Moon Mining: A Huge Blind Spot

Vulxanis Viceroy 2017-08-01

In CCP’s July Update, there was a number of encouraging updates and teasers. I was especially excited about the fact that CCP actually listened to the community regarding the Blood Raider Shipyard issue. They even said they planned on making changes to void bombs, which effectively nerfs Citadels and will allow more doctrines to be usable against them. However, there was something that struck me and as interesting. There were no Rorqual or industry ship changes mentioned even with the upcoming refineries and the massive material wealth entering the game. Let me explain.

Why this Matters

Unless CCP has an update coming that they haven’t shared, they apparently don’t seem to notice a huge oversight with their Upwell Moon Mining Refinery concept. Assuming the general mindset for a majority of players remains the same, the complexes will see significant use in Nullsec, but almost none in Lowsec. Lowsec rarely has mining operations anyway as it is, and yet CCP plans on making it necessary for Lowsec moons to be mined? A friend pointed out that the most likely outcome is that the Aussie Timezone will become the most active for using these structures. The most efficient system will be to wait until maybe 30 mins or less before downtime. Then, simultaneously log in a large mining fleet, and race against the clock and mine the moon ore with the cover of downtime approaching providing a protective barrier.

This does not mean there will be no security fleets posted to protect these mining fleets. However, the main problem will be mustering the numbers to get the fleets to take advantage of the moon chunks. This is because people are afraid of losing their ships. A majority of the player-base does not have the cultural infrastructure to make this a viable reality in Lowsec as many do in Null.

This does not mean that refineries are a bad idea. Far from it. I personally find them to be one of the more interesting ones that CCP has had in the time I’ve been playing and look forward to seeing how they work out. Short of Planetary Interaction or working the market, passive ISK acquisition is not a good thing. Especially since the moon mining is almost always a large group operation, this change is for the better. But to truly capitalize on this change, CCP needs to give the ships that are meant to be used for this operation an incentive to be risked. The solution that I and a few friends came up with was that two things should happen. The Rorqual needs to be treated like the capital it is, and mining Subcaps need to be given some serious love.

Rorqual: Mythical Beast Unleashed

We are not the first to come up with this concept. However, this idea has been barely discussed in the greater Eve community. Rorquals right now are too passive. They are also the other half of the insane income problem that CCP tried to partially curb with the carrier fighter nerf last month, even if they don’t seem to realize it yet. If CCP treated Rorquals like they were actually industry carriers, they would no longer be so passive.

The Rorqual is mechanically a FAX, a Dreadnaught, and a Carrier, just for Industry. CCP should give the Rorqual a fighter bay and change Excavator Drones into flights of Mining Fighters. Obviously, these mining fighters would need to have the speed and DPS mechanic style of normal fighters as well as give them ore hold that can be visually monitored. They could come up with some kind of advanced mining “missile” attack. And instead of using regular drones, I feel that the Rorqual deserves to have actual fighters for its DPS. One way this loadout could look like would be they could have 3 fighter tubes, but only field 2 DPS fighter wings, and maybe one support fighter.

Altogether, these changes would make mining with Rorquals a dedicated activity that would be difficult to manage and cannot be simply passively done. Not only that but if these fighters were given similar boosts to their speed, it would be beneficial to Rorqual pilots in getting their drones back safely. As an added bonus, making the Rorqual required to use fighters would remove the current usage of the Capital Drone Mining Augmentor I & II rigs, making the Rorqual more of a balanced support ship.

Another concept a friend came up with that would make the Rorqual more useful as an industry dreadnaught, is a kind of “Mining Doomsday”. Similar to the Lance or Reaper Titan Doomsdays, this could have some kind of +50% mining bonus to mining lasers on those specific asteroids for a limited time. This would allow for them to be especially useful to larger fleets rather than just providing boosts. A combination of fighter mechanics and a doomsday would treat the Rorqual like the Capital Beast that it is rather than a glorified Subcap leftover from before the Citadel Expansion.

Barges and Exhumer buffs

Here are some options to discuss as a community. The motto here should be “They shouldn’t die less, they should die less quickly.” The following options would be to make the mining barges and exhumers less of an intentionally weak line of ships, rather make them more like genuine assets that would be marketed for their usability to the industrialists who would buy them. None of the following options are mutually exclusive. I simply like to present these topics to the greater Eve community to discuss, and hopefully get the cogs in CCP heads turning.

Option 1: Control of intel. Give some or all of the barges and exhumers the ability to not show up on Dscan. This would force people who are hunting them down to actually have to work for it, especially in lower security space. The Mackinaw would be the ideal candidate for this kind of treatment at least, as its large ore bay gives it a very independent feel.  Another option for other ships (such as the Hulk) would be the ability to change what you see on Dscan for itself. It could pretend to be an Orca, skiff, or even an interceptor.

Option 2: Not a Frigate. Honestly, barges/exhumers are glorified frigates when it comes to their stats and fitting abilities currently. They deserve better. A way to do this would be to buff up all their tanks and give them basic cruiser level PG and CPU. This option could be combined with any of the others listed here. What this could look like would be to give the Retriever and the Covetor the tank of the Procurer. Then make the Procurer as tanky as the Porpoise.

For the Exhumers, make the Mackinaw and the Hulk roughly as tanky as the Procurer is currently but with the T2 resists. Give the Skiff more hull, which combined with cruiser like fittings will give it a modest tank boost. The Orca and the Porpoise should be left as is since their roles are very solid and they are in a good place right now mechanically.

Lastly, it would be useful to give all the barges/exhumers strong bonuses to their drone hitpoints, but not their drone DPS beyond what it is currently. An easy example of a ship that already has this would be the Astero. The idea here would be to make them more akin to turtles, rather than porcupines. Right now they’re shrews.

Option 3: Tank based on System Security Status. Give barges and exhumers more powerful tank and other bonuses the lower the security status of the system they are in. Yes, you read that correctly. My friend came up with this during a late night discussion and I feel it is probably the most brilliant of all of these options.

For example, maybe the Machinaw could get a Dscan immunity in Lowsec and better tank in null. The Hulk could get mining and tank in Lowsec and better cargo hold and tank in null. Maybe in wormholes, they could get more tank and Drone Damage. The sky is the limit here. Balance the ships to the space, not the ships to the universe.

If miners actually had a better bonus to their resists and EHP the lower security they go, this would significantly boost the bravado and concern facing people when being given the option to risk their assets. We have already seen some kind of mechanic along these lines with the CONCORD ships, so this could be totally doable. Plus it could be lore friendly by having ORE (a member of the Upwell Consortium) give a new bonus to Capsuleer ships that are designed to encourage them to be more adventurous.

Conclusion

As mentioned previously, Lowsec seriously has a problem when it comes to industry. Right now the only thing that is happening on a grand scale are the POS towers mining moons. Once those are gone, changes like these would be sorely needed. The idea with these changes would be to make the Rorqual more useful, and the mining ships a less suicidal option. While Gankers will whine about any buffs to the tank of mining ships, they can simply outsmart the mechanics given enough time (stealth bombers being used to gank freighters, anyone?). These proposed changes wouldn’t make these ships overpowered. It would simply make them worth their price tags.  They need to not die less, but less instantly.

The refinery’s defenses are not going to be enough to incentivize most players to risk mining in Lowsec and even Null in some cases. Hopefully, CCP will notice this oversight with their plan far before the Winter Expansion. If nothing else, my friends and I hope to have provided interesting topics of discussion that could hopefully reach CCP’s ears. Nonetheless, I look forward to seeing what CCP has in store.

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Comments

  • Pew Pew

    There was a great article by James 315 on themittani.com years ago. Basically he was explaining how a PVP food chain works.

    The general idea is that everyone wants to fight people weaker than them. However this only works if there is someone at the bottom of the food chain who is the weakest.

    So the idea is if you have industrials out in space who are vulnerable then pirates can hunt them. Then pirate hunter packs can hunt the pirates and large fleets can hunt the pirate hunter packs etc. Everyone feeds off each other.

    However in order for this to work the industrials have to be vulnerable, and industrialists don’t want this. They make this exact argument you make (and there’s nothing wrong with that). “I would fly more if I were safer.”

    IMO getting rid of jump drives and making all mining vessels much weaker would actually encourage attackers to go after them. This would make content for everyone.

    In general I think this article and the comments on the one about logi a few days ago both suffer from the same fallacy. It’s thinking that “I want a buff for just myself, so I suppose I’ll compromise and say everyone should be buffed in the same way.” The problem is this can make the game worse for everyone.

    Remember when everyone wanted bigger ore holds for mining barges? Well that killed jetcan mining which was one of the best, most community driven, unique features about EVE. Hilmar tells the story about how Jetcan mining proved to him EVE was a great game, and they just killed it for people like you who just ask for buffs to themselves.

    Ultimately why not make industrials invincible? Then people would mine waaaaay more. But then the PVP food chain is completely dead.

    August 1, 2017 at 7:43 am
  • chimpy

    I’m sorry but this is one of the worst articles I’ve read here in a long time. It’s a textbook example of “Buff X because I want more and I am blind to the wider scope of the game.” Bonus points for X being mining ships ( again ). The best tank for mining ships is other players in a protective role. And therein lies your problem I assume, lack of player numbers to defend your mining fleet. Player numbers count more than ship and module strength. Trying to buff ship and module strength to counter player numbers is a fool’s errand that refuses to die in Eve. If you want to mine in hostile waters in Eve you need the numbers to do it.
    I think you might even be missing the wider picture here – what if CCP is trying to see if they can encourage conflict between null and low by giving large null blocks incentive to controll parts of low for the very purpose of taking by force their moongoo? You may find null rolls up in parts of low and makes a very simple statment – this is our moongoo.
    Make mining ships better at combat is not the solution to a problem you haven’t defined in Eve. It’s not a logial solution either. Lets say for the sake of argument CCP made mining ships good at combat, and in response your enemies turn up in greater numbers. Now you are back where you started. What do we do ? Buff mining ships to be even better at combat again? Before long everyone is flying mining ships in combat because they are better than combat ships. e.g. battle Rorqual. Buffing ships outside their role is a never ending slippery slope that destroys ship balance in game and doesn’t solve your original player numbers problem. You fix a player numbers problem by getting more players either directly by getting more, or indirectly through politics and diplomacy. It cannot be fixed by creating ship imbalance.

    August 1, 2017 at 8:26 am
    • Alaric Faelen chimpy

      While I agree with the thrust of what you’re saying, Chimpy, I do think there are ideas in there worth looking into.
      For example linking a tanking boost to sec status of a system sounds interesting. Basically because it’s not just another across the board buff that would just mean even more high sec care bearing. If players want a buff to industrial ships, they need to leave high sec. I don’t know if it would work in practice, but the idea has merit. I just know I am so tired of seeing industrial ships sporting battleship level tanks and more weapons than a cruiser fleet.

      I think you’re spot on about the core issue being lack of fleet numbers. But fixing that would assume that low sec be run by a very few mega-coalitions like null sec is. Because let’s face it- THAT is how you can have useful mining fleets AND protection/escort- by having a giant pool of players to draw upon.
      Low sec would have to be organized and homogenized the way sov is for that to be viable. I guess you can debate whether that is a good thing or not. Many folks probably wouldn’t want to see low sec become so stratified.

      Also, there would have to be a reworking of aggression mechanics in low sec to allow for ‘active defense’ of a fleet. Currently you can do nothing until attacked lest YOU become the criminal. Defense fleets need more freedom to operate if they are going to be effective.
      Perhaps a mechanic that allows a fleet to ‘lay claim’ to a belt or anom- making it a free fire zone for non-fleet members that appear on grid, with a pop-up warning for the intruder that the belt/anom is claimed.

      But we go back to the old problem of risk vs reward in high sec ultimately. Any change to content needs to consider whether it’s better to do this new thing, or just plex another account in high sec and throw volume at the problem. Also- whether there is anything in the game worth doing that isn’t running an SP farm and plex speculating right now- but that’s another rant.

      August 1, 2017 at 7:34 pm
      • chimpy Alaric Faelen

        What Eve problem are you proposing to solve? The closest I can find is the section titled “Why this matters”. It seems you make the argument that new moon mining is unlikely to happen in lowsec, but you follow this up with “Lowsec rarely has mining operations anyway as it is” So no change then? Biggest argument I can infer is that currently it’s fairly passive moongoo income, and that it’s going to have to become active ship mining instead. This will generate more fleets. I’m not a lowseccer myself but it’s my understanding that its been getting steadily harder to get fights in lowsec? Might mining operations not shake this up a bit? I guess it will depend on the risk/reward balance. Given the moongoo is getting redistributed might not some R64 stuff end up in lowsec? Is there currently any R64 in low? Wouldn’t low dwellers fight quite hard over R64? Might not even null come a slithering over for some hot R64 action? If low decides “nah” on low moongoo as you say won’t the price of moongoo go up? Thus increasing the reward for those who do fleet up for it?
        I think it’s CCP’s job to continually balance risk reward and make sure that there are conflict drivers in the game. Without change we get blue doughnuts of boredom and those miners don’t get to sell the fruits of their labours if nothing is exploding. This change may work it may not. We’ll find out soon 🙂 I disagree that novelty buffs are the solution to any Eve problem sorry.

        August 1, 2017 at 8:32 pm
        • chimpy chimpy

          I got you confused with the OP sorry.

          August 1, 2017 at 8:40 pm
    • Sullen Decimus chimpy

      I was going to type up my own response but Chimpy here pretty much nailed most the points. This is coming from the person that wrote up the document which included most of the orca improvements + the porpoise theory crafting. You can’t just suggest improvements without considering the entire scope of the game. Here are some examples:

      -“Give the Skiff more hull, which combined with cruiser like fittings will give it a modest tank boost.”
      sweet jesus of god no…. Skiff fleets are already tanky as shit and do a crazy of dps. If anything Skiff fleets need a low slot removed since right now it mines faster than the mackinaw as there is almost no need for a DC where as the mack needs a DC to not be a “rofl you fucking idiot” fit ship.

      -“They could come up with some kind of advanced mining “missile” attack.”
      Have you ever ratted with current carriers? It’s autistic/carpel tunnel inducing cancer gameplay. Literally people have been shifting to ishtar/VNI ratting cause carrier ratting is so goddamn terrible to play. Why the fuck would you want to have mining like that… Most of the people who enjoy mining enjoy the relaxing aspect of it, not the click fest of carrier ratting that requires 3 shots and a well packed bowl in for proper near comatose gaming.

      August 1, 2017 at 10:44 pm
  • phuzz

    If you’re varying cargo hold space by location, what happens if I fill my hold when I have a (eg) +10% bonus capacity, and then move somewhere where I no longer have that bonus. Would 10% of my cargo just get ejected?

    August 1, 2017 at 10:52 am
  • Why not just give the Rorqual a CONCORD Siege module that concordokkens anyone who attacks you 😛

    August 1, 2017 at 11:23 am
  • DnoFM

    Just wanted to say that I 100% support the idea, that this is a horrible piece. It shows some real misunderstanding of how EVE works and what’s best for it.

    August 1, 2017 at 1:30 pm
  • Nope, let’s not do any of this.

    August 1, 2017 at 4:55 pm
  • Ed Stafford

    So, I’m definitely not with this article in much of any area except that removing the passive income of Moon Goo is probably the right idea in the first place. Where you went wrong was going from a discussion on moon goo to quibbles about Industry.

    I’m an industrialist in Sov Null, and I spend a lot of time in a Rorqual. I’ve lasted for over 20 minutes against cruiser fleets solo, and I’ve been dunked by hot-drop fleets in less than 10. It’s more about numbers than anything. If they bring the numbers and I don’t have enough of my guys on to put up a fight, it’s a win for the PvPers. That being said, I do have some kills in my Rorq.

    Rolling back to the original discussion, the goo issue has a large amount of unknowns currently, and this is where I think attention needs to be spent.
    * Can we actually use Excavators to mine it, will there be another 5b dunk into drones for a new, special type, and what about normal mining drones?
    * Will the ore be like Mercoxit? Only way to mine is with special guns/crystals?
    * What kinds of yields will we see out of the belts? More goo? Less goo? I can get 100 units of Chromium every hour. That’s 2400 units a day. So, if I spawn a chromium belt each week, can I get at least 16,800 units of Chromium from it?
    * What will the Drilling Platform require with respect to fuel?

    Another part of this will be corp time. Right now, we have the occasional mining ore for the corp to build drones/modules/barges/hole rollers with. Once a week, we do an ice mining op to support our towers. Moving forward, how many different corp ops are we going to need to keep Goo Supplies in order? Do we still need these once/wk ice mining ops to fuel the drilling platforms?

    That’s where I think most of us are really concerned. If I need to collect roughly 11 types of goo to make a single race’s T2 ships (using the unrefined recipes), that’s 11 mining ops. Methinks there’s going to be a lot more trading than there used to be, and potentially a new market for Null corps.

    August 1, 2017 at 5:30 pm
  • Rhivre

    Apologies for the delay in your comment, it got eaten by first of all Disqus, then by site comments.

    August 1, 2017 at 7:09 pm
  • Vulxanis Viceroy

    After reading the below comments, I realize that I did not provide any alternative viewpoints, but rather presented a somewhat one-sided perspective on this topic. The point of this article was to provide (primarily) ideas to get a discussion going. I would like to point out that I do actually appreciate the constructive criticism I have received.

    I recognize that I could do a better job balancing my points, and unfortunately this piece is already long enough as it is. In the future I will make more of an effort to be more balanced and try and get ideas outside of my echo chamber before making an argument.

    I would be very interested in hearing ideas regarding changes that could be made to the point I made regarding lowsec, namely that it likely will not be as populated with the upcoming patch. I will keep these ideas in mind when providing points for discussion in the future.

    August 1, 2017 at 8:07 pm
    • I hear there’s an old saying. For any Eve problem you are going to propose a solution to, define the problem well first. Get that right and the rest will follow.
      Don’t get put off by our negativity, you are putting effort into providing free content for us. We appreciate that even if we are a stinking unwashed rabble throwing our own poop at you.
      See if you can filter any constructive stuff out of the poop, throw the remainder away. Don’t take it too seriously 🙂

      August 1, 2017 at 8:37 pm
      • Pew Pew chimpy

        2nd’d

        August 1, 2017 at 9:12 pm
      • Vulxanis Viceroy chimpy

        Thank you that means a lot 🙂

        August 1, 2017 at 10:39 pm
  • chuck

    keep writing Vulxanis, you cant make everyone happy all of the time

    August 2, 2017 at 3:44 am
  • Rishian Starfury

    The author has no concept of how industry works in order to meet market demands you have to have a mechanic that scales it doesn’t matter what vehicle is used or how it is buffed or nerfed. There in lies the problem, once you have scale-ability as a mechanic players will exploit it. There is only one way to “fix” it and that is remove mining as a mechanic, but since it is a core Jesus feature that will not happen. The author lacks perspective and I doubt has even flown a Rorq. Seriously all of New Eden is now less intelligent because of this article, Vulxanis you should literally go live in lowsec and camp gates because you have no grasp of how things work on a macro scale.

    August 2, 2017 at 6:20 am
  • Glornak Ironspawn

    I kinda like that dscan immunity idea. Would stop giving free Intel to hunters yet it wouldn’t save the afk miners who should be dieing.

    August 2, 2017 at 7:36 am
  • Dakit

    I realize no one has looked at this in some time…

    Mining ship issues:
    The solution is to not have ANY ship show up in DSCAN if they are in an asteroid belt (or within 50-100km? of warp in)…due to the metal signatures and magnetic fields near so many asteroids.

    Low sec moon mining
    I would rather them have added PI to moons for moon mining, then add methods to “remove” player “bases” from planets and moons…orbital bombardments (with reinforces) or even using passengers (we have all these marines and troops..and exotic dances) to invade/destroy PI bases.

    August 9, 2018 at 9:47 pm