WHALEHUNTING 101

A Covert Cyno Whalehunting Guide

Written by: Olmeca Gold
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    Why Should You Hunt?

    There is a lot of fun in infiltrating deep into target regions, setting traps, trolling gatecamps and catching and killing whales. Moreover, hunting seems to be one of the few areas in Eve that showcases actual gaming skill, which one might find enjoyable. Especially nullsec hunting, together with knowledge of game mechanics, relies on speed, micromanagement and quick thinking. Also, if you are part of a blops fleet, waiting behind for a target will be boring at times. A hunter is on the other hand will always be busy working her ass off for the next target. Lastly, Bombers Bar gives the most shiny item per whale kill to its hunter. So you can even make decent PvP ISK, which is the best kind in Eve, while whalehunting.

Catching a whale (big or shiny PvE ships, such as carriers or battleships) in nullsec is a mechanic which depends on speed and experience on the hunters’ part, and carelessness and inexperience on the targets’ part. From this fact has to emerge a conclusion that the most advanced whalehunting know-how should be the one that is not public, because whalehunters have only a number of tricks in their sleeve, while whales adapt and learn as years pass in Eve. I do not see this as a sustainable situation, but it is the situation we have.

Being the public portion of Bombers Bar whalehunting know-how, this guide aims to introduce the basics of hunting to the curious capsuleers with zero to little knowledge on the topic. What this guide will not include are semi-advanced or advanced techniques which we’d rather not publicize further. To advance further in the profession you need start hunting for Bombers Bar, or other entities which do whaling. So reading this guide will not make you a good hunter. Hunting makes you a good hunter. But if your hunting experience is little or none, this guide might provide you some insight before advancing further.

Also be wary, most things I include here are valid only for nullsec hunting for a black ops hotdrop fleet. While there are many pieces of knowledge here which might help you in different situations, different spaces and fleet types in Eve surely favor different kinds of hunting than what is suggested here.

PART 1: SHIPS AND SKILLS

The ship choice is very important for a HK. A ship must excel in a few areas to be able to hunt efficiently in nullsec. The most important issue is to cut the time between entering a system and tackling a target in that system, and here it helps to have warp speed, agility, on-grid speed and nullification. Another issue is surviving long enough after the tackle to get your fleet on top of the target, which is why you need some tank. Lastly combat probing capability is a huge perk to have, and enables you to go for many other different targets than anomaly runners. The ships we select, and the ways we fit them aim to find a good balance among to these criteria.

But before, here are some skills that you might need to be able to fly a HK ship well:

* For T3 Cruisers you will need the subsystems. The must-have level V subsystem skills are Defensive and Electronics. Engineering and Propulsion are still good but not lethal. Keep the Offensive Subsystems below V, as it might save you valuable SP loss.

* For a Prospect Expedition Frigates I is enough, since it is mainly mining related.

* For an Arazu Recon IV is good but V still makes a worthy difference.

* For a Covert Ops you will want Covert Ops V.

* For a Bomber Covert Ops skill does not make a difference really.

One of the most painful but yet most worthy skills in Eve. Enables you to use covert cynoes.
For combat probe capable ships scanning skills play a crucial role to decrease the time to tackle a target. Astrometrics V and Acquisition/Pinpointing/Rangefinding IV are very popular among veteran hunters. Some combat probing oriented hunters even go Acquisition V.
It should go without saying that any skill that gives you speed and tank is your friend. These may include skills under Navigation, Armor, Shield and Targeting tabs. The exact skillset that benefits you will depend on your ship, fit and style.
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    Cargo

    It is always nice to carry some utility items, such as a mobile depot along with ship and cargo scanners. Also it is good to carry one or two Small Mobile Warp Disruptor, and way better if you can anchor tech II. Other than that, always remember your liquid ozone!

TECH 3

PROS: Best tank and decent speed. Combat probe capable. Nullified.
CONS: Expensive. Spooky.

Tech 3 ships are the most favored among the experienced nullsec hunters. Among them Tengus offer a very good balance of utility, speed and tank. It is safe to say they are the most preferred veteran hunter ship so far. Proteuses offer a way tankier solution by giving up a little agility and speed. Some very good hunters prefer them especially combined with a combat probing oriented hunting style. Lokis are essentially the same with Tengus but with a lot less tank, which might be problematic. Legions are slow and their high-slot orientation does not favor nullsec hunting.

Nullification makes a HUGE difference on why we prefer T3s. Most of the time the main ratting systems’ gates will be bubble fucked with anchorable bubbles. Given that you only have a limited amount of time to catch your target, being immune to those bubbles can save you very precious time, which is lethal to actually catching a target.

Combat Probing is also a great perk to have, as you will need combat probes for especially targets that are not ratting in anomalies.

The main downside of T3s is that they are expensive. Especially as a new hunter, you will make a lot of rookie mistakes which will cost you your ship. You might want to do these mistakes in a cheaper ship with no SP loss. Then again, if you lose a T3 hunter ship in a Bombers Bar fleet we will pay you up to 500m ISK, which should cover all or some of its cost. Nevertheless we prefer you doing those mistakes in a cheaper ship.

Another downside of the nullsec Tengus is that it screams “I am a cyno hunter”. While you can often see random ships like a Buzzard exploring, a Prospect huffing gas or a Manticore solo hunting in null, intel channels tend to vibrate lot more for a loose Tengu in their space.

PROSPECT

PROS: Highly agile, good warp speed, best tanked frigate, cheap, less suspicious.
CONS: No combat probing, no nullification.

I am not sure if this was intended by CCP, but Prospects are the best learning ships for whalehunters. They rely on d-scan hunting and are good at catching anomaly running targets. A hunter will need some tank to get the fleet on top of the target she caught, and a new hunter will need even more tank. Prospects gives her the most cost effective solution. Their agility and on-grid speed helps you to avoid bubble camps really well too.

The downside is lack of combat probing and nullification, which are two reasons to leave this ship behind when you advance more in your hunting career.

COVERT OPS

PROS: Best warp speed, decent agility and on grid speed, combat probe capable.
CONS: No nullification, worst tank.

Covert Ops frigates can make really good nullsec hunters. Buzzards seem to be the best for the purpose. One best way to use them is as a disposable hunting ship to catch carriers. Carriers are really easy to combat probe, so a lot of hunters rely on combat probing to catch them. You might prefer a T3, but a carrier can still blap your T3 (unless it is bling-tanked) and it costs way more if you lose the T3. Combat probe capability also enables you to hunt for DED site runners, which can be really shiny targets.

Then again changing ships each kill could be annoying, together with trying to ditch bubble camps or get past bubble fucked gates to reach your target, which for some hunters is a reason to upgrade to T3s.

ARAZU

PROS: Decent warp speed, decent agility and on grid speed, combat probe capable (but not bonused).
CONS: No nullification, semi-expensive.

While other recon ships are also covert cyno capable, Arazu is the best option since its warp disruption range bonus is relevant. An Arazu is half the isk compared to a Tengu. Once in a target system, it can be as good as a Tengu to catch a whale, but only if the system is not bubbled. Therefore it is only preferable in non-bubbled space, which is rare in null, but still exists.

BOMBERS

PROS: No decloaking delay
CONS: Covert Ops frigates are better in everything else.

A bomber won’t give you more speed or tank over a covert ops frigate. Moreover it will have to sacrifice even more of those to be combat probe capable, which will still be unbonused. So why use a bomber if it is also the same skill?

Well, the nonexistence of a decloaking delay is the only factor which might make bomber preferable. But this will come in handy only in rare, specific situations. These situations exist, and a fleet might need a bomber hunter, but you better be able to reship fast if you are hunting in a Bombers Bar fleet.

PART 2: BEFORE THE TARGET SYSTEM

You have your skills trained. You have your ship ready. You have a fleet ready. How do you decide which system to go? What do you do on your way? Apart from particular intel sources, we use Dotlan maps and the in-game map to navigate through nullsec.

MAKING THE JUMP RANGE MAP

The jump range is important for every hunter to be aware of. If you catch a whale but you are outside the fleet’s jump range, not only we will have to let the whale go, but also you will probably lose your hunter ship. Thus you need to know whether you are in range of the fleet.

The fleet be might staged in any system in Eve, depending on FC’s preference. In Bombers Bar the fleet will usually be already on the bridger black ops ship, often times cloaked, ready for jumping on a target. The hunter uses Dotlan to follow whether she is in range.

You can make a jump range in the tool linked in right side by entering the bridger ship type, bridger’s Jump Drive Calibration skill (always V in Bombers Bar) and the system the bridger/fleet is in. Check the sample range for a bit. It gives you a list of all the regions in range. When you click on a region, it indicates every system that is in range by a bold black circle around it.

Jump Range in New Eden
Regional Jump Range Map
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    How to Avoid Gatecamps: Nullified T3s

    Covert cyno hunters are masters of evasion. You will often stumble upon a gatecamp which either is formed in response to your presence to catch you, or was already there before you came in the region. For nullified T3 hunters it is easier to ditch them. Just make sure you are not under 2.000 meters range from a decloaker (if you spawned in such a place, and the decloaker is not moving, and there is a fast locker in the gatecamp, then your best bet is burning back to the gate), cloak up, and warp off.

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    How to Avoid Gatecamps: Non-Nullified

    Prospects, Buzzards and other non-nullified hunters will have to spend some effort to ditch a bubble camp. When you spawn in a bubbled gate camp in a non-nullified ship, the best thing to do is cloak up and use your mwd one cycle. Now you can use that speed to reapproach the gate, or if you are in a fast ship, which most hunter ships are, you can use “the mosquito maneuver”. For this you hold your gatecloak and observe your angle to the enemy ships. The moment you break your gate cloak, mwd, and cloak up, the camper ships will start burning toward you to decloak you before you can drift away from the bubble. What you do is that you first pick a direction which is at a 90 degrees angle to the camper ships, and burn there. Then pick another such direction and turn there. What you are doing will make your direction unpredictable to the camper ships, and it will make it so hard for them to decloak you. A hunter experienced in this maneuver should be able to ditch almost all gatecamps.

SELECTING THE TARGET SYSTEM

Apart from particular intel sources, there are two general sources we use to determine where to go. The first is the statistical filters in the in-game map, and the second is the statistical filters in Dotlan maps. It seems like in-game map is fresher, but Dotlan is more informative.

We are whalers, so mainly we go after people’s ratting ships. Fortunately ratters in nullsec leave a trail of NPC wrecks behind, which is broadcasted on both the in game map and Dotlan. There are three relevant filters in Dotlan which can be informative for a hunter. They are “NPC Kills”, “NPC Kills Delta” and “NPC Kills 24h”.

The NPC Kills filter shows the NPC kills in the last hour. The higher it is the better chance there is a ratter there. The Delta shows the change between the last hour and the hour before that, so an increase might mean someone just started ratting or more ratters are logging in, while a decrease might mean people are stopping to rat. The 24 hour statistic (and a 48 hour graph can be found in the system’s specific page in dotlan) mostly helps determine whether the system in general is a heavy ratting system. It is always worth to check main ratting systems.

Remember, dotlan refreshes once in an hour, so if you are seeing 500 NPCs killed in a system and the current time is 5 pm, the activity might have happened between 3:01-4:01, or 4:59-5:59. Depending on when the last refresh was, people might have stopped ratting an hour ago. This is a reason one should refer to the delta as much as NPC kills. If there is a long time since last refresh, a 200 kills system with +50 delta might be preferable to a 600 kills system with -300 delta.

Prioritizing the systems that you will check is important, because once you are in a region, especially with a regular hunter toon, you want to be as fast as possible to check the top ratting systems. The reason for that is unless you pop from a wormhole or suddenly log in, most nullsec alliances have a wide network of intel channels which will warn your targets on that you are around before you can even go in their systems. Some targets will dock right away, but some will prefer waiting for you to appear in local, which is your chance.

In Bombers Bar you will also hunt alongside many fellow hunters, thus systems will be shared among hunters, either by FC or by hunters themselves.

After you have your system, try your best to go there as soon as possible. You can visit other hot systems which are on your way to yours, but keep your presence minimal. Try not to launch combat probes etc. in each system, especially those which are not hot ratting systems. Each passing second might mean a target being spooked and docking. In our fleets we often experience entire regions docking until we leave it. So speed is the key. For this reason many Tengu hunters prefer a 1-2 billion price range ascendancy capsule, which helps a lot to visit more systems in less time.

PART 3: IN THE TARGET SYSTEM

You have your fleet ready to jump on a target you catch. You burned as fast as you could to the target system. You took the final gate and now you are inside. Now what? Here starts your battle against time.

There are two main styles of hunting. You can rely on directional scanner or combat scanner of your ship. For beginner hunters it is advised to start with D-scan hunting. This is because most beginner ships are not combat probe capable, and also any hunter should learn her way around the D-scan. With more practice a hunter learns to combine both into an effective balance, but how much you rely on which kind of hunting seems like more of a personal choice.

DIRECTIONAL SCAN HUNTING

CATCH’EM BY D-SCAN

In this kind of hunting you can catch targets in directly warpable places such as anomalies, gates or stations. The first advantage of it is that it spooks the system less. Launching combat probes make it beyond doubt in any system that you are looking for a target, while a D-scan hunting prospect is a way more innocent-looking entity. Also if you are well-trained in d-scan it will be arguably faster to locate where a sub capital is, compared to c-scan hunting. Lastly, even a combat scanner oriented hunter makes good use of d-scan.

THE RIGHT D-SCAN FILTER

A good filter keeps your attention at the right place. For example, wrecks and control towers might be essential for a wormhole hunting overview, but hundreds of wrecks in a ratting system in null will really clutter your d-scan. To prepare a filter you need to make a new overview tab, and you can later use it only as a d-scan filter. Besides ship classes that you hunt for, below is a list of what you should include in your filter. And always sort your d-scan by type.
  • Force Fields
  • Citadels
  • Stations
  • Star Gates
  • Jump Bridges
  • Scanner Probes
  • Encounter Surveillance Systems
  • Cynosural System Jammers
You need the first five items to determine where your target whales are. If a ship seems like it is in one of these places it will be harder to catch, therefore your priority is those who are outside these places. There are however definitely further tricks you can use (which will not be a part of this public guide) for each of these spots to catch your whale, but these tricks are not in this guide.
The last three items are informational. Having scanner probes on your filter helps to determine whether someone is trying to combat scan you or your fleet. You want to have ESS’s in there because looting them might be good ISK and might starts fights you might want to take. Lastly, in case you have ships with normal jump drive (capitals) in your fleet or you expect possible capital ships as a response fleet in your jump range, you will want to have cyno jammers in the filter to determine whether the system is cyno jammed (which is a module that blocks all the non-covert cynosural field attempts in a system).

FC WHAT DO?

Upon entering a target system the first thing you do is to check your immediate d-scan vicinity. If you are lucky there could be immediate targets within 14.3 AU, but remember, most systems are way bigger than this and you might need to warp around to be able to get in d-scan range of possible targets.
Let’s say there wasn’t any immediate target. The second thing to do is burn away from bubbles (if the gate is bubbled) and warp to a random anomaly (priority: havens > sanctums > forlorn and forsaken hubs or hordes > patrols for drone regions) in the most crowded anomaly pocket in the solar system. Anomalies spawn at 4 AU distance from a planet, so this pocket will most likely be in the middle of the solar system, and you will want to have solar system map opened with anomalies shown to determine which anomaly to warp.

THE RUSH

If you are lucky you might land right on top of a target, but most likely you won’t. Hopefully you have a target in your d-scan. Now you need to determine where the target is. The generally faster way to do this is doing 360 degree scans with smaller and smaller increments. Start by doing a 14, 10, 5 and 1 AU scan. Let’s say the target was in your 14 AU d-scan but not 10 AU. This means it is somewhere in between. Now do 11, 12 and 13. Repeat this procedure until you have the target’s range at a 0.1 increment (steering mouse wheel while hovering over the d-scan range value will change it at 0.1 increments, which is extremely helpful).
Suppose the target appears at a 13.3 scan, and disappears at a 13.2. If there is a force field, station, star gate, jump bridge or citadel doing the same then it means it is most likely in there (unless there is an anomaly at the same range). If not, then hopefully it is ratting in an anomaly. To determine which anomaly he is at you need to check your probe window, with anomalies sorted by distance, and see if there is any anomaly in the range (it should be a value such as 13.25 AU). If there are multiple anomalies in that range, go with the priority list I gave before (supers and carriers usually do sanctums and havens, while smaller targets go for easier anomalies). If there are multiple of the same kind, just warp randomly (cloaked) and hope for the best. A good distance for warping at anomalies is between 10 and 15. If targets warp at them at 0 then you will land in point range. Most hunters do not warp at 0 to anomalies because structures in anomalies decloak them.

When you land on a target, check its distance and velocity. If it has slow or 0 velocity then it is careless and you have time to point it. If it has some velocity you better be fast. If you land in point range just decloak, tackle the target, move your ship at random direction (or else you will have to wait 10 seconds upon landing from warp to be able to cyno up) and light your cyno. Always scram battleship sized targets (as they might mjd away) but tackling carriers around max range (20 and above) is often better than at 0 (they might be smartbombing, baiting or ecm bursting). If you landed below 50-60 kms your best bet is decloaking, overheating prop mode and points, approaching them and hoping that they don’t warp off before you get in point range. Point or scram depending on the target, slow your ship down under 500 km/h and cyno up. If you landed above 60 km off target, bookmark your spot. Warp off to a warpable place (anomaly, planet or anything really) behind your target, and warp back to your bookmark at a similar distance that was between initial spot and your target. That should make you land in point range. If there is no such warpable spot, maybe she has a anchored mobile tractor unit or mobile depot that you can bookmark to warp back at.

Remember, the more time you spend between decloaking and cynoing up (e.g. to get in range of the target) the more time you give her and the NPCs to shoot you. If you are in a lightly tanked ship such as a Buzzard you will want to cyno up asap, so the fleet tackles the target, and you can die in peace if necessary.

Take all these processes above. It doesn’t matter much if you do all these in 5 minutes, because your targets will dock up. If the time between entering the system and tackling the target often takes around up to 45 seconds then you are a decent hunter. It takes some practice to speed up your d-scan hunting process but you get there in due time. This is one of the rare instances in Eve where the game requires some actual gaming skill (over experience etc.) and the really good hunters can do this process very quickly.

D-SCAN HUNTING SAMPLE VIDEO

COMBAT SCAN HUNTING

THE ADVANTAGES

Combat scanner hunting is probably a better method to catch targets above the battleship size. Most carriers and supercapitals will provide a %100 result if scanned from 8 AU in a HK ship with level IV scanning skills. This allows the HK to scan down multiple anomaly pockets at the same time, without even needing to be there. It can be argued that targets might be spooked upon seeing our combat scanners on their d-scan. Our experience tells that if they don’t pay attention to local, they won’t do so for their d-scan as well.
You can catch a broader variety of targets with c-scan hunting compared to d-scan hunting. On top of this is the DED site runner. Most DED sites are escalations which appear as journal entries, thus they won’t be probeable to anyone. People buy them as bookmarks. So if you are in a d-scan ship, there is no way to scan their sites with normal probes. However you can scan these ships with combat scanners. DED runners will be juicier targets compared to anom ratters, as they die less often.

HOW TO

After some testing I decided that the default pinpoint formation is optimal, but use it at 8 AU probing range. The reason I use 8 AU is that you will scan down most carriers at 8 AU, but you won’t scan down most battleships at 4 AU, and 2 AU is too small to cover enough space. So you need 2 times of scanning for battleships at any rate.
There is not much to say about the actual scanning process. It is the same as scanning down a signature, but this time you scan pockets of anomalies in order to find a target. The more you do it the better and faster you will get.
Once you scanned down a target figure out its location. You can see on solar map whether it is in an anomaly, or somewhere else. If it is in a moon, it probably is in a POS shield. If it is on a random spot in space it might be tethered to a citadel or at a ping spot. Unfortunately there is now way to tell whether it is on a citadel for sure, unless that citadel is on your d-scan.

Combat Scanner filters are broken at the moment and they clutter with all kinds of pos trash if you add citadels in your filter. But make sure you exclude signatures and structures. Some people even exclude anomalies to have a clear probing window.

Again, if it is a battleship sized target warp to it within scram range. If it is a carrier then warping at 20 is better as it might be a smartbombing or a bait. Most hunters do not even bother cloaking to save 5 seconds decloaking timer, and try to tackle the target as soon as they land. Once you land tackle, move your ship to random direction and cyno up.

C-SCAN HUNTING SAMPLE VIDEO

Above is a sample combat scan hunting video, which is simpler than the d-scan one, as the job is simpler. If you have multiple targets like I did, try to scram one and point the other. Prioritize battleships for scram.
One really good way to use combat scanners is chasing people around the system. Some people will not have places to dock/tether in a system. They could try to warp off to a gate, or warp to a random celestial/spot and cloak up. You can combat scan them before they are able to cloak. Make sure you right click on your probe window and click “Save Location” to save each %100 result as a bookmark, and keep combat scanning. You can trace the warp path and cloaking spot of the target with those bookmarks. It will not be able to burn too far away, so just decloak and approach at 0 to your bookmark when you land on their landing spot. If you do this right, you will decloak them and get a good kill.

Decloaking people is especially important to catch DED runners, but I won’t go into more detail about that in here. There are some really good videos on Youtube about it and you can do your research.

OTHER DETAILS

RISK ASSESSMENT

Risk assessment is more of an FC problem more than a hunter problem, but a hunter who is literate on it will potentially save billions in losses to whatever entity they are hunting for. Besides, you might wanna hop on your Sin and solo hunt for yourself, having to do all the assessment by yourself.

Contrary to the seemingly popular opinion, whaling is not always the riskless “kill poor defenseless ships” kind of deal. Well, it is partially true that once you have a successful catch there is nothing much the target can do, especially against a typical 80 man Bombers Bar fleet. But that is only true if you consider catches that can possibly go wrong “unsuccessful”. There are many things nullsec dwellers do to deter or even target a whaling fleet. And some drops go horribly wrong costing billions of ISK. But there are also things you can do as a hunter to assess the situation and inform your FC of the possible risks the fleet might encounter. So below is a general evaluation.

1) Know Your Fleet:

What kind of fleet do you have behind the cyno? A single blops battleship? 3 blops battleships? Or maybe you have a small, 10 man bomber fleet, or possibly a crowded 70 man one. What kind of ewar support do you have? Any recon ships?

All these questions matter in deciding what kinds of targets you can handle. A solo Sin or a 3 man blops fleet (although there are niche fits to do that) is not that likely to take down a carrier. So is a 10 man bomber fleet, if it lacks Falcons. If you are dropping on a fast afterburner ship such as a Nightmare, you better have a Rapier behind to keep it tackled. If you have a smartbombing Machariel setup as a target, you better cyno far away or your bombers will die, and have an Arazu to keep them scrammed.

In general, in time you should develop a sense of what is a guaranteed kill and what is a more fishy drop, either in the form of what you already have on grid or what you expect as a response/bait. And you will learn to be in close touch with your FC about the fishy sitations. That being said, I won’t be modest and say we have grown so much over time now, a Bombers Bar fleet today is able to take most baits null groups usually offer, and that is exactly what we do.

2) Know Risks:
What do people to do counter a whaling fleet? Here is what we commonly experience.

The first category here is the non-baitey situations. A most common response is warping in other ships trying to save the tackled ship. Now if you have a small fleet these ships can overwhelm your fleet. For example a solo or small blops fleet needs to be way more careful on this manner. In a crowded Bombers Bar fleet we are far well equipped in dealing with subcaps warping in. However, if you drop on a capital ship, they might warp in or cyno in capital support, especially in the form of too many FAXes, which can actually save the target ship. But even in the likelihood of such a risk it is usually worth trying.

The baitey situations vary by the kind of whaling fleet the nullsec group is expecting to bait. A lot of people use bait targets (unsuspicious ratters such as Rattlesnakes or Ishtars). They might have points and/or cynoes depending on the form of the bait. It is for this reason, especially solo and small blops groups tend to use ship scanners on their hunting ships, and not cyno up if the target has pvp modules. But adapting to this precaution, baiting null dwellers often use a genuine ratting ship plus a nasty cyno or tackler cloaked right next to it.

Now what happens after you take a bait? They might drop a covert fleet (often bombers) as its as easy as having a bridger blops. Even Bombers Bar often baits other blopsers and counter drops them. They might drop a crowded anti-bomber fleet (small, fast ships) but this requires them to bother with allocating a bridger titan. Some groups can do this easily, some do not even have titans. They might bait with smartbombing ships, often capitals, or drop smartbombing capitals. These are one of the best counters to a crowded whaling fleet with small ships (such as a Bombers Bar fleet) can be carriers, supers and titans. Else, they might log in toons that weren’t in the system, and warp them in ships that can kill you once they establish tackle on your ships, which is a good case for blopses.

At any rate, some of the best fights we had started with taking the bait, and you will find many such if you make a search “Bombers Bar” on Youtube.

3) Know the Enemy:
There are two kinds of awareness you can develop here to help with risk assessment. Firstly there is regional awareness, and then there is local awareness.

For regional awareness, I can say that one general rule is wherever in nullsec you are, if locals have a plan to counter your whaling activity, of all the kinds of counters and baits I have listed here, they will favor one or few to the others. For example, everyone knows Goonswarm likes to counterdrop whaling fleets with smartbombing supercapitals and titans. That’s their style, and when you are hunting in their territory you should keep that in mind. Some other regions are known to have baiters hunting for solo or few blopses. Others will warp/cyno in dozens of FAXes on you if you catch a carrier. I won’t make a full list in here on who does what, as it is often a fluid thing and will easily get outdated. But a good FC will already tell you what the possible risks are, and it never hurts to ask her.

As for local awareness, it is good to develop an awareness of how risky your current system are. A major indicator is local count. There is a difference in forms of response, or at least in locals’ capability of it, from a dead end ratting systems with 5 people in it, to main pocket systems with 30 people in it, and also to major staging systems with 150 people in it. But also, constantly d-scanning and evaluating your results will help a lot. For example a system might have 30 people plus a carrier in it, but the rest can just be a dude multibox mining with 30 mackinaws. In that case you could tune down your expectation of a response a little. In another case, there can be oddly looking pvp ships on your d-scan results. Ships which are never or rarely used in pve such as heavy interdictors, interdictors, cerberuses etc. might indicate locals are getting ready for a fight.

All in all, we advise our hunters to have a healthy dose of caution. A general rule that applies well is that you should be more cautious and risk averse if your fleet is smaller, as it is exposed to more and more styles of baiting or response. But do not to be too risk averse as well. If you hunt for Bombers Bar your main job is to communicate what you see and think to the FC, and she will be competent enough to assess the risk. And know that although not that often, we do fall for traps and whelp a fleet at times. Don’t be discouraged if this happened due to your cyno, as we can replace lost ships easily, but just try to learn from the mistake.

KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS

I often underlined how imperative speed is in nullsec whalehunting, and using keyboard shortcuts to hunt cuts a lot of precious time, so hunters should try to teach themselves playing with the keyboard instead of giving in the mouse clickey nature of the Eve client.

First of you should have a shortcut to each module and their individual overheat. I use the F-set for high rack and the numeric set for mids (giving up tag hotkeys). Using modules with shift will overheat them. Secondly you should memorize the shortcuts you have for warping, aligning, approaching, docking etc. Lastly, here are some particular shortcuts (some you need to manually set) that are helpful.

– Refresh D-scan: I use “R” for this but it is not default setting.
– Analyze (Combat Scan): I use “T”, again needs to be manually set.
– To change D-scan distance by 0.1 increments hover over D-scan value window, mouse wheel up and down.
– To increase/decrease probe analysis range when in solar system map, hold alt and mouse wheel up/down.

FINAL REMARKS

If you have read all this, you have more knowledge than most of our hunters when they started hunting, and you are ready to test your skills in the field. There is much more to learn about nullsec hunting, especially about a lot of different particular situations you can come across with. Besides getting your hands dirty, you can do a little research on Youtube. There are many videos in there from pioneers of whaling in Eve which you can learn different tricks. Beyond that, the career seems to me as an unending process of getting better and better.

I hope our paths cross in Bombers Bar as our fleets are open to everyone. We do have great respect and gratitude for our hunters. To come to a fleet with us just follow the instructions on the homepage of this website.

I expect this guide to be far from being perfect. So if any of you bitter vets have any suggestions on parts that needs to be fixed, added or removed please do not hesitate sending me an evemail.

o7

Olmeca