Response to Ten Ton Hammer: The Anti-Ganking Guide for PI
It seems to be a trend for some gaming websites now to hire folks to write articles about PvP in MMO games. Disturbingly though, recent articles (that don’t deserve links) purport to be guides to ganking, which is in my mind a really disgusting pastime. It’s useless to pretend it doesn’t exist though, and worse to whine about it, so this post won’t do either. Instead, I mean to make a guide to help people interested in Planetary Interaction in EVE avoid ganking.
It’s a long one, read all my tips and tricks after the jump.
Ten Ton Hammer ran a post titled “Suicide Ganking the Primae in EVE”, setting as the target the new gift ship everyone got with the patch this past tuesday in game. The Primae is a cruiser sized hauler that is designed for Planetary Interaction, with a storage bay for command center modules and another for the goods you harvest and manufacture from colonized worlds. It’s limited edition, unique and very very pretty. And it makes a big juicy target for the people in the game who enjoy greifing the ‘carebears’ in high security space. So, what can you do to protect yourself? Well, I’ll tell you.
First is evaluate the task you need to accomplish. The materials you harvest on planets are valuable, but they also take up valuable cargo space. If you’re planning to only mine for raw materials, then at average production levels an extractor will produce 15-20 cubic meters of resources per hour. Filling the launch bay of a command center will take a day, and filling a storage unit will take ten if you only have one extractor running. A good colony will have much more than one of course, and you can have up to six colonies with the Interplanetary Consolidation skill at V. So for each colony you have, expect to need ~23,000 cubic meters of storage per week if you plan to only extract raw materials and to collect them once a week to haul to a station for sale. If you refine these to the next stage then the amount of space you need drops of course, for an average colony making a mixture of processed and refined commodities (the first and second production tiers) plan on around 3000 cubic meters to haul each week.
Now consider the available ships for this task. The Primae is one option, with its specialised hold for holding commodities. But this hold has a capacity of 1000 cubic meters and because it isn’t the main cargo hold cannot be increased by Expanded Cargohold modules. That means a lot of trips picking up your goods at each colony, and a lot of time your Primae is in space and vulnerable. A better choice is any basic racial industrial. You will get one for free playing the tutorial missions, and for very little cost they can be fit to have cargoholds approaching 5000 cubic meters. And they don’t have a target painted on their backs by the folks at Ten Ton Hammer.
You’ve made your decision though, and you want to do everything you can to protect whichever ship you take along on your Planetary Interaction runs. Maybe you’re on a trial account and can’t train the skill to fly an industrial, or maybe you’re a rebel throwing caution to the wind. I’m here to help make your trips as safe as possible.
Second thing to think about is what can you do remotely and what do you have to be present to do in PI. Your mantra here is Never Go Into Planet View in Space! The only thing you must be present to do in the planet view is place a command center. Everything else, from building structures and links to refreshing extractors to making transfers and launches can and should be done remotely. Do your colony management while in a station, and don’t leave yourself unaware of your surroundings in space.
You will eventually have to go out to your colonies and pick up your materials for hauling back to a trade hub. When you do this, consider Fitting a Tank to your Primae. The Primae is a cruiser sized vessel with standard resists for a Gallente tech 1 ship and around 3750 base HP. With four low slots (that are useless for Expanded Cargoholds remember) and 125 CPU / 218 MW powergrid, the possibility of a strong tank is there. If you can get your EHP (HP taking resists into account) above 12,000 with a combination of Armor Plates, Damage Controls and Resistance Plating then few solo gankers will be able to kill you in 2-3 volleys before CONCORD kills them. A coordinated group such as the kind that targets Hulks during Hulkageddon will likely still kill you, but coordination takes time and you shouldn’t be planning to give it to them.
Not giving them time to attack you is the point of the next tip, Never Use Auto Pilot! The auto pilot function in EVE is a holdover from the time before you could choose to warp to zero to objects in space. In highsec, people often use it when they are making a trip more than two or three jumps and step away from the keyboard while the computer does the work. Don’t! Auto pilot drops you about 20 km from your target stargate, and the rest of the distance is closed under your ships normal thrust. A Primae is faster than most industrials, but this trip will still take well over a minute which is plenty of time for a ganker to see you, tell his buddies and take a shot. The reasons you don’t want to warp to zero in nullsec don’t apply in highsec, and the benefit is you drop out of warp and can jump immediately through the stargate. Don’t think that the CONCORD that patrol the gates will save you, the gankers will still get one volley in if you give them the chance. So don’t!
Along the same line of thought is the next tip, Use Command Center Launches Remotely, and Warp to the Cans Directly! Like most other functions of the planet view, you can make launches from your command center remotely. Launch containers show up at a random spot near the planet, place a bookmark in your journal and last for 4 days. There is no reason why you should warp to zero or the customs office of your planet and then make your launches. Doing so means you are opening planet view in space unnecessarily and sitting still for as long as it takes you to make transfers and launches. So don’t do it! Make your launches remotely, and when you come through the stargate into the system warp to the location of the first can directly. If you spend the minimum amount of time at each can, then folks probing for you won’t be able to pinpoint you either.
There will be two times when you will be most vulnerable while doing PI, when placing a command center and when accessing a customs office. For both you need to be present at the planet and for both you need to open a window or the planet view that will distract you from people around. The risk of these activities can be mitigated by minimizing the amount of time you are stationary doing them. When placing a command center, do the scanning of the planet ahead of time from a safe location and have your site for the command center picked out before you warp to the planet. A station is good, or if there are no close stations make a safe spot to scan from. You don’t have to be present at the planet to scan, so don’t be. When you have the location chosen for your command center then warp to the planet, place it and return to safety. Remember you don’t have to be present to build colony structures, only to place the command center.
You will eventually want to use a customs office to transport your goods, either because you want to save the cost and time of running to multiple launches or because you want to do advanced processing and are bringing in commodities from other planets to do so. Consider making one planet to be your processing planet in 0.8 or better space and have that be the location you build your launchpad. Gankers prefer to haunt 0.5-0.6 systems for many reasons, so the higher security you have your launch pads the better. Aim for low activity times on the server to do your PI tasks. Early morning in the US right after server downtime is a good choice, as are weekdays in general. Use the map to scout the system and see how many other players are in it at the time you plan to go. If there are many or if it’s a dangerous system and there are any then you may wish to wait until a quieter time. Also have your materials to import/export ready to go before you get to the planet. Make expedited transfers from storage from a safe location, and have everything you wish to move already in your launch pad and ship cargo respectively. After you make the transfer don’t sit at the customs office to route and distribute the things you just imported, get back to safety! For both this and placing a command center I would also strongly recommend you Fit a Tank! to your ship.
The thing to remember when doing anything in EVE is to Be Smart – Don’t Make Yourself a Target! If you choose to fly the Primae in Planetary Interaction you should take steps to minimize your risk. Hope you never are on the receiving end of a suicide gank, but realise that there are people in the game who actively target some types of ship and plan your trips accordingly.
Fly safe until next time, everyone.