Posts Tagged ‘cloud ring’

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.


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

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 are one of my favorite ships. One of my first losses in nullsec was a falcon: 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

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

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…?

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):

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:


All in a days work in nullsec 🙂


Mr Pew Dies Horribly

November 7, 2009 1 comment

So the NC had a big push this weekend to try to force evoke out of cloud ring.

so far it’s gone fairly well – lots of fighting – pandemic legion, sons of tangra, evoke, cry havoc, white noise and all the northern Coalition alliances joining in the fighting.

I brought Mr pew, my new megathron. I had previously thought that in a battleship slugfest I’d likely get primaried due to my name starting with A. well it certainly turned out to be true – I got about two shots off before being skmushed..

the night went a bit like this:

got blob?

blob warp


such is life – perhaps I’m better off as a Hic pilot or a scout.


Thankfully due to our absolutely awesome alliance battleship replacement program I’ll get a new one fully fitted and insured. Got to take advantage of the high-end moon goo while we still have it.

Fleet Competence

October 21, 2009 6 comments

Recently one guy in my alliance forums brought up a good point about player competency in a fleet. He broke down the types of players into the following three groups.

  1. Those who don’t know what to do or why to do it.
  2. Those who know what to do, but not why to do it
  3. Those who, in a given situation, know what to do and why to do it

In a reply to this thread someone mentioned that this was very similar to the Four stages of competence

Now the reason it was brought up was an incident that happened in fleet on the weekend, allow me to set the scene:

Map of the Prelle Constellation in the south-western corner of Cloud Ring Region (courtesy of Ombey Maps)

Despite the best efforts of TCF and Defi4nt alliances, Evoke have pushed into cloud ring to the extent that they took control of the station system G8AD. Shortly thereafter MH announced 24hr operations in and around that area. Basically there was nothing mandatory, but if we were planning on gate-camping anywhere, it had to be in that system or in the pipe leading to Evoke’s home system in A-S in Syndicate Region. We were also given the mandate to ensure that the fitting services on the now evoke-controlled station were to remain unavailable so that any Evoke docked in the station could not fit their ships.

Now, Evoke have for a long time been trying to take the 9-4 station system just a few systems away. This is a fairly critical hub-system and has been defended furiously for the past 4 months and as I have posted about a couple of times before (here , here and here, and we also got a mention in two of Concord’s Outer Region Political Summaries here and here).

Evoke, having achieved sovereignty in G8AD are now pushing for control of 9-4, and should they win the POS spamming war they’ll get it by this coming weekend, but in the meantime it is still held by Mostly Harmless as we have yet to hand over fully to TCF/Defi4nt. The current sov mechanics basically mean whoever has the most POS’s in system wins control – bring on Dominion I say! We have made a few attempts at taking out the Evoke towers, but because we don’t want them to jump capitals into the system, we have cyno-jammed it. This also means we cannot jump our own capitals into the system and therefore have to take out their towers with battleships.

The Fleet

Now here’s the situation: Mostly harmless put a fleet together on Monday night in order to provide support for TCF who were reinforcing yet another POS in 9-4. We weren’t going to actually hit the POS’s ourselves, but were just going to help lock down the surrounding area. We had a fleet of about 50 people, about half/half split between battleships and light/medium support.

At one point we were all in 9-4 protecting a gate when the FC told the fleet to warp to the G8AD gate. Then after a short duration he said for everyone to warp to the station at 50 and hit the fitting services. He then repeated the last command, confirming that we were to shoot the station fitting services.

Now, to the FC’s great frustration, these two fairly simple commands ended up splitting the fleet into three groups.

The first group jumped through into G8AD, warped to the Evoke-held station at 50km and proceeded to pound on the station fitting services.

The second group turned around and warped to the Mostly Harmless-held 9-4 station and started shooting the fitting services there.

The third group stayed on the gate and asked the FC if he meant for everyone to jump in to G8AD or not.

Now here’s the thing: These three groups of ships could be placed into groups 3, 2 and 1 respectively.

The people jumping through to G8AD and shot the station knew what was going on and why. The people that went and shot the friendly station were just following the exact orders that they heard. the third group perhaps at least had the presence of mind to realise that the FC hadn’t said jump and/or were just confused with some people jumping and some people turning around and warping away.

Either way, you could hear the FC’s head banging on his desk. After a bit of swearing and back and forth, the FC did the honourable thing and defused the situation by taking the blame for it (he didn’t actually say “jump” after all).

Covert ops scout displaying superior situational awareness

The theory of the person who started the thread on the alliance forums was trying to make the point that competence comes from experience. But my theory is: In war situations, apart from any tactical competence people may have with flying their actual ships, a good fleet is made up of people that are situationally aware, not just of the surrounding systems as per scout reports, but they’re aware that the bad guys have taken xyz system or that they stage out of xyz system, or that there is a common bottleneck between abc and xyz systems that needs to be camped etc. ok, so some of this comes from experience, but a lot of it comes from just reading things, something that’s not hard to do.

Having a map is obviously infinitely useful. Go here and get it and print it out if you haven’t already.

Also the point was made that there is a rare breed of FC who (obviously time and situation permitting) take some time off from swearing at everyone and actually explain why they are giving certain orders. I’ve had the pleasure of flying with a few of these. I particularly like those that go over an encounter either failed or successful and explain what they were trying to achieve for the benefit of others.

A side note

I just want to take this opportunity to heap praise and adoration on EvE as a game. When thinking over every other game I’ve ever played, the pvp involved has always been similar. WoW – there’s battlegrounds, or you’re fighting on places that don’t change. Guild wars is the same – you’re fighting on a certain set of maps and everyone knows the objectives. all the first person shooters are the same to varying degrees of complexity (I lost count of the number of times I’ve played the “DE-Dust” map in CS). But Eve. heck, the terrain is very static, but the factors involved in determining each engagement (or non-engagement) are so immense that every fight is different.