UPDATE 2021: This post was written before CCP changed nullification to be tied to a module that needs to be fitted to a highslot. You can read more about it here, and in “The Great Escape” devblog by CCP.
If you have such a module fitted to your covert ops – which you should have when flying through nullsec and wormholes – make yourself familiar of how they work.
People who know what they are doing will almost always get you when you jump into their camp.
When you travel outside of high security space it is only a matter of so many jumps until you will encounter your first gate camp. But before we go into the details of how to survive that, let’s have a look at what actually is a “gate camp”:
When a group of ships sits at a gate, hoping to catch people who have jumped through.
Depending on the area of space, the ships camping on a gate can be of different types. You could camp alone in a Trasher with sensor boosters and artillery guns sitting in the exact middle of a gate, waiting for a slow enough frigate you can lock and kill with two, three shots from overheated guns. You might not even need a warp disruptor on your ship. Why artillery guns? Because they have the highest damage per shot in the game. This means with each shot, you deal a significant amount of damage at once, “volleying” a target. The most notorious ship used for this purpose are probably Tornados.
But damage dealing ships really can be anything that can hit hard quickly. The other, more important part is tackle. The job of tacklers in a gate camping group is to make sure the ship(s) that jumped into the camp do:
- Not just warp away and
- Do not make it back to the gate
Those two things will be almost always the options with the highest chance to survive for someone trying to pass through a gate camp.
Components of a Gate Camp
A well-composed gate camp will have at least three types of ships:
- Fast locking tackle with Warp Scramblers (Scram)
This can be ships like Interceptors with sensor boosters or getting remote sensor boosters from their camping buddies.
Preferably used for long-distance warp scrambling are ships with an additional range bonus. Those are unique to Gallente ships like the Maulus Navy Issue, Keres (Frigates), Arazu and Lachesis (T2 Cruisers). The Proteus (T3 Cruiser) gets a minor bonus too, but the other mentioned ships are usually preferred for this task. Heavy Interdictors can scram from a long distance as well.
In nullsec and wormhole space Interdictors and Heavy Interdictors or even anchorable bubbles play a significant role too.
- Stasis Webifiers (Webs)
To stop a target from crashing back to gate, Stasis Webifiers are very important.
Often used ships for this are Minmatar hulls like the Hyena (Frigate), Huginn and Rapier (T2 Cruisers) as well as the Loki (T3 Cruiser). Also, Blood Raider pirate ships like Cruor (Frigate) or Ashimmu (Cruiser) have this range bonus to webs.
A different kind of beasts are the Serpentis ships. Those do not get a range bonus on webs but an effectiveness bonus. A regular T2 Statis Webifier will reduce a ships total speed by 60%. On a Serpentis pirate ship, this goes up to 95%. As a result, the Daredevils (Frigate) and Vigliants (Cruiser) often rush towards a victim and try to apply their webs immediately, usually in addition to a warp scrambler.
- Damage Platforms
As mentioned before, this can nearly be anything. Often ships with very good application are preferred. Attack Battlecruisers are a good choice as the targets much likely will not move much when being webbed and the large turrets will be able to hit the target well.
- Bonus: The scout on the other side of the gate. To know what comes through and to call a heads up on voice comms can be extremely helpful for a gate camping gang. They will be able to react accordingly to what comes through.
However, there is one huge difference between gate camps in lowsec and in null, or even wormhole space.
Let’s have a look at the different types of space where you can run into gate camps.
Low Security Gate Camps
The warping-off-fast-option is especially a thing here, where bubbles (warp disruption probes) can not be launched. The ability to warp cloaked and/or getting into warp fast increases your chances of survival.
This graphic explains why you would want an as small signature and as little align time as possible: Instalocker vs Interceptor. Against an Instalocking Maulus Navy Issue, this or cloaking with the same tick when you initiate warp, would probably the only option to survive a good setup gate camp.
Gate campers in this space will have to deal with gate guns, which deal about 300-400 DPS and are dangerous to frigates because of that. Still, frigates that can lock fast and scramble a target are often seen here. Fast ships are also good for decloaking ships.
The frigate will try to get the initial tackle to prevent a target from running off until the heavier ships of the camp get it locked and tackled as well. Then the frigate will warp off to avoid getting killed by the gate-guns.
Remote sensor boosters and logistics are often used to keep the first-tacklers alive with repairs and let them lock even faster.
Gate camps in low security space are often set up on gates with a high sec system on the other side. The most infamous system for gate camps from high-low is probably Tama. It is very close to the Jita trade-hub and often fights are started this particular gate.
When you get tackled on such a gate and can not warp off anymore, but have sufficient tank and propulsion module, you may make it back through the gate into safety. If you get tackled on a connection between two lowsec systems, crashing the gate will only help if the gate campers don’t have enough fast tacklers or are aggressing all on one side. Competent pilots will have at least one or two ships waiting at 0 on the gate and in case you make it back, they will jump with you and try to tackle you on the other side. The other ships will follow them after their aggression timer has run out after 1 minute.
If you have enough tank you can try to crash the gate again. Or if you are in a ship with combat capabilities you have a bit less than 1 minute to try to kill or at least force the tacklers off and warp.
Parade Example of a Low Sec Gate Camp
A Maulus Navy Issue with scram and even a faction web. A Vigilant to slow a target even further and a Talos to land the killing blow with its heavy-hitting large guns. But one of the key components did not make it on the kill mail: The Exequeror who was repairing the Maulus Navy Issue, so the Gate Guns wouldn’t kill it while utilizing its mid-slots by having remote sensor boosters on Maulus and Vigilant. The only thing that might make this setup even more effective would be command bursts and maybe an additional Attack Battlecruiser for bigger targets.
Note: For camps on high sec gates, everything that would apply to low sec applies here as well – except the gate guns won’t shoot eligible war targets. And being at war is probably the only time you will find gate camps in high sec.
Null Security Gate Camps
Everything said about low sec gate camps applies to null as well, with two exceptions:
- In nullsec warp disruption probes can be launched from Interdictors, Heavy Interdictors can be used to create static bubbles around them and deployable warp disruptors can be anchored.
- There are no gate guns.
Warp disruption spheres or “bubbles” can be created by eight T2 ships (and some special edition ones) in the game or be anchored as mobile structures like a mobile depot.
With the introduction of the “Interdiction Nullifer” modules the procedure to escape a bubble gate is rather easy, given you have sacrificed a high slot of your Covert Ops for the module.
- Active your Interdiction Nullifier while you are still in gate cloak
- Initiate warp somewhere
- Cloak up asap.
When you are planning to warp to a bubbled gate, make sure you activate the nullifier module before you initiate warp. It does not matter if it has cycled down before you land, as the check if your ship is nullified is happening when you begin your warp. If you activate your module while you are in warp, you will still land in the bubble, because your destination has already been calculated.
If you don’t have an Interdiction Nullifier fitted, the following chapters still apply.
Getting bubbled at 0
Interdictor, T2 Destroyer class ships are the most common way to set up gate camps with a bubble in nullsec. An Interdictor such as Sabre, Flycatcher, Heretic or the Eris will usually sit at 0 on the gate, sometimes even cloaked.
When a target lands at the gate, the Interdictor pilot will launch one of his three spheres from his launcher. The most commonly used sphere is 20km in diameter, lasts for 120 seconds and covers most regional gates fully. Then the target is usually forced to jump the gate by a DPS boat or tackler, so it can’t get out of the bubble or die right there.
The Interdictor jumps with the target and burns straight back at 0 to the gate on the other side, launching another bubble. He has now 1 more sphere in his bubble-launching module left. Usually, other ships will follow or be already there, ready to go.
To read more about how Interdictors work you can read my Interdictor Crash Course. This will help you to get into the mind of the guy bubbling you and probably to forecast what he will be doing next, helping you escape. Or just keep on reading to the Praxis Example at the end of this post.
Heavy Interdictors often called “Hictors” or “Hics” are a special breed of very tanky T2 cruisers. Other than their smaller brothers, they can not launch bubbles as probes. Instead, they generate them with a high slot module that gives them an aggression timer as soon as they use it. This module creates a bubble just like an Interdiction Probe would but moves with the Hic in its center around the grid.
The module can also be loaded with scripts that either point you from a long distance, or even scram you from a not so long distance. Still, this scram will be further than an overheated T2 warp scrambler on a ships without a bonus to the module.
The aggression timer this provokes means however that the Hic won’t be able to follow you like a Destroyer sized Interdictor would if you can make it through a gate. Heavy Interdictors are rarely alone though.
So if you see a Devoter, Onyx, Broadsword or Phobos on a gate. It’s safe to assume that it is bubbled by them. Or they are ready to chase and long-point you after you jump.
They can also very strong in wormhole space, read on to see why.
The most important thing to note here is probably that other than gates in nullsec, wormholes do not care if a pilot has an aggression timer or not. They will always be able to jump through it.
But – of course, there is a but – wormholes will give you a polarization status when you jump back and forth within a short period of time. This timer will be up to five minutes when you jump a wormhole in one direction and head back through right away. Polarization will prevent you from jumping this specific wormhole a third time.
As someone fleeing from a hole camp, this puts you at a disadvantage as you usually want to crash a wormhole back to where you came from, when you see no other way out. But other than in nullsec, everything that attacked you during your way back to the wormhole will be able to follow you through. If you make it to the other side you will also have a polarization timer. This means you won’t be able to go back through the wormhole immediately like you would in null or lowsec.
With time you will learn what choke-points and gates in the region you travel in will likely be camped. But if you plan to go into unfamiliar space, it’s can’t do harm to have a look at the EVE Gatecamp Check website. There you can enter two systems, ones you eventually avoid and the website will tell you if there are potential gate camps setup with data pulled from killboards.
No entries there are of course no guarantee that you won’t run into trouble.
Praxis Example: How to Escape a Gate Camp with a Covert Ops Frigate?
The following chapter was originally written as an answer to a forum post of a Covert Ops pilot on how to escape gate camps.
If you can escape a gate camp or not depends a lot on the situation. Let me write a little wall of text to try to cover all of them and fail while trying.
Situation 1, No Bubble:
You jump in a system (e.g. Tama), gate is camped. Flashing criminals all around you.
- Keep calm, you have 1 minute gate cloak that you can use to think.
- Look where the enemies are. How are they moving? How far away are they? If they move, wait until they are more than 11 km away before you act. A standard T2 Scram has 10 km when overheated and not on a bonused ship.
- Wait. If you are lucky another pilot will jump into the same gate. So if you hear gate fire behind you and there is another one decloaking before you do, the campers will likely try to catch him. This is the moment for you to go for a run while the campers are distracted.
- When you initially jump in you aren’t aligned to anything. Your ship is just a position vector with a null velocity vector, so you will align to any location in the same time.
- But I recommend to warp at it at 70 km. 70 because most people who can follow you will warp at 0 or 100 km and could decloak you in the process. But if you cloaked right when warping you should not be followed anyway.
- Immediately hit cloak after warping.
- Hit your Micro Warp Drives (MWD) at the same time IF – and only if – you need to make distance from other objects which prevent you from cloaking up.
Situation 2, Gate is bubbled:
You jumped into a system in Nullsec and land in a bubble and can not warp without maneuvering out.
- Keep calm, you have 1 minute gate cloak that you can use to think.
- Where are the enemies? Are there other objects which will prevent you from cloaking? Drones, containers, corpses? Avoid what could decloak you when you first choose the direction you want to make your run to.
- Waiting for another target for the campers is unlikely in most parts of nullsec, waiting might not be a good option.
- Start your run in another direction than the “real” escape route to lead the campers who will try to decloak you on a wrong track.
A route leading upwards in a bow has proven effective for me on a cloaking ship.
- Activate MWD and cloak simultaneously if possible.
- Get out of the bubble, warp to a random celestial.
Another option when jumping into a gate-camp can be to burn back to the gate. But be aware that this is very risky in a covert ops frigate because it basically has zero tank. If there is anything bigger than frigates that can apply damage in the time you activate the MWD and cloak and burn back to the gate you came from, you are likely dead.
Situation 3, You warped to a camped gate:
If there is no bubble you should be able to just jump through. Often this leads to situations 1 or 2 on the other side. In this case, being quick to cloak up and warp before a bubble is launched can be key to survival. If you are too slow see steps mentioned in “Situation 2”.
Situation 4, You warped to a camped gate and into a bubble:
If there is a bubble and you warped from gate to gate, a good setup gate camp has an object sitting at the spot you will land. Like a jettisoned can or a ship, which will decloak you. In that case, you deal with people who know what they are doing and you are probably dead.
To avoid this just don’t warp directly from gate to gate in nullsec. Warp to a random celestial first. Because most bubbles are setup to drag you from warp when you come from certain spots, like citadels or gates, you are much more unlikely to end up in them when you come from a different angle.
Remember that you can also see the gate camp on DScan when you are closer than 14.3 AU. If the number and status of pilots on local makes you think that there might be a gate-camp, warp to a celestial near the gate and scan it before you warp there.
Some gates (those between constellations) don’t have celestials in range of the DScan on them. This fact makes them a favorable spot for gate campers.
In this case warp to a celestial anyway then don’t warp to the gate at 0 but at 100 km and look what’s there.
Sometimes citadels that are in DScan range to the gate but not on your overview can work as such “celestials” so look for them directly in space.
If you have an area in which you fly a lot, it is worth to set up tactical bookmarks on the gates. Those are usually more than 150 km (I would recommend 300 km) above or below a gate so you will be able to warp there, check for hostiles and then warp right to the gate.
Nice to know:
- Afterburners (AB) increase your inertia, and by this, your align time = bad when you want to warp. MWD increases your signature radius making you easier to lock and increases your speed.
- Fit your ship for alignment, meaning inertia stabilizers in the low slots. Inertia Stabilizers are better than Nanofibers because those also increase your ship sub warp speed which has an effect on how fast your ship is entering warp.
- You enter warp at 75% sub-warp velocity. The higher this velocity, the longer you need for acceleration.
- Any object closer than 2.000 m from you will prevent you from cloaking. Stuff closer than 2.000 m will also decloak you.
- You can activate cloak and any other module simultaneously because the server works in “ticks”. Until the server realizes your cloak has to deactivate your MWD or other modules, you will have already one cycle going. There is even this “Cloak + MWD Trick 47” often used on Industrials.
- You see a timer for your gate-cloak in the top left (blue circle). Waiting to the full extent can reduce focus of the campers you jumped into. They become unsure if they really heard the gate-fire of someone coming in and become less concentrated.
- Overheating your MWD can give you the extra speed deciding between life and death.
- You can’t cloak when another pilot has locked you up. The only option then is to outrun them, good luck.
- Warp Core Stabilizers might be worth to have with you for a re-fit when you travel lowsec. If you fly something with sufficient low slots that is. Two Stabilizers in the low slots of my Trasher mentioned above, probably would not have helped much since the Maulus Navy Issue likely had a Faction Warp Scramblers which usually have +3 tackle strength. That means you need at least 3 Stabilizers to counter it. But then you sacrifice slots that could be used to sharpen your align time. Everything is a tradeoff.
- Choose the right ship – like Interceptors or other nullified vessels.
Summed up, you are very hard to kill when able to warp cloaked. But bubbles are your nemesis.
I hope this wall of text was a bit useful.
tl;dr: Always be cloaked.
Best Practice: Avoid Gate Camps Entirely
Use wormholes for travel and much safer transportation. I plan to write a guide on this topic soon™. Follow me here or on Twitter so you don’t miss the next guide! :)
Meanwhile, you might be interested in Travel-Interceptors.
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