Monday, August 24, 2015

Small Ships, Big Fun (+Griffin Guide)

Fun in EVE can be had in small, inexpensive ships as well as in large, expensive ships. This also applies to Anti-Ganking being an excellent example of emergent Highsec gameplay.

While the Falcon can be considered as an excellent ship for jamming Catalysts, smaller ships like Griffin also offer a fun counter-ganking gameplay. In fact, the Griffin is suggested as a first ship for anyone interested in fighting the gankers by enforcing the art of GankerJamming™ . It is fast, cheap and it doesn't require high skills. In his excellent Anti-Ganking web page, Astecus describes this ship as follows:
"Very cheap, very agile, good enough lock time to not have to fit sensor boosters. The go-to ECM ship for new and veteran anti-gankers alike. The main drawback is probably its low EHP, very easily ganked if you are caught off-guard, but also easily replaced. Fitting a cap-stable MWD allows it to tank rats and avoid most gankers."

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So let's see an Example Case: During another Anti-Ganking patrol in Otela, I was looking for possible gank targets that I can protect (ships like Covetor, Retriever, Hulk) and I noticed a Retriever at an asteroid belt. Swiftly, I warped to his belt, positioned my cloaky Griffin near the Retriever (within the optimal range of my jammers) and started checking D-Scan frequently for possible Catalyst spikes.

[ 2015.04.09 21:17:21 ] (notify) The scanner is recalibrating, please wait a second

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I watched.

I waited.

Here we go. I was lucky enough to see two Catalysts on D-Scan only 3 minutes after my arrival to that beltThis is really nice because sometimes we wait for like an hour but no gankers show up. Interestingly, one of the Catalysts was named "Jammer", which shows that our jammers are getting into their minds more and more! However, I don't think I will meet Sky DuMont any time soon.

The outlaw Catalysts (-10) belonging to Super Perforator and D34dly D34dly landed but both of them got jammed quickly by our Griffin which made them abort the gank and warp away.

I Love This Scene. 

The gank was prevented successfully. Meanwhile, D34dly D34dly was renamed as J4mm3d J4mm3d.

(This, by the way, is another example of the fact that Anti-Ganking does not always generate killmails, but it does generate fun while stopping the gank.)

       Additional tactics:

  • In this case, almost all my mid slots were filled with jammers. I didn't have a Warp Disruptor, so the gankers managed to warp away. To prevent this, some Anti-Gankers prefer to drop one jammer to replace it with a Warp Disruptor so that the bot-aspirant can be tackled as well as jammed (which, if you think about it, is a glorious scene: Doomed into Oblivion, they just wait for the arrival of Faction Police).
  • A cloaking device, despite slowing down lock time a little, can be an option. As a Frigate, the Griffin has a good base scan resolution. The lock time with a cloak therefore remains acceptable. The usage of cloak for surprising the gankers also requires good timing because of the delay that prevents you from locking anything. If Catalysts approach within like 1-2AU of your D-Scan results, de-cloak immediately before it's too late.
  • It's obvious: overheat your jammers. If you can't, then go study Thermodynamics in a dark corner of the University of Niarja's library.
  • As the Catalysts start landing on grid, you can orbit the targeted miner (with the MWD on, if you chose to fit it) just below the maximum limits of your jammers' optimal range. Do not stand still next to the miner like a fool. You might end up being targeted by the gankers who decide to shoot you instead of the miner. Send your ionized particles of love from distance, securely. Be classy. 
  • Don't be too much paranoiac though. Enjoy the moment. Losing ships is a part of EVE. And it's a Griffin after all.
  • Fitting. It's quite easy. The Catalyst, which remains the most popular miner ganking ship, has a Magnetometric type sensor, so you want to fit Magnetometric jammers. I don't really recommend a sensor booster, because even with a cloak, your Griffin can lock a destroyer quite quickly, very often before it's too late. As a result, 4x 'Hypnos' Ion Field ECM I and a microwarp drive can be a good combination in med slots. This means that if you get lucky, you can jam 4 Catalysts at the same time! You can even save freighters who are being attacked by Catalysts that lack ECCM. For low slots, I highly recommend 2x 'Hypnos' Signal Distortion Amplifier I, they give an important bonus to the jamming strength. For rigs, it's a good idea to fit at least 2x Small Targeting System Subcontroller I to fasten lock time just a little bit. The high slots choice is entirely up to you. If you fit a cloak, the gank scout will not see you and the Catalysts will be surprised to see your Griffin as they land on the miner. Without a cloak, any intelligent gank scout will notice your presence and leave that area, which is also a good thing, because your presence alone prevents the gankers' arrival. If you're spacerich, get the Centurion implant set: an amazing bonus to ECM optimal range.
  • Overview. I recommend creating an additional overview tab that does NOT show Mining Barges, Exhumers, Veers, Industrial Command Ships and Freighters. When you're out there waiting for the landing of a Catalyst, you want to see it clearly, click on it quickly and target it before it's too late. This is especially useful when you protect a crowded ice belt. Remove all that clutter with dozens of mining ships so that the Catalyst will be distinguishable.
  • Check D-Scan every 10-15 seconds so that you will have an early-warning about incoming gankers.

Video: Always Safety Red is a video kindly recorded by a member of a gank fleet with around 30 Catalysts during the Caldari Ice Interdiction 2013. It really shows what Anti-Ganking is about:  lowering or mitigating the damage of the gankers enough to make their target survive.

The video starts with the gank fleet warping to the ice belt. The ganker who does the recording forgets switching his safety to Red and as they land and start shooting the Orca, some troubles badly affect their DPS.

There are three main reasons behind the survival of the Orca:

1) Damage Control, Damage Control, Damage Control! The Orca pilot simply did Anti-Ganking by fitting this important module which considerably lowered the damage of the Catalysts.

2) The ECM Anti-Gankers in the ice belt. Astecus (Griffin), RangerGord (Griffin) and Count Rais (Falcon) started jamming multiple Catalysts as soon as they started shooting the Orca. In total, around 15 gankers  (about half of their fleet) were engaged by these 3 Anti-Gankers and since the Catalysts were fail-fit, most of the jamming attempts had probably succeeded. This drastically lowered the damage of the Catalysts as well.

3) Another small reason: just like the recorder of the video, a few more gankers probably wasted some time to switch their safety from green to red. This is often caused by a lack of proper communication in a fleet.

What followed was the emergent energy of Anti-Ganking, once again filling local and putting smiles on people's faces:

[ 2013.08.23 01:50:13 ] Astecus > Orca survived with 25% hull 
[ 2013.08.23 01:50:23 ] Count Rais > lol nice 
[ 2013.08.23 01:50:26 ] Ev00 > Thats not Fair! 
[ 2013.08.23 01:50:32 ] Jimwinz > haha 
[ 2013.08.23 01:50:36 ] MBizon Osis > lol 
[ 2013.08.23 01:50:45 ] Ev00 > We wanted to kill an orca :( 
[ 2013.08.23 01:50:49 ] KhrisKruel > So I frapsed that one, and it has me frantically trying to figure out why my guns didn't work, hit red and confirm, and then we all died 

      Chat logs source:

Everybody benefits from Anti-Ganking. Everyone. 

"I love it that people are providing protection for miners. I love all kinds of PVP so adding more makes me happy."

Alright, now let's move onto another perfect, small Anti-Ganking ship: The Ibis!

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Hell yes. Before you say: "WTF?", allow me to share its bonuses:

ECM bonus!

Are you getting it? This ship smells like GankerJamming™!  One might ask: Why would I use the Ibis when there's a better ship like Griffin? 
Because: Fun, dear. The idea of being able to ruin ganks with an Ibis is amazingly beautiful. 

Minmatar space
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Let's have a look at another fun engagement example: I was roaming in Highsec with my ECM Ibis, looking for bot-aspirant Catalysts. In Teonusude Local, I noticed two outlaw (-10) gankers named PanzarPanda and Quinn Barviainen. This was a great opportunity to test my ECM Ibis. I quickly warped to the crowded ice belt and then cloaked my Ibis far away while remaining within the optimal range of my jammers. However, I was not alone. Count Rais was there as well, in his Falcon. Cloaked. Watching. Waiting. Also, BUBAKAR MAHAHA (that name gets me every time!) and Jerod Hakuli were patrolling the belt with a Stratios and a Stiletto.

Several minutes later, two Catalysts appeared on D-Scan. Soon after I decloaked my Ibis, they started landing at the ice belt. However, thanks to my good timing of decloaking, I was able to start locking them immediately. For a guaranteed jamming cycle, I preferred to concentrate on PanzarPanda's Catalyst only…

…and it worked. My Ibis was successfully jamming the Catalyst and contributing to the prevention of a gank. 

[ 2013.12.13 22:07:05 ] (combat) Warp scramble attempt from BUBAKAR MAHAHA [OCTHE]ROC (Stratios) to PanzarPanda [929]CODE. (Catalyst)
[ 2013.12.13 22:07:05 ] (combat) Warp scramble attempt from Jerod Hakuli [30D]SOUL (Stiletto) to PanzarPanda [929]CODE. (Catalyst)

PanzarPanda was being bombarded with warp disruption, DPS and ECM. 
What about the other Catalyst then? Was he actually shooting the miner?

[ 2013.12.13 22:07:15 ] (combat) Warp scramble attempt from BUBAKAR MAHAHA [OCTHE]ROC (Stratios) to Quinn Barviainen [929]CODE. (Catalyst)

No. According to my game logs, the gankers actually didn't even become criminal (didn't shoot the miner), probably because they saw the other Falcon and wanted to abort the gank, but they couldn't warp away either, so it was a glorious scene. Since I like to inject some humor into this kind of situations, I quickly applied some Sentry Gun Humor into Local.

[ 2013.12.13 22:07:09 ] Azov Rassau > PanzarPanda: you have foolishly engaged in gankological activity within sight of our Ibis and must suffer the electronic consequences. :)
[ 2013.12.13 22:07:27 ] PanzarPanda > gankological activity is best activity

PanzarPanda's response was prompt and determined. He is not completely wrong though, because their gankological activity allowed me to test my ECM Ibis to ruin their gank. Actually, while I was jamming PanzarPanda with my Ibis, Count Rais was jamming Quinn Barviainen with his Falcon. Now that's teamwork.

Kill report

As you can see, real players prevented the gank and punished the criminals before the boring faction police had even arrived. Faction police couldn't even be seen on the killmails. Just like in the case of Keikira Otsada (a must read!), real players replaced NPC police and punished the criminals a lot more quickly, funnily and interestingly. PanzarPanda was quite lucky though: In Anti-Ganking vocabulary, we say that he got the "full package". No NPC Police, pure and heavy player interaction: Point, ECM and DPS.

[ 2013.12.13 22:11:08 ] BUBAKAR MAHAHA > it was too good to be true :P

Yet it was true. Everybody had enjoyed this emergent moment.

Besides the Griffin and Ibis, there is another ship that can be used for fighting the gankers: the Catalyst.

Image Source:

Before you have a heart attack, let me explain with another example case.

If I tell you "Amarr - Jita", what's the first thing that comes to your mind?

Image source: personal screenshot collection

Right. In fact, in any busy trade route, the following situation can be seen:
In an attempt to spot juicy industrials or freighters before sending a group of High-DPS/Alpha ships on them, most gankers make use of scouts dedicated to cargoscanning ships coming in and out. They sit right next to the stargates connecting busy trade routes and look for possible targets.

So why not gank those spotter scouts to annoy and disrupt their operations?

There are ways to understand if they're a gank scout or not. The activation of cargoscanning module has a visual effect: a yellowish beam being projected from one ship to another. It looks like this:

So if you see this happening at a stargate, it's most probably a gank scout. That's exactly what could be seen during another afternoon in the lovely, golden system of Niarja. claira can in a Vigil was sitting on the Kaaputenen gate in Niarja, repeatedly and monotonously staring inside freighter and industrial cargo holds like a programmed, dull-witted robot for a possible gank organization. 

Something had to be done to save her from this robot-like state of mind. As a consequence, our comrade Muhzer Sei simply used a Catalyst and delivered the punishment by ganking this heretic scout.

Kill Report

Boom. Have a closer look at claira can's face expression: there is robotism, crime, regret, anger, frustration and the boredom that is caused by having to do the same thing whole day. Luckily, Muhzer Sei and other Content Generators of Highsec enjoy bringing a quite regular action to her boring routine.

"So what can we do?  Perhaps.. annoy them to death? Yeah. Sure. Let's go with that."

-Sir Livingston

Simple and effective. Griffin, Ibis and… Catalyst. Small ships, Big fun!


I'm hoping to keep this blog updated by posting new content whenever time permits, but it's not always easy, especially when you have to concentrate on so many other things at the same time.

My sincere salutations and thanks go to those who have expressed their enjoyment and support via EVE mails and comments. You know who you are, I thank you all again. I think we managed to show that shooting your enemies in the face with the usage of existing game mechanics is one of the best things in this game.

-Azov R. 

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