Tag Archives: mackinaw

The Fate of the Mighty Mackinaw

As I mentioned previously, the last big thing CCP dropped into EVE Online was an update to dedicated mining ships. The stated intent was to change the roles which the ships occupied in the game.

Each group of ships, tech 1 mining barges and tech 2 exhumers, would be divided into three new roles based on aspects of the mining process.  The new roles were actually priorities, the theory being you could choose which mattered most to you.  Those priorities are:

  • Defense
  • Storage Capacity
  • Yield

Pick your focus. If you are worried about being ganked, go with high defense.  If you want to burn the most rocks, choose yield.  And I guess if you want to mine without the logistical tail of a hauler, choose storage capacity.

My prediction was that players would stick with the Hulk.  Even though it lost some defensive capabilities… ganking Hulks got easier with this change… it remains the premier exhumer for mining the maximum amount of ore (or ice) in the minimum amount of time.

And past experience… go look at Hulkageddon kill mails… shows that people will fit.., when they put any thought into fitting at all… to maximize yield first and storage second, while defense remains a distant and rarely considered third.

I know what I was mining regularly, that was my priority set.  And it was reinforced by the fact that I never lost a mining ship.  Well, except for one that was in the cargo hold of another ship back in my more naive days.

I haven’t been back to mining in any serious way in a couple of years, and I do not expect I will return any time soon.

Still, the idea of the Mackinaw harvesting away while I worked on something else… like writing blog posts… has an appeal.  My second account is off in high security space involved with an industrial concern that is building tech II modules.  But that only takes up a bit of his time, so I have been doing some building and sales on my own.  And if he could, for example, save a bit of ISK by idly mining some rocks while I was otherwise occupied, it might be worthwhile.

So I decided to build up a mining ship for that purpose, limited only to parts I had on hand.

Fortunately, being a pack rat, I have a lot of parts on hand.  That included a Mackinaw hull left over from a brief dalliance with ice mining a few years back.  And so I assembled my ship.

Mackinaw at work

I like the ORE logo on the back fender of the ship.  I must have opted for the gold trim upgrade.

I ended up fitting:

  • 2x Modulated Strip Miner II
  • 2x Veldspar Mining Crystal II
  • 2x Mining Laser Upgrade I
  • 2x Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
  • 2x Meta 3 Shield Hardeners (I forget the names at the moment)
  • 1x Small Shield Extender I
  • 1x Dactyl Asteroid Analyzer

Thanks to the skills on my alts, which are at 5 all around for mining and defense, this gave me a Mackinaw that has about 25K effective hit points (EHP), could hold 35K m3 of ore, and which could pull down 1140 m3 of ore a minute, if I kept the mining lasers targeted.

The yield from a 3 minute mining cycle

That means I fill up the ore hold in about 30 minutes, at which point I fly back to the station, empty the hold, fly back to my bookmark… or another belt bookmark… and start again.  A full hold of just plain veldspar gets me about a million units of tritanium (333 veldspar refine to 1000 tritanium, and my guy has the skills and standings to get 100% refining yield), which I could turn into 6 million ISK pretty easily just servicing buy orders at the trade hub a few jumps away.

Given turn around time in station and occasional foibles in keeping lasers pointed at rocks full or ore, this is maybe a 10 million ISK an hour occupation in the given market.

There certainly are more lucrative occupations.  I could easily make 4-5 times as much running the right null sec anomalies based on bounties alone.  And Jester has a list of other activities I would be stupid to ignore if making ISK were my primary goal.

Hell, I could just mine better rocks and make more ISK.  I chose veldspar because I happened to have the tech II crystals on hand and because in the systems where I mine, nobody touches the veldspar.  I can come in many hours after downtime and find a rich bounty that requires little in the way of laser management.

The rocks nobody wants

But for an activity that requires little effort, it isn’t bad.  And I can do it in a ship which, while hardly gank proof, is much better protected than your average Hulkageddon victim. (I do keep myself aligned to warp out and my window arrangement keeps the overview in my field of vision to avoid surprises.)

This is just the sort of thing that has upset some people.  Not that somebody expressing outrage over any change CCP makes is a new thing, but the linked article felt to me like it was straying dangerously close to what I would call “ganker entitlement,” a theme I suspect will continue in parts II and III.

But you still have to ask, “Is this too much?”  Is my slightly safer semi-afk exhumer a good thing or a bad thing?  Is the change going to kill off ganking and eventually flood the market with cheap minerals leading to a price crash?  Or will things remain business as usual?

Looking at the Eternal Hulkageddon kill board, which stands at 18,783 kills right now (10,454 Champion, 8,329 Junior), it seems like ganking is carrying on in its merry way.  The recent kills on the front page are all very recent indeed.  So somebody out there is carrying on as though it were business as usual.

But that might be because players continue to choose the Hulk and yield above all else, in which case ganking got easier not harder.

What do you think?

Ice in the Veins

The problem with finally settling into the various economic activities I have pursued in EVE Online, production, trade, mining, and mission running, is that I am starting to accumulate a lot of ISK.

Okay, that isn’t really a problem.

The problem is that all that ISK causes me to make foolish choices. I start spending ISK just to experiment just to answer questions like, “Can I corner the market in missiles and drones in a particular mission hub system then jack up the prices?” (Yes, I can, at least in the short term.) Or I start looking for esoteric skills that might improve some tiny aspect of my abilities.

In other words, it starts burning a hole in my pocket.

A couple of weeks back Potshot and I were discussing corporate goals. What we should try to do in the long term, the short term being given over to training up skills and piling up more ISK.

Some of our goals sounded suspiciously like things we wanted to do when we were kids.

“I want to be the captain of a jump freighter!”

“I want to run a space station!”

“I want to mine on the moon!”

In some of our ambitions, I spotted a thread; the need for ice derived products.

So I did what any male would do in this situation, I went out and bought all the equipment to support a venture I wasn’t even sure we were going to embark upon.

A Mackinaw exhumer, ice harvesters, ice harvester upgrades, and a couple of skills ran me close to 80 million ISK.

My mining alt only had to train a single level 1 skill to get started.

Let me tell you right off the bat that if you find regular asteroid mining to be too hectic, this is the economic activity for you!

The default cycle time, the time it takes for your Ice Harvester I to actually mine some ice and drop it in your cargo hold is ten minutes.

At the end of that time, in a Mackinaw, you get four chunks of ice, two from each harvester. Each one is 1,000 cu/m in size.

There is no need for giant secure containers in your hauler. They hold 3,900 cu/m, so that free 900 cu/m you get goes to waste. So no more shuffling through boxes in your cargo hold, just dump the ice straight into the ship.

You never need to move. The giant ice floating in space have anywhere from 60K to 120K units of ice in each. You just pick one, lock on, and drag the ice over as it comes in.

And you never have to rub shoulders with anybody. Ice fields are so big that you can use your warp drive to get across them. Just bookmark some distant asteroid and fly direct from then on to your own secluded part of the field. Rats are even less of a bother. I have had them spawn 150km or more away from me and never come my way.

I would recommend that when you warp into your bookmark that you not use the “warp to within 0 m” option. Ice asteroids are huge and warping in that close seems to result in your ship bouncing off the asteroid you are headed towards at a high rate of speed. I have seem my Mackinaw exceed 2,800 m/s on a good bounce, which will also send you a good distance out of mining range. Warping in at a 20km range works best for me.

A very relaxing way to play EVE while doing something else, like writing checks or blog entries.

I did, of course, work on skills and upgrades. My miner alt can now mount Ice Harvester II modules so the cycle time for collection is down under six minutes to get four chunks of ice.

All of the information I needed for ice mining was in Halada’s Complete Miner’s Guide. An excellent resource, I recommended it highly.

So now I am mining, chipping ice at a happy rate and hauling it away. I just have to figure out the economic aspect of ice mining.

Ice by-products seem to be a buyers market, at least in my local region. None of the items I have put up for sale have moved. There are, however, a lot of buy orders and the competition that is setting the price seems to be more on that end than among the sellers.

I need to scout around to see what ice by-products are selling for in other regions. I have enough little points of commerce around now that I generally have a load to haul in either direction when I go somewhere. Each harvested chunk of clear ice (called an icicle, which I find odd), yields:

50 units of Heavy Water
25 units of Liquid Ozone
300 units of Helium Isotopes
1 unit of Strontium Clathrates

So I have to find the best markets for these items.

Meanwhile, though I am loathe to sell things at the local ask price after my time with minerals, I have released enough ice by-products at the market price to cover the price of the equipment, making this experiment more viable than many of my past home projects.

As always with EVE, there is still more to discover.