Monday, September 29, 2014

BB59 - I'm Behind the Grassy Knoll

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 59th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

This month's version comes from commenter Zappity who asks:

Probably been done before... What about local force projection (as opposed to the longer distance force projection that is often talked about)? I think of 'terrain' in EVE to be how systems are mapped together by gates. Strong tactics which exploit terrain have historically been extremely important in deciding battle outcomes. How does this apply in EVE in the presence of cynos?

Related to this, you have the option to explore the topic of wormhole systems with effects (Black Holes, Cataclymismic variablestar, etc) and if similar environmental effects on certain grids/deadspace or system wide should be explored for known space?

Get writing!

BB59 - I'm Behind the Grassy Knoll

Terrain in Eve? Well it used to matter a bit, especially in low-sec where the lack of jump bridges meant you needed to use stargates to get around with your fleet. Cloaked alts watching the bottlenecks in the various "pipes" were essential. Planning to engage nearer to your home base than theirs so your downed pilots can reship faster etc.

These days it sometimes feels that if you've not got a Titan you are poor and shouldn't be playing. Small gang? Guess what.... cyno up.... WTFPWNLOL.

So with titan, and to some extent Blops bridging, is terrain in Eve completely irrelevant? Not entirely, there are still uses for the "terrain" and I'm not just talking about asteroid belts. For example faction war complexes make for some interesting terrain for PvP whether you are in faction war or not. I'll use these as my example of making the terrain work for you.

The first thing is, you cannot warp to people inside or directly outside the plex. What many people don't know is that if you warp to someone on grid outside the plex (as in 'warp to fleet member' or via combat scanner probes), you will land on the acceleration gate at zero not at the person. You can warp to the plex at a set range as per anything else on your overview, but you cannot warp to a ship. If you know this and your enemy doesn't, it can be fun! We had a Goon fleet prowling around our neighbourhood a few years ago and we used this tactic to great effect. They had a very good prober with them and they were very fast. So we shipped to 100km optimal range sniper ships and warped to a plex at 100km. The prober would probe us down and warp the fleet to us. However, as we were on-grid at a plex gate, their fleet would land at zero on the gate. We'd pop a few from range and warp off. We'd then warp to another plex at 100. Again, they'd probe us down and warp the fleet to us assuming the last time the prober and made a mistake with the fleet warp. Again they'd land on the gate 100km off us and we'd pop a few more. I cannot remember if we did this three or four times before they realised something was not right and stopped trying to probe us down.

Inside a plex there is no warping about either, a MWD is the fastest way to get about inside. Again this can be exploited tactically. For example if you burn out 150km, it is very hard for someone to pull a gank you. If they have a bait tanked ship their mates will need to be fast to get to you. Once they have you tackled their back-up will have to warp to the plex, activate the gate and then burn 150km+ to you. Plenty of time to either kill or escape the bait ship.

Another one where the terrian could be used is inside the plex when you have a high-speed eWar kiter on you. I'm thinking of the Maulus kiter specifically here. I've had to come and help several times when a blue has someone tackled but doesn't have the DPS to kill it. By the time I've grabbed a high-speed DPS ship and got to the plex they can be hundreds of kilometers from the warp in. If I can still see them, then its just a matter of time before I catch up and help kill them. However if the guy had been clever I'd have not been able to help. The usual thing that happens is the victim tries to burn away in a straight line. He's sensor damped so he cannot target his foe, but the tackler's DPS is terribad so his tank holds. Unable to do anything, he just burns in a straight line whilst the tackler is posting in intel channels "Anyone near X able to help me kill a Y? He's burning at 3k."

Now as he burns he "stretches the grid". Whilst under normal circumstances you cannot see a ship 600km away, in this circumstance you can. The trail the ships take loads grids as they go. So when I get there in my fast DPS ship I can see my friend and the victim. Its just a process of catching up. A 2km a second difference means I'll be there in five minutes usually. However, if that guy had taken a sharp turn after a few hundred KM they'd be locked in a stalemate as I'd not be able to help as I wouldn't know where they are. Basically if you have been burning in a straight line this is what it would look like, sort of..... I know its a crap graphic but you get the idea. The grids that have loaded give me a clear line of sight.

If he had turned, the grids would have a bend in the trail. You cannot see through unloaded grids so when I arrive, I'd not be able to see them (no LoS between grids) and therefore there is no way I'd be able to help unless I became a sudden D-Scanning hero. As thats not going to happen, I'd just sit there and say "Dude, where are you?".

The target would still not be able to escape, but if the tackler cannot break him it would be a battle of wills until one gets bored or tired or until downtime hits. Now this bending of the grid, I have no idea if this is an exploit or not. Its using the game mechanics in a way that is not intended so it might be. I've never done it myself but have seen it done by enemies that are more cunning than the usual "fly in a straight line at maximum speed" lot.

Terrain in Eve is generally not much of a massive factor these days especially with everyone and their mother having access to a titan, but there are still a few tricks out there on this subject that can give you an advantage.

P.S. I'm no expert on grid mechanics. This is roughly how it works.... ish.....

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