Tag Archives: Stain

The EVE Online June Update to End Cloaky Camping and Open a Low Sec Gate to Stain

CCP announced last month that they were taking aim at the menace of cloaky camping, and their solution to the issue went in with today’s patch update.

No longer in testing, but they didn’t put up a new graphic

As previously mentioned, CCP’s plan to address cloaky camping is to introduce a deployable called a Mobile Observatory which sends out a system-wide ping every 10 minutes that has a chance to decloak any cloaked ships in the system.

The blueprints for Mobile Observatories were seeded into the market today and the associated changes are now live.

The Mobile Observatory

As you can see from the above, the structure only lasts for an hour and 40 minutes, so you get only 9 pings out of it once deployed.

As a counter, any ship that does cloak is given 15 minutes of protection from being decloaked.  CCP has set that timer the same everywhere, but has indicated that it may, in the future, give different modules of hulls a bonus to that time.

This change has not made those for or against cloaky camping happy.  Those looking to eliminate the practice bring up the expense and the vulnerability of the deployable, which can be blown up with just a few salvos from a stealth bomber.  Those who favor the practice fear that these modules will be spammed everywhere and multiple times per system so that being decloaked after 15 minutes is almost guaranteed.  I suppose we will see who is right.

Also in today’s update are four new empire gates, including the long asked for low sec gate to the Stain region.  The new gate locations are:

  • Hykkota (The Forge) ↔ Ahbazon (Genesis)
  • Irgrus (Metropolis) ↔ Pakhshi (Genesis)
  • Kenninck (Placid) ↔ Eggheron (Solitude)
  • Saminer (Tash-Murkon) ↔ F7-ICZ (Stain)

I expect that the Stain Russians are both very happy and are already camping that gate.

A monument has been placed in each of the systems where these new gates are locate that list out the names of the top players and corporations that participated in the event around the gate construction.

It also means the end of StainGuy, who long advocated for this low sec gate to Stain and swore he’d biomass his character if CCP ever actually put in it the game.  He is going to mothball the character instead to keep anybody else from grabbing the name… but not before a final farewell.

Those are the two big items with today’s update, but there are a number of smaller items, including the ability to filter the fleet composition window.  But for me, the other big fix was the change to the UI Only Mode indicator.

UI Only Mode, or Super Potato Mode, introduced last October just in time for some epic Keepstar fights in Delve, allows users to turn off the graphics rendering with the command Control-Shift-F9.  The main downside was the large opaque reminder that players were in UI Only Mode that hung right in the middle of the screen in the way of just about anything you wanted to look at. (e.g. scrolling messages, brackets on grid)

It would just sit there

With today’s update that message now fades away after 30 seconds, leaving you to peacefully watch overview brackets in peace without a big sign in the middle of the screen.

The T5ZI gate in 1DQ and the bubbles around it

In a way having the UI off and just brackets on is like having an air traffic controller view of an area.  I sat for a while and watched ships move around the gate and Keepstar grid in 1DQ.  It was relaxing in its own way.

Delta Squad’s symbol above the main Keepstar

Anyway, the patch has been deployed and is live, so the changes are in place and we have to live with them.

Full details are available in the patch notes.

CCP Teases about a Gate to the Stain Region as part of the EVE Online Foundation Quadrant

As mentioned in an article released on 1 April, the four Empires will also be embarking on projects to construct new stargates to their territory, and they will be asking the players for help to reshape the map of New Eden. So, you may want to keep your eyes peeled for some highly anticipated Gates coming this Quadrant.

EVE Online Foundation Quadrant Announcement

CCP announced that the next quadrant for EVE Online will be arriving shortly.  Dubbed “Foundation,” it is hinting at some strange things.

The Foundation Quadrant is Coming

That quote above is strangely portentous as the only thing that CCP posted on April 1st was the assumed April Fools joke about the long asked for low sec gate to the Stain region.

The April Fools Tease

That seemed almost cruel at the time, being something argued about for years by that point.  But now maybe it was a double reverse fool, where on April Fools an item that was obviously an attempt to fool turns out to be not a fool at all?

Of course, what I have quoted at the top doesn’t say that a low sec gate to the Stain region will be a thing, just that the empires will be building new stargates, so this could be a triple twist, a tease that is followed by hope only to turn out to be an even more cruel tease at the end.

However this works out, the Foundation Quadrant will be focused on the four main NPC empires of New Eden.

The usual NPC suspects

There will be a special trailer for each of the empires.

This also leads into the EVE Online 18th anniversary events and a new login event will kick off on Thursday of this week with the usual round of prizes for Alpha and Omega clones.

EVE Online becomes an adult I guess

There will also be the usual updates to the game with the announcement saying that there will be update to Pochven, the Triglavian region carved out of empire space by last year’s event and the possibility that reserve bank ESS keys might become available in some form, allowing players a way to access to the billions of ISK that has been locked up in them since CCP hit null sec (and then low sec) with the ESS and dynamic bounty nerf last November.

The first few updates arrived earlier today.  They include new hangar visuals in Jita 4-4 and a fully 3-D rendered Aura.

Most of the Triglavian gates in the Pochven have had their standing requirements removed, thus clearing a huge obstacle to anybody wanting to start of in the region.  Of course, some of those already farming the region are not best pleased at having their crabbing disturbed by strangers.

And structures can no longer be transferred from a Corp that has a negative wallet balance, which feels like a bit of a swipe at the Dronelands botting groups who have evade sanctions by just moving assets around in their alliances to carry on as before.

The Patch notes for today cover this and a few other items.

Defending Odd Allies in Stain

There was a ping prompting people to be ready on Tuesday night as a battle seemed to be brewing.  For one… as much of the was seems to happen in EUTZ… the time set was in a sweet spot for me, early evening my time, so I was logged in and ready to go when the fleets began forming up.

There were two fleets available immediately, Munnins under Elo Knight and Sacrileges with Asher Elias as the FC.  I always roll with Asher when I can, so I got into my fast clone, into a Guardian, into the fleet, and into the logi channel.

From there we moved out and headed south, using the Ansiblex network.

Sacs at an Ansiblex

When we ended up in XZ-SKZ in Period Basis I thought perhaps Legacy was making another push for the system.  But we did not linger there, turning instead to the CJF-1P gate and the Stain region.

We burned through Stain for a while, reaching a Fortizar with a titan sitting on it.  We did not having docking rights and could not tether, but the Avatar hanging there on tether next to us did not seem to mind our presence.  We were told to get in range.  The logi channel was confused for a moment, because you don’t cap chain on a structure… unless you can’t tether.  So the cap chain went up slowly as people figured out the situation.

We were then asked to temp blue a few groups, who happened to represent some of the Stain locals, like Pen is Out, Good Sax, and Ferrata Victrix, the latter standing out as a name that isn’t trying to be a sexual reference.

I had heard that we had been working with the Stain locals.  They are not our friends, but they really don’t like TEST for whatever reason and TEST has been returning that as they pass through Stain to attack us.  So we have been cooperating with them at times, and tonight we were with them.

The titan joined our fleet and bridged us off to our destination.

I just like to watch fleets bridge

There we landed on another Fortizar, this time in 4GQ-XQ, which did allow us to dock and tether, though people in the logi channel chained up because it was assumed we would not have rights.

The Fort also had a timer counting down.  This was our objective, defending the timer.

Timer counting down

I was kind of amused to see the name Against ALL Authorities.  We were fighting them down in Delve back in 2012.  I wasn’t aware they were still around, though I guess organizations rarely die in New Eden.

We hung around on the Fort for a while as the hostiles started showing up.  Much to our surprise, an Erebus appeared on their structure in system.  There was speculation as to whether they meant to jump or jumped instead of bridging.  But Asher, seeing a possible opportunity, warped us straight to the cyno and bubbles went up to hold the titan in place.

It was not to be.  The hostiles got their act together and started bridging in as we formed up.

Erebus in the mix

That turned into a brawl on their structure and things were pretty busy for a bit for logi as the two side started trading blows.  Things were happening fast yet slow… tidi was in full effect… so I was both in a hurry to lock people up who were broadcasting, yet often had a lot of time to look around while that was happening.

A Sac in the pack starts to explode

I was able to rep a few people, with my big save being Kappa Hutt, one of our boosters, who I caught with reps when he was well into structure.

All reps on Kappa

Things were complicated when we were hit by a cap bomb that drained everybody’s power.  Logi in the cap chain were able to keep going, but we were slowed down in getting out of the bubbles as most of the Sacrileges had their MWDs shut down.

Getting out of the bubbles

That meant apply cap to the Sacs that were falling behind.  There is a plan for that, but it took a while to get cap to them and everybody out of the bubble, at which point we disengaged and warped back to the Fortizar.

Our losses were not all that much, considering how deep we got into things.  We were able to tether up and repair while the Fort itself repaired.

The objective, saving the Fortizar timer, was accomplished.  But there were still almost 1,500 people in the system, and when some capitals dropped on grid with us, we ran out to see if we could grab something.

Caps on grid with us

That did not go our way as reinforcements arrived to support the caps.  Asher had us align out and warped us off, but there were bubbles up and not everybody got out, including both of my cap chain buddies, who were soon in pods.  I did, however, get reps on Kappa Hutt, who continued to attract fire as a booster.

We’re in warp and there is still a beam on him

From there it was back to the Fort.  The hostiles did not seem content to call it a night, so nobody was going home yet.  Tidi was still running high whenever we clashed and, me being me, I was in full graphics mode and was very happy to be running the 64-bit client given my memory usage.

The graph from the control-alt-shift-M readout

A Thanatos carrier landed not too far off the Fortizar.   We moved to meet it and it was quickly tackled and killed.  But a new brawl opened up at that point.  We were anchored up, but things started to go badly in the logi channel as hostiles warped in and started targeting us.  We shed almost all of our logi in fairly short order.  I was left in a capsule, ship destroyed, as the fight carried on.

In a pod as the fleet moves on

I dropped out of the chain channel, announced my demise in the logi channel, and then dropped fleet to keep from holding down warps to capsule speed.

There has been something of a prohibition on killing capsules at times in order to keep people from re-shipping and returning to battle quickly, which is the only reason I can explain the fact that I was left alone.  (We were far enough away that there was no way I was going to re-ship and return.)

With nothing else to do besides watch, I docked up and grabbed an Ibis.  I then undocked and started going after a few of the hostile ships that were close by.

Ibis on a rampage!

I was able to get in a few hits before somebody noticed and blapped me.  However, they once again left my pod alone.  So I motored back towards the Fort while my aggression timer counted down.  I was going to dock back up and do it again.

And then the person gunning the Fortizar turned on the point defense system and nuked my pod.  I suppose I should have tried to get out with my implants, but I was so far from home that it seemed unlikely.  Oh well.

At that point I was back in 1DQ1-A and could only listen on voice comms to what was going on.

The battle report shows we paid a price for winning that timer. (Alternate report if you like that other style.)

Battle Report Header

It wasn’t a complete wipe for us, but we clearly came out on the short side on the ISK war.  But the war goes on.

Addendum:

Some additional pictures from Lazlow Jones.

Opening Moves in the War

It was a busy day in null sec yesterday.  A lot happened.  There were a massive number of ships in motion.  Yet almost nothing of real consequence came to pass.

So it goes.

The day started full of promise.  There was a fireworks event planned at the Imperium’s main Keepstar in 1DQ1-A, with more than 1,700 people in system and fireworks going off all over, which was enough to drag you frame rate down into the low teens.

The Keepstar lit by fireworks

The firework effects are relatively small compared to the size of the structure, but the cumulative effect of them going of lit up the whole tableau.

I had to peek in on that via an alt, as a couple hours before that kicked off there was a ping from Asher Elias to Reavers that was too hard to pass up.

SUPER IMPORTANT. TORP BOMBERS UNDER TOM FLOOD, NEED AT LEAST 25 REAVERS FOR THIS. IF IT SUCEEDS YOU’RE HEROES FOREVER. USE REAVERS SIG COMMS

Special operations can be a treat.  I love a big fight and, frankly, I am happy enough just shooting structures when it comes down to it, but something out of the ordinary is always welcome.

So a pack of Reavers flew off… and almost messed up the mission when our first black ops battleship warped with us straight into a gate camp in 1DQ1-A and got popped along with a couple of bombers.  The fuel truck got through the gate with 8% left in structure and had to tether up on the other side to repair.

A replacement blops was found, a Marshall, which is an 8 billion ISK ship.  But it looks good and, as fit, it aligned and warped off faster than the bombers as we moved to our destination.

Our hot rod blops

We moved carefully, eventually setting up shop in a dead end system in Stain that would allow us to drop onto a range of systems where Legacy Coalition was expected to drop a new Keepstar.

This Keepstar was to be the new staging base for their invasion of Delve.  But we had eyes all over and watched likely freighters come and go, bridge this way and that, because they knew they were being watched and no doubt feared that we would crash the party when they decided to anchor the structure.  And our hope was no less than to drop on the freighter and blow it up as it prepared to disgorge the Keepstar.

We even knew the timing that they wanted to align with, as they wanted the Keepstar live and deployed to in time for their own 19:00 UTC state of the alliance meeting to announce the start of the war.  Since it takes 24 hours to online a Keepstar in your own territory, the window of opportunity was pretty clear.

But being watched made them dither.  Meanwhile, as time went on, more and more Imperium luminaries slipped out of 1DQ to join our fleet.  Most of the major alliance FCs and one of our CSM reps were cloaked up on the blops with us before the decision point came.  Some poor Russian kept asking us in local to leave and go back to Delve so he could carry on farming LP for Nirvana implants, but we never answer back in local.

As we sat there, the Meta Show kicked off, where The Mittani, who had been on coms with us a few times, taunted Vily, the CSM member and leader of Legacy Coalition, that we knew what he was up to, that we were in his head.  If we couldn’t kill the Keepstar, we would at least mess with them.

The likely candidate systems were being watched, but we only had so many eyes, and in the end, after hours of hustling around and PM’ing our lurkers to see if anybody would answer, they dropped the Keepstar quickly in FAT-6P, a few systems over from our foothold in Catch at 4-07MU.

The Foothold in Catch

We got a covert ops cyno in position, but there was enough going on in the target system that tidi was up and it took a bit for the bridge to go up.

The Marshall is ready to send us

But the cyno ship got popped before more than a few of us could get through.  I ended up stuck with the blops.  But that was okay, as there were not many of us and the Keepstar was already anchoring.  In their haste to get things going, rather than giving it a meme name, as TEST tends to do, they named it “1111,” which we took as a sign than we has indeed made them nervous.  It also wasn’t very carefully positioned.  When you lay down a structure you try to face the undock in a useful direction.

Not one of their usual clever names

Asher, who had been through to see the Keepstar only to have his Purifier popped, took a moment to ping out this to the coalition.

Congrats to Test for starting the anchoring if their non-aligned keepstar panic-named “1111”. They meant to start anchoring it 3 hours ago so it came out with their 19:00 SOTA but a few brave bomber boys kept them flummoxed and confused for 3 hours while they cyno’d around Stain and Catch trying to lose us. A great start to the war for them! Looking forward to their pilots waiting for 3 hours after their SOTA before they can do anything!

With that ping “1111” became the new battle cry as people at the fireworks party in 1DQ began to repeat that in local.

GIF of 1DQ local

Expect “1111” to come up a lot.  At least you’ll know where it came from now.

This Keepstar was placed in the buffer zone between Legacy and the Imperium, which was yet another violation of the Non-invasion pact between the two powers, but with only a few hours to go before it ended, it was hardly going to change anything.

We made out way back home, disappointed that we hadn’t gotten to kill the Keepstar, but happy enough to have had an impact.  I actually had to leave part way through the vigil on the blops to go fire up the BBQ and cook some lunch for my family.  I had enough time to do that, eat, and get back on the blops again before anything happened.  Sometimes we just sit and wait.

It was about time for the State of the Goonion.  The Mittani read a prepared speech, the text of which has been posted on INN, in which he announced that our own war aim was to destroy TEST Alliance Please Ignore, that they were to be the Carthage to our Rome.  An list of 102 alliance might arrayed against us, but we would have one real target.

And once that was over, the form up for war began.  TEST seemed to have some plan to start the war well into July 5th, but so far as we were concerned, if the NIP between the Imperium and Legacy was to end on a date, we were going to get started at 00:01 EVE Online time, so declined to wait around for them to have their SOTA or for their Keepstar to anchor.

This led to a series of clashes across the map.  Up north PandaFam came out of their staging in Hophip and into Fountain where they fought several engagements with The Initiative, which was watching that way into our space.

Meanwhile, down south, TEST seemed to be ready to form up for battle on the Period Basis/Paragon Soul border, where the systems TCAG-3 and G-M4GK form the connection between our territories.  This led to… not much at all.  I flew on down with the spec ops group in an ECM frigate, ready to cause trouble.

ECM birds flying

However, while a fight threatened to develop, with TEST forming up fleets, they would inevitably stand them down or leave them idle.  They did poke into Querious and manage to reinforce the Ansiblex in 49-U6U, and there was a brief clash as they came through into TCAG-3, but no huge brawl developed.  They seemed to still be on their own timetable, set to have a meeting at 19:00, move into the new Keepstar once it anchored, and then get on with the war.

So the opportunity was taken to go in and reinforce a bunch of their infrastructure hubs in Paragon Soul and a few more in Esotaria.

Systems with an orange boarder have been reinforced

We seem to have stolen a march on the invaders, though these are more morale points than anything tangible.  The first day of counting coup was fun, but made no real change to the situation.  We are still greatly outnumbered by foes who plan to assail us from multiple directions.  They will get their act together and come for us, sooner rather than later.

Getting Home from Oasa

The ping said that if we got in Cainun’s fleet fast, there was a chance of a big kill.  The call was for the armor T3 cruiser fleet doctrine, which features the Legion and Proteus strategic cruisers along with armor logi and support.  I happened to be at my desk at just the right moment to log in, get in fleet, get into my Oneiros and undock as we warped off to a titan to get bridged on our way.

Off we go, are we committed yet?

The bridge off the titan sent us to another system where a wormhole to Thera awaited us.  We formed up on the null sec side of the wormhole, waiting for the orders to go through.  The wormhole was not fresh and there was concern about how much mass we would be pushing through it.

To this end we were asked to go to our fitting window and offline the armor plates on our ships to reduce the mass going through the whole, though I admit that I did wonder how you can turn off something like an armor plate.  Armor isn’t like a shield, it doesn’t go away when you turn off the switch.  But I followed New Eden logic and set mine offline.

Lolling about at the first wormhole

Tackle was sent through first, and they zipped off to the exit whole in Thera, through, and off to catch up our intended target.  Then the call was for command ships and logi to go through the hole and into Thera.  After we were in successfully, the DPS ships were called to jump through.  That was enough to collapse the hole, though only about a dozen ships got left on the other side.  No wormhole adventure for them and they got to head home.  That still left over 200 ships in the fleet.

Once we were warped to the out hole in Thera, we followed the same routine.  Tackle had already gone through, so the call was for command ships and logi, with yet another follow up reminder to turn off armor plates in case somebody hadn’t done it when asked the previous dozen times.  Command ships and logi went through successfully, so the call went for DPS ships to make the transition.  About six DPS ships made it through before the hole collapsed.

That left us in something of an awkward position.  A small fleet consisting mostly of logi was now in 1-HDQ4 in the Oasa region, a long way from home, while more than 150 T3 cruisers were hanging about in Thera where the direct hole home had already closed and the hole to the target was no longer available to them either.  Those left in Thera docked up at one of the stations there.

Those of us stranded up in Oasa were told to start burning to KED-2O where an Imperium Caracal fleet, which had used the same holes before us, was already engaged.  They had killed a Rorqual up there and had a titan tackled.  So off we went with Thomas Lear now leading us.  Why not?  We were already there and didn’t have anyplace else to be.  But even as we closed in on the destination system, word came down the line that a titan kill wasn’t going to happen.  The defenders had been successful at blowing up any tackle and the big ship got away.

So there we were, up in Oasa, a long way from home, 33 ships made up of boosts, lots of logi, and a few DPS ships.  We were like the incarnation of old school WoW paladins in New Eden; we weren’t going to die, but neither was anything we rolled up on.  It was time to figure out how to get back to Delve.

As it turned out, there was another Thera wormhole about 20 jumps from our current location, over in The Vale of the Silent in 9-GBPD.  We just had to get there.  Getting there though, turned out to be a bit of a chore.  Going gate to gate for 20 jumps takes some time, but that got multiplied as we went through Russian space in Perrigen Falls.  The Russians have a habit of covering gates around their space with anchorable warp disruption bubbles.  Lots of them.

The gate inside the bubbles

So for a series of gates we ended up landing 60-90km off of a gate, slow boating with after burners lit to jump through, then slow boating on after burners out of the inevitable bubbles on the other side of the gate.

Out of the bubbles on the far side for another warp

The bubbles were all around the gates, so there was no sending somebody ahead for a perch around them, and we didn’t have enough DPS to blow them up as we went. (Though I think we did destroy a single small bubble as we motored to a gate, just out of boredom and anger more than anything else… launch logi whore drones!)

The bubbles probably didn’t cost us all that much extra time, but subjectively, having to motor on ABs felt like a long time.   Ironically, tomorrow’s patch is making a change to anchorable bubbles so that they decay and go away after a given amount of time, so this might be the last time we have to drag ourselves through a series of forever bubbles.  And if our trip felt like a long time to us, I am sure the rest of the fleet wasn’t happy about it either.

While we had been gating about the northeast of New Eden, the rest of the fleet had been hanging out in Thera just waiting for us to get back.  Jay, who was with us, started trying to get them to rise up against Cainun to get him to take them home rather than waiting for us.  I have to admit, keeping more than 160 people hanging about waiting for 30 or so of us had a lot going against it.  On the other hand, our detachment was made up of the boosters and logi pilots.  Everybody tells us we’re special… everybody who just wants to fly DPS and get kill mails… so I guess it was time for them to show us just how special we were.

We made it past the bubbles gates and finally arrived in 9-GBPD where B33R was sitting on the wormhole as a warp in.  We went through and found Cainun and the rest of the fleet sitting there waiting for us.

Back with the fleet in Thera… also, the only good Oneiros SKIN

Once we were all through and back into Thera, Cainun warped us to the out connection.  There, we had a plate check once again.  Then he called out four Guardians to stay behind before sending people through.  This hole was also questionable, but there was another Thera connection option if this one collapsed.  Cainun just wanted to be sure any fleet that had to take an alternate route had some logi support.

And he was correct, the whole did collapse before we all got through.  I was through and in the system I-ME3L in Stain.  That put us 23 jumps from home on a route through Period Basis, Delve, Fake Querious, and Delve again.

Down in Stain

Fortunately, there was only a single anchorable bubble on the route home, reported by our scout, and it was down before we even got to the system where it was.  We were able to gate home without incident.

All told, that was about a two hour adventure which took some of us on a multi-region tour the length of New Eden.

Our route, Blue for wormhole travel, Red for gate travel

You could certainly find systems more distant from each other than we hit, but Oasa to Period Basis does cover a lot of the breadth of New Eden.  And it also shows how handy wormholes can be and the hazards of them collapsing on you.

DSS-EZ – Facing Stiffer Resistance in Stain

I am a sucker for Jabber fleet formation messages that promise an imminent fight.  In fact, much of my time in null sec space has been Jabber driven.  I don’t spend much time just hanging around or sitting on gate camps, but a fleet call goes up on Jabber and I am at my desk and I am there.  I am sort of the null sec minute man, in a half-assed sort of way.

Anyway, as these posts tend to go, there was an alert on Jabber calling for a fleet with a fight imminent, your typical “go! go! go!” situation.

While the form up point was in F2OY-X, the starting point for most operations so far in the Delve War (or whatever we call it now that the actual fighting in Delve has tapered off), our first jump was to a system I suspect will become more and more important over time, 49-U6U.

49-U6U was a system that was at least contested by the SoCo, though it rolled over to Goonswarm back on the 10th.  It is an important system at the moment by virtue of having a station and being in Querious on the border with Catch.  That makes it a  natural staging point.

However, we were not going to Catch.  At least not for long.  We caught another titan jump bridge deep into catch, then burned along, gate to gate, into Stain, an NPC controlled section of null sec, where Gentleman’s Agreement has been putting up towers in an attempt to… I don’t know, really.

As usual, I am ignorant of the strategic objectives.  It could be to establish a foothold on another route into Catch to facilitate on upcoming invasion of the region.  Or it could be just a way to draw SoCo out into a fight.

If it is just the latter, it has been quite effective.  SoCo no doubt does not want another CFC/HBC foothold on the border of Catch, so they come out to play.  And so that was where we headed as well.

This is actually another new section of space for me.

Southwest Systems Map

On the map above, you can see Delve and Querious, marked with little yellow dots.  Those represent systems I have visited in the last two weeks, the dots growing and changing color as my activity in the area goes on.  You can compare that with high security space at the top of the picture.  Those systems I have visited many more times during my years in the game.  And Delve and Catch have no dots, because I had not been there.

We rolled into Stain only to catch another titan bridge that put us deeper into the region as a blocking force.  We then began moving back towards the system in contention, DSS-EZ, acting as something of a blocking force.  We were following a SoCo fleet, trying to catch it before it got to DSS-EZ I would imagine.  We did catch one Rokh on a gate in X1E-OQ, but that was our only real contact with the enemy fleet until we arrived back in DSS-EZ.

Once back there, we were confronted with the SoCo fleet, which was heavy on Rokhs and had two Thanatos carriers in support, pretty much right there on the gate.  It was then time to jockey for position.  DBRB burned us away from the hostiles, as we came through within range of some of their long range units but outside of our own missile envelope.

Drake fleet turning to increase the range

DBRB pulled us far enough away that we could do a short warp into their midst, and then the fight was on.

The way most battles look at a distance

We seemed to be doing very well initially.  We were able to knock down a couple of their recon ships, some of their Rohks, and best of all, first one then two of the carriers went down.  Those are nice, high value targets.

Thanatos on the field

Our own losses seemed to be quite minimal for a stretch, but then SoCo got its act together and began popping Drakes.

You can often tell when a fight is not going your way just by the change in tone on voice coms.  The logistics pilots began to growl on coms about the Drake pilots not calling for reps soon enough, the logi pilot theory being that the smart bombs that were hitting us could only be killing Drakes if the Drake pilots were absolute morons.

However, what was really happening was that the Rokhs were coordinating their attacks and killing off Drakes in a single volley.  Shortly after the carriers went down, I got primaried and blown up, with almost no transition time between first hit and me sitting in a pod.  There was no watching shields break and armor get stripped away.  I happened to be looking at the control to check my ammo when it happened, and it was more a matter of “hey, where did my modules go?”

Life in the danger zone.

Once in a pod I was left alone, but I could see people in fleet chat typing in “-1 Drake” as they got popped.  I moved out of the bubble and set my destination for our starting point, F2OY-X, which was 27 jumps away through hostile territory.  My options, however, were limited.  I could hang around at a safe spot and wait for the fleet to withdraw or I could try to get somewhere I could get another ship and be ready to come back if there were to be reinforcements.

I started off towards home.  I didn’t think I would make it.  27 jumps through null sec pretty much guarantees you will run into a gate camp at some point.  And, sure enough, I went through a gate and ended up in a bubble in X4-WL0.  I broke cloak, said hello, and asked to be sent home please.  I think that gave them a moment of pause, as they locked me up pretty quick, but then took a minute to actually kill me.  I was still in their bubble when they did, though I had been moving out on the off chance they might think flying back in a pod was worse punishment than buying a new clone.  They opted for the kill.

And so I was back in Delve where I found no Drakes available for sale on contract.  Well, none in the vicinity and certainly none that were fit to Drake fleet doctrine specs.  But the fleet was pulling back in any case.  There was to be no reinforcement fleet.

The kill board results for the ongoing battle in DSS-EZ, which actually isn’t that screwed up this time around (only a few people showing up on both sides of the fight, shows a fairly even fight.  We were slightly outnumbered overall, though it is hard to tell who was there at what time.  SoCo won on total kills and on the ISK front, losing 16 billion to our 21 billion.  And they knocked out the towers that Gents were setting up.

So a tactical victory for SoCo.

But on the scale of the ongoing war, the CFC/HBC wins in the long run with these sorts of exchanges.  The resources available to be committed will allow us to grind down SoCo over time.  SoCo needs to win big in these sorts of battles to push back the barbarians at their gate.