It was Sunday morning. We had just finished a brief PvP operation which was a resounding success, and then our New Zealand folks in the APAC time zone logged off. Nobody had written the day’s post-downtime scan report for our home system or static connection, and nobody else was online but me.
I had a job to do!
Scanning and writing scan reports is nothing new to me. It’s one of the first things the excellent trainers in Broken Wheel show new recruits how to do: create bookmarks using appropriate naming conventions, update the bulletin in a readable format, and how to very quickly determine changed signatures. It’s something everybody needs to know, but save a meager few most don’t take great joy in the job. It’s just the thing you do so you can have fun doing other things. If everybody doesn’t contribute from time to time, it ends up falling to just a few people, and it’s not terribly fun. Kind of relaxing and zen, but it’s one of those things that everybody needs to do from time to time or people will burn out.
Twenty-five minutes later, I was done and the report was sent off to our daily scan mailing list. Nylon, Datu, and Hathgor had done most of the scanning work already; I just put names to things and made sure the formatting was right. Included at the bottom of the scan report was a brief comment: “We should run our shield Oracle fleet!”
Some of the vets in our alliance had suggested a fleet doctrine for C3 anomalies that is somewhat unconventional. In short, it involves someone flying shield Logistics (a tech 1 Scythe or a pair of Ospreys work fine), long-ranged sniping attack battlecruisers (Oracle, Talos, or Naga) for blapping (that is, dispatching with a single volley) cruisers and battleships, and miscellaneous battlecruisers (often Drakes, but shield-tanked Harbingers and other options work fine) for dealing with frigates and pitching in with remote repair if required. It requires a minimum of four ships to work, but scales really well with additional attack battlecruisers or frigate-destroyers contributing a great deal to site-running speed. Many anomalies can be cleared in just two to five minutes. It feels almost as if one is spending more time warping between sites than running them, and is a welcome relief from the typical (slow!) Drake/Tengu fleets that we’ve been using to clear C3 sites.
For those of you looking for tactical advice, I won’t provide our specific fits but will provide guidelines. You want these attack battlecruisers to have at least 25,000 EHP in the hands of a rookie with barely enough skills for the tech 1 guns, and at least 15,000 of that in the shields. You want to keep the transversal and velocity high on the tech 1 repair cruiser(s) or else it(they) may get volleyed off the field, but the Oracles and other attack battlecruisers want to stay near zero transversal in order to hit targets reliably. And it’s helpful to have masses of light drones from your logistics and anti-frigate guys, because often the battleships and cruisers are long gone while the frigates are still buzzing about. And of course, when all is said and done, you need someone in a salvage-equipped Destroyer or Noctis to salvage the sites.
After a little bit of null-sec ratting and hi-sec hauling — yes, you can do both in the same day easily from many wormholes — alliance mates began logging on and it looked like our chances for fielding a decent fleet to make some ISK were getting better. We popped a Hurricane Fleet Issue — a very expensive battlecruiser — belonging to the corporation living in the adjacent Class 5 using a bait-fit Gnosis. I would elaborate on this story, but it was pretty straightforward: Bait-fit, tackling Gnosis warps on top of the Cane just as the Cane is jumping to hisec. Cane jumps back — polarizing himself — to try to kill the assumed-easy-kill Gnosis. Our fleet drops on top of the Cane, and he quickly pops. Done and done. However, this Cane pilot’s fleet-mates are featured in this story in Part III. Keep an eye peeled.
So there are the new clothes we’re wearing, spending less on our fleet than most guys spend on just one C3-running Legion or Tengu, and finishing sites faster with less gank risk. In the next installment, I’ll talk about our experience using these, and the dramatic end to a very long day of near-constant C3 site-running and over a billion ISK made in that same day without a single loss. Stay tuned!