Ice, Ice, Baby!

So, we have all (apart from anyone who was actually stuck inside an ice block) heard about the ice changes coming up….something like this is going to happen?

Rumours are flying, panic is setting in, people are ragefacing and quitting….the usual pre-patch kerfuffle.

Well, as a very cheesy dude once said…..Stop, collaborate and listen:

Before there is a mass exploding of pods, or ice miners start trying to mine every passing ship out of desperation, lets look at what we actually know, and what the potential implications of this are:

The important details for this come from this adorable little thing here:

What does Fozzie have to say on this matter? (Warning: Incoming forum links with numbers, so look away now if you don’t like this sort of thing.)



Well, first of all:

I am going to put this in bullet points, for tl;dr people, then have long wordy stuff afterwards for those with less attention span issues (Also :maths: after bullet points).

·         After Odyssey, High sec will at maximum, be able to provide 80% of Ice required by New Eden:

·         This 80% requires that each ice anom be mined 5 times a day, with a 4 hour spawn time after last ice has popped. This 80% also assumes current consumption levels.

·         To have an anom of 2500 units cleared in 48 minutes, it has been calculated by smart people that it needs 24 macks with max skills and Orca boosts.

·         Highsec currently provides 98.4% of Ice in Eve, whilst it uses less than 15%.

·         This means, even if every anom in high sec was mined out 5 times a day, lowsec/0.0 would still have to increase their production from 1.6% to 20% of total.

·         This also means, if every single POS in highsec was pulled down, AND every belt in highsec was drained 5 times a day, it would still need Null to increase their production from 1.6% to 5%.  Whether or not the price is “right” for them to mine it.

·         It is unlikely that every ice anom will be drained every day 5 times, although, as with ore belts, the popular systems will be drained fast.

·         There is more than enough Ice in null and low to supply New Eden.

·         Miners are not being pushed out of highsec, but, sitting at an icebelt all day is in the past. Prices will rise, and you get to mine more than 1 thing a day, even if you never leave your system (As I expect many miners to do, or at most, do 1-2 jumps)

So… I have whacked some bullet points up there…

Let’s start with getting the numbers out there, so you can yell at me for my calculations:

Amount of Ice able to be provided by Highsec: 80%

Amount of Ice currently provided by Highsec: 98.4%

Where is the decrease coming from? Likely from the removal of many sites in Amarr, Amatar and Khanid space, where there will only be 24 systems with ice total. (Source Devblog…if you haven’t read it yet, then wtf are you doing here?)

At present, there are ca. 72 ice belts in Amarr/Ammatar/Khanid space in high sec.

Thanks to someone who is more awesome at programming stuff than me (Big hugs to Chribba!), I can tell you that there are currently 917 ice fields across Eve.  Fozzie nicely told us that there are 8 times as many belts in null/low as in Highsec: “For the people asking about supply in other areas of space, there are aproximately 8 lowsec/0.0 ice belts for every highsec belt, and those belts are a bit larger. This means I am not the least bit worried about us hitting the limit of our supply anytime soon.”

So, dividing 917 by 8 gives us approx 114 belts in highsec currently…

Tallying in Dotlan gives me 68 ice belts outside of Amarr/Ammatar/Khanid.  So 140 total. I am going to go with the higher total, as the 8:1 ratio is an approximation.


We know that will reduce,  so, if we use the numbers from earlier, there will be:

Ca. 92 ice anoms in highsec. (I say circa because I tallied the numbers for amarr by hand, and so may have double counted, or missed, and some of the 24 systems have multiple belts)


Now, if we take the figure of 24 Macks per belt for clearing in 48 minutes, there are a couple of options:

Scenario 1: Each miner mines 1 anom repeatedly and then moves onto Ore in between spawns

Scenario 2: Each miner moves around.  I think, allowing for system jumps etc etc, 3 anom per 4 hours is doable, provided that the anoms are not too far apart.  This scenario either requires moving a fleet, and finding new anoms, or having a scout, and a spare set of ships in each system you are interested in.

I believe Scenario 1 to be the most likely, with the addition that miners in systems with multiple anoms will move between anoms if they are up.  My reasoning behind this is that miners do not care about the supply of ice, they are not thinking “If I do not mine this ice, New Eden will not have enough”, they are thinking about isk/hr, and warping between systems reduces that.

If we use Scenario 1, and take that as an upper figure, we get 24 macks * 92 anoms, mining 24/7

This is 2208 macks, just for ice, assuming max skills and orca boosts to all of them….

Now, from CCP Diagoras tweet last year (Thanks Cores!) “Most activated modules on Sunday 22nd, #9: Modulated Strip Miner II – 640k activations.”

I am going to assume for simplicity that this is from hulks (most popular at the time), which have 3 modules, so we can divide that by 3 to give ~213k active.

Each hulk has a cycle time of 3 minutes, unboosted (and, I am going to assume that the majority were unboosted).  There are 10 activations per hour (if we assume that there were no breaks for docking etc…which there would have been 3 of). The 10 activations per hour assume ca. 2 cycles per asteroid, allowing for time swapping targets etc. (Thanks Dave Stark!)

Each hulk would have therefore had 240 activations over 24 hours….so this give us ~887 Hulks.

Now…of course, not every module was on a hulk, so allowing a bit of leeway, we could say ~1k hulks. Performing all types of ore related mining.  This does not tell us directly about ice mining, however, we also know that Hulks were more popular than Macks in 2012, when the Mack was the ice mining boat. “Exhumer production in 2011 by type: Hulk 68,519, Mackinaw 32,293, Skiff 4,290.”


Now, there are many factors which play into the numbers, hulkageddon, suicide ganking, war dec AFKing etc, and some people have multiple hulks, so lets take a 1.5 ratio (Random number lower than 2x, pulled from ass), which would give us:

591 ice miners.



Ok, so, the number of ice miners may have increased a little, but even combining miners + ice miners, there are not enough to drain the anoms 5x daily in high sec.

If each miner does 3 belts, 5 times a day, this means we would need 736 ice miners in highsec.

Just to keep producing 80% of the ice in New Eden.

I find it unlikely, with these numbers, that at least initially, highsec will be producing 80% of ice.

Now, one of the things I have heard from players is “null miners will swap to ice when the price is right”…to me, the price is irrelevant.  Even if we pulled down all the POS in High sec, and stopped use of ice products there completely, and mined all the ice every day, Null would still need to increase their production from 1.6% to 5%, just to keep consumption at current levels.

They could of course, use less Ice products in Null, but any upcoming Wars etc would both increase the useage, and reduce the supply, so putting more pressure on Highsec to produce the goods.

Corps in null, regardless of price, may swap their mining ops to ice from Ore to ensure supply, and encourage members to do the same.


What does this all mean?

1)      Its not the death of ice mining in highsec.  Or any other mining for that matter.  You will have to move around either within your system, or a few jumps, and 100000000 miners crowded in one system will not work anymore.  However, the price is likely to rise, at least short term, and I expect long term, so, ice mining just became more lucrative, and since belts deplete, it is not the snooze fest it is now.

2)      No one is being forced to null or low.  You may be being forced out of your current system, especially if you are in Amarr, but, there are more ice anoms than miners, and unless we suddenly think everyone is max boosted in fleets, it is unlikely that all belts will drain.

3)      Null production of Ice will increase.  I do not see people mining more ice than currently in lowsec, there is not enough incentive for it.

4)      If prices do in fact increase, this would push up prices for products further along the food chain, those pos owners will pass the costs onto the market.

5)      There will be some crazy times on the prices just after patch…Expect a bumpy ride, with prices spiking, then crashing until they finally settle at a new equilibrium, higher than today.

Finally….Expect lots of angry poasts on the forum just after June 4th, along the lines of “WTF CCP, WHERE DID MY ICE GO!”


One Response to Ice Ice Baby..

  1. [...] be felt by the POS owners as fuel costs increase, due to a decrease in the availability of ice [ICE ICE BABY].  This means that it is going to become more and more difficult to compete with the NPC rented [...]

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