The POS and You guide gives a view into the world of Player Owned Starbases and how complicated and expensive they can be to run.
A Starbase, Player Owned Starbase, or most commonly POS, is a collection of structures that player Corporations may Anchor in the orbit of Moons. Starbases are not to be confused with the large 'dock-capable' Stations that orbit planets. A player cannot dock with a starbase, only make use of the external modules.
More confusion stems from the use of the acronym 'POS', which is sometimes elucidated as 'Player Owned Station', or 'Player Owned Structure'. No component of the starbase is a station. Player Owned Structure technically refers to the individual structures that make up a starbase. Worse still, players often refer to the central structure, the Control Tower as the POS on its own. Officially, the term 'Player Owned Starbase' refers to the entire group of structures that make up a starbase.
A starbase fulfills many of the functions of stations, but externally. It is possible to store and refit ships, refine ore, or manufacture modules, ships and other items. A starbase plays an important role in the in-game economy, as they are the sole source of materials for Tech 2 ship manufacture. They are also required to build Motherships and Titans, and to process Combat Booster materials.
A starbase is used in the following capacities:
- To mine resources from Moons
- To hold goods and materials in a time of war or for transportation
- To give players a safe place to go when under fire
- To provide an exclusive manufacturing or research center
Starbases are primarily used in security 0.3 and below systems for moon mining and reactions, for guarded Safespots, and for ore refining. A starbase may also be run in security 0.4 to 0.7 systems with the moon mining and material reaction functionality disabled. Their effective use is limited to guarded Safespots or manufacturing/R&D. Starbase ship manufacturing capabilities are also limited, in 0.5 or higher systems, to Large Assembly Arrays. This disallows the starbase from making anything larger than a Battleship in 0.5 or higher security.
As items cannot be Anchored in space marked 0.8 or higher security, starbases can only be placed in 0.7 or less.
You need the Anchoring skill at rank 1 to be able to anchor starbase structures, you will also need the starbase role from your corporation to manage the control tower and operate structures like Refining Arrays and Ship Maintenance Array. Anchoring at rank 3 allows for EW structure use, and at rank 4 you can train Starbase Defense Management to actively control defense structures during a siege.
A player must be a member of a player owned corporation, and have appropriate roles. In addition, the corporation must be at least 7 days old to own a POS in high security space.
|A long, long time ago...|
|Before the Crius expansion (July 2014), the corporation needed to have sufficiently high faction standings with the local empire faction to be able to anchor a POS in high security space.|
POSes in high sec tend to have lighter defenses, as well as configured to NOT fire upon players that are not valid targets (this excludes everyone except war targets and GCCs). High sec systems are full of POSes, but are much safer to warp to due to the above mentioned safeguard.
POSes in low security systems have much more formidable defenses, due to the ability to not only attack them, but to bring in capital ships to assault them (dreadnaughts). These POSes can also be configured to fire on any non-blue pilots (a non-blue pilot is a pilot who does not have +5 or +10 standings to the corporation that owns the tower), possibly destroying their ships (and pods given a chance).
POSes in 0.0 space used to be used to claim sovereignty, so you'll see references to that in older information. That's no longer the case, but they're commonly used as defensive structures and safe points. They will invariably be heavily armed. Under no circumstance should one be approached casually.
These structures can serve as a home base in a system with no outpost ("docking" stations, as seen in high/lowsec), or as industrial facilities for a nullsec corporation or alliance. Industrial POSes will have lighter defenses than purely defensive setups, but may be vigorously defended by the owners.
In wormhole space, POSes are the only available structures to base out of. They're "home" to the owners and as such, run very heavy defenses. If the POS is manned, expect human POS gunners to take careful aim and blow up your ship and pod without apology.
There are many ways that POSes setup defenses, and there is no "best one". There are, however, several well known strategies:
- DeathStar POS
- Named after a powerful battlestation, DeathStar POSes are all about guns and pure destructive power.
- Guns are typically anchored on all 6 compass points
- Gun types generally include Projectiles or Lasers (no ammunition reloading)
- Multiples of each gun (i.e., 3 guns of the same type, with only 1 online)
- Multiple sizes of guns, usually medium and large guns (medium is battleship size, large is capital size)
- Usually as many guns as possible are onlined, with multiple backups for each type. Nothing is more irritating to an enemy attacker than to take down one gun, only to have another one onlined again 2 minutes later.
- DeathStar POSes include very little of anything but active measures. Shield hardeners can be included, as well as limited amounts of ECM.
- Super-hardened POS
- Very high resists, with lots of ECM and only a few guns.
- The concept is that it will take forever for a subcapital fleet to kill it. They'll get bored and go shoot someone else, or your fleet will respond to the attack before they RF the POS.
- Reasonably effective on automatic.
- Most useful against subcapital fleets. Lower-class wormholes and high-sec space are where you'll see this design most commonly.
- EWAR POS
- (Not clear on an official name)
- An EWAR POS aims to annoy the enemy into leaving (especially effective in lower class wormholes with a medium to large tower)
- Idea: Have so much ECM that every attacking ship is simply locked down and unable to target the POS, and thus unable to attack
- Generally not as effective against large attacking fleets (thus better in low class wormhole space), though could be useful in breaking a Logi chain and allowing defenders to score kills.
Notification of Attack
When your POS comes under attack you will get a notification from DED telling you which of your installations is under attack and by whom:
These notifications, which show up in the "Structures" section on EVE Mail's "Notifications" tab, are sent once an hour while the POS is under active attack. When your POS goes into reinforced mode no special notification is sent. The only notifications you get are as illustrated above. If you see a notification listing a "Current Shield Level" of less than 25%, then you know your POS is out of reinforced mode and on its way to destruction.
Because of the way notifications work, it is recommended that you never be away from EVE for longer than your Strontium Clathrates can hold out, and you should respond to attack notifications as soon as possible.
There are many structures available to build and customize a starbase. Each structure has a specific purpose and plays an important part of your base's operation and enhances its capabilities. Structures must be Anchored at your starbase and brought online via your Control Tower before they are operational. These structures must be bought on the market and transported into the orbit of a moon. As they are very large, they are often moved using an industrial hauler or (in lower security space) capital ship.
More detailed information can be found in POS Structures.
Uses of a POS and the Types
A moon contains a certain configuration of minerals, and this does not change. They appear to be distributed randomly within regions, with high variance in mineral type from one region to another. They are broken down into Gasses and Metals, and in the database they have numerical rarity values. The 'abundance' of a mineral was planned to be used to harvest more than 100 units of ore per cycle, but that feature is not in-game yet and does not appear to be planned anymore, so effectively abundance (Promethium 2, for example) doesn't matter.
Research and Development
The most common use for a POS in highsec is its research labs, where pilots can copy, research, and invent blueprints. Although the Hyperion release has improved the availability of highsec copying and invention services, a corporation with its own research POS can still work with blueprints free of the NPC costs (though fuel does cost more). Even a small POS can run enough jobs to keep two R&D characters fully engaged.
More common in nullsec and wormhole spaces, starbases with refineries anchored provide a place for miners to store and refine massive quantities of ore where there are no NPC stations. Though they have a much lower efficiency than those in NPC stations, the sheer volume and value of the minerals gained from nullsec mining more than make up for it, especially valuable in wormhole space. It is still possible to get perfect refining with a POS, but it requires completely maxed skills for the desired minerals plus an implant.
Another common nullsec use, a system with no stations can have POSes setup to provide storage and ship refitting abilities. This is especially valuable in wormhole space.
States (online etc)
Fueling + Transporting
A Control Tower runs on fuel. The fuels needed to keep a Control Tower online are trade goods and ice products. Your Control Tower has limited space for you to place these fuels in. The fuel units are consumed every hour for a Large CT, every 2 hours for a Medium CT, and every 4 hours for a Small CT.
To add fuel to your control tower:
- Right-click on the tower
- Click 'Access Resources'
- Drag and drop the fuel block type appropriate for the tower into the bay. Starbase charters matching the star system sovereignty also go in this bay. Strontium Clathrates go in a separate bay, also accessed by right-clicking the tower.
Starbases do not refuel themselves; they only take what's available inside the resource storage bay of the Control Tower. If you run out of fuel blocks or starbase charters, your whole Control Tower will go offline. The shields will drop and the POS will be a sitting duck. This is precisely the reason why fuel is such a critical issue and should be the most important thing to take into consideration when planning your base. Ask yourself if your corp can mine or buy the required fuel regularly. How many members can have mining barges? Do you have easy access to ice belts? Fuel can be purchased, but the cost is currently upwards of 350M per month for a large tower.
Strontium supply is not used at all during normal tower operation; it controls how long your tower will stay in reinforced mode if it's attacked. You can adjust the amount of strontium so the timer runs out at some convenient time for you, but make it long enough that the attackers don't just hang around and finish the job on the same day.
If you supply POS fuel by mining, always mine in advance. It's a good idea to have a 1-month supply of everything stored in a Corporate Hangar Array or a nearby station. If you mine on the spur of the moment when you need fuel you will fall behind and risk leaving your base open to attack.
When assaulting a POS, the attacking pilots must know its defenses and bring an appropriately sized fleet. In known space, once the POS is located this is a relatively simple step. When the POS is in wormhole space, attackers must have a way of tracking the exit locations, usually by camping a scout there for a few days.
Once the defensive capabilities are known, attackers can assemble a fleet. These fleets generally consist of sniper and RR fit battleships and Logistics ships.
Assuming the fleet makes it to the POS intact, there is (more or less) a certain order of destruction. 1) POS Guns: Once the enemies defences are destroyed, he cannot harm the attackers. 2) POS Ewar: Once the enemy cannot attack you back, you need to remove its ability to stop you from attacking. Destroying the ECM, warp scrammers, webbers, and neuts removes this ability. NOTE: Once a defense module goes into structure, it goes offline. They cannot be destroyed or removed until the tower is offline. 3) POS Control Tower: This is the only remaining module targetable.
Once the Tower hits 25% shields, it goes into Reinforcement Mode, where it will stay until the Strontium Clathrates stored in its fuel bay are consumed. This is a user controllable figure, and can be set at anywhere from 0 seconds to 3 1/2 days. The tower CANNOT be damaged or repaired until all Strontium is consumed. Once the tower comes out of Reinforcement, its remaining shield, armour, and hull can be burned off and the tower destroyed, or the POS shield can be repaired by remote shield transporters above 50%, at which point the tower returns to normal operation. Once the tower is destroyed the anchored modules around and in it become free, and the attacker can take or destroy them.
Strategies for Setup
Setting up a POS is a fairly simple (if VERY boring) process, consisting of jettisoning the modules (control before all else) for corp and anchoring them one by one through the context menu. The tower takes the longest to anchor, and the guns the shortest. Once the tower is anchored (at the fixed location unique to the moon it orbits), anchoring of the modules can be done through the POS management window, which consists of dragging the module to the location (similar to a probe), and selecting anchor in its contextual menu. Then the module must be onlined.
Tower and Modules
POS startup costs can range from reasonable to outrageous, depending on the size and modules chosen. A small tower costs about 50mil, a medium 100mil, and a large 200mil. Faction towers are significantly more expensive, with a Domination Control Tower topping the charts at an obscene 3 billion isk.
POS modules are significantly less expensive (generally, there are exceptions), though have a faction version as well.
A small POS will cost around 80-90M per month in fuel. A medium POS will cost around 150-175M per month in fuel. A large POS will cost around 300-350M per month in fuel. Cost varies somewhat because the fuel blocks for different tower types require somewhat different materials to construct. Faction towers require somewhat less fuel overall than a non-faction tower of the same size.
Mining your own ice, specific to the faction of control tower you own, and manufacturing your own fuel blocks can reduce fuel expenses by about 40 percent. With a decent refine skill set, good mining skills and a well fit Hulk this should only take you a handful of hours per month.
Like most other objects, POSes are subject to concord protection in high and low security space. If a POS is attacked in high security space it will provoke a concord response and the attacker will be destroyed. In low security space, attacking a POS illegally will result in a [criminal? suspect?] flag and security status decrease. If the owner of the POS is war decced, their POS becomes a valid target for the aggressor and concord will not intervene or consider it an illegal act.
Because of the extremely high hitpoints of a POS, it is effectively impossible to suicide gank a POS in high security space, the only way to destroy it is to war dec the owner. Because the owner gets 24 hours notice of a war declaration, it is possible for small POS owners to dismantle their high sec POS before the war goes live and keep the modules safe in a station for the duration of the war.
As mentioned above, POSes have a huge part to play in wormhole life. They provide a home base, ship refitting, and storage. Since there are no NPC outposts (nor player owned ones), POSes provide all this in their place. They are also used to lay 'claim' to a wormhole system since there is no sovereignty in WH space. Large enough corporations sometimes put a POS around every moon in their system. The only things that cannot be used in wormhole space are those modules requiring sovereignty.