Tuesday, August 25, 2015

First Experience with Wormhole Combat Sites


I had a great time with my Aideron Robotics corpmates last night! We run regular "Money Monday" fleets, where we look for PvE content and hope for sweet loot drops. It's a good formula and I'd encourage other corps to try it too.

You scan down all the signatures you can find and make corp bookmarks for the combat sites that are worth running. If you find a wormhole that doesn't have a recent history of activity (i.e ships getting blown up), probe down all the sigs inside it too. We even check where the exits go to in case there's good content there.

We used a Dominix battleships with remote armor reps, an Oneiros for more reps, Exeq Navy Issue and a couple of other ships. It was the first time I'd actually flown my Dominix, so the fit needed a little tweaking between sites. It was actually quite a juggling act to attend to the health of my drones, repping my fleet mates and dealing damage to the Sleepers...I was a bit awful at first and lost five drones pretty quickly. But I only lost another two through the rest of the night and got the hang of pre-locking them all, plus staying still in space so I could pick up my sentry drones as needed.

We only netted about 250M for the night, which wasn't great considering we did about ten sites in the wormholes and two Serpentis Phi Outposts (difficulty 4 of 10). The Outposts both let us down terribly: a meta 4 warp scrambler and an ordinary 200mm railgun! That was a surprise.

It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours, chatting with corpmates, and learning some new ship/drone management skills.

--

On the trading side, my Jita character is having a lot of success! I've sold two of the four Nomads I had, for 6.5 and 6.6B. There's been a nice spike in T1 rig and Planetary Interaction prices, so I've been cashing in on that.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mixing It Up

From flickr user lintmachine

I tried some new solo activities in the last couple of weeks, including learning how to navigate wormholes, spending time in Nullsec (Venal region, Guristas NPC space) and trying to be a ninja-salvager in Osmon. Osmon is a mission running hotspot, where I never saw less than 70 people in local. They're mostly there running level 4 combat missions for the Sister of Eve and many of them don't bother salvaging or looting.

What these activities have in common, I've found, is that I like activities that have a small chance of a big reward, for very little risk. For some reason, at the moment, I like playing it safe!

Wormholes To Nullsec

It took at least eight wormholes before I found a connection to nullsec, so if you're going to try this method, be patient. I took a Helios out there into the ever-changing maze, and it was a weird feeling when I first logged off in one, knowing my route back to my home system of Fliet was gone.  But I pressed forward, using wormholes.es  as a reference. My nullsec exit was 20 jumps from Venal, but a look at the map revealed that the route there was, statistically, quiet. I made the trip there without incident (noticing, by the way, how many combat anomalies were around), found an NPC station, docked and jump cloned back to my main clone in Fliet.

Over the next week or so I jumped back to the Venal clone a couple of times, where the streets are paved with pirate relic sites...or so I thought. Despite combing through the backwaters with the least number of jumps I found only one site in about five hours of exploration. Clearly the few people in this area all have the same idea. What I saw the most of was combat sites, both in anomalies and signatures (the ones you have to use probes to find).  If you want to make money in Venal I would recommend taking a combat ship out there and running the anomalies.  I gave up on the area, though, taking my Helios into the first wormhole I found and getting back to Fliet.

My nullsec itch has been scratched and I don't see any reason to head back out there, not solo anyway.

Cosmic Anomalies

I've taken to running highsec anomalies on both my characters, mainly as a short, easy combat activity. They are 3/10 or 4/10 difficulty and you have a small chance of an escalation to things like a Guristas Scout Outpost or similar. The escalation may be in high-sec too, where they don't "naturally" occur, so it's a nice opportunity for a better reward. Johnny Pew just made a great video about this. The occasional Dread Gurista (or Shadow Serpentis) will appear in these ordinary anoms, and drop more valuable loot. 

If there's someone else in the site already, which can happen, I leave it to them. Other pilots are not so polite :) I'm not sure what the Eve-etiquette dictates here, but I'm fine with them staying; it's not a big deal to have some competition.

Osmon

In the spirit of looking for easy activities with a small chance of a big payoff, I turned to the Osmon system, six jumps from Jita and home to a Sisters of Eve level 4 combat agent. I'd seen it mentioned on reddit/r/eve as a good place to try ninja salvaging, wherein you invite yourself into someone's mission (via combat probes) and start salvaging their wrecks. If they are feeling generous, they may also abandon their wrecks and leave the loot in, so you can harvest the contents.

It occurred to me that asking permission was easy and risked only social embarrassment. With 150 people in local chat, I asked and got lucky right away! A Russian guy invited me to fleet and told me to warp to him. I entered the deadspace pocket as he was leaving, trusting his assurances that the rooms were clear and indeed they were. I picked up a couple of million in salvage and had a nice chat with him.

The next guy I had to find the old-fashioned way. I combat-probed a battleship down, one that was well-above the plane of the solar system, and warped to him. Surprisingly there was no acceleration gate. I tried to open a chat with the pilot who was there. He rejected the conversation...but all the wrecks turned blue! I thanked him in local chat and returned a few minutes later to pick up about 5 million in loot and salvage.

That was my last success, though. I was unable to find any other willing salvage donors, and the next three guys I scanned down salvaged their missions themselves. As I headed back to station to log off, though, I'd shot myself in the foot. I found one unlooted wreck at a site I'd bookmarked. It contained about 500K of loot, but I'd be suspect for stealing it. "I'm docking up anyway...it'll be fine." I thought. I looted the wreck and warped to the SoE station...where I saw a blue cargo container labelled "wreck location bookmarks" 10km off the undock! Unfortunately I was already docking, had 10M of cargo on me and really need to log off. Drat, a missed opportunity.

I did, however, have a lot of fun talking with the locals, and one guy sent me a nice donation, possibly for the entertainment value I'd offered. I ran a sales pitch from the "Space Litter Removal Service", which got some replies, but no offers, and we talked about web comics (xkcd and The Oatmeal).

The main thing I picked up, though, was some trade opportunities. I looked over the local market, figuring that with hundreds of mission runners there, they'd need some supplies. I found one good trade already and I'm looking for more. It's my first experience with trade between systems, and so far, so good.

Other Stuff

I finally sold a Nomad! I've written over the past few months about how I have an enormous sum tied up in 6 or 7 jump freighters, just as their prices went south. Well, the Nomad market is finally stirring and the price is close to 6.7B. I sold one and I'm holding on to the others, since there are very few sellers and there's potential for a 7B+ price to be reached. My three Arks, sadly, are still going for only 6B, which is less than I paid for them.  

My PI and datacore trades are doing well, and the wallet balance is now 23B. I'm aiming for a 100B isk total value before the end of the year...I'm around 85B isk now.

Monday, August 10, 2015

My Eve Weekend


My wife and son went out of town for a few days, which gave me two evenings and a weekend to play a lot of Eve. I had planned in advance what activities I wanted to focus on: PvE in combat sites, with the hope of getting an expensive loot drop at the end, pirate relic sites in wormholes or nullsec, and level 4 faction warfare missions, since my militia was in tier 3 and the loyalty point payouts came with a nice 75% bonus.  I also wanted to join my corps regular fleets and go out and shoot spaceships!

tl;dr I ran some sites with corpmates, flew with our fleets, did three rounds of FW missions, lost a 500M ISK Proteus and spent some time in wormholes.  I found very few pirate relic sites and the constant possibility of getting jumped by someone (which happened once, though I escaped) was a bit too much to want to repeat.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Vacation in dark places

Ace Rimmer - what a guy!

I'm on vacation with my family this week, so I thought it was a good time to get one of my main's clone into an exploration adventure. I put a couple of cheap probing implants in his head, jumped in a Helios and found a wormhole. I'm torn between running pirate relic sites in C1, C2 and C3 wormholes vs the same thing but in nullsec. I think I'd prefer nullsec, since I'll definitively know if anyone is in the system with me, thanks to the local channel.

It took me a couple of days (just a couple of hours of play time though) to get out of the first wormhole, since all the exits closed while I was out with my family.  The locals were very helpful, letting me what system their lowsec static had re-opened upon, but I was already in the next wormhole, searching for that elusive nullsec exit. I did actually start to run a relic site in this hole, but warped away when an uncloaked stratios warped in.

I've scanned five wormholes so far and found no exits to nullsec. This may not be as easy a way to get there as I'd hoped. I believe CCP recently reduced the number of wormhole-to-nullsec connections, to prevent their fleets from easily using them as shortcuts.

Being stuck in chains of wormholes means I also can't jumpclone back into my "main body", which is sitting in Fliet. If I can't get to nullsec soon I'll take the first exit that lets me find a station at which I can dock, then jump clone back to Fliet.

I found one wormhole today with three pirate relic sites: exactly what I'd been looking for! Sadly, my risk aversion told me that, with the killboards showing explorer ships being ganked there today, and a high-sec static exit, this probably wasn't a safe place to risk running relic sites.

--

August 5th

Success! I made the 21 jump trip across nullsec to the Venal region, docked up and jump-cloned back to Fliet. I had looked at the system map and it said there was almost zero activity along the route, so I took my chances and jumped. Only one system had anyone else in local, so it was an easy trip. Later I plan to jump clone back out there at probe/run relic sites.

It was kind of awesome to see new (to me) anomaly names, and find that they included maximum difficulty combat sites such as "Drone Horde", just sitting there un-run. I guess its true nobody runs drone sites.

* I tried to find a picture of Arnold Rimmer on vacation, touring the diesel engines on Red Dwarf, but couldn't find one :( Internet, you have failed me!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Asset Rich, ISK poor

From flickr user NoHodamon

Hi everyone, I'm back! I wasn't doing enough of interest to warrant posting, but that's changed and Ima start posting again. I have a long video of a fun and busy 3 days of Eve I played a few weeks ago. It's edited but needs a voiceover.

Trading

I seem to have found a small flaw in my trading plans: I'm doing a lot of "buy low" but opportunities to "sell high" are few and far between. As the price of Jump Freighters drifted downwards I acquired them for 6.3B or less. I assumed that the price of each would drift back up to around 7B, as they have all done regularly over the past six months.

Sadly no.  The prices just continued to drop (except on the Rhea, which I wasn't able to acquire)...and I now own eight white elephants. 4 Nomads, 3 Ark and an Anshar, which I picked up last night for just 6.1B.  When I checked the fuzzworks manufacturing calculator it says these ships cost 9-10B to make....how are they selling for 6B?!

My liquid cash is less than 300M, but I have an enormous amount of goods that I could sell: Eve estimates the JFs are worth 51B, my trade hangar stands at 19B...that's the bulk of it.

I got into this predicament by having a high resistance to selling something for a low price...I'd rather hold it and wait for the price to go back up. This was ok when I had more ISK to invest than I could easily spend, but that time is past.  I spent my last chunk of ISK on some cheap PI material and now I'm in danger of missing other bargains if I keep my stock. I now need to be aggressive in selling off what I have, starting with the items that will sell fastest and still make a profit.

I'm hoping that Fozziesov will spark something in the market that pushes the JF prices back up, and quickly. Changes in the Caldari-Gallente faction warfare system might help push datacores back up to 125-150k, where I'd see a tidy profit.

Update on 7/20/2015 - Good news! I sold my Anshar for 6.37B, amid fierce competition. In addition the price of several datacores spiked to 150K and higher and I was able to sell several thousand of them. The wallet is now fat and happy at almost 10B, the trade hanger is around 16B and I plexed my account.  I also asked a question about the cost of building jump freighters. The answer was about 7.3 - 7.4B ISK, which leads to the question "why are they almost always sold for far less than that?"

Exploration

I've dipped a toe into wormhole exploration, looking for relic sites - no luck yet, but I have completed Archaeology V and thus I'm able to use a tech II relic analyzer. This should make relic site running a lot easier. My plan is to get a clone out to deep nullsec, via wormholes, and see what I can find out there.  I've run a few low-sec combat sites with corp mates and the rewards can be great, plus you get to socialize which is always a reward in itself.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Life Speeds Up

Life Speeds Up...then it goes away


Faction Warfare Missions

I've had a productive couple of weeks lately and I think there's enough material to tell a story or two. I have been out with friends and run Level 4 faction warfare missions, earning about 360K lp in two sessions, totalling about 5 hours. The second set of missions we run seemed to be cursed from the start: my friend undocked his Proteus and the Eve server crashed. When he logged back in he found himself on the station undock, but luckily nobody had attacked him. We set off on our route and suffered two more disconnects. Most of the first missions were mine and we happily blasted through them, noting how quiet the systems were. "I've probably jinxed it now!" said my buddy.

Yes. Yes he had.

When we warped to his mission in Asakai he found a Succubus on the gate, waiting for him. He got scrammed...I landed just behind him and jumped into the mission. I wondered if he could use the acceleration gate too, but it seemed that being scrammed prevented him jumping in with me. I pressed ahead, getting into the field of rats, wondering if I should bounce out and go help my friend.

As in many engagements, the question arises, "whose friends will get here first?"...presumably our attacker had allies coming and we had nobody...but wait! Who just jumped into system?! X Gallentius, a well-known Galmil FC. I quickly convo'd him and asked if he could help. He said yes and we waited...my friend's armor was going down and a Pilgrim had landed to help the Succubus. He was being neuted too, and it was starting to look bleak.  Still no sign of our blue buddies landing.

Into structure and a couple of galmil began to arrive, but it was too late. The Proteus turned to wreckage, but the Succubus and his friend were scrammed and destroyed. The gal-bros were kind enough to send some ISK to my friend to help pay for his next ship.

My luck held and I completed my sixth and final mission on my own and headed back home, where we turned in our missions and collected our reward.

Jita Trading and PI

My Jita alt has added some Planetary Interaction skills so I could take advantage of a low-ish tax rate on a good set of POCOs I found near Jita. I did a little math and found a setup that I think will work. I screwed up my first batch and sold them for one-tenth the cost I was looking for, but I'll make that back shortly. I'm using the Customs Code Expertise to lower that tax rate even further. I'm sticking with the same setup I have in Fliet, buying level 3 PI materials and producing level 4s. I could have tried going from level 2 to level 4 but that's frankly more logistics that I care to deal with. Three-to-four will make me about 80-100K profit per unit produced, which I'm perfectly happy with.

The jump freighters I bought are on the verge of returning to higher prices so I can finally sell them. It was an interesting experiment, but too slow to be worth it. I'm going to return to the quick flip, even if the profits are lower.  Some of the other items I've been stockpiling have just had a nice price spike so I'm trying to offload them now.  I've also written a piece of software that will be capable of watching that information for me, when I get around to writing that part of it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Undocked

Suit Up! From flickr user Tom


The stars aligned and I spent three glorious hours zipping around Oto, helping pew-pew 51 Templis CALSF ships into dust before losing my Catalyst (3M isk ship with 16M loot in the hold...smrt!). Our fellow Gal Mil corp "Rapid Withdrawl" put together a sizeable fleet of cheap but effective Catalysts and we cut through their even cheaper Cormorant/Kestrel/Merlin fleets, with the odd

We close a few plexes and kept our eyes several pirate Snuffbox capsuleers that harassed both sides. They dropped fighters on us a few times, giving us the chance to kill a couple of these super-drones. They were using the soon-to-be-history "Skynet" technique, which I'd never seen in action before. Unfortunately our fleet booster lost his 400M links ship, a Loki, but in fairness Snuff also kill the CalMil booster ship too, a few minutes later.

I tried repeatedly to get my video software to record but it was in flaky mode and insisted that it couldn't. Dang it.

I'm starting to tire of industry a bit, but I've begun writing a program to help me find the juiciest opportunities. Eve Online has an extensive API that allows programmers to access price data, so I'm doing what hundreds of people have already done: write a glorified spreadsheet that will identify stuff selling cheap/expensive etc. I'm using Delphi XE7, a language for which no shared libraries exist (AFAIK), but it's been easy to write my own after having watched several videos on REST/XML support in Delphi.