Bomber baiting

9th June 2011 – 5.26 pm

W-space is waking up. A Mammoth podding has got me out of the doldrums, and it looks like the hauler may be just the poppadoms before the curry. A Tengu strategic cruiser has been detected on my directional scanner out in this second class 3 w-space system and Mick is coming to help me hunt it down. My Manticore stealth bomber may not be the best choice of ships for the task, but the sensor dampers on Mick's Arazu recon ship could keep me out of trouble. I am assuming we even find the Tengu, which turns out to be quite simple as he is sitting inside the shields of the local tower, but the pilot switches to a Drake battlecruiser, warps out, and disappears from d-scan.

Wondering if the Drake has headed through the static exit to low-sec empire space I jump out to take a look. It's only me in the local channel, so the Drake isn't here. Our second target is gone as quickly as he appeared. But that's okay, Mick has found a K162 in our home system coming from class 2 w-space, which could offer us new targets. I jump back from low-sec to head home when, oh hi, I see the Drake now sitting under thirty kilometres from my position. I move and cloak, and the Drake doesn't stir. With a definite target in front of me Mick comes my way instead.

Mick enters the system and warps near to the wormhole, the Drake maybe pretenaturally sensing his recon ship's arrival and cloaking as a defence. The Drake cloaked makes engaging him more difficult but maybe not impossible. Mick pushes his Arazu towards the Drake's last seen position, knowing that it can't warp cloaked and its speed will now be drastically reduced if it tries to shift position, but space is big and Mick doesn't bump the ship to decloak it. Instead the Drake decloaks voluntarily and, before we decide to engage, warps back to its tower. There he switches ships to his own Manticore and warps out and disappears from d-scan again.

Now we have a target we are confident we can pop without loss, and we plot to provoke him in to combat. I assume that the pilot has seen me enter the system and, perhaps believing I am a tourist from low-sec, is lurking once again on the exit should I raise my head again, so that's what I'll do. With Mick staying in the C3 I jump out to low-sec, pausing decloaked before jumping long enough for the presumably watching Manticore pilot to get a good look at me, as well as making me seem suitably inexperienced. In low-sec I hold on the wormhole, waiting for any potential polarisation effects to dissipate, in case I need to jump back out again, although I also realise this makes me look like I am perhaps actually doing something out here instead of purely acting as bait. And out in low-sec there is only one pilot in the system with me, and I see hide nor hair of him as I loiter.

The few minutes pass uneventfully and, polarisation effects avoided, I jump back to w-space. I hold my session change cloak and wait, but the assumed Manticore pilot doesn't reveal himself early. My session change timer ends but the cloak holds for longer, and I continue to wait. Now the Manticore strikes, perhaps believing me now to be vulnerable. He decloaks, launches a bomb, and holds station. I watch the bomb come directly towards me on the wormhole, hoping my session change cloak holds for a few seconds more, then nearly blow it in my excitement by almost moving a second before detonation. But the bomb explodes with no effect to my ship as I spring in to action, decloaking, locking, and burning towards my target.

I eschew launching my own bomb, wanting instead to close the range to ensure I can disrupt the Manticore's warp drives. Once I make myself known Mick decloaks too, his Arazu being rather better at preventing targets fleeing, being equipped with an extended point—or the 'finglonger'—and now we're fighting two versus one. Even if our two Manticores were equally matched the added punch of the Arazu is enough to turn our target to dust first. We're sharp enough to capture the ejected pod and another fresh corpse is blasted in to space for my collection. And just as we finish, and Mick is telling me that the wormhole flared during combat, a Hound stealth bomber appears.

Along with my intended target, I have apparently accidentally suckered in to an ambush the lone pilot I saw in the low-sec system. 'Get him!' I turn my Manticore around and burn towards the Hound, Mick's finglonger already stopping it from escaping, getting a positive lock and launching torpedoes as I do. The Hound tries to flee but can't, and moving away from the wormhole turns out to be a bad idea. The second stealth bomber in as many minutes explodes to our combined firepower and again we catch the poor pilot's pod. I stuff another corpse in to my hold as we loot the surviving modules, before shooting the wrecks to leave no trace.

I can safely say my perceived dry spell has ended, with what looks like ships virtually throwing themselves at me today. Good scouting and a bit of luck caught the Mammoth's return from empire space, and Mick and I coordinated our actions to successfully bait the Manticore. Having the Hound appear at such an opportune time was the icing on the cake, and also perhaps saved us some headaches of being stalked ourselves. Now that we've podded pilots from both C3s between us and k-space it's time to head homewards, as we aren't likely to see much more activity here. Luckily, we still have a class 2 w-space system to explore fully in the other direction.

  1. 8 Responses to “Bomber baiting”

  2. Very nice. :) One question however - you stated that bombs cannot damage or otherwise affect you while you are under cloak? It that exclusive to the session-change cloak?

    By Starke Mandalore on Jun 9, 2011

  3. Thank you.

    I keep being told that damage won't break the cloak, so I assume this means you take damage even if you aren't revealed. I haven't directly experienced being bombed whilst cloaked, though.

    As I understand it, the session change cloak is an invulnerability effect, like undocking from a station. You're safe until you effect a change.

    By pjharvey on Jun 9, 2011

  4. As I understand it...

    There are two separate timers involved in jumping. The first is the 30s session change timer, but beyond that there's an additional 30s of being cloaked.

    While cloaked you are effectively invulnerable, AFAIK, and should be perfectly safe from a bomb launch. I'm guessing the enemy SB pilot wasn't aware of the mechanics.

    By Derrick on Jun 9, 2011

  5. Another awesome story that gets me excited to get out into W-space, damn you frigate V your in my way

    By Ironchef Sokarad on Jun 10, 2011

  6. I've been bombed by 3 ships while I held my session cloak. The only physical object the bombs could hit was the wormhole, and each bomb consequently did 0.0 damage.

    By Nathan Jameson on Jun 10, 2011

  7. I wasn't as clear as I could have been in my first reply, so just to clarify I was referring to being damaged with a fitted cloak active, like the covops cloak II, and not the session change cloak, to try to answer Starke's question.

    By pjharvey on Jun 10, 2011

  8. If you active and cloaked..e.g. you warp cloaked and land 10km off a hole you will take damage from a Bomb..or you warp,land and then cloak up using say an Improved Cloak on a drake you will take bomb damage.
    You invulnerable only during session change timers.

    By Kuklinski on Jun 10, 2011

  9. Thanks for clearing that up.

    By pjharvey on Jun 11, 2011

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