22 Jan 2013
Fear of the Jungle
Nullsec is a jungle.
Survival in the jungle means understanding the environment, its dangers and resources, and having the correct skills and the right equipment to deal with them. Any first trip into the jungle should be made with caution, a fast frigate with microwarpdrive, an interceptor is a perfect choice for example, or a nullified cloaky tech 3 cruiser would make an ideal ship choice if you can afford it.
A new region or system should be scouted fully before committing ships and playtime. Only a fool would move blindly into a new jungle home without first studying the lay of the land, the natives and their movements. Spend a week or so keeping track of activity in your timezone, lay low in systems that seem populated, study the camps and look at killboards and ship types used and tactics employed. Commit to making tactical bookmarks on EVERY stargate including scan spots near isolated stargates. This may sound boring but bookmarking a region gives you an important strategic advantage when traversing the terrain. Ideally you should make bookmarking sorties in and around downtime when the systems are less populated. An ideal tactical bookmark should be around 250km + from the stargate. Multiple warp-to bookmarks on each gate further add to your strategy. Remember you can never have enough bookmarks! Devise a clear and easy to understand labelling system for your bookmarks.
Good map reading skills are essential to your survival. Make use of the ingame map and the statistics, use browser maps and if you have the means, use a physical hard copy such as an up-to-date strategic map booklet for quick at-a-glance reference. Study the maps so that you eventually have a mental image of the area lodged into your mindset. At first you will be fully immersed into a strange place but eventually this will become your backyard, your playground, and instead of fearing the shadows you will become a shadow. You should know for example where the hotspots are for passing traffic, where the camps are, where that guy with his Sabre and Falcon are, where the ratters are, station systems, entry points, bottlenecks and dead ends, bubbled gates, connecting regions and so on.
Your new home is a harsh place, it is kill or be killed. Never trust anyone, nobody is your friend and there are no rules. You will need to exist like an animal and adapt. If you want to survive like the animals you become an animal.
You will become a guerrilla fighter, guerrilla warfare will be your art form.
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group or lone combatant(s) make use of advanced military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to dominate a larger and less-mobile traditional army, or to strike a vulnerable target, and withdraw almost immediately.
For this you will learn to travel light and fast but will always carry with you enough ammunition and supplies, repair paste and bubbles. You will learn to be silent, you will never talk in local and you will never loiter for too long in one system. You are the enemy. Remember this.
Colours are the natural warning signs to the creatures who live in the jungle. Make use of the standings system to paint your enemy; red for danger, orange for good fights and lukewarm relations (use this sparingly for good fights are a rare and distant dream). Never blue anybody but your own alts. A guerrilla fighter has no blues.
Remember that you are in another man's playground. You have been spotted, remember this. An insect has reported you and your name is now lit up in intel channels. Move fast and stay alert. The insects that live there have exceptional senses and intel which they use very effectively. You are a smell in their landscape, you are an invading animal and you are not welcome. Visitors, lost souls and those new to the area or without standing have all of their senses diminished in comparison. A person might believe their area perception is good; but it won't be compared to the native's highly organised structure. Even if you doubt your enemies ability in combat, you should never doubt their intel and resources and you should not be surprised if you have loitered for too long in an area and find yourself jumping into a quick death. They will hear every sound and see every movement. When they stare at the jungle they will see through the spaces between the branches of the bushes and the trees. The visitor will only see the wood of the trees that are in front of those spaces.
The Silent Killer.
Ambushes are a good way to snag kills and disrupt the enemy. To avoid detection or to set up an ambush, you must blend into the environment, and be able to move quietly and without detection. Setting up a bubble on the busiest stargate of the region for example will only provide you with a quick trip to the clone vats. Pick a system that you know will get a bit of traffic but won't immediately arouse suspicion in intel channels. Places off of the main track and close to connecting region systems can be ideal ambush sites. A scout such as a covert ops alt or a friend a system out can further your chances of survival and of snagging kills. When a target is inbound you should move into position from a connecting safe, never loiter near your own bubble without knowing what is coming through the gate. Your bubble should ideally be off scan from nearby celestials, choosing a good system for this will come with practice. Once you have snagged a few kills you should pack up your bubble and move on, further minimising the risk of a response fleet being sent your way. Always be on the move and one step ahead of the enemy. Always clean up your litter, destroy all cans and wrecks that have stacked up around your camp, scoop all corpses. Leave no trace.
The nullsec jungle can be a frightening experience to the newcomer. The blackness, the emptiness, the strange and often hidden characters in local, the movements or fear of the enemy creeping around, the not knowing ... all this can combine to a powerful effect. Fighting and surviving in the jungle is a silent and deadly game of cat and mouse.
Will you become the cat or the mouse?