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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
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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:

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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:

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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)
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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 🙂

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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 🙂

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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
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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
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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.

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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.

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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
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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 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.

At least our staging system is a pretty one
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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:

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

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Here’s my new phone wallpaper:
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Game on!

The Dominion Wars

October 30, 2009 6 comments

The Fall of BoB

There was once a time, not too long ago, when the alliances of what is now called the Northern Coalition, Pandemic Legion, Sons of Tangra and Goonswarm fought side-by-side. These alliances combined to form one massive coalition with a single purpose: to wipe the Band of Brothers from existence.

The success of this is most easily demonstrated by the influence map. The following video is a 10 frames per second slide show of the influence map over the course of the past few years I highly recommend you download it in its entirety (and not just watch the preview):

http://dl.eve-files.com/media/corp/Nimtra/influence.avi

CVA alliance and the providence holders block has remained much the same, but the Northern coalition solidified with the introduction of Tau Ceti Federation and Mostly Harmless and Pandemic Legion moved into fountain.
Most importantly: The Band of Brothers was completely wiped from existence and Goonswarm moved into its place.

The unfortunate thing, however, was that prior to being displaced from nullsec, BoB was disbanded in a move similar to what has recently happened to CVA. The exception being that a BoB director deliberately dissolved the alliance and defected to Goonswarm, as you can see on the video where BoB turns into Kenzoku briefly. The reason this was so effective was the pre-dominion sovereignty mechanics: POS’s in Sovereignty level 4 systems are rendered indestructible. The disbanding completely removed Sov from all these systems, and Kenzoku was destroyed before they could gain it back

Rumbles in the North

It was hoped at the time, that what remained of BoB would dissolve and dissipate. With no common enemy left, the Alliances which made up the coalition gradually terminated the non-aggression pacts that had bound them together and over the past few months, Pandemic Legion and sons of Tangra have openly aggressed against their prior allies. But it has become apparent that post dominion, we may have a common enemy yet again.

The corporations that made up the band of brothers have re-formed under the banner of “IT Alliance”. I briefly mentioned that they had poked their nose into a conflict between the Northern Coalition and PL recently. IT Alliance has taken up residence in Syndicate, an NPC held 0.0 region in-between Cloud Ring and Fountain. The Membership in IT alliance has been steadily growing and growing. “Anzac Alliance” a corporation that recently joined Mostly Harmless has announced its intentions to join with their old comrades in IT alliance. With this addition, IT alliance will be only a few hundred people short becoming the one of the largest alliances in the game, second only to the bloated Goonswarm.

IT Alliance have not directly said that they will attack anything post dominion, but they have specifically noted that it will take the dominion patch to effectively wipe out the near-invincible Sov-4 systems controlled by their enemies…. and their forces are building.

One thing that is clear: The First Dominion War will be fought in the North.

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Other resources:
A history of BoB alliance
The Second Great War