A Machariel battleship shows up and starts bumping you! You start trying to get away, but he's just too fast and on top of it. A conversation opens up:
300 mil ISK to buy an anti-ganking permit! Now!You try to waffle around and negotiate, but he's in a rush. The conversation goes back and forth for a minute or two, but once he sees you're probably not paying it, he stops responding. After a short pause, a bunch of Catalysts warp in, and start going to work on you. Several short seconds later, your freighter is gone.
That was totally unfair and un-counter-able!Well... No, it wasn't. Bumping is a valid mechanic, and so is suicide-ganking. Plus, freighters are extraordinary ships. Capital ships, actually. So, just like all other capital ships, they should not be flown alone with the expectation that everything will be fine. Freighters are best flown with a webbing friend (more on that in a later post), or other escort (which could counter-bump the Machariel out of the way and let you align).
Still, perhaps those were not available, and you got in the situation above. I have some good news: the gankers made a mistake by talking to you. Why?
You can log off!During their continued bumping, they must keep CONCORD away for the incoming gank (to increase the amount of time they can shoot you before dying). That means that nobody can shoot you illegally, which means you (probably) do not have an aggression timer. Since freighters do not have active modules, and you're doing nothing other than floating helplessly, you fulfill all requirements to "Log Off Safely".
Normally, when you log off (or close your client), people can tell you have logged off, and your ship starts trying to perform an "emergency warp" to get to a nearby safe spot, then vanish (60 seconds after you log off). If you did that, the gankers would know they need to hurry up, and would do their best to be there before your ship vanishes.
"Safe log off" is different. Instead of actually logging off and your ship trying to warping off, you remain in the game and instead get a 30 second timer like the one pictured above. When that timer expires, you simultaneously log off and vanish from space. Best of all, there is no indication to anyone that you are doing this before you're gone, and the only way it can get interrupted would be by getting shot (which they aren't doing yet). Bumping does nothing to stop it.
So, what do I do?First, hit the "Log Off Safely" button.
Then... Lie! Try to look like you're bargaining for a lower price. When that doesn't work (or even if it does) tell them you're logging in a second account to get the funds from an alt. You can even play the "desperate person with no liquid ISK but valuable ships" by telling them you are getting your alt to contract them an Orca or similar expensive PvE ship. Gankers love to see their victims sweat and try to not explode. Play the role and string them along. You only have to keep it up for a half-minute.
The half-minute is up? Good! You're safe.
Have a laugh, go get a soda, and give the gankers some time to dissipate. They will be incensed and wanting to get you anyway. You may want to watch the gate with an alt to check they're not there before logging in. That's it!
What if they see through it?
Well, you were already in a bad situation. The solution presented here is just a mitigating strategy to try to get out. It works better than futilely trying to warp out, anyway. If you lose your freighter anyway, learn from it and be more careful next time. Use a scout, use webbing tactics, use uncommon routes... But if you get in a spot where you're being ransomed by jerks? Be a jerk right back!
Update: the post initially said the safe log-out is 60 seconds. It has been corrected to 30 seconds, per the truth.