NPC Mining Operations
NPC mining operations are mining fleets formed by NPC corporations in order to mine nearby asteroid fields to support their industry. They can be attacked and killed for their drops. If attacked they will call in a response fleet to destroy the aggressor. These fleets can be identified from normal rats with "♦" in front of their name.
The mining / industrial ships react to hostile players on grid with them. They consider anyone who attacks them or has poor standings as hostile.
The mining ships / industrial ships will warp off to a deadspace safespot when hostiles are on grid. They can be scanned down with combat probes.
When mining ships / industrial ships see hostiles they will call in a response fleet that will warp on grid in a few seconds.
The response fleet will attack the ship that they deem hostile and all who help the attacker with remote assistance modules.
Typically, an NPC response fleet will contain 1-2 fast tackler frigates, 1-2 damage dealers, 1-2 logistics frigates, and 4-6 faction-based EWAR rats. Tackler frigates have an average speed of 1500 m/s, while EWAR and damage dealing frigates have an average speed of 1000 m/s. Cruisers have an average speed of 600-700 m/s, and battleships an average speed of 200 m/s.
The mining fleet will sit on an asteroid field. The fleet will be a group of mining ships ranging from ventures and mining barges to exhumers. Periodically a hauler will warp in for a moment and then warp off to a station and dock. If there are no stations in the system, the hauler will warp to a random safe spot and despawn.
The occurrence frequency of the hauler depends on the mining vessels at the field, the more efficient mining vessels need frequent hauler runs to empty their ore holds. The hauler can be T1 industrial or T2 industrial. While T1 industrial needs 1 point to tackle and hold it on position, T2 variant needs at least 3 points to hold.
The defence fleet can include frigates, cruisers, battlecruisers, battleships, and logistic support ships. The combat ships will point and, and use EWAR suited to their faction. Depending on the system's security status the hull types of the defence fleet may vary from frigates to battleships. Higher security systems have a higher chance to have frigate level defence fleet while the lower security systems tend to have a cruiser and even battleship defense fleet. The defense fleet is very successful in simulating a capable capsuleer combat (PvP) fleet with damage dealer ships as well support ships like logistics, tackle, and e-war. When the fleet lands on grid, the tacklers will land point and webs on you while E-War targets your electronic systems while combat ships attack your ship to destroy it. Logistics will repair their fleet members whenever they take any damage from the attacker(s).
Capsuleers who engage the mining fleet operation get a standing hit from related NPC corporations. The loss is very small, either -0.0667% or -0.08% per ship kill. Fighting the mining fleets incurs no faction standing losses. A capsuleer with good standings with the defence fleet will get repairs from defence fleet if attacked by someone else.
There are two approaches that can be used to solo kill the NPC hauler.
The first approach needs a specific ABC (Attack Battlecruiser) fitting with a very high volley damage output that can destroy a T1 hauler with one cycle of your weapons. You approach the T1 hauler when he warps on grid, then you come very close and you tackle and one-shot the hauler, loot it, align out and warp out before the defense fleet arrives. It is a very efficient and very good way to kill T1 Haulers, however, you cannot destroy T2 haulers with one shot.
The second approach is to use a Hecate with Polarized Light Neutron Blasters. It can put out around 1100-1350 DPS and align in under 2 seconds. If you do not have a 2-second align time and 1100 or more DPS, this will not work. MWD to 0 of the NPC hauler (this only works on T1 haulers), overheat your guns, and warp scramble and fire on it. It should die in around 8-10 seconds. Loot the wreck and dock or tether.
|WARNING: Do not attempt the third approach if the response fleet contains battleship rats. Not only are they very difficult to draw away from the main hauler due to their extremely slow speed, they can potentially hit you even at your ping bookmark. This is guaranteed to happen with Caldari/Guristas battleship rats, since they primarily use missiles.|
The third approach needs much more effort than the first, but with the proper setup, you can destroy both T1 and T2 haulers. It needs effort and some skill with combat probing, as well as a warp scrambler. This works best if you are using a relatively fast damage dealer, like a T3D or a Gnosis, equipped with short-range, high damage turret weapons such as blasters or pulse lasers. DO NOT use missiles.
Upon finding an NPC hauler on your D-Scan, locate the asteroid belt where it is at and use an EWAR module or a weapon on it for one cycle. Warp off immediately once doing so, making sure to choose a spot that is out of range of the NPC response fleet but close enough that the hauler is still on D-Scan.
Launch combat probes and narrow down the hauler's location; it will show up as "Mining Hauler" on the probe scanner. Bookmark the hauler once scanning is complete, then warp to it at 100 km, creating a ping bookmark at least 500 km away from the fleet. DO NOT WARP TO THE HAULER ITSELF AT 0, EVER.
The NPC response fleet should immediately aggress you and begin approaching your ship; if they don't immediately do so, shoot/use an EWAR module on the closest ship. Once you're gotten their attention, immediately warp to your ping bookmark.
Wait until the response fleet has been drawn at least 200 km away from the hauler (300+ if it's a T2 hauler), then warp to the hauler bookmark and shoot it till it dies. If you have any drones in your drone bay, launch the strongest ones you have and attack the hauler with them as well.
Loot the wreck and leave the area.
Response fleet is very good at simulating capsuleer PvP fleets since they have ships with various roles (combat, e-war, logistics, tackle) and they can be used for practicing PvP fleet engagements. FC can apply his/her fleet tactics and doctrine to see whether they are good to go for PvP or not.
Strong Box drops from Hauler. A Strong Box can hold various items such as Faction Module BPCs, Faction Drone BPCs, and Permanent Empire Faction Skins for ORE Mining Vessel and Industrial Ships. The wrecks of T2 ships can be salvaged for T2 Salvage Materials and Ore/Metal Scraps can be looted. The Strong Box itself sells for between 20-30M at trade hubs. No further drop from defense (combat) fleet.
Do note that sometimes the NPC hauler will not drop a Strong Box, and on rare occasions, the wreck may be empty.