Monday, 30 September 2013

Alternative Approach - The Yield Tank

It's been a while since my last post.  I really do need to start posting a bit more often.
Today's post is based around the recent miner ganking going on in high sec.  Following directly on from the goons ice interdiction, Gevlon Goblin has started up a ganking corp based around solo (or dualbox) ganking.  The stated idea of this (which I'm not entirely convinced is the case, but that's another discussion) is to educate miners.  The idea is teach miners to fly tanked ships, more specifically to fly procurers and skiffs, since anything else can easily be ganked.  Even with maximum tank, the most amount of T2 catalysts it takes to drop a barge or exhumer is ~4.  That is to kill a max tanked Mackinaw in a 1.0 security system.

I have an alternate solution to ganking for the efficient miner however.  The ship I put forward as the tanked mining barge is in fact, the Covetor.  The weakest defended mining barge.

Am I insane?
Very possibly, but hear me out.  First consider a efficient miners objectives.  An efficient miner needs to pull in the most amount of yield over time.  Consider the stats of the mining barges.  With max skills, and a T2 Orca boost the following are the yields and isk/hour.  Red is ore (based on scordite) and Blue is Ice (based on amarr ice).
As you can see, based on these yields, the Covetor yields 3.6m more per hour than a Procurer.  Now the basis behind Yield Tanking is simple.  If you can make more isk in any given period while losing a Covetor, than you can mining in a Procurer, it's better to go with a yield fit Covetor.  With the stats above, in 10.8 hours, the Covetor makes the same as the procure PLUS it's own cost.  This means if you get ganked every 10.8 hours of mining, you are as efficient mining in a Covetor.

If you get ganked less than every 10.8 hours, you are even more efficient.  For example, after 20 hours of mining, a Procurer would have made 920m, while a Covetor would have made 1.1b, which is 180m more.  So if you get ganked once every 20 hours, using a Procurer would actually be costing you 140m in yield, that you could have had by simply losing a Covetor.

But still, don't get ganked
This is all well and good, but you do still need to ensure you don't get ganked too often.  If you get ganked more than every 10.8 hours you are losing out.  If you have no Orca boosts, or are lower skilled, it will also be longer than 10.8 hours, though if you are an efficiency driven miner, you should be aiming to max out your yield and get Orca support.
You can work out your own time between ganks by working out your isk/hour in a Procurer and a Covetor, then doing this: CostOfCovetor / (CovetorYield - ProcurerYield)

To avoid ganks, take the simple precautions.  If someone is getting too close to you, move away, don't provide them a warp in.  Don't mine from belt entry points, and add known gankers to your contact with a -10 standing, then swap to a procurer short term or move systems if they enter local.  Your aim should always be to avoid getting ganked where possible, while maintaining an efficient yield.  Getting ganked still cuts into you profit, just not as much as constantly using a Procurer.  It also encourages a ganker to return.  You can also keep a tanked cruiser in your Orca, and if you are about to get ganked, swap into that.  and TANK YOUR ORCA.  That cannot be stressed enough. A DC2 is a huge boost to the EHP of an Orca, no matter how much that extra space from an expanded cargohold appeals to you.

The headache of implant ownership
Since you are not planning on surviving if you do get caught offguard, don't sit around with billions of isk of implants in your head.  If they destroy your ship, they will try to pod you too.  If they succeed your implants are gone.  So if you are not 100% sure you can warp your pod out, don't have expensive implants.  With my miners, the only time they need implants is while they are levelling up.  For this reason during their training I keep them nice and safe in a tanked procurer, then swap them out to the yield fit Covetor upon completion of their training.  My miners have other characters on the accounts which will be training anyway once the miners are max yield, so there's no need to keep implants in.  The only one that's mildly useful is the mining yield boosts, but honestly, if you are going to stick an expensive implant in, you should be in a Procurer, in which case it's pointless to have because you've just cut your yield back down.

Simple enough?
The reason this all sounds dead simple is because it is.  Avoiding gankers is not a difficult task, as there really aren't that many of them.  Sure, the occasional one gets you (though to this date, my miners have not been the victims of a gank), but as long as it is occasional, you can be safe in the knowledge that you are better off with your cheap as chips, yield fit Covetor.


  1. True to the last word.
    However Covetors need you to be at the keyboard (or to bot), which is a big no for most miners. Covs has the smallest ore hold (7K, procurer 12K, Ret: 26-28K based on skill)

    Actually, if you are at they keyboard with no tank and empty pod, why are you at highsec? Go null for much higher income. The main bonus of highsec is AFK mining and Covs are incompatible with that.

    1. Shifting the ore is a downside in null. It's a bit large to move. And a lot of people enjoy high sec and hate the CTAs and the war elements that come with null. I personally split my time between the two.
      Indeed though, Covetors are not for the AFK miner. If someone is mining for efficiency and doing it AFK, they are doing it very wrong.

  2. What I really want to see is, assuming you are ganked every N hours in a Covetor (and you will be in many places, as the lowest hanging fruit), how large does N have to be before you are superior to a Retriever that is not getting ganked? And similarly for the Retriever:Procurer comparison.

    The assumption here, of course, is that there are other miners around. This is true in the ice sites which I mine. By getting into a Covetor you are basically sticking a huge "gank me first" sign on your forehead. (Or in a site full of Procurers, ditto for Retriever.) This would certainly be true where I ice mine. I never see a Covetor. I see lots of Retrievers, Macks, Procurers, and Skiffs. During the recent Goon Caldari Ice Interdiction, I mined happily in a tanked Procurer; there were no Retrievers or Macks left after the first couple days of ganking.

    My mining philosophy might be called the Low Hanging Fruit strategy, as in: don't be the low hanging fruit. Gankers, like anyone else, want things to be as easy and foolproof as possible. So they'll go for the weakest tank and easiest target. Always be aware of the other miners mining with you, and make sure your barge is not the most easily ganked one. So long as someone else is, you are probably safe.

    1. Based on the above stats, Retriever:Procurer would be 20.82 hours. Covetor:Retriever would be 19.62 hours.
      The problem here though, is if you don't get ganked, you were better off in a Covetor. And really, how often do you get ganked? I rarely see a ganker, and when I do, most of them are set to red, so they are easy to avoid. I've mined a lot in Covetors and never been ganked. Had I used any other mining barge, I'd have lost out on yield for no reason.

      And sure, don't be the low hanging fruit is a workable plan. The problem is, between Hulk, Mack, Cov and Retr, the fruit is about on the same level for ease. You'd need to drop yield modules in favor of tank modules to ensure survival, so they think twice about killing you in favor of a yield fit miner in the same belt.

      Max yield mixed with ganker avoidance will give you the best efficiency. Just don't be silly. If there are gankers about, switch to a Procurer or move. I make sure I have a few different areas ready to go at a moments notice so if a group of gankers sets up shop, I can JC to an alternate location and lose as little time as possible.

    2. Why not pick one of the cheapest ships in the game (rifter) stick a mining laser on it and mine with that? ungankable right? :P After all I'm at the keyboard mining for fun (like wow fishing...) does it matter if the yield is rubbish? Its the mining I'm enjoying. Douche bags wouldnt be able to come along an spoil my game time then right? cos its against the tos (and common sense) to go around targeting the same player for unprofitable ganks.

      tldr: fly safe fly rifters?

  3. One other comment on this. I don't think your figures here account for dump-time (trips back to a station to dump ore/ice) at all. Obviously if you ice-mine and jetcan, you have no dump-time at all. But most casual ice miners will. For them, the Retriever or Mack makes sense because of the effective efficiency gain from fewer trips to station.

    I recently used a stopwatch app to precisely measure my complete round-trip time while ice mining. It was just over two minutes. This was with an ice anom that was quite close to my station.

    Dump time will substantially affect profit. For a covetor, holding 7 blocks of ice, you'll fill up in two cycles -- just over 3 minutes. So you'd lose 40% of your yield if you self-haul your ice. Obviously you'd be out of your mind to mine in a covetor except by jetcanning to some other hauler.

    But jetcan mining reduces efficiency in another way. Without jetcanning, you mine with N ships, running back and forth to a station. Or you can mine with N-1 miners and one hauler. For low values of N, the latter is inefficient. The breakeven can be computed; my gut says that any ship with a larger ore capacity than a Mack can increase efficiency by hauling better, but it has to stay completely busy to justify the lost ore.

    1. Yeah, that's true, if you are solo mining, or only a couple of miners, then the space afforded by the retriever will be better. Align time is slow on a barge.

      An efficient miner with a group though should be doubling up the booster as a hauler.
      I load all of my ore into my Orca, then he hauls it all in fewer trips. You can still run your boosts while aligning so you only lose boosts during the times you are in warp or docked, which is about 30 seconds or so. You should be upwards of 125k m3 in a tank fit Orca (using a DC2 and reinforced bulkheads 2 in your lows) , so losing 30 seconds of boosts (still mining) every 125 ice blocks is not too bad. From memory, I think it works out that if you have 4 miners, you are better off with 3 and a T2 Orca.

    2. lol. orca to haul. lulz. Fully tanked it's got the haulage of just over 3 macks. But, of course, "greed is good" is the motto here and i'm sure you've long since fit two expanded cargo modules in the lows and expensive cargo rigs to bring the cargo up to 100,000m3 (plus the 40k fleet hangar you dump into, plus the 50k ore hold)
      Because, well, it would take a baker's dozen [tech2 catalysts overheated] to take down a completely untanked orca. We'll assume this 2 weeks worth of wardec fees is well spent by killmail whores (since a carebear wardecced simply docks up and plays wow)...that's maybe 4-5 players with multiple griefer alts. I'm pretty sure an efficient operation like that isn't going to be bothered with a rinky dink little covetor and shit fit orca, unless ur stupid enough to mine in high trafficked areas.


      The real problem is the mindset you engender. Not only are you vulnerable to the lulz ganks people like to do on untanked ships, but you are also the prime prey of wardec clans after randoms since the "greed tank" is notorious for actually paying out ransoms to end wardecs.
      You see, once you're on someone's radar as a bumbling oaf who actually believes the drivel he reads on the forums about "OMFG U TANK WE BRING MOAR GANK!" and becomes a favorite target of both the random opportunistic lulz killmail whore and the ransom deccers.
      Eventually your luck will run out and you'll not be able to fly under the radar.


      All this assumes you're theorycrafting and haven't actually bothered to try, since you're obviously a null sec player (most likely a renter carebear) who hasn't really bothered doing alot of high sec stuff when mining in null is so much more lucrative.
      Null is completely different, and i really think you're trying to apply null sec mindsets to high sec.

    3. Nope, the orca is always tanked. The bonus cargo is just not worth the risk of making yourself an appealing target. A DC2, reinforced bulkhead Orca is quite offputting to gankers. When the roaming gangs of gankers are looking about for targets, that's what they look for. Being in the CFC, I've seen first hand the target selection order for things like interdictions.

      Hauling in the orca only costs you boosts for 30 seconds at a time, which is more efficient than losing a miner as a dedicated hauler. You can haul individually if you are only running 4 characters, but when multiboxing at a higher level it becomes more of a pain to manage.


      I don't worry too much about wardeccers, not while NPC corps can't be wardecced. Most gankers can be spotted a mile away, and can be avoided and added to your contacts so they'll stand out. And because you are flying T1s, they will only target you if there's nothing juicier. If a ganker arrives, swap out to procurers and march on. Once the gankers are gone, switch back. This way you minimise the economic impact.


      While my main and certainly all of my primary activities are in null, I run a complete high sec industry chain for T1 and T2 modules and ships. Parts of the product are shipped to null while the rest go to high sec markets. This setup is what I use to run high sec miners when I'm coding. Null mining certainly is more lucrative for fully active mining, but when you are running multiple clients and only half paying attention, a momentary lapse in concentration can cost you your whole fleet, which cuts into your profits.

      By the way, it would have taken like 2 seconds to look me up and see I'm not in a renter corp :p

  4. Interesting read, glad I finally paid the forums a visit.