Saturday, October 11, 2014

How to Mine Gas Fairly Safely in Wormhole Space

I mine gas from time to time.  I've not yet been killed doing so.  Also, I hunt solo in wormhole space, in a stealth bomber.  Occasionally I come across people mining gas.  When I do, I try to kill them.  I succeed in this more often than I should.  So I know what works and what fails.  Therefore, it's time to write it down.

0. The Old Guide

Actually I have already written a pretty good guide to mining gas in wspace.  Here it is: Gas Mining in Wspace For Newbies.  Please read that if you have not already.  It is a bit out of date, though, and also I've improved my technique a bit since then.  So, here is my new guide which builds on the old.  Consider the old guide included by reference, with the following updates.

I. Nomenclature

Gas sites are now called "gas" sites in the game, and not "ladar" sites.  Good for CCP.

II. Fits

The fit in my original piece is good, but not what I use now.  It is designed to be hard to scan with combat probes.  But it does not take combat probes to get on grid with a gas miner, and combat probes are actually rather rare in wspace.  So that fit, while certainly serviceable, is not what I am using now.  Here's what my corp mines gas in:
[Venture, Gas Miner II]

Damage Control II

Medium Subordinate Screen Stabilizer I
Scoped Survey Scanner
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

Gas Cloud Harvester II
Gas Cloud Harvester II
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
[empty rig slot]
The rigs are optional. They'll increase survivability marginally in a few circumstances. The main difference in the fits is the inclusion here of a survey scanner. It's nice to know the amount of gas left. This is also a tech II fit, obviously. You can make it tech I easily by using the parts shown in the original guide.

One can also mine in a Prospect, the new Expedition Frigate introduced in Crius.  Prospects are basically Ventures that can hold twice as much gas, and fit a covert ops cloak.  I have not trained Expedition Frigate yet, because Prospects do not mine gas any faster than a Venture.  And they are more expensive.  Still, the larger ore hold is nice.  So here's what I would do, if I did:
[Prospect, Gas Miner II]

Damage Control II
'Stoic' Core Equalizer I
'Stoic' Core Equalizer I
Local Hull Conversion Nanofiber Structure I

Medium Subordinate Screen Stabilizer I
Scoped Survey Scanner
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

Gas Cloud Harvester II
Gas Cloud Harvester II
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
The rigs are there for a travel fit, with the idea of roving through wspace scanning for good gas to mine. If you're not roving, then you can rig it with Low Friction Nozzle Joints to get a faster align time.

III. Operational Security

Sometimes you'll be mining gas in a system you know is zipped up.  Operational security in a zipped system is easy: you just need to strobe the discovery scanner every so often.  (If you aren't sure what I am talking about, read my post Basics: Safety in Wormhole Space.)  New connecting wormholes are rare.

If a new sig appears, you don't need to stop mining.  It might be something other than a wormhole.  (Most new sigs are wormholes, especially since Hyperion, but occasionally not.)  Deploy probes and scan it down.  If it is not a wormhole, proceed as before.

If it is a wormhole, your system must now be considered "open", that is, compromised.  You can mine in an open system, but operational security is much harder.  You must be dscanning as I described in my original guide: once every 15 seconds, if not more often.  Remember that any attacker must scan to find either (a) you (with combat probes), or (b) the gas site you are in.  But his probes need not be out for more than a single scanning cycle, which is 10s.  For harder sites it will probably require two scans, so you have 20+ seconds.

If you see probes, it is likely because you are being scanned.  It is safest to simply bug out immediately as soon as you see them.  But you have a small amount of time, so it is possible to lower the range on your dscan and wait to bug out until you know the enemy probes are close enough to resolve your site.  (Gas sites can be resolved by a highly bonused scanner at 2/1/0.5 AU respectively for "perimeter"/"frontier"/"core" gas sites.  Most scanners require closer, that is 1/0.5/0.25 AU.)

Once you leave a site because you think it has been scanned, don't return to it.  Don't return forever?  Well, at least for an hour or two.  Hunters can be very patient.  Last night I killed two Ventures in a gas site; they'd fled earlier after seeing my probes.  But they returned in 10 minutes, and I was still there.  But that's another story.

IV. Tactical Security

Tactical security is your final failsafe, not your first.  If you even get to the point of having an enemy player on grid with you, you did something wrong.  But Ventures are forgiving, and there is still a good chance for you to survive.

Many people gas mine while sitting still; this is a serious no-no.  Sitting still makes it really easy to sneak up on you.  But it also means that you take more damage when someone does get a shot in.  This is particularly true of the torpedoes that most people have on stealth bombers.  But cloaky T3s often have guns that would have trouble tracking a speedy Venture.  If you were moving.  So move.  You should always mine in motion.

In my original guide I propound mining in orbit of the gas cloud, at 500m.  This is how you should mine the smaller of the two gas clouds in a site.  (Its radius is not large enough for the trick below.)  But there is a better way to mine the larger gas clouds.

Gas clouds, like most objects, decloak anything within 2000m.  So, when you are deep inside the cloud, you cannot be sneaked up on.  At least not within normal scrambler range.  This is a huge benefit!  Sometimes I see people who warp to zero to the cloud and then just sit there mining.  They do gain this benefit, but as noted above, they dramatically increase their own risk by not moving.  But you can have both benefits!

For the large gas clouds, you should mine from within the cloud, orbiting a jetcan.  Even though the center of the cloud would be a perfect object to orbit if you could, you cannot orbit things in EVE at negative distances, which is what you would need.  (Orbits are computed from the outer edge of objects.)  So, you place a jetcan to orbit instead.

The jetcan should be placed at the center of the cloud.  You can get to the center of a cloud most easily by bookmarking it and then warping to it, but this requires time bouncing that you may not want to spend.  If you have warped to the site (as you must the first time you go to it), then it is faster to microwarp to the center of the cloud.  Note that while you can see where the center is when you are distant to it, this display is turned off when you are close.  So, locating the center is hard without aid.  But aid is present: turn on the tactical overlay.  It shows a line going to the center of each object on grid, including gas clouds.

A jetcan can be created by anyone.  You need something in your hold to jettison, but this can be a bookmark.  So, create a personal bookmark (it does not matter the location) then drag it into your hold.  Voila, you've got something.  Right-click on it then select Jettison.  Now you have a jetcan.  The jetcan lasts for two hours, which should be plenty to mine out most clouds.

You should not orbit close (within scrambler range) of the jetcan.  Since the radius of all large gas clouds is 50 km, I orbit at 25 km.  This puts you at the maximum distance from many dangerous locations.  The center of the cloud is warpable, and so is dangerous.  The jetcan is also warpable, and thus dangerous.  (This is why I recommend creating it at the center of the cloud.)  And all of wspace outside of the cloud allows cloaking, and so is dangerous.  By staying in between, you minimize the danger to you from cloaky attackers.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips and tricks - I know it's not easy to explain things to noobs - but you do it well. Thanks.

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  2. Inspired me to try this tonight. Hope I don't run into you.

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  3. Have you considered swapping the shield with an afterburner?

    In my experience I have found it useful to fit AB + MWD for running away situations, like bubbles or being scrambled.

    Another approach I recently started to use for long harvesting gas sessions is using disposable alts that lack implants, so if they are podded they are not a big deal.

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    Replies
    1. Disposable alts are a good idea. In fact I mine gas with a semi-disposable alt. Of course, this works better in kspace than in wspace, because you have to get back in after being podded. But the inconvenience can be minor, depending on if there's a route already in existence.

      The afterburners... have not really considered it. It might even be superior in terms of damage mitigation, if you mine with the afterburner on.

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