Tag Archives: Stain

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.