EVE’s ANZAC Day Roam – One hell of a day

Past few days have been me playing EVE so late that when I got off I was too tired to even bother posting. The days before that, I have to say, was doing a hell of a lot of assignments for uni and all that good stuff. So balance, right? Work hard, play harder! Wait…

ANYWAY.

All my other shenanigans over Friday and Saturday (remember, for you international readers out there I talk in UTC +10) aside, what I partook in on Saturday, for the whole day, was the incredible experience of three consecutive roams, each ranging from 2-4 hours in length.

The ANZAC day roam has been happening for some years now, and this year was no different. Our Australian spaceship superstars (their names will probably pop up in below somewhere) this year organised two roams, one following the dawn service, and one later at night in AU TZ’s (BEST TZ) prime time. Both roams were hosted by Redemption Road, a group led by Greygal who run frequent NPSI roams out of Berta, a system down in the Derelik region of space.

In addition to these two roams, there was also an NPSI interceptor/T1 frigate roam also hosted by Redemption Road IN BETWEEN the two ANZAC roams. When I saw the timetable for that fateful Saturday, I knew I had to set my day aside for it. So I did. And it was so, so worth it.

This was how the day played out. I woke up just in time for the early roam, jumped into my shield-tanked Vexor Navy Issue along with everyone else in assorted shield cruisers and battlecruisers, with accompanying logi.

The roam took us into space-southern null-sec (the norm for RR’s NPSI roams usually), where we struck out with Dark RazerOTTO BISMARCK as FC, and were met with immediate success. Following the solemn recitation of the Ode by Bam Stroker, first blood went to us with a poor Orthrus getting caught in the jaws of our ANZAC Day-named ships and the flurry of ♥’s in local.

Besides some pickings here and there, the two other occasions where we saw some significant action was when we engaged in two arranged fights.

The first was with… oh, I forget. Anyway, the first group brought Augoror Navy Issues and Oneiros/Guardian logistics support, if I recall right. Our fleet couldn’t dream of breaking their logistics and we realised shortly after we began hitting their faces, so the retreat was sounded and we backed off.

After we reshipped, we head back out, and this time our scouts gave us intel on a cyno that had been lit in a system, off-stations. Of course, we decided to check it out. Turns out an Ark (!!!) was being transported into a POS. We missed it before it got into the shields, but we did manage to kill some of their defense fleet which were a couple of Dominixes, a Phobos, a Myrmidon and some Lachesi.

The second arranged fight was with some alliance I’ve also forgotten, but they brought another armour set-up. My memory of this is vague since I died in this one pretty early. It was pretty funny, actually. The FC called to break cloak and I think everyone else held back for 5 seconds, like the times when you and your friends agree to something stupid together but no one thinks anyone else is going to do it. Well, me being me, put full trust in the fleet and went ahead and broke cloak first, whereby all the drones assigned to the frigates attacked me (oh yes their fleet had some T2 Amarr ships, a decent-sized frigate/assault frigate support squad, Blackbirds, armour logi), and I just helplessly died.

Anyway, it appeared as if we were losing but we were also doing damage, so it wasn’t like we were helplessly outmatched like the first fight. At least, until I heard over comms that this second party decided to drop an Archon on grid. Yeah, well. We had to run after THAT.

The interceptor roam followed was successful too. Led by John Hexis, we powered through null-sec looking for defenseless miners to harass, and we did indeed find some Procurers to chase from their precious rocks, and proceeded to skirmish with the assorted cruisers and frigates they brought out to fight us off. After that it was really just trying to find something that would fight us as we zoomed around, and eventually we ended up in HED-GP which was also unfortunately quiet. At this time the fleet retired to give some of our U.S. members time to catch a nap to join the second official ANZAC day roam.

Oh boy, this is where it gets good. The hype train for this roam, ANZAC II, has been rolling in the EveDownUnder channel for a while now, and from all the linked fits and hints (as well as massive announcements in the EveDownUnder radio show the day before), suggested that this fleet was going to be HUGE. And it was. We were pushing 160 members from the get-go, all fit up for the doctrine “Anything shields”, which most took literally. The fleet ranged from a Venture to a Barghest to a Naglfar and Nidhoggur.

Oh yeah, and Polaris frigates. Because 6 members of CCP accompanied us on the ANZAC II roam; CCP Mimic, Logibro, Cognac, Alpha, Larrikin and Bartender. No biggie.

I forgot to mention this too, but the roam had prizes given out via random draw, sponsored by EVEBet (New Eden’s premium sports betting website), some other spacerich Australian friends, and CCP themselves, offering some Quafe skins (which are rocketing in value since the new SKIN system devblog).

So we set off, led by the now ancient Fawlty7 who according to some witnesses has managed to age dozens of years in the span of a few, whelping a Harpy fleet initially, flooding local in every system we entered with Lest We Forget in blue and white chat, and proceeded to… warp. And jump.

And warp. And jump.

And a lot more warping and jumping.

Unfortunately, whilst AU TZ is undoubtedly the BEST TZ, it appears when everyone online at the time is in your fleet, there is not much to oppose you. 😛

BUT, let it not be said that we were utterly bored looking for a fight. In a fleet that size full of Aussies we found ways to entertain ourselves. The novelty for some members of having CCP in fleet didn’t wear off for a while, actually flying NPSI was new to some, and the general TeamSpeak banter was great to listen to; I wish I had recorded more of it.

You see, sometimes it’s just the atmosphere that Aussies can generate, I think. It chips away at seriousness until we’re all just chill and happy to be friends. There’s no need for super serious spaceship business is a thing, but for most of the time, it’s offset by good company and awesome mates.

Okay, back to our roam!

Somewhere down the line a Tornado fleet attempted to harass us, and when that didn’t work they dissolved into bombers and tried to bomb us, generally being a thorn in our side and whittling at our numbers. A few Phoebe Freeport Republic carriers outside one of their stations gave us a distraction for a while as we farmed their frigates and cruisers until we decided to keep moving. Essentially, we left a trail of wrecks in our wake, nothing big though, and when CCP departed, we started to sorely itch for a fight.

-suspenseful music-

30 jumps from safety, an hour before downtime, a fat fleet that travels as fast as its capitals can (not fast). Could we make it?

Almost. But Fawlty7, as he rushed us back to low-sec, slowly realised what was going to happen. The carrier had departed, the fleet was slowly losing members as people realised we were probably going to call it when we got back (however we still had around 100-110 people). A lone dreadnaught accompanied by a bunch of subcaps.

A perfect stage for a Titan drive-by.

And so it was that, 3 minutes before downtime, a Leviathan materialised next to our Naglfar. Comms exploded, then shut up as everyone watched the doomsday (my first Titan and doomsday I’ve seen in Tranquility in front of my eyes).

Then the Naglfar told us he survived. Then comms exploded again. Bubbles erupted around the Titan, people were yelling, I was laughing about the failed DD, the FC was telling us to clear random ships that were landing off the field, the downtime timer continued to tick down, the bubbles were successfully put up around the Titan.

Downtime hit. I have to say, downtime saved the Titan, but he probably wouldn’t have jumped without downtime to protect him. Love-hate I guess.

Wow. What was expected to be a quiet end to the roam had everyone wide awake again, buzzing about what the hell was happening. When the servers came back, the FC took control with an iron fist. Understandable, of course. The hellcamp had to be prepared with perfection. Unfortunately for us, the Titan didn’t try to relog and jump. Which means his next opportunity is going to be watched by the eyes of the likes of PL, and as soon as that character relogs, it’s going to suck. Badly.

Anyway, as we were reforming fleet after downtime, The Gorgon Empire either had gotten wind of the news or was passing by in Ishtars, because suddenly they were upon us and looking to fight. This is where my account of things gets hazy because I messed up and got killed because I didn’t want to jump when the FC said jump. It was a weird case again, because after he called jump, he said to kill the Sabre. There was a Sabre on the side that didn’t jump, and I’m assuming there was one on the other side too. But I thought he meant to one on this side, so I went ahead and aggressed. Then a Gorgon Legion shot me in the face.

I rushed to reship and return, and half-way back comms broke into battle commands as the Ishtar fleet jumped through and engaged. It was, by the sounds of it, the fight we had been looking for all night. Apparently during the start a Nestor found its way on grid too, which was promptly killed by our fleet.

I made it back for the second-half of the fight. Fawlty had been killed, Onslaughtor took over, and there were still a sizeable amount of Ishtars and Basilisks on grid. I joined the fleet as they warped off-grid. We then had interceptors set up warp positions to get us on top of their Ishtars. One thing led to another and somehow we found a way in, I think via some hero interceptor diving headfirst into the Ishtar fleet. We warped, they tried to pull away, and we slowly reeled them in, killing Basilisks, Ishtars, a Machariel and their assorted tackle.

In the end, the fight played out something like this:

2015.04.25.11.56.53The long line was us chasing them ‘down’ for something like 700km, slowly picking them off. It was surprisingly one-sided; most of the Ishtars either ran out of drones or couldn’t command them as they passed out of control range. Our frigates called webs and scrams as we nailed down their ships one by one, until eventually the remaining few bailed.

The return home for those who remained was one of weary smiles. Tired, but satiated with a glorious, glorious fight, we trudged home back to the warm embrace of the dock, parted ways with comrades whom we had forged such strong bonds with in those few hours, perhaps never to see each other again in the depths of space.

Overall, the whole day was epic fun, truly a highlight of the power of players coming together and just having a good time. Some of the guys who had been running these NPSI roams for over a year admitted ANZAC II was probably one of the best.

I am open to EVEmails or comments below to anyone who has more to add or to fix any mistakes. Someone streamed the whole thing and I’m sure lots of highlight reels will pop up on YouTube; I have some footage I might throw up too.

Lest we forget. ♥

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