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 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!