Greedy Goblin

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bubble-camp survival guide

So, you want to haul little things in nullsec or just want to scout around. As I posted already, I flied around the map, losing covops only to ignorance. You practically can't lose these ships unless you do something silly.

First, the fitting. Your covops frigate need nanofiber internal structures in the low slot, a microwarpdriver in the middle and a covops cloak on high. The rigs are debatable, you can use either polycarbons for more speed or thermal shielding to jump further via microwarp. You can put on some small tank with adaptive invulnerablity or small shield extender, but the latter increases your signature radius, making it faster to lock you.

Skills recommended (besides the ones required for ship and fittings):
  • Evasive maneuvering: faster align
  • Navigation: faster travel
  • Energy management: more capacitor
  • Energy systems operation: faster capacitor recharge
  • Acceleration control: faster MWD
  • Thermodynamics: overheat MWD
  • Warp drive operation: decrease capacitor need for warp
The simplest bubble camp is the warpout camp. You jump trough the gate and the gate is bubbled, you can't warp. You are gate-cloaked so can look around, select a direction where no wrecks, containers or ships can break your cloak. If there is a celestial there, you can align it. If there is none, you can double-click the space where you want to go. If a direction is surprisingly easy, it can be a trap, a cloaked ship can wait there.

You doubleclick or press align, then instantly the microwarpdrive and the cloak. "Instantly" means after the ship starts to move. While you can't use modules cloaked, they finish their last cycle. This is why I prefer the long cycle provided by the thermal shielding rigs. The campers will see you decloak-recloak. They have a second to approach you with microwarpdriver. If they get closer than 2000m, you decloak and can't recloak in 5 seconds. You can't recloak if they lock you. So it's important to choose a direction that is not flying directly into them. They don't know where you are, just guess after your last position, this is why it's important to get as far as you can by using MWD. After you got out of the bubble, just warp away cloaked.

If the gate thrown you to a very unlucky place, close to containers, wrecks you can always jump back by running to the gate. 12 km with overheated MWD is just a few seconds and you can cloak at some point. If you are decloaked at any point, it doesn't mean instant death. MWD instantly and you can reach the edge of the bubble before they can blow up your ship. If you go for the gate, you must wait for the session change to complete or you can't jump.

While this isn't hard in theory, the screen will be full of things in reality that can be overwhelming first time. I strongly suggest practicing. Go to a bubblecamp (Torrinos gate always bubbled) and pass it some times with an insured, empty ship.

The surprise-bubble is the advanced way. There is no bubble, so you casually start warping. They create a bubble before you could complete the aligning so you can't warp. The point is that you did not start the MWD, so you won't be far from your last position, therefore you can be more easily decloaked. The solution is simple: don't warp away casually when there are more than 1 non-friendly are in the system. Start aligning, hit cloak and MWD. After reaching warp speed, warp. You'll warp a few seconds later if there is no bubble, if there is you MWD-ed away from the last known position.

The most advanced is the warpin bubble:
If you warp from the gate on the top to the gate on the bottom, you'll fly on the green line, which is crossing a bubble, breaking your warp. The campers carefully placed a container on the impact point, so you'll instantly decloak. The solution is not jumping between gates when there are more than 1 non-friendly in local. You shall jump to a celestial and then 70-100 km to the gate, so you arrive from a different direction and land outside a bubble that completely envelops the gate. You can maneuver between the campers or turn back if they are too good.

The most common reason of dying in a covops is not taking it seriously. If you need to go AFK, if you want to Alt-Tab, first warp to a celestial, be cloaked there while AFK. Don't do "just 10 seconds AFK" things while flying in enemy space.
Watch local channel, check the map for "ships destroyed the last hour".
Don't warp to belts. They can be large and even if you warp to 100km you can end up between asteroids decloaking you.
Be extra careful in tubes. They are series of systems where you can go just one way. The homeowners can get ahead of you via jump bridge. If you see someone following you (same guy in local for a few jumps), just warp to a celestial and AFK for some time.
Watch your capacitor. Long range warps can empty it, making you unable to use MWD.

With a strategic cruiser you can fit a propulsion subsystem called interdiction nullifier and an offensive subsystem called covert reconfiguration, making your ship immune to bubbles and able to cloak.

The most important thing however is that everything can be caught. When you go to enemy space, always have forward scout. If you are the forward scout, have nothing of value on the ship (you can have an exotic dancer), have it platinum insured (it won't pay much, but little is better than none), don't have expensive implants (no matter how tempting to use nomad set), have your medical clone updated and placed somewhere where you have replacement ship.

PS: Some conspiracy theory for today. GSF will soon reset various allies to TEST and PL. This means they will be neutrals to GSF members, therefore attacked. Still they keep on being blue with TEST and PL which makes little sense and seem to be good for nothing but misunderstandings and friendly fires. Resetting whole HBC (Honeybadger Coalition, the name of TEST, PL and allies) makes sense. Being blue to HBC makes sense. Being blue to part of them not. I think it's a masterful move from TEST and GSF leadership in order to solidify their power. Its purpose is to make small HBC alliances to dissolve and pilots/corps join into TEST alliance (or PL). It would perfectly make sense as Dreddit, the major corporation of TEST is bigger than these alliances, so there is little reason to threat them as separate, powerful entities.

Saturday morning report: 134.4B (3.5 spent on main accounts, 1.9+0.5 spent on Logi/Carrier, 1.7+0.5 on Ragnarok, 1.1+0.5 on Rorqual, 1.4 on Nyx, 1.8 on Avatar, 2.6 received as gift) Evemonkey sent the 2.6 back as they re-deployed to Delve and no longer kill MateDot.
Sunday morning report: 136.1B (3.5 spent on main accounts, 2.4 spent on Logi/Carrier, 2.2 on Ragnarok, 1.6 on Rorqual, 1.4 on Nyx, 1.8 on Avatar, 2.6 received as gift)
Monday morning report: 139.2B Nice! (3.5 spent on main accounts, 2.4 spent on Logi/Carrier, 2.2 on Ragnarok, 1.6 on Rorqual, 1.4 on Nyx, 1.8 on Avatar, 2.6 received as gift)


Anonymous said...

when you want to burn back to a gate, wait till the end of your natural gate-cloak, otherwise you might die to session-timer.

also it's a good idea to change direction as soon as you have cloaked if you try to get out. Yes, this will cost you speed, but it will prevent their interceptors from decloaking you.

also, "conspiracy theory" bullshit, this is one of mittens typical moves "you want to be your own powerblock, well we won't be nice to your pets" within a week or so the rest of the testgoons will be in the blue line of DekCo again.

Parasoja said...

That there is a decent post. As an experienced cov ops pilot, I do have a few comments:

"You doubleclick or press align, then instantly the microwarpdrive and the cloak."

Not instantly. If you hit cloak too quickly, the cloak will fail to engage and you will die. How long you have to wait depends on your real-world location relative to the server, so test this in highsec before it's real.

Conveniently, it's the same amount of time that it takes for warp cap usage to show up after you hit warp. As we'll see below that can only really be used in lowsec, where there aren't bubbles, but it's a convenient indicator which can help you get a handle on it.

"The surprise-bubble... Start warp, hit cloak and MWD. You'll warp a few seconds later if there is no bubble, if there is, your warp will fail, but you are MWD-ed away from the last known position."

Don't do this. If you are bubbled after activating warp but before warping out, then instead of staying aligned the ship will come to a stop. Instead, align, cloak, and mwd, and only warp when once you reach warp speed. This way, if somebody pops a bubble you'll stay aligned at full speed.

(as far as I'm aware this hasn't changed since I learned how to fly cov ops, but I don't always read patch notes carefully)

"The most common reason of dying in a covops is not taking it seriously."

In my experience it's more commonly a decent interdictor pilot, but somebody who doesn't take it seriously will die a lot more than I do. Decent dictor pilots are rare, but sometimes there will be a wierdly dedicated one who spends hours a day camping a pipe for weeks or months on end.

"If you need to go AFK, if you want to Alt-Tab, first warp to a celestial, be cloaked there while AFK."

Don't do this. Instead, make a safe spot by dropping a bookmark while in warp, then warp to the safe spot. While cloaked. Then you can go afk in near-total safety.

I have a guide with some things you might find useful (directional scan, partial warp technique, quibble about reapproaching gates). If you're interested you can find it here:

Parasoja said...


Session change timer is only 10 seconds now. It would be a good idea to activate the visual session change timer, though . Not sure if it's on by default now, but if not it can be activated in settings somewhere.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous you can not rely on the visual timer.
if you rely on it and you die CCP will tell you in the petition that the logs don't show anything abnormal and that the timer display is just for your convenience, and not reliable.

and 10 seconds my shiny metal a**. I just had that timer issue yesterday once again :)

Anonymous said...

sigh, that conspiracy theory doesn't even start to make sense - the vast majority of the corporations in the "pet" alliances would instantly join TEST if they were allowed to, no additional pressure needed.

The reset is a move to emphasize that the HB and the CFC are two separate entities. That TEST & goons don't reset each other shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, that PL & goons stay blue is more interesting and probably intended to prevent PL from thinking about coming to the rescue of NCdot.
Remember that the HB coalition was originally TEST, PL and NCdot - and while PL can't leave Delve for as long as -A- is applying pressure on TEST (-A- are helping out goons, trolol) PL resetting goons and helping NCdot while staying blue to TEST would be well within the realm of the possible.
NCdot itself showed the trouble that a non-blue OTEC member can cause without formally breaking the terms of the cartel which may be another motivation to keep PL blue (NCdot was not allowed to attack goon tech, so instead thy attacked the fleets that rushed to defend goon tech while Black Legion who are not in OTEC did hit the moons).

The blog post is solid, just a few additional things worth mentioning:

* if you warp to a celestial, warp to a moon not to the planet itself; if you go afk warp at 100 and then align into some random direction (anything but towards the celestial is fine), a safespot is nice but in a cloaky ship you are pretty safe without one as long as you move away from one of the default "warp to" ranges.

* When the distance between gates is <= 14 AU many people tend to use dscan to check for bubbles and if there are none on the outgate warp straight towards it.
Campers counter this by having an interdictor cloaked 70km off the gate and a scout on the gate you come through. As soon as the scout sees you drop the gate cloak the dictor uncloaks, drops his bubble and burns towards the point where the bubble will catch you (where one would put cans on an anchored bubble).
So don't feel safe just because you don't see anything on dscan.

* Many solarsystems don't have celestials within dscan range of the outgate. One way to get a spot to check dscan from is to deplete your capacitor (by initiating and cancelling warp or by running your MWD) until you don't have enough energy left to make the whole warp in one go. Now the warp will take you as far as your capacitor lasts, rinse & repeat until you are within scanning distance of the gate.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: they don't want corps to join TEST. They want pilots to do so. Corps and alliances have the problem that their leader has formal authority. If you piss off a corp leader, he can leave the alliance with corp assets and several pilots. If the pilots join individually to trusted corps, no man can remove anyone but himself from the alliance.

Gevlon said...

I'm cleaning up old posts and one of them for some reason appeared as recent. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Since when does fuel conservation affect mwd's? has this changed? as it used to only affect ab's.

Gevlon said...

Fuel conv fixed

Sari said...

@Gav, regarding goon reset

Resets of pets between blue alliances or coalitions is relatively normal, and it has been happening quite often for as long as EVE exists. It can even happen within a coalition on several levels, like for example the overlord alliance having the pets of a subordinate alliance as neutrals so they can shoot them for fun (which is what happened in this case).

Hivemind said...

For the Surprise Bubble the best solution is to take away the surprise part - learn the names of the 4 Dictors (Sabre, Eris, Flycatcher and Heretic) and the 4 Hictors (Broadsword, Phobos, Onyx and Devoter) and if you jump into a group check the overview to see if any of them are on it. If they are, assume that they will bubble you as soon as you drop gatecloak and act as you would if you were already bubbled.

Bubble generators should definitely be on the overview already and if you travel Null frequently you might actually want to make an overview tab that visually highlights bubble generators and Interdictor ships specifically.

As for your warp-in bubble you might want to note that it actually comes in two flavours – “Catch” bubbles, like the one that you’ve screenshotted and “Drag” bubbles which are actually placed on the same line between 1 gate and another but are behind the destination gate rather than ahead of it. Instead of catching you before you reach your destination they instead drag you past your target. Like a catch bubble, the campers can anchor a can at the point you’ll drop out on to decloak you, or park an interceptor surrounded by drones there, and of course they can put their fleet between you and the gate and most likely also cover the obvious choices for warping out – in a lot of systems the angle from the drag bubble back to the gate will also cover other celestials like the sun.

You might also want to cover or make plans for combinations of bubbles, EG using an anchored warp-in bubble to pull a ship out of warp with an interdictor sitting near the bubble with its bubbles off so that when the catch bubble drags you out of warp on its edge the dictor can put you in the middle of its own bubble.

A few other notes:

> I'd suggest adding Warp Drive Operation to the skill list - it decreases the amount of capacitor needed for warping, effectively increasing the distance you can warp in one go and also meaning you'll have more cap on hand when you exit warp.

> You’re actually completely safe from asteroids warping in to 0 on an asteroid belt – the warpin point is always some way away from actual rocks. Of course, nothing stops the campers from parking a decloaking can there or warping to 0 themselves.

> Other than asteroid belts, don’t warp to 0 on celestials - it’s the distance that people warp to most frequently so it’s the most likely distance to already be covered and where other people will look for you first. Also, any ships warping to 0 from anywhere in the system will end up on the same spot; warping in at a longer range means only people coming from the same place as you will land on top of you.

> Any distance you can warp to an object, your pursuers can also warp to. Don’t stay sat at any of the default warpin ranges longer than necessary.

> If you suspect a gate in your current system may be camped then rather than warping to a distance from the gate (and falling victim to catch/drag bubbles) it’s worth checking the system map for a nearby celestial within d-scan range (max 14.35au), warping to that celestial and d-scanning in the gate’s direction to see if it’s got ships or bubbles there.

> Depending on how dedicated the gatecampers are, they may have added warpin bubbles to cover some of the celestials as well as direct gate-gate warps. If you’re feeling paranoid then avoid warping to gates from the sun and from whichever celestials offer the furthest off-gate angle to warp in on. If you’re feeling very paranoid, set up safespots between 2 celestials and warp from them.

> If you’re using celestials as departure points to warp from, make sure that the celestial is also off-angle from other gate-gate warps. If you come from Gate A and you’re going to Gate B, you might pick a planet that’s very far off the line from A to B but it’s not going to help if that planet is directly on the line from Gate B to Gate C.

Steel H. said...

If you start spending a lot of time in hostile nullsec, and have regular travel paths, it is worth to make bookmarks at 200-400 KM of all gates and stations in random directions, and also off grid. Then, when you travel, you just warp to the bookmarks every time, which lets you visually inspect the grid on every gate. Then you warp from the perch to the gate and jump through.

Azual said...

"You shall jump to a celestial and then 70-100 km to the gate, so you arrive from a different direction and land outside a bubble that completely envelops the gate."

If a bubble envelops the gate, then it will catch you regardless of range you warp at. If the bubble is on grid and the direction of your warp intersects it, then you will be dragged into the bubble.

In other words, warping at range is counter-productive - if there's a bubble you'll still land at zero, if there isn't then you'll need to manually fly the last 70km.

More info here: