The Evolution of The Ninja

Orcas & Alts & Friends, Oh My!

One of the things I love about Eve is its constant evolution. There is no one set strategy that someone learned on day 1 that still beats everything today, because that would have flat-lined the game years ago since by this point, we’d all be using it.

Through expansions, tweaks, nerfs, buffs, etc, the game evolves and changes and you, the player, have to change with it. Other changes however are not direct from Iceland, and are instead a manifestation of change in the actual players and their play-style within the game, which I think is a pretty damn cool concept.

As it pertains to the art of the ninja, especially in the art of “le ganque”, the general perception seems to have arose that there is a necessity in bringing the fight to the mission runner faster and harder. Using sneakier guerilla tactics, the idea is to bait, trap, and destroy your prey before they can either dock up for the next hour or call in 10 rr-ing friends.

Because as much as I hate to even think it, mission-bears have started to get (ugh) smarter. Well, sort of. Perhaps a better description would be more paranoid. A year and a half ago when I first started ninjaing peoples missions, there was still this  confounded, sputtering disbelief from people as to how in the hell you even GOT into their mission, let alone how you were allowed to take their stuff. Today? Its a given: if you run high-level missions out of a major hub like Dodixie, you are GOING to be scanned down by SOMEONE. It’s not an if, its a when, and a larger percentage of the bear population is starting to actually catch on to that concept.

Here’s where the problems occur for your friendly neighborhood ninja. After orbiting and salvaging a few wrecks in some guys mission, our hero finds some tasty meta 4 large guns in a wreck. Yoink! Into the cargohold they go. The mission runner, incensed about this bold theft in front of his very face, locks, and fires at the poor ninja in his frail little Vigil.

Now, the general plan at this point is, warp to station, wait to dock, wait the 30 seconds in station to change ship, undock in gank-ship, warp back to mission, possibly crawl through various gates and rooms to hopefully find that the mission runner is indeed a class-A idiot and is STILL THERE.

The above is the ideal situation, though as anyone who’d done their share of ninjaing before can tell you, it doesn’t always work like this. Even if you’re fast on the dock, change, undock, and warp, there’s still a gaping minute and a half window, at least, where the target can get wise and warp away. Of course, we have our ways of making that aggro stick a littttle bit longer than they’re expecting, but its that initial time-gap thats the problem.

The solution that presented itself about a year ago was, ironically enough, the new carebear fun-mobile, the Orca. It didn’t take too long for most enterprising ninjas (or pirates for that matter) to pick up on the idea that the orca is a perfectly suited high-sec carrier ideal for guerrilla tactics. They can carry any ship BC-sized or smaller in the ship maintenance bay (command ships, T3 cruisers, etc), they can fit and run multiple gang-links at the same time, and they have an on-the-fly fitting service. Why warp all the way to station and wait 30 seconds to change ships when you can warp to an alt or a friend in a fleet-boosting orca, swap ships instantly, and warp back to the mission in under 30 seconds?

They aren’t however, without their flaws, or hiccups. As Paul Clavet at My Loot, Your Tears has already documented, there’s a few unworked-out bugs with the instant ship switching using the Orca. The seriously annoying one is where the ship you’re changing into pops out with all the mods off-lined. This presents a bit of a problem when you’re swapping for pew in font of someone’s face and your point doesn’t turn on. I’ve had other bugs where I board a ship with no cap, or with JUST the guns off-lined. Seriously?

Actually it had never happened to me before a few days ago, when I lost 3 kills in 2 days because of it. First a faction fit Domi when with zero cap and guns off-lined I really couldn’t do much to hurt him, let alone even pin him down. The next day, I managed to get 2 hulks to fire on my shuttle for can-flipping them, and when I switched for the Hurricane, again everything was off-lined. No point = bye bye 2 hulk kills. But, aside from that, having the ability to bring the fight to someone faster, even instantly in some cases, is incredible.

I’ve lucked out with my Orca-readiness, as not only do I have an Orca-capable alt, but it also seems I have some carebear fans of this blog who’ve volunteered to toe the darkside now and again! Its true, there are 2 individuals who shall of course remain nameless who, even though because of their respective roles, reputations, or rules of their own corps can’t really participate in things like ganking, ninjaing, and can flipping, want to at least help out in covert ways. One provided some outstanding RR and fleet-boosting the other day, and the other has volunteered use of their Orca in helping with belt-ganks of rival miners. I have to say, they’ve both been a blast to hang out with, and both would make some pretty damn fine ninjas should they ever decide to come to the dark side.

Another result of the Orca is another adaptation: smaller yet deadlier ships. In the past, the Raven was the king of the gank: its easy to pick damage-types for the mission runner’s resist holes, and also easy to swap out mission-specific hardeners on the fly. However, battleship-class ships don’t fit in the Orca’s ship bay. As a result, more and more are turning towards things like Command Ships and T3’s.

Typically, I’ve been using a massive armor-buffer beast of a Hurricane, with a longer time-line goal of a Sleipnir eventually. However, when I sat down and looked at how easily I could step into a Loki, I decided that that was my more immediate goal; Minmatar Cruiser V here I come.

So, evolution at work. Will CCP nerf the Orca’s ability to basically be a high-sec Carrier/Command Ship? I certainly hope not, but again, change is part of this game, and inevitable, and we the smart and sneaky ones, will adapt.



image credit: Patric Ayler

~ by Aiden Mourn on May 4, 2010.

4 Responses to “The Evolution of The Ninja”

  1. You really make your way of life in EvE sound so tempting to do! One day you may convert me into a ninja! Right now, low sec is still calling my name though 🙂

  2. If I wanted to see any change at all to the mechanics on ganking in high sec with a ninja I’d like to see rr and ship switching flag aggression to the character helping the gankee… at least that way it requires the ninja to put assets at risk… After awhile you realize when can flipping, mission looting, and so forth that the difficulty just isn’t there … it becomes as much like farming as the mission runners and miners that are targets… You need more excitement

  3. ya i’d have to agree and probably even pirates/ninjas wud agree, that aggression on the orca pilot would be a fare change atleast, and wouldnt affect 99% of the pirates/mission runners… but for the few smart missioners wud allow some retaliation 😀

    This all does sound wicked, and i must admit i knew about the faster ship swap, but somehow i forgot about the ganglinks and fleet boost from the orca for a pirate LMFAO thats just wicked!

  4. […] I refer to the blog of my CEO Aiden Mourn, who wrote an artical about it which can be found here: Free Willy from the carebear clutches ). Let’s just say that the ability to swap ships almost instantly, and refit them on the fly, is […]

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