Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Dead Goon (or two)

We had just stood down from killing a miscellaneous Ferox fleet when someone dropped the d-scan into alliance showing a fair amount of particularly juicy targets a mere three jumps from home.
It was Goonswarm and it was obvious that they were there for blood.

Fights happen for a variety of reasons in low-sec. We have wars and rivalries and go after each other’s assets. We fight over poses and pocos. People put on events, or twitch themselves romping around with a group of their friends.

Sometimes, however, a fight happens for no other reason than that someone has the bloodlust. They plant themselves in an open place, and bare all—daring the locals to come engage them.

And, it was clear that this was the case with Goons. It was obvious they knew who lived nearby, and how to get our attention –the shiny battleships and capitals they had brought to our doorstep were as good as a loud taunt to come fight.

Our FC began to contemplate some ideas as what to bring, and a certain amount of theory-crafting started up on coms. 

One thing I’ve always found intriguing about BBC is the level of strategy that goes into some of our fights and engagements. As a small gang pilot, it’s easy to assume that all larger groups adopt a “FC and a bunch of F1 pushers” mentality. But, this is rarely how we operate.

The DPS and rep power of the enemy is discussed, and whether we have enough tank to hold and DPS to break them. Often, precise ship numbers are called for. The number of Vindicators, triage, dreads, and other ships we have are not a matter of ‘luck of the draw’ in who wants to fly them, but are specifically asked for and planned out.

Additionally, specific fits are called for based on whatever strategy we’re using, often down to the ammo types and scripts we will need to use for various parts of our plan. During some fleets, we have a secondary caller who’s job it is to merely call out ammo type switches and etc.

It is all a lot more complicated than I ever thought it would be. Sometimes, I think that it is even more complicated than the solo pvp and ultra small gang warfare I came from—which goes against what most small gang pilots will generally tell you. I find smaller gang pvp easier simply because there are less factors to consider, both within your own fleet and for the enemy fleet. And the less factors you have to consider, the more in-control you are.

Anyway, back to Goonswarm, who had gotten comfortable camping a random gate three jumps from us. They had a mixture of carriers and dreads, as well as a fairly shiny battleship support fleet –including Bhaalgorns and Paladins.

They have a cyno inhibitor setup on the other side of the gate.” Our scout informed our FC.


This is totally bait.” Someone else commented. Others agreed. “I wonder what they have up their sleeve…

The FC began to rattle orders. We would go in two separate waves, on two separate cynos.

Can I have someone volunteer to be our quadrant cyno?  I giggled a little at this. We had a backup to the backup of the backup. We were willing to spring whatever trap this was, but we weren’t going to give ourselves away without a fight.

Okay guys, this is going to have to be super fast.”  Our first cyno would just be a Cheetah –not much wiggle room for getting a bridge up and thirty or so people through safely.

Go in three……two…”

Cyno up.

"Bridge, bridge, bridge. Bridge, everyone bridge now!”

First wave of capitals in now. Go go go.”

We immediately tackled a Goon Moros who was slightly off the gate we were bridging into, and melted him as his friends escaped through the gate. 

We had been more or less expecting this move from them, due to the cyno inhibitor they had setup on the other side. However, we had a few minutes to adjust things a bit, as we had at least two caps stuck in siege/triage.

Okay, what can you do for a cyno on the other side.”

Just a sec….” our scout/second cyno was concentrating. “Okay. I’m out of range of the inhibitor, 28K above the gate, and around 20K from their fleet.”


Most of us were on the gate, however we still had our second wave of capitals to bring in.

While all this was going on, I smiled to see a random neutral fly his cloaky hauler through the gate. The poor guy probably peed his pants a little, arriving on gate to be surrounding by a large, red-flashy BBC gang, only to jump through smack into the middle of a big scary Goonswarm fleet.

Gotta love low-sec.

Okay, we’re ready. Everyone get ready…”

Jump in three…..two….

Jump and hold cloak. Jump and hold cloak.

I jumped my Machariel in, and quickly switched to friendly overview to see if anyone had accidentally decloaked. Not a single fleet member showed up. 

Broadcasting our primary, secondary, and tertiary targets. Get ready for decloak."

Decloak now, decloak now. All DPS on the primary. Go Go Go.”

I quickly set range on our anchor and began locking the three broadcasted targets, waiting for the other shoe to drop. There had to be more of them –or some other fleet nearby getting ready to sandwhich us. Every bone in my body said it was a trap.

Meanwhile, Goon capitals were quickly beginning to melt under our guns, along with Bhaalgorns who were called primary to lighten the neut load off our on capitals. 

Our Vindicators and dreads were doing their job,--I only made one or two volleys on targets before they evaporated off the overview.

We’ve got a triage down.

Going in. Going in.” another friendly carrier triaged to take his place.

Don’t primary that Damnation, it’s probably their FC.”  Our FC had broadcasted their on-grid links.

Good call. Guys, ignore the Damnation I just broadcasted.”

It is fairly common practice in low-sec combat to save the hostile FC for last. It has been our experience that death of an FC can often cause a premature termination of the fight, with everyone starbursting away from the field at the death of their leader.

I jumped a little in my seat as a Ragnarok suddenly appear in my direct line of sight. A friendly Ragnarok.

What the…

I stifled a giggle as a hostile dread disappeared, doomsdayed off the field.

A nice shiny Goon fleet? Of course one of our more kamikaze titan pilots would probably be chomping at the bit to jump in and doomsday one of them. BBC super pilots are not exactly a passive, nor safety-inclined bunch.

The fight did not last especially long, and as time went on I barely had time to lock targets before they disappeared. They were more or less evaporating off the field. Finally, Goons called the retreat.

Grab points. Point them!

When all was said and done, we lost a single triage, and managed to kill over 50 billion ISKworth of battleships and capitals

There’s tons of crazy loot here…”

Yeah, loot the field…go crazy guys.” The FC told us.

We spent fifteen minutes or so gathering shiny mods and loots, while some of the guys compared killmails and complained at the fact that all the goon pods they killed were mostly empty.

Crap pods, all of them. Pffft

"That was probably their ride home." 

Finally it was time for us to head home. As we all collected on the gate and prepared to jump, our FC let out a yelp.

What the hell are you doing?!?!

The Ragnarok casually landed with us and jumped through. “I thought I’d gate home with you all…”

I snickered. Yeah, my alliance was positively certifiable.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Uhhh, Guys?

Last night I logged into shenanigans. Apparently, someone had found a couple offline poses a few jumps away from home, and thought it would be a good idea to go take them.

With a titan.

In the past, my corpmates have proven themselves to be somewhat untrustworthy with shiny ships. However, a ‘shiny’ ship back then was anything costing over a billion ISK. I still haven’t decided how I feel about having titans and supers in corp now. I keep waiting for the mail where a corpy sheepishly explains they were doing something stupid with their Nyx on a gate and got it blown up.

However, on the other hand, the general attitude of my alliance (BBC) in general is that ships are for shooting things. Not for sitting offline in a pos, scared. And I guess I’d rather have it this way –a little too close to discomfort on the leroy scale –then to be in a corp or alliance where nothing ever happens because people are too afraid to log on their crap.

Things seemed quiet. The crazy from earlier –where we accidentally leroyed a ton of expensive arty Machs to zero of a large fleet and promptly got them blown up in chaos as our FC DCed for 20 minutes –had been over for hours. Things seemed calm, and granted –the offline poses were in jump range of Shadow Cartel’s home system –but we’d be careful.

(okay, okay. There’s nothing careful about romping around with a titan and a super within jump range of Shadow Cartel, during prime time USTZ. But, that’s what we told ourselves. After all it was just a few innocent offline small towers.)

We arrived at our destination, a titan and a Nyx (who decided to join the party also) in tow. I will never really get over how strange it looks to move through gates with a titan. There were a few solo militia running around, and I sometimes wonder what they think when they land on gate in a Hookbill and see a titan decloak.

Don’t mind us as we roam around with a ship the size of a small station. Nothing to see here.

As we began to light up the first tower, I took a glance at the owner’s corpname. A very tiny voice buried deep inside my subconscious told me that the corp was very familiar

But the voice was VERY tiny, and very quiet, and the thought only lasted for a split second.

 Are my drones out?” The Nyx pilot asked.
What do you mean?!”
Well, my internet is really crappy right now and things aren’t really loading right. I can’t see if they launched or not…”

I’m pretty sure our 20-something year old FC sprouted a few gray hairs right then and there.

I see bombers out…so I think you’re good.” Someone piped up.
If you’re going to be flying a super around you should probably get reliable internet.”

We shot the tower a while, and I carefully alt tabbed out to check market orders on an alt. I have decided to train cyno theory on all of my trade alts. This way, I can appear to be somewhat useful in providing emergency and ‘out’ cynos when I have these trade alts logged on. (*cough*)

“Shadow Cartel in local.”
The tower was entering deep armor, but coms suddenly became a little tense.
“Align the supers out.”
I have an out cyno ready. They can probably keep shooting the tower –we should be good.” Someone offered.

“Astero on scan –that must be him.”

I pulled up ZKill, and looked up the pilot, half expecting –and dreading—that I would find the killboard record of a kamikaze cyno pilot with a long history of hot dropping. Instead, the killboard was somewhat benign. In fact, it looked like the poor dude was trying very hard to be a solo pilot, and wasn’t really doing so well at it.

He lost his astero a couple days ago to a slicer…” I noted. “He’s probably just looking for a fight in the plexes….”

My theory was disproved a few moments later. Our new tower was onlining, and our supers had just left grid when the hostile astero landed at the pos site.

Also, our eyes on Shadow Cartel’s home system reported some new HIC activity going on as well.

They’re hunting us.” Our FC grumbled tersely.  Get those damn supers cloaked.” (A titan isn’t technically classed as a super but everyone knows what everyone else is talking about.)

Our support fleet landed on the second pos and began shooting it.

“I believe I’m cloaked…” our internet-disabled Nyx pilot mused a few moments later.
“I can’t see you on scan so you’re probably good…
I couldn’t help grinning at my computer monitor at that point. My corp is certifiably nuts.

This would go a lot faster if we were all in Tech 3 Battlecruisers.” Someone mentioned. The decision was made to go back home, reship, and come back since we wouldn’t be using the titan and the Nyx to take the second tower. We did so in pretty short order. Returning with a fleet better equipped to taking down a tower.

“Since we aren’t gonna use these big boys, can we just jump them home?” The Nyx pilot asked hopefully.
“Nope.” Our FC responded. “Shadow cartel has alts in our home system now, probably waiting for us to jump them in. “

Where did the astero go?”
I have him close to planet six…
But…….I’m at planet six!!!!!” The Nyx pilot sounded a little panicked.

Wait a second, “ our FC sounded deathly calm –a sign I have come to recognize that he is anything but calm –“you cloaked your Nyx on a planet?
Don’t worry, I warped to a hundred off….I think.”

You could have heard a pin drop on coms, it was that quiet for a few minutes.
Please tell me you’re moving…” our FC finally said, sounding a wee bit tired.
“No…I was scared I’d DC or decloak accidentally…
You should never, EVER cloak your super on a planet like that…”

Well, I’m cloaked in an asteroid belt…” the titan pilot piped up.
This resulted in an instant round of chortling on coms. We really are terrible at this game.

Now, the legion had nothing to do with Shadow Cartel. But after the stress of being openly hunted, a legion landing on our fleet made everyone practically jump out of their skin.

“It’s okay, just align to the station….”
What followed was one of our more drunken alliance mates getting caught and losing an oracle to a large armor fleet the legion had behind him. This other fleet was just out roaming for kills and fights, knowing nothing about the bigger story they had traipsed across.

That is one of the things I love about EVE –the interconnection of stories and people. This new fleet arriving on the scene probably had a completely different tale to tell, with landing on a small group of idiots shooting a pos being but a small incident in it.

They went on their way with their single killmail, and we went back to shooting the pos –our paths crossing briefly and moving away like two motorists passing each other at an intersection.

Meanwhile, our replacement pos at the first location onlined.
I’m going to try to fit my titan into it…”

Fitting a titan into a small pos is not easy. Something always tends to stick out a little too much, if you don’t bump yourself far of the tower at the onset of landing. 

As both our titan and Nyx got safely wedged inside the small friendly pos, the second tower exploded and we began onlining the second pos of the night. And, it was obvious that Show Cartel nearly immediately stood down. So long as our supers were safe inside the POS, they didn’t have much chance at that point.

The astero left local.

A few minutes later,

“Uhhh, guys?” It was Rom, our head POS technician who was industrially setting up the new POSes for us.

“What’s up.”
I just looked at the corp of the towers you just killed….you do realize you were just shooting two Shadow Cartel POSes, right?
Yeah, that corp is one of their fairly obvious alt corps….

By now, it was quickly approaching midnight and I was giggling like a little fiend at my monitor.

You mean to say that we just dropped a titan and a super onto a Shadow Cartel pos, within range of their staging system, with little to no support, during prime USTZ on a Saturday night.”
Well that explains a lot…

Still giggling, things went quiet as I left Teamspeak and shut down my computer for the night.

Just another night in USTZ BBC.