Thursday, December 14, 2017

VNI Fleet Timer Skirmish in Fade

Once more into space went our VNI fleet, undocking for another foray into harms ways.

VNIs undock once more

Another Astrahus timer was set to expire where we were the other night, DW-T2I in Fade.

The op had been announced well in advance so I was ready and resupplied.  I even had a new SKIN for the VNI, having had SKINs on the mind with the advent of the CCP Blaze memorial SKIN set, which I also picked up.

A fresh SKIN on the VNI

The Glacial Drift SKIN was readily available in Jita for a reasonable price, so I grabbed that for the op.

As these things go, we got ourselves together and out on the titan to wait for our ride into the fight.

Taking up a collection to buy that Erebus a SKIN

One more trip into the POS shields.  Some day… maybe even some day soon… that will no longer be a thing in New Eden.  There aren’t many roles left for the good old POS, aside from hiding titans and anchoring jump bridges.

We waited a bit, but the call to take the bridge came as the blue effect swirled about the POS.  We jumped, landing on the Astrahus in DW-T2I.

The Cyno burns bright

We were there just in time as the counter ticked down to the appointed hour.

Citadel vulnerable in 1 second

The enemy had not yet appeared as the timer rolled over and the repair cycle began, but that situation did not last for long.  Soon Pandemic Horde dropped just off the citadel with the expected Tempest Fleet.

There they are on the overview

As they had previously, they came with an Apostle force auxiliary for reps.

Apostle on grid with the Astrahus

In addition they had reinforcements from their allies Guardians of the Galaxy coalition in the form of a Cerberus fleet.

We had a bit of support of our own, which arrived as the fight kicked off.  Asher set us up to hit the Tempest fleet first and we were able to pick off some choice targets almost immediately, including a pair of Basilisks, a Vulture, a Tengu, and a Cerberus that strayed too close to us.

However, they managed to get webs on Asher long enough to slow him down and pop him, which put us off our stride.  We went to a secondary anchor, shot a few Tempests, and then had to warp off as our drones we getting shredded.  Along the way I was red boxed by the Tempest fleet, but speed and our logi support saved me.

Meanwhile, a Jackdaw fleet that had flown up from Delve joined in the fray.  Also present were some bombers from The Initiative who were fresh off their server first Guristas Sotiyo kill.  After waiting out our aggression timer on at a safe, we docked up in the Astrahus to swap fresh drones into our drone bays from cargo.  Asher meanwhile had reshipped and rejoined us, leading us back on grid to the fight.

Tempest fleet in the new warp bubble effect

For this round we stayed at the edge of lock range in an effort to avoid getting webbed again.  Our survivability depends on keeping our speed up to avoid being hit by the battleship guns.  That made our ability to engage a bit dodgy as our drones had a long way to go and the Cerberus fleet, or target for this round, hove in and out of lock range.

A Cerberus caught by our drones about to explode

A number of times we would get drones on a Cerb only to have it move out of range, though our drones would keep attacking.  During that engagement I managed to get the kill mail on one of the Cerbs.  It was pure luck, as these things tend to be in fleets over a certain size, but it did give me a third kill mark on my VNI.

Those tiny white triangles on the upper hull, just in the blue, are kill marks

We kept at it and were able to take down a string of Cerbs though, once again our drones were getting chopped up.  A smart bombing Machariel was in their midst, taking its toll.  I lost my full second flight of heavy drones and towards the end had only my two backup heavies engaged.

We were not able to do much versus the Tempest fleet at that point, and they kept on hitting the Astrahus, eventually winning the timer.  That advanced the assault on the citadel to the final round, the fight to destroy it, which initiates six days hence.

The six day count down to the final fight

At that point the main event was over.  We docked up in the citadel again to move whatever drones we had left in cargo over to our drone bays.  That meant some sentry drones for me.  The hostiles hung around a bit then started to warp off.  However, a few of them were too close to the structure model and ended up bumping it while trying to align out.  A Sabre of ours outside the Astrahus, waiting for just such an opportunity, put up a bubble to hold them and we all poured out of the citadel, launched our reaming drones, and picked off the stragglers.

The Astrahus bubbled to catch the unfortunates

That netted us a couple more Cerbs, a Loki, and a Scimitar to finish off the evening.  Then people began to  loot the field then pop wrecks to keep the enemy from picking over the remains.  A daring Ibis and a Catalyst warped in and out looting and salvaging, staying just out of our reach.

I moved back to pick up my sentry drones and waited for the trip back to our staging.

Motoring back to my drones

So the fight was a bit of a split decision.  The enemy achieved their objective and sent the citadel into its final timer.  However, the results of the battle show the ISK war coming out very much in our favor in a fight where we were, once again, out numbered.  We lost about 6.6 billion ISK while blowing up more than 13 billion ISK in hostiles.

As I hung about waiting for the run back to staging I managed to catch a screen shot with an ad running on the Astrahus that seemed amusing.

Fly to Live, Live to Fight

My ship lived to fly another day.  We shall see if the VNIs undock again for another fight.

Delve – Mining Value Down but Still Dominant

The New Eden Monthly Economic Report for November 2017 arrived yesterday so it is time to take a moment to look how things are going in Delve.

As noted in the title, mining in Delve was down some, dropping from 14.6 trillion ISK in October to 13.9 trillion ISK in November.

November 2017 – Mining Value by Region

However, as I have mentioned in the past, the mining chart is measured by the value of the ore extracted and, as we can see from the price index chart, that value has continued its slide.

November 2017 – Economic Indices

With as much of dip as that, it is quite possible that more ore was extracted in Delve last month, when compared to October, rather than less.

Still, some regions appear to be down more than others.  I wonder if something is going on in Fade, and Branch… maybe somebody hot dropping miners… because the numbers for those regions seem down much more than the decline in price might explain.

As you can see on CCP Quant’s new bar chart Branch, which was in seventh place, has fallen further down the list.

November 2017 – Mining Value by Region – Bar Graph

Likewise, Fade seems to have fallen a few places in the stack, though Deklein, where we have been having some battles, still seems to be holding onto its spot.

Jin’taan posted a wry comparison to Reddit of Delve vs. the rest of New Eden when it comes to mining.

On the bounties front it probably surprises exactly zero people that Delve remained in the lead for November.

November 2017 – NPC Bounties by Region

Bounty payouts in Delve were up a few billion, though I contributed even less than my usual hundred million or so to the number as I did not rat even once during the month.

November 2017 – NPC Bounties by Region – Bar Graph

Branch was down a bit over last month, but most other regions seemed to hold steady or were up somewhat for November.

There there is the “make non-null sec players rage” chart that shows null sec grew slightly in total percentage of bounty payouts, going from 92.1% to 92.4%, with both high and low sec declining every so slightly.

November 2017 – Bounties by Space Sec Rating

Wormhole space remained at its normal zero percent because they get paid out by NPCs for drops by their rats which totaled to about 19 trillion ISK in value.  If counted as bounties that would change the mix somewhat, though the fact that they have to ship them out of wormhole space to cash in adds to the complexity.

On the sinks and faucets chart bounties payouts were slumping slightly towards the end of November.

November 2017 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets

Even with that ever so slight dip bounties remain in the zone where CCP previously expressed the opinion that they were too high, so it remains to be seen if CCP will turn an eye towards super carrier ratting for further nerfs.

On production Delve remains a significant force and, last I heard, the region still needed to import some minerals to keep the factories running apace.

November 2017 – Production Values by Region

As we have seen in the past, production in the three regions around Jita, the trade hub for New Eden, dominates, but Delve still stands out on the bar chart.

November 2017 – Production Values by Region – Bar Graph

And, of course, when it comes to market value The Forge, home of Jita, stands out well ahead of all others.

November 2017 – Trade Value by Region

This dominance is especially visible on the bar chart where there is The Forge and then

November 2017 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph

The contrast is so striking that CCP Quant added a bar graph without The Forge just so that you could compare the other regions visually without them seeming, as my grandfather might put it, flatter than piss on a plate.

November 2017 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph, The Forge Excluded

There you can see Delve ringing in at about half the rate as Domain, home to Amarr, the Chicago of trade hubs to Jita’s New York City.  All those Goons are up to something.

Finally, the regional summary chart of key indices that gives a nice combined picture for a set of regions.

November 2017 – Regional Summary Stats

As usual I am mostly reveling in the fact that EVE Online is the kind of game where the economy is so central that CCP reports on it regularly.  Reporting on Delve just gives me a chance to go on about the importance of the economy in New Eden.  I certainly cannot claim to have influenced anything that happened in Delve.  I am pretty sure I haven’t set foot in the region for at least a month.

Anyway, you can find all these charts and more, as well as the raw data, as part of the dev blog.

And other sites have commentary on the MER:

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Winter Movie League – Not Getting Started

Week two of our Winter Fantasy Movie League is now in the can, so to speak, so it is time to see how we did.

It wasn’t expected to be a huge week.  It is in the awkward gap holiday vacation gap when everybody is still at work or in school and the looming anxiety of holiday shopping is starting to grip.  And there wasn’t exactly any big new titles hitting the screens, as the options for the week show.

Coco                         $390
Justice League               $177 
Wonder                       $169
Just Getting Started         $152
The Disaster Artist          $150
Thor: Ragnarok               $126 
Daddy's Home 2               $95 
Murder on the Orient Express $88
Lady Bird                    $73
Three Billboards             $68
The Star                     $58
Bad Moms Christmas           $47
The Shape of Water           $34
Roman J. Israel, Esq.        $20
Darkest Hour                 $13

The biggest new item was Just Getting Started, the buddy comedy vehicle for Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones.  I was upbeat on the concept in my last post, but at that point I knew next to nothing about the film itself, which likely should have been a red flag.  It seems nobody else knew much either.

At its initial box office estimate of $8.5 million it was a contender that could have been somebody.  By mid-week estimates were at $6 million and when Variety pegged it at an astute-in-hindsight $3.3 million, along with a scathing “why bother making such junk?” review, I abandoned any idea of going that route.  It went from interesting wild card to dead man walking.

But what did that leave me with?  A pile of the same old films from past weeks.  Sure, The Disaster Artists was now in wider release, but suffered from the “last week’s best price/performer” punishment and seemed unlikely to be a path to victory.  And my gut said that Wonder might be played out at this point.

So it was just a question of what combo to anchor on, and there were a lot of possible variations with Coco, Justice League, and Thor.  In the end I played what felt like a conservative hand for anchor, running two screens of Coco and one of Thor, with a screen of Roman J. Israel, and four screens of Darkest Hour, hoping that the latter would break out just enough to give it the price/performance bonus.  It didn’t have to stretch very far, but it was also still in limited release.

My Winter Week Two Picks

I didn’t think I was going to win the week with that pick, but I had no feeling for what might be better and this seemed like it would at least keep me from falling too far behind.  When the picks were locked on Friday morning there was quite a bit of variety across the Meta League.  The scores however ended up like last week, with no huge gap between mid-pack and either end of the list.

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $54,356,001
  2. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $52,999,628
  3. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $52,405,846
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $49,983,148
  5. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $49,818,955
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $49,818,955
  7. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $49,818,955
  8. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $49,818,955
  9. Kraut Screens (T) – $47,441,559
  10. Movies Movies Movies (T) – $47,351,440
  11. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $47,013,296
  12. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $46,977,958
  13. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $46,977,958
  14. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $46,977,958
  15. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $46,264,589
  16. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $45,529,490
  17. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $45,046,091
  18. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $43,360,350
  19. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $42,390,697

Meta League Legend

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

SynCaine seems to be on a streak, winning his second week in a row in the TAGN league, while Ben from the MCats league was out in front for the week overall.  Those out front anchored on Justice League, those of us who were in on Coco this week were further down the list, while those who thought that lightening would strike again for The Disaster Artist were at the back of the pack.

We had four people in on the same pick this week, two from each league, with 7x Thor and 1x Daddy’s Home 2 being the popular pick.

Nobody in the Meta League managed to get the perfect pick for the week, which was Coco, Justice League, Thor and five screens of The Star, a selection worth $67,923,421 with bonuses.

Winter Week Two Perfect Pick

The overall Meta League scores now stands at:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $126,943,037
  2. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $126,279,603
  3. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $122,497,828
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $116,948,242
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $116,204,308
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $116,072,271
  7. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $113,617,417
  8. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $112,987,735
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $112,346,878
  10. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $108,292,211
  11. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $108,020,111
  12. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $106,734,223
  13. Movies Movies Movies (T) – $105,660,503
  14. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $103,838,553
  15. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $103,176,281
  16. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $102,755,384
  17. Kraut Screens (T) – $101,314,991
  18. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $100,173,896
  19. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $96,556,288

SynCaine is holding his own as a solid second place as first place changes hands with Logan dropping to third and Ben popping up into first.  Meanwhile I am way down the line in 15th position and in need of a strong week to catch up.

And so ends week two, leading into the first big week of the season with the opening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  The selections for week three are:

Star Wars - Friday           $823
Star Wars - Saturday         $501
Star Wars - Sunday           $422
Ferdinand                    $157
Coco                         $90
Wonder                       $40
Justice League               $35
The Disaster Artist          $45
Thor: Ragnarok               $25
Daddy's Home 2               $25
Murder on the Orient Express $21
Lady Bird                    $19
The Shape of Water           $18
The Star                     $17
Three Billboards             $14

Naturally enough Star Wars, divided into three days, dominates the list.  Also new to the selections is Ferdinand, while four titles dropped off; Roman J. Israel, Esq, Darkest Hour, Bad Moms Christmas, and the dismal Just Getting Started.

In addition to the usual issue of exactly which day of Star Wars will be optimal… you can have Friday, or you can have Saturday and Sunday, or a pair of Sundays… there is the wildcard that is Ferdinand this week.

Last week Box Office Pro was estimating $25 million for its opening three day weekend.  Priced at a mere $157 for the week, six screens of Ferdinand could be a very viable alternative to Star Wars… if it gets close to that estimate… and if Star Wars does not exceed its estimates on any of the three days.

On the other hand, if Ferdinand drops south of $20 million, Star Wars is the only viable anchor unless there is a considerable disturbance in the force.  You just have to pick your day or days.

My Monday at 5pm first run gut pick was two screens of Star Wars on Sunday and six screens of Thor to fill in the rest, but even now I doubt I will stick with that.  Saturday and Sunday seems like a better plan now… we shall see.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

EverQuest Launches the Ring of Scale Expansion

Another moment to note, today Daybreak launched the 24th EverQuest expansion, Ring of Scale.

Does it scale?

The Ring of Scale expansion sends players back to Kunark… again… and into new versions of some familiar zones to assist the Combine in their conflict with the Sarnak, dragons, and whoever is living in Veeshan’s Peak these days.

The expansion lists out the following items:

  • Level Cap Raised to 110 – 5 more levels
  • 6 New Zones
    • The Overthere (RoS version) – Hub zone, connects you to other expansion zones
    • Charasis (RoS version)
    • Gorowyn
    • Sathir’s Tomb
    • Skyfire Mountains (RoS version)
    • Veeshan’s Peak (RoS version)
  • New Raids, Quests, and Missions
  • New Spells, Combat Abilities, and Alternate Advancement traits
  • New Collections

Further details are available at Fanra’s EverQuest Wiki., the Allakhazam Wiki, as well as in today’s update notes in the EQ forums.

As usual, the expansion is available at three different price points, the two more expensive coming with their own piles of fluff.

Re-used image from The Broken Mirror expansion because the prices remain the same

With the base package you get the expansion content, plus access to all previous expansion content should you be behind on that.

The Collectors Edition adds in the following:

  • Gorowyn Express Beacon – teleport item
  • Contract of the Skorpikis – redeemable for a special NPC mercenary
  • Claimable once per account:
    • Ring of Scale Painting – House item
    • Experience Potion* – 25% exp boost for 8 hours
    • Howling Stones Bag* – 40 slot bag
    • Devourer Familiar* – pet
    • Fierce Cockatrice Mount – mount with stat buffs
    • Guise of the Iron-Toothed Earthdigger* – illusion

And for the full $140 Premium edition you can add the following to the above:

  • Shared Experience Potion* – 25% exp boost for your group for 8 hours
  • Bridle of the Balefire Wyvern – mount with an even bigger stats buff
  • Rhino-Riding Herald Telcha Familiar* – pet

Items marked with an asterisk are available to be redeemed on progression servers.

And, of course, if you’re a Daybreak All Access subscriber you get to take 10% off the prices listed.  Even with that discount there doesn’t seem to be enough fluff to begin to tempt me at those rates.

While I won’t be jumping back into old Norrath, I did stop and watch the trailer for the expansion.  Things still look very EverQuest-y in Norrath, if you know what I mean.

Next year, expansion 25.

VNI Fleet Flies in Fade Again

A third op for what seemed to be a comedy doctrine, a wry “coming to kill you in ratting ships” statement to the sov holders in the north, seemed a bit odd to me.  And this was made all the more strange as Asher is not one to nail his colors to a set doctrine, especially one that doesn’t have enough cargo space for a mobile depot, a full set of module refits, and a drag bubble. (A concept represented here in meme form)

I suppose a cargo hold full of extra drones might count as refits.  Maybe.

But there we were last night, undocking in our VNIs, loaded with drones, and off to fight over timer on another one of the citadels that had been scattered about the north for just such a purpose.  We keep this up and people will start copying this doctrine soon.

Resupplied with drones, drugs, and fresh hulls for those who lost theirs the night before, we undocked and got on a titan, pilots from TNT increasing our numbers, to wait for our bridge into the fight.

The same scene over and over

We were jumping back into DW-T2I, where we had successfully defended a timer previously, slicing up a Pandemic Horde Tempest fleet without any losses on our side.

Of course, that time PH fought the battle themselves and the odds… at least in the number of ships, leaving aside we were in cruisers and they were in battleships… were as close to even as makes no difference.

This time we jumped into DW-T2I to find that PH had called up their local friends, the effectively blue neutrals (bluetrals), to ensure things went their way.  The numbers were stacked heavily against our VNI fleet when we arrived and tethered up on one of our citadels in the system.  There were an array of fleets from PH, Guardians of the Galaxy Coalition, and Mordus Angels in the system, ranging from destroyers to capitals.  The directional scan from Moomin did not look good for us.

As Asher assessed the situation for us on coms it sounded like we were just going to give it a pass and go home.  Then the timer for the Astrahus came out and the gunner, Gennel, who had successfully made the hostiles pay for getting to close to his weapons in the past, started pasting hostile force auxiliaries that had nonchalantly gone into triage mode within his reach, with an Apostle exploding almost immediately.

Taking out the support that the capitals had brought with them and scaring them off the Astrahus grid seemed to change the situation for Asher and we were called to align then warped to the now besieged citadel.  We were safely tethered there when he called for us to anchor on him with propulsion modules on.  We launched drones, unthethered, and began hitting Tempest Fleet Issue fleet that GotG had brought.

VNIs on the move, drones out

A quick dozen targets were taken out and we were feeling pretty good about things.  Our speed and low signature kept us reasonably safe while our drones chopped up one target after another.

A Tempest Fleet Issue getting hit by drones

A bombing run caught us at one point, but did not hit us full on, so we kept going.  We were still clearly going to lose the Astrahus, but we seemed on the path towards extracting greater value in ISK from the enemy in faction battleships and force auxiliaries.

The hostiles were not done escalating however and we soon saw titans with a large group of force auxiliaries in support drop on grid with us.

Supers dropping as we align out

Asher aligned us off to a safe to let our weapons timers run down, then put us on a citadel, our drones left behind as we exited the scene.  Titans were definitely not within the realm of possibility for us, and certainly not ones that might be mounting any of the fun new anti-subcap doomsday weapons.

The update to the overview, titans and faxes

Asher had us dock up and reload our drone bays to replace any lost or left behind drones while the titans hit the Astrahus.

Targets too big for us

That is, of course, the problem with running into somebody elses’ home turf.  They have the opportunity to drop anything they have to hand on your, including supers.  We had that issue during the operations in Hakonen back during the summer.

Asher had us align back and we landed on the soon-to-be-destroyed Astrahus, tethered again, and anchored up for another run at targets of opportunity.  We had to warp out almost immediately, causing some of us to lose drones (I was lucky to get 4 out of 5 back).  We landed, aligned back, and gave it another try.  With drones launched again we were able to knock out another half-dozen GotG TFIs and got to see the Astrahus gunner pick off an fax in the midst of the titan ball.

Boom, another cap down

All that would have been well and good, but along the way a Hurricane fleet that had come all the way up from Delve to join us in the fight arrived and basically fed the enemy 70 kills, including some very expensive implant pods.  That slave set didn’t really help.

Local was actually up beyond 700 people at its peak and time dilation kicked in, dipping to under 20% speed at times.  But by that point the fight had passed its crescendo for us.  We ended up warping to safes, leaving behind more drones, then docking up in one of our remaining citadels as the titans finished their work.

Titans still hanging about in space

We waited a bit for things to settle down, then took gates home, unmolested by any of the defending forces who were still about.

Our little fleet did fairly well.  We lost less that 20 ships, including support, and inflicted some damage on the Tempest Fleet Issues on grid.  However, in the final accounting of the battle over at zKillboard, all of the usual measures went against us.  We lost the objective, with the defended Astrahus, plus two citadels coming online, all destroyed. (The Astrahus only had supers on its kill mail.)  And the ISK war went badly for us once you count in the destroyed Hurricane fleet which totaled up to nearly 6 billion ISK in ships and a further six billion ISK in pods. Okay, not every expensive pod was in their fleet, but they own the lion’s share of that loss.)

And yet it still felt like a win to us.  Our little fleet, about 100 ships all told, heavily outnumbered, and with no chance of changing the eventual outcome, sailed into harms way and gave better than it took.  Sometimes a desperate fight you know you’re going to lose is more fun than the objective outcome would make it.

Anyway, time to restock drones in my drone bay in case the VNIs fly again.

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Citadel Fight in Saranen

It has been a while since I’ve been through Saranen, once our staging before the retreat to Delve after the Casino War.

The Quafe Company Warehouse that was our home in Saranen

The low sec system remains, however, a fine place to drop citadels in order to annoy those who live in our old space.  So there were a couple in there, placed as part of our “plant a citadel and watch fights grow!” campaign in the north, including one dropped by my own alliance, TNT.

That citadel, and Astrahus, was coming out of its final timer last night and Reavers were set to team up with TNT to bring out the Vexor Navy Issue fleet again to see if we could save the structure.

We loaded up on drones and undocked our VNIs well in advance of the timer.

VNIs leaving the station

Getting to a fight can be a “hurry up and wait” situation.  We had drones loadouts setup and were in space for a while, but then had to wait around for a bit for our ride.

VNIs hanging about waiting

We weren’t there too long before our ride showed up and sent us on our way.  We were traveling in style, and avoiding any interdiction effort in between, via a titan bridge.

This seems so old school now, a bridge out of a POS

After that we settled into the citadel in Saranen and waited for the timer to run down so the fight could begin.  Looking out the “window” of the Astrahus we could see the hostiles beginning to form, with a Tempest fleet, complete with an Apostle force auxiliary to support them, showing up off the undock.

There they are

As the time got close we undocked as well and got ready for the fight.

VNIs tethered off the undock

Once the time arrive the hostiles opened up and paused the timer.  Local showed a lot of hostiles.  We were able to start off against the Tempest fleet with heavy drones initially.

Timer paused just a few seconds in

We were able to pick off a Guardian right off the bat, but their Apostle pilot then got on the ball and foes started catching reps pretty quickly as they got targeted.  Meanwhile a support fleet of Algos cruisers showed up.

An Algos alive on grid… temporarily…

We pulled the heavy drones back in and sent light drones out after the new arrivals.  We kept up after them and were popping them pretty rapidly, but that wasn’t saving the citadel, that was just swatting away an annoyance while the Tempest fleet worked away unhampered by us.

A Confessor fleet showed up as well, but moved in and out of the limit of our drone range, so did not suffer the way the Algos fleet did.

Asher warped us off and then back to the citadel to dock up and swap drones.  We dumped the heavy drones and replaced them with sentry drones.  We then undocked again and, staying tethered, ran a circle around the citadel to spread out the sentry drones before locking up hostiles and firing on the Tempest fleet.

Around the Astrahus

That worked well initially and we dropped a couple of Tempests with sentry salvos, but the Apostle reps began to catch up while the support fleets closed with us again.  We abandoned our sentry drones and launched light drones again to combat the smaller stuff closing in with us.

A Loki fleet from Snuffed Out and Pen Is Out showed up to help, but their numbers did not add much to our side.  Our own logi support had been stripped away by that point and Asher’s FC ship had succumbed to enemy fire.  It was time to align out.

Somebody blew up as we aligned

I did get one last kill mail as we headed off.  A Machariel loomed through our drones, smart bombing to clear out our drones.  I put my light drones on him as we aligned and scored a few hits.  We warped off to another citadel in system… because of course we have more than one, so more fights are coming… where we repaired and listened to the gunner on the Astrahus call his kills as he fought the station to the last second.  Among his final victims was the Machariel, a nice expensive faction battleship kill.

Once Asher secured a ship we parted ways with the TNT fleet and headed back to our own staging.  We lost the Astrahus and the ISK war (as the as yet incomplete battle report shows), though the hostiles had to bring more than double our numbers to take it from us.  To numbers go the victory more often than not, something that has worked for us often in the past.  But we still have more citadels scattered about the area and the locals have to come fight us for each one, so more battles await.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Flying Unlocked in Legion

That actually went more smoothly/quickly than I thought it would.

When I came back to WoW in late October I was wandering around in search of a goal to get me back into the game and, naturally enough, flying was my choice.  I still had to unlock world quests, do the Suramar quest chains, and get myself revered with a series of factions.  But that seems like a decent mid-to-longer term goal.

A side goal in the whole thing was not to burn myself out on the game in trying to unlock flying as soon as possible.  I could have gone after world quests in a big way, running them down constantly, and have gotten tired of the whole affair pretty quickly.

Instead I mostly just rolled with the emissary quests, the daily set of world quests for a specified faction.  You do four of them and you get a nice bonus boost of faction.  I would do those, then move on to something else, like pet battles or working on an alt.

Soon enough I had a few factions at revered, and most of the rest close.  The exception was The Wardens, which seemed to be lagging behind.  They were only just honored when I had another faction already at revered.  So I made a point of hitting a world quest or two for them every day as well.

I also used the anniversary event to boost my faction yield.  Likewise, with Darkmoon Faire up this past week I made sure to ride the merry-go-round for the one hour faction/exp gain boost before I went off to do my quests.

Riding for a faction boost!

By Friday I had the Legionfall Commander achievement wrapped up, having done enough on the Broken Shore for that and the exploration achievement.

That meant the Broken Isles Pathfinder Part Two achievement was set, save for the fact that you need Part One as well.

It was then just The Wardens left, about 2,000 faction points shy of revered.  So I decided to binge a bit, sprint to the finish, using the last day of Darkmoon Faire to boost me a bit.  That got me close, a couple hundred shy of my goal. I would have kept going, but world quests for The Wardens dried up for me.

This morning however, there were two waiting for me.  I flew off and did one that left me just 45 points shy.  The second one was in an awkward corner of Suramar, and as I was planning how to best ride out there I realized that I had my daily Vanguard of the Silver Hand token to pick up.

Get One World Quest Free!

That lets you send out an NPC squad to run one non-elite world quest every 18 hours, which is effectively daily.  I headed back to the Paladin order hall, picked that up, stood over in a likely spot for a screen shot, and sent them on their way to pick up that final run for The Wardens.

The moment

It was actually a bit too dark where I stood.  My shoulders do stand out though!  That gave me a short cascade of achievements.

The Achievements of the Day

Now I wondered if I had to do anything else.  So I went back out into Dalaran to see if I could simply fly at that point.  Sure enough, off I went into the skies of the Broken Isles.

First Flight in Legion

And of course, that also means that flying is unlocked in WoW Legion for all of my characters.  I have been working my hunter up to 110 as one of my side tasks.  Now he will be able to fly to his quests as well.

Tistann over the Broken Shore zone

Now I have to figure out what to do next.  I will carry on with pet battles and alts.  I have Argus still to finish up. (And no flying there!)  And then I have to see if it is worth getting exalted with any of these factions.  At revered they all seem to have a battle pet for sale, and I like that, but I haven’t explored what exalted might get me.  Mounts?  Are there mounts?

Anyway, I’ve walked my last mandated mile in the main part of the expansion.  Now to fly free where I can, collect those remaining hidden treasures, and probably haul my daughter around to help her get flying unlocked as well.