Learning to intercept

17th June 2010 – 7.12 pm

Going back through the short but occupied route I check to see if anyone else has woken up yet. The class 4 w-space system adjacent to us is still quiet, but the class 3 further along has a Buzzard in the system. The covert operations boat is not at the tower either, perhaps it could have come through the low-sec connection to have a look around. I swap my own Buzzard for the Malediction interceptor that has yet to catch anything and sit on the C4 side of the wormhole connecting to the C3.

I know from experience that my Malediction is not quick enough to lock a target that engages its cloak, however fast my reactions. I try to rectify this by swapping the perhaps-ineffective web module for a sensor booster and scan resolution script. My locking time should be blindingly fast now, hopefully making the difference I am looking for. I wait patiently at the wormhole and am rewarded by a flare, a ship jumping through. I am expecting the Buzzard and prepare my systems to engage it, confident that I could probably flee from a different and rather more deadly ship.

The Buzzard sheds its session change cloak and starts to move away. Even the sensor boosted interceptor cannot lock on to the target, and I don't react quickly enough to try to collide with the ship to force its cloak to de-activate. The interceptor isn't working for me yet. And seeing a Falcon recon ship appear on d-scan makes me think it is time to exit the system for now, and I return to the tower.

Swapping back in to my Buzzard I return to our neighbouring C4 and look for the Falcon. The system looks clear. I warp to the C3 connection, approaching it at range in case the Falcon is loitering, and although the wormhole looks clear we decloak each other. Now I am able to bump in to a ship on a wormhole. I jump through to the C3 system as a precaution, wondering how alert the Falcon pilot was. I patiently watch the session change timer elapse before jumping back, knowing my hull will be polarised but confident I can evade the Falcon, and again see only empty space. Either the pilot warped away or re-engaged his cloak, showing that he must have been paying some attention.

I move away from the wormhole and pay the tower in the C4 system a visit. The Falcon belongs to the same corporation as the tower and is almost certainly flown by the same capsuleer as the Buzzard I saw earlier. I don't know where the Falcon is now, whether on the wormhole to the C3 or the wormhole leading home, but I have a colleague available in our home system and ready in a combat ship if necessary. I wonder if I can decloak the Falcon again to prompt an attack that we can counter, but crawling to the wormhole home doesn't reveal a ship. The Falcon may still be at the other wormhole.

I grab my interceptor again with my colleague standing-by in an Arazu. I warp to the C3 connection and fly around in a way that is hopefully suggestive but not looking obviously like bait, but the only activity unveiled is on d-scan. A Legion strategic cruiser is seen in the system, then no Legion but a Pilgrim recon ship, and then nothing. Using stealthy ships is a good ploy and makes me and my colleague wonder how many pilots we are really facing and which ship we are likely to encounter. Either way, there is no direct confrontation and without being in more control I don't want to risk an engagement. I warp back to the wormhole home, followed by my colleague in the Arazu, and jump.

As a quick and hopefully harmless test of my interceptor's capabilities I ask if I can try to lock on to my colleague as he jumps home through the wormhole. He agrees. I am stymied slightly by not having corporation or fleet members visible on my overview, but this is balanced by knowing when he is coming through. I zoom my view out, the need to hear the wormhole flare not being critical in this case, so that I can select his ship directly from the environment. My Malediction still has the sensor booster fitted and active but I am fairly sure that it will make no initial difference, and with this knowledge my strategy is different.

When the Arazu appears I try to lock it as usual, warp disruption module hot, but fail. Expecting this I quickly select his ship and hit the 'approach' button. From a little previous research, I am also expecting my ship to slow down and stop as soon as the cloak engages, and that I can counter this by setting my speed to maximum manually, the initial approach orientating my ship in the right direction. My micro-warp drive is active and my ship speeds in the direction of the now-cloaked and aligning Arazu, and he re-appears. Success! Bumping in to the ship decloaks him and I am able to gain a positive lock and warp disruption. It even surprises my colleague. I definitely need more practice at piloting the interceptor, but at least I know that it is possible to engage a ship that can cloak after it jumps through a wormhole.

  1. 7 Responses to “Learning to intercept”

  2. Control-left click targets and approaches. Very useful.

    By Btek on Jun 18, 2010

  3. I have been using ctrl-click to select and lock targets but haven't noticed it also causing me to approach. I shall look in to this as it will be most useful, thanks.

    By pjharvey on Jun 18, 2010

  4. You are quite right, sorry, I was conflating commands that I use together all the time.

    Ctrl-click targets.
    Double-left-click on overview approaches.

    So I tend to spam left mouse button on overview, first with ctrl then without.

    By Btek on Jun 19, 2010

  5. Spam-clicking the overview I can do! That's excellent information, thank you.

    By pjharvey on Jun 19, 2010

  6. Nicely written this post learned allot here about tactics and possible tactics reading had no idea as yet need to be aware of and good to be aware of as well for a future explorer.

    Was having a question about how you manage so many potential bookmarks of WH signatures in a system moving from one WH to another without getting lost or figuring out how you easily got back to your WH system easily going from one WH to another and another with other WH's in between. Reading the last post though pretty much answered it or made me more aware of how to do that though in the future.

    By Galo on Jun 20, 2010

  7. Having clearly labelled bookmarks really helps. I cover it a little in my w-space glossary.

    I label our home system as 'home' and other systems according to the class of w-space. I note whether the jumping through the wormhole will take me further away from the home system, 'out', or closer to home, 'in'. To help a little more with orientation, I note the direction of the wormhole with an arrow pointing from the static side to the K162.

    For example, I will label our static wormhole as, 'wh home->c4 out' and then stick that in my 'wormholes' folder in 'people and places'. The other side of that wormhole, the K162 in the C4 system, will be labelled, 'wh c4<-home in', which indicates I am in the C4 and heading inwards to the home system through a K162.

    This extends to other systems, so I know that I am heading home through a C3 K162 to a C4 if I warp to and jump through the wormhole labelled, 'wh c3<-c4 in', or that I am jumping to empire space through the system's static with a bookmark labelled, 'wh c2->exit high-sec'.

    Other people have other systems and it is the consistency of each system that helps for speedy and safe travel between wormholes and systems.

    Fly safe.

    By pjharvey on Jun 20, 2010

  8. Been a bit busy however read the followup comments and the ones on the other posts. So thanks for the responses as well and very informative also.

    By Galo on Jun 23, 2010

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