The Predator/Prey Dynamic, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gank

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Sai Nault, of Amygdala Farms, in warp to his target.

To your average miner, ganker is a dirty word unfit for polite company. They are seen as a depraved and cowardly lot incapable of “real pvp” which accounts for their only targeting “defenseless miners”. If you would bear with me for a few minutes I would like the opportunity to change your mind. To be clear, some gankers are assholes but being a ganker does not automatically make you an asshole. Many gankers are, in fact, pretty nice people. They have just chosen to play their game in a way that conflicts with how you want to play your game. Or, does it?

From the very beginning, the Hek Mining Association has been a pro-ganker institution. We are a friendly neighborhood cartel, after all. However, our appreciation for ganking extends beyond what we gain from it directly. What I am suggesting is that, not only is ganking not a bad thing for miners, it actually benefits us. Obviously, no one wants to be on the receiving end of the Light Neutron Blasters. And, I am not saying that you shouldn’t be upset if your ticket gets punched. What I am saying is that, when taken holistically, the presence of gankers in high sec improves our game.

The first way that ganking improves the game is by creating player engagement. I have said it before, and I will say it again, Eve is a terrible game but a great sandbox. It only begins to shine when you start interacting with other players. However, not everyone understands that. And, sometimes they need to be dragged kicking and screaming into it. The sad fact is that High Sec does not encourage players to seek out others either for cooperation or competition. For many players, their first taste of what this game could be comes in the form of Caldari Navy Antimatter. New Eden is not a safe place and gankers make that clear. And, in doing so, they open up a whole new world.

The second way that ganking benefits miners is by decreasing supply and increasing demand. Every miner out there is your competitor. The ore that they are mining directly impacts the value of your time and effort. Likewise, every ship that is destroyed needs to be replaced. Were gankers to cease to exist, you could expect that your ore prices would go down significantly. In other words, mo’ gankers mo’ money. As an added benefit, in a suicide gank, everybody loses their ship.

Of course, this only matters as long as the ganking is happening to someone else. And, there are things you can do to make that less likely. Many people think of ganking as a foregone conclusion and that, if you mine in highsec, you are going to get ganked. However, there is a predator/prey dynamic between gankers and miners. They want to kill you but they don’t want to waste ISK doing so (mostly). And, this can work to your advantage. By adopting some of nature’s strategies you can be the one that survives when the herd gets thinned.

My personal preference has always been a hard shell. A well-tanked Procurer can take 5 or more T2 Catalysts to bring down and most gankers will just find someone else to shoot. Alternatively, you can fly a more aggressive mining ship such as a Coveter and be always vigilant for the gank. You may end up running more than necessary but the increased yield can make up for it. In addition to those two basic strategies there is also the symbiotic relationship of anti-gankers. Although, they don’t gain from your mining they do gain the joy of killing or jamming gankers. And, nature’s final strategy… go cheap. If you fly cheap enough fits you can make more than enough mining to replace them when they die.

Hopefully, I’ve given you some food for thought on the topic of the dynamic between gankers and miners. I would like to end with a quick suggestion… join Amgydala Farms and do some ganking. Not only will this give you an appreciation for the level of skill involved it will help make you better at avoiding your own ganks. Maybe you too will come to understand that gankers aren’t assholes. They’re just important but misunderstood parts of the New Eden ecosystem.

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