Carrots and Sticks


Motivating people relies on two things: carrots and sticks, or rewards and punishments. With the recent changes to mining most players feel like CCP’s given them the short end of the stick. Some probably feel like CCP’s been beating them with that stick over and over again. I’m not going to pretend to even know the data CCP’s looked at to figure out why and how they need to change resources, but I do know human behaviour. After the domme flogs her sub, a good domme gives aftercare and cuddles. So far, the playerbase has been getting flogged and flogged, and it’s time for our cuddles, please. Safeword.

Mining in a World of Sticks

Mining ships are mostly helpless. If one were to talk about predators and prey in EVE Online, then mining ships would be the epitomic prey. Hulkageddon was a thing for many years. Players went into high sec to gank hulks and other mining ships. Even now, CODE ganks and bumps miners to an abusive extent. Rorquals are pretty formidable, but outside of the null sec blocs, miners are not running those. Most mining happens in high sec, and it’s high sec miners that need CCP’s focus.

During the COVID pandemic, much ado has been made about the essential workers in our societies and how they are often the most underpaid and abused workers. In EVE, miners are the essential workers. In an economy where everything is player made, no minerals means no ships, weapons, or ammo. And despite all the abuse and murder they suffer at the hands of EVE’s sociopathic players, the miners keep going every day.

It’s time to give the miners something. It’s time to give them some teeth. CCP expects these essential workers to go into low sec for their ore. Low sec is a dangerous place. Miners in low sec will die. If CCP wants miners to risk getting beaten with sticks in order to keep New Eden running, then CCP needs to throw them a carrot.

A Ship, a Single Ship with Teeth

Currently, if a solo miner wants to pull in their rocks in a non-helpless ship, they use a Skiff. At 300 million ISK, the Skiff is not cheap. With mining drones out, a solo Skiff pulls in 22.6 m3/s of ore. Combat drones out reduces the ore yield to to 16.9 m3/s, but adds a formidable 274 DPS with drones to 60km. The Skiff is also a little difficult to kill and somewhat difficult to gank at 112 thousand effective hit points.

However, compare that to a battlecruiser like a Ferox, which can do the same amount of damage with rails at over double the Skiff’s drone control range. It’s crystal clear that even a Skiff going into low sec is going to be at a great disadvantage. Not only can an opponent defang a Skiff, but recon ships can warp disrupt a Skiff from outside its drone control range. Fights will still occur more at knife range, but the limitations of a pure drone weapons system need to be noted. (Believe me. I’m a supercarrier pilot.)

If miners are going to go into low sec to mine, they will need something better than a Skiff to deter the psychopaths that live there. A Skiff is a piranha in the high-sec sea of salmon, but low sec is full of sharks.

The Mining Fortress

Back when the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber entered service, it had a range far greater than the ability current fighters to escort. The Boeing corporation decided to mitigate this by placing multiple machine guns on the plane to deter attacks by enemy interceptor aircraft. It didn’t quite work as intended: enemy planes were able to attack and shoot down B-17s in bomber formations. However, the enemy planes took losses, and enemy pilots certainty had a harder time attacking US bomber formations through millions of rounds of .50 cal BMG.

Since CCP has said these changes are going through, why not give miners a nice carrot? Ore or Upwell could come out with a new mining ship designed to get at that delicious low-sec ore. No one is going to take a toothless Procurer with it’s 80 thousand EHP, or their 300 million ISK Skiff into low sec to mine.  

Cue dramatic music and stern talking voice over (done by Kurtwood Smith):

Introducing the Pioneer, a new ORE ship class, designed for mining in hostile low sec. Based on the same hull as the Primae/Noctis (Wait a minute, Primae Noctis; really CCP?) /Porpoise hull, but armed enough to deter enemy attacks. 

Armed with six heavy missile launchers, the Pioneer-class armed delver is immediately able to engage enemy ships that appear on grid. Because the weapon system is launcher based, it is always able to engage enemy targets that appear—no time lost to recalling drones. And while the Pioneer might not hit with the same power of a Drake, it is more than enough to deter casual attacks on a Pioneer mining fleet. 

The mining ability of the Pioneer comes from five mining drones. They allow the Pioneer to suck up valuable Nocxium from low sec rocks. While the Pioneer, a Tech I ship, cannot match the Skiff in raw mining throughput, it remains competitive with the mining frigates. The reasonable drone bay allows for in situ replacement of loss mining drones.

The combination of drone mining and missile weapons allow the Pioneer to remain active in a low sec belt or anomaly, even if they are attacked by pirate rats. When attacked by other capsuleers, a Pioneer pilot may have loaded combat drones in the hull to allow them to pour more dps on if they need to.

The Pioneer possesses a strong shield tank, similar to a battlecruiser, for increased survivability in high-threat environments.  The shielding systems allow not only for passive regeneration of tank, but also immediate shield transfers from friendly logistics ships that may be with the mining fleet.  

The Pioneer-class armed delver from ORE is the newest and best ship for high threat operations.

End dramatic voice over

The Pioneer mines less than an excavator, but more than a frigate. It has 6 launchers, but because of lack of bonuses to weapons doesn’t equal a Drake in DPS—maybe not even a Caracal. It has the EHP of a battlecruiser and roughly the same cost. It’s a compromise that doesn’t take over any existing mining ship’s roles. And it doesn’t replace any dedicated combat ship. In short, it’s a combination of trade-offs.

I don’t mine, not if I can help it. It’s true I did some mining in a Rorqual in null sec. And I certainly don’t mine in high sec. However, I do not begrudge those who do. I can’t change the sociopathic behaviour of some EVE players, and even if I could, I think it would make for a dull game. All that said, it’s time to give the miners some teeth. When miners in Blair Mountain, West Virginia were getting the short end of the stick by the companies they worked for, the miners picked up rifles and fought back. The miners, and the side of labor, might have lost that battle, but they won the larger war. It’s time for CCP to give EVE’s miners a chance to fight back.

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  • Optimus Primae

    I don’t know about mining either, but is there potential for this to be severely weaponized in combination with Rorqual panic?

    October 12, 2020 at 3:13 PM
  • Nate Hunter

    I mean a new mining ship would be cool but I think it’d be easier if CCP just increased the fitting options of the barges to be close to a t1 or t2 cruiser depending on the ship. I guess procurer and skiff have some options but their ehp is mostly reliant on base hp not fittings.

    For lowsec mining I think it’d be better as a snatch and run scenario where CCP could like 100 x the yield per m3 of the crokite / dark ochre and reduce the volume of the ore per anomaly by the same. The sites would become so small that a couple of endurances could mine the site in a few minutes. Then they’d have to go hunting for a new location.

    October 12, 2020 at 3:53 PM
  • John Karl

    I am a PVPer who has mined successfully in FW LOWSEC for hours. I’ve done it as a mining FC and as a solo pilot. A new mining ship is not required.

    As a mining FC, the corp mined our moons successfully with little drama. The key was setting conditions. Scouts were placed in adjacent systems and we only mined in systems with 3 Stargates or less. Since our primary trade was LOWSEC piracy we knew when & where to mine choosing quiet times/systems in FW LOWSEC. Our typical mining fleet had 8-10 players running 12-16 pilots. Fleet comp Porpoise, 2-3 Procurers to deal with rats, one Miasmos, and the remainder in Covetors/Hulks. We kept a RLML Caracal fleet in our Athanor for reshipping. We’d mine for ~2-3 hours or until our ore m3 goal was met. When the scouts spotted a fleet on the gate we safed up/reshipped. We funded our corp PVP activities with little drama. We operated after the Athanor update for a year this way with few losses in ships and always met our m3 goal for each belt. We operated multiple Athanors and varied belt spawn times so we didn’t set a pattern.

    As a solo noob eve player in 2013, I mined in LOWSEC consistently with a Procurer. I was tank fit, DPS drones, rigs supporting fast alignment (<7s) and 1 WCS. I mined in belts off Dscan from Stargates (a must) and Stations when possible. Pirates rarely warp to belts (especially if there are more than 10 in system) or Stations. The typical pirate or fleet scout jumps in, hits Dscan, calls clear and moves on while the fleet jumps in behind him. During that process I watched Dscan. If they hit my Dscan I warped to station….90% of the time I was undisturbed. My mining BMs were on the back side of the belts so if someone landed at the belt and I missed them on Dscan. They were 40+ km away and I warped off. Obviously a properly maintained contacts list was also essential and never letting them see me on grid. Since 2013 expedition frigates, mining barge changes and Structures have further reduced risk.

    In LOWSEC, nothing is safe. You manage your risk with some redundancies to offset the inevitable oh-shit moments. Corp mining assumes some losses, we did. Our losses were minimal making the ops very profitable for the corp. For solo or small groups if you pay attention it's the same. You don't need a new hull…properly organized, the current mining ships can get the job done.

    October 12, 2020 at 7:37 PM
  • The problem with mining isn’t mining ships: it’s miners. It doesn’t matter how formidable you make a hull: no ship– not even a Rorqual– can safely mine solo. No matter how much tank or DPS you’ve got on tap, if scouts find you out mining, hostiles will put together a gang that can kill your ship. The bigger, harder hitting, and more expensive the ship, the larger the gangs you’re going to attract.

    The best way to mine is to field simple Procurers and Porpoises, enlist the help of some friends to scout and fend off rat spawns or lone frigate/destroyer assailants. Mine away. Kill stuff if you can. Warp out if it’s more than you can handle. Nobody is going to go out of their way to kill a Procurer gang– they’re tanky and annoying and not worth anything. And no remotely-reasonable amount of stat-buffing is going to enable miners to go out alone, mine plenty of ore, AND kill anybody who comes to attack them. It’s not a thing. We kill people who think they can solo mine in Rorquals all the time, and those have an invulnerability button, tank thousands of DPS, and deal close to a thousand DPS with their choice of zoomy drones or sentries (not to mention the utility highs). It doesn’t work: they die all the time. Whether it’s PvP or PvE, in EVE Online, teamwork makes the dream work. What these miners need is to recruit a few friends and come to terms with the fact that they may lose their ships. The price of Nocx will surely float upwards if lowsec mining proves unpalatable to a majority of “miners” (as I’m sure it will). The juice should end up worth the squeeze.

    October 14, 2020 at 1:53 AM
  • Matt Tho

    Not even concidering the risk, random belts with 10k rocks and the odd anom with 20k rocks in will never replace the spawn on demand nulsec anoms with 250k-1m m3 rocks, supply will dwindle, you can make lowsec as attractive as you want, make whatever ship you like, but the volume just isnt there in the first place.

    October 18, 2020 at 1:10 PM