POS Threat Levels and Defense
I thought the following guide might be helpful to those who find themselves war-decced while running a POS. By no means is this “the” definitive guide to POS defense or threat assessment; the information below is of course my opinion. But, this guide is based off of my own experience, a pretty hefty amount of research, as well as amazing input from other industrialists and members of the Eve community. This guide pertains to POSs in high security space only; low-sec, null, and WH POS threat assessment and defense is another story entirely, and food for a different guide altogether.
Threat Level Yellow:
Less of an issue, but I’m putting it here to act as a contrast to the other two far more serious threat levels.
Yellow threats could include a small corp joining your larger alliance with an active war dec from a small griefer corp. This is not a “tip of the iceberg” scenario, but truly just a small greifer corp looking for an easy target who will most likely fade away once their weak, small number targets turn into a much more prepared, armed, and larger target base. Just the same, you should always have hardeners and defenses anchored though offline if you have to, just to be safe.
A yellow threat is also a tingling spider-sense, a hunch, or an inkling of storm clouds on the horizon. Yellow is seeing that same individual scoping out your POS multiple times in the span of a few days, sometimes cloaking quickly when they realize you’re active. Its unsolicited applications to your one-person corp from a stranger, or questions from anyone in the game you don’t actually know in real life that seem slightly prying. Actually come to think of it, lets just go ahead and say that any time you start onlining a tower anywhere in EvE, you are officially and automatically at threat level yellow. In the real world or pretty much any other game ever, we would call this “delusional paranoia”; in EvE, we call this playing smart.
Threat Level Orange:
The most common level. Threat level orange is an imminent threat to your POS itself. Its time to stop all industry jobs, empty and break down all labs and facilities, and put up the defenses.
* One-person corp decs: Though the threat-level on a one person corp wardecing you looks minimal, and indeed it could just be someone camping the Jita undock looking for easy targets, its most likely a trap. Personal as well as researched experience point to the fact that that one person almost certainly knows you have a POS, and its most likely the target. 99% of the time, that 1 person is going to to turn into 5 or 6 or more when the war goes live. The tactic is used when trying to trick the target corp into a false sense of security, thereby not guarding themselves accordingly to what the threat actually is.
* Your alliance gets war-decced by a large-ish mercenary and/or “war-dec” alliance. You haven’t been explicitly told or seen obvious tips that the goal of the dec is the destruction of your tower, and most likely, you are one of many, MANY targets. The opposition may or may not know about your tower, but some simple preventative measures may ease some of the threat. Make sure no one in your corp is anywhere near your POS system when, or even a little before, the war goes live. Locators work on logged-out players, and if the enemy keeps running locators on your corp and seeing you all in one system, suspicion will lead to exploration.
Small tower: Good luck. without too much commitment, your enemy is probably going to bring this down. You don’t have the fitting space with any type of small tower to actually mount much of a defense at all, either by turtling-up with hardeners or trying to actively defend it. You could put up ECM but they’ll hardly be a hinderance to even a mid-sized fleet. Likewise with guns; even with a dedicated POS gunner, an opposing fleet will quickly dispatch your guns at range.
Medium tower: Theres a divide in thinking on this one amongst most people. Some say ECM-defense, especially on a Caldari tower, and some say hardeners. I happen to agree with the latter and opt for a straight turtling method. The reasons are, people sometimes confuse the bonuses between large and medium Caldari control towers. While the large does get a huge 75% bonus to ECM cycling speed, the medium’s bonus is actually towards e-war, i.e. neuts, webs, disruptors, etc. So while an ECM-based defense is certainly possible on a medium, the bigger time-waster for an enemy will be as many hardeners as possible.
Large tower: You’ve got the power grid and CPU to mount a seriously formidable defense. With enough ECM, hardeners, and even offensive weapons should you choose, taking down a large tower in highsec (i.e. without Dreads) is a nightmare. I’ve seen and been a part of a 45-person BS fleet going up against a large tower with a SINGLE defender who just kept online ECM modules, and it took the better part of 7 hours to put it into reinforced. I also think the only reason we finally did was that the defender ran out of ECM batteries. Again, with enough planning, isk, and dedication, a large tower isn’t going anywhere without a serious fight.
Threat Level Red:
You have been explicitly told that a large and capable group is very specifically after your POS; there isn’t a lot of grey area here.
Again, not a lot of grey area. Someone is after you, and they want to hurt you where it counts.
Small and Medium towers: Shut it down. You are not going to win this fight and you are going to lose a tower if it stays up. If you don’t have the standings to put up a new one later, start looking around for a corp standings boost service that can help; it will take a week anyways to boost your corp standings.
Large tower: as with Orange, you can attempt a defense here. With a few people, some deep pockets and some planning, you can probably hold off even a dedicated and large fleet for some time. Additionally, depending on the cost of your infrastructure involved and how badly you want to keep that tower up, it may be worth it to start looking into hiring a reputable mercenary group to defend your POS.
Again, anytime you log into EvE, you’re at a certain threat level already. The common saying in this game is “don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose”, and the very same logic applies to POSs: “don’t anchor and then sit around in anything you can’t afford to lose”. Remember, being smart, being prepared, and staying calm are the best possibly defense you can have. Input and opinions on the above are welcomed.