I Seee Youu

An important tool of the trade of more or less every pirate - just as important as the ship itself, some guns and a jolly roger - is the directional scanner. It is the hunter's track hound, health insurance and lifeguard.

Using the directional scanner effectively requires quite a bit of practice and expertise. When scouting out a system or narrowing down a promising hit, it can be a real hassle to fiddle with direction, range and angles, all the while trying to stay in "rhythm" with that nuisance known as "recalibration".

Everyone can scan with the range and angle cranked up, easily checking their surroundings for certain malefactors. Luckily for said malefactors, lots of people lack a bit of consistency in that regard. And if they also didn't bother to change their ships' name - revealing their identity and how harmless they indeed are - they can expect to be devoured by those malefactors very soon. Which they don't; otherwise they wouldn't have made themselves comfortable in shark waters in the first place.

If there is a pattern in a target's movement, it will be identified and exploited with the help of the scanner. Sometimes  it might be more fruitful to first observe a target and how it moves between the belts instead of jumping straight into the belt, possibly landing far off the target. Maybe trail it a bit longer and check at which distance the pilot warps into the belts. There have been kills I just had to wait for in a certain celestial and at a certain range.

I remember one pilot who managed to evade my efforts two times, because my anticipation was faulty at first. But each time he followed the same path: I land, he warps to a station and docks up. After a while he reappears and heads to a cluster out of scanner range. Then he comes back to the belt where I made him leave some unlooted wrecks. So the third time he docks up, I just stay right where I am. He undocks, disappears on scan shortly after, only to head straight for the wrecks. Lock, point, nom.

Of course situations like these only occur with pilots who don't use the scanner and are apparently unaware of the information local coms provide. If however a pilot does use scanner and local coms, being actually somewhat prepared (gasp!) for a little trip into lowsec, it can get rather tricky. You may have to utilize the scanner to its full potential to finally catch those targets. Other factors naturally are instincts, experience, mindgames and a tad bit of luck. Though you won't get to worry about those if your scanning cannot keep up.

When confronted with seasoned pirates, there is very little hope of ever catching them if they don't want to fight you. There are possibilities besides probes and traps, however, portrayed nicely in this little anecdote:

Lisbaetanne is a system frequented by the HellFleet, who established themselves as neighbours of The Tuskers again after a span of absence from Essence. HellFleet's second in command Eviwyn also happens to regularly make kind of a mess in there. Previous engagements between us didn't go so well from her point of view, which is why she's usually a bit reluctant to fight me.

I therefore had to take a different approach in order to have a shot at her Jaguar for once. I knew of one of her safespots that was rather close to a belt, but still way off for the overview to pick up on her. A bit of scanning at different ranges soon revealed that she was about 378,200km away from the belt's center. Subsequently narrowing down the angle to 5° determined her whereabouts to be between the belt I was in and another one.

So I roughly knew where I'd have to land to have a slight chance at getting a hold of Eviwyn's ship. I guess you can tell by this whole endeavour that I was extremely bored, but covering 378,200km at sub warp speed would have been a rather excruciating experience. Instead I buzzed around between the belt and the other cluster's planet while dropping a load of bookmarks.

Eventually I had a bookmark at almost the perfect distance from the belt and I could freely chose within 100km where to land from it. Only one problem remained - Eviwyn's ship appeared to be moving, ready to instantly cheese it should I actually manage to get close enough. My only hope was to catch her napping.

Again with help of the scanner's range adjustment I monitored her position, waiting for the appropriate moment to enter warp. 378,180km away  (hm, did I do the math right by the way?) ... 378,170km (eh, probably not, whatever) ... 378,160km; there, warp to bookmark at 50km!

To my actual surprise, a red flashy Jaguar did indeed appear on my overview. My calculations weren't quite perfect however, as I landed 20km off. But in the end it didn't matter, as Eviwyn naturally was on her toes and warped off before I was able to lock her.

Even without the fight this incidence is a prime example of what the scanner is capable of. Not only in terms of me tracking down a ship in open space, but also in terms of the target knowing of hostile presence and being prepared for any turn of events.

To sum it up, there is no excuse not to use at least the basic functions of the directional scanner. As far as pinpointing evasive ships goes, there is no way around constant practice. The occassional customer actually asks me how I was able to keep track of them the whole time - yes, some people don't even know the scanner exists. Blessed art they.



Combat in New Eden is a ruthless and unforgiving matter. Two forces of equal capability clashing together narrows the room for error down to a hair's breadth. This is especially true for fast-paced dogfights; two small and nimble ships going head to head. Lose track of your opponent for a split second and you will lose the fight. The briefest moment of uncertainty will be followed by almost certain defeat. Let your instincts take over and act or be forced to react. However, at this point you may as well select a celestial for warping out your pod very soon.

The whole engagement might not even last longer than a minute, but it can be the most exhausting minute a capsuleer has ever experienced. And the most exhilarating, too.

One particular brand of pilots crave exactly these kind of duels. And one particular brand of ships excels in this role above all; a special breed of speedy toe-on-toe glass-cannons that few (if any) pilots in their right mind would field into a brawl, being separated by merely a few kilometres from their foe. Überceptors.

The line between interceptors and Überceptors is rather blurry. The whole field isn't even strictly confined within the ship category labeled "interceptor". But due to their hefty price tags, most faction frigates prefer to stay beyond the "event horizon" (i.e. the range of stasis webifiers) anyway. The Rifter might even appear to come close to the ranks of Überceptors, but I see this as a misconception, which is caused by poor piloting on the receiving end.

Those interceptors that have what it takes to become an Überceptor - thusly suited for fighting within the range of stasis webifiers - are the Crusader, the Claw and the Taranis. In that order, their flavours range from "slight mental instability" to "utter lunacy".

Crusaders and Claws can choose between getting right into their opponent's face or keeping at least a bit of distance. The Crusader even has an actual chance to effectively fight back once the gap has been closed or opened against its pilot's will (which he or she better anticipated in time). The Claw has to choose and stick to the plan with all its might - doing absolutely no damage for ten seconds while swapping ammo? Again, time to pick a celestial. More often than not, both the Crusader and Claw furthermore have somewhat of an armour tank.

Überception in its what I believe purest form comes in form of the Taranis. The Taranis takes this already intense gig to its absolute extreme: get close, get there fast and let them have it. And hope your hull holds together while you're trying to cling to a target on GTFO-mode.

There are fittings that bring the Taranis closer to a more flexible package, more similar to Crusaders and Claws. But they are missing out on the joy of sheer gank and delightfully archaic hull tanking; an exceptionally raw and savage way to fight another ship. By the time your opponent wonders why his damage has seemingly come to a halt after evaporating your shields and armour, you are three volleys away from popping him.

If your Überceptor looks close to the picture below, you have reached the pinnacle of dogfighting in New Eden (with regards to Ebrey):

As frantic as fighting in an Überceptor appears, you will eventually get more used to it. The pace will always be fast, room for error will always be tiny. But at some point, you won't have as much of an urge to panic when entering structure. At first, winning a Taranis vs. Taranis fight with half of your hull destroyed will feel like a close call - yet in fact, you almost dominated that guy.

Whatever you do: please don't die to a Rifter. Feel free to kill as many as possible though (with regards to Tsubutai).