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.


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.  


Zlocho Crendraven said...

Notify owners would be really, really bad. Most of them would be immediately destroyed.
Stolen material is just good.
Isk is good

I agree that m3 should be higher. Frigates ceptors shouldn't be able to transport them.

Valkrr said...

"The tractor beams from multiple siphon units cause all siphon unit tractor beams to be less efficient, so more material escapes into space meaning a larger waste factor the more siphon units active on a single POS."

Increased waste explained, not hard. And they have enough dimishing returns code, that should not be a limiting factor either, from a coding perspective. I can see them not wanting to implement due to increased server load of thousands of these units running around the galaxy...with the possibility of hundreds in a single system...

John Purcell said...

Without notification, the POS managers would need to spend an obnoxious amount of their play time checking in on towers. I also think POS notification spam on this feature will numb owners to a state of "I'll deal with it when I get to it". Good game play shouldn't come solely on the backs of another player doing a bunch of bullshit game play.

If POS weren't so terrible today, I'd be less adamant about notifications being important. POS managers already lose how much of their game play to babysitting floating liabilities?

Zlocho Crendraven said...

Than don't own POS in places where you, your corp or your Alliance can't patrol it regulary. Simple is that. Why should CFC have it easy with POSs in NPC 0.0 or lowsec?

John Purcell said...

Whether the owner is notified or not doesn't change the fact they would need to be cleared. I am fine with people needing to fly out to remote towers and go through as much headache as they please to keep that asset safe.

I think the effects of POS spam is a better balance. Managers will become numb to cleaning up EVERY notification, gives the illusion that they can deal with problems as they arise. Otherwise, I see managers getting a bunch of burner trial alts to log in and check their towers. The player hack to deal without notifications isn't that high, and I think the overall quality-of-life balance is fair with notifications.

Zlocho Crendraven said...

or the duty can be delegated to roaming patrols, even better isn't it?

Thansoli said...

While owner notification would be helpful for the "little guy", I think it would make siphoning from one of the larger nullsec entities all but impossible:

1. I deploy siphon on GSF R64 tower
2. GSF Logistics Team get notification
3. Alliance-wide Jabber ping goes out for the tower's location
4. Incentivized alliance members race to the tower to destroy my siphon before it even catches a single extraction cycle

This would seem to leave the potential for siphon use limited to scattered, low quality moons being operated by smaller groups with less TZ coverage, like null renter corps and lowsec groups. While I know a little Neodymium off the top of a GSF or PL tower isn't going to break their bank, but with notifications I don't anybody will get anything off the larger alliances.

John Purcell said...

If that's the response GSF sends out for every high quality moon outside their projection range, and ANYONE can drop a dozen of these modules at any hour of the day, they will very quickly be stuck in a "cry wolf" scenario.

I can imagine a web tool that puts bounties on known siphons (which I think is good for game content). I just don't want this shiny new feature to be so wholly on the backs of players who already deal with a crap job.

Also, as @mynnna_eve pointed out on his twitter feed, even siphoning 100% of an R64 moon is a couple million an hour. I doubt players will want to camp those resources for paltry profit, and managers won't alarm clock to clear troll siphons. Making it invisible out-of-game makes management obnoxious and doesn't add enough value for the pain.

Thansoli said...

All fair points, and one's that make a lot of sense. I guess I'm just fond of the idea of trying to figure out the POS logistics schedule and sneaking in to steal some stuff and scooping the siphon before they realize it's there.

James Travis said...

Can you get silo stock levels from the api? I know you can get pos inventory from the corp api for everything else. If so it shouldn't be too hard to make a tool that checks for full reactor yields and sends notifications.

John Purcell said...

I believe you can (combine inventory API with POS reporting), but denormalizing it into usable output is really obnoxious.

If the data is available to anyone willing to bend that far, why not just report a notification? It's not actually secret, and it doesn't enrich game play even if it is.

croda said...

Sounds like there will be three groups of people patrolling the Towers: the owners checking for Siphons; the Siphon owners collecting stolen materials; and Scavengers stealing from other people's Siphons.

croda said...

As a further addition to my comment above" I am wondering whether CCP are having the "no notification" policy because this Siphon idea would not work otherwise or whether it is to force a change in gameplay. I suect both are the case.

John Bedlam said...

Yeah, you can get silo levels from the API, but that's where another fun aspect of this feature comes in: while a siphon is running, the API lies about the levels, showing what would've been there if there wasn't a siphon attached.


John Purcell said...

That scares me a lot actually. CCP is pretty bad about API docs, and that kind of feature stands to be forgotten shortly after the patch releases. Why isn't that in the dev blog?

I can live with imperfect data, but I can't abide a feature that only a dozen or so bitter vets will know about. They need to be exteremely explicit about that being a feature.

GWI said...

Thats the point. The idea that large nul sec organizations can't just drop and forget, and the larger swath of space you have moon goo coming from, the more resources you need to secure it. It shouldn't scale as it does.

Organizations will either be able to control less space, or put resources towards properly securiing it. With interceptors able to interdict and place them, it forces people to actively use their space, making it easier for smaller groups to siphon and evnetually buy their own stuff to take pos

Anonymous said...

You mentioned some good point there. The waste has been lowered to 10% but your approach with stacking penalty sounds good. More m³ per unit would be good too. No fun having all this Cov Ops or soon to be un-bubble-able Interceptors zooming around in space dropping this things like candy.

But I'm absolutely against an automated notification. NO it is not a burden to the logistics guy, it is a JOB for the hole Corp to check this assets. If you are the only one who cares about the profit your corps pos generates than you are in the wrong corp.

I really like the idea of having corps / alliances patrolling there space to ensure thieves and scavengers don't leech there profit. If you live near the system your reaction is running in you might get some stuff stolen as you are not there all the time. But it shouldn't be out of reach to kill this things within 24 Hours (before they are paid off).

CCP has to keep a close look at this feature (like all other features need it) to ensure it isn't overused or abused. Documentation about it is important too and the effect on API Data lying to you should be documented. But I like it. As I said, I don't want notifications about it. Finding this leak in resources should be job of the players not of some API script automation.

Post a Comment