Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Dark Arts: A Guide to Stealing Upwell Structures - Part 1

In the latest devblog, CCP revealed their intention to make some nerfs to wardec mechanics. There had been threats of this coming for several months. Indeed, it is what brought me back to EVE - I wanted to squeeze in a few last wardecs under the old mechanics before the nerfs, for nostalgia's sake. There had been some uncertainty about exactly what changes they would make, but they cleared that up a few days ago - the gist of it being that a corporation, for some reason, must have anchored structures in space, in order to declare war or to have war declared against them.

This is obviously another short-sighted concession to the carebear lobby, likely only to contribute to the slow decline of the game, as all such previous nerfs to highsec PvP have done. But will I let it deter me from slaughtering noobs? No, of course not. I will be a good sport about it and carry on without whinging. 

Trouble was, I needed to get myself a structure, and do it right quick, before the expansion. As an on-again, off-again bittervet, I often find I can’t keep up with changes to the game. I still find all these upwell structures bewildering. I don’t get how they work, and I don’t understand the mechanics around them, and now they tell me I need to have one or find myself a new playstyle. 

That got me thinking. My long time readers will recall that, back in the day, I made a business of stealing POSes. As upwell structures supposedly are meant to replace POSes, I started to ask myself whether or not they too could be stolen. After all - why buy what you can steal? 

I was still poor too - my meager heists since returning to the game had been enough to fill a small hangar with warships, but I only had a paltry 1.2 billion left in the wallet. Buying an upwell structure from the market, like a chump, would have put a serious dent in that. 

So I began to do a bit of research. The EVE community being what it is, I half expected to find some step-by-step guides to citadel theft out there, but none presented themselves, so I started reading up on mechanics and making a plan. 

Citadel Theft - Method 1 
As I understand it, there are two ways to steal a citadel. 

Method 1 would be to locate a citadel which is in the process of unanchoring, surveil it until that 7 day process is complete, and then scoop it before the owner can. To me, as primarily a solo operator these days, this seemed like a lot of legwork for an uncertain result. 

I got to thinking that an organized group of players could theoretically develop a systematic way of doing this, everybody re-checking a system or two daily and entering the status of all structures in some sort of 3rd party app or spreadsheet. You could probably narrow down when a structure was going to unanchor, to a window of time that would not be an unreasonable effort to surveil. 

When the time was up, you might be able to use a bumping Machariel to keep the rightful owner out of scooping range until you could nab it yourselves. This is all just theory of course, I have no idea if it would work well in practice, and it just didn’t seem feasible for a solo thief, so I opted instead for method 2. 

Method 2 - The Plan 
You will recall from my guide to POS theft, that the method was very simple. Join a corporation which owns POSes, convince them to give you the Starbase Config Equipment role, wait until the directors are logged off, then quickly unanchor the POS with all its silos and haul them away. POS theft was easy - anyone could do it in a day or less. 

Stealing an anchored citadel is also quite simple in theory, but a bit more difficult in practice. Unanchoring it completely under your CEO’s nose is not an option due to the fact that these structures take 7 days to unanchor. Therefore, citadel thefts require a somewhat different approach. 

The basic formula is this - join a corporation which has one or more citadels, and persuade the CEO to give you director roles. Then when the CEO and all other directors are logged off, right click on the structures you want, select “transfer ownership”, and transfer them to the corporation of your choice. Then, while you’re at it, steal every other corporate asset. 

And if your CEO is foolish enough to leave all the shares in the wallet, then you can do a hostile takeover and steal the corporation itself. 

Join me for part 2 - in which I selected a target corporation and put this plan into action...

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