Black Rise was once a very active zone for hot ship on ship PvP action. Mostly sparked by Faction Warfare and piracy in the area. But I have seen little of this activity in the past weeks while I was testing the waters of Lowsec PvE.
My first weapon of choice was an Isthar. The native resistances of the T2 Gallente hulls make them a perfect fit against Guristas Pirates. With it’s crazy bonus to Sentry Drones one can easily “snipe” a row of DED sites. That works because after the faction-spawn of the site is destroyed, the site despawns. With Sentry Drones, one can warp into this last room, destroy the faction NPC, bookmark the wreck and warp out. Once the site is gone, the wreck with potential shiny things is left behind. One warps to the bookmark and claims the reward. Easy as that.
The Ishtar did it’s job well, but still I lost a bunch of Drones to some sites after the NPCs swapped aggression. Restocking Drones in Lowsec is a game of chance and I begun to see why Tech 3 Cruisers were such a great choice to run the sites there: They could both scan for signatures or combat probe. And by the time you ran out of ammunition, you likely had a cargo hold filled with some valuables you wanted to get safe. So you go restock ammunition and drop off loot in one go. Time to test that very old Tengu fitting I was given by another player, years ago.
Escaltions & Incursions
Some sites, such as the Minor Guristas Annex create escalactions that can lead you quite a few jumps away from the original spot. And sometimes, those placed end up to be in systems that have an ongoing Snasha’s incursion.
With the Ishtar I would not have come far. The tackle and damage output of Incursion NPCs are no joke. You really want something that can warp off either within 3 seconds or cloak up while doing so.
This one escalation however proved problematic to reach: I was using the travel fit with cloak and Intertia Stabilizers to get through the Sansha’s-infested areas, until one jump out. Because there was no station to refit in my target system, I planned to do that one jump before – and then almost lost my T3 on that gate. The combat fitted Tengu was just not agile enough to get off the gate before getting tackled.
Great… Now I was stuck on a gate with Sansha’s on both sides. FC, what do?!
I barely made it back after the first jump, already with some armor damage and quite some heat on my mid slots. Sitting in gate-cloak, waiting for some shield to regenerate and guessing my chances getting back to the gate before the Nightmare would blow through my tank.
Phweeeshhh! Activation from the gate I just came through. I had 20 seconds left on my gate cloak when the Kryos decloaked and attempt to warp. With a bitter laugh I watched the Sansha’s frigates charge in and pin it down. Poor bastard, but this was my chance! The hauler had spawned on the other side of the gate, drawing the NPCs away from my position. I clicked “warp” to the nearest station and held my breath. Laser beams were cutting through the darkness of space and the Gallente haulers hull. As my Tengu entered warp, a bright explosion illuminates the back of my banged up ship. I had not thought I would ever be “saved” by a Kryos.
I refitted and bought a Mobile Depot that was luckily on the local market. I did not bring one initially to safe cargo space for more missiles. Without further issues, I made it through the Sansah’s gate camp and refitted on a safe spot on the other side to run my DED escalation.
When I came back, I decided to check what it had hauled. By creating a ping a couple hundred kilometers from the gate and decloaking, I pulled the Incursion rats away. Once they were over 100 km from the wreck, I warped down to check it’s contents. Minerals of course, but only 40 million of it and rather bulky. Not worth the hassle to bring a hauler through an Incursion myself. But you newer know until you look.
The First Part of a Grand Heist
Off to something completely different. Have you heard of the SCC sites? This recently introduced Lowsec-exlusive content guarantees to drop a Reserve Bank Key. The keys let the holder access the Reserve Banks in the Encounter Surveillance Systems (ESS) of Nullsec. If you manage to pull that off without locals or third parties intervening, you might get away with a couple billion worth of tokens you can sell to NPC buy-orders.
The streamer erstschlag had teamed up with some wormhole dwellers in search for such a site. The wormhole folk where rolling a Lowsec-static connection while roaming Lowsec space in search for an unoccupied site. Not a bad plan. They also had a Black Ops Battleship on stand by to be able to bridge their three Tengus intended for testing the content with.
Now the side effect of me derping around in Black Rise and scanning for DED sites was that I came across not one but two of these SCC sites. The first one the group aimed for got taken over by another group just before arrival. It’s worth noting that only three ships at a time can enter the site. But that was no a big problem on this afternoon: There was Lowsec-to-Lowsec wormhole that connected the system the first site with Kinakka.
A group of suspects had set up a gate-camp on the Highsec gate there, which probably held off most traffic; Including potential competition over the desired site. Nobody camped the wormhole, an easy way in for the prepared Tengus. Below is the video of the site actually being run.
I was staying on local the whole time by the way, running a Minor Guristas Annex in the same system as the SCC raiders and gate campers. I kept an eye on short d-scan and later also launched Combat Probes to detect a potential Recon entering my site early.
Overall, time well spent. If you look for something different, I can recommend to give Lowsec a look, it was something different from my usual Nullsec experience. And also not without PvP, but that is another story…