Monday, 20 February 2012

The Horror of Null Sec

So, what have I been up to recently? Beyond chain running plexes in Caldari & Gallente space to earn some ISK, I've been roaming Syndicate, that region of 0.0 situated closest to Hevrice with a few corpmates. No Logi, no ECM, so no handholding, just DPS & tackle, the way things should be done. So what have I killed? on

WARNING: This piece clocks up at 4500+ words and is over 11 pages long so I suggest grabbing a drink. I also suggest opening a map of Syndicate from the ever useful Dotlan maps in order to track our movements if you're not familiar with Syndicate.

Note: All of these roams are unscheduled, basicially I would jump on and ask if anyone would like to roam with me to Syndicate. We always entered via Harroule-MHC entrance.

Disclaimer: We had no logi in any of the fights that we brought with us, with the exception of the last roam, in which a friend came in a solo Scimitar and promptly died in the first fight due to burning off a gate whilst webbed by a Loki and also pursued by a Legion. We did however have a boosting Loki for most of the fights to boost as well as scout. No pirate implants were used (as far as I'm aware anyway), although I was in a fairly expensive (~200M) +4 learning clone with missile implants.

Friday, 10th February

Fleet Composition:

Smoke XN - AC Tornado
Suleiman Shouaa - Dual web nano Drake
Tawa Suyo - Dual web nano Drake

Drakes were there for versatility, whilst the Nado gave us extra punch vs enemy Logi, Recons etc.

Jumping into MHC, there was a small Masquerade/Moon Warriors gang on the other side - approximately 10 strong, most of them in various AFs or Interceptors along with a few in Drakes. I burn back to the gate since I spawn on the wrong side of it, drawing their DPS's attention whilst Smoke & Tawa pull range rapidly, leading their tackle away. Smoke two volleys their Thrasher and then volleys their active-shield tanked Crow. Tawa gets webs on the last Crow and he drops just as I re-enter MHC and warp down to them. The rest of the enemy scatter and we move on towards M2-.

3 - 0

As we jump into ZVN, there's a drag bubble on our ingate. No problem for us, but a big problem for the Thrasher pilot who has just reshipped to a Harbinger. We get webs & bumps on him, he aggroes and dies outside the bubble so his pod gets out.

4 - 0

M2 is quiet, so we move towards the PC9 pocket as the map is indicating some activity there. I spot a Hurricane on our ingate 1j from PC9, but by the time we arrive, he's moved to our outgate and is joined by another Hurricane and a Rapier. I warp there at 0, Smoke warps at 30. A Rapier jumps into me and Smoke and they all start burning for him. Rapier warps off, me and Smoke spread points, I tease one of the Hurricanes by webbing him and staying at 10km, he aggros, I pull range, Tawa jumps in and we kill both of them. Rapier never returns.

We spot a Drake ratting in a belt in PC9, I go in and tackle, call in Smoke to escalate hoping for the locals to escalate also (we spotted a Mega & Domi on scan briefly), but as we get into low shields ourselves due to only bait-damaging him, Tawa reports a Tempest jumping into him on the PC9 gate. We finish off the Drake and move to assist him. Due to me having to alt-tab, I leave the Loki behind in PC9.

Tempest turns out to be buffer armor with a TD, not a problem for the Drakes but an issue for Smoke who can't hit him well and is getting pounded by Barrage. We keep him tackled with overheated points to avoid his neuts and as he enters half armor, local spikes as his gang arrives, not from PC9 but from the other side. They have a Ferox, two Drakes, another Tempest and a Hurricane or two I believe.Smoke is forced off the field by the Tempest as they land, Tawa has to bail shortly afterwards due to drones and Drake missile spam, but I hang around at 60km just lobbing Trauma Furies at the Tempest. He never warps off.


The hostiles aren't willing to be dragged off the gate and we're all pretty battered so we leave the PC9 pocket and move towards Y9G, the entrance to Syndicate via Solitude. We take a short break in M2-, docking up. As we undock, a Prophecy warps off to the VV- gate. We follow, but he's in an off-grid pounce. A Falcon jumps into us and cloaks up. I tell Tawa to jump in with his Drake to see what's on the other side. Well, there's a gang there - good for us, bad for Tawa since they have a Daredevil & Ashimmu so plenty of 90% webs, as well as Vagabonds, a Proteus and a Blackbird. Tawa tries burning off but the Vagabonds keep up with him since he can't counter-web them due to Blackbird perma-jamming him. Drake down. Their Daredevil and an Ishkur jump into me and Smoke but we manage to warp off as we're not jumping into 90% webs on a stargate when outnumbered 3 to 1 with them having ECM.

I order some food and we take a tea break as Tawa reships. As he rejoins in another Drake, another corpmate (Aliens) joins us in a Manticore. He spots a Shield BC gang of about 7-8 going around us up towards "The Maze" around MHC, a good fight for 3 Shield BCs and a Bomber. We pursue, they run and dock up in 2X, however one of their Hurricanes is a bit slow and we manage to tackle him. He reapproaches and jumps, but Tawa is waiting. Tawa forces him back into us in hull as his gang finally mans up and returns to assist. They start charging us to cover their friend, who warps back to station in low hull, but we drop one of their Hurricanes who is following us. As they start to leave, local spikes and the gate we came through flashes.

The Vagabonds + Blackbird gang from before jumps in. Tawa starts off within 15km of the gate so he warps off to the Sun as they start charging us. Smoke is forced to bail due to frigate pressure as I start playing whack-a-mole with my webs to keep them away from me whilst trying to get Smoke & Tawa a good warpin. Unfortunately, my overview freezes and their Proteus inches within scrambler range and holds me down. With no chance of escape, I eject before their Sabre gets within bubble range and get my pod with +4s out. Drake down.

8 - 2

We take another break as I grab a new Drake, but due to Stacmon not being the greatest market hub, I'm forced to go without faction traumas, a fact which will prove disastrous ~soon~.

Anyway, we start heading towards TXW, home of Rote Kapelle in the hopes of a ~good fight~. Generally, when we go there we either get blue-balled or just get swarmed with Machariels, Tempests, Scimitars etc. so somewhere between would be pretty cool. Anyway, it's all quiet until a few jumps out, where on our outgate in FD- there's a fight going on between a Cynabal and a mixed gang of Battlecruisers and support, about 8-9 strong. We land 200km of them as we warp to the outgate at range and they've been chasing the Cynabal. There's an stationary Ares on the gate who Smoke volleys and then does the same to his pod. At this point, the Cynabal kills something and we warp to its wreck at range, landing 20-30km off the Battlecruiser gang. We grab points, try to kill their Naga but he burns off super fast and warps. We whore on the Cynabal mail who finally gets scrambled and dies, silly Angel ships. We grab a Cane and he drops, just as the Proteus, Vaga gang from before lands! We burn off and disengage since they land too close with their tackle.

Our Bomber gets us an warpin on them, 30km from their tackle and 20km from their Blackbird. We start burning and force off their tackle but their DPS forces Smoke & Tawa off as we drop their Blackbird. Their tackle reapproaches, I'm forced to overheat & sling faction EM missiles at this silly Stiletto who has me scrambled 50km off their gang. He drops JUST as their Proteus gets me tackled. I have a theory regarding this Proteus from previous fights - his acceleration was simply too high for him to be plated. Well, I turn out to be right as I knock off only 25% of his shields with a volley of Faction EM missiles. He pulls away a little bit for some reason, so only their Jaguar has me tackled. I try to kill him, but EM vs Minmatar T2 is bad so he doesn't die. I explode.

14 - 3

At this point, I'm pretty annoyed that we've lost to these guys three times in a row. I return back to Hevrice in a pod with Aliens, since a bomber is not helping at the moment. He grabs a Drake, Tawa contracts me his Artillery Hurricane as he wants to fly that instead and I can bring it to him, we return and we eject from our respective ships and swap in space, so now we've got 2 Drakes, an Artillery Hurricane and an AC Nado, a pretty serious force. We see a few gangs moving around and finally spot the Proteus gang on the high sec gate, fighting an armor gang - Dominix, Megathron & 2 Canes. We land at 0 on the regional gate, about 20km off them. The armor gang is down to the Dominix and a single Hurricane as we start smashing the Proteus' gang. Their gang starts to disengage, but I get a point on the Proteus and since he's below -5, it's unlikely he'll risk jumping into high sec. True to form, he starts legging it, going 2.5km/s. We follow, but he's outrunning us all except Smoke who was slow off the get go. As I'm cursing as it looks like he'll get away since he's 60km off me and 70km+ off everyone else, he starts trying to warp. Luckily he had to burn away from any celestials since we were between him and them, so he has to turn. Just as he's about to get into warp, I get my overheated Disruptor on him. Before he can start turning around and pull away again, I get both webs on him and his fate is sealed. Our other Drake gets webs, we lay into him just as his gang appears on scan.

His shields drop fast, but then when he's in half armor he starts shield boosting. We overheat DPS and he pops. I take one look at the wreck, grab everything of value and warp to my Loki booster to drop it off. As I warp off, his gang lands at an on-grid pounce & warps down to the wreck. The rest of us start kiting, dropping their Daredevil fast. Their Sabre puts a bubble up so when I return, I get dragged into it and land 20km off their Falcon. Loading FOFs, putting drones on him and headbutting him, I force him off as Smoke practically solos one of their Vagabonds.

After we loot and salvage, our scout next door in FD- reports local spiking by 20. A mixed frigate fleet lands on our outgate, jumps in a few tacklers who warp to us on the high sec gate. We have no links and their Ares is smart so we can't drop him fast enough as their gang lands. Luckily, he slows down and our drones get a good volley on him, with him warping off in half hull (we thought we dropped him). None of us pointed since the closest frigates at 50km+ off, we warp to a planet just as I get links back up. They land, we start burning as me and Aliens start webbing anything that gets into range. Once that happens, they drop fast from the Hurricane & Nado we have. Once we drop 4-5 of them, it's clear they don't have the DPS to kill us - their bombers are simply too fragile and none of the rest can get in close without dying horribly. They leave, we grab loot and head back to Hevrice. Proteus loot each gave us about 200M and salvage was worth a fair bit.

22 - 3

Sunday, 12th February

Another day, another roam to Syndicate. I log on and we get 3 people together:

Konig - Artillery Hurricane
Smoke XN - AC Tornado
Suleiman Shouaa - Dual web nano Drake

MHC is empty when we enter, so we head to PC9. On one of the gates in PC9 (T22 I believe), I spy a SFI, Taranis, Rifter and various other stuff, roughly about 10 of them. I warp in at 50 and start burning away. They follow, the rest of us jump in and warp to me at 30 as the gate fires and local goes up by 10 (including us jumping in). Due to not checking how far apart the gates were, this turned out to be a bad ideas as they landed 20km off the enemy. Thankfully, they manage to pull range and we start working on tacklers. Taranis down, Ishkur down, one SFI gets me scrambled, but we drop him fast. All our overviews glitch out simultaneously (ty CCP) so Konig doesn't notice the SFI which has him scrambled until they're all on him and I ask if he's fine twice (first time he said he was fine <3). Konig drops, their frigates keep charging at us, Slicer down, Merlin down. At this point, all their tackle is dead and we're getting a bit low on cap so we warp to an obvious celestial at 50 in order to continue the fight, despite them having a Proteus and an Arazu. Well, we align back to the gate, but they warp at staggered ranges, with all their heavy stuff at 70. They get me tackled and I die, but Smoke gets out.

Smoke docks and goes AFK, whilst me & Konig grab new ships. I get an Oracle, Konig gets an nano Drake. I have to go to a low sec station to pick up an Tracking Enhancer. When I land, there's a Badger sitting next to me. I volley him (<3 Conflag) but he doesn't drop the Large Tower in his cargo hold.

Smoke is now camped in by Loki, Sleipnir, Ashimmu, Interceptors, BCs and a few AFs. Ontop of that, there's an large bubble anchored on his outgate, pretty much certain death if he tries to leave,. We form up on the other side with 2 Drakes and an Oracle, hoping they'll go for us. Their Ashimmu jumps in and reapproaches a few times, but doesn't commit. Eventually they man up and after 10-15 minutes they jump into us. They have enough tackle to go for the Drakes as well as me at the same time, forcing me away from them. Tawa goes down from the weight of tackle, but we manage to drop a Rifter, Jaguar and Ranis.

Tawa reships to an AC Cane to deal with their tackle and notices an Hatchery Drake in local when he's travelling back. We fly with them fairly regularly, and with this fellow in particular a fair bit. He's willing to help us and he baits them to go for him in JH-, on the PC9 gate. We jump in and assist. We two volley a silly Hound that decloaks and then secure points on their Tengu. He turns out to be 100mn fit, which would be a problem if he didn't burn to the sun. Coincedently, we were in his path and also aligned to there, so we just pulsed webs to keep him tackled. He exploded, but died far enough away from the rest that we couldn't tackle their Sleipnir. We did drop their Hookbill & one of their Canes though. The rest jump back into PC9, we follow since we know they can't warp off due to the bubble. In the meantime, they've regrouped with a fair few more ships - notably Drakes. They primary me, I warp off in low shields, but not before we've dropped a Hawk. By the time I return, we're in a pretty dicey situation - we have no links and we can't pop their Stiletto for some reason, despite him being in half hull and neuted out.

Tawa tries to finish off the Stiletto, but he warps out and Tawa gets swarmed by their Drakes and drops. Konig gets hero tackled by a Rifter and follows shortly afterwards. Our friendly Drake also drops at some point. At this point, they drop a Scorpion onto an Oracle & Tornado (lolECM) so we disengage since we can't kill (decent) frigs. Warping down to dock & rep, I spy the secret to that Stiletto's success - they have a boosting Loki as well! Well, we can deal with that...

About 60 seconds later, me and Smoke land on the Loki. 30 seconds after, his ship is down. 10 seconds after that, his pod is gone.

They stop camping us in and we leave.

17 - 5

Tuesday, February 14th

3 man gang this time:

Beh3motH - Shield Talos
Suleiman Shouaa - Dual web nano Drake
Tawa Suyo - Dual web nano Drake

We head down to the S-U8 pocket. We land on a Drake and an Enyo. Tawa stays behind whilst me and Behemoth follow the Drake as he jumps. We drop him fast, whilst Tawa tries to kill the Enyo. Enyo gets to half hull as his single ECM drone jams Tawa (lolECM). Much cursing on Ventrilo follows from Tawa. 

I start baiting in S-U8 whilst Behemoth & Tawa wait on the gate. They obviously know what we have (something about calling me bad at baiting in local) and decide to go in to the belt with Hurricane/Hurricane/Sleipnir + Drake or two I believe. We kill both Canes and the Sleipnir. Tawa lands in an awkward spot and spends half the fight trying to get to me and Behemoth. We dock up and repair and they start to camp us in with a Devoter, Vindicator, Megathron etc. Eventually they get bored and we get out of station. They have a Taranis and Tornado on the outgate, with the Tornado at range (obviously alpha fit). Behemoth warps to the gate at 0, we warp to the Tornado at 0. Tornado drops, Taranis legs it.

We head over to PC9, where there's two Abaddons and a Drake doing a plex. We tackle one of the Abaddons in the second last room, with help from Duckslayer, fellow FHCer. He drops, we go for the Drake in the last room who is scrambled by the rats. We keep him tackled but put DPS on the Overseer, but Drake self-destructs. We can't break the Overseer and are forced to warp off. As we're chilling on the last acceleration gate, we notice a Harbinger on short range d-scan. Turns out the Drake we killed returned in a Harbinger. We kill him this time.

After about 20 minutes, we finally finish the plex and are rewarded with ~1B loot (Vindicator BPC and 2 Hardeners iirc). Getting close to our bedtime so we leave.

6 - 0 (plus plex!)

Wednesday, February 15th


Bendy - Dual web nano Drake
Mister Marram - Pulse Oracle
Suleiman Shouaa - Dual web nano Drake
Tawa Suyo - AC Shield Cane

We decide to check out Western Syndicate properly for once. Pipe down is quiet until FD-, apart from a Bomber who tried to kill us and failed horribly. In FD-, we find Free Beer gatecamping (shocker!) with a bunch of Canes, a Sabre and a Kitsune (lolECM). We land at range and Marram proceeds to volley their Kitsune (lolECM) after we kill their Sabre when he does something silly.

We pull them into X-M2. Marram gets scrambled, they have links and a single Scimitar so we can't break anything after Marram goes down

Marram grabs a fail fit Vagabond (it has a small neut I think) and we moved on. I found a Russian Vagabond running a Radar site, I tackle and we eliminate it. Nothing down around TXW, so we loop through Solitude and end up back in Syndicate, this time in Y9G. We kill an Executioner who was buzzing around the station, then drop a Drake who was camping a gate and was in the midst of fighting another Drake and a Rifter when we jumped in. Bad luckmate.

All is quiet until we hit MHC, at which point we see 10-15 in local. Shield BC gang on the 6E gate with a Claymore, Vagabond, Drakes & Hurricanes, we go in at range. We basically slaughter them, including their propless Drake. Then we go home since I have an busy day the next day.

12 - 1

Friday, February 17th


Abellona - Arty Cane
Aznwithbeard - Dual web nano Drake
Dian Lung (friend) - Scimitar
Konig - Sabre
Suleiman Shouaa - Dual web nano Drake
Tawa Suyo - AC Shield Cane

In MHC we find some small gangs out, including Legion & Loki. As we engage, our Scimitar burns off the gate despite being webbed (lolwut?) and dies. Local spikes on the other side of the gate and we disengage as Guardians, HACs etc. are spotted on d-scan. Scimitar dies and then reships to an Arty Cane. We then have a fight vs a pair of Russian active tanked Drakes who are Loki & Tengu boosted. Very fun fight, Azn dies but they disengaged. In hindsight, I think they ran out of cap boosters.

Again we head towards TXW. In FD- there's a small fight going on at the outgate - Hurricane & Scimitar (Free Beer) vs some randoms in Astarte, Exqueror Navy Issue, Enyo, Daredevil etc. We land at range and just start popping the Gallente gang. Hurricane handily aggroes at the end and we drop him also.

We keep moving and in 8V-, I find a Malediction & Tempest on our out gate. I warp in at 50, Malediction tackles me as local spikes with the rest of their gang jumpin in, plus friendlies. We smash them and bubble up their ships so we end up getting 4/5 pods.

We hit TXW, nothing there. I check Rote Kapelle's killboard, note they had a gang in Cloud Ring an hour ago so we head to that system (0T-AMZ) which is still hot on the map. When we get there, we find a 15-20 man BC gang with Logi camping a Muppet Thanatos into station. We get a warpin on one silly Hurricane who is seperated and drop him under their reps. Due to their weight of Drakes (8+) and Tier 3s (3+), we can't stay on the field for long so we just disengage and head back to MHC. In FD- Free Beer are camping again with Logi, many Recons but we won't jump into them since they outnumber us 3:1 with ship types favouring them. Eventually they get hotdropped by Muppets, karma for "rescuing" their carrier, although he was never in danger.

Along the way, Bipolar Stability see us but won't fight us initially, despite having equal gang sizes and links on both sides. Eventually we drag them into MHC and drop a few tacklers. We manage to decloak their Falcon but the bubble goes down at that moment so he gets out. We return to low sec.

18 - 2

Saturday, February 18th


Abellona - Arty Cane
Atreides Horza - Dual web nano Drake
Bendy Profane - Dual web nano Drake
Grog Drinker - Dual web nano Drake
Konig - Sabre
Latronicus - Dual web nano Drake
Suleiman Shouaa - Pulse Oracle
Tawa Suyo - Dual web nano Drake

Again we head towards TXW from MHC after having a brief look in Eastern Syndicate, which was quite dead apart from a Psychotic Tendency armor gang with Tech3s, 3 Guardians with Recon support which we couldn't get to follow us and without a good setup, there was no way we were gonna break their tanks.

Tawa soloed a Crow at some point and we also killed a Thrasher, but the rest was pretty quiet until we hit FD-, at which point we spot a PODLA gang coming down the pipe up to us who are in Deimoses with Oneiroses. We wait for them to jump into us, but then my router dies so I disconnect just as I tell people to warp off as we're still too close to the gate. When I log back on, PODLA have me tackled but are willing to let me go if our gang fights there. Sure!

We dock up, rep up and are about to warp to the sun where PODLA are when local spikes. Podla arrive on station to assess the situation. Turns out a Shield BC gang with 3 Basilisks, a Vulture, Recons & bunch of BCs is passing through. PODLA & us team up as the Shield BC gang jumps next door and pulls off the gate. We pursue and jump ahead of PODLA, losing our Sabre instantly. They primary me but I manage to pull range as PODLA pile in. The enemy gang's logi is able to keep them up once their frigates are dealt with, but some quick target swapping drops their Tornado, followed by an Ishtar. We lose a Drake (Atreides) as he crashes once he tries to warp off. At that point, their Vulture and a few BCs disengage but we keep their Logi & Recons pointed. Recons drop fairly fast but we can't break their Basilisks until one of them ends up out of rep range of the other two, at which point the chain breaks. I disconnect AGAIN as the first Basilisk pops.

Podla still want to fight us, but since I keep DCing they're willing to put it off as we loot & salvage and we part ways. We lose an alt's cheetah as Podla shoot it when it lands :(. When scouting it back to high sec via PF-, we get word of a Rote/Veto gang of Shield BCs heading our way, same size as us. We set up on their ingate, with BCs at 30 and me at 50km since I have no point. They jump a Malediction in, then finally their gang. We drop the Malediction as he charges us, but their BCs act weird and just align to a planet rather than try to charge us down as we expected, so we end up fairly far apart with nothing in point range. We move in for points as they warp off. We get point on one of them, but lolECM drones jam our tackler. We pursue him to their gang, at a planet and land 100km off them. They then warp to another planet, we warp at 50, land 20-30km off them again. They warp off again, but one of them warped to the wrong celestial before and landed a few seconds after us so we tackled him, in the hopes his gang would return. They didn't, so we dropped him.

At this point, Rote sneak out and dock in FD-. We follow and end up camping their ~7 BCs into station with our ~6. Marram has decided to join us in a Talos and reports a gang between us, whilst we see a 15 man U.MAD Drake gang with other stuff chasing a ~15 man BC gang with Logi into high sec. A Rote Kapelle guy is giving them intel in local about our gang for some reason (?).

We end up following the Drake gang and signal to PODLA that this could be a gf and they make their way over. U.MAD run back and reship to sniper Tier3s. Podla ends up charging into them, we follow and lose my Oracle& Tawa's Drake, as well as 2 PODLA Deimoses. Me and Tawa both get volleyed before we could press warp since we were busy calling targets. In hindsight, I would have made it out if I had faster reactions to being locked, but I was focused on the Oracle that landed next to me. Must make a note to stop being so bad. U.MAD lost a few Tier3s so they definitely won the ISK war & held the field, but it was great fun. 

Props to U.Mad for fighting and for PODLA for ransoming for a ~good fight~, I hope we delivered!

21 - 4

Total Tally - 80 kills, 15 losses

Syndicate - fun place to roam. Just please undock more, especially Rote Kapelle. Thanks for the fights though!

I'll be roaming Syndicate more in 3-5 gangs since they seem to work best and really test your abilities out since you can't afford to be complacent due to "safety in numbers" that occurs in larger gangs. If you want to join in, convo me when you see me online (generally will start to head out at 20:00 to 21:00). Ship types will be Shield BCs - ideally nano Drakes with dual webs or a Blaster Shield Talos (best Tier3 in small gangs)

Until then, toodles!

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