Heavy Interdictor guide
Having flown a Heavy interdictor almost exclusively for the better part of 3 months now, and having most of the people who find this blog via search engines searching for something related to Heavy interdictor bubbles or “HIC guide”, I figured I should put something down that summarizes how to fly one.
They’re not hard, really, but having flown with a few good pilots and a few bad ones, and having made a few blunders myself, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to collate a few pointers in one place. I have posted about this topic before, but not really as a guide.
First, some Terminology:
HICtor/HIC: Heavy Interdictor
Point: A warp scrambler/disruptor of some kind “get a point on that ship!” “pointed!”
Bubble: An area of effect warp disruptor, produced by HIC’s, interdictors and mobile warp disruptors
Tackle: To point a ship, preventing it from warping.
Heavy interdictors work as follows:
Their primary purpose is to use a Warp Disruption Field Generator. They are the only ship in the game that can do so.
At Heavy interdictor skill level V, the WDFG produces a field (hereafter known as a bubble) with a radius of 20km.
The WDFG can be fitted with a “Focused Warp Disruption” script, which allows it to disrupt a single ship out to 30km (at HIC skill lvl V).
Note: This guide was written before the Tech II version of the Warp Disruption Field Generator Came out. If you are a HIC specialist, it is VERY worth training for the T2 bubble generator. See this post where I talk about why: linky
Both the bubble and the script have an infinite scramble strength, meaning warp core stabilizers won’t save you.
In Bubble mode, the WDFG works exactly like a anchorable mobile warp disruptors, except that it is centred around and moves with the Heavy interdictor producing the bubble.
The role that the HIC was designed for was tackling capital and supercapital ships. As such, the Heavy interdictor has some of the highest resists of any ship in the game, with Effictive hit points easilly surpassing 90,000, more when in a gang with bonuses.
Because of these resistances, the HIC can also fit a mighty passive tank, easily able to take 1000 dps, at the expense of hit points obviously.
Being a ship focussed on tackle, it also has a comparitively high sensor strength for fast locking.
Due to all these factors, it is a nearly essential ship in 0.0 fleets, and is a good option for lowsec pirating.
Flying tactics, do’s and don’ts:
Don’t bubble your own fleet: This may seem to be a fairly obvious rule, but it’s honestly takes a bit of practice. There is a reflex to hit the bubble as soon as you see an enemy ship on the field, but if you bubble and they turn out to be a long way away, you’ve just locked down your fleet for the 30 seconds it takes to cycle, potentially allowing the enemy to get a free shot on some of your ships. The trick is to curb your reflex and watch the distances on the overview like a hawk. if nothing is within 20k, don’t stick your bubble up, it’s that simple.
Listen to the FC: obviously this goes for everyone in a fleet, but HIC’s, like scouts, tend to be micromanaged by the FC at times. “bubble up”, “bubble down”, “can I get one HIC to jump to the otherside of the gate and bubble up, while the other stays and bubbles this side” etc. you need to be on the ball.
Be situationaly aware at all times: You’re in a fleet, you’re all sitting at a gate, there is gate fire and a new neutral/hostile appears in local, DON’T wait for the FC to say “bubble up”, do it yourself and you’ll find the FC says it a few seconds later anyway. use your common sense.
Protip: HIC’s can jump through gates even if their bubble is active, so long as they don’t have aggression. I.e. if no one (your fleet included) has tried to warp, while under the influence of your bubble, then you can jump through without waiting for the bubble to cool down.
Edit from 2012: looks like they have removed this functionality and you cannot jump if your bubble is up regardless of agression. same appears to go for docking at stations
When on a gate with multiple HIC’s, co-ordinate with the other pilots to spread your bubbles around for good coverage of the gate. Allign yourselves towards obvious celestial objects such as other stargates or stations, in order to trap hostiles comming through your gate for longer and stop hostiles warping to your gate further out than you normally would if perfectly centred on the gate. Obviously, if you’re the only HIC, it is best to be centred on the gate.
When bubbling a gate, don’t just warp to zero and bubble, manually move yourself closer to the gate for maximum coverage. your overview may say you’re at zero, but there’ll be another 500m or so you can move closer.
Use your Tactical Overlay: The tactical overlay is a HIC pilot’s friend.
The Tactical Overlay
The tactical overlay is awesome – there’s no other way to put it, and its awesomeness is best shown via screenshots:
As you can see in the above shot, the two large (non-HIC) bubbles there have been spread out nicely, covering a radius of 35+ km surrounding the gate. when deploying these it’s good to have the tactical overlay open so you can see the radius of where your bubble will go. The same applies for HIC’s. open your tactical overview and move your ship/bubble accordingly to get the best coverage possible.
In the screenshot below, I have undocked from the station and moved a short distance away. I know that because my Heavy Interdictor skill is at lvl IV, my bubble will reach out to almost 20km. and so I can know where to place myself easily.
A nice feature of the Tactical Overlay is that when you pass your cursor over a weapon, the overlay will display a sphere indicating your current targeting range, as in the shot below, at a POS, the sphere indicates I can almost target out to 100km.
The same is true of area effect modules such as the Warp Disruption Field Generator. Here, after passing the cursor over my WDFG module without and then with a script, you can see the ranges at approximately 20 and 30km respectively:
Attacking station systems.
When attacking systems that have stations in them, whether they be NPC or Alliance held, often the HIC pilot is required to bubble the station, to prevent undocking and warping off or to prevent hostiles from docking up quickly. As such, the tactical overview is important.
The below shot shows a small shortrange battleship fleet camping outside an NPC station. As you can see, the station undock point is bubbled, but this is poor bubble placement. A large amount of the bubble is covering the station rather than the space surrounding the undock point.
The HIC can be used in a large number of tactical situations, I’ve bubbled gates, stations, pos’s, been involved in capital ship tackles and gate camping in lowsec. the important thing is to use your imagination.
In one recent engagement in an NPC station in 0.0, our fleet was attacking a hostile POS. as there were already a number of hostiles in the system and we controlled the surrounding systems, there was no reason to sit on the gates locking the system down. so the HIC’s were asked to position themselves away from the fleet towards celestial objects in order to prevent hostiles from getting to the pos by warping straight to it from the station or gates.
For some reason, in my alliance, there’s a lot of dissagreement between FC’s and a lot of heated and opinionated discussions over HIC fittings even by those who don’t fly them themselves. I honestly don’t understand the level of hostitilty this brings out, but it is possible that the HIC fitting can make or break a mothership or titan kill.
So here are some pointers that I have to offer after quite a few months of flying a HIC. The important thing to remember (and what those discussing it heatedly on my alliance forums seem to have forgotten) is that different situations demand different fittings. That is all.
If you’re in a fleet, take utility modules in your high slots rather than filling it up with weapons. The purpose of a HIC is tackle, not DPS. Remember that you are a glorified interceptor and you will be heading in the right direction.
Take two WDFG’s, fill one with a focus script and have a second focus script in your cargo. This allows you flexibility – you can have a bubble up (20km range), but you can also warp scramble ships out to nearly 30km with your focused WDFG. It will be unlikely that you’ll tackle two supercapital ships at once, but the HIC is not only for tackling supercapitals. anything that isn’t being called primary that looks like it is trying to burn out of your bubble: point it! it will now be another 10km before it can warp, even if it gets out of your bubble.
Take an Energy vampire (Nosferatu). You should be cap stable when running one bubble, but running a bubble and a focus script may chew up your cap. Take a nos (or two) so you can replenish this cap when enemy ships come within range of it. This is invaluable in extended large fleet engagements, and may save your ship if you are being neutralized by the bad guys. If the oportunity presents itself, try to target other HIC’s with it as you may be able to drop their bubble or their active tank. If no HIC is in range, go for recons, and interceptors.
The following are optional/nice-to-have. I tend to fit them depending on the situation and have the rest in my cargohold, ready to swap out if the situation changes:
Take a cynosural field generator. You never know when you may get a tackle on capital ship and need to call in reinforcements. HIC’s with Cynos come in handy in these situations.
Take a cloak. This is one of the most debated modules. A cloak is invaluable if you’re stalking a supercapital, nothing beats the suprise of a decloaking HIC, and for this reason I always fit one if I know that we’re going to be in a capital slugfest. A cloak, will however reduce your scan resolution by 40%, making it take much longer to lock ships. It is fairly useless in <50 man gangs for this reason, and if going on a roam, I never ever fit one.
A Shield power relay: for those HIC's that are traditionally shield tanked (Broadsword and Onyx) a Shield power relay in your low slot can help in certain situations. I'd highly recommend NOT fitting any when in a roaming gang or when tackling capitals, due to the fact that it reduces your capacitor capacity and by extention your recharge rate, leaving you gimped when warping long distances or when trying to use two bubbles. When it does become useful however, is when tanking gate guns in a low security system. The shield-tanking HICs have an advantage here over the armour tanking HICs due to the natural recharge properties of the Shield tank. I have found that my Onyx can tank gate guns at about 60% shields, but with the extra passive recharge of the SPR I have an extra 10% shield. not much but having one in your cargo hold in case of a foray into lowsec space is better than not.
Fill the remainder of your high slots with weapons if you feel the need to get on more killmails.
That's all folks – have fun flying one of the most unique ships in the game – everyone flies HAC's, but a good HIC pilot is a rare thing.
For an additional bit of education, here's a video by goonswarm about interdictors (the mini-version of the HIC) it has some good information about bubble radius and some interdictor manouvers, quite cool.