Tag Archives: Reavers

A Fortizar in the Great Wildlands

A Fortizar belonging to Silent Infinity waited for us in the formerly desolate region of the Great Wildlands.

Not AFK that night…

The Great Wildlands, a region of NPC null sec space with only three stations, used to be very empty.  I remember flying through the region for a deployment to Curse back in the day and hitting empty system after empty system.  I mean, a lot of null sec is empty at any given time, but usually not in such great strips.  A lot of space with no place to dock up and hide.

Then came citadels.  You don’t even need fuel for a basic Astrahus, and it is much more annoying to kill one of those, with the vulnerability window and three timers, than a POS.

Suddenly you could make a home amongst the Thukkar Tribe space in the Great Wildlands.  It is still crap space, since you can’t upgrade it with an ihub since it is NPC space, but it is null sec all the same.  There is some value to be found there ratting and mining.  Value enough for somebody to drop a Fortizar out there in the system H-8F5Q along a dead end path, no doubt hoping to escape notice.

It did not escape notice, and while I cannot speak to who did the groundwork for the first two timers, Shadow Cartel invited us out to join in the final battle over the citadel.  We are deployed not too far away and were even given some help getting out to the fight via a titan jump bridge.  It is always a bit dicey letting people you might otherwise shoot sit on your titan, but we were good and just took the bridge.

We showed up in Typhoons with a pair of Apostles to supplement logi support.

Typhoons on the way out, with the yellow Hazard Control SKIN stripes on a pair

I had the second monitor hooked up to dual box for the fleet.  I was in a Typhoon on my alt while flying a Damnation command ship for boosts on my main.

We arrived on grid after the repair timer for the Fortizar was already running, landing and anchoring up to open fire at considerable range.  The idea of the Typhoons is to have max missile skills and boosts so as to be able to hit targets with cruise missiles from beyond the 250km mark.

However we could not quite achieve that mark as the pilot running the relevant boost only had command ships trained up to level 4, and every level you train adds 3% to the effectiveness of the boost.  As it turned out, that last 3% was necessary, so we had to settle in and shoot at closer range, inviting the citadel, gunned and manned, to fire back on us.

We spread out around the Apostles to stay clear of the capacitor emptying void bombs the Fortizar was throwing our way.

The citadel was concentrating on the Apostle flown by Izalis.

Apostle under attack

The Fortizar was able to overwhelm any support we were able to muster for Izalis and her Apostle went down with what I would consider disconcerting speed.

The explosion fades on the wreck of her Apostle

In one of those twists of fate, the kill mail for the fax went to one of us.  RatKnight1, who has achieved fame/notoriety on past deployments, had run his smart bomb with the rest of us to shake some small ships.  He happened to have been in range of the Apostle when he did, applying some damage.  When the Fortizar killed it, due to how EVE Online accounts for these things, he ended up getting credit for the final blow… and top damage.  I thought that the person gunning the citadel would get credit, but I guess not.  And, in a testament to the dysfunction of the system, zKillboard even credits RatKnight1 with a solo kill.

So he was hearing about that for the rest of the fleet, letting Thomas Lear off the hook from hearing about how he jumped his titan rather than bridging earlier in the week.

Losing a fax so soon in the fight was something of a blow, but we carried on, re-positioning to shoot the citadel, leaving Izalis’ first capital wreck behind.

Arrendis in our remaining fax did not get hit and was moved out of range.

We remained focused on the citadel for a while until the defenders undocked a Vexor/Vexor Navy Issue fleet with Basilisk logi support to assist in the defense of the Fortizar.

Asher took the opportunity to warp in on them and we ended up wrecking quite a few of their ships.  At one point a command destroyer from the enemy fleet slipped in and used its area affect micro jump drive to boosh a few of us 100km off the fight.  However, the jump was not well planned as it dropped us on top of the bulk of the sentry drones that the Vexor fleet had deployed.  It was easy enough for us to activate the aforementioned smart bombs on our ships to clear away a great chunk of their supporting fire.

I was slow boating back in my Typhoon when we decided to move again and resume shooting the citadel.  We warped off and got ourselves pointed towards the dying citadel.

Timer still paused

It was at this point that we discovered the whole lock 250km lock range issue.  So we left Arrendis in his Apostle and warped into range of the Fortizar again more to make sure we got on the kill mail than because our DPS was needed.  With the enemy cleared from the field and some more firepower having arrived, the end was now a foregone conclusion.

We warped in, took some shots, then warped off.  Asher turned us around and warped us in again, but accidentally warped at zero, landing us in the the midst of the point defense system.  We left again in a hurry then warped back in at a more prudent range to get in a last few shots before the Fortizar started coming apart.

Explosions begin to erupt

You can see the ball that is our fleet hanging there in front of the citadel.  From that point we were about done.  There were some MTUs on the field, and Asher has declared war on all MTUs, friendly or not, so they got blown up.  Then we were off for home, Arrendis tagging along until he got within range to make a jump to cut a decent number of gates off of his trip.  That also allowed us to speed along.

The kill mail shows 141 capsuleers involved.  I tried to do a battle report, however there were so many groups represented on the field… often by just one or two pilots… that in many cases I couldn’t declare somebody for, against, or a third party.  The main thing that it showed was that there were fewer than 300 pilots recorded as involved in the battle.

Basically, a battle of an objective where the forces were not totally lopsided and both sides drew blood.  EVE Online working pretty well.

Pictures from the battle.

A Short Lived Cerberus and a Sabre

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

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

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

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

Bright red Cerb headed into harms way…

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

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

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

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

Loss keeps the New Eden economy thriving.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sabre in space

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

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

Flying back around one of our bubbles

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

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

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

Just another picture of us zooming around

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

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

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

Camping in Impass

Asher told us we would be going on an old fashioned Reavers deployment, a chance for the veterans to relive the “good old days” and the new members to figure out just how rose colored our glasses really were when it came to said “good old days.”

We would be packing up ships with mobile depots and refits and reloads and plenty of nanite repair paste to mend our overheating woes and heading deep into hostile space to live in safe spots far from support or easy resupply.  We even got a new doctrine.

One of the fun bits of Reavers is Asher likes to try/fly different ships.  Of course, the downside is that I have ended up with a few ships sitting in my hangar with a fit we used just once.  Such is life.

This time around we were going out in the Sisters of EVE cruiser, the Stratios, beloved hull of Stunt and his Anime Masters.  On learning our main doctrine hull, I immediately made sure I had SKINs for it.  Oh, and I also bought a couple hulls in Jita lest the :goonrush: drive up the prices.

Stratios with the SOE Fire Cell SKIN

Once we got the fit, I bought all of that in Jita as well and flew the ship out to Delve to be ready to go.  There were some additional support ships on the list, including a Rapier.  I had an entosis Rapier left over from the Casino War which my alt could fly, so I updated the fit for that and was ready to go.

Then there was the wait for the go sign.  Asher wanted a wormhole to take us close to our as yet undisclosed destination.  Eventually the ping came, a fleet was formed, the ships were undocked, and we headed out for parts unknown.

Stratios fleet on the move

As we started out Asher followed tradition and asked us to put who we felt our target was in fleet chat.  Circle of Two was the easy winner and, sure enough, that was who we were heading out to pester, with the actual destination being the region of Impass.

As we went Asher explained the CO2’s layout in Impass and what our mission would be.

Impass – April 3, 2017

Impass is laid out with a single system choke point that protects four constellations.  That system is 68FT-6, which is where CO2 has made its capital system.  That system is also within capital jump range of most of the region.

On the far side of 68FT-6 are three constellations where CO2 does much of its ratting, noted in red circles above.  That was where we were headed with the intention of making CO2s ratters, to annoy CO2 in general, and to remind them that their betrayal has not slipped our mind.

We slipped past their capital system and into IRE-98, which was to become the rally point for our deployment.  From there we would form up to set gate camps, run entosis ops, and resupply.  When not doing ops as a group we were to camp their ratting systems to pick off the unwary, make the nervous dock up, and generally be pains in the ass when we could.  When we could not be online and active we were asked to safe up, cloak up, and stay logged on to the game in the traditional AFK camper move.  A hostile in system will send some people packing or make them log off rather than rat.

And finally, we were to follow the Reavers rule of never speaking in local.

I was fairly diligent about keeping myself logged in.  I would get both characters online before work, cloak up, and go off to my day, leaving myself logged in after I went to bed until downtime hit and kicked me out.

When I got home I would go active to annoy the locals or join up with the standing fleet to do something that required coordination.  We did not do a lot of full group operations, but once in a while we would form up to be a menace in larger numbers.

Stratios in all directions

In small groups we would pick on CO2’s mining Rorquals to get them to respond.  For example, Bruce Sparx managed to tackle a Rorqual and myself and RatKnight1 came along to help him.

Rorqual held in place

There was no way the three of us were going to be able to kill him.  Even neuting out his capacitor he was still able to run his shield booster often enough to hold his shields steady against us.  But it remained possible that more of us would show up, so CO2 had to send in a couple of interceptors then light a cyno to drop capitals on us.

Drop to rescue Plain Truth

At that point we recalled drones, cloaked up, safed up, and let them have the field to themselves.  They rescued a Rorqual but didn’t get any kills with their overwhelming force.  We were still lurking out there.

Once in a while they would pick somebody off.  My alt lost his Rapier while trying to hold down a Rorqual when DBRB had a bomber op in the vicinity.  I would not have been so aggressive otherwise, but dead is dead either way.

When solo and without any ratters obviously about, I spent time hitting some of their many undefended towers in the region.  This causes an alert to pop up for people in the alliance.

Why yes, I will shoot this POS

I would sit and do that until somebody showed up to chase me away, at which point I would recall my drones, cloak up, and sit quietly.  Once they were gone I would decloak and pick up where I left off.  This got the occasional lecture or plea in local.

Please stop

I hit one tower often enough that they came out and put a new defensive modules on it.  However, they didn’t seem to notice that the guns were anchored by not actually online.

Adding points and webs

When somebody decided to sit on a tower to keep me from hitting it, I went off and started hitting customs offices in the same system.

We didn’t stop people from ratting.  We had nothing close to the level of force to do that.  But we curtailed it some.  Asher was keeping stats on NPC kills in the systems, which were down noticeably.  The solo ratters went away or became very paranoid, unless they were ratting in super carriers, while others started ratting in groups to stay sage and keep ADMs high in their systems.  That was enough to keep almost all of their ratting systems at ADM 6.

With that state of affairs, I decided to bring my alt back in a covops frigate and learn how to use combat probes.  My alt is all level V on scanning skills.  I first fit out a Cheetah with a fit I found online that included a warp scrambler with the idea that I could scan something down and hold them in place with that, then warp my main in with the Stratios to finish them off.

Combat Probes out

Combat probing was easy enough that I wondered why I hadn’t done it before.  The Cheetah was a bit fragile though and I lost it on a bait Epithal.  Live and learn and watch for bait.

So I dropped the idea of direct combat with him and instead came back with a Buzzard fit just to scan and cloak, with a covert cyno fit in case we were able to bring our black ops battleship into action and drop on somebody.

Combat probes are a wonderful way to scare people.  CO2 ratters seem to use their directional scan pretty regularly so when I scanned somebody down, unless they were in a carrier or a super or in a group, they would usually bolt.  However, on bolting, they would often leave things behind, things like drones and Mobile Tractor Units.

So I went into the clean up business, keeping CO2 ratting space tidy by eliminating stray drones and MTUs by scanning them down and popping them.

Stratios hitting an MTU

Stray drones actually turned into a resource for me as I would forget or lose drones now and again, so I could replenish them from strays.  I was just sad when NPCs would pop them before I could scoop them up.

MTUs though became my main target.  Easy to scan down, easy to kill, and they even provide a kill mail.

MTU whore

MTUs don’t cost a lot in the grand scheme of things, but once you pop one (and the wreck) you have deprived a ratter of some of his take, and every annoyance is a plus.  CO2 even obliged by calling me names in local.

MTU anger

That bit from local was amusing because while they did drop some bait MTUs, they were so eager to catch me that they bumbled the drop and I was able to recall drones and cloak up with plenty of time to spare.  So they took to local, during which I killed one of Black Shogun’s MTUs.  He was carrier ratting and dropping MTUs to pick up later after each anomaly, so I was popping them once he left.

MTU Goes Boom

So that is what we spent our time doing for almost two weeks in Impass.  It was part of why GigX declared war on the Imperium, a war that really hasn’t seen much action after an initial spasm by CO2.

As a final gesture for the deployment, while CO2 was off helping TEST cover their Keepstar deployment on April Foos Day, we went out to entosis a bunch of systems in order to split their response.  The Keepstar went up uncontested while some scratch defense groups chased us around Impass.

Entosis running

After that we returned to Delve to repair and resupply, pulling out through another wormhole.  Repair was literally required for my Stratios.

Damaged Stratios

I ended up taking some armor hits while annoying a ratting Nyx.  Fighters chew up subcaps, so some care needs to be taken if you’re moving around carriers of super carriers solo.

But the deployment was over and we were back home.

Now the key question remains; was it really an old school Reavers deployment?  Sure, we were in the enemies home territory unsupported, living in safe spots and refitting with mobile depots.  But we didn’t reinforce any towers, and structure shoots were a part of the old deployments, part of the “money in the bank” strategy of.

Then again, we were in the core of CO2s territory while they were home in force, rather than in some periphery while the enemy was deployed elsewhere.  Maybe not a complete recreation of some of the times from the first year of Reavers, but every deployment has its own nature.

Another set of tales for the book of Reavers.

A Long Way to Go to Die to Rorquals

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

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

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

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sleipnir out of control

Sleipnir out of control

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

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

Rorqual Gaggle

Rorqual Gaggle

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

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

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

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

Pod back at the wormhole

Pod back at the wormhole

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

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

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

A Structure Fight in Catch

I could have had another EVE Online post yesterday, but I thought I would break up my seven post streak.

Tuesday afternoon a ping had gone out to Reavers asking who had ship ready for a new doctrine.  It turned out we had enough people ready and a ping went out for a “short” op that evening.  It was time to get out our Sleipnir doctrine.

Sleipnir riding through a fleet boost burst

Sleipnir riding through a fleet boost burst

The word “short” used in reference to a fleet op in EVE Online is generally deceptive.  There can be short ops, especially if they are homeland defense ops where you are chasing off enemies already near your staging.  But for an offensive operation where you are going to travel somewhere and shoot something or somebody, you should probably block out three hours for the whole thing.  It might take less, but these things have a way of stretching out.

For our op, getting close to our destination was easy as Thomas Lear had a wormhole connection setup for us.  As somebody noted, we were playing at PL, flying a command ship doctrine and traveling by wormholes.  Our destination was the system E-YJ8G in the Catch region, where we were going to help Volition Cult take down an Astrahus that Honorable Third Party had anchored in their space. (We crashed a node in that system about three years ago, back during the drone assist days!)

With the wormhole path, which started just one jump from our staging, the ride out was quick.  However, the wormholes shrank as we went through, indicating that they might not be able to accommodate us for the return trip.  But there is no point in worrying about that on the trip out.  The whole thing might be a trap so we could be going home the fast way in any case.

When we got there we found an Astrahus already under fire from our temporary allies in the fight and a POS with carriers and faxes in it on the same grid, though about 900km off the citadel.  The capital ships were sitting off in the POS with fighters deployed, and were the juicer target.  So Thomas led us to the POS to see if we could catch a capital kill.

Our foes in HTP were no fools, as their carriers and support were close to the POS shields.  In order to get a kill we were going to have to bump one of the carriers away from the shields and fax support.  That takes a bit of skill, a department in which we proved lacking for a bit.  We failed on a Nyx and a couple more before we managed to get a Nidhoggur away from the pack.

Nidhoggur out on its own

Nidhoggur out on its own

We managed to kill that, which gave us a warm feeling, until we realized that we had lost a couple of Sleipners along the way.  Sleips are expensive ships and we don’t have to lose too many in order to balance out the ISK value of a carrier.

We took a run at another target, but it didn’t look like it was going to happen, so Thomas had us pull range on the POS and we contented ourselves with killing their fighters.  That was what we ended up doing for a stretch.

We warped over to the Astrahus and put drones on that to keep it ticking down to destruction, then continued working on fighters.  We did warp back to try and get another carrier that looked like it was straying from the POS bubble, but that did not pan out.  Then it was back to work on fighters and the Astrahus kill.

All in all a decent little fight which yielded a “we all had fun” thread on Reddit which seemed to have gotten ignore by the usual hate crowd.  Or maybe I’ve just blocked all the Rob Kaichin’s there finally.  The battle report is a little wonky… fighters get counted as kills, but only if you take out a whole squadron of them… but it was generally a pretty even outcome and both sides got to kill a few expensive thinks without taking huge relative losses.

Null sec working as designed.

Of course, then we had to go home.

Thomas said that anybody who cared to could zip back to the wormhole, but it was not at all clear if it would stay up long enough to allow the whole fleet to pass, even with some losses, so he was going to lead people home the long way.  He had us set our destination to Keberz and let us off the leash to free burn.  I must have heard him first because when the fleet got tangled with some locals in ERVK-P, I was already at the gate two jumps down the road.  After some “stay where you are” and “jump back in” over coms, I decided to just wander on down the line, stopping in HED-GP.

HED-GP is one of those border system, this one representing a direct transition from high sec to null sec, which are natural choke points if you want to set up a gate camp to zap passers by.  The system, as expected, had a small crowd. (It is also another place where we killed a server in the drone assist days.)  After trying to bounce off of a celestial… no corp tactical bookmarks in the system… and finding that blocked by a drag bubble, I warped off and safed up to wait for the fleet to catch up.

I wasn’t really watching local… I tend to have it as narrow as possible so I can just see a total number and a compact list of names… so I didn’t notice that the people in the system were asking after me.  I eventually got two private convo request from what turned out to be the tow groups squaring off around the gate.

One was from MIC Improvise, who was with the group who had just been at the Astrahus fight earlier and who kindly gave me a celestial to bounce off to get cleanly through the gate.  I assume it was legit, though you never know, and our temp truce for the fight was over.  But the fleet had unstuck itself from whatever it had been doing back in ERVK-P and was closing in on the system, so I opted just to move with them.

The other was from Madmatt Otsito, a local give his corp name (HED Hunters) who seemed to want me to join up with his group to fight the other group around the gate.  I think.  Voice coms were busy.  I let him know that the gate would probably be hot in a bit as a couple dozen more Sleipners were on their way.

The I warped to our in gate in HED-GP and rejoined the fleet as they jumped into the system.  I am sure everybody could see local more than double and when we warped to a perch over the Keberz gate, most of the people on grid thought it was about the right time to get the hell out of the way and warped.  As we landed on the gate, somebody called a Harpy that was in range and that got quickly blapped.  Then somebody pointed out that there was a Cormorant at the extreme edge of lock range.  I happened to already have long range ammo loaded, so I locked him up and took a shot.

And that is how I got on Madmatt Otsito’s kill mail.  Ah well.  I didn’t even hit him, but I had projectiles down range for him.

From there we were off to Queious and the route back to Delve and the jump bridge network.  The route was quiet so aside from a side trip to kill an ESS, we made our way back to staging and called it a night.  Another small op, no tidi, no drama, just a good clean fight.

Some screen shots from the op:

Two Years of Reavers

The real Reavers anniversary date is October 14th so far as I can tell.  That is the earliest mention of it I can find in the forums.  But, for no real reason, the fact that another year has gone by doesn’t seem to occur to me until a week or so after that date has passed.  As it happened last year, so it happens this year.

Reavers forum bee

Reavers forum bee

And as I did last year, I will mark this passing with another summary post.  For those wishing to revisit the first year, here is the summary:

The first year of Reavers saw many changes to the game.  There was a long transition from Dominion sovereignty to Aegis or Fozzie Sov.  That saw the introduction of jump fatigue, entosis links, and constellation-wide sovereignty contests.  It also saw the end of the vast rental empires that funded several groups, as you can see in this year over year sovereignty map that I posted last year.

October 14, 2014 and October 14, 2015 compared

October 14, 2014 and October 14, 2015 compared

There is still some rental space in null sec, but it is confined to the northeastern corner of New Eden.

As Reavers played through changes in sovereignty mechanics in its first year, the SIG played through a host of changes in its second year.  Again the map changed and a year later finds us in a new home in the southwest of New Eden.

October 14, 2015 and October 14, 2016 compared

October 14, 2015 and October 14, 2016 compared

The long war in the north… you can make the case that we fought from November 2015, in what was called the Kickstarter War at the time, until our retreat from Saranen in July at the end of the Casino War… wore us out and drained our finances.  While the Phoebe jump fatigue changes made that migration south painful, it also kept our foes from pursuing us down south to continue the war as well, at least according to Elise Randolph on Asher’s recent podcast.

And while other changes came during the last year… citadels being one of the most obvious… the specter of war cast a shadow over much of the year as far as Reavers were concerned.  While I saw jacket pals in many fleets and flew with Asher Elias often enough (he even got us some titan kills), but actual Reaver deployments were few.

We went down to spar with TEST in Wicked Creek last November, the FISHKINGBOIS deployment:

There was an experiment with Typhoons:

There was a deployment down to Querious, the second home to all Reavers, to chase Pandemic Horde around after the returned home from Cloud Ring.

And after that there is the long gap in Reavers ops, when the Casino War kept all available pilots occupied in the north.

The Reavers tag on the blog did not get used again until September of this year, when the conquest of Delve was wrapping up and there was a return to normalcy.  Then it was time for Reavers to head off to Querious again, a region I know better than Delve at this point, in order to take moons and pacify the region.

That is just nine Reavers posts over the course of the last year, compared to 27 the year before.  The war dominated most of the year.  With a new settled homeland Reavers can now range out on deployments.  Or we will, once we get Querious settled.  Always some work to be done somewhere.

Barghests Down in Querious Astrahus Fight

As Delve has been quiet, Reavers have been deploying to Querious off and on.  Since Delve and Querious are so close together… a chunk of Querious is actually something of a functional enclave within Delve, which is sometimes called either Fake Delve or Fake Querious depending on who is speaking and whether or not they remember what they called it last time it came up… there was some discussion as to what to do about the region.

Querious - October 23, 2016

Querious – October 23, 2016

The previous inhabitants for the most part moved on to other areas of null sec rather than live under the shadow of the Imperium.  Our first deployment to the region after Delve was to take the valuable moons.  However, the holders were mostly willing to sell them to us… along with a couple of citadels… to finance their move elsewhere.

After that, the region was somewhat sparsely held.  I ran around in a Raven and was unmolested as I ran sites during the Purity of the Throne event.  Of course, a sparsely held region invites people to show up uninvited.  To keep the worst kind of baddies from moving in, the coalition gave Asher the green light to try and turn the region into a fight club.  Details of the idea were posted on Reddit a while back.

There have been a few takers and Reavers have been back in Querious off and on to help people move in and evict people who have declined to join.  We popped a Voxis Accord Astrahus earlier in the month after they said no to the idea.  Last week we started on Brute Force Solutions and their Astrahus in 0-WT2D. (BFD on the map above.)  They had been giving Asher the run around, claiming they needed 6-8 weeks to process his request, along with doing a level of trash talking in local above their weight class.  They seemed keen to provoke a fight, so their citadel had to go.

Killing an citadel requires three passes.  You have to get through the shield layer, after which it goes into reinforced mode for 24 hours.  Then you go through the armor layer.  After armor, the reinforcement timer is related to local sovereignty.  Since they owned the system and ihub and had flagged it as their capital, the ADM was up to 6, which meant a six day wait for the final structure event.

I was there for the shield event, a Barghest fleet where I flew logi, but missed the armor event where BFD dropped carries on our fleet, so we countered with some caps and our bridging titan, which left BFD down 10 carriers.  The final event was slated for Saturday night in later USTZ.

After the second event Asher asked people to get more Barghests down in our staging for the final fight.  The previous fights had been more logi and support than actual combat ships of the line.  Being ISK rich (for me) I invested 900 million ISK in one of the space griddles and flew it out from Jita during the week to have it ready for Saturday night.

An Unblooded Barghest

An Unblooded Barghest

As the time approached on Saturday, the ping went our for Reavers to form up and get ready.  There were about 60 of us online, in fleet, and on the titan ready to bridge into the event.

Anal Thunder's Leviathan breaching the POS bubble

Anal Thunder’s Leviathan breaching the POS bubble

Reavers is not all of the Imperium, so for us getting 50-60 people deep in USTZ is about par for the course.  That would still give us an edge on BFD, as they and their local allies seem to be good for about 50 pilots while we would have our own local pals, Sarcos Federation and Imperium Divine along to help.

My Barghest on the Fortizar

My Barghest on the Fortizar

The wild card would be what help BFD would be able to call in.  Asher said up front, as we sat on the titan, that intel indicated that Pandemic Legion had been called and might be joining in on the fun, so we could be in for a serious fight.  We bridged in a little before the Astrahus entered its vulnerability.

We setup as the timer counted down.  Once vulnerable, there is a 15 minute timer.  If that runs down, the attack fails and the Astrahus goes back into its initial state and we have to start the whole routine again.  The timer is paused by applying sufficient damage to the citadel, which also wears down the structure.  If you keep the timer paused and finish off the structure, the Astrahus explodes.  There is also a cap on the damage so you cannot burn it down in less than ~25 minutes. (The dev blog about all of this here.)

We setup around the Astrahus, dropped our sentry drones, anchored up on Asher, and when the time came opened up on the citadel.

The target with undock bubbled

The target with undock bubbled

BFD and their local friends had some assets on the field and we exchanged blows with them.  They brought out some dreadnoughts and carriers as well.  At that point things were going our way, the frying pan fleet was getting a few kills while our logi was keeping us safe.  Then a cyno went up, which we zapped pretty quickly.  A couple of Pandemic Legion caps got in on a cyno.

Capitals bubbled up

Capitals bubbled up

And then a Tech III fleet made up mostly of Legions and Proteuses got into the system and the fight started to go badly for us.  We outnumbered what BFD had fielded, but the Pandemic Legion fleet had numbers on us and, when combined with BFD, put us at a serious disadvantage with the odds about 2 to 1 against.  We were hard pressed to break any of the T3s, managing to knock just one off the field (on which I got the kill mail).  On the other hand, they trimmed our logi back and then started knocking off the Barghests one by one.  I lost my fresh Barghest when we were just trying to get out of bubbles and get away.  I still had all the refits in the cargo too, so pretty much a complete loss of my purchase.  Only two Barghests got away.

It seemed like we were done.  Asher put out on intel that there were some caps to shoot, which got a few Imperium CapSwarm capitals and supers to drop on the fight.

Supers on the gate looking for targets of opportunity

Supers on the gate looking for targets of opportunity

However, there was still a few minutes left on the Astrahus timer and most of the Reavers had their clone set in our Fortizar just six jumps away, so the decision was made to give it another run in the Cerberus doctrine.  I have my clone set in Delve, but I had a doctrine Scimitar set and ready to fly there, so I burned back towards Querious.  With a jump bridge the fight was 14 gates away.

As I burned I could hear the fleet arriving back at the Astrahus where they managed to apply damage and stop the timer with very little time left on the clock.  It sounded like they got chased off but got back to apply damage again, stopping the timer with just seconds to go.

Dramatic interpretation of the timer

Dramatic interpretation of the timer

At about that point I had finally gotten back to the system.  However, in getting to the fleet I managed to warp in pretty much on top of the Pandemic Legion fleet, which meant my Scimitar got popped pretty much immediately.

I managed to get away in my pod and flew back to our staging to pick up a Vigil I had sitting there in hopes of getting back before the fight ended.  However, before I got back our Cerbs had been mostly eliminated allowing the timer to start back up again and finish before any further damage could be applied.  BFD’s citadel had been saved.

The battle report, which is broken up into Imperium and allies, Pandemic Legion’s fleet, and BFD and its local allies is… deceptive.  The raw numbers look even, 129 vs 136.  However, everybody who shows up in a Cerb, along with a few Scimitars, are counted twice because we went back and reshipped.  Then there are the Imperium caps, which killed a couple carriers but didn’t move on the citadel.  And then there was an Imperium Confessor fleet which showed up just long enough to kill a Magus before heading off.

If we had managed to coordinate all of that, we might have gotten the Astrahus.  But we did not, so it is back to the reinforce cycle to try and kill it again next weekend.  Life in space, such that it is.

Meanwhile, SRP on my Barghest was 400 million ISK. (And I think I got a Reavers bonus payout at that.)  So while the Scimitar was covered, the Barg was an expensive one fight ship.

Addendum: Asher also has a new podcast up where he talks to Elise Randolph about the war in Tribute and the Alliance tournament.