Day 1806: Discovering lowsec & nullsec
After hopping into an empty clone, I used an Anathema to do some scouting. I found an interesting route of about six systems in a row in 0.1 sec that I could start my exploration in. It was still lowsec, so no warp disruption bubbles – which is a plus when you start out. The only danger comes from gate camps, but with a cloakable ship you are extremely hard to catch. People on gate camps usually have some small ships with fast lock times along, but since you can cloak more or less instantly, the only danger is if they try to approach your last known location to try to decloak you.
I encountered a few pilots here and there, but most systems were just empty. When I felt a bit more confident, I went back and took the Pilgrim. While roaming through the lowsec area I had scouted, I took note of the people flying there, checking bios and security statuses. To my surprise, there was a fair share of 5.0 security pilots. I scoured some belts, and found BS of up to 1,1 million bounty. Not a bad start, and speed tanking them was easy. The old trick with orbiting a container you jettison is still as effective. With an orbit speed of about 450 m/s, there’s not much that gets through to the ship’s tank. Of course you have this leisure only when you are alone in the system, if you’re not you have to assume the other pilots are looking for you or setting traps.
For example, I scanned down some seemingly lost drones with two other players in the system. When I finally locked on them with my combat scanner probes and warped to them (cloaked of course), no one was there as expected. However, as soon as I decloaked the other player decloaked and started locking my ship. You always have to be ready, so I managed to warp away in time. I did not expect this kind of cunning trap however, and have since revised my behavior with people in-system. Scanning stuff down is okay, since you can do that cloaked. Actually going there to investigate I now do when any lurkers have gone.
After a little while, I got more confident moving around. I have not encountered any gate camps so far, so that’s still mostly theory. I’m quite sure I’ll find some in the future though, and they will provide some crucial experience. For now, I set up camp in a nullsec system with two NPC stations from where I can launch skirmishes into the surrounding systems. All in all it has been easier than I thought, but it confirmed what I already suspected: nullsec is the playground of corporations, alliances and PvP gangs. Solo players like myself in search of things other than PvP will be hard pressed to find something to make them stay for long. It’s fun for a while, but in my case I soon missed the freedom of movement (think in terms of being able to minimize local and the directional scanner) that highsec offers.My tip if you want to have a look at lowsec or nullsec: get a frigate hull ship that can fit a cloak, and slap a MWD (Micro Warp Drive) on it. I can only recommend skilling up for a Covert Ops frigate, as those ships have a lot of uses and are really fun to fly. If you jump into a gatecamp, you can use the tested and tried MWD + Cloak trick: Remember you have 30 seconds after a jump to get your bearings. Use them! You increase the chances of someone else jumping into the system as well, creating a bit more confusion as the gate campers now have more than one target to choose from. Select a point in space in front of you as far away from the gate campers as possible, and when ready fly towards it, activate your MWD and THEN the cloak. This will give you one cycle of the MWD before the cloak automatically turns it off. You can now warp off safely.
From a gate camper’s point of view, it looks like this: they can see someone jumped into the system (the gate shows that familiar flash of light), so the tackler(s) get ready to lock whoever is going to decloak. As soon as you decloak, they will try to lock you, as well as fly towards you. However, with that MWD boost, your ship shoots off in one direction and a few seconds later, disappears. They can try to decloak you, but determining your position is difficult.
You will find gate camps in two different places: when you jump into a system, or when you warp to a stargate. The first you cannot avoid; you have to use the MWD trick I described above. For the second, you have to understand that for a gate camp to be effective (especially in nullsec if they use bubbles), they have to place it on the warp trajectory between two gates – that way if you warp from gate to gate directly, you fall directly into the gate camp. So the solution is pretty simple: warp to a celestial before you warp to the gate you want to use, like a planet. This will alter the angle from which you warp to the gate, and avoid the gate camp entirely. Always use warp to 0 in this case.
I’m still figuring things out, but with those rules you can move around pretty safely. The key really is to use a small, fast ship. Needless to say, trying to do this in a battleship is not a good idea. That, and keep your cool. Come to grips with the fact that you will lose your ship sooner or later, as well as your pod – and think your way through each situation. That’s a lot easier if you don’t take your T3 on the first try 🙂
I just realized that if you take into account that this is the log entry for day 1806 of my travels, which means that it took me about 1800 days to finally take the step to go into nullsec. What changed? I could not say. More confidence maybe, a higher understanding of the power of the unknown or simply less concern about my expendable body? Regardless, I think it’s still pretty funny and shows how big of a carebear I am!
Level V skills: 101
Level IV skills: 63
Known skills: 197
ISK Balance: 16.000.000 (shopping spree!)
Training: Amarr Industrial V
Level V skills: 105
Level IV skills: 28
Known skills: 180
ISK Balance: 250.000.000
Training: Warfare Link Specialist IV