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Deployed to Delve

I’ve been busy this week but I have had one good night of eve-time.

Akura apologizes in advance for the wall of text

Our alliance has been asked to deploy to delve. Specifically, this means that it is mandatory for all our combat pilots to be on the front line. Now, we (the combat pilots) were told a bit over a week ago, but I have been reluctant to move. commencing the one and only time I’m going to rant about this.

So far joining ANZAC has been a bit of an exercise in frustration:

– jump clone to fountain, make gate bookmarks
– wait for combat ships to be jump freightered out to base
– spend almost a week worth of play time reading forums and signing up to alliance (and ally alliances) coms.
– Ships arrive yay! …. Get told to move base to cloud ring.
– one more week of moving and making new cloud ring bookmarks (luckily I had some in the critical systems from 2 years ago)
– Sign up for more voice comms
– I found the market lacking and so I bought nearly 1 bil worth of ships and modules to bring out to our base.
– Finally I go on one or two roams!
– get told to deploy to delve.
– As I couldn’t be on for the weekend deployment convoys I ended up leaving all my ships in cloud ring and death cloneing down to delve.
– Repurchase core combat ships and modules: Buzzard, Onyx, Drake, Falcon, Manticore x 2.
– Make more off-gate bookmarks
– find out that there are still more voice comms to sign up for.

So pretty much I have spent more time making off-gate bookmarks, reading forums and signing up for voice comms than I have actually spent playing the game….. This pisses me off somewhat, but it is no one’s fault. It was just bad timing. I’m not so much annoyed about the moving around, just that I have over 3 bill worth of assets sitting useless in cloud ring. (sure, not much compared to some people but I don’t operate with excessive amounts of isk reserves and I don’t fly capitals)

ok, end rant……

So, Delve huh?
This region has always had a mythical intimidationness about it. This is the home of the old BoB and goonswarm after it. I’ve heard stories of the ledgendary 24/7hr perma-lockdown of NOL-M9 after BoB disbanded. I’ve heard it called “fortress Delve” I’ve heard of the Dusk and Dawn alliance pos warfare, I’ve heard of the legendary richness of the moons (prior to some R64 reballancing). Frankly, I’m intimidated.

You know what intimidates me more? There are so many allied alliances here that our corporation was not able to find a player controlled station with an office. We (and a number of other alliances) have almost filled out the NPC-held stations!

The line up of alliances deployed here reads like a who’s who of northern nullsec:
Test alliance
Executive Outcomes
Pandemic Legion
Goons
Fatal Ascension
Razor
convicted

..And this is still early days in the deployment. apparently the plan is to pvp until Against All Authorities is a High-sec mining alliance. This is going to be known as the Third Great War. I missed the first two, the first was before my time and the second was when I was just barely able to sit in a battlecruiser for the first time. This time, I’m ready

The fact that we’re going up against -A-, red alliance and by extension Red Overlord makes me quite excited. Having been part of -A- before, I know that they will be very tough opponents. There will be more at play here than just game mechanics. There will be spies, there will be propoganda, who knows what else. unless -A- has changed significantly in the two years since I was part of it, they are very serious players with a very large capital fleet. at the time it was widely accepted that they had the largest number of Titans of any alliance.

One step at a time though. Earlier this week we were just in the “establishing a beach-head” phase. As the threat of spies is ever-present, any major targets are not announced until we get jumped in and told to lock it up.

I’m curious: once we get past Delve and Querious – if it was me, I’d stage out of Providence. Last time I was there CVA appeared fairly easy to kick out. I doubt that -A- could extend their reach to cover that region as well. Providence may very well burn again.

My first night in Delve:

After deathcloning I looked around for ships to buy. There were cheap, fitted perma-mwd Drakes supplied by my corporation, so I bought one of them. I don’t generally fly one of these but they’re good to have ready should a drakefleet op be called. My preferred ship, the Onyx is less useful if mobility and speed are required over holding down an enemy fleet or locking down a system. Light dictors are easier to replace, Drakes are almost free.

We’re situated in and around some NPC stations. That means there are a bunch of annoying little non-sov holding alliances still left hanging around. I don’t imagine these guys will last very long, the shear number of major alliance members flying around will cause them to have a very unsatisfactory eve experience.

I saw an Onyx on contract for 300 mil isk a few systems away from our base so I bought it and waited for my corp to start up a roaming/gate-camping/bad-guy flushing fleet. Despite the fact I had to go 4 or 5 systems into unknown-npc-held space I encountered no issues getting in and transporting my Onyx back out again. Either the randoms that were in those systems were safe or docked, or they were just ignoring me. I have also felt much more comfortable in nullsec since re-mastering the microwarp drive/cloak trick that renders any ship all but unlockable so long as there are no bubbles.

Part of what I really love about my current corp is the excellent combination of seriousness combined with banter. We have a few ex-military members so the discipline is very good when it needs to be. people do what they are told, and they do it well. This is one of the reasons I joined in the first place. The banter is icing. At one point, our FC was practically yelling at some of the fleet for having not set up off-gate bookmarks. He called them “Perches” (apparently this is the correct military term). I’ve always just called them “off-gate bookmarks”. (for those that don’t know: to avoid getting trapped in bubbles, it is essential that every pilot have bookmarks at least 150km away from every gate so that you can warp to the bookmark and scout prior to warping to the gate. if there is a camp or sling bubble on the gate, this is a life-saver). Anyway, after long debate in-between warping around and killing people we all concluded that they should be called Drop-bears: “make drop-bears on all the gates!” , “warp to the drop bear in the corporate locations”. “anyone got a drop bear on the NOL gate?”

Bring everything

Later that evening Test Alliance announced a kitchen sink op. This is basically a non-reimbursable fleet where you bring whatever you want to fly and can afford to lose. The FC makes no guarantees that we will come out alive on the other end. As a result, most people came in battlecruisers, either hurricanes or drakes. These are very cheap to replace. Naturally, I came in my brand new Onyx, however the most expensive ship there was a redeemer Black ops battleship. Such was the confidence we had in the FC.

a ragtag bunch of ships
Photobucket

Now, despite the serious nature of the deployment to delve, ops like these have a purpose: to intimidate the local populous. As I mentioned, there are a number of small, annoying alliances hanging around. They inhibit our movements and need to be evicted. They need to know that they are never safe while this large-scale operation is in progress. And so we must constantly be keeping pressure on them until they leave. However seeing as this goal is secondary to the greater strategic goal and given the fact there is no actual set objective for these roams, there are no reimbursements.

Hot drop time:

Enter the surprise Hot-drop. A Hot drop is where a cyno is lit by a brave soul who flies right into the middle of a hostile fleet and hopes to live long enough for the rest of the fleet to bridge in via titan. In the past, if I have hot-dropped anywhere, it is to permanently take the system and usually has been with a fleet of capitals or large number of battleships into a similarly large group of battleships/capitals. If it works, it’s great. If the bad guys kill the cyno before the fleet can bridge in, it can go horribly wrong. (side note – if everything is perfect but your titan jumps in after you and explodes the fleet, then that’s bad also).

This time we were doing it with only 50 people, jumping in on small groups of 10 or so who had no chance if we did it correctly.

Kitchen sink forming up on our buddy titan
Photobucket

So we all formed up on the titan for the first jump I was the only Heavy Interdictor but towards the middle/end of the evening we had a few light dictors join us. Our FC was in a bait, armor tanked drake with a cyno and it wasn’t long before he got a bite. Up went the cyno, we all jumped in and I threw up a bubble. The hostile fleet didn’t stand a chance and I didn’t even get a chance to lock anything thanks to our “insta-canes” one-vollying them

Towards the end of the night the FC got me to put a cyno on my Onyx and we went together to find targets – nothing really eventuated unfortunately but it was still good.

I’ve found my situational awareness is a little bit down from when I was playing almost every night 2 years ago. I just have to get back into the habit of doing the fleet thing. Admittedly it was 1am, and by that time the best I could do was follow FC orders, not think for myself all that well, but hey, I was still slightly dissapointed. worst mistake I made was just a miss-placed bubble at one point because my mind wandered and I wasn’t centred on gate after our first drop, but still. There’s always next time 🙂

Comming up soon: I join a 200 man drake fleet – Very cool screenshots etc to compensate for this wall of text post here

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