I’m split behind being proud of that and ashamed. On the one hand, we drove a guy who could have brought a fight at a later engagement and on the other we out witted, out smarted and hunted another player with the utmost efficiency.
I discussed this story on the latest episode of Down the Pipe episode 9. So I’m writing this on the assumption I left something out of the story, or my blog readers simply don’t listen to podcasts.
(TLDR) This story will go into the thought processes I used, and their resulting KMs. I want to go over how effective intelligence, tactics and patience can result in some nice kills
Story and Hunting Lesson:
Friday night, I log in and I notice I’m the only one online. Jim (home hole) hasn’t been resolved (fully scanned out) in less than 10 hours. So I drop probes and resolve Jim. Nothing special, so I warp to the only connecting hole, which is our static, Sally.
I warp, book mark the hole and jump in.
First thing I do is hit D-scan. Instant results show a single Sisters Core Scanner probe on D and two towers without force fields.
Good and bad news. Good news because it means someone was in this hole in the past 1.2 hours or is in this hole now. Probes in space only last for that long. Bad news, because if he has probes out already, he either just saw the hole open and a new sig form on his scans. A K162 will not open unless a human actually warps to or probes down the hole from the opening side. That rule known, this guy can safely assume he is no longer alone.
Second thing I do is hit the probe scan without any probes out. This will tell me how many anomalies are in the system without dropping probes. The information I glean from this will dictate how active I think these targets may or may not be. Few anoms means this hole is well traveled and its residents play quite a bit. Large amounts of anoms means the people living in it haven’t gotten around to running them, don’t care about running them, or are simply not very active. It’s a quick, easy thing to click before continuing with the hunt. 12 anoms on scan.
Third step, book mark the Sally to Jim hole I just passed through.
Forth, click update location on in game Wormnav. This will give me more info about this history of this wormhole. How many NPC and Player ship/pod kills. It will tell me the static of the wormhole and the wormhole's space effect. If you see recent NPC ship kills (within the last hour) good chance those guys are still online. You can also use some deduction to figure out what time zone they play in. If we are at their peak timezone, you can expect a positive reaction to a bait ship. Few people will chance a bait ship by themselves. Not peak, the pilot with the probes out may just log off and ignore someone ratting in his hole. This doesn’t always work, because people sometimes rat in other peoples WHs, but it gives you just a little bit more information. Typically information may have been ignored.
Fifth, check the mini map (found by pressing F11) and see how much of your D-scan is actually showing what is in the hole. That white area around you is the distance of your D scan in relation to your system location. The wormhole from Jim opened closest to the sun (center of the system), and you want to scout out the entire system before you commit to a plan of action.
Remember the controller of those probes saw the new sig (Jim) open to them, so the clock is ticking.
These steps are all done in the 30 seconds before you uncloak from your jump cloak timer. It sounds like a great many steps to do in less than 30 seconds, but honestly it becomes 2nd nature if you are an active hunter.
Sixth, warp to the farthest planet and cloak the second after you click warp. This is the tense part of any hunt. Because for a split second, you are able be seen on your targets directional scan. Most WHers are paranoid and hitting that D-scan button every few seconds gives the targets valuable intel.
This is where corp/alliance ship name stealing comes in handy. If I’m a forward WH scout, I’ll steal a targets ship naming convention and add it to my scout ship before I even uncloak. Anyone hitting D-scan may assume it’s a fellow corpmate/alliance member just switched ships or jumped through a hole, and not a roving band of WH hunters.
I warp my scan ship to the farthest planet(from the sun) in the system, mashing D scan the entire way there. I see 3 more probes on scan once I land. Then I see a Loki, a Tengu, a Cyclone, a Noctis, a tower, and a force field. Too many people leave ships just floating inside their pos’s for me to totally assume they are unpiloted or piloted. It’s worth the few extra minutes to see if those ships are piloted. If those ships are piloted, it means I’m terribly outnumbered and outgunned. It’s just me and another human online. I would either need to multi box in combat (not smart) or fight 2v3 (also not smart).
We call it ‘getting eyes on the targets’. There are a few ways of doing this, but I’m old school so I’ll tell you mine. I’m fast at it, I’m an old man and habits are hard to break. Since some planets have like 10+ moons, I’m not about to warp to every single one of them looking for a POS.
Once I have landed at the planet, I narrow my D-scan to 60 degrees, point it at a random direction, look for the ships. Nope. Mark the location in my mind, shift the camera around the horizontal axis, scan again still at 60 degrees. Nope. Repeat till I find the ships, click off overview only. This way I will see moons, POS’s, ships, whatever.
Hit scan again. If the moon list isn’t very long or I get lucky and have only 1 moon show up using the 60% scan. In this story, I got the POS at moon 5 by itself, no other moons. I right click on the moon and warp to it at 100.
This took me about 2 minutes, including the warp to the planet from the hole. I
Remember the clock is ticking. I’m racing that scan ship who is controlling those probes, and how fast he can find the hole I just left, and get eyes on my POS/Ships.
I land on grid 198k from POS and its ships. All ships are piloted. YES. Piloted ships means, a chance at a fight of some sort. The probe ship has a great chance at being with these guys. They may respond to a bait set up. Now to get some intel on what kinds of fits they have.
This is done by getting within 100k or less of ship, clicking on the little eyeball button on the target sub menu, and making some educated observations. This button will zoom you in and you can see the turret type, weapon system type, how many guns and lack of guns (meaning nuet ship set ups).
T3s are dangerous, but they are predictable based on the fit and the shape of its hull. You can rule out a PVE Tengu from joining a fight on a bait target, though I have personally seen it in action, it’s rare and not something to base educated choices on. There is a website that will show you the subsystem/and the ship picture it matches up with, I can’t remember what it is, I myself have memorized them (yes I’m that nerdy) but if I find it, I’ll post it on my links page.
While my scout was flying to 100k. My other alt pilots were hiding in the Jim hole in anticipation for the target scouts eventual jump into Jim to put eyes on our side of the hole. I hide a cloaked double bubble Eris interdictor on the Jim side of the hole, then I cloaked up my falcon right next to him, then cloak up another scout at a safe. (Yes I’m play 4 at once, what of it?!?) I tell cylin to cloak up too. The worst a scout will see on scan, is our pos and a shuttle. Jhimmy insists on putting on top of our pos for passing bombers to bomb (don’t ask).
Cethion logs into Team Speak 3. I want to point out our most of our guys have learned to jump into TS3 BEFORE logging into the game. We use log in tactics in some of our fights and it just makes sense to check via voice coms before you log your ship in and spoil a hunt/fight.
I give Cethion the sitrep. I explained we are expecting a targets scanner in the hole and to get off D-scan ASAP. He logs in on his cloaked proteus, and another scanning alt both of which warp cloaked to 10k from the sally hole.
Since we don’t know the type of load outs for those ships yet, I assume they are pvp fit. I want to get eyes(scanner alt) on the Sally side of the hole, since the 3 ships and the POS are off D-scan from the Jim/Sally hole and the probes are still out. The thing about scanners I have found is, they watch the scanning map screen more than D-scan, a scout being placed somewhere usually goes unnoticed. It was worth the risk to me to expose another Cov ops ship for 2 seconds.
We check the corp kill history by pulling up the pilots kill boards. Turns out they have a great deal of Null sec kills and not much in wormholes. A group called “The Retirement Club”. Some of our members say they are famous for being being a place where players go to retire. I just figure they are trolling me or something.
I get my first scout to 99k from the Tengu and check its fit. It's fit for shield PVE. I check the Loki, its also fit for PVE. The cyclone, has no weapons. We thought it was strange at first, but I think it was set up for remote shield transfer. Add this to fact the Noctis was also piloted, this guy is about to run sites! I could use some tasty t3 to start my weekend off.
10 minutes pass and still no scout has jumped into Jim.
Jhimmy logs in, then Val, we pass more information to them to not stay in the POS in combat ships and get cloaked or log off ASAP. Jhimmy brings a rapier and Val gets into a cloaky scanner.
We wait at least 10 more minutes.
Then Cethion says “ Buzzard on Jim hole, corp is in the retirement club” I tell everyone to hold cloaks, and let him get a good look around. The buzzard jumps into Jim, stays cloaked for a moment. If he hits D-scan at this point all he sees on scan is a POS and a shuttle. He jumps back into Sally. Had he known the level of cloaked death that was less than 10k from him, he wouldn’t have done exactly what he did next.
He swaps out his Loki for a Naga, then his Tengu for a Dram… Then his Cyclone for an Orca.
We assume at this point he is going to try and bait with his Orca. Or about to try and close the hole. He may have seen our scouts jump in, and the dram and Naga were going to blap any kind of scouting tackle. Either way, we have this shit handled.
Everyone in fleet is saying “Please warp please warp… “ His Orca gains speed and warps. At which point everyone in the fleet screams “FK YA!” I give permission for the people in scan ships to ship up into DPS.
He lands 6k from the hole. His scout book marked the location from the scanning window and not the actual hole. Whups! Cethion says the Orca is aligning to the hole and moving toward it. Then the buzzard uncloaks and is about to jump through, I tell the guys who just shipped up to get away from the hole and off D scan in the event he jumps the buzzard in before the Orca.
We could have all jumped in at this point, but I didn’t want to lose the orca to bull shit with polarity. The dram lands, the naga lands, the buzzard jumps in… then the Orca jumps in. He's fucked.
I uncloak my dictor and bubble up the Jim side of the hole, our fleet is split and the Hurricane and tackle frigs land outside the bubble. The cloaked part of the fleet all jump into the Sally hole. The Orca, now realizing that he is trapped in a bubble with a Hurricane, jumps back. The Dram jumps into Jim also.
The Orca is now back in Sally. My interdictor uncloaks and throws up a second bubble. The only ship now stuck in the 2nd interdictor bubble is the Naga. It melts. Since the Naga pilot was at 0 on the wormhole and has yet to jump into Jim. I give the fleet permission to pod him. He could have escaped back into Jim and then back into Sally, holding out his jump cloak timers.
We wait for the Orca to uncloak. The Orca has polarity at this point. When the Orca does uncloak… he dies. We lock up the pod. The pilot has polarity and in a bubble, and now scammed/webbed. He isn’t going anywhere.
We give him 30 seconds to give us a Hiaku. He tried… Gave us one 5, 7, 3. Third line doesn’t have enough syllables, we say, “nice try” in local, he dies. 1.2 Bil pod because he got a poem incorrect.
Now we have a dram flying around in Jim. Through what we could only assume was depression induced suicide the dram parks 100k off one of our POCOs, and is scanned down, then destroyed. Our tackle ship locks up the pod, and once again gives him a chance for a haiku. He fails AGAIN!... We have Cethion explain it politely in local chat. He dies.
Now we have a buzzard cloaked somewhere inside of Jim. After a few minutes. We offer to sell him passage for 30m. It’s a cloaked ship, the chances of us catching him are slim at best. He could just log off and scan his way out when we were all offline. He refuses. He does note in local chat, he is done with WHs, they are too dangerous and he was going to go back to Null space. It was safer. We all laughed. He refuses to buy his way out of Jim.
He took his chances. Cloaked scout from the Jim side of the hole sees the Buzzard trying to get back home. My cloaked interdictor puts up a bubble, then about 5 cloaked ships try and de-cloak the Buzzard. We got him. He is so far from the hole when was popped the chance of him escaping in his pod in the bubble was slim to none.
We give him another chance at a haiku. The entire time, we are shouting in local, to “PLEASE DON’T GET THIS WRONG!.” “We are rooting for ya!”
He gets it right. O thank god! We set him free. Net loss for this guy in about 30 minutes. 2.5 Bil in pods/ships.
If that guy ever reads this blog or hears about it on the podcast, I want to really say to him. We appreciate his sacrifice and wormholes are dangerous… o/ Stay frosty.