The release of the Rubicon expansion last November introduced a new feature in EVE Online: mobile deployable structures. Previous versions of EVE featured very little interaction with personal anchorable structures. Player-Owned Starbases (also known as a POS) are too big to lug around and are expensive to maintain. Secure cargo containers are also anchorable, but serve no other function than to place items in space somewhere. Prior to the winter expansion, there was little daily interaction in player owned structures (with the obvious exception of wormhole dwellers). Rubicon flipped that around with the goal of making new structures an everyday part of everyone’s lives, regardless of where you operate and who you fly for.
Rubicon and the subsequent 1.1 patch added seven new personal structures to the EVE universe. These include:
1) The Mobile Depot – Personal storage space and the ability to re-fit your ship in space.
2) The Mobile Tractor – Tractor beam that pulls wrecks towards it and scoops the loot inside it.
3) The Mobile Cynosural Inhibitor – Disables cynos from being lit in its range, preventing capital or titan bridge drops on you.
4) Mobile Siphon – Steals moon minerals from moon mining starbases.
5) Micro Jump Unit – Propels a ship 100km in the direction it’s facing.
6) Mobile Scan Inhibitor – Removes all ships within its range from scanning.
7) Encounter Surveillance System – Increases the risk/reward of ratting in nullsec
The announcement of the new deployable system was met with a mixed reaction from the community. Even though I typically don’t rush to judgment on features until I get a chance to mess around with them, the overall Rubicon feature list that had been announced left myself frustrated. I tweeted my overall frustrations with the announced features:
Usually I don’t jump the gun with my opinions on announced features until I get a chance to really mess around with them (I once told another Goon prior to Apocrypha that wormholes would never be used and was a waste of development time). But I recently had an interesting experience, which caused me to re-evaluate my opinion on the new deployable system.
Mobile Tractor Unit
I’ll admit, I don’t do a lot of PVE. I’ve been financially secure in EVE for several years and I have enough assets that I could continue to play for years without needing to grind for new ships. Once in a while when I have nothing else to do, I’ll dust off the odd Tengu or three and rush through anomalies. The battle of B-R lead us to an influx of newer players. One of the easiest ways to make ISK as a newbie is to follow someone who does anomalies with a Noctis and clean out the loot. The salvage is great for a rig producers, the meta 4 modules sell well in Jita, and the other items are melted down and sold to our producers to make capital ships and other fun things in nullsec.
The system I run out of in Deklein also happens to be one of the better ratting systems, and you’ll usually see anywhere from five to ten people actively ratting at once. This means that anomalies are cleared pretty fast, and new ones are constantly replaced. If you make a living scavenging and/or salvaging, you can make a lot of easy ISK cleaning up grids after the ratters clean them out.
A newbie I encountered last week took it to the next level. He’d asked me if it was okay to clean up my wrecks (in reality, very few people in GSF ever touch them). I told him I’d give him a few bookmarks when I was done and he could go to town. I gave him copies of the dozen or so bookmarks I made, and went AFK for a bit. When I came back, I undocked and warped to a few of the bookmarks to see how far he was, and what I saw next shocked me.
Every single bookmark I gave him had a mobile tractor deployed.
For the last couple years, the previous newbie salvaging/scavenging method was to get into a Thrasher or a Noctis and go to town. The ISK/Hour payoff is pretty solid for the newer players, but peanuts to the serious ratters. The newbie who asked for my bookmarks was collecting them from a few people, setting up mobile tractors, and using a hauler to take the loot to station. Time to warp between each bookmark and setup a new tractor unit? About a minute. Afterwards he’d wait 30 minutes for the tractors to scoop up all the wrecks, before warping out again with his hauler to clean them out. Estimated time interacting with the client to setup and to clear each bookmark? Twenty minutes for an estimated sixty million ISK payout.
So yeah, a newbie scavenging using the new deployables just shattered the ISK to hour ratio of my pimped out ratting setup. Thanks, Rubicon!