~ ~ ALL RORQUALS MINING IN TEST SPACE MUST MEET THE MINIMUM FITTING STANDARD. SEE HERE FOR DETAILS ~ ~
Almost every Rorqual that gets tackled is getting tackled for their first time. So it's important to have this training in mind, because your first try might cost you 10 billion isk.
Before anything else, memorize this.
Drones, Drop Siege, Inhibs, Communicate. Memorize that. You'll probably be a little panicked IRL, so just keep going through that communicate list over and over while you try to do other things, but these are the most important.
There are nuances to it, but those are the important things. In a stressful situation, you fall back on training, and that shortlist is a pretty good thing to fall back on. Stop, Drop, and Roll.
If more than a few dreads or supers drop on you, you can panic immediately. Short of that, you can probably wait a bit on panic.
Now let's go into a bit more detail.
If your 'Wetu' Mobile Depot is reinforced, you can NOT get your drones into it.
You don't need to immediately drop siege, but if you drop siege you always have the option to siege green again if needed. It IS imperative that your siege drops *before* your panic ends or you can't get external reps. If you're jammed and can't panic because you can't lock an asteroid you can siege, lock the rock, panic, desiege.
If you see a cyno inhib going up, make sure call it out. If you have your own recon on grid, make sure to follow your FC's guidance for lighting and positioning it. You can NOT change fleets after lighting your cyno. Make an overview tab that has nothing but cyno inhibitors and check that tab if a hostile fleet shows up. You don't want the inhib hidden in the sea of red.
Report those basic things in comms every 30 seconds or so (or every time the FC asks). Make sure you're paying enough attention to the FC to hear things and follow instructions. I recommend joining either standing fleet DPS comms (in mumble), and hanging out there for a minute or two to make sure your mic/speakers are working. After that, feel free to use the quiet room or deaf/mute yourself. Now you're only one button away from working comms.
It helps if you can be in comms for a rorq save or two so you can get an idea of how things go down.
You don't need a survey scanner or mining boosts. Shield boosts and more tank are pretty good here. If you have refit your tank to drone navs make sure to swap back to your max tank fit. Preferably before you even get tackled. If for whatever reason your mobile depot hasn't been reinforced by the time you have PANIC'd take that time to refit.
Before you undock your Rorqual, check to see if there's an alliance strategic operation. Make sure that the status in standing fleet is green. If there is an active stratop, you will not be saved and should not be mining. Some easy ways to tell are paying attention to your pings and checking the number of people in mumble Global Command channels. Continue to monitor pings and the intel map while mining. Be in mumble. There's a quiet room in standing fleet comms where you should only hear important things. People will often help call out important pings, intel, hostiles, or if your drones are being shot, etc. If you're in mumble, we can shout at you when things are important. We want this. Your rorqual wants this. Help us help you.
Be sure to put down your Wetu as soon as you land on your rock. If hostiles are in system, it's too late to put down your Wetu.
Besides sitting in the Rorqual, make sure you also have
As of September 2021, TEST doesn't SRP a Rorqual loss. You can see all the relevant information on this article.
If you're confused on what an ideal fit for a rorqual looks like, there are a few example fits at the end of this article.
First thing, always the first thing: Pay attention to intel and stratop calendar, so you don't undock and get setup in an anom right in the middle of a shitstorm, or leave yourself vulnerable when taking five minutes to check things out would have saved you the trouble.
1. Join the proper fleet and comms. Make sure you are in standing fleet and within the standing fleet comms, you don't have to be in a loud channel and actively participating but FCs need to be able to communicate with you in case something goes wrong. There is a quiet channel that you can relax in and only hear FCs.
2. Scout your anom. Find out if there's a ping, and if not, use a fast ship to make one. I typically advise warping to the center of the Colossal, for example, then moving straight up or at a 45deg angle *toward* your docking point (fortizar, keepstar) until you're at least 150km (minimum warp distance) from the nearest rock. Any closer than that and you can't warp to them, which defeats the purpose. Much farther away, then a scanner can't tell you which rocks have decent m3 remaining. Then, drop a bookmark so you can get to it easily.
Pings help you navigate. Your next rock is 74km away? No problem. Target the rock, warp to the ping, then back down to it. I recommend setting warp-to distance to 2500 so you don't bounce and end up 20k away (but only on primarily rorqual pilots – warping to 2500 on a gate can be problematic). If you don't want to do that, just learn not to warp to 0 on a spod rock or you will bounce more often than not. Warp to 10km and slowboat in. If your ping is directly above the rock you're warping to, you can move toward it once you're out of warp and hit “stop” when you're approx 800m away. You'll come to a lazy stop almost in the perfect position for siege.
Once you pick a rock and hit “stop” so you can cozy up to it (under 1k distance is good. under 100m is best), wait until you're under 20m/s speed and drop your Wetu Mobile Depot. Why a Wetu and not just a standard one? Because a Wetu can hold 3 excavators at once, saving you a boatload of isk even if you are dropped on and lose the battle. Bookmark the depot, so that when you forget it (and eventually you will) you can get back to it. Plus, in the event you do park your drones there and manage to escape with your rorq in the middle of combat, you can warp back to it later when the system is clear. Even if it's reinforced, you can get your drones out and scoop it back into cargo. Always remember to “repackage” a reinforced Wetu before reusing it. There's a bug that can allow it to bypass any reinforcement stage the next time it's attacked, which can cost you dearly. Play safe.
3. Once you're on a rock and under 1m/s, you can enter siege. This locks you in place for five minutes, burning heavy water for fuel. Depending on your fuel bay and Indy core skills, you can sit there for an hour or more (or until the rock pops) mining away happily before you need to adjust. So you can AFK, right? Wrong. Doing that is a recipe for disaster, most notably to your billion-isk excavators. Rats love to chew on them, and you get NO alarm warning when they start doing so. You only get a warning when they chew through a portion of your shields, and by then you could have lost all of your drones. Pay attention, pull them and drop combat drones when rats show up, then when it's all clear again, drop excavators again and keep printing isk.
NOTE on fuel. Keep Heavy Water in your fuel bay, along with enough Oxygen Isotopes for at least one max-range jump. Then, keep any extra in your fleet hanger, NOT in your cargo hold. But “Numbers”, why not keep it in cargo? Then you don't have to move it around once your fuel bay runs out. It goes back to the falling asleep thing. Having to wait for someone to burn through a full fuel bay in siege is painful (if they're asleep) before you can fleet-warp them to safety. Having to wait through a fuel bay plus cargo is insane. Your corp-mates might just let you fend for yourself and hope a dread/super doesn't spawn before you wake up. I keep cap charges in general cargo and Heavy Water in my fleet hanger.
If you're in a sharing corp and people like to mine together, you may want to keep your fleet hanger open to “fleet” or “corp” or both, so that players in hulks, etc. can load bulk ore in there, compress it, and pull it back out – saving them unnecessary repeated trips back to the fortizar/refinery. Keep in mind that not only can move ore in and out, they can also take anything you might have stored there… so it's a good idea to keep everything of value in cargo and only leave bulky items there (like heavy water) they are less likely to touch. For this reason, I don't completely fill my fleet hanger with fuel. I typically put 50k or 60k heavy water in there to refill my fuel bay as I mine, leaving the rest open so someone can compress should they need to. Also, 60k heavy water (on top of 20k+ in fuel bay) is five hours or so of nonstop mining… If I need more than that, I'm probably in danger of falling asleep myself.
Don't let your fuel bay run out of heavy water, or you'll drop out of siege and wonder why. Don't let your ore hold fill up before you compress, or your drones will sit there idle until you compress and set them back to mining. Learn how much m3 you pull in per drone cycle so you know how long (how many siege cycles) you can sit on a rock before you need to move. Waiting until it pops before dropping out of siege might be the easy way, but experienced pilots get frustrated when their drones are idle. Survey scanners are awesome, even if they do take up a mid slot.
Don't boost (links) for the sake of boosting, even if the charges are cheap. Make sure there's a hulk or something in fleet that benefits, or else you're keeping your weapons timer active for no reason. Weapons timer means you can't refit.
4. Rats. Pull your excavators, drop drones and blap them, right? Not always. If they warp in at 200km, unless you have stupid range capability, you're not going to hit them and they're not going to hit you… so just keep mining. When they get in range, they'll probably start shooting at your excavators. Even then, with normal rats, there's no reason to panic. Excavators have a good tank on them, so can absorb a few hits. When in doubt, recall them. If one starts taking serious damage, lock it up and remote rep it on its way back to your hold.
I prefer sentries for battleships and cruisers, then medium or light drones for frigates. If you have multiple rorquals, use a set of each. Most rats will drop in seconds, as long as they're in range.
Oh noes! A Dread spawned! I'm dead, right? Not hardly. You can tank a dread for days with a good fit, and if you have good skills, you can kill it without calling for assistance. In this case, multiple rorquals are better than singles. The last dread to spawn on me died before my buddy could get his carrier undocked and in position. Always pull excavators if you see a dread spawn, as they can blap them quickly, which can get expensive.
Supers, on the other hand, can actually be dangerous. They hit hard (7500 or so), and can actually take out a rorqual in short order if you're not properly tanked. Had a True Sansha super spawn on me a week ago… and while it got my blood pumping, never actually came close to hurting me. Even with three rorquals, however, I couldn't break its tank. Three more warped in, then a buddy with a dread, and we dropped it in a hurry after that. It did blap a hulk before it could get away, but… in my mind, better that than an excavator. The loot it dropped more than covered the loss, so all was well. If you are mining with (or along side a buddy using) hulks and they don't immediately warp away when a Super spawns, do everyone a favor and PANIC immediately. It'll lock down the hulks, but also protect them from getting one-shotted until help can arrive.
5. Neuts. Evil badguys are always hunting our Rorquals. Some of them are even good at it. But, should you pull drones, toss them in your Wetu and refit for combat every time a neut shows up five jumps out in intel? Uh, no… If you do that, you'll never get any mining done.
However, you should always be watching intel, listening on comms, and otherwise paying attention to pings for stratops, etc. We know the spais are, so you should too. Mining during a stratop is bad – we all know that. But mining right before a big one is scheduled is pretty much the same thing. People have already jumpcloned, are getting into their combat ships, and are ready for the fleet. You don't want to be the guy that gets tackled 10 minutes before a stratop, 'cause that amounts to pretty much the same thing as mining during one. The proper reponse, at that point, is… well, RIP. Shut up and die quietly.
That said, you can and will be tackled while mining, be it from random neuts who wander through or a rage-rolled wormhole with VOLTA pouring through on top of you. The odds are in their favor. Even if you start cycling down when you see them five jumps out, a ceptor/dictor can warp faster than that and get on you more quickly than you're expecting. So… be prepared for it.
“FC, am tackled in my Rorq. What do?”
If you've followed the rest of my advice (most specifically dropping a Wetu as soon as you cozy up to a rock), the *first* thing you should do in this situation is pull your excavators and drag them from your drone bay into your Wetu. The second thing you should do is pull up fittings and switch to your combat refit. Yes, you should have both “mining” and “combat” fits saved and ready to go, so you know what modules to switch out. You can't use the automatic switch-fit feature unless you're docked, but having both fits saved off gives you something to refer to until you're completely comfortable with the process. NOTE: if running more than one rorqual, save drones on ALL rorquals first before attempting any refits.
Do this BEFORE you start calling on comms that you've been tackled. Why? Because the first thing a competent whaling (rorqual killing) gang is going to do, after making sure you can't warp away, is to reinforce your mobile depot. They do this for two reasons: First, if you had it reinforced previously and didn't repackage it, they can get an instant kill on it and anything it contains. Second, reinforcing it prevents you from refitting. NOTE: Recent changes prevent you from loading anything into a Wetu once it's reinforced. Make sure you always always always move your exacavators into the Wetu at the first sign of trouble.
Once your drones are safe, the absolute next thing you should look for is for a “Mobile Cynosual Inhibitor” to show up on your overview. That is *critical* information, not only for yourself, but for any FC who forms a fleet to assist you. If you can kill it by dropping drones, do it. Don't hesitate. If you cannot, make sure you're in a valid fleet (non AFK fleet boss or preferably the standing fleet).
If your attackers are serious and/or experienced, they will ALWAYS target your Wetu first to reinforce it, hoping to catch you unable to save your excavators and prevent you from refitting. Here's an additional trick that only works if there are multiple rorquals on grid: If you are not in siege, you can move within refit range of another rorqual even after Wetus are reinforced, and BOTH maybe be able to refit off of each other. Note that you are more vulnerable if not in siege, but being able to refit before hitting your core for defense purposes can make a big difference.
“I'm at 10% shield! I should PANIC?!?” No… PANIC Is reserved for when your ship is about to die, which isn't an instant process (dread bombs/super drops notwithstanding). The only times I've used the module, I've actually been in structure. Take a look at your EHP sometime. You have a TON of structure. Don't be afraid to let them chew into it before popping that module. 30 seconds can mean the difference between an FC/fleet having enough time to get to you and not.
Here is a “good ping” containing information that any FC is going to want to know as soon as he gets in contact with you. You might want to keep this in a notepad and fill in the relevant information as you learn it, so you can copy/paste to the fleet or discord.
* @DDFC Rorquals tackled (01101) * Fleet: <Region> Standing * System: WX-6UX * Anom: Colossal * Comms: Fleet 10 (will move as needed) * Cyno: On Grid and Cloaked * PANIC: Fit not active * Tank Status: [Holding] * Dscan: (provide link) * Enemy alliance: (VOLTA, goons, etc.)
Once you're in comms with an FC, follow his directions. Once a fleet is formed, you should be OK unless you get dread/super bombed, in which case you either might already be dead or your PANIC is going to expire before a rescue fleet can get to you. Either way, once an FC is involved, you're in good hands as long as you communicate and can follow directions.
NOTES on PANIC: If you do not have a rock locked, your PANIC will not activate. If you are caught out of siege and jammed and find yourself in need to PANIC, immediately siege up (even if you're moving) – as long as you're within lock range of ANY rock. Siege gives you pretty much perfect ECM resists and allow you to lock up a rock, which in turn will allow you to PANIC. Once you enter PANIC, immediately de-cycle siege, as it allows you to receive remote reps as soon as PANIC ends. Also, once you PANIC, rep yourself as best as you can while still in siege, so that you have at least full shields by the time PANIC is over.
If you were slow to react to intel or the neuts popped out of nowhere, you might not have a lot of time to react. Unless you're AFK, you should *always* have enough time to store your drones and switch to a combat refit. Losing a rorqual is bad, but it's not the worst thing in the world. Losing rorqual + drones is never good.
TIP: If you get dread bombed/super dropped, DO NOT HESITATE, use PANIC immediately. Their alpha will wipe you from the map before can react otherwise, so your only chance at survival is to hope a rescue fleet can get to you before your PANIC expires.
TIP: If you get scrammed by a single ship while he's waiting for his buddies to arrive, drop ECM drones, then jump to a safe (clear) system. Note that this only works if you are *not* in siege. The ECM's will work just fine, but you're not jumping anywhere with your core active.
[Rorqual, [TEST] Poor-man's Rorqual] Power Diagnostic System II Power Diagnostic System II Damage Control II Power Diagnostic System II Capital C-5L Compact Shield Booster Capital Capacitor Booster I Multispectrum Shield Hardener II Multispectrum Shield Hardener II Shield Boost Amplifier II Capital Capacitor Booster I Shield Boost Amplifier II Capital Remote Shield Booster I Pulse Activated Nexus Invulnerability Core Industrial Core II Large EMP Smartbomb II Large EMP Smartbomb II Shield Command Burst II Shield Command Burst II Heavy Energy Neutralizer II Capital Drone Mining Augmentor II Capital Drone Mining Augmentor II Capital Thermal Shield Reinforcer II 'Excavator' Mining Drone x5 Valkyrie II x30 Mining Drone II x10 Ogre II x10 Warden II x20 Garde II x20 Curator II x20 Bouncer II x20 Warrior II x20 Vespa EC-600 x5 Hornet EC-300 x10 Acolyte II x20 Infiltrator II x30 Cap Booster 3200 x75 Navy Cap Booster 3200 x60 Agency 'Hardshell' TB7 Dose III x1 Strong Blue Pill Booster x1
[Rorqual, [TEST] Standard Rorqual] Power Diagnostic System II Power Diagnostic System II Damage Control II Power Diagnostic System II CONCORD Capital Shield Booster Capital Capacitor Booster II Pithum C-Type Multispectrum Shield Hardener Pithum C-Type Multispectrum Shield Hardener Shield Boost Amplifier II Capital Capacitor Booster II Shield Boost Amplifier II Capital S95a Scoped Remote Shield Booster Pulse Activated Nexus Invulnerability Core Industrial Core II Large EMP Smartbomb II Large EMP Smartbomb II Shield Command Burst II Shield Command Burst II Heavy Energy Neutralizer II Capital Drone Mining Augmentor II Capital Drone Mining Augmentor II Capital Thermal Shield Reinforcer II 'Excavator' Mining Drone x5 Valkyrie II x30 Mining Drone II x10 Ogre II x10 Warden II x20 Garde II x20 Curator II x20 Bouncer II x20 Warrior II x20 Vespa EC-600 x5 Hornet EC-300 x10 Acolyte II x20 Infiltrator II x30 Navy Cap Booster 3200 x150 Agency 'Hardshell' TB7 Dose III x1 Strong Blue Pill Booster x1
* Half of this shamelessly plagiarized from this forum post.