Halting a half-hearted invasion

24th March 2013 – 3.11 pm

There's no rest for the wicked. I've come home, after an embarrassingly unsuccessful hunt of ships that can barely shoot back, and sent myself to a quiet corner of the system to go off-line, when a casual updating of my directional scanner shows me a tower. Not our tower, but a tower. I'm pretty sure we haven't configured a second tower in our system, but d-scan is pretty clear on the subject. A tower, with an active force field, ship maintenance array, and corporate hangar array, is on-line around a planet where there should be none.

An alien tower is a concern. I recently repudiated the idea on Twitter that, as a w-space denizen, I felt I 'owned' our system. I don't think we do, but that doesn't mean we're happy to share the space we inhabit. To say the home system is 'ours' is merely to use semantic shorthand. Whilst it is possible to co-exist, given the right circumstances, it can be difficult to know when those circumstances are right.

The new tower may belong to peaceful industrialists, looking only to mine ore, harvest gas, and maybe cull the Sleeper population. Their only care to us could be to try not to annoy us by taking more than they need. On the other hand, this could be the first step in a hostile claim to the system, where the capitalist pig-dogs want the system all to themselves and us out. Considering the tower is small, and cheap, and has no defences, not even shield hardeners, I imagine the former holds over the latter. Even so, and notwithstanding how the corporation managed to find our system, this aggression will not stand.

I get on the bat-phone, and one colleague is handily near a high-sec wormhole through a convenient class 2 w-space system currently connecting to us. TG's even buying a replacement Oracle battlecruiser, just right for shooting big, static objects, even if the circumstances of its being bought are frustrating. He understands the significance of an alien tower in a w-space system and rallies the troops, and although the hour is relatively late and there is a fair journey between our two exit wormholes, a fleet forms to come to our aid.

As the fleet makes its way to the high-sec wormhole, coalescing in the empire space system, I start crashing our static wormhole that leads in the other direction. We don't really need anyone coming in to disrupt a siege, and certainly not from the owners of the hostile tower. But half-way through someone points out that keeping the wormhole alive but in critical condition is probably better, what with it having a static exit to null-sec. There's not much chance of reinforcements arriving through a deep null-sec wormhole. And a critical wormhole won't let many ships through to help, as well as being obvious if someone does collapse it to look for a new one.

Cheetah seen earlier ignores our now-destabilished wormhole

New aim: critically destabilise the wormhole. I can do that. A few trips in an Orca industrial command ship will be simple to make. I even spot a Cheetah covert operations boat come to our K162 in C3a when the wormhole sits at half mass, and seeing the wormhole in such a state, and noticing it flare as I enter the system, the pilot thinks better of coming this way. He backs off and cloaks as I return through the wormhole. It's still not at critical mass, though, but that's fine. A round trip with a heavy interdictor, mass-boosted both ways, ensures the wormhole is close to death.

I have a couple of minutes before the fleet arrives. I take the time to make a couple of strategic bookmarks around the hostile tower, in case we need one, before jumping in to my own Oracle to join in with the siege. Battleships, battlecruisers, a strategic cruiser, and a whole bunch of drones, oh yeah. The shields of the hostile tower aren't even at full strength when we start shooting, showing how recently it was brought on-line, and gives us a bit of help. Not that we need it. Once everyone starts shooting, most sooner rather than later, the shields drop steadily. The only question now is if the tower's fuel bay has any strontium.

Shooting the crap out of the unauthorised tower in the home w-space system

If the tower is fuelled with strontium, it will enter reinforced mode as the first damage bleeds through the shields to the armour, at 25% shield strength. The fleet will then stay overnight to finish the job the next day, and I'll be preparing bacon sarnies in the morning to feed some hungry men. If the tower is as ramshackle as it looks and there is no strontium, there will be no reinforced mode and we just keep on shooting until it explodes. 40% shields, 30%, 27%, 26%, 25%... 24% shields, oh yeah. We keep shooting.

Tower lacking in strontium clathrates is no tower at all

The armour and structure of the tower is a fraction of the shields, so although we have more shooting to do the second part of the operation will proceed quicker than the first. I don't quite anticipate how quickly, and it's amusing to see the structure tick down almost like a timer, thanks to the damage output of our excellent pilots. Tick, tick, tick, tick, BOOM.

There goes the hostile tower

The tower explodes, shortly followed by the CHA and SMA, which only relinquish thirty thousand units of plagioclase, the weirdoes. And there's no sign of anyone turning up to protect their claim. That's a shame, but uncomplicates matters. They came, they mined, they got evicted.

I grab a Bustard transport ship to retrieve the ore for our ship-building projects, rather than letting it go to waste, as the fleet lets off some steam by testing TG's Oracle's tank. 'ST and Mick ... volley me to armour. I'm in a shield tanked Oracle. They then forget their drone aggro.' I'm not quite sure how funny that is, considering how it was a replacement ship bought only an hour or so ago after a previous loss. My laughter was appropriate to whatever the situation merited, I'm sure.

We give TG a ship to protect his pod on the way back through C2a to high-sec, and onwards to their C5 home, as well as plenty of thanks and gratitude for the alacrity with which the visitors were forcibly removed from our system. And now, or, at least, after I check the other corners of the system for errant towers and finding none, I can get some rest.

  1. 9 Responses to “Halting a half-hearted invasion”

  2. That would happen to TGL.

    I wonder if you ever figured out who the tower owners were... and if they said anything

    By Planetary Genocide on Mar 24, 2013

  3. We'll just have to wait and see!

    (No and no.)

    By pjharvey on Mar 24, 2013

  4. You say you don't own it, but you act like you do.

    I am curious: is there anything that the owner of that POS might have done that would have induced you to allow it to be there? I.e. if they had contacted you to let you know their plans? Asked permission (would have given it)? Offered rent?

    By Von Keigai on Mar 25, 2013

  5. I feel like if they had offered rent and agreed to a couple terms and conditions (stick to a small tower, don't anchor defenses, put up a X-Large Ship Assembly and die) then I would've let them stay.

    But nobody would agree to all three of those conditions so...

    By Planetary Genocide on Mar 26, 2013

  6. Well, I might. I've been thinking about trying some roaming into medium-difficulty wspace.

    Move into a system, seal it up, do the anoms and sigs, then move on. I have a unoccupied C4 staked out, but obviously the supply of unoccupied C3/C4 systems that I know about, or could discover in a timely manner, is very small. So this makes me think about how to deal with inhabited systems.

    I guess it would be possible to do PVE in an inhabited wspace system purely ninja. But having a POS anchored to store ships at makes it a lot easier and less risky. And also having the locals be neutral/friendly (I'd want mutual-set-blue while cohabiting) would be worth quite a lot.

    By Von Keigai on Mar 26, 2013

  7. We 'own' it like we would own a spot in the park, or on the beach. No one has any right to tell us to move, and we'd protect our spot if someone tried to weasel their way in to our personal space. But if we left that spot and came back a week later, we're not going to tell them to move or try to get any authority involved.

    Yeah, it's a weak analogy. But, then, so are all analogies.

    The problem is not so much that we see the system as 'ours', but that if we don't act like we do then we could very easily find ourselves forcefully evicted, and perhaps waking up in a clone vat.

    PG's suggestions aren't bad, as such, and indeed quite reasonable from the locals' point of view, but any foreign tower in a w-space system is a possible vector for attack. So they don't have the ability to build a capital ship, or defend their tower immediately, and they pay rent. But they also have the ability to scan an exit every day, and provide a route in and a safe spot for a fleet.

    You also likely cannot watch them all the time. They watch your pattern, and when you log off they online a whole bunch of defences, bring in a big blue fleet—which you can't know about because their corporate information shows them having 20 members and no alliance—and siege your home. And you let them in.

    Sure, it's paranoid, but w-space breeds that in you because of the conditions. You may be able to strike a bargain with a w-space corporation to set-up temporarily, but not with your plan. 'Hey, can I come in, plant a tower, and steal all your anomalies? I'll move out right afterwards' is not a good bargain. And you could maybe get away with that once or twice before you get a reputation, after which you'll find fewer corporations will make the same deal with you.

    The best option is just to find an unoccupied system with a good static connection that you want, and stay there. Don't look to make the majority of your income from your home, but from your connecting system. It changes every day, so as long as you have a good static wormhole you never have to move.

    By pjharvey on Mar 26, 2013

  8. I agree that wspace makes you paranoid. No doubt about that.

    I disagree that having a small POS already set up is going to be any substantial help for an invader. First thing an invader does: set up his POS when he knows you're offline. Now, having a single cloaky scout in there that can watch your movements, and probe a way out/in, sure. But you cannot stop that; in fact you don't even know it's happening. I'll grant that having the POS already set up saves a small amount of time and risk. So it does impose a small risk on the inhabitants. But objectively I can't see this being a big deal. (Subjectively, though, it obviously is. Criminals tend to rob places that are familiar to them.)

    Obviously, if the inhabitants of a system want the anoms themselves, then allowing you (the hypothetical vagrants) to run the anoms would not (or should not) be something they'd agree to. All that should be clear going in. So I guess what you are really saying is that you think people would be possessive about their anoms. OK. Well, that sort of nixes any deal that I'd be interested in, because I don't mine. Still, I'd love to find a mining corp to come in and mine out my rocks for me. I hate those damn things. Anyone know of a reputable mining corp I could employ?

    I did not know that there was any sort of reputation in wspace, but if there is, it would seem like it would help the would-be vagrant corp. (I.e.: "Well, I did the same deal with corps X, Y, and Z, you should contact them.") Can you say more about reputation? How do you know anything about some random small wspace corp? Perhaps there are corps already doing this...

    Your idea to get a good static is good. That has been my plan for a while (a C2 with dual statics to highsec and C4). Still, what this amounts to is "stealing" from a wide variety of neighbor C4s. Not that I have any problem with that, just that it seems safer and easier to do PVE in system. And much faster to find a good system.

    By Von Keigai on Mar 26, 2013

  9. Not having to squeeze a tower through the first wormhole may be a fair advantage, and allows for a bigger subsequent fleet to enter in one go. Bragging rights about how they duped you are another possible reason to sneak a tower in first too. But you're right, it's not going to affect actual invaders.

    I agree that if you stipulate up front you're going to clear a system's anomalies and move on then the locals can't be upset when that happens. But, yes, I would say nearly all w-space corporations are possessive about their home system profits. Getting a simpatico industrial corporation would be serendipitous indeed.

    Yes, there are reputations in w-space. I can't say I really follow it, but a pilot will get blacklisted dependent on their actions. I'm sure the same would happen to a renter corporation that didn't follow the rules. Then again, I don't really know if renter corporations exist in w-space.

    You will have much more luck stealing anomalies through daily static wormholes than trying to persuade corporations to let you move in, I would say. It's just a hunch, based on my perceptions of w-space. You will still be stopped by force if caught, but no one will actively rip apart your tower for it.

    By pjharvey on Mar 26, 2013

  10. Popping SMAs has apparently been accidentally nerfed. This is somewhat troublesome, and makes the practice pretty much redundant until fixed.

    Please put your support behind a forum post on the subject.

    By pjharvey on Apr 2, 2013

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