This piece was submitted by 290xanaots, ganker for the New Order of Highsec and the CFC’s Ministry of Love. 290xanaots has been ganking miners and haulers since leading the very first New Order gankfleet in November 2012.
Freighter ganking is a way of life for some of us. While others sitting on the Sivala gate in Uedama may marvel at the accomplishments of EVE’s industrious playerbase, all I see are shiny killmails and loot piñatas waiting to be busted open. I just want to watch ’em burn.
That being the case, I understand that there are those of you interested in not being torched by the fire of two dozen Catalysts. This guide is for you. While these techniques will help you to travel safely, they will not guarantee it. Just as the average pilot could not expect to emerge victorious in a lowsec brawl 35 vs. 1, there is nothing you as a single player can expect to be able to do to mitigate 100% of the risk presented by a well-organized gankfleet. If you are of the school of thought that 200m worth of Catalysts should not be able to destroy your bowhead because you paid 2B+ for it, allow me to show you the door–this guide is not for you.
This guide will be presented in order of what I view as the order of most important to least important. Without further introduction:
STEP 1: USE A SCOUT
If you jump your freighter into Uedama local with 35 GCC players flashing in local and 2 Machariels on the gate, you have already lost the fight. This is the Eve equivalent of wandering into the bad side of town with a flashing neon sign flashing, “Easy Mark.”
Use your scout upon entering a system to look for GCC players in local and common bumping ships like the Typhoon or Machariel on the gates. Remember that GCC will not be flashing if the fleet has not ganked in over 15 minutes. D-scan will reveal bumping ships on distant gates and will potentially show the presence of a large number of rookieship wrecks. Rookieships are used to reposition CONCORD after a gank, and a large number of rookieship wrecks on a station is an indicator that a gankfleet has been active within the past two hours.
This information can be gleaned in just a few seconds through monitoring of local, your overview, and your d-scan. Your slow-warping freighter should allow plenty of time to properly scout a system before jumping into it blindly.
STEP 2: PLAN YOUR TRIP
Your map is an incredibly powerful tool for mining information. You can get data about shipkills, current pilot activity, and security status well before you undock from the station. If you see several hundred ships being destroyed in a .5 security system along your route, you should be *extra* careful with your scouting around that area, or you should divert around it entirely.
Timing is also an important factor. If you have to move a load that absolutely cannot be diverted through a higher security route, consider improving your odds by moving it at a time when fewer players are logged in. EVE-offline.net can provide you with daily player number curves. Plan your trip during the daily dips to increase your odds of getting through.
STEP 3: TANK YOUR SHIP
Here’s a hypothetical to illustrate my point: maybe you missed something on your scout. Maybe the ganking fleet had scanners 2 or even 3 jumps out in every direction. However it happened, the ganking FC has received intel on your location. He asks for a shipscan, and it comes back as 3x Reinforced Bulkhead IIs. “Fuck that,” he says, “We’ll wait for something else.” This routinely happens. Tanking works.
People that tell you tanking doesn’t work are treating their tank as the only way to prevent a gank. If you get to a point where you need a tank to survive, you’ve already failed steps 1 and 2 of this guide. Your tank is your *last* line of defense, not your first. Do not be tempted to fit for cargo or agility. Anti-tanking your freighter is only good for attracting the attention of people that want to kill you.
STEP 4: USE A WEBBER
Remember that scout you’ve got? Whether it’s a friend or an alt, be sure he fits a couple stasis webs. Because of the way webs work, you can use them to force a freighter into warp in just a few seconds, reducing the time you spend on-gate where you’re vulnerable. The process of webbing a freighter into warp is simple.
- Begin to align freighter.
- Lock freighter with alt.
- Web freighter after it’s had a couple seconds of alignment.
The webs decrease the maximum possible speed of the freighter such that its current, very slow velocity becomes the 75% of maximum required to enter warp. The freighter leaps into warp before you can be bumped. This works best with long-range webs, as you may be required to burn into web range otherwise, wasting precious seconds.
STEP 5: STAY COOL
Okay. The shit has hit the fan. You didn’t notice the bumpers with your scout, you didn’t notice the neutral scanners with your freighter, you’re traveling through a .5 or .6 security system at USTZ peak hours, and your scout missed the web on your freighter. This is where most people think freighter ganks begin. This is why most people die to gankers.
Even though you fucked up bad by reaching this point, you’re not completely out of options.
If you’re flying a jump freighter, you can jump to your emergency exit cyno. You do have an emergency exit cyno, right?
You can try to warp in a direction that the bumper is bumping you. This is assuming that the bumper is incompetent. This is not often the case, but some people do escape in this way. It’s worth trying. Webs can help in this situation, but you must apply them intelligently. Webs only decrease your align time from a dead standstill. Use webs to slow the bump, and then cycle them off once you start traveling in the direction you would like to warp.
Logging off can potentially save you. This should be your option of last resort. Upon logoff, your ship will remain in space for 60 seconds. If nobody shoots you for that 1 minute, your ship disappears and you’re safe. An organized fleet will have neutral aggressors ready and waiting for you to log off. If your scout informs you that you’ve been aggressed after logging off, log back in as fast as possible, as your skills do not increase your EHP while logged off. This technique also relies on the gankfleet failing something rather than you being good.
All of this assumes good skills for the ship you’re flying and that you’re actually flying it. If you autopilot, you’re as good as dead.
If you don’t have an alt account for scouting, make a friend. Seriously, it’s not that hard.
Split up your loads into smaller amounts. While we gank empty freighters all the time, we’re going to gank the expensive one first.
Why are you even flying a freighter through Empire in the first place? Pay somebody else to move your stuff and enjoy the peace of mind that the enormously overblown collateral you put on the contract gives you.
I expect that those of you who are interested in flying ships well and improving will follow the advice I’ve given. I also know that nothing written here will stem the tide of anti-tanked freighters autopiloting through Uedama each day. We’re going to keep shooting them until the day the servers go dark. Don’t be one of them.