Player-owned starbases are one of the most complex and difficult areas in EVE Online. On the one hand they represent the acme of industrial production, but on the other they are opaque, expensive, and difficult for even veteran players to master. Here are five tricks that may come in handy when using them.
This guide is particularly timely because with the price of the all-important technetium mineral sinking, the prices of other moon minerals have slowly begun to rise and take up the slack. The intricacies of running starbased are many, and there are tons of little tricks that can help make them more effective.
If you are generally unfamiliar with what a player owned starbase (POS) is, and what it is for, please familiarize yourself with our other guides on the topic:
- Clandestine Moon Mining (Part 1 and Part 2)
- An Introduction To Alchemy
- Supplying Starbases With Planetary Interaction
Without further ado:
5. Chained Silos
Silos are used to contain input ingredients for reactions that produce more advanced materials for tech II production. Silos can also be used to store the output from those reactions. In order to keep production moving steadily, input silos need to be filled regularly and outputs must be emptied.
Gallente and Amarr control towers have a special bonus that doubles the amount of space in each silo. Despite this advantage, some players use other races' towers because of the availability of fuel-containing ice asteroids, the extra CPU of Caldari towers, or the defensive capabilities of Minmatar towers. Regardless of the tower you choose, it can be beneficial to string together multiple silos. This cuts down on the frequency with which you must refill or empty the silos, because once connected, your chain will empty all the way down the line into the last silo until it fills up, then begin filling up any other silos. Silos are connected to each other in the same way you would connect a silo to any other starbase structures.
This technique will give you much better capacity, especially if you are also using Gallente towers. It is most handy for starbases primarily used for mining, as it will often be several weeks before your silo chain needs to be emptied.
4. Advanced Reactor Trick
Complex reactors are necessary to take the final step in a series of reactions. However, they require so much CPU, most people expect that they must be used on a large tower. But with a little extra work, you can set things up to react on smaller towers, which will save significant fuel expenses.
But it is entirely possible to cram a two-ingredient complex reactor on to a medium Caldari starbase. The trick is to use coupling arrays rather than silos, saving on space. Use one coupling array for each input, then two coupling arrays connected to each other for the outputs. When the first fills up, the next array in line will start filling.
The down side to this trick is that as the coupling arrays are smaller than silos, they will need to be refilled more often. For example, an input silo that can hold only 1500m3 of material will likely need to be refilled every fifteen hours. For the time-crunched player, that may be a pretty significant downside. But those EVE players able to make this time investment will find it profitable in the long run, especially once they do the math on how much a single complex reaction can make.
3. Bubble Escape Trick
One of the most annoying things that can happen to a starbase in null-sec is that the entire thing can be covered in overlapping mobile warp disruption bubbles. Your enemies can anchor these devices anywhere in space, so that they will project a radius of warp disruption. Within this radius, ships cannot enter warp or use a jump drive to travel to cynosural field. The bubbles can also pull ships that are exiting a warp nearby into their radius, leaving them vulnerable to attack. They are the angler fish of space, luring helpless prey to their untimely end.
Pirate corporations and the big alliances will sometimes anchor several of these mobile warp disruptors around a target's starbase, with sufficiently large radiuses to completely cover the starbase's defensive force field. Any person in that starbase is trapped, and unless the attackers leave the starbase unguarded will likely end up destroyed once the starbase is successfully besieged. This is not a huge problem for players with stranded industrial vessels or battleships, but if a capital ship is at risk, the loss could potentially empty a player's bank account.
Fortunately, there is a sneaky trick for helping ships escape a bubble-wrapped starbase. The owner of the starbase can change its settings so that it no longer allows any players inside the force field, whether in the starbase-anchoring corporation or its alliance. The owner then changes the starbase password. Any ships inside the force field will be hurled out into space at incredible speeds. Since mobile warp disruptors do not affect sub-warp travel, your ship will be thrown well beyond their radiuses. Any ships affected will be moving so quickly that no weapon in EVE can possibly hit them. Once any ships are safely beyond the radius of the bubbles, they can safely warp away or cyno out, though of course any star gates in that system may still be risky business.
Note that all ships in the starbase will be ejected when the password is changed. There is no selective way to do this, so even the owner should be ready for flight before altering the settings.
2. Complete Local Fuel Production
In Ten Ton Hammer's earlier article about local fuel production, we outlined the steps necessary for mining your own starbase fuel. If this is a high priority for you, it is possible to find a solar system that contains literally all of the planets needed to make fuel. Wormhole inhabitants are often especially eager to produce fuel locally, and w-space systems containing the right planets are usually considered much more valuable than their equivalents.
In order to produce every kind of planet-made fuel, a single solar system must contain the following planets: Gas, Plasma, and Storm. This would likely require multiple characters harvesting from the same planets, which is a tedious affair.
A more practical method is to have a single planet that produces each fuel type, as follows:
- Coolant: Gas or storm.
- Enriched Uranium: Plasma.
- Mechanical Parts: Barren or plasma.
- Oxygen: Gas, Ice or storm.
- Robotics: Plasma.
Because plasma planets are generally quite rare, I have found it to generally be effective to reserve them for making enriched uranium, and to source robotics through an alternative method. This can be accomplished by making consumer electronics on a lava planet, then periodically dumping the resulting product onto a barren planet that is producing mechanical parts. The two ingredients can then be combined into robotics.
Finally, it is theoretically possible to find a solar system with an ice asteroid belt in it that also contains all the necessary planets for fuel. So long as there is a local way to refine ice, such a solar system could theoretically be completely fuel-independent. If you know of a solar system like this, I'd love to hear about it.
1. The Forgotten Electronic Warfare
Remote sensor dampeners are the Gallente electronic warfare. They work by reducing the target's lock speed and maximum lock range. In times past this was a powerful tool in the piratical arsenal, potentially rendering targets completely unable to fight back. CCP found it to be too subject to abuse, and nerfed it until only ships with bonuses to their use would get any mileage out of the module at all. Even then, they are essentially ignored.
Though it is currently regarded as the least useful form of electronic warfare when used by ships, remote sensor dampeners remain effective additions to starbase defenses. A single Sensor Dampening Battery will reduce a target's lock range and scan resolution by 50%, each. This means that attacks attempting to stay out of range of any close-range weaponry on your starbase will lose their lock and be forced to wait out the starbase's attack timer or else get much closer, potentially within range of your close-range weapon batteries.
The scan resolution penalty that is inflicted can be useful as well, especially if you are actively defending your starbase. Ducking in and out of the shields to take pot shots at ships and drones is almost as fun as playing on station undocks, and a sensor dampening battery can make it very difficult to lock you.
Note that this trick does not work against dreadnoughts because they are immune to electronic warfare while in siege. Carriers also boast a similar immunity while in triage mode. A final warning: like all starbase weapons that use CPU, sensor dampener batteries cease functioning during reinforced mode.
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