Friday, May 21, 2010

Cyno Fields 101 (Part 2)

In Part 1 we covered the basics about ships and fitting of ships for cyno work. In this part we will cover location choices for lighting cynos, and combat concepts for covert ops cyno fleets. Let's start with the basics - when you light a cynosural field, and someone jumps to it, they will appear anywhere from 2500 - 5000m from the field center - in a sphere. Your ship (the cyno destination) is at the exact center of a sphere with a perimeter at 5000m. The traveller(s) will appear anywhere within that sphere, from 2500m away to 5000m away. (NOTE - this can change with a destroyed cyno, which can throw you all sorts of crazy places in system). This can be interesting if you are able to pop a cyno ship before the traveller arrives - they may not land on target, creating an opportunity for combat. Understanding this 10km diameter sphere is critical, and the use of the tactical overlay is very important when setting up cyno bookmarks. So we have a ship, and we know that our friends will appear anywhere within 5000m of it. Where should we park?

Where the heck is that cyno - at the POS:
There are two situations for bringing a ship in to a POS - when the incoming pilot needs to enter a starbase field password or not. We'll go over the easiest one first - no password needed. In this situation, the objective is to get the cyno as close to the POS shields as possible. It is technically possible then for the traveller to appear inside the shields (although I have not seen it happen). From the cluster of POS Modules (silos, hangars, etc.) head towards the closest shield edge. You will want to have a side-view of your ship approaching the shield so you can see as you approach - when you get close, shut down the engines. You will slow down gradually, and should drift just outside the shield if you did it right. If you are just outside the shields, make a bookmark, labeled appropriately, for this beautiful pos cyno spot. This is your spot for ships that can fly into the shields directly.
If the incoming pilot needs to enter a password, you will want to provide some defense for them. You will want to keep in mind the 5000m radius, and light the cyno close to a gun or neut array. That way, if hostiles do approach and attempt to assault the incoming ship they will have to deal with the tower defenses. You must make sure that you are outside 5000m from the POS shield in any direction - if the incoming pilot bounces off the shields you will likely be looking for a new job very soon...

Where the heck is that cyno - at the station:
Station designers have created a myriad of beautiful and functional platforms in space - but we are only concerned with two things when lighting a cyno at a station - range and the undocking ring. When lighting a cyno at a station, the last thing you want is the incoming pilot to bounce off the station, so you want to make sure you are outside that 5000m sphere again. Referencing the image below, you will want to make sure that you are 5000m in all directions from the physical station:

The second part of the station puzzle is the size of the undock. You only want to light cynos for carriers at stations with really big undocking rings. To determine if the station you wish to use has a large undock ring, go ahead and undock. Watch your session change timer (you have that turned on in your options, right?) and the range to station in your overview. If at the end of your 30 second session change timer you are still at 0m to the station, open up your tactical overlay and see how far you are physically from the station. If you are at 5000m or further, then you have a station with a large undocking ring, an ideal place for a cyno. A side benefit of this, by the way, is that during your 30 second session change timer, you are invulnerable - and if you undock into a bubble or a hostile fleet, you can usually dock back up before taking any (significant) damage at the end of your timer - just don't try to activate any modules or change direction - and start spamming the dock button as your timer ends.

Covert Cyno Concepts
The covert cyno is a mainstay of hit and run/terror warfare. This requires some preplanning, to ensure that the system(s) you want to jump into are within range of your Black Ops battleship. The maximum range of a Black Ops battleship portal is 4.5 lightyears(base range is 2 light years), so you will need to either plan on bridging across multiple systems for greater range or set up within your skilled range. A Black Ops bridge can be used by any ship with Jump Harmonics 2, including Stealth Bombers, Covert Ops Frigates, Force Recons, Black Ops Battleships, and Blockade Runners. Tech 3 cruisers with a component to allow Jump Harmonics 2 can also use a black ops bridge. Utilizing multiple Blockade Runners to move fuel and Black Ops Battleships to run additional bridges, you can extend the range of your operation beyond the 4.5 light year maximum.

When we've done black ops, we set up at a staging POS, with bomber squad(s) sitting around 2500m from the BOps Battleship (much like a Titan bridge). The scout, or destination pilot will usually be in a well tanked Force Recon (unless we are going after a mining op), and will uncloak, tackle the target, and light the covert cyno. Always wait to light your cyno until you have your target locked down in this situation - save the isotopes and the element of surprise if the target gets away. The Black Ops Battleship will open the portal, and the fleet will right-click on the BS and bridge to the destination. Light up the target, destroy, loot, and bridge back out, leaving the scout alone again. Rinse and repeat as long as you remain within range of your Black Ops Battleship.

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