Tag Archives: suicide ganking

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

Ganking Tourism

Suicide ganking.

It is just one of those EVE Online things.  People have written complaining about it.  People have written guides on how to do it.  People have organized events dedicated to it.

Even having been a victim of it once, I have never actually seen it happen.  I was AFK when it happened to me, which is why it happened, of course.

The Goons, while busy elsewhere, still have their anti-ice mining event going in Gallente space.  I have a friend in a Goon allied corp and he was keen to give Mackinaw ganking a shot. (Mackinaw’s are the ships used to mine ice.)

So the other day he said I should fly out and meet in at Tolle, a system that sits between two stars with ice belts, and I could be his target for jumping in to attack miners.  I agreed, wanting to see this happen at least once and not really having any other mission going on in EVE.

Tolle was 20+ jumps from my location, so I just hopped in a shuttle and started on my way.  About half way there my friend suggested that I come in a ship that could salvage, like maybe a Noctis.  I turned around, flew back, swapped into my salvage destroyer and flew out and parked in Tolle.

Once there, other events overtook and no ganking occurred.

The next evening though I got on and it looked like something might happen.  He and a corp mate were stalking Mackinaws already.  They wanted to know if I had a ship handy that could warp cloaked.  I do in fact have such a ship.  I have a fully fitted Buzzard.  It was just sitting in a hanger 20+ jumps away.

The reason they wanted that is because ice miners, when they are not bots, are decidedly suspicious of random ships warping in and and laying along side.  The miners tend to just warp back to the station when you do that, which can be amusing in and of itself.  It is like sending a flock of birds into flight.  I spent a little bit of time doing that.

Chasing Mackinaws

Those that did not flee at the mere sight of a Cormorant pulling up alongside generally had some more active defenses going on, like this group which had a pair of Dominixes… Dominixae… a couple of battleships reinforcing their Mackinaws.

Domi Reinforcement

I went off then to check the other ice system and did find a big formation of Mackinaws, with two Orcas riding along and another Orca hauling back to the station.  They did not appear to be spooked by my presence in the ice belt.

Mackinaws in formation

My pal asked me to move about 250km out of the belt and bookmark that location, so he could use it as a “perch” from which to strike.  Of course, I failed to do that correctly.  I managed to bookmark the ice field directly rather than my spot 250km away.  I’ll have to go back and figure out how to bookmark a spot in space again.  It has been a while.

My friend got his Brutix in system and ready to go.

Brutix ready to gank

While he did that, I went back to shadowing the Mackinaw fleet.  That was when we discovered I had screwed up the bookmark, as the Brutix warped in about 20km away.  Still, the mining fleet did not disperse, align, or even stop mining.  They just carried on in formation.

They just keep mining

That made things easier.  I was asked to get in close to the fleet, less than 5km if possible.  I set myself to follow the middle Mackinaw at 2,500 meters and just became part of the traveling circus.  I said I was in place and in the Brutix jumped and went to the attack.

Brutix opens up!

This is when I realized that I forgot to launch FRAPs, because I wanted to make a video of the attack.

Anyway, the Brutix went in, opened fire, CONCORD shouted, things happened on the far side of that obscuring Orca in the picture above, and before I could fix the camera angle, it was done.

A Brutix explodes

The Brutix was just a wreck (note the name of the ship in the picture above, that is the straight from the Goon playbook) and the Mackinaw fleet continued on mining.  You can see my Cormorant, brightly lit by the explosion, in trail behind the formation.

This is the point where I am told the Goon handbook says you are to “stink up local” by taunting the infidels and shouting Allah Akbar!  That is the whole Goon Jihad theme.  Watch the movie.

That did not go as planned either and I ended up chatting with the guy running the mining op for a bit and taking a bunch of screen shots, since it is not every day you see a formation like that mining.

Pretty blue lasers

I am glad they put the blue lasers back for ice mining.

The fleet actually moved a couple of times so I could get some good shots.  I put one of the more dramatic shots over on EVE Online Pictures after giving the URL in local.  Meanwhile, my friend was casting about for another ship.

And then it was time for dinner.  I said good bye to everybody and logged off.

I still have not seen a suicide gank in person, though I did get some nice screen shots.

My friend and his companion kept at it and managed to knock off a Mackinaw eventually.

Maybe next time it will happen when I am on… and have remembered to load FRAPs.

Hulkageddon Declares War on All Industrialists

The problem with running an event like Hulkageddon is that you will inevitably feel the need to turn things up a notch with succeeding iterations, lest things become stale.

So first it was killing exhumers for prizes.  Then there were better prizes, and then there were achievements and prizes for special types of kills.  But where to go from there?

Well, according to the Hulkageddon IV site, you go here:

2) Haulers are fair game now

Since merely blowing up mining vessels is fun, this time around we are broadening the target spread to generate more tears of dismay! In Hulkageddon 4 all mining vessels, orcas, freighters, haulers, noctis and primae count towards your score! Yes, you read that right, all the vessels mentioned there count for the main prize. In addition to that some vessels have their own achievements linked to them, check the prizes page for all the details!

In the past, those who have participated in the Hulkageddon events have had some pride in their claim to a (thin) veneer of legitimacy by pointing out rather loudly that they were hurting bad people, ISK sellers who were using 3rd party programs to mine while AFK.

But now it is all haulers as well.  And I am sure that, having killed a hauler, they’ll have a friend around to collect any cargo that might be left behind.  Why let that go to waste, eh?  We have a sponsored suicide ganking event.  Wasn’t that an issue at some point in the past?

It is just a dedicated “screw the carebears” week now in EVE Online, and claims that is anything else it are just a pile of BS.

And there isn’t anything anybody can do about it.  CCP actively subsidizes this sort of activity with an in-game insurance mechanism that ensures that the gankers face no financial loss while the victims suffer.

There is some sort of an attempt at a counter event called Griefer-Geddon, but it is a joke. (Not to mention kind of a lame name choice. Was Ganker-pocalypse taken?) Trying to quickly kill the gankers in that small window between when they attack their target and when CONCORD does them in is a pointless effort.  You might save a ship or two, but the ganker still gets his insurance payout and there is no way to be at the right place at the right time with any consistency.

So there you go, a game with a system that totally prevents any sort of active response to predatory behavior.  Your only options are defense and avoidance.  You cannot attack, you cannot retaliate.

Welcome to EVE Online.

And be careful flying February 19th through the 28th.

EVE Online Suicide Ganking – A How To Guide

Over at his blog, TooNuRacoon has a pretty thorough look into the basics of setting up and executing a suicide gank in EVE Online.  If you’re interested in that sort of thing… intellectually or otherwise.

Theoretical targets only... right?

TNR goes through ship choice and outfitting (simple), target choice, fleet formation and execution, and the economic results of such a venture.

An interesting read, even if you are not planning to participate in the next Hulkageddon.

Hulkapocalypse?

Things may be warming up a bit for us in New Eden.  Gaff has reactivated an account or three.  I am coming to the end of a training cycle that will let him fly a Hulk at last.  It might be time to leave the hanger and earn some ISK.

But I hear from other sources associated with our nominal confederation that the current favorite sport in empire space is Hulk busting.

Prey2

Prey Yet Again?

Gangs of suicide gankers in destroyers have been roving the asteroid belts hunting Hulks for sport.  We just can’t seem to get away from suicide gankers in EVE, no matter what anybody says.  Some people just find it too much fun.

I haven’t been paying close attention to EVE, but I do tend to scan the headlines and have not seen anything about this.  Has anybody else noticed this phenomena?  Not that I don’t believe.  After all, it the Goons had their own Hulk busting campaign a while back.  But it would be interesting to know how wide spread this is.

Busting rocks in empire space may be a hazardous profession these days.

Still, I have to wonder.  Wilhelm, my main, has his shield skills pretty much at level 5 across the board.  I am going to guess that most miners, especially mining alts, do not have the same skill set.

Could I fit out a Hulk so that it could survive long enough for CONCORD to step in and save the day?

What is a good tank fit for a Hulk?

Time to see if my copy of EVE Fitting Tool is up to date.

The Secure Commerce Commission Needs Teeth!

The whole “suicide ganking” issue has been getting a lot of play in EVE Online discussion circles. Groups of players in high security systems, systems with CONCORD police patrols, sacrificing themselves to blow up your ship so their corp mates can then loot your wreck and make off with the goodies you were hauling.

I’m coming up on two years in the game, and that is just life in EVE.   I’ve faced the issue myself.  And CCP says that it is not griefing as long as the motive is economic gain.

Highway robbery is a valid economic proposal in EVE Online!

The scheme is more than a little dubious as people make alts, train them up just enough to be effective, gank away until they lose enough security status to no longer be useful, then roll another alt.

I suppose you can make a claim about “false IDs” or getting your security clearance “doctored” as a role play justification for this, but it is still a matter of a game mechanism being used as it was not intended.

The attacks have been getting worse of late though. I have been shot up a couple of times flying an empty hauler. Fortunately I was on my guard a couple of times and the attacker was inept in the one other case. But still, you want to shout “BUY A CARGO SCANNER” in the local channel. I get the “for profit” aspect, but now gangs are just crapping on people for no reason.

Of course, some people want CONCORD to be more effective. They want CONCORD out kicking butt and taking names.

When it was just economic gain that people were pursuing with this behavior, CCP seemed disinclined to change things. Now that it seems to be something of an epidemic, CCP has taken official notice. In the latest EVE Insider Dev Blog they have listed out some measures that they are looking into to keep suicide ganking from being so easy.

The items they are proposing seem good to me. They do not appear, in my eyes, to push CONCORD too far from their position of “force of retribution” as opposed to a “force of protection.” Still, I bet the debates will rage on the EVE forums.

But, while we’re on the subject, I would like to toss out one more idea that I think is completely in keeping with the nature of EVE Online.

I would changes things so that, if you attack and destroy a ship in a high security system, you should not only face the wrath of CONCORD, but you (and your helpers) should also have to pay back the Secure Commerce Commission for any insurance payout they have to make.

And, while I was doing that, I would also raise the insurance premiums and payouts on Tech II ships.

I think that a realistic economic disincentive to ganking would do nearly as much to slow it down as making CONCORD more aggressive. If you do not have enough ISK in your account when you kill somebody, you balance goes negative. Of course, people could work around that with trades, so you would probably have to add in something to prevent people from deleting characters with negative ISK balances or at least some ability to impound ships or equipment.

I know I would make sure I had the platinum insurance plan on all my ships if a high sec ganker was going to have to take care of the payout!

What else, if anything, should CCP consider?