Raptor in an Alpha Fleet: Lessons Learned

August 12, 2012 Leave a comment

A call for a stratop went out: Alpha fleet with the usual smattering of dics/hics and intys. I had just used my clone jump timer to jump from deklein to Cloud ring for a corporate op when the ping came over jabber. I’ve been wanting to try my new raptor out for a while now and so I burned from CR to our staging point in Deklein to get there just in time to form up on the titan. I’m feeling fairly small at this point, I’ve pretty much never been in a large fleet in anything smaller than a cruiser before.

alpha fleet on a titan
Photobucket

The FC did something different though: he called for instacanes. we ended up with about 5 or 6 of them in fleet, which I thought was weird.

The fleet seemed to be in no rush. but when it happened it happened fast. The FC told us to set our destinations for GIH-ZG, then told the idiots who started warping there to stop it and get back on the titan. The titan opened the bridge and we found ourselves two systems from our destination. The FC told us to individually burn as fast as we could into GIH and then warp to a fleet member at a friendly POS. It turned out that this was all done due to systems surrounding our destination were cyno-jammed and because there was an enemy bomber/recon fleet inbetween us and our target system. going on the safety in numbers principal, we only lost one battleship out of the 180+ fleet getting into the system.

Once we were in there and in the safe POS, we warped to a hostile POS that was comming out of reinforced mode in 3 minutes. Now, the counter to a blob of battleships has always been coordinated stealth bomber runs. This plays havoc with the logistics and if done right can destroy the fleet before the logis can rep everyone. However, a bombing run must have a target, and a battleship fleet is only vulnerable if they form up like this:

Photobucket

And so the FC wisely chose to spread us out. He anchored himself, told everyone else to spread out to 30km and had his HIC bubble up on his ship. This would make getting warpins for bombing runs quite tricky as any direct line of warp would cause the bomber fleet to be dragged into the bubble and it would be very difficult to point in the right direction and target before being killed:

Photobucket

So we waited for it to come out of reinforced and the alpha fleet shot it down. I sent a round or two into the tower for killmail goodness and then settled in, orbiting the fleet, ready for anything.

Anything came, and it became quite clear why the FC wanted the insta-canes. 17 bombers and an interdictor later the bad guys stopped comming. I managed to get on my first kills in a raptor including a final blow on a pod, which never happens for me.

killing bombers (full fight here)
Photobucket

I was quite a bit uncoordinated unfortunately – I need to practice and memorize the keyboard shortcuts for align to and that sort of thing. I’m sure I could have been more effective if I didn’t stuff around so much with clicking things.

Another lesson learned

We slow-boated home. There was another fleet of bombers that came after us, but the fleet stayed cloaked for as long as possible after each gate. Being in a frigate, I tried to get out of the way of the bombs and was soundly smacked down. took me a few seconds to realise what happened. I broadcasted for shield, then wondered to myself why I was only traveling 175m/s, “oh… I’m in my pod”… I got a shield rep anyway :-)

Photobucket

As it turns out, holding your cloak after a gate also gives you immunity to AOE weapons. I did not know this. I’ve never had to worry about bombs before as my usual ship the Onyx tanks more than battleships, and pretty much the last time I flew a battleship, they had to be tanked for doomsday AOE.

so there you go: even though I’m not planning on flying interceptors regularly, I have learned something useful. The lessons learned today will still be useful when I fly light dictors in about 2 weeks time.

in other news, as I write this (on a saturday morning my time) there are large fights going on with CFC vs NCdot and also Honeybadgers Vs AAA. I can’t be a part of it because of family commitments. oh to be a single forever alone person sitting at my computer by myself all weekend….. heh, nope, having kids is awesome :-)

quick 49- update

August 10, 2012 Leave a comment

From the looks of the forums I frequent TEST/PL and EXE pulled together to get everyone possible into system and won the day. SoCo didn’t even show up.

Here’s a choice tidbit from one of the SOCO intel channels after they were told to stand down:

Absocold > We were told to be here for the fight of the year. Now we’re told we’re not going to fight. :/
Zalyz S’venfirion > think about it
Zalyz S’venfirion > we wouldnt get to the station before those 100+ carriers would rep it
Sargeamarrminer > someone tell me why the fuck we standing down and i just woke up?
Cheez Burgr > Well, 700 of us were “blueballed” while 1400 test+friends were blueballed
pritch1 > just because we didnt fight doesnt mean we lost
Spiral Architect > the jump in would have been a massacre.
ScarfaceMkd > we lost. deal with it
Weldon Byrn > operation blueballs was a success
Soknorb Revned > who gives a crapo about station., we all came here for a fight
Magnus Gallantus > we’ve had 2 hours to blow them up before they could even start repping it
Sargeamarrminer > we knew this would be a big fight, where was our capital and super fleet?
ScarfaceMkd > we suck
pritch1 > them bringing 1400 shows they are desperate and running scared
Kainos Kerensky > Agreed, and like I said, their allies wont come full strenght each time. We cant fight all of eve, just most.
Next time is our time since we are closer to the objective, their allies have to move from the north. Blueballs = Moral loss

I’ll leave off my commentary about why bringing 1400 doesn’t actually mean we’re desperate and running scared but rather that we’re determined and can pull together when needed…..

Here’s a recording of the “stand down” announcement:
http://soundcloud.com/dariush_still_records_you/soco-cta-10-08

I love the “they’re not listening to this” comment at the end.

So hey, no pew pew, but system very comprehensively saved. Also Deluded enemy FTW!

Categories: Battle Report Tags: , , ,

The Anti-Drakefleet Drakefleet

August 9, 2012 4 comments

I was in the middle of brushing off my scanning skills – I spent 3 months in a wormhole when they first came out and I only now remember exactly how much I grew to hate scanning. still, I’m sure it will come in handy one of these days, and so I practice.

The ping came through pidgin – there was to be an Alpha fleet and a drake fleet – The Alpha fleet had already been up for a while and were combining with a dread/carrier fleet to reinforce some NCdot Towers. NCdot appeared to be forming a response drakefleet and so the call went out to hustle as we were expecting a fight from the Northern coalition defending their towers Y-PZHM.

Drake Swarm in flight
Photobucket

I warped back to the station, got out of my ship and jump-cloned out to QPO and hopped in a drake. On Joining the fleet I saw an unusual Message Of The Day: Drop your passive EM hardener and replace it with a damp with a scan resolution script or a web. The FC had personally bought damps and webs and put them in the staging system at a personal isk loss just so we could all have one fitted.

We all got on the titan – 100+ in fleet including scimitars, which wasn’t bad for 10 mins notice including a fitting change and we bridged in.

FC told us to hold cloak, load up a Logistics only overview profile and choose a logistics to target (usually when the FC gives you the option, you should pick someone close to your name in the alphabet) we all had ECM drones as per the goon doctrine. This would be interesting. As it turned out, the enemy had brought Tengus and munnins rather than drakes – that’s an interesting combination. they still have the weakness of relying on scimitar logistics however.

The call came to uncloak and targets began to be called in addition to the pet logis that we each had. The first thing you mus always do in a drake fleet of course before anything else is turn your modules on, microwarp drive included and anchor up on the FC. Then and only then can you target something.

primary secondary and damp targets for me
Photobucket

Mild Time dialation kicked in but it didn’t affect us much. The damps made a huge difference – even though our drake fleets were approximately even numbers we blew them up quite a bit faster. The damps increasing the lock time of the opposing scimitars.

Photobucket

Just to make sure, we warped our alpha fleet onto them and then dropped some dreads as well. towards the end of the fight, there were a lot of “Mate”‘s put in local. I don’t think the NCdot leader is ever going to live that down.

Photobucket

While it was enjoyable, I’m starting to get bored with just drake fleets. I can’t fly a maelstrom and I’m not sure I want to retrain either – I retrained galente from caldari back in the day, but retraining a third racial battleship? not sure. It’s encouraging to see TEST are still using Rokhs and scorpions.

At the end of the day, we won of course
Here’s the outcome of the fight as shown by eve-kill (doesn’t always have all kills)
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_related&kll_id=14275693

In other news – we got a broadcast from TEST leadership. it seems that Executive Outcomes as an alliance needs to help our friends TEST. We have closer ties to them than goonswarm and NCdot are out-matched in any case. so back to Delve we go.

Here’s part of the broadcast:

In 48 hours we’ll fight for 49-’s final timer. As a brutal realist I want to tell you that its possible we could lose that fight, it wont be the last station we fight for if we do and we will fight to take it back should that happen, Defensive wars suck balls, Offensive wars are more our style anyway.

The outcome though, will depend on every one of you. You have 48 hours. I know lasts nights fight was murder on wallets and ship stocks, but you MUST work as best you can to replace what we burned, and have even more if possible.

The final fight for that system will be bloody. Expect AAA to call in every single thing they know and or own, expect to see close to 300 tengus. Expect to die, a lot.

If you can do what you did last night, I feel we can hold that system (turns out armor reinforce cycles work well with slow cat fleets). So I dont care if you have to sit on the corner of 1dh and suck dick for money, do whatever it takes to have a fairly large stock of ships sorted, fit, and ready to go. Spare dics, bombers, frigates, HUGGINS (holy shit tons of these), scimmies and mainline fleet ships (Rokhs/Maels/Drakes).

In 48 hours we set the world on fire, again.

Our alliance and corp are pulling out all the stops for this even offering bounties on hostiles killed and extra reimbursements for ships lost such that flying a drake or rokh will actually bring a profit if you get killed. The fight goes down out of my timezone unfortunately, and gone are the days when I could just take a day off work on impulse.

I’m looking forward to reading battle reports from there.

Epic drake screenshot to finish off
Photobucket

War with Northern Coalition dot

August 6, 2012 5 comments

Well that didn’t take long. Delve is over and war has begun with NC.

I tried to read The Mittani’s post on it and failed… maybe that attempt at motivational speeches works on some people. What motivates me? honesty. if you tell me “I’ve got no good reason, let’s just go shoot xyz alliance” I’ll be there, guns blazing. turns out there is actually a reason for this one.

Long story short: Technetium is being nerfed by CCP. Northern Coalition wants to go out with a fight.

This rings bells – back in 2009 when the Northern Coalition was actually a coalition of alliances, and held all the space that goons and friends now holds, (I was in Mostly harmless and we held Pure Blind, Fade and Cloud Ring.) CCP changed sov fundamentally. The Dominion patch moved from simply the alliance with the most pos’s wins, to actually being able to upgrade systems and having the mechanics of Territorial control units and blockade units and infrastructure hubs. At this point Pandemic legion held all of fountain and they came to give us a fight before dominion hit
(see http://evemonkey.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/news_from_the_north/ and other posts from around that time).

Now, the same thing is happening again. Tech will be nerfed, from Executive Outcome’s perspective our 30bill per month sov costs will no longer be funded by the high price of technetium. We’re going to actually have to work to pay our sov costs or contract our sov. The alliance that is called Northern Coalition seems to want to have one last war before they contract or go back to wherever they intend to go. fair enough. let’s pew pew bitches.

At least our staging system is a pretty one
Photobucket

Executive outcomes is unfortunately tied to both TEST and goons. so I have ships and jump clones in cloud ring, Delve and Deklein, our new staging region for the war in Tribute. Happily I already have all the necessary tactical bookmarks for deklein. This was my very first nullsec region when I was part of Defi4nt alliance for a couple of months prior to moving to MH.

So Sunday night there was an op that I didn’t get in on due to the time, but Monday night I had the priviledge of knocking out the SBU’s attached to KQK1-2, one of the systems held by The Ancient Gaming Noob‘s alliance. One of these days I’ll fulfill a years long goal of actually flying along side him :-)

Nothing much to tell on this particular occasion. Even though we were in hot-drop range of NC. they failed to show and we killed the SBU’s and went home.

Que the screenshots:

Photobucket

an SBU being assploded, here’s one: clicky
Photobucket

Yes, I brought a drake, I haven’t yet brought my HICtor. usually these ops will be late at night so I think I don’t want to risk making a stupid decision while tired so I brought also my raptor and a stealth bomber and bought two drakes at our staging system.

Photobucket

Here’s my new phone wallpaper:
Photobucket

Game on!

Anatomy of a Home Defence Fleet

August 3, 2012 Leave a comment

The other night I finally found some time to get online. I jumped from highsec to my nullsec no-implant clone in cloud ring, intent on finding some pew in my new raptors. Logged onto Teamspeak only to find that most of the corp in cloud ring (about 5 or 6 people) were busy finishing off a large npc complex 6 jumps away from our home system.

I literally have no PVE ships in nullsec. This is something that I’ve thought about fixing, but never gotten around to it.

Here’s my current hanger in cloud ring. As you can see, Drake, Falcon, Buzzard, Onyx, 4 raptors, 3 manticores, viator, occator. I would love to have a spare Onyx, but I don’t seem to die all that often when not on the front line. my Delve hanger has quite a few redundant ships.

Photobucket

So to contribute to the corp, I jumped in my Buzzard covert ops and headed out to scout for the returning pve fleet. Almost immediately we got a report of a neutral showing up in the system adjacent to our home system of 9-4. Great! usually one neutral is not cause for a home defense fleet mobilization, so I sat at my safe spot above the G8AD gate to get a visual on the neutral. Shortly after the intitial report, another report came through that the neutral fleet had increased to 6 people. The person reporting had no visual on the fleet. 5 neuts is something that warrants a small home defense response.

The returning pve ships docked up and changed into combat ships. Then the first neut then jumped through into our home system – he held cloak for a good 20 seconds and then warped to the station. I reported him as a harbinger. The assumption then would be that a 5 man gang of armor tanked battle cruisers, maybe some smaller tackle included would be following.

One of our HIC’s undocked in his broadsword and sat there, taking fire from the harbinger to keep him interested while the rest of our corp got their ships ready. at this point our alliance members in cloud ring were spread out in various systems around the place, but we were all listening to the intel happening from these two systems. Finally the rest of the harbi’s gang jumped in and I reported the surprising result: Scimitar, Drake, Drake, Hurricane, Tempest. eh? what kind of fleet was this? three shield BC’s, one shield BS and one armor BC with a shield logi?

Clearly the initial Harbi was their bait ship and possibly their FC. We knew that we could keep eyes on them with impunity (possibly the cane was an insta-cane, but still unlikely to catch a covert ops) so we were patient and stayed docked up for the moment. I kept eyes on them from my Buzzard. They must have become bored as they warped to the FQ9 gate. It was clear that they were going to do the complete circle around cloud ring.

Epic wall-of-text breaking screenshot
Photobucket

A corp stealth bomber undocked and volunteered to follow them down the pipe. by this time we had people jump-cloning back from delve (no ops going on this evening), the rest of the alliance had joined our standing fleet and an FC volunteered to lead. Because there was only 6 or 7 of us at the start, we determined fleet composition by consensus and what we could fly.

The trick was we didn’t know what the harbi was fitted with, and clearly the Scimi would be a problem. Logistics ships are force multipliers, causing the opposing fleet to have far more dps to break the tank of the ships being repaired or to focus first on the scimi. We knew also that the harbi and the tempest would have either a huge tank or some ewar in the middle combined with a large alpha strike against battleships.

So options for us were immediately rejected such as battleships (not many of us have them anyway) also, not many expensive pvp ships are kept in cloud ring as we’re all supposed to be deployed to delve, so no tengus. the odds were too even to bring expensive things anyway.

However… thank CCP for their sand-box options: you know what else is a force multiplier?

Falcons.

Falcons are one of my favorite ships. One of my first losses in nullsec was a falcon: http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=3366155 Back when I was flying them then, they could easily perma-jam anything, ECCM’s were not very effective and falcons could jam out to 150km and had a little bit of a tank. in small gang pvp, they were THE force multiplier to have. CCP has nerfed their range and tank somewhat and so now my optimal range is 57km. meaning that they can be within range of average long-range guns. still, guns only work if you can lock your target. So whereas they used to be “OMFG it’s a falcon! – Game over man! Game over!!!!” They are now an “oh crap a falcon. Falcon is primary, falcon is primary”.

We brought two.

With the neut gang being composed the way it was, there was no need for us to have fast tackle. we already had one falcon, so instead of getting out in my raptor I told the FC “I can bring a second Falcon or a HIC” Someone else volunteered their Broadsword and so I jumped in Steve, my falcon.

Epic Caldari Asymmetry
Photobucket

Doesn’t really matter what else we brought. There was no chance anything except the cane was going to get a lock, and it would be unlikely that the cane would have the range to hit a falcon even if it was insta-fit. We brought a smattering of battlecruisers and a HIC

By this time the hostile fleet had moved on two systems down the pipe with our dutiful covops pilot following them with impunity. It was funny to listen to as they were clearly being very cautious, with their Harbi going in first and waiting, then the rest of the fleet would jump in. perhaps they were trying to catch our stealth bomber pilot. in anycase, it gave us heaps of time. now, clearly, jumping into them on a gate wasn’t a great idea – our falcons need to be at range. Time to use our home advantage: Jump bridges.

fleet at a jump bridge
Photobucket

We took our jump bridge and had enough time to get on the appropriate gate and waited for the inevitable harbi to come through. Falcons got at optimal range, everyone else was on gate and we waited. I cloaked up and got the following from the other falcon pilot in fleet chat:

[ 2012.08.02 13:03:14 ] Fleet Member > akura
[ 2012.08.02 13:03:16 ] Fleet Member > where did you go?
[ 2012.08.02 13:03:21 ] Akura Kawanaka > I cloaked
[ 2012.08.02 13:03:33 ] Fleet Member > you sexy bastard

Shortly thereafter he cloaked also….. I think he may not have flown a falcon very often or something. but yes… I am a sexy bastard. you should see me when I’m uncloaking.

Sir Yiffles from “Ninja Unicorns with Huge Horns” jumped in. Falcons were cloaked, we didn’t have a logistics ship and he must have thought that they had a chance. Their scimitar jumped in and Yiffles decloaked. We falcons uncloaked and locked them both up. Scimitar made the wise decision to gate-crash and managed to make it back to the gate in time, but mr Yiffles died.

shield tanked tackle harbi? ok I guess…?
http://killboard.anzacalliance.com/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=90418

By this time we had more people becomming interested in the fight – alliance members jumping back from delve – people listening on TS or on Jabber logged in and joined the fight – our little fleet swelled to 20 people and 4 falcons. The neuts brought a known hot-dropping recon pilot to get eyes on us. This gave us a clue – because we knew where he came from (lowsec Placid region) we had a good idea of where these neutrals were heading. We took another jump bridge to head-them off and sent our now multiple covops/stealth bombers into in-between systems to get eyes/probes on them wherever they went.

At this point, there was no way the remaining neuts could escape unscathed. Their only two options were to escalate to cynoing a larger fleet on top of us, or attempt a rush through and accept the losses. After a little bit of back and forth, they decided that the only winning move was not to play. They logged off. we couldn’t get a scan on them in the 60 seconds or whatever it is before their ships disappeared from our scanners. victory for us I guess.

Here’s how it went down (blue is us going via jump bridges, red is them):
Photobucket

At this point there was another roaming gang moving through fountain – we combined with a TEST fleet and went to head them off. It was late for me so I went to bed. but not before taking a shot of a caldari navy firetail:

Photobucket

All in a days work in nullsec :-)

Test Celebratory Video

July 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Test alliance made this video – as they are very good at doing.  to celebrate the three regions in 30 days war of delve, querious and Period basis.

 

as usual, video is far more awesome than just plain screenshots:

actual link here:http://youtu.be/eCabmY7VPTg

Categories: Uncategorized

New Shiny

July 28, 2012 2 comments

Well, so the past 3 weeks have been pretty much solid real life work. I have literally only had time to log in and change my skills.

I did pay attention to the alliance tournament and I have to say, like a good many people that the Rote Kapelle Vs Pandemic Legion was my favorite.

If you haven’t seen it, watch it on youtube here

just goes to show what good piloting and disciplined FCing can do against an overwhelming amount of isk. Pandemic legion’s setup breached the 100 billion isk mark and included ships given out as prizes for last years tournament. PL’s setup for this match, far exceeded Rote Kapelle’s entire Alliance tournament Budget.

one of the Rote Kapelle pilots writes a blog at jestertrek – his version of things is enlightening:

clicky

He has also written some follow up blogs about alliance tournament training and matches that are well wort the read:
tournament matches
tournament training

On another note, I’ve started training towards light interdictors. There are just some situations where they are more suited than HICs. I don’t have much experience with them yet, but when I do, I’ll surely post my thoughts on the different tactics required.

In the meantime however I have gained the skill of interceptors (required on the path towards interdictors) and so even though I won’t be using them much, I just had to buy, fit and undock in my first interceptor, a caldari raptor. New shinys give me a bit of an endorphin kick after a hard day’s work in RL. 6.1km/s overheated, it’s not the fastest interceptor out there, but I still think it looks cool. I have a thing for asymmetric ships. (damn those CCP bastards for ruining the scorpion)

Just for kicks, I bought four with fittings and shipped them out to nullsec. I’d like to try to give them a go in a small home defense fleet, as some of the physical skills required for interceptors will translate to light dictors. I fully intend to die gloriously in a hail of blaster fire.

nnnnneeeeeewwwwwwrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!
Photobucket

Comming up soon: a small guide on why everyone, without exception, should do some time as a fleet scout, why it will improve your gameplay in nullsec and how to not make a fool of yourself while doing it.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.