Reduced to flipping cans

12th August 2011 – 5.39 pm

Another thief strikes our corporation, stealing an Orca industrial command ship and escaping through a now-collapsed wormhole. It's just not cricket. There's nothing much we can do about it now, although it prompts another discussion about how to partition assets better, given the rather coarse tools at our disposal in w-space. And with the wormhole gone we have more exploration available to us. Mick's already in our neighbouring class 4 system and has found wormholes leading to class 3 and class 2 w-space. I jump in to join him in that system, am guided to both of the wormholes there, and pick the C2 system as my next destination.

A Tengu strategic cruiser, Noctis salvager, and Mammoth hauler are all visible on my directional scanner in the C2, but there are no wrecks to be seen. My notes place me here twice before, the last time only five months ago where my Manticore apparently missed catching a Mammoth collecting planet goo. Maybe I can do better this time, but not when there are no pilots. But a lack of capsuleers is good, as it means no one spots my supposedly covert Tengu bumping off the tower's force field and having my cloak dropped. At least now I remember this system and why I missed catching the Mammoth last time.

Scanning is super quick in the C2, which it would be even without Mick's expert assistance. He's come this way because the C3 was empty and the connecting wormhole was reaching the end of its natural lifetime, reducing our options in that direction. We don't have many options here either, only three signatures in total being in the system, a gravimetric site and exit to high-sec empire space found in addition to the already known wormhole back to the C4. That's scanning done, I may as well head out to high-sec to take a look around.

What a mistake. I find myself out in Gallente space, surrounded by pilots desperately trying to find their way to cooler regions. Scanning only finds the one signature, that of the wormhole I just jumped through, showing the even Sleeper technology sensibly tries to avoid the Gallente. Mick tries to convince me that I could find other wormholes in the next system across, but that shows him as the Gallente philistine he is, expecting me to use a stargate! This isn't the 80s any more, we've moved on. Instead of scanning I decide instead to harrass some miners.

There are some mining barges on d-scan, easily found in one of the several asteroid belts in the system. It doesn't take much to encourage glorious leader Fin to come out and steal their ore, seeing if we can goad them in to unwisely shooting at our Bustard transport ship as my cloaked Tengu sits nearby, ready to pounce. The plan goes a little awry right from the start, when I warp in closer to the mining barges only to find that my cloaking device decided to deactivate. It was probably made by a Gallente industrialist who somehow found his way to Jita. Or maybe I was too close to the wormhole when I initiated warp. Either way, I try to act nonchalantly and warp off to another belt, hoping that I simply look like a rich idiot ratting in an expensive toy.

I head back to the belt, cloaked this time, and manoeuvre to get close to the miners and give Fin a reference point to warp close to the jettisoned canisters of ore. Fin warps in, steals the ore, and warps out again, loitering a little in the hopes of aggression but getting none. One of the miners decides to take his operation elsewhere, but the other three, all in the same corporation, keep going. When a new can is jetted Fin returns and chomps it in to her cargo hold, and takes that chunk of ore back to the wormhole too.

'If they say anything', she says, 'tell them we have an Orca to build'. It's a good excuse but I still feel a bit more evil than I expected to. I am doing this just to be disruptive, rather than finding legitimate targets, and my actions aren't sitting right with me. The mining operation pauses but only an Iteron hauler warps away. He returns soon enough, drops a giant secure can which he labels 'get lost, poacher', and the operation resumes. It seems we've forced them to be more circumspect, as they are now moving the mined ore from the barges to the GSC, from where the hauler transfers it to his hold. There's no more stealing to be done here.

And our guilty consciences make us give back what we have stolen, Fin bringing the Bustard back in to the belt to jettison the ore already taken, apologising by way of labelling the can. Can flipping is simply an underhand way of getting soft kills from naive targets. I prefer getting soft kills from unsuspecting targets in lawless space, personally. And you can't prove that I hung around for a few minutes to see if the miners took back their ore, which would essentially be flipping our own can and making them legitimate targets in the process. Leaving the innocent miners behind us, Fin and I head home to w-space to rest for the night.

  1. 8 Responses to “Reduced to flipping cans”

  2. This is part of the reason I was asking the questions that I was on Basket a few nights ago. I'm in a small corp at the moment -- RL friends that trust each other -- but we've talked about joining (or forming) a larger group, and the main question we keep coming back around to is how to our personal assets.

    In doing a little research I came across several corps live in higher end wormholes in larger groups (Aperture Harmonics, The Night Crew, et cetera) who have given up using large towers in favor of using many *small* towers, with shield passwords that only that tower's inhabitants know.

    For example, in the class 5 wormhole you've been writing about, Penny and Fin and Mick would simply set up a single small tower with basic defenses (I assume you three trust each other sufficiently :). Everyone else in the wormhole would also maintain towers in whatever grouping they feel comfortable with.

    This doesn't address the issue of corporation theft (assuming there even is a shared 'all access' corporate tower; there certainly wouldn't need to be) but from what those corps have said, this practice has entirely eliminated the loss of ships owned by individual pilots by compartmentalizing in to separate apartments.

    By Doyce (Ty Delaney) on Aug 13, 2011

  3. Running compartmentalised towers is a nice idea, but it's also a complex one. I only know a little about tower management, so I may go a bit astray here, corrections are appreciated if I do.

    Logistics would be more complicated, needing to anchor, configure, and run multiple towers in the same system, each with fuel requirements. The need for many hangars and arrays, plus defences for each tower, would increase fuel demands over owning fewer towers, which means manufacturing or hauling more fuel for the same number of pilots. That's feasible, I'm sure, but it will get tedious, and with individual access a thief could possibly just steal a tower instead.

    The configuration is also far more vulnerable to passing gangs of battleships, smaller towers being much easier to destroy than large ones, even if defended properly. Unless the home system has active combat pilots available most of the time a stray connection to null-sec could see a few towers pop. Even if the directors may want to sit safe in a large tower, losing any of the small ones would be a drain on the corporation wallet, as well as demoralising for the pilots who lose their ships.

    And, although you say experience has shown the loss of ships has been eliminated, unless compartmentalised down to individual levels a skilled thief will always be able to take something, and if a big corporation has plenty of pilots flying strategic cruisers, a few of these taken out in a (thief-owned/allied) Orca is still possible and annoying.

    Still, it works for the big corporations, and it is certainly less prone to theft than the coarser-grained control a single tower offers. I don't think there's really an easy solution to eliminating corporation theft yet.

    Our latest thief ended up getting stuck in a C5 and not being able to scan its static wormhole to 100%. She had to pod her way back to a clone vat, not recovering her spoils. Not much comfort for us, but still amusing.

    By pjharvey on Aug 13, 2011

  4. Our solution (following theft of a couple of T3's) was to park an XL ship array next to the S.M.A.

    We already have personal access-only tabs in the corp hangar for assets (ignoring the fact that someone in the corp clearly has the access to everything by way of being a director or above).

    So each pilot has a tab for their assets and one for their ships. Fine for a small corp, we're doubling up tabs with pairs of people who trust each other to try and minimise our exposure to theft.

    When they want to fly something they drag and drop from the XL array to the SMA and then board as normal. When finished they park the ship up in the reverse operation.

    Not ideal, and as you say the management of wormhole assets is a joke currently. Was clearly designed by someone who had spent zero time living in a wh.

    It does however remove the issue of a shared space for ships and exposure of all of them to a thief.

    By Spudzeebee on Aug 13, 2011

  5. The limits you mention to using a bunch of small towers are certainly there -- the big one being defenses.

    I don't think fuel supply would be an tremendous issue, because a maxed out small tower uses one-quarter the fuel of a maxed out large tower, but needing multiple modules like a corp hangar and SMA for each new tower is a challenge, certainly.

    The logistics of supplying fuel to the tower would be much higher, of course, and the responsibility of the individual tower tenants, probably, so that's a bit of a hassle.

    One of the nice things about sharing a wormhole with LOTS of folks is that you don't *have* to manage everything, every day, and many smaller towers would negate some of that benefit.

    Again, I'm not sure. You can move into a big castle and share your living space with everyone else, or live out on the plains with many individual tents/houses/caravans.

    (Personally, I'd live out of my alt's cloaked safe-spot Orca if things were that dicey in terms of security.)

    By Doyce (Ty Delaney) on Aug 15, 2011

  6. Honestly as long as the people in thee corp are making more isk by running the sites rather than stealing it should help.
    In my wh, its just me and my alt and my ceo and his alt, making 120+ per hour is worth it, I mean I have over 3 billion in assets that he could take at any time, but morals, trust and friendship prevent either of us from doing so

    By Marcus McTavish on Aug 16, 2011

  7. Small towers approach is not ideal either, for example:
    you can't revoke someone's access without changing pass and locking everyone out.
    You need to have roles to anchor and refuel the towers, so either:
    Inhabitants of every tower have them which i don't personally like a lot, since if they learn password to another tower they can disrupt it, possibly without anyone knowing who it was.
    Or directors need to know all passwords and take care to refuel all the towers, which puts quite a bit of workload on them.
    On another hand it improve security as far as ship access goes in some ways.

    To be honest it's messed up and personal hangars at towers are what's really needed (and won't happen...)

    By Mick Straih on Aug 16, 2011

  8. There's usually not really a problem with two or three close-knit pilots, Marcus. Problems with theft occur when the corporation recruits, in a desire to grow bigger and stronger. There's only so much you can do without forming bigger fleets, both for PvE and PvP.

    The general consensus is that personal security in w-space is inadequate, although there are some clever and practical solutions being thought up using the tools we have currently available.

    By pjharvey on Aug 16, 2011

  9. The one major plus of the security issues involving POS life is that it does add a cost to EVE's normal approach of quantity over quality. If you wouldn't trust a person with access to your ships I would wonder why you would let them into your corp in the first place. Admittedly that does make recruiting slightly difficult, our recruitment policy lies somewhere between extremely paranoid and rejecting our own alts.

    For a smaller corp you can restrict your potential losses by locking down SMA's and corp hangers but really if you only recruit people who are into wh's for the pvp then you don't have much to worry about since competent people to fly with is worth far more than isk and I can't see a former corp thief being accepted into any wh corp worth joining.

    By kryn on Aug 23, 2011

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