Monday, December 13, 2010

Bookmarks Are Your Friends

I posted Friday that I was tired of shooting things and wanted to do something different.  So what did I do?  I ventured into low-sec and set up bookmarks in three systems.  That's right; I left the safety of high-sec and didn't even look to shoot anything.  Have I lost my carebear mind?

Not really.  If I have a low-sec system populated with bookmarks, I feel a lot safer than traveling into one without the preparation.  While I was in Eve University, the faculty began an in-depth study of bookmarks and were in the process of developing a class when I left.  I'm impressed with the current Bookmarks article on the Eve University Wiki and wish I had read it before embarking on this weekend's adventure.  But I think the Uni training I did remember came in handy.

Most of the benchmarks I set up were observation bookmarks.  Because the Khumaak Flying Circus has a strong stealth identity, I set my observation bookmarks up a bit differently than advised by Eve Uni.  Instead of setting up my bookmarks off-grid, I set my bookmarks up on-grid, but over 150 km from the object under observation.  I prefer eyes-on observation instead of relying on the directional scanner.  I want to not only see what ships are present, but their flight paths and, more importantly, whether the capsuleers under observation are flashy or not. 

The two most important types of targets to keep under observation are jump gates and stations.  Jump gates because gate camps are one of the most dangerous events a small hauling corp can face.  Stations because a station camp is something to be avoided at all cost.  Because I have a lot more experience working around gate camps than station camps, I'd like to avoid them.

However, sometimes the pirate's station camp is inside the station.  I encountered that Sunday when a pirate undocked in a Damnation right after I undocked in my Cheetah.  That is why I also set up instant warp-out bookmarks.  The instant warp-out bookmark gives a capsuleer the ability to quickly warp away from a station and away from trouble.  Since I plan to move transport ships into these stations as part of my hauling business, anything that reduces the time they are vulnerable is welcome.

I mentioned before that I feel much safer in systems with bookmarks than those without.  So how do I approach a system in which I have no bookmarks?  First, I always use a covert ops ship to do the initial insertion into a low-sec system.  Next, I use the 30 seconds of cloak you have when jumping into a system to see who is around.  If I spot another ship, especially a flashy pirate like happened to me on Saturday, I open up the pod saver tab on my overview and warp to a planet.  If I'm alone, I have the option of staying at the gate and slowboating to a point in space to create my first bookmark in the system.  In either case, once I start moving around to other objects to create other observation points, I like to make bookmarks along the way.  The Eve Uni Wiki gives instructions on how to make mid-point and unaligned safe spots.

From a selfish perspective, I hope that the vast majority of carebears keep their fear of low-sec space.  Why?  Because I believe that a lot of the small packages I see as courier contracts are made by players afraid to risk their own ships in low-sec.  Also, I notice that those stations offering blueprint copying services in low-sec or in high-sec systems surrounded by low-sec are a lot less crowded than those in easily accessible high-sec stations.

As a big carebear myself, I understand the fear in those carebear hearts.  When I jumped into that first low-sec system on Saturday and saw that pirate waiting to lock me down and pod me, it took all my Eve University training and experience ghosting about the Hed constellation to keep from panicking and get away.  But I'll admit that once I was safe my hands were shaking for at least 5 minutes because of the adrenaline rush caused by the encounter.  But there is profit to be made from going where others fear to tread.  As CCP so eloquently put it, "Dare to be bold pilot."

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