Thursday, October 23, 2008

23 tips for surviving lowsec

I know there's a few non-combat oriented pilots that read this blog. They've never flown a ship in combat against another pilot, or if they have, they've lost because they didn't know what they're doing. Well, for those that are curious about combat in lowsec (low security space, between 0.1 and 0.4), here's a few tips (ok, a whole bunch of tips!) on how to survive out there.

If they save just one life, my job here is done. :)
  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 unsecure space, regardless of how safe you think you might be.

  3. Insure all ships you are using, especially the expensive ones. Make sure you buy the most expensive "platinum" type of insurance.

  4. Don't rely on sentry guns 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Different types of ammo have different ranges. Right-click your gun and check it's 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 at your optimal range.

  9. 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.

  10. If you're in an asteroid belt killing rats and someone jumps in, keep an eye on them. If they're a pirate (you can tell from their red colour in your overview settings) then disengage from the battle and immediately leave. You don't want to have rats hammering at you at the same time as the pirates are. In fact, it's always better to be safe than sorry - just leave as soon as another pilot enters your belt. Do it. Do it now!

    If they're not actually a pirate, they won't attack you or try to follow you. But never take that chance.

  11. When you're flying anywhere and someone target locks you, 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Don't buy that shiny new ship until you can afford the ship, the fittings, and the insurance without having to sell anything you currently own. That way, if you lose the ship, you've still got enough money or assets to afford a replacement (after the insurance payout, of course).

    Ideally, if you can afford to buy the ship and fittings and insurance 5 times over, then you can afford to buy one. Don't do it with less.

    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.

  15. If you're mining in lowsec space, stay as far as you can from the asteroids, in case you need to warp away quickly. If you're too close to an asteroid, you'll crawl away from it before you can warp away.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 bad pirates, you can either jump back where you came from, or do something else.

  20. 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 a warp scrambler, 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.

    Of course, if you think your ship is fast enough to go to warp before they get a lock on you, then good luck to you. See tip #21.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.
I hope these tips help you find safety within EVE. Please add your own tips if you think they will be of value to others.


  1. The only thing I'll say is that with 21 you need to quantify it a bit.

    If you're leaving a station and have some positive travel, then yes, it takes longer to turn around and align for warp. If you are at a dead stop though (i.e. just come through a gate) it takes just as long to rotate and accelerate to warp speed as it does to accelerate straight forward (i.e. rotation doesnt factor into time as long as you're stationary)

    Also I think your comments on buying a clone are a bit misleading - even if you die with only a 900k clone, you dont lose 19.1 million skill points if you had 20 million, you only lose a portion of the difference between your current skill level and your clone level - I'm just not sure what the portion is - I've heard 10% but I can't guarantee that.

  2. HI Karox, welcome to the blog.

    I've modified #9 and #21 accordingly. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Not a bad wee post but a couple of adjustments need to be made, sorry for being a pedant on this but as a pilot who has spent much time in low sec and 0.0 I would like to share my knowledge of the areas.

    On point 4, even Tech 1 cruisers with the correct set up can tank the sentries, they are weaker than a carebear with miners in every high slot.

    On point 6 many pvpers grind out sec increases so as to fool people checking local also many 0.0 corps go on empire "road trips" intent on massacring all that moves. Corps who have a skull in their avatar should always be avoided.

    WCS gimp your fit.

    Point 10 forget everything except the "get out now". If a pilot shows neutral he should be considered hostile.

    Point 11 if someone locks you in a belt or otherwise unguarded area and you feel you can beat them, melt their hull. Failing that run.

    On point 14 when I fly a ship I always expect to lose it on that trip, with this attitude I can safely engage others knowing I wont have to cry in local after I pop.

    On point 15 it does not matter how close you are to a roid when mining as long as you have a clear path and are aligned but stopped to your safe spot or station.

    On point 16 remove 0.0 and replace with below 0.4, just don't trust anyone.

    Point 20 you will NOT make the gate fight back and die with dignity, chances are you will have 2-3 webs on you as well as 2-6 points of scram. You will be moving at 4m/s or less and will watch your hull disappear. Do not flash up an MWD it increases sig radius making you easier to hit and kills you cap for tanking. Assess who has aggro from the guns and help kill them at least you will have a balancing mail kill/death.

    If sitting at a dead stop DO aim for an object ahead of you it does take time to realign that's why they have all those navigation skills and nano fibres etc.

    Otherwise an excellent guide which I hope not too many people pick up on. I have few enough "clients" as it is.

  4. Wow, birdog, thanks for all those tips and clarifications! I'll leave the article as is, and people can read your comments as well.

    If anyone else has any tips, clarifications, corrections or advice they'd like to give, please do!

  5. One major point I did forget, always keep your head when attacked. I have killed so many ships when I have lost scram range or cap because the pilot was not concentrating on the battle, I have also killed lots of ships which should have eaten me up because when attacking someone always factor in at least 20 seconds of panic time which can give you a great upper hand. This can be used in reverse, if a "pirate" attacks you and you go immediately on the offensive he is not expecting it and it might just buy you the window to escape or even better a good kill for your blog. Besides if you do fight back and get away the "pirate" will give you a lot of respect and you might just make a powerful friend.

    It's all about the community. Talk to your assassin nicely he might just leave you be the next time. Then you can talk to him in local something like "many kills today? [name]" this serves two purposes 1 it builds a raport with your fellow low sec dweller {the pirate} and 2 it lets your fellow low sec dwellers {the carebears} know of danger. Win win in your situation. Smack talk a pirate and you will go straight onto his KOS list.

  6. Great post! Certainly all things I wish I had known when I was only playing my carebear alt years ago.

    As an added note to carebears new to lowsec - while WCS/stabs do gimp you (make you easier to target/hit, among other things) they also only defend against one point of warp scramble. A pirate fitting a Warp Scrambler instead of a Warp Disruptor will still be able to scramble you with only one stab.

  7. Just wanted to add something to Tip #14.

    Make sure you can afford the ship, the fittings, the insurance, etc, AND the support skills to at least level four. Flying the fancy new ship can wait until you can fly the fancy new ship WELL.

    Good list. Might take some of them and reword them into rules :)