Bubbles and Warping (Arkole Blake, Gizznitt)
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Copyright Sanfrey Statolomy & Agony Unleashed
edited by Miss Granger & Gizznitt Malikite, June 2009
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Warping Basics
- 3 Disruptors, Scramblers and Warp Core Stabilizers (WCS)
- 4 Heavy Interdictors (HICs)
- 5 Bubbles
- 6 Terminology
The purpose of this article is to explain the basics of warping, warp core stabilizers (WCS) and warp disruption fields (Bubbles) for new players or students that have not ventured into 0.0 space. This article is intended to be a primer, rather than a definitive guide to all warp disruption mechanics, providing enough information to de-mystify the subject.
There are three requirements to enter warp: Speed, Direction, and Capacitor.
Speed: In order to enter warp, your ships must accelerate to 75% of its sub-warp speed. On the ship's speedometer (beneath the capacitor display) there are three small notches indicating 25%, 50% and 75% of maximum speed. For the purposes of warping, 'maximum speed' includes the effects of all propulsion modifiers, including Microwarp Drive and Afterburner bonuses as well as stasis webifyer penalties. Interestingly, MWD's and AB's do NOT help you enter warp faster, but getting webbed often does!
Direction: In order to warp to an object your ship must turn to a heading within 5 degrees of the destination. Until you are aligned, your ship will not enter warp even if moving above the 75% speed requirement. A potential method of preventing a ship from warping is to ram or block the ship so its no longer aligned.
Note: If your ship is not moving at all, the time to turn towards the destination is nil. Your ship simply accelerates in the direction you attempt to warp in. Hence the time to enter warp is only the time it takes to accelerate to 75% of max velocity. The way your ship model is facing is irrelevant and has no effect on how long it takes your ship to align towards a destination. This is because EVE doesn't quite work like real life and treats your ship as a symmetric ball that can be easily pushed in any direction, no matter which direction the ship model faces on your screen.
Capacitor: In order to enter warp, a ship must have SOME capacitor. Pretty much, any amount above zero will get you into warp. However, to reach your destination, especially if its far away, you may need a significant amount of capacitor (this is dependent on skills and ship size). If you don't have enough, you'll enter warp, but only travel part of the distance.
note: By purposely draining their capacitor, scouts often warp within scan range of a distant gate to check it out, while simultaneously avoiding any camps/bubbles at the gate.
In summation: The time it takes to enter warp is determined by the time it takes to turn to a heading within 5 degrees of the destination plus the time it takes to accelerate to 75% of its sub-warp speed.
Disruptors, Scramblers and Warp Core Stabilizers (WCS)
Almost all ships have a base warp core strength of 1. If their warp core strength ever drops below 1, the ship cannot enter warp. There are three modules that alter a ships warp core strength.
The warp disruptor: The warp disruptor is an offensive module that reduces a target ships warp core strength by 1 point. This single warp disruption point is enough to prevent most ships from entering warp. The typical range on a Warp Disruptor is 20 km for t1 versions, and 24 km for t2 versions. However, be adviced many interceptors and force recons get ship bonuses to this range. When you successfully apply a warp disruptor on a target, its appropriate to call "point on <target>" over comms.
Warp Core Stabilizers: The counter-measure to warp disruptors are warp core stabilizers, known as WCS. Every WCS you fit to your ship increases your warp core strength by one. As such, if you have 2 WCS on your ship, your effective warp core strength would be 1 base + 1 WCS + 1 WCS = 3 in total. To prevent you from entering warp, it would take three warp disruptors targeting you.
The Warp Scrambler: The warp scrambler is very similar to a warp disruptor, only more powerful. Known as a scram, a warp scrambler reduces a targetted ships warp core strength by 2 points AND disables its microwarp drive. Disabling a ships microwarp drive is often essential in preventing a ship from flying out of range to escape a gang. The difficulty with scrams, is they have very short ranges, varying from 7 - 9 km. Again, be adviced many interceptors and force recons get ship bonuses to this range. When you successfully apply a warp scrambler on a target, its appropriate to call "scram on <target>" over comms.
Note: the Deep Space Transport ships (Impel, Bustard, Occator, and Mastodon) have a base warp core strength of 3, enabling them to resist 2 points of warp disruption. The Blockade Runner ship class (Viator, Crane, Prowler, and Prorator) no longer receive this bonus, and now receive a bonus to allow them to fit Covops Cloaks and thus warp while cloaked instead.
Heavy Interdictors (HICs)
Heavy Interdictors, the scourge (or hero - depending on your perspective!) of low-sec, are commonly referred to as HICs. Aside from their ability to carry a bubble about with them (see below), the HICs can be fitted with an 'infinite point' warp disruptor, rendering any number of WCS useless. Combined with cruiser-spec fast locking times, a HIC is capable of stopping any ship, including capitals, from entering warp (typically so the HIC's friends can kill the victim.)
Bubbles are a cornerstone element of 0.0 warfare. A bubble is the common name for a warp disruption field, which is seen as a large shiny sphere from 4km to 54km in radius. There are several devices and ships that can create bubbles, but the bubbles themselves have mostly identical attributes regardless of the type. Bubbles perform two functions: First, ships cannot initiate warp if they are inside the bubble. Second, ships warping to objects near bubbles can be 'sucked' away from their intended destination (a gate for example) and into the bubble. These attributes are used to cause confusion and delay a victim's ability to escape by warping away, allowing the aggressor the time required to destroy the trapped ships.
In order for a bubble to catch a ship by pulling it out of warp, the following criteria must be met:
- The bubble must have been deployed before the ship entered warp.
- The bubble must be aligned with the point the ship is warping to. For example, if a ship is warping from one gate to another, in order to get caught by a bubble at the destination gate, that bubble needs to be lined up so a straight line drawn between the two gates would also pass through the bubble.
- The edge of the bubble needs to be within 100km of where the celestial the ship is warping to. For example, if an Interdictor launches a 20km radius Warp Disrupt Probe at 119km behind a gate (so the edge is 99km from the gate), and someone warps to the gate from a point that the bubble is aligned with, the bubble will pull them past the gate and catch the ship. This effect will occur regardless of the distance the ship “warps to” i.e. if you “warp to at 100km” you will still be pulled. However, if you warp to a bookmark that is more than 100km from the gate, then you will not be pulled into the bubble. This is true EVEN IF THE BUBBLE IS IN FRONT OF THE GATE!
i.e. the decision logic as to whether you are pulled or not relates to the distance between your bookmark and the celestial it shares a grid with. It does not relate to the distance between the bookmark and the bubble. Again, this applies whether you warp to your bookmark at 0, or warp at 100. You can see therefore, that it is possible to have your warp “end point” up to 299km away from the bubble edge and still be pulled (bubble 99km behind gate, BM exactly 100km in front, warp to BM at 100km). Conversely, it is also possible for the BM to be as little 1km from the bubble edge, and not be pulled (if your BM is 101km in front of the gate, and someone launches a Warp Disrupt Probe 80km in front, the bubble edge will be 1km from the BM but you will not be pulled into it)!
For these reasons, a common trap is to locate a bubble around 50-70km in front of, or behind a gate - ensuring that anyone who warps to the gate at any distance will be pulled into the bubble. The main difference for placing the bubble behind the gate instead of in front is that the victim will then need to turn around, as well as 'drive' back to the gate to escape. (See picture below.)
Types of Bubble
Mobile Warp Disruptors
Mobile warp disruptors need to be anchored in space in order to activate. They can be carried in any ship's hold (assuming there's space - they are quite large) to the deployment location and recovered again for later use. They require varying levels of "Anchoring" and "Propulsion Jamming" skills to operate. They are quite hardy and take some significant effort to kill - but can be shot down by an enemy with time and willpower.
The effective range of small mobile warp disrupters is too short to be placed directly on a gate and capture pilots entering a system. For this reason they are typically placed in front of or behind gates to catch ships warping in.
Large mobile warp disrupters are often deployed centred on a jump gate so when a victim arrives in the system through the bubbled gate it must decloak inside the bubble. The ship won't be able to warp away until it has powered out of the bubble in the direction of a suitable warp destination, allowing time for the hostile forces to get warp disruptors and webs locked and activated. This is a classic form of gate camp.
Heavy Interdictors & Warp Disruption Field Generators
Heavy Interdictors (Onyx, Phobos, Broadsword and Devoter) can equip a Warp Disruption Field Generator I. This clever device is a high-slot module which generates a warp disruption field around the ship without having to anchor anything. The bubble has a base radius of 16km which increases by 5% with each level of the Heavy Interdictor skill trained. Like other bubbles, it cannot be deployed in Empire space. Activating the warp disruption field has some unusual effects on the HIC. It reduces the ship's mass making it very agile, drastically reduces the Microwarp Drive and Afterburner speed bonus and prevents the Heavy Interdictor from receiving any remote support from his gang mates.
Interdictors & Warp Disruption Probes
The 'regular' interdictor is a tech 2 destroyer capable of fitting an Interdiction Sphere Launcher, which is a device used to deploy Warp Disruption Probes. When fired, these probes immediately create a warp disruption field with a 20km radius. The probes have a life of only two minutes, after which they explode with a distinctive pop. Training the Interdictor skill to higher levels allows the pilot to deploy probes in rapid succession, known as 'rolling bubbles', to continuously catch victims. The probe remains wherever it was deployed, as opposed to the Heavy Interdictor's warp field that is generated by a module on the ship itself. Regular interdictors have significant points of differentiation to heavy interdictors and both have distinctive useful roles on the battlefield.
Basic Evasion Techniques
The best way to deal with a bubble is to know its location before you encounter it. This means scouting valuable cargo, or slow ships, using ships that are capable of escaping should they go through a jump gate and find themselves in a bubble. The Covops frigates are the masters of this art. Using bookmarks to warp to a location on grid with a destination gate, but 200 to 300 kilometres away from the gate is another essential technique to avoiding being caught in a bubble when travelling. Of course this requires that the pilot already has bookmarks!
Finally, when travelling in unfamiliar or unbookmarked space, scanning gates before warping towards them allows pilots to determine whether there's a bubble on the gate. This is especially worth doing if there's a number of others in Local.
When warping into a bubble, a ship's warp is stopped at the edge of the bubble and its momentum carries it slightly inside. Light ships with low momentum won't penetrate far, and won't have far to fly in order to move back out of the warp disruption field. An alert interceptor pilot will be able to power out of a bubble and escape quickly, so long as he's quicker than the enemy's Energy Neutralizer or Stasis Web equipped ships. Larger ships will fall deeper into the bubble, take longer to turn and accelerate, and may be required to attempt to fight their way out. If the bubble is centred on the gate, it may be possible to power to the gate and jump through - but Detection and avoidance is far more important in ships of cruiser size and larger.
When jumping through a gate into a bubble, similar options apply. The size of the bubble will determine whether the quickest exit is outwards, or back towards the gate. The class of ship being flown dictates the options available to a large degree. Cloaks are certainly an option, although larger ships are very slow when cloaked and even a poorly skilled gang will be able to decloak a battleship that's caught in a bubble. Ships that can travel at speed while cloaked (Recon, Stealth Bombers and Covops) are far more likely to affect an escape, especially if fitted with an afterburner or microwarp drive - which can be engaged for a single cycle immediately before cloaking.
Bubble: Friendly name for less than friendly warp disruption field.
Bubble Up: Usually used by HICs, means the bubble's activated. Bubble down means deactivated.
Bubblecamp: Gate camp, or station camp, or any bunch of ships using a bubble to catch prey.
Bubbletrap: A bubble set up to trap people, usually by pulling them away from their intended warp destination.
Caught in a Bubble: Oops, I didn't scout this gate out first, now I'm about to get killed.
Dictor: Interdictor (Sabre, Flycatcher, Heretic, Eris)
Hictor, HIC: Heavy Interdictor (Onyx, Broadsword, Phobos, Devoter)
Pop a bubble: (Usually from an Interdictor) - Fire a warp disruption probe to create a bubble.
Holy [CENSORED] I'm [CENSORED] [CENSORED] by a [CENSORED]ing bubble!!!: Typical victim's reaction.