The current favourite topic seems to be suicide ganking and the ways to protect yourself from it (and, occasionally, the supposed futility of trying to do so). A lot of the discussion is centred on what some given set of ships can do before CONCORD arrives to ruin their fun, and that all depends on how long it takes for them to put their doughnuts down and show up on the gate/asteroid field/whatever. However, there seems to be a wide spectrum of of guesstimates for how long it actually takes — anything from 15 seconds to 30 seconds has been used as a standard measurement. So I decided to go on Sisi and find out…
As it turns out, it was actually both! Kind of. The impatient might want to jump directly to the results or to the generalisation of the observations; the more patient might want to know how those numbers were collected and should just read on.
These tests were done by firing on cans deployed by neutral targets in a number of systems across Caldari highsec (some of them well-known ganking spots) using two different ships: a Damnation and an Abaddon, both equipped with enough plates and EANMs (and a Damage Control II) to reach 200,000 EHP. The choice of ships was to ensure that they had enough hit points to see through the entire CONCORDing process without going *poof* on the first shot, and to see if the size of the ship made any difference (it didn't).
Each target was attacked twice: once without any known CONCORD presence in the system; and once with CONCORD spawned at a known location elsewhere in the system. As an after-thought, some targets were also attacked while CONCORD was sitting right next to it, to see what difference pre-spawned CONCORD does.
The fact that sec levels as shown in the client cover quite a wide span of actual security level (called realsec in the results) means that it's worth measuring whether it's the actual security level that determines the response time or whether it's more closely linked to the displayed sec level. If it's the former, we should see a (somewhat) linear increase in response time between each test; if it's the latter, then we should see sharp jump in the response time as the realsec value goes from 0.86 (which counts as sec level 0.9) and 0.84 (which counts as sec level 0.8).
The table of results contain the following data:
|System||Realsec||Sec level||First responder||Destruction|
|System||Realsec||Sec level||First responder||Destruction|
|Todaki*||1.000||1.0||7 seconds||23 seconds|
|Kakakela||0.972||1.0||7 seconds||22 seconds|
|Perimeter||0.953||1.0||7 seconds||22 seconds|
|Jita||0.946||0.9||5 seconds||18 seconds|
|Maurasi||0.913||0.9||7 seconds||22 seconds|
|Airkio||0.852||0.9||7 seconds||21 seconds|
|Sobaseki||0.841||0.8||7 seconds||23 seconds|
|Nourvukaiken||0.816||0.8||8 seconds||22 seconds|
|Ruvas||0.780||0.8||7 seconds||21 seconds|
|Akiainavas||0.745||0.7||10 seconds||26 seconds|
|Kamokor||0.688||0.7||10 seconds||24 seconds|
|Halaima||0.659||0.7||11 seconds||25 seconds|
|Vaankalen||0.647||0.6||14 seconds||31 seconds|
|Ikao||0.602||0.6||15 seconds||31 seconds|
|Umokka*||0.561||0.6||13 seconds||27 seconds|
|Niarja||0.542||0.5||19 seconds||35 seconds|
|Uedama||0.505||0.5||18 seconds||33 seconds|
|Inari*||0.462||0.5||18 seconds||34 seconds|
An asterisk in the above table signifies that the system in question was also used to test whether pre-spawned CONCORD made any difference.
There are some obvious groupings in the results, and they seem to depend on the displayed sec level rather than on the “realsec” of the system. Once you figure in a measuring error of ±1 second caused by a combination of latency and the server operating on 1-second ticks, the differences in measurements within the individual sec levels is explained. This is a systematic measuring error that shows up both in the time to the first spawn and in the time between the spawn and the final attack by the Police Commander battleship (thus the final result has a combined error of ±2 seconds). Not shown in these numbers are a couple of observations that became apparent from the repeated testing against different targets within a system.
The first observation that could be made is that CONCORD manipulation does indeed work: having a CONCORD “escort” already at the scene would reduce the spawn time by up to 9 seconds at the lowest sec-level, essentially halving it, and would make response near-instant in 1.0 systems (only 2 seconds would pass between the offending shot and the CONCORD response).
Connected to this, a second observation is the idea that ship size would make much difference for the response can be thrown out. The Damnation had a signature radius of 265m; the Abaddon had a signature of 470m. The difference is large enough that it should have an easily observable effect on lock times, but both ships took just as long for the Cruisers to attack (2 seconds when sitting next to CONCORD in a 1.0 system), and the difference between the cruisers and the battleship remained a constant 15 seconds no matter what.
A third observation is that any kind of “tanking“ of CONCORD is largely meaningless. Once the Police Commander locks on, 15 seconds after the spawn has completed, the offending ship is destroyed no matter what. Before that happens, the Police Captain cruisers do so little damage that it's not going to matter for most ships: they have time to fire off four volleys, with each volley doing 2,000:ish damage in total between the two cruisers. The testing ships, which were armour tanked, never even ran out of shields (the Damnation had 8,640 shield EHP; the Abaddon had 13,800 shield EHP). Anything with more EHP than that will have “tanked” the cruisers and will then be instagibbed by the Commander battleship.
Trying to tank the cruisers is also largely pointless. As soon as they acquire a lock, the offending ship can no longer attack except with smartbombs, since the cruisers jam all targeting, remove control over all drones, and empties the capacitor. These effects are cycled every 5 seconds. Since the ship has zero cap, any smart bombs will have to be constantly cap-boosted, and the offending ship will have to be able to inject new booster charges after ever 5-second cycle. So for all intents and purposes, when the cruisers lock on, the attack can be considered over — it's just a matter of waiting for the offending ship to get blown up (and possibly get in on the killmail just to rub it in).
There are two large bands of response times: one for the highest sec levels (0.8 and above, essentially anywhere where you cannot anchor structures), where it's hard to tell a difference without much more numerous tests, and another for “mid-sec” (0.5–0.7, the parts of highsec where anchoring is possible), where the response times quickly ramp up.
These base times can at the moment be modified depending on what else is going on in the system or at the location (this may change when Crimewatch 2.0 is rolled out).
Once CONCORD arrives, a standard set of events are triggered.
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