Friday, March 7, 2014

Low Sec PI Is Not THAT Scary After All

When I moved to low sec, one of the things I'd given up for life in EVE Online was planetary interaction.  Low sec is a very dangerous place and using a customs office looked like a sure way to run into someone who wanted to do violence to my internet spaceship. But at that point in my EVE career, I strangely was not upset at leaving the activity behind.  Fast forward to today and I'm looking for an extra revenue stream so I decided to take the plunge.

In low sec, tooling around in a tech 1 industrial ship servicing my colonies isn't a real good idea.  So instead of making the most valuable PI products I decided to make something useful: nanite repair paste.  Nanite repair paste is something small and valuable that easily sits inside my Prowler.  Also, the PI products used to make nanite repair paste are low volume goods so I only have to make one trip with the finished products to the factory station where I make the paste.

The only drawback to my plan was that I discovered that the best way to make the two main P3 products, Data Chips and Gel-Matrix Biopaste, involves moving around processed materials (P1 products) instead of refined commodities (P2 products).  That means transporting a larger amount of materials and more runs between planets.  The amount of materials wouldn't matter in high sec.  After all, the chances of having a tech 1 hauler suicide ganked transporting P1 products is pretty slim.  But in low sec?  That's a free-fire zone.

Once again, my Prowler comes to the rescue.  While not possessing the largest cargo capacity, putting one Expanded Cargohold II in the lows does give me 5100 m3 available and a nano in the other low gives me good speed and an align time under 5 seconds.  But it's the sub-warp speed that I really use.  The align time is useful only if I make a mistake.

Since if I waited for all neutrals to leave the system I'd never get anything done, I have to take the approach to the customs office seriously.  I land some distance, depending on my level of nervousness, from the POCO and align to a celestial in a path designed to take me withing 2000 meters of the POCO.  Yes, bookmarks are useful for this task.  Why 2000 meters and not just the 2500 needed to open the POCO and take items from it?  Because I let the ship's path naturally decloak the ship.  What I do is have both the POCO cargo and ship cargo windows open and the items highlighted.  Then, when the distance indicator shows under 2000 meters, I just drag, drop, and warp off instantly since I'm already aligned.  For best results, I turn the tracking camera off.

Is what I do dangerous.  A little.  I do have frigate pilots drop on grid from time to time looking for something to shoot.  Once I had to abort the approach 3700 meters away from the POCO.  Another time a frigate was heading directly at me and I sheared off the approach before he got within 7000 meters.  The only thing I'm really worried about is a stealth bomber tackling me, since they do not have a targeting delay after decloaking.  But if I wanted the illusion of absolute safety, I'd stay in high sec.  Since I'm in low, I just make sure I take calculated risks and stack the odds in my favor as much as possible.

I should add that despite the brave talk above, I still get a small rush of adrenalin every time a Kestrel drops on grid.  This low sec PI thing is still pretty new and maybe over time I'll get used to having ships come on grid.  But I'm not so scared that I'll stop. 

10 comments:

  1. Honestly, there's no reason to risk the prowler. All my PI alts fly around in some racial variation of this:

    [Wreathe, Tanked]
    Warp Core Stabilizer I
    Warp Core Stabilizer I
    Warp Core Stabilizer I
    Damage Control II
    Expanded Cargohold II

    Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
    Large Shield Extender II
    Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
    Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
    EM Ward Amplifier II

    Prototype Cloaking Device I
    [empty high slot]

    Medium Low Friction Nozzle Joints I
    Medium Low Friction Nozzle Joints I
    Medium Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I

    ...which is about twelve million, fully fitted. With 33 thousand EHP, plenty of warp stabs, and under 5 second align. Every race now has one of these types of haulers: agile, tough, lowish-volume.

    Once I've pulled everything together in a station (I make a bunch of P2 stuff on my alts, mostly tower fuels, since they'll always sell well, so this obviously isn't a thing you need to worry about with nanite paste selling in low to PvPers), I take the lot to (high sec) market in an Epithal - the Gallente hauler with the specialized PI cargo bay. It's not nearly as tough or agile, but the only tornado that thought 300 mill in PI goo was worth a gank wasn't able to pop me before I warped off. (Always activate your hardeners, kids!)

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  2. You are overly cautious. You can use an Epithal, with 4 warp stabs, large extender, resistors. If someone has more than 4 point warp stab strength, you won't explode fast enough, so you have time to fill everything back to the POCO, so all he killed is an empty, about 3M worth of ship.

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  3. Just do PI in a system with a station. Then use an Epithal full of T1 stabs. Never move more than the Cusotms office can hold (35,000 I think). Always warp to the POCO at transfer range. If you are ever picking up and get tackled or see something like a tornado on grid, just quickly dump it all in the POCO. Worst case you lose a 1.5M isk ship. Then just safely use a JF, BlackFrog, or blockade runner to move the PI from station back to highsec.

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  4. Agree with Gevlon here. A fully stabbed shield Epithal can easily have enough EHP to see off a couple of ships and these days if you need a prop mod around gates then you can refit in space. The only problem is the tempation to do your entire PI work in one go. Someone will eventually find you just when the PI hold is full....

    [Epithal, Low Sec PI]
    Warp Core Stabilizer I
    Warp Core Stabilizer I
    Warp Core Stabilizer I
    Warp Core Stabilizer I

    Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
    Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
    Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
    Medium Shield Extender II

    Small Plasma Smartbomb I
    200mm AutoCannon II, EMP S

    Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
    Medium Low Friction Nozzle Joints I
    Medium Low Friction Nozzle Joints I

    Mobile Depot x1


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    Replies
    1. Yeah but where u and gelvon both die like noobs. The crafty vet just aborts his approach. I mean hey its only coming out of your profits. One day I hope I wonder across u stab whores in my hic

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  5. Another vote for the massively stabbed Epithal

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  6. My method is to always use a couple safe spots as "bases". Warp from station to safe, then from safe to POCO at zero, immediately hit warp to another safe, transfer cargo during the few seconds that the ship aligns, and relax when reaching the new safe. I also put a cloak on my Epithal so that I can hide and wait out any evil people in my safe spot. Then warp to another POCO from the safe. Mix up your order just in case (don't everytime go from planet I to II to III to V).

    The main thing is not to warp from somewhere that people can determine your warping destination. Warping directly from station to POCO or from a POCO directly to another POCO is very suicidal.

    Good luck!

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  7. I agree with the Epithal approach - that's my take on it too, and I visit low-sec almost daily with two alts.

    Since adopting the approach of cloaking at a safe when necessary and using an AB to speed up the align (hit warp, AB on then AB off so it cycles only once) plus two nanofibre structures and two WCS, never have I been blown up. Caught once or twice but always able to warp off.

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  8. From my experience there is no such thing as overly cautious in EVE.
    I applaud your careful planning and sneakiness, sir!
    As someone who actively (and very patiently) hunts in low sec, if I saw an Epithal or any other T1 hauler consistently in my low sec constellation I would make it my mission to catch and kill it as many times as I could. He would become my project.
    A Blockade Runner (BR) like the Prowler on the other hand, with it's Covert Ops Cloak, no. As far as I'm concerned, the BR pilot is doing it right and for that reason alone I'd let him be.

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  9. I've been doing PI in LS for 5 months once/twice a week in a Badger (was in the hanger) with stabs. I figured I'd die and hopefully learn enough to come back in a cloaky. I've been attack 3 times, and got away every time. That only counts being targeted. What I do is create a 120-200 BM at an odd angle from CO, and another insta warp safe spot in the middle of no where. I warp to the perch and align to the CO. If someone warps in I abort. If not I open the CO, and my cargo. Warp in, align, scoop PI, hit warp. Then drop the PI at the station. Repeat. In one system I have 2 planets with no station so I use anchored secure container in a safe spot way out there which was created with the assistance of a wormhole bm.

    Of the 3 attempts on me. One landed 2 points. One landed a single scram. The last never finished locking. Only one attacked me on the CO. The other 2 on a gate.

    Of course one of these days I'll need to move the PI out of LS, but in the mean time I'm building up quite a supply. Also the local buy a fair amount of POS fuel components. (In retrospect rocket fuel may not have been a smart thing to make despite the planets being right. I may break down and switch to water and oxygen.)

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