Sunday, June 28, 2009

24 Tips to Surviving Lowsec

I was reminded by this article here (Idiots guide to lowsec survival) about something I wrote some time ago, and I decided that I would revise and republish it (it's an old article I once did on another blog a long time ago) for those people who are uncertain about jumping into low security space. I hope you find these tips helpful.

  1. Dont play the game while away from the keyboard (AFK). You should never consider yourself safe while being away from your computer. If you have to quickly do something else, then dock at a station.

  2. Enter space with security status 0.4 and below at your own risk. You can never expect to be safe in low security (lowsec) space, regardless of how safe you think you might be.

  3. Take the time to sit inside a station in the lowsec systems you want to operate in, and observe the traffic. Do 'show info' on everyone that comes in. Any pirate corporations or alliances that show up, adjust your standings to -10 for them. This will put a red icon next to them, so that you can tell them as pirates as soon as you see them. Doing this will be invaluable for your future lowsec operations.

  4. Insure all ships you are using, especially the expensive ones. Make sure you buy the most expensive "platinum" type of insurance. It will help you replace your ship once you lose it.

  5. Don't rely on sentry guns at gates or stations to keep you safe. Especially not when travelling in lowsec space. There are several ways to avoid sentry gun fire that are not considered to be an exploit, like sniping outside of sentry gun range. There are a lot of ships that can also 'tank' the incoming fire from sentry guns.

  6. Use map filters such as "ships destroyed in the last hour" to spot possible player pirate camps and other dangerous areas. Also check 'pilots in space in last 30 minutes' to give you an idea of how many people are flying around in the system you want to go to. If there's 10 in space in the last half hour and 4 ships destroyed, you can be guaranteed it's not safe.

  7. Use the local chat channel to see what's happening within the system when you have just jumped in. Checking 'show info' on each of the pilots in the local chat channel (if there aren't too many people in local) can show you if there's any 'nasties' in the system. They're the ones with negative security status. But really - don't trust anyone, because a lot of pirates keep their sec status high by killing rats in between killing other pilots.

  8. If you're intent on avoiding combat, use Warp Core Stabilizers (WCS or 'stabs') to help avoid being warp jammed, allowing you to warp away if they try to scramble you. Only use these on ships like industrials, etc, to help you get your cargo away from pirate ambushes.

  9. Different types of ammo have different ranges. Right-click your gun and check its' attributes to see the optimal range. Fit some ammo to it and re-check the range. By choosing long-range ammo, you can mostly stay clear of enemy fire (especially when up against rats). Try to stay halfway between your optimal range, and your falloff range, as that's where you're more likely to get maximum hits.

  10. Make sure you always have a clone available for when you need it, and always buy a clone (from a station with a medical facility) that is going to handle your skill points. Upgrade when your skill points get close to the limit of the clone. You never want a clone that is less than your character's skill points, as that wastes all the time that you spent training.

    If you wake up in a new clone, buy a new one immediately! If you die again without upgrading, you will lose a percentage of skill points from your highest skill. Your screams will be heard even in space.

    More information on this and the percentages can be found here.

  11. If you're in an asteroid belt killing rats or mining and a pirate jumps in (see #3 to determine who are pirates), dock immediately. Do not continue ratting or mining, as the pirate WILL find you very quickly. Do not wait until the pirate enters your belt, as that could be too late. Do not go to a safe spot, as you could be scanned down and attacked. Just dock.

  12. Always keep an eye on your scanner. Even if you don't think someone is a pirate, if you see a covert ops ship or scan probes on your scanner, then dock or leave the system. They're probably going to try and scan you down and attack you.

    Assume everyone is out to get you at all times.

  13. When you're flying anywhere and someone target locks you at a gate or station, do not fire first. If they fire at you first, then they're the ones that take the security hit, and they're the ones that take the sentry gun fire if it's near a gate or station, and they're the ones that get attacked by CONCORD if it's in high security space. Never start combat if someone target locks you first.

    Ignore this rule if you don't care.

  14. If someone invites you to join their fleet and you don't know them, decline the invitation. It's likely that they're a pirate. As soon as you accept a fleet invite, they can warp straight to your location and attack you.

  15. If someone attacks you and you actually destroy their ship, podding them in 0.1 space or higher will give you a huge security hit, and make you a target for sentry guns. You can only pod kill in 0.0 space without any loss of security status.

  16. Don't buy that shiny new ship until you can afford the ship, the fittings, and the insurance five times over. That way, if you lose the ship, you've still got enough money to afford a replacement (after the insurance payout, of course).

    This is because you WILL lose it if you take it into lowsec. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But you will lose it eventually. Don't fly what you can't afford to lose.

  17. If you're in 0.0 space, EVERYONE can be a pirate, even if they have positive security status. There are no security hits in 0.0 space. Do not trust anyone.

  18. Do not take stuff from someone else's cargo can, as you then become a 'can thief' and they can attack you without penalty, even in Empire space. If they're offering stuff from their can for free, they're probably setting you up. If they really want to give you something for free, then they can trade it with you while docked in a station.

    Never take from someone's can unless they're in your corp or fleet and you trust them.

  19. If you want to be attacked in Empire space then you can jettison something from your cargo hold that they can then take, which allows you to attack them without taking a security hit or being attacked by CONCORD. This is good if you know you have a good chance of defeating them in combat. Otherwise don't do it, as you're likely to be destroyed.

  20. When you jump into a low security system, DO NOT MOVE. Disengage the autopilot AS you jump, so that it's inactive when you get to the other side of the jump gate. This is so that you don't move when you get there.

    Why can't you move? Because when you come out of a jump, you are cloaked and no one can see you. You will remain cloaked for 30 seconds or until you move, or until someone comes within 2 km of you. Being cloaked is good for you, as it gives you a bit of time to see who's in local, and if there's any pirates, you can either move back to the gate (which will decloak you, so only do it if it's safe and/or you can do it quickly) and jump back where you came from, or do something else.

  21. If you find you're in the middle of a gate camp, as soon as you move and decloak they're going to try and lock you and attack. Since they'll be using warp scramblers/disruptors or a heavy interdictor, you won't be able to warp away. Your best chance is to try and crawl back to the gate to jump back out, and hope that any shield or armour tank you have holds them off long enough for you to jump.

  22. If you are leaving a station and you need to get away FAST, then look straight ahead of your ship. Select a destination (asteroid belt, planet or jump gate) that is right in front of you and warp to it. You will go into warp a lot faster than if you had to to realign for a different direction. This is because you're already moving at your maximum speed as you leave the station.

    If you're at a jump gate though, and at a dead stop, there's no difference between the time it takes to reach warp going straight ahead or turning to align.

  23. Make a safe spot. This is a bookmark that you drop in the middle of nowhere, while you're warping from one point to another. While warping, open People & Places and drop a bookmark. Click OK so that it has the default name, which you can change later so that you know it's a 'safe spot'. The advantage of this bookmark is that it's literally in the middle of nowhere, allowing you to warp to it from anywhere in the system, when you need to escape from pirates and you don't want them finding you.

    To make it harder for them to find you though, you need to warp from your safe spot to another location in the system, and drop another bookmark along the way. You need to try and drop this bookmark more than 5,000 km from any other object in the system, if you can, so studying your system map is essential.

    The first safe spot is along an established flight path and easy for probe scanners to find, but the second safe spot will be out of range of any scan probes that could find you.

    However, still do NOT think you're safe. If they drop a scan probe at their own safe spot that's within range of yours, they will find you. Try to bounce around between your safe spots if you can't leave the system or you can't dock, so that it's harder for them to actually detect you in one location.

    When you're at a safe spot, remember - you're still not safe. You can be scanned down by cloaked covert ops ships, who will then have their fleet members warp right on you.

    The only time you're safe at a safe spot is if you're cloaked.

  24. Whenever you're sitting somewhere (like at a safe spot) and not actually traveling anywhere or doing anything, always align yourself with a distant object, like a jump gate or station. Preferably an object you can select in your overview. The reason for this is that aligning yourself to something has you traveling at your maximum normal speed towards it.

    In order to go to warp, you have to be at 75% of this speed, so if you're already traveling at that speed, you'll go into warp much faster than if you were standing still.

    So with the object selected in your overview, and you're aligned to it, you can sit there with the knowledge that if someone turns up with your death on their mind, all you have to do is quickly press the 'warp to' button at the top of the overview and you will go to warp almost immediately, avoiding their attack.

    If you don't do this, you will die as you try to align for the destination and gather speed.
Please add your own tips in the comments below if you think they will be of value to others.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

PVP and business - so much fun!

What a time I've had. In only a few days of re-focusing on Eve Online, I've explored piracy, anti-piracy, trading, and hauling. Wow.

So... I got back into piracy, and joined up with a ragtaggiest bunch of misfits I've ever had the misfortune of flying with. And these were the primary pirates in my region. Holy cow... They were disorganised, unruly, disrespectful, and ignorant of fleet protocols.

I flew with them for an hour before taking a break and getting a hotdog in a nearby station. How fortunate for me!

Their fleet of 8 (battleships and battlecruisers) encountered 5 anti-pirates. The pirates lost 6 of their ships, while the anti-pirates lost 1. I munched on my hot dog while listening to the screams, which abruptly ended as their comms systems went up with the ships, happy that I had taken a break at the time.

And no, my Rifter would not have turned the tides of battle...

So I reconsidered flying with the pirates. Not only did they fill the voice comms with inane chatter that grated on my nerves, they really didn't know how to fly fleets. I felt like taking command, but really, I knew my place. Being the 'new girl' and flying a Rifter in a fleet of battleships... well, it just wasn't going to happen.

So I withdrew from the pirate fleet, and spent some time roaming around. Then I was advised by one of the local anti-pirates... oh, that's right. You've met him over on Black Claw's blog - An interview with an anti-pirate. He advised me that I'd been seen flying with the pirates, but he was willing to let me prove myself an ally rather than an enemy.

I took up the challenge, and decided to move away from the piracy thing. I flew with him, and within 5 minutes we had encountered and destroyed a Rapier.

Ah, the sweet taste of victory. Disciplined, communicative, efficient victory.

I was sold. It was the ANTI-piratin' way for me!

Until yesterday, when an opportunity threw itself at me. Well, after I reached out for it, that is.

I was engaging in missions, and had just finished setting up salvaging destroyers throughout 3 systems (to save time from having to get 1 destroyer somewhere else, I set up 'salvaging bases' in each system I'm doing missions in), when I saw someone offering 20m per ship, to fly them from one highsec location to another, right next door.

One thing led to another, and now I'm their sole supplier of battleships.

And this is where my excitement REALLY starts!!

Due to my already-stringent training program, I was skilled in battlecruisers for both Minmatar and Gallente, and I discovered I only needed to train a single skill to level 2 (Gallente Battleships) and I could fly battleships.

Holy. Cow.

I flew a Megathron battleship this morning. I had to take photos! Here's the evidence.


I had to take so many photos because it's such a beautiful ship, and I was so excited! That camera drone really got a workout, that's for sure. I think they're still repairing it as I speak. Poor thing broke down from being overworked.

So anyway, I delivered the battleship for my new client, and they're yet to pick it up, but I'll get quite a decent profit from it. I found another client too, and ended up delivering a battleship for them as well, but into lowsec.

The system was full of pirates, but lucky for me they weren't camping the gate I entered by. I flew to the agreed drop-off station, and contracted it to the client. Then I left in my pod.

As I exited the station, I was surprised to see the sky full of red flashy ships. There were 7 of them, all waiting for the battleship to come out that I had flown in with. Instead, there was my pod, which warped away before any of them could get a chance to do anything.

"Bitch!" was the cry from their fleet commander over the comms. I laughed, and danced, and then left.

Combat can be fun - when you're winning - but business can be just as much fun!

I'm in business, and here's my new bio entry:
Do you need ships delivered for you? I can fly Minmatar and Gallente ships all the way up to Battleships. If you want 'em, I can deliver 'em.

Talk to me about my special business rates. Highsec or lowsec - there's nowhere I'm not willing to go for you.
Contact me if you'd like to discuss how I can help you.

I also invested 50 million ISK into the market a couple days ago. 'Buy low, sell high!' is the mantra. So I bought a lot of stuff at its current price, and put it back onto the market at the price I want to sell it for. I'm leaving it there for 3 months. The price I want to sell it for is only 20% of what it's sold for in the very recent past, but if it sells, I'll get a 50% profit. Then I'll just do it all over again.

I'll keep you up to date about how things go.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Blogger Profiles #26 - Escoce

I know, it's been almost 3 months since the last blogger profile... What can I say, I was distracted. I'm sorry though! Hopefully things should get back to normal from now on...

What is your character's name or handle?

Escoce

What is your blog's URL?

http://escoce.blogspot.com

How long have you been blogging?

Very sporadically since April, 17, 2008

What region of EVE do you mostly operate in?

I operate all over Empire, though the regions another pilot is “most likely” to see me in Essense, Verge Vendor, Genesis and Everyshore.

When did you start playing EVE?

November 2007

What do you enjoy about EVE?

The emmersion and attention to detail. The scope and breadth of the gaming universe, and the possibility that I will never reach an end-game, but perhaps only do pretty well compared to others who’ve had similar Eve-Online careers.

What is your playstyle?

Style? Hmmm, I am pretty much a solo style player, I however love the social aspects of Eve, and I am a member of a corp to which I contribute time to help develop the corp by getting them cheap materials. I also socialize a great deal with various types of low sec folks since I spend so much time in low sec doing trade. I started out as a miner, and got bored with mining almost as soon as I had “mastered” that career path, moved into trade and specialized mostly in mineral trading. I am now also an arms dealer and it is my current goal to establish a low sec market hub. I run literally all over empire, just so I can provide the cheapest goods in Hevrice so that no matter what popular item you are looking for, Hevrice is the cheapest place to get it. Like I said, I want to put Hevrice on the map.

I do however also blitz mission (strictly for standing improvements for trade, tax and broker fees reductions and POS anchoring and that stuff), I don’t do it for the money, I don’t loot or salvage unless its perhaps the last mission for the night and I am just picking up a few extra bucks worth of loot. I PvP, and I am pretty good at it, it’s just not central to my character like missioning isn’t. I am a trader and a damned good one at that I’d like to think.

Do you play any other games?

I only play other games when Eve Online is down. I’ll play Wesnoth or perhaps something on my kid’s Nintendo DS since he’s sleeping during my gaming hours anyway.

What do you blog about, and why?

I blog about Eve Trading, and recently about my efforts to establish a low sec market.

What are your other interests?

I am an IT project manager with strong interest in security currently, and spend time continuing my education down that path. I am also a beekeeper (as in honey bees), and small scale farmer. I love astronomy, and reading escapist literature like Harry Potter or Ursula Le Guin or whatever, just so long as it’s catchy (catches my attention after a few pages), otherwise the book is likely to sit on the shelf for a few years before I give it another chance.

What advice do you have for EVE players who are struggling to stay motivated?

It’s not easy, but if you at least have developed a foundation in a career path, you should have the resources (meaning money) to keep you going while you develop a new career. Trying something new is always a good way to make something fresh. When mining got god aweful boring, I switched careers to mineral trading, when that got boring I added turned a backwater constellation into a mineral market still to this day one of the most active mineral markets in Empire even though I don't drive it anymore, I added missioning into it just to mix things up, then I started in arms trade, dealing in combat oriented ships, modules, weaponry and ammo and I bring them to low sec which added a little excitement and I made some new friends in the bargain. Now I am working to rewrite the map a little and get a LowSec system rated as a market hub (Hevrice).

If you are getting bored, then change your career change your ships, change your surroundings, change the people you hang out with. Just do something new, whether its switching from Rail Guns to blasters, or switch from specializing in Battleships to Rifters. I did that, I started flying an ishkur (gallente assault frigate) for missioning, and that added some excitement. I can run all level 3 and most level 4 missions solo in a frigate now. You gotta keep it fresh, but when you do find a change that makes you happy, you find yourself emmersed all over again in something completely new even though you might have 10 or 20 or 50 million skill points under your belt. No matter what you do in Eve, there is always something new.

Anything else to offer?

I really enjoy reading the player generated facts and fiction in the blogs and posted as official fiction on the eve website. It keeps me entertained and wanting to try something new every once in a while.

Ventrilo server for out-of-game comms

I'm the proud owner of a Ventrilo server ('Vent' for short), and I was wondering if there was any interest out there in the Eve blogging community to have a Vent channel for the bloggers, or if anyone wanted to rent some access from me for their own corp or alliance.

Please add your thoughts in a comment, or send me an email if you would like to discuss having your own channel.

UPDATE:

If you'd like to join the Eve Bloggers channel, use the following connection information in Ventrilo:

Server: V63.DARKSTARLLC.COM
Port: 4003

I look forward to chatting to you in there!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'm back

Yep, that's right - I've returned!

I'm no longer playing LOTRO, so I can focus on this again. I'm still only a couple months away from flying an Arazu, so I'll get back into the mission-running and see about raising some cash.

Oh, I just noticed my last post said I'm aiming for the Rapier. I changed it since then to an Arazu...

I've also updated evebloggers.com with some new blog posts (go to the bottom of the page to see the recent blog posts). I'll try to update it when I get inspired to.

Who wants to have a party?

I guess what I really want to know is... what do you people miss from me, that you want to have back?

Let me know in the comments section.