October 15, 2011

It's A Good Day To... Wait, I Guess

Update (2018-05-31): The aggression/timer systems have been overhauled since the writing of this post, with the new version being dubbed "Crimewatch". You can find a newer write-up on it here.

Tick tock. Much of being a capsuleer is waiting for things. However, be it waiting for those guns to cycle, that enemy to show up, that wallet to flash, or that skill to train, there is no more misunderstood "waiting" than that for aggression timers (and other timers relevant to combat).

The reason many like 0.0 space (more on system security here) is not because of the profit, but because of the lack of stupid regulations around combat. You can shoot everyone you want, anytime you want. Simple. In lowsec and hisec, though, CONCORD likes imposing rules on weapon discharge and all other "offensive" modules. For the purposes of simplicity, I'm calling any aggressive action (guns, missiles, drones, ECM, smartbombs, etc etc) "shooting".

This is definitely shooting. Definitely.
While I'm not going to cover all existing timers, I will give you an overview of those most relevant to day-to-day combat life. Let's start with...

Global Criminal Cooldown

Or GCC, for short. Some people call it a global criminal "flag", but that's just details. Let's look at a rundown of its characteristics:
  • Reason: Shooting someone unlawfully (without reason) in hisec or lowsec space
  • Duration: 15 minutes
  • Display: RED notification in the top left area of your HUD
  • Effect #1: If this happened in hisec, CONCORD is summoned and disables/destroys your ship
  • Effect #2: Everyone (including capsuleers, faction navies, and CONCORD) can shoot you

They will get ya.
In lowsec, though, there is no CONCORD, and the only navy presence are gate and station guns (which can be tanked against), so it's somewhat safer to shoot random people. Those in ships not specifically designed to resist the gate and station guns, or aren't sturdy enough to get away in one piece, should let the enemy shoot first, especially if the fight is at a gate. You can get hilarious results.

All this sounds awfully inconvenient. So, what constitutes shooting someone unlawfully? Well, it's easier to define what shooting someone lawfully is. A lawful aggression is if any of the following apply:
  • Your target is not a capsuleer, a capsuleer's belongings, or an asteroid belt or similar capsuleer-interactive space object.
  • Your target is at war with you.
  • Your target's security status is -5.0 or below.
  • In the last 15 minutes, your target stole from you, shot you, or remote-repaired someone who did the first two. This is called "aggression", and I will talk more about it in a bit.
  • Your target killed you in lowsec/hisec without you firing back in the last month (which grants you kill rights).
Usually if these are true and your target is a capsuleer, then there will be some visual indication on your overview (flashing red/orange background, etc). It might not be a good idea to shoot everyone who is flashing red becuase of...


Or aggression cooldown, or other such terms. Let's look at its characteristics:
  • Reason: Shooting anyone lawfully or unlawfully in hisec or lowsec space, stealing from someone, or repairing someone shooting them. Also, getting lawfully shot by someone.
  • Duration: 15 minutes
  • Display: YELLOW notification in the top left area of your HUD
  • Effect #1: The person you shot or shot you is allowed to shoot (or continue shooting) you
  • Effect #2: If the aggression is new (you fired the first shot, or stole something), you also get an aggression to his or her whole corporation for 15 minutes.

The reason I say it's not a good idea to shoot just anyone is because then they can shoot you (since you will have an aggression flag on them). That is  actually the main tactic behind ninja salvaging, a way to trick and trap hisec mission runners into letting themselves get killed. Look it up!

Note that you get an aggression cooldown upon getting shot as well. This is most important when dealing with faction navies. If you just ran a mission in which you had to kill a bunch of Imperial Navy ships, do not immediately fly into Amarr space, or you might get shot.

Similarly, if you went GCC in lowsec and get shot by station or gate guns 10 minutes into your GCC, your aggression to the faction navy that owns the guns starts then, and does not expire when your GCC does. That means that for 10 minutes after your GCC, other pilots won't be able to shoot you, but the gate and station guns will. I've lost good ships to this, and you will too, if you're not careful.

They will also get ya.

Despite being pretty simple, aggression is often confused with...

Docking/Jumping Aggression Timer

The docking bay managers and jump gate managers are awfully skittish people who are afraid to let any warm guns to enter their installations. As such, there is a timer after shooting anything during which you cannot use stations or gates.
  • Reason: Shooting
  • Duration: 60 seconds (1 minute)
  • Display: None
  • Effect: You can't dock or jump
Once again because you're bound to see this a lot.

Simple as that. This timer is abused by people who play "station games": fighting outside of a station only to stop shooting and dock a minute later if things aren't going well. This is also the mechanic that I tried using (and royally screwed up) in this engagement.

This also gets confused with the last type of timer you should know about:

Session Change Timer

There is a limit to how often you can use certain space installations like jump gates, stations, and other such things. It is mostly to conserve expensive resources spent whenever pilots abuse jumping or docking for their own safety.

  • Reason: Undocking, jumping, fleet operations, and similar activities
  • Duration: 30 seconds
  • Display: None by default, can enable small pulsing circle in top left corner of HUD
  • Effect: You can't dock or jump
Yes that tiny thing there. Watch it.

Out of character note: this is also here to prevent abuse of things like fleet bonus hotswapping. It used to happen on switching ships in a hangar, but that was recently changed.

So, why does this all matter? Mostly, it's because these timers provide not only super exciting waiting times, but also plenty of opportunities for people to screw up. You're on a gate with an enemy that you don't want to engage? Wait for him to fire first, then jump. He won't be able to follow for 60 seconds because of the aggression jump timer. Want to split up an enemy gang? Wait until only some of them aggressed you, then jump. Want to kill a battleship that keeps undocking and re-docking? Bump it off the station within those crucial 30 seconds!
It's Bumpage Central in Amarr

And, of course, always keep these in mind so you don't fall for the same tricks.

Tick tock. Hey look, that timer I wrote this blog post to distract me from finally ended. I can get on with my spaceships now! Until next time!


  1. Very good guide. Another good addition would be going into the effects of wormholes and how those timers work as well.

  2. I would, but I'm not super familiar with wormhole mechanics, so I can't talk about them in a lot of detail. All I know is I found out the hard way that I can't smartbomb within 5 km of a wormhole after I went to the whole trouble of buying and fitting a battleship for the purpose. It made me sad.