Friday, April 18, 2014

Watching Them Try

Late evening in the USA.  I've been out livin' life, but there's still some time to play before bed.  I get my coffee, plonk at the computer, and log in.  Goooood morning, New Eden!

There are three sigs in the home system.  Checking bookmarks shows these sigs are already scanned down: our static and two new gas sites.  Jayne is on, and he is already scanning in C4b.  OK, that's nice.  Less scanning, more hunting.  I trigger both gas sites, figuring that with the weekend coming I'll get to them in the next four days.

C4b has no live towers, although it has a dead tower named "lost tower, reward for access".  Huh.  I find the owner -- a one-man corp -- and send him mail.  Meanwhile, Jayne is finished scanning.  The system has a C6 static; that wormhole is present of course, as well as another C4.  Also some gas sites and radars, usual stuff.  Jayne is not inspired and heads offline.  I stay on to hunt, or at least see what I can get up to.

First up: the C4.  I enter it.  There is a tower, but nobody is home.  Well, it has a C4 static, so let me search my way further downstream.  There are six sigs.  I scan it them entirely, which is painful due to four of them being radar/data sites.  The last is a gas site.  Where's the static wormhole?  Oh.  Duh.  I came in through the static.   Nothing further this way.

Back into C4b, and then to the C6.  I enter C6a, and there are lots of ships and many towers.  Ugh.  I bookmark the wormhole and fly around a bit.  More ships and towers.  There is, in particular, a tower with lots of ships sitting out but among them a Mammoth.  I'll find that one.  It's not hard; there's only two moons.  After choosing the wrong one, I get the right one.  The Mammoth is empty, but a Flycatcher is present and manned.

I was hoping to find this system empty, but it's not, so I don't think I am going to run any gas sites here even if they have good ones.  Neither am I keen to show probes: a flycatcher on the exit would have a good chance to get me.  Nor am I keen to spend time finding the other towers; there are many of them, and some of them are obviously trapped.  So I quietly fly back to the wormhole and back out.  I am a little concerned there will be an Interdictor on the far side, but it is clear.  Whew.

Perhaps I can run the gas sites in C4a.  Is C6a active at all?  I sit on the C4b->C6a wormhole a while, just orbiting cloaked while I do other stuff.  At one point, the Flycatcher comes in.  I alert and watch.  It sits in its gate cloak a long time.  Eventually it is exposed, then it goes right back through.  I expect he was dscanning to look for anything interesting -- probes, ships, whatever.  This makes me less keen to run the gas sites in this system.  But there are those new gas sites at home.  Those should be safe to run and then suck.  I head home.

To be safe, I'll have to keep eyes on our static.  So I log in my alt Otto for that.  He warps over in his Cheetah, and sits 30km from the wormhole orbiting.  Now I fly Von to our tower, and refit into our PVE Tengu.  It's designed for one thing: killing little sleeper sites.  (Well, two things: it can also refit to do ghost sites.)  I fly to the first gas site, a Barren Perimeter Reservoir, and kill.  Then the same for the Minor Perimeter Reservoir.  Then I get our light salvager and salvage.  I get one nanoribbon, so 4m ISK for ten minutes' work.

Well, that was fun.  What now?  I guess I can start sucking gas.  I log off Von and get in a same-account alt.  It's a nuisance to have to log, but this guy mines gas better, and also I don't have to worry as much about him getting killed since he has a worthless pod.  He's already in a T2 Venture; he logs off in it.  Now I will mine gas.  I fly to the C50 cloud and start sucking.  As always, I put myself in orbit of the cloud to make it harder for anyone to jump on me.

Mining gas is boring, just like any other mining.  The C50 cloud is 3000 units of gas, meaning it should take me about 30 minutes to mine.  30 minutes with no input necessary.  Fortunately, I am sitting at a computer, so I can read EVE blogs, listen to music, and generally do things other than EVE while playing EVE.

The Flycatcher peeks in.
After about 20 minutes, action.  Wormhole noise.  I perk up from my stupor, and pay attention to Otto.  After a long gate cloak, there's my friend the Flycatcher again.  Hmm, interesting.  I wonder what he will do?

My alt's Venture is on dscan from the wormhole.  If the C6 corp has already scanned my system, the Flycatcher may warp straight to the gas site hoping to find my Venture unaware.  So I am ready to warp the Venture.

The Flycatcher exits.  OK, he must have seen my Venture.  And my tower is not on scan from the wormhole, so he cannot have mistaken what is going on.  The only explanation for him leaving is that he wants to prepare an attack.  I could bug out now, but I want to see what will happen.  And of course, as I already mentioned, my alt's clone is not worth much, nor is the Venture he's in, nor for that matter is the gas he's sucking.  I'll just stay put.

The expected scanner.
Soon enough, the wormhole sounds again.  This time, it's a Cheetah.  So, obviously they need to scan.  I expect to get combat-probed, with the Flycatcher (probably), or some other ship entering to provide the actual killing.  The Cheetah may or may not be part of it.  It could mount two warp scramblers, but I find that somewhat doubtful.  Still, they had time to prepare, and in these days of Epithals a Cheetah with scrambling is more useful than it used to be.

As predicted.
I watch for probes.  Dscan, dscan, dscan.  Nothing for quite some time.  I start to get a bit paranoid: is the Cheetah perhaps tackle and they already had the site bookmarked?  Maybe I should bail.  But I still want to see what they'll do, so I stick.  Education does not come free in EVE.

Finally, I see what I have been expecting.  Probes on dscan.  I also see something I did not expect: the Cheetah itself.  This is quite unexpected.  My system has an outer planet 30 AU away from everything else.  There's nothing out there.  That's the place to fire probes.  Not in the inner system.  This guy must be an amateur hunter.

A quick check with dscan shows that the probes are not very close to my location.  So, he can't know it yet.  Now I manipulate the ranges to try to get the right amount of warning.  A few scans later the Cheetah has cloaked again.

Barren gas sites have high signal; I can probe one down in my Manticore with probes at 1AU.  With a bonused T2 scanning ship, I know it can be done at 2AU and possibly 4AU.  So I set my distance to 4AU (thanks for that new scanner CCP).  And I watch.  I don't see anything.  Eventually I widen the search and the probes are gone.  Hmm.  I never saw them be near enough.  But it is possible that he did get a hit quickly when I still had the probes at very long or very short range.  It is also possible that he has moved the probes out of sight and is carefully finding the vector and range on dscan, for a one-pass scan.  But that's something only experienced hunters do, and I do not think this guy is one.  So I am not sure what to expect.

Meanwhile, my alt has finished up the C50 cloud.  There's no need for me to be here at all, other than curiosity.  I align to my tower, then microwarp for 100km.  I figure this should prevent the Cheetah from being able to tackle me, if it is in the site.  And it allows a quick GTFO if anything comes through the wormhole, which is what I expect.

Sure enough.  Wormhole noise.  It's the Flycatcher, and it quickly warps away from the wormhole.  I get ready with my Venture: the Flycatcher lands on grid in the middle of the gas site, 100km from me.  (Mwa mwa waa waa!)  I warp anyway; the game is up at this point.  There's no reason to stick around.

As I land at my tower, I see something change.  What is it?  An explosion.  I look again: it's a wreck.  It appears the Cheetah had been watching the tower, and evidently accidentally uncloaked somehow, and did not realize it.  My tower has small artillery, so he was popped in one volley once they locked.

Y'all come back now, hear?
I consider trying to quickly log out so that I can get Von logged in and get into something to jump on these guys with.  But long experience says: never attack anyone on a wormhole unless you have eyes on the other side.  I don't have those eyes, so it's too dangerous.  And also I don't think I can do a logon that fast.  In any case, Otto sees the pod and the Flycatcher meet at the wormhole, and they both leave.

I am back to alone.  I doubt we'll see them again tonight.  I log on Von and get in our lightest salvager.  Then I warp to the Cheetah wreck and salvage it, and loot it.  I did not get the covert ops cloak, but the loot is not bad considering.  All tech II stuff other than Sisters probes.

Lessons learned?  Well, don't accidentally decloak near enemy towers.  And if you do decloak, make sure you know it.  Of more practical use: keep eyes (ears, really) on wormholes, or zip up.  The battle in wspace is half to the strong, but the other half goes to those with better information.  The information asymmetry here decided it against the Flycatcher from the get-go.  I knew most of his moves, and he did not know I knew.  So he continued, eventually getting nothing.  Whereas I got to see a fairly inept hunt leading to an unexpected but also inept conclusion.


  1. It may be that the Cheetah warped to the tower directly from the gas site and didn't move once he landed. Your venture may have passed within 2k of the cloaked Cheetah when you warped to the tower and de-cloaked him :)

  2. Can you decloak people when in warp? I had thought not.

  3. The way you describe it almost makes me wish I still lived in a wormhole. :-) Nice writing. You've got steadier nerves than I do.

    Do you think it's possible the Cheetah appearing on d-scan was right as he got decloaked by your tower? Then when he disappeared again it wasn't because he was cloaked but because he got popped? Or did he only explode right as you got back to the tower? I wasn't clear on how long apart those things happened.

  4. I have been de- cloaked by people not yet fully out of warp yet(me @ 80k, them warping to 0k, for example) so this can happen. Lesson learned, move after warping in @ range