EVE Online: Pod Tactics
MMORPG.com EVE Online Correspondent Andrew Wallace writes this new article giving players some tips on either destroying a pod or surviving a pod attack in CCP's EVE Online.
Consider the humble pod. This unimposing egg may not look like much, but it contains your character, or their current clone at least, and its destruction can be terribly frustrating, even without a head full of expensive implants.
Losing your pod means a trip to the medical centre to buy a new one, but hopefully this little guide will make your visits a lot less frequent for you and a lot more common for your enemy. But first, one of the golden rules of EVE:
ALWAYS KEEP YOUR CLONE UPDATED.
Not having an up to date clone is the only possible way you can lose acquired skill points, and it's something that should never happen to you, ever. A quick look at your character sheet now and again will show you your skill point total and the limits of your current clone.
With that out of the way we're onto the first part of this guide: How to save your pod. You don't want to be outside of a station in your pod unless it's absolutely necessary. Always remember, to your enemies, your pod is like sweet, sweet candy and popping it is a joy to them because they know it adds insult to the injury of losing a ship. Don't give them the pleasure. Traveling in a pod might seem like a good idea, and it does have a few advantages: they are reasonably difficult to lock and align to warp stupidly fast. Use a shuttle or fast frigate instead, they warp almost as fast and will give you time to try and warp your pod away if you get caught while traveling.
Right, now on to the main technique for saving your pod during combat. It doesn't matter if you're a combat pilot or a miner; this is one of the essential skills that every single pilot should be able to perform. As soon as things look doomed, usually when your ship enters structure, select a celestial object from the overview, such as a planet, or station. Planets are generally the best, as the space is likely to be empty when you arrive. Now, hammer the "warp to" button, keep on hammering it, then hammer it some more. Don't stop until you can see your pod in warp. It's not an exact science, lag can always disrupt attempts to warp and trying to warp while inside a warp disruption bubble is impossible, but your pod should warp away almost as soon as it's released from your exploding ship. It's not over yet, though.
Safely arriving at your destination, you now need to get your pod somewhere completely safe. If you arrive at a station, warp to a planet, just to be on the safe side. Pods are agonizingly slow, and the time it takes for you to get into docking range can give a chasing enemy just enough time to lock you down. So, now you are either sitting at a planet, or warping to one from a station. Now, warp to another one, and another (if you're paranoid), and only then go for a station. You can even head for a gate and jump into another system first, if you really want to put some distance between yourself and the enemy. If all goes well, you should be sitting snugly inside of a station, and not out looking for a new clone. Keep all of this in mind and losing your pod will become a rarity, guaranteed.
That's keeping your pod safe out of the way, but how does one go about killing them? Not very easily is the answer, unfortunately. Pods are notoriously difficult to catch; a pilot with even just a bit of common sense can easily evade being caught, especially with the pod warping tactics mentioned above. However, if you do manage to warp scramble one; they can be obliterated in a matter of seconds. You need to be able to lock it before it can enter warp, usually as the player is ejected from their disintegrating ship. This requires you to have ships with high scan resolutions, or sensor boosters fitted, to even have a chance. Interceptors shine in this regard, as they have the speed and locking ability to quickly snare any pilot who hangs about for too long. As I mentioned earlier, pods are very slow, which means that warp bubbles, and interdiction spheres, are a death sentence. Any pod caught inside one of those fields is simply a sitting duck as it tries to crawl out of the effect.
The other option is to simply kill it before it can make a move, which can be just as troublesome. Obviously, the key is to do enough damage to eliminate it in one volley, and here the Minmatar Thrasher is king. Fit this destroyer out with a full rack of artillery and sensor boosting modules and it will happily surprise anyone who can't react fast enough. Smart bombs are also very effective; despite their short range they have the advantages of not needing to lock and massive volley damage. One particular tactic I've seen used on players, including me, is to sit on a gate with a smart bombing battleship. As a light ship, such as a frigate, exits warp the bombs are unleashed. This instantly destroys the ship and, in my case, leaves the pod just outside of jump range. I barely had time to realize what had happened before the second volley hit and I was staring at the inside of a station.
And there we go; hopefully this basic guide has been helpful to some of the EVE players out there. The last thing I will say is that these tactics are no substitute for actual experience, so it's worth getting some practice in before you go out and give the enemy some pain.