.  Circle of Two was the easy winner and, sure enough, that was who we were heading out to pester, with the actual destination being the region of Impass.

As we went Asher explained the CO2’s layout in Impass and what our mission would be.

Impass – April 3, 2017

Impass is laid out with a single system choke point that protects four constellations.  That system is 68FT-6, which is where CO2 has made its capital system.  That system is also within capital jump range of most of the region.

On the far side of 68FT-6 are three constellations where CO2 does much of its ratting, noted in red circles above.  That was where we were headed with the intention of making CO2s ratters, to annoy CO2 in general, and to remind them that their betrayal has not slipped our mind.

We slipped past their capital system and into IRE-98, which was to become the rally point for our deployment.  From there we would form up to set gate camps, run entosis ops, and resupply.  When not doing ops as a group we were to camp their ratting systems to pick off the unwary, make the nervous dock up, and generally be pains in the ass when we could.  When we could not be online and active we were asked to safe up, cloak up, and stay logged on to the game in the traditional AFK camper move.  A hostile in system will send some people packing or make them log off rather than rat.

And finally, we were to follow the Reavers rule of never speaking in local.

I was fairly diligent about keeping myself logged in.  I would get both characters online before work, cloak up, and go off to my day, leaving myself logged in after I went to bed until downtime hit and kicked me out.

When I got home I would go active to annoy the locals or join up with the standing fleet to do something that required coordination.  We did not do a lot of full group operations, but once in a while we would form up to be a menace in larger numbers.

Stratios in all directions

In small groups we would pick on CO2’s mining Rorquals to get them to respond.  For example, Bruce Sparx managed to tackle a Rorqual and myself and RatKnight1 came along to help him.

Rorqual held in place

There was no way the three of us were going to be able to kill him.  Even neuting out his capacitor he was still able to run his shield booster often enough to hold his shields steady against us.  But it remained possible that more of us would show up, so CO2 had to send in a couple of interceptors then light a cyno to drop capitals on us.

Drop to rescue Plain Truth

At that point we recalled drones, cloaked up, safed up, and let them have the field to themselves.  They rescued a Rorqual but didn’t get any kills with their overwhelming force.  We were still lurking out there.

Once in a while they would pick somebody off.  My alt lost his Rapier while trying to hold down a Rorqual when DBRB had a bomber op in the vicinity.  I would not have been so aggressive otherwise, but dead is dead either way.

When solo and without any ratters obviously about, I spent time hitting some of their many undefended towers in the region.  This causes an alert to pop up for people in the alliance.

Why yes, I will shoot this POS

I would sit and do that until somebody showed up to chase me away, at which point I would recall my drones, cloak up, and sit quietly.  Once they were gone I would decloak and pick up where I left off.  This got the occasional lecture or plea in local.

Please stop

I hit one tower often enough that they came out and put a new defensive modules on it.  However, they didn’t seem to notice that the guns were anchored by not actually online.

Adding points and webs

When somebody decided to sit on a tower to keep me from hitting it, I went off and started hitting customs offices in the same system.

We didn’t stop people from ratting.  We had nothing close to the level of force to do that.  But we curtailed it some.  Asher was keeping stats on NPC kills in the systems, which were down noticeably.  The solo ratters went away or became very paranoid, unless they were ratting in super carriers, while others started ratting in groups to stay sage and keep ADMs high in their systems.  That was enough to keep almost all of their ratting systems at ADM 6.

With that state of affairs, I decided to bring my alt back in a covops frigate and learn how to use combat probes.  My alt is all level V on scanning skills.  I first fit out a Cheetah with a fit I found online that included a warp scrambler with the idea that I could scan something down and hold them in place with that, then warp my main in with the Stratios to finish them off.

Combat Probes out

Combat probing was easy enough that I wondered why I hadn’t done it before.  The Cheetah was a bit fragile though and I lost it on a bait Epithal.  Live and learn and watch for bait.

So I dropped the idea of direct combat with him and instead came back with a Buzzard fit just to scan and cloak, with a covert cyno fit in case we were able to bring our black ops battleship into action and drop on somebody.

Combat probes are a wonderful way to scare people.  CO2 ratters seem to use their directional scan pretty regularly so when I scanned somebody down, unless they were in a carrier or a super or in a group, they would usually bolt.  However, on bolting, they would often leave things behind, things like drones and Mobile Tractor Units.

So I went into the clean up business, keeping CO2 ratting space tidy by eliminating stray drones and MTUs by scanning them down and popping them.

Stratios hitting an MTU

Stray drones actually turned into a resource for me as I would forget or lose drones now and again, so I could replenish them from strays.  I was just sad when NPCs would pop them before I could scoop them up.

MTUs though became my main target.  Easy to scan down, easy to kill, and they even provide a kill mail.

MTU whore

MTUs don’t cost a lot in the grand scheme of things, but once you pop one (and the wreck) you have deprived a ratter of some of his take, and every annoyance is a plus.  CO2 even obliged by calling me names in local.

MTU anger

That bit from local was amusing because while they did drop some bait MTUs, they were so eager to catch me that they bumbled the drop and I was able to recall drones and cloak up with plenty of time to spare.  So they took to local, during which I killed one of Black Shogun’s MTUs.  He was carrier ratting and dropping MTUs to pick up later after each anomaly, so I was popping them once he left.

MTU Goes Boom

So that is what we spent our time doing for almost two weeks in Impass.  It was part of why GigX declared war on the Imperium, a war that really hasn’t seen much action after an initial spasm by CO2.

As a final gesture for the deployment, while CO2 was off helping TEST cover their Keepstar deployment on April Foos Day, we went out to entosis a bunch of systems in order to split their response.  The Keepstar went up uncontested while some scratch defense groups chased us around Impass.

Entosis running

After that we returned to Delve to repair and resupply, pulling out through another wormhole.  Repair was literally required for my Stratios.

Damaged Stratios

I ended up taking some armor hits while annoying a ratting Nyx.  Fighters chew up subcaps, so some care needs to be taken if you’re moving around carriers of super carriers solo.

But the deployment was over and we were back home.

Now the key question remains; was it really an old school Reavers deployment?  Sure, we were in the enemies home territory unsupported, living in safe spots and refitting with mobile depots.  But we didn’t reinforce any towers, and structure shoots were a part of the old deployments, part of the “money in the bank” strategy of.

Then again, we were in the core of CO2s territory while they were home in force, rather than in some periphery while the enemy was deployed elsewhere.  Maybe not a complete recreation of some of the times from the first year of Reavers, but every deployment has its own nature.

Another set of tales for the book of Reavers.

Committed to Delve Now

When move ops were announced late last week and over the weekend I was a little confused.  Were people still back in Saranen?  Was the Rakapas Cartel getting anxious?  The pings were a little vague about the end points of these ops.

However, when I actually looked into what was going on, it turned out that this wasn’t about the move down from the north.  This was another move.  We were giving up our low sec staging base in Sakht and moving into Delve proper.  We were moving to D-W7F0, highlighted below on the map of the Delve region.

Delve - August 16, 2016

Delve – August 16, 2016

At a glance the system doesn’t look to be the worst spot on the map, but it seems like one might choose better when it comes to a staging system.  There isn’t even a station there.   However, this is one of those instances where Wollari’s wonderful maps do not really reflect the shape of space.  The region maps on DOTLAN are setup to show all the systems and the interconnection of gates between them.  These maps do not show the actual distance or relative position of systems in space.  For that you need to use the Range option under Navigation over at DOTLAN, which will show you a different map.

Where can I jump from D-W7F0

Where can I jump from D-W7F0

That map shows the relative positions of the systems in the game, and every one of them in red is within 5 light years of D-W7F0, which means a capital ship can get there in one jump.  There are 72 systems within jump range of D-W7F0 and, while eight of those systems are in Querious, that still covers a substantial number of the 97 systems in Delve.

As for there being no station in D-W7F0, we look to be living out of citadels now.  There are three Fortizars and a couple of Astrahuses setup in the system for us to dock up in.  One has been designated as our staging citadel and, thanks to last week’s update, which added contracts to citadels, pre-fit doctrine ships are available in addition to the market getting stocked.

Now all we lack is the ability to insure ships in a citadel, which seems like something that ought to have been added already, but who knows what the code looks like or what CCP’s reasoning behind its absence might be.

That is home now, which meant getting stuff out of Sakht.  For me that includes a carrier and a bunch of sub caps.  I took care of the carrier first, loading it up with all the ships I could cram into it, grabbing about fuel for a couple of trips, just in case, and undocking.

Carrier on grid!

Carrier on grid!

This was between the Astrahus busting fleets on Saturday night when Asher setup a move up for us.  It was supposed to be for subcaps only.  He has setup a bridging titan in 1-SMEB while RatKnight1 (of the Ratkingbois meme from our Wicked Creek deployment) kept a cyno going at the Fortizar.  But with lots of ships covering and a cyno in place, he said we could take our chances if we wanted to move a capital via the cyno in fleet.

This meant doing things with my carrier that I had not done before.  So far, I have only ever jumped station to station, with the exception of that jump to a citadel from Rakapas.  I actually had to warp the carrier.

And it warps slowly

And it warps slowly

At the end of the warp, I had to take the gate from Sakht to 1-SMEB.

How do supers fit through this thing?

How do supers fit through this thing?

I had to do this because the jump gates between Sakht and 1-SMEB are of the very long range region connecting variety, so the distance covered is well beyond the 5 light year range limit.  Again, the DOTLAN route planner illustrates the path you would have to take to bypass the gate.

So I took the gate and jumped to the cyno once I was clear.

On the Fortizar

On the Fortizar

Then it was time to move some subcaps.

I remember back around the Phoebe release CCP was expressing concern that we might simply all use death clones to move about to bypass jump fatigue, especially after they removed clone costs.  It was part of the justification for restricting how one could set their home station. (Which also happens to be in the same time frame when we left Delve back in 2014.)

But if you are moving a ships between two points, death clones make it easy.  After docking up my carrier, I got out of it, undocked, and set my pod to self-destruct.  Upon my destruction, my death clone was activated in Sakht, where I boarded a subcap, took the gate to 1-SMEB, then Asher’s titan bridge back to D-W7F0, where I docked up, got out of the ship, undocked, and kicked off the self-destruct yet again.

Rolling up to a titan for a bridge

Rolling up to a titan for a bridge

A few rounds on that with both my main and my alt… and a little jump fatigue… and I was pretty quickly out of Sakht.  Everything I moved south is now in a Fortizar in the middle of Delve.  Time to settle in, evict the current residents, and help put down the natives.  It is no longer the Guristas for ratting, but Blood Raiders instead.

Blood Raiders use lasers

Blood Raiders use lasers

I just have to remember to not to go AFK in an anomaly when the doorbell rings.  At least I had gotten a couple of runs out of that Myrmidon and remembered to insure it.

So I am fully committed to Delve.  All my stuff is there now.

And it seems as thought TEST might have some commitment to Delve as well.  According to their latest (and very short) state of the alliance recording, they are being paid to come down to Delve and shoot Goons.