This article is a continuation in my Journey Through Eve series. I made posts every 3 months or so that were Imgur galleries and linked to on Reddit. After my most recent edition, I was contacted by INN and asked to write for them, which I excitedly accepted. They were eager for me to post my next edition, and though a lot has happened (including a few weeks as a hurricane evacuee) I’m finally ready to get this out there!
I want to remind you, reader, that I am independent of the major power blocs. I am not with the Imperium – but I have substantial respect for their news program. Critique it how you may – biases or no, but there are very dedicated and talented minds behind the program. I’m thrilled to be writing for them, and I hope that the change of venue for those who have followed the tales of my adventure in the past will not dissuade you from hearing them again.
That said, I’ve redone this article more times than I can count. Opsec, sudden changes, moves, new ships, these past few months have been full of events. This article is somehow more or less on time, but so much has happened that I can’t begin to talk about all of it. I’m going to do a somewhat different take on it this time and cover the main events.
When I last wrote, this is where I was.
Though this has been quite the crazy adventure, I suppose it isn’t quite the Solo journey anymore. While I ultimately remain largely independent from the power blocs in New Eden, I’m not alone in my corp anymore. I have a few friends that have joined my corporation and with whom I spend quite a bit of time with now. They’re pretty great people and I owe them a great many thanks. There still aren’t that many of us, and the journey honestly feels pretty much the same – despite some differences in scale.
Fair warning that not everything is in perfect chronological order.
This is where I left off last time:
A Quick Aside
My apologies to those who have read my pieces before and find this bit repetitive. It’s very important to me and really does need to be said.
Though impossible to enforce, I ask for two things when I write these articles.
- That nobody seek my identity.
- That nobody use anything I post here against me.
I do filter out some things for security purposes, but anyone who really put their mind to it could figure out a lot of things about me and what I’m doing. This article series runs on an honor system, and I rely on you to be good people.
I love writing these, but abusing it is both hurtful and encourages people to generally not do this sort of thing. The unscrupulous aspects of Eve should stop at the game’s edge. Recent events have shown this to be true now more than ever.
Please be nice!
So with that out of the way, let’s cover the major points of note.
One Small Step for Rorqual
Though the window to go mining in a ship of this size is fairly small and often terrifying, my friend and I began to take to the belts with great enthusiasm and vigor. When I can’t use the Rorqual to boost, I usually take a Porpoise. We can have quite a few barges pulling in goods, and the bonus is significant. I took the time out to train up a Mining Foreman Mindlink, which has dramatically improved our yields. We suddenly found ourselves in a very profitable situation which has since allowed us to become capable of sizable expenditures.
The bubbles you see were a defensive system we set up to protect the Rorqual. I shouldn’t talk about all of it, but the idea was to have an early warning system combined with stalling effects and defensive ships. Everything was in place to buy time and make sure the Rorqual could escape as soon as a threat was confirmed to be incoming. Every second mattered with a 5 minute cycle time on the Industrial Core.
While we did this, we had to use a POS to store the Rorqual. This was pretty harrowing, as it was a constant beacon to visitors telling them that we had such a target. When it needed to be stored longer term, I would cyno it to a nearby station and hide it away. It did the job and gave me the ability to swap ships around with relative safety. But as our wallets grew and opportunities arose, a new plan became available – something I would have never imagined.
One Giant Structure for My Corp
With my bulked up wallet, I took the plunge and anchored a Fortizar! Through an agreement with the major power blocs in the area, I was able to secure a system for myself and set up shop. In the past, my friend and I had largely thought of anchoring such a thing as purely a joke, something that would never happen. And yet there it was, going up right in front of us. The anchoring cycle completed without a hitch and we went to work fitting up the rest of the system for industry.
This was an incredible milestone for me. I can’t even begin to express my excitement and gratitude for the people who helped make it happen. Every time I log in and see it, there’s still just a slight moment of disbelief that it’s actually there.
Jita Jumping Jacks
After some time running my Jump Freighter to and from Jita, I had found that now that I was in a new region, I was having trouble acquiring fuel for it. Being able to mine the isotopes myself was the primary reason I had bought a Rhea in the past. Now that I was elsewhere, I needed a different Jump Freighter. An intense grind began to gain the isk necessary to buy a new one, as despite being told I should just trade in my Rhea, I refused to part with it. It had garnered something of a sentimental value, which I just couldn’t give up. Plus if I’d ever get a new toon capable of using JFs, it wouldn’t be bad to have two…
After a few weeks of heavy isk acquisition (and a lot of conservative spending), I found myself heading up to buy my new Nomad. A couple of jumps later and I was back in business! It’s been rough making sure I have enough ice to refine now that there are so many other industrial projects at work, but it’s become vastly easier to make my trips. Some extra training into jump fuel reduction along with the purchase of some Jump Drive Economizers has made my trips back and forth take less than a fuel bay’s worth. By comparison to the Rhea taking nearly 150k isotopes to run back and forth, the difference is startling.
On the first day in my new setup, I went out scouting the belts for the best clusters of ore to mine. I had a lot of things to catalog in preparation for future industrial work. But as I travelled to the very first belt to check, a pirate cartel decided that I was not welcome and sent one of their strongest vessels straight in my direction! For a moment I stood in terror, and then frantically began my escape. Once safely out of its reach, I began plotting my revenge. This was my home now, and interlopers would meet the barrel of my guns.
Fortunately for me, revenge is easy when you have a Fortizar which holds your own dreadnought. A quick reship and a fleet warp-in later and I was sieged right on top of the bastard. After trading blows for a few minutes, the tank of the pirate dread finally succumbed and the armor and structure quickly gave way to the resounding thuds of antimatter impacts. A crisp bounty payment and loot-filled wreck were but the icing on the cake from the thrill of an epic brawl. NPC or not, these things are awesome to see and even more so to engage. Only once since has one dared to show its face in my home, and it met the same fate. That said, I eagerly await the next one that tries!
The Hydrogen Pipeline
With an abundance of ice, a relatively well-defended system, a safe place to park my Rorqual, and a line of potential buyers waiting, I turned my attention to building huge quantities of fuel. My in-corp friend and I worked out an agreement on how to best split the industrial load, as the requirements for both ice and PI had become too much for either one of us to do alone in the amounts we were getting ready to make. After some work, we were churning out nearly 100,000 fuel blocks a week and making a sizable revenue. Things were looking up!
We took the fuel and some ships and cleared a few moons to try out POS collecting on. The attempts met with varied success. Much of our jokingly named ‘moon empire’ remains intact, but various unfriendly parties have made maintenance difficult. Unfortunately, it seemed that I had begun my adventure into the game at the wrong time to try this, as the final release date for the moon mining changes was announced shortly after we began collecting goo in earnest.
Actually, I Did Start the Fire
I had been in the good graces of the power bloc that allowed my residence for a while at this point and had slowly been working my way into participating in some of their operations. I had frequently offered my services – an extra Sabre, fleet ship, or dread pilot is never unwelcome. The group of mention had been on a campaign attacking high-value targets nearby, and I found myself participating more and more alongside them. More often than not, I would hop in a Sabre and do my best to hold down whatever I could. At first, I died quite a lot – but after a sizable chunk of experience and practice, I was able to tackle far more effectively.
My past experiences with such operations in larger alliances had mostly been fleets that travelled 20+ jumps to attack something negligible like an Astrahus shield timer or a POS reinforcement timer. Such attacks were almost never followed up on. This sort of experience – along with others, had resulted in my departure and my eventual solo journey in the first place. However, I now was much more invested – when they were optional to me and had tangible results, I found myself increasingly motivated to participate. The independence was incredibly liberating.
After numerous campaigns across the area, my skill queue had suddenly become much more combat oriented. It was a welcome change, though assuredly an unexpected one. Additional Sabre practice would come from solo gatecamping – often explorers who wandered into the wrong system at the wrong time. T1/T2 Covert Ops Explorers, Asteros, and random roaming frigates alike fell prey to a simple desire to practice.
Nyx Tackled! Supercapital to Frag!
One of the new experiences I got to have while participating in combat ops was seeing the occasional ping for a tackled enemy high-tonnage target. Though there were many times where I was unable to add my name to the kill, finally my luck changed as I was sitting in my home system in a blops simply admiring the ship. A call went out over discord – a Nyx was bubbled nearby, all ships were to immediately report to main ops! I leapt into action, undocking my Widow and jumping straight to the awaiting cyno. My heart raced. I had never been on a supercapital kill before.
I burned in as quickly as I could, locking up everything I could find on grid. Fighters needed to be jammed, our dreads were taking fire and we were low on interdictors. For a moment, the only thing holding down the Nyx was a Rorqual filled to the brim with Heavy Scramblers. I went to work burning away and back, bumping the Nyx from its alignment. My capacitor screamed for quarter as microwarpdrive and ECM cycles drove it into depletion over and over again. Finally, a new wave of interdictors arrived and kept the Nyx bubbled long enough for the dreads to chip away its last plates of armor. After that, the structure fell to pieces in no time, and the killing blow was struck.
While I didn’t really do as much as I would have liked on a contributory level, I still felt like I had participated in something special. That one ship had been worth as much as I had to my name at the time! I can’t imagine making such an investment – but then again, I couldn’t imagine owning a Fortizar, so who knows what the future holds?
War Wages On
Some of the campaign missions ended up being quite sizable. Over the course of the fighting, we had taken out dozens of Astrahuses, a Fortizar, and even destroyed four citadels across four separate systems in one hour. The latter of which had been one of the more well-executed gaming ops I had ever seen. Forces were expertly managed, and it was really awesome to hear the gears turning and see the results firsthand. Previous experience in ops – especially in past alliances – had often left me in the dark, but being able to peer behind the scenes for just a moment was one of the highlights of Eve for me.
The picture above is of another op we had where we took down four Raitarus – on the same grid – in one attack!
Bigger Ships, Bigger Explosions
During a roaming fleet op, a tackled Rorqual brought in enough backup against a blops drop to send out a belated ping for dreads. As we made our way to the site through a midpoint, a call went out that a cyno had been lit on grid. A few seconds later, comms went frantic with the screams of “Hel! Hel!”. My heart quickened as the potential for a massive value kill suddenly became a real possibility. I’d been on super kills before, but usually just as a Sabre tackle that died after a few seconds or a blops of my own that provided very little to the actual kill. This was my first chance to dreadbomb in with the gang and be a serious contributing force.
As reactivation timers ran out, our dreads poured into the system and began setting their guns into their formidable siege modes. Primary was changed to a Lif that was providing health for the defending vessels, and with our intense firepower the ship was brought to its knees in mere moments. Our attention turned to a Moros that was threatening our fleet, and like the Lif before, a surge of incoming fire quickly took it down. With several of its support vessels a smouldering ruin, the Hel knew they were next. Fierce incoming fire quickly proved them right, and my first truly earned supercap kill came to be. The rest of the backup was melted in short order afterwards.
However, as the fight died down and ships began to extract, I found myself with a problem. I had ran a Jump Freighter logistical trip earlier in the day and had accumulated some extra fatigue prior to the jump to the midpoint. As a result, my jump into the target system had left me with nearly an entire day of Jump Fatigue and numerous hours on reactivation alone. I suddenly realized I was about to be stranded, deep in hostile territory. A nearby capital ship graciously provided a cloak to refit to, and I warped off to make a safe while I waited out my exhaustion. A safelog and good night’s sleep later and I began the trek home. While being stranded was harrowing, I took comfort in the kindness of my comrades. My dreadnought remains intact to this day – though, with all dreads, that can change very fast!
Soloing a Citadel, Part 2!
A long time ago, in a region far far away, an abandoned citadel was taken down by one player with far too many hours dedicated to a kill. This time, it would not be so lengthy. A Raitaru had been anchored close by under my nose, and such a transgression could not be ignored. Tracking the vulnerability of the structure and a careful in-depth analysis of the structure revealed that it was defenseless – even if defenders arrived to man the guns, there would be no guns to man. To add to the good fortune, the vulnerability window sat squarely in my prime time zone. Surprise presences would be far less likely and I could tear away at the structure with relative impunity.
As the structure exited its shield timer, my friend and I bore down on it with subcapital vessels. While it would take longer, it would grant us an easier escape route should unexpected defenses close in. The Raitaru’s shield was ripped off without a hitch, and the armor soon followed. With no sign of the structure’s owners coming to investigate, I made the decision to drop my dreadnought in for the final timer. No other friends could attend this time – I would be on my own – while evacuated from a hurricane in a hotel, no less. The internet itself had the ability prevent my success this time.
With scouts posted across the region and nearby systems, I began trekking my dreadnought towards the structure. As the final invulnerability phase came to a close, I entered siege and blasted away. Four siege cycles later, the Raitaru’s integrity suffered a catastrophic failure and the entire structure flew apart in a luminous ball of fire. Careful planning and execution had resulted in a flawless success.
Unfortunately, aside from bragging rights, the structure yielded very little. Citadels do not drop nearly enough salvage to motivate attacking for pure monetary gain. I remain a firm advocate of increasing the salvage value considerably – though my opinion perhaps may not be in the majority on such matters. But I feel it anyway!
Onwards to the Future
Thanks for reading everyone! Hopefully, you don’t mind the new format, as I both hope and plan to deliver future articles to you via INN. This has been an incredible few months – and an incredible 3300 words! If you had asked me a year ago where you thought I would be and what I would be writing, I certainly wouldn’t have said I’d be doing this. I can’t imagine what will happen in the next three months, let alone the next year to come!
Until next time, signing off.