Guristas Extravaganza!

5th September 2008 – 7.38 am

My level three agent in EVE Online has another mission for me, tantalisingly named 'Guristas Extravaganza'. It sounds more like a codename for a lavish party held for some guests of honour, instead of brutally destroying the ships of an opposing faction. Thankfully, it turned out to be the latter, as social occasions can be such a bore, even with nibbles. I am informed that there are five pockets of Guristas rats and each needs to be cleared, paying enough attention to ensure that a high-ranking member of the Guristas is encountered and destroyed. The reward on offer is as high as for The Blockade, which caused me all sorts of problems even after I became suitably prepared for the destruction it involved, although as the agent who offered me The Blockade was of low negative quality and my current agent is a modest positive quality the relative reward levels have changed too.

Even if the reward may not be a true indicator of the difficulty of the mission I am still more prepared than I was before The Blockade. Some good advice was offered to improve my ship's configuration, and I updated my Drake's system to improve my shield recharge rate at the compromise of losing an active shield booster. The couple of other level three missions have also got me more experienced, albeit not by a great deal more, but encountering more destroyers and battlecruisers has helped my frame of mind when entering a dangerous deadspace pocket.

My hold is stuffed with two thousand heavy missiles or so, and my drone bay is full. I undock my ship and head out in to space, engaging the warp drives almost as soon as I hit vacuum. Waiting for me in the first deadspace pocket are about fifteen ships. I charge my shield hardeners and start locking on to the closest targets, waiting for the onslaught of damage to start hitting my shields. But whereas in The Blockade every ship wanted me out of the area, or dead, as soon as possible the Guristas ships seem to be preoccupied with other matters and only the closest notice my entrance in to deadspace. I suppose that with a blockade the ships are actively trying to prevent travel through a jump gate, but these rats are not about to engage every ship that warps in in case it is an ally.

With only a few ships attacking me at once my shields are barely scratched by the relatively few light and heavy missiles plowing in to my Drake, and I can relax a little, as much as anyone under fire can relax, and pick off the cruisers one at a time, letting my drones take care of the frigates. It is also lucky that not all the ships are destroyers and battlecruiser, but the more mundane frigates and cruisers, making them less of a challenge in a straight fight, and my own arsenal cuts through their shields quite efficiently. It is not long before the first pocket has only my Drake operational within it, so I activate the acceleration gate and head to the next deadspace pocket.

The second pocket looks to be a check point, with a single battlecruiser patrolling amongst several sentry guns, offering little resistance overall. The third deadspace pocket is a little queer, though. The acceleration gate is encapsulated by a large electrical disturbance, a bubble of energy if you like. Before I give myself too much time to think about it I have some hostile forces to deal with, and I start locking on to targets and sending missiles and drones out to engage the enemy. With the combat systems in full effect I indulge my curiosity about the bubble. First, I notice that I have no trouble firing missiles in to the bubble, which simplifies my choice of targets and I continue fighting as normal. A quick glance at my overview reveals both an EM forcefield and a magnetic retainment field in place, and I assume that it is the EM forcefield I can see.

I would guess that the field is simply locking the use of the acceleration gate, as I doubt the bubble would have much effect on my ship itself, particularly with enemy ships already inside the bubble. Even so, I am not about to risk finding out otherwise. I decide to engage all the hostile ships first, partly because they are causing an immediate threat and the field doesn't seem to be, and partly because attacking the field generator may aggravate all enemies at once. With all hostile ships in the pocket destroyed I lock on to the EM forcefield generator and blow it to smithereens. Wow, what a satisfying explosion that caused! The bubble is gone, I approach the acceleration gate and activate it without a fuss.

The biggest threat is found in the fourth deadspace pocket, warping in to be surrounded by almost twenty ships of various classes. I quickly plot a course away from as many of the hostile ships as possible, training my launchers on the closest at the same time, with my drones being launched almost as an afterthought. It is only after I destroy a few ships that I realise my shields are still not being tested as thoroughly as before, and notice that a couple of enemy formations are not engaging me. I am quick to notice that they are cruisers and frigates alike that are holding back, for if it had just been the cruisers keeping their distance and the frigates were attacking I would have thought 'It's a trap!' It doesn't take long to clean out this pocket and I warp in to the final deadspace pocket.

In the fifth and apparently final pocket I immediately notice two objects of interest: one is the general I was informed about, and the other is an acceleration gate. If this is the final pocket, where does the gate head to? After quickly wiping out the enemies in the deadspace pocket I approach the acceleration gate and attempt to activate it. The gate is locked, requiring a Guristas tag to activate. Assuming that the general holds such a tag I align my Drake with his wreck and start crawling my way over the few tens of kilometres in order to loot his burnt husk of a ship.

Oh, but the general's wreck is empty, and there is only one wreck with a large enough signature on my overview to signify it has anything of value on board still. If only I had noticed this before I had travelled all the way to the general's wreck, and now needing to crawl back again. But the other wreck, whilst containg some modules I can loot, also does not contain the tag. Never mind, the mission has been completed, and I can bring Flycatcher, my salvaging destroyer, out here to clean up. If I find the tag maybe I can get Coiled Snake back out to activate the gate. Because of needing to keep the acceleration gate in the deadspace pocket I need to withhold the mission's completion from my agent whilst I salvage the wrecks, and that means making sure I have a reheat module installed on Flycatcher too, learning from previous operations.

Penny Ibramovic's Salvaging Operations flies in to action, grabbing wrecks for kilometres around and salvaging all the burnt-out electronics and workable modules in each of the deadspace pockets. Some Guristas tags crop up in the wrecks, and I wonder why I hadn't suspected the tags to be in a wreck other than in the final deadspace pocket, with the locked acceleration gate. With finding these tags I was more hopeful about being able to access what was beyond the gate, and intrigued as to what I might find. But all wrecks and containers are searched and no tags of the right kind are found, although it didn't matter in the end anyway. Galactic shutdown occurs just as I am dragging the final, empty wreck towards Flycatcher to salvage from it, and when I am pulled back to consciousness, because of the mission completion, I am drifting in empty space.

Maybe I should stop accepting mid-morning missions. It is far from a disaster though, as I make over a million ISK from the mission reward and time bonus, and another three million ISK from bounties. My salvage will pull in more ISK when the time comes to sell it, making this another profitable excursion. Perhaps the next time I am invited to the extravaganza I will find the tags that get me through that final gate, to Xanadu!

  1. 2 Responses to “Guristas Extravaganza!”

  2. You need a Guristas Palladium tag to activate the gate to the GE3 bonus room. It's a random drop not tied to any mission completion. If you can't wait for the RNG to reward you, there's plenty of them to be found on the Market.

    Be aware that the bonus room holds a battleship you need to kill though which might take a while if your Drake's DPS isn't up to snuff. But the bounty you get from killing it is pretty nice for a level 3.

    By Winged Nazgul on Sep 5, 2008

  3. That's good to know, thanks. I tend to sell my tags when I return to a station after picking them up, but I'm fairly sure I haven't seen a palladium tag yet.

    Meeting a battleship sounds exciting! Like putting your head in a lion's mouth.

    By pjharvey on Sep 6, 2008

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