Tag Archives: Saranen

A Citadel Fight in Saranen

It has been a while since I’ve been through Saranen, once our staging before the retreat to Delve after the Casino War.

The Quafe Company Warehouse that was our home in Saranen

The low sec system remains, however, a fine place to drop citadels in order to annoy those who live in our old space.  So there were a couple in there, placed as part of our “plant a citadel and watch fights grow!” campaign in the north, including one dropped by my own alliance, TNT.

That citadel, and Astrahus, was coming out of its final timer last night and Reavers were set to team up with TNT to bring out the Vexor Navy Issue fleet again to see if we could save the structure.

We loaded up on drones and undocked our VNIs well in advance of the timer.

VNIs leaving the station

Getting to a fight can be a “hurry up and wait” situation.  We had drones loadouts setup and were in space for a while, but then had to wait around for a bit for our ride.

VNIs hanging about waiting

We weren’t there too long before our ride showed up and sent us on our way.  We were traveling in style, and avoiding any interdiction effort in between, via a titan bridge.

This seems so old school now, a bridge out of a POS

After that we settled into the citadel in Saranen and waited for the timer to run down so the fight could begin.  Looking out the “window” of the Astrahus we could see the hostiles beginning to form, with a Tempest fleet, complete with an Apostle force auxiliary to support them, showing up off the undock.

There they are

As the time got close we undocked as well and got ready for the fight.

VNIs tethered off the undock

Once the time arrive the hostiles opened up and paused the timer.  Local showed a lot of hostiles.  We were able to start off against the Tempest fleet with heavy drones initially.

Timer paused just a few seconds in

We were able to pick off a Guardian right off the bat, but their Apostle pilot then got on the ball and foes started catching reps pretty quickly as they got targeted.  Meanwhile a support fleet of Algos cruisers showed up.

An Algos alive on grid… temporarily…

We pulled the heavy drones back in and sent light drones out after the new arrivals.  We kept up after them and were popping them pretty rapidly, but that wasn’t saving the citadel, that was just swatting away an annoyance while the Tempest fleet worked away unhampered by us.

A Confessor fleet showed up as well, but moved in and out of the limit of our drone range, so did not suffer the way the Algos fleet did.

Asher warped us off and then back to the citadel to dock up and swap drones.  We dumped the heavy drones and replaced them with sentry drones.  We then undocked again and, staying tethered, ran a circle around the citadel to spread out the sentry drones before locking up hostiles and firing on the Tempest fleet.

Around the Astrahus

That worked well initially and we dropped a couple of Tempests with sentry salvos, but the Apostle reps began to catch up while the support fleets closed with us again.  We abandoned our sentry drones and launched light drones again to combat the smaller stuff closing in with us.

A Loki fleet from Snuffed Out and Pen Is Out showed up to help, but their numbers did not add much to our side.  Our own logi support had been stripped away by that point and Asher’s FC ship had succumbed to enemy fire.  It was time to align out.

Somebody blew up as we aligned

I did get one last kill mail as we headed off.  A Machariel loomed through our drones, smart bombing to clear out our drones.  I put my light drones on him as we aligned and scored a few hits.  We warped off to another citadel in system… because of course we have more than one, so more fights are coming… where we repaired and listened to the gunner on the Astrahus call his kills as he fought the station to the last second.  Among his final victims was the Machariel, a nice expensive faction battleship kill.

Once Asher secured a ship we parted ways with the TNT fleet and headed back to our own staging.  We lost the Astrahus and the ISK war (as the as yet incomplete battle report shows), though the hostiles had to bring more than double our numbers to take it from us.  To numbers go the victory more often than not, something that has worked for us often in the past.  But we still have more citadels scattered about the area and the locals have to come fight us for each one, so more battles await.

Last Ship out of Saranen

Getting subcaps out of Saranen has proven to be considerably easier than getting my carrier down to Delve.  That week long adventure represents most of my effort when it comes to the move down to Delve. (The five days of jump fatigue I accrued faded away and was never an issue, so I won on that front I guess.)

On the plus side, I was able to stuff quite a few ships in the carrier, so when it finally docked up in the station at Sakht, I had a pile of ships at my disposal.  But that still left me with a few ships up in Saranen to fly south.

We had been told to leave behind a few current doctrine ships in order to cover capital move ops, should that become necessary.  While I understand there are caps and supers still in transit south, the bulk seemed to have made it down and ops out of Saranen tapered off, aside from the occasional subcap move op.

It came time to send my remaining subcaps south to join my carrier and whatever else I had hauled out.  The run down south is a bit of a haul.  The most direct route is 41 jumps, but requires flying through Syndicate, which is null sec, which means bubble camps and the like.

I opted for a safer route, putting Amarr in as a way point, which added 5 jumps, but kept me our of null sec.  Low sec can be dangerous as well, but there has to be a determined camp able to point you almost immediately and with the firepower to blap you before you can get back to the gate laying across your path.  During the first couple of days after the move south was announced, those were pretty common.  But as the days ran on they seemed to disappear.  I was kind of hoping to meet a frigate gang when I was flying out my heavily tanked clownshoe Sigil.

Sigil on the move

Sigil on the move

Fit to be an expendable entosis ship with enough tank and shield regen (giving it something like 70K EHP) to survive interceptors until help arrives, I thought it might be fun to watch somebody plink away at it while I motored back to the gate even as the gate guns blazed away at my attackers.  But it was not to be.  Even my ideas about the Sigil being bait… I was traveling paired up with my arty fit Hurricane… didn’t pan out.  My ships all flew through unscathed and unchallenged.

The only other possible threat was from a war dec from NCDot, which meant they could shoot me even in high sec space.  However, they weren’t camping the route either.

I did see two NCDot pilots in space along the way.  One looked like he might have been pursuing my Crane in a Vexor, though he might have just been traveling the same direction.  Either way, my faster warp speed meant he fell further behind at each gate until I no longer saw him.

The other I saw landing on a gate at 15km just as I was warping off, indicating he was auto-piloting through high sec.  I considered turning around to blap him but, as noted, I was moving my ships in pairs, and the Hurricane was already slowing the Sigil down as it was, so I just carried on.  Some Marmite probably got him later.  Clearly, I lack the killer instinct, focusing on the mission rather than kills.

Finally I had one last ship up in Saranen.  Well, two actually.  One was a cyno Kestrel that I put up on contract for two million ISK, which sold pretty quickly.  I should charge more I guess.

The other was a Vigil setup with target painters.  It was then that I noticed that I still had a bunch of stuff in the station.  A Vigil isn’t a big ship and I wasn’t going to be able to carry it all out.  I put the the expendable stuff up on the market.  Somebody got a Warrior II drone for cheap, along with a couple of shield repair bots.  Then I packed everything else into the Vigil and undocked.

Vigil leaving Saranen

Vigil leaving Saranen

Then it was down the path south one last time.  I was a bit worried a couple of gates into the trip, as there was about a dozen NCDot pilots in local in Tamo.  However, they seemed to be up to something other than camping the out gate, so I slipped by unseen.

The high sec run was likewise quiet, especially after Amarr.  The Kor-Azor region, never a hotbed of activity when I was there, was quiet.  Of course, flying through there on Wilhelm I saw that I still had piles of ore sitting around in stations from some buy order I did ages ago.  I think the plan was to go around from station to station in a freighter to pick it all up to move to market.  I no longer own a freighter and it was so slow I am pretty sure that I was deterred from doing the collection run back when I had it. Ah well.

Then from Kor-Azor it was into Aridia and the last few gates to my destination in Sakht.

Docking up in Sakht

Docking up in Sakht

That was it, the last items to move.  I am as out of Saranen as I can be and pretty much all-in on Delve.  My last bit of cargo hauled in the Vigil was:

Valuables

Valuables

Because you can never have enough fireworks handy.

Leaving Rakapas and Arriving in Sakht

Given my lack of luck with convoy ops over the last few days, I decided to try and move my carrier forward on my own.

The route had been posted in the CapSwarm forum, along with some instructions for one awkward, no-station jump… which, as it happens, is the jump from Rakapas.

But first I had to go get some cynos lined up and in position to guide me along the path south.  I got on my second account, on my “main alt” character, the one with 110 million skill points, clone jumped him out of his implants alt, and sent him off to Jita to buy a few cyno ships.

I opted for simple, buying 4 Kestrels and fitting each with a Cynosural Field Generator I and loaded with 250 units of liquid ozone, enough to power the module for one cycle. (I obsessed and trained the relevant skill to V, just in case I needed to light a covert cyno.  More on jump drive operation here, if you are interested.)  I got my alt into one, contracted another to a second character on that account that I had trained up to be a cyno alt, and headed off to get myself situated.

Kestrel on the way out

Kestrel on the way out

I had at first thought about starting from Amarr or maybe Saranen, but as it turned out, Jita was by far the closest common point to the target systems.  Getting through to them, both in low sec, did not present any real problems.  The only hiccup I had was, after getting my main alt to his location, I logged on the secondary cyno jockey and was in such a hurry to fly out that, after I clone jumped him to Jita, I forgot to accept the Kestrel contract… or even get in a ship… and just started flying to the destination in a pod.  Yeah, slow down there bro.

After a couple of jumps I was suddenly all, “Oh yeah… the ship… right…” and went back to get it.  Once that was squared away, I was able to get out to the destination system and docked up without issue.

I logged him out, got back on my main alt, and got myself setup in the first destination system.  Since it lacked a station, the instructions in the forum said to cyno your capital in to the Astrahus citadel, let it refill your ship’s capacitor (citadels are handy like that, refilling and repairing like a full service gas station of old), and then warp off to the safe POS to wait out your jump timer.

Unfortunately for me, it was a Goonswarm Federation POS, which meant I wasn’t welcome inside unless I had the password.  So I was going to have to skip that step.  That meant facing the dire warnings about people coming to bump your capital off the citadel to get it out of tether range, at which point it could be blown up.

My solution to this was to jump out as soon as I possibly could, spending as little time as I could manage tethered.  That meant logging in the next cyno with the secondary alt, which would require logging off the primary alt, which I could not do until the cyno module cycle ended, something that takes a full ten minutes.

I decided to just light the first cyno and let module run to almost the end of its cycle before jumping in.  That meant I might lose the cyno ship before I could jump, but that seemed like the least cost failure scenario.  So I undocked him from the citadel and lit the beacon.

Earlier there had been a bunch of traffic through the system, but I seemed to have picked a quiet 10 minute window and my cyno ship went unmolested.  As the timer reached the last minute or so of its cycle, I undocked the carrier in Rakapas and made the jump, ending up hanging tethered on the citadel.

Archon tethered, cyno still burning

Archon tethered, cyno still burning

After the jump, I had a little over two minutes to wait before I could jump again.

The timer counting down

The timer counting down

The cyno did not last that long, and I was able to swap characters and get in position well in advance of the jump reactivation timer.

As I sat there on the citadel, I noticed on the overview that the system had a gate to Rakapas.

Wait, I went how far?

Wait, I went how far?

I had waited all this time to jump what amounted to a single gate?  Well, sometimes that is how things work out.

At the station I faced two potential issues for the next jump.  One was where to place the cyno.  I do not do this enough to have a favored position for each station type, as some people do.  After watching other people, I try to get both a ways off the undock on both the horizontal and vertical axis so as to avoid bumping and such.  So I picked a spot a bit out and above the undock.

The tactical overlay helps

The tactical overlay helps

The other problem was that I was using a neutral alt in a system that was full of Imperium pilots.  While it was likely they would assume a neutral cyno was somebody’s alt, there was still a non-zero chance that somebody would shoot it just because.  So I got undocked, setup, and lit the cyno as quickly as I could, jumping the moment it was up.

Carrier on the undock

Carrier on the undock

I docked up, op success.  I was now two jumps further down the line towards Delve.

I docked up my secondary alt when his cyno went down and traded him some replacement fuel that I was carrying along in my carrier, and sent him off to the next destination.  I had about two hours of jump fatigue and was planning to let that burn off before I jumped again, but I figured I ought to get the next jumps queued up.

The secondary alt got to the next station easily enough, at which point I logged my primary alt back in, flew him to catch up with the carrier to refuel, and then sent him off to the destination after the next one, so as to have two jumps lined up once again.

However, getting to that target meant flying through null sec space in the Syndicate region.  So it was not unexpected that, with the jump from low sec to null, I immediately hit a gate camp that had an interdictor.  It threw up a bubble when I landed in system and there wasn’t anything I could really do.  I decloaked and headed back to the gate on the off chance they were completely incompetent, but without an prop mod, that was a tiny gesture of defiance at best.  They blew up the ship and podded me, sending me back home.

Kestrel going down

Kestrel going down

But I had planned for that, expecting to lose these ships.  I had set my home in Jita for this, and was able to pick up another of the Kestrels I fitted out and started heading back towards the destination system again.  I stopped in a station before I got to the null sec transition again, thinking I would wait until later in the evening for that.

As it happened, while I was waiting, Asher pinged about a move op.  He was going to take people from Sakht, our current staging point, back to Saranen to pick up ships, at which point people up north could join the fleet and fly back down.

That seemed like an opportunity.  I couldn’t bring my main alt along to drive a ship as his jump clone timer still had many hours to go, but Wilhelm didn’t have a jump clone timer problem and was just sitting around in a station.  So I joined the op, watching it move around the map via a couple of wormhole connections, until it started to close in on Saranen, at which point I clone jumped to the area, picking the Oneiros I left parked in Ashitsu on Saturday.  As it happened, I did the jump just as they were passing through the system and was able to follow them back to Saranen.

Once there it was time for a break, during which I decided to fly my Cerberus down to Sakht.  Once everybody was back, we undocked and headed to the first wormhole, which was just a few jumps away in Eha.  We went through the wormhole, however it collapsed before everybody got through.  Those of us who made it were in Heimatar, in Minmatar space, where we had another dozen gates to take before we got to the next wormhole.

Those left behind in Eha were told where we were if they wanted to burn to us to try and catch up, but we moved on to the next hole.  However, the route to the next hole took us through what so many fear, high security space, and a 1.0 sec system in particular. (How can those rebel Minmatar have so many high security systems?)

Yes, we we're in Heimatar!

Yes, we we’re in Heimatar!

Those with negative security status avoid high sec space with its NPC enforcement complications, and a full 1.0 system posed a threat to some along for the ride.  Never having had a negative security status rating during my time in New Eden, I never think about that as being an issue.  Even though I have bad standings with the Minmatar and Gallente factions (-4.72 and -5.74 respectively, the latter which should make me “shoot on sight”) after running so many Amarr/Caldari missions over the years, somewhere along the line I trained the social skill Diplomacy to level IV, which mitigates that sufficiently that I am merely loathed, but not actively shot at.

Some in the fleet hadn’t invested in that sort of stuff.  We were set to burn individually at best possible speed to get past the high sec terror and to the next wormhole.  Several people were locked up by the local faction police, and the occasional potshot was taken, but faction enforcers don’t warp scramble and in at least one case the webbing action of an NPC actually helped somebody get into warp faster.  Basically, comedy ensued, but nobody lost a ship.  We went to Hek and back mostly unscathed.

Once safely into low sec space again, we collected up again around the wormhole and jumped through.  Everybody got through safely and, it being a low sec to low sec connection, we were all in Aridia, just a few jumps from our destination.  We flew on, scattering the smart bombing battleships that were gate camping along the way, to arrive in our new home.

Get Sakht

Get Sakht

So now I have at least been to Sakht this year.  I haven’t been this close to Delve since April of last year.

Of course, there is still work to do.  I have that carrier to move and a couple more doctrine ships to convoy down.  But at least I have made it through once… and I am no longer stuck in Rakapas.

A POS Shoot in Saranen

Going to do hurricanes if I can get better numbers, our enemies are coming to fight us so get in fleet, I want to volley some nerds. Op 1

~~~ This was a broadcast from asher_elias to all at 2016-06-29 01:57:39.912887 EVE ~~~

Though the station camp itself… never really a “hellcamp,” no matter how often EN24 chose to use the term, but still active and heavy at times… had largely subsided by late last week, actual fights in Saranen every night were still a regular item through the weekend, with the enemy dropping supers on us when we undocked a battleship fleet.

So the expectation of a fight was not unreasonable when I logged in and joined the fleet.  That has been the established pattern for weeks now.  The original ping had Nagas an option… I still have two sitting in station waiting to get used… but it changed to Hurricanes as more people piled into the fleet.  Asher wanted lots of Hurricanes, asking people for once to switch out of logi and into them.  Of course, due to the perverse nature of the universe, that meant we ended up with more logi that usual.  Once we hit what Asher considered critical mass, we undocked.

Once more out of the soda warehouse

Once more out of the soda warehouse

The first thing I noticed was an almost complete lack of hostiles on the overview.  There was somebody hanging out on the NCDot citadel, which is on the station grid by more than 1,500km away, but that was about it.  The station camp had gone from its desultory of late state to missing altogether.  Local was mostly blue.  No foes present to shoot.

Hurricanes rolling around Saranen

Hurricanes rolling around Saranen

So we set about to try and make some hostiles appear, starting with an NCDot POS tower in the system.  This had been mentioned as a possibility, and I had brought along some cheapT1  ammo for a POS shoot.  Well, it was cheap ammo when I bought it.  Somebody, playing market warfare games in our station, bought up all the T1 and relisted it at an outrageously high price.  So, for many, faction ammo was the cheap ammo option.

Shooting a POS

Shooting a POS

We disabled the offensive modules on the POS then shot “the stick” until it went into its reinforced state.  While there was a report of an NCDot fleet on the Pure Blind intel channel, which is starting to come alive again as people venture into null in smaller groups, nothing came our way.  We were even able to bring in some dreadnought support to speed things up a bit.

A Naglfar at the shoot getting hit by fireworks

A Naglfar at the shoot getting hit by fireworks

One done there, we went on to another tower in the system.  This one was mostly faction mods around a faction tower with better resists, and hardeners to boot, so things went more slowly.  We chipped away its guns first, the put our guns on the tower while leaving drones working on incapacitating the warp disrupting and webbing modules scattered about.  More dreadnoughts joined us for the effort and the tower was eventually put into a reinforced state as well.

And that was about it for the evening.  I saw SynCaine in fleet.  He got blotted out by the second tower in his Vigil.  A few frigate suffered that fate.

The fleet was mostly chatting and reminding people to activate their guns after they reloaded.  There were exactly three kills, an executioner that strayed into the extreme edge of our range and go popped, Oxygen’s cyno Rifter, which at least dropped the module and fuel, and a cyno bait ship sitting on a death star POS, which we quickly blapped on the way back to the station.  I wasn’t quick enough to get on any of those.  Two POS towers were reinforced.  And the 02:00 citadel went online without being contested.  Life in Saranen at the end of June I guess.

Meanwhile, in Pure Blind, a couple more systems were taken by us since I last posted on the topic (G-M4I8 and O-A6YN), while another traded hands back and forth (M-YCD4).  NCDot seems to be handing systems over to MOA, and a lot of work remains before us as we try to push back into null sec.

Thrasher Holocaust

There was the possibility of a Naga fleet last night.

Asher’s pre-op ping said that Nagas or Hurricanes would be the likely ships for the 02:00 fleet.  Having secured a few Nagas, I was up for that.  Also, Asher had actually stopped by and left a comment on the blog, which I figured was a sign that I ought to log in. (Maybe FC ships will be a topic on his next podcast.)

I was on early, in my Naga, and ready to go.  Theoretically the 02:00 fleet should start forming up before that time, but things were not running to that plan, so I hung out in the station, refreshed the fleet finder window every so often, and watched the in-station ads flash past.

It is bad enough they are hanging out on the undock, but now they're in the station...

It was bad enough when they were just on the undock, but now they’re in the station…

I was also on voice coms, but forgot to actually turn on my headset, so I missed whatever pre-fleet banter might have been going on.

Eventually the ping went out, the fleet went up, and we all started to pile in.  There was an immediate din on voice coms with people asking, “Canes?”  “Nagas?” “Canes!” “Nagas!” in order to figure out, or influence, the doctrine choice for the evening.

The choice, given the turn out and what the opposition was up to, looked to be leaning towards Nagas.  The main question was whether or not enough Nagas were available for the fleet.  There were only five up on contract along with some hulls on the market that could potentially be fitted out.  As people worked on that Asher asked people to get into a Naga if they had one

The Naga count turned out to be low, so those of us who had them had to put them away for another day.  Instead of Nagas… or Hurricanes… the fleet doctrine for the night was going to be Thrashers.  The Thrasher was the original Minmatar destroyer and is also the basis for the Sabre interdictor, a common sight in null sec.

Since Thrashers are not an official doctrine, this was going to be a free handout fleet where we would all be given a pre-fit ship.  This led to the dynamics of Asher trying to get a few people to hand out ships for him so he wouldn’t have a hundred trade windows open up on him.  Then we had to open trades with the people who stepped in to do this, though because there is always somebody who isn’t listening, not everybody who X’d up in fleet chat actually had ships to give out.  So Asher had to drag the correct names into fleet chat, at which we probably all mobbed the first guy on the list judging from his comments on voice coms.

Eventually everybody who was paying attention had a Thrasher.  We were almost ready to go.  There was just one more detail.

Asher wanted somebody to X up in fleet chat who had an alt account in the station who could sit there and hand out Thrashers so people could reship if they got blown up.  That was met with crickets.  Nobody wanted to be that guy.  Eventually, after some uncomfortable silence and a bit of chiding, I X’d up, then logged my alt account in.  Asher put his name in the MOTD and those who were handing out ships traded their leftovers to him.  We were now ready to go.

Asher counted down and we all hit the undock button at something in the neighborhood of the same moment.  We cruised out, watching the invulnerability timer count down, not touching anything… well, some of us clearly grouped guns, chose ammo, or loaded scripts into sensor boosters, as a few ships started getting popped.  Then there was some problem and Asher had us all dock back up again.

Then we did the undock thing again.  I undocked, but people were already saying they needed reships, so I tabbed to my alt’s window, hoping to just catch the fleet warp and be whisked safely away.

However, as I handed out ships in one window, I heard somebody on coms say they didn’t get the warp.  It sounded like maybe Asher did just a wing or a squad warp.  Either way, when I got back to Wilhelm, he was back in the station in his pod, so I had to open a trade window to my alt as well.

Asher had some of the fleet out and at a safe distance, but a lot of people still needed to get away from the station.  The station camp moved some ships to the well known Karma Fleet insta-undock bookmark and sat there farming kills, so I sat in the station for a bit handing out even more ships.

Evenatully the handout queue had subsided and I swapped back to Wilhelm, got in my own Thrasher, and undocked.  I went to simply warp to Asher, but he was too close to warp to, so I warped off to my own insta undock bookmark, then warped to Asher.  I was finally at the fleet.

My Thrasher

My Thrasher with the Nefantar Skin

That was the only screen shot I have from the whole op.  You can see the sensor booster effects on the Thrashers behind mine and, in the distance, the citadel where we would end up shortly.

Once there I had to go back to my alt again to hand out more ships, so I once again trusted in Asher as I took care of administrative business.

Eventually I heard him say, “There’s your target” on coms and got back to Wilhelm’s window.  We were warping to the hostiles in order to pick off a Bhaalgorn.  We landed, I locked up the designated target and opened fire.  However, I was taking some pretty significant damage almost immediately after coming out of warp.

We had landed practically on top of a group of Apostles fitted with smart bombs.  They had those running, we were in range, so they were chewing us up right away.

If I understand how things went after that, Asher attempted to warp us away from this vortex of death using his alt, but his alt was too close to the target point, so warping was not an option.  By the time that got sorted we were all trying to warp out on out own.  I had to swap to a different overview tab, pick a celestial, and select warp, by which time I was safely away in my undamaged pod.  The Thrasher popped just before I was under way.

Back on my alt, trade windows began to spring up like mushrooms.  I was already low on Thrashers by that point, so I handed out the last ones I had and announced that I was out.

People were arriving back in station, the fleet had been almost entirely wiped out, and, as it turned out, there were no longer enough Thrashers to hand out to equip people for another run.  The fleet was over.

On my alt, one person opened up a trade and returned an unused Thrasher, which I turned around and traded back to Asher.  But a few trades kept coming up looking to get a ship.  At least one person had just joined up, the traditional, “Am I too late?” question when they are way, way too late.  By law this must occur at least once on every Imperium fleet op.

Asher thanked us for showing up, encouraged people to buy, build, ship, sell Nagas so we can get enough of them in Saranen to actually use the doctrine, and then posted a participation link in fleet.

Of course, we all clicked on it, at which point the EVE Online client brought us out of the game and to our respective default browsers where we were informed that one cannot click on participation links outside of the game.

As part of yesterday’s patch CCP started on its path to discontinuing the in-game browser by having it force you to use a browser outside of the game by default.  However, one of the interesting bits about the in-game browser is that it can grab information about your status in-game, like your location and the ship you’re flying, so you can use that information in your web app.  RAZOR had a great navigation app at one point that used the in-game browser.  And, of course, the participation link system grabs your character name, alliance, corp, location, and ship type to show that you were there.

That all doesn’t work outside of the game.

Fortunately, the in-game browser is still there.  You can open it up and use it still, it just won’t open up automatically when you click on links in-game anymore.  So we all had to open the in-game browser, copy the link from fleet chat, then paste it into the address field to get our “being there” accounted for.

So our participation link system will have to change.  We have until October for that.

As for the fleet, according to the battle report we burned up 105 Thrashers and 61 capsules for an estimated loss of 895 million ISK (35% of which looks to have been in the form of implants) for 7 incidental kills, to which I am not sure we can even lay claim.  So we’ll call that zero kills.  The only target the fleet shot at as a unit survived.

At least the ships were free.  It is hard to get mad when losing a free ship, unless you also lost a capsule with implants.   In fact, I made money on the venture.  I insured both ships fully before undocking, which netted me a small bit of money, something on the order of a million ISK.  That sort of venture isn’t going to buy me a titan anytime soon, but at least there was one upside for the night.

We shall see how it goes tomorrow.

Not Enough Nagas

One of the recent changes in The Imperium, announced publicly on the Meta Show this past weekend, is a plan to run a number of fleet ops at standard times every night, each one having a regular doctrine and mission.  I strongly suspect that this is mostly to boost participation in fleets by allowing people to plan their time in advance, as opposed to waiting for a Jabber ping to show up (or not show up) when you have some free time and are able to play.

As it turns out, this totally works for me, as one of the standard op times is 02:00 EVE time (UTC), which translates to 7pm local time here in California.  As an early riser (the alarm goes off at 5:30 am for me) 7pm is about the point in the evening when I have enough time left to commit to one more hour-or-more thing before starting to wrap things up and head to bed.

While I am not going to commit to being in that fleet every night, if you want to shoot me, 02:00 in Saranen seems a good bet.

This fleet op is set to accompany an Astrahus citadel finishing up its build cycle and going into its initial vulnerability time, so as to incent our foes to show up as well.  We’re kind of looking for things to keep us busy during later US prime time I guess… attacking sovereignty is left up to Euro and Aus time zones… so we’re sacrificing a citadel nightly for the sake of entertainment and a chance to shoot some foes.

We also have a new doctrine, which we plan to use during that op, centered on the Naga battlecruiser with a long range sniping fit.  I am told it can hit out to 300km with optimal skills.

My Naga in the fleet

My Naga in the fleet

I was keen to try that out, having about optimum skills for this amongst my nearly 160 million skill points, and doubly so since Asher was going to be leading this fleet.  I got on early and bought a Naga off contract in anticipation.

It is a good thing I did so, as the remaining Naga contracts went quickly.  One of the problems with the doctrine is that the Naga is a specialized ship… a lightly tanked long range sniper battlecruiser that can fit battleship rail guns… that isn’t all that popular, so stock in Jita was limited and sold out quickly.

So, while production gets sorted out to meet demand, the doctrine has to run with both Nagas and artillery fit Hurricanes in order to fill out a fleet.  As you can see in the screen shot above, there were a lot of Hurricanes along for the ride.

The tactics are essentially the same as our hit and run Hurricane fleet.  We land on grid, align out, lock up the designated target and shoot, when they are about to go down we are already building up to warp out in order to limit our exposure.  We have done this a bunch of times in Hurricanes.

Landing in an asteroid belt as a turn-around point

Landing in an asteroid belt as a turn-around point

The enemy knows this and has adapted as well.  The have their long range, beam fit Abaddons together with a screen of tacklers ready to burn into range where ever we land in order to grab a few of us before we can warp off.  Those so stuck get zapped in short order by the Abaddons.

So last night’s battle was largely between us and hostile tackle in Devoter heavy interdictors.  With the Hurricanes along, we had to land close enough for them to shoot, under 90km or so, which is a lot closer than the Nagas would generally want to land.

In some ways this was a boon for the Nagas.  We got to run scan resolution scripts in our sensor boosters and our shortest range, highest damage ammunition in our guns, so we could lock fast and hit hard.  The kill mails tell the tale in the regard.  As an example, with this kill mail you can see Nagas top the list for damage done.  I am at the top of the list and did three times as much damage as the top Hurricane, which had to fit lower damage, long range ammo.

Unfortunately, as noted, that put us within reach of enemy tackle, so on each run we were trading a Devoter for 3-6 Hurricanes.  Three is a sustainable trade, six is a losing deal.

We were probably lucky that they seemed to favor grabbing Hurricanes over Nagas.  Reshipping into another Hurricane was easy enough.  There were lots on contract.  And Hurricanes were both cheaper and doing less damage against the Nagas as individual ships.  But when I finally got tackled and blown up on a pass, I warped back to the station to find no Nagas left to buy.

I had a Hurricane handy though, so I refit that to meet fleet requirements and rejoined the fight, only to get potted again on the first pass.  Somebody opted to pod me which, since I had no implants, just got me back to the station faster.  Having lost two battlecruisers, I decided to head out again in a Crucifier in order to put range damps on the heavy interdictors, hoping to thwart their tackle attempts.

However, by that point the op was being wound down.  There were a couple more warps and then we docked up.  The ISK was was heavily slanted against us, with us losing almost 2.5 times in value compared to our foes per the battle report.

Helping weigh the balance against use was a group of smart bombing Rokhs that DBRB flew into the hostiles, an action that, if understood coms correctly, did not go as planned and yielded zero kills.

But it looked pretty on the field

But the smart bombs looked pretty on the field

And, of course, the Astrahus was blown up as well, adding to the ISK count against us.

Still, it was a quick, fun, and exciting operation, and fellow TNT and Black Sheep Down pilot Zurvon Starr came out of it better than I did, getting on twice as many kill mails during the fight and earning two kill marks on his Naga, which survived.

Anyway, I applied for my SRP, which was in my account when I checked this morning, so I remain ISK rich and able to come back for the next fleet.  We shall see how the Naga situation plays out.  I will be sure to check in early to grab one before the contracts disappear.

I also suspect that we will have to adapt our own tactics as the enemy has adapted theirs.

Scenes from the Saranen Undock

We have lost our homes.  We have been driven out of null sec.  We are hold up in the back room of a soda warehouse in a low sec system .  And yet we have not given up.  We form up around the clock.  We send fleets out into our former homes to harass and reinforce structures.

So the Moneybadger Coalition has come to Saranen to try to make us say, “uncle.”.

First it was just Pandemic Legion and NCDot.  They moved from 93PI-4 in Pure Blind to come and camp us.  They hung that Fortizar citadel on the same grid as our undock.

The Fortizar looms

The Fortizar looms

Then the rest of the MBC started showing up.  More citadels were hung in space around our home station, the Quafe Company Warehouse at Saranen V, moon 9, with Darkness and Mercenary Coalition adding their own to the scene.

You can see three Fortizars on grid now

You can see three Fortizars on grid now

Even TEST hung one up, though they didn’t join the club fully, opting for an Astrahus directly above the station.

Key players declared war on us, so as to take station guns… which will shoot aggressors on the undock… out of the equation.

Not pictured: TEST, which was late on the scene

Not pictured: TEST, which was late on the scene

The MBC settled in to camp us into our station in Saranen.

Singing songs around the campfire

Singing songs around the campfire

(image from this thread)

In their effort to defeat us, our enemy has had to become us.  As the CFC/Imperium had often been called Band of Brothers 2.0, the Moneybadgers have begun to look a bit like the CFC 2.0.  We have a coalition with overwhelming force made up of mutually blued alliances which hold the north… you have to be in denial not to see some parallel there.

Meanwhile, our groan worthy name for the conflict, the War of Sovless Aggression, had flipped meaning as well, since we are now without sovereignty and attacking those who hold it.  I didn’t like that name before, and it hasn’t aged well for me since.  I’ll stick with the Casino War, which goes back to the flash point that started the whole conflict back in January.

Over at EN24, it was announced that we were being “Hellcamped” nearly a week ago.  And then a few days later it was announced at EN24 that the siege had begun.  The MBC was going to sit on the undock in Saranen and… something.  Kill us I guess.  Make us give up, maybe?

On our side of the divide the loss of all our sovereignty has had an upside.  We have become something else as well.  As Asher Elias noted in his latest podcast, we are free to choose our fights now as opposed to being objective driven all the time.  If the enemy is out in force, we don’t give them a fight.  If they get bored and their camp of the undock dwindles… and this is why they are not the CFC 2.0, because the CFC of old didn’t get bored so easily… we undock and chase them off.

If the enemy puts an expensive bait ship on the undock, we can flash form and kill it before they can bring in their response fleet to reply.  With no objectives to defend, we get to measure our success in ISK efficiency, in causing more damage to our enemies than they do to us.  And when the enemy forms up their might to overwhelm us, we dock up again and the fight is over.

This hasn’t been ideal for everybody.  People who joined up to do null sec PvE are justifiably dissatisfied with the situation and have been leaving for greener pastures.  And I cannot imagine that the capital ship pilots are happy.  But for layabout subcap line members like myself, who barely lived in their own space when we had it and just want to fleet up and shoot things while suckling on the SRP teat, the situation has been almost ideal.  We could easily echo some of TEST’s post 6VDT-H sentiments.

Which isn’t to say that the MBC doesn’t get kills as well.  The fights are often bloody for both sides, and we generally win on ISK efficiency alone, having exchanged a pile of cheap ships for a few expensive ones.  And they own the undock when they want to and are able to pick off even those with insta-undock bookmarks with fighters now and again.

The question now seems to be who can outlast whom in this situation?

For the moment I lean towards us.  We are able to undock when we can win and get the sort of morale boosting fights that can sustain us while also keeping the supply train flowing into the station to make good our losses.  Even if we lose our citadel and the convenience that goes with it… a scenario which seems likely… we can still pick and choose our fights.

Our foes seem to have three courses going forward.

They can give up, which clearly isn’t a winning strategy.  I doubt that will seem viable to anybody in the short term, though there could be a long game possibility in it I suppose.

They can carry on as they are now and see who gets tired of this first.  That hasn’t been a winning strategy so far in Saranen, but tactics could change.  They might find their angle with the current level of effort.

Or they can try harder.

One way would be to sit on the undock with more forces more often.  Or, alternatively, they can use their economic muscle to buy up our doctrine contracts to keep us from re-shipping, denude the market in Jita of Harpies, Hurricanes, and the fittings that sustain us.  With all that IWantISK money behind them, they could starve us out by simply making everything too expensive for us.  I do not think we can out spend them head-on on that front.  The problems there are the Jita market and how much ISK it might take to conquer us via that route, especially when we can trade out doctrines.

Anyway, as I keep saying, the war goes on.  Saranen remains a busy place judging from the kill boards.  And, to go with the title, some screen shots from around the Saranen undock, including that bling fit Phoenix we got last night.