Tag Archives: Reavers

A Venture to HED-GP

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

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

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

A Venture waiting to race

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

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

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

The race route

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

The gate route, all 52 jumps

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

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

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

On grid with the Keepstar in my Venture

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is missing a jacket?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was waiting on the gate?

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

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

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

Flying with Main Fleet While on Break from the Pure Blind Front

After a successful op last week… which I missed… Asher declared we were going to take a break from the north for a while.  We were to leave everything in place in our station, but we free to run off an rat or run abyssal pockets or whatever we wanted for a while.

Of course, I not only missed that op, I somehow missed the move op from our temporary foray into Venal back to our NPC staging station, so first had to work on getting my ships back to where I would need them when we returned.

Fortunately we have somebody who does shipping for us and who took care of those of us who got left behind.  I had to repackage some ships, which meant I lost the rigs and will have to import a fresh set to use those ships later, but at least they were back where I wanted them.

Then I had to think about what I was going to do while we were on a break.  Pretty much all I have done for most of the last 6-8 months has been Reavers ops, with the occasional diversion into an event now and again.

First on the list was to get a participation credit.  We took a break at the start of the month and I had to get in some PAP links in so my corp would know I was still alive and not kick me.  I swear that is all I do for them most months, add to the corp PAP total.

I usually aim to get a few right away at the start of the month, as you never know what is going to come up. (The earlier ops I mentioned that I missed were due to ill health.)  Without Reavers though, it looked like I was going to have to go on some main fleet ops.

I used to enjoy main fleet and the chaos and silliness and the lack of responsibility and such.  I did almost nothing but main fleet ops for years, from my landing in null sec through the Fountain War.  I saw many great battles and had good times.  But it started to wear on me after a time.  And then Reavers was formed and I managed to get in when they were taking anybody who signed up, and it changed my experience in null sec.

I will train any skill, fly an doctrine, and go on any op with Asher leading.  His fleets, for lack of a better term, are a quality experience and I enjoy them quite a bit.  They keep me playing EVE Online long after I otherwise might have taken a break.  I almost feel like I am part of the team.

So to go from that to a main fleet op I knew I was in for a let down.  But it was even worse than I expected.  We had an FC from a GSF corp who had all his pals in the fleet and it became a very in-group thing.  I’m already somebody who usually feels like the outsider, and with an in-group running the fleet… and all in the command channel so I couldn’t even escape it in the “no chatter” channel… it was more painful than I had expected.

It wouldn’t have actually been that bad, except that I also forgot how slowly main fleet ops move.  They have to ping for a form up an hour before we need to undock because it takes that long to get everything sorted out.  I wasn’t even going to go because I saw the first ping 15 minutes late, which usually means “too late” in Reavers.  But then more pings came out looking for logi and then boosters, so I logged in and clone jumped back to Delve to join in.

It was a Batlec fleet, so I bought an Oneiros off contract to join in as logi and added a couple of combat drones so I could get on the kill mail promised in the ping. (That promise meant it would be a structure shoot.)  I had to buy a ship because last September I wasn’t feeling it for the game and packed up all my stuff and moved it to low sec thinking I might take a break.  Then in October Asher took us on the current deployment and I’ve been happy doing that since.

Eventually everything got together and we undocked and burned off for our first waypoint.

Baltec Fleet on the move at last

We rallied up at a citadel then moved into Fountain.  From a Keepstar there we were bridged to the destination.

Baltec Fleet Bridging Out

There we found the expected structure, a Gang Bang Team tower, waited as I expected.

Tower Shoot Begins

I only brought a couple of light drones, which cannot hit a tower in a POS shield.  But I knew from long experience that all I had to do was hit one of the modules outside of the shield to get on the kill mails of everything we blew up, and we were there to blow everything up.  Capitals dropped in to help us with the shoot.

An Erebus titan with the 15th Anniversary SKIN

I realize I was bitching about the FC and his friends having fun together, and you shouldn’t take that too seriously.  I appreciate the FCs in the coalition.  They have a difficult job and I try to do everything I can to make their job as easy as possible, which usually means following instructions.

This is where my fellow line member F1 monkeys can make such fleets a pain.  I mean, I screw up all the time, so I can’t point fingers for being bad.  Just a week or so back in tabbing between windows I managed to decloak myself while we were all waiting on a black ops for a drop and I apologized and logged off in shame I felt so bad.  But I listen and try to do what the FC asks.  Our poor FC was trying to get people to follow simple instructions and failing, as tends to happen on main fleet.  For example, he wanted the main DPS arm of the fleet to orbit him, something he kept repeating.  Yet, as the tower went down there was still a ball of ships stuck to him.

Those Megathrons should not be there… and a Cerb?

Anyway, we blew up the tower and I got my kill mails.  In addition to PAPs I like to get on zKillboard at least once a month to prove I am alive.

An Amarr tower going up

I was okay with that.  I go on POS shoots now wondering which one will be my last, since they are slated to be removed from the game at some future date.

Then we turned around and headed for home, escorting the caps to their destination first.

An Avatar in Red

Caps warp slow, so it was a while getting home.  Eventually we arrived home, nearly three hours after I logged in.  And all we did was go 15 gates, shoot a thing, and come back.  As I said, the logistics of main fleet and the need to shepherd people of all levels of skill and listening ability.

I may bitch about main fleet, but it is a necessity.  Things have to get done in space.  But it just isn’t something I enjoy as much as I once did back in the day.  I look forward to the Reavers deployment resuming ops.

Vacation in Venal

Asher pinged to warn us that we would be moving.

The question was where.  Where would we be heading after Pure Blind?

We have been in Pure Blind for a while.  There have been a couple of short breaks, but we have been deployed up there since November at least.  However, once Pandemic Horde moved on from Fade to Geminate and people started sensing blood in the water when it came to Guardians of the Galaxy, things have started to get a bit more crowded.  Adding to us and the TNT deployment near another corner of Pure Blind, The Initiative has become a lot more active coming in from Fountain through Cloud Ring, with FedUp joining them, and Space Violence, anther Imperium group, chose to deploy into the middle of Pure Blind as well.

All those Imperium pilots roaming around the area has attracted the attention of GotG’s neighbors.  NCDot had deployed to Gehi to threaten Querios in the hope that it would make us pull back our groups in the north, but the Imperium has proven to be big enough to have mainfleet ops running to defend Queious without needing to call anybody back.  So NCDot has also been drawn into supporting GotG direction in the north.

And then there is Pandemic Legion.  They had been occupied since February attacking Providence.  Having pushed back ProviBloc and ground down their sovereignty slowly week after week, PL up and withdrew when TEST declared they were deploying to the area specifically to fight them.  ProviBloc quickly regained their territory.

Providence changed over the course of a week

That meant PL was back in the north looking for something to do as well.  With all those forces mixed about us, our small fleets seemed less likely to be effective.  Or so I gathered from Asher’s ping.

We did not know where we would be headed, or most of us did not.  The best way to broadcast intel to your enemies is to make it widely known among your friends, some of whom are no doubt spies.  All most of us knew was that all of us would be going and we would be hauling along all doctrines.  That meant capitals going as well, which helped some as the caps could carry extra ships for people in their ship maintenance bays. (CCP adding those to dreadnoughts a while back boosted deployment hauling potential significantly.)

After handing over a few ships to cap pilots to haul, I got my main in an Oneiros for the trip and my alt in a stealth bomber to haul that along as well.  When things finally came together we undocked to begin our journey, which was estimated to take us about an hour.

Combined fleet undocking for the move

Bombers went to hang out on a black ops battleship on a citadel, the rest of the sub caps loitered on the undock as the capitals were undocked and jumped to their first mid-point.  It was without a station, so they had to land, warp off to make safes, then cloak up to wait out their timer.  Meanwhile, the main subcap fleet aligned out to catch up with the capitals in order to cover them for their next jump, leaving the bombers behind.  But we ran into trouble almost right away.  The locals had heard about our move op and dropped supers and subcaps on us as we jumped through the first gate.

A local welcoming committee

We got away from that with only two ships lost, but it was an indication that our move might be eventful.  We bounced around to get away and when the drop cleared out we ended up back where we started.  We actually stood down for a while to let the hostiles clear out.  The caps were safe down the road, but people were trying to scan them down.

Eventually that cooled down and the subcaps were able to move out and catch up to the capitals, then move ahead to the next mid point, which had a station for them to dock up.   The bombers were sent along as well.  The caps were able to jump again and the subcaps ran along to our final destination, which turned out to be deep in Venal.

I hadn’t been to Venal since early in the Casino War.  It is an NPC held section of null sec, owned by the Guristas pirate faction, and follows the design philosophy of an past era.  It is a region consisting of 95 systems, but it only has five NPC stations in it, so there are not a lot of truly safe locations there.  But it is also in the center of the north.  If you like EVE Online donut metaphors, if the north is a donut (blue or otherwise) then venal is the hole in the middle.

Venal in the North

While none of the stations in Venal are particularly handy, if you don’t mind a few gates between yourself and the locals the region gives you access to quite a bit of the north.  Black Legion used to use Venal for this back when we lived in the north.  For us the likely target seemed to be Branch, where GotG has been able to rat and mine in relative peace for while we have been active in Fade, Pure Blind, and Tribute.  And so we settled in to our new home.

A Guristas Station in Venal

Well, we settled in once we got the bombers caught up.  Somehow they got left behind without a black ops battleship so one had to be cyno’d back in to jump us to our destination.

But once that was done we were able to settle in and start operating from our new location.

Undocking from the new station, Guristas logo visible

From there ops started rolling for targets of opportunity.  While waiting around for opportunities there were a few things locally to shoot.  There are towers and citadels hanging about for us to hit.

Following Asher around on a shoot

So we quickly got on the board with a couple of easy kills.

A POS module goes up, just because I like the picture

But juicer targets await.

GotG, learning of our change of location, packed up and deployed to counter our threat.  Never mind that of the groups deployed in and around Pure Blind represented much larger numbers, we were apparently the threat.  Or maybe we seemed like a manageable target.  Or perhaps they really were worried about their as yet unmolested ratting and mining space.

My Oneiros, lit by the destruction of a POS

This led to a particularly dramatic fight, which I totally missed.  It was on Saturday night and I was at home and not doing anything in particular.  But I wasn’t at my computer and so I did not see the pings for it until The Mittani was smug pinging about it.

We managed to catch and drop on Sort Dragon as he was moving his titan to the GotG staging in WLF-D3.  Sort is the leader of GotG, so this was a particularly satisfying kill.  The clash also saw another titan killed with the ISK war leaning well in our favor.

Battle Report Header

I am extremely bummed that I missed this fight, all the more so as I was home and could have easily joined in.  Ah well, I can’t be there for everything.  But this certainly did make for an auspicious start to our time in Venal.

More information on that battle:

Other posts related to the situation in the north:

SKIN Scarcity and Rotating Stock

The now standard turnover of items carries on in the New Eden Store, the in-came cash shop in EVE OnlineWe got notice of a new set of SKINs, the Octopus Orange Flight SKINs for some Caldari hulls.

Octopus Orange SKIN on a Raven

Not a bad SKIN if you like bright colors.  A pity that the meta in null sec is mostly about armor tanked ships, so I don’t fly Caldari ships that much these days.  Plus I might have enough SKINs for Caldari already.  Either way I won’t be rushing out to grab any of these SKINs just yet.

Actually, there is another reason I won’t be rushing to buy them.  They’ll eventually be removed from the store and put on sale when that is announced, as happened to a bunch of SKINs as part of teh Octopus Orange Flight announcement.

On the news item, after the list of hulls for the new SKIN, there is a long list of SKINs that will be leaving the New Eden Store.  The Valkyrie set will be going, along with the EoM sets for Amarr ships, the remaining Ruby Sungazer SKINs, the Kopis Edge SKINs for Gallente hulls, and a few others.

I’ll actually miss the Kopis Edge SKINs.  On Gallente hulls it is probably the best looking set of SKINs after the Quafe set.  I picked up a couple of those on sale for hulls I might fly some day, though for some reason the Oneiros isn’t on the list though the Exequror, which shares the same basic hull, is available.  But I have the Oneiros version already… though now I can’t recall where I got it.  Was it an EVE Vegas give away?

Kopis Edge Oneiros undocking with a fleet

Anyway, this the the natural order of things in the New Eden Store. Like most online shopping interfaces, it isn’t made better by having more pages of products to scroll through.  CCP weeds out old items as it adds new ones.  This also lets them play the scarcity card, encouraging players to buy things they might want before they disappear, either for their own use or for speculation.

This has turned into an issue for the Reavers.  While we don’t have a required ship SKIN (though there was a push to get people into the CCP Blaze Ishtar SKIN, which you can see in the background of the screen shot above) we do have an official jacket.  The idea is that when we blow something up the kill mail will have a list of participants wearing the same jacket in front of the same background and in the same pose.

Almost the same pose…

However, in a previous purge our jacket, the Interbus Marshall model, disappeared from the store.  I think it was purged back in March when I had RL issues on my mind, because if I had noticed I would have bought a few to have around for new members.

So now we’re in a bit of a lurch on that front.  It is a bit like real life where, any time I buy something and end up liking it I wonder if I should go buy another because by the time I need another the item will have been discontinued and have disappeared.  This seems especially to be the case with shoes.  Oh well.

At least things that get retired from a virtual store front can be brought back I suppose… eventually.

Exchanging Citadel Kills in the North

In the north the Guardians of the Galaxy and their allies and their newly hired mercenaries Black Legion…, and no, that isn’t an ellipses, their name on DOTLAN actually has three dots after it because they lost the old alliance after it broke up some time back.  A dot after an alliance or corp name is supposed to indicate a PvP focused organization, so three dots says they are really, really a PvP organization… or that they lost their old name.  I’ll just refer to them as Black Legion however so I can end a sentence with their name without causing confusion.

Also I’m still not sure what to make of this after action report that starts with everybody there to shoot one of our citadels in DO6H-Q and ends up with Black Legion shooting GotG after which PL dropped supers on them.

The upshot of all of this is that the locals and their mercenaries are starting to show up for timers in force again.

We found this out last night when they showed up with nearly 200 pilots to take out an Astrahus of ours in ROIR-Y.

Astrahus getting hit

GotG showed up in ROIR in with their Eagle fleet doctrine, a Monitor FC ship leading the parade again.

Monitor out front

We, on the other hand, had about 50 people to hand so were not going to be able to defend the Astrahus in a straight up fight.  Asher had us form up bombers instead to see if we could wear them down or at least make them pay a price for showing up.

Bomber lurking cloaked, waiting for a warp in

Unfortunately as we were forming up on a perch before the fight one of the pilots warped directly to the the cloaked up bombers while trying to cloak up themselves in warp and managed to uncloak the whole fleet as one of their scouts was on grid with us, pretty much declaring aloud our plan of action.

That meant when the Eagle fleet showed up they had their interdictors start bubbling up the fleet as they shot the citadel.  That would catch bombers on their runs, allowing them to pop any bomber that decloaked to bomb.  Still, Asher had us give it a try, throwing us into range a few times to see what we could kill.

It did not go as well as planned.  I managed to launch my bomb on the first run but was inside a bubble for subsequent runs until I ended up getting decloaked in a bubble and blown up.  That fate befell many of us, but in the end the battle report said we didn’t do too bad.

Battle Report Header

We lost more ships, plus the objective, but extracted a bit more in ISK from them than we lost, Astrahus included.

While that was going on another group was out shooting citadels the locals has sitting around, popping a couple of those while they were away.  And after they were done and stood down we formed up again and went to kill yet another Astrahus of theirs.

Astrahus right on a planet

I had not seen a citadel quite so close to a planet before.  The picture doesn’t do justice to the enormity of the planet relative to our tiny ships and the equally tiny citadel.

Seeing the planet’s atmospheric layer

Then again, we might have been a bit too close to the planet as the texture on it was pretty rough at that distance.  Not quite 1999 EverQuest quality, but it did look awkward.

Astrahus going up

We blew the Astrahus.  It was Pandemic Horde owned, but it was a spot where they could have tethered and repaired or docked up.  Now it is gone.

On the way out we also sent an Athanor into reinforcement, setting up a follow up later.

The Athanor was setting up a frack

None of this was interrupted in any way by the locals.  And so it goes.

Meanwhile the TNT deployment has started doing some entosis work on Pure Blind and has captured a few systems.  We’re not going to hold them I am sure, we’re just here to blow stuff up and make life rough.  But given that the final details for the faction citadel conversion has been announced, taking and holding some stations until that is done might very well be part of the plan.

A Return to Quiet in Fade

After the thousand ship battle of the previous night I wondered if GotG would keep that up to clear our structures from their space.  However, it seems that level of effort two nights running wasn’t going to happen as we formed up again and headed to DO6H-Q.

We went back to their staging system again, this time with less than a hundred ships, to cover a couple of things.  We were, once again, dropping a pair of Raitarus on their Keepstar grid.  In addition, the remaining Raitaru was coming into its final timer, so if GotG wanted to destroy it, this would be the time.

The Keepstar from the active Raitaru

The GotG response, however, was desultory.

We arrived in system and not much was going on.  We roamed around the grid where the two new Raitarus were deploying, but no forces were forming up to meet us, much less chase us off.

Two Raitarus deploying

To pass the time we went off to one of their towers to shoot their jump bridge module.  This, as before, meant more work for logi as the tower on which the jump bridge had been anchored was armed.  Lots of calls for reps.

Shooting a jump bridge module again

As we did that a few of the locals headed out to the structures to hit them as a way to annoy us.  We warped back a couple of times and caught a few after which they became a bit more wary.  Back on the jump bridge a couple of game pilots tried to bomb us.

It was at the jump bridge that we suffered our only loss, a Vigil that got popped by the tower.

A Raitaru deploying

The Raitarus take six days to come online due to being in space owned by somebody else.  Those will be future fights.  After we popped the jump bridge, deciding to make them spend the ISK to replace it rather than making them repair it, we were back to the online Raitaru to watch its timer tick down.

Just two minutes or so to go…

That went without issue and the Raitaru was saved, leaving GotG to start over again on the cycle to destroy it.  I understand that they got out a small fleet of bombers and Eagles to shoot it this morning to get that under way.

After that we had a Raitaru in a system next door to watch as it came online, leaving us another place to tether and dock up.  As we roamed around I noticed another Raitaru coming online in their space.

Another location coming soon

Overall as we did that we managed to pick off enough of the locals to make it worth generating a battle report to get the tally.

Battle Report Header

We ended up blowing up a few pilots multiple times, and got the pods on some, which is how the number ends up with 48 ships but only 23 pilots.

Meanwhile, as we did that in one fleet I had an alt in another fleet that was cruising around and blowing up leftover Pandemic Horde structures.

Astrahus going up

Aside from running into some Caldari faction warfare pilots, who chased us off, but then killed the Astrahus we were shooting, so goal accomplished, it was an easy op delivering torpedoes on one target after another.  And while PH is no longer in the area, these being gone means less places for any of the locals to tether up.

And so it goes.  One night a thousand people in local.  The next night almost nobody is there to resist us.  So we laid the groundwork for further fights.  We shall see when GotG chooses to rise up and defend again.

Escalating Battle Sizes in Fade

Asher always warns us to not talk to much about our deployments while they are in progress.  Talking about them… especially on Reddit… brings attention to the fact that there are decent, small scale fights happening somewhere in null sec regularly which gets other people to considering flying over to join in on the fun.  Then things escalate as more people show up and sooner or later you’re back to time dilation sized fights, which are fun once in a while but not something you want to face every night.

So our deployment up into Pure Blind to hound Pandemic Horde and Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t get a lot of mention for a while.  We’ve been up there since November and for most of that time we’ve done our thing with small fleets, occasionally teaming up with TNT, who have a had a fun times deployment like our own going in Lonetrek, but mostly keeping things light.  We prod the locals, drop on their ratters and miners, and dock up when things get too hot for our band.

Then Pandemic Horde moved to Geminate and Guardians of the Galaxy started coming apart under the pressure of our presence, pulling back from trying to camp us, letting us drop structures in their staging, and letting us get away with things an organization that size ought to be able to stomp on given their local capital and super capital dominance.  One of their FCs quit the game while a number of high level defections hit their moral, while some of their internal reactions embarrassed them in public, all of which was documented over on the /r/eve section of Reddit.

Anyway, enough preamble.  GotG’s leader Sort Dragon is back from vacation and knows he is facing a crisis that requires the coalition to stand up and win some fights, while all of this passing through Reddit means that more outsiders will be showing up for battles.

And so it was last night.  One of the Raitaru’s we had anchored on grid with their Keepstar in DO6H-Q was in its final timer and GotG was keen to kill it.  Removing us from line of sight of their staging point would be a good start towards boosting moral.

The Raitaru in question as seen from the Darkness Keepstar

To make sure that they won GotG enlisted the help of their allies NCDot, Mercenary Coalition, and Pandemic Horde for the fight.

At our end Asher was pinging about a big fight to get as many of us on as well as getting the TNT deployment to come over and join us.  In addition TEST, stepping beyond just watching and spamming local in DO6H-Q, brought over a fleet to help us.  We also got a fleet of Jackdaws from Federation Uprising (FEDUP), a faction warfare group that took some space in Cloud Ring on a lark a while back in September and are still there more than six months later. (Kirith Kodachi is part of FEDUP.)

At our end we formed up with the TNT group and were bridged up into Fade to get into position.

Bridging into Fade yet again

There we hung out on the Raitaru with TEST, led by Vily, who once long ago was an FC for the CFC.  They had brought a Cerberus fleet.

Vily in his command ship

There we watched the enemy form.  GotG was forming up a Loki fleet with Hendrink Collie as the FC, flying one of the new Monitor FC ships.  That was the first one I had seen on the live server.

Hendrinks new ride

GotG also had carriers out and were sending fighters towards the Raitaru as the timer counted down.  Also on the field were NCDot in Cerbs, MC in Feroxes, and PH in Jackdaws.

The timer was already in play and the fighters were slow boating towards it before anything happened.  It was not obvious as to whether or not the fighters would get there in time to hit the Raitaru when Asher had the Ishtars spread out around the structure, drop sentry drones, and then led us off tether and into combat.

The Ishtar Train speeds along

Our formation was pretty simple.  We all follow Asher with prop modules on.  The Ishtars shoot the targets called, the support ships bubble, boost, paint, or apply ewar, and the logi tries to keep up with calls for reps.  As with the last fight, life in the logi channel was very busy right off the bat as the enemy tried to trim us back so they could kill off the Ishtars.

That was also when things began to slow down.  Time dilation began to rear its ugly head, so what seemed like a long and busy fight from my own subjective view did not last too long in game time as it was moving at about 20% of normal.  More than a thousand people in local will do that.

Popular Fight

We seemed to be fixed mostly on the Loki fleet which was following Hendrink around in a tight ball.

Monitor and Lokis

They had an advantage on their side.  Being in their staging system they could replace losses very quickly and more than once I heard a target called that we had blown up once already.

A Loki going, only to return again

Our losses ended up jumps away in our staging system with a hazardous path back to the fight.  However our Ishtar fleet was big enough this time around to take down Lokis while we hand substantially more logi than last time so were able to save many ships.  In this the tidi helped with that.  When the game is moving slowly it becomes easier to lock up and get reps on people because the pace becomes leisurely.  The only frustration is that it does take time for modules to spin down, so it can feel like you’re not going to get reps on somebody in time.  But we did pretty well, saving people deep in armor (or sometimes in structure) before they blew up.

The haze of the cap chain and reps in the battle

Meanwhile we kept in contact with the Loki fleet, chipping away at them.

Inside the Loki ball

At one point GotG dropped an Apostle force auxiliary on grid with us and the Raitaru to help rep the Loki fleet.  This became a priority target and was blown up before too long.

The Apostle coming apart

Somewhere along the line I had launched the Warrior IIs in my drone bay and then lost track of them.  They were likely done in by smart bombs in the Loki fleet.  But that meant not having anything to send towards the Apostle to get on that kill.  Ah well.

Meanwhile I am not sure how much the fax helped GotG.  Their fleet zoomed by the wreck not long after the Apostle was lost.

Lokis near the Apostle wreck

As this was all going on the fighters from the carriers had arrived on the Raitaru with about a minute left on its timer and were able to stop it as they chewed away at its structure.

The Raitaru in the middle of all of this

There came a moment of decision.  There was a mass of fighters on the Raitaru.  We could try to shoot them and maybe save the citadel, though it was not certain we could do it, or we could shoot GotG ships some more.  Asher opted for the latter and among the eventual victims was Hendrink Collie’s Monitor, aptly named, “Asher NOOOOOOOOO.”

Target the Monitor

That was the first Monitor kill for almost everybody though again, having lost my drones somewhere, I missed out.

By that point the Raitaru had exploded, fighters were being recalled, and our reason for being there had expired.  It was time to go.  Asher sent the Ishtars off to scoop up their drones, sentry drones being stationary, long range models.  That actually led to a series of Ishtar losses.  There were still hostiles on grid with us and they started picking off lone Ishtars.  They would broadcast for armor but were mostly out of range of reps and sometimes out of lock range, so we took some last minute losses that might have been avoided.  Nothing like being on top of broadcasts for a long stretch and then getting a string where you can’t help.

We then headed out, keeping together so as to prevent stragglers from being picked off.  The tidi outside of DO6H-Q was worse than inside the system as several fleets pushed through gates.  Asher told us we needed to get back to our staging and reload drones as there was another objective to hit.  But by the time we got back to the station that event had already played out and we were done for the night.

On the GotG side of things they managed to complete their main objective in DO6H-Q.  They destroyed the Raitaru in question and another without any resistance.  The battle report shows they paid a price for that objective.

Battle Report Header

The ISK war clearly went in our favor.

Furthermore, as Asher notes in his after action report post on Reddit, while this was going on other forces were able to go out and kill a Tatara and an Athanor, so you can understand why we might feel pretty good about how the night turned out. (Also his AAR explains the broader fight as opposed to my narrow logi view.)

There is also a video of the fight up on YouTube now that shows a few items I mentioned above.

And a thousand ships is a sizable fight.  It seems like we might be past the time of 60-80 person fleets going out for objectives.  The fights are growing in size as the nature of the conflict escalates for GotG into a need to prove they can defend their own space.

 Addendum: Another video of the fight, this one with some of our coms, including bad puns.