As most pilots know, a ship is more in danger of destruction while traveling than at any other time. This is true of ships specialized in combat and non-combat roles. Even a good portion of pilots that are actively seeking out PvP will meet their end fighting a hopelessly asymmetrical battle against gate camps, rather than while fighting real PvP targets.
This guide has five handy tips for traveling safely. They are intended to be useful no matter what area of EVE Online you make your home at. Happy trails!
5. Don't Rely On Scouting
Scouting is less reliable than you might think. There are several reasons for this, the most important being that outside of high-security space, almost any ship can potentially turn into an entire fleet through the use of a cynosural field module and a titan or black ops battleship. This module allows either of the aforementioned ship classes to turn themselves into temporary gates, whose fleets can then jump directly to the ship with the "cyno" open.
style="font-style: italic;">Getting from point A to point B is fraught with peril, even in supposedly safe areas of space.
Alternatively, any ships that you scout can have backup logged off right where they are, but ready to log in and fight within seconds. This is most common with falcon "alt characters" that are useful for their ECM. They can disable multiple ships at once, potentially turning the tide of battle completely.
In high-sec, there is the ever-present complication of neutral characters assisting your enemies with remote repairing or even suicide ganking on their behalf. Thus, scouting is inherently unreliable no matter where one travels.
4. Warp Core Stabilizers Are Good
A warp core stabilizer adds a point of "warp core strength" that increases the number of warp disruption points needed to prevent your ship warping off. A normal warp disruptor only has a single warp disruption point. The shorter-ranged warp scrambler has two. Finally, a warp disruption field generator with a focused disruption script has an infinite number of points.
For stopping ships from escaping, most ships rely on just a warp disruptor. Thus, even one warp core stabilizer has good odds of preventing a single tackler from stopping you leaving. Fitting several gives good odds of escaping any gate camp in high- or low-sec.
3. But Speed Is Often Better
Warp core stabilizers may prevent you from being tackled, but they will not prevent fast ships from ramming you to knock you as you are aligning for warp-out, nor will they prevent your ship from being destroyed instantly by the first volley of weapons from your enemies. The latter is especially likely in the case of tech one industrial ships, that are often used without a tank due to necessity or carelessness.
Additionally, outside of high- and low-sec there are area of effect warp disruptors. Against these, warp core stabilizers can offer no help. These are generated by ships using interdiction spheres, un-scripted warp disruption field generators, and mobile warp disruptors. Any of these will completely prevent any warping within their radius, warp core stabilizers or no.
Under such circumstances it may be better to try to warp out faster, before your enemies can lock onto you, rather than trying to counter warp disruption. In such cases you can fit agility-boosting modules like nanofiber internal structures or inertia stabilizers. The former are perhaps the best general remedy, while the latter have the unfortunate drawback of increasing your ship signature radius, making other ships lock onto you fast. Thus, it is a good idea to use inertia stabilizers if you can take a few hits, though nothing precludes using them in tandem with warp core stabilizers.
2. When Jumping Into A Gate Camp, Retreat
If you jump through a gate into a fleet of hostile pilots, you are generally better off retreating back through the gate whence you came, than trying to run the gauntlet onwards to your destination. This is for a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with the speed and damage that gate-camping ships can bring to bear, and because of the efficacy of area warp disruption.
When returning to a gate, remember that EVE Online has a "session change timer" that prevents you from jumping through a gate within thirty seconds of entering the system. Inconvenient, right? Well, that's why you are temporarily cloaked when you enter a new system. Wait those thirty seconds out, then approach the gate you just emerged from, activating your microwarpdrive as you go. Anecdotally, there is also some benefit to be had from using that cloaked time period to set your navigation destination to the system whence you just came, and to turn on autopilot. This will theoretically result in a faster gate activation. Remember: if you immediately return to the gate upon entering the system you will not be able to jump through, unless a thirty second time period has passed.
style="font-style: italic;">The best ships for travel are those that can move and warp while cloaked.
The exception to this general rule is covert ops and stealth bomber ships. These ship classes can generally use microwarpdriving followed by cloaking to propel themselves out of harm's way and warp off, hopefully while still cloaked. With blockade runners it is sort of a crap shoot, depending on what ships are present and how many of them. I would not, for example, try to make an escape in a blockade runner if there were a fleet of five dramiel ships on that gate with me.
1. Know Your Territory
There is no substitute for good intelligence. No matter where you are going, there is plenty of information available: Look at the regional map of any area you need to travel through. Use your star map to check how many people have recently died there, or are currently in space. Are there bottlenecks that connect two constellations or regions? Those might make good spots for pirates to hang out. Is your path of travel along a major travel route between market hubs? Then there is a higher chance of someone scanning your cargo and trying to suicide bomb you, or of war targets lurking about.
The best intelligence is that available to corporations or alliances living in an area. These groups will have a chat channel open where any and all dangers are reported. This is not unique to null-security space, though. Plenty of low-sec and high-sec corporations work together to report pirates or war targets, especially in Caldari and Amarr space. Many of these channels are open to the public and freely accessible.
Depending on your tolerance for preparation and owning video-game-related materials, you may even want to print out regional maps from a site like DOTLAN, so you can mark them up with information as you discover it.
More than anything else, the best way to get to know an area is to live in it for a while. You will start to recognize names and organizations, and get a feel for when and where danger lurks. Don't be afraid to add people to your watch list, or set a negative standing to habitual pirates. This way, the longer you live in an area, the more likely you are to be able to diagnose dangers and safely avoid them.
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