Thursday, April 28, 2011

Goo For The Goo Throne

He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife.
--Douglas Adams

With a lack of kills after my short hiatus, I still have no new adventures to share.  So I instead offer some old tales of people exploding and advice that, hopefully, someone will find helpful.  Don't worry though, I've since gotten out there to get blown up and will be sharing those tales in my next post.
To first share with you a bit of self promotion, I'm now a Junior Officer of the Blood Money Cartel.  To those of you outside of our ranks, let me explain what this actually means.  My only real power is that I'm now a Moderator on our internal forums.  So I get the added responsibilities of cleaning up the boards, moving old threads, locking polls that have finished, all the boring stuff that generally comes with being a forum moderator.  

The implied power in the role is that other members of the Cartel can come to me with questions, comments, concerns, bitches, moans, complaints, etc. and I answer those that I can and pass along things of actual concern to the CEO/Directors to deal with.  This prevents them from getting as many headaches.  Which is good, since the only thing scarier than a Pirate Corporations CEO is that same CEO with a headache.  

Primarily, my time in this role is spent helping the new members of the Cartel.  Since The Blood Money Cartel trains new players in the ways of Lowsec Piracy, we can have members join that have been playing as little as a week and, as you can imagine, they have a lot of questions.  Answering some of those recent questions is what leads me into the actual topic for the day, as it seemed to be information that was easily confused amongst EVE players at large.

Todays topic is Pods.  Specifically, how to not get your own blown up and how to make sure the other guys does.  The first bit is pretty standard advice really.  When your ship seems certain for destruction, select a celestial and begin rapidly pressing the Warp To button until you're safely away.  I've heard this advice plenty of times with the caveat that it "usually" works.  What I rarely hear is an explanation of what usually means in this context, so I'd like to clarify.

In six months of purely Lowsec PvP I've lost three pods.  Let's examine how that happened.  

The first I've already talked about in a previous post, and involved an untimely disconnect followed by some rather abnormal reconnection behavior.  

The second I was on a gate and had absolutely no intention of engaging with the 3-to-1 odds I had.  Mysteriously, issuing the jump command was giving me a session change error when no session change was in progress.  A minute of that led to me spamming warp towards an asteroid belt to get my pod out, but was greeted with a message that I was not within range to warp.  As this behavior was decidedly fishy, I petitioned the losses and CCP was able to confirm those commands were received, couldn't see any reason that it happened, and reimbursed my loss.

The third time involved me knowingly warping into a gate camp while confident that my Interceptor could Jump on contact with the gate and align safely on the other side before anything could lock me.  The actual result was that I never saw the grid load and after a couple of minutes staring at my ship rubber-banding on the gate while I repeatedly mashed the jump button, I found myself waking in a clone vat.  The timestamps on the killmails show the pod loss as a full two minutes after the ship loss, and with that evidence in hand I again petitioned the loss.  This time CCP responded with the dreaded "The logs show nothing" and offered me the advice that my Pod wouldn't be able to jump due to the session change timer from a destroyed ship.  Thanks CCP, for completely missing the point.

It's worth noting that the first five months of Lowsec Piracy saw me lose no pods, and those all came within the last month.  I have a sneaking suspicion that CCP's recent changes (CARBON and the War On Lag in general) are having some unintended consequences.  While it may be true that large fleet fights are running smoother, I used to experience zero lag in small fights but have now had a number of very curious things happening to me.  I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has seen the same in the last couple of months.

Now to the advice that started me thinking about turning Pods into Floating Corpses; how to maximize your chances of destroying the other guy.  Barring getting lucky and the other pilot experiencing some soul crushing lag, or having the advantage of Bubbles in Nullsec (Which is practically cheating) there are a few simple things you can do to ensure you're in range and locking up the other pilots newly freed Capsule as fast as possible.  First, a few clarifications on game mechanics.

1.  If you're orbiting a target that is destroyed you will continue at your last trajectory in a straight line.

2.  If you're approaching a target that is destroyed you will come to a full stop, as though you had pressed Ctrl+Space.

3.  By default, holding Ctrl and left clicking an object in space or on your overview will lock the target.

4.  By default, double clicking an object in space or on your overview will approach that target.

By putting together points 1 and 2, you can see that if you're orbiting a ship that is destroyed, you may quickly find yourself flying outside of the range of you Warp Scrambler/Disruptor.  Commonly pilots find themselves no longer webbed due to their opponents destruction and with their max speed of over a km/sec are quickly flying outside of scrambler range, losing a pod even after resolving the lock.  On the other hand, if you approach your target once it becomes clear his ship is about to explode, you will drift to a stop somewhere within your scrambler range.  Approaching your target towards the end of a fight you're winning has the added benefit of minimizing the chance that his ship is able to get outside of Scram range and escape.  

There are times when approaching your target even as he's in his death throws may not be the right course of action, however.  Namely if you're engaging a ship that has thus far had difficulty tracking your ship, a drop is transversal may end badly for you.  In this case, I recommend putting together points 3 and 4.  As soon as the enemy ship is destroyed and the capsule appears on your overview, you can hold Ctrl and click the target once to lock followed immediately by double clicking on the target to approach.  This tends to give good overall results when trying to catch pods for ransom, or just general Security Status damaging destruction.  

Another technique to consider when flying as part of a gang is turning your point off before the end of the fight.  Especially recommended if you find yourself flying an Interceptor in a gang which gives you the fastest lock times in the group.  The idea is to drop your point as to not get slowed down by the modules cycle time when the ship is destroyed and then, as soon as the Capsule appears on your overview to rapidly press the Hot Key for your point followed by rapidly clicking the target three times.  I say three times, but I tend to enthusiastically click a bit more as thoughts of pod kills race through my head.  This tactic alone is the reason I have my Warp Disruptor in the F1 slot when flying as an Interceptor for a gang.  Just make sure that someone actually kept point on the ship or you'll likely be very embarrassed when their ship warps off in structure as you all dropped point on them at the same time.

How effective has this tactic been?  Roughly 40% of my kills end in catching the other guys pod.  Obviously there's a very large disparity between how easy I've found getting my pod out to be and how easy I've found catching the other guy to be.  It's assumed that a large percentage of the EVE Playerbase just isn't using the best techniques for doing so.  Hopefully the ones I face in combat don't read my blog.

One final thing of note is the question of when it's appropriate to kill a pod.  This stems from a recent discussion at Axazia's Blog.  He's new to PvP, but got all inspired by Taurean and went out there to experience the rush of adrenaline for himself.  Keep in mind that if you've been aggressed by someone you only have Kill Rights on their ship.  Think of it as though their pod hasn't actually attacked you, so you don't have any rights to attack it.  This is an important distinction that can have two very unfortunate consequences if you're not paying attention and get overzealous after destroying a ship.

In highsec, this will lead to CONCORD coming in to OMGWTFBBQPWN you.  If you didn't intend for your can flipping escapade to turn into a suicide-gank, this could be rather embarrassing, and will make collecting loot a bit harder as your pod has no cargo hold.  Worth noting that a CONCORD Sanctioned Wardec will allow for podkilling without consequence in high security space.

In lowsec, if you've found yourself aggressed on a gate or station and find yourself the winner, attacking the pod will still lead to GCC and aggression from the gate/station guns.  I had to learn this one the hard way after a Thrasher attacked me as I was undocking in a Punisher once.  I felt rather proud of myself coming out the victor and went ahead and popped his pod for good measure.  I felt less proud as I docked my capsule up so that I could grab another ship for scooping the loot after the station guns annihilated my once beautiful ship.

Hopefully you now know all the things you never asked to know about podkilling.  Now get out there and wreck your Sec Status while chanting, "Pods for the Pod God, Goo for the Goo Throne!"




  1. What a really good post!

    I have noticed some unusual glitches over the last month or so. After jumping through a gate it seems to hang up sometime, for no apparent reason.

  2. My corpmates and I have seen weirdness of late as well. I got a session timer warning after being vaporized by a smart-bombing battleship. I was moving my pod, but it would not let me warp due to the session timer. WTF? Fortunately I had drifted outside of effect range before the next disco cycle.