Tag Archives: Tenal

Visions from the War in the North

Deklein, shit. I’m still only in Deklein.

Every time I think I’m going to wake up back in Venal.  When I was home after Branch, it was worse.  When I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the fight.

I’ve been here a week now. Waiting for a mission, getting softer.  Every minute I stay docked I get weaker. And every minute Black Legion squats on a gate camp they get stronger.  Each time I look around, Local looks a little more crowded.

Everyone gets everything they want. I wanted a fleet op, and for my sins  they gave me  one. Brought it up to me like room service. ”

-Fleet Commander Willard, before his last op in Venal

It was December 18, 2011 when I joined the BSC Legion, a corporation in the TNT Alliance.  By the next day I was in a fleet, in Branch, helping to prosecute the war against White Noise.  The war in the north of null sec had begun, and I was there.

The North, December 18th, 2011

When Branch was overrun, the North seemed quiet.  We thought there would be peace.  But the war had only slowed down temporarily.  It still festered along the border between Branch and Tenal, with Raiden and the CFC prodding each other.

Then, at FanFest, it flared up.  The seeming weakness of The Mittani emboldened our foes.

The war flared with a renewed fury.  We convoyed to our forward base at CS-ZDG and began operations to beat down the enemy.  After a fierce weekend of fleet engagements the enemy’s will to resist broke.  Raiden began to evacuate Tenal and the systems in the region changed sovereignty rapidly.

Then came the punitive expedition in Venal against the Northern Coalition, who had broken a treaty to come assist Raiden against the CFC.  Then tech moons in Venal were to be the price of their actions.

We must kill them. We must incinerate them. Ship after ship, pod after pod, tower after tower, fleet after fleet. And they call me a griefer. What do you call it when the griefers accuse the griefer? They lie… they lie and we have to be merciful for those who lie. Those nabobs. I hate them. How I hate them..

-The Mittani, speaking on the Northenrn Coalition expedition (paraphrased)

We formed up and plunged into the region in force.  The struggle in Venal was costly.  We lost battles, though we kept to our objectives and took moons.  Despite losses, fleet ops were organized and run every night.  Last night I came home expecting to be in another large formation headed into Venal.

Instead, I found a message waiting for me.

It said the war was over.

The North, April 19, 2012

Diplomatic negotiations between the alliances had come to an accord.  Fleet operations were cancelled.  Convoys from our forward deployment were being organized.  We were going back to our home systems.

But I still have visions of the war.

Direct link to the video here.  Sorry it won’t play on mobile devices, but the rights management associated with the music turn off that ability.

Hey, man, you don’t talk to Dabigredboat. You listen to him. The man’s enlarged my mind. He’s a poet-warrior in the classic sense. I mean sometimes he’ll, uh, well, you’ll say hello to him, right? And he’ll just fly right by you, and he won’t even notice you. And suddenly he’ll call you out, and he’ll say “Do you know that ‘if’ is the middle word in life?” And then he will start in about people’s mothers — I mean I’m no, I can’t — I’m a little man, I’m a little  man, he’s, he’s a great man. I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas…

-A new guy, after a six hour Boat fleet

Now, four months later, the war appears to be over.  Convoys are bringing ships home.  I am back in Deklein.

Maybe it is time to get that Hulk out… that Hulk I had shipped to null sec all those months ago.  Mineral prices should be going up soon.

The Ongoing War in Regions Which Rhyme with “Penal”

When you are building a throne out of the skulls of your enemies, you don’t stop when it is “pretty good.”

-Paraphrased from some forum posts somewhere

The conquest of Tenal by the CFC is complete.  Raiden is out and all systems in the region bar one belong to the RAZOR Alliance now.  And that one system, EOY-BG, is controlled by Goonswarm.

Over at EVE News 24, Riverini got back from vacation and finally posted the news that Tenal had changed hands.

Of course, the news of the fall of Tenal got the usual responses.  I was waiting for that post to hit just to read the comment thread.  Pro-Raiden comments tended to follow several of the responses I charted out last week, generally going with:

  • #2 – Complain About Battle Conditions – Damn Goon blobs
  • #3 – Reveal Your Foe as a Coward – Goons won’t fight unless the odds are good
  • #5 – Blame CCP – Fighting in 10% TiDi sucks
  • #9 – Claim the Battle Did Not Matter – Didn’t want that region anyway

Nothing unexpected there, just mildly amusing in a predictable sort of way.

Riverini also speculated as to where the barbarian hordes of the CFC might strike next.  The title of the EVE News 24 post specifically calls out the Tribute region as a possible CFC target.  This is where Northern Coalition (the alliance, not to be confused with The Northern Coalition, an old group of alliances in the north) lives, and they are a target because they threw in with Raiden during the FanFest drive on the CFC.  That certainly looks like a bad move, given how quickly Raiden gave up.  And now they are sitting there right on the southern flank of the CFC, probably feeling rather exposed, with Raiden behind them all the way I am sure.

CFC and Northern Coalition

But somebody sent Riverini some intel, an alleged CFC directive, that reveals a different plan for dealing with Northern Coalition.

Tenal down in a week. Now what?

Venal.

While we were at Fanfest, NCdot violated a six month+ treaty with us; they SBU’d BKG, dropped supercaps in Tenal, and promptly lost three Titans to us. We haven’t acted against NCdot despite them flinging our longstanding gentleman’s agreement in our faces, because our focus on Tenal required singlemindedness. Tenal is ours now – it is time for vengeance.

We will take NCdot’s Venal moons and distribute them among the coalition; there are 20+ on offer, a staggering amount of money (which is all the more reason why I’m surprised/amused that NCdot violated the agreement; we have only a handful of Venal techs, so they gained much more from the peace we did). While we do this, we remain in CS-. Once this act of retribution is completed, we will return to VFK and turn our focus towards Jita – no, we’re not invading Tribute.

CS-. One more week. 20+ tech moons. Let’s get paid.

Note for spergs: PL and GSF have had a completely successful agreement, and we will of course abide by it and not be hitting any PL moons in Venal, because you’d have to be retarded and/or NCdot to toss such a profitable arrangement out the window for nothing.

That certainly sounds like The Mittani.  So we’re not going to march into Tribute, but muck about in Venal.

Venal seems an odd region in terms of null sec, at least it did when I first noticed it was null sec.  It sits in the middle of several regions owned by warring alliances, yet appears unclaimed on the sovereignty maps.

Venal in the middle

It is actually owned, in terms of sovereignty, by the Guristas, and NPC organization.

NPC organizations owning chunks of null sec isn’t that unusual.  Bits of some other null sec regions, like Pure Blind, as well as other full regions, such as Curse and Stain, are controlled by NPCs.  But when you aren’t part of null sec, and only know what you see on things like the sovereignty maps, you might not get what is really going on.  I know I didn’t.  Now I do.  And so do you!

Anyway, this Gurista enclave in the midst of warring factions becomes something of a proxy battle ground.  It is the wild west in the midst of the wild west.  That little purple dot that represents my own little home in null sec is right near the border with Venal, and it is the place where enemy fleets often appear. (Though they seem to pass on by and head to VFK more often than not.)  So it is a place of conflict.

But it does have some valuable assets, such as moons to be mined for their valuable raw materials, including the ever popular technetium, the most valuable moon goo of all.

So it seems the fight will be on this week to take some of those moons away from Northern Coalition.

The Return of the RAZOR Alliance to Tenal

My desire to see more fleet actions during the war in Tenal this past weekend was a futile hope.

Friday morning, the map of Tenal looked like this.

Tenal - April 6

And now, on Monday morning, it looks like this.

Tenal - April 9

And in between I was able to get in on a single Tenal fleet on Friday night, and all we did was go out and put an infrastructure hub into reinforce mode so it could be blown up 24 hours later.  That mission wasn’t even worth a post.  The screen shots I took will probably end up on EVE Online Pictures.

No epic battles with thousands of ships and time dilation in play.  The sovereignty map for today shows RAZOR Alliance pretty much in control of Tenal, with Raiden down in the Vale of the Silent, an appropriate place I suppose given how little they did in the war over the last week.

Of course, there is a story behind all of this.  That is the lore of EVE Online, the stories of what the players did.

Unfortunately, I don’t know the story, or not in any detail, and there are NPCs out there to intone it to me, guiding me through the lore with a series of quests and cut scenes.  It is like the stories in any city of moderate size, you only know the ones with which you are directly involved and maybe a few more you have heard from friends.

Still, there are enough resources out there that I can piece together bits of it.

Pictures follow after the break.

Continue reading

Waiting for More Battles in Tenal

The war of conquest in Tenal began just over a week ago.

Raiden and its allies lashed out at the CFC, making an effort during the FanFest uproar to press hard.  This lead to a declaration that the war in Tenal would go from a low intensity conflict to a full scale invasion.

Convoys of ships and supplies began to move out of Deklein for the frontier staging point between the Branch and Tenal regions, while Raiden tried to eliminate the small footholds that had already been established in Tenal by the CFC.  A week ago the situation in Tenal looked like this.

Western Tenal – March 29

The weekend kicked off with some big battles.  On Friday afternoon (my time) there was the epic battle Q1U-IU… with its associated time dilation issues.

Q1U-IU once we got there

Battles went on.  I did not get in on anything on Saturday, but the Jabber feed was active with fleets being assembled and operations being run.  But the fights seemed to taper off.  After one big effort, Raiden seemed to fade, so that a week later, the situation in Tenal looks like this. (Map taken from Dotlan EVE Maps.)

Tenal – April 6

In that picture, the pink-ish color is Raiden, yellow is Razor Alliance (a CFC member), while the two green patches are Goonswarm and Intrepid Crossing, each of which has a system to facilitate operations in the region.  So the CFC has gone from 5 to 26 systems in the last week.

Accompanying that change, instead of battle reports on EVE News 24, all I have been seeing is unopposed fleet ops and videos like this one of a Raiden territorial claim unit being destroyed. (A little smoother camera motion next time please!)

[Whoops, video is no longer available!]

And the only action I have seen in the last week was when Pandemic Legion, with CSM member Elise Randolph leading them, showed up in VFK looking for a fight and it took us an hour to get something together because most everybody wasn’t just AFK was up in Tenal. (PL, please note our forwarded address next time.)  At least I got on the kill boards for April.  One battlecruiser down.

Still, while the last few days seem to have gone totally the way of the CFC in Tenal, this weekend is Easter and next is Orthodox Easter.  At least in the US, a lot of schools are closed during the week between.

This might be the time for the epic struggle over Tenal to reach its climax.

Or it might be the point when the CFC washes over Tenal, finishing the job.

We shall see.

Convoys and SBUs in Tenal

The forward deployment for the Tenal campaign continues.  It takes some time to get a group of alliances that consists of hundreds of people to pack up their suitcases and head to the far edge of our territory.

I was lucky.  I happened to have left a Drake only a few jumps away from our forward deployment point after an op a few days back.  It sounded, even then, like we might still be doing things up in Tenal to support Razor and the few systems they had grabbed in the region.  So I used a jump clone to get back to home turf, leaving the clone and the ship to wait for my return.

Western Tenal - March 29

Well, the war has been heating up.  As I mentioned, Raiden and its allies stepped up the pressure on the CFC, hoping to find us confused and demoralized after the events surrounding The Mittani and the Alliance Panel.

Part of that pressure was an attempt to reclaim the few systems in the Tenal region we had grabbed.  And that meant dropping Sovereignty Blockade Units in those systems so that they could be contested and captured.

This is an SBU

Just to show how things go around, I was part of the screening operation that covered Razor when they planted SBUs in these systems to take them from Raiden in the first place.  Now it was our turn to do what Raiden failed to do, destroy the SBUs.

There was a fleet announcement on Jabber while I was already on and figuring out what else I needed to bring out to forward deployment, so I figured I would see if I could tag along.  Despite being a call for an Alpha Fleet, which means Maelstroms, I joined with my Drake.  Nobody seemed to mind.  Everybody was still getting ships moved out.

I undocked at the forward deployment base, where there was clearly something going on.  A fleet of CFC carriers were there repping the station.  I am not sure what that meant, but it was more carriers that I have probably ever seen at once, so I took pictures.

Carriers repping the station

From there it was a jump out to a POS where a titan was waiting to bridge us out.  Jokes were made on coms because poor Zarks had lost a brand new titan earlier in the evening when, in attempting to open up a jump bridge to a cyno deep in hostile territory, he instead hit the wrong button and jumped the titan there.  And then hilarity ensured… for somebody.

Our titan driver was more careful and opened up the jump bridge to send us on our way.

Jump bridge open

Out in Tenal we set about blowing up SBUs.  I now have three SBUs on my kill detail for March.

Shooting a stationary object

SBUs are durable, but a hundred or so ships laying into one will take it down eventually.

When we completed that, there was a sudden call to get back down to VFK.  A hostile fleet was going to go after one of the towers that was coming out of reinforce.  We headed back to forward deployment as quickly as we could.  Dabigredboat (DBRB) told anybody who had a jump clone to jump to VFK or the vicinity and get in an alpha fleet ship.

I was actually ready for this.  I had a jump clone in VFK.  I was cleared to jump as my timer had already run down and I had my Maelstrom sitting in VFK.

DBRB had us switch fleets to the Alpha Fleet in VFK, told those of us who could to clone jump, to the rest to burn to VFK as fast as possible… and then said stop.  And then said go.  And then waited a few minutes and said hold up and then never mind and then called a stop to the whole operation.  The tower was already down.

At which point I and a lot of people were already in VFK.  So DBRB jumped to VFK himself and the open turned into a convoy to get more ships back up to our forward deployment.  I installed a new jump clone in VFK so I could jump back again at need.  They are relatively cheap and I can always destroy one if I use up my allotment. (The number you get is based on a skill, and I think I get 5 jump clones at where I am trained.)  I stayed in my Maelstrom, thinking that an Alpha Fleet ship would be the best thing to bring to the forward deployment next.

Maelstrom traveling to Tenal

At about this time The Mittani showed up on coms to talk about the war, Fan Fest, his getting banned, and other things people asked about.  This went on for a bit and then, to give us some entertainment for what looked to be a boring convoy op, Mittens agreed to tell a story from days past in EVE Online.

Story time is part of the great oral tradition of the Goons that brings players new and old into the history and traditions of the alliance.  It is part of their strength, that they immerse themselves in their history and bring new members along with them.  In fact, we had a new player, just two days into the game, on coms and in the fleet. (And, in the DBRB fleet tradition, he requested people send the new guy ISK, so suddenly he was very rich by his own measure.  100 million ISK is huge when you are new.  I feel like am I poor when I get down to a billion ISK these days.)

And then we ran into a gate camp.  We were spread out, traveling more as a stream than a convoy, as gates had been declared green all the way.  A Maelstrom got tackled in one system and there were a few reds in another system and people were trying to coordinate a response which was hindered by the fact that Mittens was telling his story and we could not get him to shut up.

The immediate theory was that he had recorded all these old stories and, when asked to tell one, would turn on the recording and walk away.  This was given credence by the fact that he seemed to press on with his tale without change of tone or pace no matter what was said on coms.

Eventually somebody pinged him by another method and it came out that with his new microphone setup he had accidentally turned off the sound and so thought he was telling the story to a silent and attentive audience.  There is a metaphor in that somewhere I am sure.

That got straightened out, people were rescued, the fleet arrived, and Mittens pondered the idea of actually recording these stories to be played on demand for story time.  Goons on Tape.

And so I got my Maelstrom and a load of ammo to the forward deploy.  Logistics in EVE… the actual moving crap around, not the cruisers… can be a bitch.  I still have a Hurricane I should bring out if we need a welp fleet, a back up Drake I should probably have on hand, and a Scimitar which I still have to figure out how to fly, but which I now have the minimum skills for to fly in fleet.

But we’re in for the long haul, so there will be time.

Tenal and the Law of the Jungle

“Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky;
And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back;
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”

-Rudyard Kipling, from The Jungle Book

The banning of The Mittani from EVE for 30 days, and the casting him out of the CSM, has emboldened the foes of the CFC.

They are hoping to find us demoralized, angry at CCP, rage quitting, or in an otherwise weakened state.

Such is the law of the jungle, which is the law of null sec.  When the enemy seems weak, you attack.

The border between Branch and Tenal has been a festering sore for a while now, with the CFC making some inroads into Raiden territory.  But it hasn’t really been a war, not like the crusade into Branch that saw the demise of White Noise.

White Noise was another alliance that looked weak and thus suffered.  They have disappeared completely from the map, its erstwhile allies dividing up its remaining footholds in null sec.

Sov. Map - 3/28/2012 - No White Noise here

In their boldness, the enemies of the CFC struck and put many stations into reinforcement, hoping that they would be easy targets, hoping they could further weaken an enemy they were hoping would shrink before them.

And then there was the State of the Goonion.  And The Mittani declared that we would go to Tenal, that we would show our enemies that we were not weak.

While some joined the fleets to defend the stations whose timers were running down, others went with the convoys bringing ships and supplies to forward deployments in preparation for operations in Tenal.  The Goonswarm delivery service (we have our own FedEx, complete with a shipment tracking page) opened up new routes to support this deployment, and started running those routes.  I had stuff delivered within a few hours of the end of The Mittani’s address.

Archons at the forward deployment

War has come, as it must.  Our enemies think us weak and so we must prove we are strong.

And we are strong, with our friends and allies deploying along side us.

The Mittani’s 30 day exile from EVE is shaping up to be an interesting time.

April should be a lot of fun.

Hunting Abaddons in Tenal

A call went out over Jabber for a Drake fleet.  Then another one a bit later.  And then one in all caps, because Dabigredboat was apparently not getting enough people interested in his Drake Fleet op.

At that point I was sitting in front of the computer and decided that if we were short, I ought to log in and help out.

So I launched EVE and was reminded it was patch day.

Patching happened.  And then a follow up client patch went through.  And then, finally, I was able to log in, maybe 15 minutes after I set out.

I got in the fleet, I got on Mumble for audio coms, and found I was way behind.  I was sitting in VFK still while Boat and the fleet were way out at the far end of Branch and ready to enter Tenal.  That was maybe 25 jumps by gates, and still nearly a dozen with jump bridges.  And each transition takes time.

It was time to burn.  Throwing caution to the wind, I just drove my Drake out there as fast as I could.  I actually ran into two neutrals sitting at one of the gates, but they didn’t bother me and I did not bother them.  Meanwhile Boat was badgering people on coms to catch up and asking how far out we were.  I x’d up as being 8 jumps out, which put me far behind the next person ahead of me.

And yet I got there in time for the fight.  Which is sometimes how these things work out.

I made it to the system.  The operation was to protect a tower that one of the CFC alliances had placed 3DR-CR, a system in Tenal which puts it right in Raiden’s front yard.  In fact, looking at today’s map of Tenal, the Razor Alliance, part of the CFC, has been encroaching in Tenal and taking systems.

Western Tenal - March 14

Unfortunately, when the tower came out of reinforcement mode, Raiden and their allies were able to take it out, a loss Boat took rather personally.

We were able to knock out a a few ships, including a pair of carriers, which helped tip the ISK balance our way, though we lost more ships, the control tower, and all of the supporting structures.  More work to be done replacing that.

Drake Fleet in action in Tenal

After that, Boat was pretty determined to hunt down the fleet that did it.  There was a fleet of Abaddons, an Amarr battleship that is popular in some null sec alliances the way the Maelstrom is with the CFC, that was rattling around in the system with us.  That was our goal.

After some jumping back and forth between systems in an attempt to head them off, we had a bit of luck.

Drake Fleet drops on the Abaddons

The picture above is one of those in the category of “priceless.”

That is the Drake fleet warping in right on top of the Abaddons.  If you look at the full picture, and know your ships, you can see an Onyx heavy interdictor in the picture.  We were able to put up bubbles and catch a good chunk of the Abaddon fleet.  The kill mail tells the tale.

A bunch got away, but we were able to knock down 17 Abaddons along with some of their support ships, putting both the number of kills and the ISK total well in our favor.

After that, we continued to chase down the rest of the Abaddon fleet, but they holed up in a station a few systems over and would not come out to play.

Sitting on another bubbled station

We sat on the station for a while to see if they would come out or if another fleet would come to rescue them, as happened last Friday.  But it was not to be.  Eventually we pulled back into Branch again to consolidate with reinforcements and to coordinate further operations.  More towers were coming out of reinforcement, so ops were planned for well into the evening.

By that point though I had already been in game for over two hours, which is kind of a long time for me on a week night, so I dropped fleet and headed to the nearest friendly station to log off.

Still, it was a good night with some interesting action along with the usual amount of inaction.  We got to hear great detail about Boat’s dinner, which included ribs last night.  The ribs were so tender that Boat reported that when he picked one up, the meat literally fell right off the bone.  These are the important details on coms when nothing else is going on.  Then he had us all watch a video on YouTube of some Russians maiming themselves by rolling down a hill inside of a big wooden cable spool.  The spool gets the last word.

And we heard a pilot, whose name I have since forgotten, on coms from Nevis (EVE has pilots from everywhere) who has such a clear and perfectly toned Eastern Caribbean accent that he clearly missed his calling doing the voice work for those “Come back to Jamaica” commercials.  You might be too young to remember those.

Also, I want to shout out to Aleph Gideon, a pilot in the fleet channel who saw one of my few messages and said he liked the blog.  Thanks man!

So, as I always say, the war goes on.  The one other big topic in coms was the upcoming nerf to Titans, the details of which were posted in the forums and were reprinted over at Jester’s Trek.  It will be interesting to see how this change affects the war when in is introduced at some point in April.

Addendum: EVE 24 News has a Raiden view of the war up.  They aren’t losing ground so much as shortening internal lines of supply… or something.