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EVE players hate few things more than AFK cloakers. AFK cloakers do exactly what their name implies: cloak up and go AFK. Doesn’t look too dangerous, right? But still, a single AFK cloaker can shut down PvE in a nullsec system and spawn countless of threads that demands CCP to somehow make AFK cloaking impossible.
I never cared for AFK cloaking. Actually I never cared for who is in local channel both in my highsec trading/hauling and my nullsec fleet flying. I might checked if local spiked, but a single hostile was always ignored. Why do other people care about AFK cloakers?

I found the solution when I started AFK cloaking myself to break “white knights” who protect the miners from ganking. Considering that you can’t gank while AFK, I was totally harmless in this state, yet my actions were enough to make the good socials give up on their noble quest of defending the innocent. Later I analyzed that their problem is that they depend on skill instead of proper doctrines.

From these I could figure out what is fundamentally wrong about AFK cloaking: the activities were based on “security trough obscurity” and the AFK cloaker breaks obscurity. Let me explain it with an example: if you announce where and when you will rat in a Nyx, you’ll lose that Nyx in a day or two. The rational conclusion from this fact is that ratting in a Nyx is a bad idea. Still many people rat in Nyxes when no one is in local, because if no one knows that he is doing it, he can get away with it. The AFK cloaker can know therefore his presence denies you the ability to rat in Nyx.

However your problem isn’t the AFK cloaker. Your problem is that you are trying to do something stupid that will end up with a disaster if anyone figures out. But obscurity isn’t the only solution. The other solution is not doing stupid. If you are ratting in an omni-tanked, non-blinged, insured T1 battleship you can ignore the AFK cloaker. It’s very unlikely that someone forms a fleet for killing it. If some random roaming punk comes, you have good chance to kill him or at least get away while ECM drones disable tackle. Using the battleship is a stable solution, therefore it can work when discovered. Using a Nyx is an unstable solution which can only work if no one knows.

Similarly, mining in a Procurer or an empty-pod, insured, 18K EHP Retriever are stable solutions, you can ignore your surroundings, your doctrine guarantees that you won’t get into trouble, even if dozens of ganking Goons are in local. Mining in Mackinaws with valuable pods under white knight protection is an unstable solution and only works while the knights are on top of their game, which they can’t be 24/7, hence they rely on knowing the small windows where gankers are hunting. My AFK cloaking broke just that.

I turn the above back: “if you care about AFK cloakers or local channel, you are doing something you shouldn’t”. For example ratting in a too expensive and PvP unable ship, mining in untanked ships, botting, hauling too expensive cargo, flying what you can’t afford to lose or do some other dumb stunt that you know would fail if anyone would figure it out.

So instead of whining about AFK cloakers or staying docked while hostiles are in local, how about fixing your actions, so they can work in spite of hostiles? I literally hauled several billions trough Narja and Uedama with dozens of Miniluv on local, camping the very gate I jumped trough. I didn’t care because my ship wasn’t a dumb freighter.

Of course the fix is maybe not something you like. For example highsec miners should use tanked ships instead of max yield Mackinaws. But they want the yield, so they keep doing it, relying on white knights or setting known gankers to red and watching local (when they aren’t AFK). Smaller alliances that cannot protect their assets should abandon nullsec or join a coalition. But they want the “ima null pvpr lol” badge, that they try get some ISK when no one is looking. Then they go cry on the forum when a 100K SP Rifter pilot with a prototype cloak shuts their op down. Their problem isn’t the AFK cloaker but the fact that they are practically ninja-ratting in their “own” Sov.


– Gevlon Goblin

His EVE journey show a very interesting “outside the box” approach to the game, PVE and the trade hubs, reason for which we invite you to pay a visit to his blog.

p.s.: Here are my customary daily anti-tears:

172 Comments

  1. MindRanger

    Jesus Goblin, you’re talking out of your ass.

    Nobody bothers about “afk cloakers” in highsec. The only place afk cloakers have a real impact, is in nullsec systems where people rat frequently.

    The blingfactor of the target only affects how many you’ll get in fleet, and how fast you’ll get them there. Apart from that, if you have a covops cyno and a target available, you drop on anything bigger than a velator. Hell, I think we’d probably drop on a velator as well given the right circumstances.

    And nobody in their right mind rats in supers these days… I’d pick the rest of your article apart, but I just don’t have time to explain basic game mechanics to a self declared god-of-isk who has no clue of what this game is all about, nor its mechanics or actual gameplay.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:08 pm Reply
  2. Red Teufel

    afk cloaking is needed because of “Local window” the person in that system has an unfair advantage of knowing who is in his space making it almost impossible to catch someone who knows what they are doing.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:28 pm Reply
  3. SHRIKE

    Maybe set up cloaks with a “leak” or something, where after an hour it starts to lose effectiveness. As time passes the cloaked ship becomes more and more probable, making it scannable to pilots with high scanning skills at first then after a period of time anyone can scan them down. The higher your cloaking skill the longer you can last without being probed down. Or introduce a new skill like Cloaking Technician that gives you 20% longer “full” cloak time per level.

    After deactivation the cloak has to cool down for a period of time before you can go back to full cloak ability.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:00 pm Reply
  4. BS

    OMFG just fit a fucking MJD. Problem solved. Jezz if you really thik afk cloak is problem go to Hisec because you are too noob to live in null

    September 14, 2013 at 11:35 pm Reply
    1. BS

      One more thing, because i did not read the article, if you say afk cloaking is a problem in hisec…. then i have no words…

      September 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm Reply
  5. Dirk MacGirk

    Apologies, this went longer than I expected.

    Articles on cloaky campers always become big topics. Hell, the words of Goofy Goblin’s article need not even have been written. He could have just titled it “Cloaky Campers?” and the responses would have written the article for him. It really comes down to the perspective of the reader: am I the attacker or am I the potential victim? Depending on which perspective you come from, your view is going to be wildly different. But the problem is that in dealing with cloaky campers, we also run into damaging active cloaking, even campers, as well as just normal cloaking and bombers ops and all the fun stuff that doesn’t include the dreaded afk cloaky camper.

    Many of us can probably agree that afk cloaky camping is really what gives cloaky camping its bad name. The afk cloaker is as much a psychological threat as he is a real threat and it can last for extended periods of time. Eve has no shutoff for those who are inactive so you basically have a guy who is playing the game but isn’t playing the game. And don’t say he isn’t playing because his action is having on ongoing impact on the game even though he isn’t present.

    I for one dislike the cloaky camper, afk or active, because there really isn’t any mechanism for turning the table. And when I say “cloak”, I pretty much mean the Covert Ops cloak since the standard cloak already has drawbacks that make it less useful in an attack situation. Much of Eve is based on counters or the ability to do something to change a situation from threat to opportunity. In the case of a cloaker, active or inactive, there is simply no finding him until he is ready to be found, IF he is ever ready to be found. I don’t like it because I don’t think there is any other mechanic in the game that is similar. Bullshit answers like “always be aligned” or “bait him” or “have a counter drop on standby” are empty because the camper has the mechanics so decidedly in his favor. As I always say, this is a game and a single dude should never be able to hold that much power in his hands.

    A lot of ideas get thrown against the wall like so much spaghetti. Some of these are useful but need to be more refined and some go way too far and encroach on areas of cloaking that don’t need the same hammer applied to them. That is where we need to be semi-careful. Don’t break the good things just because a minority uses them in a way that is a potential issue on gameplay. But that is where CCP comes in. They should design something into the cloaking mechanic that deals with permanent cloakers. I know anything can be gamed through scripts/macros or bots, but to some extent we can’t worry about the minority who will go to these lengths. So some of the best ideas I have heard for dealing with perma cloakies are (in no specific order):

    – Require some kind of fuel. Fuel runs out, cloak goes down. I like the fuel idea, but it could still lead to long periods of a dude sitting in a system with nothing but a bay full of fuel or a can anchored in a safe.

    – Introduce a probe plus mod combination that is capable, with high-level skills, of detecting a cloaked signature. Once the probes narrow down your search range to within say, 2AU, then the ship mod could be used to ping like sonar. I know, there is no sound in space, but I am just using that as a simplified example of finding a hole in space. That ping can then be used to light him up for combat probes to work on him. Again, its about finding a counter. A cloaker bouncing safes won’t be found. But the AFK guy or the guy not paying attention will be at risk.

    – Making Covert Ops cloaks be chance based, similar to ECM. Many bitch that ECM is OP versus other EWAR because when it lands it basically cuts off the offensive capability of the target rather than just limit it. But, the fact that these are chance based mitigates it to some extent. Give Covert Ops cloaks a cycle, say 2/5/10 minutes, whatever. When initially engaged they always cloak. But when they autocycle, there is some chance based on skill that they won’t maintain cloak. And if that happens they must be manually cycled again to re-engage. Again, this would target afk cloakers although it can have an effect on even active cloakers in groups where one guy decloaks the rest due to this feature. But hey, its an obstacle that can be overcome if active.

    Like I said, I wouldn’t do anything to normal cloaks since they already have a number of limitations that make them less useful for attackers. Any change I would make are to covops cloaks. But in the end, unless and until CCP does something, we just all need to deal with the situation. Again, it is all about perspective. These dudes aren’t exploiting a feature or doing something outside the sandbox. If a cloaky camper is effecting your gameplay just by his mere existence, then adapt as best you can.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:25 am Reply
    1. Kama Kairade

      Killing a cloaky camper (rapier on a sling, sabre/falcon on a gate, etc) is so ridiculously easy that changing the mechanic would be hugely detrimental to just about everyone. In addition, cloaks exist so that those of us with kids and other RL obligations will continue paying our subs.

      September 15, 2013 at 7:52 pm Reply
      1. The14th

        Do you care to enlighten the rest of us the ridiculously easy way to kill an afk cloaked ship? I’m pretty curious how you find a random SB cloaked at a safe bookmark you don’t know the location of.

        September 15, 2013 at 11:52 pm Reply
        1. Kama Kairade

          Step 1. Buy a sabre. Step 2. Jump next door. Step 3. Ask people to generate NPC kills in your system. Step 6. Wait…..

          Step 7

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrlC2gaH0tc

          September 16, 2013 at 2:58 am Reply
          1. The14th

            So your plan is to bait a hot drop with a combat fleet in the next system (because there is only one gate in all EVE systems), tell somebody to eat the hotdrop (which could happen at any time seeing that the cloaker could be afk), and then hope that your fleet is better than the hotdrop fleet? You get bonus stupid points for the fact that (unless caught) the afk cloaker could just go right back to camping, and a black ops fleet could just use another jump portal to leave while you twiddle your thumbs the next system over.

            September 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm
          2. Kama Kairade

            You either know nothing about blops hotdropping or know so much that you have the ability to coordinate the drop, light the cyno, and bridge everyone through in the space of 10 seconds from the time a random bomber alt says “Oh, a sabre…. I’m tackled”. And if by by “fleet” you mean, “Falcon Alt”, then you are correct. That’s exactly the way it has worked for nose-breathers since 2008.

            September 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm
          3. The14th

            The blops gang wouldn’t hot drop the gate camp, they would hot drop their actual target in the system where the afk cloaker is (and not next door where you would be sitting). And after they wipe out their target all it takes is another blops portal and they are right back out. All while you pick your nose and wonder why one of your corp mates is so pissed off.
            You seem to have forgotten that the afk cloaker never actually has to leave system, nor does he/she really have an incentive to do so.

            September 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm
  6. BrokenMechanics

    I luv people trying to defend a Broken game mechanic that is exploited everyday of EVE. It was never designed or intended to be used as a AFK-cloaker scheme. And all the idiots out their saying the PVE bears should have a PVP fleet at rdy to help them if their actually in that 1% timeslot the AFK is actually doing something like hunting a Bear that’s trying to mine /make isk around the afk cloaker being in system has obviously never been in Nullsec before. And how so would this Bear have a PVP fleet rescue them. You think that Hulk/Mackinaw is going to mine very well with a cyno on it. Its a Simple mechanic and should be a rather simple solution unless CCP is actually happy to have a system where you can be afk in EVE and stil accomplish your goals.( Bot miners/Ratters anyone) if CCP is going to fight all Bot’s from doing stuff passively in game without any real work from a keyboard ninja.. then how can they say AFK cloakers are a good thing since it is a reverse mechanic of the same problem BoT’s create Passive isk is being made or prevented by somebody not actually at their Computer End of Story..

    September 15, 2013 at 2:15 am Reply
    1. BrokenThinking.

      What a load of opinionated nonsense.

      September 15, 2013 at 2:21 am Reply
    2. CCP Loves ISK SINKS

      CCP will ALWAYS support ISK sinks in the game, having AFK cloakers in the game is a great way to shut down mining operations/pve and other income faucets. With the return of vast rental empires, afk cloaky fag fun times is a fantastic way to stick a knife in your enemys pocket. Carebear renters dont like paying for space they can’t use. Dont expect AFK Cloaky Fag Tactics to die anytime soon. Not unless there is such a huge outcry from the community that CCP has no choice (read severe negative press and significant subscription declines)

      September 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm Reply
  7. Qwerty4812

    Goblin are you that stupid… afk cloaky is only for null-sec you dumbass, hisec already has buttloads of people in local. When i was reading about your omni-tanked battleship i just started snickering to myself about how delusional you are, ratting in null sec with a battleship? Killing the cloaky when 96% of the time he has a cyno fitted?

    Then in good faith that maybe you would redeem yourself, you went EVEN FURTHER and stated how this affects hi-sec. I knew you were a shitty writer who really knows nothing about eve, but this is a little bit too naive don’t you think.

    September 15, 2013 at 3:59 am Reply
    1. Sable

      I only pve in wh space /null sec /low sec with ships that will turn a profit taking into account the likely loss rate. As such afk cloakers are things i can and do ignore. I obviously still pay attention to local and dscan but if someone stops being afk and springs a trap the loss is part of doing pve in such space. So on this point the goblin is correct,
      Also if you had read is previous posts you would know that in certain systems he is a known ganker and so seeing him in local does make the miners dock or batphone. Thus afk’ing cloaked is indeed enough to break the zeal of white knights /local miners. He isn’t even the first to have discovered this.
      So he has an entire article of being correct and it is fact you who are wrong

      September 15, 2013 at 9:16 am Reply
  8. Guest

    What is the difference between null ratter who bitches about AFK cloakers and high sec miner who bitches about gankers?

    Oh right, nothing. But keep on crying nullbears, it’s very nourishing.

    September 15, 2013 at 7:20 am Reply
  9. Provi Miner

    I don’t have a problem with AFK cloaker’s tbh. The counter is mining fleets, however thats not a reality in Provi. If corps/alliances would say “three ships mining together minimum with combat drones” the problem of AFK cloakers would go away. If those ships were proc’s or skiff’s and simi tanked AFK cloakers would gone in a day. As for ratting same thing 1 ratter ship, one pvp ship (to shoot cloakers first rats second) and one logi ship to support both AFK’ers would go away and you could rat effectively in t1 BS’s. On this Goblin is mostly right, the counter is not to feed them or offer them the sight of fresh meat. All that said I do support either a fuel or time limit on cloaking. You force a cyno lighter to stay stationary, you force a bubbler to sit still, you force caps to be non rep’ed. Why does the afk’er get all positive with no down side?

    September 15, 2013 at 11:36 pm Reply
  10. random grunt

    The problem with dealing with AFK cloaking, is that most people mix 2 different things. One thing is the AFK cloaking, and another thing is just cloaking.
    If people would stop crying about cloaking on every AFK cloaking thread, then maybe AFK cloak would be taken seriously. Cloaking the way it is its just fine, no fuel, no detection, nothing. The only change it needs, is some kind of “Dead man switch” to prevent someone from leaving a ship AFK and go away for the day. A simple 1hr timer with a big red button would be enough.
    The moment you go from “fight the AFK cloakers” to “fight the cloakers”, the moment that argument is lost.
    People should really learn to focus on the efforts, first deal with the AFK cloakers. Once you got that issue resolved (and that would improve things a lot BTW), then you can start the campaign to change the mechanics on cloaking … and good luck with that.

    September 15, 2013 at 11:59 pm Reply
  11. you know it happens this way

    The one time that you ignore that cloaky camper is the time he tackles and lights a cyno.
    Just move systems and rat in a different system.
    If he follows then he isnt AFK and is actively hunting, and will pass on by when he gets board or his gang starts screaming at him to find targets.

    September 24, 2013 at 1:33 am Reply

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