Ship Balancing: Mining Barges

The big picture

This summer we will be revamping the Mining Barges and Exhumers, hereafter collectively referred to as barges. This is part of a larger initiative, spearheaded by CCP Ytterbium, where we revamp ship classes one by one.

Here is Ytterbium's initial blog about the initiative: Rebalancing EVE, one ship at a time

In his update blog, Ship balancing summer update, he goes into some details about the barges.

For those of you who didn't read that, here's a quick summary of the mining part of the blog:

  • Current mining frigates are no longer going to be mining frigates.
  • We are going to make a new ORE mining frigate.
  • Mining Barges and Exhumers are getting the "tiericide" treatment, where they will have specific roles rather than being a linear progression from worst at mining to best at mining.
  • Procurer and Skiff will have good defence.
  • Retriever and Mackinaw will have large ore holds.
  • Covetor and Hulk will have good mining output.

The goal here is to allow players to choose a barge that fits their specific play style rather than lead them on a journey from the worst barge to the best one.

  • The Covetor and Hulk cater to group mining operations due to their large mining capability, low EHP and storage, forcing them to rely on others to haul and resupply them with mining crystals.
  • The Retriever and Mackinaw are specifically designed for autonomy purposes, as their large ore bays allow their pilot to stay inside an asteroid belt for longer without having to dock.
  • The Procurer and Skiff are made for protection against suicide gank, or NPCs, by giving a large enough buffer to react to incoming attacks, while paying for that with a lower mining yield.

Mining

The barges are primarily mining ships, which means that regardless of what else they do, they have to be good at mining. The difference between the lowest and highest mining output was way too much, so the first thing we did was to bring the mining outputs of the different barges closer together. Hulk is still the king of yield, but the others are not so far behind as to be redundant.

With the new roles of cargo, tank and yield, the old roles had to be reconsidered as well. Without changing those, the Ice and Mercoxit bonuses of the Skiff and Mackinaw would have meant that Ice miners would be forced to fly the ore hold barge and Mercoxit miners would be forced to fly the tanking barge. That would have gone against the goal of giving players more options, so we decided to move those bonuses away from the ships. Now you can choose which barge you want to fly and then put on rigs that boost your Ice or Mercoxit mining efficiency.

Here is the end results of the changes to mining bonuses. For each type of ore/ice this is assuming perfect skills, fittings, implants and fleet bonuses (mining drones not included). I'll leave it to you to figure out exactly what those are.

Edit by: CCP Tallest on 08/08/2012: The numbers in the original blog were using an Orca fleet bonus, rather than a Rorqual which gives better results. I appologize for the mixup and now include both sets of numbers.

Max Yield with Rorqual fleet bonus

**Ship****Veldspar/hour****Mercoxit/hour****Ice/hour**
Hulk2,035,2903,21785
Covetor1,846,7632,91680
Mackinaw1,761,3502,78179
Retriever1,677,4772,65075
Skiff1,615,9182,55772
Procurer1,538,9712,43268

Max Yield with Orca fleet bonus

**Ship****Veldspar/hour****Mercoxit/hour****Ice/hour**
Hulk1,739,1392,74973
Covetor1,578,0432,49269
Mackinaw1,505,0592,37768
Retriever1,433,3902,26464
Skiff1,380,7882,18561
Procurer1,315,0382,07858

Tanking

All the barges are getting their tanks adjusted to favor shields rather than structure hit points. Skiff and Procurer (original version of the blog incorrectly listed Retriever here instead of Procurer) are getting hit points comparable to a battleship, while the others are closer to cruiser level hit points. With the increase to shield hit points, the shield resistance bonus of Exhumers was making the gap between Mining Barges and Exhumers a bit too big, so we reduced the bonus from 7.5% per level to 5% per level. Here are the new total hit point and EHP numbers:

**Ship****Total Hit Points****EHP**
Hulk60008713
Covetor45005771
Mackinaw800011625
Retriever60007691
Skiff1962529091
Procurer1800023252

Cargo

All the barges are getting most of their storage capacity moved from the cargo hold to a new ore hold. This allows us to give them substantial storage capacity for their mined ore without invalidating Industrial ships in the process. Retriever and Mackinaw being the storage barges, will now be able to store more ore than a jet can. Covetor and Hulk are meant to be used in a group, so while they have the highest mining output, they also have the smallest ore bays. The reduction of the cargo holds does have an unfortunate side effect for miners; there is much less space for mining crystals. We alleviated this slightly by cutting the volume of mining crystals in half, but it is now something that miners have to plan for before they go mining.

Here are the new cargo numbers. The spare crystal sets numbers assumes that you leave 50m3 of space free (you need at least 25m3 free to be able to switch crystals). Again, the numbers assume perfect skills, implants and fleet bonuses.

**Ship****Ore hold****Mining cycles****Cargo hold****Spare crystal sets**
Hulk850013504
Covetor700013504
Mackinaw35000645010
Retriever27500545010
Skiff15000335012
Procurer12000235012

End

Finally, we reduced the skill requirements of Mining Barges and Exhumers. Mining Barges now require Mining Barge level I and Astrogeology level III. Exhumers now require Mining Barge level V and Exhumers level I. Hopefully these changes will benefit the mining profession in EVE. They might not make it any more exciting, but at least miners will have to make some meaningful decisions before they undock.