Tag Archives: TEST

Escalating Battle Sizes in Fade

Asher always warns us to not talk to much about our deployments while they are in progress.  Talking about them… especially on Reddit… brings attention to the fact that there are decent, small scale fights happening somewhere in null sec regularly which gets other people to considering flying over to join in on the fun.  Then things escalate as more people show up and sooner or later you’re back to time dilation sized fights, which are fun once in a while but not something you want to face every night.

So our deployment up into Pure Blind to hound Pandemic Horde and Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t get a lot of mention for a while.  We’ve been up there since November and for most of that time we’ve done our thing with small fleets, occasionally teaming up with TNT, who have a had a fun times deployment like our own going in Lonetrek, but mostly keeping things light.  We prod the locals, drop on their ratters and miners, and dock up when things get too hot for our band.

Then Pandemic Horde moved to Geminate and Guardians of the Galaxy started coming apart under the pressure of our presence, pulling back from trying to camp us, letting us drop structures in their staging, and letting us get away with things an organization that size ought to be able to stomp on given their local capital and super capital dominance.  One of their FCs quit the game while a number of high level defections hit their moral, while some of their internal reactions embarrassed them in public, all of which was documented over on the /r/eve section of Reddit.

Anyway, enough preamble.  GotG’s leader Sort Dragon is back from vacation and knows he is facing a crisis that requires the coalition to stand up and win some fights, while all of this passing through Reddit means that more outsiders will be showing up for battles.

And so it was last night.  One of the Raitaru’s we had anchored on grid with their Keepstar in DO6H-Q was in its final timer and GotG was keen to kill it.  Removing us from line of sight of their staging point would be a good start towards boosting moral.

The Raitaru in question as seen from the Darkness Keepstar

To make sure that they won GotG enlisted the help of their allies NCDot, Mercenary Coalition, and Pandemic Horde for the fight.

At our end Asher was pinging about a big fight to get as many of us on as well as getting the TNT deployment to come over and join us.  In addition TEST, stepping beyond just watching and spamming local in DO6H-Q, brought over a fleet to help us.  We also got a fleet of Jackdaws from Federation Uprising (FEDUP), a faction warfare group that took some space in Cloud Ring on a lark a while back in September and are still there more than six months later. (Kirith Kodachi is part of FEDUP.)

At our end we formed up with the TNT group and were bridged up into Fade to get into position.

Bridging into Fade yet again

There we hung out on the Raitaru with TEST, led by Vily, who once long ago was an FC for the CFC.  They had brought a Cerberus fleet.

Vily in his command ship

There we watched the enemy form.  GotG was forming up a Loki fleet with Hendrink Collie as the FC, flying one of the new Monitor FC ships.  That was the first one I had seen on the live server.

Hendrinks new ride

GotG also had carriers out and were sending fighters towards the Raitaru as the timer counted down.  Also on the field were NCDot in Cerbs, MC in Feroxes, and PH in Jackdaws.

The timer was already in play and the fighters were slow boating towards it before anything happened.  It was not obvious as to whether or not the fighters would get there in time to hit the Raitaru when Asher had the Ishtars spread out around the structure, drop sentry drones, and then led us off tether and into combat.

The Ishtar Train speeds along

Our formation was pretty simple.  We all follow Asher with prop modules on.  The Ishtars shoot the targets called, the support ships bubble, boost, paint, or apply ewar, and the logi tries to keep up with calls for reps.  As with the last fight, life in the logi channel was very busy right off the bat as the enemy tried to trim us back so they could kill off the Ishtars.

That was also when things began to slow down.  Time dilation began to rear its ugly head, so what seemed like a long and busy fight from my own subjective view did not last too long in game time as it was moving at about 20% of normal.  More than a thousand people in local will do that.

Popular Fight

We seemed to be fixed mostly on the Loki fleet which was following Hendrink around in a tight ball.

Monitor and Lokis

They had an advantage on their side.  Being in their staging system they could replace losses very quickly and more than once I heard a target called that we had blown up once already.

A Loki going, only to return again

Our losses ended up jumps away in our staging system with a hazardous path back to the fight.  However our Ishtar fleet was big enough this time around to take down Lokis while we hand substantially more logi than last time so were able to save many ships.  In this the tidi helped with that.  When the game is moving slowly it becomes easier to lock up and get reps on people because the pace becomes leisurely.  The only frustration is that it does take time for modules to spin down, so it can feel like you’re not going to get reps on somebody in time.  But we did pretty well, saving people deep in armor (or sometimes in structure) before they blew up.

The haze of the cap chain and reps in the battle

Meanwhile we kept in contact with the Loki fleet, chipping away at them.

Inside the Loki ball

At one point GotG dropped an Apostle force auxiliary on grid with us and the Raitaru to help rep the Loki fleet.  This became a priority target and was blown up before too long.

The Apostle coming apart

Somewhere along the line I had launched the Warrior IIs in my drone bay and then lost track of them.  They were likely done in by smart bombs in the Loki fleet.  But that meant not having anything to send towards the Apostle to get on that kill.  Ah well.

Meanwhile I am not sure how much the fax helped GotG.  Their fleet zoomed by the wreck not long after the Apostle was lost.

Lokis near the Apostle wreck

As this was all going on the fighters from the carriers had arrived on the Raitaru with about a minute left on its timer and were able to stop it as they chewed away at its structure.

The Raitaru in the middle of all of this

There came a moment of decision.  There was a mass of fighters on the Raitaru.  We could try to shoot them and maybe save the citadel, though it was not certain we could do it, or we could shoot GotG ships some more.  Asher opted for the latter and among the eventual victims was Hendrink Collie’s Monitor, aptly named, “Asher NOOOOOOOOO.”

Target the Monitor

That was the first Monitor kill for almost everybody though again, having lost my drones somewhere, I missed out.

By that point the Raitaru had exploded, fighters were being recalled, and our reason for being there had expired.  It was time to go.  Asher sent the Ishtars off to scoop up their drones, sentry drones being stationary, long range models.  That actually led to a series of Ishtar losses.  There were still hostiles on grid with us and they started picking off lone Ishtars.  They would broadcast for armor but were mostly out of range of reps and sometimes out of lock range, so we took some last minute losses that might have been avoided.  Nothing like being on top of broadcasts for a long stretch and then getting a string where you can’t help.

We then headed out, keeping together so as to prevent stragglers from being picked off.  The tidi outside of DO6H-Q was worse than inside the system as several fleets pushed through gates.  Asher told us we needed to get back to our staging and reload drones as there was another objective to hit.  But by the time we got back to the station that event had already played out and we were done for the night.

On the GotG side of things they managed to complete their main objective in DO6H-Q.  They destroyed the Raitaru in question and another without any resistance.  The battle report shows they paid a price for that objective.

Battle Report Header

The ISK war clearly went in our favor.

Furthermore, as Asher notes in his after action report post on Reddit, while this was going on other forces were able to go out and kill a Tatara and an Athanor, so you can understand why we might feel pretty good about how the night turned out. (Also his AAR explains the broader fight as opposed to my narrow logi view.)

There is also a video of the fight up on YouTube now that shows a few items I mentioned above.

And a thousand ships is a sizable fight.  It seems like we might be past the time of 60-80 person fleets going out for objectives.  The fights are growing in size as the nature of the conflict escalates for GotG into a need to prove they can defend their own space.

 Addendum: Another video of the fight, this one with some of our coms, including bad puns.

Flip That Keepstar and Changes in Impass

Word came down as we sat on the former Circle of Two Keepstar in 68FT-6 that it would be changing owners again.  A deal had been negotiated wherein TEST would be buying the citadel from us.  Soon Middle Management Dino was floating between the uprights of the Keepstar.

The TEST logo flying proudly

It had been reported previously that The Judge had received 300 billion ISK to transfer the Keepstar to GSF, and the rumor going about was that TEST bought it yesterday for 400 billion ISK.  Despite the markup that is still a pretty good price for a fully fitted, lightly used (never been besieged!) Keepstar.  Look the price at which zKillboard valued a recent Keepstar kill.

The name remains the same for now.

Keepstar still bubbled

Meanwhile, some diligent camper brought in some more small bubbles and rebuilt the “LOL” in space above the citadel.

Bubble arrangement

Somebody on coms said that the shaft of the dong also had to be recreated as it had also been built out of tech I warp disruption bubbles, which only last for 48 hours.  (Bubble decay came in with the YC119.3 update.  Before then they lasted until somebody shot them.)

Selling the Keepstar at least answers my question about what we were planning to do with it.  We weren’t going to keep it here in Impass, which will soon be hostile to us again, and packing it up to ship it back to Delve invites a gank attempt.  Now what to do with it is TEST’s problem.

And speaking of problems, the camp itself is becoming a bit of one.  As time goes on more and more of the CO2 groups are leaving that alliance and joining one of the others that we are temp blue with.  So in addition to the people moving into Impass, some of which are temp blue and some of which are not, we have corps in transition, having left CO2 but in the cool down before they can join TEST or Brave or whoever.  So there were many moments where there seemed to be a target… like when a Capital Fusion Naglfar undocked… only to find they were tethered because they were pledged to TEST but not yet in the alliance.

The dismantling of CO2 continues, with many pilots and most systems gone now.

Circle of Two Changes – Sep. 15, 2017

CO2 membership is still in motion, but the sovereignty has been divided up by members of the Legacy Coalition, which Impass being shared by Brave, Drone Walkers, and Requiem Eternal.

Impass Sov – Sep. 15, 2017

TEST also has a system in the region, though it is not 68FT-6, which makes me wonder what they are going to do with the Keepstar once things settle down.

Meanwhile, the camp of the Keepstar seems set to wind down.  Fewer and fewer attempts to escape are being made and we’re occasionally having to pay people who we shouldn’t shoot.  The number of CO2 pilots hanging out in the Keepstar is dwindling.  Then there is the fire sale market, which has been pretty much picked over.  The good deals are gone.  There are a few things I might buy if we lived here.  But having to haul stuff back to Delve or to Jita is a non-starter.

I suspect that we will pack up and head home before the weekend is out.  Then the temporary cease fire will run out and Impass will go back to being hostile territory and somebody else’s problem.

Meanwhile Triumvirate, CO2’s ally in the war, looks to be in an uncomfortable situation.  Still, they managed to blow up an FCON Fortizar and a Nyx while people were focused on Impass and 68FT-6.

The camp out in 68FT-6, tiny in the scope of the universe

And the story of null sec grinds slowly on.

Addendum: The camp is over.  TEST head Progodlegend has declared that CO2 corps are welcome in TEST, (save for those evil advisors in Balkan Mafia who steered GigX into all of this) so they can’t very well let us keep shooting them (or join in on that).  Progodlegend declared his disgust with The Jude in his statement, though just the other day he was saying on Reddit “You made the right call Judge.”

So said PGL initially

Anyway, CO2 members have a clear out now and we’re all headed home after a few days of camping.

At the Camp in 68FT-6

Being the space tourist that I am, I had to get out to 68FT-6 to see the pilfered Keepstar, the hell camp, and the various warp disruption bubbles laid about the station.

The bubbles above the Keepstar

Pings were calling for more interdictors and I had a Flycatcher stashed not too far away, so I tried to get out to the scene, but fell victim to a gate camp.  It was a gate camp I should have expected, could have avoided, and likely could have escaped, but I managed to be dumb on all front at that point and got blown up instead.  Typical me.

That put me back in Delve where I grabbed a Sabre I had handy and started the flight out to 68FT-6 all over again.  The route from Delve to Impass was actually pretty safe thanks to the fact that we are temporarily blue with both TEST and Brave Newbies, so in my speedy ship it wasn’t too long before I was arriving at my destination.

First glimpse of the Keepstar name

I docked up, then undocked to join one of the fleets camping the Keepstar, waiting for any daring CO2 pilot to try and get away.

Hanging out in the bubbles near the undock

I hung out in the fleet, listened to coms, and generally only paid half attention at most to what was going on.  There wasn’t much.  Capsules and interceptors that undocked to try and slip out were quickly picked off by sensor boosted insta-lockers in the fleet.  There was little chance to get in on those kills unless you had drones assigned to one of those pilots.

I did luck out and get on one kill when an Apostle undocked to get blown up for insurance.

Apostle getting hit

I almost missed out on that.  I saw the Apostle appear on my overview and it took me a moment to process the fact that somebody had undocked and wasn’t almost instantly dead.  By the time I locked the ship up the damage was well into armor.  But I was close enough to get in a few hits with my tiny whore gun and was included on the kill mail.  Somebody gunning the Keepstar did most of the damage.

After that it was more hanging out and listening to coms.  DBRB showed up for a bit and stirred people up.  After he left some new guy said he had heard about DBRB but now understood why people hated him.  I could only think, “You know nothing Jon Snow!”  That little visit was barely Boat at all.  I am very much on the pro-Boat side of things because nobody throws themselves into this game like he does and he has been leading fleets and getting kills for longer than any active FC I know.  But he is an acquired taste and a little Boat can go a long way.

Sitting around on the Keepstar

We also have the station in the system well covered.

Station bubbles? Check!

Being a tourist attraction, other fleets and individuals would show up from time to time just to look in on the event.  What looked to be a Spectre fleet showed up in Confessors and hung about for a bit, killing somebody being dumb in a Legion before heading off for greener pastures.

Confessors lurking well out of range

Not far off from the Keepstar, on the same grid, Legion of xXDEATHXx was dropping a Raitaru.

Raitaru online in seconds

I am not sure what Legion of xXDEATHXx has planned in the area, but TEST was about guarding the deployment, so they are clearly welcome in the area.

Legion of xXDEATHXx logo on the Raitaru

And then there were the CO2 members hanging out in the Keepstar looking for a way out.

I am not going to go Gevlon and claim there were no victims here, but the people in CO2 do have some options.  There is asset safety with citadels, so after some duration they can pay 15% of the assessed value of their stuff to have it delivered to a station in low sec.  That can add up quickly and  you’re still stuck in low sec and have to move your stuff around, but you can at least get your stuff… unless you have a super capital.  You can only dock a super in a citadel, not an NPC station, so some very expensive ships might be lost.

But even that can be worked around.  A number of alliances are taking in CO2 individuals and corporations.  TEST is very open and even the Imperium has picked up some members from CO2.  Back at the end of the Casino War I saw people leave the Imperium, join Pandemic Horde, rescue their stuff, then come back to the Imperium.  Some times you have to do what you have to do to get your stuff safe.

I wouldn’t want to trade places with them, but all is not lost.

While out on the camp the word came over coms that The Judge had joined Goonswarm.

The Judge

Like Haargoth Agamar before him (the guy who disbanded Band of Brothers) The Judge was take in by Goonswarm, but faces a future of relative obscurity.  As others have noted, and even Haargoth himself said before he pulled the trigger, after you do something like this it isn’t like you’re going to get a lot of positions of responsibility.  You’ve shown your colors and that is that.  He certainly won’t run for the CSM again.  He would be a distraction and would be more likely to get people to vote just to elect somebody else.  Some people have been asking if there is a way to recall him from the current CSM.

And then there is GigX.

He got himself perma banned for continuous, very public, often very specific threats to harm The Judge in real life either at his home or when he shows up in Iceland for the next CSM summit.  That goes well beyond “heat of the moment” to my mind.  He burned himself and good, though he might yet get himself reinstated with an appropriate apology and whatever amends might fit.  We shall see.

I’m somewhat pissed that he felt he had to loudly and publicly threaten The Judge and get himself banned.  It was both dumb and avoidable and it also hurt the game.

First, the end of the story was cut short.  And in null sec stories are what makes the place great.  You can blow people up anywhere, but you can only play space empires in null.  CO2 is done for now by default because GigX is gone.  We won’t know how things might have played out had he stayed in the game or what sort of recovery of might have occurred.  I wouldn’t bet against the determination of GigX, and despite some of the things he has done to his alliance, he has his share of supporters.

Second, and probably more importantly, his behavior changed the narrative in the news.  Rather than this being a story of intrigue and betrayal, it is becoming a tale about how a bad person in a bad game made real life threats and got banned.  Gamers remain horrible people as he managed to shit on all of us.  Thanks.

Welcome to the new cycle.

So I remain out on the camp, collecting participation links… I need some as I haven’t been on a fleet yet this month… and watch a lot of brand new TEST pilots undock and fly away.  I wonder what we’re going to do with the Keepstar once the temp blue situation is over?

Even Fat Bee is in a bubble

There is still work to be done, CO2 space to be carved up and conquered, new homes to be found, and a new balance of power to be sorted out.  But that will come and eventually things will settle down and events of the day will fade into memory just like the mocking bubbles spelling out LOL above the Keepstar.

Bubbles, like events, fade eventually

And yes, somebody made a giant penis out of warp disruption bubbles below the Keepstar.

Make no mistake, it is a dong

I think people… well, men… have been scrawling penises on things throughout history, so why not in this pretend dystopian future?

The Blood Raiders Shipyard Destroyed

There was a chance that I might see the Blood Raiders Shipyard destroyed.  After it was hit, the timer was set locking in when the final assault would come.  I was working from home and the timing was such that it ought to have come out of its reinforcement cycle at just about the time my day was done. I still had my alt parked in the system and the shipyard was sitting there waiting.

Eyeballing the Sotiyo in my Buzzard

As a toiled away I saw the pings come up for the fleets destined for the final event.  There appeared to plenty of interest as a second fleet had to be formed.  As the timer approached I logged in and warped out to a spot I had setup about 600km off the structure so I could see how this was all going to turn out.  I started a long, lazy orbit as the fleet of Punishers showed up and spread around the their target.

Ball of Punishers around the shipyard

A second fleet was watching gates while a fleet of TEST interceptors showed up in system as well and setup on a perch from which they could warp in and take pot shots at the Punisher fleet.

Once the time counted down the Punisher fleet opened up and started plinking the target.

A Punisher blazing away

As before, Blood Raider ships spawned, but they seemed at a loss when faced with the tiny T1 frigates motoring along in orbits around the shipyard.  CCP did not update anything for this particular run.

A Blood Raiders Omen just loafing about, not even trying…

The only real hazard for the fleet came from the TEST Interceptors who would warp in to try and pick off a target every so often.  They were successful, but Jay had stocked ships in the local station so people were able to warp off, reship, and rejoin the attack.  I planned to join in the assault as well, once the structure went down far enough.  I had scrounged a light missile launcher and some missiles locally so I could get in and plink it.

However, at about that point I had to leave for a bit.  I was on the hook to pick my daughter up after school and drive her downtown, something complicated by the advent of early onset Friday afternoon rush hour traffic.  It took more than an hour to get her, drop her off downtown, and get back home, by which time the event was over and most everybody had gone home. (I did see SynCaine in local for a minute or so after I got back.)

I had warped in to launch a couple of missiles at the shipyard before cloaking up in a safe spot and head out, but my shot was too early and I did not even get on the kill mail for the structure.

I also missed the comedy finale, detailed over at INN, where TEST pilot named Karl Kox zipped to the structure wreck in a Claw interceptor and scooped up blue print copies for the Chemosh dreadnought and Molok titan, only to be blown up.  With his ship went the Chemosh blue print, but the Molok surivived and was picked up by Hudders, another TEST pilot in a Claw who was also blown up in short order.  With him went the Molok blue print, and so the drops from the event went *poof* just like that.

And so it goes in New Eden.

So there I was on grid where the Blood Raiders Shipyard had been, cloaked up and looking around.  A fair number of Blood Raider ships were still roaming around rather aimlessly.  I saw a fleet of Blood Raider Augoror cruisers looping and turning and making patterns in search of a purpose.

Augoror fleet does a star burst, just to form up again

I watched the ships move about, then switch to the overview that showed wrecks on the field.  Loot looked to be fairly readily available, with an unlooted Jackdaw wreck visible to me.  I warped over to it, motored into range and found some light missiles on it.  I took those and then started to head over to some wrecks a ways away.  As I drew into range I suddenly got the CAPSULE EJECTING message as the Buzzard blew to bits around me.  A Blood Raiders Chemosh dreadnought had locked me up and one-shotted me.

These things are a menace to the space lanes

That was why there was still loot on grid; grabbing it was a hazard.  I bookmarked my wreck and warped to the station.  On docking I was given one standard issue Ibis corvette, the rookie ship you are handed by the game when you have no ship.  I decided to warp back out and see if I could quickly scoop up some of the items that dropped.  The Sisters expanded probe launcher and the covert ops cloak were worth some ISK, so there was no point leaving them sitting on grid.

I warped out the wreck and then ended up sitting there because I couldn’t fit all of the stuff from the wreck into the cargo hold of the Ibis.  I ejected one item, but as I sat there deciding I was once again blown up by the Chemosh.

An Ibis in the act of exploding

That lost me the probe launcher and some of the probes, but there was still the cloak to be had, and an Ibis is free, so I warped off in my pod for the station and shipped back up in an Ibis.  Then I warped back out to the now increasing pile of wrecks.  This time I laded a bit too far off the spot, but even as I got there to loot the Chemosh popped me again.

That thing must be doing pretty well to hit an Ibis so quickly.

Fortunately the loot fairy was kind to me and I only lost a couple of probes and that single unit of tritanium in the explosion.  The covert ops cloak and the coprocessor II were both still there waiting for me.  So I grabbed another Ibis, warped out, landed right on top of the wreck, looted quickly, and aligned to warp off.  Even as I was moving, the Chemosh took a shot at me.  This time he missed though.

Ibis gets past the beam of death

I was able to warp off safely.  I made it to the gate and through and back up into Delve without incident.  The event had been over for long enough for any hostile gate camps to have either given up or been driven off.

Anyway, that was my own little side adventure.  Soon the search will begin for the next incarnation of the Blood Raiders Shipyard.  Maybe a blue print will survive through the next event.

This past weekend’s Talking in Stations broadcast has some time devoted to the event and includes Imperium FC Apple Pear talking about what happened and how the Punisher plan came into being if you are interested in that.

Addendum: The Blood Raiders leader Omir Sarikusa issues a defiant statement after the loss of the shipyard.

Astrahus Brawl in GE-8JV

Monday night a ping went out from Asher Elias noting that he would be leading a fleet Tuesday evening.  I am always happy to go on an Asher fleet so I made sure I was home and ready to go at the appointed time.  I wasn’t sure what we were up to, but I was willing to  go along for the ride.

When the ping for the fleet went out on Tuesday as expected the doctrine was Cerberuses and Caracals.  We would be spewing heavy missiles.  I had a doctrine Cerberus ready, a ship I hadn’t flown since Asher took us up to Tribute for one of the battles around Circle of Two’s Keepstar in M-OEE8.  I still had the remote sensor booster fit from that fight that was used to boost Asher’s FC ship.  I mentioned that in fleet chat and he told me (and a few other pilots) to leave the remote sensor booster fit and do the same for this fleet.

Meanwhile another ping went out for CapSwarm, of which I am also a member, calling for a dreadnought form up.  The a ping for a frigate support fleet to take off the excess pilots from the Cerb fleet as it had filled to capacity very quickly.  A fight was said to be likely and the dreads seemed to indicate that a structure might be involved.

Dreads undocking from the Keepstar

It seemed to me that we might just be shepherding the capital ships to a target, where they would do the shooting while we flew cover, swooping in at the last bit to tag the target so as to get on the kill mail.  So off we went, taking a jump bridge as the caps jumped, then it was time to spread out and cover gates and the might dreadnoughts lumbered along.

Watching Naglfars take a gate

However, once there the situation was different than I had assumed.  There has been an ongoing series of battles in the Catch region around GE-8JV and V-3YG7 between the locals, made up of Brave Newbies, TEST, CO2, Drone Walkers, and FCON and a force being led by Pandemic Legion that includes their usual host of allies from the north.  PL already has a foothold in the region so fights have been coming up nightly.  SynCaine was in one of the fights the night before.

This particular fight was over the armor timer of a Brave Newbies Astrahus in GE-8JV.  Nothing to do with us in the Imperium really.  Some locals a couple regions over trying to fight off PL who has grabbed a foothold in order to farm them for fights.

But we were not there to third party.  We were actually there to help Brave Newbies, working with them and TEST to shoot Pandemic Legion and its allies.  But it was a bit complicated.  We mostly didn’t shoot at Brave, and restrained ourselves from shooting TEST too much, but their other allies, such as CO2 and FCON, enjoyed no such prohibition on our part.  At one point during the fight an FCON Svipul fleet hove into range and we shot it up with gusto.

But mostly we shot Pandemic Legion and their friends, who were out there with Machariels and some dreads of their own.

Hostiles Machs ahoy… the target is painted

Our fleet was there to kite, moving fast into range to spew missiles but never sitting still long enough to get pinned down, Asher leading us from his Phantasm.  I even remembered to take the right drugs for the op.

Some drugs are good, mkay

The flight time bonus for Antipharmakon Toxot (part of the reason few use drugs is you cannot tell what they hell they do from the name) is for missiles, effectively giving them an extended range.  Missiles take time to move from launcher to target, but they will chase things down so long as they have the range to get to them.

The fight itself was both fast and slow.  Zooming around in the fast cruiser fleet put us all around the battle.

Cerbs and Caracals zooming through bubbles

However, there was also time dilation to deal with.  It wasn’t as bad as in some fights, but it got bad enough a couple of times that I was having problems cycling my launchers on to new targets.  They would get stuck in the red flashing cool down state and I would have to hit F1 a few times to clear them.  A side effect of that is a couple of times the next target was gone before the launchers cycled, so the missiles would launch against Asher, who I had to keep targeted to run the remote sensor booster on him.  A volley now and then barely scratched him, though if he had been blown up… and a group tried to headshot him at one point… it might have been a bit awkward to be on his kill mail.  We’re not NCDot.

As it turned out the dreadnoughts, who I thought might be playing the starring role in our effort, were merely a force in being for the fight, hanging out in the vicinity as a warning to others against escalating to supers.  They just sat and waited.

Fortunately the wait wasn’t too long.  The armor timer limited the amount of time we were going to stick around, though I honestly never saw if the Brave lost the timer or if Astrahus repaired itself and reset the whole destruction process.  At one point I saw the citadel repairing, but I didn’t see the end result.  It wasn’t ours and there wasn’t a kill mail to be had on it this fight, so I wasn’t paying close attention to that.

Our fleet did well enough.  We had a few deaths, mostly due to people falling off the anchor and flying off into space on their own due to a mis-click or not having their MWD running.  The ECM frigate fleet that went with us however got roasted.  I think the FCON Svipuls were shooting them while we were shooting the Svipuls.

There is a battle report that shows the results of the fight.  Of course, results are in the eye of the beholder.  That report is laid out from our point of view, with green being us, red being the people we were trying not to shoot, and blue being those we shot early and often.

GE- Battle Report, Imperium Perspective

If you were one of the locals, you might sort the columns in a different way.  My only regret was that I did not divert off course long enough to get on Dirk MacGirk’s kill mail, though looking down the list I see at least one of the pilots in our fleet took that route.  It is always just a bit more fun to get on the kills of the space famous.

But once the object was complete… for somebody… it was time for us to rally up and then escort the dreads back home.

Cerb fleet together

That was slow, but not intolerably slow.  The dreads were willing to build up a little extra jump fatigue at the end of the night, so just about three hours after we started to form up we were back at the keepstar with the capital ship size bee floating above it.

Capital of the Imperium

And since it was at the three hour mark, we got a second participation link.  So in one fleet I got some kills, a kill mail of my own (top damage and the final blow, so another kill mark on my Cerb), and half my participation quota for the month.  5/5 – would fleet up again.

INN has a post up about the fight, which is much more high level than this.  I only saw it after I finished up this post.  Technically the Imperium wasn’t there to third party because we were helping one side, though we effectively third partied because I think we ended up shooting everybody at some point.  I am on one Brave and five TEST kill mails.  Oops.

Addendum: This fleet is also where I first heard about Swarm Simulator, a time waster browser game my daughter called “Cookie clicker with just numbers!”

Opening the New War at F4R2-Q

A new war for a new year, and its first major battle hit yesterday with as many as 4,000 pilots in local as much of null sec declared sides in the war between TEST, Circle-of-Two, and their allies and the Stainwagon Coalition, whose composition I noted in a war preview post last week, and its allies, which includes the Imperium.

One of those fights - Local at 21:16 UTC Jan. 1, 2017

One of those fights – Local at 21:16 UTC Jan. 1, 2017

The location was the system of F4R2-Q in the Catch region where TEST and CO2 had each placed a Fortizar citadel to act as staging points for their invasion of the region.

On the Imperium side there was a pre-battle State of the Goonion where The Mittani spoke of standing by those who had stood by us during the Casino War and opposing those who proved faithless when the going got tough.

I was already in Asher’s just formed Machariel fleet before the address concluded, joining the logi contingent in a Guardian.  The fleet quickly filled up and we ended up with too much logi, so some of them were sent off to other fleets, but I stuck around preferring to fly with Asher and Arrendis and more than a few fellow Reavers.

This was clearly going to be a big op.  As our subcap fleet undocked and moved to where we would get bridged, there were a lot of capital ships hanging on our staging Fortizar.

Cap Fleet still not fully undocked

Cap Fleet still not fully undocked

We hung out waiting for out bridge for a bit, with the usual calls for people who were not in range of the titan or who had accidentally clicked in space and started wandering off.  Coms were busy as we were in the mode where multiple fleets share the same coms channel, so chatter had to be heavily restricted.

Tethered and Waiting for the bridge

Tethered and Waiting for the bridge

I did get a bit cocky though and logged in my alt and got him setup in a pointing Vigil.  I did not join the fleet, but made my way along the gate route to the destination system where I warped out to one of our staging towers where fleets were staging and went into a 150km orbit to just watch from above things.  TEST and CO2 did not have the luxury of towers in the system as, in a repeat of the battle of 6VDT-H (another 4K pilot battle), they let us sneak in and put towers up on all the moons in the system.  They were depending on their Fortizars for safe points.

And then we warped in and the battle began.

What does one say about a battle where the server has hit 10% time dilation and still cannot keep up, so people get disconnected, parts of the UI stop working, where no action is reliable, where ships get stuck in your overview and appear there long after they have gone?

Wilhelm got disconnected four times during the battle.  But things were moving so slowly that I never had to worry about warping back to the fleet.  Even during the peak, when it took me 20 minutes to log back in and load grid, I found myself still on anchor, still capping up my partners in the cap chain, all as though I had never left.  The main problem was once when one of my cap buddies dumped out of the chain at the same time and I had to get back in fleet, get the watch list up, target a new buddy, and start capping him.  That series of actions took 15 minutes.  And then the old buddy got back in and I was another five minutes getting things sorted back to the way they were.

On the other hand, when time is moving slow and your fleet is clearly going to be sitting on grid exchanging alpha strikes, which kill a ship in a single volley leaving nothing to repair, you can find time to do other things.  I managed to go take a shower, make lunch, take down the Christmas lights on the house, and eat dinner while watching a TV show.  I just had to check my position at every set of commercials.

When our fleet started taking a few losses, I put my alt in and had him paint targets as Asher called for it.  But then he got disconnected, so I let him be for a while, choosing to focus on logi.  We did save a few people… more than a few… when attempts at alpha strikes were done badly and ended up as ragged volleys that applied damage over what seemed like a long stretch of time.  We kept Asher alive a few times as opposing fleets locked him up in an attempt to headshot him.

A while later, when things had hit a routine as we sat near the CO2 Fortizar I logged my alt back in.  However, he had been some place bad while I was away, having had his armor peeled away well into half structure, though his shields were back to full.  As he auto-warped onto grid again he landed in the midst of a TEST fleet and the ship wasn’t long for the world.  I did managed to paint and shoot a Flycatcher and a Sabre as that Vigil went out in a blaze of glory.

Painters on, missiles firing

Painters on, missiles firing

I left him there in his pod as a vantage point for screen shots before eventually pointing him at the gate home where he was picked off by Solar Fleet camp on the gate that was happily taking out anybody trying to leave.  I watched a couple of Oneiros logi cruisers get popped before it was my turn.

That leads us to who took sides with whom.  I am waiting for a full accounting… or at least a battle report that will generate accurately… but it looked like Provi Bloc, led by CVA, came out in support of Stainwagon and we made them temp blue for the fight.  Meanwhile, the Drone Region Federation, the “other” Russians that don’t get along with the Stainwagon Russians came out to join TEST and CO2, which saw us fighting people we had teamed up with in the past, like Solar Fleet, and former enemies like the Dronewalkers and Legion of xXDeathXx allied.

And then there was NCDot who came on down just to shoot targets of opportunity on both sides of the fight.  Have to respect that.

The fight went on and on as reports of the two Fortizars had them inching slowly to their doom.  Eventually the CO2 Fortizar exploded at 03:11 UTC and the fight shifted to focus around the TEST Fortizar, which had been erroneously reported as dead at 23:30, but which didn’t actually die until 04:14.

Somewhere along the way I managed to get a combat drone out and on each of the Fortizars in order to secure myself a spot on the kill mail.  I also was able to get in on a few of the opposing dreadnoughts at the end when the enemy had essentially given up shooting us and was trying to extract what they could from the field.  When the TEST Fortizar went up there was a short period of mopping up as tidi finally rose above 10%.

As the system emptied out, the game sped up, which was almost disorienting.  Things that had been essentially moving in slow motion for hours were suddenly running at full speed.  And then in a euphoric fit, Asher said he would make us ten participation links, one for each hour the fleet was out, something he no doubt immediately regretted as then he had to go make the damn things.  I would have been happy with a few less and a quicker trip home.

However, we did have to cover capitals as the went back to staging.  Fortunately we were only a gate and a jump from home, so it wasn’t a long haul.  We caught the bridge and covered a gate for the supers, then docked back up for the night.  And just in time too, as the new season of Sherlock was set to start on PBS just 11 minutes after I logged out.  But it had been a long day in space.

Fleet time - 10 hours 41 minutes

Fleet time – 10 hours 49 minutes

That leaves the result of the battle.

We won the objective.  TEST and CO2 lost their Fortizars and will continue to stage from NPC null sec space for now.  While they are pushing this off as no big deal, just a matter of a couple of gates, when your plan is an invasion and you are repulsed, you have lost.

Then there is the ISK war.  On Reddit, which is largely the sphere of TEST, our foes are claiming a stunning victory, claiming to have killed as much as 600 billion ISK in ships over the course of the battle.  They are oddly quiet about their own losses however.  They are likely less, so they have probably won the ISK war. How much less remains in question until things settle down and a battle report can be generated.  I cannot reliably fetch my own profile on zKillboard, much less a battle report.  All we have right now is ship losses.

DOTLAN report on ships destroyed

DOTLAN report on ships destroyed

But the question arises as to who can afford losses and who can’t.

TEST and CO2 just lost all of their space after a couple months of war in Tribute.  They are currently living in NPC null sec and do not have any territory from which to extract wealth.

I do not know the state of Stainwagon, though they have been hanging out in their space for a long time, so it should be safe to assume they are not poor.

Then there is the Imperium, which has been working to restore it coffers since the end of summer in Delve.  Look at the November economic report and note which region has the largest amount of mining going on. (And again in December.)  We lost 600 billion in ISK worth of ships in our own system less than a month ago and were still happy to go to war.  So I do not think the losses will dissuade us from our cause.

Also this is just the first major battle of the war.  Both sides can afford to dismiss what happened and claim it as a victory.  But which side is going to be able to sustain the fights, the losses, the day long events spent in 10% tidi?  That question has yet to be answered.

So the war is on.

Also, I am totally set for participation links for the month, with 11 in already.

Here is coverage of the battle on other sites, which I will update as more show up:

And then some screen shots from my 10 hours in space yesterday:

Winter War in South New Eden

After the giant mess of the M-OEE8 Keepstar battle, Circle of Two announced that they would be pulling out of the north end of null sec.  Neither they nor their allies, TEST, would defend their remaining holdings in Tribute or Vale of the Silent, allowing Pandemic Legion and NCDot to scoop up great swathes of the two regions to turn into rental space.  Same as it ever was.

The question then became where would these two alliances head.  They vowed to stick together to take new space, but there was speculation as to where.  The decision has finally been made; CO2 and TEST, joined by FCON and The Drone Walkers… not sure why they are showing up, but there they are and their space in Tenal is being taken… will be attacking the Stainwagon coalition, which is spread over the regions of Paragon Soul, Esoteria, and Impass along with bits of Feythabolis and Catch.  According to the Coalition Guide, Stainwagon is made up of:

  • Soviet-Union – 2060 pilots
  • Against ALL Authorities – 1151 pilots
  • Desman Alliance – 956 pilots
  • C0VEN – 1038 pilots
  • Good Sax – 306 pilots
  • FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT STELLAR SYSTEMS – 1409 pilots
  • pwn-O-graphy – 275 pilots
  • Wings Wanderers – 1335 pilots
  • The Afterlife. – 656 pilots
  • Kids With Guns Alliance – 2435 pilots
  • Swords of Damocles – 374 pilots
  • The Volition Cult – 2408 pilots

That gives them a combined total of about 14K pilots. (Yes, pilots don’t necessarily align to actual people, but it is the only measure we have.)  You can see those alliances grouped up in the south on the current influence map from the usual source:

Null Sec Influence - December 30, 2016

Null Sec Influence – December 30, 2016

TEST, CO2, FCON, and the Drone Walkers bring over 17K pilots to the fight and represent a smaller leadership group, which may make them effective beyond their numbers against the dispersed Stainwagon Coalition.

The alleged political reason for Stainwagon being the target is their past friendship with Goons, though if that had to count against alliances then we’d have to bring up TEST, CO2, and FCON as fellow members of that club as well.

The REAL reason is more likely contained in a quote from TEST (and former GSF) FC Vily over at EN24 that I would sum up, in my own words, as “Nothing personal, but they have space and we think we can take them.”  Ever a good enough reason for war in New Eden.

Some alliances the Stainwagon coalition did indeed come out in support of the Imperium during The Casino War (part of the Russian complication in April which also saw the Drone Walkers show up) and that relationship has been maintained, including allowing the Imperium to pass through the Catch region to hit FCON on occasion.  In return the Imperium will be coming to their aid to fight against what has become known as the Circle of TEST coalition and whatever hangers on they bring.  The Imperium has over 20K pilots on their roster, which is some weight to be throwing around.

War is coming, which is always good for the game.

But there is also a strategic question to consider.  Circle of TEST has stated that their goal is to find space where they can build up their super capital fleet.  Currently PL and NCDot have dominance on that front, having bounced back easily from their losses at B-R5RB just about three years back.  That is PL and NCDot’s ace in the hole, the fall back “I Win” button when the outcome of a battle is in question.

Right now the Imperium is on a crash capital and super capital building binge to close that gap, and have had time to setup and rebuild in Delve, something that PL and NCDot no doubt see as a threat.  But will they allow another defeated enemy in the form of Circle of TEST to also setup shop in the south and begin cranking out capital ships that may trim back the advantage PL and NCDot hold?  Or does conflict in the south suite them as the build their new rental empire in the north?

And what of the powers closer to hand?  The Imperium has already declared themselves in the fight.  Will Provi Bloc and the Drone Region Federation be content to left Circle of TEST move in so they can build up an offensive force in their back yards?  Provi Bloc generally keeps to itself, and the DRF has some animosity built up against Stainwagon.  Will third parties piling into the area change any of that?  Do the new neighbors look good or would they prefer the status quo?

So we will be going into the new year with a new war with its own set of New Eden-wide political and alliance questions.  A new chapter in the ongoing tale of null sec space. (I’m tentatively tagging this as “Stain War 2017” until a better name comes up.)  And, of course, there will be propaganda, sometimes the best part of these wars… especially when TEST is involved.  I grabbed a couple of samples from /r/eve:

Coverage of events so far: