Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Exodus

So I went and left Test Alliance Please Ignore.

I'd had enough of big alliances for the time being, and felt the need to get back to careening around solo in search of thrills and excitement. As it turns out, I may have left early and avoided the rush, for all across New Eden a bell is toiling as the many pirate factions dismantle their sanctums and havens and relocate to systems with deeper negative security.

This means that alliance pilots based in certain regions will suddenly face such a dramatic reduction in income, that they will almost certainly bail out in search of greener pastures. Expect whole regions such as Providence, Pure Blind and Fade to start emptying soon, because no one is going to want to pay for the privilege of living there any more.

I expect many pilots will return to high-sec, or try their hand in exploring Wormholes. Personally, I'll be heading for Delve on the suspicion that this abandoned region is going to be very tempting real-estate in the near future. Until now Pandemic Legion have repelled smaller groups wanting to take over the former home of IT Alliance, by mercilessly hot dropping them with super-carriers, but with thousands of pilots looking for a new home that may well change.

In the meantime this is Rebecca Aventine of The Scope, signing off.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Fountain is TEST

So we won.

Following the siege of 6VDT-H the rest of Fountain fell into our grasp without contest. Those of us who roamed into Delve, reported no sign of the enemy. IT Alliance had vanished into the night, it's former members gone their separate ways. The war was over.

And so the rebuilding of Fountain began. Abandoned enemy infrastructure was dismantled and replaced with our own. New jump bridge networks were planned out and new markets seeded with ships and modules. In pure logistic terms, TEST has never been more industrious than in the last few weeks, and my own corp Metanoia played no small role. So much so, that fellow corp members have been telling our CEO to log off EVE and get some sleep damnit.

For all of this however, our new home remains a dangerous place. The Serpentis NPC constellation in the heart of Fountain harbours the hostile forces of VLAST and Godfathers, both of whom take great pleasure in hot-dropping unwary pilots, and roaming the region as if they own the place.

Truth be told, outside the US time-zone TEST are regarded as such easy pickings, that Pandemic Legion, Nulli Seconda and even Against All Authorities have been drawn to the region to cause mayhem.

And now Evoke appears to be returning to join the fun.

I had been on my to high-sec to put some Serpentis loot up for auction, when I stumbled across 30 of them lurking in the low-sec system of Oulley. Someone had already reported spotting a Titan on scan, so I took it upon myself to get a better look.


Moments later, the assembled vessels titan bridged out from the staging POS. This looked ominous. A little later they were spotted in the Syndicate system of 2P-4LS, and after dropping off my loot I sneaked in to pay them a visit. I guess Evoke must be feeling pretty secure in Providence, because they seemed to have brought at least part of their super capital fleet with them.

How serious their intentions are, remain to be seen, but this looks bigger than mere roaming gangs, and at only two jumps out from Cloud Ring, they're poised to strike at any number of allied systems.

In the meantime, this is Rebecca Aventine somewhere in Fountain, signing off.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Slow News Day



So I went and got promoted to Crazy Kinux's Blog Pack.

In my defence, I can only say it had nothing to do with me. Hopefully this is merely a temporary aberration that will be quietly corrected once everyone realises what a terrible mistake Kinux has made. I am at heart a lazy and confused individual, who only writes this journal in those rare moments of lucidity that inflict me. 

In the sand box that is EVE Online, you only get out of the game what you're willing to put into it. For some that means building space empires. For others the acquisition of wealth is a motivation. Some enjoy role-playing imperialists or anarchist freedom fighters. Others live for griefing the hell out of their fellow players. And some just like to indulge in flinging the literate equivalent of monkey faeces at each other on forums.

And it's all good, whatever floats your space-boat man.

Writing EVE Privateer was just my way of getting something out of the game. My character's default NPC corporation happened to be The Scope, so on a whim I decided to play a gonzo spaceship journalist and ran with that. Tomorrow I might try something else entirely. I might never update this journal again. IT COULD HAPPEN.

It's a joke. It's all a joke, mother forgive me...

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Hell

So I waved farewell to 6VDT-H and took the titan bridge home.

The siege which had started with an enthusiastic rush to the enemy system, steadily became a tedious affair as the days dragged by. But at least we had the satisfaction of being informed that our enemy's ability to project force was seriously crippled by the aptly named 'Hell Camp'.

Those of you read the various EVE Online forums will already be aware of the controversy surrounding the first day of the siege, when immediately following down-time a number of IT super-capitals logged on and were able to escape. This was due to the mobile warp-disruptors that had been deployed to entrap them, inexplicably going offline when the server came back up.

Whether this was merely a bug, or something more sinister is being investigated by CCP, but in light of previous incidents of certain CCP employees 'helping' IT Alliance in it's former incarnation as Band of Brothers, it is understandable that many cried, “foul.”

The first day also saw an initial break-out attempt by IT, which was struck down with such savage losses, that no further attempts were made. There were additional reports that Pandemic Legion were on their way to help break the siege, but in the end the infamous mercenaries declined to show up.

By the third day every enemy POS in the system had been destroyed, with only the cages of our warp-disruptors signifying that there had once been anything there. These cages were manned around the clock by covert scouts in case any IT capital pilot was foolish enough to log back in.

By the fourth day, things were getting seriously dull. By now enemy resistance was limited to a roving band of stealth bombers which would pick off lone pilots that had become separated from the main camps. This steady harassment provided our opponents with a great deal of in-the-field-training, and towards the end they were even beginning to show signs of competency. Though truth be told, they were probably having more fun than we were.

Still we only had to endure boredom in the rank and file, and ultimately could just log off and do something else for a while. It was the fleet commanders who were hit the hardest. By the fifth day DaBigRedBoat was sounding delirious from sleep deprivation, and it was to everyone's great relief that we finally gathered at the enemy outpost and pounded it into submission. However cheers turned to groans when we realised we still had to guard an onlining Territorial Control Unit for another eight hours.

Sovereignty mechanics, loathe them or ignore them, you can't like them.

It should be noted that coalition leadership made the effort to keep the troops entertained through out the lock-down of 6VDT-H, and regularly kept us in the loop as to what was happening. Further distraction was provided by capturing the additional system next door of 7BX-6F. Two for the price of one so to speak, though the focus was always on keeping the IT forces trapped in 6VDT-H. I would also like to thank the pilots of Scrapheap Challenge for turning up out of the blue one day and giving us an enjoyable fight. In the monotony of siege warfare, every little helps.

Were we successful in the end?

The enemy taunted us in local that the joke was on us, claiming that IT had already evacuated it's pilots and that we were futilely guarding an empty prison. Coalition leadership naturally claimed otherwise, pointing out that Stain-Block was assaulting Querious while we kept IT forces trapped here. Objectively speaking, we took two station systems from our opponents while they helplessly looked on, and in the end that can only be construed as a victory. Whether IT Alliance has been broken by this remains to been seen, though with Destructive Influence and Nulli Seconda parting ways with their former comrades, the future looks increasingly bleak for IT.

Finally the 'Hell Camp' wound up. By now I had lost count of the days, and even The Mittani sounded jaded as he announced it was time to get out of Dodge. While some remained behind, most of us rushed to the titan bridge and jumped out with no small relief.

Yet already the call has gone out for the final stage of the Fountain Invasion, in which we begin the task of mopping up remaining resistance. After starring at empty warp-disruptor cages for days on end, even POS shooting begins to look good, so I imagine there will be a high turn out, as each repective alliance eagerly takes possession of their assigned constellations.

In the meantime, this is Rebecca Aventine somewhere in Fountain, signing off.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Siege

So I went on a camping trip to 6VDT-H.

The Fountain campaign has slowed down of late. Over the holiday we were busy bees, pulling major fleet operations on a daily basis, but mid-January saw us slacking off and merely deploying sedate weekend excursions into Z30S-A. This had two goals, firstly the permanent removal of the enemy jump bridge there, and secondly to defeat IT Alliance in it's favoured just-after-downtime-zone.

Unfortunately IT held the line the first time round, deploying a staggering number of capital ships and successfully defended their system. Immediately following up on this victory, they then attacked our staging system of B-DBYQ on the Fountain border, where upon they incapacitated our jump bridge and station services, and generally swung their dicks around in a provocative manner.

A week later Deklein Coalition returned to Z30S-A, this time with NC super-capitals on stand by, and ambushed the unsuspecting IT capital fleet defending the system. Being the earnest and dedicated reporter that I am, I of course overslept and missed the battle entirely. I did however rise from my slumber in time to join a reinforcement fleet to said system where over 1500 pilots engaged in the time honoured tradition of lagging the server node into oblivion. Subsequently SOUL CRUSHING LAG prevented us reaching our destination and whoring some Titan kill-mails, but from the gloating on comms it sounded like a significant victory had been won never the less.

In the intervening days between these major clashes, the enemy forces generally held sway in Fountain. In particular the J5A-IX and 3WE-KY systems were regularly camped by covert vessels eager to pounce on any of us foolish enough to travel alone into the region. And indeed, I was one such fool, but then jumping blind into gate camps is a sort of hobby of mine.

However mostly it's been fairly relaxed, with my corp Metanoia taking advantage of the lull in hostilities, to deploy a brand spanking new Caldari Research Outpost in MJYW-3. With a healthy number of belts and upgraded anomalies the system provides a leisurely retreat from the war, where I've spent several care free days trading ammo for Sepentis bounties.

Though perhaps it's been too quiet and relaxed. A fellow corp member voiced frustration the other day with the lack of progress in Fountain. In hindsight I suspect he was not alone. Last night The Mittani held a general assembly on Goons Teamspeak to address the present state of affairs, and talk about what direction the campaign would take next. He had expected a few hundred people perhaps to turn up and listen in. In the end he got over a thousand. The TS server itself threatened to collapse under the load.

Mittens delivered a short speech, and then made the big announcement. We were going to the IT staging system of 6VDT-H. We were going right now. We were going in overwhelming force to lay siege to the system for 5 long days, 23 hours a day and lock down everything the enemy had there. We would not be grinding sovereignty one system at a time. We would break the enemy in one single decisive action and take everything at once.

There must have been a lot of chomping at the bit going on over the last two weeks, because 5 minutes later 300 Maelstroms undocked, with equal numbers of additional support vessels. 15 minutes and several Titan Bridges later they were all in 6VDT-H.


The first target was the Gallente Administrative Outpost, which was encircled with warp interdiction spheres and Drakes. The Maelstroms then proceeded to the enemy cyno-jammer and took it down. Our capitals jumped in next, and in quick succession every enemy structure in system was either incapacitated or reinforced. Except for a few bomber attacks, the enemy had mounted no resistance. Staging POS were anchored and put online, and the stage was set for siege warfare.


All of this has happened before. Almost two years ago Goonswarm trapped the entire KenZoku fleet inside a single system in the closing days of the second Delve war, and it's basically the same stratagem again, with similar high stakes.

In few minutes time I'll log back in and find out successful or not this has been. In the meantime this is Rebecca Aventine somewhere in 6VDT-H, signing off.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Serious Business


So I was listening to 'Story Time With Mittens'.

We were in yet another Fountain operation blasting away at various cyno-jammers, infrastructure hubs and what nots, when our Glorious Goon Chairman came on comms to entertain us by voicing dramatic excerpts from the IT Alliance CEO forums. In previous days the monotony of sovereignty warfare had been broken by 'Sing Along With Ducky', obscenely shaped spaceship conga lines and the highlight of DBRB's pet dog calling primaries. Without this sort of morale boosting silliness, I think everyone would have gone mad by now.

The above mentioned IT forum porn is available at Kugutsumen for public consumption. If taken at face value, the former Band of Brothers would appear to be in the midst of a messy fratricide, as it's leaders race to pin the blame on each other for failures in Fountain, while sharpening their knives for when some poor bastard steps out of line as the inevitable scapegoat.

Of course, such a well versed propagandist as The Mittani isn't going to leak anything that would show off Sir Molle and company in a good light. But even if he's being very selective, it still paints a grim picture of our opponents' morale. Additionally it confirms something I had suspected for a while now, in that IT Alliance has been penetrated to it's highest levels by our covert agents.

Deklein Coalition morale on the other hand is high, with the Fleet Commanders sounding confident and occasionally even blasé over comms. Their decision making seems to be consistently good during major operations, which I attribute to the quality of intel they presumably receive both before and during the big engagements. In the smaller battles and roams, it tends to feel different. They sound less sure of themselves, more wary of the enemy, and indeed it's in these smaller engagements were IT and it's allies have generally performed much better.

As the war continues, it's appetite for destruction is becoming apparent. The alpha fleet doctrine has already caused Maelstrom prices to rise, and New Eden's stocks of named 1400mm artillery are steadily dwindling. Thankfully however, there's been no shortage of enemy wrecks to loot for replacement artillery, and our own attrition rates have been low. Still there's a limit to how long this level of campaigning can be sustained both physically and mentally even when you're winning.

However the greatest danger we face is probably over-confidence. Already two titans have been lost in some what reckless endeavours, and only last night IT scored a fleet victory in LIWW-P. So as much as the old timers claim that IT is only a shell of it's former self, there's clearly some fight left in our enemy yet.

In the meantime this is Rebecca Aventine somewhere in Fountain, signing off.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

The Longest Day


So I went and joined a fleet to defend Fountain.

With nothing else to do that day, I figured dying in a ball of fire would be the ideal 'kill or cure' remedy for a New Year's hangover. That and I happened to log in just as a fleet was forming up. Thankfully I had already gone through the torturous authorisation process to get on Goon comms, so I didn't have to deal with a byzantine system of checks and balances that otherwise would have fried what few remaining brain cells I had.  A few others weren't so lucky, but I was unmoved by their pitiful cries for help. I had barely understood the process sober, no point trying to explain it in my present state.

Our Fleet-Commander was a fast mover, so much so that I often lagged behind, bleary eyed and wondering what the hell was going on. We had barely formed up when the call went out to start moving. A few jumps later I was sat in a POS staring at an Erebus Titan. A swarm of Maelstroms surrounded me, so I figured I must be in the right place.


We sat there for a while admiring the sleek Gallente lines of the Titan. I was tempted to move in and give it a friendly nudge, but it's pilot was quite vocal about us keeping our distance. Suddenly the bridge went up, and we attempted to jump through to our destination. But there were just too damn many of us. Traffic control denied my requests to jump and it was with some difficulty and much delay that we eventually made it through.

My recollections of the day are some what hazy, and it doesn't help that the majority of null systems have meaningless collections of numbers and letters for names. In short, we flew back and forth a bit and ended up somewhere else. Apparently it was an enemy system. There we deployed along side our capital fleet and reinforced some dude's Outpost. It's this sort of high quality coverage that gives EVE PRIVATEER it's good name.

Through out the day I randomly hit 'PrtScn' and hoped the resulting images would make some form of narrative sense later. This shotgun method means I usually end up with a few good shots that I can actually use. On reflection I'm not entirely sure how the midget porn got in there, though perhaps some mysteries are best left unsolved.

This image stands out though.


We had returned from the raid on the outpost to defend PNQY-Y from IT Alliance. However a couple of hours remained until the station there came out of reinforcement mode. After taking a break, I logged back in to witness the terrifying sight of  IT's super-capital fleet laying in wait outside the shield of the Goon POS. In Providence, Evoke's titan and eight super-carriers had looked impressive, but that memory paled in comparison to what IT had deployed here. I figured we were totally screwed.

As more of the Deklein Coalition fleet logged back to join us early birds, Local rose to over a thousand. The node was beginning to show the strain, so much so that I  temporarily lost connection. Logging back in, I lagged so badly that by the time my display initiatised I had already warped back to the POS. This was a problem, since I hadn't had time to re-enter the POS password, and subsequently had been ejected 100km outside.

The IT support fleet took note of this and began targeting my Maelstrom. It was looking like I'd be applying to the TEST reimbursement program soon. Time for me to be somewhere else. I picked a random planet and hit warp, and prayed that my battleship would align before any interceptors burning towards me arrived. Still lagging badly I found myself in warp perhaps a minute later. It seemed I had escaped.

Or perhaps not, since an enemy Sabre was already waiting for me as I arrived at the planet. Months of roaming through null-sec solo had paid off though. Instinctively I had not warped to zero, so there was a good 50km between me and the interdictor. I picked another random celestial and warped out as a hundred or more enemy battleships arrived on grid.

After bouncing around the system for a while I finally rejoined the fleet just in time to lose connection again. I guess it was only to be expected in a battle of this size. I took the opportunity to secure EVE more bandwidth, by squeezing Teamspeak's down until it was barely intelligible. By now it sounded like something important was happening. Our FC was either calling primaries or shouting bingo numbers like a manic. Time to get back in the fight.

I returned once more. There was a major lag spike as grid loaded, but otherwise the node was holding steady. Our mighty Maelstroms appeared to be alpha striking the IT support fleet into dust. No wonder our FC was shouting primaries so fast, he could barely keep up as enemy battleships vapourised beneath the collective volleys of massed 1400s. In the end I gave up trying to follow what he was saying and just spammed targets in alphabetical order, and opened fire.

A short while later the surviving enemy warped to safety, leaving behind a impressive grave yard of floating wreckage. We had taken a few loses, mostly Scorpions I think, but already Wildly Inappropriate reinforcements were bridging in.


Did we destroy the enemy Sovereignty Blockade Units next, or had that already happened? My memories of the day are blurred. Certainly at some point the station was repaired, the system secured, and victory declared.

It appeared that we had won. Though as I guided my Maelstrom home to it's berth, I was at a loss to explain how. What had happened to the impressive number of enemy super-capitals? What had our capitals been up to? Did Ackbarre need GROON?

It's a sign of experience that our FC pretty much gave us the minimum necessary information during the operation. It was simply taken for granted that spies would be present. I guess that's the difference between younger alliances and ones that have held sovereignty for years. Back in OWN  Alliance a whole defence fleet was once routed by a single Evoke spy, and I've heard similar stories in Providence.

In the end, someone out there has a much clearer idea of what happened in PNQY-Y than me. Hopefully, they'll be a good sport and post it on EVE News24 so I can finally get the big picture.

In the meantime this Rebecca Aventine somewhere in Cloud Ring, signing off.