The Mining Base Undocks

After a particularly arduous fortnight of my wife adding hours every day to my already busy schedule, I took a selfish tablet yesterday and spent it logged into EVE and ignoring RL.

The result of that was the first of my serviced and updated mobile bases undocking from my central store this morning. It has been a laborious process, much of it spent in EFT, with numerous visits to Jita and Amarr to buy different implants and fittings.

It might look underwhelming from the outside, but it has resulted in a massive reduction in the volume of assets I had collected and stored all over the place. My “To Sell” container for example has around 3.5B ISK worth in it, and my “To Sort” container (which should mostly all go to be sold) has 6B ISK worth in it. There is also a spare Orca to sell, as I ended up not needing it.

My first completed base is used for mining. It contains a Buzzard for finding hidden belts, a PVE Retribution (because there was room in the Orca), and an Ares Interceptor which is used as a glorified shuttle.

There are no PVP ships or supplies onboard – best not to do anything silly with the implants on those particular jump clones. (My Main has around 600M ISK of implants, and my main Alt 1.6B ISK.)

Reviewing the various mining vessel options took a substantial amount of time. I ended up with a minimum of 4 for each of the mining hulls for –

Ore – Yield
Ore – Tanked
Ice – Yield
Ice – Tanked

(The exception was for the Procurer and Skiff, both of which were over tanked already with a Yield fit.)

I also had variations for fits with and without a 2% CPU implant, and a number directed at being used in Low Sec. So all in all, I settled on some 30 fits across the hull options.

There were some basic premises to keep in mind for this mobile base:

. My Alt would spend all his time in the Orca boosting and hauling
. All mining would be done in Empire
. I would need one hull for Ore, and one for Ice
. At least half the mining would be with the Corporation, which can attract attention
. Tank would be more important than Yield

I could discount the Retriever and Covetor as options quickly – their T2 variants tanked noticeable better. I could also discount the Skiff simply as I didn’t need the extra tank, so the greater cost wasn’t’ justified.

That left the Hulk, Mackinaw and Procurer.

The Ore hold wasn’t so important here, but with my current skills the Mackinaw came out clearly on top:

Mackinaw – 35,000m3
Procurer – 12,000m3
Hulk – 8,500m3

 

The base Ore yield on my skills with T2 Strip miners, no implants and no boosts:

Hulk – yield – 1,506m3/min, 15.7K EHP
Hulk – tank – 1,451m3/min, 23.8K EHP
Mackinaw – yield – 1,392m3/min, 19.8K EHP
Mackinaw – tank – 1,043m3/min, 31.1K EHP
Procurer – yield – 1,002m3/min, 61.4 EHP

The sweet spot is obviously the tanked Hulk.

 

The base Ice yield on my skills with T2 Ice Harvesters, no implants and no boosts:

Hulk – yield – 784m3/min, 14.6 EHP
Mackinaw – yield – 754m3, 19.8K EHP *
Hulk – tank – 714m3/min, 22.6K EHP
Mackinaw – tank – 686m3/min, 28.5K EHP
Procurer – yield – 659m3, 60.K EHP *

(* Needs 2% CPU Implant)

What took me a little by surprise was just how good the Procurer was in comparison to a tanked ice mining Mackinaw – its yield was only 4% less, with double the EHP and at a fraction of the cost. The local Ice field tends to get its fair share of Suicide Gankers, so somewhat unexpectedly, I have happily settled on using a Procurer for my Ice mining.

I had thought I would need two Orca’s to carry all the mining vessels, but I ended up only needing one to carry the Hulk and Procurer, with room to spare. This freed up an extra Hulk, 2 Mackinaw and a Covetor which had originally been stored at my mining base.

 

As an aside – I wonder at how successful the Jita scams are now. I remember a time (long, long ago) when only around 20% of the posts in local were scams. Now it is literally more like 95% are scams. How successful are they in such an environment when it is frankly not worth anyone’s time to actually look at Local?

As another aside – is there a trick or an exploit available with fleeting up with someone under a war declaration?  I thought with the rule changes, you were safe to do so, assuming you did not aid them through remote repair or remote sensor boosting or the like.  I had someone harping in local for help in a mission who was under a War Dec.  The fact he was making the same effort in multiple systems would lead me to suspect he knew a reliable way of flagging people who joined his fleet as valid targets to those who had war dec’d him.

Mining Director V

Mining Director V finished on my main alt yesterday. I’ve now plugged in a Mining Foreman Mindlink (an expensive purchase), and kicked off Industrial Command Ships V. I’ve also plugged in a MX-1005 Mining implant on my main Toon.

About a month ago I posted the updated Hulk fits I use. I generally stick with the Tanked T2 Strip Miner version of the ship. At the time that ship provided the following base Yield:

1,382m3 per minute

Adding an Inherent Implants “Highwall” Mining MX-1005 into slot 10 (cost ~105M), that Yield increased to:

1,451m3 per minute

If he fleets up with my Alt – in his Orca, Mining Foreman Mindlink and the T2 Laser Optimzation Link running, that yield increases to:

2,364m3 per minute

That’s a 71% increase over a month ago. It was by no means a cheap or quick process, but the increase is noteworthy. It makes the original yield look downright agricultural.

The alt is now training Capital industrial Ship V. In a bit under a month that should increase the yield to

2,467m3 per minute

While not exhaustive, I checked around for what else I might like to do to increase the yield further. The obvious is to drop the Damage Control and go with 2 T2 Mining Laser Upgrades. That sees the yield up to:

2,688m3 per minute

There’s a slot 7 implant called Michi’s Excavation Augmentor. That adds another 5% to mining yield – but at a cost over 1B I just can’t justify it. Still, the yield would increase to:

2,823m3 per minute

Last of all my main only has Exhumers IV. Train that to V, and yield should increase to

2,899m3 per minute

I think common sense will prevail, and I will just stick to the tanked and boosted Hulk, with a yield when my Alt has finished training in a month of 2,467m3 per minute and 25.5K EHP.

My PI and Trade runs are set up to be run every second day. I am struggling to make that once a week at the moment. I’ve contemplated just giving it away, but I guess there are no real issues with leaving it dormant for long periods of time. It is an hour long distraction when I do get around to doing them, which usually nets me 20+M.

When I first set up my PI chains, I surveyed every planet within 3 jumps of my home system, looking for the best resource levels. For convenience my main PI alt used the local planets, while my second PI alt did a 9 jump round circuit to collect her goods. The reality of that effort however meant I’d often just not bother with that second alt.

Since I had free slots after dropping Data Chips and Gel-Matrix Biopaste (which did not sell well enough), I took the opportunity on the weekend to delete all of the distant installations, and move them into the local system. (I ensured not to use the same resource on the same planet for each of my PI Alts.) It cost a sizeable chunk of ISK to do that. I need to stop changing my mind. Hopefully with the lower effort, I will process the cycles a little more frequently.

I also took a long trip to Jita and back, picking up some implants (just from sell orders) to test the market in this area. Being more of a backwater, I’m not sure how these will go. I’m hoping for some low volume convenience sales.

It’s been a Carebear sort of week.

An overview of Change

EVE continues its evolution, with a long string tweaks, tier to role and nerfs slotted in for the Winter Release. There have been such a large volume of Blog and Forum posts about these that I was overloaded with information. This morning I decided to sit down, read all the basics, and consider what impact it might have on my own game.

The main overview of the most of the changes can be found here (which provides most of the links I have duplicated below, so in effect, most of this blog can be ignored.)

http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=73381

The Frigate Changes:

Combat Frigates (Kestrel, Tristan, Breacher)

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=144693

 

Exploration Frigates (Magnate, Heron, Imicus, Probe)

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=143584

 

EW Frigates (Crucifier, Griffin, Maulus and Vigil)

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=142136

 

Support Frigates (& Remote Repair Modules) (Inquisitor, Bantam, Navitas, Burst)

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=146069

 

Ore Frigate

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=156057

 

I generally don’t fly frigates anymore, so in the grand scheme of things these changes don’t impact me that much.

My Cyno ship of choice is the Probe – and since its fitting options appear to be getting a little easier, I don’t see any need to change that.

Several of my low SP Alt’s use the Probe as a small cargo hauler. They can currently be configured to carry 989m3. The new versions lose the Cargo bonus (5% per skill level), but the base capacity goes from 320 to 400m3, and they get an extra low slot. It looks like they will still be useful for that purpose. The Imicus could also be used as a Mini Hauler.

The stats for the Ore mining frigate are interesting. An Ore hold of 5,000m3 and a standard +2 Warp Core Stab. They will also require a new skill – Mining Frigate, which has a rank of 2. They also can carry 2 Drones – although are (as you would expect) paper thin.

There was one odd comment in the forum post “fast hull capable of mining in hostile space (even if the current value of high-sec ores defeats this quite a bit, but that’s another problem)”. I hope CCP don’t forget that it is the market which has set the price of minerals – impacted directly by their changes to things like drone and loot drops.

 

Existing Destroyers (Coercer, Cormorant, Catalyst, Thrasher)

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=142102

This also includes fitting changes for the smallest beam and pulse lasers (1 PWG and -1CPU), and a damage buff to all light missiles (damage +10%, explosion radius from 50 to 40.)

One of my alts uses a Thrasher for PVE, but mostly I just use the Cormorant as my hull of choice for Salvaging after the Noctis. The Cormorant will lose 15 CPU, but should still be able to fit the 4xT2 Salvager / 4xT2 Tractor beam setup I like. It even picks up an extra low slot for more cargo capacity.

 

Support cruisers (Augoror, Osprey, Exequror, Scythe)

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=152826

This includes information on reduced fitting requirements for medium remote rep’ers.

Sadly my favorite hauler – the Exequror, loses it Cargo bonuses. It is however still workable as it will now get 6 lows. You can also still fit the same shield buffer tank.

 

Disruption cruisers (Arbitrator, Blackbird, Celestis, Bellicose)

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=153578

I use the Arbitrator in Low Sec at times, and I have an Anti Frigate Celestis setup I like. Both fittings should remain plausible.

 

Attack cruisers (Omen, Caracal, Thorax, Stabber)

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=155001

This includes dropping fitting requirements on medium sized guns.

 

Combat cruisers (Maller, Moa, Vexor, Rupture)

I didn’t notice a post on these yet.

 

Missiles and Hurricane

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=1936527
https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=1951959#post1951959

Basically heavy missiles will have their base range reduced by 25%, and the base damage by 20%. This is so that they come more in line with Artillery and other long range turret options. Tracking enhancers and disruption modules will also impact them. (That one I don’t mind so much.)

They are also reducing the Powergrid on the Hurricane so that the current standard fits will need to be nerfed a little. That will impact me – an Armor Hurricane is probably the main ship I undock with if there are hostiles in local.

I’m in two minds about the Heavy Missile changes. It will certainly impact PVE, and I might have to reconsider using HAM’s instead. Will have to wait and see on that one.

 

There are also several threads on improving the Inventory UI and a request for new Module ideas.

Improving Inventory UI
https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=155053

Inventory UI suggestions
https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=61386

New module suggestions
https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=58348

 

They are also going to change the base rat AI.

http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=73413

This I don’t mind, although it is a PVE ISK nerf, particularly as tanks will become more important.

 

Last of all there was this comment in one of the threads on T3’s by CCP Ytterbium (again)

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=1889852#post1889852

“Tech3 ships need to be put down, like a rabid dog drooling everywhere in the house, they are out of line”

They do and they are? You haven’t noticed that they tend to be faction fitted, and cost 3 to 4 times more than the nearest fitted T2 Cruisers? If you only T2 fit them, they tend not to be brilliant. That is one area I actually don’t want to see CCP mess up. The T3 ships are fun and interesting.

So for me personally, generally mild nerfs on some of the utility ships I use, and a nerf on my PVE which I will have to review after the changes go live.

Call the Removalist

In my last post here I suggested the current call to Nerf Empire through increased taxes and reduced effectiveness of services will have no real positive impact. In this second part of the blog I look at the desire to move people out of Empire.

Why is it a goal?

If I was to summarise all the comments and arguments about this, I think it comes down (simplistically) to the view that people are not really playing EVE properly if all they do is stay in Empire.

I suspect there is also the view that more people moving into Low and Null sec will resolve some of their issues. It makes sense too that there is more player generated content and drama outside of Empire, and of course the expectation that more people will come under the guns of their fellow gamers.

Why wouldn’t people want to move?

The most common reasons seem to be that Empire is too safe, you can earn too much ISK, and people are too risk adverse. Some also suggest a level of ignorance of how good the game can be outside of Empire, while others suggest the rewards v risk ratio isn’t a compelling enough argument for players to want to move.

All are right and valid points in their own way, but I also feel they are fundamentally flawed. They lack an acceptance for the fact people play EVE in a myriad of different ways, and they don’t comprehend how unsuitable life can be outside of Empire for many players.

EVE is a game. The money spent on it for most people is discretionary – it is entertainment, it is meant to be fun or a distraction. For some this is shooting other players in the face, or maximising mining yield, or trolling people into ill-advised reactions, or building a trading empire, or scamming people out of ISK, or working as a team, or working solo. There are all sorts of valid ways of playing the game – which includes happily never leaving Empire.

Some of the arguments come across like this – “You should be playing the game differently, and here are my suggestions on how to make the game less fun for you, so that you will change.” How successful do you think that will be?

I harp on the same thing over and over – EVE is a sandpit, maximise the options, don’t restrict them. If you want more people out of Empire, do so by making fun and compelling reasons for them to do so. Having said that – you also need to sit back and relax, and accept that many are just as happy where they are.

But why are these people happy in Empire?

I am sure there is a wealth of reasons, but there is one which I rarely see anyone addressing. Life outside of Empire really does not suit a lot of the EVE players.

The EVE player demographic tends to be of the older gamer. They have partners, careers, households to run, and the biggest time sink of all, kids. So they log into EVE at inconsistent times, under threat of interruption, and they just want to have fun.

In Empire, unless under a War Dec, they can generally do just that. There is risk from griefers, suicide gankers, scams, and so forth, but they have options.

Outside of Empire your game is generally controlled by others. There is a cloaked hostile in your system, or roaming hostiles in the area and you can’t do what you wanted. There is an alliance CTA – all people logged in must be in fleet, so you log off. Or you join a fleet, but then get left behind because your family called you away. Of you join, but after 2 hours of waiting around doing nothing, your game time is up. You log in after a week away, and your station is now in the hands of your enemy, or the POS you are living in was destroyed, or your Corp has moved across the map, and you missed all the travel fleets. If you make a mistake and lose a ship, you find your alliance leader ranting and raving on the forums about your stupidity, or fitting skills, or even find yourself booted to set an example. You can find yourself training up for certain ships and fittings, even if you are not interested in doing so, and commonly your enemies will berate, troll and insult you at every opportunity they get.

Yes there are moments of brilliance or coolness – but basically if you are time poor, there is every chance that outside of Empire you will have those rare precious moments of gaming taken from you.

What happens if you force that sort of player to move outside of Empire? The game stops being fun for them.

There is another white elephant in the room. As I admitted just the other day here some people simply don’t enjoy PVP space ship combat.

It’s funny; I’ve almost always being in Corporations that are newbie friendly. I have constantly seen the forum posts from people as they make their first moves into 0.0 and try out PVP. A great many of them regale all with tales of how brilliant this aspect of EVE is. And then do you know what happens? Two months later, very few of them can still be seen in 0.0. Most quietly go back to empire or cut back how often they log on. Only a handful remain to be regularly seen in fleets and on the killboards. PVP is not as much fun if you do not regularly win, and for a great many people that is their reality.

Forcing people outside of Empire pushes them into PVP. For many, the game then stops being fun.

So to summarise this long winded diatribe, the assumption that life outside of Empire is better is simply incorrect for many players. Forcing the issue will likely have a negative consequence instead of a positive one.

So what can be done?

By all means play around with the income levels of Empire, but do not focus on forcing people to live outside of it. Instead – focus on giving them compelling reasons, and the accessibility, to visit Low and Null Sec far more frequently.

I’ve remarked on a few blogs now that in my travels through quiet low sec backwaters, I am seeing far more solo mining barges out and about. That is because pilots now have appropriately priced and useful tools to allow them to do so. I wait with interest to see what the POS revamp brings – since I could imagine if they get that right, that would encourage more people out of Empire, even if just for visiting. Let’s have more solutions like that.

What are you nerfing?

While I would like to ignore it, the cries of “Nerf Empire” seem to be getting louder and louder.

There are a myriad of suggestions, but almost all of them come down to increasing taxes, reducing resources, and gimping services such as refining and manufacturing.

So – what’s the purpose of this?

There seem to be two main arguments. First is to encourage people to leave Empire for other areas of the game. Second is simply that Empire is too safe, so living there should be more costly.

Oddly, people calling for this often acknowledge that changing the costs of operating in Empire is unlikely to move its population. The price of items manufactured there will just increase to cover any imposition. If the costs get too high, people are more likely to leave the game than be pushed into playing it differently.

The second argument doesn’t seem to have an actual purpose – aside making the complainer happier.

As far as I can tell, there is strong demand for changes which will have no real positive impact on the game. I find this to be, well, stupid.

I am going to guess at the underlying goals being:

. Empire to have a ratio of low income, low risk

. Prefer pilots to move out of Empire once they have skilled up and got an understanding of the game

That summary might well be flawed, but that is what I am going to work from.

My personal belief is that the income of the average Empire dweller is actually low. The casual, lower skilled player make less than 10M an hour running L1-L3 missions, around 10M an hour mining solo, maybe a bit more on PI, and around 20M an hour on L4 missions. Their manufacturing and trading tends to only bring in small change.

It would take between 25 and 50 odd hours of grinding away in empire for this player to pay for a single PLEX.

If they make a concerted effort, do plenty of research, put in the hours, and have trained the appropriate skills, they can make good ISK zerging the right Level 4 Missions and maximising the LP, running Incursions, and trading on the market. You can also earn reasonable money operating a fleet of mining ships, and there are pockets in the market that you can make ok money on manufacturing (primarily in T2 and certain rigs). However – the average player doesn’t.

So – assuming you all think it is ok to earn up to 20M an hour in Empire, if you want to reduce the safe but high ISK income streams I would suggest you need to remove Empire Insursions (or cut the rewards right back), and you cut back the LP rewards for Empire based Missions.

I’m afraid I have no suggestion on how you can Nerf the income made by a relatively small number of market tycoons.

I have not targeted those people who might run a fleet of 6 mining toons. Assuming an Orca for hauling and the complexity of being able to run so many accounts efficiently at the same time (without illegal macros and scripting) they might well earn 60-100M an hour or so for their efforts. But at current PLEX prices (of 530M), they would have to run those toons for 30 to 50 odd productive hours to pay for the accounts.  Seems to be in line with the casual solo player.

The currently suggested changes based on taxes will only hit the low income Empire Player, and won’t have any appreciable impact on those safely earning the good ISK.

Is my thinking here flawed? I’ve been playing the game for six years on casual mode – I know my suggested income levels are far more realistic than what people spout.

Part 2 – thinking about the process of moving people out of Empire and into PVP in a day or three.

Salvaging Ships

I did some more ship sorting last night. This time I was reviewing my salvaging options.

The undisputed king of salvagers is the Noctis. If you have never cleaned up wrecks with one of these before, do yourself a favor and give it a go. It is a joy to use. (Well, in comparison to the other options.)

There are not that many fitting options on them, and I imagine my setup is fairly standard.

[Noctis,Standard Fit]
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Expanded Cargohold II
Expanded Cargohold II

10MN Afterburner II
10MN MicroWarpdrive II

Small Tractor Beam II
Small Tractor Beam II
Small Tractor Beam II
Small Tractor Beam II
Salvager II
Salvager II
Salvager II
Salvager II

Medium Salvage Tackle I
Medium Salvage Tackle I
Medium Salvage Tackle I

The main problem is that it uses up 250,000m3 of space in a Ship Maintenance Bay. That is in part why I am using 2 Orca’s for my Mobile Mission Base – and why I am only taking one across my 6 Orcas.

That means the backup Salvager for my other bases will need to be a destroyer hull. T1 fit, I would either go for the Thrasher (more speed, better cap) or Catalyst (biggest cargo capacity). Neither hull however will fit a rack of 4 T2 Tractor Beams and 4 T2 Salvagers without boosting the CPU.

While both the Catalyst and Coercer can be T2 fit with a single Co-Process II, you have to manage their Cap. This leaves the Cormorant – which doesn’t require a fitting mod and is cap stable.

[Cormorant, Standard Fit]
Expanded Cargohold II

1MN Afterburner II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II

Small Tractor Beam II
Small Tractor Beam II
Small Tractor Beam II
Small Tractor Beam II
Salvager II
Salvager II
Salvager II
Salvager II

Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I

Another favorite Salvager of mine – from the old days, was a dual prop Cyclone Battlecruiser. It is no longer relevant with the arrival of the Nortis, but it had a good capacity with expanders. Something I should probably not admit is that for a while (when you only had T1 fitting options) I used an Eris Interdictor as a Salvager. It was quicker and had a larger cargohold than a Catalyst. T2 fit none of the Interdictors now do a better job than the lowly Cormorant.

Orca Fleet

2.5B gone, and I have 3 extra Orca’s fitted.

I love the Orca.

Yes it is great in support of mining operations, a useful hauler, and a nice introduction to the mechanics of Capital ships. More than that though – I think it is a ship which enhances the sandpit nature of EVE by being an adaptable mobile home, which makes it plausible to be a roaming Empire nomad.

(It might even be an example of where CCP gets it wrong with its focus of one role per ship.)

I’ve used a variety of fittings – most recently the 100mw MWD varient, but in practise I have found you only need a 100mw AB fit to get the 10 second warp trick to work.  This is the fit I am using on all my Orcas at the moment.

[Orca, Standard Travel Fit]
Damage Control II
Inertia Stabilizers II

Gist C-Type 100MN Afterburner
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
EM Ward Field II

Small Tractor Beam II
Salvager II
Improved Cloaking Device II

Large Cargohold Optimization I
Large Cargohold Optimization I
Large Cargohold Optimization I

Hobgoblin II x5
Vespa EC-600 x5

In the Corporate Hangers I carry the following spares:

T2 Reactor Control Unit
T2 Reinforced Bulk Head
T2 Survey Scanner
T2 Cargo Expanders (x2)
5 Spare T2 Hobgoblins
T1 Armored Warfare: Passive Defense
T1 & T2 Mining Foreman: Laser Optimization
T1 & T2 Mining Foreman: Mining Laser Field Enhancement
T1 Siege Warfare Link: Shield Efficiency & Shield Harmonizing

This allows for mining boosting (by either chararacter), and while it still works – off grid boosting during misions.  It is also easy to swap in for extra hauling capacity, or extra tank.

As I mentioned, I spent 2.5 Bil, and have offset that partially by finding 800M of stuff to sell off.  The sorting continues.