Tag Archives: ZXB-VC

A Massive Move Op Gets Me Home from the War

The peace of the north, where the Imperium agreed to withdraw forces back to Delve and not bother the north of null sec for a month and GotG for a full six months, came into effect on Saturday.  And with that began the first big move operation.  It was planned for 18:00 UTC, 11:00am for me, on that Saturday.

The first call to form up came at seven minutes before the hour in a ping and I was ready for it.

The whole operation had been announced almost a week in advance, so I had plenty of time to prepare.  As usual during a deployment, I managed to acquire a range of subcaps in my hangar.  Actually, in both of my hangars, the one in the Keepstar in 6RCQ-V and the one in the station in ROIR-Y in Pure Blind, where Reavers had been based for almost a year.

Usually the accumulation of ships means flying my main and my alt together in multiple move ops and maybe finding somebody with a bit of space in the ship maintenance bay of their capital ship to carry a couple of bombers or such.

This time however, one of the ships I managed to accumulate was a Naglfar dreadnought, a prize from the race that Ranger Gamma ran back in late December.  It was supposed to be a suicide dread, something expendable to drop on a valuable target like a titan   I only managed to use it one, during the first Keepstar battle at X47L-Q, and it survived so I had it to move back.

That turned out to be a bit of a boon.

With almost a week’s notice I was able to pack my ships into the Naglfar and jump it from ROIR-Y to the Keepstar at 6RCQ-V.  There I was able to stuff almost all of my remaining ships into the the ship maintenance bay along with the assorted modules and other stuff that ends up rattling around the corners of your station hangar when you stay in any one place for more than a week or two.  So much nanite repair paste mocking me because I forget to overheat most of the time.

The only ships that did not fit were a couple of travel interceptors, which are easy enough to jump clone to and fly out, and a Megathron battleship for the Baltec doctrine that I think I flew exactly once. (But that was one more time than the Ferox I had there as well.)

The Megathron was problematic.  A Battleship is big and takes up a lot of space in a ship maintenance bay, so I was reluctant to try to foist it off on another cap pilot.  But tech I battleships insure nicely and I wouldn’t miss it if it was gone, so I decided to just fly it home on its own.  I figure, best case, I might scatter a small gate camp and get a kill, while the worst case would be to lose it, collect the insurance, and not have to worry about it anymore.

Megathron in Cloud Ring

So on Wednesday night I undocked it and headed towards Delve.  I knew the risks. The coalition had pinged multiple times “Don’t move yourself!”  But I was going to go for it.  I already knew the route home.  Many trips over the years through the area hes left me with the lay of space.  You get into Fountain, you take the jump bridge to the mid-point of the region, you take the gate that cover the mid-region gap, you take the jump bridge to the gate to Delve, and in Delve you take a jump bridge to where you want to be.

Megathron on its way

The trip went off without incident.  It was even relatively quick.  With the revisions to jump fatigue I only had to wait for a timer to cool down a bit before hitting the next jump bridge.

My small op was done.  The big op was coming.  I was on and ready to go before the first ping came.

The first ping was for four capital fleets, divided up by type, and an overflow fleet.  Those quickly filled up and a second overflow fleet was called.  Then two subcap fleets were called.  If I recall right there was also an overflow fleet for subcaps eventually, and then a final fleet for people who could fly Apostles to help get the strategic force auxiliary reserves home.  I got my alt in for that, so had two accounts running for the move op.

If I had know that was going to be a thing I could have shoved the Megathron in the Apostle to carry it home.  Oh well, it was done already.

Move ops can be long and exasperating affairs, as demonstrated by the classic Endie “trail of tears” graphic memorializing an all day move to Delve from the north.

The Trail of Tears move op

That was back when capitals were rare and the pilots alleged to be the elite.  Now almost any scrub who rats in Delve has at least one capital ship and many of them have supers or titans.

And now, on a Saturday morning I was going to move to Delve with more than 1,800 other capital ships and a couple of fleets of subcaps, all of us sharing the same voice coms channel. (For those interested, there were about 1,400 actual people in the voice coms channel for the ~2,000 ships being moved, so less than a 2:1 ratio of accounts to people.)

There was a non-zero chance of this becoming a nightmare.

Instead, it all ran surprisingly smoothly.  People used all the advance notice we had to get ready, so a fleet of capital ships jumped to the first cyno just a little bit after 18:00.  The dreadnought fleet went at 18:17, while the Apostle fleet, the last to go, was cleared to jump at 18:25, landing on a Fortizar.

About 1,800 capitals tethered

Our first jump was a few gates shy of critical gate to Fountain, but we had jump fatigue to burn off, so we were sent by fleet forward to the last system in Cloud Ring, then gated again by fleets in order to keep time dilation from going crazy.  We held up together on a Fortizar in B-DBYQ, the last system in Cloud Ring, and the jumping off point for the Fountain War five years back.

Aligned in B-DBYQ

Again we were sent through the gate by fleets.  That put is in J5A-IX at the top of Fountain, where we regrouped on the Keepstar there, docking up.

At 19:34 we got the call to undock and, in a moment of hubris, the command was given for all fleets to jump.  That cranks up the tidi to 10% and ended with some disconnects, but for the most part it was just slow.  We got through, landing on the Keepstar in C-N4OD to dock up.

By 19:50, once people got through and things settled down, we were again called by fleets to undock and take the gate to KVN-36, the place where we were ambushed on another move op back in 2015. It ended up looking like a stream of titans being fired from the Keepstar.

You could walk back to the Keepstar on those titans

There we aligned to the Keepstar, then were sent by fleets to dock up, the Apostles going last to avoid bumping.

Apostles aligned and waiting

That put us in the southern half of the region.  We were told that for the next jump, which would bring us to the Delve gate in Y-2ANO, our arrival on the Keepstar would be recorded for use as a propaganda video, so we were all going to jump at once again, but this time we were not to dock up because that wouldn’t look as cool as all the ships arriving and just hanging on the citadel.

Again, lots of time dilation due to all of us going at once, but most people got through okay.  Traffic control was up for a lot of people and was even giving positions in the queue to jump.

412th position in the queue

My dreadnought went through, but the jump by the Apostle was cancelled by the delay.  I set it to jump again and it went through fine on the second go.

A batch of caps arriving in Y-2

I will be interested to see what the footage of us coming in looked like.

After that we all aligned to the ZXB-VC and waited for cynos to get in place in 1DQ1-A.   Another chain of titans was then fired at the gate.

Once through we were cleared to jump to the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A.  The cyno in the Apostle fleet disconnected, but by 20:41 the cyno was up again and I was docked in the Keepstar contracting the Apostle back to the person who handed them out.

Back at the Delve Keepstar

So from the time of the first ping at 17:53 to my being done and able to log off was just about three hours, which is amazing for a move op of this size and complexity.  Pilots new and old managed to make it down.

I think we’ve gotten a bit better as a coalition, but also the leadership has gotten better at keeping these sorts of operations moving.  For one thing, there were markers called at various points, that if you hadn’t reached a certain objective you were too far behind and told to log off and wait for the next move op.  The whole move op didn’t stop people one person disconnected or didn’t follow instructions.

Of course, citadels have made this sort of thing easier as well.  At every jump or gate there was a citadel waiting for us, usually a Keepstar, letting us tether up or dock.

And so it goes.  I am back in Delve for the first time since November of last year.  When I go back to put together all the posts for this deployment, this ought to be the final one.

A gallery of my screen shots from the op:

Tales from the War in Delve and Querious

As Sun Tzu once said, “Stop quoting me about a video game.”

-kcolor, Jabber broadcast to all

The war in Delve continues, with operations running around the clock, at least judging from the pings in Jabber.  Three systems have been taken so far in Delve, T5ZI-S, 4X0-8B, and KEE-N6.

Highlighted with red, as DOTLAN seems fixated with the color yellow

Highlighted with red, as DOTLAN seems fixated with the color yellow

And preparation has gone in to taking the first big system, ZXB-VC.  I addition, judging from the kill boards of people I know in the capital fleet, the CFC has been reinforcing and wiping out towers all over the region, sometimes replacing them before the owners have even noticed that they are gone. (As with this loss, where a shuttle loaded with blueprints warped to where their jump bridge USED to be.)

So Delve is capital ships and fleets and hundreds of players roaming out at a time in order to crush our foes.

Operations in Querious though, that is a bit different.  There the Reavers roam about in small groups hitting undefended targets, reinforcing towers, blowing up defensive SBUs and dropping our own, and occasionally hitting the local renters when they become too complacent about us and start going about their business as though we were not there.

When the enemy forms up a fleet to defend a timer or puts some carries on an ihub to rep it, we fade away, mission accomplished.  Every pilot down defending sovereignty in Querious is a pilot not defending Delve.  The whole thing works at a slower pace though, with small fleets and limited capabilities and often the same people night after night in a given time zone.

And while we are there to harass, reinforce, interdict, and otherwise make a nuisance of ourselves, we do like a kill mail once in a while.

For example, the other night a pilot name s1thl0rd (which is ‘sith lord,’ though your brain can be forgiven for resolving those characters as ‘shit lord’) was attacking one of the SBUs we dropped with an expensive ship, a Barghest, the Mordu’s Legion battleship that came in with the Kronos expansion about a year back.

It was felt that we should kill it, what with it brazenly shooting our SBU, so a plan was devised.

For reasons still not completely clear to me, we decided to hot drop on it.  That meant stealth bombers and a black ops battleship to deliver us to the target.  We had some stealth bombers around, but the person with the battleship wasn’t on.  So we sent somebody to Amarr to go buy a Panther, fit it, and fly it back down.  I flew along to go grab a stealth bomber so I could join in.

We flew up, made our purchases, and flew back.  As we did that, a couple of tacklers were stealthed up and close by s1thl0rd, who kept on shooting the SBU.  If I heard things on coms correctly, he even decloaked one of the tacklers and didn’t think to fly off.

When we got back everybody who was going to drop on s1thl0rd formed up and flew to a system within drop range.  There was a short lesson on how to hot drop and stay stealthed and all that, required by the way we all failed to do so when forming up.

Our blops finally arrives

Our blops finally arrives

Finally, we were all set and the person on the gate with the cyno went to go light it so we could drop in… and it failed.  He decloaked, which didn’t seem to bother s1thl0rd, and found that the system had a cyno jammer in it.  We needed a covert cyno generator, which nobody happened to have handy.  There was a call out to see who online could actually fit and use one, and I x’d up in fleet and was tasked with lighting the cyno.

I just didn’t actually have a covert cyno handy.  So I went off to buy one and bring it back.  I was on my way back… at this point we were about two hours into this “we’re totally going to kill this guy” operation and not only were we still trying to get it together, but the target was still in place… when a couple of wormholers dropped into the target system and blew up s1thl0rd and his shiny ship.

At that point people were more laughing than disappointed as the total amount of time we spent trying to set up for that one kill… and our dependence on our target just sitting there for all that time… made the whole situation comical.

Besides which, we got to kill his shiny, billion ISK Rattlesnake a couple days later, along with his pod full of implants.  I even got the kill mail on his pod, as Asher let the logi pilots get first crack at it.

Otherwise, the operational tempo in Querious remains about the same.  We shoot stuff up until we become annoying enough that NCdot has to respond.  Just to do things even more on the cheap, we have even started using laser Vexors, which end up costing a couple million ISK if fully insured, so you can go AFK if you need and not be too worried about losing anything if hostiles show up.  The beams just keep cycling until you or the target are done.

Laser Vexor

Laser Vexor

Still, I have been a bit jealous of my corp mates who have been off fighting on the Delve front.  Big fleets, big battles, systems being taken, and all that.  So Sunday afternoon I decided I would clone jump to Fountain to take part in the Easter operation in ZXB-VC.  That operation was being pinged for hours and hours in advance, so it seemed like it might be an important fight.  I thought it would be nice to be there when a system went down.  So when the time came I was in place and in a big fat newly purchase Dominix, because that is the main battleship doctrine yet again, and ready to go.

However, when we finally got to ZXB, it turned out to be just the station timer.  We were going just there to put the station into the armor reinforce cycle.

ZXB shield timer counts down...

ZXB shield timer counts down…

We were the first of a few fleets to drop on the system.  As we sat around the station we were encouraged to shoot the station services to knock them out.

Choose a service you want to kill...

Choose a service you want to kill…

However we barely got into that before we were sent off to one of the gates to guard an SBU, lest NCDot and friends drop in and kill it during a window of opportunity and cause us to have to restart the whole reinforce cycle again.  So we sat out there, spread out in a ball, while the capital fleet came in and very quickly put the station into its armor reinforce time.

The times is visible in the distance

The times is visible in the distance

All we had to entertain us was the Circadian Seekers who kept showing up to fly around and scan us every so often.  I started seeing those in Reaver fleets.  In Reavers we are sharp enough to not start shooting them.  However, with 240 of us sitting on the gate with nothing to do but wait for orders, somebody was bound to shoot one of them.  And they did, eventually having to warp to the gate and exit the system to break the cycle of escalations that comes with starting that fight.

With the station reinforced again and no hostiles to speak of (920+ people in system, I counted 3 non-CFC pilots in local) I opted to head to the gate with the capitals, parked myself in Y-2ANO, and went to have dinner with my wife and watch a bit of TV. (We just finished up The Wire and are starting on Treme.)  My Domi will be safe there and will be set to join any operations headed for Delve if I want to pile in.

Meanwhile, while I was off experiencing battleship travel, time dilation, and the sitting and waiting that comes with covering the capital ships, down in Querious Asher was pinging for more pilots because we actually had a fight going down with the locals.  I chose poorly, but I couldn’t get back to Querious quickly enough to help out.  I will jump back down when my jump clone timer runs down and join the small harassing ops on the fringe of NCDot space.  There is no time dilation and there is always something to shoot.

On the bright side, I did get a few big fleet screen shots, which at least was a change from what is becoming an ongoing series of “Basilisk goes to…” events, so I have some fresh fodder for my other blog.