Running the Pipe
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Essential Travel Information
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The Pipe is Goonfleet's link from our bases in the South to Empire. Unfortunately a number of our enemies know this, and often take the opportunity to camp gates in order to score kills on our ships making runs. So here are some tips to make Pipe running safer.
Don't run the Pipe
Ask yourself, do you really need to go to Empire and back? There is a growing economy in Delve, if you were hoping to sell stuff in Empire, why not sell it in 0-H? Sure, the prices are generally worse, but anything is better than nothing, and there is exactly zero risk involved, plus you'll be contributing towards the southern economy, which is good in the long run. If you really seriously need something moved from empire, contract another player with a carrier, or look into an established importation service to bring it down for you. There are always S-Mart threads for this.
If you are intending on buying skills and you don't have implants in your clone, consider podjumping to Agil, Rens or Illinfrik and back. You have to pay for 2 new clones doing it this way, but it is better than losing a ship, and it's also considerably faster. Alternatively, the first time you do this, you could clone jump back south, leaving a jump clone in that school station for future use.
By not running the Pipe, you deny our enemies targets. One of the main things that draws faggot PvP corps to us, is the fact that as newbies, we provide a lot of opportunities for easy ganks. Take away as many of those opportunities as possible, and perhaps fewer of these pilots will venture into our space.
Check Chat Channels Before Making Your Run
Watch GSINTEL for a minute or two, to see if anyone else is asking about the status of the pipe. If they aren't, ask yourself. Be aware that information you get from this channel may be a few minutes old at least, so if you get a 'clear' response, be prepared for enemy contact anyway.
Consider Alternate Routes
There are multiple routes from Delve and into Empire: the route from AJI-MA to Sakht in Aridia, the Jumpbridge route to A2-V27 which takes you to Kaira in Khanid, and the (longer) Jumpbridge route from SVM through Querious to 3-FKCZ and into Efa in Khanid. The nearest market hubs to each of these are Aji or Amarr. Sakht is a lowsec station system that acts as a surrogate home to many hostiles that we've kicked out of Delve, while A-B tends to attract a camping crew. Always check your map tab, under "Ships killed in the last hour", and if there are a lot of destroyed ships, perhaps another route would be better.
***IN GENERAL*** (that means you will probably die if you trust this blindly), the 1-S/Sakht area is relatively clear in US prime and early in the day, but gets more red traffic during the afternoon. A2- is almost always home to somebody and so is Kaira. 3-FKCZ is an interesting alternative because there is only one lowsec system in between it and Jita, but it is also often red. However, the reds camping these areas tend to be pretty bad and you can almost always avoid all of the camps with a ship fit for travel or a cloaker.
Where possible, consider right-clicking on a destination gate and selecting "Warp to 0". Autopilot always brings you 10-15KM from a destination, and from there automatically slowboats your ship to each gate. This gives 0.0 and lowsec gankers time to scramble or bump you and provides empire wartargets easy prey.
The only time you should not warp to 0 is if you suspect that there might be a trap involved. Hostiles in local might be an indication of a gate camp, and occasionally mobile warp disruption bubbles might be anchored on the route; in this case it's probably better to warp to a planet which is out of line from the gate at a distance and then scan/warp to the gate.
Use the in-game route planner, but never use autopilot.
Have a Safespot in Each System
This way you have a place that you can warp to if things get hairy, and you have time to decide what to do next.
Read about making safespots here.
"Instas", or warpins to 0 at celestial objects are generally deprecated, but if you can cloak, then having safespots in scan range or on the same grid of gates along a route are very handy.
Keep Local Chat Open
Every non-wormhole system in the game provides you with an immensly helpful intel tool. Check the local user list in each system you jump into to learn about possibly hostile or friendly ships that are roaming around.
If you should enter a system with a high volume of hostile players, consider safespotting and waiting for a safer time to continue your trip. If you see friendly players and you need a clue about what's coming up, ask about what's going on (but not if there are hostiles around).
Avoid docking, as there is a chance you can be camped in with no visual indicator of what's happening outside; worse still, if the station is controlled by NPCs, they hostiles could keep an eye on the guest list and determine when you undock.
If you can cloak, try to remain logged in. Logging back in later is a beacon to anyone in local that you're freshly connected to the game and possibly active, attracting unwanted attention.
Run the Pipe in a Small Ship
Small ships are good because they are fast, align quickly, have a low signature radius, and are usually cheap. Shuttles can be handy for carrying around a few small items around empire, particularly because they have fast align times and a very low signature radius while being dirt cheap.
Frigates provide some of these benefits while offering much more cargo space and a little extra survivability. Covert-Ops frigates, with their far-superior cloaks, pay out in spades if all you need is a survivable shuttle for 0.0 import/export duty. Fit Intertia Stabilizers to decrease the time it takes to align and warp.
Running the Pipe in a Large ship
Read Coming from Jita in a Battleship. It's out of date, but many of the principles apply.
Warp Core Stabilizers
This applies especially to larger ships.
With WCS fitted, even if the enemy manages to lock on to you and activate warp disruptors, you still stand an excellent chance of escaping. Filling your low slots with WCSs will often confound small to medium gatecamps which cannot bring to bear enough disruptors to overcome your stabilizers. A battleship with 5, 6 or 7 WCS is, for most practical purposes, impossible to warp scramble, except in the case of warp disruption bubbles. A scripted-equipped Heavy Interdictor, however, can ruin your day no matter how many stabs you're packing.
Fit the Best Tank Possible, an Afterburner or Microwarpdrive
Usually this means shield tanking, because armor tanking denies you low slots, reducing the number of WCS you can fit, and armor plate reduces your ship's agility, which is important when aligning for warp. In my opinion the best type of tank for Pipe running is one which gives you the maximum number of shield hitpoints, so that means Shield Extenders, the biggest you can fit. Shield Boosters and Shield Hardeners are nice, but both use cap, which you need to preserve for your MWD or afterburner. (Of course, if you're using an afterburner, cap isn't much of an issue.)
With a massive shield capacity, shed-loads of WCS, and an AB/MWD, you have time and options should you run into the worst case scenario: a gate camp with bubbles. You can choose to either power your way out of the bubble and warp to a safespot, or power to the nearest jumpgate and escape that way. Your shield tank buys you time as you escape.
Don't Worry About Firepower
After fitting WCS and a shield tank, you should have very little CPU and grid left to fit weapons. This is not a problem, since your objective should be to get to your destination, not score kills. Also, firing your guns near a jumpgate as you approach it will lock the gate for a short period of time, which is not good.
If All Else Fails...
If you run into trouble, be sure to mention it in Alliance chat or GSIntel. This is more for the benefit of the next poor sap heading along the Pipe.
Suggested Pipe Running Ships
Greasy Pipe Weasel
None. (Optional Proto Cloak, see below)
1x Small Cap Battery
2x Inertia Stabilizers
1x Intertia Stabilizer
Variations: You can swap out the MWD and Small Battery for T2 variants without a huge investment in skillpoints. If you want to run anything super valuable back from Empire, I recommend T2 gear plus Local Hull iStabs. You can always sell these fittings for profit in Delve.
You can also swap out 1 iStab for a Warp Core Stab. This gives you the chance to burn clear of a bubble and still warp away if someone gets a 20k point on you.
Usage: The only thing stopping this setup is a bubble. If you get pulled into a mobile warp disruptor, you'll have a couple of seconds to align on something else in system and get clear.
If you jump into a bubble camp, hold your cloak for about thirty seconds, then burn back to the gate and jump clear, or make a run for it (see above). If you have a proto-cloak fitted, you can give a burst of speed from your MWD and then cloak. This will 'coast' you either out of range of campers (they'll lose you) or maybe allow you to get to the gate without dying.
KFC Delivery Vehicle
- 3x Inertia Stabilizer I/II
- 1x Small Secure Container
Awesome for pipe running, meaning moving very quickly through non-secured space like the series of systems leading to empire from our station systems in 0.0 space. You will be nearly pushing 2.5km/s with the MWD, and will align and enter warp almost instantly. It's hard to die in this; even if you hit a bubble camp, you can clear the distance to the gate before most people can lock you. Compared to a shuttle, you have 15x more cargo space (great for high-end minerals) and can move six times as fast.
Small Secure Containers can fit 120m3 of cargo, yet only take up 100m3 of space, effectively giving you an extra 20m3. This is true for all secure containers.
- With decent fitting skills, you should be able to fit a cap recharger in that third midslot, as well, for perma-MWD goodess. - Tad Ghostal
- Add a Prototype Cloak or Improved Cloak II for an extra measure of protection. If you're lucky, they'll only see the hull and think it's a Cheetah.