Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Killing a This-Is-EVE Newb

I killed a newb yesterday.

I see an Imicus in wspace immediately upon dscanning when entering a new system.  I am heading down a chain I scanned earlier, just checking for new wormholes and looking for people to hunt.  So, mission accomplished, so far.

Most people use Covert Ops to scan with; the Imicus is a T1 scanning frig.  That's a tell: easy meat.  More tellingly, in wspace, we scan cloaked.  It is possible to scan fairly securely when uncloaked, but it's not easy.  You have to move from time to time, and you have to be continually dscanning for combat probes.

I cast around with dscan.  The target is at a planet, apparently, with two moons.  I warp to the CO.  He is here, but moving off at microwarp speed in a direction I cannot get to.

Check the character: he is six days old.  Do I try to kill him?  Of course I try to kill him.  Welcome to wspace.  Still, I can't get him where he is.

He warps to another CO, and disappears.  I can still see the probes.  I guess he cloaked.  Well, he will have to uncloak when he warps to a wormhole to look at it.  Then, if he is slow, and he may well be, I will have a shot.  So, I sit cloaked and watch.

This takes forever.  Obviously he is not a very efficient scanner, which is not surprising considering he's six days old.  Frankly, I am amazed to find him here at all.  I am always impressed by how fearless some players are.  Not me, I am Mr. Risk Averse.

I get out the phone and start playing chess.  Four games later, about 30 minutes after I pick him up, I finally see him again on scan.  He's warping.

He stops at another planet.  I warp in to the CO again, and he is there.  Again he has headed off in a random direction on microwarp.  This time, there is a planet in the approximate right direction, and an anom in the direction of the target's deviation from the first planet.  I start to work to construct the intercept, flying back and forth to 100km to get in front of him.  I go forth and come back once, but before I can do it a second time, he warps.  I don't see him leaving grid, so I don't know where he went immediately.  But I can use dscan to look for him.  I have the system already scanned, so I can see that he has warped to a wormhole.  He disappears from dscan.  He has probably jumped into the next system, although dscan cannot tell you that for certain.  I give him time to get away from the wormhole, while I warp around the system to make sure he actually did leave.  Of course, one cannot know that for certain, but I see no probes and no Imicus on scan.  So, high confidence.

I enter the next system, a C4 with a C1 static.  Yes, Imicus on scan.  A while of messing around with dscan shows that he is very close the entrance wormhole, but off grid.  I can't get to him myself, in my Manticore.  I need combat probes.  Well, that's why I have an alt.

I log in Otto, fly to my tower and switch into my Cheetah.  I load combat probes as I hop downchain two jumps, and into the same system.  Then I move off the wormhole, fire probes, and quickly throw them out of the system.  I fleet up, then it's time for scan the guy.  This is easily done in one scan when someone is within a few thousand kilometers of a known point: just put the probes on the planet, drop their range to minimum, and scan.  Otto hides his probes again, then fleet-warps Von to the target's location... but when I land, the target is already out of range.  Grr, microwarping Imicus.  Drat.

I can see his the direction, though, and there is a combat anom positioned about right.  I warp Von and Otto there, at 100km so the sleepers won't get them.  My new plan is to scan for the target again, then warp in from here at 100km.  This will put me out in front of him, assuming he does not deviate, perhaps off at a slight angle, but I can move perpendicular to him to cut off the angle and intercept.  I am ready to hit "Scan now", but on a final narrow-beam dscan he drops off.  He's moved again!  Ugh.  I widen: where is he going?

He is going to the C1 wormhole.  I warp to 10km.  This time, I get there in time.  He is also about 10km from the wormhole, and about 15km from me.  I head right at him.  Then the standard stuff: uncloak, get systems working.  He pops before he can escape.  Then I lock up his pod.

I hesitate.  I have him scrambled, but: newbie!  Should I pod him?  I finally decide to, and launch one volley of torps.  But he is moving, and torps do not hit pods effectively in any case.  He escapes through the wormhole.

I pursue.  On the other side, no pod and no pod on scan.  I assume he is holding cloak, and I hold cloak too.  I cannot catch a pod if he just warps off, with or without sebo.  But he may not know that, and he may not realize what's happening when his gate cloak ends, which might be enough time to let me get at him.  But he does not panic, and jumps back through the wormhole.  This time, he warps clear.

OK, good on you Mr. Newb.  Actually I am kind of happy he got away.

In spite of the fact that the guy had little or no chance, it was still an amazing hunt for me.  I figured out a few nice tricks on the fly.  It's sad that I did not succeed in getting to the target with my tricks, but that's life.  Next time I will be faster.  There's a reason why people can't be safe in wspace with just a microwarpdrive.

Now I proceed to the next stage of the thing: I message the guy.  (Grr, CPSA.)

He is a bit hostile to begin with, as is understandable, but we have a nice long chat.  I tell him I was hunting him for a while. I tell him to scan cloaked.  (Yes, he did have a cloak!)  He does not know about wspace levels; I fill him in.  How does one know what wspace level a system is?  I tell him about wormhol.es (actually now pasta.gg, whatever).  I also tell him you can ID wormholes on sight from the other side, and link him to Penny.  We discuss how to scan, and I link him to Penny again.  He asks about ships, and I direct him towards Covert Ops.  We talk data/relic sites: he made 20m that morning.  Good!  Does he know how to get out?  No, he ran into a system and off the wormhole.  So I offer to get him out.  He has to trust me a little, but on the other hand, he's looking at suiciding his pod, so not really that much.  I find him (he's in a C5 off the side of the path I had probed earlier).  Then I fleet him up, have him meet me at a planet, and we warp to the wormhole.  (He thinks fleet-warp is cool.)  I get him to the lowsec exit.  I give him 5m ISK to replace the ship, and try to encourage him to keep it up.  I tell him to find people to fly with, or at least chat with.  He asks about my corp, but we can't really take a newb that raw.  But I tell him to stay in touch.  Once his skills are up a little, he might be a good fit.


  1. Great break down of the struggle we all face. For what it's worth, you did the right thing every step of the way! Entertaining and insightful read.

  2. Excellent tale!

    I was doing something similar in my bomber yesterday - the prey in an astero would land at a data site and drop a can of some sort at his entry point and then start hacking (to decloak anyone else landing at zero). He'd do some of the cans (probably was scanning them to find the good ones) and then warp off somewhere else. I had the wh all scanned out (I was working on a couple relic site prior to his probes appearing on dscan), so knew his options - but every time I'd arrive he'd be far enough away that I couldn't get to him before he finished and warped off somewhere else.

    Finally - after trailing him to 3 or 4 sites I managed to catch him by sitting on a can that he headed towards. I hit him with everything I had (only Torpedos I skill at that point... Better today...) and smashed him up pretty good - but he microwarped away from me (I only had a disruptor so couldn't shut down his microwarp) and he escaped in a burning ship.

    Great fun though...