Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Barging ahead . . .

     Been busy with life, but still managed to do a little Eve time.  With all the patch problems starting with that completely useless inventory change, I wasn't looking forward to how badly CCP could screw up the mining barges, but according to all the whining from the griefers, looks like they didn't mess things up too badly, so I thought I'd do a little experimenting to see what's what.

     Apparently, CCP has started to wake the fuck up and realize that coasting along with about 120K to 150k players is slowly slipping behind as far as keeping account ledgers in black ink is concerned.  They can boast 3 or 4 times that number of accounts, but they also know that's just marketing hype and that many, many players, maybe even most, run multiple accounts.  One player leaving, takes away more than one account, and by the same token, luring a new player into the game means that same player is likely going to run more than one account.  At any rate, CCP pushing the bad-boy mystique of Eve Online isn't conducive to coaxing new, non-angry players into the game.  Increase the safety of players who don't have a massive chip on their shoulder, players who are looking to relax and have fun, and eventually word will get out.  There are more contented (reasonably) and non-angry people willing to play spaceship games, than there are angry little assholes with no life, and low self esteem who get their rocks off by trying to make other people more miserable than themselves.   Fixing the mining barges is a start along that path to making Eve more financially viable, and socially friendly, long term.  . . . but about the barges.

     So, before, the mining barges had anemic EHP.  Contrary to what others think, mining equipment, or any rock handling/moving equipment, is fucking tough.  It has to be or it would be used up, worn out and trashed in no time flat.  Go find some movies on mining and rock hauling equipment.  Education isn't a bad thing.  As Mabrick mentioned it's not hard to blow shit up.  Of course it's not.  Ammunition will ALWAYS be easier, faster and cheaper to escalate and improve upon than the thing the ammunition is intended to destroy.  Vehicles specifically designed for battle can still be trashed by weaponry, so it's not exactly Mensa scale thinking to deduce that non-military equipment can also be trashed by it, even tough mining equipment.  CCP really missed the boat though on mining barges, and the scale of cost, training and toughness to fly a mining barge is far, far higher than the same factors needed for another player to fly a ship that can easily destroy a barge.  I have no problem with ganking, just ganking where there's minimal cost, effort and penalty for one side, and massive cost, effort and penalty for the other.

     For the players who are seemingly on a daily dose of stupid pills, they don't seem to "get" where most all of the toys come from in Eve's market.  While the angry little griefer crowd looks down their nose at anyone who doesn't like to, or care about, blowing up other players, they are seemingly oblivious as to where their ships and modules actually come from.  Not all manufacturing players are hard core indy types, they don't have to be.  In the end though, someone still has to go out, and sit there grinding away on rocks in a belt, even for the non-mining manufacturing types.  As the griefers made miners feel less safe, the mineral prices started to climb, driving up the price of everything with it, and then the griefers whined about the cost of everything.  Duh.  The mining barge fix is good for miner security, which means more people will mine, which is bad for miners making money.  At the same time though, the lowered mineral prices, will eventually trickle down to the rest of the prices and everything else can and will become less costly to buy, and that's a good thing for ALL of Eve.  Unfortunately, including the griefing assholes.

     In the case of hulks, you could gimp the fuck out of their purpose and get them up to close to 30,000 EHP.  Take away from the express purpose of a ship, and turn it into something else.  Small minds think this is ok.  I think any combat ship should have to strip out some of it's low slots and run cargo expanders or they  only have enough ammo space for what's loaded in their weapons.  Makes the same kind of sense.  At any rate, the mining barge updates have changed all this.  With a cargo hold only big enough, and sufficiently big enough, to carry strip miner crystals, a mining barge can be tanked up now, and not gimp the hell out of its ability to mine.  Bring on the griefer tears.  excellent.

     None of the barges need the cargo optimization rigs anymore, so they immediately get replaced by core defense field extenders, or one CDFE 1 and one anti-EM screen reinforcer, depending on the barge.  For the actual numbers, with a fully trained orca pilot, and a shield harmonizing 1 warfare link, the barge numbers are much healthier and far more usable than before.  The boosted vs un-boosted yields won't change (MLU's change that), only the range and cycles times change.

- a boosted retriever with 2 CDFEs and an anti-EM rig, with a civilian shield booster and three, yes three, mining laser upgrade 2s, has a 10,651 EHP with 38% EM resists.  It can also do 4,848 m3 of rock per cycle and the healthy 27,500 m3 ore hold gives lots of room.  Triple MLU2s is great for griefer rage too :)
- the same retriever with a DC2 adds another ~5,000 EHP, much better resists and brings the yield down to 4,448 m3 per cycle
- the same retriever with a DC2, with an adaptive invuln field 2 instead of the shield booster, gives almost 18,000 EHP.  Swap out the AIF2 for an EM ward amplifier 2 (EMWA), and the EHP drops to about 17,000.
     Even unboosted, the EHP only drops about a thousand for all configurations.  The retriever gets the same 50% yield boosts that the Mac does, so it performs much closer to the hulk than before.  It's got much more leeway with it's power grid too, including 3 rig slots, so it wouldn't take too much creativity to likely boost the grid a little with a power grid rig and maybe get a little more EHP without compromising the ore output.  It's got 3 times the ore hold that the hulk does, nearly the same unboosted EHP, but about 80% of the hulks efficiency.  It is also only about 1/10th the cost of a hulk too. :)  The fact that hulk prices have dropped by over 30%, and retriever costs have gone from 5 million to 20, tells you that the T1 boat is a much sexier option than it used to be, especially for beginning miners.

- a boosted hulk with 2 CDFEs, an AIF2, an EMWA2, a DC2 and a single DC2 has about 21,000 EHP, and does about 5,400 m3 per cycle.  The 8500 m3 ore hold means you have to stay on top of things with it though as the ore hold obviously can fill fast.
- the same hulk with 2 MLU2s drops to about 15,000 EHP but raises the ore output to 5,883 m3.  An anti-em rig instead of one of the CDFEs would likely add a few hundred EHP.
     So, the hulk went up to ~15K EHP without gimping it's performance at all, while a minor downgrade in performance with a DC2 gives it over 20K EHP.  Much better than before, about a 5K boost in EHP, and it still remains king of the miners.  Prices on the hulk are dropping like a stone too.

- a boosted mac with a CDFE1 and a power grid subroutine maximiser 1, plus two ice harvester upgrade 2s a DC2, an EMWA1 and an AIF2, gets you about 26,000 EHP and a 133 sec cycle time
- the same mac with a LAIF1 instead of the AIF2, plus an extra IHU1 instead of the DC2, gets you about 18,000 EHP but a cycle time of 126.4 secs.  7 seconds per cycle is meaningless to a griefer, but to save that, every couple minutes per gun, and do that 25 times an hour, for a few hours, and that's money in the hold.
- the same 2 macs with strip miners instead of ice harvesters, one with 2 MLU2s and a DC2, and the other with 3 MLU2s, produce the same EHP values as the ice mac, and the tanky ore production is about 4,671 m3 per cycle, while the less tanky mac is about 5,091 m3.
     Using a shield rig instead of the power grid rig would allow more EHP, but I wanted to experiment with production output instead of EHP.  The fits I tried pretty much max the power grid, which is why I used the power rig.  Experimenting with fits might mean the power grid rig allows you to upgrade the shields with mid and low mods more effectively than if a shield rig was used, but obviously at the expense of mining efficiency again.  30,000+ EHP standard fits should be really easy to come up with, and completely crazy tank fits if you don't give a shit about ore output at all.  That, plus the 35,000 m3 ore hold is probably why the mac prices have more than doubled, and are now more expensive than the hulks.  People are funny :)  It mines at about 86% efficiency of  a hulk, has 5 times the ore hold, and about 5,000 EHP more than a hulk.  With the current prices climbing though, you are paying a premium for 20% extra armour over ~15% extra output.

- a boosted skiff with a CDFE1 and a ACR1 in the rigs, with 2 MSE2s, and 2 AIF2s, with 2 MLU2s, gives a stripminer production of 4,670 m3 per cycle and over 60,000 EHP, and all resists over 64%.  With a DC2, the performance is down to 4,285 m3, but the EHP is ~80,000.  Crazy :)
     So, for about 200 million (right now), a skiff has about the same performance as a retriever, massive EHP, and about 2x the ore hold of a hulk, with about 79% of the hulk's mining efficiency.  Even an unboosted skiff takes no effort to get over the 50K EHP mark.

     I thought a ballpark table might organize things better, at least for me.  The "M" stands for mining biased fits.  "T" stands for tank fits, and "IT" and "IM" are for ice mining fits on the Mac. The percentages (%) relate how that particular fitting style and barge relates to the same style of fit for a hulk.

Yield (%)
EHP (%)
Cost (22/08/12)
Ore Hold (%)
Retriever M
4,848 (82%)
25,000 (294%)
Retriever T
18,000 (86%)

Skiff M
4,670 (79%)
15,000 (176%)
Skiff T
80,000 (380%)

Mackinaw M
5,091 (86%)
35,000 (411%)
Mackinaw T
26,000 (130%)

Mackinaw IM
126.4 sec

Mackinaw IT
133 sec

Hulk M
Hulk T

     Obviously, there are lots of fitting options, lot's of EHP options, and the character's skill points go a long way towards coming up with a final number, not to mention what your goals in fitting are.  I didn't check the coercer or procurer, as I was short on time, but I don't doubt all the barges will see more use than they did before.  Gankers will have to expend more effort and money to gank miners now.  They'll need to be more organized, and it'll take more of them.  They'll whine more than they are now, but the ones that definitely want to shoot unarmed ships, will adapt, and in the end, if a ganker wants to shoot a miner, they will.  In the mean time, miners will likely be out in force, all over the place.  Ore and mineral prices will start to fall, everything will start to get cheaper to buy, and that includes the cost of the ships for gankers.