Instant alignment ("insta-align") is the ability to enter warp within 2 seconds ("instawarp") from a dead stop. If your ship insta-aligns, you can't be tackled as long as you hit warp before the other player hits lock. You can safely jump into, and warp off, any gate, as long as it isn't bubbled. Ships fitted for instant alignment are commonly used for interstellar travel and flying through gate camps.
Align time is a measure of how long it takes your ship enter warp from a dead stop. It takes a minimum of 2 seconds (2 server ticks) for for someone to be able to lock and tackle your ship. So if your ship aligns in 2 seconds or less then you can be in warp before being tackled.
The align time for a given fit is listed in the navigation tab of the fitting window. Remember that the align time in the fitting window is for a ship at a dead stop. The actual time it takes you to align to something will depend on your ship, velocity, and heading.
Reducing align time
- This information is drawn from Travel fits
The align time of a ship is based on the ship's inherent mass and agility and bonuses to agility and inertia from skills, modules, rigs and implants. Bonuses relevant to align time are either referred to as agility (a positive value) or inertia (usually a negative value, unless referred to as "inertia modifier" then it's positive), which for all intents and purposes in EVE are the same.
Several skills affect your align time, starting with the most relevant skills:
|Evasive Maneuvering (2x)||5% improved ship agility for all ships per skill level|
|Spaceship Command (1x)||2% improved ship agility for all ships per skill level|
There are also special case skills, for certain ships fits with specific modules.
|Advanced Spaceship Command (5x)||5% Bonus per skill level to the agility of ships requiring Advanced Spaceship Command |
|Armor Layering (3x)||5% reduction to armor plate mass penalty per level |
|Amarr Hauler (4x)||5% bonus to ship inertia modifier per level |
|Caldari Hauler (4x)||5% bonus to ship inertia modifier per level |
|Gallente Hauler (4x)||5% bonus to ship inertia modifier per level |
|Minmatar Hauler (4x)||5% bonus to ship inertia modifier per level |
|ORE Freighter (9x)||5% bonus to ship inertia modifier per level |
Modules & rigs
While there are several modules that reduce inertia, some are stronger than others, leaving you with these modules as well as the one rig that helps reduce align time.
|Inertial Stabilizers II (-20% inertia modifier, +11% signature)|
|Nanofiber Internal Structure II (-15.75% inertia modifier, -20% structure HP)|
|Low Friction Nozzle Joints II (-14% inertia modifier, -10% armour hp )|
There are also implants that help reduce your align time, such as the Eifyr and Co. 'Rogue' Evasive Maneuvering EM-7 and the low- and mid-grade Nomad set.
Do I know how insta locking works?
First, a good article about the server ticks, so you know how EVE Online is working server side. After reading that article, you know how long 1 tick takes (1 sec for the lazy people). And you want your ship, if possible, out within 2 ticks(before the third starts, because otherwise your enemy has the 3rd tick to tackle you). So as long as your ship is faster than 2 secs align time, you are mostly safe from even instant locking ships. All thanks to game mechanics. \o/ Yes, there is a "but" as you can read here. But I doubt that WT's are able to pull it off. :) And another nice graph about instalocking and how it works.
Conclusion: If your ship can align within 2 secs and your enemy has a bad internet connection(or his scan resolution is to low), you are pretty much safe from getting shot at/tackled.
- The information above may be outdated. During World War Bee 2, insta-lockers on the 1DQ1-A gate, aswell as low-sec gate-camps, have been able to catch insta-warp interceptors with near 100% success rate. MWD Cloak trick in an insta-warp gives you slightly better odds but your still likely to be caught. Be careful moving expensive things in an insta-warp ship, use a scout when at all possible and avoid gate camps.
Can warp core stabs help me to stay safe on my travel?
Yes! And No! Probably... depends. Maybe. How do stabs save you from WT's? They negate the effect of one point per stab. And while you can still warp if you get scramed with 2 stabs in your fit, it will still disable your MWD. So if you see that your ship can't get the 2 seconds align time, you can maybe use enough stabs to get out. Or not. Even if you can get 8 warpcore stabs(this will keep you from aligning in less than 2 seconds), a single ship can still lock you down. They are called HICs. Those little buggers can use a point that ignores all your stabs and keeps you from warping. But it won't shut down your MWD, so you could still try to crash the gate and jump away from the HIC.
Conclusion: While you can try and travel in a ship that is slower than 2 secs align by using warp core stabs, they can just bring enough points/scrams or a HIC to keep you from warping.
But no rule without exception: When can you ignore the <2 sec align time and stacking warp core stabs? Here is the short list:
- Cloaky ships
- Cov Ops cloak
- If you feel comfortable to use the cloak+MWD trick, do so, but they can still catch you with fast ships (As the align takes 10 seconds, which is long enough for a fast ship to decloak you and since the MWD is causing a signature bloom, insta lock you)
- Close to a campus that is able to form a QRF in a reasonable time and enough buffer to last until help arrives. (Not a very good idea)
Since align times are rounded up to the nearest second, align times of 1.01s and 1.99s are, in effect, equivalent. Similarly, an align time of 2.01s is equivalent to an align time of 3s. In order to align instantly, you must have an align time of less than or equal to 2.00s. A detailed explanation can be found in this Eve-Guides.fr article.
The Microwarp Drive Cloak trick manipulates cloaking mechanics to mimic instant alignment for slow-aligning industrial ships.