Tag Archives: Reavers

On The Road Again in New Eden

The Chaos Era has been a bit of a bust for me.  I don’t rat or mine, so I am not on that declining indicator, but with a lot of people turtling up there are not as many defense fleets to go save people.  I am also not a solo PvPer, so I haven’t been out hunting.  I generally depend on SIG or squad deployments for my content and, aside from the short one up to Placid… which was low sec, so no Chaos Era benefits there… I haven’t had much to get me to log in.

There has been talk of a Reavers deployment, but things kept getting in the way, like a hurricane Dorian headed straight for Asher’s home.  That eventually passed and last week Asher got us grouped up.  It was going to be a very traditional Reavers deployment, with Ishtars and support and no station to dock up in.  I had a couple of Guardians left over from past operations already correctly fit, so I put one on my main, one on my alt, and waited for the ping announcing our departure.

I didn’t plan to dual box Guardians.  Keeping up with reps and the cap chain on two screens during a fight is too much for me.  Instead my alt was basically hauling out a reship.  If my main got his ship popped, he could just grab the extra from my alt, while if he got blown up and podded, he could just fly out in an interceptor and swap ships with my alt, who could then fly home.

Soon enough the ping came and we loaded up our ships with the intent to live out of them in hostile space and headed out.

A small fleet warps off

As is tradition, our destination was not announced in advance.  We just went to a series of waypoints along the route to our area of operation.  But Asher couldn’t hide which direction we were going.  We were headed east and were soon into Legacy Coalition space, where the jump gates seemed to be set to less us pass through.

Using the middle management dino gate

I was wondering whether this was a default setting, if Legacy was letting us use their gate network to let Imperium forces pass through their space in order to join in on fights in the east or if we were getting some special treatment.  The war between Legacy and Winter coalitions, which has been running off and on for ages now, continues to bubble down in the southeast of New Eden, with third parties like Pandemic Legion showing up to grab some content.  Certainly the Imperium had sent fleets east before during the war.

However, not all gates were green… or blue I guess… to us.  At an XIX gate we had to stop and hold, hanging in space while Asher found somebody to flip the switch for us.

Waiting for the gate to let us through

That he had to get on a channel somewhere to get us a pass seems to indicate that at least an “Imperium flies free” policy isn’t Legacy wide.  So we sat and waited, no doubt scaring a few of the locals who jumped through to find a fleet of not blue Ishtars and support hanging about.

We had our own fat targets, but no shots were taken

Asher found the right person and we were able to jump through and continue on our way, heading past Legacy space and into Winter Coalition’s domain.  No jump gate travel for us there.  But it was also well past prime time for the locals, and we were able to pass through their space using gates without much notice.

My Guardian aligning out from another gate

The blackout was in effect, so they would have needed to lay eyes on us or catch us on a dscan to know we were there.  Finally a bit of the Chaos Era working in my favor.

Another gate to pass through

Eventually we found a spot to safe up in Insmother, made our safe spots, got out our mobile depots, and fit cloaks in order to be able to cloak up and stay safe.

Living out of a mobile depot

Once there we had to find something to do.

Initially we found a couple of unfueled Fraternity towers, which we proceeded to shoot.  That is all part of the Reavers plan.  We set up in space the start shooting things until somebody shows up to chase us off.  If the hostiles for big, we just cloak up and disappear.  If they form a fleet about our size, then we take the fight if we can.  So we blew up the towers.

An old Minmatar tower blows up

All that yielded was a “But why?” from somebody in local… and I am not even sure they meant us.

The next time I was on we went looking to stir things up with one of the Winter Coalition members more in our time zone, the Lord of Worlds Alliance (LORDE).  Their alliance logo is an angry unicorn on a pink shield, which I guess gives them some synergy with GoonWaffe (GEWNS), whose logo is a unicorn in front of an outline of a heart.

The comparison

This similarity came up on coms and, while the GoonWaffe logo was no doubt chosen for irony, who actually chose it and why has been lost to the mists of time.

Anyway, we went out to entosis a couple of their infrastructure hubs to see if they would come out to play.

The ihub awaits

The word was that they were on during our time frame and would form up and fight if the numbers worked out.  After tinkering around a bit to get and entosis link on the right ship… it started on a Tengu and there was some awkward work with people swapping ships and using mobile depots in order to get it fitted on an Ishtar… we commenced to fly in circles around the ihub and run the magic entosis wand over it.  Exciting game play.

Entosis coming from the Ishtar in the middle

There was a bit of trouble with the Ishtar running out of capacitor, but one of the Guardians in the cap chain just diverted one of their cap transfer modules onto it and we were set.  And then around and around we went.

The locals did come out to play, but apparently couldn’t get enough people together for a stand up fight.  Instead they came out in bombers and interceptors to try and and interrupt the entosis ship.  That was mildly annoying, but not enough to get us to break orbit, and we ended up getting a couple of kills.  Ishtars racing in a circle with props on move pretty quickly so you have to anticipate where they’ll be before you bomb.  The locals were not quite that good.

Things were quiet enough that I put EVE Online on my second monitor and played WoW Classic for part of the op.  That is EVE Online some days, a game that lets you watch movies or play other games.

That ended up with a couple of ihubs reinforced, after which we went back to where we were living, where we safed up, put on our cloaks, and logged out again.  I didn’t do much with EVE Online over the weekend.  I missed any ops we might have run.  But today things changed.  As CCP announced on Saturday, the blackout is over.  We’re no longer invisible in space.  People can now see us in the local channel when we log in.  Our extra cloak is gone.  But we have always had to deal with that in the past.  And us being logged in and cloaked up can be a deterrent on its own.  And so it goes, living out in hostile space on another Reavers op.

Reavers Gnosis Racing

As happens, every so often Ranger Gama sets up another race event for Reavers.  The last one had us flying around in Drakes back at the end of December.  This time around the Gnosis, the Society of Conscious Thought battlecruiser, was the hull of choice.  We gathered together at 02:00 EVE Online time and Ranger Gama handed us the ships for the race.

Gnosis with the Icecloud Investigator SKIN

The Gnosis is a bit of an odd bird, one of the rare faction battlecruisers… I think it was the sole such example until we got the Triglavian Drekavac recently… along with having very low skill requirements to fly as well as bonuses to which ever weapon system you prefer to mount.  Rails, projectiles, beams, missiles, and drones all get a boost on this hull.

Of course, for a Reavers race the fit is always part of the equation, though weapon systems rarely come into play.  We got our ships and found the usual odd set of modules.

Mix of all sorts of modules

For those who want the details, here is the EFT block:

[Gnosis, Reavers Race]
Damage Control I
Reinforced Bulkheads I
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Inertial Stabilizers I
Overdrive Injector System I
Warp Core Stabilizer I

Medium Micro Jump Drive
10MN Afterburner I
50MN Microwarpdrive I
Cargo Scanner I
Ship Scanner I
Survey Scanner I

Miner I
Salvager I
Small Tractor Beam I
Festival Launcher
Cynosural Field Generator I
Core Probe Launcher I

Medium Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I
Medium Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I
Medium Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I

Mining Drone I x1
Light Armor Maintenance Bot I x1
Light Shield Maintenance Bot I x1
Salvage Drone I x1
Light Hull Maintenance Bot I x1

Liquid Ozone x249
Core Scanner Probe I x8
Sodium Firework x100
Barium Firework x100
Copper Firework x100
Mobile Medium Warp Disruptor I

There was also an Ironblood SKIN in each so people could spiff up their ship.  I already had that SKIN.  In fact, I was a bit surprised to find I had four SKINs for the Gnosis already.  I am not sure I’ve ever bothered to fly one, other than to undock one back in the day just to see it in space.

Fireworks are the usual fit.  A miner, a tractor beam, and a salvager are not unheard of.  The cyno was an interesting touch, though in the cargo we found ourselves one unit of Liquid Ozone shy of being able to light it off, so nobody would be coming to our rescue that way.  And we had probes.  I guess we could wormhole our way home if we survived.  The Gnosis gets a bonus to probe strength as well.

There was also a medium warp bubble in the cargo.  Those are fun at parties, though I wasn’t sure how one would fit into the race.  Theoretically, if you could get far enough ahead, you could drop one to annoy the people behind you.  But they take 240 seconds to deploy and if you’re that far ahead you might as well just carry on flying.

Otherwise the ship was at least fit for speed.  The hyperspatial rigs meant we would be warping fast for a battlecruiser.

The rules for the event were the usual; only standard star gates allowed.  No Ansiblex jumps, no titan bridges, and no wormholes.  The payout for the winners was set as:

  • 1st Place:  50% of the pool
  • 2nd Place:  30% of the pool
  • 3rd Place:  15% of the pool
  • POD:  5% of the pool
  • Harlyq Prize: Something special

The Harlyq prize, named after a Reaver for reasons I’ve no forgotten, required you to stop and mine 500 units of Scordite along the way and have that in your hold at the finish line.

Unfortunately, the timing for the race was not optimal.  It was Saturday night before Easter, the second day of Passover, and a Liberty Squad op had just formed up minutes before the race ping… and there is a lot of overlap between Liberty Squad and Reavers, so much so that the two groups pretty much cannot run fleets at the same time… so that turn out for the race was pretty low.  There were just five of us.

Still, we were game.  We all had our ships in 1DQ1-A in Delve and were ready to go.   Ranger Gama had us undock then warped us to a celestial while updating the message of the day with the route.  When we landed, we were off and running.

Gnosis Race is On

The route was essentially the same as the last one, landing us in HED-GP, a location which usually has somebody camping it.

Race Route

As tends to happen, with all things being equal, the person with the best connection to the data center starts to pull ahead as they transition through gates faster.  As it so happened Zarakik is close to the London data center and, when we all announced our client latency, was showing an easy 10ms advantage over the next person on the list, hitting 6ms to 16ms or more for those of us in the US.

Somebody did a long post at one point about the dynamics of EVE Online and specifically how to be that person who always gets the kill at a gate camp, the summary of which was “be close to the London data center.”  Same thing here.

We could see Zarakik gaining a lead with every gate.  Our only real hope was for him to go AFK for a bit or to run into a gate camp ahead of us.  And the former wasn’t going to help me much.  Being on the west coast of the US I was the furthest from the data center and was falling behind everybody ever so slightly, so I would still be in last place if I just did gated and warped with the rest of them.

Destined for last place if nothing got in our way, I decided to stop and mine so at least to get the Harlyq prize.  The problem was just finding some Scordite out in null sec.  That doesn’t spawn in mining anomalies, or so I observed, so I had to start warping to belts to find some.  Eventually I spotted an asteroid in a belt without rats and ran a cycle that got me what I needed.

Gnosis mining

That accomplished, I was way behind the pack.  My main hope was that they would hit a gate camp.  They were far enough ahead of me that I would hear about it long before I got there.  But I decided to hedge my bet and pick a route to get to HED-GP via another route.  So I looked for a waypoint on DOTLAN that would get me around the straight path.  It would take me longer, but last race the winner was the person who did not run the shortest path.

My proposed alternate route

So I set 4-07MU as my destination and started taking gates.

After a bit I started to suspect I might have made an error as I noted along the way some of the things the people ahead of me had mentioned.  I then realized that I had simply made 4-07MU my destination and that the shortest path there was to go through HED-GP and back around through Querious.  Navigational error on my part.

But it did not matter.  As it turned out nobody was camping anything along the route.  TEST and its allies have a campaign of their own going on in the east and were probably all deployed out there.  So the five of us just flew through their space, all arriving in HED-GP unscathed, without much of a scare.  I think somebody saw an Onyx along the way, but it didn’t come after us or anything.

Throwing fireworks at Ranger Gama

The results were:

  • 1st Place:  Zarakik
  • 2nd Place:  Ranger Gama
  • 3rd Place:  Hoff Talvanen
  • Harlyq Prize:  Wilhelm Arcturus

Then there was the question of what to do when you don’t lose any ships.  Ranger Gama did not want them back.  I flew mine back to 1DQ1-A through Querious, half hoping to get caught along the way.

Gnosis on the way home

The main highlight on that trip was discovering that SpaceMonkeys Alliance was a thing again and part of the Querious Fight Club.  I had not heard much about them since they collapsed from exhaustion during the Casino War. (They helped start the whole thing, or so the story goes, and were fighting for months before it became the big conflict it ended up as.)

The SMA logo above a gate

I arrived back in Delve intact, missing only the mobile war disruptor, which I dropped along the way during the race.  I aligned for a gate at one point, triggered my micro jump drive to put me 100km off the gate, and set it to deploy.  I figured that would annoy somebody.  And somebody did take the time to kill it.  Ranger Gama also dropped his and it was popped by a couple of the same people.  Zarakik dropped his in TEST space where it got solo’d.  EVEBruceL and Hoff Talvanen either didn’t drop theirs or dropped them some place where they simply expired before anybody felt like shooting them.

The final aspect of the race was to find out what the Harlyq prize would be.  “Something special” covers a lot of ground.  But later that evening a contract popped up from Ranger Gama.  I figured out what he did with the spare Gnosis hulls he had.

Some Gnosis hulls for me

They were all set up as mining ships, with cargo expanders in the low slots and mining lasers in the high slots.

Mine my own business

I doubt I am going to mining in them.  I’ll have to find a decent PvP fit and take them out to get blown up… once I’ve insured them.

Of course, we’re back to what to fit.  The Gnosis works with so many weapon systems.  Maybe lasers.  At least those are pretty.

The Reavers Drake Race

The comedy race event returned last night, with Ranger Gama setting up another run for the SIG.  It was the fourth such race for Reavers this year, and the third one I was able to make.

The first one was actually almost exactly a year ago, in 2017, so not really this year I suppose.  That was the first one.  We flew Daredevils around the north, hanging out on the Pandemic Horde Keepstar as one of the way points.

I missed the second one, which also flew through the north, while the third one was out of Delve and had us flying Ventures.

This time around Ranger had a bigger ship in mind.  This time he set us up with Drakes.  As usual, the fit was more for comedy than anything else, with four festival launchers as the main armament.  They were also fit with hyperspatial rigs for faster warp speed, but the prop mod choices were frigate sized.  The one saving grace was that he fit a micro jump drive.

Nine of us were there for the race.  Ranger handed out the Drakes and I immediately insured mine, figuring that such a big target was likely to be blown up flying through the hostile space that we would likely be traversing.

It also gave me a chance to use the Drake SKIN that came with the holiday event in EVE Online, the Chromodynamic Candy SKIN.

At the Keepstar with the fresh Drake SKIN

I also grabbed some mining drones.  Ranger was offering a bonus prize for the first person to show up with a cargo filled with Veldspar.  He also wisely bought all of the Veldspar off the market in 1DQ1-A to keep us from simply buying it before we started.  We would have to mine it ourselves, or buy it along the way.

Then he gave us the route and we were off.

Candy Drakes on the way

We had to travel first to ZWV-GD, then to 0-MX34, then to C9N-CC, and finally to HED-GP where we needed to warp to Ranger’s alt to finish the race.  The total distance was 67 gates.  That route would put us through some fairly active systems.  But first we were off toward Period Basis and our neighbors to the south.

Hitting a RED Alliance gate

We started out with most of us neck and neck gating our way to the first way point.  It didn’t seem like we would face much trouble until we hit TEST space.

Middle Management Dino on the Gate

And, sure enough, just a couple of gates into the Paragon Soul region and TEST space we came through into a gate camp.  At the time Ranger was first through the gate, followed by Losmortos Nolm and then myself, with most of the rest close behind.

A bubble was up on the gate as we came through.  Ranger was the first to break cloak and managed to pull all the aggro immediately.  Losmortos Nolm managed to slip past while I tried to activate my micro jump drive before breaking cloak.  That led me to fumbling about a bit, which let those behind me break cloak as well.  That probably saved me as I was able to MJD out of the bubble and warp off while the camp was busy with other Drakes.  In all more than half of those in the race, five Drakes, were blown up and the pods destroyed as well.  Ranger Gama, Arianhrod Begin, Shokalokaboom, Buer Argarves, and Roy Garfield, were all done in 0SUF-3.

Meanwhile, Hoff Talvanen, who was running behind, managed to get picked off back in Period Basis in VYO-68.

That left only myself, Losmortos Nolm, and Grodd Gandar still in the running.  Losmortos Nolm and I were already past the camp so kept on the most direct route while Grodd Gandar, who was also a bit behind, decided to take an alternate path to the first marker.  That put him many jumps behind us.

Losmortos Nolm and myself had a fairly smooth run after that.

Into the Minmatar part of null sec

It wasn’t until we had hit C9N-CC and had turned around for HED-GP that the first bit of trouble came up.  We ended up with an Ares flying along with us.

The Ares decided to take a run at me, getting ahead of me through a gate and pointing me.  However I was able to light the MJD again and jump away from him and then warp off, jumping through the next gate while he was still waiting on his aggro timer.  But he was quick and tried to grab me two gates down the line.  At this point Losmortos Nolm was maybe half a system ahead of me.  I took the next gate and, instead of following along, I warped off to an asteroid belt hoping to maybe mind a bit for the Veldspar prize and ditch the persistent Ares.

The Ares kept on going, following after Lormortos Nolm, so I was alone in the system.  However, the rats in the asteroid belt were not happy to see me and I had nothing with me to take them out.  Also, I had forgotten how slow mining drones are.  I recalled them, then had to fly towards them before warping out, my shield down below the 10% mark.

That delay put Losmortos Nolm about eight gates ahead of me.  He was good about mentioning what he was facing, giving me some heads up as to what was coming.  It wasn’t until GE-8JV that he ran into significant numbers in space.  There a battle seemed to be in progress between the locals and some Imperium pilots with about 100 people in local.  The conflict seemed to be centered on the gate to V-3YG7, with forces on both sides of that gate.  Losmortos Nolm managed to slip past.  But by the time I got there a camp of Brave pilots were on the far side of the gate.  When I came through there was a bubble up.  There was enough firepower to take me down before my MJD could spin up.  My ship exploded.  I was out of the race.

Candy Drake coming apart

Losmortos Nolm managed to get through into HED-GP and was the winner of the race.

Meanwhile, Grodd Gandar, who had taken the long route around, was still something like 40 jumps from the finish line.  However, being that far behind worked out for him.  He had been watching the Gate Camp Check site, but by the time he arrived in the vicinity of GE-8JV the battle had subsided and the gates were clear.  He was able to slip through and get to HED-GP and Ranger Gamma’s alt.

He also said that he had collected a cargo hold full of Veldspar along the way.  However, it wasn’t clear how to verify that, so his Drake got blow up so people could examine the kill mail and see what he had on him.  Sure enough, a bunch of Veldspar was in his cargo hold.

And so another race ended.  First place went to Losmortos Nolm and second to Grodd Gandar, with the third place prize being rolled over for next time.  The route most of us ended up flying looked like this:

The route with death locations noted

Grodd Gandar went through Stain, which added a lot of jumps to his path.

It is always interesting to see who is out and about in space when we are flying.  There is very much a randomness to it.  You can fly through a dozen systems and see just one or two names in local, then stumble upon a gate camp or a battle with dozens or even a hundred people around.  They will be for a bit, then gone a little while later.  The same route can be safe for one person and a death trap for somebody else ten minutes later.  But that is the way of null sec.

Out of the Hole and Back to Delve

After the second Keepstar kill a lot of those not in the Initiative took move ops out of the J115405, the wormhole known as “Rage,” having gotten the show for which they came.

But looking at the kill mails, the second Keepstar wasn’t as popular as the first.  Close to 1,400 people managed to get on the first one, but the second time around the number fell below 900.

I guess a second act isn’t as big of a draw.

The word had come down that Reavers would be sticking around in the hole for a while longer to join in on the structures still remaining.  As pings came up about fleets leaving for Delve or other ways out of J115405, the question about what we were doing would show up in Jabber.  The response from people like Zed Starshine was always that we were staying.  That persisted until Sunday when Asher pinged that we should get back home by any reasonable method.

So I blame Zed for my late start.

At that point I had passed up at least two fleets heading back and wasn’t sure if the alternate plan was still available.  I might have to scan myself out, though that was why I dragged along my alt in an Astero.  Now that the word had been given to bug out, I cleaned out my hangar, loaded up my ships, and got ready to travel.  Anything I couldn’t carry I stuck on the Hound that I looted, which I insured and had my alt undock.  Then I set it to self destruct and shot it for good measure.

Insurance fraud on the undock

I wasn’t the only one doing insurance fraud.  The way out was being reserved for cruisers and smaller ships.  Battleships and battlecruisers were not being let through on the threat of being blown up.  If you had a big ship you would either have to wait until official move ops were done or blow it up for the insurance payout.

While I missed a couple of fleets, the Initiative had a ratline back to normal space setup to get people out on their own.  To us that they had a fleet setup with instructions in the channel MOTD.  You had to warp to a carrier guarding the current out hole.

The Nidhoggur guarding the hole

There you would get a set of bookmarks that would guide you from hole to hole until you got to normal space.  I grabbed the bookmarks with my alt.  At the time there were two routes home.  I took the shortest one, which dropped into low sec.

I then dropped the fleet and formed one with my two characters.  I figured I would warp in with my alt, then have my main warp to him.  So I jumped through the first hole, then realized I didn’t know what to do with the bookmarks.  I motored off the hole I just went through and cloaked up and I Googled how to use bookmarks in your cargo hold.

It turns out you just need to open up your people and places window, go to the places tab, and drag the bookmarks onto it.  Easy.

That done, I remained confused for a bit as the first of the two bookmarks didn’t show up.  I realized, once I dragged the second one that the first was for the hole we had just gone through.  So once the second was in my places, I warped my alt to that, found the hole, and warped Wilhelm there to go through.

The Guardian goes through first

On the far side of the hole I found myself in Aridia.  That is a handy place to be if you’re heading back to Delve.  I was just eleven jumps from 1-SMEB, the gateway system to the region.

Of course, if I had been paying attention, I would have noticed that I was also only four jumps from Fountain and a direct connection to the new jump bridge network.  I actually knew I was close to Fountain, but I was uncertain about the state of the new jump bridges and it wasn’t until I was well on my way home that somebody linked the updates jump bridge map that would have showed me how to get home that way.

I know that for next time I guess.

But the route home via gates in Aridia wasn’t exactly a tough alternative.  And I saw a few people who were clearly taking the same path.  My Astero went ahead to check the path as the Guardian plowed on behind.  But the path was clear.  There was word that Black Legion had been staging in Sakht, the system in Aridia that connects to 1-SMEB and Delve, but while I saw a couple of them there they were not out in force.  They certainly were not camping the gate, so it was through and into Delve and the jump bridge towards 1DQ1-A.

The jump bridge in 1-SMEB

From there it was just two gates to home, where I warped to the Keepstar, only to find I was on the wrong Keepstar.

On the wrong Keepstar

I wasn’t even aware that we had two Keepstars in 1DQ1-A.  That is what happens when you stay deployed in the north for almost a year.  Also, the Imperium has so many structures in the system that I am surprised I can find any specific structure I want.

And so ended the wormhole expedition with both of my ships back where they started, a few kill mails and paps on my record, and a bit of loot in my cargo hold.  It was kind of a strange time being in a wormhole for a week.

I wasn’t there long enough to get used to logging in and seeing nobody in local.  Well, at least I didn’t see an accurate, up to date count of players in system at the top of the local chat window.  Various members of the Imperium were talking in local at any given point of time.

I was, however, in the hole long enough to feel the sense of isolation.  One of the things I am used to in New Eden is the ability to just get up and go where you need to.  It isn’t always safe or wise, but you can just set your destination and take gates to where you want to be.  When you’re in a wormhole, life is not so simple.  You cannot just jump clone out and back as I understand it, and I am not even sure how people can find the same wormhole twice when scanning things down.  Definitely a different EVE Online lifestyle.

Anyway, a recap of the whole thing in my posts:

And then what has been written elsewhere about it:

The Other Keepstar Falls in Rage

One one Keepstar awaited in wormhole J115405.  Named “Unassailable Wealth,” the Initiative had been in the night before to get it to the final timer.

Unassailable Wealth waits to be assailed

That was the last big target in the hole known to some as “Rage,” the final loot pinata to smack, and its timer was running down, set to end just after the transition to December 15th on the UTC clock that EVE Online uses.

There was a bit of a warm up a couple of hours before as a Fortizar on grid with the Keepstar had its final timer come up.

Astero with the Fortizar

Above the Fortizar is the Keepstar, below it the planet around which they all had been set.  My alt got out on grid in his Astero to drop a sentry drone in order to get on the kill mail.  I also got out Wilhelm in the Hound he looted to take a few shots as well.

Hound over the Fortizar

The main effort was by the usual ball of Ravens that the Initiative favors for these operations.  The Fortizar, lacking the Arcing Vorton Projector doomsday weapon, just sat there and took the damage until it blew.

The Fortizar erupts in flames

According to the kill mail my Hound actually kept up with individual Ravens as far as damage went, though damage deflected by the damage cap makes that an odd metric to figure.

After that there was a couple of hours off before the big kill.  As the time approached pings went out to alert everybody who wanted to be there for the final fight… if there was to be a fight.  It seemed unlikely that Hard Knocks would show up in force at this point, but complacency on our part might make resistance viable.

For Reavers Thomas Lear came out to FC our Ishtar fleet.  I jumped into my Guardian and, this time, remembered to put the Bouncer II sentry drone I brought along into the drone bay.  I wanted to be able to tag the Keepstar, as last time around it didn’t work out.

The rules for this fight were laid out up front.  This time around the Initiative, which had spent the last year setting up this whole event, was claiming the loot from this Keepstar for itself.  Once it blew everybody else was going to have to get off grid as they would be shooting any outsiders looking to scavenge.

In the Reavers channel this didn’t get much of a response.  It certainly seemed right to me that those who did the bulk of the work reap the rewards.  And let them try to haul stuff out after we were done.  I was there for the spectacle and a couple of kill mails, not some random stuff I would have to worry about taking home.  (I almost never loot after battles.  I don’t even think to do it until somebody mentions it.)

On the main fleet coms however, people were apparently pissing and moaning about getting left out of the sack of the Keepstar.  If there were ever a reason to join a SIG or a squad, it is main fleet coms.

The event itself went down about as expected.  Various fleets showed up, the main one being the ball of Ravens fielded by the Initiative.  They unleashed their barrage of cruise missiles at the Keepstar and, in return, the Keepstar gunner zapped them with the Arcing Vorton Projector whenever it cycled.

The Keepstar reaching out

With a 10 minute recycle time, only two shots were made before the final moment when the Keepstar exploded.

The Keepstar, now brighter than the sun

Then the loot pinata began spewing hangar containers to loot.  At that point the Initiative did something special.  They warped in and formed their logo in brackets on grid.

The Initiative logo in spaceships

For reference, this is their logo on DOTLAN EVE Maps.

INIT info

It is really only the center part of the logo, but it was a nice bit of work.  My screen shot of it isn’t that good, since I was caught unaware and just had to use whatever overview I had to hand to try and see it.  Over at INN their post has a screen shot with just the ships and aimed so the sun is behind the eye of the logo.   Very nice.

It is my understanding, confirmed on NER coms, that on person set that up, making the bookmarks for each ship location, then handed them out before the fleet so everybody could warp to the spot and, tah-dah, logo in space!

At that point all the wise people not in the Initiative warped out and docked up or tethered.  Those foolish enough to ignore the warnings, or unlucky enough to have missed them, were blown up according to the kill board.  More loot for the Initiative.

There are still some more structures to blow up and the Initiative has committed to hitting every last one of them, leaving only after they have all been destroyed.  Much of the rest of the Imperium headed home though.  The big kill mails and epic loot are all gone.  Only die hard structure shooters like Reavers are hanging around for some more kills.

And so it goes.  That post at INN looks a bit at Hard Knocks.  They aren’t imploding or shedding members.  They still have their null sec rental space in Cobalt Edge.  There is a rumor that they are folding into Pandemic Legion and merging their rental space, but there is as yet no substance it.

I suspect that once we have cleared out of JJ115405… nobody in the attacking force wants to keep the place… that Hard Knocks will return.  They will probably set up a more modest holding there.  No Keepstars.  The Keepstars were an extravagance, some bling to show off to the world.  And that is why we ended up there.  Fortizars are cheaper and would suit their needs.

I  do wonder whether CCP might look into the Initiative’s Raven fleet tactics to see if EVE Online players have found yet another hole in the game mechanics that ought to be filled.  What starts as ingenuity tends to become the meta.  We shall see.

A Keepstar Waits in the Hole

A Keepstar and a Sotiyo are down in J115405… along with various other smaller structures… but the timers on several more are counting down.

Structures in their final timer… and some mobile depots

The big circles are hostile structures, with each circle divided into thirds, each third representing one of the steps necessary to destroy it.  Each is already past the shield and armor steps, waiting only for the structure timer to arrive.  Over the next five days there will be some more fleets to kill them.  But the big one is coming soon.  The second Keepstar, Unassailable Wealth, is less than a day away.

Soon to be assailed

We got out last night to support the Initiative contest the armor timer.   We got out our Ishtars, and I climbed into my Guardian to fly logi, while our friends in INIT undocked their Raven fleet once more.

Ravens hanging off of the INIT Fortizar

Once more though, no ships undocked to try to fend off the attack.  Instead we were left to dodge the Keepstar defenses, its point defense system, its bomb launcher, and the dreaded doomsday that can reach out and hit even the elusive Raven fleet.

There is just a bright blue spark that appears on the Keepstar structure to let you know the Arcing Vorton Projector firing and the lightning is coming.

The lightning forming on the left side of the structure

Then it arcs out towards its target, bouncing across six more ships before dissipating.  The FC’s Raven was the target, with others eating the rebound.

Ravens exploding after the hit

Fortunately for the attackers, while this weapon pretty much ensures a few subcap kills on each firing, it has a 10 minute cycle time.  We only had to face it twice during the armor timer.

The second firing was just as effective as the first, the FC being the target both times.  The second time the fleet logi had their Typhoon pre-locked and reps running on it.

Armor reps on the Typhoon already

The Typhoon went anyway.

Here comes that lightning again

However, the kill mail showed that the Typhoon wasn’t fit, so an economic victory since it was probably insured.

After that there wasn’t time for the Keepstar to fire again.  The Ravens finished up the armor timer, with our Ishtars adding their bit.  The armor layer was soon burned down and the Keepstar did that transition effect that indicates that the structure timer is up next.

The Keepstar light show

The timer was set for 23 hours from that point, putting the final even at some time just past 00:00 UTC.  We will see if there is any final effort to contest this Keepstar and whether or not it will be anything like the loot pinata of the first.  I am sure somebody is busy tonight delivering 3200 cap boosters to lots of people just to make the loot hunt that much more dramatic.

Fort Knocks Way Down in the Hole

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

Fort Knocks over a planet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capital wrecks on the undock

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

Cruising around the Sotiyo

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

Timer paused at Fort Knocks

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

The Raven blob commeth

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

The jump effect forming before the fleet

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

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

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

Keepstar Coming Apart

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

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

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

The remains of the first Keepstar

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

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

The loot ball with tags on

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

A hangar container floating about

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

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

And so a frenzy of looting began.

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

The PL killboard sullied with all those frigates

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

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

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

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

Ratknight1’s Moros exploding

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

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

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

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

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

Other coverage of the event: