I was just about to get off the computer and go to bed when an urgent ping went out:
BURN TO HAKONEN DREADS TACKLED
Well, shit. Might as well log back in. We had been camping an NPC station housing enemy dreads and subcaps earlier in the night, so I figured we finally tackled some. Either that or it was our Dreadnoughts that were tackled.
So I jumpclone’d back to our SIG staging, got into an Osprey (sounded like we were lacking in Logi; not that we needed it), then burned to Hakonen.
Once I landed on grid, I was treated to the beautiful site of two neutral Revelations and a couple of Moros, all tackled. In addition, we were next to an Astrahus that was already into structure. And these weren’t the same guys from earlier.
I made sure to bring some drones so I could whore on these kills. And whoreIdid. I only missed out on one Moros.
In the end, all targets were destroyed, quite easily, including the Astrahus. We did lose two Revelations of our own, along with a Naglfar. But given how blingy the enemies were — they also lost a Vindicator somehow — I’m pretty sure we were ISK-positive.
Our evening began with a Slasher gang roam in Geminate that ended with us staring at the Oijanen sun and attempting to fly into said sun for at least fifteen minutes. Yeah, it was one of those nights. I believe the only kill we managed to snag was an Impairor piloted by a non-blue alt of a completely newbie Newbean, along with his accompanying pod. Hey, he was neutral. He should’ve known better (or not).
Sensing that the gang was getting bored, Lolz and I suggested that we go on a real roam to some other parts of null-sec. Five of us — Heinrich, Gary, Lolz, Swiggity, and I — agreed.
After debating the finer points of a Warp Disruptor versus a Warp Scrambler, we set off north in Thrashers, with Heinrich in a Svipul for cloaky probing.
Our target was Branch.
I was familiar with the Branch region since I was deployed up there last fall in a campaign to harass GOTG. There were always tons of ratters. Hell, even I ratted up there during lulls in action.
We took the “ansiblex highway” up to Tribute, through Venal, and then into Branch via MA-VDX. It was relatively quiet the whole way through. We stopped here and there to try to probe down neutrals in system with us, but nothing came of it.
From MA-, we moved to 1G-MJE. Dotlan was showing high amounts of NPC kills in this area of the pocket. We immediately detected several ships on D-Scan, including some caps. Heinrich probed them down, and warped on to them…
…Only to find they were all in a POS bubble.
We, not entirely understanding the mechanics of POS’s, hung around figuring out what to do, and even fired a few shots into the thing. We had a strong suspicion that these were bots, so we bookmarked the location for a return at a later date, perhaps with some Mobile Warp Disruptors.
From there, we dove deeper into Branch, trying to probe or shotgun sites to find ratters. Unfortunately, they were all paying attention so we never caught any.
By this point, our presence was known and we started seeing more of the locals flying around. No one ever engaged us, but we knew we were being tracked. Heinrich started jumping into systems first to probe down ships without scaring them as much. However, he couldn’t scan them down quick enough before they docked or tethered-up.
Next, we flew into the CX-1XF pipe, heading towards south-central Branch. This pocket had the highest concentration of ratting activity in the region according to Dotlan.
This, however, was a dangerous gambit. While the pipe was very long, it was exactly that, a pipe with only two exits. Just like our recent excursion in Catch, we could be camped quite easily on either or both ends of the pipe, slowly getting boxed in.
After hanging around 3-TD6L for too long, I felt we needed to keep moving. I had us start freeburning towards 9-B1DS. The more time we spent in this pipe, the higher chance of a gatecamp being formed.
And formed it was. We met the gatecamp in J52-BH. Upon landing on the 5-P1Y2 gate, a handful of ships were there to meet us. It was time to fight.
There were a couple of frigates, so we focused on a Claw and won. However, we lost Lolz before that. Our next target was a VNI, which we managed to force into armor, but with more enemies jumping in, we didn’t stand a chance. Each of us waspromptlydestroyed and podded.
Except for Heinrich.
He somehow managed to cloak up in the thick of it and evade getting decloaked. Though he said they got dangerously close to doing so. He slowly burned out of the bubble, then waited for things to quiet down before bee-lining it to nearest friendly station for repairs, several jumps away. He set course back home – twenty-something jumps – and made it back in one piece.
Overall, I thought we did pretty good. We stuck together this time and people followed my orders. Plus we got a kill! The last few roams were either content droughts or situations where we ended up as the “content,” so it was good to finally score a kill again.
My personal highlight was my call to take on the Claw. In battles, it gets chaotic quite quickly. With multiple targets, people tend to panic and just attack whatever. I took a few seconds to look through the enemies on grid and evaluate the situation. Since the Claw was the smallest thing on grid — and we were in destroyers– it was the perfect target. The gang listened, adjusted their targets, tackled him, and followed through to completion.
Lessons learned: Be quick. The more time we spend in one place, the more time we’re giving the enemy to prepare.
Communicate accurately and quickly. We didn’t actually have to enter that fight in the manner we did (we warped in at zero from a freeburn). Had the person that landed first accurately relayed the situation, we might have been able to enter the fight differently.
That said, there’s something to be said about chaos. They were probably caught off guard just as we were.
I joined a late night/early morning whaling fleet. No whales killed, but we got a few subcaps in the chaos.
Our 60-80-man group of Goku Bombers took off through a wormhole to the Insmother region, via the Cache region. Our target(s) were Rorquals that Fraternity had in the field.
On our way to UDE-FX from 4S0-NP (our ingress system), our scouts reported a lone Rorqual in a belt in 4LB-EL, so that’s where we headed. The scouts tackled and bubbled it, and the fleet warped into the belt.
By the time we landed, at least one enemy subcap was on grid and they had cyno’d in at least one Apostle (there were two on grid at one point). We were unable to take down the Rorq, as we had a limited number of Focused Void Bomb users (myself included) to neut the Rorq’s capacitor, and the fleet was never sorted into proper bombing squadrons that could do bombing runs. I don’t think we ever broke its shields.
We eventually placed a Mobile Cynosural Inhibitor, which our logistics pilots managed to keep up for quite a while. A Nyx and a Nidhoggur showed up as well. It started to get a little hairy as our Interdictors were sometimes bubbling us in the chaos of an escalating situation. We nearly took down an Apostle before leaving. One enemy Nestor was destroyed.
From there, we moved next door to 5IH-GL. By now, FRAT was well aware that we were in the area and had begun responding. While no equivalent fleet was met, several FRAT subcaps moved to intercept us, along with a handful of caps.
With the majority of fleet in Bombers, we were hard-pressed to directly engage. We resorted to guerrilla-esque hit and run tactics, warping back and forth from the gates to see what we could catch. Additional subcap killmails were had in the process.
But with limited number of Interdictors left, and FRAT fully aware of our presence, we had to extract. The goal was to get back to our ingress wormhole. We warped and jumped around a bit to lose our tail, did so, and eventually set course to 4S0-NP. The route back was uneventful, as was the journey back home on the other side of the wormhole.
We stood down once safe at home. Though we didn’t achieve our objective, the final Battle Report showed us winning the ISK war, about 60% vs 40% efficiency (4LB not shown).
A couple of issues we ran into included the ridiculous TiDi as we jumped around in Cache. Altogether, there were probably less than 100 pilots in any one system, so any TiDI made no sense, even if it was just moderately-intense at most.
In addition, our FC, who was in a Harpy, was often just too fast for a fleet of mostly Bombers (I was in a Manticore). The fleet was often “smeared” in a long line behind the FC. We had Command Destroyers (“Booshers”) with us, which made booshing difficult. Sometimes members, even if anchored, missed the boosh. Our FC was often not paying attention to speed, and would even yell at us to catch up, even if we already had MWDs on and flying at max speed.
Overall, it was a good time and everyone did well, considering. Looking forward to the next whaling fleet.
We decided to go on a couple of PVP roams. They didn’t turn out very well, but hey, each is a learning experience.
6-8 of us went out to our usual roaming grounds between Oijanen and Akkio. Having noticed that “shotgunning” anomalies and belts, trying to find targets, wasn’t very effective in previous roams, I decided to bring my trusty Helios with combat probes. Overall, it was kitchen sink gang.
After finding nothing in Oijanen, we moved onto Akora. The gang’s presence in space posed a problem for my probes, so I asked them to dock up. I eventually scanned down an industrial of some kind, and as I warped in under cloak, it warped off to the nearby Mesoya gate.
I warped in at a distance, still cloaked, to see what it would do. Instead of immediately jumping, the indy just sat there. Gilmor came to investigate in an Algos, but the indy still stayed put. Being low-sec, we were wary of the gate sentry guns and didn’t engage.
I started wondering if this was bait since we were next to Mesoya and we’d had losses there before. I asked Killroy to use his Wolf to jump the gate and see if anything was on the other side. He could crash the gate or even warp off in case there was a camp.
For some reason, Gilmor decided to jump in as well. As they went, the industrial jumped in behind them and we heard the groans over comms. There was a small gatecamp and, indeed, the indy was bait. We lost two ships (here and here), and the rest of us headed back home.
Lesson learned: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Our gang, somewhat deflated, went our separate ways, but eventually a few of us decided to head back out. Rather than go to the usual spot, I suggested we head south. Deep south. To the distant lands of Catch. Maybe we could catch some ratters.
So Heinrich, Gary, and I set off. It was a 25-30 jump journey. Though 10 or so jumps in, Briggens decided he wanted to come, so he set out to catch-up.
The route to Catch was pretty uneventful. It’s surprising how empty large sections of New Eden are. As we got closer, we decided to go into a pocket that showed a lot of ratting activity (via Dotlan): RNF-YH. This would later prove to be a very bad idea.
The locals alerted each other quickly; D-Scan showed little activity, even though plenty of people were in those systems. Rather than backing out, we decided to go further into the pocket. This time Heinrich had probes (and cloak) and tried to find us some targets
While he did that, our gang got a little split up. As Briggens was moving to Heinrich and me, he lost his ship. Shortly thereafter, as Gary was checking to see what happened, he too was forcibly deprived of a ship. Both were given the pod express.
It was at this point we realized our mistake. We were deeply in a dead end. We would have had to jump at least 3 systems before getting out of the pocket. And after losing two guys, we knew some baddies were camping the gates. To make the trip worth it, Heinrich and I decided to try and kill something. Anything.
Unfortunately, all that were left were MTUs, two of which we destroyed. I suggested we let our timers run down, safe log-off, log-in 30-45 minutes later, and then burn out of the pocket once the heat was gone.
Heinrich, however, noticed via D-Scan that a couple of ratting Nyxes had ventured back out, sensing we weren’t much of a threat.
So we warped to a Nyx and scrammed and took out a fighter group! The Nyx itself ran.
Now it was time to run the timer down. 15 minutes. He cloaked up while I continuously warped between safe spots and celestials. We managed to run the timer down with no issue, but then Heinrich had the great idea to check-out the gate. It was clear — let’s give it a try! As he jumped the gate, I warped to it.
Within a minute, he was destroyed by the mini gatecamp on the other side. As I landed…Well, you can see it up top.