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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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday definition: Log-in trap

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

In the modern EVE PvP battlefield, getting the other guy to engage your fleet is sometimes tricky.  Catching a single or a small group of ships that are determined to avoid you is trickier still.  To solve these problems, a lot of guys will resort to a tactic called the log-in trap.

The basic premise behind a log-in trap is to hide your fleet's numbers and location by having most or all of the fleet members log out of the game in a spot where it is known that the enemy might shortly appear.  This will cause the fleet members to perform a log-off emergency warp one million kilometers from the point where they logged out.  Then, right before the enemy appears in that spot, you have everyone log back in.  As they are doing so, their ships will warp the one million kilometers back to their previous location, hopefully with one or more enemy ships in their midst when they land.

Log-in traps are almost universally regarded as a cheap tactic... but are they actively considered an exploit?

During one of the interstitial interviews on EVE TV between Fanfest sessions, CCP Guard and CCP Sunset interviewed one of the senior GMs.  One of the things the GM said was that while they usually get to non-emergency petitions within a few days, at that particular moment in time, they were about two weeks behind.  This made me smile because I was one of the ones waiting for a response to a petition.

About a month ago, a bunch of us in Rote Kapelle decided to take out an armor battleship gang.  And we decided to take it into the heart of NC Reloaded space, right into NC-DOT, RaidenDOT, and Ev0ke's back yard.  Yes, alcohol was a factor.  ;-)  Very surprisingly, we didn't get hot-dropped out of existence.  Much less surprisingly, we did of course get blobbed out of existence.  Don't drink and fly, kids.  Anyway, we managed to extract a good portion of the fleet, and log them out in a couple of neighboring systems.  Scouts were then dispatched to get them out later that evening.  I was one of those affected.

Sure enough, very late that evening, I hooked up with a scout and we started for home.  It took about two jumps before my battleship was being chased by seven ships.  Five jumps further on, I was forced to log out a second time.  I logged out for about a half-hour in a system with no stations and the scout left to pull other battleships out via another route.  The scout then returned and reported that the system was empty save for one character in a neutral corp.  I logged back in and instantly, the scout reported there were now eight people in system.  The first of the hunters landed where I had logged out before I did.

This is a classic log-in trap.  It also struck me as a really charming opportunity to petition the loss, just to see what CCP's script on this says these days.

So mechanically, that's the first common type of log-in trap: have a probe ship scan down a logging-out ship and warp to its emergency warp point.  Then have the rest of the fleet warp to the same point.  Have everyone log-out except the probe ship.  Bring in a neutral alt and have the alt warp to a safe-spot.  Then have the probe ship log out.  Have the entire fleet log back into the game, but hold at the final character selection screen.  Then wait.  And wait.  And wait.  When and if the alt reports the prey has logged back in, everyone else logs in at once and there you go.

The second very common type of log-in trap is the gate trap.  This one's more common in high-sec but also has a lot of utility against enemy roaming gangs in low- and null-sec.  These gangs nearly always operate with a scout.  In a pipe system, have an alt spot the scout coming in.  A jump or two further on, have your fleet log out at the "in-gate": the gate the enemy fleet will have to jump through to pass through the pipe.  Have the alt keep an eye on the gang's scout and eventually, the alt can follow the scout, inserting himself between the scout and the enemy gang.  This will allow the alt to confirm the gang's numbers.  When the enemy scout passes the in-gate where your gang is logged off, he'll report the system is empty and move on.  When the scout reaches the out-gate in the pipe, have the gang log back in, almost certainly just in time to catch the enemy gang jumping into the now decidedly-not-empty system.  The enemy fleet will scatter in a panic and you can score a number of easy kills.

Expect to get called a lot of names if you use log-in traps, but some people just don't care.

But is the tactic legal?  Despite what you may be told, the answer is "yes", it is.  Using a log-in trap is not an exploit, and while a GM will be sympathetic, CCP's official position on this is "logging into the game is not an exploit, and losses due to this tactic are not in and of themselves petitionable."  Surprisingly, though, despite the arguments on-going about this tactic going back at least six years, CCP's GMs don't appear to have a "standard script" for responses to this sort of thing.  You'd think there would be some sort of FAQ for frequent petitions, but if there is, I wasn't pointed to it...

So there you have it, guys: despite what anyone may tell you, CCP says log-in traps are a perfectly legitimate combat tactic.

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.


  1. Show up for a fleet, 30 minutes of moving into hostile space followed by 2 hours of sitting at the character select screen...

    Yes, there is a possible way to make blue balls WORSE.

    This tactic is to be used SPARINGLY but can be effective.

  2. I think they do have a small fix for that with the new 15min wait log off timer for everyone. it not going to fix it all together just may not see as often, but i could be wrong.

  3. While a lot of people view log-on's as cheap, for a lot of people it evolved large as a response to people who logoffski and is really one of the only ways that you can effectively counter log-offs to avoid a ship loss, which is by far much more common.

    I think its silly how the logoffski is looked down upon far less than the logonski when they're really just opposite sides of the same coin.

    If you want to get into a relatively cheesy game mechanic lets start talking about the Titan bridge, which has basically caused the death of the roaming gang and turned "PVP roams" into a single plated BS flying around while everyone else sits on a Titan waiting to bridge.

  4. This isn't cheap, this is "unnatural". EVE should be a persistent world. If you log out, that shouldn't magically remove your ship. Your ship should be right there when you logged/DC-ed.

    There can be some emergency autopilot who tries to dock in the nearest friendly station or just warps to some random away spot and hides, but your ship, regardless of your login situation should be on grid.

    1. I can only imagine the horror of what that database would look like.

      Think about it, at any one time there will always be ships in space to the tune of <60k, then there's the rest which are unattended in POS's I dunno how many there are in space I would reason from the average POS's that I have seen in 0.0 and WH space that double that number to 120,000 isn't unreasonable guess.

      How many accounts are there in EVE currently. Lets choose 300k for convenience, with the potential for each account to have 3 characters. Your now talking about turning that in 900k ships.

      Lets assume that 60% of players log docked, (I just put a finger in the air, but it doesn't really matter what number you pick, as it will just be varying degrees of bad), your still talking about ~350,000 objects in space, just as character ships. add in the inevitable POS ships etc, that is going to put significant strain on the database.

      They are only just starting to bring the lag down again, without needlessly adding a boat load more to it.

    2. Which assumes that everyone playing EVE has a 100% reliable, rock-solid connection. The whole point of that mechanic is to prevent the situation where a hard-hat worker puts a spade through the wrong cable and some poor schmuck engaged in desperate combat loses three billion ISK worth of spacecraft because he can't get back online.

  5. Interesting that you have a go at log in traps (which I agree should be banned) but you yourself said you pulled a logoffski....

    "It took about two jumps before my battleship was being chased by seven ships. Five jumps further on, I was forced to log out a second time. I logged out for about a half-hour in a system with no stations...."

    I agree log in traps should be an exploit and, as Gevlon above said, are "unnatural" But if you were logging out and waiting in order to prevent being caught (logoffski), aren't you slightly guilty of the same tactic?

  6. Log in traps are no cheaper than players logging in space to avoid a fight. I agree that if the game were real you would not disappear just because you logged off. Want to be safe then Log off docked in a station. Log in traps are very usefull tools to engage those who want to harass and annoy ships in their territory but then log off when met with any resistance.


  7. You know, basically this lets people have a free cloak but better, since it cloaks them from local chat. CCP should just make it so that when you login, when you exit emergency warp, you can't lock anything for 30 seconds, same as if you had a (unskilled) cloak. I see the tactical value in doing this, but it doesn't sound all that fun for either the fleet attempting it or the victim.

  8. I agree with Pinky, I think your tactic of logging out to save yourself is just as cheap. That fleet was chasing you and you used the same game mechanic to avoid (for a time) what was an unavoidable death. You wouldn't have logged back in had it not been clear and thus would have continued to abuse Gevlon's "persistent world" and have Kobeathris's "free cloak" but too few seem to be calling you on that.

  9. To those that are saying: "Well, logging out to avoid the hunters was also cheap," it's an interesting perspective, but it begs a rather obvious question:

    If I'm supposed to stand and fight when chased by a fleet that badly outnumbers me rather than logging out, then am I also supposed to not run away from the first fight that prompted running away?

    In short, are you advocating that I should fight to the death every single time, and never run away, no matter the circumstances? Alternately, if you're saying that logging out in a system where I'm badly outnumbered is bad, what ARE you suggesting as an alternative in that situation, other than death? Bounce safe-spots for three or four hours?

    1. I think you answered your own petition Jester. CCP allows login traps because it wouldn't be fair as long as we have escape logoffski as a valid mechanic.

      I like what somebody else suggested. If you log out (and you ship warps away) then when you log back in you can't target for 30 seconds. If you lose connection in a fight while your pointed and don't warp off then you have full control of your ship when you log back in.

      I'm sure there are other ways to make this an easy mechanic that would satisfy most. Instead of a 30 second targeting delay we could alter other controls of the ship such as the ability to warp for 30 seconds.

    2. You can run away, but the same mechanic you're are calling cheap used against you is the one you tried to use to escape.

      If you are outnumbered/out-skilled/out-whatever means you enemy is in a superior position. Are you advocating you should only have to fight if you know you are going to win?

    3. You used a mechanic to which your enemy had no recourse (sound like your issue with titans).

    4. Still not seeing an alternative suggestion, just people calling me names.

    5. I haven't seen anyone call you names, just the tactic you used and the ones you called cheap. You logged out for the sole purpose of saving your ship. That isn't what the log off mechanic was designed for. If you come up against a foe you can't best, you should have to work to escape just as they are working to kill you. If logging off is fair while being chased(which it isn't but that is beyond the game to be able to determine), then the counter is fair.

    6. Still not seeing an alternative suggestion. ;-)

      And read my post, I didn't call log-in traps cheap. I said they're regarded as a cheap tactic. If you think logging out to avoid a hunter fleet is cheap, then you're certainly entitled to your opinion. But you should provide what you think should be the alternative mechanic for avoiding a fight.

    7. Probably isn't an alternative if you don't want to actively work to keep your ship alive. Your entire piece from the petition to the "but everyone calls them cheap" puts you in the right and the attackers in the wrong, every is just trying to point out that using the mechanic in a way that isn't intended makes both out you in the wrong.

      As a small gang PVPer when you chase another gang into a corner through a superior fleet or tactic and they log out, you don't feel a sense of loss that despite be "better" than your enemy you are deprived for victory? I'm fairly certain you have commented against supers using that tactic.

    8. Anonymous, CCP allows logon traps because reconnecting should never be considered an exploit. That is just ridiculous. If you think there should be situations where logging into the game can get you banned then I suggest you do a quick check of your logic.

    9. Running away while logged on and logging off to run away are two totally different things.

  10. Logging out in the middle of a fight is a lot different than logging out not in a fight.

    Regarding login traps, they are gay

    1. Would you say being chased by an enemy fleet isn't in the middle of a fight?

    2. No, because you are not "caught" yet. If you are on grid with the enemy and "caught" in a bubble, pointed etc etc and logoff, that is one thing.

      If you are merely trapped in a system with the enemy but are in a safe spot and not yet caught, logging off is fine because you can realistically keep moving from safe spot to safe spot for hours hiding from the enemy. Also, your ship is not immediately in danger.

  11. As someone who has lived in a wormhole, login traps do not bother me. Once you have lived without local, you get used to the idea that a horde of angry bastards can suddenly descend upon you. Think of it as a modified hot drop.

  12. The act of 'Logging' is an unavoidable situational circumstance due to the computer based nature of EVE. Log ons or offs, whether on purpose or by accident is part of the virtual physics (IE the 'mechanics') of EVE and, like gravity IRL, it simply must be accepted as a Virtual 'Law of Reality' of EVE and dealt with as such.

    That this Law of Virtuality can be 'used' is also neither 'fair' nor 'unfair'. Like gravity IRL can be 'used', IE a judo wrestler uses leverage and his opponent's mass and motion in the earth’s gravity field to tactical advantage, the ability to log off or on is the same.

    When used to tactical advantage in aggression, the losing side cries UNFAIR!.. the winner smiles. When used to tactical advantage in defense, the attacker now cries UNFAIR! and the defender avoids losing a ship... It is what it is, fair got nuthin to do with it.

    When the first truly 'effective' submarines were employed in WWI by Germany, England (and the “civilized” world) cried UNFAIR!! Funny though... Germany dint immediately scuttle all of their submarines out of shame... they used the advantage this new technology gave them.

    Show's over, move on please...

  13. This isn't relevant to this post but I don't have any way to contact you as I've not got an active account at the minute. But will be re subbing again when I have more time, your blog is a nice way to keep me in the loop until then.

    But I would really like to hear your views on this thread https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=87030&p=1 about botting,the Dev blog makes an interesting read.

    Personally I would like to see an temp tax increase on their accounts to say 40-60% to hit the botters where is hurts their wallets. I don't think name and shame will work that well but it would be nice to have something.

    Maybe you could do a post about that, anyway keep up the good work.



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