Tuesday 27 March 2018

About strange Drifter fleets and mysterious data vaults

A damaged Drifter fleet gathered around a gate, scanning everything in sight
Image by Khaprice


The past two months have seen the arrival of various damaged Drifter fleets. For reasons unknown, they showed up in New Eden. Adding to the mystery is their damaged state and their unwillingness to communicate. Considering how the Drifters acted in the past when they sent fleets, there are reasons to be worried.
The past two months the Arataka Research Consortium (ARC) has dedicated alot of resources and manpower to find out what is going on and if it could be a possible new threat to the cluster.
ARC has engaged the Drifter fleets as much as they could, both to learn more, as to halt any possible threats. A large battleship fleet that arrives unannounced does not exactly say 'We come in peace', especially not if said battleships attacked without warning in the past.
From the wreckage, mysterious corrupted data vaults have been recovered that could lead into a deeper insight of the Drifter actions & motivations.

This article will showcase what we know right now, the new developments on both sides (Drifters & ARC) and what data has been cracked from the mysterious vaults. But first we start with a list of all known Drifter fleet sightings to this day.

The first damaged Drifter fleet, sighted in Anoikis
Image by Uriel Paradisi Anteovnuecci

Analysis of the Drifter fleets sightings

First we'll sum up all the fleets spotted so far, where and when, to have a better insight on the progression & when certain breakthroughs happened. Then we'll look more into detail on various encounters.
Do note that all but one fleet has been engaged & destroyed by various forces around New Eden. The only Drifter fleet that was not engaged was the first one spotted by ARC in Anoikis.

J174618DriftersRedoutb Hive17 / 02 / 120
H-ADOCAngelsS-E6ES gate17 / 02 / 120
RensMinmatarFrarn gate18 / 02 / 120
SirppalaCaldariUrlen gate25 / 02 / 120
NourvukaikenCaldariTama gate13 / 03 / 120
IsanamoCaldariSobaseki gate13 / 03 / 120
EvuldgenzoMinmatarAsgeir gate13 / 03 / 120
AltrinurMinmatarOlbra gate14 / 03 / 120
IkuchiCaldariJita gate21 / 03 / 120
EmolgranlanMinmatarAmmold gate22 / 03 / 120
JolevierGallenteYashunen gate25 / 03 / 120

A quick glance show they have mainly focused on Caldari territory, close around the Jita system and  Minmatar space, seemingly focused around the Eram system, home of the Arek'Jaalan site. It's not yet sure why they focus on these areas yet.
Another curiosity is that they always appear at stargates when present. The reason for this is not known.
So far, the Amarr Empire has not been visited, this could be due to historical reasons.

The first few encounters caught many off guard, as nothing could be gleamed on why the Drifters came here. The Drifter battleships were heavily damaged into structure, but their overshields (blue) were still operational.
Only thing of note this early on was the leaked Concord file, showing a strange glowing orb.

After the Nourvukaiken encounter, things get more interesting. Not only has their overshield failed, it is also the first time corrupted trinary data vaults are recovered, the First Vaults. The distorted images recovered after decoding the data showed an unknown ship, possibly the cause of the damaged Drifter battleships.
From this encounter onward, these vaults would be recovered standard from the wreckage.
The encounters at Isanamo, Evuldgenzo and Altrinur saw intense attempts at communication with the Drifters in the vain hop of a response. These attempts were made by both independent capsuleers as ARC personnel.

However, from the Altrinur sighting, things sped up. Not only were the Second Vaults uncovered, but from now on, every new encounter came with corrupted vaults holding new data. The Third Vault data was first discovered at the Ikuchi sighting. Emolgranlan was the  site of the first Fourth Vault data salvage.

The Jovelier sighting is the most interesting of them all, as it deviated greatly from previous encounters. Not only was it the first sighting in Gallente space, it also saw the Drifter cruisers escorting their battleships. Do note that the Yashunen gate leads directly into Caldari space.
While the battleships were severely damaged, the cruisers had not sustained any damage.
They also proved to be a tough force to take down. The battleships went down relatively easy in their damaged state, but the cruisers in their undamaged condition and possessing excellent gun tracking were a force to be reckoned with.
Once the battle was over, two new vaults were uncovered as well! The Fifth and Sixth Vault were recovered from the wreckage.

Decoding the corrupted trinary data vaults

So far, 6 different data vaults have been retrieved, heavily coded and containing distorted images.
Below are the links to the data on the 6 different vaults + the leaked Concord file, along with a link to the images reconstructed by ARC

Leaked Concord File - sent to several organisations, two days after the Rens encounter
First vault - first recovered at Nourvukaiken - image reconstruction by ARC
Second Vault - first recovered at Altrinur - image reconstruction by ARC
Third Vault - first recovered at Ikuchi - image reconstruction by ARC
Fourth Vault - First recovered at Emolgranlan - image reconstruction by ARC
Fifth Vault and Sixth Vault - both first recovered at Jovelier - image reconstruction by ARC

The leaked Concord file threw most folks off initially, as it looks like a star. However, thanks to the decoding of the data vaults, we are now sure it is a very close up image of the weapon/energy source of the unknown ships.

Decoding the various vaults gives access to distorted & corrupted images that need to be filtered & decoded as well to get a good image. Luckily ARC has excellent decoders among its ranks, not to mention the various independent capsuleers who also work on this.

One of the first things discovered was that the reconstructed images revealed an unidentified ship, first observed by Trii Seo & Avio Yaken:
The unknown ship buzzing past the camera

As of today, we still don't know to whom this ship belongs and what it is. Thanks to all the reconstructed images gathered from the 6 vaults, we do know that the recorded location is a shattered planet system. Where exactly is unknown, but suspected it is in Anoikis (but not enough data to confirm, as it doesn't match any known shattered system in Anoikis)
The alien craft itself is shown to be smaller & much more mobile then the Drifter battleships. Multiple of these alien craft are recorded during this engagement between them & the Drifter battleships.
The red orb seems to be a weapon of sorts, firing a red beam; as shown below:
The strange orb-weapon, firing its red beam

Not much more could be unveiled form the decoded images so far, except that it registers a battle between two (small?) fleets. One being a Drifter fleet and the other the unknown ships. Who the aggressors are in this conflict is unknown, but they sure aren't friends.

The corrupted data vaults also gave another mystery to chase, spotted by Avio Yaken:
A strange structure is seen on the left

This unknown structure has only been discovered recently on the footage, as it sits on the edge of an image & only is in view for seconds. No details can be seen, making it impossible to identify.

So far, we know very little still. We do not know the location (Anoikis is suspected, but not sure) only that it is very likely in a shattered system. We know nothing of these alien ships, except that they're fast & small and not afraid of engaging the Drifter battleships.
The main weapon of the strange ships seems to be their orb, firing red beams from it.
And of course the unidentified structure, nothing is know about it, whether it's Drifter or something else. Knowing what it is can help alot in determining the location.

From this footage, we can guess why the Drifter fleets come to our space; perhaps they try to look for a counter to these ships in our space, scanning everything? Or maybe they try to warn us against them in some bizarre way? After all, we can decode the data they brought to our space.
But at the moment it is hard to tell why they come to our space with their damaged battleships in fleets.

The Drifter cruisers

These are the newest ships fielded by the Drifters. First sighted almost a week ago at a Jove Observatory, they now also accompany the damaged Drifter fleets as they venture in our space.
Unlike the battleships, these cruisers are not damaged & have their full arsenal at their disposal; overshield, doomsday and fast-tracking omni-damage guns, making them a formidable foe.
Research is still ongoing regarding their capacities, but of note is that their Doomsday is not omni-damage like the battleships, but focused in the EM/Kinetic damage spectrum. A hint on the weaknesses of their unknown enemy?

The Drifter cruiser, with its glowing overshield active

It is likely they developed this cruiser as response to the unknown ships, as they never bothered changing their battleship doctrine fighting or defending against us.
The cruiser is heavily armed and the guns are fast-tracking, a good counter against those fast buzzing alien ships. Whether it is effective against them remains to be seen, but the cruisers are a dangerous foe for any capsuleer that attacks them.
But it's very likely that they'll now accompany the damaged Drifter battleship fleets when they appear in New Eden again.

Alongside the discovery of these new Drifter ships, another observation was made; The Jovian Observatories have deteriorated further, leaving larger debris clouds. They're fracturing further due to the Drifters' continued gathering of the Antikythera elements within these Observatories.
It's not yet understood why they gather these elements and for what purpose.

Summary: Mysteries abound!

In short, we don't know why the Drifter fleets come to us. We do know that the alien ships seem to possess formidable weaponry, using a technology unknown to us as of yet. But why they fight the Drifters or who is the aggressor in between the two is not yet known.
No known nation has fielded such technology so far, so at most it could be one of them fielding classified technology against the Drifters.
It can also be a new, undiscovered faction in Anoikis, possessing technology unknown to us.
Revealing the structure could tell us a whole lot more, so we have to put our hopes into retrieving new data vaults from the Drifter wreckage. This is because multiple attempts by various capsuleers to communicate with the Drifters has failed so far.

We urge to continue all attempts at opening communications with the Drifters, as a breakthrough would be able to turn things upside down, hopefully for the better

Below are the links to various threads to discuss the recent Drifter sightings in more detail:

- [ARC] Large and heavily damaged Drifter fleet encountered in Hive complex
This is the largest thread, contains most information of all the various Drifter fleets sighted & actions taken. Warning! Massive thread!
- [ARC] Vigilant Tyrannos cruiser identified, Observatories further damaged
A report on the new Drifter cruisers & the deteriorating Jove Observatories
- Trinary data camera footage astrolocation: Where is this nebula?
A public call out by Julianus Soter in an attempt to narrow down the location of the fight recorded by the corrupted trinary data vaults
- [ARC] Drifter Crisis history repository gives a full ARC overview of all known Drifter activity & related phenomenons, stretching back years.

Relevant Aurora News articles linked below:
- Multiple Drifter fleets sighted - the first sightings, now over a month ago
- Large Drifter fleet sighted in Caldari space  - last fleet with active overshields
- Multiple Drifter fleets sighted on a single day! - First corrupted trinary data vaults recovered
- New Drifter entities spotted! - Article on the new Drifter cruisers, sighted at a Jove Observatory

Saturday 24 March 2018

Remembering the Caldari Prime battle

 Seeing it from space, the world Caldari Prime looks so tranquil & peaceful


5 years ago, the Battle for Caldari Prime occured and in a way, both sides managed to achieve their objective. The Gallente managed to remove the Caldari Titan in orbit of Caldari Prime, whom they saw as a threat due to it's destructive doomsday weapon.
The Caldari managed to hold Caldari Prime against all odds, thanks to the relentless efforts of their loyal Dust mercenaries who fought for weeks against the Gallente war machine, cut off from Caldari support due to the planetary blockade.
Admiral Visera Yanala's sacrifice, ramming the Titan into Caldari Prime did help the defenders as it threw the Gallente ground forces into chaos.

The outcome was a truce, a treaty of peace between the State and the Federation. No ships of either nation would be permitted to patrol the planet's orbits, enforced by Mordu's Legion. Both sides would let their corporations manage their parts of the planet, a move that resulted in all the cities returned under Caldari control, while the Gallente governed the largest parts of the planet.

And because of this, every year, the people who fought & died at Caldari Prime are remembered, no matter which side they fought on, as both gave their best and won. The Gallente got a secured home system with the removal of the Caldari Titan. The Caldari kept their homeworld.

The Memorial station in orbit over Caldari Prime as the Shiigeru crash site rotates by

The 5th anniversary of the Battle of Caldari Prime

Several people gathered for this celebration, organized by Commander A9. They brought out their party ships, fitted with lasers & fireworks for impressive displays.
The event kicked of with talks about the battle itself, from capsuleers who were there to witness it to the aftermath that saw many events unfold, from Morwen Lagann's Heart & Home relief effort to the diplomatic efforts made by both the State & Federation to a lasting peace for Caldari Prime.
Not to mention the hugely successful first anniversary of the Caldari Prime battle! But we also talked about the many lives that were touched in direct & indirect ways. After all the Aurora Arcology foundation was a direct result of this battle. But it also saw a change of heart in many Dust Mercenaries, giving them a cause to believe in.
Links to many of the discussed events & occurrences can be found at the end of this article, to keep it all easily organized!

After this, people undocked and prepared for a visit to the old battleground. Today it is nothing more but space as the last of the wreckage has been salvaged or burned up in the atmosphere of the planet years ago.
Then people prepared themselves for a flyby under guidance of Commander A9, to honour the fallen of this battle.
Preparing for the flyby over Caldari Prime

After the flyby, folks returned to the Memorial Citadel and all attendees received a festival launcher & 1000 charges of fireworks!
Now the party could kick of for real, with magnificent fireworks blasting in every directiong, showing people with colourful displays.

Painting the Memorial Citadel red with the glow of fireworks. One hell of a show!

During this, more capsuleers showed up, joining in the colourful & flashy celebrations. Not even death could stop one capsuleer from attending! Despite being podded enroute to the event, Francophobia just boarded a new ship with his fresh body & kept going. Despite the delay, he was very welcome, managing to catch the end of the festivities despite the major delay that death incurred on him!
And so the event closed, with the arrival of a death-defying capsuleer. people had a good time. The stories exchanged were great, allowing veterans to share their knowledge & tales with younger capsuleers who only read about these events.
And the fireworks displays were very impressive, showcasing how much it has evolved from the days of simple fireworks to the magnificent displays of today!

One last time, giving it all we got with our fireworks! Shades mandatory!

Closing note

The event was small but enjoyable. those who didn't attend missed out really.
Below is a list of the stories & footage exchanged about the Caldari Prime battle, the events that followed & how it affected people.

- Caldari Prime battle footage- space - by capsuleer delonewold
- Caldari Prime battle footage - ground & space - by capsuleer Oddsodz
- Caldari prime battle: an extended overview - Backstage historic file
- The Heart and Home Caldari Prime Relief effort by capsuleer Morwen Lagann
- Thoughts of a Clone Soldier - Discovering Humanity - by Dust Mercenary Denak Kalamari
- First year anniversary of the Caldari Prime battle was a success! - One of the first big articles by Aurora News
- The execution of a hero: Admiral Yanala Visera murdered - part of the larger Backstage historic file on the Caldari Prime Battle
- The song We are Eve by Alienhand, to remind us that we all share a single universe
Caldari Prime, the road to peace - Aurora News article on the efforts of diplomats on both sides to built a lasting peace between the State and Federation for Caldari Prime
- The Provist Manhunt Summary - Aurora News article on the event that restored the Caldari Navy  honour after they were infiltrated by Dragonaur loyalists.

Happy reading/viewing/listening pleasure!

The hunt for the Guristas


Two years ago, a similar hunt event occurred. Capsuleers were tasked with rescuing kidnapped capsuleers from the Guristas before they could been used in experiments to unlock capsuleer & cloning tech by the 'Schism' faction.
The Schism is a splinter faction of the Guristas, involved in illegal high-tech research and is lead by one of their leaders, Fatal.

It was thought that after this, their plans to replicate capsule tech of their own was thwarted. But they just started anew!
But this time they're stealing empty capsules in order to unlock these technologies for themselves. So once again, capsuleers are called upon to stop the dastardly Guristas!

Hunting the Guristas

Most common place to find them are the detention sites. They're spread across the Eden cluster, housing a few wings of Guristas to protect their stolen capsules.

A Gurista detention center, used to store the stolen capsules and other loot from Gurista raids

Once such a site is engaged, Guristas will continue calling reinforcements in an attempt to overwhelm you with numbers. Make sure you fly a well tanked ship, able to resist their main weapon damage which is kinetic/thermal focused.
The best counter is to use kinetic-focused weaponry yourselves to take down as many ships as you can to keep their ship numbers to a manageable level.
When you wreck havoc like this, their overseer will make an appearance. As he is a capsuleer, his ship is a much tougher nut to crack, so beware. Maintain your kinetic focused offense & he should go down eventually as long as you can maintain your defense as well.
Don't forget to recover the stolen capsules while you're at it. They should be anchored somewhere around the detention center. Retrieve them to prevent them from falling into Gurista hands.
Do note that these capsules are not always present at the detention sites, leaving you to just fight the Guristas to prevent them from stealing capsules in future raids.

If you want to do more, the Guristas transport the stolen capsules from the detention center to their transportation hub in lowsec space. While more stolen capsules can be retrieved here, giving a larger blow to the 'Schims' faction research, these are much more heavily guarded with their Caiman capital ship to lead the defense of the site.

The Gurista Caiman dreadnought, a fearsome opponent
Image released by Concord Command Personnel

With the presence of such a formidable ship, along with the Gurista Transportation site being located in lowsec, only the bravest and most equipped capsuleers can take on these sites, preferably with companions to lesser the risk of additional hostile interventions.
These Guristas follow an enhanced version of the Detention defense tactic; overwhelming you with numbers, just with more powerful ships. So pack kinetic weaponry & field kinetic/thermal defenses to take them down fast with minimal damage. The less time spent here, the better.
Keep in mind that their Dreadnought is piloted by a Gurista capsuleer & can be very hard to take down due to this, possessing formidable damage resistances.


So what's in it for those who thwart the Gurista plans? Because it is all too known that capsuleers rarely do things from the good of their hearts, so there has to be rewards.
Most rewards come in the form of looting the wreckage of the unfortunate Gurista defenders as it is hard to come by their items & tech in a legal way, hence it is highly sought after.
The most common find will be the Gurista fireworks nicknamed 'Naughty people Firework', for your celebration needs. Guess the Guristas like to part as well!
Next best thing to find are the various Agency boosters variants you can retrieve from the wreckage.
You can also find various Gurista outfits if that's your thing, along with ship appearance modifiers (Skins).
The more sought after items are of course the Gurista exclusive Cerebral accelerators that boosts the capsuleer ability to learn greatly. If you are lucky, you can even retrieve a Gurista exclusive ballistic control module that boosts both your missiles and drones efficiency at the same time!

In short, a reward summary list:

- Naughty People Fireworks
- Agency Boosters: 3 variants, each with 3 levels of efficiency
- Various Gurista outfits: dress like a pirate! (If you don't mind where it came from...)
- A large variety of Ship appearance modifiers (skins)
- Bounties on the Gurista capsuleers; 350.000 for the battleship and 2.5 million for the Dreadnought.
- The Gurista Cerebral Accelerators, which come in 3 variants: The basic one, a more efficient one and a longer lasting one
- The Gurista Ballistic Control system, coming in two variants, both boosting Drones & missile weapon systems.

The last two rewards can only be recovered from the boss wreckage. All the rest can also be retrieved from the various Gurista wreckage you leave behind on the sites.
The capsule shells you retrieved are best turned in at your local authorities. If you are less concerned, the various corporations are willing to buy them off you for a small price.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

New Drifter entities spotted!

During a patrol on a Jove Observatory, pilot Aradina Varren noticed an unusual capsuleer ship wreck in Eystur. Concord had identified it as a Drifter ship kill, but it didn't match any known Drifter ship signatures.
This prompted Varren for a call out in the ARC comm channel to investigate the matter.

Various capsuleers responded to this call; Andrei Haiducul, Drake Wellington and Jandice Ymladris joined into the investigation. Arriving in the system, the unknown Drifter ship was seen flying alongside Autothysian Lancer drones at the local Jove Observatory, along with some wreckage from the unfortunate capsuleer amidst Autothysian Lancer wrecks

The strange Drifter ship, hoovering ominously in front of the damaged Jove Observatory

After observations, it was determined these were a new class of Drifters, smaller then their Battleships & fitted within the cruiser category. The Drifter flying it has been tagged 'Cassandra Tyrannos'  a previously unseen Drifter pilot category.
The wreckage around the Observatory revealed that the new Drifter ship was part of the reinforcements called by the Autothysian Lancers when they are under attack
Inspecting the ship at close range showed its heavy armament, this is one ship you don't want to provoke without caution!
Do note that this ship carries the Lux Xiphos gun, a lighter version of the battleship-grade Lux Kontos turret.

Each light is a Lux Xiphos turret, quite the powerful array of weapons for a cruiser-class ship!

Once all observation were done, without provoking them, we took it a step further & scanned their ships with various modules. The cargo was a classic for Drifters around the Jove Observatory systems, carrying the Antikhytera element, Sleeper data libraries & Ancient Coordinate databases. The ship module scanner was unable to penetrate their shielding.

When they warped to the Hadaugago gate, these Drifters turned aggressive & shot two ships without provocation, the Breacher piloted by Jandice Ymladris, equipped with scanning modules & a Burst frigate, piloted by a new capsuleer.
The worrying part is that this attack happened very randomly, shooting random targets as well, leaving the other members of our investigation team alone. No cargo was present, save some rocket ammo on the Breacher.

So for future investigators: beware!

As closing words, this is the first time since long that a new Drifter ship has been sighted, along with a new Drifter entity to accompany it. The Drifter cruiser & it's pilot, Cassandra Tyrannos haven't been seen before today!
So far, they've only been spotted as reinforcements after Autothysian Lancer drones have been attacked. A follow up investigation in Kaunokka by Oliver Aurelius & Drake Wellington confirmed this to be the case, locating several Cassandra Tyrannos piloting Drifter cruisers at a Jove Observatory, following a lone Autothysian Lancer drone.

Update on the new Drifter Cruisers & their abilities

Since this publication, another Drifter entity has appeared that is very similar: Orion Tyrannos, the male variant of Cassandra Tyrannos. They seem to be similar in every way but their gender.
Thanks to combat testings of various pilots, more is known about their damage dealing capacities as well.
Just like the Drifter battleships, these cruisers field a Doomsday as well that fires when their blue overshield is penetrated.
But the similarity ends there, as the damage is much lower & not equal; the weapon deals roughly 42.000 damage, mainly in the EM/Kinetic spectrum, so shielding yourself against these damage types allows you to absorb most damage.
The Lux Xiphos guns deal roughly 700 damage per second combined. So far initial investigations seem to indicate this is still omni damage, but further investigations are ongoing to confirm this. What we do know is that their cruiser gun tracking is excellent, far above that of their battleships.

Both types of Drifter cruisers are now observed patrolling alongside Autothysian Lancer drones, protecting them. They are also the go-to ships that reinforce the Lancer drone patrols call for help when under attack.
This behaviour to defend the Lancers can explain why these Drifters are more prone to fire at capsuleer ships that haven't shot them.
This is still a rare occurrence, but it is advised not to linger when Drifter cruisers are abound to avoid an unwelcome shooting party.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Multiple Drifter fleets sighted on a single day!


After a silence of 3 weeks, the damaged Drifter fleets have returned. But this time, several capsuleers were ready to attempt opening communications one way or another with these damaged Drifters. It was paramount that more information was needed to determine why the Drifters visit our space with damaged fleets and if they are a direct threat.
Alas, the first sighted encounter showed competition had arrived and they would wreck Drifters for the sheer fun of it.

The Nourvukaiken sighting

The first Drifter fleet sighting happened in Caldari space, the Nourvukaiken system, composed of roughly 30 Drifter battleships. But before ARC could pick upon this sighting, a fleet under command of capsuleer Bjornson Thellere attacked the Drifters with a fleet of 50-60 capsuleers & destroyed them.
Their fleet doctrine was similar to ARC, using massed destroyers to engage the Drifter fleet. The difference was in the ships used. While ARC uses only the Coercer destroyer, Bjornson Thellere's fleet used a mix of Coercers, Trashers and Catalysts
After the fight, ARC managed to gleam some information from the capsuleers, revealing that the shield systems of these Drifters was not working!
But just like the previous fleet sightings, they just gave up fighting after suffering heavy losses
However, there wasn't much time to ponder over this sighting, as another Drifter fleet was spotted!

The Isanamo communication attempt

This second sighting was once again in Caldari space. The Drifters were gathered at the Sobaseki gate in the Isanamo system. While ARC prepared against them, science would be done this time, in an attempt to avoid combat.
Two capsuleers, Jandice Ymladris & Stig Elendil, attempted to get response from the Drifters by carrying a wide variety of goods related to the Drifters one way or another in an attempt to get a response, good or bad. Relics, artefacts & curious goods were jettisoned in an attempt to offer it to the Drifters & scientists observed the whole ordeal. A full list of the items used can be found here: Overview of the Drifter communication attempts.
But regrettably, no response came forth, outside their standard scan. It was observed that just like the previous sighting in Nourvukaiken, these Drifters had no shields & were damaged into structure by an unknown attacker.

The enigmatic green glow of an exploding Drifter battleship as the ARC fleet attacked them
Image by Evi Polevhia

Realizing their fleet had grown to 50 battleships, action had to be taken against the Drifters. The locals were getting concerned about this built up as well, requiring ARC personnel to calm them down, assuring these Drifters were no direct threat and that ARC would dispose of them soon.
Once ARC had gathered enough people and shipped them in their Coercer doctrine; the attack could begin.
Wave after wave of destroyers crashed against the Drifters, until they seem to give up at the 3rd attack wave, making it easy to dispose of the stragglers.
The lack of shielding helped greatly in keeping casualties down to a minimum.
But as the Drifter wrecks were salvaged, a strange item was uncovered, a Corrupted Trinary Vault! This was the first recorded retrieval of this strange artefact.
Yet once again, no time was left to mull on this discovery, as a new Drifter fleet was sighted during the Isanamo battle.

The Evuldgenzo encounter

This Drifter fleet was sighted by capsuleer Uhnboy Ghost of the Spectre community. The ARC fleet regrouped & set course for the Evuldgenzo system.
Meanwhile, Uhnboy Ghost & Stig Elendil attempted to communicate with them through various means, from projecting light beams to skimming real close to the damaged Drifter battleships. Alas, the result was the same as the Isanamo communication attempt: nothing, save their ever vigilant scanning.

Once the ARC fleet arrived, capsuleers readied themselves quickly to battle the Drifters once more. A quick count indicated roughly 40 battleships gathered around the Asgeir gate.
Under the experienced command of officer Makoto Priano, the fleet commenced their attack. this time, the Drifters gave up rather fast. In the second wave, they already gave up, resorting to minimal resistance as their fleet was cleared off the field.

ARC engaging the Drifter fleet, with the Noctis to retrieve valuable salvage for further research.
Image by Khaprice

With that awful task done, the Drifter & ARC wrecks were being salvaged for research & to recoup losses. Once again, a Corrupted Trinary vault was found among the Drifter wreckage.
With no further sightings; analysis of this strange artefact could begin.


So far, there have been 6 damaged Drifter fleet sightings outside Anoikis. 3 of these were in Caldari systems, all within 3 jumps from Jita: Sirppala, Nourvukaiken and Isanamo.
Two fleets were sighted in Minmatar space; Rens and Evuldgenzo. The last fleet was sighted in H-ADOC, home of the Angel Cartel.
Info on the other encounters can be found here:
Multiple Drifter fleets sighted  -  Large Drifter fleet sighted in Caldari space

The main difference between the old fleet sightings and those of today was their damaged state. The first fleets sighted were damaged heavily into structure but still had operational shields & Doomsday guns, while the Drifter fleets in today's encounter suffered less severe structural damage, but their shield systems & doomsday devices were offline, making it easier to destroy them with lower casualties.

But the main discovery was the retrieval of an unknown artifact, the Corrupted Trinary Vaults. These items were retrieved from each fleet sighted today (albeit the one retrieved at Nourvukaiken was only found out much later)
A quick analysis of the Vault artifact by ARC revealed a strange data sequence:

The strange footage uncovered from the Vault by ARC, tagged as DARG47688

What the strange triangular symbols mean is unclear at this time. More data is required before we can crack their code.
However; the video feed included does show a mysteriousobject:

A strange ship near an asteroid; location unknown
Image by Trii Seo

Likely this is linked to the leaked Concord file from a few weeks before. Do note that current consensus is that the strange phenomenon in the leaked Concord file is not a star, but something else, as the scale doesn't fit. What it is is still a mystery. At this time not much more has been uncovered, but ARC officials & affiliated but they are hard at work trying to connect the data & finding out what is going on with these damaged Drifter fleets entering our space.
Aurora News will keep close track of this mysterious renewed Drifter activity.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Drifters and Sisters of Eve continue to clash in capsuleer graduation systems

Investigating strange rescuees 

It all began when capsuleer Yun-Hee 'Tight-Lips' Yubari informed the C3SRC (Coordination Channel for Consolidated Space Rescue Cooperation) that she had rescued some survivors.
These rescuees came from wrecks near the State War Academy in Kisogo. They were revealed to be scientists & personnel that were of extreme importance to the Sisters of Eve. The capsuleer also thought this was not a one-time occurance.

As part of C3SRC, Che Biko decided to investigate and his initial research supported Yubari's findings.
But it also revealed a darker truth, it was not limited to the Kisogo system, but these SoE scientists & personnel were being rescued in systems all over New Eden, usually from smaller wrecks. Alas, the culprits behind this odd attacks left no recognizing attack damage patterns. However
But during his investigation, Che Biko stumbled on some SoE survivors himself, allowing him to gain some first hand information from them.
Albeit the rescuees were in great distress, they did told him they were survivors of a Drifter attack, rescued by a capsuleer ship, who then got attacked by others, leaving them stranded again till Che Biko managed to rescued them.
With such turn of events it should come at no surprise that these people are very shaken up & were in no state to pressure for more information,save that they indeed worked for the Sisters of Eve.

Concerned about the wide spread of these attacks, Che Biko started to look into establishing a method on rescuing more survivors. The involvement of the Drifters also caused him to reach out to others to investigate the matter more deeply to find out what is happening here.
Aurora News took up his request & delved deeper into it.
One thing that immediately popped up was that the Aurora Arcology has received similar SoE survivors the past months, helping the investigation greatly.

These SoE survivors all came from capsuleer graduation systems, like Ryddinjorn, Couster, Akiainavas, Pasha and many more. Whatever is happening, it seems to occur at all capsuleer graduation systems.
The survivor stories all align pretty well too, they got rescued by a capsuleer after their ship or installation was attacked by Drifters, sometimes getting a double rescue as their original rescuer lost his ship before he got to safety.
What was less clear was the whole Drifter/SoE angle in all of this. But whatever was going on, it seemed not to involve the empires directly.
Originally our investigations couldn't reveal more then this, until the first damaged Drifter fleets were sighted. This caused all manner of discussions on the Intergalactic Summit and uncovered the background of these continuous Drifter aggression against SoE ships & installations in the Capsuleer Graduation systems.
Below you'll find the outcome of our investigation.

A history of the Drifters presence in the capsuleer graduation systems

It all began when the Sisters of Eve shared their Alpha clone technology with the empires, unlocking capsuleer technology for the masses. However, a splinter group within the Sisters of Eve warned against using it, as it was a result of research on Drifter clones & technology.

The Drifter response on the reveal of Alpha cloning technology: brutal and destructive

And the Drifter response was indeed brutal and far-reaching. They commenced a large-scale attack against research facilities in the 4 empires. This Drifter assault was not limited to the capsuleer graduation systems, but involved many other high security systems across New Eden. The scale of the attack was unprecedented, leading to the destruction of many Navy capitals across the Big Four, showing they were unable to withstand the Drifter advanced technologies. To make matters worse, Drifters were establishing Hives close to the new Alpha Clone stations in the capsuleer graduation systems!
But the Navies regrouped after this initial attack & combined with capsuleer efforts pushed back against the Drifters & took out the newly established Drifter Hives.

The Caldari Navy preparing for the counter-offensive

After this big clash, Drifter activity was reduced to the capsuleer graduation systems, where they continue to clash with the Sister of Eve organisation to this day among the wreckage sites of the initial Drifter attack, often involving the various Navies in these engagements.

The current situation in the graduation systems

Regularly the Sisters of Eve would contact newly graduated capsuleers to rescue their personnel after a Drifter attack and then proceed to direct the new capsuleer against the technologically superior Drifters. That's cold, a capsuleer, just graduated from the academy & with all his hopes, optimism and naivety gets recruited by the Sisters & thrown against the most advanced technological terror this galaxy has to offer. Cold.
Luckily, the newly graduated capsuleer isn't alone in this early adventure. The Navies, always willing to make a good first impression are there to assist them when things get rough.
Normally the military Navy bases are obscured from capsuleer view by CONCORD regulations. However, the military installation in the graduation system is an exception, due to the presence of the capsuleer academy and the continuous Drifter activity.
When the new capsuleer is tasked by the Sisters to take out a Drifter Hive, the Navies are all too eager to assist. Partly because Drifters establishing a foothold in known space is bad news, but also as an attempt to instill some loyalty into the capsuleer for their nation.

A newly established Drifter Hive in a capsuleer graduation system. Do note that these are much weaker then the ones found deep in Anoikis space. Likely these are the Drifter variant of the easily replaced Citadels that wealthy capsuleers can build

Conclusion of the investigation into the SoE rescuees

First things first, these Drifter/Sisters of Eve clashes have nothing to do with the recent damaged Drifter fleet sightings, as the clashes in the graduation systems have happened far before this & are more continuous, not to mention that the Drifter ships involved are not damaged. Also, Drifter/SoE clashes have been reported in wormholes as well, showing that these two have been fighting among each other for a while now.
Moreover, while it is easy to blame the Drifters as aggressors, it's important to note that their attacks are mainly focused on Sister of Eve ships & installations, likely in an attempt to disrupt the alpha cloning process which is a result of SoE research into Drifter clones.

To add to this, the Sisters recruit newly graduated capsuleers to respond to these Drifter attacks, capsuleers who are not yet jaded nor tainted by how harsh life is in the New Eden cluster, filled with misinformation and manipulation.
It's important to keep in mind that the Sisters pursue their own agenda in all of this, often hiding important information & operations from the public and even the Big Four. The best known example: the colonisation of the Thera wormhole system.
Important to note is that veteran capsuleers are not recruited in this fight against the Drifters despite that they are much better placed to fight them due to their skills & expertise. This is also why the continuous Drifter activity in the capsuleer graduation systems has gone largely under the radar as most older capsuleers generally don't pay much attention to what occurs in the capsuleer starting systems.

With this investigation concluded, the Aurora Arcology organisation would call out to all capsuleers to pay attention to wreckage found in the capsuleer graduation systems & inspect them for survivors and bring them to safety. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but also to prevent the Sisters from recruiting yet another newly graduated capsuleer for their covert motives.
If you want to assist in this Search & rescue initiative, you can join the capsuleer channel C3SRC  which is dedicated to rescuing people across New Eden from wreckage and abandoned containers. This rescue initiative is spearheaded by Che Biko.

Saturday 10 March 2018

The 5th Burning of Jita

Destruction & mayhem reigned once more in Jita, the economic heart of New Eden


Last weekend, the Goonswarm Federation and associates once again launched a devastating assault on Jita, the capsuleer main trade hub in New Eden, under the name 'Burn Jita'. This is the 5th time in 7 years that Jita has been targeted by this powerful capsuleer alliance for an orgy of death & destruction.
But why would they do such thing? Simply, to display their power, to disrupt the trade and to show you are not safe from them anywhere, not even in the heart of CONCORD patrolled space.

Their primary targets in this destructive endeavor were mainly the transport ships, albeit smaller subgroups have been spotted to aim for different targets. Adding to this, they operated beyond the Jita system as well, joined by various associates, destroying ships along important shipping-lane systems,  spreading the destruction & reach of this 'Burn Jita' ganking operation.

A massive Charon freighter burning under the Goonswarm Rage with CONCORD attempting to save the day, but too little too late.

Operation 'Burn Jita' in effect, spanning 3 days

This apocalyptic operation lasted 3 days, from the 2nd of March till the 4th of March; with only a small forewarning.
One would think that this Goonswarm Federation attack on the heart of capsuleer economic might would disrupt trading fiercely, but this is not the case.
Due to the repeat nature of the event & knowing from past 'Burn Jita' and similar occurrences, smarter capsuleers knew what to expect & prepared accordingly, often shipping goods & ships in advance to the proper regions, ready to make the big isk when the destructive operation kicked off. And did it pay off? It sure did, many raked in billions as the less fortunate & the less prepared got caught in this depravity of chaos & mayhem.

Indeed, many still got caught in this orgy of wanton destruction, often losing expensive ships, cargo & even their implant capsules! Many freighters got demolished, but even the tankier Orcas couldn't escape destruction during this event.
And all that has to be replaced... All those ships destroyed, all that cargo gone, all those implants, they have to be replenished to keep the trade going and keep the economy pumping. And through this, the 'Burn Jita' operation fuels the economy in a dark way, allowing capsuleers to make large profits as people died en masse in fiery ship explosions.
So in the end, prepared traders profited off those who didn't prepare for the inevitable upcoming 'Burn Jita' mayhem.

The final moments of a Providence Freighter

The tools of destruction

But what kind of ships were used to cause all this chaos? Unsurprisingly, the mainstay of the ganker fleets were destroyers and attack battlecruisers as these dish out the biggest punch for the lowest cost, able to mount powerful weaponry on a comparable cheap platform.
The main ship used did cause some frowns among the capsuleer community, as the destroyer of choice was the Amarr designed Coercer and not the ganker's favorite, the Catalyst.
Below is a list of the most commonly used ganking ships during this operation along with a link to their standard 'Burn Jita' fits:

- The Coercer destroyer: The mainstay of the Burn Jita fleet, packing a cheap but powerful punch through lasers. If you check out the fit, you notice it has been kept economic, with cheap tech 1 modules; relying on quantity to blow up things, assuring anyone can fly these ships in a matter of days.
Do note that a select group of Coercers were better equipped, using tech 2 laserguns to wreck haulers, but these ships were a rare sight compared to the mass of cheap tech 1 fitted coercers laying waste to Jita shipping & the surrounding tradelane systems.

- The Talos attack battlecruisers: A powerful Gallente battlecruiser fielding destructive short range blasters, for when some extra punch was needed. Notice that these ships are much better equipped, fielding high quality tech 2 modules, giving them that more of a punch. Thereby these were reserved for the elite pilots who do have the necessary skills to fly these punchers.
This ship was less fielded, but still figured on many a killmail during the 'Burn Jita' operation.

- The Purifier stealthbomber: An odd choice for a ganker ship, yet featured in quite some killmails. The cost to operate these specialized ships compared to their damage output normally would make it an unpopular choice for ganking, as such ship would be lost to CONCORD after attacking single target. But this was no normal ganking operation!
These ships often managed to outdo the Coercers in damage when they were involved, showcasing that this choice wasn't so out of place after all.

- The Trasher destroyer: This ship was far less used by the main 'Burn Jita' force, but it was a favorite of a smaller offshoot fleet, focusing on targeting smaller ships & capsules to blow up.
It still used cheap modules to take down targets, keeping down costs, outside the high quality ammo that is used. Yet the limited ammo requirement still meant that costs were kept in check.

The above 4 ships were most commonly used during the operation, but a few more ships have been employed as well, just in much smaller numbers & hence unsure if their fits follow a set standard:

The Catalyst destroyer:  The gankers favorite ship, it is cheap and packs a powerful punch with its blasters. Yet it was severely under-represented during 'Burn Jita'.
However, the few that did fly were equipped with quality tech 2 modules, giving them that extra punch when dishing out the pain.

The Hound stealthbomber: Less used then the Purifier, but it does dish out a good punch as well. Still an out of place choice for a ganking ship, but it served the role nonetheless, being involved in the destruction of many freighters and other large hauler ships.

The last moments of a burning Orca

The outliers fielding out of place ships for wanton destruction

During the 'Burn Jita' mayhem, there were a few capsuleers & ships that stood out in their ganking operations.
Either they were the only ones fielding the ship, or the ships they fielded were very expensive, making it more a showcase of their financial wealth if they could use such high value ships so carelessly.
Below a short list of the outliers I was able to spot, along with a short explanation:

- Terathree Hanaya: Stood out during 'Burn Jita' by his repeat use of the Oracle attack battlecruiser. While this ship has powerful offensive weaponry, the attack battlecruiser of choice during this operation was the above-mentioned Talos.
Yet, this capsuleer preferred the Oracle & knew how to field it as he topped the damage list of many killmails with it. This was surely helped by the usage of tech 2 modules, giving it a powerful offensive boost.

- Emissio Lacrimare: This capsuleer was reported to field an expensive Vindicator battleship to blow up a Fenrir freighter. The usage of such ship goes beyond simple ganking and is more a statement.
The statement being that Goonswarm has money to burn & isn't afraid of throwing away expensive equipment & ships for their operations.

- Jay Amazingness: He took it up a notch by sacrificing a Barghest first to destroy an Orca hauler and then a Machariel to blow up a Charon freighter in the massacre that was 'Burn Jita'.
Clearly, they got money to burn if they can do this! Not to mention that it is a display of their wealth and a warning to their foes, showcasing that they can use ships like this in a suicide manner & not feel it in their wallet.

-Aryth: This man operates on a whole different league then the above mentioned capsuleers. Why is that? Because this man solely used Vindicator battleships during 'Burn Jita'! Yes, this man fulfills the stereotype of the wickedly wealthy and evil capsuleer, throwing away lives & wealth simply because he can.
At least a dozen of his Vindicator battleships were destroyed by CONCORD as he wrecked freighter after freighter with these ships, along with his allies.
Yet to be able to do that is a display of both the enormous wealth this man possesses and his total disregard for human life, not only for his targets, but also his own crew. A true capsuleer, fitting the stereotype of the dark demi-gods, wielding the wealth of nations for their personal pleasure.

A Mammoth hauler is desperately trying to warp out, while the Orca is less lucky, succumbing to a 'Burn Jita' fleet with a CONCORD fleet on their tail.

The aftermath

While this whole 'Burn Jita' operation caused destruction on a large scale, with losses running into trillions, the Jita market recovered rather fast.
The main reason for this is the huge trade volume, Jita alone outmatches the entire cluster combined in trade, hence putting a lasting dent in it is extremely hard.

Yet, 'Burn Jita' did dent the trading for a few days, showcasing how massive this operation was. To add to this scale, over 50.000 Coercers were used to wreck havoc in Jita and the surrounding tradelane systems.
CONCORD penalty system was unable to control such agressive large scale capsuleer activity, as it is based on penalizing security status & bringing retribution on offenders. This bears stressing: CONCORD does not protect you, CONCORD punishes your attacker if he had an unjust cause.
Above is also why anti-ganking is hard, as CONCORD will intervene if you shoot a ganker before he fired (unless his security status is low enough)
Yet some still went out & did their best, most notably among them was the SPECTRE community, who leaves no opportunity to wreck other capsuleers untouched.
Pandemic Legion also operated a small but effective anti-gank force in the Jita system.
However it is hard to determine how effective it was in protecting the haulers due to how CONCORD law operates.

The wreckage of an Obelisk slowly drifting through space as CONCORD rushes in to penalize this breach of law. But yet again, too late to save the freighter.

Bonus links for more information regarding 'Burn Jita 5'

Some extra info regarding this destructive event can be found below:

- Imperium News announces 'Burn Jita 5': Letting New Eden know the Circus of Chaos is back in town, along with some remarkable first day kills on clueless freighter pilots.

- Burn Jita 5: The less-travelled path: A report of one of the smaller offshoot fleets participating in the 'Burn Jita' operation; fielding Trasher destroyers & hunting smaller targets with it.

- Whisper Quietly's image galleries: Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 showcasing the grim beauty of destruction

- Burn Jita 5 aftermath: After action report, giving an insight on the organisation required to pull this destruction off on such a grand scale.