Tag Archives: Thomas Lear

I Survive My First Capital Op

While Burn Jita was still raging on Saturday afternoon, I was back in Delve and going out on my first real Cap Fleet operation.

I have formed up a couple of times for operations that never went anywhere, and I went on last week’s training on SiSi, the public test server, but those don’t really count.  But yesterday I happened to be sitting down at my computer just in time to see a ping from Thomas Lear for a CapSwarm form up.  I was already in our staging, so I hopped into my Apostle and got undocked to wait for instructions.

Cold Iron Apostle on the Keepstar

Cold Iron Apostle on the Keepstar

And then I docked back up because we were told to fit 500MN MWDs to aid in speeding up warping between gates.

I chose to go with the Apostle because I ran with my carrier during the training op on SiSi, which proved to me that I have no clue how to use fighters.  I have to find a guide somewhere about the basics of moving them, as everything I have seen so far seems to operate under the assumption that you have that part mastered and just need to hone your technique.

Anyway, I undocked with the MWD fit and waited for instructions again.  That was a bit difficult as we were sharing coms with Asher’s subcap fleet that was coming along to cover us.  There is an oft repeated joke that USTZ fleets are much more… talkative… on coms than EUTZ fleets.  I don’t buy it fully, as I have been on some EUTZ fleets that could sperg with the best of them, but this fleet seems set to prove the rule.  For the first time in a long time I had to go down to the “no chatter” channel, where you only hear people on the command channel.  And even that channel was a bit chatty as there seemed to be a bunch of people there across the two fleets.

We were first given a destination, then told to warp off to another citadel as the first gate we needed to take was on the back side of the Keepstar, so attempting to warp straight to it would end up with some of us just bumping off the face of the citadel.

I picked a nearby Astrahus and warped off, then turned about and headed for the gate.

Apostle warping off

Apostle warping off

While capitals have jump drives and can move 6 light years at a jump, jump fatigue keeps us from using those drives unless we have to.  So we went by gates to the first system in Fountain.  Once there we took off the MWDs and used our jump drives to put us close to our target, hopping over some hostile space, then took a few more gates to the target.

Caps and subcaps landing on a gate

Caps and subcaps landing on a gate

The subcap fleet did managed to bubble us on an in gate at one point due to the presence of hostiles, so we had to hang about for a short bit while that came down.  No hostiles were trapped.

Partially bubbled cap fleet

Partially bubbled cap fleet aligning out

The only tense moment for me during the trip either way was when I lost connection.  We were jumping through a gate and I was stuck in the warp tunnel for a long stretch, then got disconnected.  When I got back in game an rejoined the fleet, I had to go through the return from disconnect routine.  My ship had been warped off, so it had to go back to the spot it left from, which happened to be a few hundred km off the gate.  I had to warp to the gate again and jump.  Looking at local though, the fleet had left me behind, but there were half a dozen hostiles in system.  However, they didn’t show up and I was able to jump the gate and catch up with the fleet at the first target, a tower belonging to The Culture in G95F-H.

There wasn’t much for faxes to do during the first shoot.  I put out some Warrior drones and shot modules with the carriers, but other than that we were orbiting around Thomas Lear while the carriers and dreads did their work. (I even got on the kill mail for a couple of modules, though I didn’t think you could kill modules unless you killed the tower, only incapacitate them.)

We then went after a second tower, which was also reinforced.  This one had a jump bridge, which required the usual special treatment wherein you burn it down to half structure, then rep the armor back up to half again, so the owner has to either take the time to rep it back up or put damage on it to destroy it and replace it.  When it came time to apply reps the faxes were told to go into one cycle of triage.  The triage module greatly boosts the amount of repair a fax can put out, but you cannot recieve reps, move, or warp.  I lit mine for a cycle and started applying my reps.

The blue effect indicates Triage mode

The blue effect indicates Triage mode

And then, as I watched my capacitor drain away, I realized I did not bring and charges for my cap booster.  Well, something for the list.  So I turned off the repair modules after a bit and just let the triage timer run down.  Something to remember for next time.  Once we were done with that it was time to turn around and head for home.  Enough time had elapsed for our jump fatigue to wear off, so after a couple of gates we were able to jump to Y-2ANO and then gate back to our staging.  I managed to get through the op without screwing anything up too badly.

One thing I did notice was that, while the Cold Iron skin for the Apostle looks really good, in the darkness of space it can sometimes be too dark.  I ended up changing to the all white Purity skin every so often just so I could see myself.

Skin change in progress

Skin change in progress

But otherwise I was able to keep up with the fleet, jump when told, and find my way back when disconnected.  I just have to remember those cap boosters for next time.

A Long Way to Go to Die to Rorquals

There was word that there might be a Reavers op about the time I arrived home from work.  And, sure enough, shortly after I was able to sit down at my computer a ping went out from Thomas Lear to get into his fleet.  It was going to be an opportunity to use our Sleipnir doctrine again, an expensive command ship we fly on occasion.

However, he broadcast the fleet ping to all-all rather than just to Reavers, so he had to spend a while weeding out non-Reavers who joined the fleet.  They were at least relatively easy to spot, not being in Sleipners.

Once that was sorted, along with getting boosters for the fleet, we were off to the local jump bridge on our way out.

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

From the far side of the jump bridge we took a gate and warped to a conveniently located wormhole that sent us directly to the Placid region.  From there we passed into Cloud Ring and null sec space.  As we moved Thomas explained that we were on our way to a fight between Brave Newbies and Pandemic Legion.  PL had an Astrahus citadel going online in 9-4RP2, a system Brave recently took from the Imperium North group, Initiative Mercenaries.

(The Mittani said in a recent Fireside that The Initiative, while off on its own, was still considered to be part of the Imperium.  There are actually some familiar old names in The Initiative these days, including WALLTREIPERS and Fweddit.)

We were going there to third party on the fight, to shoot targets of opportunity from both sides.

Our first targets were a fleet of Pandemic Horde Talwars that cross jumped us at a gate on our way.  We managed to put an interdictor back through the gate quickly and jumped as many people back into QXW-PV as possible to blap the PH destroyers.  We got a fair number before getting back on course for the real fight.

Once in 9-4RP2, the Astrahus was going online, sitting in its vulnerable self-repair deployment process where an attacker can kill it in one go rather than having to wait for the vulnerability window and going through three attacks spaced by two timers.

Brave Newbies was out with an Augoror Navy Issue fleet to attack the citadel, while PL a small Rorqual fleet sitting tethered on the Astrahus along with the remaining PH Talwars.

We started off hitting the PH fleet as they were in range, taking down some more Talwars along with a couple of their logi support.  I took a target of opportunity and blapped a Rifter that was coming straight at us, so there was no tracking issue for my arty fit Sleipnir.  I almost got a solo kill on that, but one of our Sabres managed to get a hit in on him.

However, while we started off easily plinking small stuff, PL got themselves into action soon enough, dropping a battleship fleet to support them.

A GotG ball of Maelstroms and Rokhs, with a Minokawa for logi support

A ball of PL Maelstroms and Rokhs, with a Minokawa for logi support

The Rorquals had deployed sentry drones and put them into action against us as we got in range and things started to go downhill.  The PL drone trigger targeted me and I called for reps early, but we did not have much logi along with us, so while I lasted for a bit, the firepower of the Rorqual drones chewed me into armor and then into hull, popping my Sleipnir.

Sleipnir out of control

Sleipnir out of control

You can see my ship in the above screen shot, glowing with erupting explosions and turning out of control.  My pod had already ejected by that point, but the death animations continued on for a bit.  So dramatic.  A Brave Newbies pilot got on my kill due to some bomb damage from earlier, along with some Initiative pilots that were running ECM bursts.

The fight was pretty much done for me at that point.  I had hit a few targets before I blew up, so got on the kill mails after they went down even though I was in my pod at that point.  So I pottered about on grid for a bit and tried to take some screen shots of the Rorquals.

Rorqual Gaggle

Rorqual Gaggle

Sitting there with their sentry drones shooting as one, they reminded me a bit of the old wrecking ball carrier tactic from back in the day, except rather than being spider tanked and able to rep each other, the Rorquals can make their whole fleet invulnerable for a bit should they get in trouble. via the dread Pulse Activated Nexus Invulnerability Core that came in with the Ascension expansion.  Combat Rorquals are a thing.

On coms it sounded like we were losing ships slowly but surely.  Meanwhile, the Brave Newbie fleet left the scene.  Apparently we unintentionally blew up their FC and the fleet decided to get off grid after that.  That left us as the main target and it sounded like time for us to make an exit as well.

As that was coming together I suddenly realized, as Iolled about in my pod in the middle the battle, that I had implants in my clone.  Not super expensive, like a full set of Slaves or anything, but a couple of implants that were a bit pricey for me.  50 million ISK here, 90 million ISK there, soon that starts to add up into real currency.  I decided that I had best be on my way as well, heading for the out gate ahead of the fleet.

I didn’t feel the need to keep together with the fleet, since I wasn’t going to be able to help them at all, instead running ahead as something of a pod scout.  Fortunately, there was nothing between us and the wormhole back home to worry about.  It was also fortunate that I remembered to bookmark the wormhole when we arrived.

Pod back at the wormhole

Pod back at the wormhole

I got back through and arrived home safely, minus one Sleipnir.  It even had a kill mark on it for a short period of time.

Looking at the battle report I rolled up for the engagement, we lost the fewest ships, but the ships we lost were expensive.  Nine Sleipnirs down adds up fast.  Now to see what sort of reimbursement I will get for my loss.

Pandemic Legion carried the day, winning both the object and the ISK war.  Another small skirmish in the ongoing conflict that is New Eden.

A Structure Fight in Catch

I could have had another EVE Online post yesterday, but I thought I would break up my seven post streak.

Tuesday afternoon a ping had gone out to Reavers asking who had ship ready for a new doctrine.  It turned out we had enough people ready and a ping went out for a “short” op that evening.  It was time to get out our Sleipnir doctrine.

Sleipnir riding through a fleet boost burst

Sleipnir riding through a fleet boost burst

The word “short” used in reference to a fleet op in EVE Online is generally deceptive.  There can be short ops, especially if they are homeland defense ops where you are chasing off enemies already near your staging.  But for an offensive operation where you are going to travel somewhere and shoot something or somebody, you should probably block out three hours for the whole thing.  It might take less, but these things have a way of stretching out.

For our op, getting close to our destination was easy as Thomas Lear had a wormhole connection setup for us.  As somebody noted, we were playing at PL, flying a command ship doctrine and traveling by wormholes.  Our destination was the system E-YJ8G in the Catch region, where we were going to help Volition Cult take down an Astrahus that Honorable Third Party had anchored in their space. (We crashed a node in that system about three years ago, back during the drone assist days!)

With the wormhole path, which started just one jump from our staging, the ride out was quick.  However, the wormholes shrank as we went through, indicating that they might not be able to accommodate us for the return trip.  But there is no point in worrying about that on the trip out.  The whole thing might be a trap so we could be going home the fast way in any case.

When we got there we found an Astrahus already under fire from our temporary allies in the fight and a POS with carriers and faxes in it on the same grid, though about 900km off the citadel.  The capital ships were sitting off in the POS with fighters deployed, and were the juicer target.  So Thomas led us to the POS to see if we could catch a capital kill.

Our foes in HTP were no fools, as their carriers and support were close to the POS shields.  In order to get a kill we were going to have to bump one of the carriers away from the shields and fax support.  That takes a bit of skill, a department in which we proved lacking for a bit.  We failed on a Nyx and a couple more before we managed to get a Nidhoggur away from the pack.

Nidhoggur out on its own

Nidhoggur out on its own

We managed to kill that, which gave us a warm feeling, until we realized that we had lost a couple of Sleipners along the way.  Sleips are expensive ships and we don’t have to lose too many in order to balance out the ISK value of a carrier.

We took a run at another target, but it didn’t look like it was going to happen, so Thomas had us pull range on the POS and we contented ourselves with killing their fighters.  That was what we ended up doing for a stretch.

We warped over to the Astrahus and put drones on that to keep it ticking down to destruction, then continued working on fighters.  We did warp back to try and get another carrier that looked like it was straying from the POS bubble, but that did not pan out.  Then it was back to work on fighters and the Astrahus kill.

All in all a decent little fight which yielded a “we all had fun” thread on Reddit which seemed to have gotten ignore by the usual hate crowd.  Or maybe I’ve just blocked all the Rob Kaichin’s there finally.  The battle report is a little wonky… fighters get counted as kills, but only if you take out a whole squadron of them… but it was generally a pretty even outcome and both sides got to kill a few expensive thinks without taking huge relative losses.

Null sec working as designed.

Of course, then we had to go home.

Thomas said that anybody who cared to could zip back to the wormhole, but it was not at all clear if it would stay up long enough to allow the whole fleet to pass, even with some losses, so he was going to lead people home the long way.  He had us set our destination to Keberz and let us off the leash to free burn.  I must have heard him first because when the fleet got tangled with some locals in ERVK-P, I was already at the gate two jumps down the road.  After some “stay where you are” and “jump back in” over coms, I decided to just wander on down the line, stopping in HED-GP.

HED-GP is one of those border system, this one representing a direct transition from high sec to null sec, which are natural choke points if you want to set up a gate camp to zap passers by.  The system, as expected, had a small crowd. (It is also another place where we killed a server in the drone assist days.)  After trying to bounce off of a celestial… no corp tactical bookmarks in the system… and finding that blocked by a drag bubble, I warped off and safed up to wait for the fleet to catch up.

I wasn’t really watching local… I tend to have it as narrow as possible so I can just see a total number and a compact list of names… so I didn’t notice that the people in the system were asking after me.  I eventually got two private convo request from what turned out to be the tow groups squaring off around the gate.

One was from MIC Improvise, who was with the group who had just been at the Astrahus fight earlier and who kindly gave me a celestial to bounce off to get cleanly through the gate.  I assume it was legit, though you never know, and our temp truce for the fight was over.  But the fleet had unstuck itself from whatever it had been doing back in ERVK-P and was closing in on the system, so I opted just to move with them.

The other was from Madmatt Otsito, a local give his corp name (HED Hunters) who seemed to want me to join up with his group to fight the other group around the gate.  I think.  Voice coms were busy.  I let him know that the gate would probably be hot in a bit as a couple dozen more Sleipners were on their way.

The I warped to our in gate in HED-GP and rejoined the fleet as they jumped into the system.  I am sure everybody could see local more than double and when we warped to a perch over the Keberz gate, most of the people on grid thought it was about the right time to get the hell out of the way and warped.  As we landed on the gate, somebody called a Harpy that was in range and that got quickly blapped.  Then somebody pointed out that there was a Cormorant at the extreme edge of lock range.  I happened to already have long range ammo loaded, so I locked him up and took a shot.

And that is how I got on Madmatt Otsito’s kill mail.  Ah well.  I didn’t even hit him, but I had projectiles down range for him.

From there we were off to Queious and the route back to Delve and the jump bridge network.  The route was quiet so aside from a side trip to kill an ESS, we made our way back to staging and called it a night.  Another small op, no tidi, no drama, just a good clean fight.

Some screen shots from the op:

Election Night in Fountain

He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen.

-Harry Truman, on Eisenhower and the presidency

Just another Wednesday on a blog mostly about video games.

When I got home yesterday afternoon things seemed settled about the house.  My daughter was busy with something, hockey was starting on the TV, which would occupy my wife for a couple of hours, and a ping for a fleet had just come up on Jabber.  I figured it was a sign, and I logged into EVE Online and joined up.

We formed up an armor T3 fleet and by the time I was logging in there were threats that we were not going anywhere until there was more logistics support.  Fortunately that is what I generally fly… I don’t even own a doctrine Proteus or Legion… so it was into my medical white Guardian and into the fleet just in time for us to get going.

Guardians lolling about

Guardians lolling about, cap chain up

We rolled out with a capital fleet bobbling along ahead of us, turned north, passed through that long regional gate jump between ZXB-VC and Y-2ANO, and headed deep into Fountain where we have been fighting sparring with The-Culture off and on for the last couple of months.  It was a passage through history for me yet again, with system names in Fountain more familiar to me from past wars than my own current neighborhood in Delve.  I cannot, for example, go through KVN-36 without thinking about that doomed capital convoy op we ran way back when.

Holdings in the Southwest - Fountain, Delve, and Querious

Holdings in the Southwest – Fountain, Delve, and Querious

Our first destination was an Astrahus citadel of ours that The-Culture had been busy attacking over the past week.  It was coming down to its final timer and there seemed to be some likelihood that they would call in some help from the north to contest it.  A fight seemed possible and there were reports on coms that they had almost 100 people of there own in captials and ready to go.

We tethered up on the Astrahus and waited.  We were there early, so had to run down the timer before the event started, then sit through the whole fifteen minute exposure window.

Hanging off the Astrahus

Caps hanging off the Astrahus

However The-Culture wasn’t able to get a force together to contest the timer, so it ran out and the Astrahus was saved.

That left a couple hundred of us hanging about in Fountain, so the subcaps split off to go shoot a couple of towers The-Culture had in A-HZYL.  This took the evening from some sitting about waiting to a game of whack-a-mole for the logistics wing of the fleet.  Both of the towers had quite a few defense modules.  As nobody was there to direct them, they fired in their random sort of way which meant that people were calling for reps almost constantly as the automated guns changed targets at a maddening rate.

Meanwhile, The-Culture put together a small group of Artillery fit Claw interceptors (example fit from one we popped) who managed to warp in and pick off a few smaller ships (and one Legion) as we did our tower shoot.  I am not sure how they got the Legion, but they were able to alpha small ships (like B33R’s Bifrost) off the field in a single volley.

While The-Culture was big on defensive modules on their towers, they did not bother to put any strontium clathrates in them.  So rather than having to go through the multiple shoot routine of reinforcement mode, we were able to kill them right then and there.

That's right Pee-wee, the secret word is "Unstronted!"

That’s right Pee-wee, the secret word is “Unstronted!”

Fortunately the capital fleet sent us a few dreadnoughts to speed things up so the logi repping madness didn’t last as long as it could have.  We popped one tower and then a second.  After that we had to take the remaining modules offline and cover GSOL as they put up replacement in the place of the ones we just blew up.

A new tower going up!

A new tower going up!, old hardeners still in place

That left us with some time to kill, which we did in the usual way.  The FC, Thomas Lear, had logi start repping one of the fleet members… in this case fellow jacket pal Norrec Lafisques… and then had the rest of the fleet shoot him to see if they could break his tank.

Norrec as the focus while the tower goes online

Norrec as the focus while the tower goes online

However, but that time we had lost some fleet members… we were past the three hour mark… while logi was still strongly represented and all still awake after the tower, so we kept him alive without any fuss.

Once the towers were set, it was time to head home, shepherding the capitals and keeping together to avoid being picked off by the still lurking Claws of The-Culture.  That took a while, but eventually we made it back to the staging Keepstar and were able to call it a night.  We were rewarded with three participation links, which covers 75% of my minimum for the month.

During the whole fleet any discussion of politics was banned.  Politics is generally one of the forbidden topics on fleet ops, but given it was election night it was being strictly enforced.  So there were not any updates while I was playing EVE Online during that gap of time.  Before the fleet started I had looked at Google’s election coverage and the real time live forecast that the New York Times had put together on their web site.  So when I looked as the fleet was kicking off, every indicator said Clinton was going to win.  The needles were all deep in Clinton territory and Trump had faint hope.  When The fleet was done… well… things had changed as indicated by this chart which I clipped from their site.

What a difference a fleet makes

What a difference a fleet makes

I think the fleet actually started about a half hour earlier now that I think about it, but you get the picture.  And while I wasn’t completely news free during the fleet… I checked Twitter and saw a few indicators come up… the radical shift was still a bit of a surprise.

My daughter, actually paying close attention to a presidential election for the first time, was disturbed by the apparent outcome.  I had to reassure her that the system is designed to suppress drastic change.  The government is slow and inefficient on purpose.  It is a feature.  Just as Harry Truman noted about Eisenhower I would note about Trump.  Being the President isn’t like the military, or like a business, where you just tell people to do things and they happen.  It is frustrating when you think something should be done.  President Obama couldn’t even close Guantanamo Bay, a 2008 campaign promise, over two terms.  But it pays back when something you don’t want is proposed.

The apocalypse isn’t upon us.  I’ve seen bigger mandates and grander ambitions ground down by the wheels of government.  Even that Republican congress answers to their constituencies first… or maybe it is lobbyists first, I forget… while the President is somewhere way down the list.  And that will all get tossed in the air in again in two years.

We’ll see what happens.  But as Scarlett O’Hara sagely noted, tomorrow is another day.

Bhaalgorns to Fountain

About a month back in one of the weekly fireside chats, The Mittani promised us a new doctrine, a battleship doctrine.  About two weeks back, the doctrine was revealed.  It would be centered around a mix of Bhaalgorns and Abaddons.  Last night, after leaving some time for the supply chain to catch up, it was time to undock to doctrine for the first time.

Turnout wasn’t bad for an op called in the later USTZ and which had a parallel capital operation running at the same time.  We didn’t fill the fleet, but our number was well over 200.  I was going to grab an Abaddon… Bhaalgorns are cool, but they are also half a billion ISK and I like to let a doctrine settle down and become a standard before I invest that much ISK… but I was late to the market.  All the Abaddons had been bought out.  But that was okay, as the doctrine used the same logi fits for Oneiros and Guardians as our other armor doctrines, so I was able to pull out a Oneiros and join in.

The Bhaalgorns, being a Blood Raiders faction ship, naturally has the Blood Raiders style paint job.  And a skin of the same style for the Abaddon was part of a past event so was pretty readily available, so a number of pilots were able to match up.

Hanging on the Fortizar waiting to go

Hanging on the Fortizar waiting to go

The Oneiros needs a decent skin.  There are three available from CCP, but they all turn a mostly dark colored ship into a slightly different but mostly indistinguishable dark colored ship.  There isn’t even a Quafe skin for the Oneiros.  It needs something bright and shiny.  Gallente Problems.

The fleet’s destination was Fountain, to face The-Culture and assail their holdings in the region, with Asher getting the honor of leading the new fleet doctrine for its first run.

Going to Fountain always brings back memories of the Fountain War.  So many systems there bring back memories of events now three years gone. (A summary of my posts from the war here.)  It was also a time when I was very active and always flew in main fleet.

Of course, being in main fleet again reminded me of the downsides of being there.  It wasn’t horrible… often it was unintentionally funny to me… but after a long stretch of smaller fleets and my time in Reavers, it was chaotic coms and me thinking “Can you just shut up?” as people ran off at the mouth about unrelated items.  I tend to be very good at coms discipline and take it seriously, and when you get 200+ people together… more than that because the battleships were sharing coms with the capital fleet… there is always somebody who picks the wrong time to start talking.

The-Culture put out a fleet of Ishtars to oppose us at one point, but things were not in their favor and they withdrew that after a while, content to just harasses us with interdictors when they could.  The counter to this in our new doctrine is smart bombs.  Each of the Bhaalgorns was fit with a smart bomb, a weapon that shoots out a burst that hits anything within a limited radius of your ship, friend or foe.

This led to more unintentional comedy.

There is a joke that is not really a joke wherein one says, “Did he say jump?” when holding on a gate.  When everybody is there waiting for the word, just saying the word “jump” even in the sentence “Do not jump!” will cause some people to hit the button and go through the gate.  Everybody is hanging on, waiting for that one word and sometime they won’t process the context until after they have acted.

Well, having smart bombs on our shiny new doctrine ships seemed to end up with the same sort of thing, wherein any time somebody used the words “smart bomb” the Bhaalgorns would start lighting them off, even when those words were embedded in the phrase, “Will you stop using your fucking smart bombs!”

Did you say "smart bomb?"

Did you say “smart bomb?”

I am not sure if we killed any of our own that way, but small stuff had to get the hell away from the Bhaalgorns, everybody had their shields stripped away, and logi spent some time running armor reps to repair this self-inflicted damage.

Once the enemy Ishtar fleet retired, our job of covering the capital fleet left us chasing around various interdictors who were trying to bubble us and the capitals just to make everything go slower for us.  As part of that I got to watch one of our pilots in a command destroyer use that ships special AOE micro jump drive to “boosh” interdictor bubbles off of the fleet. (“Boosh” is the term of art for using that drive.)

The micro jump drive spinning up to boosh a bubble

The micro jump drive spinning up to boosh a bubble

This actually seemed to work pretty well, given that it takes a bit of skill as the pilot must align and time their jump to get things done right.  Only once did things go awry, when a bunch of us who had gotten out of a bubble by turning our prop mods on had the bubble dropped on us a while later.  At least it was off the capital ships.

As the op began to reach its conclusion, we met some of the capitals at one of The-Culture’s POSes where they were building capitals.

Prime Targets

Prime Targets

The tower was but into its reinforced state as we arrived, but the subcaps joined in to take care of some of the modules, especially the jump bridge array.  First we shot it until it was past shields and armor and into structure.

Shooting the jump bridge

Shooting the jump bridge

Then it was time for logi to rep the armor back up to half full.  We could have destroyed it, but then it would just take a couple guys about 30 minutes to drop a new one.  Left as it was, they would have to either destroy it… which would mean burning down through half armor and structure… or repair it… which would mean repping up from half armor and structure.

This is what is know as a “dick move” designed to cause the enemy the maximum amount of inconvenience.

We also knocked out a couple of faction modules they had on the POS.  Then, as we waited for the caps for form up and get on their way, we shot Thomas Lear in his Damnation, just to see how tough that command ship really was.  Then we set ourselves to shepherding the capitals back to Delve.  Once they were within range to jump back to their staging, we were released to burn home ourselves.

The fleet ran past the three hour mark and was a reminder of the ups and downs of being in main fleet.  Now a bunch of timers have been set in Fountain though, so main fleet will be returning soon to contest them.

Addendum: I missed to follow up op, but The-Cultre assembly arrays were destroyed.

The Keepstar, a Hellcamp, and Pure Blind

Last Thursday I posted a picture of a Keepstar citadel deploying in EVE Online, strongly implying that there was going to be something happening around that.

Looks like it has about 18 hours to go...

That is a titan’s worth of ISK in structure form…

And now it is Tuesday and I haven’t written any more about it, so I thought it might retrace what happened, or at least my own path through it.

If you are a regular on /r/eve you have likely read the story already and can probably skip this, as it will be a subset of events, mostly what I actually saw and heard.  If you live in New Eden vicariously through my posts, well, here is another tale from deep space.

Thursday night there was a ping for a Cerberus fleet led by Asher Elias.  This is a very Asher doctrine and I try to go on such fleets whenever I can.  They tend to be a good time.  I logged on and got into the fleet.

We had some special instructions.  One was to bring along a medium mobile war disruption bubble if we could deploy it.  The other was to bring along some extra ammo.  I bought a bubble and put it in my cargo along with some cheap t1 missiles, as it sounded like we might be shooting structures.  Then we undocked.  We had decent numbers, with over 200 in fleet, so there was a mass of Cerbs.

Cerberus undock

Cerberus undock

From there in Saranen we headed out a few jumps to catch a titan bridge into Pure Blind.  From there we headed through Fade and into Deklein, with our destination being the system 2O9G-D.

It was there that we saw, on the grid with the station, the Keepstar going up.  It was still early in its 24 hour deployment cycle, so I figured we were there to lay some groundwork in order to contest it once it came out of its deployment and spent an hour going online, during which it could not defend itself.

And that seemed to be our task.  First we went and dropped our bubbles around the station in order to making coming and going from there in anything besides an interceptor a chore.

2O9G station bubbled up

2O9G station bubbled up

We went and hit the POS in the system that had a cyno beacon and a jump bridge module in order to hinder comings and goings.  We also covered the deployment of a pair of POS towers and spent some time popping hostile warp bubbles around an Astrahus in I30-3A, which is the system next door.

Not much happened while we did this in the way of fights.  We killed a couple of bombers who tried to hit us, some interceptors that we buzzing around, and a couple of fighters sent out from a carrier.

During this The Mittani got on coms with us to tell us about the grand plan.  He said that we were not there merely to shoot the Keepstar, but to hellcamp the station through the 96 hour period it would take to turn the ownership over to us, thus locking down all the assets held therein by the locals.  We would also be there for the Keepstar fight, but the hellcamp was the thing.

A hellcamp is when you bubble up a null sec station and put a fleet on it to halt all but the most minimal comings and goings… you can’t really stop interceptors… for an extended period of time.  In this case, we The Mittani was talking about embargoing the station for 96 hours straight.  Not the longest hellcamp in my time… I think we spent at least a week camping a station in 319-3D in Delve back in 2012… but still a call for a commitment.

To do this Asher was going to take us back to Saranen and swap out for a Confessor fleet.  Those of us who didn’t want to stay up for the hellcamp… there were late night Euros in the fleet as well as early risers like me… we could safe log out in the POS and log back in the next day for the big fight and whatever else came up.

There was also the promise of a State of the Goonion announcement come the morning.

It wasn’t really that late, but I didn’t want to fly to Saranen and back out again, so I decided to call it a night and camp in the POS.  I was already planning to work from home on Friday and I figured if I camped in the POS I could log in to see a bit of the big fight… it was slated for about noon my time, so perfect for a lunch break diversion… and then figure things out from there.  So I left.

I do not know what happened with the hellcamp plan overnight, but when I finally got around to logging in the next day before lunch, 2O9G was starting to fill up.  There were already over 1,400 people in local.  Unfortunately for us, only about 20 of them were blue, and most were orbiting the stick in the now reinforced POS that had been setup the previous night.

As local climbed to 2,000 and time dilation started to kick in even without anybody fighting, the word came down through Jabber that there was not going to be a fight as there was no way we could kill the Keepstar in time.

Apparently, when time dilation kicks in and slows everybody down, one of the things that is unaffected is the timer to online a citadel.  Somebody had calculated that even without hostile interference, so long as tidi was running, we could not put enough sustained DPS on the Keepstar to keep it vulnerable and kill it before its unaffected timer ran down and it went online.

And, of course, hostile interference was going to be a big deal.  With about 2,000 people on grid with the Keepstar, including supers, we would be going in outnumbered, so that even without the tidi hitch the Keepstar seemed safe.

The calculations by the heads of the Imperium seemed to include an assumption that the MBC wouldn’t form back up as a single unit again to defend a single citadel, or even that PL might join in to get on a Keepstar kill.  They seem happy enough to shoot MBC capitals of late.

Instead, once again, the MBC showed itself to be the CFC 2.0, a massive essentially blue coalition holding the north together.  Protest all you like, but actions speak louder than words.  Even PL was able to get in on the act thanks to a suspiciously convenient wormhole connection opening up between Thera and 2O9G before the fight.

But no fight was coming.  Some people who were keen to stream the event… including TMC… clearly felt led astray.

Instead, the Imperium undocked a couple of battleship fleets to shoot structured in Pure Blind.  Those of us per-positioned in 2O9G were feeling a little lost.  I safe logged again and went back to work.

Fortunately for me, that evening Thomas Lear came out with a fleet to rescue some of us that were stuck in 2O9G.  He got us back to a titan that bridged us close to Saranen.

Another titan bridge

Another titan bridge

Finally, on Saturday, during the usual Meta Show time frame, there was the previously promised State of the Goonion.  There is a summary of it over at TMC, but the essence was that the plan didn’t work and we were going to pursue a more modest/methodical approach to the long promised reconquista.  We would be pushing into Pure Blind from Saranen, taking systems in the first two constellations, the one based around 93PI-4 and the one next to it, referred to as “the kite” due to its shape on the DOTLAN map, defending the timers and raising ADMs on the systems to make them more defensible.

There was also some announcements about doctrines that would be used going forward.  We had quite a few doctrines live up until this point.  Reducing that will make supply easier, though now I am stuck with two Naga battlecruisers I never got to fly.  I will either ship them back to Jita myself or go do a long range camp on a gate or something with them until they die.

Caps to be used going forward were discussed, and since only the Caldari and Amarr force auxiliaries are going to be used/reimbursed going forward, a few people undocked their insured Ninazu’s for us to shoot.  I got one one kill mail just to be there.

Then it was off to raising ADMs, which means raising the Military and Industrial indexes, which in turn means killing rats and mining.  So after the SotG I joined up with Jay Amazingness’ mining op and broke rocks in 93PI-4 in a Procurer.

Rock crushing in a Procurer

Rock crushing in a Procurer

And that is the plan for now.  We have secured the constellations in Pure Blind.

Pure Blind - July 11, 2016

Pure Blind – July 11, 2016

Now we have to see if we can hold them, raise the ADMs, and push forward.  Deklein is always the goal on the horizon, the Goon homeland for many years.

Gevlon says it won’t work.  And certainly, if the MBC continues to work together and applies itself again to sov warfare, we are likely to be pushed back to the soda warehouse in Saranen.  We shall see how this turns out, this next stage in the war for us.

I am kind of disappointed that I didn’t get to see the Keepstar after it was deployed.  I might have to sneak out to take a look at some point.

Meanwhile, some screen shots from the events of the last few days put together into a gallery.

Hurricane Massacre

Expecting another run with Nagas again, I logged into EVE Online early to grab two off of the contracts available in Saranen.  There seemed to be plenty available, so somebody had worked to restock the market over night.  Pick your favorite quote about logistics and war.

But when the ping went out to form up for the 02:00 op, the call was for Hurricanes alone.  No Nagas would undock, so I had to grab a Hurricane off contracts in order to go along.  Plenty of those were available as well. Thomas Lear was the FC and, by way of indicating what we might be up to, the message of the day in the fleet window asked that we bring extra T1 ammo.

We were going to shoot a structure.

Thomas would neither confirm nor deny this allegation, just telling people to bring extra ammo.  I had shipped out plenty of cheap ammo for Hurricanes, so I was covered, but people who went to the market in Saranen were faced with some very expensive choices.  Somebody had bought up the T1 ammo and priced it way above market, making faction ammo cheaper by comparison.  A bit of economic warfare.  So people bought faction ammo instead.  I listed some of my T1 ammo and mentioned it in fleet chat, however nobody seemed to notice and I wasn’t wearing my headset with a mic, so couldn’t shout about it in voice coms.  Ah well, somebody will buy it at some point… it was still listed last I checked.

After boosters were setup the fleet, approximately 100 people, undocked through the cloud of Abaddons sitting on the undock and warped off to a gate.  A couple people got tagged and had to dock back up, but most of us had no problem.

We traveled a few jumps to pick up a titan that bridged us up into Pure Blind where we did indeed setup and start shooting a tower.  It was an NCdot money moon in U-INPD in a MOA owned system.  So we went into orbit of the tower and started shooting it while sending drones after the offensive modules to incapacitate them.

Hurricane fleet blazing away at the stick

Hurricane fleet blazing away at the stick

We had a couple of hostiles in system scouting us, but things were quiet for a while until a group of hostiles showed up in local.  NCDot had put together a small bomber fleet to disrupt our POS shot, and disrupt us they did.

When the NCDot bomber force uncloaked and launched against us, the call went out to overheat hardeners.  That I did overheat saved my ship, as I was square in the middle of where they had aimed.  I saw my shields stripped away, then my armor burned off, and finally the very structure of my ship began absorbing the incoming explosions.  I thought I was done for, but the damage stopped with 8% of my structure remaining.  A couple of Hurricanes went down in that run, but most survived.  However, like my ship, the survivors were still heavily damaged.

Meanwhile, reinforcements were coming in to help our foes.  NCDot had put out the call to the other members of the We-Are-Not-A-Coalition Coalition and they were showing up in system.  Thomas warped us off, then brought us to a GSF POS in the system.

However, the POS password wasn’t the standard one you can find by googling “Goon POS password” and he did not know what the actual password was.  So anybody who was in GSF, which was most of the fleet, could safely hole up in the POS while those of us in other alliances had to go make safe spots and bounce around.

While Thomas was trying to get somebody from GSOL maintenance out to reset the POS PIN to let us in, a Guardians of the Galaxy T3 fleet showed up at the POS and started shooting our tower.

A blob of T3s outside of our POS

A blob of T3s outside of our POS

Meanwhile, somebody woke up MOA and told them they had an Imperium POS in one of their systems, so they dragged out a couple of Revelation dreadnoughts to join in the shoot.  Things had turned around and our own tower was the focus.

MOA Revelations exist

MOA Revelations exist

Pandemic Horde also filtered into the system with a mixed frigate and interceptor fleet.  All sorts of people were showing up.

I saw Hendrink Collie again

I saw Hendrink Collie again

In the mean time, the GSOL service tech had made it out to the POS and had set a temporary password so those of us warping between safe spots could rejoin the fleet.  Soon we were all huddled together, orbiting the stick at 500m, and wondering how long it would take our foes to get bored and go away.

Sitting in the POS

Sitting in the POS

At that point we were out numbered and out gunned, but in addition to that we were all still heavily damaged.  Ships orbiting the POS tower all showed visible armor damage.  We looked like a fleet of the undead shambling about the stick, giant patches of burned armor exposed.

Skins can't hide the damage

Skins can’t hide the damage

We were a shield tanked fleet, and shields do regenerate.  However, we still often count on armor and hull to act as a buffer while we hope that logi can get to us and start repping our shields.  And, for me, that secondary buffer was mighty thin indeed.

No armor, 8% hull, and heat damage on the hardeners

No armor, 8% hull, and heat damage on the hardeners

So we sat in orbit for a while inside the POS shields and waited.

Then Thomas told us all to wake up.  Asher Elias had pinged for a reinforcement fleet and was going to be arriving shortly.  At that point we were going to leave the POS shields and engage the enemy.

We stopped orbiting the stick on our own and anchored up on Thomas.  He made a few turns back and forth as we waited, then headed for the edge of the shields, then end of safety, and started calling targets.

I had managed to lock up and hit a Guardian before it exploded, then moved on to a Devoter where I scored the final blow, giving my Hurricane a temporary kill mark.  Very temporary indeed, as the NCDot bomber fleet had uncloaked already and bombs were on their way.

I overheated my hardeners again, annoyed that my ship hadn’t come with any nanite repair paste and that I hadn’t bothered to check and grab some before we left, and waited for the hammer to fall as I started shooting the next target.  My shields went down by leaps as each bomb hit.  There was a short pause in the pulses of the attack as my shields lingered at the hairy end of being gone.  I thought for a brief second that maybe I might survive a bit longer.  And then another bomb pulsed and the ship disintegrated around me and I was in my pod.

I am sure I was not alone.  Those who did not go with me on that round no doubt went soon thereafter, as the bombs were not done hitting and my pod was destroyed with the next explosion, putting me back in the station in Saranen.

There were calls on coms to reship and be ready to return, but I doubted that we were going to go back.  The bulk of our fleet, damaged earlier by a well aimed bomb run, had been finished off by the same bombers.

The battle report shows that we lost almost all of our ships in the engagement, totaling up to 15.3 billion ISK while only inflicting 4.43 billion ISK in damage on our foe, a ratio of almost 3.5 to 1.

Not a good day for the USTZ 02:00 op.  And the daily Astrahus in Saranen was destroyed as well.

We shall see what tomorrow brings.