Dedication of an MTU Hunter

One night, on a typical hunt through the Domain region, I stumbled upon a system that has since become very special to me. The short time I spent in this system would prove my dedication to the pursuit of total MTU annihilation, and would also give me an experience that I consider far more valuable than ISK and spaceships.

Ahmak

The journey to Ahmak.

Upon entering the system of Ahmak, I immediately found an MTU on D-Scan and set to work on scanning it down. I was on a high because in the previous system, Jarshitsan, I had just popped an MTU which contained the wreck of a mission runner’s battleship (a phenomenon covered in an earlier post). The kill was worth 150m, of which 125m dropped for me.

Kill: Febelstragen  (Mobile Tractor Unit)

I scanned down the MTU in Ahmak and warped to it, only to find that it was surrounded by mission rats, in the first room of the level 4 mission, Worlds Collide. I couldn’t get near the MTU without being aggroed by the rats, and my T3 Destroyer was certainly not fit appropriately to take them on. I had no choice, then, but to call for assistance.

Raven Navy Issue

The Raven Navy Issue. The heavyweight boxer of EVE ships, strong as hell, but a little on the slow side.

That assistance would come in the form of my mission runner alt who, at the time, used a Raven Navy Issue (RNI) for running level 4 missions in Lanngisi and the surrounding systems. The RNI is a powerful missile-based Caldari Faction Battleship, however, it is also extremely slow in regards to the time it takes to align to something (like a stargate), and it’s warp speed. So when I realised I would have to take this slow, expensive boat 26 jumps through empire space, to kill some rats on the other side of highsec just so I could pop an MTU, I initially balked at the prospect.

However, I couldn’t let a single MTU slip through my fingers if I was to prove my dedication to this pursuit. I had to follow it through, even if it meant spending half an hour of my limited free time doing something tedious. So I undocked the battleship, set course for Ahmak, and began the long journey there.

Worlds Collide Mission

Click on image for full size.

When my mission runner finally reached Ahmak, I docked her up at the only station in the system, made a copy of the MTU bookmark, and traded it to her. I then sent her to the MTU’s location to take care of the mission rats. Whilst the rats around the MTU were being disposed of, I sent Pix to take care of the MTU itself. I also entered the other rooms inside the mission to check for faction spawns, and unfortunately there were none this time. The MTU popped just like any other, and was filled with the standard mission loot that the majority of MTUs tend to contain. I had hoped this one would be filled with the wreck of the mission runner herself, but alas, not this time.

Kill: Akza Agittain  (Mobile Tractor Unit)

Still, a kill is a kill.. is a kill. Would I have spent all the effort on taking this MTU down had I known it’s contents beforehand? Certainly. However, I probably would have tried using my alt to pull the rats from the MTU in a fast frigate instead of taking a battleship to kill them!

The story doesn’t quite end there though. Shortly after popping the MTU, I hauled the loot back to the station and took a well-deserved break. In the meantime, some of the residents of Ahmak had piped-up in local chat, presumably after seeing me go suspect for attacking the MTU..

To be continued..

MTU Hunting 101

I decided to write a guide on how to hunt MTUs to give people a better idea of what I actually do on a hunt. Hopefully I have made it easy enough to understand that anyone interested can give it a go too, whether they have any prior experience in scanning or not.

MTU Hunting 101
(There is also a permanent link to the guide in the sidebar)

The guide will show you many of the aspects involved in hunting MTUs, from finding them, to scanning them down, to ultimately destroying them. Also included in the guide are tips to using the Agent Finder, bookmarks, and the overview.

You can now also find a link to my MTU Hunter Overview Profile in my bio in-game.

MTU Hunting 101

Click on image for full size.

I taught myself how to scan in EVE Online through trial and error, so I may do things differently to others. If you have any tips on improving the guide, spot any errors, or if you have trouble following any part of the guide, please leave a comment on this post.

Finally, if you do follow the guide and manage to get a successful MTU kill, please show us your killmail in a comment on this post. The first 3 players to post their MTU killmails in this post will win 50m ISK each! All MTU kills must have been made after the date of this post. This offer won’t end until 3 killmails have been posted here.

Happy hunting!

Hecatetastrophe

I mentioned in an earlier post that one of the ways I like to hunt MTUs is to roam along the outer edges of highsec, along the border with lowsec. MTUs are rarer out there, but when you do find one it feels a lot more special than popping your nth MTU in a busy Sisters of EVE mission hub.

On one such roam I made a series of mistakes which ultimately cost me my ship.

The first mistake was made before I had even set off on the hunt, when I was sat in station planning my route for that night. I was to head to the Khanid region, an area of New Eden that I seldom visit. I had set many waypoints so I could cover the majority of systems in that region, but it seems that at one point I had inadvertently set a course through lowsec. Normally I wouldn’t have an issue travelling through lowsec, but not knowing I was going to be there was the actual problem. When you spend so much time in highsec, you can become complacent, and often find yourself doing things you wouldn’t do in lowsec.

EVE Online Map - Khanid Region

The Khanid region.

I set off on the hunt, scanning every system as I went. It had been particularly uneventful, with only a couple of empty MTUs found on the way, but I pressed on regardless. Later on in the night, having found absolutely nothing, I entered a system which had no one else in local (not atypical for this area of space) and parked myself at a random moon, as central to the system as I could get. I launched my probes to begin the routine of scanning for MTUs, when suddenly, horror.

Kill: Pix Severus (Hecate)

What happened? One minute I’m happily scanning away, the next I see my shields turn red, quickly followed by my armour and structure. The surprise of it caused me to fumble the controls, and by the time I realised what was going on, my ship had exploded and I was ejected in my pod. After moving my pod safely away to a nearby planet, I took a deep breath and began to assess the situation. It wasn’t until I closed the solar system map (which I keep up almost 100% of the time while I’m hunting MTUs) that I realised I was in lowsec, because the map was always positioned in the top-left of my screen, obscuring the system’s security status. This was my second mistake. The third mistake was not having POS guns on my overview, and that, along with having sound disabled in-game, meant that when the player-owned structure next to the moon fired it’s guns at me, it came as a complete surprise.

Magnate

The Amarrians are solely responsible for the scarcity of gold in the universe.

After I had regained my composure, I checked the killmail and saw that 50m ISK worth of mods had survived my ship’s explosion, including my expensive probe launcher; I had to get those items back. I warped back to the scene of my demise, bookmarked the location of my ship’s wreck, then set off to find the nearest station with ships for sale. In the system of Badivefi, some 10 or so jumps away, I found a Magnate for sale, along with a surprisingly wide array of ship mods and other items, this system turned out to be a well-stocked market hub, one I’d never visited before. Once I had given the Magnate a decent fit, I headed back to my shipwreck, and thankfully no one had looted it in the meantime. I then headed back to the nearest trade hub, Amarr, with my tail firmly between my legs. It was time to buy myself a new MTU hunting ship.

An embarrassing loss for this MTU hunter, many mistakes were made, and a decent chunk of ISK was lost. Thankfully, EVE is a game that allows you to make such mistakes, which in turn lets you learn from them and become a better player as a result.

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.

Costa Deltole

Whilst you’re out MTU hunting, you will begin to notice certain systems as being special, in that they always seem to have an MTU or MMJU deployed, ripe for the popping. One such system is Deltole, in the Sinq Laison region, a short distance from 2 of New Eden’s 5 major trade hubs, Dodixie and Hek.

The reason there is almost* always a mobile structure to kill there is because of a DED site in the system called Contested Gallente Skeleton Comet. This site is perpetually run by players who sit there for hours on end shooting the never-ending spawn of NPCs that appear at the site. The players running the site are often in Cruiser-class drone ships, such as Ishtars and Vexors. They put down MMJUs at the warp-in beacon (this site has an acceleration gate) to jump straight into the action, they then put down an MTU (or three) to suck up the hundreds of NPC wrecks they create.

Click image for full-size.

The Contested Gallente Skeleton Comet site. Click image for full-size.

I have repeatedly popped their structures while they are running the site, but as yet they haven’t risked aggressing me, despite being yellow-flashy, and outnumbered. The following is an example of an MTU kill at this site:

Kill: Blade Sharpenter (Mobile Tractor Unit)

Not the greatest loot, but another MTU down is fine by me. I do tend to get more MMJU kills in Deltole though; One player in particular has lost 5 MMJUs to me in this system so far.

The sheer number of mobile structures isn’t the only reason Deltole is notable to me, it is also home to a friend of mine, a notorious ganker called Paranoid Loyd. At least I think he’s a friend, he hasn’t tried to kill me lately anyway. I occasionally drop Exotic Dancers on his doorstep to keep him appeased.

Contract: Exotic Dancers, Female

*fingers crossed*

Deltole isn’t the only system that’s special in regards to MTU hunting, I will showcase some more of those systems in future posts.

*If you find no mobile structures to pop whilst passing through Deltole, it’s probably because I just passed through there.

Abandoned Drones

Early on in my MTU hunting career it became apparent that the majority of abandoned MTUs are either empty, or hold very little loot. I wanted to keep some steady ISK trickling-in to help pay for ammo and other expenses, so I wouldn’t completely burn through the liquid ISK I had set aside for this project. I decided, then, that it was a good idea to subsidise my MTU hunting with the additional activity of scanning down and scooping abandoned drones.

Drone

Beep boop.

Drones have many uses, from aiding you in combat, to increasing your mining yield, and beyond. One thing that all drones have in common though is that they are often left abandoned, intentionally or otherwise, by the person who deployed them. I like to think of them as lost children, orphans, who need someone to help them find a new home, that home being the Jita marketplace. Most often they are abandoned because someone was careless and forgot to retrieve their drones before warping off from a mission and completing it, but there are other possibilities too, such as the person dying in a mission. Abandoned drones along with an abandoned MTU, in a mission site that still has active rats in it, is a good indicator that the mission runner died in the mission and their wreck was sucked into their own MTU; I’ll go into more detail on this phenomenon in later posts.

Scanning down drones is a lot harder than scanning down MTUs, unless you’re trying to scan down a ‘Magpie’ MTU, those are notoriously difficult to scan. Because of how time-consuming it can be, it’s worthwhile setting yourself a limit on which drones you should scan down, and which you should ignore. I personally go for any T2 or faction drones I see on scan, I only go for T1 drones if they’re medium, heavy or sentry ones, and only if I’ve had bad luck finding anything else that day. I’ll only scoop T1 light drones if I had accidentally scanned them down instead of a different set of more expensive ones.

Note: You do not gain Suspect Status (yellow blinky/flashy) for scooping drones, so you can do this ad infinitum with very little risk.

Cleaning a system of all those extra scan signatures can be a very satisfying thing indeed, it can also be very profitable. One time, whilst exploring an empty system on the outer reaches of Amarr highsec, I found 5 ‘Augmented’ Vespa drones, which sell for around 12m ISK each (at the time of writing this). That’s 60m ISK earned in a couple of minutes, just from scanning down random stuff. I also found an abandoned Occator just 2 systems away, that day was a profitable one to say the least.

Incidentally, the best places to find abandoned drones tend to be the systems that have level 4 security agents, and the systems surrounding those.

Whenever I pop an MTU filled with loot, or scoop a large amount of drones, I dump it all in the nearest station and then I use a hauler to go around collecting all that loot later on. After spending some time (read: a few days) hauling over a month’s worth of stashed loot back to Jita, this is what my hangar looked like:

Drones

Click image for full-size.

That’s over 600m ISK from casually scooping drones in highsec, over a period of around a month and a half. Not a bad little side-income, and yes, people do leave Geckos out there too.

Progress of an MTU Hunter

In my previous post I detailed the first steps I took into the world of MTU Hunting, including my first MTU kill. In this post I will explain how I improved my ability to hunt down MTUs and increase my MTU/hr ratio. This is the final part of my 3-part introduction into the world of MTU Hunting.

With my first kill under my belt, it was time to step things up a notch, I had been training scanning skills during my early hunting days and now it was time to put them to use. Instead of solely using D-Scan, I would now be using a combination of D-Scan and the Probe Scanner. I hadn’t used the Probe Scanner in years, so instead of re-learning how to use the old one, I decided to use the new beta version of the Probe Scanner instead.

Probe Scanner

Purty.

To use the Probe Scanner I needed to fit a probe launcher to my ship, and unfortunately my little interceptor didn’t have a lot of CPU for fitting one. Instead of doing the smart thing and finding a new ship that could fit one, I decided to fit a Co-Processor II, which gave my interceptor just enough CPU to fit a Sister’s Expanded Probe Launcher. I would then carry my guns and other combat-related modules in my cargohold, and refit for combat at the nearest station after scanning an MTU down. Not the most efficient way of doing things, but I managed to rack up an impressive 90+ kills using this method.

Throughout that period I had been training the skills needed to use a type of ship that had been introduced to the game during my hiatus, the Tactical Destroyer. I decided to go for the Gallente variant of this ship, the Hecate, as most of my skills at that time were suited for it. I will go into more detail about this ship in a later post, but I will mention that with more than twice the DPS of my interceptor, over 4 times the cargo capacity, and a bonus that allows for easy fitting of a probe launcher, this ship would be the perfect MTU hunting ship.

Hecate

Anybody for some planking?

With this ship, my MTU/hr ratio went through the roof, and I could now hunt down and kill MTUs quickly and efficiently. Now that I had the skills and tools necessary for MTU hunting, I headed out to the most lucrative mission hubs, the busiest trade hubs, and the quietest systems in the farthest reaches of empire space. Would I find riches beyond my wildest dreams, or would I find oblivion? Would I find adventure and experiences worthy of sharing, or would I find disappointment?

Add this blog to your bookmarks, and keep reading, to find out.

Initiation of an MTU Hunter

In my previous post I explained the initial reasoning behind my decision to become an MTU Hunter, in this post I will go through the steps I had to take to start actively hunting MTUs down.

Before I could do anything in highsec besides ganking, I needed to repair my -10 security status (a side-effect that comes from being naughty in highsec). So I bought some security tags and headed over to the lowsec system Evati to hand them in, and brought my security status up to -2. Now that I could travel through highsec mostly unmolested (I still had a couple of global killrights on my head), I needed a ship to go hunting in. Pix used to be my trading/hauling alt who I later repurposed as a suicide ganker, so I only had the skills to fly a limited number of ships (my scanning skills were almost non-existent too, but I’ll get into that later). Upon arriving home in Hek, I checked my ship hangar for suitable ships and found my old interceptor, a Raptor. “That’ll do.”

Raptor

Clever girl.

After dusting off the Raptor and renaming it to “ur mum lol” I set off to scour the local belts for my first MTU. During this time I had various scanning skills in training, so I would be hunting for MTUs using D-Scan only for the time being. It wasn’t long before I found my first target, only it wasn’t what you’d expect, it was the retarded half-cousin to the MTU, the Mobile Micro Jump Unit (MMJU).

Kill: Boo Neiko (Mobile Micro Jump Unit)

I was surprised at how quickly this thing popped, but MMJUs don’t even drop loot, I still desperately needed to lose my MTU virginity. I had just made my first mobile deployable structure kill though, I was on the right path at least. It was later that night when I found my second target, and my first MTU, which was laying abandoned in an asteroid belt. Why was it left there? How long had it been there? What riches could be inside?

Kill: Dar Egis (Mobile Tractor Unit)

I took my metal scrap and giggled like a schoolgirl, I had done it! My first step towards becoming an MTU hunter had been taken, but I knew I still had a long road ahead of me. For one, I definitely needed to improve my MTU/hr ratio if I wanted to become New Eden’s premier MTU removal expert.

Part 3

Birth of an MTU Hunter

Hello there, my name is Pix Severus and I have been playing EVE Online since 2010. This blog is about my adventures in EVE Online as I strive to become New Eden’s ultimate MTU hunter.

If you’re here, you may have seen me appear red or yellow flashy in local and found the link to this blog in my bio after checking me out. If that’s the case, don’t worry, I’m probably not after you, but if you have an MTU deployed right now you should probably get ready to scoop it.

pix400

Not creepy at all.

After returning to EVE Online from a year’s hiatus, I decided to take a break from suicide ganking in highsec to pursue a different career altogether: Hunting Mobile Tractor Units (MTUs).

An MTU is a large metal container with a tractor beam on it that sucks up nearby wrecks in space. These metal containers can be shot at by other players until they pop (explode) and then the contents of the container can be looted by anyone. It is classed as a mobile deployable structure, and players can use them to store ship modules for the purpose of refitting their ship in the field. However, they are most commonly used for automatically looting wrecks in missions, or dumping ore into for easy collection whilst mining. Many players leave these containers behind, and either forget where they left them, or simply don’t know how to scan them down to find them again. That’s where I come in.

dscan01

Can you guess which system I was in when I took this screenshot?

There were 2 factors that influenced my decision to start down this road. The first was that I would constantly see MTUs appear on D-scan while travelling through highsec, even in systems that aren’t populated or typically used for mission running. The second was when I was poking around some asteroid belts and saw someone shooting an MTU that had been left behind by a miner. I had mistakenly thought that shooting MTUs without a wardec would result in CONCORD intervention, but the person shooting it was in an NPC corporation and therefore not at war with anyone. While he was shooting the MTU, he had suspect status (indicated by a yellow flashing skull) which meant that any player could freely attack him, so doing this is not without it’s risks, just like anything in EVE. Knowing that I could attack these things freely made quite the difference in my attitude towards them, which up until then had been one of nonchalance.

With this revelation, and the knowledge that these things are all over highsec and could contain any number of expensive items, I decided to start actively hunting them down. My long term goal with this is to eventually start killing mission runners, with MTU molestation being merely the bait to lure them into attacking me. For now, however, I’m quite content traversing the known galaxy and removing every abandoned MTU from the spacelanes.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m about to take killboard padding to the next level.

Part 2