And the most interesting natural structure?
A giant, two-thousand-mile-long fish in orbit around Jupiter, according to a reliable report in the Weekly World News. The photograph was very convincing, and I'm only surprised that more-reputable journals like New Scientist, or even just The Sun, haven't followed up with more details. We should be told.
No, not those myths. While Unidentified Furry Organisms are spotted on camping trips, this post is going to focus on the kind of camping that happens in internet spaceships. More specifically, it's going to focus on the three most oft-repeated bits of misinformation I hear about Gate Camping.
Last week I had been browsing The Eve Online Bloggers Portal and stumbled upon a blog post about someone who had run into a gate camp. If I'm remembering all the details right, he was in High sec, but there was a Wardec active on his corporation. After relaying the details of his death he included a list of things he should have done differently, and some advice for anyone else encountering a gate camp in the future.
The only problem was, he was wrong. I don't necessarily blame the author, as he seemed not to be as much of a PvP enthusiast as I am. I considered posting a comment on the blog telling him what he got wrong. Then I considered how that would seem from his perspective. Seeing a bunch of comments from, presumably, regular readers that simply consoled him for the loss, I thought it would be a tad cruel to come out of nowhere to tell him in front of his readers that he didn't know what he was talking about.
Later that day, I was listening to Episode 2 of Ransoms and Roams(Pirate themed Podcast, how cool is that?). Towards the end of the show(30:10 to be exact), during a series of "Protips" given, Marc's was "Know what the fuck you're talking about before you open your mouth." Remembering the earlier blog I had read, I decided that there were some details that could stand having the record set straight on. Hence, the post I'm writing today covering the three greatest myths about gate camps I know.
The general impression of lowsec is that it's a dangerous place to travel through because there are gate camps everywhere all the time. That's simply not true. The politics of any given area rarely allow for one group or another to just set up shop for any great length of time on a gate. One of the far more common things to happen is that you just run into someone passing by a gate. Considering that if you're moving through lowsec the only place you're likely to see another player is at a gate, this is inevitable.
I recently destroyed an Iteron V on a Hi to Low gate. I'm sure to that player I was camping the gate as he came through it. What had actually happened was that a few moments earlier I had spotted an Iteron IV at that exact same gate on my D-scan and I warped to it to see what was going on. I landed just in time to see the first hauler warp away, but a moment later there was a gate flash followed shortly by the appearance of the second hauler.
The other common occurrence is that you encounter a roaming gang with a scout. It's pretty much standard practice to have a ship scanning in system ahead of the main gang. It's also pretty common that the gang warps to the gate as the scout gets close to scanning down the target. Someone passing through that gate would have to assume they were all waiting for him, but the ship types can sometimes tell a different story. Camping gates in Lowsec with thinly tanked Interceptors just won't make any sense.
Gate Cloaks and Session Timers
Another often repeated piece of advice I see when someone is explaining what to do when you find yourself in a gate camp concerns your gate cloak. You may have noticed that, after jumping, you have a session change timer displayed. (You do have the option checked for displaying session change timers in the escape menu, right???) You may also have noticed that, after jumping, your ship is cloaked. I can sort of see how you could think that cloak and that timer were connected, but you'd be wrong.
To be perfectly clear, there are three timers that may affect you at a gate. Session changes, which last thirty seconds and gate cloaks and aggression timers, which are both sixty seconds. The difference between thirty seconds and sixty seconds can sometimes be huge, especially when you've encountered a roaming gang and not a camp. I often encounter other ships on gates that I can't engage, but by the time the minute long cloak has expired they've moved on. I'm not saying that an extra thirty seconds will save you every time, but it's important to know just how much time you have to think about your next move, and people seem to continue to advise you only have half the time you do.
Choosing a Route
The other thing I see often repeated when someone talks about running into a camp is that they "picked the celestial they were most aligned with" and warped to it. The idea here being that they examined their ship and looked where it was generally aligned. Then by warping to that object, they'd save some alignment time and get there quicker. They'd again be wrong.
While sitting under a jump cloak(or anytime you're at a complete stop), you aren't aligned to anything. The graphic you see displayed on your screen has nothing to do with how quickly you can warp in that direction. Of relevance is a quote from the EVE Online wiki stating that "in EVE, ships are modelled(sic) as vectors, and the actual orientation of the engines has no relevance to the direction in which thrust is applied." If you're still not convinced, try it yourself with a stopwatch. While it's true that warping towards something your ship was already pointed at isn't any slower, you may have found a better solution by warping to a specific gate or station in the system. It's also one less thing you need to be worrying about when you could be using that time for things like relaying information to your own nearby backup.
This isn't meant to be read as a How-To on getting out of a gate camp. I'm considering writing one for the future, but might just end up including it in an Intro to Low Security Space if E-Uni gets back to me on that. This really was me just getting a little fed up over the amount of disinformation being presented as good advice. I'm hoping the above might help you out someday when you run into an actual gate camp out there.