Friday, May 9, 2014

A Space Chase

I'm up early.  There's some time to waste.  Hey, I think I will drop into EVE in Aussie time.  They'll never expect it.

I log in, already in my Manticore.  Last night our system had two wormholes connecting to it; I scanned down the chains behind both of them.  This morning there are still two sigs.  I warp to one with the longer chain.  I warp to it at 10 km: I don't know its timing, and I may not jump if it is EOL.  In fact, it is not there at all.  Oh.  I open bookmarks and remove that scanned-down chain.

Over to the other.  I warp straight to it, since I instantiated it last night.  (This might not actually be true; I guess I was still sleepy.)  It is EOL, but I figure it must have just entered that state, and jump.  (See last parenthetical.  Lucky I did not get trapped out.)  Once in to C4b, I scan.  There's an Epithal on scan.

There was not an Epithal sitting out in this system last night.  Hunting time!  I did not bookmark the tower last night.  OK, I will dscan it out.  There it is, at a planet with one moon.  That is why I did not bookmark it.  I warp to the moon, landing on grid 180km from the tower.  So I warp to the tower to get eyes on the Epithal.  It is manned.  And better, it is not aligned with its tower.  That is, it has been sitting for no more than 15 minutes or so.  Will it attempt to planet-goo?

Epithal one.
I watch.  It does nothing for quite a while.  Boring.  I raise a browser on my second screen to read the web.  I half-watch some more.  One article read.  Then I half-watch some more.

It moves!  I focus on EVE.  I spin my view around behind the Epithal to see where it is headed.  Strangely, it's not headed anywhere, just out into black space.  No planet, not anything.  Is it trying to juke me by warping to a bookmark?  (Few take this basic precaution.)

It stops moving.  False alarm.  I look around and see that it is now aligned with its tower.  Ugh.  It was just auto-aligning.  So it has been idle here now for ... a while.  15 minutes?  Something like that.  Still, that's no reason to give up.  Back to my web surfing.

A while, later, there's a blip on EVE.  What is it?  Ah, new Epithal just warped in.  And my Epithal logs out.  Very likely it's one guy, doing his PI.  Well, there's still an Epithal to watch.  I'll watch this one.  It also does not do anything immediately, so I return to the web.

Epithal 2
After five minutes, it logs off.  But before I can be disappointed, a new Epithal warps in.  Groundhog day.  It does nothing, I return to the web.

Epithal 3
Then another.
Epithal 4
And another.
Epithal 5
And yet another.  This time, both Epithals stay logged in.  I hope this means something, but right now it does not.  I return to the web.
Epithal 6.
Movement.  I look over at EVE.  One of the Epithals is aligning, I think.  I look at it, and get behind it, and get its destination -- I think.  Not sure.  Now it warps off grid, and I am returned to viewing my cloaked Manticore.  I figure out which planet it went to again.  I think.  Then I warp to it at 10 km.

Why am I not cloaked?
I land on grid, but there is no Epithal here.  Rats!  Wrong planet!  But it is definitely out here, somewhere.  Dscan time.  I point dscan at planets, and I find him.  I warp to that CO still in map mode.  I land, and he's not there.  OK, one more try.  I find him, and warp.  This time I leave map mode, and am disappointed to see my Manticore.  See, as in: I am not cloaked.  Oops, must have not warped at 10km to that last CO?  Not sure.  Anyway, I land on grid with the Epithal just as I cloak.  He probably saw that.  I blew it.

I expect him to return to the tower, and he does.  I also return there.  Perhaps he's an idiot.  Or, just maybe, he was not paying attention and did not see me.

I am not at the tower more than a few moments, when a third Epithal logs on.  Man, this guy has a lot of alts.  I get all three in view.  Now they sit for a while.  Just as I am about to return to my web browser, one of them moves.
Epithal 7
It is aligning.  I do the standard thing, getting the CO he is aligning to, then warping behind at 10km.  I am a bit slow on that.  When I land on grid, he is already aligning out.  This guy is fast.  I am 10km off.  I move towards him, but before I get in scrambler range, he warps.

I watch the warp, and warp to the next CO at 10km again.  This time I am faster than last time.  I will have my shot at him.  I uncloak, and get my sebo on.  Then I lock him and get the other systems going, most particularly the warp scrambler.  He's locked; my torps scream out and smash into him.  I turn on my microwarp to try to bump him.

He warps.  I kind of expect it; with only one warp scrambler, not three, I should not usually be able to stop an Epithal.  (It is surprising how many are not fit properly.)  In any case, there is some hope.  I don't know how damaged he is, but I did hit him with a round of torps, and I can see where he warped.  He warped to another CO before he knew I was there, I guess.  I warp behind him, slowed in my turn by my microwarp.  The chase is on!  He knows I am here, so there is no point in cloaking.

In pursuit
While pursuing in warp, I think to photograph myself.  And I resolve this time to get a screenie in combat.

I land on grid.  My sebo is still on, so no need for fancy mousing.  Just lock on, then fire.  I hit, and he warps off again.
Take that, you warp-core stabbed monster!

Incredibly, he does not warp home, but on to the next CO!  I warp, following him.  (You can see the damage on the screenie to the right; at the time I had no idea how much damage I had done.)

I land at the next CO.  I lock him, and get one more hit in.  He does not die.  He warps.  Again to a CO!  I warp to it.  But he has not gone to the CO.  He's not here.  Rather, this is the planet where their POS is.  I move away from the CO, so that I can cloak.  Then I warp out to the POS, and all three Epithals are there.

Well, I doubt I am going to get a kill here today.  I have tried, but they have decent Epithal fits.  I am guessing three stabs plus a damage control.  In any case, my mere one scrambler was inadequate, and my damage not quite enough even given three rounds.  Win some, lose some.  Good job, Oman Estemaire.


  1. Auto-aligning to the tower?

    Ships do auto-align to the tower when are inactive aften some time? Unmanned and manned?

    1. Yes. After being "inactive" for perhaps 15 minutes, ships (whether or not manned) will auto-align with the tower they are at. "Inactive" I am sure means not moving/warping, but it might also encompass other things.

      Since all towers face the same direction (yes Einstein, in New Eden there are absolute directions), my guess is that auto-aligning happens out in space, too. Though I can't recall ever seeing it; I don't sit out in space much. It would make an interesting test.

      I don't know why CCP programmed this feature, but as a programmer myself I can hazard a guess: to make in-program representation of a ship more compact. That's why I expect it to apply anywhere.

      In any case, this is a useful feature for the hunter. When you find towers and fly to them to check up on people, you can see if any of the ships have been active recently.

    2. Indeed, pretty useful. I used to stalk people in towers and never noticed before this behavior. Pretty useful, and happy to have learnt something new.

      Thank you!