Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Class: PvP 102: Fleet Scouting

PvP 102: Fleet Scouting

The Importance of Bookmarks
1) 90% of PvP in EVE is preparation.
  • Bookmarks are a big part of preparation for PvP.  A good set of bookmarks will save your life.
  • A good set of bookmarks can also be used tactically to gain an advantage in combat.
  • All other things being equal, a pilot or FC with a good set of bookmarks will beat one without.
  • Bookmarks are created in People and Places, and aren't created until you click OK in the BM creation dialog.
2) Understand the types of bookmarks.
  • Safespots are BMs at least 15 AU from any celestial, off the ecliptic and not in line with two celestials.
  • Undocks are BMs in line with a station exit, and preferably off the grid the station resides on.
  • Observations are BMs between 150 and 250 from gates or stations, used to check that area for hostiles.
  • However, observation BMs are also useful sniping bookmarks.
  • Keep track of what direction relative to the star your observation bookmarks are in.
  • Scanning BMs are those within 15 AU of a gate, and usually very close (10,000km) to the gate but off grid.
  • They're used to have a place from which to check the on-board ship scanner for gatecamps.
3) Understand how to use bookmarks.
  • Safes are used to hide from an enemy fleet.  Distant safes are difficult to scan.
  • When possible, have multiple safes and warp frequently between them.
  • Undocks are used to escape station camps in high- or low-sec.  They're also useful to avoid having your cargo scanned.
  • Think a gate or station is camped?  Warp to your observation BM instead and have a look.  Then warp down.

Tactical Uses of Bookmarks
1) Talk about the uses for safespots and off-gates.
  • Have several in your key systems, and warp from one to the next to the next.
  • This is a good way to wait out Global Criminal Timers and hostile scan-probe ships.
  • The only truly safespot is one more than 15 AU from a celestial (more on this in a bit) where you are cloaked.
  • Off-axis safespots are better than other safespots, but harder to make.
  • Watch your missions for good safespot locations, because these locations are often distant, and well off-axis.
  • Watch the Incursion sites, too.  These are often even better safespots, at huge distances from other celestials.
2) Show the system map.
  • Point out that all bookmarks are listed on the system map.
3) Creating optimals and warp-ins.
  • People are going to be warping to you frequently.  Be in a good position so that they can.
  • Learn the difference between warping to 0 and warping to various distances.  Don't warp to a cloaked scout at 0.
  • Talk about warping to a target "at optimal".  As a scout, your job is to make that possible.
  • Talk about using observation BMs tactically, such as creating sniping, bombing, and clocking BMs.
4) Creating off-gates and acting as a moving safespot.
  • If you have a few minutes on a gate, use that time to MWD off the gate and make an off-gate bookmark.
  • Off-gates are your most valuable commodity as a scout.  Fleets can warp to you instead of bubbled gates.
  • Safespots are also quite valuable.  A hunted fleet can warp to your safespot.
  • Then you MWD away from the fleet, and the fleet periodically warps to your new position, a "rolling safespot."

First things first: learn the types of scouts.  Learn what they're good at and bad at.
1) There are three types of scouts: scouts, recons, and intel.
  • "Intel" comes from ships not part of your fleet, but allied to you.  They're one-time bursts of information.
  • "Recon" is a cloaked frigate, usually a CovOps.  They are not combatants, but can act as warp-in points.
  • "Scout" is an frig, Assault Ship, or Interceptors.  They are both combatants and can act as warp-in points.
  • Assault Ships and their kin are also sometimes referred to as skirmishers.
  • Skirmishers are tough enough to hold a point on a tough target for the fleet.  Interceptors, by and large, aren't.
2) As a scout, your primary job is to find the fleet targets.
  • If you're acting as the fleet's forward scout, don't get too creative.  Just stay a jump ahead of the fleet.
  • However, if you're given discretion to look, don't be afraid to snoop around a bit.
  • Your ship's scanner is your best friend in these situations.
3) There are different types of ships that make good scouts.
  • As I said, Interceptors and CovOps are the best at it in their particular roles.
  • T2 Recons have the advantages of CovOps (quick, cloaky), but can attack as well, and generate cynos.  Easier to pin.
  • T1 frigates are cheap throw-away scouts that you can send into dangerous systems without guilt.
  • Skirmishers are scouts that can also stand up to a little bit of punishment (AFs, tough close T1 cruisers like Raxes).
  • "Bait-scouts" are tough battlecruisers like Drakes that feign moving from system to system all alone.

The most important thing about scouting is situational awareness.
1) Have a map up.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  Have a map up.
  • Know where you are.  Know the exits from your immediate area.
  • If you're scouting, know where the fleet is.  Keep the fleet's location in your thoughts at all times.
  • If you're in a war-dec, know where the enemy is.  Hopefully, you'll have some intel on that.
  • The trick here is to know where the bad guys are relative to your own position.
2) Watch Local!
  • You can drag your Local tab out separate from your other in-game chat channels and give it its own window.
  • Do this any time we're in a war dec situation, and get into the habit of watching Local.
  • This is a habit that will eventually serve you very well when in low-sec or 0.0 space.
3) If you enter a hostile situation, know what your capabilties are.
  • It's almost never a good idea to go into a combat when you're outnumbered, and suicidal for a scout to do so.
  • Don't panic.  When you come through a gate, you have 30 seconds before you have to do anything.
  • Spend that time planning your exit strategy if you come out in the middle of a camp.
  • Quick, smart decisions are best.  It is better to act decisively and wrongly than to be indecisive and die.
4) A hostile situation can unfold outside your home station, so you might have to scout there.
  • A similar situation comes up when you undock.  If you undock in the middle of hostiles, you have 30 seconds to decide.
  • First, stop your ship (Ctrl-Space)!  You are completely invulnerable until that 30 seconds ends or you take an action.
  • Sometimes, that action can be to redock.
  • Safe undocks are stations where you can't fly out of docking range in 30 seconds.

Basic Principles
1) Scouting is the task of moving ahead of a fleet or a ship and looking for hostiles.
  • Scouting is best done in a small, fast frigate, preferably a CovOps or an Interceptor.
  • These ships are hard for enemies to lock on entry into a new system.
  • The most dangerous part of scouting is the jump into a new system.  For a few seconds, you're completely blind.
2) The idea behind scouting is to transfer as much information to the FC as you can in the shortest possible time.
  • Keep your scouting reports brief, informative, and to the point.
  • Say "Recon", give your name, position, what you see in Local, what you see on grid, and what you see on scanner.
  • Always refer to yourself in the third person.  "I am in Jark" is not useful information, "I need help" even less so.
  • "Break Recon Ripard, in HED-GP on the Keberz gate, 27 in Local, two neutrals on grid, five ships on scan."
  • When scouting and you encounter hostiles, bring up your scanner, do a scan, minimize the window, then get out.
  • You'll still have the list of ships and their types to report later.  Save yourself first.
3) Your job is to stay about one jump ahead of the main fleet, reporting on what you see back to the FC.
  • Concentrate on giving info on war targets and other hostiles first.
  • If you're on a 0.0 roam, war targets first, then neutrals.  Your FC is going to want to know about everyone.
  • After basic information, concentrate on targets that you know the locations for.
  • This is also the time to give specific ship information.  Read the ship types off as quickly as you can.
  • It's usually useful for a scout to have their Overview sorted by ship type rather than target name.
  • "Break Recon Ripard, ships on Keberz gate are Geddon-Crow-Crow-Drake-Drake-Harbinger-Hurricane-Hurricane-Rupture."
  • Remember, communication throughput is limited.  Use it quickly and to convey maximum information.
4) If you don't have immediate targets and you're looking for them, your FC will send you looking.
  • For instance, you might be sent to scout a few belts, or to scout a system one jump off your current system.
  • Here, a certain amount of bravery and creativity will serve you well.  Think about where you would be.
  • In particular, when scouting asteroid belts, look for groups of belts around close planets where you can use scanner.
  • Go for belts that are close to the in-gate, too.  Ships there might not have time to react to your presence.
  • Your main goal, though, will be to stay ahead of the fleet's path of advance.  Don't take too much time.
5) Scouts are sometimes asked to act as skirmishers.  Be ready for this kind of command.
  • Scouts are considered -- and this is harsh, but true -- fairly expendable.
  • The rule for "don't fly what you can't afford to lose" is particularly important for scouts.

Scouts use different rules to move around the various types of space.
1) General threats you have to be concerned about.
  • You're at your most vulnerable in the first 30 seconds after you jump into a new system, blind.
  • The biggest threat to a scout (after bubbles, later) are Interceptors and insta-lock Destroyers.
  • A fast Interceptor can lock you up VERY rapidly and point you almost as rapidly.
  • A insta-lock Destroyer (Destroyers with many Sensor Boosters or targeting mods/rigs) can lock AND kill you very quickly.
  • When you first jump in to a new system, look most carefully at ships within 24km of you.  Those are the biggest threats.
  • That said, don't dismiss more distant ships.  Some ships get bonuses (some, quite good ones) to point ranges.
  • There are also faction points that give range bonuses.  Faction point + ship with bonuses = bad news (50km+ points).
2) High-sec space (0.5 through 1.0).
  • When scouting in Empire, the only real threats to you are WTs (war targets) and suicide gankers.
  • Suicide gankers are a small threat, but a real one.  WTs sometimes use suicide alts to take out scouts.
  • You won't have to worry about bombs, bubbles, and probably won't have to worry about smart bombs.
  • Your biggest concern will be a WT destroyer sitting close to the gate, waiting to point you.
3) Low-sec space (0.1 through 0.4).
  • The same WTs that were a threat in High-sec space are a threat here.
  • But you also have to worry about pirates in ships big enough to tank the gate guns.
  • Rare as long as you're in a fast frigate of some kind.  Anything that can quickly lock a frigate can't tank the guns.
  • But smart-bombers will be more common.  It's not unheard of for trios of smartbombers to surround a gate, bombs active.
4) Null-sec space (0.0).
  • This is where a scout earns his money, particularly when he jumps into a bubbled gate surrounded by a gatecamp.
  • Remember, your first job -- tough as this is to remember -- is intel.  Survival is second priority.
  • The basic rules are unchanged, though.  Get your intel, then use basic evasion to get out of the bubble.
  • Remember that sometimes, your quickest, safest way out of a bubble will be "behind you".  The gate is only 12KM away.
  • The instant you uncloak, even for a fraction of a second, expect Interceptors to start screaming toward you.

There are some tricks of the trade that are useful for scouts.
1) Know how to use your ship's directional scanner.
  • The ship scanner can tell you what is around you, and focused, it can tell you what is in front of you.
2) Use warp in points smartly and well.
  • Nearly every stargate has a nearby planet.  Warp to those planets, then use them as vantage points to scan the nearby gate.
  • This also works for scanning nearby moons for POSs, and scanning nearby belts for ratters or miners.
  • Having a Planets tab on your Overview is a no-brainer for a smart scout.
3) When you are passive scouting X, KEEP YOUR EYES on X!
  • You may be asked to passive scout something for a response fleet: a ratting carrier, for instance.
  • Use your "look at" option to watch whatever it is you're scouting.  You don't need to see your own ship.
  • Learn what the various gun types look like so you can report accurately how an enemy fleet is fit.
  • Remember your mission.  Your mission is to be eyes.  Pay attention to the target you're passive scouting.
  • Use the example of a scout watching a carrier at a POS, but too busy counting POS guns to see the carrier is aligning.
4) Make sure to use the Scanner options to your advantage.
  • You can set the scanner to only report items from your Overview (PvP = ships, for instance).
  • But you can also turn that off, and you should do this frequently.
  • Turning off the scanner to look for combat scanner probes and mobile warp distruptors is a good habit to get into.
  • In particular, don't declare a gate "safe" until you've checked for mobile warp disruptors.
5) Get into the habit of creating bookmarks frequently when acting as a scout.
  • In particular, as you approach a gate in a new system, a few seconds before you reach it, bookmark it!
  • This will be your off-grid observation point for months or years to come.
  • It's also a good idea to create mid-way bookmarks in systems that you frequent.
6) Learn the ship types!
  • Learn the names of various ships and their capabilities.
  • As you fly around Empire, if you see a ship type that you're not familiar with, look it up!

Homework: the directional scanner.
1) The directional scanner is an important tool for scouts.
  • The range of your scanner is 2.147 billion KM, about 14.36 AU.  Any location within 14.36AU is in range of your scanner.
  • Your scanner will tell you ship types and numbers.  It can also (used intelligently) tell you directions.
  • It can also spot items that are a threat to you or your fleet, such as probes and warp disruption bubbles.
2) The directional scanner is just that -- directional.
  • The angle is NOT the angle from the front of your ship, but rather the angle that your CAMERA is pointed.
  • You can zoom in very close on your ship, press alt to get a reticle, and align that reticle with a distant target.
  • The smaller the angle you use, the more useful your information is going to be.
  • You can also bring up the system map to get an indicator of exactly where you're pointing.
3) Practice using the directional scanner.
  • Scan various gates in your home system and report what's there.
  • Align for belts, and look for mining ships.  Scan moons for stations.  Practice pinning down POSs in high-sec.
  • Talk about using moon scanners to scan for the moon goo available and how to use those moon scanning probes.

Homework: scouting combat calls.
1) Keep your scouting reports brief, informative, and to the point.  Use the bandwidth smartly.
  • WHO are you, WHERE are you, WHAT do you see, HOW far away.
  • This is something that takes a lot of practice to do well.  Develop a clipped verbal style.
  • Practice!  Practice out loud, by yourself!  You'll be surprised how hard this stuff is to do well your first few times.
  • A close range system scan from the gate is VERY valuable intel for a scout to produce.
  • A good trick is to have your directional scanner ready, and click scan as you enter a system (short range, 360 scan).
  • This will give you a full list of nearby ships.  Minimize the window, then concentrate on evasion.
  • While evading, just report "Break recon, Ripard, in HED-GP on the Keberz gate, it's camped.  Report in a second, evading."
  • When passive scanning, practice sitting on a gate, zoomed way out.  When people warp in, follow them with your camera.
2) Remember these key points.
  • Be brief.  Brevity is your most valuable commodity.
  • Use calls to report when you transit a gate (friendly in, friendly out, or friendly gate fire).
  • Remember to talk about yourself in the third person.  ("I am in PF-" is NOT useful.)
  • As you gain experience, call out "important" targets first.  That's usually dictors, heavy dictors, and heavier ships.
  • Keep a particular eye out for carriers or ships escorted by fighters.
  • As your fleet approaches a scouted target fleet, connect names with the important targets for your FC.

Homework: gate and station observation.
1) Make station observation bookmarks for your home systems.
  • Once you're at 100km, you can orbit at this distance (or a little closer).
  • Or you can open up your range to 150km+, so that you can instadock from your position if you like.
  • This is a matter of style, but most scouts prefer to be farther away rather than closer.
  • If you orbit from far out, you have to orbit manually.  Only at distances of 100km or less can you orbit automatically.
  • Keep an eye on your cloak!  You'll sometimes be asked to provide passive intel at a fixed point.  Don't get bored.
2) Gate observation bookmarks are made in the same way.  You'll soon have a large library of BMs.
  • Decide how you're going to organize your BMs in advance.  System or region folders are good.  BM type is also good.
  • Unfortunately, you can't nest folders, so you're probably still going to have a large number of folders at some point.
  • Devise a standard naming convention for bookmarks early.
  • Doesn't much matter what the convention is, as long as it's consistent and you understand it.
3) Bookmark position is often very important.  Keep track of the BM's position and distance.
  • Develop code-words for your bookmarks (Inner undock, outer undock, clock positions, sunward, outward, ranges).
  • Talk about what it means to be off the grid, and why off-grid BMs for some locations are helpful.
  • Get into the habit, in a potentially dangerous system, of warping to your bookmarks, not the celestials.
  • Talk about getting camped in a station because you automatically hit dock at the station when you arrive in-system.

Homework: practice escape and evasion tactics.1) Practice pulsing your MWD before engaging your cloak.  Get a good feel for how fast you can move when needed.
  • Warp to a gate, jump through, then see how long it takes you to get back.  Count the number of seconds!
  • This is the amount of time you need to flee an engagement.
  • When you warp away, warp cloaked (if you can), but disable that cloak as you approach your outgate.
  • You can jump within 2500m of a gate, but sometimes you don't uncloak there.
  • If you can, practice with bubbles.  Ironically, best place to learn to how to avoid bubbles is probably EC-P8R...
2) Last resort tactics.
  • If it looks like you're toast, bring up your Planets Overview and start spamming the warp button.
  • A lot of scouts will just hit the autopilot trusting that to get their pod out.
  • This is dangerous because the autopilot is going to autopilot you not to the outgate, but to within 10km of it.
  • If it's camped, your pod is toast.
  • As I said before, don't fly what you can't afford to lose, and this goes doubly for your pod and your implants.
  • Don't scout unless you can afford to lose your pod.
3) Don't be afraid.
  • Scouting will probably be your first PvP job.  Embrace it!
  • The nice thing about scouts is that they get on all the KMs and get the best pickings from the loot.
  • You're in a fast ship, so you can reach the wrecks first, and reach the most distant wrecks.



  1. You can orbit at farther out by setting your default orbit to 100+KM and hitting the orbit button while you are WITHIN 100km of the thing you want to orbit. Very useful for fast scouts (like the Dramiel).

  2. afaik, stopping your ship within the 30 second undock timer will make you un-invulnerable.

  3. No, by using ctrl+space and stopping your ship after undock you retain your invulerability for 30 seconds, by which time you will be able to redock.

    You lose invul however by doing ANY other action with your ship, including turning on hardeners or aligning to a celestial.

  4. There is a lot to be said for having a porcupine of >150km BMs around stations or gates you often work at. Nothing says "har-har!" like being able to warp in front of, on top of and all over some annoying kiter who thought he was way beyond catching...

  5. Definitely! Of all the applications of GPS, Vehicle tracking and navigational systems have brought this technology to the day-to-day life of the common man. Today GPS fitted cars, ambulances, fleets and police vehicles are common sights on the roads of developed countries. fleet management company


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