To Valhalla and BeyondMelos Exelion
Do not become addicted to Goons.
On 21 May, the forces of Pandemic Horde, Spaceship Samurai and Brave Collective retook the last Goonswarm Federation systems in Fade, bringing an early end to the Imperium’s (first?) Reconquista. Imperium activity across Fade declined sharply as the fighting moved into their staging system of Saranen. The Boat Swordfleets that had been a fixture around O1Y for several weeks petered out, most of the “Stunt doubles” in their Asteros moved off, White Legion announced their departure to eastern locales, and Horde’s pilots settled down to do some ratting.
To keep a balance between PvE ratting and PvP defense fleets, Horde’s tax rate for NPC pirate bounties has been raised from 5% to 10%. At the end of the month pilots earn points based on their participation in PvP, calculated based on a system that weights time spent, solo and group activity, and kills. Based on the number of points earned, and the amount of taxes collected, the pilots of Horde are then awarded a currency called “Gobloons.” These Gobloons can be converted into ISK at a rate of one Gobloon for one million ISK, although a pilot needs to have at least 100 Gobloons to cash out. This system is still in its early days, but has been met with a lot of excitement, with the first payout of Gobloons coming at the end of May, and some pilots trending to earn one billion ISK or more in Gobloons for the month of June.
But even with increased rewards for PvP in Fade, some Hordelings were already getting restless, only partially alleviated by the occasional fights in Saranen. It was in this atmosphere that a friend of mine, Zelphinine, who had followed me into Horde and then moved on to our close allies in Spaceship Samurai, insisted that I come with him on a Caldari themed carrier roam that HONOR had scheduled for 4 June. It sounded insane, so I said yes.
Shiny and Chrome
I logged in a few hours before the roam was scheduled, got my daily opportunities rat kill, then mucked around with the O1Y standing fleet, chatting with the financial backer of World War Bee, Lenny Kravitz2. He showed up on Horde fleet comms for a few minutes to answer questions about the war and his future master plans as EVE’s foremost war financier (mostly related to helping protect charity citadels in highsec, with no declared intent to finance the conquest of the rest of EVE).
We were briefly interrupted by a small but well-handled group of about ten GSF Svipuls and force recon ships who killed my Merlin Gargamel along with half a dozen other members of the O1Y home guard, before rampaging around our ratting constellation for a few minutes. I reshipped into my Caracal Mabus as we flash formed a somewhat excessive response fleet of over a hundred, killed their Falcon, and blobbed them out of our space.
The carrier roam fleet then formed, aptly named “CARRIER HAS ARRIVED,” and fleet numbers climbed to over 170. In keeping with the Caldari theme, I initially hopped in my Ferox battlecruiser, Adamite. My Ferox had mostly been used in POS bashes, and aside from a near miss with a Goon bomber fleet and participating in the dunking of a hideously outgunned “Ghost Fleet” Caracal force back in April, it hadn’t seen much action. With Horde putting the Ferox doctrine on the shelf, it seemed as good a time as any for Adamite to go out with a bang.
For the purists among us, the Caldari theme was a little diluted by the capitals. The core of our carrier fleet comprised three Thanatos, a Nidhoggur, an Archon, and only two Caldari Chimeras among our seven carriers. We also had an Interbus Moros dreadnought along for the ride, looking a bit like a mutant bumblebee with its black and yellow paint job. Caldari supremacy was stronger in our subcaps, and while our battleships were a grab bag of Ravens, Typhoons and a Magathron, the rest were a healthy kitchen sink list of Drakes, Ferox, Caracals, Jackdaws, Moas, Ospreys, Cormorants, and Merlins.
our odds of survival on this roam were zero
Taking advantage of our neutral standings with CO2 and TEST, our destination was set 27 jumps away, to TEST’s new capital of TVN-FM in Vale of the Silent, with the intent to attack all we encountered. Fleet commander Securitas Protector from HONOR made it clear that our odds of survival on this roam were zero. A Goon Svipul, who had the bad luck to be heading in the same direction as us, overtook our fleet on the DW-2TI gate in P-33KR. There was a brief panic as for a moment it seemed that we might not have any ‘dictors in fleet, but Cor Pulm in his Onyx came through for us, bubbling the gate, and the Svipul became our first (and as it turned out, only) hostile red kill of the roam. If ProGodLegend was waiting for us in TVN, we did not expect him to be impressed.
Unfortunately, four jumps out of O1Y I realized I’d forgotten to switch clones. Willing to commit Ferox insurance fraud, but less willing to lose a blinged out learning clone, I doubled back to the Pillow Fortizar, and clone jumped into a blank slate. Although my jump timer was still counting down after a trip back from Saranen the previous night, Citadels have a nifty function where you can jump from clone to clone within the same citadel without dealing with the jump timer. Worried about catching up to the fleet I reshipped into the Merlin Shazam. I should not have been concerned. With the fleet warping at capital speeds, I caught up to them just as they entered Tribute.
We Are Awaited
We moved across Tribute a bit like a lopsided slinky, with a small group of the tackle and cruisers warping ahead to the out gate to grab any unwary neutrals, and then the ponderous bulk of the main fleet lumbering across the system at capital speeds while we sat impatiently, waiting for their arrival.
Betrayed by our own leadership, and expecting a CO2 hotdrop at any moment, we plowed on towards TVN
We managed to kill a handful of surprised Circle of Two neutrals as we rumbled through their space. Apparently our capship heavy fleet composition caused some confusion in CO2 about whether we were a WWB related strategic operation or not. Not actually present on the roam, horde CEO Gobbins helpfully cleared up the misunderstanding, reportedly telling a confused gigX that he was welcome to “Kill them all.” Betrayed by our own leadership, and expecting a CO2 hotdrop at any moment, we plowed on towards TVN, with an ongoing and lively discussion of alternatives. Zelphinine helpfully suggested that if TEST wasn’t around we could become a rolling diplomatic incident, and continue on into the DRF. TEST’s response luckily saved the MBC from such shenanigans.
On the TEST side of things, apparently they were unaware of our approach until we were just four jumps out from TVN. l2azor Clear rage pinged for a fleet of Maelstrom battleships, and was waiting for us on the AZBR-2 gate of TVN with over 150 pilots as our scouts arrived. As the forward elements of our fleet landed on the TVN gate in AZB, the TEST fleet jumped into AZB. I was on the gate in my Merlin, and hastily made tracks as TEST began popping interdiction bubbles and engaging our small leading element, killing a Ferox, a Caracal, a Moa and a Merlin.
By the time the bubbles were up however, our main fleet was already in warp to the gate, and as some of TEST were aggressed, Securitas Protector ordered the fleet to crash the gate and jump through to TVN. The TEST forces burned back to the gate and began jumping after them as their timers ran down. I hovered 200km off the gate until the bubbles dropped, then jumped through after the last of the TEST battleships, while a scattering of Horde Merlins and TEST interceptors continued to dogfight on the AZB side. The fight in TVN was already in full swing, with the Horde and HONOR fleet taking down Maelstroms almost as quickly as the FC could call them. With bubbles everywhere and no job for a tackle Merlin to do, I set about whoring on as many battleship killmails as possible, while admiring the scenic ultraviolence.
During the move across Tribute we’d had a couple of disconnects, and the FC had kept the fleet open to allow them to rejoin, however tricksy TEST spies apparently also joined our fleet and began following our target broadcasts to give their logi an edge. Even so, the firepower of our fleet was telling, with Maelstroms continuing to melt left and right. For a few minutes it seemed we were winning, and then TEST logi began to stiffen, and half a dozen TEST Wyvern supercarriers arrived and began to shred our capitals.
With our last carrier burning, I engaged in an indecisive dogfight with a TEST Raptor before losing him in the chaos of pods and wrecks. As a fleet of over 60 Omen Navy Issue cruisers from CO2 landed to get a little revenge after our rampage through Tribute, Shazam was targeted by a wing of Svipuls and blown to bits. The tide had well and truly turned, and within a few more minutes our last cruisers and frigates were destroyed. With “gf’s” clogging chat, TEST began to clear the battlefield and send the many capsuleers bobbing around in their pods off to Valhalla and back to O1Y.
Jack Viciate was one of several who took video of the battle:
As expected, the carrier roam led to the destruction of our entire fleet. Although we managed to make a fight of it before the supercarriers arrived, picking a fight in TEST’s staging system and antagonizing CO2 on the way there made the end inevitable. We lost some 30 billion ISK in ships for about eight billion in return. That TEST could rage ping an organized fleet of Maelstroms to fight us on such short notice was quite impressive. Securitas Protector and the HONOR and Horde capship pilots who made our roaming suicide fleet something special also deserve a lot of credit. The fight was hugely enjoyable for both sides, with TEST making promises to return the favour at some future date.
Outside of the temporary requirements of major operations, Horde remains neutral to most of its MBC neighbours and skirmishes with them on a regular basis. Were Horde to remain at peace with all around it save the Imperium, its stay in the north would be dependent on the Goons providing content. Scoring “good fights” with other MBC alliances can be seen as part of Horde’s commitment to maintain a sustainable PvP experience and remain in north for the long term.
Bring on the northern thunderdome.
Image credits: Taira Penshar, Credit Raylan Kai, Makin Copies