Tag Archives: Reavers

Titan Massacre at M2-XFE

We had been warned to be on hand for possible fleets yesterday.  The armor timers for three Imperium Keepstars under PAPI cyno jammers were set to come out and we were going to try to make them pay for the effort this time around.

I was busy during much of the day, but I could see the pings coming up announcing fleets.  It looked like the enemy was going to try for the Keepstar in M2-XFE.  The other two Keepstars were ignored and repaired while both sides focused on the remaining one.

When I finally had a chance to log in I flew out in an ECM burst Malediction just to take a look.  Both sides were grouped up, two masses of titans and supers facing each other, the Imperium fleet on the Keepstar and the PAPI fleet below it, shooting the structure.  The timer had been paused at just about the 10 minute mark.

My arrival

As I was scooting around, tethering up, and looking for some way to be annoying, the Imperium titans, which had been tethered, opened up with a doomsday barrage on the PAPI fleet.

Titans open fire with Doomsdays

That was the point that the battle became real.  There were over 5,000 names in local, a number that grew past the 5,500 mark as the battle carried on.

Exchange of fire

At that point I flew my Malediction into the midst of the hostiles and set off the ECM burst.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to commit to the fight.  But then my wife and daughter went out together and I decided to join one of the subcap fleets.  I parked my interceptor in one of our structures, destroyed my pod to revive back in 1DQ1-A, where I grabbed a Rokh to join Mister Vee’s fleet.

While M2-XFE had cyno jammers setup by the hostiles, they were bringing them down now and then to jump in reinforcements, which allowed us to jump in our own reinforcements.  Since the system was running at 10% tidi, the five minute up/down cycle of the cyno jammer lasted almost an hour for those of us jumping in from normal speed space.

I got in and joined the fun, shooting fighters and subcaps of opportunity.  Tidi worked in my favor as my ECM burst hit a titan that was blown up after I returned in the Rokh, so the game counted me on the kill mail.  It shows my ship as a Rokh, but my weapon as an ECM burst.  I fulfilled my goal of getting on at least one titan kill. (I also got on the 10 billion ISK MTU kill mail.)

But then there was a call for boosters for the titan and super fleets.  Asher pinged out to Reavers to get some boosters, so I went to answer the call, which took me out of the fight for almost two hours.  I went to dock up and leave my ship so as to self-destruct again to get back to 1DQ again.  However, by that point the server was under a lot more pressure, and docking took a long time and left me with a black screen that took a long time to clear.  The client went unresponsive and I have to exit and try to log back in.  That took ages, but eventually I was back in and in my pod.  Then it was time to self destruct.  That took a while as well.

I may have pressed the button a few times

Eventually though I ended up back in 1DQ where I had a Damnation command ship ready to go.  The cyno jammers were down again, so I was able to take the slow bridge back to M2-XFE, where I got in one of the capital fleets and started boosting.

My Damnation in the orange of another explosion

With that setup, I felt ambitious and got out my main alt and flew him over in another interceptor.  As he flew over I contracted the Rokh to him, and he was able to dock up, collect the Rokh, board it, join Mister Vee’s fleet.  That took about an hour to accomplish, but I managed it, after which I set him up on my little second monitor in UI-only mode and shot targets of opportunity as I heard them called.   Along the way I tagged some hostile titans with him, and now he his on more titan kill mails than my main.

The command ship had a target painter, so I was able to get on a few kills with my main, but all the big toys were out of range of that.

The hostiles won the objective, reinforcing the armor timer and setting the structure up for the final timer.  That will come out in about two days.  But the fight kept on going.

The exchange of kills was fairly even, favoring PAPI by a few kills for much of the fight, but as the evening drew on past midnight Pacific time and towards downtime, which hits at 3am where I live, the exchange of titans began to favor the Imperium, though ships from both sides kept blowing up until the server shut down.

Ships still exploding around the Keepstar

The tally for this fight will be huge.  I am writing this as the battle is winding down, so the final numbers have not settled, but for titan kills I last saw 10 Leviathan, 18 Avatar, 87 Ragnorak, and 126 Erebus titans destroyed.  That is almost 250 titans down and there will no doubt be more on the list once things settle down.

But this battle far exceeded B-R5RB back in 2014, the previous high water mark for the Tranquility server, when 75 titans were destroyed.  This fight went well beyond that, though the destruction was much less lopsided than the earlier battle.

Expect follow up posts about this fight.  Not only were many titans destroyed, but the total cost of the fight will easily exceed 20 trillion ISK according to early battle reports. (Edit: Now that things have settled down, adding the report header.)

Battle Report Header – Updated as new kills have shown up

To put that in perspective, the total destruction in Delve in October, which saw five huge fights in NPC Delve, only amounted to about 11 trillion ISK according to the October MER.  (11 trillion ISK was also the amount of destruction wrought at B-R5RB, so this fight eclipsed that in ISK as well as losses.)

And there will be some clean up to do after downtime, as many people just went to bed after that and they will need to have their capitals, supers, and titans extracted.

Another historic day in New Eden.  We shall see what the post battle repercussions lead to.  This should certainly inflate the December MER.

Addendum:  Now that I have had a bit of sleep and zKillboard has caught up, the titan loss totals look like this:

Imperium Titan Losses:

  • Erebus – 66
  • Ragnarok – 42
  • Leviathan – 10
  • Avatar – 5
  • Vanquisher – 1

PAPI Titan Losses:

  • Erebus – 63
  • Ragnarok – 50
  • Avatar – 14
  • Leviathan – 1

Total Imperium: 124
Total PAPI: 129
Total Titans Destroyed: 252

[Edit: This is getting updated as kill mails show up. ]

[Edit: CCP now has official loss numbers, 257 titans total]

You can tell which titans are considered the least tanky.  Both sides shot the Erebus and Ragnaroks first.  The first titan to die belonged to the appropriately named Titanic Death, while the last was Sandrin Stone, who blew up just before downtime kicked everybody out.

To expand on titan numbers, the count of them on the battlefield was:

Imperium:

  • Avatar – 317
  • Erebus – 137
  • Ragnarok – 135
  • Leviathan – 82
  • Vanquisher – 2
  • Molok – 2

Total 675

PAPI

  • Avatar – 248
  • Ragnarok – 193
  • Erebus – 111
  • Leviathan – 90
  • Molok – 2
  • Vanquisher – 1
  • Komodo – 1

Total 646

Combined Titan total: 1,321

That is a lot of very expensive ships thrown in on a Keepstar armor timer.

For the battle report, the difference in the ISK totals pretty much comes down to that Vanquisher faction titan loss on the Imperium side.  Otherwise it was a pretty even exchange on the titan front.  Now we will no doubt see both sides going on about how the other cannot afford to replace their losses.

Related:

25 Weeks of World War Bee

As expected, the Imperium Keepstar in NOL-M9 was destroyed by PAPI supers as we were unable to take back the ihub to prevent the system from being cyno jammed.  This will likely be the same fate that the Keepstars in D-W7F0 and 1-SMEB will face.

The highlight of the war last week was likely the Christmas Truce, where each group asked its members not to set timers that would come out on December 24th or 25th.  The truce seemed to be mostly respected, though not everybody got the word and the usual suspects on r/eve and elsewhere tried whine their way to a propaganda victory over things few cared about.  Nobody in an actual leadership position called out the other side.

There was even a game of “Griffinball” in T5ZI-S that both sides in the war participated in.  I saw the ping for it, though I didn’t have the time to join in myself.

Of course, the truce only covered structures and sov timers, so there was still plenty of shooting going on.  A big battle broke out on the T5ZI gate in 1DQ and there was an attempt to dread bomb a PAPI Erebus on the Keepstar in T5ZI that went wrong.  Christmas Day saw more than 150 billion ISK in ships blown up across the 1DQ-T5ZI front, most of it being Imperium losses.

And once Christmas Day was past, things returned to the usual grind, though PAPI seemed eager to give us a few last minute presents as they fed first one, then another Marshal blackops battleship for a combined loss of over 18 billion ISK for two subcaps.

Finally, there was a leak from a Fraternity alliance meeting that they were urging their members to get ready for a “big push” in Delve in January, so perhaps PAPI will make another move on 1DQ or Helm’s Deep.

Delve Front

There were not many big changes on the Delve front over the past week.  Timers came and went, but we haven’t been able to wrest any of the Keepstar ihubs back from PAPI.  Their doom awaits.

Delve – Dec. 27, 2020

The electrical metaliminal storm has kept on moving into the region.  Right now it is at a crossroads, where it might head up into the YX-LYK constellation or it could roam right into Helms Deep and its protected areas.  The storm in Helm’s Deep would actually help the Imperium as the only real threat there right now is covert ops bridges into the area to shoot at those still bothering to rat or mine.  Keeping them from cloaking would be a boon.  But even now, with it on E3OI-U it is keeping covert ops ships from slipping past the gate camp.

Catch Front

The Catch region remains in play with Brave and its Legacy Coalition allies having to spend time defending timers and structures.  Early in the week Brave had to defend its ihub, which The Initiative had reinforced.  They managed to form up enough to keep it from being take in the entosis event, but when their propaganda team compared it to the Imperium defending 1DQ I snorted audibly.  High on my list of objections to that comparison is the fact that PAPI hasn’t actually managed to reinforce the 1DQ ihub yet.

Catch – Dec 27, 2020

We keep pecking away at their infrastructure.  The Watchmen, which I mentioned last week because they appeared to be folding up shop, has lost a bunch of members and its sov will be up for grabs.  Legacy seems to have given up for now on killing our staging Fortizar in 0SHT-A, falling back to a defensive posture.  Brave has been keeping up a small gate camp on the gate between GE-8JV, their capital, and V-3YG7, the direction in which we lay.

Meanwhile, in addition to the Gamma storm that has been wandering the region for a few weeks now, the Plasma storm in Providence has started moving closer to the war zone.

Other Theaters

Querious continues to be a low intensity tug of war over some key ihubs in the region.

Querious – Dec. 27, 2020

Meanwhile, The Bastion and friends down in Esoteria are still holding on to a set of systems in the region.

NW Esoteria – Dec. 27, 2020

The Army of Mango Alliance appears to have all but given up fighting in the region.

And, if you have been watching Rorqual losses on zKillboard, you might have noticed that The Initiative has been busy dropping on Legacy’s backfield where they have been mining.

Dec 27 Rorqual kills

That should keep some crabs on their toes.

My Participation

My week in New Eden started with some fights and ended with some fights, but in the middle I wasn’t on all that much.  I formed up a few times for fleets in Delve where not much happened, but out in Catch with Reavers we have had some fun.

Waiting with Asher

I was involved with the fight over the GE-8JV ihub.  While we lost the entosis event, a significant brawl developed where we at least won the ISK war.  I had a close call on the way out.

Cutting things a bit close

But my Ishtar made it into warp and lived to fight another day.  It also has seven kill marks on it now, which is my new all time high.

Headed home for repairs

After the Christmas truce ended we were back at it in Catch on Saturday, reinforcing ihubs and shooting Ansiblex jump bridges.  Brave eventually formed up for us, but not before one pilot threw their Nidhoggur at us to try and stop an ihub hack.

Nidhoggur tackled

I gather he felt that his smart bombs would defang our Ishtars, but we pulled some range, dropped sentry drones, and took him down from a safe distance.  Not too long after we ran into a Jackdaw and Munnin fleet sent to see us off.  We were seriously outnumbered and had to safe up and log off for a bit.  But after that we were able to get out and home.  Through all of that I managed to not lose a ship.

I did lose another Ares, this time by forgetting it was on an alt sitting on a gate in hostile space because I was focused on my main for too long.  So it goes.  My loss count for the war is now:

  • Ares interceptor – 13
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Malediction interceptor – 4
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 2
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Scimitar logi – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

CCP released the Monthly Economic Report for November 2020 which showed the impact of the latest round of nerfs to the economy.  I wrote a post covering that, but the big news is pretty well summed up in this chart.

Nov 2020 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

Mineral prices are at an all time high, destruction remains high due to the war, and the ISK faucet of NPC bounties has been cut back down to nearly the low point of the Chaos Era null sec Blackout of 2019.

The MER was followed up yesterday with a self congratulatory Dev Blog from CCP about how well they have done fixing the economy.  They promise things won’t remain as grim as they are now, so long as you can do without self-sufficiency, predictability, or wealth.  You can call my outlook cynical and I’ll agree, but I think history warrants it.  I’ll probably do a blog post about the dev blog later this week if I find the time and energy.

Meanwhile, the peak concurrent user count for the week fell on Sunday.  The holiday week was slow and Saturday did not crack the 30K mark, but Sunday it managed to break through to 31K.  The time when it his it peak corresponded to a form up by both sides in the war over a Sotiyo timer.  No fight ensued, so we all just bridged in and glared at each other.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611

Still, that is the low point of the war so far and, while it might be explained away by the holiday, the count does seem to be trending down.  As I mentioned last week, CCP was patting itself on the back for managing to get 1.9 million new accounts in 2020, more than the previous three years combined, but it doesn’t seem to be reflected very well in the PCU.

Related

24 Weeks of World War Bee

We are at week 24 of the war proper, having started officially back on July 5th, but it has been a full six months since the invaders were caught out in their plans and the two week count down to the start began, so I am celebrating six months of writing about World War Bee.  Compare that to the Fountain War back in 2013, which covered just two months, or the Casino War, which started in earnest in February 2016, had us in Saranen by mid April, and in Delve come July.  And we’re not done yet.

This week saw an address by Progodlegend to Legacy and TEST where he both said the war was pretty much a foregone conclusion and that we will all soon begin to abandon the Imperium.  The Initiative attacking in Catch was held up as a prime example of the Imperium collapsing.  Once the war is over Legacy will lay claim to both its old territory, such Esoteria, which they previously said they were abandoning for Delve, as well as Delve, Querious, Period Basis.

Basically, all they need to do is wrap up the Imperium pockets in 1DQ1-A and E3OI-U and they’re done, the war is over.  Those will be the last big fights of the war.  The timeline for that, however, is fairly vague.  Progodlegend says the will come very soon at one point and maybe in  a couple more months elsewhere.  Goons being driven from the game is assumed in there somewhere.

Pandemic Horde had a town hall meeting last week as well, where they distanced themselves from the Vily message of driving Goons from the game.  They are just in it to damage the Imperium economically.  They seem less patient when it comes to assaulting 1DQ1-A and E3OI-U, suggesting if the current strategy wasn’t working in the first few weeks of December that they might try something different.  Also, the second pass on Fountain has been seen to be something of a wasted effort which will likely not continue.

On the comedy front, there was this 5.3 billion ISK Vince Draken pod that got caught trying to slip through Delve in a covert ops frigate.

Delve Front

The Delve front saw quite a bit of action.  Also, that metaliminal storm has found its way into NPC Delve, keeping people from cloaking in the systems marked around it.

Delve – Dec. 20, 2020

The Imperium strategy of retaking ihubs before the 35 timer runs down and allows PAPI to cyno jam the system has not been working out for us.  We were not able to retake the ihub for NOL-M9 as they were able to put many more people on the field to defend it that we would manage.  NOL-M9 now has a cyno jammer setup and the Keepstar there seems likely to be destroyed this week.

PAPI titans at the armor timer shoot

A similar fate seems likely for the Keepstar in D-W7F0, where PAPI also holds the ihub.

The strategy, or that aspect of it which I can see, appears to have moved to preventing enotsis ops on the ihubs that remain in our hands where Keepstars remain.  This had led to a number of fierce skirmishes, like the ones that have happened around 5-CQDA.

Battle Report Header

The other twist that has been coming up more recently is forcing PAPI to choose between objectives.  PAPI can put enough pilots in Delve to force an objective there, but a simultaneous timer elsewhere, like Catch, will be lost because they had to make the choice.

Catch Front

This week I am elevating the Catch region to have its own category as it remains the most active theater outside of Delve and is the place where Legacy is being forced to make choices.

Legacy came back and reinforced the staging Fortizar of The Initiative, but were distracted by a Delve objective that allowed The Initiative to put down a backup Fortizar in their staging in 0SHT-A.  The odd thing was that, when the final timer came up for the original Fortizar, Legacy started to commit to it, lost a bunch of ships to The Initiative, then stood down, losing both the objective and the ISK war.

That left The Initiative with two Fortizars in 0SHT-A after the fight.

Meanwhile, ihubs in Catch, and even next door in Immensea, have been falling.  We took the DY-P7Q ihub and then blew up the no longer operational Ansiblex jump gate and Pharolux cyno beacon on the grid with the Keepstar anchored there.

The Ansiblex blowing up, taking over a billion ISK in fuel with it

The Initiative now holds the ihub and TCU for HED-GP, the gateway system into the region from high sec.

And, as Progodlegend said, Imperium SIGs have been active in Catch as well.  Asher, accused of abandoning the war to hide in Catch, had gathered up the Reavers SIG to deploy out to 0SHT-A along with The Initiative, so I have been out there some myself.  We have been shooting structures… like the two above… as well as doing some of our own entosis work.  Not bad for a “30 man SIG.”  (We have Dawn Rhea of Theta Thursdays with us as well, so add at least one woman to the total.)

Popping a node during an entosis event

Things do not look so bad for Legacy when you look at the map of Catch right now.

Catch – Dec. 20, 2020

They have taken back some ihubs, including the one at 4-07MU, which connects to Querious.  But having lost them, they have to wait 35 days after restoring them before they can install Ansiblex jump gates to restore their easy travel routes.  Instead they either have to gate, use titan bridges, or jump clone between Delve and Catch.

Furthermore, rumor has it that The Watchmen alliance, which holds a large section of Catch for Legacy, is about to fold up shop and disband.  That would set quite a few systems back to the 35 day clock before they can be used for travel infrastructure.

Other Theaters

Despite Progodlegend declaring the Esoteria efforts a failure, citing The Initiative’s move to Catch as evidence, the groups remaining down there, The Bastion, Ferrata Victrix, and the Stain Russians who hate TEST, have continued to make a nuisance of themselves.  They have pushed back on The Army of Mango’s attempt to assert itself in the region and have expanded to hacking new systems.

NW Esoteria – Dec. 20, 2020

Then there is Querious, which is largely a dead zone as both sides have tired of planting new ihubs in the region.

Querious – Dec. 20, 2020

A range of systems remain empty while those still occupied by Brave continue to be assailed, meaning Brave has to deal with entosis events both here and in Catch.

And then in Fountain, as noted above, the PAPI invasion has pretty much ceased, with NCDot left holding a single ihub in LBGI-2 for now.

My Participation

I was able to jump in on a few ops, including two fights in 5-CQDA, including the one mentioned above.  I was also off on a few side missions over in Catch.  I ended up losing a few ships, including two Malediction interceptors that were used for burst jamming in one fight (the hostiles love that), a Scimitar in another fight, an Atron entosis frigate, and a Drake.

Probably the most amusing fight was in Catch on Saturday night when we landed on a gate with a Maller gang fit with smart bombs who were looking for ESS banks to rob.  We murdered them.

Murder report header

The one ship of ours they got was a Griffin ECM frigate.  Otherwise they were tackled and blown up.  In that quick clash I somehow managed to get the final blow on five of them with my sentry drones, which gave me a nice little line of five kill marks on my Ishtar.

5 orange kill marks in the upper left on my Blaze SKIN Ishtar

I do not think I have ever had a hull last long enough to earn five kill marks.

Anyway, my losses for the war so far now are as follows:

  • Ares interceptor – 12
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Malediction interceptor – 4
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 2
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Scimitar logi – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

CCP did a Fireside Chat on Twitch with CCP Burger and CCP Hellmar where they mentioned, among other things, that more than 1.9 million new players had logged into EVE Online in 2020, a number greater than the previous three years combined.

That seems like amazing news, though the fact that the online numbers peaked back in April and have been slowly sliding down as the year has begun to fade suggests that CCP has not solved the player retention problem they brought up at EVE North back in 2019.

The CSM 14 summit meeting minutes had a list of priorities that were:

  1. Stop the bleeding
  2. Fix the stupid
  3. Excite and teach
  4. Incentivize return

It feels like they haven’t really addressed the first point yet as 1.9 million people have poured into the game this year and apparently right back out again.  This number of new players was so huge that I had to check to see if they were including EVE Echoes in their count, but EVE Echoes has claimed more than 2 million players on its own, so I couldn’t tell you where those 1.9 million went.

And that brings us to this week’s peak concurrent user number, which was down again.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)

That is now the low water mark for the war, with even the holiday events and the Luminaire snowball fight failing to entice people into the game.

Related

Robbing Some Space Banks

I mentioned in Tuesday’s post the introduction of the newly revised and now mandatory Encounter Surveillance System that was foisted on null sec with this months update.  There was a whole dev blog about it if you want to read up on it.

To me the whole thing seemed silly in that familiar way when CCP introduces a contrived mechanic and their expectations as to our behavior appear unrealistic.

To put it simply, when you rat in null sec now about a third of your bounty payments go into the ESS “bank.”  The ESS runs on a cycle where it will pay that out every three hours.  The timer is for everybody, so if you just missed it you’re waiting the whole time (though you do not have to be logged on to get paid), and if your tick hits just before it pays out, you get paid right away.

The ESS bank is in deadspace behind an acceleration gate, so you can warp directly to it, and inside of a warp disruption bubble that keeps people from warping or cloaking and from using MWDs or MJDs.  You also cannot light a cyno or set off a filament.  Afterburners are okay, and once you are out of the bubble, which is 75km in diameter and centered on the bank, you can warp off.

Also, the acceleration gate will only let in cruisers, battlecruisers, and battleships, which narrows down the options and keeps little fast things from zipping in to do the steal.

I have already seen people working on min/max ideas for both defending and attacking the ESS bank.  This what players in EVE Online do, and some winning tactic will emerge soon enough and CCP will either make changes that will simply start the search over again or ignore it an that is the way things will be.

Since I don’t really rat, I can sit on the outside and admire the solutions players craft, and I was treated to a trial run Wednesday night.  Asher pinged out to Reavers that he wanted to go out and try stealing some ESS bank loot.  I was down with that, as I wanted to see how the whole thing really worked.

He had some fits for us to buy and use and the plan was to use a Needljack Signal filament to yeet us into hostile space… which is pretty much all out null sec for us these days… so we could go find some banks to rob.  We undocked, grouped up on Asher, and off we went.

Y is for “Yeet!”

We ended up out in Tenerifis, Legacy Coalition territory.  There we had to go find a bank worth robbing.

In what I consider a great injustice, the search function for finding ESS banks is in The Agency, and interface not commonly used out in null sec.  It is like CCP was trying to hide it from us.  Fortunately we had Dawn Rhea with us, who actually does some high sec stuff that uses The Agency, so she was able to search for some close by banks while some of us were still figuring out where to find this functionality.

The Agency -> Encounters -> Electronic Surveillance System

That will give you some details and you can narrow your search using several parameters.

Dawn had a system for us, so off we went to get it.

Flying through Tenerifis

Every system in null sec now has a little bit of the UI devoted to the ESS.

all about the bank

Near the top you can see the bounty risk modifier, which is part of the Dynamic Bounties feature also introduced on Tuesday,  At the bottom is the ESS info, which shows you how much money is in the bank.  The aqua colored bar is a visual indicator as to how long before the next payout is due.  When it fills up, it is payout time.

The location of the ESS acceleration gate shows up on your overview if you have beacons set to show.  Likewise, the acceleration gate is just another of a class already around, so no new adjustments need be made.

Overview viewed

You just warp to the beacon, take the acceleration gate, and you’re sent into the big bubble around the ESS.  That, however, is a new item that you will need to add to your overview.

The bank revealed

Once you spot it, somebody has to get within 10km of it.  Then you can right click on it… or on its icon in the overview if you have added it there… and select the Access ESS option.  From there you get the ESS window, which shows you the details.

Somebody is robbing the bank

The main bank is what you can rob.   The reserve bank has yet to be made accessible by CCP.

In that window you click on the “Link” button… why link?  I don’t know.  CCP being CCP… and that starts the theft.  You then have to wait for a five minute timer before you get the loot.  If you’re not the one doing the stealing, you get that nice, small red count down bar.

When it starts, the system owners and anybody in the system gets an alert pop up that the bank is being robbed.

We’re stealing, not intruding

Up on the main UI the attempted theft is note, indicating who is doing the stealing.

Theft in progress

In our case Merkelchen, head of KarmaFleet and CSM member, was our test case.

You will note that the ESS interfaces indicates that the bank is 70% “convertable.”  That means, in robbing the bank, you only get 70% of the value of what is in the bank.  Furthermore, it is paid out in bonds of specific denominations that need to be taken to CONCORD stations to redeem.

We had 18 people in the fleet to do the robbing, which meant that the locals in Tenerifis, who were few and far between, let us get away without our theft.

After a couple of runs there we used another filament which sent us up north.  We rolled into Vale of the Silent and robbed some more banks.  I took a turn at a smaller total that appeared in a bank we had just looted just to try it out.  I got to see the UI timer you get when you’re the one doing it.

Now I am the robber

The main difference is that as the one doing the intrusion you get a larger time that isn’t red.  I kind of like the small red one better, but whatever.  I also got my name up in the UI.

The big score

A ratting tick hit while I was waiting on the timer, so the total went up to 8 million ISK before it was done, boosting my haul.

Bank successfully robbed!

I was in the system alone with five ratters and nobody came to get me.

The bonds come in standard denominations (you can see them on the market if you search for “bond”) that add up to the amount you’ve stolen.

New Eden bearer bonds

five 1 million bounty bonds, six 100K bounty bonds, and three 10K bounty bonds will get me 5.63 million ISK when I go turn them in.

After getting the easy bits in Vale, we used another filament to jump to another area.  Over time we jumped about, ending up in Omist, Malpais, and The Kalevala Expanse, and finally Oasa.

It wasn’t until we got to Oasa that the locals really began to get feisty.  We had a couple of supercarriers on a gate and a Sabre bubble us, but Oasa was where the real fun began.

You might recognize Oasa from the Monthly Economic Report.  It is the home of Fraternity and is the crab capital of New Eden currently, topping the charts for bounties and null sec mining.  They are serious about their ISK and the did not like us showing up in their space.  On starting to rob a bank there with 357 million ISK, they started jumping right in with us.

Locals came to fight

Our fleet had numbers, but not enough firepower to burn down a couple of marauders.

We got out of the bubble and ran off to another nearby system where the bank had 120 million ISK and was very close to payout.  We started the robbery and setup to pop anybody who warped in prematurely.

There was less than five minutes on the clock for payout, but we found that if you’re in the middle of a robbery, the payout is suspended.  You can start an intrusion with fewer than five minutes on the clock.

The bank has a hold on that payment

We managed to blow up a couple of eager pilots, including a Cynabal that came for us, but the locals quickly piled on.  We lost a couple of ships on the way out, including Asher, at which point Tom Flood took over.  We ran from the locals for a few gates, heading towards Venal, waiting for our timers to run down so we can use another filament.

We had been out for a while at that point, and had said that any filament that got us close to home would be the end of the op, but they kept pulling us deeper and deeper into hostile space.  This last filament was no exception.

The filament lined us up on landing

There was, however, a Thera wormhole not too far from where we were.  We flew to that and jumped through just as it collapsed of old age.  Most of us docked up in Thera to call it a night.

The next day the EVE Scout site said there was a wormhole from Thera straight to Delve, so I took that using their shared bookmark library in-game and was safely back in 1DQ1-A in almost no time.  I am not very adept with wormholes, but EVE Scout makes it easy.

Home with my bonds, I realized I probably should have first taken one of the wormholes to high sec and dropped off the bonds for an alt to pick up, but I am not sure I’ll miss that big 5.6 million ISK payout.

But now I can said I’ve robbed a bank in EVE Online.  I’m not sure if that is the way it works in GTA V, but it can still lead to a bit of conflict… up until somebody figured out how to defend the ESS with smart bombing battleships or rail tengus or something else that will pop people coming in to steal.

Six Years of Reavers

We are at the sixth anniversary of the founding of the Reavers SIG.

Reavers forum bee

As has become the norm, I post on or around this date every year to commemorate the founding and to recount what mischief the SIG got up to since the last post.  For those interested in past tales, you can find them here.

This year my post is a little bit different.  While I am happy to raise a glass to the SIG to mark the passing of another year, I don’t actually have anything to look back on since the five year anniversary post.

It is not that nothing has happened over the last year.  Asher and various members of the SIG have been quite active.  But there wasn’t a lot of opportunity over the last twelve months for the Reavers to run off and do their thing in distant lands.

There was a problem with an overlap of objectives between Reavers and Liberty Squad for a stretch.  And when Liberty Squad was stood down, with its leadership heading off to form their own group elsewhere in null sec, there was the formation of the Goon Expeditionary Force to take its place.

The logo on the left became the official forum bee, but I still like the helmet on the other

The GEF was sort of the Reavers writ large, a mash up of them and Space Violence and Liberty Squad, a way to bundle up the people in the Imperium who play for war and deployments and who chafe during peacetime, to give them something to do.  Founded back in February, it was there to take the show on the road.  And from them until this past June, it deployed, ran ops, blew things up, and gave some of us a sense of purpose in the sandbox.

And then, of course, the war came.  Well, the leak that indicated that war was coming, which was denied right up until it wasn’t, when the non-invasion pact between Legacy Coalition and the Imperium was cancelled by Vily and the count down to conflict began.  Then everybody came home, we pulled back what we could, and there was a sense of purpose every day you logged in.

Asher and many others had bigger responsibilities, tasks beyond the scope of a single SIG in the coalition.

So you might ask, with nothing really to report on over the last year and nothing likely to come while our space is being invaded, is Reavers effectively dead?  Are we just a channel on Jabber and a hidden section in the GSF forms?

The answer is no.

Despite having no official task, Reavers still forms a cadre of players who Asher can call on for special tasks.  It has been that way for a while.  Reavers haven’t recruited in ages.  You cannot get in without a personal vouch and I don’t even think we’re taking those any more.  Everybody left has been around for a long time and the names in the channel are all familiar.

So there will be a ping to Jacketpals, or Trashtiertactics, or another of the many ping groups that Asher has created to send us notifications on Jabber, looking for some people for a special op or to have a special fit ready, or to hold off on the main fleet ping that is coming up because there will be another fleet coming up that will be more our speed.

I think the SIG almost universally signed up for the Spec Ops SIG that was formed for the war, along with a couple of the other groups.  When I am out on an op doing ECM burst interceptors or Sippery Pete’s or something like that, there are always names from Reavers in those fleets.

And when Asher suggests training something up, like EDENCOM ships or whatever, I always jump right on that.  Maybe it will pan out, maybe it won’t.  But if the time comes and there is a Jacketpals ping asking who can fly some specific ship, I don’t want to be left out.

The End of Liberty Squad

I first posted about Liberty Squad back at the start of last year.  The group was formed as a USTZ effort to deploy out of Delve and find fights in other null sec regions.  When I joined up we were off to Geminate to pick fights with Pandemic Horde.

The Liberty Squad forum bee

There was always a bit of a problem with Liberty Squad in that the membership had a large overlap with Reavers, such that either one or the other could deploy, but both could not… unless they went somewhere together… as they mostly the same people.  But that wasn’t a huge issue as Asher, the head of Reavers, is a lot more involved in coalition-wide operations these days, being one of the rare sky marshals to run a campaign and not quit the game in exhaustion once it was done.

Anyway, we got word earlier this month from Cainun that the leadership of Liberty Squad was going to take their corp out of GSF and go try something new.

By now, I expect many of you have either heard some rumors, or noticed some movements. Come this time tomorrow, the Terrifying League of Dog Fort will have left the alliance. With them go Thomas, Zed, Mapache, and myself, on a new misadventure of our own making. Liberty Squad will be without leadership, and I expect will be closed as a result. Some have expressed an interest in trying to step up to take over the reins, but those possibilities are not mine to decide, or attempt to influence.

It has been a fantastic 18 months building, and running this squad regardless of its ups, and downs. Our Uemon deployment in particular, will always be one of the more fun periods I’ve spent playing this game. It has been a pleasure running this squad, even with all you meme-riddled bastards making every drake related remark imaginable every 15 seconds on fleets. I wish all of you the best in your search for fun, and enjoyment in this terrible little game we all play. :911:

FC grants you eternal permission to always bring your Drake from now on, fly well.

And so it goes.  I actually met most of that group at EVE Vegas last year.  They all got Liberty Squad buttons from me, including a special Canadian Drake one for Zed.

My EVE Vegas buttons

It is a bit sad to see that group go.  I flew with them many times and their fleets were a lot of fun.  But when your friends want to run off and try new things you wish them well and hope they find what they are looking for.

With this announcement there was an attempt in the forums to drum up support for a new group to be called Freedom Squad.  This made me chuckle a bit both because USTZ groups seem to always have to play on faux patriotism as a gimmick and because we had a Freedom Squad back in the day, the remnants of which became the core of Reavers.  However, this attempt was shut down pretty quickly by a director.

The thing is, creating a group to cater to those of us who just want to deploy to foreign parts was nationalized by the coalition with the formation of the Goon Expeditionary Force earlier this year.

I’m not sure which one is our forum bee yet

I think that came about because there is always some of us who want to know when the next war or whatever is going to happen and the coalition finally decided to harness that drive officially rather than leaving it to the sometimes random attention of smaller, self-formed groups that tend to depend on a small leadership group.

Which doesn’t mean those groups are going away.  Reavers and Space Violence and Black Ops are all still around.  But none of them are open to all comers these days.  They are selective.  So the GEF scratches the deployment itch for all and sundry who just want to go on the road and shoot structures… or get fights, which also happens some times.

Things change.  People move on.  Spaceships remain.

Five Years of Reavers

Here we are on Reaver’s founding day.  I’ve always pegged the date as around the middle of October, but somebody said on an op that October 15th was the date and that is good enough for me.  So happy fifth birthday to the Reavers SIG.

Reavers forum bee

I have a special affinity for Reavers.  I happened to wander in and join right as it was formed from the remnants of Freedom Squad.  I flew ops with Freedom Squad, but never joined officially, so Reavers was the first Imperium (or CFC back then) group I became a member of.

Also, being there from the start I feel like I know a lot of the story of the SIG.  While I have not been on every op, I believe I have gone on every deployment.

Finally, being a member of Reavers has let me experience a lot of things that you don’t always get to do on main fleet or homeland defense or during big war operations.  There have been a few points where I have felt tired of New Eden, but a new Reavers deployment has refreshed my interest and kept me going.

So, as I do every year, I will try to summarize what the SIG has been up to over the last twelve months.  You can find past summaries here:

To go along with the now established tradition of these posts, I’ll start with a look at the null sec influence map, comparing the current state of null sec with what it looked like last year.

October 2018 and 2019 compared

Delve and surrounding regions stayed largely the same, with Red Alliance disappearing from Period Basis.  The region fell to the Imperium to hold, lest somebody else try to move in.  The north and east saw quite a bit more change.  Dead Coalition (formerly GotG) shook up its membership, with Slyce leaving, while Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition were driven out of the north due to the “Glass Tribute” campaign this past spring, sending them to reform in Malpais, which was their rental space.  Further south, new names have popped up around Fraternity, which remains at war with TEST and its Legacy Coalition.

As for Reavers operations, it was a fairly quiet year for a number of reasons.

To start with, the shape of war has changed.  Back in the day Reavers would go off behind enemy lines during a war to act as a distraction.  We did peace time operations as well, but those were more to keep us busy and annoy some of our traditional foes than part of any grand strategic plan.

Circumstances have flipped Imperium doctrine on its head.  SIGs and squads are now the harbingers of war, going out to camp in hostile space and stir up trouble until a war sees possible, at which point the fleets mass to come join us and our operations are folded into main fleet.  And all the more so with Reavers, as Asher is the war time sky marshal, running all the big strategic ops.  So, things like the “Glass Tribute” campaign Reavers end up in main fleet rather than having their own deployment.

And then there is Liberty Squad, new US time zone group that formed up about a year or so ago.  There is a lot of overlap between the Reavers and Liberty Squad rosters.  Being on a Liberty Squad op is almost like being on a Reavers op, as almost all the voices on coms are the same.

Because of this, Asher put off doing deployments for a while to let Liberty Squad come together.  So my posts for this year cover more Liberty ops than Reavers.

Still, it was not a year without operations.  So I will run down the list I have based on the last twelve months of posts.

In December we went to wormhole J115405, otherwise known a Rage, to help evict Hard Knocks.  This was setup by The Initiative, who deserves all the credit.

The Initiative logo in spaceships

However, they invited other groups to come participate, and Reavers went as a group.

After that there was a long dry spell for Reavers as Liberty Squad deployed out to harass Pandemic Horde in Geminate.

We did have a couple of Reavers races, set up by Ranger Gamma.

After that there was the war in Tribute, which ran up to the Drifter invasion of null sec and the launch of the Chaos Era.  Liberty Squad did a bit during that, and I spent some time on Zungen Ops, which I get pings for by being in Reavers, but there were no Reavers deployments until recently.  With things quiet elsewhere, Asher formed us up and we went out to Insmother, passing through Legacy Coalition space to join in against Winter Coalition, moving to Cache there after.

That was an old school Reavers deployment, with us living in space without a station or structure to base from.  Mobile depots for everybody.

Swapping out my cloak

However, that also put a bit of a crimp on the numbers.  People who missed the move op out had to find their way out into the middle of hostile space, some opting not to bother.  Numbers were low for ops at times and we ended up coming home this past weekend.

And that is where we stand currently at the the end of five years, back home from a venture out in the wilds of Cache, where we were living in space, shooting at structures, and looking for fights.

My posts do not cover all the Reavers ops.  I know I missed a few out in Cache, and some good ones too from what I hear.  But I believe that covers the deployments the SIG has done over the last year.

A Wormhole Home from Cache

In one of those moments of extreme good timing, about 30 seconds after I launched Jabber last night a ping from Asher popped up saying that if anybody wanted to head home early there was a wormhole up in Cache that led Amarr low sec space, which is conveniently close to Delve.

I immediately logged on my main and alt, joined Asher’s fleet, followed the instructions in the MOTD, jumped through the wormhole, and found myself about a dozen gates from Delve.  In about 20 minutes I traveled from the far east of New Eden to the far west with both of my Guardians tethered up outside a Keepstar.

Waiting at the back door

Doing that route the hard way, going gate to gate, would involve passing through 55 gates and 8 regions before arriving in Delve.  Even the expected move op home, which might get to use Legacy Coalition Ansiblex jump gates, as we did on the way out, will likely have to make more jumps than I did.

As for why we are headed home, participation has been low.  A bunch of people made it out with the original move op, but interest has tapered off and anybody who missed the move out faced a long and hazardous trip to get to us.  That is one downside of living out of mobile depots in hostile space as opposed to basing out of NPCs stations.

So I am back home in Delve.  Now I have to figure out how to move all of my stuff.  While we were away there was a change to which Keepstar was going to be the staging point and market for Delve.  It is in the same system, but moving all of the crap I have collected over the last year or two is going to be either awkward or expensive… or both.

Further Structure Bashing in Cache

Asher got us together again for another structure, this time an Astrahus timer, the timer that TEST had set while we were out bashing that tower a couple days before.  Being a final timer that might see the structure destroyed, the thought was that the locals might form up and defend leading to a fight.  And if they didn’t fight… well.. structure kill mail.

We logged in, once again totaling less that 30 ships, swapped out our cloaks and formed up to travel to M-MCP8, where we sat on the P7-45V gate.  The latter is Vindictive’s staging, so we hoped to catch some people passing through.

On the gate, bubble up

We did catch a Fraternity Dominix on the gate, and a couple other minor target.  The Domi seemed like a good sign, that maybe Vindictive would be getting some support from their Winter Coalition allies, since they were not leaving the coalition until the end of the month.

They would need some help and somebody else we caught in our bubble was Seddow, the FC of the Legacy Coalition Loki fleet that mauled the Vindictive Machariel fleet while we were shooting that POS tower.  We were asked not to shoot him.

So it seemed like they would be coming back to finish off the Astrahus.  They set the timer, so why wouldn’t they?

Our eyes on the Vindictive staging Keepstar was reporting various activity and even a titan up and perhaps ready to bridge a defense fleet in on the Astrahus.  They had a couple of force recons, the only viable cyno ships these days, hanging about.  Asher even had us drop our mobile depots in safe spots in the system in case things went against us and we had to either reload drones from cargo or get our cloaks on and hide.

However, for all the activity, not much happened.  When the timer ran down on the Astrahus we started shooting it, waiting for something to drop.  But nothing did.  Instead, a gunner in the Astrahus took shots at us, neuted us, hit us with tracking disruptors, and generally tried to make our time hitting the structure as taxing as possible.

Another bomb from the Astrahus goes off

The gunner did manage to kill off some drones, something of an annoyance to a group with a long supply line back to Delve, but did not slow down the inevitable all that much.  Legacy showed up with their Lokis again as expected.

Legacy Lokis join the shoot

Then final outcome was determined, the Astrahus exploded.

Another Upwell structure destroyed

We scooped our mobile depots and formed back up.

Then it was over to P7-45V, where an Athanor was also in its final timer.  There was no defense put up there either, so another structure kill mail was shared between us and the Legacy Loki fleet.

Athanor brews up

After that it was back to our staging system and our safe spots, cloaks once again fitted and running, waiting for our safe log off timers to run down so we could leave space safely.  Another night in Cache.

A Tower Bash in Cache

The current Reavers deployment has had some stretches of inactivity.  We were delayed deploying due to a hurricane (other than Hilmar) bearing down on Asher, then he was away on vacation for a bit.  My main and my alt had been logged out in hostile space for a while now, though since WoW Classic has been getting most of my attention, I wasn’t complaining.

But Asher got back and settled and it was time to log back in late last week.  We had something to do, so we dropped our mobile depots to refit and get rolling.

Off with the cloak

The target picked was a simple one, another powered down POS sitting out in space.  Maybe somebody would come get us, alerted by our attack.  We formed up and flew out to the target system, M-MCP8 in Cache, only to find it somewhat more populated than expected.

The residents, Vindictive alliance, were out in force, with 50 or so appearing in local as we jumped into the system.  We had fewer than 30 ships in our fleet, but Asher figured we might get a fight so we warped on grid with the tower and started shooting.

Tower hits

As we slowly circled the tower, formed up and following Asher’s Legion, more people started piling into the system, and we saw local rise even further.  The newcomers appeared to be from Legacy coalition, with TEST making up the bulk of them in local.  Of course, with TEST in system, local began to come alive with chatter.  We kept on orbiting the tower, chipping away at it.

Following Asher

As it turned out, there was another operation going on parallel to ours.  A group from Legacy had been running ops into Vindictive space for a while now and had recently set the armor timer on an Astrahus in the system.

The timer was set to come out just a few minutes after we arrived.  So people were showing up to that party.

Our target was a remnant left behind by Dragon Empire, who now live up in Geminate, so were unlikely to run out to save an anchored by unfueled tower.  Likewise, nobody in system had anything to do with the tower, so no notifications were going to them.  They were content to focus on their own battle, ignoring the small fleet of Ishtars easily within dscan range, it being one of the smaller systems in the area.

A clump of Ishtars

The tower took a while.  Even a small faction tower has a lot of shield hit points, but we kept on flying around it, letting our drones to the work.  In local it sounded like things were not going well for the owners of the system.  There were recriminations and some mocking going on.  It seemed that the defense, a small Machariel fleet had been swept aside by Legacy Loki fleet.

At our end, we eventually cut through the shields and were able to get through the armor and structure layers rapidly.  Soon the tower blew up with a satisfying display.

Brewing up, ready to burst

By that point the fight over the Astrahus had been resolved.  The final timer had been set and Legacy had finished spewing in local and headed home.  We too headed for the exit, our own small mission complete.

The out gate

However, as we landed on the gate to P7-45V an Vindictive Machariel landed as well and jumped, no doubt hoping to get away ahead of us.  And his hope was not unwarranted.  Aggression timers were still live on some of the fleet.  I still had a few seconds remaining on my own timer as we saw him jump.  But the call went out to jump through and tackle him if we could.  We jumped as soon as we could… and it was just soon enough.  A bubble went up to keep him from warping off and we piled on.

Machariel getting ganked at the gate

He put on speed to get out of the bubble but had a web on him as well, so exploded well before he reached the edge.  The kill mail showed a modest fit for a Mach, and no implants in his pod, but a good solid kill.

Having already deployed around the gate with a bubble up, we hung around and camped the gate for a bit, and were rewarded with a few more kills and the locals attempted to move back and forth between the two systems.

We even got the Machariel pilot again trying to slip through in a Cormorant this time.

But such a gate camp is a temporary thing.  We were in the heart of their space and they were just standing down from a defense operation, so it seemed likely they could form up enough Machs to sends us running if they had the heart for it, so we moved on back to our own staging in their space, warping off to our safe spots to once again deploy out mobile depots, mount our cloaks, scoop the depots, and cloak up safely while out logoff timers ran down.

I am not sure how much heart Vindictive would have had though.  They withdrew from Winter Coalition the next day, no doubt due to the attention Legacy had been giving them.  We haven’t moved on yet though.  There were ops on over the weekend (which I missed) including another camp on that same gate which was fruitful yet again.  But it is possible we might pack up to hunt elsewhere soon.