Will CCP Protect the Miners?

As I remarked in my last post, the Goons have announced that they will continue indefinitely the bounty system on Exhumer kills that they introduced for Hulkageddon.  In a comment, Ardent Defender (http://ardentdefense.wordpress.com) asked me what I thought CCP would do about it.

It seemed a simple question – but I managed to spend an inordinate amount of time writing up a complicated answer.  In the end I had to turn it into a blog post.

To be frank – I am not a fan of suicide ganking someone in Empire just for the reward of tears.  I can’t fathom how people get so excited and proud of themselves over what is a relatively unskilled act that generally costs them more wealth than they gain.  Equally, I have just as much distain for those who humiliate themselves with the most cringe worthy rants of despair or anger after losing their Mining Barge.

While I might dislike the sociological deficiencies exhibited by some of the perpetrators and victims, the actual underlying act is not against the rules.  If you undock in an Exhumer in Empire, you are fair game.

Do the Goons promoting this killing for an open ended period change things?

It is interesting to ponder what the underlying purpose is.  Is this an attempt to manipulate the Mineral, Exhumer, Moon Goo markets or the like?  Is it a protest against CCP’s changes to insurance and aggression rules, which made Empire a little safer?  Is it a megalomaniac alliance leader taunting CCP with his in game power and wealth?  Is it a genuine attempt to make Empire miners quit the game?  Is there no other purpose beyond “because they can”?

Some of those are more palatable than others.  I assume deliberately trying to harm the game or CCP is against the EULA, so I can’t imagine the Goon’s ever admitting to that.  Anything else however seems like it would also fall within the rules.

As such, even if it might not be the way you would play the game, you would not expect CCP to intervene.  In fact, they seem to delight in this sort of player driven game content.

I don’t know what physical impact this will have in game.  I suspect the increased risk of being ganked while Mining will probably end up being relatively minor.  Behind the scenes I also imagine a small group of people is probably profiting from it greatly.

The psychological impact however will likely be much greater.

There are a surprising number of people whose main enjoyment in EVE is to mine in Empire.  I was that way for the first 6 months in game.  We have some in our Corp.  When we have War Dec’s, they don’t undock, and generally stop playing until it is over.  When Hulkageddon ran, they again stayed in station and logged in much less.  When they caught news of the continuation of the Goon’s bounty, I could sense their shoulder’s slumping in their Chat and Forum posts.

I have no idea about the numbers, but I would assume more people quit EVE over being suicide ganked in their Mining Ship, than join to be involved in doing it.  Events like this would plausibly cost CCP more subscriptions than they would gain.  That isn’t itself a problem CCP has to react too.  It adds to the mystique of the game, and the notion of it being hard core.

So where’s the problem?

There is little the average miner can do about it.

Yes – they can relocate to a quieter area.  They can continually hit d-scan and run whenever they see a destroyer hull.  They can tank their exhumer (to limited effect).  If they have multiple accounts, they can use a logistic ship.  That can certainly reduce the risk, although they are still vulnerable, especially when moving between systems.

But I am not talking about those sorts of mechanics.  The Mittani mocks their style of game play, and sets about trying to ruin it for them.  There is no plausible way for them to retaliate.  The wealth and numbers of the Goons are in effect insurmountable for the solo and small groups of miners.  The Exhumers are easily enough killed by cheap fit solo destroyers.

The Goons can grief Empire Miners with relative impunity and minimum cost indefinitely.

That to my mind – in the long run, might not be healthy for the game.  Will CCP do anything about that?  I have no idea.


30 thoughts on “Will CCP Protect the Miners?

  1. Your right that if you put enough pressure on to a group of players who previously were happy to leave for a month and come back now have to fear each and every time they undock will they fight back or run away.

    Personally I think that The Mittani is forcing CCPs hand – he knows that his actions are boardline griefing and it will cause a lot of carebear miners to quit not only the profession but the game.

    I’m sure The Mittani would argue that them leaving is good for the game overall as the weak should be left to die while the strong survive and prosper – which is how it should work in a sandbox; but once players start quitting and it affects the bottom line CCP will be forced to take action.

    I doubt they’ll be able to stop the event from occuring as the configuration is a classic cell setup where each cell works independantly from each other and while CCP can tell the Goons to stop (or even force it in game) they won’t be able to stop every other player from every other corp from carrying on regardless.

    Its quite interesting to see how will they respond: Will Grav sites all of a sudden become hugely popular as I doubt the average ganker will bother scanning down a potential victim?

    Will we see new ships being used like the return of the battleship miner that can mine endlessly AFK and survive anything but the most determined gank squad?

    Will CCP respond and create a new mining ship that actually has a good tank and less yeild to fulfil this change in demand?

    Fun times ahead 😛

    • I’d guess they will wait and watch. There is a chance this will fizzle out and have no real impact. If they have to respond, i doubt they would want to do so directly. I like the idea of improved Exhumer tanks – or a new mining vessel with less yield but more tank – but that is probably too obvious. Moving mining out of belts like you have suggested, and going after the tech stranglehold are probably more likely “solutions”.

  2. The danger is that if groups of people start quitting then it could go viral as online communities & corps break up.

    Whether this happens or not remains to be seen. The attitude I have detected most from fellow miners is mainly disgust, with an increasing degree of contempt for CCP and Goons.

    All of my friends have quit playing already, I’m just waiting for my sub to expire (3 months to go).

    I’m suspecting that more casual miners will simply quit as they may not have the time or patience to deal with permageddon, also the psychological pressure may be much more effective than actual ganking as Goons and their pets will continue to spam their hate into the forums to continue the pressure and revel in any QQ they read.

    Still, this could be interesting to watch as something is going to have to give, and if it costs subs it may damage CCPs finances. A case of picking the lesser of two evils may be the end result of this.

    P.S. Good blog, nice read.

  3. I really find it perplexing to respond and give further thought to this even though there are many thoughts in mind about it. I spend hours reading the EVE Discussion Forums and that always leave me with a headache. I find both commenters that have commented above interesting as in each there are things I’ve thought about similar as well. For the moment i’ll just continue to ponder it:

    What I can do is probably Reblog it and let others chime in on it. And i’m sure you won’t mind me doing so.

  4. Having thought more about this I’ve realized that there really is nothing CCP can do without alienating a section of the community and losing customers.

    They have set a precedent by allowing Hulkageddon and suicide ganking. In fact they actively encouraged it.

    If they stop it by changing game mechanics (and this is about all they can do) then they will alienate the ganksters and maybe lose their subs.

    On the other hand if they do nothing they will see the number of high sec players leaving accelerate and lose high sec miners. Even players that stay may cancel their mining alt accounts (and some high sec players have several mining accts each) and go mission running instead.

    I think we can put money on CCP being silent on the issue for the forseeable future and doing absolutely nothing unless there is a miner exodus. If that happens then they are in deep trouble, as they are going to lose a big chunk of their player base one way or the other.

    The mistake has already been made. They allowed an “anti high-sec crusade” to emerge and gain enough momentum that it has become part of the fabric of a ‘player event’ driven game.

    Thinking out loud there guys.


    • “here really is nothing CCP can do without alienating a section of the community and losing customers”

      Actually there is something they can do that wouldn’t alienate either group. They could fix 0.0 Sov warfare so that the goons (and the other 0.0 people who are coming in to play in high sec) would have something fun, important, and necessary to do in 0.0.

      • That’s only really true if the changes are interesting enough to overcome the momentum of the ‘smacktalk crusade’ that is running tbh.

        With both sides busy pawing the ground it really would need something fascinating to distract them.

  5. There are a couple of tactics that can be used to counter greifing. Easiest is to skill up a well tankable cruiser (and/or battlecruiser hull). The more pain the gankers have to go through and the greater the cost for their return the better. They’re more likely to look for easier targets.

    Mining Rokhs or other battleships with the inclusion of remote rep become very tough and expensive nuts for the gankers to crack as a step up from there.

    Lastly, a maxed out fleet booster will add a good degree of survivability. I know it’s not nearly as efficient as a hulk, but it’s also damn sight cheaper. Cruiser V and T2 drones on a vexor hull pulls about half the m3. I know which one I’d prefer to lose (neither actually, but if it came down to it…)

    Also has the benefit of showing people how to work in fleets and may make low sec and null a degree more survivable from a lone wolf or small gang perspective.

    We live in an emergent world. Nothing stays the same forever. We just need to change with the times…. and be smart about it.

    tl;dr – Fight back. Evolve or die.

    • Actually, all of the above could may well just be scrapped. Sadly, this is the common idea of a non-miner. Let’s add some actual miner intelligence on this one.

      First off, why don’t we operate in the world that this entire discussion actually revolves around. Solo and small group mining. Afterall, we wouldn’t want to start assuming blobl-mechanics when we are talking about small-gang pvp.

      For these groups, you either get ore hauled or you don’t. Let’s assume an orca then? It’s a decent small gang, say, 5 miners + orca. This also removes the need for cargo size discussions, till later. Playing around with far too many fittings, All 5 can take a Vexor which, with drones and lasers, can mine around 1154 m3 per minute each, near pefect (A simple all-lvl-5-skill setup). Or, All 5 can take out Rokh’s for 1962 m3 each minute, and last a hulk can mine around 2575 m3.

      That’s your world. The Rokh is about 215m hull, Hulk is a 250m hull, vexor is about 20m. Let’s be generous on fittings, and say you blow about 100m on fittings. However, you are missing the obvious. With the same characters above, a Covetor brings in 2230 m2 per minute. That’s 268 more than the Rokh and 1076 more than the Vexor. This makes the hulk only 345 m3 ahead of the covetor.

      This is where the real issue comes in. If you actually have an issue with being ganked, a fleet of covetors can pay for itself before a fleet of hulks. A fleet of covetors even pays for itself faster than a fleet of vexors. Also, remember that 345. Now, compare most tanked hulk layouts of no laser upgrades and tank-rigs. Those cap out at 2008 m3 per minute with ~19k ehp. While impressive EHP, the throw-away covetor mines 222 more. Only a fool would pass up using a throw-away covetor if they are possibly being ganked in hi-sec.

      tl:dr Stop trying to tank hulks in high sec, be smart and us a throw-away covetor.

      And to ‘Low-Sec’ or ‘Null-Sec’ detractors, it’s not ganking in null or low, if you are there you know what will happen. At least there your guards can attack pre-emptively, which changes everything.

      • All vaid points… I was looking at it more from the perspective of surviving the attack. Nothing honks off a ganker more than you surviving one 🙂

        btw – Covetor hull 31 mil. Vexor hull 6.5 mil…

  6. Some of the “emergent world” comments essentially boil down to “don’t use an exhumer”. Yes, very creative.

    Currently the only defence exhumers really have is align & warp. Current Exhumer EHP (even with gimped tank fit and t3 booster) is very low. And gankers require little investment in to perform the gank (buddy trial accounts + throw-away destroyer alts = win).

    CCP’s best response would be to up the tank on Exhumers so that the Gankers actually have to put an ISK investment into the gank, instead of cheap destroyers in throwaway alts.

    The next best response would be to reduce their cost (reduce technetium dependency?)

  7. A valid tatic though. Would you use smartbombers against a frigate fleet? Esp ones with munins in them..? Everything is situational.

    If you want to risk them fine. If you don’t, then there are alternatives. Efficient by comparison, no. Capable of boring gankers into going somewhere else to prey on the weak, yes.

    CCP doesn’t need to do a darned thing. A “creative” response doesn’t mean whining to the developer every time you don’t like something that my game is broken and you must fix it.

    • “CCP doesn’t need to do a darned thing. A “creative” response doesn’t mean whining to the developer every time you don’t like something that my game is broken and you must fix it.”

      In the same way no one whined about:
      – Incarna issues (p2w, forced entry to CQ etc),
      – Super Caps (fighter bombers, drones, ehp, logoffski etc)
      – Titans (blap titans, ehp, AOE doomsday, sub-cap doomsday, logoffski, etc),
      – Pre Nano-Nerf Nano ships
      – Blasters
      – Drone alloy drops
      – Faction Warfare
      – Dramiels
      – Un-probeable t3’s

      And how no-one currently whines about
      – SOV grinds,
      – GCC in low-sec and security grind
      – Titans (still blapping)
      – POS issues
      – Offgrid boosters

      … and the list goes on.

      … did you support ANY (not all) of the changes that arose out of the whining? Or do you support the other future changes arising due to whining? If so, you are a hypocrite. Otherise, carry on.

      • For the record there have been changes I have liked and those that I haven’t. Occasionally I’ve changed my mind about it well down track. PI springs to mind as an example.

        Has it stopped me enjoying the game in the way in which I wish to? No. Has it forced me to change tactics so I can enjoy the game in the way in which I want to? Yes, sometimes. Different path to the same end however.

        One thing that should be kept in mind – for every person arguing against a change, there will be no doubt at least one person arguing vociferously to fix it nao or vice versa.

        You really can’t please all of the people all of the time. Welcome to the sandbox. Have a nice day.

        tl;dr – carrying on.

      • “You really can’t please all of the people all of the time. Welcome to the sandbox. Have a nice day.”

        Indeed, which is why you’ve appointed yourself arbiter of comments, judging which comments are uncreative whining (those who you disagree with) and which are relevant and creative (yours)–without you to guide us, we wouldn’t know which people should be pleased and which should be insulted.

        Or not. Whining about whiners is whining squared.

        The only way to have a meaningful discussion about exhumers is for everyone to make a reasonable attempt at articulating principles they feel should hold for all ships. E.g, I think that as a defense against suicide ganking, all ships need to have some level of EHP per cost–not just exhumers. Exhumers are just a prime example of a hull class that is very undertanked by this metric. Arguing against the status quo merely because it is status quo is incoherent and not worthy of any response.

        If you had a real response, you’d have made it already–since you lack one, I’m sure you’ll stick to rhetorical slanders.

  8. Actually, and perhaps quite sadly, the ‘permageddon’ will most likely destroy future hulkageddons. In truth, they are preying on the weak of the pack. However, they assume the entire pack is weak. I myself have never lost a ship to hulkageddon. I’d wager a fair amount of isk that most that have were AFK, or mutli-account making it very unlikely they could fight back in any way. How do you go through all hulkageddon without a hulk loss? Just some common sense. Use your hulk to mine in grav sites while using your covetor on betls. With the pay-system in place for exhumer kills, this makes gankers want to use the same toon. See a name you don’t recognize? Check the hulk killboard. If he’s on there, redlist and swap. If he’s not, just warp out if his dessie pops in the belt, redlist, and swap.

    There’s this absolutely crazy idea out there that ‘If mining becomes more profitable, everyone will do it?!?!’, and that’s kind of absurd. Very few of us out there do mining as a primary activity, and ‘everyone’ will most likely afk-alt-mine, which of course means they do little research, lose a 300mil ship, and whine. However, that assumes that mineral prices begin to reach above L4 mission prices, which I highly doubt ever happening. Resources have a finite need, missions are infinite. Even if minerals get close to L4’s, it would also have to be significantly higher to grab the L4 runners since they would be doing what they aren’t accustomed to.

    What they do need to do, however, is introduce mid-range ships between the covetor and hulk, possibly faction related (drone ship for gallente, mining laser ship for amarr, etc). Perhaps make them better for gank-defense under the guise of being designed for low-sec/npc-null.

    tl:dr All in all, most the miners that will need protection are the ones that don’t take precautions, and they will simply make their alt account do something else, like L4 mission salvage.

    p.s. Also nice blog, reading from the start.

    • You’re right regarding Covetors, tho the last mining ship I used before I cancelled my acct was an old throwaway Retriever that had been rotting in a hangar for several years.

      tbh the most common mining ships I have seen in high sec are afk industrials left for an hour to munch on one roid. I have very seldom seen any barges or exhumers in the last few weeks.

  9. It should be remembered as well, that the last time Goons tried a permanent war against hi-sec thingy (the Jihadswarms 4+ years ago – long before the first Hulkageddon) CCP eventually had to bring in some changes that made the cost of suicide ganking (in terms of sec status hit) higher and CONCORD response time became faster.

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  11. I mined through Jihadswarm and Hulkageddons, but this looks to be an infinite war. Goons have nothing to lose in continuing it since they make isk from it and don’t have to actually participate. They won’t get bored from it.

    I haven’t lost a mining ship in all these years. I tank my Hulks, have an offgrid booster, and keep 2 scimitars in an on grid Orca that I swap into before any hostile comes out of warp. I look up any unknown that enters the system. This is doable for a limited period of time, but longterm makes mining something way less than a casual affair. Using Rokhs isn’t feasible for multi accounts. Using Covetors requires just as much effort. I don’t whine. I agree that in this atmosphere my playstyle doesn’t work with the sandbox. I unsub all the mining alts and go run missions. Aside from rare ninja salvagers, it’s a rare area that is still fairly peaceful. I don’t say this or use it as a threat. It’s just what I do to continue to enjoy the game at some level.

    If I were to whine, it would be because of why I mine in hisec in the first place. I usually live in nullsec, but an afk cloaker could follow a mining op around and have me spinning in a POS for day after day. At least hisec has SOME method of countering the situation. There is no defense for AFK cloaker if they are intent on griefing except just hoping they are truly afk and won’t hotdrop your op.

  12. Ultimately the ganking situation is not something controllable by the ganked, you can choose less efficient mining setup in exchange for longer survivability or less efficient mining setup for cheaper replaceable setups, however there is nothing in the game that allow you to preemptively take on the gankers. I think it would be interesting if there is a way to be proactive rather then reactive.

  13. Couple of thoughts – I understand the bounties are only on exhumers and Orcas etc. Will the goons change it if miners stop using them?

    Secondly, the bounty system in place is, I suspect, largely paid out from the passive income from moon mining. I understand CCP has proposed changing that to actively mining planetary rings.

    How will the goons continue to pay if that source is gone? Long term view of course. Mittens no doubt has deep pockets and other sources, but those passives also pay for SOV…

    Hitting them right in the passives has got to hurt (OTEC no doubt will stockpile in preparation for the change. Watch the supplies shrink and the prices go up prior to).

    Lastly how will he attract miners to the goon cause if they’ve been responsible for killing so many of them (albeit indirectly). I can’t see goon culture promoting the need to guard their mining fleets either…

    A smart alliance attracting and protecting miners could potentially profit well from this, whereas the goons may have metagamed themselves into a corner. One can only hope.

  14. Speaking as a former Goon associate, Goons mine plenty. Look at your space map for industry index to see plenty of Goon mining systems. The ice interdiction targeted the type of ice that is plentiful in Goon space, and believe the mining ops sprung up like daisies. And they don’t protect their mining ops any more than anyone else because they simply are not protectable in nullsec. It takes 1 ship to cyno in a huge fleet of anything from catalysts to capital ships. This is why a single AFK cloaked ship will halt all mining in a system.

    The only defense is having mining systems far away from traveled routes and too far for enemy jump drives to reach, upgraded systems for mining in anomalies instead of regular belts, and good intel so the miners can warp to safety before any hostiles enter the system and then hope the hostile moves on. Any alliance that purports to protect their miners is simply not being truthful.

  15. All that’s needed to be done is increasing exhumers EHP, e.g. hull HP. That way suicide ganking “for tears” will still be possible (Tornadoes), while suicide ganking for profit won’t (overpowered catalyst).

    There is a lot of people in high-sec, and CCP alienating even 10% is really bad for business. While I seriously doubt you will see many gankers unsub, it’s easy to switch to other griefing professions.

    P.S. I don’t mine myself.

  16. Miners can band together and sell trit for inflated prices. If all miners got together and price fixed the low end minerals, that would hurt 0.0 in a way that might get others involved to stop the madness. Hell even sell trit to the Goon’s enemies at cheap prices. The more expensive the ships, the less likely they will be willing the take the hit in the wallet every time they find a miner.

    It would be an effort to get all the miners together, but I think miners have more influence than they think.

    Work together the hurt the Goons where the pocket book is!

    • I’m not sure it is as simple as that – the Covertor / Hulk remain mostly the same, with a role that stiplates they are meant to be used in group operations with protection. The changes to the other hulls are more interesting. I know some will just assume they are for easy mode empire mining, but my first thoughts were here are ships that will make it worthwhile the risk mining in Low and Null Sec.

      • My points previously were more along the lines of adapting to the emergent gameplay by using the tools we have at hand. Be it smarter tactics, better fittings, (god forbid) Rokh mining etc etc.

        It is a change for Winter so we have,something like 6 months? Until that time people are going to need to do something a little different if they don’t want to lose ships.

        As an aside I did do some number crunching. A covetor will pay for itself in about 2 hours. T1 so is insurable… and you don’t need technetium to build one. No tank, but still lots to like.

        Antivyris was quite right.

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