Making logistics exciting

11th July 2013 – 5.28 pm

Fin's back home after a busman's holiday in empire space, and as a gift someone kindly flew a Noctis in to the home system for her to shoot. So she does. That salvager, and whatever fleet went before it, was here hours ago though, so I turn my attention to what's happening now. I launch probes and blanket the system whilst surveying the current bookmarks, warping to the K162 from class 5 w-space that presumably brought the earlier fleet here. And I dunno what's new and what's not, but that ship under my probes isn't one of ours.

The ship doesn't stay unknown for long, and my choice of warping to the K162 becomes relevant, as a Cheetah drops out of warp on the wormhole. Quite why a covert operations boat isn't being covert only interests me in that maybe he can't cloak, if that means he will be suitably vulnerable on the other side of the wormhole. I recall my probes as the Cheetah jumps to C5a, and I follow behind almost on impulse.

Aiming for a Cheetah in class 5 w-space

Clearly I'm not thinking. Sure, maybe I can grab an easy kill, but probably not, given the agility of the cov-ops. And, almost inevitably, although I get close to gaining a positive target lock on the Cheetah, the cov-ops warps away from the wormhole before I can stop him. And the consequences of my rash actions hit me when I hit my directional scanner, which shows me plenty of ships, including dreadnoughts. Maybe I didn't want to be spotted for a small fish, not when there may be bigger fish to fry. I probably ought to have scouted a little first.

But never mind. What's done is done, and there are no wrecks on d-scan, so it's possible nothing is happening, or was going to either, if this is the system that lost the Noctis to Fin earlier. The only real question is what do I do now, seeing as I've been spotted. Scout, I suppose, at least roughly, using d-scan at the wormhole. I pin most of the ships at a planet holding three of the five towers visible, as a Scorpion battleship warps to the wormhole with me. Are they killing it? Apparently not. The Scorpion micro jumps away from the wormhole as soon as it lands, making me wonder why he didn't just drop short in the first place, and warps back to the tower. That was useful, thanks.

The Cheetah returns to the wormhole now, actually jumping to our home system, no doubt acting as scout or bait. With at least one other active pilot, probably more, I really should have been more circumspect when following it initially. It's not like a Cheetah without a cloak would have been a kill to get excited about. I can't change the past, but I can affect my future, so when a Thorax warps to the wormhole I don't get tempted to engage it. The cruiser is clearly bait. A Baitax. Hah, that's literary genius. I should write it down.

Thorax warps to the wormhole where I loiter cloaked

A Scimitar logistics ships warps in and cloaks, the Cheetah returns to this C5 system, and the Thorax starts orbiting the wormhole. I think I should leave before more ships are mobilised and, as the Thorax has foolishly moved too far away to react immediately, now seems like a good opportunity. A better one than I first think too, as I decloak and jump home as a Proteus strategic cruiser drops out of warp on the wormhole.

I get home, and move away from the wormhole and cloak without incident. The Thorax follows me, as does, well, that's awesome, a Mammoth. These guys really know how to bait a capsuleer, throwing a hauler through a wormhole. If only it had been an Iteron, it would have looked like a worm too. Well, shitsticks, there is the Iteron, but not coming through the wormhole but warping to it, presumably from the direction of our static connection and, before that, empire space. Bait and distraction, keeping me from spotting and interrupting their logistics operation.

Hauling Iteron returns home, without my catching him

The hauler jumps to C5a but the other ships don't leave. I don't think they care that much to find my little Loki, which suggests they are bringing more ships in. Maybe another hauler. The C5 pilots are patiently sitting on their K162, but I have a bookmark to our static connection, and as d-scan looks clear I think I know a better place to wait. I warp to the other wormhole in our system, which is indeed looking clear of ships, and wonder if a second hauler will come through without escort, if the fleet really doesn't think I may know about this wormhole.

Mammoth warps to 70 km from our static wormhole

Some ships changes occur, most of which I monitor using d-scan, one of which occurs on my overview. The Mammoth warps to be seventy kilometres away from our static wormhole, perhaps trying to tempt me in to unnecessarily revealing myself. Thanks, Baittoth, but I'm not about to be caught so far from a wormhole with a known hostile fleet on standby. I hold and wait, wait and hold. Eventually, the wormhole flares. But do I get what I want?

I hold my cloak until I can see the ship. And it's a hauler, another Iteron! I decloak, activate my sensor booster, and endure the seemingly interminable seconds before sensor recalibration completes. Now I can lock on to the Iteron and, balls, watch it warp clear. I think I was too slow, but it seems instead that I was too far. I didn't realise the hauler was over ten kilometres from me, the limit of my warp scrambler, so even if I got a positive lock I wasn't in a position to prevent the hauler warping. That's my mistake, and a bit of a shame. And, naturally, here comes the response. Too late, of course. They apparently didn't consider the possibility that I'd try something here.

Locking another returning Iteron but on a different wormhole

I cloak and, importantly, manoeuvre from my current position, even pushing away from the wormhole. I imagine that was my last chance of catching a ship without being thoroughly threatened myself, so I'm left merely monitoring circumstances. Two Drakes have warped to the wormhole and started looking for me, probably guided by the Mammoth pilot who was probably acting partly as a spotter. The battlecruisers have no chance of finding me, though. One even drops a canister, probably as some kind of decloaking trap, but it seems a little pointless now.

I think they're looking for me

One of the Drakes deploys drones as a Stiletto joins the pair on the wormhole. The interceptor makes the fleet look pretty serious in their intention to actually catch me, and I consider simply hiding and going off-line, but it's not a couple of minutes until the wormhole flares again. A third hauler jumps in to the system, warps to the C5 K162, and gets home safely, at which point the Drakes and Stiletto follow, and all ships drop off d-scan. All that's left are a bunch of canisters scattered around the K162. I think I can take an educated guess and say that no more ships are coming this way.

  1. 2 Responses to “Making logistics exciting”

  2. The use of a canister as a de-cloaking trap is interesting. Have you ever come across people using anchored cans as a decloaker? Is it feasible , you think, to blockade a wormhole with cans to keep ships decloaked as they come through? Or is that too intensive for too little reward?

    Do smartbombs ever pose a threat?

    Interested to know your thoughts, thanks!

    By Koz on Jul 12, 2013

  3. I've never encountered smart bombs in w-space, except when a colleague wondered if they could be activated inside a tower's force field, and attempted to blow up a Buzzard of mine. Thankfully they didn't work.

    Cans are often used as a decloaking trap, most notably around towers and in conjunction with warp bubbles to drag people in to the cans. I've not seen them used much around wormholes themselves, perhaps because of the delays involved in jettisoning them, and the mess they can leave behind if their location isn't saved.

    When thinking about it, I didn't think canisters around wormholes would pose too much threat to ships, because you could still warp directly to the wormhole. But if they are on the other side of the wormhole, the side you are trying to warp away from, then they probably could be a threat.

    Anything that prevents cloaking when trying to move away or warp from a wormhole is dangerous, although cans by themselves less so. As with any decloaking trap, if it is left unmonitored you gain nothing. But having ships circling, drones deployed, with cans covering some gaps could feasibly make getting clear awkward. Add a bubble to the mix and even a cov-ops boat could be in trouble.

    I suppose canisters have their positive points over bubbles too. The problem with bubbles is that they are indiscriminate, and will stop you getting away as much as the other guys. And although cans will help decloak covert ships, which can prevent them getting away cleanly, they won't stop your own ships from fleeing.

    I'm sure other people can add their thoughts to this subject too.

    By pjharvey on Jul 14, 2013

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