Monday, June 2, 2014

Eve Online Mining: Another look at Kronos and Crius

I run my own little mining fleet of six toons - no bots, no ISBoxer and certainly not an AFK or even AFKish effort. And I enjoy the process. Immensely. That's important to bear in mind. I don't mine this way strictly for the ISK - technically I could possibly make more ISK per hour doing other things in Eve. I do what I do the way I do it because the process yields enjoyable game time.

Spent a year mining in a single highsec system (.7). Had a POS and perfect refine station standings. Life was good. A little far from the trade hub so that hauling minerals was bit of a chore, but I'm probably spoiled and lazy. Used the POS to research BPOs, invent, and park the Orca when I was running Mackinaws and didn't need it on the field. Also used the POS for the Macks to dump the ore instead of doing so in the station - it's a bit quicker that way.

Over the last few months I have switched to Hulks and .8 and .9 systems getting ready for Kronos and Crius. Kronos will have the net affect of boosting the Hulk's yield by 11%. The Orca Mining Field Laser Enhancement gang link is going to apply to the Survey Scanner, so it will have longer range. You can read about these buffs here (and certainly should - the whole thread is worth a read as various players discuss their mining experience): [Kronos] Mining Barges and Exhumers. Basically, this means that my Hulks can hit a belt and reach all the asteroids from one spot and clean the ores I'm after quicker. While already good, my little belt-busting-fleet will be even more efficient.

Hulks, however, are notorious targets for gankers. This is especially true in .5-.7 systems, though no Hulk pilot should ever feel safe in highsec. No matter how much effort you devote to tanking your Hulk, their cost is so high that it will still tempt gankers to take them out even in .8 - 1.0 systems, though it's less common. There are enough Mackinaws and Hulks in .5-.7 that it's a bit on the rare side for gankers to hunt in higher security space, but again, make no assumptions.

Miners tend to be creatures of habit - same belts same system day after day. This is not a good thing in Eve. Your opponents, those who would like to gank your Exhumer can be extremely tenacious when it comes to scouting and stalking. While Kronos will make Hulks more efficient, Crius will deliver another benefit that will greatly aid my kind of highsec mining - mobility. Nomad mining. No longer will I be tied to certain systems because that's where I have perfect refine standings - I will be able to refine in a POS in any security status system except for the short list of restricted systems. And I can throw up a small POS in 15 minutes when it's time to refine or compress.

If you're a serious miner you should have your eyes on this Dev post: Reprocess all the things! and the at-the-moment 104-page comment post to it: Reprocess all the things! comments.

It boils down to this - refining in highsec isn't being nerfed, but it's being changed and it will work hand-in-hand with the abolition of the current faction standings requirements and current inability to anchor a POS in 1.0 - .8 systems. You will be able to have a refining array to refine in your highsec POS, or a compessing array to compress. You will still be able to refine in station, but at the moment it seems there will be a slight benefit to yield from refining in a POS. 

These changes won't take effect until the July 22, 2014, release of Crius, at the earliest so it's best to keep an eye on the above posts in case of further developments.

You should also understand that these changes don't mean you no longer need skills to refine if you refine in a POS, nor do they mean that you will no longer be able to refine in stations. In fact, the skill requirements will increase and you will need both higher skills and the Zainou 'Beancounter' Refining RX-804 to maximize your refining yields. Over the last couple of months in fact, I've done more grinding to get good NPC standings with a variety of corps because the prevalence of war decs in highsec will make station refining handy from time-to-time. You must be in a player corp to anchor a POS, which means you are subject to war decs even if only one of your toons is in that corp - and you can anticipate more POS bashers on the horizon.

Overall, very happy with the upcoming Kronos and Crius updates as my crew will be able to be much more mobile. Another benefit of this sort of mobility is spending time in systems that are good for both mining and mission running - especially systems that offer level 4 mining missions, have a decent number of asteroid belts and the right security status for Hulks.

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