Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Eve and the Suicide Gank

In Eve Online, there is an interesting phenomenon called suicide ganking. When in High security space, players are protected by CONCORD (NPC Guards), who will swoop in and destroy aggressors. It is not immediate, so an attacker still has a shot to destroy the player. This has been refined into the well known tactic of suicide ganking.

For the non-griefing ganker, this is really just a numbers game. I consider griefers those who do this for fun, without any in-game objective like profit. It is possible to fit a ship to accomplish this task pretty cheaply relative to your target. When you add in insurance, it lowers the cost to the would-be ganker even more.

Their targets are usually high-security miners and haulers. Their defensive capabilities are usually pretty low and have a higher chance of carrying something profitable (and nice wrecks). Groups of miners are also a tempting and common target.

One of the most common tactics for a suicide ganker is to fit out a ship loaded with smart-bombs. They are Area of Effect weapons, so work nicely on groups. They are also burst damage, so when CONCORD shows up they can get out more damage. Once the battle is over, they (or a friend) will come and try to collect the loot and wreckage.

As a part time miner (solo and group), the thought of being suicide ganks concerns me. Here are some survival tips:

Insurance. Not really a survival tip, but important. Insure your ship fully. It may cut into your profits, but so will a destroyed hulk without full insurance. There comes a point when you may not be able to survive a suicide gank, so this is a nice safety net.

Go Cheap. Since this is a numbers game, suicide gankers usually need their target to be worth the time and equipment. Hulks cost around 120 million isk and can use high cost modules, so really the ship could be worth 150 million+. A Mining Barge may only be worth 25 million. The hulk would be much more of an attractive target.

Resistances. Surviving a suicide gank is all about time. You want to live long enough to warp out or until CONCORD arrives. Your ships resistance levels mitigate damage. For example, some Shields have a base Explosive resistance of 50%, cutting that type of damage in half. Of course, there is no way to predict what type of Smart Bombs an attacker will bring. Stacking resistances can give you the time you need.

Shields. Investing in a nice Large shield extender may be worthwhile. A typical solo smart-bomb suicide ganker may put out 2500 damage every 10 seconds. CONCORD will usually arrive by then, so can your ship take that kind of damage? Adding a 1000 hp shield extender or two may be a worthwhile investment.

Alignment. If you chose to warp at the first sign of danger, having yourself pre-aligned with a station/gate will save precious seconds.

Routine. Not all suicide gankers are just bored folks who attack on a whim. Many of them stalk their targets over time, know where they will be and what they are fitting. Don't get in a rut. Change your mining habits (time and location) often. Keep your eyes on local and watch for anything suspicious.

Just some thoughts on how to survive, anyone else have ideas?


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