So back after a year and a half. I hadn’t read up on the new moon mining very much. I watched some stuff about it on YouTube from Fan Fest and all that, and had a basic understanding of the mechanics. But as far as what could be found at the new “moon belts” in HiSec, I had no idea what to expect.
So, being me, with a love of trying everything I can access in the game, I decided to scout around at some Athanors in the the vicinity of my old stomping grounds.
Now, a little aside, but relevant: I chose this area of space because it’s reasonably close to a trade hub, but still somewhat of a backwater - and populated by what I call “hardened carebears”: carebears with teeth, but by no means PvPers, who provide all sorts of fun and derpy content for me. They’re fun because they’re willing to fight and feed me killmails, at least for a while. They’re fun because living in HiSec, under the protection of CONCORD and all the new safety mechanics CCP has (fortunately or unfortunately) implemented, such as friendly-fire, “war eligibility”, etc - they have a very entrenched and “unique” perspective on EVE. I would almost call them a “counter culture”, with their own set of rules and morals that they think everyone is obligated to follow.
At any rate I digress. After a lot of disappointing warps, I finally scouted a system with a sizeable number of Athanors, and began warping from moon to moon, hoping to find a field. I found a lot of “chunks” being tractored, but they all looked dubiously far away from the refineries. But it wasn’t long before I finally found what I was looking for: an active field! With Arkonor! And… “Bitumens”. Hm okay. Google that… Oh it can’t be compressed. Next moon. Spodumain!!! But wait, there’s more. These were varieties of ore I’d never seen before. “Flawless” and “Dazzling”. They provide 15%? OMG, upgraded ores. I am TOTALLY mining that. In complete CODE. compliance, of course. Yes, you read that right. Despite what my history of enforcing The Code would have you believe, I actually do mine, and I enjoy it. I not only enforce The Code, I live by it! I try to set a good example for others.
So there I am, sitting there in a completely Code compliant mining fleet, permits and all, actively at the keyboard, “mining” my own business and munching on this juicy 15% Spodumain. An hour passes and some barges with Orca support enter the belt. They don’t seem to notice me at first, but within a few minutes I start receiving private comvos. I won’t post screenshots here, as I’m not apprised of the rules regarding such things, but I’ll sum it up:
Conversation 1: “Will you please leave? I’m not trying to be rude.” Why would I leave? “Our corp needs these minerals to pay for the refinery.” Oh. Well, I need minerals too. “Okay. There’s about to be a lot of people here. Good luck.” -they close convo-
Conversation 2 (THEIR CORP DIPLOMAT): “What are you doing here? This is not a public belt!” Why, I’m mining in this public belt. “NO! You’re not! I pay for the fuel that produces this belt!” Well I don’t have a suspect timer so it must be normal, public asteroids. Thank you for providing such a valuable public service! -they close convo-
Nothing happened for the next 20 minutes. Then my heart caught in my throat as suddenly my overview exploded with ships. Okay, I exaggerate, there were only 10, but I was using Covetors and feared a gank. Were they actually going to enforce their ownership? What a joyous day it would be for HiSec! …But it was only mining ships. No threat there. Or was there?
They had all warped directly on top of me. It took me a few minutes, but I soon noticed that, curiously, they had begun mining the same asteroids I was mining. So I switched to different rocks… and within a few seconds, they all switched too. After a third round of that, I saw what was happening. Time to use my survey scanner and short cycle near low quantity. I posted in Local that mining the same rocks as me would not make me leave, as it wouldn’t really affect my income since they were such high volume. There was no response, and they persisted. I thought that was interesting - no Local chat rule? In HiSec?
A local resident convo’d me, and shared some intel. His corp had had problems with these guys in the past, and they had a bit of a vendetta against them. He had a list of all their moons, and on what day each moon would have a field. I’d already bookmarked all the refineries, but having a timetable would save invaluable time scouting. He also shared a link to their “mining etiquette” page. Some highlights are as follows, slightly paraphrased:
- Please do not mine the same asteroid as anyone else unless it is to remove a “ninja miner”.
- All non-member pilots can have the old belts. For access to the new belts you must be in corp.
- Any non-member in the new belt will be ask to move to an old one. If they don’t then members will start mining the same asteroid as the “ninja” and encourage them to leave.
I thought this was all very interesting. They really seemed to believe that, just because they owned the stations, they owned all the asteroids that were generated, and actually had the right to enforce some ruleset whereby non-member residents of my new home were second class citizens, relegated to picking up scraps.
I found it gave me a lot of motivation to stay and mine just to spite them. I wanted to see how much willpower they had, and to test and see if I, one lone pilot, had more willpower than an entire corporation with dozens of pilots. If I ever felt myself growing board, I would just reread their smug, presumptous set of rules again and find my resolve renewed. I was on a mission now. A mission for James 315 and the Code of High Sec, a mission for all the poor souls in the system stuck mining in non-compliance with Code, and under the heel of this filthy corporation to boot! I was doing this for them. They were simply lost sheep, wayward soles. But this corporation… this corporation was evil, exploiting the lost sheep and claiming sovereignty over assets of James 315.
Things went on uneventfully for a while, maybe an hour. I warped my Orca to station once or twice to offload and compress the juicy ores I’d accumulated. I was ignoring their attempts to “encourage” me to leave, wondering how long they would keep up the effort of relocating with me. I was slightly annoyed at this time, not at the fact that they were mining the same rocks as me (who is actually that petty?), but at the fact that they were… I don’t know how to explain it. So damnably persistent in their futility? The fact that they thought they were getting one over on me. They had no idea who I was! In the old days, many corps had fallen to my indomitable focus and determination. My very presence in a corporation had caused it to fail cascade due to the reverberating drama that me, just being me, had caused. I used to be able to go anywhere I wanted, and DO anything I wanted. I could warp my Orca to an ice field, scoop all the ice from the cans, go suspect, and then come back while suspect for another load - and no one would even bother to risk a Tech3 to gank me. They would just endure the theft until they logged off.
I told them that mining the same rocks as me wouldn’t make me leave, as the rocks were so large it wasn’t really costing me any cycle time. There was no response, and they persisted. They were disicplined, if nothing else.
I was contemplating how times had changed, how I had simply been away from my home for far too long, when I went to drop some more ore in the Fleet Hangar and the tab was greyed out. I thought I’d drifted out of range, but I hadn’t. There was a Stabber on grid, bumping me. However, he was not very good, and wasn’t using a prop mod of any kind, so it was easy to keep my fleet together and in range of the asteroids. He also seemed to go AFK a lot, no doubt managing another account or discussing strategy with his corp. This was extremely encouraging for me. This meant their willpower had cracked a bit, enough for them to trade out a miner for a bumper. They had reduced their income to come after me. It was a small victory.
I laughed a bit in Local, telling them that bumping me was not going to make me leave, especially with such a pitiful show of it. There was no response, but I told them I would return and show them how it was really done. 10 minutes later and I’m back in system with a 500mn Stabber Fleet Issue. Their Procurers and Orcas begin flying all over the field.
A 500mn SFI is a special creature. Due to the necessity of filling every slot with fitting modules, there are no inertial stabalizers or nanofibers. This configuration has the agility of a potato, accelerates like a dump truck, and has only 1:30 cap life. However, with a 180km running start, a max speed of 6km/s can be reached, and if you stay on target, it’s possible to bump a Skiff 70km off his rock. This is a sheer brute force bump machine.
They put up some effort trying to dodge my bumps. Normally this would render a 500mn SFI useless, but I had enough experience with the platform to at least keep them out of mining range while managing my cap. Eventually they just began warping out and back. The contest of wills was renewed.
The next few hours, despite being the most exciting for me at the time, are the most boring to narrate. It consisted of a bump war, featuring my 500mn SFI and one of their pilots in a Machariel. There were many moments of frustration, where I almost cracked, but their silent persistence kept me going. I tried to be diplomatic in Local, explaining that I wasn’t going anywhere, that acting against me only encouraged me further, that if they bumped me I would bump them (and pointed out that I was a far better bumper and that as long as I was online, I was available to bump them - the same situation would not apply to them as a corp). When bumps meant I couldn’t mine, it meant they couldn’t mine, either. It would be mutually assured destruction. And I had no problem with that. I was sure my will could outlast theirs. But they remained silent on the matter. So silent I would have expected they were bots, if not for how their ships responded to me.
So now we’ve arrived at the end of my tale. The conflict seems to have cooled since this morning. I am (somewhat) embarassed to admit that I have accumulated over 1 billion ISK of Spodumain, Jaspet, and Arkonor from their fields. It makes me extraordinarily happy that they’ll be able to see this on their “holding corp’s” Mining Ledger. They will see every ISK I’ve taken from “their” asteroids, all during their prime time, “private” mining hours.
I’m not sure what the future will bring. Will bumpings continue? Will they continue trying to “encourage” me to go away? Will they try ignoring me for a while, and then restart the “war”? I cannot tell. I have considered my own escalation - forming a mining corp with some kind of trolly name to provoke them, something like “Public Mining Services of (SystemName)”. And then spamming recruitment adds all over the area, recruiting as many miners as I can to come mine their moons. It would be so satisfying and hilarious to see them trying to run their fleet during “private” mining hours, only to have dozens of Ventures warp in and take the rocks from under their noses.
So anyway, I want to say to CCP: BRAVO. My hat’s off to you, you gentlemen and scholars. You have provided at least me with the sort of content I live for. Even if there are flaws in the way 1 man holding corps and docking rights can be exploited to avoid war decs and the like. But hopefully that’s an iteration for another day.