In the shadow of a Thrasher

19th August 2010 – 5.34 pm

Tyrannis deployed and brought with it planetary interaction, and I was mostly oblivious to the changes. Most significantly I didn't know that customs offices could be seen on the overview and thus travelled to directly. I thought perhaps they were moderately private locations that only the owner knew about. Finding out that they can be seen and freely visited makes a big difference out in w-space. Seeing the presence of customs offices in a w-space system is a good initial indicator of occupancy. Noting an industrial ship near a planet could mean he's checking his planetary manufacturing and it would be worth paying a visit to the customs office and not the planet itself.

I have missed an opportunity to hunt a capsuleer because I didn't know that customs offices could be accessed quite so easily. It is only when a colleague locates a Badger hauler quickly and without using scanning probes that I realise my oversight. After popping the Badger I make sure that the customs offices now appear on my overview, at least as brackets in my main tab and as selectable objects in another. And, before I know it, I have another opportunity to use this information new to me.

Heading homewards after chasing a capsuleer around his system I look for activity in a class 5 w-space system. I check the various towers in the system using directional scanner with a narrow beam pointed towards each planet and find that a Thrasher destroyer is loitering alone around a planet. As the planet has a customs office logic suggests he is collecting goods. And as I am in my Manticore stealth bomber, fresh from shooting someone at a customs office, I warp to the now clearly visible office freely.

I drop out of warp to see the Thrasher at the customs office and I start approaching whilst remaining cloaked, wanting to get in range of my warp disruptor module before launching an attack. But I am too far away and too slow, the Thrasher warping away before I get in range to snare him effectively. I see which way he is going, though, towards another planet with a customs office. Feeling the chase is on I follow, heading for the same planet. As my warp engines cut out I see the Thrasher only briefly as he warps away, his business complete at this planet. Again, I see the direction he leaves and follow.

The chase is not straightforward. I don't want to warp directly on top of the customs office, although it would put me close enough to the Thrasher to disrupt its engines, because getting so close to another object would decloak my stealth bomber and if the Thrasher is again quick enough to be leaving the jig would be up and my hunt would be over. But I also don't want to drop out of warp too far from the customs office because then I will be out of range of my warp disruptor module, allowing the Thrasher to flee.

Finding the right distance is awkward as I chase the ship between planets. I aim for twenty kilometres, the range of my warp disruptor, but the Thrasher turns out to be a few kilometres on the other side of the customs office and is out of range of the module. It warps away and I follow. This time I set my nav-comp to drop out of warp only ten kilometres from the next customs office, even though this may put me too close to the Thrasher and break my cloak. It seems I am unlikely to catch up with the ship otherwise. But he's too quick, the capsuleer snatching the production goods and his agile destroyer warping out before I can make my presence felt.

The Thrasher's next destination is his tower, settling in the safety of its shields. Whether he knows he was chased all across the system or not is uncertain. It was a fun little exercise for me either way. Now I return home myself, launching Pengu to join another Tengu and a Legion strategic cruiser for some Sleeper combat. It isn't quite as unpredictable as hunting capsuleers but clearing three anomalies of Sleepers and looting and salvaging their wrecks gains each of us a hundred million ISK profit. With that profit I may well buy a few of my own Thrashers and scatter them around some planets for a little target practice.

  1. 2 Responses to “In the shadow of a Thrasher”

  2. One way you can tell if there's any activity on a planet is to simply look at it (in Planet Mode... or whatever it's called).

    You'll only see the Command Center or a Spaceport (whichever one has the up-arrow icon). By clicking on that, you should be able to see the rest of the facilities in that colony.

    There will likely be a lot of w-space PI because those planets will have the best yields for materials, especially rarer planets (i.e. Plasma planets).

    Using a T1 destroyer, even an industrial, to access the C.O. anywhere outside of high-sec is ballsy... and stupid. ESPECIALLY if they don't immediately set their ship to orbit the CO. Otherwise, upon warping out, they can get tangled by the C.O. (as I often did early on). Not to mention, using anything uncloaked is asking for trouble, a la stealth bombers, etc.

    By Merchantus on Aug 19, 2010

  3. Thanks for the information.

    You'd be surprised what w-spacers get up to, as it is all-too-easy to believe you are alone in your system when local remains empty and d-scan unchanged, particularly when it is still possible to go days without seeing another capsuleer.

    By pjharvey on Aug 20, 2010

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