In New Eden not everything is as it seems. Some individuals may appear to be quite helpful, right up to the moment they blow you up and steal your stuff. They are the scourge of the galaxy; pirates. But this group is not the worst of scum and villainy. Macro-Miners are automated mining vessels designed to strip entire systems of their precious ores and are a menace which is sadly on the increase.

To combat this economic threat you may wish to destroy Macro-Miners but first you will have to locate them. Macro-Miners tend to, but not exclusively operate within Empire space enjoying the protection of the local law enforcement.

Elimination of this global threat is a noble and just profession, but unfortunately identifying a Macro-Miner can be problematic. The first thing to be done is to join macrointel; a dedicated intel channel devoted to identifying and hunting macros.

The name of a pilot can explain a great many things about the individual, but names can also mis-lead. If the name of a target is something binary or appear to be a random collection of letters and/or numbers then it’s a good bet they are a macro.

The age of a pilot indicates their experience. This does not definitively identify a macro, but if the pilot is young and mining in a mining barge then this can indicate a very specialised role toward just mining. This isn't to say that every specialist pilot is a macro, but a macro will not train unnecessary skills to maximise the investment of time and productivity.

A pilots security status is a good indication of their occupancy within New Eden. Generally a macro will have a security rating of 1.0. There may be some variation as the macro kills the local rats but these increments are so small it is unlikely to affect the rating significantly.

Check the pilots name against popular kill-boards such as Griefwatch. This can help identify whether the pilot has ever undergone real combat. A macro would find it impossible to fight effectively therefore if no kills show for the pilot this can indicate a macro.

A macros’ nature is to operate in the same manner for hours at a time. Watch the pilots behaviour closely to observe the cycle of the ship. If the ship doesn’t dock immediately upon completion of its cycle this could indicate a real pilots’ presence.

There are no alarms to warn pilots that their cargo hold is full and many may be pre-occupied with other duties to notice for some time, but a macro miner will generally dock as soon as the hold is full and the lasers cease their cycle. This doesn’t mean that if the ship does dock immediately it’s a macro, only if it doesn’t it may not be a macro.

The best way to identify a macro is to begin a conversation with the pilot. A macro cannot communicate therefore any pilot that does not respond may be a macro. Be careful though, as mentioned before some pilots may not notice your communications request immediately. It is wise to give the pilot some time to respond. If it is a macro then there will be no response or the communications may be rejected.

I am yet to discover a method which can identify a macro reliably, therefore these points are only a guide. If you are unsure of a pilots status then an attack must not be initiated, but it is a judgement call and the more often one undertakes this role, the more accomplished at correctly identifying a macro you may become.

It is important to note that while macro mining is rife, many innocent pilots can become the victims of an attack simply due to a mis-identification. The ability to reliably identify a macro has yet to be developed and any attack should proceed with caution. If the target retaliates, intelligently (such as moves the ship, deploys drones or uses any kind of e-war) then the attack should be ceased immediately. Similarly if the target attempts to contact you, stop the attack.

There are many different ways to kill a macro but as macros usually operate from Empire, it can be difficult to destroy them cleanly without receiving reprisals or penalties from the local law enforcement.

If the macro is mining into a jet-can you must claim ownership of that can to force the macro to aggress. To do this approach the jet-can and deposit a portion of the mined ore into your cargo hold. This will aggravate the macro, granting it permission to attack you. If the macro has drones deployed and your lucky, you may be attacked. Once the macro has engaged your vessel you are free to destroy the macro with utmost vigilance.

Unfortunately this method has seen a dramatic decline over time as macros have almost completely stopped mining into jet-cans for this very reason.

The other option open to you is the obliteration of the target. This is only viable if the wreck is likely to harbour modules which will compensate your inevitable loss. The best places to kill macros 'illegally' is within 0.5 security systems because the local law will not respond as quickly. There are three popular methods to reliably eliminate Macro-Miners.

1. Smart-Bomb Battleship Suicide Squad.
This method is particularly useful against larger groups of macros. The inherent cost is high, but the time taken to destroy all the macros in range is very short indeed. Utilising Raven battleships equipped with smart-bombs is a sure way to kill off a large group of macros quickly and absolutely.

There are drawbacks with this method. Any loot dropped can easily be destroyed by the AOA bombs making the venture more akin to pure cleansing rather than trying to make a living from Macro-Hunting. Use caution.

2. Frigate Suicide Gank Squad.
For this method to work a lot of pilots are needed and the target should be a group of macros. Ensure that the combined DPS is sufficient to destroy the macros before the inevitable local law enforcement arrives to enforce its misplaced justice. This method works better for smaller groups of macros and the costs are much lower. It's also possible to protect loot drops within the wrecks as the firepower is directed exclusively at the macros and not the general spacial area.

3. Suicide Gank Cruiser.
This can be accomplished solo. I've found the best ship to do this is the Gallente Vexor. Fitted with maximum DPS it can kill a Mackinaw in less than 60 seconds, which is sufficient. Your Vexor only needs to survive long enough to kill the macro before becoming a target itself, but the costs involved are very manageable.

In all cases you are looking to destroy the macros as swiftly as possible before your own ship decompresses. Insure your ships as they will be lost. It's also wise to have a neutral pilot present to gather the loot and salvage the wrecks. It's worth noting that the agressors' security rating will be severely compromised by any illegal actions undertaken therefore one should be prepared to grind the security status back to acceptable levels.

This guide is based on my personal experiences of macro hunting. There may be other methods of hunting, identifying and killing macros but these methods have been proven to work despite the inherent risks and penalties. Be prepared to lose everything while possibly gaining very little as this is the unfortunate nature of macro hunting. You may rest assured that your actions will be appreciated by many and the experience is not completely without its merits.

Above all else remember that, although macro mining is widespread, not every stationary mining vessel harbours a macro and caution must be observed whenever making the decision to attack a mining vessel.

Happy hunting...

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Anonymous said...

How to identify an annoying prat:

Annoying prats are a growing menace in EVE Online. They are mostly people who feel they are motivated by righteous fury, when in fact they are merely prats looking to annoy and bully people weaker than themselves.

The name of a pilot can provide an indication as to whether or not they are an annoying prat. Hints include names that use bookend punctuation such as "xXxURDEADxXx", names that include subjective terms elevating the character's position, such as "Sexy Grrrl" or "Sexbeast" or "Lord Johnson", and names that include words in allcaps.

Behaviour is the main indicator of a prat. They are typically schizophrenic, and have short attention spans. One moment, a prat will be trying to bait you into combat by flipping your can. The next moment they'll be trying to chat with you so they can "check ur not marco". A few minutes later, having not got the hint that you really don't want to talk right now, they return with a fleet of expensive ships to suicide-gank you.

Annoying prats cannot be reasoned with. They will already have determined that you are a "macro" before they start looking for evidence that you are not. They will use the fact that you don't fall for their can-flipping as evidence that you are a macro. They will use the fact that you do fall for their can-flipping as evidence that you are a macro. When they try to converse with you, they will use your rejection as evidence that you are a macro. If you converse with them, they will use that as evidence that you have returned to the keyboard to check how your macro is going.

The main strategies to use for avoiding annoying prats are to tank your Hulk (as if hisec productivity wasn't crappy to start with), or simply mine in mission space.

Don't fret, eventually the prats will start using your presence in mission space with a mining ship as "evidence" that you are a macro.

See, they're not really interested in whether you're a macro or not. They're just looking to justify the suicide gank that they're so desperately trying to pull off.

Redundant blogger said...

It is a real shame that the macro-menace has caused such a diverse number of problems. I really do sympathise with your position and I regret any unjust retaliation you may incur.

It must be said that as a miner an occupational hazard is the mis-identitity as a macro, and it's wise to do everything you can to make it clear that you are not such.

But there are many 'prats' out there doing there thing, and I do my best to rid New Eden of them.

There are plenty of them though.

Anonymous said...

I frequently afk mine. I am a medical student and study a good 12 hrs a day. While I do this I have an alarm clock with a countdown timer, when it beeps I dock my exhumer, empty it, return to belt, and turn on the lasers again. Every single one of the techniques for identifying a macro'er you've listed there would get me killed. Thanks a lot.

And for what its worth, even though macro'ers drive down the price of the minerals I sell, they also drive down the price of the final products, to the point where t1 ships are affordable for my pvp alt in any quantity. This is something I love and has renewed my interest in EVE tremendously.

Leave the macro banning to CCP. If someone is on 23/7 in the same spot mining your ore, go ahead and report them, and a GM will sort it out. You do not have the tools or ability to identify a macro miner with any accuracy.

Spectre said...

I approve of this post and I REALLY approve of the tears it is causing in the comments. Excellent work Mr Noxx.

Anonymous said...

"Leave the macro banning to CCP. If someone is on 23/7 in the same spot mining your ore, go ahead and report them, and a GM will sort it out. You do not have the tools or ability to identify a macro miner with any accuracy."

I agree, I pretty well do the same thing. I also AFK mine (ICE) and play xbox, check on my cargo every once in a while since it takes 35 min to fill my cargo.

But a ship that is far overlooked, is a destroyer. I know with amarr I have gotten an upwards for 400 DPS using a full T2 loadout with no tank (about 10 mil I think). Terrible for PvP unless with a gang but I would assume (correct me if I am wrong) it would be great for miner ganks

red boss said...

Indeed, macro hunting is a great pastime. We often take little catalyst/thrasher squads of 5-6 guys. If you're quick, you can get the pod too. Nothing like making a macro for someone unprofitable. Now, we advertise in local after every gank, and legit miners that get in touch with us and report suspected/known macros get a free pass. Sure we kill some actual non-macro miners, and with great pleasure too, but that's more of a "ridding the universe of whamburgers one french cry at a time" pastime :).

It's profitable, it's fun, and getting podded by a -10 squad in hisec with no wardec is just icing on the cake :).

Keep up the good work fellow prats. When your local hunting ground is quiet/empty, grab a group of fellow -10s, get an alt in a covops and go gank some miners. It's profitable (insured t1 fit desi runs about 150k isk after insurance payout, and t2 strip miners are 3-5mil a piece), it's fun and it's a service to the galaxy.

Anonymous said...

What a load of crock. Every one of the supposed identifiers is BS.

Name: So Fred Bloggs is not a macro but 5gfstra is?

Age: Many alts and many new players train purely for mining to support a PvP habit and/or generate ISK.

Security: Same as "Age"

Killmail: This is a joke right? So a miner that doesn't get involved in PvP is a macro. So what's a Carebear then?

Behaviour: Another joke yeah? So a macro that is a bit slow to dock (as some are) is therefore not a macro?

Conversation: So my alt is engaged in a 300 ship fleet taking down a POS and because I don't want to talk to your stupid ass I must be a macro?

The only thing you said right was this: "I am yet to discover a method which can identify a macro reliably"

Exactly. So stfu and go griefing somewhere else in your non-macro, PvP'ing, old age character with the groovy name.

And seriously, if you have an opinion, be a little more forceful. Every "identifier" was abridged with "might" "may", "good bet".

Btw: My main mining alt has 3.2 sec status purely done ratting during mining. Her name is sweet, she's 12 months old, has done heaps of PvP and oh, she is macroing for me as I speak.

Come get me. I'm easy to find yeah....

Anonymous said...

yes i quite agree to be honest, constantly getting messages because i sit mining most of the time is getting annoying, i mine ice for example in highsec to ship to my corp for running the POS's or for making profit, according to you i must be a macro miner because my alt is 3 years old and is in newbie corp. - OMG can u say trying to avoid wardecks anyone.

Anonymous said...

fail post is faill

amazing the prat hasn't had the good sense to delete it in face of so much wrongness.