Monday, April 02, 2012

EVE: It's hard to get information without giving information

Sometimes sending in a scout gives more information to your enemies than it gives to you.

For reasons that I cannot really explain I accepted another of those suicidal low security courier missions. Once again the mission required me to lug a T1 hauler across several pirate infested low security systems  to make the drop. I guess I was looking to live a little dangerously but I still didn't want to get killed so I took what I thought was the sensible precaution of sending an alt  ahead in a noob frigate to scout the route.  Seemed like a good plan - the alt in the noobship would suss out any nasty gate camps that might be waiting for me.

My scout's journey was uneventful - The low sec systems along the pipe I had to travel were deserted. When I reached the final destination I did spot one flashy red pirate sitting 150km off the station in  a Thrasher destroyer but I couldn't see what danger he posed. 150km is well beyond the range of any weapon a Thrasher can fit and even if he tried to warp to the station I would be docked long before he got there. I figured it was safe to bring in the hauler.

Surprise, surprise - impromptu camps had sprung up at every gate along the erstwhile deserted low sec pipe.  At the first entry point I found myself targeted by a battleship (Abaddon) and another ship . I was trying to warp away but a T1 hauler is about as nimble as an elephant in treacle and my shield was dissolving alarmingly as the lumbering hauler aligned for warp.

MuRd3rkillaXXX is attempting to warp scramble you

A message like that normally signals the end for the victim of a low sec gate camp because a scrambled ship cannot warp away. Thankfully I wasn't relying on scouting intelligence alone to get me through. Warp core stabilisers fitted to the hauler defeated the scramble attempt and I had enough of a buffer tank to survive the damage they could inflict in the few seconds before I flew away. At the next gate there was a Hurricane battlecruiser was waiting for me and it even followed me through but couldn't get  me before I docked safely at my destination.

The lone Thrasher still sat 150km off station flashing a lovely shade of pirate red.

Once my racing pulse returned to normal I thought about what had happened. How did the gate camps spring up so quickly on a route which was clear minutes earlier? Eve if my hauler was spotted coming through from high security space that hardly gave enough time to setup the camps and in any case if someone had scanned my ship they would have noticed that my cargo had no commercial value. I could see a bored pirate having a go for the lulz but multiple co-ordinated gate camps seems like too much effort for worthless cargo.

Far more likely I think is that my not very stealthy scout was spotted making its reconnaissance flight, perhaps by the Thrasher pilot, who knows. I could imagine someone spotting an out of place noob ship and putting two and two together:

"That looks like a scout"
"If they are sending in a scout then whatever comes next might be valuable. Lets get it"

I think its time to look again at my scouting strategy. 

PS: My New Eden Vacation isn't over yet I am just playing around with jump clones and since you have to wait 24 hours after activating a clone before jumping back I thought I might as well kill time with a foolish mission or two while waiting. A vacation from my vacation if you like.

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