Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Our First Exploration Fleet Night - great fun!

After reading my Grass Is Always Greener post from last week, one of the Aideron directors made the wise decision to ask me to organize a night of alternative activities for anyone that wanted to participate. After some discussion in the forums about what kinds of exploration we could do, I settled on an exploration roam through low-sec. Last night we got into various cruisers (from memory Stratios, Ishtar, Deimos, two Exequrors for logi and several other ships, mostly dealing sentry drone damage) and went a-roaming!

We started with a data site and a 3/10 Rogue Drone Asteroid Infestation. This wasn't a lucrative site but we wanted to start with something small and safe so we could shake the dust off, work out how we'd travel as a group, call targets etc.  A couple of other combat sites were run, including a Serpentis Lookout that led to an escalation in high-sec. We didn't take that, because several of our pilots can't go there. We ran a data and relic site, then one of our two probing ships found The Main Event: Baynex found a Serpentis Logistical Outpost Not only is this equivalent to a 6/10 combat site, it also always escalates, meaning you are given the choice to take another fight with even tougher opponents in another system.

Our ships tore through these sites easily. Our two Exeqs (one piloted by me) easily repped our ships. One thing we hadn't considered was making sure the logi overviews were set up to see friendly drones, who took aggro and got damaged. We solved this by having people broadcast that drone as a target so logi could lock and repair them. Actually, now that I think about it, seeing them on the overview wouldn't help; which drone is taking damage? The broadcast method is better.

We lost no ships during the roam and spirits were high during the fights (thank you Phyridean for FCing!); I think everyone was pleased to be able to use ships they rarely undocked, and best of all, we got to use them together!

Overall we were out for three hours, got about 450M in loot, 7.5M each in bounties and a nice improvement in security status (for those that like such things :) ). It's my job to monetize it and distribute the proceeds among those present, except those who graciously declined to take a share.

While we were gone our corpmates continued to d-plex Fliet, which was down to 11% contested at midnight [Update: At 6AM Tuesday morning, EST, Fliet is now stable! 0% contested. More exploration roams!!) And, in a burst of what must have been good karma, my trader character sold a billion ISK of stuff overnight even though I didn't update her order prices before going to sleep!

Special thanks to Oreb for coming back for this event and staying with us so we could take the second escalation, even though it was ARGH o'clock in the morning in his time zone!

What Could Go Better Next Time?

We didn't find as many cosmic signatures, and thus less combat/data sites, than I thought we would. More scanning in advance would have given us more targets to pick from. We got lucky with finding the Logistical Outpost, but next time I think having three or four known combat sites would be better. This way, everyone can get in fighting ships and quickly run the combat sites in each system.  And its more fun to run a site together than it would be to split up and run them separately.

Alternatively, if you're looking for a smaller scale event, just go out and scan down some sigs yourself one night. If you find something juicy, make a corp bookmark and let your fellow pilots know. Those that are available can come and run it with you. The more there are of you, the faster it will go.

We spent some time working out what we wanted to do or not-do. Wormholes were a particularly sticky topic: when you probe down a wormhole and enter it, you get a lot of war-stories/opinions from those assembled about what kind of ships/fleets can/should go into that class of wormhole. In the end we didn't run any, but I think an exploration night should either focus on wormholes or avoid them altogether.

Despite some talk of salvage before heading out, nobody actually brought a salvager or salvage drones.  We moved quickly, so I don't know if there would have been time for the main fleet to wait for salvaging to occur. We could have had someone designated to salvage all the wrecks -- there were a lot more than I thought there would be and it probably would have added up to a significant amount of ISK. A salvaging Catalyst would have worked well. [Update: actually one of our pilots went out afterwards and looted/salvaged an additonal 19M of stuff, and that didn't include everything.]

Dividing the spoils: we're having everyone give their loot to a single person and have them work out the value and pay out a cash share to everyone who participated. You can use evepraisal.com to give a fair estimate of the value of the items in the contract before accepting it. That person would then organize for the items to be sold to reimburse themselves for making that payout. It's a good idea to have everyone contract their loot to that person, so they don't accidentally lose track of the looted items when they get mixed into their hanger.  When you do a "Trade" in station, the items go directly to the hanger...I'm not sure if you can drag them from the trade window directly to a station container, can you?