Cooking with Gas

The thing thats kept me so interested in Eve recently is that just as I’m about to be burned out on something, another mode of game play presents itself. In my case, exploration has become a new obsession. Primarily because the unknown is, well, unknown. After Apochrypha released, I ran out and grabbed a Heron, fitted it with a probe launcher, a few probes and off I went. Much to my surprise, I was able to scan down a wormhole in short order.

Times when I feel dogmatically productive, I’ll dutifully pull a mission for a faction that I need, run it, salvage it and mine it. One good mission with some decent asteroids and a corp mate or two makes a complete evening.

Other times, I feel the tug of the unknown and unseen. That’s when its time for exploration. I’m always hoping to find the mythical gravimetric site in high sec with delicious rare ores. Haven’t found any yet, but it hasn’t stopped me trying. Likewise, finding other complexes right under your nose in familiar systems I find exceedingly cool.

Of course, there’s always the wormholes as well.

This weekend I found my first “dangerous” wormhole on the unknown/dangerous/deadly scale in a high sec system. Info on the hole indicated that no one had passed through, but it was nearing the end of its life. I immediately jumped in in my wee uncloaked Heron.

After bookmarking the exit, I scanned the system. I got few immediate 100% hits for Sleeper sites which I decided not to check out. I also had a large number of fainter hits. Since the bad boy sites were closer in, I decided to scan down the outer ones.

After a few iterations, I managed to isolate a LADAR site which even in my noobness I remembered was a gas cloud site.  A “Minor Perimeter Reservoir” which consisted of two clouds of fullerenes.

I warped in to check it out and there appeared to be no Sleepers awake. From what I hear, they’ll probably show up when you return. Fortunately, I was blissfully unaware of this at the time.

Up to that point, I had heard of gas cloud harvesting but never seen any gas clouds. Worried that this wormhole was getting a bit long in the tooth, I decided to bug out but those gas clouds got me thinking… And thus yet another new direction revealed itself in Eve.

Once out, I hit the market. Fullerenes looked like they would be pretty lucrative. Training up gas cloud harvesting wouldn’t be too bad either. I just needed a platform upon which to do it.

Gas cloud harvesters are akin to mining lasers and come in Tech 1 and Tech 2 variants. My immediate thought was to fit up a battleship/miner like a Rokh or Dominix for high survivability. The more I read about wormhole exploration though, it sounded like a battleship might be too much mass, i.e., not a mass efficient platform for this operation and risk collapsing the exit wormhole prematurely.

Thoughts on the subject are varied, but conventional wisdom seems to suggest that smaller is better given the limited amount of mass that can cross through a wormhole before its collapse. While a gang of destroyers might get the gas harvested, I’m a bit worried about their survivability, especially in a small gang. Looking at this nifty chart from Aime D’Tact on Battle Clinic you can see the difference:

1 Battleship (~100,000,000) equals:
– 2.5 Hulks
– 5.5 t2 Haulers (18,000,000ish)
– 7 Command Ships (~14,000,000) with some to spare
– 7.5 logistics ships (~13,300,000)
– 8.3 HACs (~12,000,000) (some hacs are as small as 11,000,000)
– ~8.3 t1 cruisers (12,000,000)
– ~9 Haulers (they vary by a fair bit)
– ~60 Destroyers
– ~75 t2 frigates
– ~100 t1 frigates

For Comparison (figures approximate):
2 Black Ops : 3 Battleships (black Ops are 150, Battleships are 100)
1 Orca : 2.5 Battleships
1 Carrier : 10 Battleships
1 Dread : 10 Battleships
1 Freighter or JF : 11 Battleships
1 Mothership : 12-3 Battleships
1 Roquel : 12 battleships
1 Titan : 15-18 battleships

At 2.5x the mass of a BS, I think the Orca is definitely out as a support platform so that leaves hauling to ordinary industrials.  Smaller, faster and cheaper.  Given the size of gas, I don’t think I’d need much more (nor would I want to risk it).

I considered repurposing my venerable Osprey for the task of gas cloud mining, but in a small, time-limited, mass-limited operation, its limited high slots and limited tank didn’t seem like enough. So I came up with a compromise that I hope will work: The Gas Clound Mining Ferox.

I give you the "Cumulonoobulous"
I give you the "Cumulonoobulous"

I was able to to fit 5 harvesters, a cloak and probe launcher in the highs while using the mids and lows for a passive Tech II omni tank.

The plan isn’t to get into any battles, but it would be nice to be able to make it to a safe spot or the exit wormhole.  As a battlecruiser, its mass is only about 14 million which is only a bit more than a T1 cruiser, but substantially less than a BS.

I’ve yet to find a LADAR site to try it out on, but it also makes for a decent prober. Easy enough to warp in and check things out without fear of getting one shotted.

Now, if I can only find another LADAR site!

9 thoughts on “Cooking with Gas”

  1. Right on. I have personally had pretty good luck with an arbitrator. Although it will only fit 2 gas harvesters, there is room for the prober and salvager. It has drones to take care of the sleepers that will be guarding the LADAR site. There is enough cargo room to hold 10 or so cycles of gas(4m3 type), and risk remains minimal.

    I’m anxious to hear how you like your Ferox. :)

  2. Keep in mind that the number of Gas Harvesters you can use simultaenously is linked to the Gas cloud harvesting skill itself. If you want to use 5, you need the skill at level 5. Now I know its not a major training time hurdle, being only a rank 1 skill, but wouldnt want you to be disappointed when you try and use it.

  3. Other thing to note is the limited space in the BC hulls. Have you thought about an exequorer? 1600 m/3 of space, small mass, IIRC the fullerene is roughly 10 m/3 per unit. which would mean that in your BC you could get only 1000 m/3 with a bunch of expanders….just a thought.. I do undertsand about the survivability tho…good post :)

  4. A Hurricane can get 2040 m^3 cargohold with 6 expander 2’s. You can then put a Huge Secure Container and a Medium Secure Container inside and take the total to over 2400 m^3.

    It’s got enough mids for a decent shield tank on top of that, plus the 8 high slots for your harvesters, probe, and cloak. It can also carry 6 light drones or 3 mediums.

    Might be something else to look at. . . .

  5. @Karox: The goal is to get to GCH V to be able to fit tech II harvesters. Getting up to 4 was very quick so I’m using actually using 4 tech 1 variants until I get V trained which is only a few days.

    @Manasi and JC: I thought about a few different hulls including the exchequor and the hurricane. Hurricane was my second choice. The primary driver for the Ferox was that I had the Caldari battlecruiser skills already trained (and as a result pretty much everything I needed for a decent shield tank since this pilot’s combat ship is a Drake).

    I’m not so concerned about cargo. I run two accounts so i’ll have a cloaked hauler at my disposal so I can go nearly canless. Depending on how bad the rats are, I might just park the hauler cloaked in a safespot until I’m ready to empty a can, warp in load up, and back to safe.

    The general plan is to minimize trips across the wormhole to converse mass (and for efficiency). If that doesn’t seem to work then I may need more cargo.

  6. Eve still one of my all time favorites. Loved the music, the vastness and may I’ll never see the real thing but this is a close as one can get

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