Somebody once opined that moon mining was a “risk-free” source of income. The tower just sits there and harvests the moon goo and all you have to do is drive by in your hauler once in a while to pick it up. Practically free money.
I was reminded of that post as we roamed around Insmother, first reinforcing and later destroying tower after tower in the region as the locals looked on in dismay. Most of those towers… and I heard the count went past 30… were moon mining operations.
It appears that “risk-free” includes the unstated assumption that you can defend your moon mining operations from attack, which is a bit of a stretch. Even the CFC, which nobody would accuse of being short of pilots, is fighting a series of skirmishes over towers in the north as Black Legion and Nulli Secunda use the last bit of pre-Phoebe time to travel far and wide and reinforce CFC moon mining operations. And a reinforced moon mining operation is a non-producing moon mining operation.
Such is life.
Anyway, we are back in Deklein having extracted out of Insmother over the weekend. Getting there and back are the tricky bits, as Insmother isn’t exactly in our regular neighborhood.
You might look at that map and think, “Well, that doesn’t look too far” if you ignore the scale of all of empire space, high and low sec, which is that black blob in the middle. In the middle of hostile territory, with no NPC stations to hole up in like our local pests. We had to pack with us all we needed to live rough, in space at all times. It was like camping… in the pack a tent and sleep under the stars way, not the sitting on a gate waiting for travelers was we use the word in New Eden. A tower was set up for use to use, our tent, but otherwise we were out in the wilds.
As a learning exercise, it was quite useful both on an organizational level as well as a personal one.
More after the cut.
For starters, I finally learned how to make safe spots in space. That only took me 8 years, though to be fair, I have never really needed to use safe spots up until this deployment. For this deployment though, it was a requirement.
In EVE Online, you can only warp to standard locations in space… stations, planets, moons, asteroid belts, the sun… or to places you have bookmarked in space. You cannot just warp random locations. You have to have been there and have marked the spot, which is easy if you’re not in warp and there is an object to bookmark, like an asteroid or a wreck in an anomaly. But if you want to hide from people in space, you want to land at a location that isn’t easily warped to, like the previous list of celestial objects that everybody can access.
A number of people, on the subject of safe spots, have given me vague advice about clicking on myself or in space or whatever, which never really made sense and/or never seemed to work. So before we set off I invested a whole three minutes looking up how to make a safe spot, a gem I will share:
- Open up your People & Places window and select the Places tab
- Warp to a celestial in the system
- From there, warp to another celestial
- Somewhere near the mid-point of the warp, click on the Add Location button
Congratulations, unless you clicked the button very close to a celestial, you have a safe spot.
You can see where you have clicked by bringing up the solar system view via the F11 key, to see if you are really out in the middle of nowhere or not. And there are opinions on how to make the safest safe, which involves going back to your first safe and warping from there to another celestial to make a second safe that isn’t in line between two celestial. That is probably important if you are serious about your safe spot, as the first spot I made in Insmother turned out to be 41km away from another member of the fleet. If two people ended up on the same grid with their safe, it probably isn’t all that safe as there are two people to on grid to probe down. So I made a second and a third, each off the other and out of line of celestial routes.
There, out in my safer safe spot, I proceeded to figure out the Mobile Depot.
Mobile Depots, one of the personal deployable structures that came in with Rubicon, are at least somewhat newer to the game so my never having used one is less embarrassing. I had no idea how to use it really, and I was literally in space, in hostile territory, in a safe spot, with a call out to change fits and rejoin for an op, trying to make thing work.
It took me almost a minute to notice that it takes a minute from the point you deploy it until it is ready to use. There is a little timer graphic when you click on it in space… if you stop to look at it. Then, once the minute was up, there was an option to use fitting service, which I selected and which opened up the standard fitting window. Now what? Having never fit outside of a station, I had no idea what I needed to do. Did I need to put stuff in the depot? It has storage space when deployed. When I unfit things they dropped into my ship’s cargo hold, but when I right clicked on other fittings in there, the usual “fit to active ship” option wasn’t there. And I started to fret a bit when I found I couldn’t repackage anything. Some things take up a lot more space when they are not repackaged.
In the end, I found that I could just drag items from my cargo hold onto the correct slot in the fitting window to fit modules. Nothing needed to be placed in the depot. The modules I needed to swap out all happened to be the same volume, packaged or not. And everything fit back into my cargo hold, including the Mobile Depot when I scooped it back up. (Which I only forgot to do once during a refit, but fortunately it was still there when I got back.)
As for the deployment itself, I suppose hostile territory might be a bit of an over statement. The landlords, Northern Coalition, were busy elsewhere and felt no need to come and defend the rental space they appear to be abandoning. Lots of changes coming in null. The locals formed up the occasional defense fleet (which will be all they have it seems) and even reinforced our staging tower one, though they didn’t have the numbers to come back and finish the job when the timer ran down.
For those of us deployed, there was an almost endless list of small things to see and do. A group of FCs worked tirelessly around the clock so that at any point when people logged in there was something to shoot or there was a short break after which there would be something else to shoot. The first couple of days were spent putting every tower we could manage into reinforce. There was one un-stronted tower which got the EUTZ players an early structure kill, but for the most part we had to wait until timers started to run down, at which point we moved about the region dropping tower after tower.
When the locals were content to just talk at us in local… and most didn’t even complain, but simply expressed interest in the fact that something was happening in their space… and we were in what looked to be a long and uneventful shoot, people did wander off to other windows. An official squad Minecraft server was setup. I tabbed out to play World of Warcraft and did my daily runs at the Headless Horseman while we ground some structures. And sometimes a momentary distraction came up, as when Jay Amazingness came across a player named Avindino streaming EVE Online and said we should all take a look. His character was less than two weeks old and had about a billion ISK in his wallet, which he said he had gotten from PLEX.
I peeked in and groaned, as this guy looked like he might end up as a deer in the headlight as Goons started trolling him. But Avindino didn’t react badly to being trolled, instead playing along and taking it in stride and accepting the dare to fly to YA0-XJ in a shuttle with a PLEX in his cargo. This ended up being the magic combo (so take note). New player who takes getting trolled with good cheer and is willing to do something entertaining, they are a weak spot for Goons, and he got showered with ISK. At first people started putting bounties up on his character, which quickly passed a billion ISK. But then, to get him to make his suicide run, people started sending him ISK directly, so he about broke even on his adventure, which got him all the way to Pure Blind. (The PLEX did not drop, so CCP really won that round.)
Cute newbie syndrome hit the fleet and there were calls to get him into the CFC somehow before people started thinking this through. Somebody would have to step up and vouch for him, which nobody really wanted to do. But for a brief period Avindino was a star.
When the reinforce timers started running down, we ran into an unexpected problem: We were ending up with a lot of loot. Fortunately, some of the bounty we harvested included haulers.
Moon goo and other valuable were hauled off. Some POS modules were hauled away as well to hang as trophies on our own staging POS, while other were left in place, incapacitated, so that they would have to be cleaned up before another tower could be put up.
Probably the most surprising bit of bounty was at a manufacturing tower. We were shooting it after it came out of reinforcement when the locals threw a small fleet of tech II frigates at us. They got a bomber, but we all turned, targeted, and blew them up before they could get away. Then, when the tower finally went down, what should drop out of the hangar but a fully fit Noctis. Some swapping of ships and the Notics had a pilot who proceeded to salvage the field, including the wrecks of the tech II frigate so recently destroyed.
The pickings were so rich and the resistance so low that we ended up staying longer than we had planned just to fit in a few more towers. Eventually though it was time to head home. We formed up, filling ships with loot, storing extra ships in the carriers that came along, and making sure as little of value as possible was left behind in our wake.
We had to leave some ships behind for the first run home as people put their combat ships in the POS to fly the haulers back. There was a long run to a wormhole that got us back into Tribute, home space for some of us in the north.
Of course, in the way of the universe, the wormhole closed up on us when we got out, so those needing a return trip to pick up ships left behind had to wait for another useful wormhole to be probed down and investigated. The process of getting people home went on for a couple days, as there is always somebody who cannot make it online at just the right time. Fortunately a team of heroes sat out on the route home providing warp in points for wormholes so pilots could trickle back into our home in the north.
All in all, a fun operation. I saw a new region, learned a few new things, got on a pile of kill mails, and generally had something to do in game whenever I logged in. I do not think I have been this active since the war in Fountain more than a year back.
Of course, shooting structures isn’t the most exciting thing, but the quiet aspect of the whole operation was probably good at a planning level, as figuring out things we should have brought along didn’t have to involve us losing a lot of ships. I suspect that next time we will be sent some place more heavily defended. And once Phoebe is here the hit point nerf on sov related structures will have landed, so we might be able to successfully shoot something beyond towers.
And, as usual, a few more screen shots from the deployment.