Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Fool's Errand

Not everyone in EVE is a hardened, soulless griefer. Many people don't play all that intelligently, and their mistakes can be exploited.

Several nights ago, I'm idling in station in our home system, just monitoring traffic. If I notice someone hanging around a bit longer than they should, I pop my head outside and see if they are at an asteroid belt or cosmic signature.

I have some scouting bookmarks in the system which let me quickly scan popular destinations with minimal warping. I pick up an Iteron Mark IV industrial ship on my directional scanner, pin-pointing him at a collection of stations and planets. A few seconds later he disappears from my eye, so I widen the angle back out to 360 degrees. He's still in range, and I infer that he is warping to the jump gate which is in my periphery.

I immediately warp to the gate and jump through, hoping to snag him when he jumps into the system.

When you enter a system through a jump gate, your ship appears at a location 15 km away from a random point on the gate model. If you imagine a sphere enveloping the gate (it's really closer to an ellipsoid), ships spawn on some random point on the surface. For small gates, the diameter is usually close to 30 km. For larger gates (gates between regions), the diameter can be higher.

I move to shed the jump cloak, pre-overheat my warp scrambler, and turn on my damage control. Gate flashes, and he appears 28 km from me. I approach with a MicroWarp Drive propulsion module, and begin locking him. I need to get about 10 km away to be in range of my overheated scrambler. I can't burn the distance in time, and he warps off.

Oh well. I go back to my system and dock up.

Thirty minutes later he is back. I undock, spot him on scan: Iteron Mark IV. I don't believe it.

I jump through the gate, this time getting in a better position right near the center of the gate. Flash. He's only about 12 km from me, and by the time I lock, I'm in range of my scram.

Your security status has been lowered.

I make quick work of the Iteron in my Stabber Fleet Issue, and I'm tanking the gate guns with my armor repairers. I immediately begin targeting the escape pod, acquiring a lock before he warps. A quick ping with my guns, and he wakes up in a cloning vat.

I inspect the wreck: nothing of value. I leave it there and warp to a spot in the middle of nowhere to wait out my Criminal Countdown and inspect the kill mails. Worthless 1.7 mil Iteron, but what do we have here: a 300 mil clone. Not a bad way to pad my efficiency stats, ha!

A few minutes later I get a conversation request from him. I accept.

He says nothing. I send a "hello". This is his reply:
Jamie TaoLei > yes gee thanks you kiled me haluling Pl mats you destroyed my +5 implants im at odds with my own corp im in ty you gave me a reason to quit spending 15$ a month
Right after that, he asks to add me as a friend contact. Seems a bit crazy to me, but I don't care what he does. We talk for the next hour, and he tells me how awful his life is, how he is "giving up on EVE", and all sorts of depressing nonsense. The character is from 2007, yet I managed to "destroy all his wealth". I'm pretty sure he was trying to scam me into sending him ISK, which I certainly did not do.

But forget the tears, this guy made some major mistakes. Ignore that he was transporting things in a hauler without a cloak. He:

  1. Saw me try to catch him 30 minutes ago.
  2. Didn't fit Warp Core Stabilizers.
  3. Didn't warp his pod off when he had plenty of time to do so (I lock a pod in 7.5 seconds, but they align and warp near-instantly).
Those are some pretty bad choices. A fool and his money are soon parted.

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