I mentioned in Tuesday’s post the introduction of the newly revised and now mandatory Encounter Surveillance System that was foisted on null sec with this months update. There was a whole dev blog about it if you want to read up on it.
To me the whole thing seemed silly in that familiar way when CCP introduces a contrived mechanic and their expectations as to our behavior appear unrealistic.
To put it simply, when you rat in null sec now about a third of your bounty payments go into the ESS “bank.” The ESS runs on a cycle where it will pay that out every three hours. The timer is for everybody, so if you just missed it you’re waiting the whole time (though you do not have to be logged on to get paid), and if your tick hits just before it pays out, you get paid right away.
The ESS bank is in deadspace behind an acceleration gate, so you can warp directly to it, and inside of a warp disruption bubble that keeps people from warping or cloaking and from using MWDs or MJDs. You also cannot light a cyno or set off a filament. Afterburners are okay, and once you are out of the bubble, which is 75km in diameter and centered on the bank, you can warp off.
Also, the acceleration gate will only let in cruisers, battlecruisers, and battleships, which narrows down the options and keeps little fast things from zipping in to do the steal.
I have already seen people working on min/max ideas for both defending and attacking the ESS bank. This what players in EVE Online do, and some winning tactic will emerge soon enough and CCP will either make changes that will simply start the search over again or ignore it an that is the way things will be.
Since I don’t really rat, I can sit on the outside and admire the solutions players craft, and I was treated to a trial run Wednesday night. Asher pinged out to Reavers that he wanted to go out and try stealing some ESS bank loot. I was down with that, as I wanted to see how the whole thing really worked.
He had some fits for us to buy and use and the plan was to use a Needljack Signal filament to yeet us into hostile space… which is pretty much all out null sec for us these days… so we could go find some banks to rob. We undocked, grouped up on Asher, and off we went.
We ended up out in Tenerifis, Legacy Coalition territory. There we had to go find a bank worth robbing.
In what I consider a great injustice, the search function for finding ESS banks is in The Agency, and interface not commonly used out in null sec. It is like CCP was trying to hide it from us. Fortunately we had Dawn Rhea with us, who actually does some high sec stuff that uses The Agency, so she was able to search for some close by banks while some of us were still figuring out where to find this functionality.
That will give you some details and you can narrow your search using several parameters.
Dawn had a system for us, so off we went to get it.
Every system in null sec now has a little bit of the UI devoted to the ESS.
Near the top you can see the bounty risk modifier, which is part of the Dynamic Bounties feature also introduced on Tuesday, At the bottom is the ESS info, which shows you how much money is in the bank. The aqua colored bar is a visual indicator as to how long before the next payout is due. When it fills up, it is payout time.
The location of the ESS acceleration gate shows up on your overview if you have beacons set to show. Likewise, the acceleration gate is just another of a class already around, so no new adjustments need be made.
You just warp to the beacon, take the acceleration gate, and you’re sent into the big bubble around the ESS. That, however, is a new item that you will need to add to your overview.
Once you spot it, somebody has to get within 10km of it. Then you can right click on it… or on its icon in the overview if you have added it there… and select the Access ESS option. From there you get the ESS window, which shows you the details.
The main bank is what you can rob. The reserve bank has yet to be made accessible by CCP.
In that window you click on the “Link” button… why link? I don’t know. CCP being CCP… and that starts the theft. You then have to wait for a five minute timer before you get the loot. If you’re not the one doing the stealing, you get that nice, small red count down bar.
When it starts, the system owners and anybody in the system gets an alert pop up that the bank is being robbed.
Up on the main UI the attempted theft is note, indicating who is doing the stealing.
In our case Merkelchen, head of KarmaFleet and CSM member, was our test case.
You will note that the ESS interfaces indicates that the bank is 70% “convertable.” That means, in robbing the bank, you only get 70% of the value of what is in the bank. Furthermore, it is paid out in bonds of specific denominations that need to be taken to CONCORD stations to redeem.
We had 18 people in the fleet to do the robbing, which meant that the locals in Tenerifis, who were few and far between, let us get away without our theft.
After a couple of runs there we used another filament which sent us up north. We rolled into Vale of the Silent and robbed some more banks. I took a turn at a smaller total that appeared in a bank we had just looted just to try it out. I got to see the UI timer you get when you’re the one doing it.
The main difference is that as the one doing the intrusion you get a larger time that isn’t red. I kind of like the small red one better, but whatever. I also got my name up in the UI.
A ratting tick hit while I was waiting on the timer, so the total went up to 8 million ISK before it was done, boosting my haul.
I was in the system alone with five ratters and nobody came to get me.
The bonds come in standard denominations (you can see them on the market if you search for “bond”) that add up to the amount you’ve stolen.
five 1 million bounty bonds, six 100K bounty bonds, and three 10K bounty bonds will get me 5.63 million ISK when I go turn them in.
After getting the easy bits in Vale, we used another filament to jump to another area. Over time we jumped about, ending up in Omist, Malpais, and The Kalevala Expanse, and finally Oasa.
It wasn’t until we got to Oasa that the locals really began to get feisty. We had a couple of supercarriers on a gate and a Sabre bubble us, but Oasa was where the real fun began.
You might recognize Oasa from the Monthly Economic Report. It is the home of Fraternity and is the crab capital of New Eden currently, topping the charts for bounties and null sec mining. They are serious about their ISK and the did not like us showing up in their space. On starting to rob a bank there with 357 million ISK, they started jumping right in with us.
Our fleet had numbers, but not enough firepower to burn down a couple of marauders.
We got out of the bubble and ran off to another nearby system where the bank had 120 million ISK and was very close to payout. We started the robbery and setup to pop anybody who warped in prematurely.
There was less than five minutes on the clock for payout, but we found that if you’re in the middle of a robbery, the payout is suspended. You can start an intrusion with fewer than five minutes on the clock.
We managed to blow up a couple of eager pilots, including a Cynabal that came for us, but the locals quickly piled on. We lost a couple of ships on the way out, including Asher, at which point Tom Flood took over. We ran from the locals for a few gates, heading towards Venal, waiting for our timers to run down so we can use another filament.
We had been out for a while at that point, and had said that any filament that got us close to home would be the end of the op, but they kept pulling us deeper and deeper into hostile space. This last filament was no exception.
There was, however, a Thera wormhole not too far from where we were. We flew to that and jumped through just as it collapsed of old age. Most of us docked up in Thera to call it a night.
The next day the EVE Scout site said there was a wormhole from Thera straight to Delve, so I took that using their shared bookmark library in-game and was safely back in 1DQ1-A in almost no time. I am not very adept with wormholes, but EVE Scout makes it easy.
Home with my bonds, I realized I probably should have first taken one of the wormholes to high sec and dropped off the bonds for an alt to pick up, but I am not sure I’ll miss that big 5.6 million ISK payout.
But now I can said I’ve robbed a bank in EVE Online. I’m not sure if that is the way it works in GTA V, but it can still lead to a bit of conflict… up until somebody figured out how to defend the ESS with smart bombing battleships or rail tengus or something else that will pop people coming in to steal.