Monday, 10 May 2010

Eve Online: tiptoeing through nullsec

Reports today rolled in of a massive fight in nullsec, the player controlled part of the Eve universe.

The Northern Coalition (my side) stages from a system deep in the heart of Morsus Mihi territory called H-W9TY. This morning at 8am Eve time the Southern Coalition, led by IT who have a long standing grudge, launched a massive assault. Titans, massive capital ships which are usually used as mobile jump bridges kept safe behind the lines, were deployed. 20 were reported on the field.

I decided to go and participate.

I hummed and ha-ed a bit about whether to turn up in a battlecruiser, a ship to shoot things, or a scout, a safer option.

In the end I fitted a Vigil with 2 named overdrives, a nanofiber structure, a microwarp drive, a cloaking device and a battery. The overdrives and nanofiber make it go a bit quicker, the microwarp drive is a big speed boost at the expense of cap, the cloak is a rudimentary prototype. The ship moves at 59 m/s with the cloak on, 591 m/s with the cloak off and 3821 m/s with the cloak off and the microwarp drive on.

I christened her the Space Tourist and left Jita in this year of Our Lord, 2010.

I autopiloted through high sec while alt tabbed until I got to Torrinos, a system that has a stargate to 0,0. I suspected the gate would be camped. Eventually, and after an anxious trip to the bathroom, I plucked up my courage and jumped through.

There was a gate camp by a corp called Brick Squad with at least 20 ships. The gate was bubbled by a Mobile Warp Interdictor Generator. I sat for a moment thinking. When you jump through a gate you land cloaked and usually have a moment to think. They know you're there though, because the gate flashed.

I decided to sneak out rather than make a run for it. I double clicked what seemed to be a relatively deserted quadrant of their defensive ring and immediately pressed F1 to turn my cloak on. (It's important in that situation not to hit the button twice - there's a 30 second cooldown after you use the cloak).

I trundled towards the edge of the bubble at 59 m/s rather nervously watching an interceptor who was orbiting the bubble at 25 km. If he had got within 2km of me it would have de-cloaked me.

When I was about 24km from the bubble a drake jumped in, belonging to LODRA. Huzzah, saved by the Goons! While the happy campers ate him with cranberry sauce I decloaked and warped to the sun. On the way to the sun I added a bookmark. As soon as I landed at the sun I warped back to my bookmark and cloaked. Then I turned to this page and wrote up my story so far.

62 players in local in EC-, mainly Brick Squad.

Here's a map of Pure Blind, the system I was heading through.

My next move was a bit of a cock-up which I survived by luck. I warped to EWOK gate at 100 in case there was a bubble. There was indeed a bubble but instead of landing 100 km short it wanted to put me 100 past and hit the bubble on the way and dumped me right out in the open 18 km from the gate. Eek! I hastily tried to cloak, it didn't work as I was still officially in Warp even though I was standing right out in the open like a lemming, clicked again and cloaked second time round. But luckily there was no one there anyway.

EWOK was quiet, one other person there and he was blue. Onwards to O-N.

Leaving O-N was another tense moment. I landed, the gate was bubbled, and I saw a load of blue drones, a red player and 2 yellow players. I cloaked and moved away but checking them I saw they were all in Wildly Inappropriate a friendly alliance and they appeared red or yellow because of their Concord security status. I really need to investigate whether there's a way to tell my overview not to bother about sec status and to colour people according to their standing to me.

I uncloaked and zipped through with my microwarp drive on. A member of our alliance was killed and podded the other day by blues, they're not supposed to kill us but everyone is likely to be rather nervous today.

L-T, R6, 3V8, R-L pretty empty 0-2 other players, no bubbles.

4-A had a hostile drake on the exit gate plus there were loads of drones. There was a small bubble but it was not in like with the stargate to stargate route. I landed 3.8 km from the gate, headed to the gate at top speed and jumped. There was not much the drake could do to stop me.

On the other side there was a litter of abandoned drones. About 20, no ships. I guess the drake was the survivor of a small but vicious fight there.

I got safe and then, since there was only one neutral and one blue in the system decided to go back and fill my hold with tech 2 drones. While I was in warp, 2 hostiles jumped in including a player called Lady Scarlet, a minor celebrity poster on the Eve Forums and a member of DICE, one of the corp making up the IT Alliance. I decided sod the drones I'm out of here and warped off.

I let the local intel channel know that Lady Scarlet was flying around solo in that system if anyone wanted a celebrity kill.

X47 was empty, KQK had 5 hostiles from different alliances. I waited at the sun for a couple of minutes and most left. Seemed reasonably safe, they must have been all in transit. I warped to the next stargate and jumped north.

I was wrong - there was a small gatecamp. 3 ships at least one of which had just been checking KQK out. Fortunately for me they were busy ganking a friendly hurricane. I heroically fled preserving my valuable Vigil for another day. /wave to the Hurricane pilot if you happen to read this. Your sacrifice in my cause was truly appreciated.

I went straight for the stargate and jumped into O-Y in the Tribute region. I was getting near to H-W!

O-Y was quiet was was the next system UMI too. I saw an IT stray in F-R and then a cluster of INIT pilots - one in F-R, 2 in PNDN. 15W was busy with 3 members of IT alliance and 11 friendlies in the system. The gates were clear though. Possibly the IT players were cloaked scouts.

3 friendlies in C2X.

Heavy blue presence in MSHD with 2 enemies, again probably scouts. Each from an alliance I hadn't seen so far on this trip: Gentleman's Club and Against All Authorities.

Next stop H-W where the massive fight was. Wish me luck!

I jumped in and managed to get hidden despite a gate camp. Pressing F1 just after double clicking space worked again.

I slowly and nervously worked my way away from the gate. It was a bewildering view of shimmer with all those bubbles. I eventually worked my way clear and was entertained to watch a heroic attempt to solo the gatecamp. Although there were only about 5 ships when he jumped in within 3 seconds a gang of 14 more ships landed and murdered him horribly. I suspect they were in a safe just off grid so the camp looked weak but actually had a large gang just seconds away.

People in the alliance were trying to break into the system from D7. I went there to check it out for them and initially the fight went well. We got about 20 in and outnumbered the camp and killed a few of them. Then a large amount of reinforcements arrived and a few of ours warped off leaving those still in the bubble to die horribly.

The gate camp had 9 large mobile warp disruptors 2 drakes 2 stilettos a dramiel, 2 crows, a rokh and a onyx. I managed to sneak through at 59 m/s. Sovereignty was Morsus Mihi (vulnerable), first time I've seen that.

531 people in local. I joined the Inside H-W fleet and was the 160th member.

We have a lot of enemies here. Cry Havoc, IT alliance, -A-, Atlas, ROL are here conducting a joint operation. On our side I'm seeing a lot of LODRA, Morsus Mihi, Majesta Empire, Own, Defiant, Razor, MH, WI. and our own heroic Wayfarer Stellar Initiative.

I joined up with the fleet led by fleet commanders Zeturi and DBRB. It was a tense affair of people trying to outmaneouvre the other side. We jumped into a pos, killed a couple of hostiles, had to run, warped in again. There were so many enemies that the FC simply said "lock up all the As, there's only like 5 of them".

I decided to have a little look at the station. There were 6 long range battleships (5 apocalypses and a megathron) and 23 bubbles. As I watched a squad of ships tried to break the camp. Apocalypses, Cerberuses, Drakes, Hurricanes.

Then our main fleet arrived to do some damage. We outnumbered their sub-cap ships and their capital ships were out of position, 400 km away.

Someone asked the status of the D7 gate so I went to check it - it was horrible but people were still jumping in in twos and threes to die horribly to the 16 waiting campers.

I warped back to the big fight at the station. We were chewing through their battleships. The FC was being very careful that no one in the fleet was warp scrambled (no idea how he kept track of that, props to DBRB). The fleet continued to jump in and out.

The game we were playing was get close to some of their long range battleships to horribly murder them before they could bring their capitals over to help. It seemed to be working pretty well as they were quite spread out.

The lag was annoying but manageable for me. These were big fights with hundreds of ships. When I warped in on the largest actions I saw about nothing load for ten seconds then it at last let me see my ship move and a big crowd appeared around me. To be fair I was warping in at 100 and wasn't too close. Friends who were inside the station complained their screen wouldn't load at all.

The margin of course between "manageable" and "unplayable" is whether someone kills you in the time it takes to come out of lag and be able to do stuff. Buffer tanks are needed, a repairer would be almost useless in these conditions. I was lucky that my puny untanked frigate was lagging next to people who were too busy to kill me.

It certainly needs fixing but people who are not playing Eve because of lag are missing out, I think.

If anyone in Eve is interested it's not that hard to do what I did. All you need is a fast frigate, a microwarp drive and a prototype cloak. Cloaking, the skill, now has fairly low requirements - Electronics 4 and to not be a trial player. So if you want to snoop on some of the most exciting action in Eve it's possible for anyone who has a paid sub to come out in something sneaky and do the tourist thing. I didn't even get podded, so I parked my Vigil and went to bed. Tomorrow I'll jump clone home and carry on missioning knowing what I have to look forward to.

Edit: ha ha, got killed and podded as I went off to park up my ship!


  1. Great coverage of the fight :) Sorry about the loss there at the end though :P

  2. It's fine. I was actually thinking I'd rather like to shoot something and it put me in Jita, the arms supermarket. Very handy!