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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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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday definition: Kiting

And now, an EVE term definition for the newer EVE players.  You vets can move on to the next post.

There's a lot of different ways to avoid damage, particularly if you're in a long-range ship.  In PvP, skirmishing tactics extensively use a tactic called kiting.  The tactic gets its name from kite flying.  When flying a kite, the person doing so will be connected to the kite by a long piece of string or twine.  As the wind blows, that wind will tend to hold the kite at a constant distance from the flier.

In much the same way, kiting involves using long-range, fast ships to hold a set range from a target or targets.  The range chosen is typically 70-80% of the optimal plus the fall-off of the kiting ship's guns, or 80-85% of the range of missiles of a missile boat.  However, it's critical for the kiting ship to have superior speed to its targets and be able to control the range of the engagement.  Artillery-fit Minmatar ships are traditional kiting ships, because of their good range and high speed.  Rail-fit ships -- particularly rail-fit frigates -- are also excellent kiting ships.

Specifically, the kiting ship will attempt to begin the engagement at the chosen range.  Then, as the target or target advances, the kiting ship will confirm that they can control the range of the engagement.  If the kiting ship or ships can do so, all is well.  If the kiting ship or ships can't hold its chosen range, a more defensive fight will take place.  There are a couple of possibilities.  If a kiting fleet is having trouble holding range, then they can concentrate on the enemy fleet's tacklers as they close inside the chosen kiting range.  Once a significant number of tacklers gets within tackle range, the kiting fleet needs to warp off.  If the engagement is 1v1 and the kiting ship can't hold range, then the kiting ship will also need to warp off in short order.

In the FOTW Punisher a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the nemesis of that particular Punisher was kiting ships such as the Caldari Navy Hookbill.  This is for two reasons: the Punisher is slow, and has short-range weapons.  Because of this, the Hookbill (with its long-range rockets) can set the range of the engagement.  The tricky part of kiting in PvP is maintaining tackle on your enemy.  In the Punisher v. Hookbill fight, this will be as easy as a Warp Disruptor on the Hookbill.  However, in a larger fleet engagement, the kiting fleet will need to rely on fairly exotic tactics: you'll either see bubblers used extensively or long-point ships such as the Lachesis or Proteus.

However, as I mentioned, kiting is often used with artillery ships.  Artillery ships have the advantage of tremendous volley damage and if the fire from these ships is reasonably coordinated, no tackle will be needed.  Ships will simply disappear under volley fire before they can warp off.  ;-)

In a 1v1 kiting engagement, it's fairly important that you still maintain transversal, by the way.  A lot of manual flying will be useful here.  Once you have range, angle the movement of your ship back and forth about 20 degrees at a time while still maintaining range.  A kiting fleet usually doesn't have to worry about this; instead, they'll just pick an align point and the FC will try to ensure that the fleet stays grouped at the proper range.

Finally, kiting is every bit as useful in PvE as it is in PvP.  You can't kite incursions, wormholes, Guristas ships, and you probably can't kite Angels.  But every other type of rat is ripe for kiting.  It's particularly effective against non-incursion Sansha ships and Blood Raider ships, both of which rely on close-range high-punch laser damage.  A Drake or Raven can warp into many missions at long range, then maintain this long range from the mission rats, often taking little or no damage.


Occasionally on Sundays, I will be defining a common EVE term for those who might not have heard it.  If you have a suggestion for such a term, please drop it into the comments.

7 comments:

  1. Hookbills can be rail-fit?

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  2. Angels are probably the easiest NPCs to kite: they don't jam, tracking disrupt or target damp their targets. They just paint you the size of a small moon, and try to jump on top of you to use their auto cannons. Those Angel ships that do MWD towards you do so at speeds of under 2km/s, and in a straight line. Those Angel ships with artillery generally travel slower.

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  3. Kiting rats used to be a lot easier.

    Before the speed nerf done some years ago, cruiser, BC and BS rats had the same base speed as the capsuleer ships.

    But the speed nerf only changed the base speed of the later. The rats remained unchanged.

    Take a look at the base speed of a domi, for instance. Now look at the speed of a serpentis domi. It used to be the same, but now the difference is not subtle at all.

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  4. In a droneship kiting in pve is actually a very good tactic. Even against sensordampening serpentis or all-out jamming guristas.

    A good fitted ishtar can just on AB keep ahead of most l4 missions while ogres/berserkers make short work of the (stupid) npc's.

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  5. more comments on keep at range vs setting a large orbit distance would be nice to read.

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  6. I've successfully kited Guristas in a Cormorant. The tactic here wasn't so much avoiding all incoming damage, as stringing them out so that only one was in range at a time, turning a losing 10v1 battle into a sequence of easy 1v1 battles.

    This was pre-noctis; salvaging the resulting chain of wrecks was painful.

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