Tag Archives: Reavers

Dropping in on the North

For me things have been pretty quiet down in Delve for the last month or so.

Which isn’t to say a lot hasn’t been going on.  Just look at last week’s post about the Monthly Economic Report.  And then there has been the changes to moon mining that came at the end of October.  Lots of people have been very busy.

Just not me.

I haven’t mined in ages and rat so sporadically that all of my own bounty payouts from Delve, lumped into one figure, wouldn’t influence any region’s monthly total for any recent month, high, low, or null sec.

I live for strat ops and deployments.  “Join The Imperium and See New Eden!” was the recruiting poster aimed at me.  And not much of that has been going on.  We have a structure and sovereignty treaty with TEST, our neighbors to the east. North, in Fountain, the collapse of The-Culture created more of a buffer between us and people we would shoot regularly, with The Initiative moving in next to Pandemic Horde.  And while there is some sort of war going on involving Triumvirate and Solar Fleet, that is a distant place where we don’t have much in the way of friends.

And, of course, I’ve been playing a bunch of World of Warcraft over the last few weeks, which I do full screen so I can’t even see pings if I remember to launch Jabber, which I haven’t done for a bit.  So there might have been a few strat ops, but I could have missed them.

What I did miss, but quickly caught up on this week, were some deployments.  A few groups have been heading into the north end of null sec to make mischief and shoot the locals.  I went from shipping some stuff to Jita in case I got kicked for not doing anything during November… I needed to clean out my hangar anyway… to racing north in a stealth bomber to join in on the fun.

I went from not knowing about any deployments to being deployed in under an hour, though I was in such a hurry to get going that I ran off without any torpedoes or bombs in my Purifier’s cargo bay.  I had to check the market as I flew, picking up a few torps here and there as I went.

Up in the north with just a bomber, I was in it for the hot drops until I could fly/ship something else. (Flying seems more likely as today’s jump fuel related news made isotope market prices exploding, which mean shipping prices will be up as well.)  But hot dropping has it own charm, along with the element of surprise.

First you get in the fleet, get on the black ops battleship.

Bombers clustered on a Redeemer

Of course, it doesn’t look like that most of the time.  Usually the battleship is cloaked to start with and you cloak up your bomber and warp to it, so you have essentially what looks to any casual observer like just more empty space.  (Ignore local, there is really nobody here!)  The black ops battleship only uncloaks when it is time to bridge us to a target.

So everybody groups up, all cloaked, and waits.  Out in the field scouts with covert cynos are searching for a target worth dropping, but the hammer sits in its tool box until it is time.  Which means you can sit on coms and listen while doing something else… like running world quests in WoW for the flying achievement.

But when Asher calls out, “Everybody wake up!” it is time to go.  Sometimes you’ll end up on a small mining op to bomb and finish off, other times you end up on a bigger prize.

Bombers hitting a ratting Nidhoggur

That is the fun time, getting to rip into a capital ship with a fleet of glass-cannon-esque bombers.  It is torpedoes on the way and hoping to be able to hold the target down until it is too late.  Then seeing the hull begin to erupt.

The Nidhoggur about to go down

And then boom!

Flying out of the explosion in a Haven

It all goes by so fast at times that I forget to take a screen shot or three along the way.

Then it is time to loot what we can, destroy whatever is left, and get back on station to wait for the next target of opportunity.

Probably one of the more historically ironic things I have seen so far been Goons dropping on and killing a Mordus Angels ratting carriers.  How times have changed.

Anyway, I am suddenly active again, so maybe I won’t get kicked this month.

Three Years of Reavers

I just want to point out that Iceland is going to the world cup and the USA isn’t. America has a shit soccer team and star citizen. Iceland: Better at football and space ship games.

~~~ This was a broadcast from asher_elias to reavers at 2017-10-11 02:06:32.634838 EVE ~~~

-Sample of what you get on the Reavers ping list

So we are here at the three years mark of the Reavers SIG.

Reavers forum bee

I remain a bit cloudy on the exact founding date for the group, but middle-ish October works as a general rule.  It isn’t like the hard launch date for a video game… back in the days before early access and whatnot… where there was a line between when you couldn’t do something and when you could.

Anyway, here we are at the third year.  Summaries of the past two years are available here:

As for the last year, the map of null sec has changed some since then.

October 14, 2016 and October 14, 2017 compared

Probably the largest change to note is the alliances that were pushed out of the north in the wake of the Casino War, many of whom landed in space to our east and led to a refactoring of various coalitions. (Also, as I mentioned on Monday, look at LowSechnaya Sholupen losing the same area of space in Fountain two years running.)

Those changes influenced what Reavers did over the last year.

The first Reaver operation I went on after the last anniversary was in December and involved us helping Volition Cult pop an Astrahus that had been dropped in the territory in Catch.  It was a temporary alliance with them against Honorable Third Party.  Thomas Lear led us in our new Sleipner doctrine, getting on the citadel kill, a carrier kill, and an ESS kill along the way home.

In February Thomas Lear again led us in our Sleipners, this time up north into Pandemic Horde space in Cloud Ring, again to contest an Astrahus being anchored.  That went less well as PL dropped some of the newly OP Rorquals and used sentry drones to hit us.  I lost my Sleipner there, but at least I didn’t have to fly all the way home.

Asher led us north later to join in on the fights going on around the Circle of Two Keepstar in M-0EE8.  I had to go back on my own for the kill though.

Rolling past the Keepstar in Asher Cerbs

Once CO2 moved south we set up to camp their ratting and mining ops in their new home in Impass.  I killed a lot of MTUs while we were out there.  It was also my first time flying a Stratios and my real introduction to scanning things down to shoot, though mostly I shot MTUs.

In May we all deployed out to one of our favorite locations, H-ADOC in Curse to stir up some fights.  I lost a Cerberus almost right away.  We lingered out there for a time, setting up an Astrahus to work from so we could switch clones/implants at need.  We went home for a bit, but returned again in July.

From there we ranged out into the Great Wildlands with our new Typhoon doctrine to shoot a Silent Affinity Fortizar.  It cost an Apostle but we helped take it down.

I used my MTU scanning skills to blow up a bunch of Fraternity MTUs in the area.  They like to rat and run missions around there and have a habit of leaving their MTUs behind.

Eventually we were called home to Delve.  That run took two days and featured a heated discussion about BBQ sauce, pizza, and other aspects of cuisine.

We were back home to join in on the deployment north to Hakonen.  While that wasn’t a Reavers specific operation at all, it did see wide-spread use of the Reavers Typhoon doctrine.

Reavers however got the opportunity to fly a special doctrine during the fight.  Azure and Argent led a little fleet of us in Atrons fit for ECM Burst operations that we would fling into the midst of the enemy, after which we would hit the burst and warp back to our perches to cloak up. (Ops one, two, and three.)  An interesting new experience, but hell on your sec status.

After that it was time to come home.  I fixed my sec status and flew my Typhoon back to Delve, only to learn that we would no longer be using the doctrine, at least coalition-wide.  It might still be a Reavers thing.  Things were beginning to brew to the east of us… and then Judgement Day hit and the war was aborted.

All of which doesn’t sound like much activity from Reavers.  I know I missed a couple of Reaver adventures, like the flight of the armor tanked Drakes.  But it hasn’t been like the first year of Reavers when we seemed to spend a lot of time behind enemy lines.  Not only has the sovereignty map changed since then, the reality of holding sovereignty has changes as well.  And Asher led a lot more ops around the map over the last year (like this one), they just weren’t Reavers exclusives.

Overall though, that is about as many things as I posted for year two, so I suppose we’re steady.

Anyway, that was my view of year three of Reavers.  We shall see what the future brings.

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.

A Short Lived Cerberus and a Sabre

Asher has brought the Reavers out on a new deployment, one where we will be working out of a familiar station in Reavers history.

Having a station, rather than living out of mobile depots in safe spots as we did in Impass, means having the option to field multiple doctrines during the deployment.

I barely made it into the deployment fleet and did not have time to arrange to have somebody carry a ship for me in a capital ship.  I just grabbed one of the doctrine ships I had handy and undocked to catch up with the fleet, which was already on the move.  I made it, but I I was locked into the single doctrine.

Fortunately, from where we are staging, it is possible to fly a ship out without an undue amount of risk.  Returning to an old stomping ground means that perches and safe spots are bookmarked already, making the journey more viable.  I jump cloned back and empty clone I hold in Jita, bought and fit a Cerberus, and flew it on out to our staging system.

Bright red Cerb headed into harms way…

The route through high sec was easy enough, but I waited until the evening had turned into night and the online user count had dropped down before heading into low sec and then null sec and the end of my journey.  I had arrived, safely docked up, and logged off when Asher sent out a ping for a Reavers fleet.

The doctrine called for was the first ship I flew out.  That doctrine requires implants and, having just cloned jumped a few hours earlier, I could not jump back into that clone in time for the fleet.  I remained logged off and started tinkering with Minecraft.  I noticed after a bit that another ping had gone out and that the doctrine had been changed to the Cerberus fleet.  I logged back in, got on coms, and joined the fleet.

The fleet was already undocked and in combat, following Asher around and kiting the enemy in his usual fashion.  The problem for me was being able to warp in and join up.  The Cerb doctrine is built to move fast, so warping carries risk.  By the time one comes out of warp the fleet will have moved quite some ways.  When you warp, you go to the point your target was at that moment.

So I tried warping in, found myself way off from both friend and foe, then warped off to a safe.  I did this a few times when Asher cleared people to try and warp in, however on my fourth attempt I managed to land right in the midst of the enemy fleet, also flying Cerbs, and was pointed before I could warp off again.  My brand new Cerberus exploded before I could even overheat my hardener.  I owned it for barely three hours total.

Loss keeps the New Eden economy thriving.

I was able to warp out in my pod and dock up, but that left me out of the fight.  The only other ship I had was not appropriate for what we were doing, so I was sitting in my pod in one of the stations listening to the fight continue.

There were additional losses and Asher eventually rounded everybody up and docked to asses how things stood.  We posted our losses in fleet and Asher tried to sort out getting people re-shipped.  I didn’t have anything else I could fly… and couldn’t get in the clone for the ship anyway, once you have clone swapping in citadels you start to miss it in stations… so he asked who had something for me.  There wasn’t a spare Cerb or logi to be had, but old school Reaver Norrec Lafisques had a Sabre sitting his hangar.

I was asked if I could fly it and said that of course I could.  And it was true, I had trained up the skills for all things interdictor related ages ago.  So Norrec traded me the ship and I threw some money at him hoping that it was enough in case I lost it, got in the Sabre and prepared to undock.

Of course, the question nobody asked was whether or not I knew what to do with a Sabre, or any other interdictor, once I was strapped in.  I had trained up the skills, but I had never actually flown one.  Interdictors are ships that require some individual skill and initiative.  They are tech II destroyers that can put up warp disruption bubbles, an action that can save the day when done at the right moment or get us in deep shit done at the wrong.  I’ve watched some masters of the art in Reavers use them to great effect, so I felt a little bit of pressure not to screw up.

Still, hostiles were in system, we were set to undock, so I figured one more ship even ineptly handled would be better than no ship at all, so long as I didn’t screw us by bubbling.  I had the ship insured and given that interdictors are generally high priority targets I wasn’t sure I would last long in any case, so when the command came I left the station with everybody else.

And then I set about trying to figure out what buttons to press.

I was in a panic for a moment as I couldn’t find the module for bubble deployment.  I wasn’t even sure what it would look like, but knew it had to be there somewhere.  Norrec had put it at the far end of the hot keys so it was under the fleet window, the traditional place to hide modules you don’t want to set off by accident. (e.g. cynos, bomb launchers, smart bombs)

I also had a little 125mm Gatling AutoCannon to let me whore on kills… shells down range to the target get you listed even if they do not hit… as well as what I took to be a light missile launcher loaded with EM missiles.  That seemed a bit redundant until I went to use it mid-fight and found it was loaded with Defender missiles, the new hotness for destroying incoming bombs.

Meanwhile the fleet was on the move and I was going with it.

Sabre in space

There were other interdictors in the fleet, so I was pretty sure I would be the last choice when Asher was looking for somebody who knew what they were doing, but part of the job of an interdictor in the fast moving Cerb fleet is to drop bubbles regularly when told to in order to shield us from people warping in on us.

When the time came I just sort of watched to see when the other interdictors were bubbling and when there was a gap I launched by own bubble.  Nobody said anything so I am going to guess I didn’t mess that up.

Flying back around one of our bubbles

The fight itself had been a running series of engagements with a Ferox fleet and a Cerberus fleet.  Then the Feroxes moved off, only to have a Machariel fleet show up.  We moved and shot and occasionally knocked down a foe.  While the Sabre doesn’t have the range of the Cerb, a few targets fell within range so I was able to get rounds in their direction and get on the kill.

The fight had us in the next system over and we were headed back towards base when the Machs were reported on their way.  We ended up with us on one side of the gate and them on the other.  We jumped through and attempted to zip away, but a couple people got caught, including Norrec, who lost his Cerb of many kill marks due to being in a bad spot.

We zoomed around some more, though the Machs were fit for speed as well, so we couldn’t engage at will.

Just another picture of us zooming around

The battle report shows us coming out on the short end when it comes to ISK… Cerbs are not cheap… but the odds were generally against us at each step, so not getting trapped and slaughtered meant some measure of success.

After we docked up again I asked Norrec if he wanted the Sabre back, seeing as he was now down a ship as well.  But he said I had bought it, so I suppose I threw enough money at him.  Now I have a Sabre there for future use.  In the mean time though I got my alt out in Jita and bought up a few more ships and some supplies to send out to our staging.

There was some talk about getting doctrine ships up on contract out where we are staging, however they have to be alliance contracts, since people will mess with you if you’re not paying attention with public contracts.  And being one of the few people not in the main alliance, well, it might be better to have my own stuff to hand in case things are popping again and nobody has time to find something for me.  Another one of those times where I think my life might be easier if I just joined KarmaFleet.

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.

A Long Way to Go to Die to Rorquals

There was word that there might be a Reavers op about the time I arrived home from work.  And, sure enough, shortly after I was able to sit down at my computer a ping went out from Thomas Lear to get into his fleet.  It was going to be an opportunity to use our Sleipnir doctrine again, an expensive command ship we fly on occasion.

However, he broadcast the fleet ping to all-all rather than just to Reavers, so he had to spend a while weeding out non-Reavers who joined the fleet.  They were at least relatively easy to spot, not being in Sleipners.

Once that was sorted, along with getting boosters for the fleet, we were off to the local jump bridge on our way out.

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

From the far side of the jump bridge we took a gate and warped to a conveniently located wormhole that sent us directly to the Placid region.  From there we passed into Cloud Ring and null sec space.  As we moved Thomas explained that we were on our way to a fight between Brave Newbies and Pandemic Legion.  PL had an Astrahus citadel going online in 9-4RP2, a system Brave recently took from the Imperium North group, Initiative Mercenaries.

(The Mittani said in a recent Fireside that The Initiative, while off on its own, was still considered to be part of the Imperium.  There are actually some familiar old names in The Initiative these days, including WALLTREIPERS and Fweddit.)

We were going there to third party on the fight, to shoot targets of opportunity from both sides.

Our first targets were a fleet of Pandemic Horde Talwars that cross jumped us at a gate on our way.  We managed to put an interdictor back through the gate quickly and jumped as many people back into QXW-PV as possible to blap the PH destroyers.  We got a fair number before getting back on course for the real fight.

Once in 9-4RP2, the Astrahus was going online, sitting in its vulnerable self-repair deployment process where an attacker can kill it in one go rather than having to wait for the vulnerability window and going through three attacks spaced by two timers.

Brave Newbies was out with an Augoror Navy Issue fleet to attack the citadel, while PL a small Rorqual fleet sitting tethered on the Astrahus along with the remaining PH Talwars.

We started off hitting the PH fleet as they were in range, taking down some more Talwars along with a couple of their logi support.  I took a target of opportunity and blapped a Rifter that was coming straight at us, so there was no tracking issue for my arty fit Sleipnir.  I almost got a solo kill on that, but one of our Sabres managed to get a hit in on him.

However, while we started off easily plinking small stuff, PL got themselves into action soon enough, dropping a battleship fleet to support them.

A GotG ball of Maelstroms and Rokhs, with a Minokawa for logi support

A ball of PL Maelstroms and Rokhs, with a Minokawa for logi support

The Rorquals had deployed sentry drones and put them into action against us as we got in range and things started to go downhill.  The PL drone trigger targeted me and I called for reps early, but we did not have much logi along with us, so while I lasted for a bit, the firepower of the Rorqual drones chewed me into armor and then into hull, popping my Sleipnir.

Sleipnir out of control

Sleipnir out of control

You can see my ship in the above screen shot, glowing with erupting explosions and turning out of control.  My pod had already ejected by that point, but the death animations continued on for a bit.  So dramatic.  A Brave Newbies pilot got on my kill due to some bomb damage from earlier, along with some Initiative pilots that were running ECM bursts.

The fight was pretty much done for me at that point.  I had hit a few targets before I blew up, so got on the kill mails after they went down even though I was in my pod at that point.  So I pottered about on grid for a bit and tried to take some screen shots of the Rorquals.

Rorqual Gaggle

Rorqual Gaggle

Sitting there with their sentry drones shooting as one, they reminded me a bit of the old wrecking ball carrier tactic from back in the day, except rather than being spider tanked and able to rep each other, the Rorquals can make their whole fleet invulnerable for a bit should they get in trouble. via the dread Pulse Activated Nexus Invulnerability Core that came in with the Ascension expansion.  Combat Rorquals are a thing.

On coms it sounded like we were losing ships slowly but surely.  Meanwhile, the Brave Newbie fleet left the scene.  Apparently we unintentionally blew up their FC and the fleet decided to get off grid after that.  That left us as the main target and it sounded like time for us to make an exit as well.

As that was coming together I suddenly realized, as Iolled about in my pod in the middle the battle, that I had implants in my clone.  Not super expensive, like a full set of Slaves or anything, but a couple of implants that were a bit pricey for me.  50 million ISK here, 90 million ISK there, soon that starts to add up into real currency.  I decided that I had best be on my way as well, heading for the out gate ahead of the fleet.

I didn’t feel the need to keep together with the fleet, since I wasn’t going to be able to help them at all, instead running ahead as something of a pod scout.  Fortunately, there was nothing between us and the wormhole back home to worry about.  It was also fortunate that I remembered to bookmark the wormhole when we arrived.

Pod back at the wormhole

Pod back at the wormhole

I got back through and arrived home safely, minus one Sleipnir.  It even had a kill mark on it for a short period of time.

Looking at the battle report I rolled up for the engagement, we lost the fewest ships, but the ships we lost were expensive.  Nine Sleipnirs down adds up fast.  Now to see what sort of reimbursement I will get for my loss.

Pandemic Legion carried the day, winning both the object and the ISK war.  Another small skirmish in the ongoing conflict that is New Eden.