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Nullsec Bubble Mechanics


This article is a detailed discussion of the game mechanics surrounding the use of non-targeted warp interdiction fields (“bubbles”). Brief summaries of other mechanics involved will be given, but additional articles will cover these other concepts in detail.

What Bubbles Do

  • Prevent the initiation of warp.
  • Prevent the entrance of a ship to pre-warp alignment state.
  • Prevent the use of an outgoing jump drive.
  • Interdict incoming warps when both
    • The warp vector intersects the bubble
    • The bubble is on grid with the otherwise-intended warp exit point.

Warp States

  • Normal (not in warp). In this state, your ship is not in warp. The speedometer on your HUD will show a numerical value. Nothing much to see here. Note, you can align to a warpable object in this state. If you acheive 75% of max velocity before entering warp, you will skip the next phase.
  • Pre-warp alignment. If you hit “warp”, “jump”, or “dock” without being fully aligned, your ship will enter this state (provided you are more than 150km from the gate/station). Your speedometer will change to read “(warping)”. Importantly, it is at this time that the server will calculate your intended, and actual, warp exit point.
  • Warp state. At this point, your ship enters the “warp tunnel”. All target locks on you will drop, although your ship will be vulnerable to damage from non-targeted (AoE) weapons such as smartbombs.

Server-side Warp Calculations

When you give a command that will result in your ship entering warp state, the server will effectively draw a straight line (the warp vector) from your current location. Somewhere on that line, is where you want to land (the gate, station, bookmark, etc.). At this point, the server will also create a grid containing your exit point. If, on that grid, there is a bubble intersecting the warp vector, you will land there instead of your intended target. Note, that because this calculation is done at the time you enter warp/pre-warp state, you can very well land on a grid with bubble and not be caught in them; these bubbles went up after the calculation was complete and therefore you won't be caught. Additionally, the origin grid does not have the same restriction; you can warp through a bubble when departing, so long as you enter warp state outside it.

Bubbling Tactics

Bubbling Gates/Stations

Primarily used to prevent outgoing warps, these bubbles are often found in groups around the station undock and in-line with celestials about the station. An abundance of bubbles around a station or POS is known as “bubblewrapping” or “[redacted for ungentlemanly language]caging” the object.

Catch Bubbles

Catch bubbles are those placed to shorten a warp, leaving the full radius of the bubble between the ship and its intended target. If the quarry tries to fly to the original intended destination, they will be subject to interdiction while they do so. If they turn around, their alignment time will be increased as they must fully halt forward velocity in order to do so.


  • Easier to set up (warping to destination at 100 will provide a proper anchor point).
  • Quarry forced to fly through the bubble if they attempt to reach the gate.


  • Two potential avenues of escape (forward through the bubble, turning around).
  • Hunters more likely to be forced to enter bubble themselves.

Drag Bubbles

Drag bubbles are the opposite of catch bubbles; their leading edge is placed past the intended target, lengthening the warp and “dragging” the quarry past their destination. In general, this provides a single vector for escape (backwards).


  • Fewer avenues of escape for quarry
  • Hunters need not fight in the bubble


  • More skill-intensive setup (must manually fly and align bubble past gate).

Can/Drone Littering

Hunters can jettison/anchor canisters and drones on the “landing zones” of their bubbles in an effort to decloak ships that land there. This is effective at catching any CovOps vessel that might otherwise effectively escape the trap (as hitting a bubble does not automatically decloak you).

Bubble Avoidance

Nullified Vessels

There are several classes of ships in the game that are immune to bubbles (non-targeted interdiction). Specifically fit T3 cruisers, some interceptors, and the Victorieux Luxury Yacht all share this ability. If you are flying one of these ships, you have already done everything possible to avoid bubbles.


Bookmarks placed directly up or down from a gate (as long as they are over 150km from the gate) are useful for avoiding drag and catch bubbles. An off-grid bookmark close to the gate is a near guarantee of bubble avoidance (unless your bookmarks have been somehow compromised). Such a location would allow you to d-scan the gate for bubbles.

Celestial Bouncing

You can occasionally use other celestials as “poor man's pings” that change the angle at which you approach a gate. This will sometimes save you from drag/catch bubbles, but diligent hunters will often set up traps at each celestial vector.

training/guides/bubbles.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/05 15:38 by Valkorsia