Friday, August 30, 2013

A couple of ideas for Imicus Scanning and Salvaging

My characters skills are about to get good enough to really attack Ninja salvaging properly, so I used the Eve Fitting Tool to design a couple of ideas. One is based on an excellent tutorial video I watched today, which fits a Scan-Only Imicus. Its job is to scan down any targets I want, but not actually go into them.

In both cases, EFT shows you how CPU-hungry the Expanded Probe Launcher is, consuming two-thirds of the available resources.

[Imicus, Imicus Pure Scanner]
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Basic Co-Processor
Basic Co-Processor

1MN Afterburner I
Scan Acquisition Array I
Scan Pinpointing Array I
Scan Rangefinding Array I

[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]
Expanded Probe Launcher I,

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
[empty rig slot]
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I

Hobgoblin I x5
Salvage Drone I x3

BUT I think its more likely I'll use the following: an all-in-one scanner, relic/data site runner, ninja-salvager.

[Imicus, Imicus Scan AND Salvage]
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Basic Co-Processor
Basic Inertia Stabilizers

1MN Microwarpdrive I
Small Azeotropic Ward Salubrity I
Cargo Scanner I
[empty med slot]

Salvager I
Salvager I
Expanded Probe Launcher I,

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I

Hobgoblin I x4
Salvage Drone I x1
Salvage Drone I x3

I'll keep the relic/data analyzers in the hold and dock at a nearby station to refit if I need to.  The drones are there for defense or light-combat, but the MWD gives us 2400m/s of speed, which should get us out of any problems. The Cargo Scanner will help us do relic/data sites, and the salvage tackles and twin salvagers will pick up the goods as quickly as possible.

Drones Five, Baby!

I reached my first level five skill, and not surprisingly for a Gallente, it is Drones!  I immediately bought a bunch of skill books for further drone enhancements, including the excellent Drone Interfacing, which gives a whopping 20% drone damage bonus per level. It's almost at level 3 now.

I fitted the Algos that I brought back from Jita the other day, like so. This was a quick fit, copied and down-sized from the Eve University suggested fit. I had to switch to lower tech stuff since I can't yet use Tech 2 shields. My to-do list includes getting a Drone Link Augmentor (+20km drone control range) and Drone Damage Amplifiers.

[Algos, Missioning]
[empty low slot]
[empty low slot]
[empty low slot]

Limited 1MN Afterburner I
Medium Shield Extender I
Adaptive Invulnerability Field I

75mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Iron Charge S
75mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Iron Charge S
75mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Iron Charge S
75mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Iron Charge S
75mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Iron Charge S
[empty high slot]

[empty rig slot]
[empty rig slot]
[empty rig slot]

Hobgoblin I x5
Hammerhead I x2
Salvage Drone I x3

I had probe scanners attached too, and after derping around for a while looking for a combat site and not finding any, I remembered (duh!) that I could just go ask a level 1 security agent for a mission.  Doing so, I was sent in to fight Blood Raider pirates. It wasn't until I got there and cleared the first room that I realized these weren't the usual Serpentis, and that Blood Raiders are most susceptible to EM damage, which I can't dish out.

Still, my 3 Hobs and 2 Hammerheads did well.  I had started with Antimatter ammo, but switched to Iron instead, so I could keep my distance (12km instead of 3.8km optimal range). It took about 45 minutes to clear the whole mission between the payout and the loot, it paid about 1.5M ISK. Not great, but a good experience for the first outing.

I had thought about putting some time into bringing some EM damage drones (i.e Acolytes) but net opinion seems to be that the Gallente Hobgoblin is still better because of the higher damage multiplier it has.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

It only took the lightest of possible touches from the Dark Side of the game to steer me away from trading with Jita.  I decided to fly there from Arnon (15 jumps) to pick up a couple of the ships that a kindly benefactor had given me, and why fly with an empty ship when you can make some profit. A search of eve-central's trade finder between Essence and The Forge revealed that someone was selling a LOT of pyerite near me that I could easily sell for a couple of million in profit.  Let's do it!

I was aware that freighter ganking existed; that's the process of shooting a ship that carries valuable cargo. If its done quickly, the victim's goodies will be liberated and stolen before the police ships are able to kill the attackers.  I bought some shields as specified in the Eve University hauler fit and set out for Jita with about 16M ISK of minerals aboard.

I was target-locked twice going there, and three times coming back! It's more nerve-wracking than I thought it would be, knowing that my cargo's survival depends on someone deciding if its worth attacking me or not. Nobody attacked, thank goodness, because I have no idea how well the shields would have held up...probably not well enough to survive the attack.  For such a small profit, a 15 jump trip isn't worth it.  I can make that kind of money running local missions and finding lost tech 2 drones at no risk, though I *will* try hauling expensive stuff later, once I've trained cloaking and can do more to defend myself than just "hope they don't attack me!"

PS Thanks to a reader for pointing out that I *can* cancel orders. The command was in a rather obvious place; I'm not sure how I missed it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend Report - Tradeapalooza!

I focused on getting stock of the the last few items I wanted to trade in. A couple of expensive items at Arnon are actually very cheap to make, though they only sell a few a day. Still, I have a good stock of them now, and also set up buy orders on those items for even less than it costs to make them!  Its still kind of amazing how cheaply other players will sell things that are so valuable. They're playing a different style of game than me, which is just fine from my point of view :)

I went to Jita to buy one of those blueprints. It was my first trip there and it was a bit nerve-wracking seeing all those gate campers. At one point I saw two warp scramble attempts!  I made sure the value of my cargo wasn't high enough to be worth attacking me for.  I used's trade finder to identify some other goods to take with me, and goods to pick up and bring back, and it worked great! I made several million profit on the trip and might do more of that in future. It's a 15 jump trip, which is a bit boring, though.

I'm halfway through the Sister's epic arc, which is giving me practice with combat. I'm using an Imicus with 5 hobgoblins and 3 salvager's in the drone bay. They handle these missions very easily and I'll be looking for a level 2 security mission soon, or a slightly higher level pirate cosmic anomaly, to see how they do. I'll have Drones V in a couple of days, so we'll be even more ready for combat.

I've maxed out my orders now, with buy and sell orders on a lot of stuff. I didn't realize you can't change the quantity of an order after it is set, nor can you cancel it, so I'll have to wait for them to clear in order to do more.

D-Scan and Solar System Map confusion cleared up

This video cleared up a lot of confusion for me. I've had some small success in finding lost tech 2 drones, which are worth about 500K ISK a piece. I have been using d-scan to locate the probes' direction and distance in the regular view, then switching to the solar system map to try and place my probes in the right area so I can scan them down and be able to bookmark them so I can warp there and claim my prize.  

But the last few times I've tried, the probes have been alone in the view, with no celestial objects for me to align to. And with no indication of what direction I'm facing (up or down, I mean), its been a frustrating failure.  

However, with this video I now know that I can d-scan from the solar system map view.  Obviously this video is intended for people who want to use the probes for combat and he takes a lot of steps to minimize how long the probes are close to the target. That's not a factor for me, so hopefully my searching will get easier now.

Next day update: this works a treat!  Last night I picked up about 10 Hobgoblin IIs, 2 Hammerhead IIs and a Warden II (sentry drone) in about two hours. As I keep practicing, and get better scanning skills, I think this will speed up.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cleanup on Aisle 1!

I spent a couple of hours last night moving most of my stuff from my old home base around Couster/Algogille to Arnon.  Now that I have some good manufacturing and buying/selling orders set up, I had been wanting to run missions and blow some pirates up.  Even though it would have been pretty cheap to buy a new fighting ship and equip it, I knew I had perfectly good stuff lying around at the old homestead and would rather bring all that stuff over.

So jumped in my flying warehouse, an Iteron Mark V with 5 expanded cargo holds, and flew it back to Couster.  I'd looked over my asset list already, and used the handy maps at to figure out the best path through the four or five planets where I'd dumped stuff. I also had lots of ore lying around (I ended up selling it all) and some stale sell orders that needed cancelling.  AND I had a shopping list of blueprints I wanted to buy.  All this information was in a Google Docs document where I jot down notes on what I wanted to do at each planet, so it was pretty easy to go through them one at a time and make sure I didn't miss anything.  The only incident was when I took a side trip to one my target worlds in an Imicus instead of the Very Slow To Travel Iteron, and as I passed through a gate I was warned of a warp scramble attempt! Was that aimed at me, or was it someone else in the area getting targetted?

The Iteron returned to Arnon with 12400 cubic meters of stuff, including three spaceships, in its hull.  I took the blueprint for an item I'm hoping will make huge profits for me to my factory, but the delays are now around 2 days. I may take it and some minerals to my backup factory instead so the job can be done more quickly.

My next job will be to get that manufacturing started and then go fly a few pirate-zapping missions. I'll probably be quite overpowered!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Making Good Use of the Things That We Find

"Making good use of the things that we find, the things that the everyday folks leave behind".

So said the Wombles, beloved recycling obsessed characters of British children's television.  And in last nights adventures, I finally grokked something useful that makes a ISK at a good rate.

I used my scanning/nina-salvaging ship to try and track down mission runners, but had no success with it. The ships I found disappeared before I could nail down their position. I scanned a cosmic signature, which turned out to be Serpentis Lookout. Reading the description of this on the net, it seemed more than my Imicus and 4 hobgoblines could handle, but I figured since I was a bit bored, I'd try it anyway, perhaps hit the first room only and bug out.  But when I got there, the whole place was cleaned out, no pirates, no wrecks, no loot. A lone Myrmidon arrived at the same time as me. I'm guessing combat sites in Arnon get cleaned up very quickly.

I decided to scan for drones again, and try to learn how to combine the directional scanner with the probing game.  Between them, they tell you everything you need to know, but it can be difficult to successfully combine their results. The d-scan will tell you approximately where the valuable stuff is and if there's a ship next to it; if there is, it is probably the owner. And the probes will nail down the location so you can warp to it. Remember, they have to be combat scan probes, not the cheaper probes. The cheaper ones ONLY find cosmic signatures. They do not pick up ships and drones.

I found it very helpful to do the following from a position high above the solar system, looking down, so every group of items at a planet was in its own narrow "cone of view" from where I was floating.

So, you start with the d-scan on 360 degrees (ie The Entire Area) and max range. Check the "Use Active Overview Settings" box and make sure your overview is on a tab with just ships and drones. Now you have a list of every ship and drone in the sky.

Look down the list and pick out any tech 2 drones: Warrior II, Hobgoblin II, Inferno II etc. These are worth about 400-600 THOUSAND ISK a piece.  Focus on those that show more than one. They are probably together in a group, which will make them much easier to find when you switch to using the probes.

Narrow down the scan to 180, then 90, then 60, then 30, then 15. At each step, re-point your view to keep the valuable drones in the results of the d-scan.  I don't try and get the 5 degree result, I've never successfully done it, and I don't think it is necessary.

Then adjust the range, shrinking it until the drones drop off the results list. Now you know approximately how far away the drones are, and in what direction! Remember 150M km = 1AU, approximately.

Switch to the probe scanning system. Click on the sun, or some other celestial object - the system will tell you how far away it is, so you now have a sense of scale. Using the d-scan information about how far away the probes are (converted to AU), position the probes in approximately the right place. For example, if the sun is 14 AU from you, and your targets are 7AU (1 million km) away, you should scan approximately half way between you and the sun.

Here's why you picked a group of drones. In a busy system like Arnon, the sky is littered with lost drones! If you are looking for a single tech 2 drone, you won't be able to distinguish it from the cheap stuff lying around. But a group of 2,3,4,5 drones will all have the the same signal strength!  So it is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to identify them, control-click the drones in the results list and see the red indicators show up in the spheres, then probe that location down accurately enough to warp to it.

Make sure, while you're doing this, that you check the "Ships" filter in the probe results. If there's a ship with the same signal strength as the drones, it is probably the owner. In my experience, though, most drones you find this way are lost and yours for the the taking.

In other news, I'm making a very nice profit, though the actual amounts involved are small, in selling Gallente Shuttles, Salvager I and Expanded Probe Launchers to the denizens of Arnon.  Don't under-estimate how much people will pay OVER the regional average just to avoid travel.  The shuttles I have are, it's not secret, bought from two jumps away for a third of what I'm selling them for.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Quiet Weekend

The past few days have been a bit of a grind. My attempts to track more advanced mission runners down generally led to rooms already cleared and/or the runner using tractor beams and salvage drones to keep all the goodies for themselves, and rightly so.

And the looting I was able to get done did not yield much in the way of spoils, except for a very nice find of 5 Integrated Acolyte Scouts, which I'm selling for a big pile of cash.  My most common activity has been mining, which I can easily do while AFK and play with my son while keeping an eye on the screen.

I've shifted my attention to the Arnon system because that's the #1 place in my region for NPC kills. I figured that meant lots of missions being run, but if I want to mix it up with those runners, I'll need a better ship and better equipment. However, my skills are keeping me in basic ships while my wife trains her character instead.

My new plan in this area is to manufacture and sell items. There's a factory nearby and the prices for useful and basic items at Arnon is sky-high, for those mission runners who need fresh equipment and don't want to wait or travel to get it. It was interesting going through the logistics of moving vital supplies from my old home base to Arnon, getting a factory slot and shipping/refining the minerals I needed for my first big manufacturing job.  That will be complete in 2 days and I should be able to double my money on it. That's a nice profit margin, but it isn't a lot of money to start with, so eventually I'll have to graduate to more expensive items if I want to get serious ISK from manufacturing....I'll also need more skills in that area.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Better Angels and Training Freeze

I played for a couple of hours last night and had some interesting experiences, including a nice validation that I'm getting the hang of combat. But also making dumb mistakes like warping out and leaving drones behind, then forgetting where I parked them!

The Gnosis pilot from my first post, John S, contacted me after reading the "I Wanna Be A Ninja Salvager" post and said, jokingly, that if he'd known that was my career path, he wouldn't have given me access to those wrecks!  He wrote a very nice description of how much better life is on the honest side of the street (is it grave-robbing or "relic analysis"?) and offered to help out with equipment etc - we're based at the same station.

In my short time in the game I've flitted from career-plan to career-plan. I'm sure this has happened to most Eve players. Each new area of the game that you learn about has a way of grabbing your attention and I've trained some skills in that area, then moved on to the next shiny thing.  I think that Ninja Salvage got my attention because it seems to be low-risk and high-reward.  What pilot in high-sec is going to risk getting killed by the police ("Concorded") by killing my cheap ship over a few thousand ISK from a wreck?

In a nutshell that is what happened last night. I had time to probe and glom onto three mission runners.  I did this by finding myself a system with lots of NPC kills in the last 24 hrs and NO asteroid belts.  I scanned the system and picked out a ship far outside the plane of the ecliptic, so there was no chance they were at a station or planet.  All three were large ships doing missions, and the first two were standard run-and-grab-wrecks Ninjaing.  I only reached a few in time, though, because those large ships used tractor beams to bring the wrecks close and I thought keeping my distance was polite.  The pickings were slim, just a few thousand ISK each.

The third site was a revelation though. When I arrived, the ship I'd scanned was not there, but the low-level Serpentis pirates WERE. I thought "well, lets see if I can actually fight" and deployed 3 Hobgoblin drones. I only have Drones III (see training issues below), so that was my limit.  But it was a great!  By keeping my distance from the pirates and staying up to 35 km away from them, my drones had plenty of time to bring down all the pirates, four waves, which I then looted and salvaged. The work of an honest yeoman! I got more results, and had more fun, in this encounter than in the other two.

I was unable to salvage one of the wrecks, a Shadow Serpentis dude, because my salvaging skills aren't high enough yet. But looting his wreck yield 1000 of Faction Shadow Antimatter, which the game told me was worth 12 MILLION ISK!  Turns out is really isn't...buyers are paying about 4 million for it. Which ain't chump change!

Training Issues

My wife and I are sharing an account and since she needs it more, she is doing the training. But I need another level of Drones, I need the ability to add a couple of things to my ship, so I may need to put my foot in the door and train for a day. CCP offers, for $20, the ability to train 2 characters simultaneously for a month, but its not urgent enough for that yet.

Ship Used

[Imicus, Imicus Ninja Salvage]
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Nanofiber Internal Structure I

1MN Afterburner I
Small Shield Booster I
[empty med slot]
[empty med slot]

Salvager I
Salvager I
Expanded Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

[empty rig slot]
[empty rig slot]
[empty rig slot]

Hobgoblin I x2
Hornet I x1
Hobgoblin I x1

Rewards and Encouragement

My post at Reddit yesterday got a good response and interesting comments.  The most amazing response, however, came in-game from a person who assigned me a contract.  I was still on a trial account, so I was prevented from accepting contracts and had never seen one.  I examine the details...."you will get 15 million ISK and 11 ships...what's a Vexor?"

My friend, who plays Eve, says "Could be a's probably a trap" and comes over to read the contract...."Nope, there's no fine print that forces you to do anything." And we both noticed the text that the person had included : "for future adventures." Wow!  My post had been rewarded with about 60M ISK in cash and ships! The Vexor alone is worth about 20 million. Needless to say, I won't be using it until I think I can handle it.

I converted my account to a paid-up subscription, going with the 3 month option. $10 a month is nothing for the amount of entertainment we are getting out of this.


Yes, my wife is playing too! She has some experience with complex games, but the Eve tutorials are a hit and miss affair. Some are very good at guiding her through the concepts, but other skip important steps.  For example, in the tutorial mission "Mountains Of Molehills", she is told to obtain mexallon and pyerites, two minerals needed to manufacture something.  So she spends fifteen minutes jumping to asteroid belts looking for mexallon or pyerite asteroids!  One simple, bolded sentence in the mission text "YOU CAN OBTAIN MEXALLON AND PYERITES BY MINING SCORDITE OR PLAGIOCLASE ASTEROIDS, THEN REFINING THEM" would have really helped!

The phrase "I really hate this game" was heard several times, but she is persevering.

When I converted the account, my friend in Eve received a plex, which he sold and split the proceeds with me.  So I have well over 300M isk now, which is enough to buy and equip several seriously powerful ships.

BUT I'm not going to do that yet, because my character's skills aren't good enough to fly it well AND my own skills in knowing what to do with it are also deficient. But they're coming along nicely. See the next post for last nights activities.

Phoenix Rising

I've been playing Eve for about a week and after derping around with tutorial missions and some mining, I decided to try some ninja salvaging as that seemed like my sort of thing.
I fitted out my Imicus with combat probes, expanded probe launcher (jeez, that thing eats electricity!), 4 hobgoblins for protection, 2 salvagers and various speed boosts. I wasn't quite getting the probing mechanics down correctly, so I decided to just visit the visible anomalies in my current system and see if there was any loot floating about.
Like an idiot I clicked the handy-dandy "Warp" button that CCP kindly provided, which warps to 0, parking me right next to the barrel of two sentry tower. Like the father of all idiots, instead of warping out, I launch my drones and see what they can do. Not much, it turn out. I was dead 20 seconds later.
Feeling a strange "I'm dead? But can I reload and try again? Why not? That's so unfair!" I pod back to the station, where my Rage Beast lives, a Catalyst with 7 75mm gats. I suit up and fly on wings of righteous fury to the Serpentis kindergarten and blat them. I also loot my wreckage, which thankfully gives me back most of the stuff I was carrying. I also manage to loot one of the pirates before the next wave of pirates ("there are more?! Shit!") arrives and I bug out when my armour hits 30%
To my great surprise, and, I feel, a tribute by the game to my valiant but paper-thin Imicus, the loot turns out to a 2.3M ISK thingummy-whatsis! I put it on the market for 2M and it sells quickly! Woohoo - score! My First Time was, like so many are, disappointingly quick but with a memorable outcome.
I buy another Imicus, fit it out similar to the first one, but with a bit more speed and vow to NEVER warp to zero. The night unfolded from there with 5-6 million in loot, getting better with the probe scanning mini-game and BEST of all, a tip of the hat to Gnosis pilot John S Severasse, who splatted a crapload of rats with me floating 100km behind him, and marked ALL the wrecks as abandoned and let me have at it! I sent him a thank you in Local and he messaged me saying he gave me the wrecks because I didn't start shooting and let him have the kills. Something about a shadow NPC?
Anyway, it was a fun few hours and I made a goodly amount of ISK with not much knowledge. I'll be converting my trial account to a real one and hope to see you out there soon.

(This was originally posted at Reddit in /r/eve)