Tag Archives: Vale of the Silent

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 Triglavian Boat Roam

Dabigredboat, DBRB, announced earlier in the week that we wanted to have a celebratory roam.  I am still not clear on what we were celebrating… destruction in Tribute, a safe return home, some nice summer weather… but the roam was on.  The only restriction was the requirement to bring along a Triglavian ship.  It was to be an all-Triglavian roam.

That actually covers a few options these days.  Since CCP released the Into the Abyss expansion back in May of 2018 they have regularly added new Triglavian ships to the list.  The EVE University is behind on the list, showing only the seven available from before the Invasion expansion, leaving out the Nergal (Assault Frigate), Ikitursa (Heavy Assault Cruiser), and the Draugur (Command Destroyer).

These new ships actually got me to turn training back on with my main, since I was quickly falling behind in my old goal to be able to fly all of the subcaps.  For the two people who miss my skill point progress update posts, you can rejoice, as another one will probably hit in August.

As of right now, I can fly the whole lot of them, and even mount the tech II disintegrator on the Leshak battleship.  However, I didn’t actually own any of them.  As far as hulls go, they are still pretty exotic and more expensive that their empire contemporaries, especially the new tech II hulls.  And for a DBRB roam, where the expectation is always that you’re going to get blown up, buying into something that expensive seemed like a bad decision.

But I did have a cheaper option stashed away.  One of my high sec alts has been running level 3 abyssal sites off and on and had collected a enough materials and a BPC to build a Damavik, the Triglavian frigate, the baby of the bunch.  But DBRB didn’t say I had to have a Leshak or anything exotic, just something Triglavian.  So I had my alt fly it up into Aridia where I picked it up with my main.  I was soon docked up in 1DQ1-A and ready for the roam.

Of course I bought a SKIN for it

My fit, for those interested, was:

[Damavik, ▷▼◇△▶▽◄ ▷▼▶▽◄ ▷▼◇]
400mm Rolled Tungsten Compact Plates
Damage Control II
Limited Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane I

Initiated Compact Warp Scrambler
Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier
5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive

Light Scoped Entropic Disintegrator

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Anti-Kinetic Pump II
Small Trimark Armor Pump II

Acolyte II x5

Nanite Repair Paste x8
Baryon Exotic Plasma S x500
Meson Exotic Plasma S x500
Tetryon Exotic Plasma S x500

That seemed enough like a tackle fit for me.  I couldn’t fit the tech II disintegrator, but I also wasn’t keen to pay the price for one either.  Anyway, if you’re going to tackle you don’t need a big gun.

When DBRB pinged for the fleet, I got into game and into the fleet, ready to go.  The fleet managed to swell up to about 100 players and, as DBRB reported, we had at least one of each of the Triglavian ships, with quite a few Leshak’s in the mix.

DBRB had us all name out ships using the Triglavian triangles text (some here) and spam local as we moved with that.  With that set we were soon warping off to adventure.

On our way at last

We took the Eye of Terror up into Cloud Ring, then headed off into Deklein to see if anybody was home.

A Damavik and a Vedmak in warp

Nobody was home.

To be fair, Ranger Regiment, a Chinese alliance, lives there now, and we were way out of their prime time.  But it was odd roaming through our old space with nobody about.

We traveled through there a while when DBRB decided that we ought to head more towards the east and Pandemic Horde.  As we headed into Tribute we ran across a Talwar fleet from Darkness, which the Leshaks pretty much destroyed.

Disintegrators hitting Talwars

43 Talwars and 2 Sabres were blown up, as the last few ships got away.  But I had to stick close, as our smaller ships were at risk.  The enemy managed to pick off a Kikimora and a few Damaviks, which balanced the ISK war out, probably in their favor, as I think Zkill undervalues the Kiki.  But at least it was action.

After that DBRB pointed us in the direction of Geminate and Pandemic Horde.  They seemed to be home and maybe up for a fleet action against us.  Word was that they were forming Feroxes to come and get us.  We hauled up on a gate not too far from PH space and waited for them to head our way.

Triglavians hanging around a gate

After some shifting around, we ended up meeting the Ferox fleet in 0-R5TS.

Things did not start auspiciously for us.  The Ferox fleet naturally wanted to keep at range and managed to take out a couple of our ships, including DBRB’s Leshak.  However, we managed to get a command destroyer to boosh us on top of the Ferox fleet and our Sabre… there are no Triglavian interdictors yet, so he was allowed in… managed to get a bubble up.  At that point a slaughter of Feroxes commenced.

At that point it also turned out that DBRB got some backup.  Seeing that the Ferox fleet outnumbered us substantially, he got The Initiative to show up with 50 bombers who joined in on the fun.  This time around I was able to get in close enough to get on a few kills, though having drones along for the ride made that possible as the tech I disintegrator is a short ranged weapon, even with the long range ammo.  The battle report went heavily our way.

Battle Report Header

After that DBRB reshipped in a Leshak when somebody needed to log off.  There was talk of PH reforming and chasing us down again.  However the Initiative bombers hung around behind us, and before we could turn around to assist they had inflicted enough damage to drive the hostiles off.

That left us up in Vale of the Silent, a long ways from Delve.  DBRB had us head to low sec, with the fleet docking up in Obe, not too far from Jita.  From there we were left on our own to get our ships back home.

I enlisted my high sec alt again, who flew out to Obe to pick up the Damavik and fly it back to Aridia again.  I was going to self destruct my main for a quick jump back to 1DQ, but the decided to just follow my alt through high sec in a capsule on auto pilot, daring anybody to take the shot.  An empty pod is worth less than most anything that can kill it before CONCORD steps in, so I arrived safely, picked up the Damavik to fly home.

And so it went.  Not necessarily a roam for the ages, but it was fun to see all those Triglavian ships hauling about space.

Triglavian ships in some fireworks

They’re still too expensive for me to thrown around, but they are a change from the norm.

Structure Cleanup in Vale of the Silent

The way it works out a lot of the time, at least for me, is that you go out on ops to shoot structures in order to set timers and you don’t always end up being around for the follow on timers or the kill mail.  But once in a while you get to see the end result.

Yesterday I joined up with a fleet flying bombers, which meant we were off to shoot structures again.  Bombers are fast, can move far on a black ops bridge, can cloak up if trouble arrives, and if stuffed with ammo can deliver a considerable amount of damage over time.

Of course, you never know where you are headed on fleets, but I got on the black ops battleship and took the bridge off to where ever we were headed.

Bridge up on the Redeemer

The bridge got us part of the way, but we had to burn on to our first target, which was a Sotiyo in B-588R in the Vale of the Silent.  There was already a fleet there shooting it, but we showed up to get on the kill mail.

Rorqual warping in to loot and salvage

That didn’t take long, but it was a hearty kill mail.  They didn’t get to pull the rigs before it was first reinforced, so it totaled up to 50 billion ISK on ZKill.

The other fleets moved on… I heard on coms that an NCDot Eagle fleet landed right on some of the titans and was decimated by a Boson doomsday, so expect Eagle prices to rise in Jita… but we stayed in the system and spread out for some additional smaller targets.  B-588R was the same system I mentioned on Monday where we were hitting Athanors and watching their moon chunks explode as they were put into their final timer.

Moon chunk goes boom!

For once I was back in the right place and in the right fleet to help finish off a timer I set earlier.  Athanors do not need a lot of DPS to take down, so the bombers were divided up amongst the targets, but I was able to see a couple of the Athanors (one and two) I had previously shot get their final blow and explode.

Athanor goes the way of its moon chunk

Athanors are not nearly as expensive as a rigged Sotiyo, but every little bit of destruction helps.

Done shooting targets there, we moved on to IFJ-EL where a Tatara, the big brother to the Athanor moon mining platform, waited for us to finish it off.  Another satisfying explosion.

Tatara goes up as I fly past

From there we ran up to N-5QPW, where another Sotiyo was waiting for us.  We were first told to free burn that way, and I was off and going.  But then our bridger decided to give us a lift.  However, I was already far enough along, and past a small gate camp consisting of a Sabre and a Gnosis trying to pick off anybody they could catch, so I kept on burning.  But the Sotiyo would wait.  I arrived safely and was able to start shooting when I landed.

Torpedoes away!

An Eagle fleet came out from our staging to join in on the kill.  A Sotiyo is a big enough target that people are keen to whore on it.  That meant we had more than enough damage on the target to put it down in the minimum time the damage cap allows.  And while the locals had managed to pull the rigs from it to try and reduce its value (it no doubt had rigs before, a Sotiyo being not very useful without them), the kill mail still rang in at 20 billion ISK.

And after that we went home.  Black ops being handy for moving around, we were able to get a bridge back to central Tribute, wait for the red timer to run down, and get a second bridge… except for the person who had enough fatigue that they had a 30 minute red timer… right back to KQK1-2 where we stood down the fleet.

But there are still lots of structures left to shoot.  I am sure I will be out for more such fleets.

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.

Line Member Blues

When it comes to life in EVE Online I am a tourist.  I have given up most of the ambitions I ever had about being good at anything in game or having some influence or impact.  I just log in to experience ops and see things get blown up and following the ongoing narrative that flows through the game.

There are ops that are exciting, and that goes for winning as well as losing.  A hard fight where you’re side comes off the worse but still inflicted some damage can feel like a victory.  You lost a ship?  So what.  You’ll lose more if you hang around.

There are ops when you get to blow up big stuff and run away before the locals respond.  I can see the allure of whaling and whenever Black Ops calls out for people to join them on a drop I log in if I can.

There are ops that don’t happen.  You log in, get in fleet, hang out for a bit, then get told to stand down.  Whatever was going to happen didn’t happen.  But you get a low effort PAP out of it, so you get something for your time.  It is better if you stand down quickly.  But I’ve sat on a titan or a black ops for an hour or more, tabbed out and doing something else, waiting for the FC to sing out that it was time to go and not felt mis-used when we have stood down without going.  It is the nature of the game.  If you want a guarantee of something to shoot at you can always go play World of Tanks.

And then there are ops that make you miserable.  I went on one of those earlier this week.

With the destruction of the Keepstars on Tuesday morning, most of the ihubs in Tribute being killed, and Dead Coalition having pretty much wiped out Tenal, focus for the Imperium has started to drift over into the Vale of the Silent, another region held by PanFam.

There was a ping for a very important op at 00:30 EVE time and, given that I was home alone, I figured I would go along.  The call was for Eagles, now called Salt Fleet because part of the gimmick to get people into Eagles was the coalition offering up a free Ghostbird SKIN for Eagles and Basilisks, which are both good looking SKINs and which led to the fleet name.   I jumped into game, got in my Eagle, and was ready to go.

However we were short of things.  Some of them were the usual roles, we needed more boosters and more logi and a couple other roles filled.  But there was also a call for people to fly entosis ships.  We got the “we’re not going anywhere until we have enough entosis ships” talk, and when they offered to hand out ships for entosis pilots to use, I figured I would step up.

I even double stepped up.  I logged my alt in and got him into fleet as well, and got two enotsis fit Drakes to fly.  I just had to hand them back at the end of the fleet if they lived.

I hadn’t done entosis in ages, and I couldn’t recall it being very exciting.  But I do try to fill roles that the fleet needs, which is why I fly logi most of the time.  If I help the fleet undock then all of us get to go out for what might be an adventure.

And we soon undocked, got on the titan, and bridged out to M-OEE8.  From there we slipped into low sec, then back into null sec via P3EN-E, which put us into the Vale of the Silent region.  There is also a Keepstar in that system, which is clearly on our list of targets.

In the entosis channel we were getting ourselves sorted.  I opened up the Google doc with the shared spreadsheet for tracking entosis nodes and put my name in the right column. (Legit spreadsheets in space.)  We flew in a few more systems then the FC told the entosis pilots to spread out to the various systems in the constellation.  As we grabbed systems and got setup one of the other pilots was called out and told not to entosis.  He was not in Goonswarm and this was a defending hack, which means that only those in GSF could participate.

Of course, that meant I couldn’t play either.

Denied this level of excitement

Being line members, we are told little to nothing about where we are headed or what the plan is.  There are enough spies around that I can see the sense of that.  However, if you’re setting up an entosis operation and you know that only people from a specific group can participate, it seems like something you should mention, or at least look into.  I mean, I had to trade with the person running the entosis opt.  We were all in a channel together and there were not that many of us.  A double check to make sure the right people are in the right roles doesn’t seem like a stretch.

Anyway, there would be no entosis lasering for me.  I flew both ships to a Fortizar we had dropped in the constellation and tethered up with the other guy to wait for the op to finish.

Things went quickly.  Nobody showed up to contest us, so after relatively few nodes the defenders had won and we were done.

Well, we were done with the entosis bit.  Since the area was quiet our FC took the Eagles around and began reinforcing various cyno jammers, jump gates, and other structures.   Meanwhile, the rest of the entosis ships, a dozen of us all together, tethered up on the Fortizar and sat around waiting.

As I mentioned above, waiting is nothing new.  But this was a particularly frustrating wait.  I had flown out with the fleet, both main and alt, for a role that I was not able to perform.  Once the entosis part of the operation was done our little band was essentially ignored while the rest of the fleet flew around shooting targets and… well… actually doing things.  And the number of things to be done was very open ended, so there was no ETA or such, just having to hear over coms that the were warping to another structure for another 20 minute reinforcement shoot.

And so we sat for over two hours.  If somebody had said, “Be back in two hours” I would have been good.  But no, we had to stay alert and listening to coms to figure out what was going on.  This was not helped at my end by it being the hottest day of the year so far (it hit 107, and was still in the high 90s as the sun set), my office being the hottest corner of the house, or the fact that one of the cats ate something they shouldn’t have and started throwing up all over the house.  Oh, and the paper towel roll in the kitchen had exactly three sheets left on it and it was the last one we had.  Also, nobody else would join up for a Drake conga line while we waited.

Two Drakes do not a conga line make

So I was salty and boiling, and not necessarily metaphorically, and my patience for being ignored and left to wait for an unspecified time frame was very much non-existent.  And I was not necessarily alone in that feeling.  The mood in the entosis channel was grim and a couple of people said that they had learned their lesson about volunteering for that.  Some people couldn’t stick around and just left.

I considered leaving as well.  If the two Drakes had been my ships I might have just blazed a trail for home despite intel reporting a couple of gangs roaming the route back.  Two high EHP entosis Drakes with RLMLs and ECM drones would make for some comedy moments if nothing else.  Plus they each had a cyno fit, so I could have called in a drop.  I knew there was a group on standby just for that.

But these were not my ships.  These ships were on loan.  And while I could afford to reimburse the person handing them out, that wasn’t the point.  On a deployment getting supplied can be a task in and of itself, so handing somebody the ISK doesn’t solve the full replacement problem.  Plus you just don’t go throw away ships people lend you.  I felt like I had to make a good faith attempt to get them home safely.  So I waited, listened to coms, and fumed.

This was the dark time of the op.  I couldn’t really stray far from my computer, I couldn’t watch a movie because there was still talking on coms, and a lot of it was from the command channel so being in the no chatter channel wasn’t helping, I was hot, I was bored, and I just wanted to get this whole thing done.

This is where you start questioning why you went on this op, why you are on this deployment, why you stay in your alliance, why you play this objectively unfun game at all.  I started planning to head back to Delve, haul the remains of my stuff to low sec… a process I started back in late 2017 when I was bored with the game… and just quit.  Fuck this game.

I tabbed out and played some RimWorld while I listened to the ongoing chatter as the rest of thee fleet moved from target to target, reinforcing various NC/PL structures so they couldn’t unanchor them and carry them off.  There were several fleets out doing this, including Zungen’s roaming fleet of Leshak battleships.

Eventually the FC called out that there were only three more targets before the fleet would head home, then two, then one, then, at last, the entosis crew was told to wake up and given a destination at which to meet up with the fleet.

Having something to do made me feel a bit better right away.  I was still surly, but could feel it ebbing away with activity.  We met up with the fleet on a gate and carried on with it.  The FC said we had a ride home waiting for us, that we just had to get through a couple of systems and a titan would be waiting to send us home.

My annoyance was peaked just a bit as we moved towards our ride.  We had to pass through one bubbled gate, and as we landed 80km off the of it the FC chided us to hurry, to turn on prop mods and get to the gate.

A defensively bubbled gate

Of course the entosis Drakes, the slowest ships in the fleet, had no prob mods fit.  We were going to sail leisurely through the bubbles no matter what the FC said, though at least somebody reminded him that we were not lagging behind on purpose.

The titan was in the next system.  We were bridged back onto the Keepstar where we started.  I docked up, contracted both Drakes back to the person who lent them out, and logged off.  Then I went to the store to buy more paper towels.

I was back by the next day though.  There are still more things to blow up in Tribute.

Watching a Raitaru explode the next day

And there are targets in the Vale of the Silent now as well.  That defensive entosis effort was to keep the ihub in P3EN-E in GSF hands.  There is a Keepstar in that system, and without an ihub in their possession the locals cannot put up a cyno jammer to keep our capitals out.  I imagine that we will be blowing that up some day soon.

And so it goes.  I got through my black moment and carried on, still keen enough to see things through another chapter in the ongoing story that is EVE Online.  Even bad moments make for tales once they are in the past.

But I am still going to sit on my hands and remain silent the next time they need volunteers for entosis operations.  Fuck that noise.

The Imperium Abandons the Vale of the Silent Region

Have Fun in Vale Boys!

-The Mittani, The Meta Show March 26, 2016

The Mittani announced today on The Meta Show that The Imperium would be pulling back from Vale of the Silent region, which the then CFC took from NCDot back in late 2012, during the great expansion era of the coalition, which at one point held all sovereignty in the western arc from Tenal to Period Basis.

Vale of the Silent, March 26, 2016

Vale of the Silent, March 26, 2016

After a black week of defeats and losses, the leadership of The Imperium has decided that in order to successfully defend our sovereignty the coalition needs to draw back into a tighter area of space.  The Vale of the Silent region, which has 118 systems and sits at the southeastern tip of coalition territory, will be abandoned.  LAWN and Bastion, who hold most of the sovereignty there will be moving into null sec space currently held by other alliances in the coalition while staging out of Saranen with the rest of The Imperium.

I expect our foes are even now declaring a great victory over The Imperium.  The propaganda will no doubt repeat the phrase “Didn’t want that sov anyway,” when we simply couldn’t defend it effectively, as the string of defeats last week has shown.

We shall see if a more consolidated Imperium is better able to defend its remaining territory.  And then, of course, there is the question of what will happen with the Vale of the Silent once LAWN and The Bastion pull out.

Elsewhere:

A Rumor of War in Fade, Pure Blind, and The Vale of the Silent

There is a war going on in our neighborhood still.  It has spread to The Vale of the Silent recently, but things continue.  It has been going on for a couple of months now, kicking off with the I Want ISK versus SpaceMonkeys Alliance dispute.

Nosy Gamer pointed out earlier this week how hard it is, as an outsider, to get a sense of what is really happening in the war.  DOTLAN EVE Maps can show you some data points, like what the ADM is for some systems, or if an ihub has been reinforced or a station has been freeported.  But that paints an incomplete picture at best.  Meanwhile the two key EVE Online news sites aren’t much help either.  TMC is run in the name of The Imperium at this point, with little pretense at much else, while EN24, long anti-goon in policy, takes ISK from the very same source that is funding the war.

So an outsider can get conflicting and incomplete views.

The thing is, as something of an insider, or at least a line member on one side, it isn’t like I am getting much better news.

Both sides are so riddled with spies that the assumption has to be that anything said to a group of more than three people is going to be in the hands of the enemy and up on Reddit or Pastebin soon enough.  So I hear lots of good things about how we are doing.  I go to Reddit or EN24 and I read about how well the other side says they are doing.

This sense of the war… or lack thereof… hasn’t been helped by the fact that it has been a busy month for me.  I was out of town for nearly a week and there have been all sorts of things going on at home to keep me away from the game.

And even when I am not busy, I seem to miss the action.

I know there are battles going on.  At the office I check Jabber on my iPad once in a while and I see fleets getting called up and battle reports being broadcast.  But the peak time seems to be mid-to-late EUTZ and early USTZ.  Here on the west coast of the US, by the time I get home from work, have dinner, and settle in for some spaceship time, the last fleet for the night has often left already.  The vulnerability windows are winding down across the alliance.  If I am lucky I get in one of the clean up fleets.  So I am familiar with Hurricanes again.

Standing guard on a gate

Standing guard on a gate

I’ve run around with Jackdaws.

Jackdaws on Patrol

Jackdaws on Patrol

I’ve been on quick response fleets, firstwith interceptors, then with Caracals.

Caracals discouraging entosis ships

Caracals discouraging entosis ships

A lot of the time is spent hanging about watching Fozzie Sov in action/inaction.

There was a fight on elsewhere while we were staring at this

There was a fight on elsewhere while we were staring at this

While we get the occasional big kill, a lot of it is doing the dull but necessary work to support the war effort.

So lots of propaganda from both sides, but little in the way of actual progress being made, even after major fights.  It almost sounds like a Dominion style conflict at this point, with both sides grinding away at each other until one side gives up and finds something else to do.

Of course, that gives me confidence in our side.  Goons or the CFC or The Imperium have a long earned reputation for being stubborn and showing up for fleets in good numbers day in and day out for long stretches.  And doing so on our own patch of null sec, so there is no home front left depleted to worry about, strengthens that idea.

Of course, unlike dominion, our foes are no longer sovereignty holding entities in the old school way of things, so they don’t really have an unguarded flank either, except maybe when it comes to money moons and the like.

So the war grinds on and on, looking to break one of the long standing traditions in null sec.  Fanfest is coming up in April, and the usual routine is for NCDot to form some sort of loose coalition and attack Imperium space while our leadership is off drunk in Iceland.  This year, they are already attacking our space, along with a lot of other names from the past, including TEST, which got a warm welcome to the war from its allies when PL dropped on their convoy op.

I suppose we shall see whose will breaks first.

Addendum: See, this stuff keeps happening while I am at work.  By the time I get home, it’s done.