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.