Greedy Goblin

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spotlight bias and a mining Rokh fleet

We were talking about nullsec industry on the goblinworks channel and they kept re-iterating a problem: even if you "own" sovereignity not only in the system but in everything in 10 jumps and you have Cyno jammer in the system and everything in 10 jumps and stations where you can undock from and a titan sitting under the POS shield with pilot an Alt-Tab away, you still have to stop mining when the first neutral shows up in the local channel.

Hulks are extremely vulnerable and that one neutral can be a scout with covert cyno generator or simply the enemy can have a half dozen stealth bombers logged out in the system, so if you don't jump instantly, you have all your Hulks dead. Hell, he can be totally alone and still kill 1-2 Hulks. A single guy AFK-ing in a cloaked T1 frigate acts as "system wide mining jammer".

My answer was simple: a mining Rokh fleet:
Note: if you don't have perfect skills, replace the cargohold with another co-processor. If you don't have Caldari BS 5, replace a shield extender with another invu.

The mining Rokh mines 1000m3/minute and has 180K EHP without boosts. With a Rorqual under the POS shield as fleet booster, and a Tengu AFK-ing below POS shield providing Shield links, you'll be busy emptying the cargohold all the time while sitting under 200K EHP. If the system is cyno-jammed, and you have some friendly AFK-ers sitting in local (the enemy don't know who they are, they can be cloaked titans) you are safe to mine.

One guy in local? Turn on tanking modules and mine on. Maybe call back the mining drones and send out the Hobgoblins if you are jumpy.
You only need to warp if local spikes or he actually commence an attack. In that case you don't actually warp, just align, let the Hobgoblin fleet kill that guy if he tackles one Rokh and warp away.

I considered "problem solved", but it was not. Actually I faced the same thing on the channel what I saw when I introduced the transport interceptors: "they will be killed". Since Rokhs are one of the most tanked subcaps in the game, they finally visioned a 50+B Tengu-fleet with covert cynos and warp scrambling stealth bombers and they were completely sure that the mining Rokh fleet will be killed.

No doubt that the fleet can be killed. Just like transport interceptors. Or fully tanked and really empty Orcas in highsec. Or supercap fleets. Yet they are usually not. You are killed in EVE in two cases:
  • If you are an easy target
  • Someone is especially after you
Mining Rokhs deep in a cyno-jammed enemy sov are not exactly the easiest target that a roam-for-fun would imagine. At first most roam-for-fun can't even kill them. A small gang can't even kill one if they have a cloaked Basi sitting on 70km. A medium fleet can find much-much juicier targets than them. If someone is sporting in a serious fleet they have much better ideas than jumping on 300M mining ships with 200K EHP. The gain (killing a few Rokhs) is not even near the risk (bubbled by cloaked interdictors, a capital fleet undocks and tear you to shreds).

I couldn't imagine why are they unable to understand it. I mean they aren't retards. Just like the people who were sure that I'll lose my transport interceptors in a few days if they fly with 50M (they are happy for 3 months flying with 500M). They were not idiots in the sense of telling factually wrong things, they just considered a 0.01% chance to be 100%. If you are not stupid or explicitly go for trouble in EVE, the chance of death is equal to be hit by lightning. It does happen. But very rarely.

The solution - again - was in the social psychology books: the spotlight bias. It says that an average (social) person greatly overestimates his visibility. The typical study is giving them a lame T-shirt and ask them how would people react. They are all sure that "everyone will laugh on me or at least think bad of me". However when they are placed into a group, and later the group is questioned, large majority of them can't even remember the T-shirt. Because they can't care less about the T-shirt of random Joe.

While they accept that a mining Rokh is not exactly every pirates dream, social people naturally focus on the second possibility: they want to get me. Because they care about me. Because everyone in EVE will know that I'm mining in a Rokh and will have top priority to kill me. The truth is obviously the opposite: no one will give a damn.

The deep reason behind this bias is the core idea of being social: "I'm important". No, you are not. Unless you do something spectacular (or spectacular failure), no one will care about you. This is something a social is unable to accept.

Finally, based on this finding, let me suggest a basic design guideline how to change Sov mechanics to serve as "conflict drives": make null sec safe from small gangs!
  • Make cyno jammers jam covert cynos. Make cyno jammers have their own cynos, so any blue can jump to the cyno jammer itself.
  • Remove logout-hiding: if you DC/logout, your ship docks in the nearest station. If there is no  station with docking rights in the system, it does an emergency warp and stays there, scannable, destroyable. So if you log out in enemy space, you find yourself in your clone station if the owners are not especially lazy or dumb.
  • Create gatecamping towers. These towers generate a 100km wide warp block bubble centered on the gate, are equipped with automatic station guns with about 200 DPS and send a message to the alliance channel "Gate tower at [system] near the [gate it is anchored] is engaging [player] in [ship]". It has relatively low shield HP (about 5M), if the shield is down, it can be hacked to stop functioning until the owners come back shield rep and re-online it. Such towers could be anchored to wormholes too.
With these changes one is more or less safe in his own sov/WH. They will have a home worth living in. A home that feeds not only the corp leaders by moongoo, but the players themselves by mining/ratting spots. Currently the sov space is worthless as the "owners" feel just as unsafe as in a random lowsec system. You know, too many imaginary covert Tengufleets are hunting personally them.

With the "safe sov" they will utilize it. They will like it. It will feel home. They won't want to lose it. They will fight for it. Others will want to take it. A 1000+ battle at your service!

As a design criteria I would say "Sov system is broken still there is a single serious K-space alliance that doesn't want sov".

Thurstday morning report: 50.2B. (1 PLEX ahead, 1.1B spent on LCT, 0.1 on Rorqual)
Join the goblinworks channel for trading, hauling, crafting discussions.
Support the life in highsec by supporting our lobby organization


Rammstein said...

"Remove logout-hiding: if you DC/logout, your ship docks in the nearest station. If there is no station with docking rights in the system, it does an emergency warp and stays there, scannable, destroyable."

Pretty good idea, perhaps give 5-15 minutes to log back in still hidden before the ship becomes scannable/destroyable. That still makes dc's/computer freezes not insta-death in hostile systems, but in your own sov you only have to wait a few minutes after logging in to know that there are no reds in system.

Ravanna said...

The way to answer these people is through a real-life security situation that everyone understands: why do you lock your car? After all, if someone wants to steal it they can easily jimmy the lock or break a window.

You don't lock the car to make it impossible to steal, you lock it to make it less attractive to car thieves than the cars that the M&S left in the parking lot with windows down and keys in the ignition.

Alkarasu said...

I'm not sure on others motivation, but my reason to join that particular discussion (and on that particular side of it) was to find all reasons why such minig fleet can and will be destroyed - to find the ways to counteract that possibilities or to prove they very low probability. Such discussions are usially nice mind training exercise, and, sometimes, can really help to spot some hidden loophole (not to mention it's an exellent way to make people share some really important information they don't ever think is important or won't share in any other circumstance).

As for gatecamping towers, that's nice idea, but you can't make it capable of WH-defence without breaking the very idea of WH itself (as random natural phenomena, that pops out anywhere it wants and then vanish without a trace).

Safe sov idea is interesting as well, and I guess, it can be made in a fashion, that is already employed by Concord in an imperial space - so that it will depend on sov holder to make it really safe (and as safe, as sov holder will want it to be, something similar to imperial security index, which is, naturally, an indication on how much Concord is interested in that particular system events). Concord seem to have little problems on nearly instantly jumping to the site, where someone was attacked from wherever they base is, so if there will be a way for a sov holder to somehow assign a guardian fleet, that can jump anywhere some ally is attacked in a certain radius, with system where it is possible to jump in, marked by some kind of structure (like the cyno jammer). Guardian fleet then can be stationed on a jump bridge and jump (or decide to not, as they will need some time to return to they stations at the jump bridge and an attack can be a lure) to any conflict in a guarded system(s). This way anyone can maintain as big guardian fleet as he can afford (as naturally, pilots tend to hate guard duty, so they must be compensated), and the whole concept will make EVE closer to the "player-run universe", that CCP wants (or at least claims that they wants) it to be.

Anonymous said...

"and an offgrid cloaked Tengu providing Shield links"

you can't run links while cloaked

Anonymous said...

EvE. Where half the challenge is finding the sweet-spot on the awareness-paranoia scale then balancing productivity-survivability to match.

DSJ said...

The most efficient way to mine is to simply factor a lost Hulk or two as the price of doing business. As someone who runs multiple accounts with Hulks fleet mining in 0.0 I wil admit that the AFK cloaker is a pain but only to the mostly casual, risk averse players. Any really serious analysis of ways to avoid getting killed in a 0.0 mining fleet would begin with an analysis of intelligence channels, which if effectively utilized completely mitigate any risk of losses to roaming gangs or solo hunters.

It is a mistake to spend your time trying to fix a fit to avoid a gank. There is always a way to kill off a ship alone. Make a stronger tank and they will bring larger guns if for nothing more than the challenge.

The better time is spent setting up the intelligence channels and reporting to make collective security possible and working on a reaction plan to put your miners into proper pvp ships when needed. 0.0 also tends to be a large place -- and since everyone in 0.0 is traditionally either a blue or a target -- intruders tend to stick out. By spreading your operations out and selectively placing defensive bubbles to guard access to systems you can largely prevent any attacks and continue to use your hulks in relative peace.

Antivyris said...

One slight problem that I always point out when people say 'Use Rohks!'.

It's more cost effective to the situation you presented to use a Covetor. In EVE, sometimes the smart decision is using the ship you intend to lose. This gives double the output of a Rohk, if not more, along with getting actual benefits from an Orca or Rorqual booster. And if someone takes out your Covetor, it's fully-fully insured and at most you lose a grand total of 10mil.

Hivemind said...

And there I hoped that we'd talked you out of this when it was discussed in Goblinworks. Obviously our naysaying had nothing to do with practical experience of living in Null and/or being the very people who would covops drop a fleet to nuke your mining Rokhs, it's spotlight bias. You've never even set pod in Null let alone mined there, but you are absolutely right - you know our game better than we do and all dissent is born from logical failures and psychological quirks

Sarcasm aside, the main point we tried to get across to you was that in sov null your enemies are likely to be frequent visitors to your territory and to have spies in your alliance feeding them information. In that situation an exploitable weakness is going to be discovered and "There is a mining fleet in Rokhs with no guns on that frequently mine in system X and ignore enemy ships in local" is an exploitable weakness.

The Rokhs give you a lot more survivability and most lone hostiles probably can't/won't do anything to harm them, but if you get complacent about ignoring their presence they will exploit that. As an example, if I found out that my enemy nullsec alliance frequently fielded Rokh mining fleets in a given system and ignores neuts, I would:
1- Get a disposable Interdictor into the system, preferably via titan bridge to a nearby non-jammed system. If that's not an option, fit a normal cloak and use a covops to scout it in in relevant safety. They get to a safespot in the system and cloak up.
2- A while later, at least 30 minutes+, get a covops cyno ship into the system.
3- Covops ship locates mining fleet, positions themselves to provide a suitable warpin for the Interdictor
4- Interdictor decloaks, aligns, warps to miners and immediately bubbles them all.
5- Covops ship lights cyno, nearby gang of lots of Stealth Bombers or covert T3s (a lot less than the 50 you’re assuming) plus 2 or more energy neut recons (Pilgrims) and probably a couple of extra ECM recons for defence. T3s are interdiction nullified and fit at least one warp scrambler (Gevlon, please note that provides 2 points of scramble strength which will overcome the Rokh's lone core stab), other ships are at least partially nano-fit for quick escape.
6- Combat ships engage your mining fleet and commence brutal slaughter. The neut recons neut out the primary and secondary target Rokhs, shutting down their hardeners and wiping out about 70k of their EHP.
7- Cloaky hauler with jump fuel and black ops BS bridge/jump in, cloak and warp to a safe to provide exit.
8a- If all the miners are killed, the fleet warp out to a safespot, cloaking mid-warp, then warp to the black ops BS which bridges the fleet out again after trolling local chat
8b- If a serious hostile force shows up (the Dictor pilot can probably amuse themselves by dropping a 2nd bubble on the warpin angle to prevent reinforcements dropping right into the fight) then the fleet warps out to a safe, cloaks, warps to another safe and trolls local. If the defenders stick around they can go home, if not they can strike again.

If that sounds like a lot of effort, bear in mind it's a lot less than what goes into SBUing and conquering systems to claim Sov in the first place. These kinds of assets/resources are fairly easy for most alliances to field, as is the coordination to use them well, and because of the ships being used there is very little risk of them getting wiped out; a covops scout can also sit outside the station to watch for potential opposition undocking, the whole fleet can see local spikes if defenders jump in. Interdiction nullified T3s can warp through bubbles and ECM recons can break locks on anyone who does manage to get off a targeted warp scram.

The simple fact is that in Null you either assume that any neutrals in local are the harbingers of a drop like this (out of corp alts etc) even though the probability is low, or you end up losing your fleet the one time it turns out that they really are setting up a drop

Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: 20 Rokhs mining with an Rorqual. That's 21. There are 50 on local that the stealthed enemy sees. What is the other 29?

Various combat alts of the miners, cloaked on grid, including bubblers and capitals.

Your attack fleet is ALWAYS counter-dropped with a serious combat fleet.

This is irrelevant in a Hulk fleet, the Hulks are dead before the miners could press Alt-Tab and/or can be massacred in disposable bombers and clean clones. The Rokhs must be primaried/neuted, just as you said.

Keep targeting the cheap and fully tanked Rokhs while combat ships of much higher ISK value are engaging you is stupid. So at the point of the fleet decloaked, the attackers can do two things: run or fight back. If they choose the second, the we are discussing a standard null battle where the Rokhs are ignored.

The ONLY case the Rokhs die if the attack fleet is so strong that the defenders don't dare to decloak. But then we are talking about 20-50x of the value of the Rokhs.

Peter Petermann said...

@hivemind: your plan is to complex. there are much easier ways

@Gevlon: yay. one of the worst things you can do is trying to counter roams. If i know i might get a fight, its the place where i will roam to regulary.
if i know i can provoke a counter action? awesome, i'll escalate by bringing a small gang, and as soon as you try to counter, i'll get in the rest of my fleet.

and, actually thats stuff i've done quite a few times to people who where stupid enough to "fight back" when you bring a roaming gang.

Gevlon said...

@Peter: except you can't escalate. It's a cynojammed system where you can only only get in subcaps while the defenders can have capitals or even supercapitals. You can only hit and run.

Of course you can bring in some really big subcap force. Then we are talking about a great battle between powerblocks that decides who will have mastery over ... mining Rokhs?

Peter Petermann said...

@Gevlon yes i can, i can bridge my main fleet to the neigbouring system

and the point that you seem to miss is that the motivation is not to fight over something, like the rokhs, the motivation is to get the fight.
killing 30 rokhs? nice.
killing 30 rokhs, 3 carriers, a supercarrier, 20 battleships and 10 logistics? much nicer.

Anonymous said...

It's a good counter to the threat of a covops gang.

However, my carpal tunnel would like to have a word with you about mining Rokh clicking-and-dragging...

Gevlon said...

@Peter: while random players may go for fights, smart FCs not. He sees the risks of obliteration which can easily end in half of his corp leaving as "lol the FC fukked up intel this corp suxx". And no, you can't bridge anything nearby as any serious alliance would cyno jam everything in a few jumps.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think there is anything smart or serious about:

- Having your Strat Index high enough
- Paying 20.000.000 a day for the IHub Upgrade to cyno jam.
- Having to take care of the Cyno Jammer
- Crippling your own cyno capabilities in the process.
- Keeping up alts in Fleet and Ships as dead assets.
- And then reiterating this for all Systems within Jump range.


- Suggesting fundemental game mechanic changes with results that can't be predicted.

*instead of*

- Calculating the costs of losing the miner ships in the first place and just live with it.

Peter Petermann said...


you make the wrong assumptions
first of all a smart FC goes only for fights that he is sure he will win.

With your guys sitting under a cyno jammer i have a very good idea on what i need to bring, since you yourself will have a much harder time to get more people in, since you block yourself from quick reinforcements.

and no, serious alliances do not cyno jam their complete region anymore - cyno jammer have a high maintenance cost, and block your own alliance in movement and logistics.

The days of fortified systems like the infamous fortress delve back in the day are over since CCP introduce upkeep for them.

lets ignore the basic costs for sov there, and for putting up the ihub you need.

Running a cyno jammer costs you 600m per month, per system. You need to own the system for more than 34 days before you can put one up.

this does not include the costs of the poses you need to have to actually anchor and run the cyno jammer.

cyno jammers are not build to give people safe space, they are a utility in sov defense.

Fade Toblack said...

@Gevlon - gangs roam nullsec looking for things to kill. Often gangs will throw themselves into fights that they suspect they're going to lose because losing a fight is more fun than roaming forever. (Also remember the maxim about learning more through failure than success)

Funnily enough your idea about bubbling gates - lots of people doing mining in null-sec already do that with the currently available bubbles.

Is mining in null-sec viable? Yes, there are people that do it all the time.

Can you make mining in null-sec completely safe? No, not at all.

So just like hauling stuff in a transport ship, or interceptor - it's about managing the risk appropriately, and expect to lose a ship every now and again.

Hivemind said...

@Gevlon: There’s a world of difference between your original proposal, which I’m going to crudely summarise as “Mining in Rokhs in null is safe because you’re too tanked for a lone neut to kill” and this, which is “Mining in Rokhs in null is safe because you have 29 gunships covering you and you’re too tanked to alpha”. If you’re willing to use 1.5 accounts to guard every 1 account that’s mining, that is going to make your operation a lot safer, yes. You’re unlikely to find 20 miners who all have combat-capable and cloak-capable alts that they can bring along to your mining op though, so you may have to scale back your possible defenders or try and get actual combat pilots to sit there cloaked watching you mine, but the principal is sound.

That said, you should note that as other commenters have pointed out there are people out there who would specifically like to engage in that scale of fight, and if they can do so by attacking your mining fleet (and get 20 unarmed battleships to kill into the bargain) then they will. You’d likely end up in the situation where local enemies would launch raids into your space whenever your mining fleet showed up (bear in mind we are still talking about a Null alliance which is likely infiltrated and has enemies who live close by). Best case is that your intel picks them up and you have time to get safe when their gang comes through, though there’s still a risk that the neuts in local you’ve been ignoring are interdictors and that they pin not just your mining fleet but the combat fleet down as your enemies drop in and you end up losing everything.

As for your suggestions for making Null safe from small gangs, you seem to miss the point that Null is unsafe from small gangs by design rather than by accident. It’s a deliberate decision on CCP’s part to provide some sort of offensive counter for every defensive tactic rather than vice-versa; for a cyno jammed system in sov space with good intel, there are black ops drops that bypass them. For bubbles on gates, there are interdiction nullified T3s. The whole point is to make it impossible to be absolutely safe in space. Incidentally, removing logout hiding would certainly remove logout traps as an option (though these have been confirmed as valid gameplay by CCP) but wouldn’t do much to AFK cloakers; the whole point is that they’re on 24/7 anyway, whether that means logging in from school/work or setting alarms or whatever to get straight back on after DT. Their success comes because players being camped never know when exactly the camper is active; they could have logged in after DT because it’s early evening and they’re at their computer, or it could be 3am for them and they’ll be going back to sleep immediately. Once again, if you make a habit of ignoring their presence eventually they will exploit that and you’ll pay for it. I’d also like to point out that it’s hardly a “conflict drive” to make space safe from conflict.

Finally you seem to have missed the main problem of mining in Rokhs rather than dedicated mining ships - burnout. Not of any of the modules, but of the players doing the mining. A fully-boosted Rokh (or any ship with T1 miners really) has a 35 second cycle time. Its cargo hold doesn't actually hold 1 cycle's worth of minerals (about 940m3 per cycle vs 797m3 cargo) so the miners need to be on at least 2 seperate cycles and the cargo bay has to be emptied for each of those, or about once every 17 seconds. That's about 3 times per minute, 180 times per hour, for however many hours a mining op goes on for. If anyone's multiboxing (as miners are wont to do) then that effort is multiplied for each Rokh. In comparison, any mining barge or exhumer with the same boosts has a cycle time of 1 minute 44 seconds, and only needs to dump ore for each cycle, even less if they have any cargo expanders. The Rokh pilot has to do literally 6 times as much work.

Aureon said...

In nullsec, things are hunted for the sake of it.
Rokhs will NOT make ANY difference than hulks, apart of costing half.
If scouted and caught, you're down. Period.

Covetors mine x2, and cost 1/3. Use them.
The smartest way is losing efficiently, not trying to win at all costs.

The "combat alts" are accounts logged that could be mining, also. That drops the efficiency to 1/4.

Magson said...

Back when I was still playing, we had people solo-mining in hulks in null all the time. They weren't afk, did use alts, and watched the intel channels like a hawk, and as a result it was perfectly safe for them to do so. It was how our corp got most of its minerals, really.

Alkarasu said...

In any case, this whole discussion is made pointless by the CCP next mining barge changes they recently announced. Procurers with battlehip-like EHP will most likely push any mining battleship off the viable mining solutions list (as also they intend to give them considerable ore bays, so less jetcan risk).