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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hulkageddon Over : My thoughts

The Mind Behind the Trinity Sisters
Sitting at her desk
Cape Canaveral, Florida

I am an industrialist. Have been for the 2 years I've been playing, in and out of null sec space. Admittedly I've always had a bit of curiosity of the piracy aspects of EVE, and have many people in New Eden who are Pirates I would call friend, even though I know they would pod me in a second given the opportunity.

So I took my alt (also, 2 years old).. and participated in Hulkageddon.

Not because I am mean spirited.... but I knew it was going to go down whether I was part of it or not. So I set Maeve's Hulk safely in its hangar and I took the opportunity to learn. To learn how to defend myself, and what to watch for, by putting myself in the place of those who would attack me, and to learn the complexity and dangers of earning low security status.

I personally thought Helicity did a bang-up job organizing the event... it brought a lot of people together, and shockingly, the people I flew with weren't the sniveling f-bomb dropping ass-hats I imagined they all might be. They were just like the people I flew with in my industrial corp. Organized, friendly, and even honest (ship salvage payout was always equally distributed amongst the fleet, of perfect strangers... pirate strangers, mind you).

I also will agree though, it hopefully brought to light a glaring flaw in the system. That money can be MADE suicide ganking in high security space, via insurance (I could fit a catalyst, with T1 guns and faction ammo, and the insurance payout was MORE than what I spent on it all together) While at the same time, insurance on a Hulk doesnt even begin to cover a fraction of cost of the Hulk on its own... without any fittings at all.

Piracy and danger should go hand and hand. But Hulkageddon is an example where danger is minimal at best, and this situation can be taken advantage of easily by a few freshly rolled alts, taking down a veteran player -even at his keyboard- in an expensive T2 ship with little to no defense or chance of escape.

My suggestion as a solution?
There should not be insurance payouts for ships lost to CONCORD.

Additional defensive and escape methods for mining barges should be implemented. I watched first hand a Hulk pilot trying to escape, but with 4-5 destroyers warping directly onto you at once, bumping your align, and then unleashing all hell on you, you simply have zero chance no matter how alert you are.

Macro miners don't attempt to escape... and personally, I feel no pity for them. They deserved their losses, and their poddings. I am also hoping CCP realizes just how rampant macro mining is. The amount of pod losses is evidence of this.

Otherwise... now that the simplicity of this is so well known.... I think it will become more and more common, and not exclusive to events like Hulkaggedon, where Helicity was kind enough to give a very fair and far warning that it was going to happen.

Fly safe everyone! 07


  1. I agree with your thoughts about the CONCORD payouts and have since they were brought to my attention several years ago. Nice post!

  2. Very nice indeed! I agree on all points 100%

  3. I agree also that there should be no insurance payout on a Concord kill. There is a Proposal to this effect (more than one actually) in the Assembly Hall forum that you should go support. With sufficient support, such proposals catch the eye of the CSMs and may get added to their agenda for presentation to CCP of ideas the playerbase wants implemented. This one's no secret but if the players talk loud enough, long enough...CCP does occasionally listen.

  4. Thanks Guys :)

    And Mynxee.... I will go see if I can find that thread, I looked a bit yesterday trying to find such a topic but gave up wading through all the vaguely described forums!

  5. Eliminating insurance payouts for CONCORD related deaths would only be an attempt to deal with a symptom of insurance issues, while the disease as a whole would remain.

    For starters, catalysts were being insured for about 800k ISK, but given you have to pay to get that coverage, you're only really looking at maybe a 500k ISK insurance payout. This still would make exhumer ganking a profitable venture, since your average exhumer was dropping somewhere in the neighborhood of 9m ISK of drops; the only difference is that with 4 Catalysts, you're cutting your profits by 2m. Several times in fact, when The Bastards were doing the Orca-assisted gank method of jettisoning fit Catalysts from an Orca, and then boarding them and warping to a belt, obviously our ships were not insured since that would be logistically impossible. Realistically, this would only cut down on the suicide BC/BS ganks, but as those were only a subset of Hulkageddon ganking, that doesn't seem like a very significant accomplishment.

    Further more, legitimate pirates like myself are often forced to do something like jump through Anher, which is a necessary jump through a .5 system that connects two regions of low-sec. If some cheeky frigate were to warp scramble my Armageddon, and then watch as CONCORD blew me up, I would probably throw my monitor out the window.

    The very first insurance reform needs to be no payouts for those who self-destruct their ships, but that deals with a different problem entirely.

    On a separate note, I'm glad you dirtied your hands with some "piracy", but this Hulkageddon stuff bored most pirates to tears. Nothing can describe the fun that is to be had in low-sec, so I hope you use this as a foundation for some serious yarr'ing.

  6. @Arrhidaeus, wouldn't flying your pod through that single jump solve your ship loss problem? Keep needed ships on both sides? Forgive me if I am misunderstanding the way this works....

    I don't think being a criminal in EVE should still allow easy travel.... isnt it that "cheeky frigates" right to attack you, a pirate.. in high security space?

    And yes... I am keeping my alt who now has a negative security status... I do hope to take part in some REAL piracy if I can find a corp that would have her.

  7. The more realistic solution would be that I just never fly anything larger than a frigate sized hull through Anher, since it really only leads to two systems that only occasionally give me some good piracy.

    And it's definitely the frigates right to attack me, and the loss of my ship is bad enough. In the revised system, I'll have lost an extra 68m ISK for my Armageddon (while attempting legitimate piracy), but meanwhile people will still be able to turn 5m+ profits on your average Exhumer gank. This does not strike me as productive change, but maybe I'm just biased.

  8. I dunno... sounds just like the same stuff the suicide gankers are doing to people living in high sec to me... just in reverse.... tables turned you could say?

    Just my opinion no insurance payout in a concord loss, whether it was because you engage someone in high sec, or you get trapped by someone at a gate trying to travel through high sec.... should be expected once you have a low security status. Part of the risk I would say.

    The people ganking in high sec say high sec players shouldnt have it so safe... so why should the pirates get to pick and choose? Sounds like a double standard to me.

    Not arguing... just discussing.... I'm interested in the other sides perspective. :)

    Hopefully the folks at CCP see it for what it is from both sides, and find a solution :)

  9. Oh and as far as the 5m+ exhumer gank profit..... from my limited experience, using cheap replaceable ships, it took a gang of about 4-5 of us to take out a Hulk. Split 5 ways, its quite a reduction.... and then if they do indeed remove insurance payouts to CONCORD losses (and no one has even hinted this will ever happen)... the cost of the loss of the ship(s) used will more than likely make it a much less appealing (and easy) pirating option.

    Depending on how the gank ship is fit, after a suicide, and assuming no one was hanging around afterward to beat you back for the salvage (which did happen to us on several occassions)... youre looking at what... a few hundred thousand isk profit at best?

  10. This post got REALLY long, so it's in 2 parts:
    Your average semi-conscious miner could easily avoid being ganked in Hulkageddon. For starters, don't let the hauler alt that has been used as a warp-in for the past five ganks in your belt get within 100 meters of you. Even setting your Exhumer to orbit around the thing you're mining will cause the gankers to need a few extra ships to be able to reliably kill you, since the warp-in might put the Catalysts outside of optimal. Most Exhumers killed during Hulkageddon were either macro-miners or brain dead, neither of which deserve the rewards they get the other 53 weeks they mine out of the year.

    On the flip side, jumping a battleship through one high-sec system, only because for some unknown reason it the only intermediate system between low-sec areas, is neither rewarding, nor "risk-free". A pirate is already looking at a huge potential loss in the current insurance system if he were to be warp scrambled on the gate, and to add another 68m (for the cheapest battleship, we're looking at over 100m for others) does not "penalize" a player for their security status, it just makes people fly through that particular region of space less, which doesn't solve anything. Also on that note, pirates who actually maintain a negative security status are definitely not the kind of people who need more penalties right now in EVE. Those of us who are always red wear it as a badge of honor, and to give people more reasons to mind-numbingly blow up rats is always a bad thing, given how many there already are. It is already an absolute necessity to have a hauler alt, which puts us at the mercy of gate-camps, etc., for all logistical needs. To reduce our mobility further is just silly and unnecessary. The low security status player is only perceived as being able to "pick and choose" because we are the hunter, and obviously prey does not choose when they want to be preyed on. Players coherent enough to avoid being suicide ganked are actually the ones doing the choosing, and anyone in high-sec that is mad at us can choose to come into low-sec and use all of their non-flashy advantages against us as they please, but usually choose not to. Once again, I don't see the rationalization of the solution to "low security people can gank Hulks and make a profit" being, "let's add more penalties for those who are low-security, but still allow them to gank Hulks and make a profit."

  11. Part 2:
    Especially considering the (as of yet, unaddressed) following issues of profit and suicide ganking:
    1) If you're manufacturing your own ships, and your hauler alt scoops up the dropped items after every kill, the loss you're looking at is non-existent compared to a kill like this:

    2) A Mackinaw can be reliably killed with 3 destroyers, and drops about 9m on average, but some can be worth MUCH MUCH more:

    3) Compared to other methods of income, suicide ganking is actually relatively inefficient for all the people it requires, so most people aren't doing it for the ISK. Cutting their profits by a couple million ISK a kill won't deter them, but you can never put a price on a hatemail.

    4) If Hulkageddon III were to happen with an insurance system like the one proposed, given how people made billions of ISK on Exhumer speculation alone, we're still not looking at a significant change in overall profits of the "suicide ganker" team.

    Really, the only things this change would eliminate were kills like this:
    And solo ganking is so boring/logistically complex/inconsistent that after doing it once, I decided it was too much of a hassle to ever do again. The money I lost on that Brutix was also greater than what suiciding 3 Catalysts without insurance pay-off would have been as well, and I still made quite a bit on that kill.

    I would be all for a solution that eliminates suicide ganking as viable, since I was bored to tears with a week of it, but insurance reform doesn't really change much of anything, but does more to piss off legitimate pirates. If that's your intention, there are better ways to piss us off (the added delay in the dscan, for starters) than ones that will just add more annoyances in our day to day life.

    To be honest, I think all of high-sec as a whole needs revamping. The change to noob corp tax rate was a nice start, and having never lived in high-sec I don't have a great idea of what it's like, but all of the can-flipping, mission ninja looting, suicide ganking bullcrap that I hear about happening there is pathetic. At least in low-sec you know the guy flying 5km/s directly at you wants to kill you. The most dangerous aspect of high-sec is the perceived security, so either make it legitimately safe, or make it apparently dangerous.

    To not completely spam out all of your comments I'm also going to say, "Your husband sounds awesome, having preemptively got you podcasting gear" here, for the sake of consolidation.

  12. lol wow Arrhiddaeus... you've DEFINITELY put a lot of thought into this, and are quite passionate about it!

    I will reitterate that I am speaking from limited experience..... and what I saw from both an industrialists perspective, as well as my brief participation in HG as a ganker.

    The only point there you made that I can comfortably disagree with is that an attentive Hulk pilot can easily escape.... I am sure even Helicity would agree with this point... because actually, we had a conversation about the very subject.

    I mentioned in my original post that the only Hulk we came across that wasn't apparently AFK or a macro...... knew we were coming. Our warp in was a hauler (as a miner... it isnt unusual to see a hauler come in to clean up cans in the belt.... if it had been me, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. But this guy, perhaps being aware of HG... began to align before we were even given the order to warp in.... and he STILL didnt escape. I believe that was with 4 catalysts on him at once.

    As for bringing the fight to you guys in low sec.. whenever I hear it just makes me laugh.... Considering a lot of industrialists hardly have any trained combat skills at all... its like challenging a pvp pilot to a mine-off... not that you would be interested. ;-)

    I guess the point there is not everyone in EVE is looking for a fight..... its part of the draw of the game... you can do anything you want. But I do wholeheartedly agree with your point about perceived security in high sec. No one should be comfortable and be able to wander off for hours on end.... but telling a person who plays the game as a non-combat pilot to come out to your turf and fight.. well... its obvious who will win in that situation.

    Have you made a post containing all of the points you've made in responses here on your own blog or on CCPs forums? I think you should...

    Oh... and ya... my husband keeps asking me... "So when are you starting your podcast?"... its like a parrot! XD

  13. I guess it depends on your perspective. If I were a miner, would I attentively stare at my overview in the same way that a pirate on the prowl in does in low-sec? Probably not (which is why they get ganked, since I for one would probably be reading a book, or have my game windowed in the corner of my screen, not that either of those excuse the resulting loss). Still, regardless of how common it is for haulers to warp into belts, if your overview is properly set up, you should be able to tell that one particular hauler is flying directly towards you (not to mention, many times we had our hauler sitting less than 200m away from our target for a good minute at least), which is only really your first line of defense if the gankers are going to be entering from a neighboring system. If there are negative security status pilots in your system, you should probably just leave.

    This leaves the only way to be ganked is if someone either bookmarks the asteroid you're mining, warps almost directly on top of you, and gives you an aggressive enough bump to prevent you from warping out before the gankers arrive, or gankers do a very well coordinated warp-in off of a cloaked cov ops ship (we tried this a few times, and it never worked). If you've passively aligned before hand though, you really shouldn't have much of an issue escaping the first of these, with all of the signs of an incoming gank that there are. Like I said before, the second is nearly impossible, and very unreliable (because of how specific your warp in has to be).

    Exhumers could also stop fitting all of the Civilian Shield Boosters that I saw and actually get a real buffer.

    And on the note of the mine-off, The Python Cartel actually had one of those once, if you didn't hear:

    And I understand that miners are not appropriately equipped to fight us, but if they're not going to take measures to defend themselves, that doesn't give them a right to have some kind of pirate impunity as compared to others. Not to mention, piracy is a terribly inefficient method of consistently making ISK as compared to mining, so we're just redistributing the wealth to those who need it, and making sure there are plenty of minerals in demand for other miners (the last two points are more or less just satire, by the way).

    But no, I haven't bothered posting most of this stuff, because the EVE forums terrify me, and all of it doesn't necessarily seem like a very unique perspective. Not to mention I have a very limited perspective on everything, so I have to assume half of my opinions are not grounded on legitimate facts, and are completely wrong.

  14. Ya, I'm not sure if our warp in hauler bookmarked him and warped out and back in, or if he simply approached him..... either way, he was on to us... and we were sitting in the next system over waiting for our command, so for him there would have been no neg status in his local window.

    Maybe our warp in saw him aligning and bumped him.... who knows... all I remember is our man telling us "looks like he is aligning, jump and warp to me NOW". (or some-such).

    He still didn't get away. That freaked me out a little, as a miner. Maybe he was poorly tanked.. I dunno..

    And yes, I am a paranoid miner. I've always got my overview set, and will watch anyone else who enters a belt I am mining in like a mad-woman.

    Then again, I got my start in a 0.0 industrial corp.... and just became used to it.

    Oh and lol at the mine-off.... but I guarantee if they challenged an industrial corp, we would win ;-) Just like a pirate corp would win in pvp against a bunch of industrialists in our "best pvp ships" XD