Last update: 30.04.2020 – added link to < 10 Podcast.
Interdictors or “Bubblers” are Tech II destroyer sized hulls that can fit a module (restricted to one at a time) in their high slot called the Interdiction Probe Launcher.
It can hold a maximum of three interdiction spheres of which there are two:
- Surgical Warp Disruption Probe: 10km diameter,
stays up for 180s (3 minutes)
- Warp Disruption Probe: 20km diameter, stays up for 120s (2 minutes)
The most commonly used one is the bigger one, as it makes it easier to catch targets within it. Especially on gates. Surgical Probes may make sense when a very slow target like a super or Titan needs to get bubbled, or the extra minute is wanted. Rather rare occasions. But the most common use case of Interdictors is to stop fleets of warping. Reloading, no matter how many probes have been launched, always takes 60s.
Every four of the empires have their own Interdictor.
- Heretic (Amarr)
- Flycatcher (Caldari)
- Eris (Gallente)
- Sabre (Minmatar)
The most commonly used is the Sabre, which is often fitted in nuances like the following:
[Sabre, The Common One] Nanofiber Internal Structure II Damage Control II 5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive Medium Shield Extender II Medium Azeotropic Restrained Shield Extender Faint Epsilon Scoped Warp Scrambler Interdiction Sphere Launcher I 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II Prototype Cloaking Device I Small Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer II Small Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer II Republic Fleet EMP S x2200 Nanite Repair Paste x50 Warp Disrupt Probe x50
Reason for that is it’s very solid slot layout for the task at hand. The Sabre also get’s the best base speed while being able to fit some rather good shield-tank, at least compared to the alternatives. The Flycatcher can be the ‘tankiest’ Interdictor, but we are still talking about a Destroyer hull. In the context of fleet combat with HACs dominating the grid, the tank of an Interdictor is pretty much irrelevant. This does not mean you should skip fitting tank at all. It’s still relevant when dealing with tackle or to survive long enough to crash back through a gate.
This is an edited list from an [partially outdated] UniWiki article. All of the points below are still accurate.
- Anyone trying to warp to a spot within 500km of the edge of the bubble will be pulled to the edge of it, if the bubble is in line with the two objects the ship is warping between, and on grid with the destination object.
- It cannot be targeted, thus it is vulnerable only to bombs and smartbombs. Bubbles have 1000 hitpoints with no resists. This is important when bubbling capitals with smartbombs – launch the bubble at the sweet spot outside of their smartbomb-range but still in range to prevent it from warping/cynoing out. A large faction smartbomb you would (at least) expect on a capital has a range of 7500 meters.
- Launching a bubble does not count as aggression. Nor once someone tries to warp inside your bubble, will you become aggressed. Therefore, you can drop a bubble on an enemy at a gate and still jump through . This is valuable for bubbling an enemy then jumping through and bubbling other side in case they try to jump through and run.
To avoid getting alphad off by an enemy fleet while crashing a gate, you can activate your cloak on half way back to the gate, which will reset the locking process of the hostiles. Then decloak right away again and switch your MWD back on and spam the “jump” button.
- Interdictor bubbles only be deployed in nullsec or wormhole space.
- Bubbles function with an anchored bubble nearby. You can spam as many as you want.
- Bubbles stop cap ships in them from cyno-ing out.
- Bubbles will cancel warps in-progress in the same way as warp scrambler modules
- Bubbles will NOT prevent emergency warps (from logging off) if they (the bubble) are deployed AFTER the ctrl-q / log off.
- Bubbles will only catch ships that initiated warp AFTER the dictor bubble was deployed.
- T3 Cruisers with the right subsystem and Fleet Interceptors (Ares, Malediction, Stiletto, Crow) are “nullified” and simply ignore bubbles.
- You can launch bubbles without losing tether.
- A “Stop Bubble” is a bubble that is launched at range (e.g. 100km) on a gate in line with another object, like citadel, ansiblex/teneblex structure, or another gate. The job of such a bubble is to stop every ship that comes from this direction and tries to warp directly to the object it was (at range) launched on. This can be utilized to slow down the movement of fleets significantly as they either have to move via pings on gates, and/or burn through the bubbles to get to the gate. Doing this constantly to an enemy fleet is often referred to as “waterboarding”, as it’s not deadly, but still a pain to endure.
These where the most important parts you should know by heart when you fly Interdictors. Everything else is basically a consequence from these mechanics. If you want some more practical examples and tips keep reading.
STAYING ALIVE & SITUATIONS YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF IN
- Make use of your cloak asap. Be aware that your own Warp Disruption Probe counts as object that will prevent you from cloaking up. So you will need to move at least 2000m away from them before you can cloak. You can not cloak when some other player or npc has you targetet. If you rather cloak than getting (pre-)locked by your logistcs, make sure to ask them not to lock you before you actually broadcast for reps.
- Utilize pings on the grid:
Create your own during good timed bookmarks on warpin (takes a bit of practice to time it right) or warp to an interceptor far off to get an exit-bookmark where you can go while your bubbles are reloading.
Another way to use bookmarks is on gates: Make one between more than 2000m and less than 2500m away from the gate and let your ship ‘approach’ this bookmark. On this spot, you can cloak, but also easily decloak and jump if necessary.
Did you know you can also bookmark Core Scanner and Combat Scanner Probes? They can make super useful, far pings on grid – very helpful. Bookmarking a cyno while it’s lit can also be a good idea for a temporary warpin right into the action. Or corpses. You can’t warp to a dead body in space directly, but you can bookmark it and warp to that instead.
Warp-ins to bookmarks or objects at different ranges can also land you right at the spot you wanted to be.
It’s also a good idea to name the bookmarks. I usually just hammer a few times on a number and name them something like “11111”, “ping far off” or “rorq mobile depot”. This way you can easier remember where a bookmark is when you had to leave the grid.
- When you sit at a gate and the first 3-4 ships of an enemy e.g. Muninn fleet starts to yellow-box you, jump the gate NOW, you are only one server-tick away from exploding.
- Think ahead: What is the enemy likely to do? Will he jump the gate into your fleet, try to get them aggressed while they just crash the gate? Or are they starting to align out while locking you? Try to predict your enemies next move and you can cause more havoc before you eventually get exploded.
- Know your enemy. To catch a single ship, you usually don’t have much choice but to just approach with (heated) MWD and then orbit at 500 (with MWD off) as you need to go for the scram after launching the initial bubble. But be aware how fast the hostile ship can travel. If you won’t be able to catch it with a heated MWD in 2-3 cycles, you likely never will. So rather stay away and alive to tackle another time.
- Know where your fleet is at and how fast they can get to you – how long will they need to warp, how fast do they warp, how long it will take logi to lock and repair you.
If your main fleet is in Feroxes and two jumps out, with each 40 AU warp in between, they won’t make it in time to you, even when you should successfully tackle this juicy solo Drekavac. You will be dead by the time they arrive and the fleet will be without you while you reship, missing more potential kills because you, the tackler, died too early.
- Have the tactical overlay switched on. This way you will be able to see alignments and increasing speed sooner, which helps predict what a hostile ship or fleet are about to try.
It also helps greatly while bubbling a hostile fleet that is aligning somewhere in a line: Move towards the same direction as their fleet and bubble in their alignment. In this situations the Interdictor forces the other FC to make a decision:
a) Either stay and fight what is coming in after the Interdictor.
b) Kill the Interdictor and get out. WARNING: very likely.
c) Just warp off and leave the bubbled ships behind to die to what might come in.
- When you are aggressed on a gate, cloaking up could save you (not advised when there are hostiles around that can go for a decloak). Usually it’s much safer to warp off, ideally to a ping on grid to keep eyes 👀 on the gate.
- When you sit at a ping, be cloaked. Combat Probes or Interceptors giving it a shot at catching you are a real danger to you. And if you are not sure if your bookmark might be compromised and the enemy might have it, just warp to it at a random range before cloaking up.
- When cloaking up on a gate, it is a good idea not to do it right in line between two gates or other celestials. It’s much more likely that other ships who warp to the gate from those directions will land within 2000m of your ships and decloak you. So burn a bit up or down to avoid this.
Also be aware that an enemy fleet will very, very likely align towards an celestial or gate. So if you position your Interdictor on the side of the gate that faces the most likely align point of an enemy fleet (like the next gate on their route) you can use the size of your bubble more effectively. The aligned ships may even be forced to burn through or around your bubble to get off.
- A way to mitigate damage to your ship can be to shoot drones. In the case you made it under the guns of a bigger ship your are currently orbiting at 500 and scramming while the main fleet hurls their buts over to you, you can shoot the drones. Small Autocannons on a Sabre do a pretty good job at killing any size of drone, which forces the player either to call the drones back or losing them. Either way will reduce the damage that could force you off your pray. (Also have the MWD off at that close range to sig-tank better)
- Bubbling fleets in the open is the most dangerous part. Where there is no gate to safe yourself by jumping through, warping out and or cloaking up at the right times are the best ways to stay alive.
Also to utilize bookmarks on grid, see point 2 above. Such on-grid pings can be of great value on battlefields like Ore Anomalies. If you have to warp off grid constantly, you lose this time you could use to monitor 👀 the situation and miss the perfect moment for tackle. On those fights where Rorquals or other capitals are tackled by an enemy fleet there are usually some Interceptors around the grid providing good pings to make your own bookmarks – but don’t rely on them to be there the whole fight – rather warp to them and make your own bookmark.
- In case of being secondary tackle.
When you are out roaming with a gang, Interceptors tend to be the first who land a point on a target. For this reason it’s good to have as much other tackle-ships (and the FC, to be able to warp directly back to the fleet) on your watch list as possible. So you don’t have to wait for the “x” in fleet chat to initiate the warp-to the other pilot. You usually get the name of the tackler (if he knows how to communicate appropriately at least) before the “x”.
- The “perfect moment” for dropping a bubble. In fleet fights, this moment is when the enemy fleet warping out without being properly aligned. This is the moment you decloak at your ping, where you stayed aligned down the the enemy fleet, warp to the closest thing you can and launch your bubble as soon as you exit warp to catch the slowest of the hostile fleet. The closer you are to this spot. the more likely it will work.
The most challenging doctrine to pull this off are fast ones like Muninns or Assault Frigate fleets.
- When your Interdiction Probe Launcher is empty and reloading (60s) and your are not actively camping a gate, but are on grid during a battle, either cloak up, warp off or burn out of range, far enough to be able to warp back in. If you can not scramble some key target in the meantime of course. Or if you have to be able to jump on command, just stay at the gate.
- Notice gate-fire.
Since a few updates we have very nice gate-fire animations when someone jumps in. (and even sounds, yes Eve has sound) Don’t just bubble instantly like a dumbo. If the list isn’t too long, you will see in local if someone hostile or non hostile came in. Being trapped in your eagerly launched bubble could be a terrible accident for that poor Epithal pilot that where just in the wrong place a the wrong time.
If a new hostile appears in your local list but did not came through your gate, he came from somewhere else. Another gate, a wormhole or he just logged in. If you assume he comes from another gate, an instantly launched bubble might still catch him if he had initiated warp after you launched it, and warped at 0 to the gate you launched the bubble at. That’s a gamble though and often it’s more practical to see first what might come your way, and then jump with it to try to catch it if there’s a reasonable chance.
- When you jump gates with other tackle in your fleet with the task to pin down what is on the other side. Hold your cloak 2 seconds longer than the first Interceptor pilot who came in with you. (Having brackets on helps with that a lot)
Why that? Because very often, the enemy focuses it’s attention to the newly decloaked ship first. This is your fellow Interceptor. But on the FC priority list to shoot, your Interdictor is ranked much higher than this ceptor. By waiting this little extra seconds you lead the attention of the enemy towards your ally, away from you. It might just be a couple of moments you gain there before the enemy will shift it’s fire onto you, but it can be this extra couple of moments that enables you to launch all bubbles and cement your trap.
- Be aware of the size of the gate. There are four sizes of which three are actually relevant in nullsec. The biggest gates, which are border-gates from the NPC empires obviously don’t appear in nullsec (at least none that I know of) The three relevant one are system gates (the smallest) followed by constellation gates and the even bigger regional gates. The bigger the gate, the harder to bubble them. Ships coming through it will spawn around the shape of the gate. So longer shapes may require you to burn around and drop multiple bubbles to increase the chance of catching something. Here is a great image visualizing gate sizes.
- When you jump a gate and see yourself confronted with a big blob of hostiles. Don’t panic. You still have the one minute gate cloak to estimate your situation. There might be a big blob on field, but:
- Are you in a bubble? Do they have a ship that could launch one once you decloak?
- Do they have fast tackle like frigates that could lock you down before warping off?
- Are those small ships in range as well?
If the answers to those questions are yes, your safest bet is to try to crash the gate. More often than one would think, you will find that an FC has told all tackle to go ahead and the main fleet is without any. Now if there are mainly slow locking ships on grid, it’s usually safer to warp off and come back, either at 0 or on a ping.
< 10 PODCAST: EPISODE 18
If you want to hear some people who generally know what they are doing talk more in depth about bubbles and mechanics, give Episode 18 of the < 10 Podcast a listen. I can only recommend the podcast in general.
I hope you found this little crash course useful and maybe have learned a thing or two. Did I miss something? You found a point you disagree on? I would love to hear it. Please let me know in the comments!