Tag Archives: Mining

The EVE Online October Update Changes Space and Commerce

Things were happening and CCP was keeping its cards close to it collective chest for the last couple of days, so I really felt I couldn’t even start writing a post about the update until they released the patch notes and the game was up and live again because there were any number of things that could have potentially been in the update.

And then all of them showed up, so I am just going to go down the list a day later than usual.

New Region of Space

The Triglavian invasion has culminated in an event that has taken the 27 star systems that reached final liminality, detached them from their old stargate connections, and created a new wormhole flavored region called Pochven.

I left a char in Niarja

On the old map you can see the region name.

Just a big name in space

With the new map it will actually show you the gate connections.

The route between the stars in the new region

There have been few maps of the new region circulating.  I like this one I found on Reddit:

The map triangle – click to see bigger

There is also this one I have seen floating around, which is a little clearer, but I am not sure where the original source for it was, otherwise I would link it.

This one has constellations

As for what all this means, CCP says the following in the patch notes:

  • The Triglavian Invasion has come to an end. The Collective now inhabit 27 systems severed from the rest of New Eden, forming the new Nullsec Pochven region which can be accessed via wormholes and filaments. According to reliable sources some Triglavian vessels in the area may carry filaments for escaping this new region. Unconfirmed stories also state that these filaments are available for purchase in the new Triglavian stations. Active Market Orders and HyperNet Offers within Pochven have been cancelled and both goods and escrow have been refunded. In addition to that, Agents within Pochven have been removed and any active missions have been cancelled.
  • There is a lot to discover in these systems as they function completely differently now that the Triglavians have taken them over. More details will be reported by The Scope in the coming days. Until then, Capsuleers that dare to venture into the new Pochven region can discover things on their own. Since Medical Clones within Pochven have been moved to a character’s birth Station, some capsuleers will need to travel to the systems to uncover the mysteries – the lucky (or unlucky) players already within those systems are free to undock – at their own risk.

I think Elise Randolph had a better/more useful summary on Twitter:

  • Wormhole local
  • You can’t JC/clone in
  • No belts
  • Sun status: still spooky
  • New gates! But you need Trig standing to use them.
  • Also the gates spawn 400km so you gotta burn
  • Ore anomalies are phat

Warning on getting Triglavian standings: rogue drone sites are an exploit now.

Meanwhile, back in normal space, the gates to those systems are just gone, vanished, kaput, missing in action, like they were never there in the first place.  I am sure this is going to be a huge pain for Wollari, who runs DOTLAN EVE Maps.

So now the run between Amarr and Jita, which was made more dangerous by the change to Niarja, has been made longer even if you’re willing to take the risky route.

Short route vs. Safe route

I am sure more will come of this.  I hear that stargates around New Eden are still experiencing outages.

Ore Changes

And since Elise mentioned ore, we might as well get to the big mining change.  I hope you refined all your ore before the patch since it will refine less now… except maybe Hedbergite, which is getting a nocxium boost.  That is supposed to get people to go mine in low sec.

This was all covered by the Resource Distribution dev blog and the essentials have not changed.  Where ever you live in New Eden you are likely going to find less rocks to mine, the rocks you do find will have a smaller mineral yield, and some minerals you used to find will no longer be around your part of space.

The patch notes spell it all out in more detail.  Despite using the word “distribution” in the dev blog, this is more of a drastic reduction.  Even I was out mining a bit to build up a hedge against the future, where I expect the price of everything will climb.  The October MER will should be interesting.

UI Only Mode

As I mentioned in a post a while back, CCP has been working on a way to turn off 3D rendering and only display the UI.  This was available on the test server, but has gone live on Tranquility with this patch.  Those of us running multiple clients in large battles around Keepstars will no doubt avail ourselves of this feature once we have another big fight.  Of course, dropping Keepstars got a little more complicated due to the next item.

Quantum Cores

The second stage of the Quantum Cores plan has come in with this patch.  Initially, the cores were made available for sale and Upwell structures got a bay into which cores would eventually be installed.

With this update any new Upwell structures deployed will require a core to be installed before it will become fully functional.  Until the core is installed services, including tethering, will not be available.  This will make deploying more Keepstars in NPC Delve slightly more awkward as somebody has to haul in that core to install.  If they don’t, they won’t have the tether advantage they had during the second FWST-8 fight.

Existing Upwell structures do not have to have a core installed until January 2021.

ECM Stabilizer Tiericide

Another module group has been normalized in naming and stats.  Honestly, I am not sure I know what an ECM Stabilizer is.  But that is EVE Online.  Lots and lots of ship modules.

Player Bounty & Kill Rights Disabled

You can blame this one on the current war in Null sec because those seem to be gumming up the outstanding calls list when we have those big fights.

Bounty calls piling up

Announced in a forum post, this is temporary while CCP investigates what sort of performance hit these calls may be having.  They pop up every time you target somebody or somebody targets you and tend to dominate the queue.  If this led to CCP revamping the bounty system (again) into something more useful, that would be nice.  Kill rights are also being turned off temporarily because they are connected to bounties aand can similarly gum up the works.

This does not affect NPC bounties.  That limitless ISK faucet will continue to flow freely.  However, if you put a bounty on Brisc Rubal in an attempt to help him achieve his goal of being in the top ten for bounties, you can’t get your ISK back.

Fonts

Apparently there was a change made to how in game fonts are rendered, which some people love, some people hate, and some people, myself included, didn’t notice until they saw somebody going on about it.  I guess they’re fine.  It is hard to tell on the big monitor.  I have to wear my glasses to see them still.

Other Things

There were also a lot of small changes and fixes and the usual stuff that comes along with any update, just more so than usual.  All in all this was a pretty big update that will have a lot of long term impact.  I feel like this update should have been given a name so at least we could curse it later on down the road when all the unintended consequences come home to roost.

Or maybe everything will turn out great.  We’ll have to wait and see.

For those wanting more details, the patch notes have been posted.  There are also the general feedback and known issues threads in the forums.  My favorite known issue is that some hangars outside of the Triglavian region have the Triglavian decor.  Seems like a win, but that might just be me.

Meanwhile, CCP has announced that we have entered the fourth development quadrant for 2020, the Phoenix Quadrant, and has previewed a bit of what we can expect from development as well as launching another pack that sells skill points for cash.

Some Quiet Mining

With the announcement of the mining redistribution plan… mineral starvation round two… and the subsequent spike in mineral and ore prices, a bunch of people have been rediscovering asteroid mining.  At some point this month CCP will release the update and resource gathering will change, radically in some ways, as asteroid yields are adjusted and minerals are allocated to specific regions of space.  Each region will get its own exclusives, which will be:

  • Hisec – Tritanium
  • Lowsec – Isogen and Nocxium (sort of, see below)
  • Nullsec – Zydrine, Megacyte, and Morphite
  • Wormholes – nothing

If you want tritanium you will need to mine in high sec space and so on.  Sort of.

There are also explicit mineral exclusions per region, which are planned to be:

  • Hisec – No Isogen, Nocxium, Zydrine, Megacyte, and Morphite
  • Lowsec – No Tritanium, Zydrine, Megacyte, and Morphite
  • Nullsec – No Tritanium and Nocxium (except in anomalies)
  • Wormholes – No Tritanium, Nocxium, and Morphite

Much has been said about this plan, and I’ll supply some links at the end of the post if that interests you.  But this post is more about the immediate response to the plan, which has been “quick, go mine some of this stuff before it is all gone!”

I got out an alt I had not used in quite a while that had a Procurer mining barge set to go in Amarr and set to mining in high sec.

Out in the belts again

It has been a long time since I mine in high sec.  There was a whole segment of my EVE Online career training up mining, starting in an Osprey and eventually graduating the the Hulk, the apex exhumer of its time.

My Hulk back in late 2007

I set out and found a system not too far from Amarr with an Athanor setup for public use, so I could reprocess ore cheaply, and had a security rating that meant some decent asteroids to choose from.

I initially set out to just scoop veldspar, but then figured that tritanium would still be the high sec thing after the change.  So I set my sites on pyroxeres, an ore that contains a bit of nocxium, the soon to be exclusive to low sec mineral that seems to have more people worried than any other element.  The price of that more that doubled when the dev blog came out and, even though it has settled down some, it remains pricier than before.  I figured laying in a supply of that might be a hedge against the future.  We shall see.

Locked on to some rocks

I had forgotten how peaceful mining in high sec can be.  You just have to keep an eye on your mining lasers to make sure they are still cycling on something and that your ore hold hasn’t filled up yet.  It is quite conducive to listing to a podcast or an audio book or writing a blog post or editing screen shots.  The wide screen monitor I am working with right now makes it all the easier as I can have something else up front while the game client pokes out to the side revealing enough information at a glace to know what is going on.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I didn’t do much in the war last week.  I spent some of the time sitting around mining instead.

Of course, I am not alone out there.  The annoying NPC miners show up in my belt every so often and start stealing the ore I wanted to mine.  But you can’t do much about them.  Another fine CCP feature.

And then there are the bots.  I see them every day.  Some days they are doing better than others.  My first day out they seemed to be having a problem as they all clumped up on the Raitaru where they seemed to live.

High sec mining bots tripping over each other to get to the belts

They are mostly annoying because they go mine for a bit, picking at this rock then that, after which they warp off, unload, and land on another belt, leaving a bunch of half chewed rocks in their wake.  That can be a pisser.  I should probably take off a bit of the tank on the Procurer… I have it fit to mine in null sec… and put an ore scanner on it.

But it has been kind of nice doing a bit of mining again.  It will never be a serious vocation for me again, but a bit of ore is okay now and then.

As for posts about the Resource Distribution plan, here you go:

Radical Rock Reductions in New Eden

Someday, if someone asks me the day I knew it was all over. It was today.

-Aryth – CSM14 member, Jan 31, 2020

As I noted in the comments on Tuesday’s post about the February updates, I think I may have buried the lede.  I was mostly on about the events CCP announced and the new implant set and only later got to the part about changes to mining, which I will repeat here:

  • High Sec Asteroids:
    • Pyroxeres, Omber & Kernite quantities reduced.
  • Low Sec Asteroids:
    • Veldspar, Scordite, Pyroxeres, Plagioclase, Jaspet, Hemorphite & Hedbergite quantities reduced.
  • Null Sec Asteroids:
    • Scordite, Omber, Kernite, Jaspet, Hemorphite, Hedbergite, Gneiss, Dark Ochre, Crokite & Arkonor quantities reduced.
    • Bistot quantity increased.
  • Ore Anomalies spawned from Sovereignty Industry Index upgrades:
    • Level 1, 2 & 3 respawn times adjusted.
    • All variations of Crokite in all levels replaced with the equivalent yield variation of Kernite.
    • Gneiss, Dark Ochre & Spodumain quantities reduced.

There was also a follow on dev blog about CCP’s plans for mining, which will hit moons next.  We are in what they are calling the “shortage phase.”  This phase is said to be a requirement for gathering data.

None of that meant much to me initially, though I admit I didn’t stop to look too hard at it either.  I have not mined in ages.  I still think of mining anomalies as something “new” in the game and nearly every second I have spent in one has been in a combat ship, either shooting miners or shooting people who were shooting miners.

When I think of mining anoms, this is what comes to mind

But there are plenty of people who do mine, and they were quick to start calculating the level of the nerf that hit mining on Tuesday.  A post on Reddit by Alcoholic_Satan of Pandemic Horde showed not only a reduction in the quantity of asteroids available, but also the amount of ore each asteroid held.  The top comment is an estimate that this represented a reduction by a factor of 1,000, and assumed it had to be an error, that being such a drastic change.

But the comment has an addendum, a link to a screen shot of a statement from CSM member Sort Dragon who was authorized by CCP to let people know that this level of change was not a mistake.

A clip of the image mentioned for posterity

So when I wondered if we would see some impact from this on the February Monthly Economic Report… well, now it seems almost certain.   This level of “shortage” will cause mineral prices to rise, but probably not enough to offset the reduced amount or ore being mined, so the values harvested per region will likely also fall noticeably despite any boost in price.

Left untouched for the moment was moon mining output, which led the Imperium to change the harvest cycle on public moons, currently running on a max duration pattern, down to seven days to get in as many mining opportunities as possible, because CCP is coming for moons next.  According to the CCP dev blog for Moon Mining, we should expect the following for moons with the next release:

  • Complete removal of all basic ore types from all moons
  • Adjustments on ore volume extracted per day, per moon
  • Adjustments on moon ore type yields of basic minerals

So we can expect minerals to become more rare when that hits, all of which seems like a pretty radical approach to the problem of mining, whatever that problem actually is.  CCP has been regularly nerfing Rorquals and mining anomalies for over a year, and that has had some small but noticeable impact.  Now, however, they are going for a huge strike against mining game wide.

And I am left wondering why the hit needed to be this big.

As I have said before, mining is not an ISK faucet the way NPC bounties are.  All of that ore mined doesn’t add any ISK to the economy, save for the few people who run mining missions, and agent mission rewards are tiny, falling a distant fifth out of six faucets, even when rewards and bonuses are combined.

The desirability of mining ought to be based on the market price of ore, with an over abundance leading to a reduction in price below a point where it is worthwhile to undock Rorquals.  Or so it would go in a real world economy.  However, in the New Eden economy, where there is no real costs to running a Rorqual unless you lose it or some of the drone, there is likely no price point so low that people would stop undocking.

Furthermore, there is a price floor on minerals.  There is a point where you can take your mined minerals and build something like a Charon freighter, insure it, have somebody blow it up, and turn a profit.

So I get that CCP cannot really expect the market to adjust itself based on cost and pricing as there are artificial elements, like the apparently infinite resources of Pend Insurance, which will keep people going.

Instead though, they seem to have charted a course for a fresh new Chaos Era, this time focused on industry in New Eden.  Minerals are the life blood of production, and introducing what could lead to huge shortfalls and accompanying price spikes which will no doubt have an impact that will be felt by all.

And some people are pissed.  In the forum thread for the release the horrible red dot is getting more immediate attention… another ill-considered UI idea, though the appear to have muted it for the moment… but some industrialists are clearly at a boil.

CCP says they are keeping an eye on things:

It is understood that the changes that will go live throughout phase 1 will affect the macroeconomic environment and the market reaction will be closely monitored. Predictions have been made and the readiness to take measures is in place.

But they also said similar things over the summer, and it took the game a couple of months to recover from that.  We might be in for more interesting times as this is all likely to get worse before it gets better.  This and the red dot certainly seem to have swept away whatever resentment was left over selling skill points.

As for the quote at the top of the post… it is clear that the CSM was informed about this plan in advance and I suspect that tweet may mark the day it happened.

Related posts:

A Minor Venture Adventure

I had the desire to do something in New Eden.  Unfortunately, that desire hit as my main and my alt sat in laden ships in a citadel half way through a trip home from a deployment.  I could have jump cloned one or both of them out, but I wanted to make sure I was there and ready to go.

Time to get out another character.  But which one?

Theoretically I have a dozen characters in EVE Online spread over four accounts.  In reality, most of them do not add up to much.  Some of them were created to grab an amusing name, like Claude Ring or Escher Alias.   Others I had plans for, but never really went anywhere, the general issue being that you can only train skills on a single character on an account at a time.  So, for example, neither of the other two characters on the same account as my main ever get any training time because I have never been done training everything in Wilhelm’s queue.

Just never going to happen.

However, I have an account sitting around with a couple of Alpha clone characters.  I tried following in CCP Rise’s steps at one point, but with all of the Alpha skills trained on him I was free to roll up another Alpha on the account and start him training.  Having a Gallente Alpha, I went for Amarr.

I have kept him training sporadically.  With the one day long queue, I put a few skills in and then forget about him for a few days… or a week… or a month… then go back and start him up again.  Last time around he had just finished up some mining related skills.  Also, he had collected a Venture mining frigate as part of some give away from CCP… was that from Christmas?  Anyway, I logged in and saw him sitting there in the Venture and decided to go mining.

The Agency doesn’t support mining missions…

I had run my Amarrian friend through the new player experience and looted along the way, so he had a couple of extra civilian mining lasers sitting in his hangar.  So I fitted those, grabbed a couple of Warrior I drones for defense, and undocked to go try this ship out.

The Venture came into New Eden long after my career in mining was over.  Back when I was at the low end of mining your first goal ship was an Osprey and you mined asteroids that looked vaguely like potatoes.

Space was different back in 2007

And you had to train up to get into that Osprey.  The Venture though, a new player gets the skills to fly that on day one.  It is small and handy and has an ore bay, something that also wasn’t a thing back when I mined as a profession.  And, if you follow the industry career tutorial, you end up getting one for free.

So I took it out to a system near Amarr, headed to a belt, and mined some Veldspar for a while.

Soon to be a post at EVE Online Pictures…

I also had the Yoiul Festival Skin for the ship, so ran with that as well.

A handy enough little ship, though the civilian mining lasers were slow.  Once the ore bay was nearly full I took off back to Amarr to look for some upgraded mining lasers.  I sold my Veldspar straight to a buy order and found some better lasers.  I thought about a mining upgrade as well, but had already set off again, so put that on my list for later.

I picked up another load of Veldspar and headed back to Amarr to sell that.  There I decided to see if that was the best plan.  The buy orders for raw Veldspar seemed okay.

Veldspar in the raw

But the rule back in the day was to never to sell ore.  The guides always said you should refine your ore and sell the minerals.  That was the way to greater profit.

However, things have changed.  I refined the ore only to find that the remaining Tritanium were worth less than I would have gotten for the ore.

Lesson learned

And that does not count the 20K ISK it cost me to refine the ore.  Better to sell the raws as a newbie these days I guess.

I took that ISK and bought a Mining Laser Upgrade I module in order to speed things up.

The third time out I dropped into a belt and started mining only to see some hostile NPCs in the belt with me.  I launched my drones and sent them after the closest of the cruiser-sized rats only to find that they were not the usual specimen of belt rat.  My Venture exploded before I could warp off.

Autothysian Lancers are bad news

Well that was bad news… not to mention yet another something I never had to deal with back in the day.  Now my Venture was gone and I was sitting in my pod.

However, things were not hopeless.  First, getting a ship destroyed is one of those new player achievements that earn you some ISK.  The payout was 200,000 ISK for losing a ship worth 160,000 ISK.  And then there was the default insurance payout.

The payout

That was worth another 106,000 ISK, which made the destruction of my Venture a profitable turn of events.  Plus I had already made a couple of Ventures worth of ISK from the first two runs.  I was able to buy a new ship in Amarr and head back out again.

Shiny new replacement Venture

I wanted to get a closer look… and maybe a few screen shots… at the NPCs who blapped me, but they had moved along by the time I had returned.  My wreck, however, was waiting for me, with all the modules still there.

Back to the scene of the crime…

If I had not been in such a hurry to refit I could have saved myself a little bit of ISK.  The modules were very cheap relative to the ship and the ISK already earned.  So it was back to orbiting and mining.

Back to the clutter of the belt

There remains a zen-like peacefulness to mining.  It is something easy to do while you listen to a podcast or an audio book or chat with people on coms.  That is especially true early ones mining career, when it takes a while to burn down a rock.  Later on, when you’re running strip miners and tech II crystals and it just takes a cycle and a half to finish off an asteroid and you’re juggling a couple of rocks and watching the scanner to see how much each has left so you can cut the cycle early and move on without wasting time… well… life does become more hectic.

So it was nice to go through the peaceful bit, if only to remember what it was like.  And it was also nice to see that even mining the most common element in New Eden was still a decent way to build up some capital to buy ships, replace old ones, purchase new skills, and all of the other foundation work that sends you off in the various ways of the game.

Not that I am going to go back to mining.  But as an activity it was at the root of all I ended up doing in the game.

 

In the Quiet of Deklein

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.

Deklein - Oct 17, 2013

Deklein – Oct 17, 2013

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.

Mackinaw Mining

Mackinaw Mining

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.

Tengu doing its thing...

Tengu doing its thing…

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.

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?

Revised Roles and Mining Ship Memories

The distortion of time.

In my mind it does not seem so long ago that I downloaded Hadala’s Complete Mining Guide and set myself on the path to mining proficiency in EVE Online.  I bought an Osprey, created a second account to haul ore, got my little gang out in the belts and started on the ISK and skillpoint trail.  I had a plan.

Old models of… everything

And yet that second account, which I have active again, has a character with more that 50 million skill points now.  That was all almost five years ago.

Meanwhile, actually following like that plan seems like it took forever, training up and saving ISK for the next ship.  Yet I had a Retriever in less than a month, and was flying a Hulk in less than three.  Then it was simply a matter of optimizing.

Retriever and Mammoth

I tinkered around with ice mining, grabbing a Mackinaw and training a few more skills.  Later the Orca was introduced and I trained up for that.

Orca and Hulk Back in the Day

But that was all a few years ago and not much has changed since when it comes to the actual mining process.  Yes, the Rorqual showed up.  Prices have fluctuated.  Mineral prices have gone up and down, and the cost of a Hulk has changed quite a bit.  They were around 300 million ISK when they were still a new ship.  I bought my first one for close to 100 million ISK.  Lately, the price has been up again, in the 250 million ISK range thanks to changes in materials.

Well, not much has changed until today.

(You are now safely out of nostalgia and links back to ancient posts.)

Today we got the Inferno 1.2 patch.  You can read the full patch notes or Winterblink’s excellent summary. (Excellent because it pretty much sums up my feelings on a lot of it.)

Winterblink, however, skipped over the mining ship changes.  That is fine, as I want to bring those up.

CCP has decided, after years of neglect (and how many features in the game could be so described?), to change things up for mining barges and exhumers by recasting the whole set in new roles.  So I am going to contrast the new roles with how the ships were viewed back in the heyday of Hadala’s now officially out of date guide to mining.

A look at the barge and exhumer updates after the cut.

Continue reading

The Tug of War Between Escalation and Hulkageddon

Again, CCP_Diagoras offers up data tidbits too juicy to ignore.

This time it is a comparison of mining activity before and after the Inferno: Escalation update went live.

Inferno – The Escalation Begins

One of the notable aspects of this update was the removal of mineral drops from drone NPCs and the removal of tech I ship fittings from all NPC drops.  Both of these were very significant sources of mineral in the New Eden economy.

The intent of this was to spur mining and make it a more profitable venture.

So you would assume that mining activity would be on the rise post-Escalation. And there was an increase some regions of space.

Null sec:

Compared to the 7 day avg before Escalation, the last 7 have seen a 14.3% increase in avg m3 mined in nullsec (from 19.8% to 33.2% of total)

Low sec:

Compared to the 7 day avg before Escalation, the last 7 have seen a 49.1% increase in avg m3 mined in low sec (from 0.26% to 0.58% of total)

WH space:

Compared to the 7 day avg before Escalation, the last 7 have seen a 14.7% increase in avg m3 mined in WH sec (from 2.8% to 4.7% of total)

So far, as expected.  Rising mineral prices appear to be driving a desire to mine.

Then there is high sec:

Compared to the 7 day average before Escalation, the last 7 days have seen a 45.53% decrease in average m3 of ore mined within high sec.

Ouch, a 45% dive!

Of course, Hulkageddon is under way.  And Hulkageddon targets are primarily in high security space.  So most of those (as of this moment)  nearly 4,000 dead mining ships on the leaderboard were in high sec.

The targets are in high sec for two reasons.

First, in low, null, and WH space, miners already have to take defensive precautions every day.  Hulkageddon in null sec, for example, is pretty much a non-event.

Second, most of the miners in the game are in high sec space.  CCP_Diagoras put up one more factoid that illustrates this very well.

Average mined per day for the last 7 days: High (1.47bn m3), Low (13.8m m3), Null (796m m3), WH (112m m3)

So even with a 45% drop in high sec mining, it is still the place where most of the ore is harvested.  High sec accounts for nearly double the ore as the rest of space, even with Hulkageddon in full forces.

I hope we’ll get to see some 7 day yields in the post-Hulkageddon time frame to see how much ore high sec miners will be pulling in when the threat of gank has been (mostly) removed.

Null Sec Mining – Starting Off on the Wrong Foot

One of the allures of 0.0 security space is all the fabulous ore you can mine out there.  The prime end of the asteroid list, Arkenor, Bistot, Crokite, and the very special Mercoxit, which requires a special exhumer, the Skiff, to mine.  All of these refine down to minerals that are quite valuable.   You can get all the tritanium you want in high sec… if you can avoid being blown up at the moment… but for more rare minerals in large quantities, you pretty much have to go to null sec.

Mere Empire rocks… not for me!

And so it was that when I packed my bags for my null sec adventure, I had three ships delivered to null sec.  There was my Crane, a blockade running for moving things around, my Tengu, in which to rat, my Noctis, to salvage rats and anomalies, and one of my Hulks, in order to harvest the bounty of the lawless regions of space.

Combat ships I have purchased out in null sec.  Our alliance has a reasonable supply, pre-fit, up as contracts for members to purchase.  But you have to supply your own supplementary ships.

The Hulk pretty much sat in the station gathering dust for the first couple of months.  There was a war on and all.  But with the end of the war, I though it might be time for it to earn its keep.

I am an old hand at mining in high sec.  I had three accounts going at one point to run my own mini ops.  That was, however, a couple of years ago.  I think the high water mark for me was back in 2009.  That was back before the first Hulkageddon.  And in the mean time, a few of the details seemed to have slipped my mind.  And, in EVE, the details are everything.

To mine with a Hulk at its most efficient, you need the tech II strip miner modules which require you to fit a crystal in each specific to the type of asteroid you are going to mine.  Like everything in EVE, you need a skill to fit strip miners, a high level of that skill to fit the tech II version, and yet another skill for any given crystal you wish to fit.

Along with the Hulk I sent out some crystals I had sitting around.  I had a few for the ABC asteroids, which I think came as mission rewards at some point, along with some for lesser asteroids, just in case.

When the first mining op came around, I got in the Hulk, put some crystals in the hold, and undocked.  I quickly found that I could not fit any of the crystals for the high value ore.  While I only had the standard versions of the crystals, not the tech II versions, the skill needed was higher than I thought.  I had the skills themselves, but only trained up to level II.

Thwarted, I skulked off to setup my training queue for mining.

Each of the level III skills required about a day.  And then there was a wait for another mining op to come around.

I had to wait for another mining op because the Hulk I brought out was fit only for maximum mining efficiency.  One of those fits that Helicity Boson would mock on a Hulkageddon kill mail.  All mining power, no tank beyond the minimum.  I had some drones in the drone bay for killing off rats, and that was fine for high sec mining.  But null sec rats are a bit beefier.  They spawn in battlecruisers and battleships as often as not.

And, of course, the items I would need to refit the Hulk for null sec work were not readily available in our region.  Combat ships? On contract, no problem.  Parts for a Hulk?  I might as well need parts for a Citroën DS.

So I held off mining until an op was going up, during which I would have some protection.

This past Sunday, Gaff was up for such an op.  At least for a short time.  We got out to a belt where somebody else was mining as well and set up shop.

As it was, there were a few of the ABC rocks left, but other people seemed to already be tapping them, and I am never sure of etiquette in that regard.  Do I mine a rock somebody else is working on or not.  So I looked through the cargo hold and found some tech II Kernite crystals.

Kernite isn’t bad.  Yes, I could find that in Amarr space.  But at least with tech II crystals I would be pulling it down at maximum efficiency.  And so I began burning down kernite asteroids.

Burning rocks in null sec

We kept it up for about 40 minutes total, before Gaff had to leave.  During that time I pulled down about 90,000 cubic meters of kernite ore.  Gaff was good enough to haul that back to the station in his Rorqual, a capital level mining ship. (Pictures of his ship here.)

He passed it over to me back in the station.  I contracted 10% of it to our industry director, a requirement of the corp.  Essentially an ore tax.  And then I was left with about 80K m3 of ore.

The station in the system we were mining does not have the ability to refine ore.  To do that I would have to take the pile of ore one jump over, to a station that had refining available.

My ship options were my Noctis, which can hold about 1.5K m3 or cargo, or my Crane, which can hold about 5K m3.  Which would mean a lot of trips.

Even after refining the ore down, the resulting minerals are still going to take up a lot of space, more than either of my potential haulers can manage in one trip.  And to send the minerals off to Jita, where they will fetch the best price, I have to get them a half a dozen jumps over to VFK in order to get them on the regular delivery route.

So actually mining in null sec… easy, once you have the skills and a properly fit Hulk.

The logistics of getting the results to market… less so.

Gaff has a jump freighter out in null sec, and will haul my rocks around.  We just have to be on at the same time, which is difficult during the week.  I am usually logging on at about the time he goes to bed.

It is enough for me to start thinking about getting a hauling alt out in null sec.  Or a mining alt.  I could make that work.

My main character was actually the hauler for my operations back in high sec.  If I could get him a better ship and train up a bit on my main mining character… he needs the skills to fit the ABC crystals… I could make this work.  And then get my alt into the corp.  And then get him out to null sec.

The devil is in the details, as always with EVE, and I have a ways to go before I become space rich on the bounty of null sec asteroids.