This post will probably be a lot of useless information for all you bitter vets out there so I’m giving you a hall pass. I’ll expect to see you for the next post though. If you’re new to PVP, lowsec or 0.0 however, this might be helpful so I suggest you read on.
Bookmarks, to be quite honest, are handy when you’re in high security but damn near invaluable when you start putting on big boy pants and venture out into places the autopilot highlights with orange or red. There are a lot of different “types” of bookmarks such as safespots, insta-undocks, scanning spots, etc., but I want to talk specifically about a tactical bookmark that is on-grid but at a warpable distance from a gate or station. These ‘perches’ will allow you to visually check a gate before hitting it at zero. In nullsec you run the risk of encountering a ‘stop bubble’ (meaning a warp disruption bubble placed ‘in front’ of the gate that is designed to stop your ship short) or a ‘drag bubble’ (a bubble placed ‘behind’ the gate but on the same line will suck your ship to it instead of you landing on the gate). In lowsec, these tacticals will let you see if there’s a gatecamp waiting for you. Basically, if you’re planning to move around hostile territory or you’re a scout for a fleet, these bookmarks become your best friend.
So, what’s the best way to make a set of tacticals? First and foremost, you need to be organized about it. I have a separate folder in my People and Places created for each type of bookmark I make. I have one for safes, one for undocks, one for towers, one for jumpbridges, one for tacticals, etc.. My method may not be the best but it works and I’m used to it. In this tactical folder I went a step further and adopted some of the original Agony Unleashed bookmarking ‘syntax’. Here’s an example tactical bookmark:
In this example, I note a gate with the little <> symbols. If it was a station or planet I’d mark it with brackets like this: [5 – 3] or [P5]. After the designation of the landmark I’ve indicated ‘where’ the tactical is, in this case above the R-2 gate. Finally, I’ve given the distance away from the gate, 225 km. So, whenever I come into the G-M4I8 system I can right-click in space, select ‘tacticals’ from the drop-down and mouse over to warp to my bookmark and check the R-2 gate.
One of the weird things about flying in three dimensions is establishing direction. If I had a tactical in-line to another gate I’d note it like this: <R-2>%93PI-4@225. That tells me this tactical is on the R-2 gate, in line with the 93PI gate. But what if I want a tactical in some random direction, like a series of perches around a station? What I do is continue to use ABOVE and BELOW but then I mix in cardinal directions. I always set north as the direction toward the star of the solar system and work from there. That way I can get a pretty complete set of tacticals around a station without confusing myself later on.
I hear you saying “that’s great Tai, you’re really anal about all this but HOW do I make these totally awesome tacticals?” It’s pretty simple really. Grab yourself a fast frigate with a MWD (an interceptor is pure win for this) and warp to the gate you want to make a set of tacs for. Head off in whatever direction you want (whether it’s aligned to something or off on a random angle) and once you hit 150km plus, open your People and Places (I have mine on a hotkey combo), select ‘add bookmark’, give it a proper name, click ‘OK’ and you’re done. You can then move it to your ‘Tacticals’ folder (you did make that folder, right?) once it shows up in the list.
So, there ya have it. My quick-and-dirty guide to tactical bookmarking. In terms of practical application I was able to slip some pretty expensive hardware right past a gatecamp last night. They saw me show up about 300 km away from the gate, I saw they had no bubble or dictor, warped to the gate, jumped through and I was gone. Nothing like knowing you’ve caused a bit of heartburn in someone’s comms is there?
In other news, things are a-changin’ for Tai. I’ll have an announcement within the next few days but stay tuned for the latest.