Yellow Parasol is a pretty cool guy

In a previous post, I detailed a side-activity of mine, which is to leave containers at gates in each system I have hunted in along with the simple message: “Pix Severus was here o/”. I received many mails and other such communications from capsuleers who had seen my containers, but one mail in particular created an opportunity for even more fun whilst hunting MTUs.

One night, while travelling to a market hub to offload some of the vast quantities of loot I had accumulated on my MTU hunts, I received a mail from a fellow named yellow parasol:

EVE Mail

Another example of a standard type of mail I tend to receive from pilots who have seen my containers, I reply to all of them of course, and this one was no exception. After a little back and forth via EVE mail, where we shared some greetings and mutual encouragement, I decided to do something for this obviously-enthusiastic newbie:

EVE Mail

This humble gesture from an MTU Hunter made yellow parasol very pleased indeed; he immediately set-off to find the can and see it for himself. After he had arrived at the can (I had moved on elsewhere to continue to hauling my loot) he sent me a follow-up mail:

EVE Mail

I sent the ISK back, of course, with a little extra on top. I was very happy that such a simple action (anchoring a container) had created such fun times for a new player. That wasn’t to be the end of his luck with the container, however, his wallet continued to grow for some time after. It was at this point that I asked him to give me his EVE story thus far, and he obliged:

EVE Mail

What an action-packed couple of days for this EVE newbie! He had lost ships, chatted with players, and in the end had gained a substantial amount of ISK for his efforts. New players take note: this is how you begin your EVE career.

The following day, I received yet another mail from yellow, he had taken up the sport of corpse collecting from the moment he began playing, and it seems he’d had some extra luck with this activity that day:

EVE Mail

Just three days into his EVE career and he’s already popping reds at gates, what a champ. It was shortly after this mail that I decided to help broaden his EVE experience further by inviting him on an MTU hunt. Due to conflicts in schedules, it took a few days until we were both online at the same time, but the hunt did indeed go ahead eventually.

Kill: Sylvous (Mobile Tractor Unit)

The above kill was a first for both of us, for him it was his first MTU kill, and for me it was my first non-solo MTU kill. We racked-up an impressive 8 MTU kills in total that evening, with a further 5 the following evening. By the 3rd day in his MTU Hunting career, yellow had killed his first MTU solo.

This story isn’t over, not by a long shot, but this post is becoming far too long, so stay tuned for the continuation.

MTU Autopsy

There is a lot you can tell from examining the contents of an MTU after it has been destroyed. Picking through these remains can provide you with a wealth of knowledge about the pilot who deployed it. In particular, their chosen activities in-game are laid bare, not to mention their penchant for leaving things lying around in space, but it can tell you much more than that besides.

One example would be finding ore in an MTU that was once sat in an asteroid belt, this tells you that the owner is a miner who uses the MTU to stash ore once his ore bay is full, and probably returns for it in a hauler after he has finished mining. Even a new player could tell you that though, so let us go deeper and examine some of the more interesting MTU corpses and see what story they have to tell.

EVE Online MTU Wreck

After careful examination of this MTU wreck, I can confirm it’s dead.

Kill: Misacun Fabler (Mobile Tractor Unit)

After I popped this MTU in an asteroid belt in the system of Vahunomi, I was surprised to find more than just rat droppings in it’s contents. As we can see from the Strip Miners and Mining Laser Upgrade contained within, the miner had lost her mining ship, and her ship’s wreck was sucked back into her own MTU. There’s more, the presence of Light Neutron Blaster IIs and a T2 magstab tells us how this miner died, she was ganked. The ganker had destroyed her mining ship using a blaster-focused ganking ship (most likely a Catalyst), and after CONCORD destroyed the ganker’s ship in retaliation, that wreck was also sucked into the MTU. If we look at her killboard, we can see that she died in that very same system multiple times, before and after I had popped the MTU, to New Order Agent Liek DarZ. This tells us that the MTU’s owner either had a habit for mining AFK, or was too inexperienced to protect herself from being ganked.

Kill: Yogurt Arkanum (Mobile Tractor Unit)

From this recent kill we can see numerous mission items contained within the MTU’s wreck, which tells us that this MTU was being used by a mission runner. The presence of one item in particular, The Damsel, can tell us exactly which mission was being run, The Damsel in Distress. We can also tell from this wreck that the mission runner had failed his mission, as The Damsel needs to be looted and handed-in to the mission agent in order to complete it. We can only speculate as to why he never finished the mission, but the lack of any ship deaths in Barkrik on this fellow’s killboard would indicate he wasn’t ganked.

Kill: Dread Aldent (Mobile Tractor Unit)

Sometimes the things you find inside MTUs can be quite baffling, such was the case with this MTU I found in the highsec system of Sigga, containing ore that can only be mined outside of highsec, in systems of 0.2 security and lower. Did a miner haul this ore to highsec and leave it in an MTU in a safe spot after mining it in lowsec? Did he buy it on the market and leave it there? Unlikely. The best explanation I can come up with is the possibility that this ore has a chance to spawn in highsec Mining Missions, but I don’t know for sure, so if any experienced mining mission runners are reading this, please let me know!

Kill: Zog Gor (Mobile Tractor Unit)

Here we have another gank victim, this time the MTU’s owner was flying a salvaging ship, which we can tell from the 3 Salvager IIs and 3 Small Tractor Beam IIs it once contained. The presence of T2 blasters and magstabs would indicate that yet again, the gankship used here was most likely a Catalyst. If we take a look at Zog Gor’s killboard, we can see that he lost his Noctis salvaging vessel to New Order Agent Alt 00 in Barkrik the previous day. This pilot had already completed his mission, left it, and returned in a salvaging ship to loot the field. Unfortunately for him, there was more than just loot waiting for him upon his return.

I have already covered the phenomenon of a mission runner losing his ship to mission rats and having his own wreck sucked back into his MTU in a previous post, so I won’t cover that particular example here. There are some more interesting MTU autopsies that I can go over, but I will cover those in a later post. If you have found anything interesting inside an MTU, please tell me about it, along with a killmail, and it may be featured in the next episode of MTU Autopsy.

The Damsel

Around the time of this post, I had another noteworthy encounter with an MTU that was sitting alone in an active mission, this time the mission was one that is well-known to many EVE players, even those who don’t run missions, The Damsel in Distress.

This is actually one of my favourite level 4 missions as it has a good payout for the amount of time it takes to complete. However, you need a battleship with a good tank to be able to do this mission effectively, meaning that my MTU Hunting ship was going to need some backup

EVE Online system Atoosh

The system of Atoosh, in the Tash-Murkon region.

After arriving in the system of Atoosh, on my way to the outer reaches of highsec, I did my usual system scan and quickly found a lone MTU. Once I had landed on grid with it, I was immediately aggressed by 9 Mercenary NPC battleships and a cluster of cruisers and had to warp off or risk losing my ship. Due to the strucutres in the mission, and the name of one of the NPCs (Kruul) it was clear to me what mission this was, and that the mission runner had prematurely spawned the 2nd wave of battleships by shooting Kruul too early. This mistake could be why he wasn’t there actually doing the mission, but was instead docked-up inside a nearby station.

I decided that it was my duty to help my fellow capsuleer by completing the mission for him, and taking only his MTU as payment, a fair trade I’d say. I logged my mission runner alt and spent the next 20 minutes warping her slow faction battleship, a Raven Navy Issue all the way out there. By the time she reached the system, the mission runner had logged off for the evening, but that didn’t matter, we had work to do. After trading bookmarks in the station, I warped my alt to the active mission and got to work, and within a few minutes she had destroyed all the mission rats along with the structure where The Damsel was being held captive.

EVE Online Cargo Container

*Thud thud* Muffled Voices.

There were now quite a number of wrecks littering the field along with various containers, one of which contained The Damsel. “Wait! Oh no!” I exclaimed, as the MTU began sucking in the container where The Damsel now resided, the only thing between her and the cold vacuum of space. “If she gets sucked into the MTU, there is a chance she won’t survive the explosion when I pop it!” Alas, it was too late, I couldn’t reach the container before the MTU had sucked it in, and The Damsel’s fate now hung in the balance. With a dry throat and a feeling of consternation, I warped in my MTU hunting ship and began the task of popping it regardless. Would she survive?

Kill: Base Sixteen (Mobile Tractor Unit)

She did indeed survive, thankfully, and I welcomed her onto my ship along with the rest of the loot. I then docked at the station (the same one where the mission runner lived) and contracted The Damsel to him so he could complete the mission. With my work now complete it was time for a rest, and so I logged off for the evening.

When I logged on again the following day I found that the contract had not been accepted, but instead the mission runner had decided to place a whopping 80m ISK bounty on my head! Well, that’s gratitude for you I guess, but I won’t let one sour capsuleer deter me from helping others in the future. At this point you may be thinking to yourself “So what happened to The Damsel?” After all, the mission runner didn’t want her, and I’m not heartless enough to hand her over to the slavers..

EVE Online - The Damsel

She rides with me now.

The Holy Grail?

One of the ways I like to hunt MTUs is to set a very long route to the outer edges of highsec, and skirt along the border of lowsec, visiting as many systems along the way as possible. This can result in some very long (100+ jump) routes with many added waypoints, so I don’t miss any systems. I was on my way back from my first such excursion when I happened upon the holy grail of abandoned MTUs, sitting only just inside D-Scan range, mid-warp between celestials in a system called Akhragan.

Kill: Wulfgar WarHammer (Mobile Tractor Unit)

There were only 3 people in local, including myself, and the MTU’s owner wasn’t one of them. Speaking of the owner, I instantly recognised his avatar as he used to post on the EVE Forums a couple of years back. Anyway, this MTU was well and truly abandoned, there were no wrecks, and the mission it was placed in had long since despawned.

MTU Loot

Loot Fairy was kind.

After I had finished celebrating getting my long-awaited payday, I analysed the killmail. This fellow had deployed an MTU in his mission, lost his faction-fitted battleship to the mission rats, and then had his own ship wreck sucked back into his MTU. Not only was there a chance for his high-value mods to be destroyed upon the loss of his ship, but there was a further chance of it through the MTU loss too. To add to that, the MTU’s owner didn’t return to scoop it for some reason, did he ragequit, perhaps? Finally, MTUs despawn if left abandoned for 2 days, who knows how long it had been sat there, it could have been minutes, even seconds from despawning before I found it. With all these variables taken into account, getting such a payout from an MTU was very lucky indeed.

A few months ago when I first started this project, if you had asked me what I thought the holy grail of MTU kills was, I would have told you that it would most likely be an MTU filled with faction loot. Well, having found it after my 101st MTU kill, it was time to move the goalposts. The new holy grail of MTU kills is to find one filled with officer loot.