Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ganking 101: Dealing with Faction Police and Other Busybodies

Last time, I gave instructions on manipulating Concord to minimize their impact on our glorious ganking operations. For traditional gankers, the story pretty much ends there. But the Knights of the Order spurn the comforts of positive sec status (and the discomfort of grinding it back up). When your sec status dips below -5.0, you will be chased by faction police in every highsec system, and all other players will be free to attack you without Concord interference.

How can a ganking fleet operate under such conditions?

1. Everyone undocks together.
2. Everyone fleet-warps to the insta undock.
3. Everyone fleet-warps to the warp-in.
4. Shoot the miner.
5. Get away with your pod after you're blown up.

That's it, see you later and happy ganking. Well, actually that's the short version. Read on if you're interested in learning more about the mechanics behind it.

EMBRACING DAMNATION

If you intend to perform more than a couple ganks, your sec status will drop like a rock. It didn't used to be nearly this severe, but the carebears whined for more protection and they got it. These days, it's difficult to be a ganker at all, if you intend to preserve your sec status.


My own ganker alt, Currin Trading, is already below -5.0 and quickly heading toward minimum sec status. (On a side note, isn't the new "wanted" sign a little obtrusive, given the fact that everyone has a bounty now?) Currin Trading has virtually no skillpoints, so it's not like he can fly out to nullsec and take down a few hundred NPC battleships to grind sec status back up. Sec status goes up only in small increments, and it would drop down so quickly again anyway.

Currin Trading will never have positive sec status ever again. Instead of avoiding this condition, he will embrace it, changing how he lives in highsec. If you have negative sec status, you should always be doing one of three things: Warping, preparing to warp, or shooting miners.

STICK TOGETHER

If you're always warping or shooting, that means no waiting around. It also means no moving long distances toward a target. You'll need a very accurate warp-in. The fleet of gankers must move together at all times--no more rallying at a planet as everyone joins the group one-by-one. Your only rallying point is the station you're all docked in.

The commander of the ganking fleet should ensure everyone is ready before taking a step toward the next gank. Then he will count down, and everyone will undock at once. Afterward, he'll keep everyone together by using the "fleet warp" command. A ganker's first independent action will be firing upon the target.

Lesson One: The commander will keep everyone together by counting down for the undock and using fleet warps.

Lesson Two: While you're in warp, prepare by memorizing the target's name, grouping your guns, and overheating (if you have Thermodynamics trained).

If you have a target lined up in another system (such as Halaima, one jump from Kamio), you can jump through the stargate and hold your cloak for a few seconds while everyone enters the new system. Then fleet-warp to the warp-in.

ESCAPING THE STATION

The problem of faction police can be dealt with by sticking together and getting good warp-ins, but it won't solve the problem of busybodies--all those players who want to shoot at you because you have -5.0 or worse sec status. The New Order has become very well known in Kamio, so sometimes they'll camp the station with fast-locking ships.

In nullsec, station undocks can be bubbled to death. There have been cases of stations being camped nonstop for days or even weeks at a time. In highsec, however, station camps can be trivially easy to avoid.


You're invulnerable for several seconds after you undock. When you start aligning to warp somewhere, you lose your invulnerability. This is when a station camper will attack. But with an "insta undock" your align time is effectively zero, and you warp instantly. There's no gap between the undock invulnerability and the warp, so the enemy camp watches helplessly as the fleet of gankers shoots right by them.

Every ship that undocks a station follows the same exit path. An insta undock is simply a bookmark of a location lined up with that exit path. You undock pre-aligned to it. Only the fleet commander needs a copy of the bookmark, since he'll fleet-warp everyone to it after you all undock.

Lesson Three: After everyone undocks, the commander should fleet-warp everyone to the insta undock to avoid enemy camps.

You should probably get a copy of the bookmark, though. Your fellow gankers will be happy to share. Bookmarks can be copied by holding "shift" and dragging them from your People & Places window into the item hangar.

Insta undock bookmarks are created by having a very fast ship set maximum speed after undocking. The ship will continue flying along the exit path. You'll want to create the bookmark after passing at least 1,000 km from the station. That way, when you warp past the enemy camp, you'll disappear from their view, and they cannot camp the bookmarked location.

HIDDEN WARP-INS

One other way our enemies can meddle is by camping our targets. If they know who the warp-in is, they can gather around and try to disrupt our attack. Sometimes we use bumpers for warp-ins, and other times we'll have a "disguised" warp-in who flies a mining ship to avoid suspicion. It's also possible to have a cloaked warp-in, if he's able to maneuver around the target in-line with the station and get the commander to warp to him at 10km.

Regardless of the person who's providing the warp-in, it can occasionally be useful to have him provide a bookmark for the warp-in, rather than having everyone warp to him. For example, a bumper with a ship scanner locates a target and, after getting right next to it, creates a bookmark. The bumper docks at the station and copies the bookmark, trading it to the fleet commander. Afterward, the bumper must return to the ice field and ensure that the target has not moved.

Can our enemies figure this out and camp the location of the bookmark? Not really. The bumper can move around the ice field freely while keeping an eye on the target to see that it hasn't moved. The bumper can also find multiple targets to bookmark. If our enemies don't follow the bumper, the bumper himself can serve as the warp-in.

Lesson Four: A pilot serving as the warp-in can also create and share bookmarks of potential targets, to prevent enemies from camping the target's location.

So there you have it. Gankers can operate indefinitely with negative sec status, avoiding faction police and hostile pilots alike. (If enemies camp the gates, you can have an Orca or an alt ferry your ships to the next system/station.) With insta undocks, you basically can't be camped in a station, and with a little trickery, enemies can't camp our targets. One more thing, though. Pods are slow, and sometimes don't land within docking range when they warp.

Lesson Five: Pods can avoid station camps when docking by having a bookmark located closer to the station than the normal "warp to zero" point.

Okay, now I'll see you later, and happy ganking!

4 comments:

  1. Very good information here! A few random comments:

    Lesson Two: Double-check that your weapon safety is turned off. Fleet members can temporarily set the Target pilot to Terrible Standing, so that he will be more visible on the Overview when landing in a busy field. Having an Overview tab that *only* shows pilots with Terrible Standing can help (and having a single celestial to warp away quickly).

    Lesson Four: Bookmarks can also be created with combat probes, *if* the target is flying the only ship of its type in the vicinity. For example, if there is one (and only one) stationary Hulk in an asteroid field, one can create the bookmark without moving near him, then observe cloaked from a distance to ensure he doesn't move.

    Lesson Five: This is very useful. I created my bookmark on the other side of the station, away from where ships appear when they undock. That way, I land about 40km from station campers, but can still dock instantly.

    Also: We have had a little success getting warp-ins on moving targets by using an off-grid tactical safespot near the target. When you initiate warp to your Scout, you will land where he was, not where he is when you reach grid. When a Scout must provide a warp-in on a moving target, this means he would have to predict the target's path, estimate the length of time the gang will spend in warp, and stay ahead of the target accordingly. This can be problematic, because landing even a few kilometers off-target can result in failure (due to faction police arriving). Using an off-grid tactical minimizes the time between the gang initiating warp and landing on grid, and allows the Scout to stay just in front of the moving target for a consistently good warp-in.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As ever, an insightful article on how to survive in hisec with outlaw status, I still have sec status to burn but I'll be following these articles with interest, as a former carebear who has embraced both the darkside and the New Order I'm learning a lot about how the game mechanics work and how to utilise them to their fullest extent

    ReplyDelete
  3. has anyone any numbers on faction police response time?

    if say concord responds in 18 seconds in 0.5, faction police responds in x seconds when out of warp. Who'll kill you after you go red, faction or concord?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did a rough test last night. with a -4.2 char, faction police responded in ca. 30s in 0.6. about 20s in .7. About the same applied when I warped from planet to planet.

      Delete

Note: If you are unable to post a comment, try enabling the "allow third-party cookies" option on your browser.