Summer project: Settle a C2

As the majority of my two handsome and intelligent readers may remember, I have been bumming around EVE for many years but my true love is Wormhole space.  It all started in 2009 when I was a nawt but a podpole flying in one of those high-sec corporations that people read about. You know, the ones that get wardeced constantly, awoxed and are the buttjoke of EVE.  Yep.  That was me.  Anyway.  My friend Oreamnos and I decided we had it and applied together to Z3r0 Return Mining of Jadecougar’s fame (lost in EVE, used to be one of the better podcasts).  At that time we owned “Fred”, a lovely C2 hole with a low sec and a C2 static.  I.e. easy to get in, easy to find people and not so easy (albeit not impossible at all) to get evicted from.  Many adventures happened in and around Fred and my old tales all start here.  But as Z3r0 grew up, we moved into “Shirley” (C4 with a static C4.  Puke) and then into our current home “Tim”, also a C4.  “Fred” stayed in the alliance for a while, first as an academy for new pilots and then later as a general hole.  But all good things must come to an end, Fred was abandoned when our last permanent residents fizzled out. As it is in Wormhole life, the connections closed and Fred floated away like a soap bubble into the sunset during a hurricane in the desert on Mars, never to be seen again.

Until last week…. Here follows the account of the great Settlement of Fred.

Summer is here and with it the doldrums, nothing much is going on in EVE other than massive ISK making in Goonland for the benefit of later wars.  Z3R0 is no exception, many of our numbers are busy taking their children on vacation or making new ones.  Either way, its quiet and I was contemplating what I could do as a solo project when a random ping came from one of my (unnamed, Opsec!) corp mates.  He had found Fred!  The C2 where everything had started, where we trained ourselves into the elite mercenary wormhole dominating fighting force that we are aspire to be.  A wave of nostalgia washed over me. Fred!  Of course, I logged in an alt from my useless highsec corp and placed him there. Just for sightseeing purposes. Surely.

Turns out, not only is Fred uninhabited, it has been for many weeks. There are literally 30+ signatures and only Bob knows how many anoms.

ISK waiting patiently for me

No POS, no ‘hus, no nottin’.  And then two days ago, my low sec access connected directly to a backwater in highsec.  One jump.  Dead quiet.

The temptation was too great.  I could Make Fred Great Again.  MFGA!

I raced to Jita, and did one of my completely nuts woman-inspired shopping sprees.  (I will go to hell for that comment).  Basically, I bought an entire “live in a Wormhole by yourself outfit” including a fully armed Astrahus, many defensive mods of which I had scant knowledge what they do, 2 site running drakes, many gas mining ventures, a few Covops and a Ghetto Noctis (i.e. Catalyst).  Oh, of course, an Occator to stuff it all in.  My credit card creaked, heated and then went up in flames, basically, I depleted my nest egg that I had set aside for – well I don’t actually know what for.  I jumped into the Occator, undocked the damn thing with billions of ISK worth of stuff in Jita 4/4 and raced to my entrance.  “Fortes Fortuna Juvat” as us old and decrepit classically trained Europeans say.

Fred greeted my hot entry with a warm, loving embrace (ok, ok, I’ll calm down).  I had scouted a nice planet (Lava) to set up my Astrahus but the asinine mechanic thwarted me.  I had no idea why I couldn’t anchor the ‘hus where I was and hanging out in a decloaked Occator with tons of gear in the hold fudzing with an incomprehensible game mechanic is not a good idea.  In desperation, I made a random safe spot somewhere and dropped the ‘hus in no particular direction.

Sorry, NPCs you won’t have a grand view.  I had never set up a Citadel, so I was surprised to see a 24 window to anchor.  I assume its vulnerable?  No clue.  But that means it is hanging there for everyone to see until Saturday night, prime time. Great.  Maybe I get evicted before I even finish anchoring?

Then Saturday rolls around and my timer counts down to zero.  I can not lie, I am excited.  I had occasionally monitored the progress and took screenshots; the nanites had been at work and the process of building a structure is eerily mesmerizing.  The small details, the lights that come on are are really beautiful.  However, if anyone had attacked it, I would have had any defense whatsoever (2 Stratios don’t count…).  But unlike some newb, I had made my peace with the old Wormhole wisdom that “if you bring it in, declare it lost”.  All things in Wormhole space will be killed.  They are not assets, they are consumables.  Including the ‘hus.

When the build ended, a 15 minute window opens where the thing “onlines”.  Through a fluke and a little bit of wormhole-fu, I had a very good idea that both static holes were still closed and the frigate hole to NS had not opened yet.  It was pretty safe but nothing in EVE is certain.

Well, now its the weekend and I am getting settled. I brought in yet another alt who knows how to hack the cans and managed to get ISK 70mil out of all the data and relic sites.  Next step is to formally scan the place down and start gassing it to make money and reducing the number of sites.  After that, I will bring my main characters back to our home C4 and leave Fred in the completely incompetent hands of my alts.

There will be updates…

 

PvE Musings

May my remaining two readers forgive the break in communication, I actually took a few days off to travel, take photos and ponder.  Its been an interesting summer so far, full of real-life changes and adjustments and it looks like to shape up as a year that I won’t forget soon.

In EVE, when I go exploring, most of my time is spent on scanning empty space.  Its now a little routine but I do query why I bother, other than the occasional T1 exploration frigate I virtually never see anyone I can tackle.  By evolution, the remaining wormholers in EVE have become smarter (shedding the dumb ones into nullsec, I presume) and ratters either crush their connection for safety or rat in doctrines that my 2-character team can not attack.  And thus grow my plans to do something different in EVE.  Maybe PvE?  I know curiously little about PvE in WH space. Continue reading

EVE is unforgiving – and that’s why I love it

What follows is a cautionary tale that I want to impart to my remaining two readers.  It is a tale that starts with hubris, goes through stages of boredom, distraction and inattention and ends with a dead ship.  My dead ship.

But lets start at the beginning, a typical night in our small wormhole corporation had started with copious amount of scanning, Teamspeak banter and much hilarity.  The map is broad and wide and as usual has nobody in it.  Well, except for a group that is sitting in their force field (yes, POS-es are still a thing in WH space).  Its a nice C2 with a high sec static and we try to coerce our hosts into doing something, anything by baiting with a harmless Imicus hacking their sites.  No dice, the locals are not moving and our Imicus pilot is pulling 80mil ISK out of the site.  Opp success?  Anyway, we are not going anywhere with this baiting tactic and more exotic measures to provoke a reaction are being considered, including rolling holes, shooting the POCO or the POS, running their sites etc.  The majority of our corp is based in the UK and I have to tap out for a bit for real life things. Continue reading

All quiet on the wormhole front

Its been quiet on these pages and I have to assume that both my remaining readers have defected to more content-rich pastures.  Of which there are many and with great variety.  Imperium.news which focuses on the great events in nullsec, Crossing Zebras doing excellent analysis of nullsec politics and of course the venerable EVE News 24 formerly a cesspool for pandemic legion and now a honorable news outlet for the whole of nullsec.   Lastly, the subreddit /r/eve is the de facto community hub of EVE online where all topics can and will be debated as long as they pertain to nullsec.   Continue reading

Bait is useless if not taken

Its been a while since I wrote on these hallowed pages, may both my remaining readers forgive me for spending more time at work, outdoors (spring?) and in Fallout 4 (survival).  By the way, Survival is the only way Fallout 4 should be played.  Its unforgiving, awesome and truly scary. The fact that death has real consequences makes stalking through open fields and dungeons so much more rewarding.  Yes, Fallout 4 gives me the shakes.

But back to EVE.  Our little corporation Z3R0 Return Mining (and yes we are recruiting, contact Epigene in game) lives in a C4 wormhole with access to C3 and C5 neighbors plus of course frequent incoming connections to pretty much everywhere.  A few days ago, I find myself logging in and scanning down an incoming connection from another C4 hole, mentally add scouting it to my to-do-list and proceed with a little bit of PI and a whole load of AFK-ness while the evening matures.

My corpmate Storm logs in for a little and we chat on comms while casually shutting down our respective RL households for the night when suddenly a Vexor Navy Issue appears from the incoming C4 and beelines to one of our gas sites.  A VNI is a fine boat (I have several) but this specific site spawns several sleeper frigates and cruisers, some web, some neut, all shoot.  Its a site type I know well and I tend to drop a Dominix into it rather than a Vexor but I am all ears how our guest wants to run it with a cruiser.  Turns out, he doesn’t do it well.  His drones get shot down, he is too slow and has to warp off.  Back to his hole, only to return with a Gila.  Oh, really.

Now to be fair, neither Storm nor I have really paid attention.  For all we know, there could be dozens of cloaked ships in our system cleaning their launchers.  A Gila can be brick-tanked, they hit like a dump-truck and his cavalry is at worst one jump over.  This is exactly how bait smells like.

We take it, of course.  My Proteus does his bull terrier thing, drops to zero km on the Gila and grabs him by the nuts.  I launch a couple of Hammerheads and start with the blasters while at the same time my other character in his Stratios lands and releases his complement of drones.  I have neuts on this boat but Gilas tend to be passive tanked and I am not too concerned about keeping it up.  Being in our own home system has a distinct advantage, Storm reshipped into a Deimos, undocks from our citadel and warps toward, then lands on top of us and makes the Gila go dead really fast.  Throughout this time, Storm had a character in a Falcon cloaked up on their hole but no hostile cavalry ever arrived.  The pod escapes our fangs and warps off.  I chase after it and a little bit recklessly jump into their system.  My logic is that if a trap had been set, it would have sprung when we dropped on the Gila.  It wasn’t and hence isn’t.  My jumping into their system is pretty safe and I make the usual complements of safe spots and tactical bookmarks around their citadels.

To be honest, they have a pretty decent size crew here, 4 citadels with a total of 6 characters docked up, likely one or two more cloaked somewhere (we saw a bomber earlier).  Not a brawl we can take head-on in a fair fleet fight (Storm and I can field 2 characters each and neither of us is elite PvP-er).  But if they were stupid once, they might be stupid again?

The waiting starts.  The locals undock a bunch of ships, even a hauler, an Epithal (!) but they only to move between citadels.  Its a surprising amount of activity for a corporation that has overtly hostile neighbors.  Interesting.

Finally, I have enough and scan down their C2 static connection, the only other signature in this place.  My presence here is not a secret, might as well see where the connections are.  Suddenly a Rattlesnake undocks from the citadel and warps to my newly identified C2.  Now that is bait if we ever saw it.  The Rattle jumps into the C2, my Proteus after it (impossible that they don’t know that I am here by now) and I am bringing my Stratios into the C4.  Storm is around with his Falcon but to be honest, we shouldn’t jump a Rattlesnake with an entire system full of hostiles between our home and the target.  That would be dumb, foolish and suicidal.

So, thats exactly what we do.

The tactics is the same as for the Gila, I drop my Proteus onto the Rattlesnake and grab him while bringing in my Stratios and guide in Storm’s DPS boat.  The idea is to overheat everything and burn the Rattle to the ground as fast as can be done before his friends arrive.

The view from my Stratios

 

The Rattlesnake targets my Stratios and he hurts me badly.  I have neuts on him primarily to shut down his tank and his launchers but I can’t do anything against his drones.  As a battleship, he is stationary and I turn off the webs to conserve cap. The fight keeps going, Storm lands on grid and adds considerable DPS.

Then, nearly as expected, 4 cruiser-size ships land on top of us and D-scan shows a bomber somewhere.  Our opposition even brings a an Exequror logistics boat.  I only have two scout-class ships both in 1/2 armor, Storm has his ship and a Falcon nearby.  We can’t win this and we bail – very luckily, neither Storm nor my characters are tackled.  I credit my neuts, that bait Rattlesnake should have had tackle and I probably had sucked him dry.  Lucky, I guess.  The hostiles spam local with oh-so scary taunts.

Disengaged, we decide that its a terrible idea to jump back through their system into ours.  We have no idea whats on the other side and if it was me in their shoes, there would be bubbles.  So, while Storm moonwalks around the system, I scan down the high sec and we both camp out in safety.

Lessons learned?  Sometimes obvious bait isn’t and sometimes it is. But you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take

 

Not every Gnosis is bait…

As my remaining two readers may recall, most of my Wormhole posts start with “and then I opened our new connection“.  This post is no different.

The adventure starts when I jump into our newly-spawned C3 neighbor and to my dismay find that it is a “shattered hole”.   For you sad k-space dwellers, Shattered Systems have more variety of anomalies and signatures, ice belts but no moons to anchor a POS on and of course you can’t park a Citadel there either.  CCP went back to the whole concept that WH space was designed for transient occupation at best.  Its also a riskier hunting ground since they – generally – have more connections are are quite big, something can easily hide off-Dscan for example. Continue reading

Duck Season

 

It is no secret to my last remaining pair of readers that our corporation (Z3ro Return Mining) lives in C4 space with an ever-changing C3 neighbor.  Life and wormholes are like boxes of chocolates, you never know what you find when you open one; C3s are quite popular actually since they always have a connection to K-space and hence allow the riches of Wormhole life with the added advantage of easy access to the markets.

Last Monday, Oreamnos Amric and myself find ourselves alone at home, Orea is our CEO, Alliance Boss, Supreme Commander and Dear Leader.  He also manages our corp payouts so I suck up to him.  While Orea is doing accounting things, I open our C3 with my scouting Proteus whilst having my alt in a Stratios on standby in our hole.  D-scan shows me 3 Tengus, a tractor unit and a mess of wrecks.  I quickly move, cloak and with narrow beam find out where these site runners are and within 10s, I have eyes on them from 100km. Continue reading