Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rubicon - Siphon Unit Statistics and Operation Anounced

Dev Blog announcing new Siphon Unit

This is the biggest change I've been waiting for from the original Rubicon announcement.  Personally, I've been waiting to move forward on my own ambitions to deploy a reaction farm until this feature was better explained.

TL;DR

Click for full res
With Rubicon, there is only one new "space yurt" in the proposed Siphon group: Small Siphon Unit.  It's very small (20m3 in cargo), very cheap (~10M), and can be dropped anywhere within 50km of a control tower to interrupt the moon mining supply chain.  Also, it's important to mention that this module will only interfere with the "Raw Material" and "Processed Material", and can only steal from the final step in the chain.

As of this announcement, there are some important things to note:
  • Rumor: Tower will not notify owner a siphon has been placed (hope this changes)
  • POS will not automatically aggress the siphon
  • Siphon has a waste factor
    • some of its yield is destroyed in transit from POS --> Siphon unit
  • Anyone can access the cargo of the siphon unit
  • Any number of siphons can be placed outside a tower
    • Each siphon steals (in dropped order) from the final yield
  • Only steals from "last step" in the chains it can steal from
  • Siphon steals from the "link" not the silo.  Once it's in a silo, it's safe
What isn't 100% clear is if siphon units will steal from Biochemical Reactors (drugs) or Polymer Reactors (T3 reactions).  I think the answer is no, but I would rather it expressed implicitly.

What Is Good

I preface that "what is good" may not be good for a particular subset, but healthy for the game in general.  The short story is the siphon waste factor should constrict moon material supplies.  As of today, most of these materials are in oversupply.  Up to now, the only place that slack could be drawn out with was T2 consumption (which has been in steady decline up to now thanks to tiericide).  Also, it breaks down the ivory tower big moon holders have enjoyed and allows pilots to interfere at a small scale.  Lastly, this forces reaction holders to invest more active time into managing their lines, lest someone steal from you.

I think this module is a great add and though I personally fear for my own projects, I think it's a great middle ground to push industry and PVP closer together.  Also, I really like the idea of more moon goo slipping out of the supply chain to waste.

What Is Bad

I think the balance on this module is still a little off.  Personally, I'd like to see a few things changed
  • Notify owners when a Siphon goes up
  • Swap stolen quantities.  I think the raw material steal rate is a bit too high
  • Add stacking penalty.  Either increase waste, or lower yields with more siphons dropped
  • Up cost OR up m3 requirement.  I'd prefer if frigates couldn't carry them, or if they cost ~75M
The big losers in this change aren't the blocs or corps, but the logistics guys who already have to deal with a crappy POS system.  I think the major rallying point should be owners MUST be notified about siphons being deployed on their equipment.  Otherwise, prioritizing defense will become far too cumbersome.  I personally was hoping that POS would auto-engage the siphons, but I can understand why CCP didn't do this.  

I also think the linear nature is not as good.  I would rather see diminishing returns, since a single player could very easily drop a dozen of these siphon units around a tower and milk the system dry.  I understand why it might be difficult to implement/explain, but since small siphons are so small/cheap, it's not well balanced against the "What about Goons?" test.