Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Nidhoggur Down

It's a weeknight.  I've got company at the house, and have been out in the evening.  So I am late sitting down to EVE.  It's about 10:00.  I log in Von, and immediately notice that most of my corp is online.  There's nothing planned tonight.  I was half expecting to be alone.

I consider warping straight to C4b.  But skype buzzes.  It's Jayne.  He's got the guys on a call and they are excited.  I am now guessing PVP just happened.  He asks someone to get a medium transport, and since I am at the tower I do so.  While I refit it a bit for warp core stability, I get a bit of background.

Terrain.  I am at the new tower.
It seems Jayne was exploring our static wormhole, and found a corp in the process of moving.  There was a tower with just a few minutes left to online.  It had ships, but no lootable structures.  So he called in the other guys, and got busy being a horrible nuisance.  A bunch of ships were sitting there, so they killed them.  Then the owners showed up and onlined the tower, but they used a password that did not sit well with the ships.  All were ejected out of the bubble into nearby space.  So the guys continued killing them, and scooping up loot from the wrecks.

Now they are watching two towers: the now online new tower, and another tower which apparently they are moving from.  The towers are separated by 24 AU, so dscanning between them is not possible.  Perhaps we can exploit that? 

I warp to the wormhole, then cross and warp to Timmay, who is near an anchorable can near the tower.  Was it ejected?  I don't know; how else could it be out here?  Not my problem.  I am unclear on what I am doing -- apparently going to try to scoop it.  I get close, but there's no scoop menu.  And the thing is password protected.  So, nothing for me here.  Too bad.  (Can an anchored object can be ejected from a tower?)  I warp back to the wormhole, and cross, polarizing myself.  Then I warp to our tower and sit.

The enemy has a Tayra out, and a Bestower.  Then one swaps into a Nidhoggur.  We joke about trying to trap it, and wonder if we can kill such a thing.   Jayne gets the notion to try to trap any ship moving directly between the two towers with an Onyx.  I've recently skilled into them, so I jump into Amber, my Onyx.  I refit it to remove an assault missile launcher and put on a cloak.  The cloak may be handy in this sort of weird hunting situation.

Once my polarization is up, I cross the wormhole then warp to Jayne, who has warped directly tower to tower at 100km.  Then I put up my warp bubble, and align to the other tower.  This should keep me moving in a direct line, so that anyone who warps direct will be deep in my bubble when he lands.

I kind of doubt this will work, but my body thinks combat is nigh.  I got the shakes pretty hard.  We sit there and watch, and while I am waiting I log in my second account main, Otto.  Otto does not have the skills of Von but he runs a mean PVE Raven, can jam in a pinch, and he has skilled into Cheetahs for covert observation.  Right now we don't know what the enemy has, really, so I put him in a Blackbird.

Trapped Tayra
And then the guys watching the other tower say the Tayra is warping.  Which way?  They can't tell.  Argh!  Just look!  Maybe you?  Well, let's hope.

And the Tayra lands on grid with me.  He's in my bubble.  Ouch for him.  I lock him up, and open fire with assault missiles.  He can't last long: ga-blam.  Timmay is around in a stealth bomber, and gets in a volley to join the killmail.  I go to lock the pod, but Hiljah beats me to it.  OK, one pilot is hors de combat.  There seem to be just two more.  What will they do?

I figure they won't be warping direct, so I cloak.  With attention to spare, I get Otto into his Cheetah, so I can directly observe the far tower.  He warps, crosses the wormhole, and warps cloaked to the tower at 100km.  Then he jinks a bit to not be in an obvious place, and starts watching the enemy.

They sit for a bit.  Then the Nidhoggur warps!  But not directly to the new tower this time.  Rather, off towards a planet.  We wait.  What is he doing?  He's not at the new tower.  He is on scan, though.  After a minute, finally, he warps in to the new tower.  Why did he take rather a large risk to move?

A small POS gun appears.  Ah, that is why.  He wants to get some defenses up.  That's a good idea, although I don't think moving a carrier through a hostile system is a good idea.  They have a Bestower, they should use that.

We discuss it, and decide that my position in the Onyx is not that useful.  The other guy back at the old tower has either cloaked somewhere or logged off.  Hopefully assuming the latter, they don't have eyes on the their old tower.  Lightning should not strike twice, but maybe I can trap the Nidhoggur when it goes back for more parts, just like the Tayra.  They do not have POS guns at the old tower; presumably they packed them all in for the move.  So I can operate near it with impunity.

I align to our wormhole, then uncloak and warp to it.  After I warp, I realize I should have held position on grid for long enough for him to notice where I went, but oh well.  We can hope that he saw anyway and that he thinks I went home.  But I don't cross the wormhole; I warp to a bookmark Jayne has prepared 100km off their old tower, in the direction of the new.  That is, we have the exact setup I caught the Tayra in, but reversed.   I raise my bubble, and I align to the new tower.

Since I now have both my guys at the old tower, I warp over Otto to watch the Nidhoggur at the new one.

Now we sit.   Watching someone deploy POS guns is rather like watching paint dry.  After he gets out a few guns, he starts moving.  Both Jayne and I are watching him closely.  He's pointing down!  No, he's pointing up!   (I figure out which end of a Nidhoggur is the rear.)  But he is not actually going anywhere, just positioning himself a bit away from the tower.

The new tower after a carrier-load of guns.
We talk about trying to catch him.  If he warps to a celestial, which is what we think he did last time, then we think there will be time for Jayne to warp there ahead of him, then warp to the tower, and I warp to Jayne.  Anyway, this is what we will try to do.  It requires us to see where he goes, so we try to stay alert.

Fortunately, just last week I encountered a carrier when I was exploring alone.  (Not written about.  Sorry, I don't tell you everything.)  When I told Jayne about it the next day, we brainstormed a bit about how we might have killed it.  Our plan was to use an adapted form of our sleeper-killing fleet, but subtracting DPS to get a large amount of capacitor draining.  You must tap out the carrier to shut off its tank.  Then it will die.  Accordingly, we get guys in our logistics Scorpion and DPS Ravens ready, poised in our home system on our side of the wormhole.  If we manage to tackle the Nidhoggur, we'll be ready to pounce.

More waiting.  The Nidhoggur keeps deploying guns.  Evidently he does not want us to control the volume of space near his tower.  How large of a cargo does a Nidhoggur have, anyway?  If he's full, how long will this take for him to exhaust his cargo?  We start to discuss calling it a night.

Before we make a decision, though, he starts to move again.  We perk up.  Where's he aligning to?  Out into space, in the direction of no celestial.  Argh.  He warps.  He's off the grid.  And we don't know where he is.

Now we all get busy with dscan.  I can see him from the new tower.  I focus the dscan and start pointing it at celestials.  Not in the inner system.  Not at planet VII.  Not towards planet VIII.  Where is he?  A quick check at 360 degrees: he is still in range.  OK, I will find the direction as if preparing to combat-probe for him.  I narrow to 180, and start looking.  He's in that half.  But then I cannot find him at 90.  After a few attempts, I realize he may be too far.  I try 360 and he is gone.

Meanwhile the guys have been searching for him too.  We get some combat probes out, and are just starting to scan for him, when I see him on grid with my Onyx.

In fact, he's 15 km off.  I caught him!  Did he attack me?  I can't fathom he'd do such a thing.  But he is indisputably there, and he has launched Einherjis.  (What's an Einherji?  A fighter.)  After I recover from the surprise of seeing him, I set an orbit to 5 km around him and start locking him.

I call for help.  The guys are thrilled.  We have a capital!  Now, can we kill it?

The enemy sics the Einherjis on me, but this thing has a brick tank and they are not hitting it well.  It will take quite a while for it to kill me.  Meanwhile, our first wave of alts is cross the wormhole, and warping to me.

My bubble stops them.  The Nidhoggur is on the side of the bubble nearer the old tower (which is itself about 200km off).  But the guys are nearly on the opposite side from the Nidhoggur.  They lock it up and start applying damage.  But I am out of range of the Scorpion's reps.  My shields are down to 80%.

Now the battleships approach the carrier.  The carrier itself is aligned back to the tower.  And we discover that we are not gaining on it.  Can it outrun us?  Well, it is not quite, but it is only a tiny bit slower than the Scorpion, and that's the problem.  I need to stay within 15km of the Nidhoggur to keep it tackled, but the guys are about 30km back from me.  We don't have prop-mods on this fleet, since it is conceived of as fighting on a wormhole and being easily outrun by anything.  (That is perhaps a mistake.)  It's a super-slow motion chase, but the Nidhoggur can win by forcing my Onyx off grid.  And I am down to 60% shields.  It appears that I'll be forced off grid sooner than the Scorpion will get in range of me.  I start shooting Einherjis to reduce the damage I am taking.

Meanwhile, our various alts who have been watching towers and such are streaming back to our home to reship into Ravens.  We need nossing, so our plan was to get into Ravens with two heavy neuts each.  But we discover two guys who cannot actually run those.  (Otto is one.  Oops.)  Bother.  These guys get pure DPS Ravens.  One more guy gets a DPS/Neuting Raven.  Hiljah gets his alt into an Armageddon I have had for a long time, which is a pure neuting fit.  It's got five heavy neuts powered by cap boosters.  These ships start landing on grid, staying near to the Scorpion logi.  We easily reduce the Nidhoggur's shields, but his armor is where he is tanked, and there we are not progressing.

Shields getting lowish.
My Onyx is down to about 50% shields.  I make it clear that I cannot hold out forever as we are, so Jayne brings in one of our Ravens with an afterburner, web, and scrambler.  He burns forth from our battle blob, and applies tackle to the carrier.  This is good, in part because the pilot switches DPS to him.  My shields start to recover.  But now the question is, can Jayne tank it?  He is also out of range of the Scorpion, but now that the enemy is webbed, the blob should catch up much faster.  Jayne's shields drop, and it is touch and go for a bit.

With a scrambler on the carrier, we take the opportunity to bounce the Scorpion off the nearest planet.  I turn off the Onyx's bubble.  Now the Scorpion can warp right to me, landing just a few thousand away from the carrier.  It locks up Jayne, and repairs his shields.  Ta-da, all better.  We have secured the tackle.  The battle blob crawls forward to join the Scorpion.

The battle blob advances.
I don't think we have enough neuting power on field, so I head back home in the Onyx to reship.  In addition to the Armageddon which Hiljah has, I have a Apocalype back at our tower which has sacrificed most of its tank to be able to run six heavy neuts indefinitely.  This is what I am going to get.  I get it, then spend a little time adapting the fit to the situation.  I put a warp scrambler on it instead of a sebo.  Then I warp back to the battle, and apply neuts to the enemy.

Now we have at least 9 heavy neuts permanently on.  This should be enough to tap out the carrier, which will turn off his tank.  But it may take a while.  Soon we are making progress against his armor, though.

The enemy appears to be getting desperate.  The second guy reappears at the tower, now about 150km off.  He has been out, cloaked, in a covert ops.  But now he swaps into a Harpy, and warps out to us.  I am not sure what his idea is here.  We lock him up.  Can our hobgoblins apply damage?  Jayne sics his drones on it, and they bite.  OK, everyone does.  The carrier reps all the damage on the Harpy.  But our drone swarm alphas him.  The wreck is just a few kilometers ahead of me, so I loot it.

The enemy pod warps before any of our big fat ships can lock it.  (This is where having the Onyx would have been helpful.)  The pod goes back to the tower and sits for a moment.  Then I suppose he gets another idea, and jumps into a Griffin.  He'll try to jam out our tacklers.

I have not activated the warp scrambler on my Apoc yet, so I am not worried.  The Griffin warps out and starts trying to jam Jayne, or so I guess.  I turn on my scrambler just in case it works.   We eventually complete locks on him, and attack with our drones.  He dies almost immediately.  Again, the enemy pod successfully escapes.  He goes back to his tower, and I wonder what he'll come up with next.  I think we can handle it, though, because presumably he was trying his best ideas first.

As it happens, the Griffin is the last ship we see.  The enemy has given up, I think.  Now it is just a matter of grinding down the last armor, and into structure.  It can't be long.

Finally, boom.  Nidhoggur down.  The enemy pod flees.  Hurrah!

Time to loot.  I get to the wreck and grab out all the smaller stuff: drones, parts, etc.  But there are some fighters and capital parts which are quite large.  Timmay heads back home, reships into an Iteron V, and returns.  He fills up with parts, and heads back.

Jayne gets a light salvager, and returns to salvage the three wrecks.  He slaps the tractor on the capital wreck, and it zooms right to him.
The battle blob covers looting.
Now we have to wait five minutes for Timmay to depolarize, so he can return to get the last two Einherjis.  While waiting, we exchange a few "gfs" with with the Nidhoggur's pilot.  Local!  I used it!  I ask him if he intended to warp to me.  He says it was a mistake.  My guess is he warped three times in his final trip.  First he warped out of the new tower to a nearby off-grid bookmark.  Then he warped to a similar bookmark somewhere near the old tower, and it just so happened that its location was inline with where I was in the Onyx.  Finally, he warped to the old tower and by sheer luck I trapped him.

It's late, we're tired but elated.  We go home and log off.  (I return to make a few screenshots.)  Then I go to bed and try to sleep.  It's hard.


  1. That was hands-down the most fun I've had playing EVE. Those moments are few and far between. He put up a good fight, we weren't perfect and made some fleet composition mistakes, but fortunately we tanked his damage long enough to get it done.

    1. That is a really good write up and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for posting that and congratulations on the kill, you did the hard work and got the deserved reward. :)

  2. That sounds like an awesome fight.
    Although I'd like to point out that you really should have a bubble and focus point on your hictor, then you could have dropped the bubble earlier and had less problems with the tackle.

  3. Jesus! Am I reading this right? These idiots transported stuff to a tower before it was online and then moved out a carrier?!

    These people shouldn't be allowed to have babies, their genes are poison to the mankind!

  4. That was a nice read. Thanks for sharing it! ^^

  5. Elec0, that's good advice. I have not used a hictor before with a fleet; obviously the fact that your own mates get stopped is a substantial problem.

    Gevlon, to be fair to the guys it is ignorance that would lead one to dump a bunch of ships near an onlining tower. Now, moving around a carrier in a hostile system was somewhat dumb, but he was using safes to avoid my Onyx. So really I should not have caught him. (Perhaps if we had a good combat prober there we might have caught him at a safe, but we had not thought of that.) Anyway, that he warped into my bubble, which was 200km or so off his tower, can only be due to bad luck: that they happened to have made a bookmark directly opposite of me, and he chose to use it. What are the odds? One in a million?

  6. I love this blog! I'm looking forward to reading about your most recent and triumphant stands in the wormhole. I mean if I had capital ships like you guys probably do I'd most definitely use them and then report back if I ran into any large fleets. I bet there's a great story that we just don't know about yet. Keep us posted!

  7. Nice post! Enjoyed reading it. Especially how you write about your own little mistakes and how you learn from them.