Eve Echoes is the mobile version of the MMORPG Eve Online. In it, you play as a Capsuleer, a cloned human that can pilot space ships all around a giant galaxy, mining, hunting pirates, or being a pirate yourself. If you get blown up, you lose your ship, but not your life, and you can start again in the station you clone from. But it still feels mighty bad to lose an expensive ship. Nearly every ship in the game is crafted from base minerals and components, and can take a lot of time and money to build. Getting a cool ship is an important milestone for many players, and losing that ship can be devastating.
The base of this supply chain is minerals - all ships are made from these. And to get minerals, you have to take a mining ship out into the galaxy and mine. This can be dangerous! Eve Echoes is split into three zones of space: "High Security": where you are safe from all attack, "Low Security": where you can be attacked, but stations and system gates have guns that you can run to for protection, and "Null", where there is no protection at all. And all the good minerals are out in Low or Null, so if you want to build the big ships, you need miners out in Low or Null, out where the danger is greatest.
This is a guide for those wishing to hunt miners (or be the miner) out where it's dangerous.
Before we address how to hunt miners, we should probably talk a bit about why you'd want to hunt miners. If they're the ones who get the minerals for all the cool ships, why wouldn't you want them to do that as efficiently as possible?
The simplest motive is profit. Some miners carry expensive modules that you can resell to make millions, but at the very least, all miners will carry some mining lasers that tend to go for decent money. Plus, you can fill the rest of your hold with the minerals they were mining, and sell them yourself.
Another good reason is that it also makes for a good low-stakes environment to learn fleet PvP. Miners are slippery and can require the resources of more than one player to take down. Miner hunting is a situation where your quarry won't generally be shooting back, but they can get away, and if they have friends to call in, you need to be ready for how to respond. If you haven't done fleet PvP yet with your corporation, miner-hunting fleets can be a useful stepping stone towards hunting larger prey.
Finally, a great reason to hunt miners is if you yourself want to mine in that system. Eve is a game with a memory, and if people learn that you and your corporation hunt miners in a certain system, they'll tend to clear out, and there will be less competition for the few really good asteroids in each belt. Then, without juicy miners to hunt, other hunters will spend less time there, making it safer for you and yours to mine uninterrupted.
How To Hunt Miners
The most-important part of hunting a miner is getting a warp disruptor lock. Miners come with between +1 and +2 built-in warp stability, so if you're only rocking a single disruptor with -1 on it, you're not going to trap anything, and they're going to escape. Ideally you want to fit as many -2 disruptors as you can get.
Second-most important will be an afterburner or microwarpdrive. A web goes in a mid slot, so you can't use that to keep them from getting away, so you need to be able to go fast. If they can survive long enough to out-range your disruptor, they get away.
Lastly, choice of weapon is left up to the reader. The most-powerful weapon you can reasonably get your hands on is preferred, but this is a miner we're talking about here. There's not going to be anything approaching a DPS race.
With the basics out of the way, let's look at three strategies for hunting miners, from worst to awesomest:
Solo: Grab Anything, Put Points On It
For real, grab something with two or more mid slots, put as many -2 disruptors on it as it'll fit, slap a MWD on there, jam in whatever weapons you have lying around, and head out. An Aura Warp Stabilizer grants +2 stability cold and +4 hot, so a miner can relatively cheaply have +6 stability. That beats any solo with fewer than 3 full slots, which, guess what, is probably you, bud.
Be ready for disappointment. And even when you win, you're not going to win anything really great. Maybe a Mk.5 Stabilizer and some mining lasers, if they drop.
This strategy is really just if you're feeling bored and grumpy, or if you want to scare miners out of a system and can't find any friends to help. Even then, they may not leave, because hey, you really don't pose much of a threat.
Rating: 1/5 stars.
Silent But Deadly: The Stealth Bomber
One problem in getting a whole fleet to hunt miners is that while scouting belts, you'll frequently scare off the miners before your friends can get there. Or even if you're warping in a group, you could still warp in too far away from the miner to lock them before they flee.
An easy -- though expensive -- solution to this is for everyone involved to pick up a Stealth Bomber like a Nemesis, Hound, Purifier, or Manticore. At time of writing, that'll cost you about 25 million ISK, plus another 30 million for the Covert Ops Cloak. Not cheap, but bear with me.
With a Stealth Bomber, everyone involved can scout belts by themselves while remaining cloaked. This ensures that no potential targets are spooked, getting the scouting portion of the hunt done in record time. From there, everyone can warp to the target without needing to worry about formation. Then, it's a simple call-out once everyone is in disruptor range. Uncloak, click "focus fire," click on all your disruptors while you're acquiring lock, and wait for the miner to die.
One important aspect of rocking a Stealth Bomber - they are made of wet cardboard. A little stiffer than paper, but it still won't stand up in a real fight against a real warship. You should only ever be uncloaked if you are currently fighting a miner or looting. At all other times, you should be cloaked for safety, and also in case an unsuspecting miner warps into your belt.
Rating: 5/5 stars.
BATTLE VENTURE: BATTLE VENTURE
Who says the Venture has to be a mining ship always and forever! Tell them to suck eggs! Put some goddamn lasers on your Venture, put some drones in that echoing drone bay, slap some points in the mids, and go hunting!
This works best in a fleet, because solo you're going to be limited to a max of 4 points of warp disruption. You'll likely only be able to catch other Ventures that are basically AFK, but if you can't afford a Stealth Bomber, a Battle Venture is basically a cheapie cloak. Miners tend to trust other miners, and will let you sidle on up to within disruptor range no problem. For bonus points, start attacking when your buddies uncloak and just wait for the hate mail.
Rating: BATTLE VENTURE/5 stars.
How Not To Be Hunted
If you're a dedicated miner, you might be starting to get depressed about now. Maybe it all seems a bit one-sided. But there are absolutely things you can do to come out on-top, and I'd argue that things are generally weighted in your favour. So cheer up, and read on.
PAY THE HELL ATTENTION
This is literally the most-important advice anyone will ever give you about Eve: Pay attention to the game. If you're not watching the screen, you're giving people a free pass to blow you up, whether you're mining, ratting, or even floating at a gate you think is probably safe, I mean it's a gate right? Nuh-uh, our CEO just blew up some poor shmuck sitting on a gate in 0.4 this afternoon. And he did it solo. And lived to tell about it.
So pay the hell attention.
Once you're in range of all the asteroids you care about, click on a station or gate or planet or whatever, and click "Approach". This will align your ship towards that target. Once you're aligned, you can click the little "100%" button next to your health, and it will stop your ship.
In order to go to warp, you need two things: 1) to be pointing at your target (aligned), 2) to be going 75% of your max speed. If you are already aligned, you save precious seconds.
Also, if you're rocking a Retriever or other large mining ship, you can put a "Higgs Anchor" rig on your ship, which reduces your top speed significantly. This means you can start at one end of the belt, align to something on the other end of the belt, and just slowly chug along at your newly-lowered top speed. If anything scary shows up, you can warp out as fast as you can hit that button. Nearly perfectly safe. Provided, of course, you are PAYING THE HELL ATTENTION.
Sometimes you're not going to be able to warp out before you get locked. Battle Ventures acquire lock exceptionally quickly, so they might getcha before you can get. Stabilizers will save you here.
You have two options: Cheap stabs that only give +1/+1, or Aura stabs that give +2/+2. If you're building a cheap Venture you can afford to lose (see "Play The Long Game", below), get the cheap stabs. They'll still protect you against solo hunters for the most part. But if you have Very Good Mining Lasers, get a couple Aura stabs. You'll have +10 stability running hot, and it will take a very dedicated hunting group (with more than 150 million worth of disruptor hardware) to lock you down, and those don't tend to come by too frequently.
Mine With Friends
Eve is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game. So get some other players! If there are other miners out there with you, you stand less of a chance of getting got. You don't have to outrun all the attacking ships, just your slow friend.
Just kidding, of course. (Or am I?!?) But a safer option is to get a whole bunch of friends out mining, and have a couple run guard duty in cheap destroyers. Nothing fancy, just something just scary enough that any hunting party has to pay attention to them or risk getting hurt. This will generally deter any hunting party that isn't trying to actively claim territory. They're there for easy fights with decent profit, not hard fights (Stealth Bombers are made of wet cardboard, remember?) that can only win them cheap modules.
Plus, hanging out with people is fun. Try it sometime.
And the best part? When you're hanging out and chatting with people, it tends to keep you focused on the screen so you can PAY THE HELL ATTENTION.
Play The Long Game
This is a miner's strongest tactic, and it's one most people forget about. The game doesn't end when a fight ends, and you can't just look at a single lost ship and give up. You have to compare your profits/losses in low/null to what you'd expect to get out of high. Sure, in high sec, your losses will be zero, but your profits will be drastically reduced as well. A smart miner who is PAYING THE HELL ATTENTION in low/null will make far more than a bored one in high sec, even counting the occasional ship loss.
Eve is not a game you win or lose in a day. It is a long game, so play the long game.
Isn't This All Just A Bit Mean?
No, I'm not just being dismissive! I mean, yes, I'm being dismissive, but I'm not just being dismissive. I have reasons.
See, when you go into low or null security systems, the game warns you that you can be attacked, so it's not a surprise. You have to actually, physically consent to this possibility. If you don't consent, you don't go out there. You may prefer not to be attacked, but I prefer not to be sniped in Counter-Strike and it keeps happening.
And it's supposed to happen, too. The game is built around stuff blowing up. Without ships of all sorts blowing up on the regular, everything would be too cheap and everyone would have the very best of all things, and it would become very boring, very quickly. The AI in this game just does not sustain a PvE-only, long-term investment of interest. It's other players that make this game fun, yes, even other players trying to blow you up.
Finally, you have to consider that if you try to start drawing lines, the water gets very murky very quickly. Essentially every PvP fight or action in this game is entered into because the aggressor believes the odds are in their favour. If you went around starting fights you didn't think you could win on the regular, you'd end up very poor very quickly. (Or maybe your YouTube channel filled with highlights of "OMG LOOK WHAT I KILLED IN A T3 DESSIE" would blow up and you'd get hella rich, I don't know.)
But the point remains that there basically are no fair fights in this game. At least not usually intentionally, and definitely not frequently. Even when hunting other players with weapons in anomalies, they're fitted for PvE, which requires a drastically different module set than PvP, and you have them at a distinct disadvantage.
Whether fighting other warships, stealing planetary materials, or, yes, hunting miners, you go into every fight in this game with as much of an advantage as you can secure, and expect everyone else will be as well. Sometimes you'll win, sometimes they'll get away, but the risk makes the reward more fun, for all parties concerned.
So go out there, hunt and be hunted, have fun and PAY THE HELL ATTENTION.