Updated Mon, Jan 17, 2011 by Space Junkie
Cloaking modules are a critical part of any EVE pilot's repertoire. They are so important that I divide my time playing EVE into two parts: before I trained to use cloaks, and after. Once you can use cloaking module, you become capable of moving around dangerous areas of space with much greater ease, and can operate even in hostile space without too much trouble.
However, cloaks are a bit arcane. There are many ins and outs to using them, and there have occasionally been changes to the way they work. This has resulted in a great deal of misinformation about cloaks. Thus, these frequently asked questions are presented for your edification.
What will force my cloaked ship to decloak?
Cloaks are probably the most fun module in EVE.
Things that will cause a ship to decloak include being within 2000 meters of any of the following:
Occasionally, passing through the very center of a planet (and probably moons as well, though I have not tested this) while just entering or exiting warp will decloak you. This may or may not be a bug, but in any case is something that any covert ops pilot should know about.
Any of the objects listed above that force a decloak will also prevent cloaking (or re-cloaking) on the part of a ship within 2000 meters. Ships within that distance of a corpse from a destroyed player pod will also be unable to cloak. This is unfortunate because corpses are not included by default on a player's overview (they are under the celestial grouping), and people sometimes do not realize they are near one until they fail to cloak.
What will not decloak me?
The interdiction spheres launched by any of the interdictor-class ships will prevent a cloaked ship from warping, but will not decloak or prevent cloaking. It is often reported that the edge of an interdiction sphere will decloak a ship. This is erroneous.
Another case worth pointing out is that the bombs launched by stealth bombers will decloak you, but the explosion from their detonation will not. It will still injure your ship, however, despite your cloak.
Occasionally, something weird will happen and you will not be decloaked by beging too close to a station, gate, POS shield, or dust cloud. Usually in the case of the former two, getting too close to the actual shape of the object seems to still decloak, while the latter two occasions are most likely to happen if you come directly out of warp within the radius of the POS or dust cloud. It's probably not supposed to happen, but it does.
What is the best way to decloak an enemy?
This varies from circumstance to circumstance. The best way to decloak people jumping through a gate into your system is probably as follows: double-click in space where the cloeaking ship was last was seen, or hold down the control key and double click on the ship on your overview, then manually set your velocity to maximum (rather than right-clicking on the target ship and approaching), and then tackle them when it is decloaked. The tactical overlay is sometimes helpful for this, and can be turned on or off by clicking on the button to the left of your hit point/velocity meters. Decloaking like this is a difficult science to master, requires quite a bit of practice, and is not recommended for new players.
A more pragmatic solution is to have a small fleet waiting on a gate that includes at one fast ship like an interceptor. The other ships in that fleet should assign their drones to assist that pilot by joining his fleet, right-clicking on the little triangle in their drone window, and selecting the assist option. The drones will follow the fast ship around and attack whatever targets he does. With even a modest fleet, this results in a blob of drones swarming to catch up to the interceptor they are supposed to be helping. With such a messy drone cloud following it, the interceptor is much more likely to decloak any targets that it flies near.