As previously mentioned, I went out and purchased a Rattlesnake battleship to run the 10/10 Escalations I sometimes get from running sites in my Super Carrier. The Rattlesnake + fit cost me just under 3 billion, and I was lucky that my current pod already also has more or less the implants I’d want for the Rattle. I’m happy to report the investment has already paid for itself, and that the 10/10 escalation is a very fun break from running the normal ratting sites.
One of the major benefits of ratting in the Karmafleet neighborhood is that when you get an escalation, it can’t spawn very far away due to the geography of our area (one long pipe). At most the site can be 5 jumps away, and all 5 of those jumps are generally in very well covered, ‘safe’ space. This is important because normally you don’t want to jump gates in a 3b+ ship that is somewhat slow without a scout, but just watching intel I can tell if travel is safe or not for the Rattle. If I was ratting in a different part of Delve, not only might the escalation spawn further away, but the route to it might take me through popular hotspots for PvP camps.
As mentioned, running the site itself is also fun. With my fit and skills, I’d have to massively screw up to die, but at the same time the site still requires following the proper steps to deal with each room, and there is the secondary goal of not just surviving, but running the site as quickly as possible. In contrast, ratting in the Super is a mostly click, click, click to blow stuff up with little consideration for what you are targeting, how far away it is, or what is happening with your ship. It’s nice and relaxing (other than watching intel to not get 30b+ blown up by enemies), and then the 10/10 is a more focused experience.
Room one is the most intensive, especially for pulling back drones as they take damage, and in making sure to kill enemy ships as they come into optimal range for sentry drones. Knowing when to switch out heavy drones for sentries also takes a bit of learning, as each drone type has a different optimal use. I’m also still experimenting when the best time is to use the micro jump drive to put myself closer to the gate, as you start 60km away, and after the jump you just need to fly back 15km or so.
Room two is pretty easy, but has the random chance to spawn a large wave of elite frigates. The frigates aren’t much of a danger, but they are very slow to kill, especially once they are too close for sentry drones to properly hit them. It’s always a nice feeling when they don’t spawn.
The final room is very high danger, but also the fastest. When you first land, you immediately micro jump drive. This puts you out of range from the many neuting battleships, and failure to do this leads to death. As your MJD spools up, you target the structure that ends the site, and once you land after the MJD, you drop sentry drones and kill that structure. As you blow that up, you drop a mobile tractor unit to eventually scoop the loot for you.
The final room has very high incoming dps, and it’s here that the bling tank comes into play. With my fit, and with it being cap stable, I don’t have an issue, but those that don’t spend as much or have lower skills might be cutting it close. Another variable is how often the enemy targets your drones. The more they do, the more times you have to pull them in, reducing your DPS and slowing the whole thing down. If you take too long, more rats will get back into range and you might die or need to warp away.
If things go well, you blow the structure up and its loot gets pulled in. Once its in your MTU, you loot that, scoop the MTU, and MJD once again to get away from the rats that are scramming you. Warp away and you are done, hopefully leaving with at least 200m+ of loot for less than 30 minutes of combat if all went well.
The final step is how to cash in. The deadspace drops I ship back to Jita if local Delve prices aren’t great. The occasional blueprint you get needs to also be shipped and then sold via contract. The overseer item you always get from the site is worth 134m, but needs to be sold directly to an NPC faction at their station. To get this done, I use my travel interceptor frigate, as we have a station where these can be sold just 10 jumps away.
The ISK flow is of course very nice, but it should be considering all the work it takes to get to this point. Having the ISK and the availability to purchase the Super to clear sites quickly, having the correctly fit Rattlesnake and the knowledge of how to use it, having all the needed skills for those ships, and of course being part of an alliance that not only owns quality null space, but also has the people and structure to keep it as safe as possible. All of that is countless billions of ISK, and countless hours of setup work.
But that’s EVE in a nutshell: it’s a game that rewards smart, cooperative play, and has the systems in place to reward it better than any other MMO by a longshot.