MTU Hunting Tips & Tricks

Today I would like to share with you some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned whilst hunting MTUs over the years. For a complete guide on how to hunt down an MTU, see MTU Hunting 101, and for more general information on the mechanics involed, see MTU FAQ.

Dealing with NPCs

Ocassionally, when you scan down an MTU, you will find that it is surrounded by hostile NPCs. Sometimes they will auto-aggro on you, and sometimes they won’t, it is always worth waiting a little while to see if they do or not, but ensure that you are far enough away to not get pointed or killed by them.

MTU surrounded by mission rats

In the case that they do auto-aggro, you have a number of options available to you:

1) Kill them; Make sure you’re in a ship that is capable of doing so, having a battleship handy is useful for taking out rats in level 4 security missions. Having experience in mission running will help you a lot here, as you can avoid triggering new spawns of NPCs, and also be aware of delayed spawns that may suprise you when you think you’re safe.

2) Kite them; If the site has no acceleration gates or warp-in beacons, you can warp to the MTU at 100km, and pull those NPCs away from it, you can then warp out when they’ve been pulled far enough away. When you warp back in at 0 on the MTU, the NPCs will have to spend time burning back to you before they can get you in range, leaving you time to pop the MTU.

3) Wait until after downtime; At downtime (11:00 – 11:15 UTC every day) most missions and the rats within them despawn. The MTU, however, may not, meaning that the once-surrounded MTU will now be sat out there in the void, ripe for popping.

Also be aware of Burner NPCs, unless you have a specific type of ship that is capable of taking these NPCs out, you will die.

Avoiding Bait

You will never be able to avoid bait 100%, but there are things you can do to minimise the risks of falling into a trap laid by an MTU Hunter-Hunter.

1) Know local; If there are only a few people in local, you can type the pilot’s names into zkillboard to see if they’re the sort of person that may be lying-in-wait to shoot you. Is there a pilot in local whose killboard is filled with highsec kills and no CONCORD losses? They’re likely a suspect/criminal hunter, and you should watch out for them. If local has a lot of people in it, you can use a tool called PySpy which will make the intel process a lot faster and easier. Thanks to Purgo for the PySpy recommendation, I’ve started using it recently, and it is very handy.

2) Check the MTU’s owner; When you warp to an MTU, right-click on it and select “Show Info”, you will then see the MTU owner’s avatar near the top of the window, click on it to see his name and check if he is in local with you. If he is in local, check his killboard. Does he have a lot of highsec kills, particularly in the system (and surrounding systems) you’re in? If so, there is a good chance it is bait.

Baiter Killboard

3) Be suspicious; Did you dock up for a while to let your Suspect Timer wind down, and now that you’ve undocked there is a new MTU sat there on D-Scan that you didn’t notice before? That’s potential bait, and it is something that almost worked on me once, thankfully I followed the advice in step 2, saw that the MTU’s owner was a baiter, and was able to avoid falling for it (he also dropped combat probes on me instead of just bookmarking his own MTU, which kinda gave it away).

Always add known-baiters to your contacts (set them red) so you can see if they’re in the area when you’re out hunting.

Avoiding Chancers

Unlike baiters, these guys will only spring into action when they see that there is someone suspect in local (you). There are a few things you can do to make it harder for them to catch you.

1) Rename your ship; The easiest way to find someone who is suspect in any given system is to check D-Scan for ships and look for those that haven’t been renamed. For example, if I left my ship name as default “Pix Severus’ Hecate”, and I was clearly suspect (flashing yellow skull next to my name in local) anyone looking for me will easily be able to tell my ship is the one they’re looking for. Then it would be a simple case of finding where my ship is on D-Scan and probing it down.

2) Check D-Scan; Always pulse D-Scan while shooting an MTU, to see if anyone is warping to you or trying to scan you down with combat probes.

3) Stay aligned; If you’re in a relatively large ship, it might be worth aligning to something that you can warp to, so you can instantly enter warp if something you cant win against lands on you.

4) Use bookmarks; Create safe spots to warp to, and dock/undock bookmarks at NPC stations, which will allow you to move around the system freely, much to the chagrin of those hunting you. I like to bounce around between safe spots while waiting for the Weapon Timer to wind down, this makes it very hard to scan me down after the MTU has been popped. Oh, and if the system has player-made stations that you have docking rights with, you don’t need to make a docking bookmark to dock safely at those, just FYI.

It should probably go without saying that you should set any chancers you encounter to red in your contacts, as it is likely they will try again.

Making it Profitable

There are a number of ways you can turn a profit from hunting MTUs, this can help cover expenses such as ammo, and even ships if you tend to lose them often.

1) Sell MTUs in the systems you most frequently get MTU kills in. If a system tends to have a lot of MTUs in it, then it stands to reason that it might be a good place to sell them. After all, the people deploying them will need to replace any that you pop! You can buy MTUs cheap at larger hubs (websites such as EVEMarketer are useful for finding where the cheapest items are) and then list them at a higher price in the system you operate in. Many pilots are willing to pay a little extra for the convenience of not having to travel multiple jumps, just to make a saving of a couple of million ISK.

Mobile Tractor Unit Market

2) Know your mission items; MTUs often drop mission-specific items that have no value on the market, but are worth money on contracts. The Damsel is one such item, and she is usually sold for 40m ISK on contracts at the time of writing this. You can also try selling these items back to the owner of the MTU you got it from, as they may need it to complete the mission they were running. Some items cannot be found on the market or on contracts, so it’ll be up to you how much you list it for.

3) Sell locally; There is no point in hauling all your MTU loot to a trade hub to sell to buy orders, unless you need that ISK right then and there. Good things come to he who waits, so list your items as sell orders in the nearest NPC station. The benefits of this are that you can often list items at a higher price, for the reason talked about in step 1, and you also save time from lugging all that loot around. The only downside is that you will have to wait longer for your items to sell. If you wish to sell locally, make sure to train up your trade skills to increase the maximum amount of sell orders you can have.

Thats all for this post, I may update it in the future with more tips and tricks, otherwise I might just make a second post. As always, if you have any questions about hunting MTUs, feel free to contact me (Pix Severus) in game.

MTU Mechanics for Outlaws

Contrary to popular belief, there is a healthy relationship between MTUs and outlaw activity in New Eden. In EVE, an outlaw is any pilot whose security status has dropped to -5 or lower, which is usually achieved through the art of ganking. Such pilots are subject to a number of liimitations in highsec that make MTU hunting a lot more difficult, but not impossible.

First, let us take a look at what life is like for your typical outlaw living in highsec.

Pilots with -5 or lower Security Status can be freely shot by any player in space, at any time, without CONCORD interference. This isn’t much of an issue when it comes to hunting MTUs though, as you gain Suspect Status for shooting them regardless of your Security level, in which case anyone can shoot you anyway.

Pix Severus Outlaw

A rare glimpse of me as -10 in highsec.

The main issue comes in the form of the Facpo, all outlaws are constantly chased by the Faction Police, and therefore cannot remain in any single spot in space for more than around 20 seconds in a 0.5 system, their response time is even less in systems with higher security. This means you cannot sit at the MTU and shoot it for more than 20 seconds in a 0.5 system before you have to warp off to avoid getting killed by them. The Faction Police are different to CONCORD, rather than punishing you for blowing up someone else’s ship, they exist to chase-out people who aren’t welcome in their space, and they can be avoided indefinitely by warping away from them.

This limitation can restrict you from being able to use larger ships, as the Facpo would stand a better chance at catching and destroying a large, lumbering battleship that takes a long time to align and warp off. It isn’t impossible though.

Pix Severus > Maga, have you ever popped an mtu while -10?
Pix Severus > i notice Aaaarrgg seems to do it quite often
Magalaus Shardani > i did once, it was quite tedious
Pix Severus > i can imagine
Magalaus Shardani > shoot until facpo spawns, warpoff and warp back once they move

So how do you destroy an MTU as a -10 who has the Facpo on his back? It’s quite simple really, you warp to the MTU and begin shooting it, and then when the Facpo lands on you, you warp out to a nearby bookmark or celestial, wait for the Facpo to land on you again, then warp back to the MTU and shoot it a little more. Rinse and repeat until the MTU dies.

This is as tedious as it sounds, and with the relatively large amount of HP a standard MTU has, it can take quite a long time too. It takes around a minute to pop an MTU with around 1000DPS at your disposal, and that’s without the added time of having to warp around, and the fact that the MTU will be constantly repairing it’s shields while you’re warping around.

It is indeed possible then, so if you’re a ganker who hasn’t had much luck finding targets one day, but there’s been an MTU staring at you on D-Scan the entire time, you now know what to do!

There are more mechanics involved between MTUs and Outlaws, and this next one was something I hadn’t considered until I spotted a comment in the Minerbumping chat channel one evening.

Qipchak - Minerbumping chat channel

Thank you for this information, Qipchak. It seems that an MTU could be a handy tool for gankers, for the purpose of retrieving the loot from their own gank ships after they’ve ganked someone. When you get CONCORDed for ganking someone, your wreck becomes blue to everyone, meaning that anyone can loot it freely without going Suspect, such wrecks can also be tractored-in by MTUs. The MTU will not tractor-in the gank victim’s wreck though, as those are always yellow and “belong” to the victim, and taking from those wrecks will give you Suspect Status (a status that an MTU cannot be in, unfortunately).

I guess it makes sense that you can shoot an MTU without going suspect if the MTU’s owner is an outlaw. It follows the same rules as ganker’s shipwrecks, which are blue and accessible to anyone without involving timers. As someone who has popped over 1000 MTUs, I can safely say that this must be a very rare occurrence, as I have never not gone Suspect for shooting an MTU in all this time. I think most gankers would probably use a non-outlaw alt to deploy an MTU for this purpose, and that’s if they even care about retrieving their own gank modules.

That’s it for this little informational piece, if you’re considering life as an outlaw in highsec and wish to pop some MTUs too, I hope this post comes in handy. If you’ve experienced interesting mechanics involving MTUs that you would like to share, feel free to contact me.

Bonus Edit!
Solstice Projekt kindly provided me with some feedback to correct a few errors in this post, which I have now done. He also had some further advice for those looking to pop MTUs as -10.

If you’re having issue popping an MTU quickly as -10, then just use a Tornado! The cycletime is spent warping around. They can even be fitted with a combat probe launcher when done right and you can spend your time probing in warp (or, like a more boring person, while tethered) so the faction police can’t kill you. This works great in bigger systems!

Thanks Sol!

MTU Mailbag 2

Ever since I began my career as an MTU Hunter, I have received quite a lot of mail from capsuleers across New Eden, and I would like to share some of them with you. Unlike some other hunters out there, I don’t mail the owners of MTUs I have popped, I sit back and let them contact me. I may change this approach in the future, for now though, lets dig through my backlog of EVEmails.

EVE Mail

I get asked this question a lot (amongst others), so I recently added an MTU FAQ page to the blog where you can find the answer to this, and other burning questions you might have about the wonderful world of MTU Hunting. Here are a couple of fits I use regardless: Hecate and Svipul.

I hear that the loadout site, o.smium, will be going down soon (probably forever) due to changes with the EVE API, so those links may not work in the near future. I’ll try to find another way to show you these fits when that happens. I would like to thank those responsible for creating and hosting that site over the years, it filled the void left by Battleclinic back in the day, and remained very useful to many right up until the end; it will be missed.

EVE Mail

A while back, to celebrate the release of my guide to hunting MTUs, I ran a competition on the blog where the first 3 pilots to post an MTU kill in the comments would receive 50m ISK each. Sith was one of the lucky winners, and here’s that killmail for you (it’s a good one!)

Kill: Vorian Tagarian (Mobile Tractor Unit)

EVE Mail

This is not the usual sort of question I tend to receive about MTU Hunting. Occasionally, when I set out on a hunt, instead of hanging around the busy mission-running hubs I like to set a long course to the outer reaches of highsec (occasionally lowsec) and explore, popping any MTUs I find along the way. To do this, I’ll bring up the universe map, pick an area near the edge of highsec (sorting map colours by security status) and start adding waypoints to all the systems in that area; this can often result in very long routes with over 100 jumps.

To answer Alasdan’s question above, there is always going to be some backtracking, unfortunately, largely due to single-gate systems and other areas that just end-up being dead-ends.

EVE Mail

Despite the answer to his question perhaps not being what he wanted to hear, he went with it regardless, and ended-up having himself a fun and profitable time. Here’s those killmails for you:

Kill: knorkle (Mobile Tractor Unit)
Kill: ThareaHUN (Mobile Tractor Unit)
Kill: Kilree EagleShade (Mobile Tractor Unit)

EVE Mail

This is actually how the majority of MTUs in highsec are lost, the mission runner simply forgets to go back for it before completing the mission, and then doesn’t know how/can’t be bothered to scan it down to retrieve it afterwards. To answer beanbro’s question, MTUs are freely attackable by anyone at any time, you only gain a suspect timer for shooting MTUs. This is another frequently asked question, that you will find in the new MTU FAQ page.

EVE Mail

I’ve had this happen to myself before, you probe down a few MTUs and bookmark them before heading out to do some real life activities, and by the time you return, another hunter has found your targets and wiped them out. Oh well, there’s plenty more MTUs in the vast ocean of space. Shaela did indeed join my chat channel afterwards, which goes by the name “MTU Hunting” in case you were interested.

EVE Mail

I occasionally receive mails from other MTU Hunters out there, including ones with vastly more experience than myself; Ganolen is one such hunter. Back when I received this mail, Ganolen had just over 1000 MTU kills, and it was partly due to wanting to catch-up that drove me to work harder to keep on wiping MTUs from the face of the galaxy.

Catching-up is still something of a pipe-dream, however, as Ganolen is still hunting MTUs to this day, and at the time of writing this post, has an incredible 1700 MTU kills. This is personally the highest MTU kill count I’ve ever seen, if you’ve seen higher than this, please share it with me.

If you have any questions or comments you would like to send me via EVEmail, please do so. I try to respond to every mail as time permits, and there’s a good chance your mail will be featured in a future episode of MTU Mailbag.

MTU Mailbag

MTU Hunting 101

I decided to write a guide on how to hunt MTUs to give people a better idea of what I actually do on a hunt. Hopefully I have made it easy enough to understand that anyone interested can give it a go too, whether they have any prior experience in scanning or not.

MTU Hunting 101
(There is also a permanent link to the guide in the sidebar)

The guide will show you many of the aspects involved in hunting MTUs, from finding them, to scanning them down, to ultimately destroying them. Also included in the guide are tips to using the Agent Finder, bookmarks, and the overview.

You can now also find a link to my MTU Hunter Overview Profile in my bio in-game.

MTU Hunting 101

Click on image for full size.

I taught myself how to scan in EVE Online through trial and error, so I may do things differently to others. If you have any tips on improving the guide, spot any errors, or if you have trouble following any part of the guide, please leave a comment on this post.

Finally, if you do follow the guide and manage to get a successful MTU kill, please show us your killmail in a comment on this post. The first 3 players to post their MTU killmails in this post will win 50m ISK each! All MTU kills must have been made after the date of this post. This offer won’t end until 3 killmails have been posted here.

Happy hunting!