12 September 2012

Small Bases Again and Again

Starwalker was revisiting the question of small bases again, again. Over the last few days a lot of modules, ammunition and ships had been moved to new locations. It was boring and potentially hazardous as Starwalker still elected to move himself, via Starstepper, rather than pay for the service.

Starstepper still had the strategic base in Hek as the main (and only) base of operations for buying and supplying equipment. He still could only fly the Mammoth at level 4 and so could move cargo up to around 17,000 cubic metres but he had no special skills or ships such as for blockade running. This meant that Starstepper was vulnerable moving equipment and over the last year he had been ganked once in low-sec at a gate and recently in hi-sec. However, the risk was accepted and occasional losses tolerated as annoying but inevitable.

Over time things had changed such as the ships being flown or how they were fit and now Starwalker had jump clones, that allowed a near instantaneous move to a different part of New Eden. Similarly, moving lots of equipment had highlighted the desirability of a base in low traffic lowsec stations adjacent to highsec to reduce the risk of being ganked or running into gate camps.

For instance, Starwalker had moved his base from Eugales to Covryn because the main route in via Orvolle and Oulley was very regularly camped. Covryn was selected in preference to Dastryns because Starwalker was looking for a single station with a repair shop and medical facilities. The medical facilities allowed him to set the location of the clone vat and to upgrade the clone as needed after being podded. 

With these factors in mind Starwalker had selected three bases: Covryn (current), Fensi and Gultratren. Although, Fensi and Gultratren were not active yet as Starwalker had not flown in Kor-Azor, Genesis et al and still had a base in Heild. However, Starwalker was not keen on Molden Heath as he seemed to be usually on the loss end of a small gang such as this recent loss of a Drake. Since he was generally solo - running into a gang was never a good scenario. Being on the receiving end of a gank or a gate camp was inevitable but also that seemed to be more likely to happen in some areas rather than others.

The point about this as it related to small bases was to select bases where Starwalker enjoyed flying or wanted to visit. That really summarised why Starwalker had chosen Placid, Heimatar and Kor-Azor - they represented geographically dispersed locations, one for each jump clone. Starwalker had been in two of those areas and wanted to roam in Kor-Azor. 

The system location was also selected in conjunction with the station, in particular:
  • Lowsec solar system next to hisec
  • Lowsec system that was unlikely to be frequently gate camped (regularly check Dotlan and the ship/pod kills)
  • Station in system with both medical facilities and a repair shop
  • Lowsec system had easy access to other regions for extended roaming
Starwalker had originally been very adhoc about how to use the base: ranging from it had everything in abundance to it only had one fitted frigate ready to fly and fight. Starwalker had now moved to:
  • Strategic base (Hek) to purchase and stockpile ships, modules, ammunition, consumables and equipment, with trips to resupply a base of operations
  • Operational base (Covryn...) with implants (learning...), small number of fitted ships and extra ammunition and consumables (capacitor boosters..). The supply level of this base was estimated as only needing to resupply about once a month
  • Ship base with one or two fitted ships ready for use but no other equipment in station. Useful when placed along roaming routes or near intersections for common routes and more than 15 jumps from a base of operations

The advantage of this approach:
  1. Fitted ships immediately available for use with a return to base to resupply with ammunition and repair as needed
  2. New base of operations could be setup with two or three Mammoth ship trips
  3. Jump clone technology allowed an immediate move between base of operations (and resetting clone station to current base)
  4. Bases tended to have less clutter or unused equipment
The disadvantages:
  1. Preferences for ships and fit changed over time resulting in a base with the wrong ships or wrong fit
  2. No ability to refit ships immediately
  3. Regular, even if infrequent, resupply was needed and was dangerous
  4. Larger ships (battlecruisers) are harder to move as they must be moved individually
  5. Battleships cannot be moved like this (at least with current skills and ships)
Starwalker had been busy moving lots of items and selling all sorts of unused and likely to remain unused items, this clean up had netted over 1 billion ISK. Given that ISK was always in short supply this was a welcome increase to the wallet balance.

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