Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Safe Spots and Bookmarks

One of the keys to survival in EVE is understanding and using safe spots. Ideally, you should have the following safe spots set up in every system you fly in.

System Safe Spots

This is your basic safe spot. A safe spot is a place in space that can’t be automatically warped to. When you’re in this spot, someone has to scan you down to warp to you. This takes time. It doesn’t take a whole lot of time for someone good at scanning, but it will buy you the few seconds you need to get your bearings and decide what to do.

Ideally a safe spot should be at least 15 AU from any warpable objects (stargates, planets, moons, stations, etc.). In some systems this is very difficult or not possible because the system is relatively small. Just do your best.

The easiest way to set up a safe spot is to warp from one warpable object to another and drop a bookmark in the middle of the warp (remember, bookmarks are created when you click the final “ok” button, not when you first open the create bookmark window). You can create a bookmark by clicking on the People & Places button of the Neocom and selecting the Places tab. There will be a button at the bottom of the window that says Create Bookmark.

The above method will give you a safe spot, but it could be improved upon because your safe spot will likely be along a well-used lane of travel (especially if one of your warpable objects was a stargate and the other was another stargate or a station).

A better way to do it is to create a bookmark using the above method. Then, warp to that bookmark from a third warpable object and drop a bookmark in the middle of that warp. This second bookmark is your safe spot.

Undock Safe Spots

An undock safe spot is a very important thing to have, especially in busy trade systems (like Jita or Amarr) and during war declarations (if you’re in a high sec corp). Suicide gankers will often hang out outside busy stations and scan ships that leave. If you’re flying a valuable ship and/or have valuable cargo, you might just get ganked. Some of them will gank any ship they think they can take on just for shits and giggles.

A note here for the true noob: You are not safe in high sec! Depending on the security status of the system you’re in (1.0 to 0.5), it takes Concord a number of seconds to respond to an attack on you. The lower the sec rating, the longer it takes them. In a 0.5 system a suicide ganker will be able to get off as many as 5 or more volleys before concord takes him out. They specifically build their ships to be able to kill you in that many shots. The perceived security of high sec is a lie. Safe spots are needed here as well as in the “more dangerous” parts of New Eden.

An easy way to avoid getting ganked when docking or undocking at a station is to create an undock safe spot. This is very easy to do.
  1. Undock from the station in a fast ship—a shuttle, fast frigate, or interceptor with a microwarpdrive or afterburner.
  2. When you undock, your ship will be flying at maximum speed. Turn on your MWD or AB, but do nothing else. Let your ship continue flying on the heading it was on when you undocked. This part is very important! If you accidently redirected your ship, dock up and start over.
  3. Wait until you’ve flown at least 150km from the station. You can know your distance by clicking on the station. You will see your distance in the selected target window. Make sure the “Warp To” button on the selected target window lights up. I usually make my undock safes at 200km just to be safe.
  4. Drop a bookmark. Label it appropriately. Here is a good source to how to label bookmarks so you can keep track of them.
Now, in the future, when you undock from that station, you can warp to your bookmark. Just right click in space (be careful not to right click on the station or you’ll get the wrong contextual menu), and select your undock safe from under “My Places” in the contextual menu. Because you leave a station at max speed, and because your undock is set along the trajectory you leave the station at, you will enter warp almost immediately. Remember, to enter warp you must be aligned and at at least ¾ speed. This will allow you to warp to your undock safe before someone can lock you and warp scramble you.

When you go to dock up at the station, you should warp to your undock safe first, especially if your corp is in a state of war. From here you can see the station and see the ships around it in your overview. If you see war targets, go somewhere else, or cloak and wait for them to leave. If it’s safe, you can warp to the station from your undock safe and dock.

Stargate Observation Safes

These safe spots allow you to see if a stargate is safe before warping to it. This will allow you to avoid gate camps. To make this safe, follow these steps:
  1. Fly at least 170km away from the stargate. I usually make my safes 200km away. Ideally, fly up or down off the plane of the system. Alternatively, you can warp to the gate at 100km, and then fly away from the gate from there to save some time. Use your MWD or AB. Again it’s best to make these safes in a fast ship with an MWD.
  2. Once you’re at the desired distance, drop a bookmark and label it appropriately. Make sure the “Warp To” button is available before you make the bookmark.
  3. Now, when you warp to the gate, you can warp to your stargate safe first and check to see who’s on the gate. If it’s safe, you can warp directly to the gate from there. Keep in mind, when you warp to the stargate, you always want to warp to 0, so you can jump through the gate immediately.
A note for the total noob: Never, ever, ever fly on autopilot! When autopilot warps you to a stargate, it doesn’t warp you to 0, so you have to slow boat to the gate. This is time when another player can lock you up and blow up your pretty ship. You can use autopilot to plan your route. Once you set your route with autopilot, the next stargate on your route will have a yellow icon in the overview instead of a white one. This is very nice, but you should still manually warp to 0 on each gate.

A little trick I leaned is this: If you need to step away for literally just a few seconds, you can hit the warp to 0 button to warp to the star gate, then immediately turn on autopilot. Now you can go do your thing, just make sure you’re back at your seat and turn off by the time autopilot jumps you through the gate. As long as you turn off autopilot before it warps you to the next gate, you can then warp to 0. I do this a lot to have a few seconds to refill my drink, etc.

There are a lot of great guides to safe spots and bookmarks out there, but I prefer this one by EVE University. It’s part of a larger document on scouting. It also includes an easy way to label your different bookmarks so you can keep track of them easily.

I hope this guide is helpful to you. Please please make safe spots and use them. They’ll save your ship and your pod.

Fly smart.

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