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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.