The instance group continues to garner a very small turnout these days. This past week it was, again, just Potshot and I.
Which, in a way, is kind of liberating. Of the group, he and I play the largest spread of games. So we have a lot of options.
On the flip side of that, we also have a long tradition, going back to high school, of “what should we do tonight?” Having a wide range of possibilities has never been our friend in that situation. It has generally lead to the paralysis of choice.
Fortunately, we have adapted our own way around that, which is somebody suggests exactly one idea for the nights plan. If we like it, we go with it and do not bring up any alternative plans. This adheres to the ABC theory of selling, “Always Be Closing.” When you have agreement, you don’t muddy the water with further choices. If you don’t get agreement, you then move to other options.
We happened to be in EVE Online already and chatting on coms when the “what to do” part of the discussion came up. I happened to be on with my alt who was back up in our home region of Deklein where systems were surprisingly empty.
The deployment down to Curse has had its impact. I flew threw several systems and never saw more than one or two blues. More importantly, I saw no hostiles.
For the few weeks between the fall of Delve and the Curse deployment, Pandemic Legion was apparently at loose ends and so decided to set up an around the clock hot drop operation on our part of the region. There were any number of nights where I logged on and found two or three cloaked hostiles… either PL members or easily pegged as PL alts… in just about every system in our area. And lest you think that they were AFK cloaking just to annoy people, I saw them drop on people foolish enough to attempt to run anomalies or otherwise expose themselves in-system.
Basically, if you see a hostile in your system in null sec when you were planning to do something in that system, you just change your plans. You should rat or mine or put up a tower or otherwise linger in space or you may find a hostile blackops fleet suddenly on top of you. Welcome to ~elite PvP~ in null sec. They do it. We do it. It is the way of things. You cannot scan them down unless they screw up badly and cyno jammers do not block covert cynos used by blackops fleets, so you are just stuck.
But it also meant that the deployment to Curse, as awkward as getting down there tended to be, at least gave us something to do. In the week before that I was logging on every time, checking to see that our systems were still cloaky camped, finding that they were, and then logging off. Having another game to play when EVE isn’t cooperating with your plans remains a good idea.
However, since the Curse deployment, and the subsequent population drop in the cluster of systems I tend to think of as home, the cloaky camping has ceased. It is like nature took its course, and with the absence of prey, the predators moved on. They, it seems, also moved on to Curse, where they too are sitting on gates and otherwise engaging in more ~elite PvP~ in its various forms.
In the absence of conflict in our home region, I suggest that we could try mining.
How odd was that?
Potshot agreed to that option, probably for the same reason I suggested it: I wanted to see where I stood on that front, equipment-wise, and what we could accomplish in a few hours of burning down rocks.
So both of got our mains and our alts (one each) into Deklein to sort out what we had. I had a barely fit Hulk and a Mackinaw fit for ice mining and completely lacking in a tank. The latter was a setup left over from our last corp day when were were out working ice in order to get the raw materials for the fuel blocks needed by our towers, while the former has just sat in the hanger since the last time I tried mining out in null.
The first problem out of the gate was just equipping the ships with what was available in the immediate area and could be accommodated by the skills of each character. The second bit was a real sticker. While I had both characters trained up for mining in high sec, I had not invested much training time in the null sec ore varieties. So I ended up with a Mackinaw fit with tier I strip miners, which could mine anything, and a Hulk fit with modulated strip miners, but which could only mount crystals for a couple of the juicer asteroid options.
The Mackinaw was ready first, so I put my alt in it and sent him out to the belts. With the huge ore hold of the Mackinaw… being the exhumer with the big capacity its post-rebalance role… I figured my alt could mine away for a bit while I sorted out the Hulk. Potshot likewise had a Mackinaw ready, and soon we were out in the belts.
And the first thing I noticed was that all the asteroids were a long ways away from where I had landed… to the point that I was wondering if I accidentally warped in at an extended range. But Potshot reported the same thing upon warping to the belt at zero, so that is just the way things are I guess.
We began slowly motoring out to some likely looking spots in the belt while I considered the viability of strapping a microwarp drive to the Mackinaw. Moving 30km or so at ~100m/s takes a while when you are just staring at the screen.
Meanwhile, I managed to scrape together a minimal tank for the Hulk and had just landed in the field when some rats spawned. Tech II scout drones and a sketchy tank turned out to not be up to the task and we all ended up warping back to the station.
There I pulled out Wil’s ratting Tengu and went to go sit on the belt and pop rats while others mined and hauled. Potshot and I flew our Mackinaws back out to the belt. As it turned out, the 1MN microwarp drive I had handy did not improve the velocity of the Mackinaw all that much, boosting it to all of 130m/s. But it was something.
And then we burned rocks.
I hit a patch of Dark Ochre, which seemed like a good idea until I realized that it was the only type for which I had no refining skill whatsoever. Potshot went after some rocks near by while pulling out his cloaked Mammoth to haul for us. When the Dark Ochre ran out, I hit the close by Hemorphite and then Jaspet.
Once you are settled in to the mining routine, it is relaxing. We spent time chatting and planning what we ought to have on hand to make this go better. Doing this sort of off-the-cuff meant making do. There is some equipment I should ship out for next time.
Among the things that I had forgotten about was that I had trained up Wil in the mining boss leadership skills. Just sitting there he was boosting yield per cycle by 10%. I probably could have mounted a mining foreman link on the Tengu if I had had one handy.
So we ground away for a while, then collected our ore together, paid the corp tax on mining (by contracting 5% of the yield to the corp), and called it a night.
The next day, with the area still quiet, I brought out the Tengu and ran a Guristas Forsaken Hub anomaly.
That netted me about twice as much ISK in about a quarter the time as the previous night’s mining operation. Of course, the Tengu is optimized for that and the Guristas Forsaken Hub is the best time/money yield.
But with some planning our next mining op should be more profitable. We were well aware we were doing things badly, but it gave us a chance to at least enumerate all the things we could do better.