While I post about the Monthly Economic Report regularly, I had not contributed to the biggest ISK faucet in the game, NPC bounties, for quite some time. In late 2017, when I was tiring of New Eden, I packed up most of my stuff, shipped it to Jita, and sold it off, leaving Delve behind. I was planning on taking a break. There was just one more Reavers deployment planned. I figured I would go on that, then call it.
Of course, that deployment turned into almost a year long venture in the north that saw some of the biggest battles in New Eden unfold. That I stuck around for. And, almost a year after I started packing up I found myself back in Delve. I was no longer keen to leave. I had a pile of ships hauled back from the war cluttering my hangar in the 1DQ Keepstar. And I was still pretty flush with ISK… at least for me.
Back in the homeland I was and, for no particular reason, struck with a desire to rat.
Well, there was one particular reason, the activity tracker, that bit of fluff, that achievements window which CCP slipped into the game with the Onslaught expansion late last year. I was dismissive of it at the time, largely because nothing done before November 22, 2018 counted.
But a clean slate does allow you an opportunity to get a baseline measurement on some activities, like how long does it take to earn a golden level V achievement for NPC bounties in the activity tracker.
I suspect that the answer for those ratting in supers and titans is very close to “almost no time at all.” The peak achievement only requires 1.25 billion ISK in bounties to obtain.
But I am no capital ship jockey. Not for ratting anyway… and, honestly, barely one for suicide dreads of faxes, which are capitals I actually own.
So as a subcap pilot I thought there would be a little more time required. But first I had to figure out how I was going to rat.
Previously I wrote about how I was ratting in an Ishtar. That is a perfectly capable hull for ratting, but it does fall into the expensive range. And when you’re ratting in an expensive subcap you have to pay attention. One of the reasons I do not rat is because it is as boring as any grindy MMO activity can be, which makes paying attention feel like a chore. But if you don’t pay attention and end up losing that Ishtar or Rattlesnake, then you’ve undone a lot of your ratting effort. You have to run a lot of anoms to replace either.
Fortunately there is a school of ratting for those of us who hate to rat, or at least those who hate to pay attention to ratting. The idea is to find the cheapest ship possible that can handle the standard forsaken hub anom, preferably something that insures well, and just rat unintended with it until it dies. If the ship is cheap enough you don’t have to run too many sites before you’re ahead of the game and if you lose one, you just collect the insurance, buy another, and carry on.
The Vexor Navy Issue is the champ in this regard for a lot of people, and clearly the most popular option. They are in anoms everywhere in null sec, and for good reason. They are fast, can field a full a full flight of five heavy drones, allowing them to chew through anoms quickly, they are readily available, and the requirements to fly them are pretty reasonable. It isn’t tough to get an alt into one.
The downside of the VNI is that it can close to the hairy edge of tanking anoms if your skills are not max’d out, making them easy targets for those hunting ratters. It doesn’t take a lot of firepower to bring down a VNI already mid-anom, so they die in droves.
The hull is also a bit pricey and doesn’t insure well.
For the true lazy ass cheapskate like myself, the real winning choice is the venerable Myrmidon.
Where a VNI hull is hovering around 50 million ISK for a hull, the Myrmidon is available for less than $40 million ISK many places. It is a tier 1 battlecruiser, so is easy to build locally, which can remove the shipping overhead if you live in an area with a good production infrastructure. Modules cost a bit more, but it insures very well.
With the VNI a 2.3 million ISK Platinum insurance policy gets you just 7.9 million ISK in return. For a Myrmidon the 11.6 million ISK Platinum policy yields you 38.7 million ISK on destruction, basically taking about 27 million off the purchase price.
The downside is that the Myrmidon is a bit slow and doesn’t have the drone bandwidth for a full flight of heavies, so you have to go with a mix of heavy and medium drones. That makes burning down the battleships in anoms slower, though it does speed up the frigate kills. But it is tougher than the VNI, and you get to mount a micro jump drive.
I was able to throw together a ratting Myrmidon from the market in 1DQ1-A for $70 million ISK. Taking off the insurance payback, the ship basically has to last through two forsaken hubs to break even and start paying out.
So back in January 6th I sailed forth with a brand new Myrmidon ready to rat.
My only plan for safety was to keep the EVE Online window on a second monitor and to try and avoid peak hours. Off peak would also help me avoid the VNI masses… and the occasional super pilot afraid of havens… competing for the limited prime anoms. I wasn’t even going to pick a system to live in. Instead I just headed out from 1DQ1-A to a nearby jump bridge to rat where ever I happened to land.
Things went off to a smooth enough start. My first couple of outing I just had to keep a timer handy to remind me to check progress now and again, but otherwise the Myrmidon chugged along without much problem. Even when I looked up to see it hung up on an asteroid… and there are like three in a forsaken hub and I was orbiting one of them… the stately battlecruiser seemed to be able to hold its own. Not that the Blood Raiders are deadly shots.
My main problem was finding empty anoms, even off peak.
And then I looked up to see a hostile on me, a player in a Malediction. He already had me tackled. My heart raced, as it always does on finding myself under attack. I panicked and lit off the micro jump drive to put some space between him and I so I could warp off. He was using a warp scrambler, so the MJD lit off just fine.
The problem was that I hadn’t aligned to anything so my jump didn’t do me much good. He was on me again and I was tackled before I could align to one of the citadels in system.
At that point I noticed that he wasn’t doing very much damage. I had time to look him up on Zkill and saw that he usually worked with another person in a Loki and they weren’t around yet. I took a deep breath, aligned to the Keepstar, abandoned my drones, launched the flight of Hornet EC-300s I had, put them on him, and waited for them to break his tackle.
And waited. And waited.
Finally I saw the warp scram icon drop. I lit off the MJD again… I don’t know why, I could have just warped, I was aligned and at speed… I guess I was happy that it had had time to recycle and was ready to go again… then warped off to safety. The loss of drones set me back a tick, but I was still good. I reported the attacker in the intel channel, warning people he was working with another pilot (who had showed up in system, but too late to help), then headed back to the jump bridge to 1DQ1-A to buy some replacement drones.
This sort of routine, with me escaping, happened maybe half a dozen times. At times it went slow enough that I was able to recall my drones before launching the ECM drones. Sign of a cheapskate.
Eventually though my number came up. Almost two months after I set out on this trek, a gang of TEST pilots in Wolfs landed on me as a group. They easily had the firepower to knock me down quickly. There was no getting away or being saved. My Myrmidon blew up.
I could have avoided that. I had strayed well into peak hours, when danger is rife. But I was in a system without any VNIs hogging the anoms, so I kept going for just one more.
Still, by the time that had happened I had already passed my goal.
For less than 70 million ISK invested, counting drone losses and insurance, I managed to take in 1.6 billion ISK without spending much time staring at the screen.
I did not quite get there with total NPCs killed, falling a bit short on that front.
I was hoping to be completely covered when it came to NPC Combat, but I guess I will have to keep working on that.
Elsewhere on the activity tracker it says that I completed 60 anomalies. Dividing things out, that shows me making 27 million ISK per site. That is a bit high. There were a few sites I didn’t complete. But it isn’t too far off. With the Myrmidon poking along by itself sites were taking less than two ticks, a tick being 20 minutes. So it was a steady income.
But it is still boring… except when somebody drops in on you. Then it can get exciting.
I haven’t purchased a replacement Myrmidon as yet. But if I need some ISK I guess I know what to do.