Tag Archives: Tribute

Post War Moves and Drops in Null Sec

While the Imperium attack on the north, with its intent to “glass” the Tribute and Vale of the Silent regions, did not produce any record setting or headline worth spaceship battles, there was still a considerable amount of destruction.  In addition to blowing up all of the infrastructure hubs in Tribute and a good number in the western side of Vale of the Silent, the tally in the forums shows we blew up the following list of structures during the deployment, in something like descending order of value:

  • Keepstar : 4
  • Sotiyo : 11
  • Faction Fortizar : 1
  • Fortizar : 36
  • Tatara : 18
  • Azbel : 18
  • Athanor : 57
  • Astrahus : 73
  • Raitaru : 69
  • Ansiblex Jump Gate : 20
  • Pharolux Cyno Beacon : 4
  • Tenebrex Cyno Jammer : 68

Then the Drifters showed up and the war ended as everybody in null sec had to scramble to figure out what that really meant.  For us it meant move ops home, delayed because the people who would be leading those ops were the same people able to gun structures at home, and the were not able to do both.

As tends to happen, people adapted to the Drifter menace… though CCP dialed it up for a day last week, the attacks faded about the time the “no local” message started getting out… and the various groups started looking into what the post war world of null sec was going to look like.

The word going about is than PanFam, made up primarily of Pandemic Legion, Northern Coalition, and Pandemic Horde, were going to move.

Tribute has been pretty much abandoned by PanFam as being too hard to defend, and echo of what we learned during the Casino War.  It’s handiness to Jita and other regions is a blessing and a curse.  The Territorial Control Units mostly still show NCDot and PL, but that is mostly because TCUs do not have much in the way of value aside from being markers on the map these days.  It is the ihubs that count, and they were wiped out.

Tribute – July 7, 2019

In some parts of Tribute some new people have started moving in.  In the 03C-SU constellation, which is highlighted, the new owners even put down ihubs.  I guess they intend to stay.

I am not sure what is going to happen with Vale of the Silent, except that PanFam will no longer live there.  The word is that the coalition will be moving deeper into the Dronelands in eastern null sec, calling the regions of Malpais and The Kalevala Expanse their new home.

A leaked announcement that has shown up a few places, including Reddit, has Pandemic Horde setting up shop in TKE.

Horde instructions – click to make more legible

The word is that PL and NCDot will live next door in Malpais, while the renters that currently occupy both regions will be relocated to Geminate.  I am sure that will make those hunting ratters and miners happy as they will be.

Those wishing to hunt PanFam however will be less happy as they are moving to a similar model to what we have in Delve.  From a central staging point they will be able to drop supers and titans on anybody in their territory, being able to land on an estimated 200 systems.  The lack of nearby NPC null space, as we have in Delve, makes their situation all the more secure.  Dread bombs will take some work.

The Mittani, who has been showing up in the Talking in Stations Discord had some comments on the situation:

Mittens on Malpais

So that is the new null sec reality.  We have out are in the southwest of null sec, PanFam has their new center in the northeast of null sec, and if we’re going to brawl in any major way it will likely be due to us meeting in the middle somewhere.

But if people are moving, that means move ops and people wandering to their destination solo.  And for Pandemic Horde, there is a pair of systems through which they must pass in order to move from Geminate to where they want to be in TKE.  The gap between the two regions is too far for a direct jump unless you’re in a jump freighter.  Their extended range can bridge the gap, but everything else has to gate or go a long way out of the way.

The gap from DOTLAN navigation

And any place where you have a bunch of stragglers wandering blind through a choke point, you’re going to get some people waiting on a black ops ready to drop on them.

Sitting on a Redeemer in Geminate

The Drifter invasion stopped wars and got the null sec groups to cooperate and agree to a general non-invasion pact, but that doesn’t mean we stopped shooting each other.  Once the Drifter stuff was under control we all went back to roaming each other’s space looking for targets.  Even the blue donut isn’t all that blue.

So I got to spend some time with Black Ops (being in Reavers made me something like a Black Ops auxiliary back when we were operating out of Pure Blind in 2018) dropping on the occasional straggler.

This sort of operation involves a lot of waiting.  I sat around and wrote yesterday’s post while sitting on that Redeemer waiting for somebody to tell us to wake up.  But when the time comes you do get some fun kills.

The first drop was on a Thanatos that was caught on the gate in 9P4O-F.

Thanatos caught by us

This guy wasn’t particularly valuable according to the kill mail, but it is always feels good as a subcap pilot to kill a capital ship.  We blew up the wreck, so there was nothing left to recover.  There were some people in system, but nobody came to help him.  Like us, PH was probably telling people to no yolo on their own, so those that do at least serve as an example to the rest.

The next guy though, another Thanatos, he was hauling his stuff.  He made it through the gate, so we jumped through and caught him on the other side and blew him up.

Another Thanatos brewing up

The kill mail showed this to be a suitcase, carrying a bunch of his stuff to his new home.  That wreck got blown up as well, so nothing was recovered.

A little while later we also managed to grab a Charon freighter, though this time around some of the locals came to help.  We got the kill, but couldn’t stick around to blow up the wreck.  Still, a decent amount of stuff destroyed.

I couldn’t stick around all day, but the kills when they happen are exciting.  And sometimes you snatch something valuable right from under their nose.  That Ark was sitting on a Fortizar untethered.  The PDS from the citadel got top damage.

The Last Keepstar in Tribute Falls as We Look for More Targets

Another Northern Coalition Keepstar was destroyed as I slept.

The Keepstar in SH1-6P, formerly the PanFam staging citadel to defend Tribute, was destroyed at 09:45 UTC, which was about a quarter to three in the morning for me.

Keepstar Kill Mail

The Keepstar was gunned and got some kills, including a dreadnought and a carrier.  But, as with the Keepstar in P3EN-E, the rigs pulled in advance to minimized the value listed on the loss at ZKillboard.  The destruction was seen as inevitable by both sides.

Even at that hour of the day more than 1,000 pilots were on the kill mail.  I suppose it helped that the coordination team pinged about the op every hour on the hour, doing a count down to the op.

That was the last Keepstar in Tribute and, while I haven’t done a survey of the region, it feels like we are running out of targets there at this point.  The last I check the war tracking thread in the forums, which lists out every structure kill and charts progress on ihub destruction, it did not seem like there was much left in the region.  Certainly the operational tempo of the deployment has slackened greatly in the last few days.  As late as last Thursday I was able to catch a couple ops every evening.  Over the weekend that seemed to drop off dramatically.

There are still things to do.  Vale of the Silent may still have targets for us, though we quickly get beyond two super jumps from our staging as we drive into that region, which makes things awkward.

And there is the cleansing of the structures of PanFam front and/or ally Mogul Financial.  Several of their structures in Tribute have been destroyed already and the coalition has declared war on them so as to be able to hit their structures in low and high sec space.

But after that I am not sure where we will head.  It is possible that we will get the order for a huge move op home in the next week or two, so we can resumed mining and ratting and chasing interlopers in the manner to which we have become accustomed.  For me that will mean going back to SIG/Squad ops out in the east somewhere.

Or maybe GSOL will drop a Keepstar in some place crazy like Y5J-EU, from which we can burn the far side of Vale of the Silent, some of Geminate, and be able to jump to the system that has that gate to The Kalevala Expanse.  That doesn’t seem likely.  It would certainly stretch our logistics.  But it could happen I suppose.

If I were betting money on it though, I would guess we will be headed home in a couple of weeks.

Addendum: INN says all the ihubs in Tribute are dead, even if they are a bit fuzzy on the state of the SH1 Keepstar.

Operations in Eastern Tribute and the Vale of the Silent

Our operations have slowly been taking us further east.  The range of systems covered directly by capitals based in our staging system have been denuded of structures and ihubs.

Systems our capitals can reach in one jump from our staging

DOTLAN doesn’t show the “shape” of space, it being a representational layout attempting to group systems in a region together onto a single useful map rather than worrying about the actual distances between systems.  So, for example, SH1-6P looks to be much closer on the map than other systems we can reach.  But that isn’t the reality… whatever that means when we’re talking about a video game… of the actual layout of the stars which, among other things, are not a nice flat array but are in fact a three dimensional matrix of systems connected by star gates.  The in-game map tries to show you everything in 3D, and even if you use the “flatten” option, shows the stars in space with their actual distances (on one plane at least), which is why it is both so pretty and so useless to the average player.

Also, we haven’t spent much time worrying about the Territorial Control Units, the TCUs in each system, since aside from setting ownership on the map, they do not have any impact on the system.  The Infrastructure Hubs, the ihubs, are the key and they have all been blown where we can reach.  A few enterprising groups have been going out to flip the TCUs to get themselves on the map, but even where the systems still show NC. or -10.0 the ihubs and structures therein have been purged.

Anyway, we have been moving farther afield.  Sub cap operations have been starting with a titan bridge to PNDN-V, putting us on the path to operations in the far side of Tribute and into the Vale of the Silent.

Saturday I went with an Eagle fleet to the vicinity of the PanFam staging system in SH1-6P.  Word was that PanFam was evacuating the staging to pull back deeper into their territory.  A glance at Zkillboard for their staging system showed that somebody was insurance frauding a pile of Megathrons.

Some of the Blue on Blue kills in SH1-6P

Those seem to have been all empty hulls (I clicked a few but not all of them), so I gather they were not worth moving or sending to asset safety, but the modules were.

We passed through the system unmolested and moved to O-0ERG where an Ansiblex jump gate was waiting for us.  We landed on it in a ball and began to shoot.  As usual, I had plenty of T1 bash ammo in my cargo.  Life in Reavers, and then Liberty Squad, has kept me prepared to shoot structures at all times.

A Stork booster in our fleet with the Caldari Union Day SKIN

Being one jump away from a hostile staging system meant keeping alert, even if they were evac’ing.  While we were not the only fleet out shooting structures, at 100 ships we were a viable target if the locals decided to form and get a fight.

Our FC, whose name I’ve forgotten, seemed a bit on edge about the possibility of us getting dropped, but he was in the command channel where all sorts of information the line members don’t hear about things the enemy is up to is passed along.  We blew up the jump gate but were immediately aligned out to move.

On our way as the Ansiblex blows

We jumped into SH1-6P and passed through into D7-ZAC, where the FC had us start shooting a Pandemic Legion cyno jammer

Following the FC as we shoot

That did not last too long however, and he soon gave us an align point and told us that NCDot had formed a fleet and they would be coming for us shortly.  Vince Draken, long time NCDot lead FC, was bringing about 150 Eagles to fight us and we would be setting up for them.  The FC’s voice even sounded a bit stressed as he said we would be outnumbered and it would be a tough fight, so we needed to be on our game.

The enemy came through the gate and we started trying to hit their logi.  We failed to break the first couple and the FC switched over to targeting Eagles, which we were able to break and started to kill.  Things seemed to be going remarkably well considering we the odds were 3:2 against us and we were facing an veteran FC.  We were popping targets and almost nobody was broadcasting for reps. (Since I fly logi mostly I often forget and leave those broadcasts on in my fleet window.)

That was when I noticed that a full Baltec fleet of Megathron battleships had joined the fight on our side, weighing the odds heavily in our favor.  We were able to get some kills before the enemy fled, Vince Draken being one of the targets of the battleships who popped his Monitor FC ship.  The battle report shows that it ended up a very much one-sided fight.

Battle Report Header from the quick fight

That’s what happens when you’re out numbered.  I have screen shots of NC/PL dropping titans on us when we undocked Hurricanes back in Saranen during the Casino War, so I know what it is like.

Our Eagles were soon soaring alone on the field.

Eagle fleet spread out and chasing the FC

That was enough for us and we headed home.

Sunday several fleets were called up.  This time I went back to logi and joined the Baltec fleet under Pittsburgh2989.  This time we gated out to PNDN-V where a titan bridged us into the Vale of the Silent.  There we took up station and started shooting structures.

We did get one kill early on, an Azbel in 97-M96.

Baltecs already aligned out as the Azbel blows

But most of the time was spent reinforcing various structures in the vicinity.  A fleet had gone through and done the shield timer on a whole range of structures previously, so we were there to hit the armor timers as they came up.  This included a series of Athanor mining platforms that were mid-way through pulling moon chunks into position in order to be broken up and mined.

Moon chunk being pulled

That was kind of a neat visual, and on this sort of fleet you have to be interested in the visuals or watching Netflix on another screen or something.  I spent some time in WoW running world quests on an alt during the fleet.  But I also watched the ships and the targets.  We had a group from Black Ops that were out in the Triglavian battleship, the Leshak, hitting the structures with us.

A Leshak with the Metamateria Exotica SKIN

They can be kind of mesmerizing to watch, with their one red beam hitting the target continuously.

I just make a “bzzzzzzz” sound in my head when I see that

Seeing them makes me want to try out some of the Triglavian hulls at some point, though that will likely have to be something in a SIG.  They are too expensive and not abundant enough to be a main line doctrine.

We had a couple of the Triglavian tech 2 logi with us as well, the Zarmazd, which hit the game back in December, though I did not get a good screen shot of one of those.

What I did get to see is what happens when a mining platform gets its hull timer reinforced when it has a moon rock on the hook.  I have actually seen that before, but one of the Athanors had one very close to hand, ready for the mining action, so when it exploded it was right there on top of us.

Moon chunk goes boom!

And once it blows it leaves behind an oily black cloud that slowly dissipates.

The cloud as the explosion fades

It was a long fleets… past the three hour mark… but we reinforced a lot of structures and setup a lot of kills for a future fleet.  In a few days another fleet will be running around that area blowing up one structure after another.  We’ll see if I manage a return.

Tonight, or tomorrow morning EVE Online time, is another big structure kill.  The Keepstar in P3EN-E in the Vale of the Silent is set to come out of its final timer.  As with the two Keepstars last week, the fleets won’t even be forming up for the kill until almost midnight local time for me.  Kind of late on a weeknight.  Not something I can manage over and over.  But I am sure there will still be lots of people forming up to get on the kill mail.

Keepstar Nocturnal Mission

I was up because it was hot.  It had peaked over 100 degrees in the afternoon in Silicon Valley, and even as midnight approached the temperature hung in the mid-80s.  It was too warm to get to sleep easily, so why not just stay up and see a couple of Keepstars blown up?

Given how long they have been around, there haven’t been that many Keepstar kills.  The list of losses over at Zkillboard isn’t that long, even if you add in the couple that didn’t register correctly.  I’ve been around for a few of the kills… including multiple Circle of Two Keepstars… but it is still something of a special event to see one explode.

And that was my initial plan.  Very low commitment.  I was just going to slip into M-OEE8 with an alt in a stealth bomber and watch the fireworks there.  We had a couple of citadels parked around the target, so I could tether up and watch.  So nearly an hour ahead of time I was setup and watching.

The M-OEE8 Keepstar awaits

There were actually multiple targets on grid, but only one really mattered, and the timer was counting down.

Other targets on grid, with blues on their own citadel

That would let me watch one Keepstar, but there was a second one in 0-YMBJ that was set to come out about 30 minutes after the first.  For that one I logged in with my main.  The target was just one jump over from our staging, so I would just stealth bomber over to watch that one as well.

And then the calls for fleets started going up.  There were nearly 2,000 pilots logged into our staging system, and I decided to go with one of the Baltec fleets.  I already had a Megathron.  That would get me on a kill mail or two.

But then they needed logi… somebody always needs more logi… so I bought an Oneiros, put on the Emergency Response SKIN, stuffed a Bouncer and four Warrior IIs in the drone bay and undocked.

Oneiros ready to go

Sothrasil was our FC, and he warped us off to the Athanor off the undock, then back onto the titan that was going to bridge us.  However, everybody was so anxious to go that there were dozens of titans crowded in and it was tough just to click on the correct one.  The call had to go out for titans to dock back up because they were bumping the bridging titans.  We got to hear about that because it was another operation with all fleets on the same voice coms.  But things did clear up for us and we were bridged into M-OEE8.

And from there we gated one system over to E-OGL4 to shoot a Fortizar that was already out.  We landed in close enough that I was able to put a Warrior II on it before we anchored up and motored well out of drone range.

You can almost see the Fortizar

That went placidly as nobody bothered to gun the Fortizar until it was almost dead.  When somebody did show up they turned on the PDS and killed my drone, but the structure was down to 5% at that point, so I was on the kill when it exploded.

The Fortizar explodes as we align out

Meanwhile, back in M-OEE8, more ships were piling in.  Super carriers were putting fighters on the Keepstar the warping to tether up while a range of third party fleets from TEST and Dead Coalition… and even a couple of NC/PL ships… were hanging about watching the structure get chipped away, waiting for their moment to get in range to take a few shots so as to get on to the kill.

Supers strewn about the field

Sothrasil brought us onto the Fortizar on grid with the Keepstar where we tethered up and waited our turn to take a shot at the big target.  One person in our fleet, alleged to be a non-English speaker, warped off to the Keepstar to get his shots in on his own and was blown up for going off on his own.  About the same time a carrier pilot in an Archon trying to control their fighters ended up warping to the Keepstar and was likewise blown up.

Archon sacrificed at the altar of the Keepstar

Somebody ran out in a blockade runner to try and look the wreck, but I don’t think they made it out safely.

Caught grabbing the loot

My alt in his stealth bomber decloaked and put some torps into the Keepstar, then warped back to tether up and watch the outcome.

Sothrasil then had us align and we warped in to take out shots.  I dropped the Bouncer II I had brought along and set it to firing a few rounds before scooping it up.  We then aligned back just as the call for the titans to jump in came over coms.

Our little fleet visible as the titans land in front of the Keepstar

Asher was directing the titans.  The plan was for them all to land and then use their doomsday weapons in order to send off the Keepstar in style.  It didn’t quite go to plan… people shot their

weapons early… but it still looked pretty neat.  I put my camera on the Keepstar and got some pretty shots through the uprights.

Doomsday beams of many colors

A bunch of screen shots were posted in chat, so I’ll link to some of those if you want to see more of that moment.

The Keepstar blew up, most everybody got on the kill mail (more than 1,500 people recorded), the titans got their money shot, the operation was a success.

Keepstar blows up

Now there was just the matter of the other Keepstar, now out of its timer and repairing, eight jumps away.  When the M-OEE8 Keepstar blew I immediately sent my alt in his bomber off towards the gate to get to the next target.  For the first couple of gates it was like swimming through molasses due to time dilation, but it soon cleared up and he was moving quickly.  Fortunately there were no gate camps.

Over in 0-YMBJ a fleet of carriers had been sent to put fighters on the Keepstar to stop the repair timer and chip it down to get it ready for the kill.  However, the fighters had been doing a very effective job and there wasn’t much left to shoot when my alt arrived, and he was there ahead of the whole fleet sitting in M-OEE8.

Calls were made to pull some, then all fighters as the fleets began jumping in.  People were getting antsy about getting on that second kill so, despite being told to take a shot and stop firing, people blazed away with all they had.  As titans landed, more doomsdays were set off, without much regard to who might be in the way.

Somebody blowing up in the pack

I put my alt in range and set torpedoes flying, but my main was still in M-OEE8, sitting on a titan waiting for the bridge to go up.  Meanwhile people were calling the percentage left on the Keepstar, getting everybody worked up.  The call was 8% left when our bridge finally went up.  But there was traffic control and many of us stayed in the jump tunnel for a long time.

When I finally landed, there was only 2% left on the structure.  I immediately dropped my Bouncer II and set it on the Keepstar.  I was just in time, but others in our fleet landed too late.  The Keepstar quickly exploded.

The second Keepstar blows

Still, more than 1,500 people were on that kill mail as well.  I managed to get on there with both accounts.

After that it was just a matter of getting everybody home.  On the bright side, we were all just one gate from our staging.  On the downside, it was now 1:30am local time for me… and much later/earlier some others… so people were sluggish about getting going and the subcaps had to sit around and make sure that all the big stuff got out safely.

The Mittani got on coms… it must have been 3:30am for him, though he is younger than I… and congratulated us on the kills and said that we needed to work out how to move this many people around between kills, since some people didn’t get on both as promised.

We were later informed that, with these two Keepstars, the total value of structures and ihubs destroyed in Tribute now exceeded 1.7 trillion ISK.  Somebody is going to have to go kill a lot more Rorquals back in Delve if they want to claim that equal damage is being done back there.

Slowly but surely the capitals drained out of 0-YMBJ and we were able to go home ourselves.  We docked up, I logged out, and then headed off to bed.  It was still hot in the house, but it was a little less so than earlier and I was now tired enough to drop off to sleep.

Stomping About in Pure Blind and Tribute

Suppose They Gave a War and Everyone Came?

When you bring the whole team out to play it can sometimes get crowded on the field.

The war against PanFam, the “glassing of Tribute” was promoted heavily in the Imperium and that promotion was responded to enthusiastically.  As I pointed out, over a thousand individuals were on coms for the first move ops north, almost two weeks back.

A giant armada, arriving in the north and keen to blow things up… leads to some problems now and then.  There is at time a :goonrush: to get into fleets, even fleets that are not promising kill mails or combat.  I have started seeing this dialog pop up quite often.

feel the :goonrush:

That is something I am used to seeing if there has be an op pre-pringed and hurfed about before hand.  Everybody wants to go to the big battle.  But over the weekend I was seeing that come up for ops pinged as “we need to chase some people away” or “we’re going to reinforce a structure.”

At one point yesterday there was a call to sweep away a 15 person gate camp that had the temerity/bad luck to setup on a gate in our staging system and, even though I was already logged in and tabbed over to join the fleet immediately on seeing the ping, I was too late.  The fleet was full.

The gate camp seemed quite put out, complaining in local about having a 256 person fleet dropped on their camp.  Somebody pointed out that they were happy enough getting kills at a 15:1 advantage, so getting dropped on by a fleet with a 17:1 advantage over them seemed appropriate.

So, when the command team can arrange it, they do set up opportunities for larger groups to shoot things.  There was a call to blow up a Fortizar one gate over in Pure Blind from our staging.  I went over with the Eagle fleet that was called up first.  And then another fleet joined.  A fleet of Leshaks added their firepower after a bit.  Then supers dropped in.  Then the titans landed.  Everybody got a chance to take a shot at the structure.

Fortizar in the face of overwhelming force

So an undefended Fortizar… as somebody pointed out, an alliance with the name Skeleton Crew could probably not be expected to have the staff to cover such events… that the dozen Leshaks could have easily killed on their own ended up with a kill mail that had over 500 people listed on it. (There is a 4K video of this shoot if you are interested.)

For one of these ops I actually got my alt out in an Ibis just to get that on the kill mail.

Ibis supremacy

The tale of the Ibis is mildly amusing and might become a post of its own if I run out of things to write about this week, which is feeling like a distinct possibility.  I need another big fleet fight or Daybreak to do something silly or I’ll end up writing about things like the CSM14 elections.

Anyway, moving on.

The other problem with having a thousand eager pilots on hand and ready to go at any given hour of the day is that the locals in Tribute are perhaps rightly not inclined to come out to play, seeing how eager we are to drop the hammer even on immobile, undefended targets.

We did get that fight last week and, even having lost the objective and had the ISK war turn against us at a ratio of 2:1, the appetite for fleets and ops seemed to have only gone up.  People on our side came out of that fight eager for more.  In the Eagle fleet it felt like a win despite knowing the result.

The next night the call went out to form up to cover some more entosis operations and, as before, fleets filled up.

Two full fleets sitting on titans ready to go

Our goal was just to keep the enotsis ships safe as they vied with the locals over the nodes in the constellation.

The humble Drake as enotosis ship

We ended up in PNDN-V while PanFam ended up forming and sitting on the other side of the gate in 15W-GC.  Ships from either side that went through that gate got melted pretty quickly.  The gate also split the constellation in two, with us holding two systems and the locals controlling three.  That meant that we were unlikely to win the entosis war.  However, the same also went for the locals as enough nodes were spawning in our two systems that they couldn’t finish the defense.

Sitting around with not much to do, a streamer who was covering the event was linked in fleet, so we got to watch their view.  They had two views, one from either side of the gate, so we could see them and they could see us.

The streamer in question, Lumpymayo, was clearly on the PanFam side of things and much of the chat seemed to be him and his supporters calling us cowards for not coming through the gate to fight them despite the fact that we out numbered them by at least a 5:4 ratio.

Every so often we would get called to type, “Hon hon hon” into the Twitch chat, that being the adopted meme/war cry of the deployment.  This came about after we anchored the Keepstar on the doorstep of Tribute and Asher came on coms to tell us “op success.”  He asked everybody on the coms, close to a thousand people again, to all key up at once and say, “Hon hon hon,” which was to be done with a heavy French accent.  The coms chaos, recorded here, was enough to crash my client.  But the Keepstar was renamed “Hon hon hon” and that is now our local spam of choice.

After an hour or so of that the FCs had us go to the gate and jump through, and we took on the locals and their camp.  I was again in the Eagle fleet and we quickly anchored up and started shooting targets as they were broadcast.

Anchored on the Monitor

This went much more our way.  While a small engagement compared to the previous night, it was satisfying to get to blow things up all the same.   I once again got to lock up and shoot at Dreyden Trovirr from the Open Comms show.

Locked up yet again

This time around their logi was unable to support itself so Dreyden blew up along with a lot of their logi.  The enemy was chased off grid after a short clash.  The battle report showed things tilted our way.

Battle Report Header

After that there was much “Hon hon hon” in Lumpymayo’s Twitch chat and even he had to concede we had won the field that time.

Lumpymayo signals the results

Not only did we get a nice little blood letting, but we won the objective.  However, the objective wasn’t the entosis struggle in Tribute.  Rather, we were there to pin down the locals while Dead Coalition (formerly GotG) reinforced systems in Tenal, leading to the renters up there handing over a pile of structures to them.  Tenal had been the happy crabbing grounds for PanFam.  Now, however,

Over the weekend we also spent time working on the ihubs and TCUs in the 1P-VL2 constellation, which includes the famed system M-OEE8, scene of a number of famous battles.

Ihub entosis work

This went largely uncontested and on the initial pass all of the ihubs and TCUs were reinforced.  Following up on this the focus was on M-OEE8, which is the gateway system to empire space and which houses a Keepstar.  The ihub was destroyed, the TCU was flipped, and the Keepstar was reinforced.

 

GSF on the map in Tribute

The Keepstar is now down to its final timer and the question is whether or not there will be a fight over it or if this will be akin to the Fortizar mentioned at the top of the post, where we pile in a bunch of ships just to get on the kill mail of an otherwise undefended structure.

It seems possible that the locals will pass on this fight.

The rumor is that PanFam is even now planning to withdraw into the drone lands in eastern null sec, to the Malpais region, which is the core of their rental empire.  Lacking any nearby NPC or empire space, that would likely put them out of reach of the Imperium and its ability to project sufficient power to do more than harass them.  There is also word that PanFam, after the fiasco in Tenal where renter groups handed over citadels to the attackers without a fight, that they will no longer allow renters to deploy their own structures.

We shall see how much more fighting goes on in Tenal and Tribute.

Supporting sources on this topic are, unfortunately, all from INN since other sources, including Reddit, seem somewhat subdued on the topic right now.  I’ll add more if/when they show up.

Failed Headshot in Tribute

It was one of those fights where I could tell we were losing, but things in my own little corner of the engagement seemed to go pretty well.  So my view of the strategic outcome is more a matter of what I have read and heard elsewhere rather than anything I could attest to personally.

There had been pings earlier in the day to rouse the troops and get them to log in at what is generally a late hour for even USTZ, 04:30 UTC.  That translates to 9:30pm here on the west coast, which is about the time I want to be in bed.  But I figured I could be a little tired on Friday, so I stayed up for it.

The stated plan was to take out the ihub in SH1-6P, which is where the defenders of the region have massed their forces.  To finish off the ihub, which had been reinforced previously, meant an entosis fight across the six systems of the constellation.

The two stagings and the target constellation

If we won the cyno jammer would be disabled and we would be able to drop titans and supers on their staging Keepstar at will.  With the jammer still there they can keep out capitals out unless they want to gate in.

The first ping that went out for a Baltec fleet, the battleships doctrine based around the Megathron.  That filled up almost instantly, to the point that even though I was logged in before hand I couldn’t get in.

The next up was the Eagle fleet.  I managed to get into that before it too filled up, though it filled partially with people in Megathrons and interceptors, so there was a while of sorting that out and getting the right ships in the fleet.  It took us a good 40 minutes to get sorted and on a titan and ready to be bridged.

A dramatically lit titan

From there we were bridged into Tribute to sit on one of our citadels, where it seemed like we were bringing out the big guns as two titan fleets landed and tethered up around us.

Shield and armor titans on the field

We bridged off the citadel into Venal, something that a PanFam post on Reddit at least implied was unexpected.  They had bubble fucked the route through Tribute so we went through Venal, which was clear.  They seemed a bit salty about that.

Coming out of Venal with the Baltecs

We didn’t see those titans again last night.  We went in with the Baltec fleet, swatting aside the Sabres sent to slow us down pretty easily, ending up in Q-CAB2 on the WH-JCA gate.  The fight waited for us on the other side of the gate.

Ready to jump in

In we went.  TiDi was surging and while it never got down to the sludge of struggling at 10%, it stayed between 12% and 20% for much of the fight, slowing everything down.  The Eagles went through the gate and shot anchored bubbled and Sabres to clear a way for the Baltecs.

Glancing at the TiDi situation

Once through the bubbles and anchored up the fight became the usual repetition of locking and shooting targets, changing ammo to suit the situation, and managing drones.  For us the fight was trying to hit targets and break their tank before they could get reps, which is tough to do in TiDi, since it gives the logi pilots additional time to respond.  The game may be moving slow, but the humans at the controls are still at normal speed.  I know when I am flying logi it is easier to land critical reps in that situation.

This time however I was in an Eagle, shooting things.

Eagles flocking on grid

It was announced pretty soon into the fight that the entosis effort had failed.  The locals had won the objective.  But we were stuck in and not doing too badly, so there was no rush to get out.  We were managing to pick off a target now and again before they got reps.  I even saw a name or two I recognized, like Dreydan Trovirr of the Open Comms Show.

Saying “Hi” to Dreydan

He, like many of our targets, caught reps in time and lived.

The locals brought out some HAW dreads, which put some hurt on the Baltec fleet, which was taking the brunt of the fire.  Big, fat battleships are hard to resist and the dreads shredded the Bhaalgorns that were with the Baltecs.  But we managed to get in and pop some of the dreads along the way.

A Naglfar blows, other wrecks visible

We were also given a treat when a small pack of Macherials arrived on grid with us, which we blew up as fast as we could lock and shoot.  I ended up on the kills of five Machs and five dreads.

In a bit of a surreal situation, it turned out that one of the hostiles was streaming the fight with a very short delay… or no delay because it seemed only seconds behind… which meant we could hear their FC calling targets, allowing our logi to get reps on our ships before the damage hit.  I am not sure if that was ignorance or arrogance on their part, but we were happy enough to listen in as we continued to shoot.

Our Eagles lit by a dread explosion

As the Baltecs ceased to be much of a force and we became the primary target and the locals brought out their titans it looked like it was time for us to go.  We had lost our anchor, Zintage Enaka and were following a backup as we headed back to Q-CAB2 and though Venal again for home.

Once we were into Venal and grouped up the route was clear for our staging.  Our fleet, the Harpy fleet that came in after us, and what of the Baltec fleet that managed to get out were not bothered after that.  I arrived back at our staging Keepstar safe, having only lost my drones somewhere along the way.

Once there I was able to put the rigs on my ship.  I only noticed when we were into Venal that, after I bought the Eagle off a contract, I forgot to put the rigs on.

Something in my cargo hold I should have noticed

This is maybe the fourth op I’ve been on in this Eagle too.  I’ve glad nobody shot at me, though I am even more glad I didn’t get into the Baltec fleet.  However, I might have got to bed sooner if I had been in the Baltec fleet.  I didn’t turn the lights out until 1am.  Very late for me.

As for the battle, not only did we lose the objective, but the ISK war came out against us as well.  I tried to put together a battle report covering the constellation so as to include kills in battles over entosis hacking. (That just adds to our losses.)  I didn’t get everybody in the right columns, but all the significant groups were sorted.

Battle Report Header

We blew up almost 58 billion in hostiles, helped along by those HAW dreads, but lost over 100 billion ISK in the process.

Nearly 2,000 pilots were involved.  The locals dialed up Fraternity for some assistance while we had TEST and Brave from Legacy coalition, who have been fighting Fraternity, show up on our side.

In the end though, a fight like that doesn’t change much.  We’re not going home, the locals are not going away.  I suspect that rather than jumping straight at their staging we might spend some time drawing the locals out.  There is a Keepstar sitting 0-YMBJ, one gate from our staging in Pure Blind, that is just begging to be blown up.

Anyway, we shall see where we go from here.

Other posts on the battle:

Push into Pure Blind

Last Saturday the Imperium began moving forces north, out of Delve, and into Cloud Ring, stopping at the Keepstar in 6RCQ-V that was the base of operations for the was last summer.

We were told this was a temporary location, that our final staging point would be announced later.  Certainly Cloud Ring was too far away from Tribute to be an effective spot from which to launch operations.  Not that we didn’t run some into Tribute all the same from there.  The Initiative owns some ihubs in Pure Blind so there are some Ansiblex jump gates to get subcaps around.  But for capital ships it just wasn’t an ideal spot.

I previously speculated about where we might end up basing for our assault on Tribute, thinking that Hakonen, where we based previously, might be an option.  It covers the south of the region and is easily resupplied from Jita.

However, that was not the plan.  Instead GSOL dropped a Keepstar for us in KQK1-2 in Pure Blind.  The Keepstar survived its initial vulnerability window.  We just had to be sure it successfully anchored and came online.

With that in mind, the call went out for another mass form up for capitals and subcaps alike.

As the pings went out and the form up began, there were three subcap fleets called, all of which filled up almost immediately.  I had my main and my alt in two different fleets in order to move the only two ships I had on the deployment on to our new home.  I felt that this was as much a move op as anything.  It seemed unlikely that the locals would rise up against this show of force… recall how this went when we deployed the 6RCQ-V Keepstar.

When the capital fleets were called… six of them… space began to open up in the subcap fleets as capital pilots swapped over and just put their subcaps in their ship hangars to carry along with them.

As with the move op on Saturday, everybody was in the same voice coms channel, meaning that some coms discipline had to be enforced.  And, as with the move op, the capitals jumped out first, then the subcaps.  The Eagle fleet, which I was in, moved out last, though it quickly caught up with then passed the slower Baltec battleship fleet, where my alt was.

Not that anybody was going fast.  Two full fleets moving through relatively lightly populated space, plus capital jump, meant we were dragging our own bubble of time dilation with us through every constellation, spiking it with every gate jump.

We met up with the capitals on a Fortizar in low sec where we had to pick out the titan that was going to bridge us from the ball of titans surrounding the structure.

Pick a titan, any titan

This started in the usual ass backwards way with somebody telling us to “Get on the titan!” on voice coms without actually telling us which titan.  Saying, “The only one in the fleet!” wasn’t all that helpful if you had brackets turned off, and with this many ships on grid you pretty much had to have brackets turned off to get anything more than slide show level performance out of your video display.

Eventually people got their acts together and had the respective titans x-up in fleet so people could watchlist them and keep at range.  Finding the right titan from the group within 2km of you is a much easier task.

This time the Eagles went first, and we were bridged to a Fortizar in Pure Blind where we were chivvied onto first one titan then another and told to be ready to bridge.

Landing on the second Fortizar

In hindsight we were being made ready to jump in to defend the Keepstar which, at that point, was already in its repair phase.  However, we were not called to jump in and so sat on our titan as we watched the rest of the force jump in around us.

Titans making a big splash as they arrive

This time the various fleets jumped in to cynos that were a bit more spread out, so we ended up being sorted out into visibly distinct groups.

Fleets around the fort

The titans were still a big blob, but you can see the fax fleet off on the far side along with the relatively tiny capitals and subcaps.

There we waited until Asher announced over coms that the Keepstar in KQK1-2 was now online.  Then, slowly, fleet by fleet, we jumped or bridged to our new home.  Again, the Eagle fleet went last, just behind the fax fleet.

Off we go at last

Once there we were able to stand down and dock up in the new Keepstar, the 47th Keepstar owned by the Imperium.  The fuel costs alone must be a pain.

Our base in Pure Blind

It is named the Taqostar, which I am told was a Sadus suggestion.

Move ops to the new base will likely continue through the weekend.

Of course, you might ask what was the advantage of staging in KQK1-2 in Pure Blind.

If you go to DOTLAN maps and use the jump range navigation feature, it nicely shows you how many systems in Tribute are within titan jump range of KQK1-2.

Where can titans land from KQK1-2?

That is a lot of the region, enough for us to set to work on as we blow up ihubs, destroy any structures not yet taken down, and basically reset the region back to its starting state.

In the great circle of time, I have actually hung around long enough that I was in the operations that took these systems from NCDot back in 2012 and then again when we lost them all in 2016.  And now, here we are again.

Other coverage: