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Mika Hirvonen
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Mika Hirvonen

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Financials update. My market capital has passed 30 billion ISK, even with around a billion spent on ships for the Providence war. Total revenue for August was around 80 billion. The financials are getting to the point where just letting things proceed at their own pace for a day ensures that I have enough money for that carrier in my wallet. But now that the war is over, things have been really quiet.

I'm still 12 days away from starting the training for a carrier and handling shipments doesn't take that much time, so I've been spending time with one of the most boring (yet one of the most popular) pastimes in Eve: Ratting. One of the benefits of living in well-maintained null security space is that you have access to as many combat anomalies as you want. And with an Ishtar, all it takes is to warp into the anomaly, orbit something, let your drones loose and pay attention to intel channels. Perfect mindless activity for sick days.

There have been some rumors about an enemy alliance moving war materiel to nearby low security systems, but they're not necessarily going after us. But there are many allies in the neighborhood, so there might be calls for support fleets in the next few weeks.

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The war continues, and in the second day I saw actual fighting. I lost my first Taranis literally in a blink of an eye, but the second fared much better.

The loss was my own fault, obviously. The fleet commander asked me to scout, but because I had logged off at a safe POS instead of our staging system, I was in a different system than the fleet. I was a bit unsure about the route, but I dutifully started going towards the destination. But on the second stargate the enemy was waiting. My ship died the moment I gave the command to warp. Well, at least the commander now knew where the enemy was and what they were flying from my loss report.

Fortunately my clone was in our staging system, so I bought an another Taranis and joined the next fleet. This time we got into proper brawling, with several hundreds of people in the system, lots of (new and improved) effects going, bombs falling, the works.

In a busy fight like this one, information overload and lack of spatial awareness can get you killed in a blink of an eye. Especially in an interceptor, who can get out of one enemy's range and into the range of several others in the time the fleet commander gives an order. And because the fleets had considerable firepower, any singular target did not last more than a few seconds. If you weren't in range in those few seconds, you would not have gotten a shot in.

Of course, it isn't the interceptor's duty to do damage, it is to intercept targets. And here is an another factor where the interceptor's speed is as much an asset as a liability. The warp scramblers' and the stasis webifiers' ranges are only ten kilometers, so in a few seconds you can whizz past your target and out of range. Of course, there is an orbit command that tells you ship to stay close, but to use it you have to hold a hotkey and click on your target. And that's easier said than done when the targets change all the time and move around at their best speeds. Even with the overview, it requires both speed and precision.

But despite feeling overwhelmed, we did prevail and chopped up a lot of ships. I personally participated in five kills, more than I have gotten in a week of homeland defense fleets. I snagged a Tornado, a Malediction, a Purifier, a Caracal and a Blackbird. While an another fleet was focusing on the primary objective, ours kept the enemy blockaded in their own station. And when the target Infrastructure Hub was successfully reinforced, the fleet went home. And I almost got myself left behind. Again.

The very first published use for the Entosis Link was the ability to disable or enable station services.  If you disabled the enemy's cloning service, their dead would wake up in Empire space instead of their own. If you disabled their fitting service, they could not prepare their ships in the complete safety of the station. If you disabled repair services, you could whittle them down, even if they played docking games. And so on.

And right before the fleet commander told the fleet to prepare for deparature, I foolishly resumed disabling the cloning service that someone had already had some progress on. One of the downsides of using an Entosis Link is that it disables your ability to warp. So when an unaffiliated enemy fleet showed up at the station, I had to make the most of the interceptor's speed and just fly around until the warp drive went back online. And even then I almost got myself killed again, because you cannot use star gates within one minute of performing an act of aggression, like attacking station services. Fortunately the enemy fleet did not react as quickly as the first fleet I ran into today.

I did make it back to our staging station in one piece. And while the fleet would continue fighting after a short pit stop, I had to log off to get some sleep.

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Mika Hirvonen

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The war is on, the treaties signed, I was not caught, I crossed the line.

Well, some did it earlier than others. I had shipped a Basilisk and a Taranis to our staging system and jumped into the latter to reinforce enemy Territorial Control Units and Infrastructure Hubs. Our interceptor fleet evaded the enemy like true trollceptors and got into the target system unscathed.. only to find it already occupied by an another corporation from our alliance. They had been deployed in advance of the main force with the stated objective of disrupting enemy jump bridges and other crucial targets. I guess they got their job done early and got bored, because they started picking off our objectives as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVjtDrdKeGE

So I suppose I should take this time to talk about what has been going on in Eve when it comes to roleplay plotlines. The big news is that Empress Jamyl Sarum I of the ultra-religious Amarr Empire has been assassinated by the mysterious Drifters. Her ascendancy to the throne was equally controversial. After her champion lost in the Succession Trials, she as the heir of the Sarum family was supposed to perform ritual suicide along with the other heirs from the leading families to prevent any of them from usurping the throne. But because she was a capsuleer (which is in itself a heresy, because royal flesh is not supposed to be cloned), she was able to awake in a new clone. Well, most of her, anyway. Something went wrong with the transfer process and she gained an another, even more aggressive personality during the transfer. Fast forward to the Empyrean War.

After laying low for a while, Jamyl Sarum made her return into mainline Amarrian politics by wiping out a Minmatar liberator fleet single-handedly:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKdTJjDnYzE#t=1m29s

She then deposed the (corrupt) Court Chamberlain Karsoth and ascended to the throne. And now she's dead. Again. I wonder whether she'll show up as a Drifter next.

Traditionally, the next Emperor would be chosen from the heirs of the major houses in the Empire. And a new Succession Trial has been announced. But this time there is a wildcard: Max Singularity. This capsuleer had opposed the Empress publicly, and even got targeted by her Titan in full view of the public. With the Empress gone, anything can happen.

And what's happening right now is housecleaning. The Curatores Veritatis Alliance (CVA) are Amarrian loyalists who have been holding the Providence region of null security space for a decade. They have been kicked out a few times, but they have eventually returned. With their patron dead, a lot of damage can be done among the confusion, especially by the various supporters of Max Singularity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qeGfp9jv4U

Or if you want a more mundane explanation, CVA space is easily reachable and it's very dense in both infrastructure and population. In other words, it is target-rich environment for the new Aegis sovereignty mechanics. While CVA is the most powerful force in Providence (at least until now), the new mechanics dictate that only members of the same alliance can help in stalling the capture process when enemies attack. If anyone from the numerous other corporations and alliances that live in Providence interfere, they can at best destroy the attackers' ships, but they cannot undo the damage. If they try, they'll only help the attackers.

So the plan is to raze CVA's infrastructure, see how the new mechanics function in a real war, go home and see what happens afterwards. Can they rebuild? What happens to various raw material prices when the industrial activity in Providence is dampened by the lack of infrastructure? Does anyone else try to make a move to carve out parts of the region?

Edit: Max Singularity has declared support for Uriam Kador. This is a good choice on aesthetic reasons alone; I like the Kador gray-on-blue color palette.

https://tagn.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/the-imperium-goes-to-providence/

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Finally some color other than camo on Caldari and Minmatar ships.

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Financials update. My market capital has passed 20 billion, so I'm at a point where I have just enough money to be noteworthily stupid. Like liquidate my stock, buy a super capital, get it blown up in some silly way and then rage quit.

Skills-wise things are a bit slower. I'm three days away from maxing out subcapital logistics skills. I do have a few afterburner and microwarpdrive skills queued, but after that I could finish training for T2 heavy missiles and be able to use all T2 subcapital weapons systems. Or I could get on with the carrier training. I have been eyeing a Nidhoggur since the very beginning.

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Sadly, the latter parts of the video were just flybys instead of fighting and pretty lights.

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Mika Hirvonen

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Last night was pretty eventful. An otherwise pointless station services disruption fleet ended with a Loki kill and we got ourselves an old-fashioned POS shoot that gave ample opportunities to toy around with field-of-vision settings. Oh, and the enemy lost their capital system and it's infrastructure despite their best efforts.

This was the first major battle that I've participated in where the enemy coalition threw everything they could spare at us. Their appearance was heralded by a bombing run. But instead of targeting our Dominixes that would take full damage from bombs (and probably lose some drones), they hit us, the logistics ships.

Killing the healers first is a sound tactic in any MMO, and Eve is not an exception. If we go down, the Dominixes would follow and let the break through and hit our other forces that are doing the actual capturing. But they chose the wrong tool for the job.

Logistics ships are cruisers, so when the bombs blow up near them, they have a higher chance of avoiding the shrapnel and various energies that spew forth from the bomb. So unlike battleships, they do not take full damage. Also, T2 ships like my Oneiros have higher resists by default than T1 ships and our standard fittings include a bunch of resistance modules to amplify them even further. So while all that electromagnetic damage did take down our shields, it barely smudged our armor. We were able to take that kind of damage all day.

The real threat was the enemy fleet, though. Unlike the indiscriminate bombs, they can focus fire and take down any single target. But since our logistics ships were still operational, we in turn could direct the fleet's entire repair capability to that single target. And that in turn means that if the fleets are otherwise evenly matched, the more coordinated fleet is going to win. Especially a fleet that has more firepower than defensive capability, the key to victory is to switch targets quickly and destroy them before their logistics reacts. We almost lost an Armageddon because the enemy switched from a pair of heavily damaged Dominixes to the Armageddon. By the time we got enough remote repairers on him, he was at 2% structure.

But something had to give, and it turns out it was the server. Even with Time Dilation, the server couldn't keep up with over 500 people fighting and our clients started desynchronizing from the server. You could still see and try to give commands, but either the commands did not go through or your client couldn't display their effects. Chat did still work, though. So I tried to warp to a safe POS several times, and eventually others reported that I had left the battle. I logged out, logged back in and rejoined the battle.

But unlike in WoW where a disconnected player is simply shown as offline in the raid group, in Eve the server will drop any disconnected people off the fleet and any associated communication channels. It will also forget any fleet-specific settings in the UI, like the watch list. But it's still better than staying desynced.

When I got back, the fighting was still ongoing. We had been reinforced by an allied fleet of Drake battlecruisers who promptly got themselves bombed. In addition to coordination issues, we had separate doctrines: They focused on shields while we focused on armor. So either party could not fully support the other. Which was unfortunate, because they got bombed by the enemy soon afterwards.

After that, the battle quieted down somewhat. The enemy only had a handful of scouts in the field, and our fleet was still blockading the station. While we were at it, our other forces had hacked a lot of command nodes; Their Territorial Control Unit was 90% compromised and their Infrastructure Hub was at 75%.

The enemey made an another attempt to break out, but they undocked literally at the moment when their Territorial Control Unit went down. With it gone, they lost the Capital System bonus to their defensive index, so the remaining hacks for the Infrastructure Hub and the station itself would go much, much faster for us. Their battlecruisers with battleship-sized weapons did pack quite a punch, and managed to knock out two of our Dominixes during their escape.

But their breakout was too little, too late. The TCU was gone, the IHub would soon follow, and so would the station. I took advantage of the lull and surveyed the battlefield for anything interesting. And sure enough, someone had left behind some hull repair drones. With those, I could patch up our mascot Armageddon and anyone else who had structure damage.

The enemy did return, but they were caught at the edges of our warp disruption bubbles. This time they tried to focus fire our logistics cruisers down at the same time as they bombed us and any Dominixes that were too close to us. But their numbers were dwindling, and you can only send entire fleets to the fray a certain number of times before you run out. Especially when you cannot repair at your home station anymore. Alas, my newly-acquired hull repair drones were among the casualties and I only managed to save one of them. But the mascot Armageddon was still in one piece.

Eventually the Infrastructure Hub went down as well, and it took with it all of the upgrades it had, worth billions. A few stragglers hadn't gotten the memo about their home system not being theirs anymore, so we shot them while we waited for a relief force. Most of the enemy had left the system, so we met the relief force halfway. There was one more attempt in bombing our fleet, but they simply did not have enough bombers and bomber pilots left to do enough damage. We went back to the enemy's (former) home system and I logged off at a safe POS.

I joined a convoy fleet next morning to got my ship out of the battleground in one piece. During the night, our relief force had forced the station into freeport mode, so I doubt that the enemy had any fight left in them.

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Mika Hirvonen

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Some time after the previous fleet I logged in again and joined a fleet of Svipuls heading into one of the dead-end systems in Providence. Since I still had my Taranis, I flew through the enemy's staging system (where nobody even tried to stop me) and met the fleet close to their destination. While the others set up a camp at the only stargate in the system, I went to the Infrastructure Hub and started subverting it's elaborate electronical defenses with the Power of My Mind. In other words, I shone a Jesus Ray at it for about an hour.

Had I not occasionally needed the UI to report the progress to the rest of the fleet, I could have made a time-lapse movie that would have accurately captured the excitement. Or lack of. There were enemies in the system, but nobody dared to do anything until the last five minutes.

The enemy did try to make a breakthrough at the gate, but the gate camp held until the Infrastructure Hub was successfully reinforced. The fleet did lose several ships, but the enemies dispersed and left us alone after it was obvious that they were out of time. None of them made it to us Entosis guys and when I exited the system to log off at a safe place, none of them were anywhere to be seen.

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Financials update. My market capital has passed 25 billion, despite a rather embarrassing loss of my Ishtar. I was not paying attention to warp out when the enemy arrived, and my ECM drones were not enough to break their locks. The three escalations that I did get the next day with a new Ishtar were more than enough to offset the loss, though.

I am definitely getting diminishing returns with my importing business at this point. Each daily shipment can now contain more than a dozen different products, and sometimes I make mistakes like ordering more when I haven't sold the old ones out yet. I do have to sink around 600 million into skill books for the carrier, and probably 2-4 billion for the carrier itself and it's fittings. But that's 20 days of prerequisite skill training away, so I can just earmark a few days' worth of revenue for it.

While waiting, I did pick the brains of veteran carrier pilots, and they recommended that I buy a Caldari Chimera instead of an Amarrian Archon or the Minmatar Nidhoggur. The discussion reminded me of my WoW days, where I insisted on playing a Frost Mage well into the Black Temple and Mount Hyjal. Eventually I was strongly recommended to switch to Fire, and played as one until WotLK. Switching specializations in Eve is much easier than in WoW, but it is also more costly. Most of the skills are applicable to all carriers, but the racial carrier skill is still 500 million apiece. And of course, there's the cost of the carrier itself. I could get stingy and have a single set of fittings for both, but that would defeat the point of being able to quickly hop from one ship to another. Of course, I have nothing against the Chimera per se, and it can look downright aggressive and heroic if you apply some movie magic to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QLAgzc19O0

However, there is a more immediate money sink in view: War. The murmurs have been around for a while and everyone's got a general understanding what is going to happen, but the when and the how have been kept under wraps. But now that the post-Aegis sovereignty home defense fleets have become more and more infrequent, it looks like the time is very soon. Which leaves the how.

I of course have means of transporting ships and other equipment through Empire space without detection, but I haven't done so yet because I don't know exactly what to bring and how many. Once the war gets going the alliance is of course going to reimburse every ship I lose during fleet operations, but to get on those fleets I need something to start with. The alliance leadership is going to make public announcements (much) later today, so I suppose I'll know tomorrow.

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Mika Hirvonen

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Sometimes I really wish that Eve had sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhwWAciO6F4

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Relic sites are long-abandoned facilities and ancient battlefields. They mostly contain loads of salvage, but they can also contain blueprint copies. When you try to access one of those wrecks, you need to complete a hacking minigame before you can access the stuff in it.
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A Drifter fleet assaulted the Amarrian Navy headquarters today at Safizon. There were some players out there picking wrecks clean of anything valuable, but the actual combat was mostly an NPC affair.

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I now have a horribly, horribly fitted stealth bomber.

People in our region-wide intelligence channels mentioned a lone enemy going through our systems, so I grabbed my interceptor to take a look. After a few scans it became apparent that it was a stealth bomber, but I couldn't quite see where it was. But then I started seeing the stealth bomber and a capsule on directional scan, even if there was just one enemy in the system. I eventually found the ship abandoned at one of the planets, next to the frozen corpse of it's former owner.

I got an another pilot who can fly stealth bombers to meet me at the abandoned ship, hop out of their ship, board the stealth bomber, deliver it to a friendly station and then board their own ship. The plan worked without issues, and I got to take a closer look at the stealth bomber's fitting. Instead of the usual battleship-sized torpedo launchers and the bomb launcher, it contained auto-targeting light missile launchers. I have no idea why, because those missile launchers put it barely at par with a T1 Kestrel in terms of offensive capability and way, way below it in cost-effectiveness and ability to absorb damage. Stealth bombers are Eve's glass cannons: Huge missile racks, but the only defensive ability is the cloak. If you don't take advantage of that cannon, you better fly something else altogether.

As I was heading back, the local chat channel suddenly spiked with 74 enemies appearing instantly. I passed the info along and went into position way above one of the stargates to pass on more details if they happened to go to the gate. And sure enough, they also were in stealth bombers. But instead of passing through, they lingered in the system, supposedly looking for something expensive to ambush.

A few minutes later the kill reports started arriving. It appears like they tried to ambush a Chimera carrier in the system. But because it's pilot knew they were coming, he equipped a set of smartbomb launchers, which deliver area of effect damage all around the ship. It was joined by three Titans and a Mothership. The quick gank turned into a trap, and the enemy lost 19 stealth bombers and 12 pods in an instant, worth about 920 million.

Alas, I was not there to see it. But I have a pretty good idea what it would have looked like:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlZ0EcsneSg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdfFnTt2UT0#t=2m19s

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Hehe! I once grabbed an abandoned Armageddon this way, even contacted the former owner and he thought the ship had blown up. It was also missing some of the fitting it had, some gun slots had no Howitzers. Yeah, it was a kinda oddly equipped ship, too. ;)
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Kaksi suurta salia on varattu efektipläjäyksille ja muille suuren budjetin leffoille, ja neljässä pienemmässä salissa pyöritetään tarpeeksi pienemmänkin profiilin elokuvia.
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