Hand on heart: imagine you are the most bloodthirsty PvP master in EVE (or not) what is that comes to your mind when someone mentions you the name Hulk or Mackinaw or Noctis? Something like: food, easy prey.

To me the image of some 20th century whale hunts come in my mind:
This sh*t happens to miners all the time...

A big slow easy and unsuspecting prey. In my eyes they are actually not really worth being called targets, and the people who love killing them are like the school bully, robbing gorging themselves on a kid that doesn’t have a real chance in a million years.

So when the question rises: how come ORE ships suck like this? People give a fairly blanket answer:

They were designed for industry, not fighting.

Yep. You got that Sherlock. But this still doesn’t give the right answer to the question: time has gone by on [over?] them. What can we do about it? CCP obviously had their focus somewhere else and while it may be easy to point fingers [at them] and call people by names. I leave that to those who have happy happy times doing this.

So what can we do to amend this situation?

  1. I have heard an idea from someone that putting guns on these ships would be a good idea.
  2. Another idea I have heard from someone is that they should be cheaper, hence the loss of one fully fitted ship would not leave such a large hole in the wallet.
  3. Yet another idea- or in this case proposal I have heard was that they should be escorted by a swarm of other ships (players) whose sole jobs should be to offer immediate boost to the industrial pilots in case of a gank.
  4. Last but not least one suggestion proposed that in order to solve this situation we need to make ORE ships more resilient to their increasingly hostile environment by boosting their health and resist.

First let us look at these suggestions:

  1. Putting guns on a ship like the Hulk will look funny in an odd way and would not solve the whole problem besides having yet another ship that you can pew-pew in even though it was not designed for that purpose. (Think about ancient armed merchant sailors and their ships – the idea is good but that was a different “game”). This would create some laughs but in the end only pvp-oriented people flying Hulks (?huh?) would benefit from this.
  2. Lowering the price tag might stop some tears but it would still not solve the problem in the long run. People would be more careless and the problem would rise again although then on a much larger scale with much more volume than previously.
  3. Having people around you that can lend a hand is always useful but I think most people are bored to death watching floating rocks disappear into the belly of their ship. And people would be even more bored doing nothing but looking out for these ships, making floating rocks disappear.

So we ask ourselves again: what can we do to amend this situation? And the answer is

4. Making ships more resilient

This might sound like the obvious choice. But it is not. It is by far the most painless change that can be implemented with the minimum risk of breaking the game as a whole.

Here is a basic Tech 2 shield buffer fit for a Hulk:

Basic T2 Shield Buffered Hulk Fit

[Hulk, PvE – Tank]
Damage Control II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core II

Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Limited Adaptive Invulnerability Field I

Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal II
Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal II
Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal II

Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I

This is just one way to fit it, but it is pretty much what you can achieve in tanking while trying not to gimp the mining part too much. Notice anything? Right I’ll help you: It is a medium sized tech2 spaceship with a tech1 cruiser class passive defence. And a bad one at that! Even a Moa can tank better (with double the buffer amount).

What should be done (I am now posting Exhumers only, tech1 parts will be done later but should receive a similar change):

HULK:
CPU = 350 (up from 300 – should be now around 435 @ full skills)
PG = 70 (up from 35 – should be now around 87 @ full skills)
+1 low slot (up from 2 to 3)
300 Calibration points (down from 400 points – didn’t want those calibration points anyway!)
Drone bay = 75 m^3 (up from 50m^3)
Base hull amount = 2500 (down from 2531 – who comes up with these kind of  numbers anyway!?)
Cargohold amount = 12000 (up from 8000)
Base armour amount =  1000 (down from 1013)
Base shield amount =  5000~7500 (up from 1519)
Resists for shield =  40/50/60/65 (from 37,5/50/62,5/65)
Resists for armour = 60/40/30/15 (from 70/35/25/10)
Optional: losing ability to field Ice Miners

Benefits:
Major boost for the survivability of this prominent ship with a couple of tweeks here and there. The ability loss is there to usher people into a single-use format. While this may go against the sandbox nature of the game I think that mining is not the area where fitting-meta-games should be had.

Risks:
Possible whining about boosting a ship that was easily ganked by ships at 1/30th of the price tag of a fully fitted Hulk. While not realising it still can be killed quite easily, although at  a higher investment.

MACKINAW:
CPU = 340 (up from 198 – should be now around 425 @ full skills)
PG = 58 (up from 35 – should be now around 72,5 @ full skills)
+1 low slot (up from 2 to 3)
300 Calibration points (down from 400 points – didn’t want those calibration points anyway!)
Drone bay = 75 m^3 (up from 50m^3)
Cargohold amount = 8000 (up from 6000)
Base hull amount = 1250 (down from 1266)
Base armour amount =  800 (up from 788)
Base shield amount =  5000 (up from 1181)
Resists for shield =  40/50/60/65 (from 37,5/50/62,5/65)
Resists for armour = 60/40/30/15 (from 70/35/25/10)
Optional: losing ability to field Strip Miners but gains +1 warp strength

Benefits:
Major boost for the survivability of this prominent ship with a couple of tweeks here and there. The ability loss is mandatory and will help [force] the people to use the proper ship. The +1 warp strength is really just a last minute idea and therefore should be handled as such.

Risks:
Same as with the Hulk: whine about not being able to kill the ship with a squad of destroyers. The increased ‘slipperiness’ of the ship with the added warp point could receive some flaming.

SKIFF:
CPU = 246 (up from 188 – should be now around 340 @ full skills)
PG = 51 (up from 35 – should be now around 65 @ full skills)
+1 low slot (up from 2 to 3)
300 Calibration points (down from 400 points – didn’t want those calibration points anyway!)
Drone bay = 50m^3 (up from 15m^3 – bandwidth also should be boosted to 50)
Cargohold amount = 6000 (up from 4500)
Base hull amount = 700 (down from 633)
Base armour amount =  500 (up from 450)
Base shield amount =  1200 (up from 675)
Resists for shield =  40/50/60/65 (from 37,5/50/62,5/65)
Resists for armour = 60/40/30/15 (from 70/35/25/10)
Optional: losing ability to field Ice Miners

Benefits:
Major boost for the survivability of this prominent ship with a couple of tweeks here and there. Increase in drone bay might encourage people to use drones for mining and therefore the chance of gas cloud forming bonus would finally be put to great use – right now Skiffs just park outside of gas cloud range and therefore the bonus is not really used.

Risks:
Same as with the Hulk: whine about not being able to kill the ship with a squad of destroyers

So the basic [MY basic] idea revolves around the idea of adding resilience to this  (Exhumers) ship class while streamlining them for better use (added PG, CPU and cargohold) and getting rid of unused bonuses (calibration they cannot use and/or fielding tools not suited for that particular ship). I know this will receive some flaming from the community but I think this is probably the best way to go.

Fly safe!

UPDATE 2012/04/25! 
Freshly from CCP press here is a new DevBlog about the rebalance: http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=72890 . Sounds like they are making real progress there. As for the  frigates, that we will see how that will turn out.
As for the ORE ships, any change is welcome. Not sure about the frigate though. If they really release an ORE mining frigate then we could get rid of the mining bonuses for frigates and cruisers in the racial line (looked funny to begin with imho).

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