So one of the new features in Rubicon is the Mobile Siphon Unit (dev blog). I had basically ignored this feature because I am much more interested in the “space yurt” that lets you refit without stopping at a station. Details to be commented on later…
So anyway, back to the siphon thing. I am trying to work out if it will be useful (to me). Per the dev blog, it will cost around 10M isk and take up 20m3. Once deployed it can’t be picked back up – only destroyed. It has around 50-100k EHP. It steals 60 units of raw material or 25 units of processed material with a 20% loss so the effective amount is 48 and 20 units respectively. First question – how many hours does it need to run to make up the 10M isk that it cost? Well, for processed materials, the average sell price (on the higher end products) is about 25k isk. So at 20 units per hour, it is about 20 hours for break even. For moon harvesting, if you can siphon from an array pulling Dysprosium, Neodymium, or Promethium, you break even in 5 hours and start making 2M isk per hour after that.
The dev blog doesn’t mention if the siphons show up on D-scan, but I assume that they will. Since anyone can go up to these, it might be much more profitable to just cruise around in a blockade runner, visit any siphons you see on D-scan, and scoop up anything they have collected.
Either way, I don’t see a ton of isk here without a lot of hassle. Mostly, it is just a way to harass someone (or maybe LOTS of someones). As Eve-Prosper notes: “The big losers in this change aren’t the blocs or corps, but the logistics guys who already have to deal with a crappy POS system.” And that is the truth. Much like the POCO system (more on that in another post) anything that screws up the logistics of a carefully balanced system causes havoc. It may or may not cause a lot of lost isk , but it certainly adds to the time required to managed it. Null sec moon mining may still be low-risk for the large sov-holders, but it is about to get a little more complicated.