Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Siege Logistics

How do you siege a wormhole with a non-hisec entrance? Specifically, how do you get your staging POS into the system, stage your dudes, etcetera?

We have Operation Hufflepuff kicking off this weekend, which without giving anything away, involves seeding a bait POS into a C3 with U210 lowsec static.  We have a (vague) fleet roster including half a dozen battleships, three Guardians, and a bunch of T3's as usual, and 135Km3 of bait POS to get in to an entrance which may land in some pretty inconvenient locations, like farthest Aridia or Amamake.

For large-scale PVP operations of this nature, inside or outside wormholes, logistics and organisation are key. So, what's the solution?

Consider SSC's siege of "Luxemburg" - the solution was covert rail-fit Proteus fleet BLOPsed to the Nullsec exit of the hole (probably with covert RR Proteus). An interesting choice, and it clearly worked even though the solution to the logistical challenges was lost in the wall-of-text explanation about how amazing SSC was to have Herr Bert con the victims.

The BLOPs solution is also, theoretically, doable for seeding in a bait POS. Nowadays, a totally lug-fit Blockade Runner can fit up to 13.8km3 (T2 rigged Prorator), which allows you to take mostly any POS module you wish, or indeed 3 EWAR batteries. A fleet of about a dozen or so blockade runners, a covert cyno, and a BLOPs BS can insert a POS into a wormhole anywhere in New Eden or Anoikis within minutes, undetectably. Depending on where your target hole is, how many people you have with the capability, and whether you can make the fuel and exit cyno work for you, this could be a very neat, quick solution. Seed the POS, make a return trip, and then BLOPs in a cloaky Proteus fleet to do the assault.

The second option is to jump freighter (or Black Frog) your POS kit and, perhaps, broken-down ship hulls to the staging system. We have previously used carriers to seed ships into target systems, sending the fleet members through lowsec to the target system in frigates (these days, ceptors) and cynoing a carrier on to the nearest station, whereupon the fleet boards its Guardian/T3 fleet and enters the hole. Depending on midpoints, this is an effective way of moving a fleet onto a U210 static. It is however very expensive to move a full POS Kit and seed the target wormhole using Black Frog. But cheaper than affording your own JF.

The other natural solution is to probe your way back to highsec via wormholes, and YOLO in via a chain. This isn't 100% reliable at any time, and is very time-consuming. The advantage is that, even if you were daft enough to attack a C1/Z060, you could at least get an Orca to the nullsec system it's connected to. The problem is, Orcas can only take 80km3 these days and are terribly slow.

The better solution are Deep Space Transports, which I discovered yesterday after spending hours moving my Orca firstly, to Amarr to buy the POS kit, and then to the highsec staging system 5 jumps from the then-entry of Painin Placid, then going to Dodixie to buy a Mastodon.

The Mastodon warps slightly faster than a hull-rigged Orca, and if you have Transport 5 skill, can take 62.500m3 in the Fleet hangar and up to 17,100m3 in the main hangar with a full lug fit and T2 rigs. It also costs 20% of an Orca and could tank if its MJD fails to get it out of the shit.

In fact, almost regardless of where your target hole is, you can take a full POS kit with as little as two DST's. You can obviously escort your DST's around lowsec annoyances with relative safety, and far faster than slowboating an Orca to the closest highsec, then having to haul it in anyway.

As for POS Kits, it depends what you are doing, but a typical staging POS is as little as 48,650m3 give or take (Small Amarr, 10 small pulse, 2 dissy, 4 EWAR, 1 week's fuel, stront, SMA and CHA) which is well within the capabilities of a single DST.

Solve these logistical challenges beforehand, and not only is it faster to get the POS kit ready (pre-buy and pre-load it into a DST), it is faster to get it to the hole, and that keeps the time spent on the operation to a minimum. Which, considering EVE is already a hugely time-intensive game, is always a Good Thing.

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