Thursday, June 5, 2014

Why Yes, Procurers Were Nerfed

I spent way too much time since the launch of Kronos explaining how Procurers were nerfed.  A lot of people look at the 50% bonus to drone damage and hitpoints, doubled drone bay, increased targeting range, and 77.8% increase in velocity (from 90 m/sec to 160 m/sec) and figure the ship received a massive upgrade.  Perhaps for PvPers.  But for players concerned about using a mining barge for mining?

First, let's look at the ship and role bonuses listed in the patch notes:
Mining Barge Bonus per level:
  • +5% Shield HP
  • -2% Strip Miner and Ice Harvester duration
Role Bonuses:
  • +150% Bonus to Strip Miner yield
  • -60% Ice Harvester duration and capacitor use
  • +50% Drone Damage and Hitpoints
Not noted is the reduction of the Strip Miner yield bonus from +200% down to +150% and the reduction of the Ice Harvester duration bonus from -66.66% down to -60%.  Yes, the mining barge bonus appears to take care of that, but does it?

Procurer Ice Mining Output, Rubicon vs Kronos

I have a copy of the last Rubicon version of the Eve Fitting Tool and the latest one published Tuesday for Kronos.  For this example, I just fit the three items, Ice Harvester II, Ice Harvester Upgrade II, and the Medium Ice Harvester Accelerator I rig, that increase yield.  The numbers displayed confirm what I experienced ice mining Tuesday night.  The cycle time on my Ice Harvester II increased from 50 seconds up to 54.1 seconds.  I think with the server tick that actually increases the time to 55 seconds, but perhaps I'm mistaken.  But even using 54.1 seconds as the new figure, my cycle time increased 8.2%.

Procurer Ore Mining Output, Rubicon vs Kronos
I then did the same comparison in EFT, except this time using a standard ore mining fit.  With Wandering Rose's skills, I see an 8% reduction in mining yield, using the exact same fitting and pilot.  If a ship experiences a reduction in ability in the most important function, I consider that a nerf.

A New Procurer Fit For Kronos
Now, some will ask if I can get the same or better output if I redo the fit.  The answer is yes.  The fit above has a greater yield, 994 m3/minute vs. 983 m3/minute.  However, that does not mean the ship did not get nerfed.  Residing in low sec, I fit for maximum survivability, so I have room to add a Mining Laser Upgrade II.  Many others don't. 

In fact, replacing the Nanofiber Internal Structure II with an MLU II may actually increase my survivability.  Sounds crazy, but I think it's true.  The problem with the Procurer now is that the ship is too fast.  Even if I did not replace the nano with an MLU II, I would still need to remove the nano. 

Why?  Because mining while aligned is a really, really good idea in low sec.  Hitting a button and warping off while a guy in a cruiser is warping on grid is a satisfying feeling.  Or even if the guy sneaks up and uncloaks, a pilot has a chance of escaping with just a keystroke.  The increase in speed makes mining while aligned much more difficult.

Time for some math.  Let's take ice mining as an example.  The range of an Ice Harvester II is 10 km, meaning that a ship can mine the chunk of ice in a 20 km diameter sphere.  When mining aligned to a celestial, that means a ship can travel, in the best case, 20 km before the ship must turn around or have the Ice Harvester shut down.  Mining fully aligned requires traveling at 75% of the ship's maximum speed. 

With Wandering Rose's skills, her align speed was 92.25 m/sec during Rubicon with an ice mining fit that did not use a nano.  In Kronos, the speed has increased upt to 150 m/sec.  That is a big difference.  In Rubicon, Wandering Rose's Procurer could transverse the sphere in 216 second.  With a 50 second cycle time on the ice harvester, that means she could get up to 4 full cycles in without having to turn toward another celestial.  In Kronos, Wandering Rose will transverse the thickest part of the sphere in 133 seconds.  With a 54.1 second cycle time, that means she will complete, in the best case, less than 2.5 cycles before needing to realign.

With careful planning, I usually only needed to realign three times during Rubicon before filling my ore hold.  I figure that number goes up to at least five realignments if I attempt to ice mine while fully aligned.  But that's difficult, as aligning to various celestial objects usually takes me away from the center of the sphere, requiring even more realignments.  And each realignment is a period of vulnerability where a ship, especially a cloaky ship or an interceptor, can jump in and catch me. 

If anyone wonders why I consider the velocity increase a nerf, that's why.  I feel even more strongly about the term after my experience on Tuesday night.  Intellectually, I knew I'd need to align more.  But actually experiencing the speed at which I had to realign, especially when fighting off rats at the same time, came as a shock.  I wound up mining at half speed (or less) so I could pay attention to local and d-scan instead of always looking for the next celestial to align to.  Not ideal.

So that's why I consider what was done to the Procurer in Kronos a nerf.  I'm sure a lot of people are happy with having a ship that can dish out more damage.  But as far as I'm concerned, I just want to mine.  If someone comes to fight, I just want to warp off and wave goodbye.


  1. Oh...aren't they doing an ore yield and ore size fix in the next release?


      Not ore size, but uniform processing batch sizes and a 38% ore yield mineral increase along with a 27% nerf to refining. But really they are pushing miners to sell their ore without refining in compressed or uncompressed form.

    2. Oh, that. I thought you were referring to another rebalancing pass on the Procurer.

  2. Sorry Nosy, but this is one of the few times you're wrong. I'm surprised at that, since your arguments are always well thought out.

    Saying the Procurer was nerfed because it was refocused for survivability on the field instead of ore yield is like saying the Sigil was nerfed on the last industrial ship pass because they lowered its cargo bay and increased its armour tanking ability, which is its focus. Or saying tormentors were nerfed when mining barges were released because they removed their mining capability and focused them for combat.

    You're trying to use a ship in a manner its not intended, and you're complaining that you can't have the best of everything.

    Where you say " If a ship experiences a reduction in ability in the most important function, I consider that a nerf" - the Procurer's most important function is survivability, which admittedly has been buffed. That has come at the expense of the SECOND most important ability: mining yield.

    You sound just like the freighter pilots who are upset at having to choose between tank, cargo hold and speed. With freighters, you make the choice with modules. With barges, you change ship.

    When you say " But for players concerned about using a mining barge for mining?" - the answer to that question is:

    If you want a barge focused on ore yield, use a covetor and fit for it.
    If you want a barge focused on survivability, use a procurer and fit for it.

    You're using the wrong ship for the job.

    1. The ore yield is decreased 8%, but that is only part of the story. The rest of the article deals directly with the survivability issue. Because the Procurer is much faster, he has to spend much more time re-aligning, which increases the windows during which he is most vulnerable. In his specific use case, this is a nerf to survivability. This is something that can improve with experience, but still for his specific use case this is a nerf. He is using the correct ship and he is not incorrect.

    2. Or maybe he's saying the "increased survivability" buff actually makes the ship more vulnerable. You know, like he said in his post.

    3. This was a refreshing reply. I thought I was going to be criticized for not fitting max yield :)

    4. Just to summarize, Flat Panic and Lucas see the combat buffs as being greater than the nerf to mining yield. That is a fair point that can be argued.

      However, as someone who flies the Procurer in low sec, I see the offensive buff as not being a big enough buff to override both the nerf to mining yield and the velocity change which makes my ship more vulnerable to being tackled. Take away the velocity change and I think Flat Panic and Lucas have a much better argument.

    5. As you say, "agree to disagree".

      I feel that mining barges' "ability to mine" is the same as arguing "combat ship's ability to fight". To me, its the same argument.

      You may as well be arguing that (to keep with the Amarr theme of my initial reply), an arbitrator is nerfed because it doesn't get a laser bonus, a maller is nerfed because it doesn't get drone bonuses, and the omen is nerfed because it doesn't get tank bonuses, even though they are all have " a primary focus" on combat. They all "fight", just with different primary focuses under the "combat" label.

      The different barges all "mine", just with different primary focuses under the "mining" label.

      So, to summarise my feeling correctly, I feel the importance of combat on the Procurer is more important than its yield, while I understand you feel the yield should not have been messed with, even though the primary focus of the ship was "buffed". The fact that it is a mining ship is not in question.

      However, I'm going to stop here because I don't actually mine myself anymore, and so can't add to the conversation about the specifics of whether the procurer has been made better or worse in its role of "tanky" mining barge or not.

    6. I'd say that the way we are considering survivability is different. You see it as being able to escape whereas I see it as being able to fight back and resist an actual attack. A procurer previously could get hit by a frigate and be completely incapable of doing anything about it. Now it has a realistic chance of obliterating it with drones. Solo players are likely to need to consider a bit more whether the risk of engaging is worth they payoff.

      Of course if a powerful killing machine shows up, you're as good as dust but it's a buff to its defense, not a complete combat overhaul.

      But overall the idea of a procurer is that it should be able to defend itself to a degree, a retriever should be able to gather a mass of ore in a single run, while a covetor is designed flat out for yield.

    7. Yes. And the ability to escape was nerfed. Fighting is a worse option, no matter what.

    8. Flat Panic, your arguments are like those given by someone who continually and solely uses poor metaphors to attempt to make his point.

      Lucas: you go on and on, but the fact remains that the procurer was nerfed for the purpose of low sec mining, and no other mining barge is superior to the procurer for low sec mining. For other purposes it was given some buffs and some nerfs--I would wager that the majority of those that used to use it, across all circumstances, think it is worse now. Did you formerly use it? I did, and I consider it nerfed.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. You don't have mining links?
    Both mining yield and range can be greatly increased by links. Of course I don't say to run an Orca in lowsec, but you could have a Gnosis with range, yield and shield resists in a safespot far from the gates, solving the align problem.

  5. Noizy, you are correct. The mining barge's primary function is to mine. Forgetting about EFT, if you get less yield today that you did before, for whatever the reason, then the ship's primary function has been nerfed.

    1. Then why have three different types of barges? If "mining" was all that was important?

      Because "mining" alone is not their primary function.

      - Covetors - Have the largest yield, when "mining".
      - Retrievers - Have the largest cargo capacity for ore.
      - Procurers - Have the largest survivability, when "mining".

      Otherwise, CCP should have stuck to one frigate-size and one "cruiser" -size ship for mining and be done with it (and their T2 variants).

    2. Uh, no. Mining is the primary function of each of these ship, and they remain mining ships with varying degrees of survivability and yield. Those other concerns are secondary or tertiary, or we would be putting mining lasers on Catalysts.

      Noizy isn't wrong; he's just writing from a Procurer miner's perspective. His findings might be inapplicable for Procurer gank fleets.

    3. Flat Panic: Covetors may be the highest barge yield but with the nerf to the ore hold done in Inferno they are pretty much useless without an orca. This is what happens when a dev with no concept of how a mining barge is used "balances" them. Speed tanking a barge is just plain stupid.

  6. You could also fit up an interceptor and do a 300 km radius lap around the ice field or asteroid belt and give yourself a half dozen or so warp to points...then just label them: 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. Then you just slowly running squares or triangles around the belt.

    1. I thought about doing something like that, but your idea is much better than mine.

  7. Take a look at the new hull rigs and see if using it helps your EHP numbers, as it did for mine. A nice buff, IMHO.

    1. WHAT?.... EHP on an un-tackled in warp procurer is infinity. Having rigs in that extend your EHP isn’t going to help you 1 little bit if you get tackled by a gang of interceptors (in this example use 5). If i solo you in an AF or Interceptor once I have you tackled and kill your drones your EHP is irrelevant, you are going to die. A procurer fit to defend against highsec ganking will DIE in lowsec or nullsec. Please do not confuse the way that Nosy is mining in lowsec with any thoughts of “NEED MORE TANK”.
      Nosy, I agree they nerfed your mining ship, however I also agree with other the comments that you have multiple mining ships to choose from and may not be using the right ship, in this instance.


    2. @Anon159 : What Anon1839 failed to mention is that hull tanking frees up mids, which can be used to fit tackle *and* EW, while still sporting a BC class tank. Add 2 flights of light drones, with bonuses to both damage and hit points.

      You are not going to pop the drones, let alone dent the tank, before your solo inty/AF goes down.

      Even with a gang of 5 intys, a combat-fit Proc is going to kill at least 2-3 of them before going down - and two Procs will likely slaughter your gang of 5.

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