May 24, 2010

"Point!"

Back when I served in the Minmatar Militia, I would get in some fleets some times that seemed like they had no idea what they were doing. We would camp a gate in a contested low-security system (say, the Amamake gate in Dal), to catch any pirates or opposing militia members coming through. One would jump in through the gate, and we would all start heading for him, guns primed. Two or three people would say "Point!"  in very excited voices. Then, the target would warp away.

This wasn't a one-time accident, either. It kept happening. Clearly, some people need to be educated on what a "point" is. It's not a terrible mistake if you're a new pilot and you're confused by the terminology, but it's good to know what it stands for, and how to best use both the terminology and the tactics behind it in your battles. So, let's go back to the beginning.

Think of your combat training you received at your academy of choice. In a field lesson, they likely had you trap a wrongdoer by using one of these on him:
This is called a Warp Scrambler, commonly called a "scram". It is one of the two types of targeted Warp Jammers you can fit on a ship. The other is a Warp Disruptor:
These are the icons that represent these two modules on your ship. They are also commonly referred to as points. In most fleets, "calling a point" means quickly broadcasting "Point!" or "Point on <person>!" once you have activated a point to tell your fleet that that target is locked down (for now).

By "locked down", I mean prevented from warping. For simplicity's sake, the warp jamming situation can be reduced to a number of numeric points (hence the jargon for the modules). A ship can warp when it has no points on it, or when it can compensate for all points on it with counterbalancing Warp Core Stabilizers (known colloquially as "stabs").

For example, if I was in my Rifter, and I came across a hauler of some sort who was hostile to me, I would use my Warp Scrambler on him. The warp scrambler puts 2 points on the hauler. Therefore, to be able to warp away safely before I make his hull my temporary ammo stash one bullet at a time, he would have to have 2 Warp Core Stabilizers fitted on to his ship. Haulers often have such mods when moving through risky space, just to avoid pesky tacklers like me. However, combat ships rarely fit Warp Core Stabilizers because of the severe targeting range penalty they cause.

So, what's the difference between a scrambler and a disruptor? Glad you asked.

  • Scrambler

    • Points: 2 (3 for some faction ones)
    • Range: 7.5 km (Tech I), 9 km (Tech II)
    • Capacitor usage: Low (1 GJ/s)
    • Bonus feature: shuts down microwarpdrive on target ship

  • Disruptor

    • Points: 1
    • Range: 20 km (Tech I), 24 km (Tech II)
    • Capacitor usage: Higher (5 GJ/s)
Yeah, that's right, the scrambler also shuts off the microwarpdrive of your target, so it is deadly against ships that depend on high speeds to not get hit. This means that most ships just use a scrambler, since it offers many more "features", even if it sacrifices range. Ships that need range use a disruptor, or don't use any point at all, and just rely on tacklers to hold the target down. Fast ships (like interceptors) often use disruptors too, since they need to stay outside of scrambler range to stay safe.

That's it. You now know the secret lore of warp jamming for most ships. The only thing left to mention about it are warp disruption bubbles, which can be projected by Interdictors, Heavy Interdictors, and mobile anchorable warp disruptors. These are just big area-of-effect versions of a disruptor, that may also interrupt you in mid-warp if they're on the same grid as you.

Now, to recap: yell "point" when you see one of these is successfully in use:

Not any of these:

5 comments :

  1. small little bone of contention with: "This means that most ships just use a scrambler, since it offers many more "features", even if it sacrifices range". IN actuality we use multiple ships with disruptor and almost NEVER scrams. Some ships do fit them occasionally but most die horribly when they sit at 7.5 to 9 K.

    Otherwise I think it is awesome that you actually show people the icons associated with action they perform.

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  2. Nice post for the new generation of capsuleers, but you missed one small fact! Recon cruisers have a much increased range for the warp disruption modules. This little fact may not mean much to a young capsuleer wanting to get used to the modules, but it means a whole lot to anyone wanting to escape from a recon cruiser.

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  3. Manasi, you may be right for the group you fly with. Ultimately everyone chooses the proper warp jammer for their ship. Heck, I've even killed an interceptor that used both (but failed at using guns). http://www.ushrakhan.com/alliance/edk/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=125548

    Darina, while that's true, if I went into nitpicky detail like that I'd have to mention deep-space transports also get a natural -2 point, so a single scram can't pin them down, and honestly that's not very useful details for a newbie. Besides, if a newbie runs into a recon ship with long range webs/point, they are dead with or without my warning :)

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  4. Very good post Petrus. Who knew you actually know things! :P

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  5. I surprise even myself, Thorvik. Note to self: start yelling "Point" when I'm using my armor rep in Thorvik's fleets. Or after I'm dead.

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