Tag Archives: Reavers

Four Years of Reavers

Another year has gone by and somehow I have managed to not get kicked out of the Reavers for either lack of effort and marginal competence.  It must be my strict adherence to the dress code and a willingness to fly whatever doctrine that Asher dreams up that has saved me.

Reavers forum bee

As I do every year at about this time, since I still haven’t bothered to nail down an official founding date for the SIG, I review what we have done since last anniversary.  I probably should hold this post for Monday, as the 15th is probably the right date.  But I don’t have anything else set to post today, so here we go.

For those wishing a fuller history of the SIG, past anniversary posts.

To quickly sum things up:

The first year was the glorious start, with deployments deep in enemy space that early members still talk about.  It also saw us adjusting to null sec changes including jump fatigue and Fozzie sov.

Year two was tumultuous as the Casino War occupied the coalition from January through June of 2016, followed by the conquest of Delve once we fled the north for a new home.  Both events called for lots of fleet ops, but left little room for the traditional Reavers role.

Year three saw us ranging out again as our home in Delve was secure.  We camped CO2 in Impass and based out of Curse to find fights.  Then there was the Hakonen deployment where Reavers had some special tasks during the big Fortizar fights.

Which brings us to year four, with the usual map comparing the year as it started and ended.

October 2017 and 2018 compared

A lot changed in the east over the year, but most of our time was spent in the northwest.  But there were changes there as well and some parties came and went in between those to map time points.

Not too long after the three year anniversary post the SIG deployed north to an NPC station in Pure Blind.  I was a bit late to the party.  I have moved all of my stuff out of Delve and was thinking about taking a break from the game.  But I figured there was a deployment going on and I could take a peek in on that.  I caught up quickly, flying a bomber up to join in the fun.  This became the “Zungen Ops” era for us.  It developed into a combined deployment with Reavers and Black Ops.  Inspired by Bigbillthaboss3, who didn’t want to move his suicide dreads back to Delve after Hakonen, this ended up being our focus for most of year four.

Our area of operation for most of the deployment was Pure Blind, Fade, and some of Deklein.  As you can see from the map, when we started out Mordus Angels owned much of Pure Blind and Pandemic Horde was living in Fade, while Guardians of the Galaxy was up and Deklein.

Things started mostly with bomber drops on ratters and miners, cynoing in a dreadnought now and again to help skill larger things.  There was also Asher’s VNI fleet doctrine, where we went after the locals in the same ships they used for ratting.

There was something of a break for a bit towards the end of the year, though we did do a special Blaze Fleet in Armageddons as well as running the first of our races, organized by Ranger Gamma.  I won a Naglfar in that race.

January saw us distracted by the Million Dollar Battle in 9-4RP2 while in February Pandemic Horde moved from Fade to Geminate, leaving a hole in the north and removing our most persistent adversary.  We also got changes to citadels, making them quicker to kill if unfueled as well as letting us shoot them any time we wanted, at least for the first timer.

Returning to NPC space in Pure Blind found our citadels gone and our station bubbled.

The situation upon our return

Guardians of the Galaxy tried to step in and suppress us on our return, going almost a full week trying to bubble us and camp us before wandering off.  There were also POS towers on every single moon in the system, which we slowly killed off.  But not before we spent time annoying the enemy by hitting them at random over and over to set off alliance wide alerts.  There were lots of little operations around that activity.

Somewhere around then the theme of the year emerged, which was Asher bringing up delicious Kirkland protein bars.  I don’t recall exactly when or why that became a thing, but it very much became a thing.

After trying to expand into Fade, Mordus Angels collapsed not too long after our return, with a couple corps defecting to the Imperium.  There was also the brief but odd exchange between Asher and Strange Juice over a video of GotG shooting an undefended tower.  Also, 3 2 1 Kenshin!

TNT, which had been staging in the North for a while began working with us more regularly and Space Violence decided to join the party in Pure Blind, which eventually led GotG to adopt a policy of not forming to fight us in the hope we would get bored and go elsewhere.  But Reavers love nothing more than shooting undefended structures and deploying our own.  We even chased them into Venal for a couple of days.

Along the way we discarded the VNI doctrine and swapped to Ishtars, starting with a shield tank then swapping to an armor tank.  That meant sending my Basilisks back to Jita and shipping out Guardians and an Oneiros, the latter of which managed to survive through the rest of the year.

Of course, the biggest issue for Reavers was that CCP took our trademark jacket out of the New Eden Store.  We have appealed for its return, but have had no luck.  The remaining jackets on the market are very, very expensive.

Wilhelm with the jacket

Meanwhile, the foundations of the next war were being laid.  TEST evicted Pandemic Legion from Providence in week, reversing PL’s long campaign to take the region.  That left PL looking for revenge.

Providence changed over the course of a week

As that was happening the Imperium was clearing out Fountain,  Federation Uprising ended up owning some of Cloud Ring as The Culture collapsed, and the number one target on the Imperium hit list, Circle of Two, moved into Fade.

Reavers had its third race… I missed the second one… where we ended up racing through TEST’s space. Asher asked Vily to blue him so he could use their jump bridges.  Soon enough we’d all be blue to TEST.

Then war opened up, with PL and the Winter Coalition attacking TEST and Legacy Coalition in the south.  That led to the struggle in UALX-3 where TEST lost a Keepstar, but trapped a host of the attacking fleet while dropping another Keepstar in the same spot.  That one lived.  And while the hostiles broke their fleet out, that set of battles pretty much ended their drive in the south.

The Imperium teamed up with TEST and borrowed a Keepstar to drop in Cloud Ring in order to open up a second front in the north.  I am not sure we asked FedUp in advance if we could set that up in their space, but the fight over it in 6RCQ-V was the first real chance for the coalition to demonstrate is super cap power.  The Imperium won, the Kirkland Protein Star was deployed, we had a foothold on the doorstep of Fade, and the war was on.

Asher, as Skymarshal of the Imperium forces, which put him in charge of all the toys, was kept busy for most of the war, though he found time now and again for Reavers.  Zed Starshine ended up leading us out on ops in the north as Reavers did their bit to help with the war effort.  But there were plenty of coalition fleets to go on as we destroyed hostile citadels, including a number of Keepstars.

Eventually we wore down the north.  They lost multiple Keepstars in a single day.  Circle of Two announced that it was evacuating from Fade.  And GotG paid us in faction Fortizars to go away.  That included all SIGs and squads in the north.  So Reavers packed up and went home with the rest of the coalition for a break.

That isn’t all that Reavers did, but that is all I ended up posting about.  It is at times like this where I wish I had done some more posts about smaller ops, but I think I at least captured the theme of the year, which was spent in Pure Blind attacking the north.

And our break ends up being at just the right moment to close off year four of Reavers.  Asher already has plans for the start of year five, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

The War in the North Ends with a Payoff

The news apparently leaked on Reddit from a disgruntled source so the official announcement is now out over at Imperium News: The war is over.  We have blown up enough stuff in the north and now we will be headed home.

Destruction in our wake

A deal has been struck between the Imperium and Guardians of the Galaxy.  The tale of how it came about, starting at the CSM summit in Iceland, is laid out by Aryth in the linked post.

The terms of the agreement are as follows:

  • The Imperium will withdraw main fleet, SIGs/squads, and cloaky campers from the northern territories* for 1 month, and from GOTG** space for 6 months, starting on Sep 29, 2018 if the following terms are fulfilled:
  • GOTG pays total of 40 faction fortizar equivalents
  • Within 72 hours of agreement, a payment of 10 faction fortizar equivalents or 500 Billion ISK which will be refunded when the 10 Faction Forts are delivered as the first payment to a highsec station with highsec only routes to Amarr.
  • Within 10 days of agreement, all 5 Moreau+30 other faction fortizars must be delivered to a to a highsec station with highsec only routes to Amarr.
  • For the purposes of this agreement Moreau fortizars count as 2 faction forizars. Example: 5 Moreaus and 30 other faction forts would satisfy this payment agreement.
  • GOTG will not attack any withdrawing Imperium forces or interfere with unanchoring Imperium structures or ships attempting to scoop unanchored structures.
  • GOTG will not attack Imperium structures*** during the period of this agreement.
  • Within 24 hours of this agreement, Imperium will cease creating new offensive timers outside Fade/Pure Blind. Existing offensive timers can be attacked until Sep 29. As a sign of good faith, the Imperium will not hit the 2 planned Ihubs on the night of Sep 16. Both parties will maintain the secrecy of the agreement as much as possible. Imperium will also attempt to reach a “natural stopping point” after the main Keepstar kills and use that as cover to withdraw.

Definitions:

  • * Northern territories (Tribute/Vale of the Silent/Geminate)
  • ** GOTG space (Deklein/Branch/Fade/Pure Blind/Venal) Venal blazers can do whatever still.
  • *** Any Imperium structures
  • Imperium Alliances (CONDI/BASTN (DUTCH)/B C C (RENTD)/INIT.(-IA-,IM)/LAWN/TNT/IMGAY/ME4U/MEX/PBLRD/SV./WI.) This means no structure hitting in Cloud Ring also during the 6 months for any structures belonging to IMP alliances. This does not apply to non-imp entities.
  • 500B down payment will go to “Aryth” who will refund it after 10 Faction Forts are delivered.
  • Faction Forts can be delivered to “Dj’s Retirement Fund”
  • Upon start of the 5th month both parties can come together to decide if an extension is needed if not both parties accept that by the end of the month this deal is completed.

So there it is.  The Imperium will be taking payment in the form of faction Fortizars to leave the north.  As I noted in a previous post, my impression was that we were pretty much done in the north for the time being once the CO2 Keepstar went down.

In a talk over at Talking in Stations last night (recording here) Sort Dragon spoke about the agreement.  Apparently Ayrth first asked for straight up payment of ISK, which GotG didn’t have handy.  But they had those Fortizars, many of which came from outposts that the CFC/Imperium planted back before we were kicked out of the north as a result of the Casino War.

On the Imperium side there was a fireside chat last night (recording here) where some additional details were spelled out.  The whole deal was supposed to remain secret, allowing GotG to save face.  However, RiotRick from Slyce decided to spin the narrative of the Imperium leaving on Reddit leading to the whole thing becoming public.  I am sure it would have leaked eventually, but you know who to thank for all of us getting the word early.

Asher spoke for a bit, specifically clarifying that while we have agreed to leave the north for a month, the only longer term arrangement is with GotG.  There is nothing longer term with NCDot, Pandemic Legion, Pandemic Horde, and certainly not with Circle of Two.  He also mentioned that, after some time in Delve to mine and rat, that there is another target in mind.

The war itself racked up an impressive amount of structure kills.  According to a tracking thread on the forums the citadel count was something like:

  • Fortizar : 47 (8 flipped and destroyed by hostiles)
  • Faction Fortizars : 6 (+1 stolen) (3 destroyed by hostiles)
  • Tatara : 6
  • Azbel : 6
  • Sotiyo : 3
  • Athanor : ~73 (9 flipped and destroyed by hostiles)
  • Astrahus : ~35
  • Raitaru : ~19

On top of that there were 10 Keepstar kills along with another one that was stolen:

  1. Aeschee – Essence (Shadow Cartel)
  2. Kinakka – Black Rise (WAFFLES.)
  3. X47-Q – Pure Blind (Northern Coalition)
  4. 46DP-O – Tenerifis (Fraternity)
  5. DW-T2I – Fade (Circle-Of-Two)
  6. 16AM-3 – Tenerifis (Blades of Grass)
  7. C4C-Z4 (Circle-Of-Two)
  8. 3V8-Lj (Corcle-Of-Two)
  9. DO6H-Q (Northern Coalition.)
  10. 7X-VKB (DARKNESS.)

Some of those bleed into the southern front, where activity largely died down after the the attack on TEST ground to a halt on the second Keepstar in ULAX-3.

And of course there were titans, supers, and hundreds of dreadnoughts lost on both sides as well, leading to a butcher’s bill in the trillions of ISK for the war.

The monthly economic reports for September and October should be interesting.  With the Imperium returning to Delve and the north free of our presence, I expect we will see a surge in mining, ratting, and production in a number of regions.

Now I have to figure out what I am going to do.  The Reavers SIG has been in the north since November of last  year, so while there is talk of the last two month, fighting in the north has been my reality for nearly a year, with only a few short breaks.  SIGs and squads are part of the agreement, so we will be headed home as well.

But according to Asher on that recording, we’ll have a new task soon enough.

Other news items on this:

A Drive Down to Delve for Rats and a Raitaru

The early ping said that there was an op planned for 02:00 EVE Online time, which is just about the optimal time for me.  That left enough time to get home, take care of various tasks (it was garbage night, among other things), have dinner, and watch a bit of TV with my wife (Lodge 49) before wandering off to play internet spaceships for a couple of hours.

With all that lined up I seemed set for the evening.

Of course AMC doesn’t just keep you from fast forwarding through commercials when watching their programs on demand, they actually inject more commercials into the stream so the show episode we watched, Corpus, ran well over an hour and into the start time for the op.  I left my wife at the credits and strode over to my computer and started logging into voice coms and the game.

As I did that I noticed a fifteen minute old ping from Asher apologizing for the early start for the op.  I was late, and late enough that I considered just going back to the couch to watch another episode.  I might have done just that if I was more enthusiastic about Lodge 49, but as it was I had already logged in so I figured I might as well ask the usual late-comer’s question, “Can I catch up?”

And it turned out that I could.  The early form up was to cover a Raitaru that was anchoring just one jump away, so I undocked in my Oneiros and warped off to join the group.

There we sat tethered on the Raitaru for a bit until the repair cycle ended, after which we aligned for the gate through which we came.  Once through though we did not align for the station.  Instead Asher warped us to a POS where a titan was waiting.  As usual, being the non-GSF member in the fleet, I bounced off the forcefield and they had to give me the starbase password to enter.  I did that, warped off, then warped back to Asher to find myself in and on the titan ready for a bridge.

The titan sent us on our way, though we seemed to be going in an odd direction.  When we passed through J5A-IX, the gateway to Fountain and a scene of many of the early fights in the Fountain War, I began to wonder where we were headed.  But I was also distracted by a survey from Blizzard about the Battle for Azeroth expansion… which was asking for a lot of detail just a week into the damn thing… so I was mostly tabbing back and forth and not paying close attention.

The gate to ZXB-VC however triggered a something in the back of my brain.

I’ve been here before… I’m sure of it…

Then we jumped through and we were in Delve.

Delve, the highlight of every Monthly Economic Report, the home of excessive ratting, mining, and industry, and a place I had only been back to once since we deployed up to Pure Blind late last year.  You can rest assured that I have added nothing to those numbers that get reported for the region.

There it is, DELVE, and us spread out over the map

The question of the hour at that point was why couldn’t we just jump clone back to Delve?  Or, better still, wasn’t there somebody in Delve who could take care of whatever needed doing?  did we really have to fly all the way down from Pure Blind?

I guess we did.

We took a jump bridge to get deeper into Delve, but with the titan bridge and the jump bridge and a fleet that some people were on earlier, we had some jump fatigue to wear down.  Also, apparently we were early for whatever it was we had to do.  So Asher took us ratting.

Shooting up a Blood Raiders Sanctum

That went by quickly so we ended up in another anomaly shooting more Blood Raiders.

It was pretty, I will say that

We were hoping for a dreadnought spawn on it, but no luck.  After pottering around doing that… from which I walked away with a cool 807,000 ISK, so will surely skew the monthly totals… we were finally off to the real target.  This turned out to be a Raitaru anchoring in M5-CGW which NCDot had dropped.

The repair timer was running and had just five minutes left on it.

The timer paused

We paused the timer with our firepower almost immediately, then anchored up on Asher and followed him as he meandered through the structure, trying to wipe us off on various protuberances, before he finally settled into a pocket at the front of the model.

He is in there somewhere…

Most of the fleet was taken up with talk on various nerd topics, including video games, Magic the Gathering, and fantasy football.  As somebody observed, there was something there for everybody to roll their eyes and tire of quickly.

Nobody came to defend the structure.  NCDot was likely already sated having already wiped out a fleet from The Bastion earlier.  Dropping a 600 million ISK Raitaru to get nearly 30 billion in kills is a worthwhile investment.  So we just shot it until it blew up in that satisfying way that Upwell structures do.

The wreck in the midst of the receding explosion

We got a kill… and it wasn’t like our fleet was the one that got worked over.

There was some talk of blowing up the wreck to keep anybody from salvaging it, but we were already facing the drive home and decided to skip that step.  Instead it was back into Fountain where we caught a jump bridge that cut a good chunk off the trip.  From there we headed to a Fortizar that was within titan bridge range of our staging.

However, even with the reduced jump fatigue, having made a few jumps already during the evening, we still had a good fifteen minutes before we could be bridged.  We decided to wait it out on the titan, setting a timer to remind everybody to wake up again and be ready to jump.

At that point somebody joked about how funny it would be if, once we were all back on the titan, Asher mis-clicked and did the classic “jump instead of bridge” mistake and left us all behind.

Picture source: unknown

When the timer rang we all got back in front of our screens ready to go, watching the titan for the bridge effect to go up.

Waiting for the moment

And then Asher selected “jump” and disappeared.

Yeah, he was just there

Even though I was half expecting it I still missed the screen shot of the jump effect gathering about his Ragnarok as he jumped away.  He had also muted and deafened himself on Mumble, so we were all left there with the nervous, “Ha ha, very funny… uh… you’re coming back right?  We’re not stuck here, right?”

It might have been funnier if it hadn’t been spoken before the event.  On the other hand, if it hadn’t we might not have believed he did it on purpose.  An FC who makes that error ends up with that sticking to their reputation.

Thinking we might have to wait out his orange jump timer, we hung around on the Fortizar wondering if it was time to dock up and call it a night, just bite the bullet and burn to our staging, or wait.   But as we waited a cyno went up and another titan… or at least another titan pilot of Asher’s… landed back on us.

We got in range and he bridged us back to our staging where we docked up for the night.

The bridge up at last

Asher, who had already thrown us one PAP added another one as the fleet uptime had passed the three hour mark.

Not a bad evening.  Being fleet coms is the entertainment on ops like that.  And it certainly wasn’t the first time that I was in a fleet that went all the way down to Delve just to shoot a structure.  I wouldn’t want to make it a regular event, but I’ve certainly been on much worse ops.

As for Lodge 49, I am just not sure I am feeling it… though the extra dose of commercial interruptions isn’t helping either.  I am too used to straight through, commercial free binge watching with Netflix or HBO.

Smaller Operations in the North

Between the big battles, like we saw at X47L-Q last week, there are thousands of smaller ops that undock to take care of business and look for fun and targets of opportunity.  Saturday night saw Asher Elias, the sky marshal who has been running huge multi-fleet operations with hundreds of super carriers and titans following his orders, able to return to smaller fleet ops as Reavers formed up Ishtars and undocked.

Once again leaving the station

He has business for us to attend to and we headed to X47L-Q.

There the first thing we did on entering the system was warp to a cyno on the NCDot Keepstar and pop the ship running it.  Sitting exposed right on the hostile structure, we quickly turned about and warped off, then headed back to a point on grid with it again.

On grid with the Keepstar as it counted down

We had a couple of things on our plate.  One was a matter of expedience.  While we were there and able to fly cover, a call went out to cap pilots who might still be stuck logged off on grid after last week’s battle letting them know that they had an opportunity to log in and jump out of system.  A few pilots too advantage of the opportunity.

Keepstar further back

However, our main task was to cover a new structure being dropped in the system.

Fortizar deploying

A Fortizar named Tosche Station was dropped and we were there to watch it for the 15 minute deployment timer, during which it was vulnerable to attack.  This was part of the change to Upwell structures that went in last last year.  They are now vulnerable for 15 minutes when first dropped and then for 15 minutes at the end of their anchoring sequence.  During that time they are both easy to shoot, as they are unfitted and cannot shoot back, and can be destroyed in a single fight.

However, save for a single Pandemic Horde Cormorant, none of the locals sought to interfere with the structure during that vulnerable time.  The structure made it through and began to anchor.  It was good for three days, after which it would be vulnerable again before coming online.

The longer anchoring timer

We shall see if the locals care to form up to keep it from going online to keep us from having a structure on grid with their Keepstar before the final fight for that kicks off.

After that Asher had us head out for another destination in a hurry.  We flew into Tribute, home of NCDot and Pandemic Legion, and through systems I remember both from living there are from the battles in them over the years, to M-OEE8.

There tackle had run ahead and pinned down some targets for us.  Arriving on grid we found two dreadnoughts, a Phoenix and a Revelation, as well as two Rorquals.  We went after the Phoenix first.

Phoenix under attack while a Rorqual sits in its PANIC bubble

Even as we got there one of the Rorquals had already set off its defensive PANIC module, a protective bubble meant to keep the ship alive for a while in order to let help form up and rescue it, before we had had the opportunity to shoot it.

The Phoenix went down, and then the Revelation, before we were able to get started on the more expensive Rorquals.  By that point the PANIC module had run down on the first one while the second one put its up after we poked it a bit.

Foreground Rorqual dying while the other is in PANIC in the background

After that, we raced off to M-OEE8, a system of legend and PL’s capital, complete with Keepstar.

During this some hostile interceptors showed up with a mind to rescue the remaining trapped caps, but they did not fare too well.  On warping in we were able to divert drones to them, killing a few as the others warped off.  After a couple runs at that they kept their distance, waiting for a target of opportunity.

When the first Rorqual was dispatched we motored over to the second and setup around it waiting for its PANIC bubble to fade.  When it went down we started in, but then were told to pull drones.  Jay Amazingness Thomas Lear had a Baltec fleet in the area and Asher wanted to let them come over to join in on the kill.

Baltec fleet firing on the Rorqual

That additional firepower made short work of the Rorqual and it exploded in the dramatic fashion to which we have become accustomed.

Rorqual goes boom!

All four of the capitals were in Rate My Ticks (ticker: WERMT), which is Pandemic Legion’s rental alliance.  Both PL and NCDot still generate income by renting space as their other sources of passive income have dried up.

We then cleaned up the deployed warp disruption bubbles that they had laid about to keep people from warping directly to them from the gates and then started to head back towards home, past more structures.

Tribute is full of structures

As we and the Baltec fleet moved back towards Pure Blind we were shadowed by the hostile interceptor fleet, which was waiting for a straggler or somebody who didn’t align so they could pick them off, as well as flashes of time dilation.  Pushing a couple of fleets through an otherwise quiet region is enough to tax a server that otherwise hasn’t been reinforced.

On the way back we stopped again in X47L-Q in order to clear off some drag bubbles from a POS that was setup as a trap.  We were able to clear the bubbles, though the affair kept the logi wing busy as the tower shot at people, constantly switching targets.

Extricating ourselves from the tower was a task in and of itself, as the warp disruption batteries kept hitting people as we aligned to warp out.  Asher asked if anybody was pointed before he warped, the heard an affirmative only after he had warped us, so we turned around and headed back to try and rescue those caught.  We lost an Ishtar that way before we finally got off grid.

We also lost the fleet Impairor.  One person who logged on to go with the fleet didn’t have anything handy besides a rookie corvette, so brought that along for the fleet.  It made it through, getting on all the capital kill mails.  However, it got blown up at the POS tower, though the kill mail shows that the pilot took the effort to fit it up to be useful.  Tackle corvette!

After that we headed back to our staging and stood down.  Not a bad fleet at all.  It is nice to get back into the smaller ops that Reavers do.

Asher said on The Open Comms show last Friday that our whole SIGs and squads campaign in the north owes its origin to Bigbilltheboss who, after the Hakonen deployment didn’t want to bring all his dreadnoughts back home to Delve. (We came back from that about a year ago at this point.) So setup shop to drop on the locals ratting and mining and found the fields to be rich in targets.  Then we, and BlackOps, and TNT, and Space Violence all ended up in the north, where we have been deployed since at least November.  A long and fruitful deployment it has been too, with a lot of small fleet actions.

But more big ops are coming.  We will have the Fortizar to defend on Tuesday and then the final timer for the NCDot Keepstar on Wednesday.  Expect CCP’s servers to be heavily taxed once again as we see if more titans die.

CO2’s Keepstar Reinforced in DW-T2I

As expected, with our own Keepstar safely installed in 6RCQ-V the night before, operations directly against Circle of Two in Fade began.

Fade is not a big region, and while CO2 also holds a bit of Pure Blind as well, the bulk of its holdings are in Fade, including its capital and Keepstar in DW-T2I.  So that system and Keepstar are not far from where the Imperium’s own Keepstar is now planted as well as being close to NPC space in Pure Blind where Imperium SIGs & Squads have been based for the last few months.

Fade Map with Locations noted

Fleets were called up for various tasks last night, including Reavers.

I actually missed the initial ping, but reports were that nothing really happened and I managed to get online and catch up with the fleet as we headed off to DW-T2I.  There we hung out for a while on one of the Raitarus we have anchored in the system, waiting to see what CO2 would do when another group started shooting their Keepstar.

We spend a lot of time hanging around structures

While somebody was at the helm of the Keepstar and using its weapons to hit the attackers, no resistance showed up in ships, so we were allowed to run off and shoot something on our own.  Our target for the night was the Draccous faction Fortizar that replaced the station in system when CCP did the great outpost conversion back in early June.

CO2’s Draccous Fortizar

We approached this with some caution.  We were not a big fleet and a Fortizar’s defenses are not without teeth.  But nobody was at the helm and when scanned we found that only the default fittings that came with the conversion, the rigs and services, were there.  Without defenses we were clear to fly around and let our drones reinforce it… and goof off a bit.

HarleyQ trying to catch up to us

Aside from a lumbering point Proteus falling behind the fleet… somebody may have webbed him… the shoot went without incident.  The armor timer was set to go early on Saturday.

Draccous Reinforced

After that we warped over to the gate that would send us in the direction of home.  That gate is on grid with the CO2 Keepstar and we stopped to watch the attacking fleet for a bit.  There were some titans with fax support with Megathrons and Ravens along for the shoot as well.

Titans in defensive bubbles, battleships just barely visible

Looking at the related kills over on zKillboard, it looks like the Keepstar defenses were able to pick off some of the battleships, but none of the capitals were in danger.  And, looking at some of the kills, at least one was blue on blue.  I don’t know what Kun’mi did, but all the pilots on the kill mail for his Nestor are in the Imperium.

The Keepstar didn’t have much further to go.  It was down to the last few percentage points of shield when we arrived, so we saw a bit of shooting before it was reinforced.

Keepstar reinforcement timer

After that we were off for home, the evening’s work done.

The next attack, the armor timer, is set to come out on Saturday… if I am doing my calculations correctly… at about noon Pacific time, which is 3pm Eastern time, or 19:00 EVE Online time.  that makes it an evening event for the Euros and an afternoon fight in USTZ.

This puts the fight in contention with the final timer for the TEST Keepstar down south, so I suspect many of the possible allies of CO2 will punt on the armor timer to get in on a potential Keepstar kill at the other end of New Eden.  We shall seem come Saturday.  Meanwhile ops continue in the north to suppress the locals and reinforce other structures they have about.

The Keepstar Fight at 6RCQ-V

There is a war on.  Or a war is on.  Another one.

Over the past weekend The Mittani said we would be mobilizing and come Monday INN announced that the target was the northwest end of null sec.  Pandemic Legion had been moving its capital fleets down to the southeast of New Eden to assail TEST, Brave, and the rest of the Legacy Coalition.

That move left a vacuum up north, a serious reduction in the number of capital ships the locals could bring to bear on any invader.  The Imperium plans to move in and fill that vacuum.  Pandemic Legion and NCDot are seen as the biggest threat to the Imperium, so with PL away and just NCDot and the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition left to watch their homeland, an opportunity was seen.

Of course, Reavers and a few other SIGs and squads have been up north since at least November of last year hunting the locals and trying to bring them out to fight.  We’ve seen change over that time, with Pandemic Horde moving from Fade to Geminate, Mordus Angels collapsing in Pure Blind, and most recently, the resurrected Circle of Two taking up the space in Fade.  The locals have occasionally put some effort into trying to suppress our operations.

Our station wrapped in bubbles at one point

But more often than not they avoid us, leave our structures alone unless we’re on a break for a couple of weeks, and only form up for final timers on their structures or when we’ve got another Rorqual tackled.  I am sure there is a not unreasonable idea that if we get bored we’ll go away.  But Reavers live to shoot structures and do things that seem boring, knowing that it can all lead to a fight if we persist.

Anyway, once Imperium forces were on the move from Delve northward the first objective was to setup a deployment base.  So a Keepstar citadel was dropped in the system 6RC8-V in the Cloud Ring region.

The first staging in the war

The Gallente Militia alliance Federation Uprising owns the territorial control unit there, so they get their name on the map, but The Initiative owns the infrastructure hub, and since they are part of the Imperium any structure we drop there takes just 24 hours to come online.  (It can take days if you drop them in hostile systems.)

The location is right on the boarder with Fade, where Circle of Two lives.  If we were allowed to plant a Keepstar there, that would put them under a hostile capital and supercap umbrella.  We could drop forces on CO2 which they would be hard pressed to resist.

It became vital that the locals kill the Keepstar as it came online.  That is the point of vulnerability.  After it is online and can be armed it becomes much more difficult to take out.  So a big battle was brewing.

Fortunately for me this was all set to happen in the evening my time, which is the middle of the night EVE Online time.

I was already up in the north so planned to go with the SIGs and squads deployed there.  I did, however, fly an alt over to 6RCQ-V and put him on grid with the Keepstar just to make sure I could keep an eye on what was happening there.

And that turned out to be a good thing.  While fleet after fleet was getting called up and ready to move from Delve and Fountain to the fight, we undocked to take care of other business.

Undocking our Ishtars

While all eyes were on the Keepstar our fleet ran out and dealt with smaller structures.  We covered a Raitaru on grid with the hostile Keepstar in DW-T21, CO2’s capital.  It was in its final timer and we were there to make sure it got through that so the hostiles would have to start over reinforcing it.

We also reinforced a CO2 Astrahus on that grid, giving the locals something to form up and defend later.

Hitting the Astrahus

We then started in on a CO2 Sotiyo, which was gunned, hoping to reinforce that as well.

The view from the Sotiyo, our fleet boost visible in the distance

The Sotiyo was going to take a while however, and before we got even half way done there we were called off to help support the main fight by setting up to block hostile reinforcements.  We managed to knock-off a Gila and a few bombers while doing that.  We never actually went into the 6RCQ-V system.

That was probably a good thing, because in 6RCQ-V things were happening.  As the timer counted down on the Keepstar a cyno went up and the Imperium supercap fleet began to land on the structure.

Titans visible on the Keepstar

And then another cyno went up and a second group started landing.

Some more titans arriving

And then a third cyno went up and then a fourth as super capitals arrayed themselves in and around the Keepstar.

And even more titans start landing

There ended up being a lot of titans on the field, possibly as many as I have seen on the field since B-R5RB.

So many titans

What is hard to see is the super carries mixed in with those fleets.  They are big ships when compared to subcaps, but they seem so small when mixed in with titans.

Meanwhile the locals were forming up as well, with CO2 dropping a Muninn fleet into the system.

Muninns landing near the gate

Likewise Darkness and other GOTG groups formed up an Ishtar fleet and was circling the gate to Fade as they waited for the timer to count down.

Ishtars with the Keepstar in the distance

More and more people kept piling into the system, but things were not too bad… and then the shooting started.

My alt got knocked offline a few times during the fight, but things were not as bad as during the 9-4RP2 fight, the so-called “million dollar battle” where getting back in was pretty much impossible.  If your client died… and I could see my client grabbing more and more RAM until it expired… need a 64-bit client… you could get back in with a bit of patience.

But this fight wasn’t as hyped as the 9-4RP2 battle was, and we were well shy of the 6,142 players in system that earned that fight a Guinness record.  The peak I saw when my alt was in system was just past 3,800.

3,813 and 10% tidi

The fight itself involved the hostiles using Gilas and Ishtars and some long range fit dreadnoughts to stop the timer and start chipping down Keepstar.  They were successful for a while, getting enough damage on the citadel to stop the timer with 10 minutes of online repair to go and they did break it down to 85% of its hit points.

But the weight in numbers was against them.  While they got out in front of things, the titans and super carriers had been joined by a dreads and subcaps who chipped away, cutting back the attackers until the repair timer started up again and the outcome became inevitable.

Titans firing on attackers

Once the timer started up again the prospects for the attackers dimmed and they began to extract.

The Kirkland Protein Star about to go online

Tidi was still bad though, but my main was on the other side of the gate in Fade trying to catch some hostiles coming and going.

Asher, whose ongoing Kirkland Protein Bar meme helped name the Keepstar (though the name changed a couple of times), was not there to the Reavers.  He is now the Sky Marshall, the overall commander and coordinator of fleets and in charge of strategy.  I am glad he has an opportunity to move all the pieces on the map.  There are not many games where you can drive the actions of literally thousands of other players.  But I do worry a bit as the position tends to burn out those who sit in the Sky Marshall chair during a war.  I would miss him if he left the game.

Zed Starshine was leading us for the evening.  He has led us on some ops before.  He got us out to our targets, then to block the comings and goings of the locals, and then the hell out of the way when the hostiles packed up to head home en masse.  Our little fleet wasn’t going to stem that tide, we’d just be a snack for them on the way.  So we got home early and never had to face any tidi.

The Keepstar went online.

With a big flash

The capitals and super caps didn’t have to head home.  They were home.  They could dock up and be ready for ongoing ops against CO2 and GOTG.

The fight itself saw more than a thousand ships blow up.

Most violent system on DOTLAN

Most of those ships belonged to those attacking the Keepstar, as the battle report indicates.

Battle Report Header

[Corrected that battle report as I had CO2 on the wrong side initially.]

The ISK count wasn’t that big however, barely a titan’s worth of ships destroyed.  TEST and Brave, who are now allied with us against PL and NCDot, sent forces north to join in and cover the Keepstar coming online.

But once that Keepstar was online the situation in the north changed.  6RCQ-V is close enough to CO2’s capital and Keepstar in DW-T2I that the super fleet can just take the gate into E9KD-N and then jump straight there.  And you can bet that their Keepstar, and all of their structures, are clearly in our sights.  If they stand there will be more fights.

Rumor has it however that they might pack up shop and head to Venal.  There are still NPC stations there, places that cannot be destroyed.  That is, however, just a rumor at this point, as is the rumor that Slyce might join them.

But if they hang around there will be more titans on grid and more battles over structures in the weeks to come.  Maybe even another node killing, 6,000 player, “million dollar” battle.

Other coverage:

Welcome to the New North

Which is pretty much same as the old north.  At least the north as I last wrote about it, and it has been a while.  I mean, sure, some of the names and colors have changed.

The North around Pure Blind – July 5, 2018

Mordus Angels folded up and most of its corporations moved to other alliances in the area, many of them to Circle of Two.

MOA Dropping Off

Circle of Two, having suffered a stinging defeat when The Judge defected to GoonSwarm, stealing a huge amount of assets on his way out last September, lost Impass and had to spend some time on a couch in Vale of the Silent to rebuild under the protective umbrella of Pandemic Legion.

Good times… good times…

However, Circle of Two is back now, sent from the safe couch to fill in part of the hole in the front lines left by MOA’s departure, taking over Fade and part of Pure Blind.  Their leader is The gigX, who is rumored to actually be gigX, whose account was banned after threatening The Judge.  I am not sure if this is true, but even if it is not, it is somebody flaunting their defiance to CCP.

Meanwhile the Imperium SIGs and squads took a break for the first half of June, which no doubt helped CO2 get settled in.

But that has since ended, as has my own vacation time during the back half of June, and now we are back to our usual business of trying to draw out the locals to get them to fight.  The three usual methods are back in play.

The first is shooting their structures, setting timers, in the hope of getting them to come out and defend.

Shooting up an Astrahus just last night

The second involves planting our own structures around their space.  If the locals come out we get the fight we’re looking for, and if they do not then we get a safe spot to tether up and repair in their space.

Another Raitaru anchored and repairing

And third there is the ongoing hunt for their ratters and miners.

A CO2 Rorqual under attack

I was back from vacation just in time to get on that kill.

This is a priority, hunting down miners and ratters in order to suppress the income of the locals.  The Imperium, as reported over at the New Eden Register, has stepped this campaign up a notch by creating the National Goons Surveillance Agency.  Under this plan people will get participation links for cloaky camping hostile systems in the north, systems being doled out to get maximum coverage, as well as bounty payouts if they call in a hot drop that ends up in a kill.

The response to this from our foes was naturally dismissive.  They questioned the economic sense of it… to which one can only ask if they read the Monthly Economic Report… and claim to have setup an always on-call coalition-wide defense fleet of capital ships ready to counter-drop any Imperium activity.

The latter could be a thing.  We do, after all, operate under what should be their capital umbrella.  However, though I haven’t been out on a ton of ops this month, I have yet to see evidence that this counter force is in place.  It certainly didn’t show up to help that Rorqual, and we had to wait out its PANIC module.  Plus, it had a cyno and fuel.  So what happened?

Yes, they did counter drop a couple days later and made a save.  That proves that they don’t really have to deply a lot in order to counter-drop.  But Rorquals still seem to be shy in the north.

Anyway, the usual tempo of operations… we’ve been at this since at least November with a few breaks… continues.  We’ll be out on the evenings USTZ to play the structures game and the cloaky campers will be on the look out for targets on which to drop, all the while waiting to see what the north does in response.