In EVE I like to hunt. I like to hunt ratters specifically. The guys and girls who go out in their battleships (or carriers) and try to kill red crosses as monotonously efficient as they can. My task is to come into a system, find them as soon as possible, make sure they don't leave till my backup arrives.
In the "Hunting Ratters" series I will talk about all the pieces that make up how to find and hunt these ratters.
The first step to finding our targets is to locate where they are. Ratters often are most active in the preserves of rental alliances and rented space. These are the prime areas for a lot of ratters.
My normal way of starting up the evening on EVE is to hop into my scanning loki or covops and start scanning the systems around our homebase for wormholes. Either wormholes which lead directly to null but I won't hesitate to scan down entire chains. After about fifteen to thirty minutes I should have some exits noted down. I usually write down the exit systems.
The next step is finding out if there is any active ratting going on in the area of an exit. I do this by using the great tool called dotlan.
If you don't do the wormhole steps you'd look around at regions around EVE on dotlan and then pick one to fly to. Be wary though, if you do this you will often be reported in intel all over and have to deal with the gatecamps for region entry systems.
Let's assume we have a wormhole exit in Esoteria, this is the map for Esoteria (arrows mine):
I tend to use both the "NPC Kills" and the "NPC Kills Delta" filter for Dotlan. One tells you how many rats have been killed in a system in the past hour, the other one shows you what the difference is between the last two data points, this shows you if ratting is picking up or slowing down in a system.
Of special note are the systems: BY-MSY, LG-R02, V-XANH. Be wary that these systems are all station systems (see the square on the system circle) and a few of them are in pockets. Game will usually have scouts in the systems which enter into their pocket to know about any hunters active in the area. A later article in the series will focus on logoffskis and other assorted ways to trick game into thinking they can drink from the pool of red crosses.
The reasons why these systems are especially interesting is easy to see in the case of BY and LG. The rat numbers per hour are high indicating multiple people active and about preying on the NPCs. V-X is interesting because it is a system with an ice belt (blue doubled line) and has relatively few rat kills, so is WX-6UX but I forgot to draw an arrow. This makes it seem that there is a person ice mining and just killing the rats that spawn on the belt. Always good to go and check out.
If we look at the delta map:
We can see that the LG system is actually going down in rat kills per hour. We might scrap that system from the list of systems to scout.
At this point it is a good thing to make sure you know a bit more about the area. Bring up the ship/pod kills in a region on dotlan and see which systems are hot. Be sure to use the in game map together with the dotlan map so you can tell how many pilots are in space in systems around your (be aware that, like dotlan, this data is delayed).
In general I try to always have dotlan open in the in game browser (on the radar mode, which follows what system you are in). Link your fleet a destination system and scout ahead for them, if you don't catch anything you link a new destination. Be sure to always click on the entry systems to nearby regions to see what is going on in there as well.
The next article in this series will be about what to do when you actually enter a system and there's people in local.