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The Second in a four part series on the changes coming to mining in EVE.

The mining revolution has begun, and it is a thing of beauty!  From new Mining Drones and mining drone skills, to Capital Industrial ships, there are going to be some big changes coming to New Eden!  The new Industrial Command Ship, the Porpoise, shows some promise and looks to be a versatile addition, useful both in industrial and PvP fleets.  Not only is there a new Industrial Command ship, but the two already available are getting major overhauls, and the Orca is about to become an entirely new ship.  With an incredible boost to remote shield repair, an ability to join the miners in bringing in minerals, and a battleship-like ability to do damage, this “Willy” is about to be set free.

 

orcaThe Orca

 

Currently in New Eden, the Orca is a rarely seen ship, despite its effects being felt on the field.  The Orca is priced between 800 million to 1 billion isk, a sizable investment for the modest amount of training required to pilot it.  This cost means that many new players will steer clear of actively flying it, and many veterans will leave it afk in a POS providing boosts to every miner in their fleet and system.  There are some that use the Orca as a hauler,  with its large cargo hold,  but those are few and far between,  and require that there be either a safe route or a fleet for protection. This will change with the expansion this November,  and the Orca will take its place as a major player in the belts and byways of New Eden.

The first major changes to the Orca come from its bonuses, which have been altered significantly.  The bonuses for the Industrial Command Ship skill can be multiplied by the capsuleers skill level in “Industrial Command,” and does vary from the original.  While the 5 percent bonus to cargo capacity remains, there is also now a 5 percent bonus to the ore hold as well.  CCP has also added a 1 percent bonus to Shield Command Burst strength and duration while retaining the 3 percent bonus for Mining Foreman Burst.  These will operate in conjunction with the changes to Command links as detailed in the devblog reported here. There are also 2 new bonuses for drones, with a 10 percent bonus to drone hitpoints, damage, and mining yield, and a 10 percent reduction in drone ice harvesting time.  These last two are a tremendous change, and when combined with the new role bonuses of 100 percent bonus to drone mining yield, a 25 percent reduction in drone ice harvesting cycle time, and 100 percent bonus to drone damage, the Orca becomes a formidable tool, both for combat and industry.  CCP states that the maximum yield of the Orca is ~1,400 m³ per minute, plus the drone travel time.  This means that, with an Orca sitting directly on top of the asteroid its drones are mining, it will mine just slightly less than an exhumer.  With the ability to defend fleets, it shares the 400 percent bonus to Remote Shield Booster optimal range and the 90 percent reduction to jump fatigue with the Porpoise, allowing for greater freedom of travel and a greatly strengthened ability to repair fleet mates. The Orca does retain its original boosts to tractor beam range and velocity and survey scanner range which, with the addition of new high slots, will allow it to continue in its role of cleaning up after jetcan miners.  

These boost changes create a ship that has a great many possibilities, and when combined with the changes to the fitting of the ship, the Orca truly becomes a multipurpose tool.  With the changes that Ascension will bring, the Orca will receive 3 additional high slots (for a total of 6), 1 additional medium slot (for a total of 5), and no additional low slots, leaving the total at 2.  To allow for all the new modules, the powergrid now sits at 1,200, and the CPU is at 550.  While not able to fit strip miners, these high slots will still be incredibly useful for miners looking to max out their drones or boosts.  The capacitor has also been changed to allow for a greater usage, with a boost of 3,800, bringing the total to 8000, however the recharge rate has also risen to 1200 seconds for a full cap, up 400, equating to 6.67 cap per second.  One of the single largest changes though, is an increase in the shields of the Orca from 10,750 hp to 30,000 hp.  


battle-orca

The change to the EHP of the Orca has, and continues to be, the biggest controversy surrounding this overhaul.  In addition to the boost in shield hp, there is also a bonus 100 hp to armor, and a reduction of 1,000 hp to the structure.  According to the current calculations, a tech 2 fit Orca will have roughly 600,000 EHP, and in the forums, there are those that believe this is absolutely too much:

“1 Gank Catalyst with 600 DPS.  20 seconds Concord reaction time.  Thats 12000 Damage Done per Catalyst before Concord.  So it will require 50 Catalysts to gank an Orca…But that number of 50 Catalysts probably should merit a second look. That amount of DPS is almost unseen in highsec, even in current freighter ganking fleets. 50 people don’t get together to do anything in highsec, especially to gank a mining ship at a loss. These things literally won’t die. That’s fine if that is CCPs intention to make these things ungankable (which highsec miscreants will also exploit to carry out risk-free logistics and ship-switching), but that means there is nothing you can do to explode one you take issue with unless you can muster a null-sec sized fleet. Are you sure you want these things to be that safe CCP?”

One of the other stats that will change has a significant bearing on this issue: mobility.  Align time is being reduced by 1.38 seconds, to a whopping 54.07 seconds. This is  54.07 seconds that the Orca’s drones will be able to deal nearly 800 dps to aggressors, but this still is a tremendous length of time. To many players that play exclusively smaller PvP ships, this will feel enormous, and waiting nearly a full minute for your ship to align is less than ideal, but this also negates some of the high sec ganking concern.  For those pilots who think that this is too much of an EHP buff:

“It will require 1 Stabber with an oversized MWD to bump the Orca 50km off the belt within 60 seconds where his Mining Drones are next to useless. That’s 15m ISK invest…those bumpers will celebrate that they can bump Orcas out off the belts in highsec 24/7 without criminal flag, without sec loss, without CONCORD showing up and – to talk about balancing – WITHOUT ANYTHING THE ORCA PILOT CAN DO TO PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING…  This is EVE – you don’t need guns to ruin a miners(sic) day.”

With an upgraded Ore hold, to 150,000 m³ of available space, taking down an orca can be an incredibly lucrative venture, but its drones will not make this an easy task.  The drone bay has been increased to hold 200 m³ of drones, and with a bandwidth of 50, the Orca is now able to fit and use a full complement of medium attack drones.  With a lock range of 70km, and 7 locked targets maximum, the projected damage will be ~800 DPS, which puts the Orca securely in the same damage profile as a battleship.  Maintaining the ship maintenance bay means that the Orca is now an excellent bait ship, as gangs will converge on the ship, only to be attacked by ferocious drones, and then a small group of frigates and destroyers possibly even some cruisers will emerge to tackle and gain dominance over the attacking group, all while being shield repped and boosted by the Orca.  

Whether the Orca is used in PvP, roaming the stars as an explorer’s mobile home, or just solely in mining, it is becoming a great ship that players will want to use, and one where finally, the risk justifies the reward.