Friday, September 4, 2015

Lessons: A Whirlwind of Assumptions

Assumptions are almost unavoidable in Eve.  On the one hand, we have to make assumptions to simplify the amount of information available to us as pilots. But taking too many shortcuts can be disasterous.  The challenge is in hitting that golden mean between information paralysis and hasty action.

That’s a tough skill to achieve, and even after you achieve it, it tends to come and go.  Take, for instance, this loss I suffered today.

Yup, that’s an insta-blap Tornado.  And yes, the moment that interceptor (an interceptor!) landed on top of me and my guns failed to hit him at a 0.01 rad transversal, I knew it was all over.  The trick of flying an alpha ship is in not letting them get close to me.

At the time, local consisted of me, a corp mate, a blue, and one other pilot I had seen enter system through my gate in in a Prowler.  This had been that Prowler’s second trip through, so I figured he was just doing some transport runs.  He was in a five-man corp of which he was the CEO.  That smelled distinctly of a private alt corp for industry.  No threat there.

The attackers were smooth.  Only one pilot jumped in at first.  With local being so empty, I figured he might land on the gate or at range, then have to burn to me to gain tackle.  I was pretty confident I could warp off before he reached me.

You can imagine my surprise when he landed 2,500 m from me and immediately entered a tight orbit.  I was able to lock him quickly, but when my first shot missed and I saw his transversal creep upwards, I knew my second shot – 15 seconds later – would miss.

Fortunately, the pilot was quite chatty.  After I congratulated him on the kill, I asked how he landed on me so precisely.  I was sitting about 70 km off off the Iitanmatan gate in line with our staging station, one station among a dozen or so.  He clearly hadn’t had the time to warp to that station and then to me, even if he knew exactly where to go.

And then he dropped the bomb that made me shake my head: cloaky warp-in.  Yes, that prowler had positioned himself to allow the interceptor pilot to land right on top of me.  Alt corp, indeed!

You see cloaky haulers moving back and forth all the time in low-sec, usually to move moon goo around.  And spending any time at all in low-sec makes you comfortable operating with neutrals in local; it’s perhaps one of the most unique distinctions from null-sec life.  After registering him as a Prowler, I put him out of my mind entirely.

And that little Prowler ended up being the death of me.  That’s why PvPers always kill haulers!

As an added embarrassment, Tamo is one of my corp’s our staging systems.  It’s safe; I spent a lot of time here, I know this system.  Again, I’m comfortable here, and as a result, I forgot that it is lowsec.  The wolf hid in plain sight, able to operate because I dismissed him as unimportant.

Nothing is unimportant in Eve.  Everyone is trying to kill you.  Sometimes, we forget that, especially after an absence of some time away from PvP.  It’s easy to slip into sloppy habits.

But to those non-PvPers in the bunch, this example also demonstrates why PvPers are looking for a constant source of content.  Without constantly practicing, our habits start to slip and we start to get sloppy.  For my part, I’ve gone on some unproductive roams and killed a couple easy targets, but I haven’t had a really good fight recently.  Sure, in my Brutix I fought off a T1 frig that was trying to whittle me down, but that’s not the same as having to fight for your life.  We need constant practice, or we start to get lazy and do stupid things.  Like I did.

This loss was 100% preventable, if only I had remembered the first rule of Eve: everyone is trying to kill you.


  1. In Eve, everyone is trying to kill you, so kill your corpmates first before they get to you.

    On a more relevant note, I do this with my Crane occaisionally. People usually think I'm fueling a POS or something, when I'm actually scouting and getting warpins. It's especially valid now that they warp at interceptor-like speeds, allowing for rapid movement in-system.

    1. When I was still doing industrial stuff, it was not uncommon for me to do both: take care of my POS, and warp around in my cloaky hauler to keep an eye on the neutrals in the system.

    2. Apparently, I'm the last one to know this!