The AFKtar – Removing the Significance of Loss

I have, over time, posted several replies to blog posts outlining why the loss of ratting ships is redundant in null-sec. It is interesting to note that the authors of those blogs, to a man, failed to publish my comments.

Well, this is my blog, and there is nothing any of those people, or the “News” sites who ignore the existence of this problem, or even CCP who ignored this problem when doing another pass on the Ishtar, can do about me laying it all out here.

So, here goes.

The greatest draw-card of Eve Online’s open universe, where PVP can happen anywhere, at any time, is that losses have real significance. A lost ship has to be replaced, either paid for or built, unlike so many other games out there.

Roaming gangs in null-sec can impact an alliance by hitting their wallet, dropping their membership through ship losses and cutting off their income at a player, corp and alliance level.

This factor has made Eve the different game out there, the edgy, niche market product that makes hands shake when engaged in PVP, makes people set alarm clocks for ‘Important’ battles and causes mile upon mile of rage and tears at losses.

Every ship loss means another span of time grinding PVE in one fashion or another to make the necessary ISK back to replace it.

It also means having space secure enough to be able to do that in and time spent keeping it that way.

In null-sec, this has changed, dramatically. Oh sure, this is not something that is available to all Eve pilots, but, if it’s freely available to a casual player like me, then it’s available to most.

Here’s the deal, for the few not yet in the know.

Get yourself an alt with good skills, able to fly an Ishtar (the HAC skill is irrelevant as you don’t use sentries). He’ll need good drone skills and shield tanking skills, able to use 2 Geckos, 2 T2 medium drones and 1 T2 light drone, unless you want to splash out for Augmented drones. T2 heavies will do at a pinch, but the income isn’t optimal.

That alt needs to have access to average null-sec ratting space, so pop him in a renter corp in the alliance of your choice.

Having read that, some may decry that the requirements are not exactly new player friendly, but Eve isn’t full of new players is it?

Let’s be honest, with CCP’s publicly stated disinterest in retaining new players, that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Now, fit the Ishtar with one drone link augmenter, one shield hardener suited to the local rats, a 100mn afterburner, an omnidirectional tracking link with a tracking script, a drone navigation computer, 4 DDA’s and 2 shield rigs.

Chuck in 5 warrior 2’s, 5 jamming drones and maybe a medium neut if you care about losing the ship (most won’t) and you’re golden.

Warp it into an anomaly, doesn’t really matter which, it works in any. When you land, set the ship to orbit something (I use the large collidable objects in the scenery of the anomaly), drop drones and hit the AB.

Make sure you have the drones out before all the rats have you red boxed. The rats will not aggro the drones at all.

And that, as they say, is that. When the site is done, warp to the next one, rinse and repeat.

So how has this broken the ship loss significance?

Well, it’s all about the semi-AFK factor of this system. When I am writing (for work), I usually have two clients running non-stop, running from anom to anom, with total input from me being to pull drones and warp to the next one about every twenty minutes. When I’m not working I log in a third Ishtar and do corp stuff while running three.

I know of a cab driver running six Ishtars, resetting them after every job, from his cab.

How much can you expect to make? It depends.

With maxed out skills and running Augmented Ogres, I pull in 24 to 26 million ISK per tick per ship. That’s 144 to 156 million ISK per hour when I’m working, up to 216 to 234 million ISK per hour for three, when I’m not. Double that for my cabbie mate.

If you run 2 Geckos, 2 mediums and a light, 21 to 23 million per tick.

Many guys run multiple alts in multiple corps, nullifying the threat of campers and hot drops. PVP alliance members run alts in renter corps, often in the opposition’s renter alliances, to make income denial impossible.

Now, think about it for a minute. How significant do you think the impact is of gankers, hot droppers and cloaky campers?

Because this can be done in pretty much any system, at any time of the day that people can access their computers, not very significant at all.

Who the hell is going to spend the ISK and time to hot drop a lousy Ishtar? Especially when that Ishtar is clocking over 1km per second.

There’s also the risk that the Ishtar you target is PVP fit, it doesn’t cause a huge drop in income to rat in a bait fit version.

If an area proves to be unsuitable, one can easily pop into another corp somewhere else and carry on regardless. Corps will welcome these ratters with open arms; it’s tax heaven, so who wouldn’t?

Some may now be readying the torches and pitchforks to mount another ‘Gnarr gnarr renters’ campaign, but that would be narrow-minded, to say the least.

The top ‘Care Bear’ alliance in Eve isn’t a renter alliance.

The alliance with the most NPC kills per hour in null-sec isn’t a renter alliance.

All those fearsome PVP corps looking down their noses at lowly renters have members with alts, AFKtaring non-stop while they sit on a gate or a titan somewhere.

Poor old Gevlon, poor old NPC null-seccers, I’m afraid that all those losses you inflict don’t mean a damn thing; not to the pilot that lost the ship, not to his corp, and definitely not to his alliance.

At a low point 20 million ISK per tick, that ratting Ishtar you pop is worth about 300 million ISK, in other words, it takes five semi AFK hours to replace.

No implants needed, so if he had an expensive clone, that just means he hasn’t been killed since he sold his old Vindicator in disgust; he certainly won’t need to replace the clone.

That’s the one that’s lost, by the way, not the other two or five that this guy might have running.

Now, ask yourself this, for every Ishtar popped, how many aren’t? I am yet to lose one myself, and I’ve been running mine for nearly six months.

In point of fact, I am currently not even bothering to rat much, as I have enough bank to pay for four accounts and a hangar full of PVP ships which I don’t use very often at all.

So I can just PLEX my accounts that I need and play other games.

Therefore, to someone like me, who is a casual player, the loss of a ship means less than nothing. In fact, it gives me a reason to log in, so I can spend a few semi-AFK hours to get the ISK needed to replace it.

So, when Goons say that Gevlon and the boys are irrelevant, I’m afraid they aren’t lying.

In my opinion, this is a very sorry state of affairs.

It also explains the influx of alt accounts currently propping up CCP’s sagging subscriber numbers, doesn’t it?

It’s all in the mind, you know.




2 responses to “The AFKtar – Removing the Significance of Loss

  1. Pingback: Not Quite Exactly Accurate | Blastrad Tales

  2. Pingback: Loss Means Even Less | Blastrad Tales

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