Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Down Side of W-Space Living ... Boredom

Well I got someone yesterday asked why I have not posted in a week. Simple answer, nothing has happened worth reporting.

We are back in our home system and the second day back we had a K162 open and someone cleaned us out.  All Sigs and all Anomolies.  We have had 2 (or 3 with an inbound K162) sigs for almost 4 days now.  This is unusual for a Class 2, as we are used to seeing a spawn rate of 1-2 Sigs per day.

To add insult to injury, our neighbors through the static D382 have been either as bad as our own, or actively being run.  We have not found in the last 10 neighbors anything worthwhile.  Last night was the biggest tease.  Found the D382, warped through, found a POS but nobody home.  Scanned down the 15 sigs and found 5 grav sites.  Took about 30-45 minuites and when I warped back to the wormhole to take a short break and watch some TV with the SO, the hole had switched over to "End of Life".  So that really limited what I could hope to do as I did not feel like tempting fate for more then an hour.  So yet another limited night.

To top this current situation off, Min prices continue to fall and the isk available versus just high sec mining continuies to fall. 

This really brings me to a decsion point on what I want to do.

1) Hang tight.  Burn $8M isk a day in fuel and hope the simple reaction I am running offsets the fuel costs.

2) Import another Simple Reaction and rely on that to offset costs of fuel and wait for grav sites to appear again.

3) Pull out and reconsider W-Space all together

4) Pull out and go nomad and just rely on medium POS setup and chase class 1-3 systems for Grav sites alone

5) Pull out and move to a Class 4.  Would not be able to run the combat stuff solo, but the main point of W-Space for us has always been Mining.  I am fairly certain within a week or so I could find a Class 4 with static class 4.

6) Pull out and move to null sec.  With the overwhelming need for indy types in Null sec this might be a tempting offer.

Anyway, random ramblings, but bottom line is I hate to sit here thinking of the fuel burning through the POS and nothing to do in our w-space home.  It does suck.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Out, In and Wormhole Managament

Good news is we have finally completed the move out of the vacation mining system and have started to get back into our main hole.

Bad news is the main hole has had a rash of small holes (R934?) coming in from k-space. It has been like 1 a day for last 3 days. I don't think I have seen 3 in entire 2 months I have been in a class 2 and now 3 straight days. Just checked evemaps from work and yet another jump today. This is getting unreal. To top it off one of the jumpers obviously visited my Grav sites as all 5 despawned last night (I returned the favor to 2 in my neighboring D382).

The problem of incoming jumps is that they tend to either touch stuff or open doors and leave them open, which compounds the issue of wormhole control. There is no middle ground, you are either closed in right (or should be) or you are wide open. And once you are open for business I haave seen now you can be open for days as people leave doors open. I don't know how someone can live effectively in W-space without the ability to mass close Wormholes. The traffic must be insane.


Friday, February 12, 2010

A Ganking, A Move Interupted and The Issue with High Sec Statics

Well, what an interesting day.

Logged off after a little multitask Mining while doing some work in the morning with just a little bit of mining left to do to complete our "Vacation" stay.  Not a bit too soon.  I am so sick of mining it is not funny.  I do not see how people choose to do this as a career.  A night of it is okay.  Eight straight nights of it gets sick.

Anyway, on the the rants.

I log on in the evening with an extended play time window and look forward to running ore out through 3-4 static B274 holes and get the process of leaving well under way.   Why is it everytime I am sure what I am going to do when I log on to EVE, I am never right.

As I am logging on, I check Evemaps to see whats going on with the hole.  Crap, spike in jumps, npc kills, and damn, a ship kill and pod kill.  That can't be good.  Sure enough 15 seconds later I am bombarded with messages in chat, we had a miner ganked and podded in a covetor (thankfully it wasn't a hulk).  The fact he got podded too suggests either panic or a little AFK-ness.  Both of which are normal for W-space mining in long stretches by people not used to the nature of w-space.

I am impressed though that the Corp was actually scanning down sigs to find the K162 and not waiting around.  So we find the K162 and its from a Class 6.  Great. So i pop in my scanning boat and wish I had the old "Hat on a Stick" to test the waters first.  But a quick scan shows no POS and no ships.  Get the Orca out and 15 minutes later the hole is closed.

By this time the corp has found the B static and we are starting to move stuff out.  Well about halfway through the first Static B mass wise, we get a Manticore popping into the system (thankfully the lookout was on his toes here).  Guy had been involved in the ganking and decided to make a Jita run I guess.  Well sorry dude, no way home this way now.  He stated in convo that we're "safe" from him and he was going to head back to Jita.   Good thing I was not born last night.  Hour later he was still popping randomly into the high sec system.  Guess the chance at an Orca kill warranted sticking around.

Well, finally he logs and I feel at least gutsy enough to warp the Orca (yes it obviously got caught on High Sec side), to the wormhole.  Sure enough the reason I hate High Sec Statics was sitting there staring back at me.  A Raven, Domi, Drake and Alton.  Quick fly around by my toon still in the hole shows two Imicus (are they Imici in groups) scanning down the system.  Great. They could sit there forever on the high sec side without a fear in the world while they decide if the want to run the anoms or work the system at all.  In the mean time I cannot do crap as a sure as hell am not jumping the Orca back through with them sitting there. 

So i log for the night hoping that 1) that was not the first wave of a POS busting party and 2) that they leave the hole open so I can sneak the Orca back in before it times out.

This all reinforced 4 lessons of W-Space living for me..

1) Mining in W-space is very dangerous.  You will eventually die when a higher class wormhole opens and the people that really know how to pew pew get to you.  Or that they will simply open your static to k-space and the people there who like to pew pew will find you.  LEsson is eventually someone with skills and bad intentions is going to find you, and you don't have local as your friend.

2) Trust no one.  Despite "assurances", this manticore pilot was more then willing to sit and wait for me despite the assurance I was free to go back about my business.  Either a lot of people are very trustworthy or gullible.  I tend to be neither when dealing with my $600M isk ship.  I know you are not supposed to fly what you can't afford to lose, but you aren't supposed to be jack ass stupid with your stuff either.

3) People have way too much time on their hands.  To sit at a wormhole for 2 hours for the chance to pop an Orca?  How is that fun?  I guess being "stuck" till his corp found him a new route home, he had nothing better to do?  But then to sit in a Raven, Drake and Domi outside a hole for 35-45 minutes, that takes either a lot of game time available, or a sheer desire to do nothing.  Maybe they were watching the Season Premier of Survivor at the same time.

4) High Sec Statics suck balls.  One, they are going to be found.  There is like no chance a K162 in high sec is not going to be found in the 24 hour life of the hole.  You can only hope its found by a little old lady who just likes to scan all day and is only going to fly around in a Zeypher and attempt to communicate with the Sleepers.  Higher class wormholes are going to open them when they find them, cause they need to get stuff to market and hate low sec like the rest of us too.  And people can congregate at the high sec side and there is not a damn thing you can do about it.  I am more determined then ever to minimize my time and assets I ever dedicate to a W-Space system with a High Sec Static.

So worst case at this point is that our Manticore "friend" has friends who love to bust POS's and we are in for a major loss.

A little better is the chance I will have to cool the hole for a day or two to make sure the baddies are gone and then fly the Orca over half of empire to the new hole.

Best case is they are gone and they left the hole open and I can slip the Orca in before it closes.

Hmm, I guess the worst is really that I think they have gone, warp the Orca in, Get ganked, and then the destroy the POS.  Maybe they can even get my Mother to come and say "she told me so" to add further insult to ever feeling safe with a High Sec Static.

Fly Safe,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Well after a little time today pecking away at the annoying Average grav site, we have it down to 10 small Crok roids that should be done tonight.

So by all intentions our time in the hole is done.  So I send out this notice that if anyone is interested in a W-space Class 2 system with a lot of Anomolies, Ladar, Mag and Radar sites, please contact me in game in the "Life In The Hole" channel and we could work out something out.

Fly Safe,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The State of Eve - Mining

As I sat last night and looked at the "Ore Value Chart" it became clear that something is wrong with the state of mining in Eve.  Falling Zydrine and Megacyte prices, rising Pyerite and Trit prices, and the world of mining is becoming unbalanced.

Now before I begin, let me state that I LOVE the market driven aspect of EVE.  I mean I LOVE it.  It is one of the greatest features that the game does not artificially set prices, but relies on supply and demand.  I think the Jita market is awesome. 

In a "perfect" world, the amount you can make should be somewhat proportional to the risk you are willing to take.  Unfortunetly, this is no longer the case with mining.  There exists a situation where, if trends continue, the best way to make Isk as a miner will be to get into an Orca boosted fleet and pound the mins found in .9 and 1.0 systems.  With a good booster, you can warp into a belt, hit the whole belt with out moving and off load the mins into the Corp Hanger of the Orca.  Yawn, what fun.  And gee won't that make the game fun for noobs when locust fleets strip every belt and a poor guy starting ina Bantam wont even be able to find a belt (or be stuck mining Pyrox).

Low sec mining has completly become a losing endevour.  Increased risk and all Low Sec ores are worth less then Scordite.

Null Sec/W-Space still allows for a greater profit, albiet at a greatly increased cost and risk.  Factor in the 75% refining, or a sick amount of time to get the ore refined in High Sec and the profit differential starts to decrease.

I have not run the numbers, but right now I estimate that we are running at under $190isk.m3 on the high end ores being refined in W-Space.  Right now Massive Scordite is getting about $110isk/m3.

Revisiting my Orca Boosted Hulk v Covetor W-Space, and the number get even tighter.  Orca Boosted Hulk pulls about 1400 per laser every 150 seconds for 1680m3/min.  Covetor is pulling around 1150m3/min.  So the Covetor in W-Space is pulling just $20k more per minute then a almost perfectly safe Scordite miner in a fairly good Orca Boosted fleet.  Starts getting hard to justify the extra risk and the $240M per month fuel bill for a measly Million Isk per hour more.


1) Go old school with a true "Mining Director" in a BC.  Less skills required to get a person into this role then an Orca.  Really in W-space the only link that matters is cycle time.  We are a few weeks away from this solution.  Now you sacrifice alot less to get the boost.  Now we have to take a Hulk/Covetor pilot out of commission to get the Orca running, and in W-Space we are not hauling with the Orca very much anyway (and we sure are not leaving it parked in the belt).

2) Add risk and use Hulks.  With Hulk prices pushing $200M this is not a great solution.  The ROI is about 30 hours and while we have been lucky in the loss column, we do not want to continue to push our luck here.  Not a great solution.

3) Get a crap load more miners into corp.  This would justify getting the Orca out more, but with solution 1 available why?  Downside here is what do all these miners do when there are no Grav sites?  I'll tell you what they do, they whine, get bored, and leave.

So yes, mining in Eve is becoming a very unbalanced system  Good thing I am not in W-Space just for mining.  I want to run the anoms, I don't mind mining gas, cracking radar and mags sites is pretty low payoff in Class 2, but I don't mind it, and I look forward to starting to add some PVP to our agenda.  Bottom line is that I am in W-space for the variety, not the mining.  Our corporates goal is to grow and become big enough and good enough to live in Class 4 W-Space.

I guess the point here is a simple warning to people looking to W-Space for quick mining profits.  Be very careful, it may be a mirage.  And if Zydrine and Megacyte prices don't stabilize, or Pyrite and Trit start to fall, soon W-Space mining might really lose its luster.

Fly Safe,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Our "Vacation" Coming to an End?

Well we knew it couldn't last forever, but it is still sad to see the Grav sites ticking off the list. 

We started with 8 and assumed we would be in our vacation system for about a week to 10 days.

We have had 3 new belts spawn, but most of what is left are the "ordinary" sites, which are a lazy mans (and haulers) dream as all 5 of the high end roids can be hit from a single spot.  The problem is they are all on the smaller side (5k Ark, 10k Bist, 15k Crok, 10k Dark O, and 10k Gneiss).

So with 3 of those left and an Average (really spread out belt with 2k Crok roids), it looks like we might be out of the vacation spot by the end of the week.

Good news is our main home has spawned at least 3 grav sites while we have been away.

All told we have over 4M m3 in ore right now in the XL assembly array (enough for over 6 static runs through the B274 hole).  We also have welcomed a few new recruits and are actually mustering some decent sized mining parties.

So if anyone is interested in a hole with a crap load of anomolies and some mag and radar sites let me know.  We would be happy to leave the keys under the mat for you (as we do not plan on running the combat sites).

Fly Safe,

Friday, February 5, 2010

Who Left the Door Open?

Unfortunetly, I did.

With our main crew in our new mining home and the main home sitting dormant (having run all the reaction material on hand), I decided to make a run to our main wormhole with as much reaction material as I could easily carry.

I online one of the three scanning alts holding down the fort in our main system, find the A239 Static pop out 26 jumps from Jita (I am learning that Low Sec holes seldom come out near Jita). So I loaded up the truck and moved about 86 hours worth of simple reaction materials the 26 jumps and off loaded the materials in the reaction hanger.

Get the hauler back to Sobaseki, while I switch over to the mains to mine some more ABC's.

Well I logged on last night to this.


NPC Kills

Yes kids, that the problem leaving the door open.

The number of NPC Kills clearly shows a mass running of anoms or mag/radar sites.

The concern is the jumps and possibility our Grav sites got hit.

So much for resting our main hole.

Good news is that the our mining hole spawned a new Grav site and we are barely half way through the initial 8.  So our initial 7 to 10 day time frame may have been a bit aggressive.  Add in the desire to at least hit some of the Ladar sites "for the corp" and we may be gone a bit longer the expected.

As I sign off now, the Large POS is churning away on it 86 hours of simple reaction, we are opening our 5th grav site in our vacation hole, and I have yet another lesson in wormhole management (not that I didn't know leaving K162's active will lead to this).

Fly Safe,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How to Close a Wormhole, especially 2Bkg ones

Given that I now have closed probably over 100 wormholes, and almost all have been of the 2Bkg variety (specificially B274, A239 and especially D382), I would like to try to provide a somewhat step by step guide.

First and foremost, we all know the dangers.  If you don't feel free to read this this adventure or this one in closing wormholes gone wrong.

So the basics.

For a 2Bkg wormhole, the true mass allocation will be roughly 1.8Bkg to 2.2Bkg.  I have pretty well seen both of these extremes.  The first "mass tick" from "Has not had" to "Has Had" on the show info appears to be right at 50%.  The last "tick" from "Had Had" to "Critical", I am still not sure of.  Until a recent experience with a 3Bkg hole, I thought for sure it was 5%.  But when my Orca (250Mkg) failed to close a critical 3Bkg hole that had just been made critical by a retreiver (20Mkg), I have had to rethink this number.  So for best guess this number is between 5% and 10%.  I would hate to think that CCP has also added variability to thios number as well.  For what I do, I have always assumed it is 5% to be safe.

In general.

In general, to close a hole you want to get a big ass ship on the "away" side with the total mass used as close to but not over (The Prices is Right) the Minimum Mass Allocation.  This ship should be at least 10% of the Maximum Mass Allocation of the hole.  Then simply drive small ships, with twice their mass under 5% of the Minimum Mass Allocation, through and back ONE AT A TIME until the hole is critical.  Then return teh big ass ship to the "Home" side and hole shold close.

What you need for a 2Bkg Wormhole Closing:
  1. 1 big ass ship.  Need mass of at least 220Mkg.  Orca works great, but so will Battleships with armor plates, 100mn AB, or 100mn MWD.  
  2. Medium Sized ships of any size
  3. Multiple small ships.  Key here is two passes must not close hole if it is not yet critical.  So I have always been very safe and assumed 5% of the 1.8Bkg "smallest hole possible" and gotten 90Mkg.  So a 45Mkg ship would be perfect.  The Hulk and Covetor at 40Mkg do very nicely.
Specifics for a 2Bkg wormhole.

If you know you just opened it and you have all the mass allowed then start with big ship passes and try to get the mass to right at .8Bkg.  The key here is you want to see the mass tick over when a smaller ship passes.  This will allow you to confirm the hole has not been used.

I do this with 2 Orca passes (away and back home) and two Abby passes (away and back home).  Mass used 706Mkg.

I now pass the Abby back through to Away side.  Mass used 809Mkg.  And then back through.  Mass 912Mkg.  If the mass ticks here I know I have either a small massed hole or someone has used it.

So based on that I pass the Orca through and back.  Total mass 1309Mkg.

At this point, I swap the Abby for a Hulk/Covetor.

Wait 4 minutes, and jump the Orca back through to the away side.  Mass 1559Mkg.

If the Critical message is 10% then the hole will show critical at 1.62 to 1.98Bkg.

At this point I call every Hulk and Covetor available (and retriever and hauler for that matter) to the wormhole and ONE AT A TIME have them move "Away and Back" until the mass ticks over to Critical.  Could take as little as one pass, or as many as 5 or more.  Once everyone is on the "home" side the Orca returns and closes the hole.

Thats the "quicker" way.  If you have more big ships the feel free to eliminate the 4 minute wait times that are in my system.  Mine is based on using the three accounts I have.

Also I can not imagine trying to close a wormhole solo.  To variable and would be very difficult.

Once we, have two orcas and two pilots and multiple BS's also, I might tweak the process.  But for now I am pretty certain on the method and the only time it takes long is the very big holes where multiple small ship passes are needed and I am the only one on.  Usually we can marshal 4-5 small ships and that defiently makes it go faster.

Note: For high sec Orca runs, I use solely the Orca and as long as the mass ticks at 4th and 7th pass, I am confident the hole will close.  If mass does not go critical on 7th pass, then a few Hulk passes will usually do the trick.

Hope this helps.

Fly Safe,

1) get big ship on away side with mass just under 90% total allowed mass
2) repeatedly fly small ships (2 x Mass < 5% Wormhole mass) one at a time away and back till mass goes critical
3) fly back big ship

Settling in to a New Routine

For the first time we are strictly concerned with our own w-space system.  This has drasticially changed our daily routine.

Now instead of being ready for whatever presents itself, we are 100% in mining mode.  We have the luxury of knowing what we are going to be doing every day.

As Pinky always asked Brain "Whats we gonna do today?", the answer now is empahitcally "Same thing we do every night, mine the crap outta ABC roids".

So a few new additions.  We have our first XL Ship Assembly Array.  The 18M m3 of storage is insane. Good thing too, because the first 36 hours in our new home we pulled in almost 2M m3 of ABC.  Not bad for a small 3 person corp.

So overall this seems just what the doctor ordered for us. 
  • A wealth of ABC,
  • a static high sec to refine it at 100%,
  • a static high sec to allow us to get some new recruits quickly seeing the best of low class w-space living,  
  • and did I mention a crap load of ABC roids.

So the new routine at night is to open/close the static high sec B274 and get 4 orca loads of ore out to be refined.  Last night repeated this twice.  Took a little over 1 hour (the first system did not have a station).  The logic here is the orca is a perfect 250Mkg so as long as the wormhole ticks over to "has had" on the mass on the 4th pass, and to "critical" on 7th pass its a real easy task to close the hole.  If not, then we run a few hulks/covetors out after the 7th pass to critical the hole before flying the Orca back through.

After that the task all mining.  At this point we have cleared 1 of the 8 sites of the ABC, D & G ores.  We are working through two sites now.  The Isolated site, with its annoying electric cloud, is being mined by the two hulks we have in system (forgot one in the move), while the annoying spread out Average site we are hitting with Covetors and Retreivers.  It is our goal to clear a site a day atleast.  On the last night we plan of mass running the 16 Ladar sites for the corp.  After reading Star Defender's post on reactions, I am not sure if we will just sell the gas or react it.  Might just sell to avoind the task of trying to get it back into our main system.

So here is to wishing for a continued quiet week of mining and running ore to refineries.

Fly Safe,

p.s. Was very nice to log into our main system and get the "not yet loaded" message.