So after my little bubble camp adventure I again reship at Rens. For those of you keeping score, I've named my new Manticore "The Flying Target" in an effort to outwit anyone who spots me on dscan. There's 1 sig in Rens so I figure what the hell, I'll throw probes at it and see it what sticks and lo and behold we have an EOL K162 to C1 space. What are the odds??? Excellent, I'll take that thank you very much.
There's not a lot doing in the C1 so I spend the next couple of days moving around J space looking for targets. I eventually find a C4 with a kill board history that shows the locals like to mine in a Covetor. I settle in to stalk them for a while and see if they are getting annoyed by all the ore anomalies in their system. In the meantime, Carnyx has dropped, and I really like the new overview icons, they look really cool and (from subsequent use) the overview is a lot more informative at a glance as the different ship classes show the different icons. Just got to learn them all now.
|Very nice. I like.|
While waiting around for the locals to do something I check next door in the C2 static just before downtime and find something that perks my interest:
Now in my experience most people in wormholes usually only get transport ships out of the hangar when they are going to be moving stuff and given this wormhole has a high sec static, I'm reasonably confident I know where that Tayra is going to be headed along with when - just after downtime when there aren't as many players logged in. My problem is that I didn't scan down all the wormholes when I jumped into this C2 earlier that day, so finding the highsec exit is my first priority. The second priority is if and when that Tayra goes to that high sec hole, how do I catch it?
I can't really try and nab it on the highsec hole because it can just jump back through to highsec and I don't particularly feel like engaging in ritual concordukken. That seriously limits my options, but I have an idea in mind that stems from factional warfare and warp core stabilisers - a bit random I know, but bear with me.
Rixx and Kirith have had some back and forth recently over the use of Warp Core Stabilizer by factional warfare plex farmers. Without going too deeply into the issue my own general view is that FW plexing is inherently a PVE activity that takes place inside a free for all PVP zone (limited by ship sizes due to acceleration gates obviously). This in itself isn't an issue, and a general comparison can be made with Sleeper anomalies in wormhole space. Both FW plexes and Sleeper sites provide rewards that can be converted to ISK for players completing PVE content - for the Plexer it's flipping the timer, for the sleeper anom it's destroying, looting and salvaging sleepers. However, the reason we don't see stabbed Tengus running sleeper sites is that there is a minimum DPS benchmarks for tank and damage in order to complete the site. Stabbing a Tengu would seriously inhibit its performance via reduced targeting range and DPS (BCU, Gyros and MFS or armour tank modules) which would a) increase the time taken to complete the site (increased risk) or b) prevent the site from being completed altogether.
A FW farmer has no such requirement - all they need to do is orbit a beacon. This lack of combat benchmark requirements to complete the content means that the low slots aren't needed for gank or tank DPS and enables those who don't want to PVP to fill their empty low slots with as many WCS as they can fit.
In wormholes, you would typically see only see WCS on a couple of occasions - explorers running exploration sites and on industrials such as the infamous 4 WCS Epithal PI runner. Explorers I have no issue with, it's pretty much a given that explorers use stabs so I normally hunt explorers in a dual scram Astero. The time it takes for the hacking minigame to be completed allows a hunter to get close enough to make a MWD bump and land tackle. The typical exploration frigates also don't usually have 4 low slots, and putting 4 stabs on an Astero seriously compromises it's armour tank. To contrast this, I found a killmail from way back when when I used to run Radar explorer sites (which became the current data sites) in losec pre Odyssey when there were rats guarding the cans - once you get past that it's a Drake, you will notice a distinct lack of anything resembling stabs - you needed BCU's to up your DPS to take out the rats - fitting stabs wasn't an option.
Epithals on the other hand are typically at a POCO to pick up PI goods for the time it takes to align back to the POS and are pretty hard to catch at the best of times, not even considering whether they are stabbed or not. I remember a particular quote from Penny (sadly no longer posting) over at Tiger Ears on the issue of WCS:
I turn to try to shunt the Epithal properly, but only succeed in watching the hauler warp clear from my super-advanced death-machine, guns delivering 110%, expensive faction warp scrambler the best ISK can buy. It's disappointing how a basic, tin-can hauler can be easily and cheaply fit to survive and evade a dedicated combat vessel without even needing to compromise its hauling capacity or ability.
We do have tools available to use that can overcome stabs, but they are often ridiculously expensive or you have to compromise on your overall effectiveness - a 4 WCS Epithal would need two scrams and a long point to be caught - that's 3 mid slots for tackle. However, there is another option that has caught my eye, and though it is extremely situational I want to try it out
|That's right my friends - A bubble trap.|
I've been carrying a Mobile Small Warp Disruptor around since I came back to the game, but haven't thought about using it until now. However, on pondering WCS, I resolved to try this out and see if I can't get it to work. My thinking was to find someone who does PI regularly, work out which POCO they go to and set the bubble up, preferably off dscan range, and hopefully catch or drag them out of warp and give them a serve of torps - a bubble negates WCS completely and combined with the low speed of the industrial, there would be little chance of escape. The other situation I thought it might work was camping a high sec hole, so fortuitously I might get a chance to try this now.
I'm the 13th player (don't ask me how I know) to log back in after downtime and quickly get probes out to find the highsec static. I'm just about done when Poonury logs back in. I quickly try and finish so my probes aren't spotted but muff the scans so I need two passes - the high sec hole is within a couple of AU of the tower so they must have been spotted. I'm probably right, as nothing happens for around 10 minutes. But my patience is rewarded when the Astero is swapped for the Tayra, shield hardeners are activated, and the Tayra warps to the high sec hole.
|It's nice being right.|
Ok, time to set up my trap. I warp to the highsec hole, make sure that the Tayra transits the wormhole and then align back to the Tayra's tower. I'm aiming to set the bubble around 130 to 150km away from the hole so it's not so obvious when the Tayra jumps back in that there is a bubble and after a bit of fiddling about trying to work out how to launch it I drop the disrupter, orbit it at 10km and settle in to wait.
The bubble has a anchoring time of 2 minutes, so I keep a close eye on the time hoping I can get this set up before the Tayra jumps back in. I'm on edge with nervous energy which only increases as the time ticks past 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes. WTF is going on? I get onto google and look up "how to launch mobile warp disruptors" - ohhhh, I need to right click on them once launched and anchor them, just like a POS. The web page also note that they only affect ships if they are on the same grid as the ship's destination. Shit, this looks like a bust, my idea of setting it up like I have won't work at all. A little deflated, I scoop the disruptor and warp back to the POS. While thinking about what I should do I happen to switch to my colliders overview tab.
There are no POS guns.
Awesome!!! We are back in business!!! I'm 100km from the POS and in line with the highsec exit, so I decloak, align back to the highsec hole and MWD for a cycle before dropping the mobile disruptor, anchoring it, orbit at 10km and cloak.
2 minutes to wait while the bubble anchors, spent clicking dscan over and over and over, and over and over.
|And the trap is set.|
So now all there is to do is wait. So I wait. And I wait. And then I wait some more. I wait so long that I decide I'll actually do some real paid work instead of hitting dscan over and over and over. I set myself up 100km from the highsec wormhole aligned to my bubble. I then do some of my real life work with my headphones on, listening for the telltale sound of a wormhole activation. There are a couple of scares, like when my daughter needs to be settled back to bed and another when my bladder reaches a critical point and I have to answer the call of nature (I did consider an empty milk bottle close by, but didn't think that would go down too well with my significant other). But each time I return there is no Tayra on dscan, nothing new.
50 minutes later, I hear the wormhole activate. I switch back to Eve and the Tayra is at the highsec hole.
Once I finish laughing, I warp back to my bubble, orbit the disruptor and get ready. The rest is pretty self explanatory.
|The trap is sprung!!!|
|So close to safety, yet so far...|
I'm extremely satisfied with that. My plan worked a treat, once I actually figured out how to use a bubble properly. I forsee future applications as well even with POS's with guns, as I know how to extend the grids around the POS so the bubble can be set safely out of range of any defences.
I'm off to get me a few more mobile warp disruptors.