Saturday, November 5, 2011

Combat Probing

Entry: six hundred sixty-six.

I only tried combat probing in null once, long before yesterday. My results back then were pretty shaky, and I was certain I was no good and in need of some serious teaching. Seven months have passed since then, no additional training in combat probing obtained, no practice completed, leaving me only with the theoretical knowledge that I possessed before my first attempt back then.

Yesterday, the fleet commander was asking for a cloaky prober. No one was volunteering despite repeated calls. I offered myself up as a last resort if a more experienced once could not be found, and as can be guessed, a more experienced one was not found to accompany the fleet.

FC set destination for 3-F from 1DH-. Jump bridges were down, in part because of Raiden hitting them, in part because of Atlas merging into Cascade, so we took the long route through the Z3V- gate.

My first failure occurred in L-6. I reported what appeared to be a cyno on a station and a Thantos at that cyno. I had not, however, actually warped towards the cyno, and when the FC ordered a Drake to warp in and aggress, the Drake ended up pinned on a tower on a moon near the station. The FC replaced his ship and gave me a mild scolding.

To be fair, I didn't promise good results when we set out, saying that while I was technically capable, I didn't have any practice in the art of playing hide and seek.

We continued our trek towards 3-F, and I jumped in alone from 0TKF-. I bounced above the Efa gate and caught sight of a gatecamp: three drakes, a dramiel, a hound, and a firetail, with two drag bubbles, most likely set up from the 0TKF- and I1Y- gate. I should have checked, but didn't have the presence of mind to do so at the time.

I warped down to the gate as the Drakes approached the drag bubbles, settling approximately forty kilometers off the Efa gate towards the bubbles. I reported being within five of one Drake and ten of a second, the third nearly back at the Efa gate. FC ordered interdictors to jump in and drop bubbles.

Unfortunately, five people jumped into 3-F, a fact I missed as I watched the Drakes align to safes and warp off. I decloaked and began the targeting sequence a second too late to catch any of the Drakes on the gate with either my Warp disruptor II or my Warp Scrambler II.

I deployed probes, and began scanning. Thanks to my earlier scanning attempts in L-6, I had a capital class and up filter active while scanning for Drakes, only realizing the mistake five minutes in. I quickly changed the filter to scan for all ship signatures, knowing that I was looking for a Drake, and picked up a full Drake signature at a belt near planet ten.

I warped in at ten, approached, decloaked, laid down both points and called for support. The Drake targeted me, opened fire, salvo after salvo smashing shields and armor as I attempted to keep my signature radius small and fast with an afterburner. Some seconds later, an interdictor landed, bubble went up, I aligned out and took another two salvos on the align out before exiting the disruption bubble and warping. The fleet cleaned him up for me. I escaped with thirty-nine percent armor integrity.

After another few minutes of scanning, I determined I wasn't going to get any hits. I should have had the fleet warp to a specific safespot so that I could ignore their signatures and probe some more, but again the presence of mind escaped me.

On the trip back, we stopped in L-6 again, and I managed to find a ratting Raiden Tempest in an asteroid belt with just directional scan. I warped to the belt at twenty, saw the tempest aligned, and approached. At ten, I decloaked and attempted to lay down both of my points only to have the ratter warp to station and dock. 

In retrospect, I should have simply continued the approach and bumped him first, laying down the points once I was automatically decloaked.

Suffice to say, being the prober is a difficult task.
Computer: terminate recording.


  1. While I have very high skills and experience w/ probing as life in W-space dictates that you do or die, I had not done much combat probing until recently as you know from my blog.

    I found it to be daunting in heavily populated systems such as Dodixie, yet even there with the right probe pattern (& skills etc.) I found you can fairly easily pin a ship to 100% with no moar than a few shifts of the probe 'set'... In my blog I reference a Video guide I found which really helped me...

    Though I never know if anything I do really has a corollary to what your life is like in nullsec.

  2. I remember an old link I saw once and lost, it was an eight probe configuration for quickly scanning down sites. That's what I was thinking of when I read your latest entry about it. As you probably well know though, you can't probe someone down if they're bouncing, or the things I mentioned as the things I screwed up.

    Since I lived in a wormhole for 3 months, I can say with certainty that alot of what happens in w-space is similar to null. w-space is quite a bit more cloak and dagger though thanks to that no-local.

  3. Probing an alert ship is very hard. Best stratagy I've found so far is the launch probes out of scan range of the target. Then get their rough location with d-scan. Arrange probes and start scanning. If done correctly you can find the target in 1 or 2 cycles.
    I'm still learning to do this. I've seen corpies probe "unprobable" Tengu's in 1 cycle (mind you this is with LG virtues and maxed scanning skills).

    It takes a lot of practice, but damn it feels good when you get it right.

  4. The set I use now is the 7 probe set Paul Clavet describes in his "An All-In-One Guide to Ninja Salvaging"... 3 in the middle, each set to 1 down rad, and 4 in a lateral ring, same rad as the largest inner and overlapping same.

    As your "scan result" is always taken from the 4 strongest probe returns, this ensures 3 of em are centered with the outer 4 giving you some working room.

    So far has worked really well, both scanning down ships AND in da hole. I have not done any "combat" probing, IE finding PvP targets instead of griefing targets... different tactical mind set all together I see.

    Good to hear your take on W-space v Null, I have wondered if no-local was the factor I feel it is... (and I really LOVE the hide-n-seek aspect of W-space!) I still have yet to venture below 2.0... LOL