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“Can We Get Some Probes In System?”

 

mega3Last night we suffered a fit of bored and decided to reinforce a wartarget Azbel. On the way there my scout turned up an Astrahaus belonging to another target who had allied into a war. While we were shooting that, I realized we had another structure, this time a Raitaru, from the principal targets of that second war with less than ten minutes of vulnerability. We split the fleet to handle both those structures at the same time, then moved on to the Azbel. Putting all three to armor went uneventfully and we returned home.

Tonight we returned to put all three to hull. Again with a split fleet, we watched the Azbel owners forming up, piling twelve people into system before we were ready to engage. As we formed up, the decision was made to have one Vindicator and a Phobos (flown by our glorious leader) stand off grid and use probes to catch people at pings. I immediately volunteered to be the Vindi pilot because this is something I’ve always wanted to try.

Our little three-man squad staged up on the nearest moon while the main fleet hit the structure. The wartargets landed a fleet inside tether, and several more ships at range. We started to work.

The Phobos was immediately sent to grab a Talos that was warping between pings before our battleships could lock it. It died. While the Talos was being burned down by the fleet, I took a shot and warped my Vindi to land on a Megathron for a solo kill. We reset and hit an Oracle shortly later.

The next target was a Megathron, which at first managed to slip the Phobos and get off grid. Not to be deterred, the Phobos ran him down and caught him on the sun. I arrived just in time to put one volley into it, because who needs tank? A few minutes later a Celestis tried to damp out our logis, giving the Phobos a nice solo kill of its own. As the core fleet mopped up stragglers in the brawl just off the station, we dropped in on a Naga that was attempting some sniping.

In all, 14 ships were killed in that engagement, six of them by our probing squad. I’ve wondered for a long time whether having a squad for such a role was viable. I’ll definitely be looking to do more of that in the future.

The Value of Cross-Training

We’re doing some interesting things out in Genesis, but I’ve been out of the loop for a while due to real life and don’t have any stories to pass on at the moment. However, on my way out I was discussing some viable targets with my fellow hunters and suggested we do some testing. No, I’m not going to elaborate on that right now; we want to fully utilize our theorycrafting and testing before sharing it. That got me thinking about how important it is to know more than just what it is you want to be the best at.

Let’s say you want to gank exhumers. Knowing the mechanics of mining and fitting exhumers is important in understanding how to effectively gank.  Or maybe you’re going to invade missions for loot and possible fights, where being able to recognize missions from what you see on grid will make you considerably more effective. Even if your flavor of PVP is in the market, understanding what’s going on that will influence the market can mean the difference between profit and loss.

Lifeblood brought about a whole new set of mechanics to the game. New structures, new activities, new ways of operating in low- and nullsec. I’ve been fortunate to be among the first to anchor, use, and destroy these structures. In the process, I’ve learned mechanics that we have used offensively to great effect.

So if you’re one of those who takes pride in never having mined, knowing nothing of industry, or being completely clueless regarding these carebear structures anchored everywhere, it’s time to rethink your priorities. You might be missing some excellent opportunities. Take some time to learn something you don’t know. You might find some unique ways to apply it.

Op Success

Once again, I’ve wandered off into the aether in pursuit of something shiny and stopped updating the blog for a bit. Rather than try to continue the play-by-play fashion I’ve been doing, I’ll recap the entire war with Arcane Confederacy before moving on.

We were bored and looking for content while leadership was involved in logistics and structure deployment. It was a lull that needed to be filled with something interesting, and we found it one evening when I noticed a five-man gate camp in Milal. We formed up and crashed it, killing a Falcon and a Tengu. The camp members all came from a single alliance, and MyCarrion asked me to track them down the next day to see if we could develop more content from them.

Locates showed them to be in Raravath, and I scouted out another gate camp they had formed. Sadly it fell apart before we could form up and travel to meet it. Instead we found a mining barge and Porpoise in an anomaly, which we sent a bait ship in to tackle and hopefully escalate a fight. This proved quite successful and we drew out another fleet fight, killing several ships and leaving the field only when they landed two capitals on grid. A few days later we found them running another gate camp in Raravath. This time we bridged a six-man blops gang into their nine-man camp. They bailed off the gate as soon as they cyno lit, docking up and crying “blobbing!” as our gang took over their gate camp.

Seeking further escalation, we set about reinforcing one of their structures. 24 hours later when we arrived to put it to structure, a Specter Fleet batphone rescued them and killed two of our dozen ships on grid as the Arcane fleet that initiated the fight failed to point more of us, and the cyno was lit too far from our fleet to engage us properly. We declared war and drafted a cease and desist letter regarding their trademark infringement based on the use of “Arcane” in their alliance name. After all, it might cause brand confusion.

The next morning our wardec went live. Tier’Dal, a fellow hunter I recruited into the corp, managed to kill a pod with a Bhaalgorn to get us off to a good start. One of their members came to visit us in Neziel and played games in an interceptor until someone undocked an instalocking tornado and put him down. We killed various stragglers and inattentive members for a couple of days before returning to shoot another structure.

With no immediate help, they were left to mount a defense on their own. They welped a dozen ships into our Zealot fleet with the most poorly-organized fleet action I’ve seen. Meanwhile I’d discovered a highsec system 10 jumps away where several of their members lived. I insisted on leaving the structures and mining barges alone, in hopes that we would find something more valuable in space as they continued to think we were unaware of operations there. An hour after reinforcing the structure in Raravath, scouts reported a wartarget Orca in space in Cailanar. We immediately went after it and let them know we knew exactly where they were hiding. The alliance demonstrated a remarkable lack of communication, as we were able to continue killing mining ships here for days afterward.

We formed up and started out for Raravath the next day to continue our assault on their Azbel. We noticed a TEST fleet of Armageddons and logis form up and move to a highsec island behind Raravath, obviously staging an ambush. We made a show of docking up in highsec just outside of Raravath while waiting out their timer, then undocking and fleet warping to the Rara gate before turning and starting toward Cailanar. The TEST fleet successfully blueballed, we reinforced their Azbel in Cailanar. This is where I left off the narrative.

We returned to Cailanar the next day to engage the Azbel a second time and found that Arcane Confederacy had grown considerably: a large contingent from Gnomeland Security had joined one of their corps long enough to engage our zealot fleet. We lost three guardians and a command ship to this moderate surprise, and saw Gnomeland ally into the wardec shortly after they left, dropping corp from Arcane on the way out. They were largely irrelevant for the rest of the war.

Tired of dealing with batphones on structures, we decided to change tactics. Their athanor had pulled up a load of Cinnabar. Our guys organized a combat mining operation in hostile space and in the course of a day, Arcane Confederacy watched in futility as wartarget barges defended by a few small ships removed 90% of the R32 ores from their first moonshot.

From here, the war wound down. A few kills were had, we successfully baited them into a few more blops hits that got us decent kills, but at this point the most interesting part was watching as their alliance crumbled. We had reports coming from inside as a few of their members decided our corp looked much more palatable to membership in that alliance. Over the course of a week, we saw some of their smaller corporations bail out and picked up a few new members. The real celebration came when half their remaining active members split off, leaving just a handful of people struggling to hold it together in Raravath. Not satisfied, Tier’Dal and a few others kept up the pressure until we finally got notice that the alliance was closed, to the immense satisfaction of our merry band of misfits and psychopaths.

Just in time, too. We’ve just deployed to a new occupation.

Sleight of Hand

I’m finally catching up with events, as the previous post described events two nights ago as I’m writing this. It won’t post for a week, but it feels good to be catching up.

Last post, we reinforced the Azbel and revealed that we knew about their highsec base with an Orca kill. We expected them to pull another trick out of their hat and couldn’t wait to see who they brought to this party. We formed up in zealots again, and set out for their lowsec system. We stopped one short and docked in highsec, waiting on the timer to go live and watching the surrounding space. We watched as a fleet of TEST Armageddons and logis formed up and ducked into the highsec pocket behind the lowsec system. We watched as a new T1 kitchen sink fleet assembled. We undocked, warped to the Raravath gate, idled for a minute, then turned and started burning back the way we came.

The TEST fleet stood down, and hopefully grumbled at the lack of action. We made five jumps back toward home, and then turned toward their highsec Azbel. We engaged it, and watched as the Arcane fleet burned towards us and turned back. It was an uneventful evening all things considered, but the long-term cost of their credibility is a clear win.

Gone Hunting

With a new wardec live, I was off the leash. What’s more, I’d recently recruited a trio of outstanding hunters who I found with criminal tags in Milal. As soon as we were able to shoot things we headed toward Arcane Confederacy’s home system to pick a fight. One of the new guys somehow managed to kill a shiny pod on station with his Bhaalgorn. I found an Astero who discovered the futility of core stabs as soon as we poked them. The next day we bagged another Megathron, this one after jumping through two systems with alliance members in local before warping to him. A retriever died a few hours later.

At this point we decided to form up and reinforce their Azbel. They lost 15 ships in their failure to defend the structure, while we lost nothing. I can’t say enough how awesome it is to fly with competent FCs and proper fleet doctrines.

In the course of tracking targets for the war, I discovered a handful in a highsec system a dozen jumps from what we thought of as their home system. Upon investigating, I discovered they had an Azbel there and active members in space. I passed on the information to the corp with the warning to not give any indication we knew they were there until a target worth shooting presented itself.

An hour after the fight on the lowsec Azbel, an Orca and Hulk undocked and set about mining. We formed up a hunting fleet and went after them. The Hulk escaped our interceptor. The Orca didn’t. Half an hour after that, we were back over at their home systems, killing a Covetor.

All we had left to do was find out who they would batphone for this next timer.

Trademark Enforcement

When we crashed that gate camp and then followed the culprits home, one thing we noticed was that their alliance name was unacceptably similar to ours. Arcane Confederacy was issued a cease and desist order on the grounds that their name infringes on the Arcana Noctis trademark, and we began visiting them regularly.

After the first two engagements, we learned quickly that they had eyes on the pipeline to their system, as gate camps would break up whenever we came near. We broke out covert Legions and sent a bait cyno into a nine-man gate camp they’d staged. A Thorax was the only ship in point range of the cyno. It was grabbed, the cyno was lit, and they scattered like roaches. The thorax died and they proceeded to accuse us of blobbing from the safety of their station. We’ve decided they use a curious form of math where our numbers are always doubled.

We found that they’d deployed an Athanor and returned to put it into its first reinforcement cycle. We returned the next day to take down its armor. Their kitchen sink formed up and managed to lose a Corax and Tornado before lighting a cyno and pulling in a Spectre Fleet batphone arranged by one of their members. A pile of bombers appeared as well as several black ops, and we departed, losing a Bhaalgorn and Guardian on the way out. It was unfortunate, but at the same time it was a terrible hot drop getting so few kills in what should have been a massacre for us. We declared war on Arcane Confederacy shortly afterward.


In the middle of this, I noticed in Milal one day a Pontifex and Loki running Blood Raider Gauntlets together. A cloaky scout revealed they appeared to be trying to set traps, the Pontifex slowly working the site while the Loki cloaked off grid. I broadcast the news in Discord and some guys staged up, and I jumped into the site and engaged. Turns out I made better bait than they did, as they engaged with the expected results:

Pontifex

Loki

Lifeblood Goes Live, Lowsec Gets Good

I wish I’d been keeping up with live blogging when this happened. Our corp has done some outstanding things since Lifeblood landed. We scanned hundreds of moons in the first day, our industrialist allies immediately started building Athanors to be deployed, and we scored the first ever lowsec Athanor kill, and the third in all of Eve. It took six more kills before people finally got the message to not anchor on our moons.

  1. https://zkillboard.com/kill/65612589/
  2. https://zkillboard.com/kill/65632506/
  3. https://zkillboard.com/kill/65679150/
  4. https://zkillboard.com/kill/65679326/
  5. https://zkillboard.com/kill/65683054/
  6. https://zkillboard.com/kill/65699308/

Honorable mention: This gank by one of our members was the second hauler killed moving an Athanor.

#1 in that list turned into a battle when the local Russian capital fleet paid our guys a visit, killing a Falcon and pushing us off the grid so they could finish off the refinery.

#2 was us returning the favor with some new friends in Shadow Cartel, resulting in this battle. The Russians brought in five battleships to shoot the Athanor. We engaged them with a battlecruiser fleet with light logi support. They escalated by dropping a force auxiliary, which brought in our dreadnaughts. As expected, they further escalated with a full fleet of capitals and started killing our subcaps, including my Hurricane. Once we had them fully invested and some points spread around, a new cyno was lit and Shadow Cartel appeared. Things got chaotic, and ultimately the Russians lost four capitals before the rest could disengage. We gave up 2 bill in subcapitals to kill over 14 bill.

That was the biggest fleet action I’ve ever been a part of, and I learned a lot from it. Mostly that my overview was in dire need of an overhaul (I’ve fixed it now.) I missed half the kills just because I could barely keep up with what was going on. Also I was multiboxing logi, and I needed to learn a lot about being a good logi pilot. But we kept stuff in the fight so I was at least useful.

The rest were uneventful structure grinds, but the fact that our little corp killed seven of these in a very short time is significant. Everything dropped died during its onlining timer, no matter when the timer was set.

Lifeblood is perhaps the most interesting patch I’ve seen in Eve. It’s driving conflict, forcing people to undock and be active in order to produce materials, and making lowsec worth staking a claim on. Even the structure grinds are somewhat interesting.