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Lock up your mining barges, the Hulkageddon cometh to EVE Online!


Like it or loathe it, EVE Online's infamous fan-run Hulkageddon event is back with its teeth sharpened. During this unofficial week and a half of torture, some of the game's more vicious players band together with one common goal -- the complete eradication of mining ships. Organised by pirate Helicity Boson back in October 2009, the first event was met with strong vocal opposition by miners. Cries that the unofficial event sanctioned griefing and calls for Helicity to be banned flooded the forums, sparking intense debate into what is and isn't acceptable in the sandbox.

Despite opposition, the event made a return early this year, with January's Hulkageddon II destroying a record 278 billion ISK in mining barges and exhumers. With Hulkageddon III scheduled to begin next week on the 9th of July, continuing until July 18th, miners across EVE are in for a rough time. If January's event is any indication, even pilots in high security space aren't safe from attack. Suicide tactics have always been a popular way to kill barges, with packs of destroyers able to kill a Hulk before CONCORD arrive.

Skip past the cut to read our in-depth interview with Helicity Boson on the upcoming carnage and how to stay safe.

A truly massive prize fund

During the event, miners are encouraged to pack up their barges and wait out the destruction. Meanwhile, those taking part are encouraged to do whatever it takes to forcibly dismantle every mining barge in sight. This time around, sponsors have donated a huge prize fund of over 25 billion ISK for the event. Big ISK rewards go to the people with the most kills in specific regions or racial space. The biggest prizes will go to the four organisations that destroy the most barges overall, with some additional impressive prizes for the three individual pilots with the most kills.

In addition to a huge random prize lottery for participants and a guaranteed 1 million ISK for everyone who makes a successful exhumer kill, there's a whole list of achievements and corresponding prizes for interesting kills. Who wouldn't like to be on the first kill using nothing but newbie ships, or to score a kill using your own mining barge?

In preparation for the upcoming carnage, Massively caught up with Hulkageddon organiser Helicity Boson to get the inside scoop on what makes Hulkageddon III a special player-run event for EVE.

Massively: How can players get involved with the event? Is this something anyone can enter?

Helicity Boson: Participating is extremely easy! Once the event starts, there will be a killboard link at the top of the official Hulkageddon page. All participants need to do is post their kills to the board. That's basically it! People who have no friends to play with can apply to the Hulkageddon Orphanage corporation to team up with dozens of other players to fly with. They will also get a nice shiny medal from me after the event -- now there's a rare and unique opportunity!

Previous Hulkageddon events have spawned huge controversy in the game community. The topic of suicide ganking in general is an extremely polarising issue. Where do you stand on it?

I've said it before and I will say it again. Suicide ganking is something that is inherently possible in the game mechanics. It hooks into the fundamental truth that, in EVE, no place is (or should ever be) completely safe. I touched on this in my own blog recently. The fact that this is possible is a cornerstone of EVE's design. I do, however, feel that it is rather preposterous that suicide gankers should benefit from a full insurance payback after committing an obvious crime. I feel that this is something CCP would do well to look at more closely as it just makes no sense.

Exhumers haven't realistically got enough effective hitpoints to withstand a suicide attack, regardless of remote repair support or gang assistance. Is there a defense strategy you think might work for miners?

It is, in fact, extraordinarily easy to avoid destruction. No special fittings or techniques are required beyond sitting at your computer and paying attention. If some mysterious craft is edging closer to your Hulk, it may well be a scout used to allow the gankers to warp in on top of your ship. And if you're not AFK-mining, you have plenty of time to just warp away. The same thing goes for local jumping up by five people with angry red skulls on their portraits. It's really just that simple.

What if people use a cloaked ship to set up a warp-in on your mining ship?

I think you are attributing a bit more cunning and effort to the gankers than 90% of them are willing to put in. Most suicide ganks in the Hulkageddon are done with Catalysts. Their range is severely limited, so if you land 5km off or something there's a good chance you will fail. As suicide characters end up being kill-on-sight by the empire navies, most of us cannot sit in high security space waiting for a cloaked ship to get into position. When we jump in from nearby lowsec, the spike in local will give away the gank. The reality is that its generally good practice to mine in a quiet system, and if you see people with red skulls next to their name appear in local, run.

A few corps have mentioned they'll be swapping their barges for combat ships. Is this something you'd like to see, and is it likely to happen?

I am skeptical about these chest-pounders. This happened last time as well and nothing materialized, which is a wasted opportunity, in my opinion. I'd like nothing more than for them to actually fight for the things they (mistakenly) assume should be theirs. In a sense, I cannot lose. If nobody resists and they die by droves, I win. If they rise up to the challenge and fight for what is theirs, I will consider that a greater victory.

The total ISK value of the mining ships destroyed in Hulkageddon II came to almost 279 Billion ISK. Do you think this time we'll see an increase or will the event's popularity deter miners from showing their faces for its duration?

I'm curious about this as well. The prize pool is over twice as large as last time (around 25 billion at the time of writing) with some VERY attractive prizes such as capital ships and faction battleships. On the other hand, some competitors that did very well last time have since waned in activity. I'm also unsure about how many people may be on vacation! As for targets, let's just say that our unsavory robotic enemies (macro miners) will doubtlessly be as active as ever. Many legitimate miners are banding together to report these cheaters to us so that we may target those who harm the mining profession more directly. But no matter what, I'm sure we will all have a great time. That is, of course, the whole point for me.

What differences are there between this event and previous Hulkageddons?

The only difference when compared with Hulkageddon II is that people from multiple corporations can make a "team" together. They just need to send an EVEmail to "Hulkageddon Jackpot" with the list of corps in their team before the event starts. Their kills will then be totaled for the purposes of determining who wins!

Thanks for speaking to Massively.

Thanks for having me, its much appreciated!

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