No loot for me

12th February 2014 – 5.06 pm

A new signature in the home system isn't much to get excited about, but performing a blanket scan and also seeing a ship is, particularly when it looks like I should be alone. Warping to get within directional scanner range of the ship has core probes visible but no ship. My keen intuition suspects a wormhole has opened in to our system. I reckon I can scan quickly enough to resolve the new wormhole before the scout realises what's happening. It's a good plan, if it weren't for the Dominix sitting on top of the wormhole as I resolve it. Still, the battleship gives me a fat target for my probes to aim for, so I find the wormhole quickly anyway, recalling my probes as I do. I doubt I'll need them again any time soon.

Resolving a Dominix on top of a wormhole

The Dominix, and his pal in the Helios covert operations boat now visible on d-scan, have probably seen my probes. Even so, I warp across to see what will happen, and, indeed, there is the Dominix on the wormhole. Two Dominices, in fact. No, three. Dammit, people, make up your bloody minds. Okay, four. Four Dominix battleships just kinda ambling around. They're a little spread out from the wormhole too, which is a bit odd. They clearly aren't trying to kill the wormhole. Are they looking for trouble? Or just trying to provoke it? Of course, that all assumes the first one updated d-scan on entering the system and saw my probes, instead of relying on his scout.

Four Dominix battleships jump to our home system uninvited

The wormhole crackles again, but it's not another Dominix. This time a Zephyr exploration boat appears. Oh, okay, and a fifth Dominix, appearing moments after the Zephyr. The first ship warps away, the battleships a minute later in the same direction. With an anomaly in that direction, I suppose the Zephyr is getting a decent warp-in position for the battleships. I also suppose they either didn't see my probes or don't care. And as I warp in to the anomaly to shadow the fleet, it is quite possible that they don't care that they saw probes. One of those stupid mobile tractor units has been dropped next to the huddled battleships.

Dominix fleet deploys a mobile tractor unit to piss me off

MTUs are really tough to kill, relatively speaking. They are harder to destroy than your average Noctis salvager, which seems to be a reasonable comparison, and that they will be guarded by the rat-killing fleet makes them pretty much untouchable. An MTU may be a fine idea in empire space, where loot perhaps needs to be made easier to collect or it will just be left, but it's the only source of reliable income in w-space. Sleeper wrecks are never left to decay, not unless one pilot actively stops another from collecting them. The role of the MTU to bundle everything up in to one convenient package just makes stealing other people's loot difficult-to-impossible in w-space.

At least the Dominices don't appear to be fitted with salvager modules in a utility slot, or I'd just give up now. The ships aren't moving, so they are probably collecting all the loot as they go. The best I can hope for is popping a ship coming to salvage the wrecks, and even then it won't give me much beyond the explosion. It won't lose the other pilots much either. Forgive me if I see the MTU as another good idea that doesn't work in w-space.

The first site is cleared and off the ships warp, leaving the looted wrecks and the MTU behind. No salvager enters the system or site yet, so I follow the battleships. A second MTU is deployed in the second anomaly. It looks like I have a wait ahead of me. Whilst I bide my time, I make a perch in the third anomaly, where the Zephyr is just milling around. It's just a matter of watching and waiting, shadowing the fleet and making perches where appropriate. It's a little boring, to be honest, so when I see the Zephyr scanning whilst sitting in a rather easily found position around the first planet, I can't help but consider taking a shot at the tiny ship. It's not much of a prize, and will bag me zero loot, but at least I could ambush something. I'm still unconvinced an unescorted salvager will come this way.

Zephyr floats carelessly in orbit around a planet

Decision made. The Zephyr warps before I can make up my mind. It's back to following the fleet, who bounce in to the first anomaly to pick up the MTU before they continue in to the second cleared anomaly and scoop the MTU there. The probes disappear, as does the Zephyr from d-scan, and although I fully suspect the third MTU to be scooped before the fleet leaves that doesn't happen. I warp to the wormhole and watch using d-scan, but when a whole lot of nothing happens I drop on to my perch in the third anomaly to see the Dominices just kinda staring at the MTU for a few minutes. Ah, I see. A Noctis is on d-scan now, come to salvage all the wrecks, neatly collected in to salvaging range so he doesn't even have to move. Remember when salvaging was interesting? Yeah, me too.

I'm expecting the Noctis to warp in amongst the Dominix battleships. After all, what's the point of having five big, powerful ships available if you don't use them to guard your squishy industrial ship? Well, I suppose if you think the system you are in is closed and has no one home you may get lax about security. Chalk another one up to going off-line in a safe spot far away from the tower. The Noctis is actually in the first cleared anomaly, according to d-scan. I first think I should wait in the second anomaly, but reconsider. It may be better to see what he's doing in the first one, see how he operates, so that I can be better prepared for my potential ambush. And he's sitting perfectly still in the middle of the cluster of wrecks. Perfect.

Noctis salvages the clump of wrecks made by the MTU

Now on to the second anomaly, where I lie in wait. The Noctis warps in, the Dominices remain in the system but not with their salvager. I get closer and wait for the right moment to strike. I have to assume that any wrecks he doesn't salvage will be wasted, so even though some loot will be lost in an explosion it is probably better to let him sweep up as many wrecks as possible. Yes, even the large Sleeper wrecks, you tool. Salvage them, dammit. There they go. Okay, go for it. I decloak, lock on to the Noctis, and start shooting.

Ambushing a Noctis in the home system

I overheat my guns immediately. A Noctis isn't exactly a hard target, but I am well aware of the Dominix fleet just a short warp away. They probably aren't fitted with warp disruption modules, and will take a while to lock on to me, but I'd rather this ambush be as clean as possible. My overheated autocannons do the job nicely. The Noctis is going down. And when he goes, he goes with a beautiful explosion.

Noctis dies a flaming death

The pod flees from my further attentions, sadly, but that still leaves the wreck. I draw close, open the wreck, and loot it of the surviving salvage just as the Dominices warp in right on top of me. The sight of five giant space potatoes is enough to instil a certain sense of immediacy, as well as a little panic. I even miss the perch in this anomaly and instead warp to a different perch. Never mind, I get clear.

In warp the space potatoes

That was nice. It could have been better, had all the loot not been collected by the mobile tractor unit for the lazy and risk-averse. I just get a bit of salvage. Not the good stuff either. That all got destroyed in the explosion. And, sure, it was a fine explosion, but bagging the loot always made the afterglow of the ambush more enjoyable. I have to wonder why the Noctis didn't just warp away, though, given that it had three warp core stabilisers fitted.

  1. 4 Responses to “No loot for me”

  2. Here's the kill. It should have around 15000 EHP, and you were probably doing about 500 DPS. So why he did not manage to escape is perplexing. If he was spazzing for 15 seconds and maybe you bumped him a bit, that might explain it. Noctises don't have good align times.

    You did get screwed by the loot fairy, but there was really only one thing of value that he had (the nanoribbons). So, it's not a wildly improbably screw. But hey, look on the bright side: you got a mobile tractor unit.

    By Von Keigai on Feb 12, 2014

  3. Nice kill! Sometimes the hunt is more important than the kill :).

    I also wanted to ask, is it a habit for you making so many screenshots or do you use a software to "record" jpg for a period of time or something?

    By Zosius on Feb 12, 2014

  4. It's a habit, which grew once I started including more images in this blog. It's just hitting a hot-key, and most of the time I know what I'll want an image of when telling my tale. Even so, I have thousands of accumulated images now.

    And, yes, the hunt can definitely be more interesting and fulfilling than the kill itself. But I also find I enjoy the kill more when I come away with tens of millions in loot, or find I've destroyed hundreds of millions.

    By pjharvey on Feb 13, 2014

  5. I don't think the loot fairy shafted me as such, VK, but I do think I got shafted on the loot, because of mobile tractor units. They do not fit in the w-space environment.

    I fully understand and appreciate the need and benefits MTUs bring to other regions of space. In high-sec, mission rats give bounties and completed missions offer ISK rewards, and the loot the rats leave behind is mostly rubbish. There is little point scooping a lot of low-meta loot when more ISK can be made from chain-running missions. Deploying an MTU and having all the loot brought to you seems like a good idea to reduce fields of wrecks and introduce more created items in to the economy.

    I have no idea about low-sec, it's all a bit weird. In null-sec, again rats give ISK and the loot most of them drop is not worth sifting through to find the occasional meta 4 module. You make your ISK from the bounties and loot the officer rats. This again leaves fields of wrecks in space, and again the MTU becomes desirable.

    But in w-space, Sleepers don't give bounties, you get nothing for popping them, only a bill for ammunition used. You have to loot and salvage to make any ISK. No one warps in to w-space sites, pops the rats, and warps out again thinking the job's done. There will always be looting to be done at the very least, and almost always salvaging. Fields of wrecks simply won't be left behind, and the function of the MTU shifts from adding value to reducing risk.

    Let's look at the cases. If you have enough firepower to take on the PvE fleet, then there is no change to the encounter, except the PvE fleet loses slightly more ISK from the loss of MTUs. If you can't take on the fleet, you will always lose out on loot. The fleet will take the bloot and run, leaving you with a salvager picking up scraps.

    This post provides a good example, where I only just manage to pop a Noctis before a fleet of sluggish battleships can react and warp to my position. An MTU has much more EHP than a Noctis, so even attempting to crack one open would be futile and merely alert the fleet that I was there. The only chance I'd have is the extra time from there not being a pilot asking for help directly. But, even then, the extra EHP of the MTU compared to even a Noctis gives the fleet far more reaction time before I get a chance of scoring one site's worth of loot.

    Again from this post, with the fleet scooping the bloot as they move from site-to-site, the only loot the salvager will collect will be the salvage, which is variable in itself as well as being subject to the loot fairy on destruction of the ship. This is also the only ship in the operation that I could feasibly take on solo most of the time. This means that even if the fleet loses their salvager, they still get to take home most of the ISK they collected from the sites, and probably end up with a net gain. Using a destroyer instead of a Noctis helps more with this.

    Sure, there are many ways to mitigate losses and ensure your salvagers don't get ambushed. But when I come across players who don't protect their salvager, all the MTU does is make the ambush less worthwhile for me and less of a loss for them. MTUs are simply not suited to the w-space environment.

    If anyone can scoop from any MTU then it would be interesting. It would promote drive-bys in cleared sites, attempting not to be spotted blipping on d-scan, or even daring runs through the middle of dangerous fleets hoping to steal the bloot. It would also reduce the annoying double-dipping of the loot fairy when the ship you destroy gets looted by the MTU.

    Or if the EHP on the MTU was reduced to something sensible, maybe that of a cruiser, so that they could be ripped apart fairly quickly, then it would promote attempts to get loot, particularly if they didn't suffer from the capricious nature of the loot fairy. As it stands, they are brick shithouses that significantly reduce the risk of w-space PvE operations with no obvious drawbacks to their use.

    At least this particular tale has a happy ending, even if it's nowhere near as profitable as it should have been.

    By pjharvey on Feb 13, 2014

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.