Looking for a ladar site

28th April 2013 – 3.00 pm

The wormhole's as dead as the Heron pilot. That is to say, a replacement has already been stirred. It seems that no matter how hard you try to kill them, wormholes and capsuleers just keep on respawning. Still, that's good, in both cases. Replacement wormholes give new constellations, and replacement capsuleers give new targets. Or, in this case, the replacement wormhole gives me a new target. Is that polymorphism at work? I dunno, I'm just happy to see a Venture visible on my directional scanner through our new static connection.

The mining frigate is in space by itself in the class 3 w-space system, according to d-scan, putting it outside of a tower and probably active sucking gas. Moving my Loki strategic cruiser away from the K162 and cloaking doesn't spook the pilot either, which keeps him a target for now, and as the system is large enough I warp away in order to launch combat scanning probes and start my hunt. But in getting out of range of the Venture I bump in to a couple of towers, in d-scan terms, one with a Reaper presumably inside its force field.

Reapers are rookie frigates, though, and, like most, I imagine this one is either unpiloted or has a pilot who's currently not paying attention to his surroundings. Rather than cross the system again, wasting precious hunting time, I ignore the ship, piloted or otherwise—I don't waste time finding that out either—and launch probes at least out of range of the Venture. Now it's back to the inner system to get a bearing and range on the mining frigate.

I get close to the Venture and start refining my estimate of his position in space, reducing d-scan's beam a step at a time and finding the frigate again at each step. Naturally, the Venture disappears when not in the narrower beam but, as it turns out, he also disappears when he's gone from the site. The occasional reset, for sanity's sake, shows me a lack of Venture in range, which saves me fiddling with d-scan looking for nothing, even if it's disappointing to have missed my target.

The Venture may be dropping off his gas back at the tower, and I got close enough to determining his position, and have good enough scanning skills, to see if I can resolve the ladar site before he returns. Nope. The site's gone too, although I find a wormhole nearby. Okay, I hide my probes again, and as they are out of the system I perform a blanket scan to see what's still here. Two ships are somewhere, one being the Reaper, and warping to the tower doesn't find the second. A repeated blanket scan shows the other ship stays in the system, I just don't know where.

The other ship is the Venture, back in empty space, probably in a different ladar site. Luckily for me he isn't finished sucking on gas. I start my hunt again, narrowing down his location with d-scan, having plenty of time to do so now, and placing him about 1·7 AU from me. That's close enough to fill me with confidence when arranging my probes, so I put them in a tight cluster at a low range and prepare to scan. Before I call my probes in I orientate myself, aligning my ship roughly towards my target for quicker entrance to warp speed. Here we go.

Good one-hit scan on a gassing Venture

Bingo. There's the Venture, and I can ignore the site he's in as distinctly uninteresting. I recall the probes, throw my ship in to warp, and bookmark the site for reference to distract me whilst in flight. I appear in the ladar site with the Venture still sucking away, which probably means I haven't been spotted, but there's no point pausing now. I drop my cloak, activate the sensor booster, and get my guns firing after locking on to the frigate.

Locking on to the surprised gassing Venture

What I don't manage to do is disrupt the Venture's warp drives. It's not because of the increased warp core strength of the mining frigate, but just that I am a couple of kilometres out of range. The Venture has been orbiting the gas cloud, perhaps under the belief that it keeps him safer, maybe just to amuse him during the tedious process of harvesting gas, and the ship is now not where I scanned him to be. But that's okay, because I notice this. I burn towards the Venture and make sure to get my warp scrambler active as soon as I get in range. By the way, it's also a Shadow Serpentis warp scrambler, with three points of warp disruption. The +2 warp core strength of the Venture won't help against me.

My target is snared and in my sights. I scratch its shields initially, but as I burn to get close and jostle the Venture my damage drops to nothing. That's understandable, as my guns were struggling to track at those speeds. Now I can slow down and sit nicely behind the Venture, letting my guns line up and get a couple of solid hits. Pop! That wakes the pilot up, if he wasn't already, evidenced by the ejected pod fleeing immediately.

Ambushed Venture explodes

I loot and shoot the wreck, getting me little and costing the pilot almost nothing. But I don't care. I consider this another good kill, only made possible because of skilful scanning. And catching an agile frigate with boosted warp strength is pretty gratifying. And with the trace of my ambush erased, I reload my guns and warp away from the site, activating my cloak once more. It looked like the pod possibly warped to the wormhole when fleeing, back to low-sec, but I was mistaken. The pilot is local, now back at the tower and in a scanning frigate. I think I can safely ignore him, and scan for more wormholes and more opportunity.

  1. 4 Responses to “Looking for a ladar site”

  2. So if you were going to suck gas in a Venture all alone, how would you do it? Staying in the center of the cloud is easy. And at least makes it hard to sneak up on you -- but as you have shown, this is not of much use anyway. I am not certain, but when you are cloaked in warp it appear you stay cloaked regardless of proximate objects until the warp ends.

    Personally, I like orbiting the cloud the way this guy was. It gives you velocity, which reduces damage and the potential for being instapopped. And as you found out it also means that a ganker who probes you out does not land directly on top of you. This gives you a little extra time against short range weapons which ganking Lokis and Protei will have, and (didn't know this before) can even get you outside of scrambler range.

    By Von Keigai on Apr 29, 2013

  3. Short answer: I wouldn't.

    Slightly longer answer: it all comes to naught if you're not paying attention and at the controls when a ship decloaks off the starboard bow, so you may as well be pumping d-scan.

    The question also came up from my colleagues after these two encounters, and we discussed it at length. Maybe we had answers, maybe not, and as much as I'd like to offer some insights I'd rather believe that people may actually read this and would prefer not to help potential targets get safe. It's already hard enough as it is to catch a half-alert Venture, the agile little buggers.

    By pjharvey on Apr 29, 2013

  4. Ah, the lady opts for option C: not on the menu.

    By Von Keigai on Apr 30, 2013

  5. "I’d rather believe that people may actually read this and would prefer not to help potential targets get safe"

    Amen and good job.

    By Gwydion Voleur on May 2, 2013

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