Monday, February 20, 2012

A Day In Evati

On Sunday I had some extended free time to play Eve Online so I continued my plan to spend more involved in lowsec.  As I hinted at on Thursday, my target system was Evati in Metropolis.

Evati is an interesting system.  Ten planets, including 1 plasma and 60 moons make the system a welcoming place to those willing to run more risks than found in Empire space.  The nine stations are divided between the Minmatar and the Caldari, with DED having one.  For those who don't want to run the risk of running combat missions in lowsec, the Kaalakiota Corporation Warhouse located at Evati IX, Moon 4 contains distribution agents for levels 1-4 to allow for gaining top standings with the Caldari research and development corporation.  In addition to the level 4 distribution agent, the system also contains a Kaalakiota Corporation level 4 mining agent and a Boundless Creation level 4 security agent.

As is becoming standard operating procedure, my first objective is to create a basic set of bookmarks in the system.  Right now the basic set includes creating a observation bookmark off-grid for each gate, an observation bookmark off-grid for each station, and an instawarp bookmark leading to a point off-grid for each station.  With nine stations and five star gates, that's 23 bookmarks.  I wanted to spend a lot more time in lowsec.  Making that many bookmarks was a good start.

My first step was making the observation bookmarks at the gates.  As usual, Rosewalker snuck into the system in a Prowler and warped to another gate and started to work.  One of the benefits of doing this is the opportunity to view the traffic coming into and out of the system.  Despite the occasional flashy Tengu pass through, I only saw one pilot with a -10 sec status hanging around the gates in a Naga.  He didn't have much luck while I watched.  Eventually I finished my work at the gates and moved on to the stations.

I must have caught everyone going to dinner because during this time local dropped from 17 down to 6.  I only saw action at one station.  The Naga pilot, bored camping gates with no traffic passing through, started hanging around gates.  Although I did see wrecks, the only shots I saw fired were by the Naga pilot at two frigates that emerged from a station.  I was too far from the action to lock the ships, but I did see the Naga have to warp off.  I assume the sentry guns at the station drove him off.

After finishing the observation bookmarks came the dangerous task of making the instawarp bookmarks.  I like having instawarp bookmarks because they can help me get out of trouble if I emerge from a station when pilots who wish me harm are camped outside.  Due to the game mechanics, ships are launched out of stations at full speed and can warp away instantly given a good celestial object or a well placed bookmark.  Without something like that, pilots with much more experience have come to bad endings.

When making an instawarp bookmark in a covert ops ship, the most vulnerable time is when the ship is within 2 km of the station and cannot cloak.  To minimize the risk, I bring Wandering Rose into the system to watch the outside of the station for any incoming traffic while Rosewalker is in the station.  That takes care of most of the risk, but not all.

The big risk is that I enter a station and the pirate is inside the station and follows me out.  That actually happened at one station.  A member of The Bastards, an infamous pirate alliance, was sitting in the station.  My normal procedure is to enter the station, have Wandering Rose check the directional scanner to give the all clear, and then undock quickly and hope that Mr. Pirate doesn't notice me. 

I thought I got away clean and was burning away at 3100 m/sec, but when I had gotten about 80 km away from the station a flashy Caldari Navy Hookbill emerged from the station.  I immediately cloaked but still sped away from the station at 560 m/sec on a path to make my bookmark.  Looking at the pirates actions I could tell he didn't see the type of ship I was flying.  Or perhaps he did and my cloaking through him off.  But I don't think he saw me as he hung around outside the station for about 2 minutes and then warped off.

I was working on the last of the nine instawarp bookmarks when I saw a very unusual sight pop up in local.  A pilot with a sec status of 2.5 showed up and was in The Bastards.  I had to make a comment in local and a brief exchange occurred.

[03:02:46] Rosewalker > A member of The Bastards. with positive sec status?  That's cheating :)
[03:03:40] CPT ELMY > Early days yet RW :)
[03:04:31] Rosewalker > well, I hope you don't mind if I don't help you out with that little problem
[03:05:42] CPT ELMY > If you've got the choice, it sounds like the right call :)

I know that I should really check the pilot out more, but I was in ships with no guns and The Bastards have a reputation for knowing what they are doing where PvP is concerned, so I just finished making my bookmark and exfiltrated Rosewalker and Wandering Rose back to Bei.  I then looked up CPT ELMY and discovered he wasn't kidding.  His employment history goes back to 2 August 2003 and given the activity listed he hasn't taken any breaks.  He also has a history of being in PvP corporations.  Given my lack of PvP ability, he would have eaten me for breakfast and still been hungry. 

So I managed to accomplish my objective of setting up all my bookmarks and had my first brushes with one of the pirate alliances I'd heard so much about and lived to tell the tale.  Right now I'm doing okay as I prepare the battlespace for future operations.  Perhaps I can get over my fear of lowsec yet.


  1. I am enjoying reading about your first experiences in lowsec. It seems you have the right attitude so far and are preparing yourself well.

    Lowsec is probably the hardest PvE content in eve. (Not because of the actual PvE but because of all the pirates). If you can make good money in lowsec you will be able to make it anywhere. In my opinion joining a big alliance and making money in 0.0 is far easier than in lowsec because of intel channels, friendly fleets, blue neighbour alliances etc.

    A couple of tips that might help you out:

    1. Align and warp points are indeed very useful in lowsec. You have to be very unlucky in lowsec to get blown up if you are prepared with undock warp points. Remember that you are invulnerable for 30s after undock if you take no action.
    Undock warp points are still useful in 0.0 but less so. Still make them by all means, it will probably defeat a ceptor pilot. But in 0.0 a bubble camp will kill you if you try this. Just a warning if you ever find yourself in 0.0: sabres and HICs change the rules a bit.

    2. Another option when caught at the station:
    If you ever find yourself undocking into a camp and dont have the undock warp otion. Dont panic. Immediately press ctrl+space to kill your speed dead. Take no other action.
    Remember you are invulnerable for 30 seconds after undock if you take no action. Ctrl+space being the exception. Make sure you kill your speed so you dont go outside dock range, and just wait out the timer. Redock as soon as it lets you and you will probably get away.
    Try this out with an alt in highsec. Undock and kill your speed. Get your alt to target you if you can. You shouldnt be able to for 30 secs.
    This will not always save you. For example a good camp might bump you away from the station in those 30 secs, or you might be in a kickout station (one where you are not in dock range from the moment you undock) or you might get a sensor boosted alpha camp manage to kill you in the small window between when you are no longer invulnerabe and can dock again, and when you actually click dock. Spamming the dock button is always the best way.

    3. If you can, operate a dual screen setup and have an alt cloaked at the gate to your missions. This will almost always give you enough warning to get your mission ship away into warp before being caught.
    The exception is if you are tackled by mission rats. So make killing those the priority.
    Beware of sneaky pirates. If you have to warpout because of a pirate warping to your mission, you have to assume he is still in your mission waiting for you. Cloaked even. Check local for the pirate name, if they are still in system assume they are still in your mission.
    If they log out then they will get logged back in at warp to the mission entry gate, so you should have warning again if they try the logoff trick. Give then a good 5 minutes being out of local anyway. Check these mechanics out yourself so you are comfortable with them.

    Best of luck with your new career path.
    Let me know if these tips are helpful, you already knew them etc.

  2. Oh and finally, beware of fame. If pirates see this site they will use the intel here to try and kill you. You will make a more desirable target as well, if the pirates read this. They will consider themselves famous if they can link their killmail to this blog :)

  3. Oh another tip:
    I mentioned kickout stations before. Never use them. Part of your preperation should be to check for kickout stations. Much more important in 0.0 but probably best to avoid them in lowsec as well, it removes options.

  4. @Remi - I knew some of the tricks, but not the ones specific to running combat missions in lowsec. I think you saved me some painful lessons.

    As for kick-out stations. Can you tell if they are kick-out stations by just looking at them or do you actually have to undock and experiment? One of the reasons for doing the instawarp bookmarks is that I never know where a distribution mission can take me.

    Oh, and I don't plan on going to null until I can race through lowsec without my pulse racing. I'd probably forget all the advice on how to stay alive the first time I got caught in a warp bubble until I can remain calm.

  5. You can indeed tell by looking at them. But its been so long I cant remember myself which are kickout stations. Its just a small number of station designs that are the problem.

  6. Remi is right about the kickout stations - you can tell by their looks. It has to do with their size. But as I'm out of EVE for some time I can't remember which one's were critical as well.
    Anyway this only means you cannot redock immediately but you're still unlockable for 30 seconds as long as you don't change direction or activate any modules.

    BTW, as long as you're in a cloaker or a ship with good inertia AND don't make stupid mistakes (I know, I know - big if :D) you're unkillable in low sec.
    Put Cloak (and MWD) on a F-Key (always on the same one for every ship) so you can easily turn them on and off without using mouse or breaking your hand with combinations like SHIFT-F7 or something like that :D. Has saved my life more than once - even in 0.0 gatecamps as you can double-click in a random direction to speed up and uncloak after jumping and at the same moment activate MWD and then cloak. Takes a bit of training to get the timing right but makes it a lot harder to get uncloaked in a bubble if MWDing back to gate is not an option (e.g. too much DPS on the gate). And in low-sec you simply have to cloak - nothing can lock you that fast. Same's true for high inertia - the risk is a bit higher but not much. I never lost anything smaller than a BC in low if I didn't want to :D.

    One more thing - I lived in Tribute (among other regions) for a long time and I can tell you that you probably never will stay calm if catched in a bubble :D. It gets better with time but the adrenalin rush will always kick in - but without it it would be boring ;).