Monday, April 29, 2013

An Ice Storm is Brewing...

or~  Hey, I Didn’t Call It a Cataclysm…

Tur’s Seventh Rule of W-space POSes Have several months of fuel ON-HAND, or suffer the consequences.

The above rule is a new addition to “Tur’s Rules for W-Space POSes”. The reason is, for those as dunt know… There is NO ICE in holes, Period, Ever… and as one of the necessary components of ALL POS fuels is some form of Ice Products, based on race. All of the other required products can be made in Anoikis… all of them.

Production Schema for Amarr POS Fuel

In the following chart, courtesy of Grismar’s EVE Wiki, you can see the current available Ice Resources and how they refine out today.

In the case of our POS, a Large Minmatar, we need the Ice Product Hydrogen Isotopes produced from the Ice Resources, Glacial Mass or Smooth Glacial Mass. Without Hydrogen Isotopes we cannot make fuel. From this it is obvious that Ice Products are a bottleneck for true Wormhole Independence. We who live in Anoikis are ‘dependant’ on one product found ONLY in Empire space… making this one product a crucial resource without which, we die. Why do I say we ‘die’? Because without fuel, the POS shields go down and without the shields our POS and all it contains is just a fat ripe target in space…

This situation is shared by all those who have POSes in New Eden except… we are not “IN” New Eden are we? While you can camp a gate in Empire, be it a fleet in Hi and Lo or a bubblefield and a fleet in Null you cannot destroy or close a ‘gate’. This is not the same in Anoikis… in W-space a dedicated and knowledgeable force can mass close your wormholes (IE your ‘gates’) in and out of your system and cut you OFF from all of the rest of EvE, and one does not need a fleet for this.

When we decide to mass close our holes, in the C6 we live in, it takes just 4 ships… one Scanner, one Battleship, one Orca and one Moros and once found the actual closing takes less than one to two minutes. I have watched this many times now. Just last night we had a new sig pop in Bastion while I was running scout on our static. I was sitting cloaked off of the static with probes out, I had removed all current sigs & anoms so any new sigs/anoms would instantly show up on scan. I had one pop while I had inbound haulers several hops out carrying, of all things, POS fuels…

I called out “Sig on scan.” which put the Op on hold, and immediately scanned the sig down. It was a new Unknown, which means wormhole, and I got it quickly to 100%, BMed, pulled probes and warped to 20km… and nothing was there. Whoever had opened that hole by landing on the other side, had popped in, not liked what they saw and immediately mass closed the hole before I could even get it scanned down… Now the described 4 ship mass closing Is specific to C5 and C6, for lower class holes there are other minimum needed mass closing comps, but they exist and there are people, like us, who are very good at using them.

The point being, if you can control a wormhole system’s holes, all you have to do is siege them until their fuel runs out…  You don’t even have to kill their POCOs or interdict their PI haulers… without Ice Prods, in time, every POS in any W-space system will run out of fuel and go offline, period.

When SYJ camped HBHI in our old C3 my biggest worry was Hole Control. We did not have the people or the resources to effectively fight back and we did not have the ISK to afford those who could. We did the only thing we could, we played the Boring Game. We logged on to get them excited, but tried, for the most part, to give them no ‘real’ targets. I was sure they wanted our carrier on their killboard and we did bring it out of the forcefield once to take down the bubbles they had put up as bait, but when we did that we had seen that many of the guys who had been tagged as inside our hole were getting kills in Empire, which means they had gotten bored and left.

They did come back after we were able to bring down most of the bubbles and get the carrier back in the POS… then, of course, they got a few kills on us when we went back to try and finish the last one, but nothing worrisome. Our biggest problem was, and they didn’t know this, we only had like 10 or 15 days of fuel… and there was NO WAY we were gonna get any haulers in, they had full hole control of our system. We were screwed but good and all it would take was time.

That was why we offered ransom. We might have been able to bore them out, mebbe they would have left or mebbe they would have decided to pick up the pace and try to take down our POS. I wasn’t ‘sure’ that would happen as the majority play in our TZ so we had a chance to fight back and a manned heavily armed POS can be deadly effective, but, you never know and we simply did not have the time to waste.

Without Ice Resources IN THE HOLE, a dedicated siege can work against any wormhole system. If we did have Ice Resources in hole then with enough planets even if you lose your POCOs you could still do PI, if yer willing to play off your main time, or get a friend from another TZ to get an alt in then he could mine Ice for you and as long as your POS could be effectively defended you could still make your own fuel… in other words, you would have a fighting chance… but not the way things stand now.

So, with this in mind let’s look at the coming Odyssey changes to…

Ice Harvesting (bolds, underlines, etc. mine)

“…the mechanics around ice harvesting have not created a dynamic or interesting feature until now. New Eden currently enjoys a massive oversupply of ice, which stifles competition and emergent gameplay…”

“At current levels of ice product usage, all of the ice needed for the entire game could be provided by only four ice belts (one of each ice type).”

“We at CCP want ice harvesting to be a lucrative activity that encourages players to relocate and compete for a piece of the pie. However we also must be careful not to cause the price of isotopes to rise beyond the means of “most Starbase operators.”

“…current static (and massive) ice belts spread throughout space will be removed from the game, and replaced by a series of Ore Anomalies…”

“…belts will respawn in exactly the same system four hours after they are completed...”

“ The amount of ice found in these sites will be tuned to ensure that ‘most, but not all, of the ice needs of the New Eden cluster can be provided by high security belts.”

“…the maximum supply of ice from highsec (assuming that each belt is mined out completely five times a day) would provide approximately 80% of the game's ice needs…”

According to CCP, “…highsec will still be a large exporter of ice products, being able to generate eight times the volume of isotopes used by highsec control towers.”

There will be a 50% reduction in Ice Harvester cycle times, but that does not affect the total available ice, just how fast you can mine it. The new Ice Anomalies will basically spawn in the same systems as before with some changes in Amarr, Ammatar and Khanid space.

“…these changes are designed to make ice harvesting a valuable activity that players will engage in both cooperative and competitive gameplay…” I read this to mean; in order to increase Player Interaction… and then, thankfully, CCP ends with…

We will be watching the results of these changes on the EVE market and on player activity very closely following release, and we may make tweaks to the respawn rate or ice composition of the new sites as needed in order to ensure a balanced feature that’ provides for the ice product needs’ of the game.”

There is an In Depth Dev Blog that covers the systems the new Ice Anoms will, and will not, be spawning in. Basically, in Amarr, Ammatar and the Khanid Kingdom, systems that had belts with ‘Clear Ice’, the ice needed for Amarr POS Fuel, are being reduced… somewhat significantly. I do not know the total of systems in these factions but there will only be 24 left after Odyssey hits the hard drive nearest you. All systems in the rest of Empire will not be changed except for the change from static belts to respawning Ice Anoms.

OK… so my concerns are obviously how this will affect W-space. As I have pointed out, we are dependent on Ice Products from outside of Anoikis and those supplies are going to come under contention now… plus, CCP makes it clear this will be a new Conflict Driver due to Hisec being able to provide most, but not all’ of New Eden's Ice needs. While Hisec will be able to generate eight times the volume of isotopes used by highsec control towers’ that is Hisec ONLY towers… Lo and Null have many POSes but both also have NPC Stations and Player owned Outposts… Wormhole Space does not. We are totally dependent on POSes. Without them there is no possibility of a permanent colonization in Anoikis…

Additionally I am very concerned by the quote about how they “must be careful not to price of isotopes to rise beyond the means of “most Starbase operators.” This is worrisome as my little corp, HBHI, has no desire to grow too much larger, as a corp, than we are now. And there are many who feel like we do. I would hate to see the day when a small corp won’t be able to ‘afford’ to make their own ‘Odyssey’ into wormhole space the way we in HBHI did. I do NOT ever want to see POS fueling work as a limiting factor on small corps in Anoikis… I hope the new CSM8, Chitsa Jason, James Argent especially, and Ripard Teg will help CCP to keep a sharp eye on this… we who live on the other side of the sky live in a precarious balance… tip things one way or the other too much and the effects can domino and kill the only truly totally emergent space in EvE.

Wormhole Space was never meant to be colonized… yet we, the players of EvE have done just that. CCP never thought anyone would accept dealing with the realities of living out of a POS permanently… and yet, we have done just that. I like the changes coming in Odyssey in so far, but I am a wormholer… and wormholes are just fine as they are right now and CCP has stated they feel the same way. CCP has also stated they are looking to add gameplay elements for all playstyles, Coalition; Alliance; corps: large, med and small, and solo play. If they mean it then I hope they won’t allow decisions made in the drive to create more Player Interaction to end up barring small & med sized corps from being able to live in W-space.

For those who might respond, “But you wormholers make so much ISK no matter how high the cost of Ice you will always be able to afford it.” A large Minmatar POS costs (well, did before the speculation started) approx 500mISK per month to fuel. And yes, we can make that much pretty easily especially in C4 and up holes… but like all things the amount of ISK one can make in holes will not increase just because the costs do. For a small corp inna C1, 2 or even a C3, it would not take all that much of an increase to make it just a grind to make the ISK to buy the fuel to keep the POS up so we can grind the sites to make the ISK to buy the fuel to keep the POS up so we can grind the sites to… you get it, right?

If an Ice Storm is brewing… CCP & CSM8 need to be careful it doesn’t sweep through Anoikis like the Bhola cyclone and decimate the one place in EvE where living in virtual space comes the closest to reality.

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=


  1. Watch for information on whether ice volumes are weighted by race or are 25% each. If they are roughly equal in supply minmitar dick stars will come out ok, and caldari research pos may become unaffordable.

  2. Yea, with the reduction in Clear Icicle for Helium Isotopes needed for Amarr POSes, I do wonder if they are balancing based on the % of POSes already in use by race or, as you say, 25% for each racial type.

    I don't see that working as Amarr POSes seem to be favored even in holes... I still don't know why as any good detail comparison show the Minmatar is the better POS in defense, most write ups on POSes agree on that.

    we will see what we will see... the only thing for sure is there are interesting times ahead. =]


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