Gimme Shelter

Planning for The Expedition to wormhole space is proceeding to pace though it will still take us some time to amass the isk and materiel required for the endeavor.  As there is no ice in w-space, you need to bring all your own fuel.  Based on my scratch calculations (more on that later), I’m guessing that we’ll need the equivalent of about 80 million isk worth of fuel and trade goods to operate the station per month.

According to Grismar’s Ice Chart, Clear Icicle, the most basic flavor of Amarr ice, will yield some of the necessary fuel components for the POS and at current market prices is slightly more lucrative than mining veldspar in high sec.  When you consider the long cycle time, very large ice asteroids and relative absence of rats (not that they pose a threat in high sec) you have a recipe for near AFK mining during the week.

Of course, how much fuel to lay in for the expedition is a matter of debate.  How much fuel you’ll need is a function of the size of your POS control tower and how frequently you think you can reliably resupply. On the second point, probably the most conservative I’ve read is bring 3 months of fuel with you when you set up your POS in w-space just in case.  That’s the goal for starters.  We’ll see how long that takes to amass while acquiring everything else we’ll need.

Which brings me to the question at hand:  Wormhole POS design.  Opinions abound.  Strategies vary, not all are successful.

So approaching it like all things Eve I began researching the topic.  While there seems to be a fair amount of info out there on setting up POS’s in k-space, the w-space POS appears to be a bit of a novelty still.

Actually determining the fitting of the POS is simpler than fitting a ship.  The only two constraints you have are how much powergrid and cpu your control tower has.  Each additional module (e.g., corp hangar array, turret batteries, refining arrays, etc.) simply uses one or both.  If you have enough pg and cpu, you can bring the module online.  You can replace EFT with a simple spreadsheet.  There are some POS fitting tools out there like this one or QuickFit.

Nice view.  Who does your windows?
Nice view. Who does your windows?

The Tower of Power

The control tower is the center of the station and provides all the power and cpu necessary to run your desired modules.  So the first question for a w-space POS is how much control tower do I need?  Conventional wisdom suggests (as Letrange’s account confirms) that a small tower just wont cut it.

For the Amarr version:

Large: 5 million MW of pg,  5,500 tf of cpu
Medium: 2.5 million MW pg, 2,750 tf cpu
Small:  1.25 million MW pg, 1,375 tf

Prices follow the same structure:  a small base price is 100 million, medium 200 million, large 400 million.  Four times everything for four times the price (that includes things like armor and shields too).  I tend toward over-engineeing things so I’m inclined to go with a large tower and be done with it.

Services and Amenities

Deciding what other modules to install depends on what you want to do.  Here’s what I’m considering for starters:

Corporate Hangar Array
Ship Maintenance Array
Medium Intensive Refining Array
Medium Ship Assembly Array
Ammunition Assembly Array

Other options include a Large and Small ship assembly array.  I assume we’ll lose ships to sleepers and with a little planning, a few “standard” platforms and some modest stockpiles of fittings, we should be able to make spares as we need them with a limited number of BPOs or BPCs.  It would be especially nice if we could make a few BS’s in the hole which would help with Sleepers and any visitors as well.  For that matter, a mobile lab might be interesting to play with as well to research BPOs and work on invention.

I assume I would only really be limited by how much isk we were willing to spend on modules and offline them if we weren’t using them.

Defenses

Here’s the main area where viewpoints (and my own confusion) abound.  Most wormhole gangs probably wont have a swarm of battleships or they’d risk collapsing their exit hole.  Likewise, they may be looking for either easy pvp kills or sleeper loot, not necessarily hoping to find a POS to bash.

Seems to be three basic approaches:

  • Turtle: Make your POS hard and and annoyingly long to take down so your opponents eventually give up and run before their exit wormhole collapses.  This means keeping a healthy stockpile of strontium clathrates on hand so your tower can go into reinforced mode if necessary, and using a combination of electronic counter measures to disrupt targeting (no afk shooting) and shield hardeners to reduce damage taken.
  • Deathstar:  Make your POS reach out and touch someone with maximum boom boom.  The wormhole equivalent of a bug zapper.  Lots of turret batteries of various sizes to counter everything from sniping BSs to swarming frigates and everything in between.  Even more devastating when one or a few of the defenders have the Starbase Defense Management skill trained so they can take control of the guns and focus fire.  Even better if you have swarms of Tie Fighters corp members to scramble and defend the base.
  • Middle of the Road (guess which one i’m choosing):  A combination of passive PITA defenses with enough active defenses to keep attackers honest.

Given this will be in a wormhole, conventional wisdom here says go with zomglazerz to avoid ammo needs, so Amarr towers it is.  Now, I just need to figure out how many, what kind and where to put them…

Here’s one suggestion:

4-6x warp disruptors *At least one online, 3-5 offline
4x stasis webs *2 online, 2 offline
5x shield hardeners
2-4 ecm arrays of each type.
2 neuts *1 online, 1 offline
Fill the rest of the grid with medium longrange guns

Here’s another:

7-8 hardeners,
10 guns,
point
Damp batteries.

And one more:

4 small and 4 mid size pulse lasers
neuting turret (for breaking active tanks),
warp scram
web turret

So I’m at a bit of a loss.  I’m leaning toward the first setup or something similar since I don’t anticipate having too many people online at any given time.  Since you have to anchor the turrets outside of the shield bubble, having some small guns to protect them makes sense, but is that really necessary or would mediums suffice?  Likewise, do I need any Large turrets (375 km) to deal with snipers?  What about pulse versus beam?  Seems that pulse would track better, but I had a conversation with a friend in another corp who was adamant about beams only?  What gives?

Finally, something I haven’t read anywhere, how to physically array them around your control tower?