POS Warfare 101The Basics
A POS or Starbase (not to be confused with an outpost or conquerable station) is the basic unit of territorial warfare. They come in three sizes: Small, Medium, and Large. A Starbase can do a host of things, but the ones that are important to us are that they can: Shoot, protect ships, and control sovereignty. For more information about what a POS can do, see Shere’s article.
While there is no game mechanic that physically limits the size ship that can attack a POS, the general rule of thumb is that dreadnoughts should be used on anything besides a lightly armed Small POS in order to prevent losses and save time. A small POS has upward of ten million shields –varying by race- while a large has upward of forty million. Having been on a battleship assault of a large POS I can say from experience that it isn’t pleasant. POS’s can also, if fit for damage, deal enough to instantly kill anything but a tanked battleship, which could survive for several seconds; in the POS assault I mentioned the owners had only put one gun on it and had forgotten to fit it with a crystal.
There are two reasons to attack a POS. The first is to simply inflict economic damage on a target, the second is to gain sovereignty over a conquerable station or outpost in the same system as the POS. To gain sovereignty you must control the most of the largest POS’s in system. That means 6 Large POS beat 5 Large POS but one Large beats 14 Smalls. In order to count for sovereignty a POS must be anchored for 5 days or more, and no more than one POS may be built at any one moon. Under previous rules a POS in reinforced no longer granted sovereignty, but that was changed with Kali and now a POS must be completely destroyed to remove its sovereignty claim.
Locking Down the System
Dreadnoughts, in order to do full damage to a POS, need to enter siege mode. Doing this gives them a 625% boost to damage, halves their rep and shield booster duration, and doubles their rep and shield boost amount, but it renders them immobile and gives them -92.5% to tracking and explosion velocity. This makes them extremely vulnerable to being destroyed by traditional fleets. In addition they are hideously expensive, the base mineral price alone being about 1.5 billion.
So this means that your first order of business is to keep the enemy fleet away from your dreadnoughts.
The most effective way to do this is by locking down the system. You put a sizeable force on each gate, and the station, along with an interdictor and a scout on the other side of the gate, in the next system. The scout can let you know when an incoming gate activation is hostile or friendly, thus instructing your interdictor pilot on whether or not to drop a bubble. Most interdictor pilots cannot keep a gate permanently bubbled, and even if they could it would be rather expensive to do so and it would impede your movement.
Which brings us to the other purpose of the scout: To let you know when an enemy fleet is coming, so you can get your ships from all the other gates to the one they’re about to enter through.
Engagements on a gate tend to heavily favor the defender for a couple reasons. First, the defender’s ships can pick the range while the attackers randomly appear 15km from the gate. Second, the attackers experience much more lag which can do many, many bad things. The most common of these is the lagwarp. You jump in and are automatically warped a million kilometers away, as though you logged off. This is relatively minor, and can generally be avoided, however.
What’s worse is jump queues. I’m sure you’ve all run into them from time to time. You know, that bastard in front of you jumps into Jita and then you have to wait like five minutes before you can jump in. Now imagine it wasn’t Jita, but instead was a system with 150 angry people on the gate waiting to kill you. Now imagine that the bastard in front of you wasn’t some noob in a hauler, but was in fact roughly half of your attacking force, and you’re the other half. It’s like divide and conquer, except the game does the dividing for you.
Taking the System
Now you’ve got the system secured. The next step is to jump in your dreadnoughts. Capital ships, like dreadnoughts and carriers, cannot use stargates like everyone else, instead they use onboard jump drives to jump to someone in range –using the actual distance between stars- and in your gang who has generated a cynosural field. Now you can plop your dreadnoughts on top of the POS and start pew-pewing until it does into reinforced a few hours later.
Reinforced is a mode a POS goes into when it reaches 25% shields. While in this mode it cannot be damaged, but it burns strontium as fuel. Once a POS drops below 50% shields it may no longer have its strontium amount changed, thus preventing it from being in reinforced indefinitely. Once it leaves reinforced it can either be recharged or killed. This was another reason for locking down the system: it prevents your enemy from adjusting the amount of strontium to come out at a good time for your opponent.
Once all of the POS’s are in reinforced, generally you just need to go back home and come back when they leave reinforced in a day or two. Of course, every now and then someone (I’m looking at you, -V-) screws up their strontium amounts, leaving only a few hours worth in them. When this happens you can just sit there until you can shoot them again.
When they leave reinforced mode you can knock off that remaining 25% of the shield HP, as well as the armor. At this point the POS’s force field drops and you can attack all of the precious little modules inside. Some of them, like the hangar modules, are like piñatas and are full of sweet, sweet candy. Then you can go ahead and finish off the POS, so you can anchor your own in place.
So let’s say this was a one-moon system, just for simplicity’s sake. The sovereignty in the system is now neutral. No one else has a POS here but you, but yours hasn’t been here for 5 days, yet. At this point the station you were trying to capture in the first place become vulnerable. While stations cannot be destroyed, if you shoot at it for long enough it will eventually flip to your control and then in 5 days, either way, it becomes yours and invulnerable again.
Welcome to 0.0. This concludes POS Warfare 101.
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