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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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 https://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.
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:
an SBU being assploded, here’s one: clicky
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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
One of the good things about Jabber is the audio notifications that you get when there is a broadcast. I generally have Jabber signed in if I even think there is a possibility of logging in during the evening.
So I found myself in a drake fleet. A Drake fleet consists almost entirely of drakes with a smattering of scimitars and occasionally some interdictors/fast tackle. The screenshots really tell the whole story and finally make me feel like I’m back to the way my blog used to be: battle reports and epic screenshots:
This particular fleet was to happen very fast. we had 15 mins to form up, and then we were bridging into an unknown system
As is the case with most of the ops down in delve, the general masses are not told where we are jumping or what we are going to shootto until we actually do the jumping and shooting.
In this case, our target was the infrastructure hub in LUA5-L. Epic screenshots ensued:
The basis of a drake fleet is the ability to have your microwarp drive on permanently. Everyone turns it on and follows an Anchor. The logistics ships also follow their own anchor and we all end up forming a loose conga line in space. In this case we were orbiting an Infrastructure hub. With 175+ drakes, each shooting 7 missile launchers each, it went down fast.
The titan then jumped into the target system with a medium-sized fleet of supercarriers for support and bridged us all back:
Almost immediately another drake fleet was called and again we formed up on the titan.
It didn’t become clear until about 15-20 mins into this form up that we were actually a protection detail. We heard on comms that a number of POS’s were being deployed in a system within jump range. Lots of people didn’t get it or weren’t paying attention and as the time wore on and we weren’t jumping anywhere, people got restless. I’ve never really understood this. Perhaps I just pick up things and am able to put pieces of information together, or maybe its the experience that I’ve had in nullsec previously. 200 man fleets are not called on a whim.
There is always a reason, and yet people started complaining. Fleet chat turned into something worse than local….. people didn’t seem to understand the purpose of the fleet and so they went looking for porn….. This was my very first operation with the goons and I very nearly learned the hard way:
Don’t click on random in-fleet image links while wife is standing behind you.
It started off tasteful, but I had a hunch that it would descend into madness…. apparently i was right, as the FC made a decree: “Guys: No more bunny-suit-tranny porn ok? that shit’s just wrong.”. I was stuck – this was worse than barrens chat! it was worse than local smack in jita and I couldn’t close the fleet window because occasionally useful information would flow through like discussions about fittings and announcements from CFC command that I hadn’t read.
and so we sat there….. a wall of drakes… being repped by our bored logi pilots….. brain cells being killed by mindless drivel banter….. for one hour. seriously goons: do you all live in your parents basement? isn’t there something better that you can do with your minds?!?
It was necessary as we would have been able to obliterate any hostile fleet that came to stop the deployment of our pos’s. No killmails from it, but it is necessary for the war. However, it was disappointing that even after one hour of listening to the directors talk about deploying POS’s, a corpmate complained about having a fleet “canceled” after waiting about doing nothing for an hour. I duly informed him that we were in-fact doing something: Protection for the region logistics deployment.
And so the drake fleet ended in success and a scheduled Tengu fleet commenced forming up:
Yes, a Tengu fleet. This fleet is fully reimbursable by goons and test alliance. I heard that they are able to replace a the loss of 3-4 200-ship tengu fleets every week. That’s the wealth of the combined CFC. Can the southern alliances keep up with that?
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:
..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?”
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.
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.
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