Dandy Highwaymen: Part 1

So as I mentioned in the monthly update, last month I decided to try out suicide ganking as an effort in profit, and to sample the darker side of Eve’s lifestyles. This is an attempt to write up the experience, as I found it an interesting endeavor both in the learning curve and in the psychology.

So what started it all? I think I can best attribute it to the fact that I’ve always said that eve is a harsh game, and that I enjoy it because of that. So I have always wanted to see what it felt like to be the sharp edge of that curve, could I cope causing the damage which I claim holds my interest so well? To be honest I expected it to be a short endeavour, something done just to say I had. I’m still not sure where I stand on that. So when early last month I decided that it was time to give it another shot, I started my research.

We have tried to suicide gank once before, but to be honest it was a spur of the moment thing, with no planning or research, and so went as well as you might think. This time however I spent at least a week looking for locations to gank in, and looking at people who were doing it successfully, and what they were doing it in. I soon found a prime system, and a fit which I thought would do the job. I also had what I thought was the blueprint for a standard heist:

Three Operatives: The Lookout, The Highwayman and the Getaway Driver. The lookout sits innocently on a gate somewhere on a trade route (preferably a one way pipe) and quietly peaks through the windows of parsing Haulers. If he spots something worth stealing, he lets the Highwayman and the Driver know, who make best speed to the ambush point. For the Highway man this is on the other side of the next gate the mark is about to jump through. For the Driver it’s 200+km off the same gate. As soon as the Mark jumps through the gate, and begins the spool up process to warp to the next gate, the Highwayman pounces. Unleashing everything he has on the Mark and, hopefully, destroying his vehicle. As soon as its destroyed, the Driver warps to the freshly smoking wreck, grabs whatever survived the explosion, and warps out as quickly as possible to the safety of a station. A short while later the Highwayman does something illegal elsewhere in the system, to pull the lingering police force away from the ambush gate.

That’s pretty much it. The advanced version uses an Orca as a “Fence”. To do this The Driver steals the loot (which marks him a suspect, and thus a free target to world + dog), and Immediately offloads it into the Orca’s Corp Hanger. This means that even if someone does catch the Driver, killing him only loses the ship, not the newly acquired loot.

Sadly I only had the skills, and the characters for the basic version, so I tooled up a character with each of these roles, and started moving towards my Target system. At this point I mentioned my plans to the Dirties, and they being them, elected that this was a “good idea” and begun making their own plans to join me.

This is where tragedy one occurred. Traveling to a nearby trade hub, with three characters, while looking at possible fittings distracted me from the Highwayman’s screen and I left her pod on a gate for slightly longer than I should have. A few moments later, I was relived of my pod (and life) by an enthusiastic local. -1 pod, and a now in a clone further away than where I started from. Great.  Looking at who did the dead, I realised the fullness of my error, the clone was outfitted with low-grade Crystal Implants. Facepalm, I shouldn’t have been trying to gank in a Crystal set anyway. The irony, losing a 500m pod to a gank, while on the way to a gank. I’m pretty good at taking a loss like this, so I laughed a bit and set myself a goal to make the money back through ganking. At least it proves I can take as good as I intend to give.

After making it successfully to the target system, I returned to looking at fittings. Eventually I elected to go with a Rupture, with the Highwayman’s specialism in Projectile Weapons (and lack of skills in much else). The fit was something along the lines of, Guns, Gyrostabilisers, Disruptor and a Sensor boosters (more on that fit in a bit). Ex Elected to bring a scramble web vexor.

At this point Ex turned up with his own Highwayman, and we began our hunt for targets. We decided that as I was running both the Driver and the Lookout, Ex would be the primary Highwayman, with mine acting as backup. Before long we got our first test. A hauler carrying ~800m of equipment. We undocked the highwaymen, and the Driver, and they all warped to their positions. Ex was ganking in a short range “DPS” style ganker, and unfortunately was still trying to close range as the hauler warped out. Miss 1.

A little while later we spotted a second hauler carrying about 300m worth of kit. This time we had the Highwaymen and Hauler ready at the gate. But he still slipped through. Miss 2.

The next time we saw a 500m hauler, we were ready. Drones were out, guns were pre overheated, and this one was not getting away. Ex opened fire, and the hauler warped out before he could close to Scramble range. Concord however wasn’t, late and promptly removed the ship from around Ex. Miss 3. This is the point that we learned that losing your ship to concord doesn’t remove the suspect timer gained from ganking. Having missed the gank Ex, typed a standard “oops” kinda message in local, and we further learned that Suspect timers make a pod a valid target when an Eve-Uni Legion podded him. Second pod down, and it turned out that Ex was running a +5 set.. Another 500m isk we needed to make back.

Now in a pair of no implant clones, and having swapped the ill-advised scramble for a disruptor, we looked at other way to improve our odds. To double our chances of finding targets, Ex used some free SP on another account to create a secondary Lookout, allowing us to cover both side of the system we were in. We also realised that with kill rights available on us, we were free targets sat on a gate. Knowing that we could be needed at either side of the system,  and that we needed to be hidden away, we made a safe spot midway between the gates, and set up base there.

At this point Ex spotted a 500m hauler auto piloting away from our location (we think he came from a station), and Ex gave chase. With his Highwayman burning into the distance, and my Driver running to catch up, we thought we might have a free kill. Eventually catching him three jumps away, Ex engaged… and promptly died to gate guns before he could finish the job. Miss 4. It was at this point we elected to put a stop to the attempts for the night, quitting while your behind and all.

We restructured our fittings (more tank), and promised that we would continue the next day. After all we reasoned, we had a 50% success rate at Suicide ganking. We had the suicide down pat, now we just needed to get the ganking sorted.

Fly like a bad,

Hark

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