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Pixels and Space Dust Episode VII – Hi-sec ganking

Pixels and Space Dust Episode VII 

Danger lurks in every corner of New Eden. We have covered some of these dangers in the last episode, Surviving gate camps. In this article, we’re going to go over something that is mostly done in hi-sec, called ganking.

Episode VII – Hi-sec ganking

The common misconception that some players have is that hi-sec is a ‘safe’ space. No place in New Eden is perfectly safe, except for the safety of a space station’s interior. Any hostile, unprovoked, action in hi-sec has been deemed a criminal offense and is dealt with by Concord police forces. This is an automated NPC response. The attackers are swarmed, pinned down and killed.

The time it takes for Concord to spawn at the site of the action differs per system. The list below gives a good estimate on the time it takes for them to get to you:

  • 0.5: Roughly 19 seconds
  • 0.6: Roughly 14 seconds
  • 0.7 : Roughly 10 seconds
  • 0.8 : Roughly 7 seconds
  • 0.9 and 1.0: Roughly 6 seconds

More information on what concord is can be found on the EVE university website.

Some pilots however use the longer response time to try and kill other players. Concord will eventually warp in, but by the time they do the target will most likely be dead. After that, the attackers are killed of course. This practice can also be referred to as ‘suicide ganking’.
Some ganking pilots position themselves in systems that serve as major trade hub routes, that cannot be avoided.
Systems like Uedama, Bagodan, and Odin are prime locations and see a lot of ganking activity. Be careful when visiting these systems.

We will now go over some common forms of ganking and how you can protect yourself.

Gate camp ganking

ganking

Tornados waiting to strike

One of the most common things you’ll see in New Eden is gate camp ganking. There are some systems in the game that cannot be avoided while going to the game’s main trade hub, Jita. One of these systems for example is the Uedama system. It’s a 0.5 security system in the Citadel region. Because basically, a lot of trade routes go through this system. It has the lowest hi-sec security status available, and because of this, it’s prime territory for gankers.

The process is fairly simple, a large group of pilots will be camping at a gate, like a regular low-sec/null-sec fleet. However, the ships here will be a little different, depending on the number of pilots and the ships they are in. Most gank fleets will have scouts patrolling the trade/travel route. They will randomly target you, and use a cargo/ship scanner to determine your cargo. If you notice you are being targeted, you should already prepare yourself for a potential gank fleet.

A freighter landing on auto pilot

Let’s go over a couple of standard suicide gank ships used at gates:

Catalysts

The Catalyst is a timeless classic. A ‘simple’ destroyer, able to punch stuff with around 650+ DPS. At around 15 million ISK, it’s the cheapest gank ship to buy. A fleet of Catalysts can easily destroy a Tech I or Tech II hauler. If there are enough on the field, they can even kill a freighter.

Because of their short-range, you’ll see them coming toward you. They are fitted with warp scramblers though, so getting away will not be easy. You basically need to get very lucky that they underestimated your total number of hitpoints, or that you are saved by passing by combat pilots looking for an easy kill.

Thrashers

The Thrasher is another classic. This ship mostly uses long-range guns, doing high alpha strike damage to its target. This way they can be at the optimal range on a gate and shoot targets instead of warp scrambling them like the Catalysts.

Tornado

The Tornado is a Minmatar Battlecruiser class ship. It uses large projectile turrets. It has a slow rate of fire, but a very high alpha strike. A single Tornado can kill a Tech I hauler with ease, while a larger group often is hunting for freighters, Orcas, and even Faction or Tech II Battleship or other expensive PVE fitted ships.

These will also have scouts that check the contents of ships along the route. Especially for shooting down PVE fitted ships, it’s important to see which modules are fitted, as this is the potential loot they are after. If you’re flying a simple T2 fitted Tengu, you’ll be less of a viable target than when you’re fitted with faction/DED/officer modules.

Vexor

The Vexor is not used that much for ganking. If you are low on gank pilots, and you don’t want to waste a lot of ISK by losing a Tornado, you can use a Vexor. Vexors can also be blaster fitted, but their use lies in the drones they have on board. Using either sentry or medium drones, they have a much longer range than the Catalysts. One or two Vexors can easily kill a Blockade runner on auto travel, or any other small ship before Concord arrives.

Maller

The Maller is perhaps an odd ship, but it serves a singular purpose in ganking, ganking Leopard class shuttles. As you can see on the killboard for Leopard shuttles, many are destroyed on a daily basis. The Leopard is the fastest warping ship in Eve Online, making it ideal for traveling long distances. It is however very expensive to buy, and a lot of people are looking for easy but expensive kill mails. The Maller will sit at the optimal range on the gate. When the scout reports one of them coming their way the pilot will activate a smart-bomb, similar to how Machariel smart-bomb gate camps work.
The leopard is destroyed instantly, leaving another wreck in space.
Leopards can also be caught by Thrashers because of their fast lock speed.

Bombers

Bombers are sometimes used to quickly kill Marauder and faction class battleships. Most of the time, expensive mission running and incursion ships are targeted by these groups. If you see the following on your d-scan, be very wary and proceed with caution.

Ganking miners

ganking

A Catalyst destroying a mining barge

Hi-sec mining is a good past-time when you are semi AFK or when you just want to get some minerals to build ships. You are however never really safe though. Gankers will often scout available asteroid fields and mining/ice anomalies. Usually, when you fly a tanky mining barge like the Procuror or the Skiff, you’re pretty safe. But when you fly any other barge or Orca, you’re at risk of being scouted and killed.

The enemy fleet will move a cloaked pilot next to your ship as a warp-in point for the entire fleet, or they just warp to the mining location. A single destroyer can easily take down a mining barge like a Retriever or Covetor, so be careful when mining semi-afk. 
Usually, you won’t see any other gank ships other than the Catalyst or Thrasher. If you are flying a very expensive Orca, however, you might be visited by a fleet of Tornados.

Mission sites / incursions

Some security missions or incursion sites are done with very expensive battleships. This attracts gankers that try to destroy and loot these ships for the valuable modules the have onboard. It’s pretty common for gankers to visit favorable level 4 mission areas, like Osmon, and to try and scan down the pilots doing the missions.
For pilots doing incursions, the system itself AND the route toward the system can be very dangerous. It’s not uncommon for enemy players to warp into the incursion site, scan down the pilots doing the site, and send in a killsquad.
Whenever you or your friends are being scanned, and you see a big increase in the number of pilots in the local chat, it’s a good idea to get safe and dock up.
Here you can see a Gnosis scanning several pilots, and a big increase in enemy players in system.

Hi-sec ganking events

In the history of Eve Online, there have been some mass ganking events. One of them is the ‘Burn Jita’ event, the other is the Hulkageddon.

Burn Jita

An Obilisk caught by gankers

The Burn Jita event specifically targets any expensive ship in the Jita (and adjacent) system, but mostly targets freighters and other transport ships. If you keep a close watch on the out-of-game channels you will know when this event will happen. 
Massive swarms of ganking ships will be waiting at the Jita market hub station, and all the gates leading in or out of Jita. You will also see a lot of people trying to steal loot or salvage. Other pilots just want to tag along and get on some expensive kill mails.

Either way, when you see this event being announced, don’t think lightly of it. It’s best to avoid trade hubs for the duration of the event, as there might also be some shooting at Amarr, Rens or Dodixie.

Hulkageddon

Helicity Boson at Evesterdam 2014

This graph shows the Hulkageddon events

The Hulkageddon event was invented a while back, and this event primarily targets mining ships. Helicity Boson, the spiritual grandfather of the Hulkageddon, has organized the event a number of times. There have been five iterations of this killing and ganking spree, and each time more ships were destroyed.
It’s been quite some time since the last Hulkageddon was organized, but like the Burn Jita event, you never know when it will occur.

I like to mine in Eve Online, but it would be cool to have another Hulkageddon in the near future, to stir things up. Destruction drives up the market and without it, a miners life would be pointless.
Helicity’s killboard has gone silent by the looks of it, but I hope at some point he gets back into Eve Online.

Verdict

Ganking in Eve comes down to a simple conclusion; don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose. If you’re flying a paper thin Mackinaw mining Veldspar in a 0.5 system, you might want to re-evaluate your ingame choices. Hauling two billion ISK worth of items in a simple Tayra is also a bad idea. The same goes for hauling expensive blueprints in a shuttle. If your gut tells you that whatever you’re doing is a bad idea, make a change in how you’re getting those minerals or hauling done.
And if you don’t feel comfortable with hauling items yourself, please look up Redfrog and PushX hauling services. Both are very trustworthy and respectable services that will haul basically anything to anywhere.

And if you wish to haul yourself use the correct ship for the job. The same goes for mining and missioning. Look around and gather some intel before you head out. Websites like zKillboard and Eve Gatecamp Check are perfect for that. 
Use your common sense, and most of the times you’ll be as safe possible in New Eden as you can be.

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