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A Hunter Goes on Safari

by on March 8, 2013

I’ve been watching as various members of The Skunkworks went on safari for months now. I’d made some attempts, but my minor notoriety in Eve always proved a barrier to using my main, and I couldn’t afford to train an alt for the job at the time. Then Monk started on his campaign of promoting the practice, and it became a daily thing. First the Belligerents joined in, and then after a Redditt AMA Monk was teaching would-be bad guys on a daily basis. So I finally bit the bullet and got an alt ready.

Never being the type to simply follow someone else’s methods, I decided to pioneer a new approach to safaris. As a member of the Skunkworks, I needed to apply some science to it. I started by using the recruitment search to give me a list of potential targets. I cold-applied to each one, using the same single-sentence app. 48 hours later, a full 50% had dropped me invitations to join.

As the first few trickled in, I happened upon an idea: rather than a traditional infiltration safari as done by Monk, why not do what I do best and hunt my targets? I’ve been given a free ticket to join a corp and shoot its members at my leisure. So, rather than jumping in and pretending to socialize and going through the motions, I played it like a war. I built watch lists for each corp I had an invite to. I ran locates on them, scouted them, and chose targets most likely to have stuff worth generating a killmail for.

After six days of this experiment, I’ve learned a few things:

  1. Cold applying leads to getting invites from corporations that are outside your time zone. Some of your targets won’t log in at your normal times. Don’t dismiss them outright; you might still get a shot. It costs you nothing to let those invites sit there. Refresh your watch lists on a regular basis and keep your options open.
  2. A lot of these corps are stuffed full of noobs. I’m not terribly interested in shooting the merlin out from under a three-week-old character, so I watch for older players to come online that I can go after.
  3. Hunting these guys and hunting wartargets plays out very differently, and there will be some adjustment. I’m not going to tell you how to do it, because my method might not be optimal for you.

I’m writing this now because I just got my first safari kill. It started when I realized there were three of them in space in a single system. Hoping for a mining op, I headed that way. I arrived just as they were packing in, but got there soon enough to see a Raven Navy Issue warp to the station where they got their missions. I decided to stake them out and make them my first target. The next day, they sat in station for the evening and never undocked. We’ve become accustomed to this; it’s remarkable how frequently prey seems to know you’re coming, even when they had no idea.

Earlier today, I logged in to find them in space. After some work, I located a Noctis, Dominix, and the Navy Raven in a deadspace pocket. I assembled my support reps, joined the alt to the corp, and warped out to the deadspace.

Lesson 1: Don’t take your neutral logi with you on the initial warp. They panicked when neutrals landed and ran. They stayed docked until I logged off the logis in the deadspace. I sat for a bit, and after about 15 minutes the Raven returned to the site.

I pointed it and slowly ate through its active tank. After a failed ransom, I took my first safari kill, worth an in-game estimate of 495 million isk. The pilot warped his pod to station, and I followed to find him attempting to dock with a weapons timer. I destroyed the pod, to find that it had a head full of +5 implants and a 5% ice mining implant, totalling 693 million isk. Not a bad start. A few snippets from corp chat:

CEO > did (character name) just gank your raven for no reason?
CEO > Let it be publically known that until 500mil isk worth of his ships are blown up, he is considered shoot on sight.
CEO > I will pay out of pocket to any corp member equal to the ship loss he suffers plus a bonus.
CEO > I am issuing a full dock at war alert, leave station at your own risk until he is removed from corp.

Lesson 2: Don’t forget to refit, reship, and resupply out of an orca. I ended up forgetting that I couldn’t dock up without being kicked and missing a chance at any further action.

In all, this is an interesting start to a new safari method. Monk is already experimenting with it himself and we should develop some “best practices” for handling things like this in the future.

No killmails or character names used because secrecy.

Edit: THIS IS IMPORTANT.

A few hours after posting this, I realized that once you accept an invitation to one corp, all other applications are withdrawn. This makes the system somewhat less flexible, but will require a bit more refinement of method. The basic approach remains, but you will burn a LOT of potential targets if you spam out applications too quickly. In short, this is an emergent idea and we’ll be pushing it to its limit in the coming weeks.

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2 Comments
  1. Fan permalink

    An interesting approach,
    I have a noob question though, how are you getting a full memberlist of the corporation that’s accepted you without actually joining it?

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