I remember my first attempt at a suicide gank. It was late September of last year – day one or two of Goonswarm Shrugged. Gallente space was full of Goons in Brutixes (Brutices?). Atrum Veneficus would soon earn the nickname ‘the Scourge of Deninard‘. Mittens himself was slaughtering Mackinaws left and right, and a new generation of highsec killers – Fuujin, Gorn Arming, et al – was born. The talent lost or buried with the demise of Jihadswarm was being rediscovered.
I was mostly not aware of this. My knowledge of game mechanics was shaky at best and at its most unreliable in highsec. Security status, aggression mechanics, GCCs, CONCORD? All annoying as fuck and usually confusing. Nullsec is both simpler and relatively safe for a GSF member.
So: I decided to make absolutely sure I would start on a good note and score a kill. I picked a Hulk in a belt – completely oblivious and stationary, typical at this stage – and lugged a Dominix over from Dodixie. It was kitted out with one of the old 2009-era Jihadswarm fits still on the wiki. Big fucking blasters, drones, damage mods, scram, web, everything needed.
Good warpin, stationary target, massive firepower. Piece of cake.
While I was in warp, I became concerned. I still couldn’t believe that the guy wouldn’t notice a Velator sitting 200 meters away. (I had forgotten just how miners tend to play this game.) As soon as I landed, I targeted, scrammed, opened fire, everything. Hit all the buttons.
I didn’t notice that I’d bounced off a chunk of ice and was now travelling that about 2km/second away from my target.
I’d already aggressed. Miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, pop. Dominix gone. The Hulk probably didn’t even notice I was there. Mittens was on comms and his scout was in the belt. “Hey, who just flubbed a gank in a Dominix?”
CRIPES. (He was cool and helped me clear CONCORD, but still. Cripes.)
The point I’m trying to make here is that ganking is simple, and that it’s not. There are so many things to fuck up. You can land out of range. You can bounce. You can forget that CONCORD is in the belt. Forget to overheat your guns. Aggress, and watch the miner warp out – you didn’t fit a scram. Effects are glitched, so you couldn’t see that the Orca was repping your target. Faction police jam you early. CONCORD hasn’t been previously spawned in the system, so they pop into existence – right on top of you.
I’ve killed at least a hundred exhumers now and I’m still refining my technique. This video, which was recorded about a month ago (and which I’ll comment on further later), shows a pretty clean kill, but I run my ganks rather differently now. The Orca is too slow and clumsy. Two Catalysts aren’t usually necessary. Tabbing between windows is inefficient. Back then, it was almost perfect – overkill and I missed the pod, but still. Now it looks sloppy. If I ever make a proper exhumer-ganking tutorial video (and I intend to) I’ll have to account for these differences in style and tactics. What’s appropriate and when?
I bring all this up because of a conversation I had in local a few weeks ago with a miner. He said that CCP was coddling gankers, that the Catalyst is too powerful, that exhumers and barges should have about twice the HP they do now. ‘Suicide ganking isn’t PVP’, he said, and that’s a phrase I’ve heard often – presumably from angry miners who are Elite Killboard Superstars in their spare time.
Ganking is PVP – by definition. And it’s more complicated than you think it is. More importantly, defending yourself is a lot easier than you think it is. Do you have two or three brain cells you can rub together and make a thought? Then you can align out and watch your overview! Hey, you’re practically invulnerable now, because you’re paying attention to the game. Like the gankers have to.