Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Most Expensive Mistake Yet - Installment 1 - 81M ISK

I've been playing for about six months and lost plenty of ships to mistakes. But since they're all under about 20M ISK in value, it hadn't occurred to me to keep track of them. But I just made an 81M ISK mistake while buying stuff for my Planetary Interaction activities, and I thought I should start keeping track.

So, note to self; don't buy expensive stuff with an impatient, loud toddler in the room. Instead of setting up a buy order for 3000 items at 47000 each, I set a price of 74000 (thanks, numeric keypad!) and hit enter. This was done while negotiating timely banana delivery to said toddler. I didn't even notice what I'd done until I didn't see my order in the buy list. "What a coincidence," I thought, "someone put up a sell order for that exact amount at the same time I tried to buy. Huh."

I checked and rechecked the transaction, and got that ol' sinking feeling when I realized I'd massively overpaid. Lesson learned, I hope, and if things go smoothly I should recoup that money with just a couple of days profit from my PI operation.

What are your single most expensive  mistakes in Eve?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Planetary Interaction For Maximum Profit

from flickr user nixter

Most of my planning/thinking time has gone into Planetary Interaction (PI) lately. With a free JF service available to members of Aideron, and our 0% tax rate on Player Owned Custom's Offices (POCO) in Fliet and Heydieles, I realized that the best way to maximize my PI profits (see fuzzwork's PI list for guidance, set to 0% tax)was to go straight to the top end of town, by making 100-200K profit per item, and making as many items as possible per day. This occurs at the P3 to P4 levels, making, for example, Broadcast Nodes, Sterile Conduits, Nano-Factories etc. This yields me about 43M ISK profit, per planet, per day, if the markets don't swing too far, with each world producing 270 finished P4 items in 30 hours, or 216 per 24 hours if you prefer to measure that way.

Starting up an operation like this is pretty capital-intensive: a full load of P3 inputs averages about 160M or 240M, depending on which P4 output you're building. I've spent over a billion isk so far, but the returns are starting to come in.

You will need access to a POCO that charges 0% tax and also a cheap jump freighter service to Jita.


I currently run three barren/temperate planets, (later expanding to five) each of which has a PI layout with 3 launchpads (LP) and 9 High-Tech Industrial Facilities (HTIF). I buy all the inputs I need from Jita and have them shipped to me (thanks, free JF dude!), then use an Epithal to ferry the inputs out to my planets. Each LP is linked to 3 factories, and is loaded with one product only, and of course that output is routed to every factory. Each factory will chew through its inputs in 30 hours, so maintaining a steady supply of inputs is important. The outputs are sent back to the LPs, then picked up each day and shipped off to Jita for sale, again with 0% tax paid and our excellent corporate jump freighter service delivers to Jita at very low cost (woohoo! Join Aideron!)

I spent some time considering the use of Storage Facilities instead of Launch Pads. SFs use much less CPU, which would let me have more HTIFs chewing through the inputs, and creating more output per day. But the realities of "cooldown time" on transfers between storage units made that unfeasible. Yes, you can get cooldown time as low as 5 minutes, but 5 minutes delay, twice, per planet would make the logistics of doing a pickup AND reload run too annoying. Let me know if you found a way to make it work, I'd love to hear it!

Market Fluctuations

At 200K profit per item, and about 216 (9 factories times 24 hours) items made per day, this works out to about 43M ISK profit per day, per planet.


The market for the outputs can be fairly volatile. For example, by the time I got my Broadcast Nodes to market, the sale price had dropped from 1.4M to 1.2M...profits all gone. What's more, the cost of Neocoms, one of the inputs, had jumped from 50K to 70K, making the process unprofitable. Luckily I had secured a good amount of inputs at good prices and was able to continue with building. Look around for sources outside Jita and, if you find them, use PushX or RedFrog to ship them to you. And buy from buy orders, not from sell orders. Even though the price of sell orders went up, for some reason the buy orders stayed cheap. And if THAT isn't possible, just wait till things cool off, buy large amounts be ready to ride out the storm.

I'm continuing to produce Broadcast Nodes, since I got my inputs fairly cheap, and am waiting for the price to increase before I sell it.

My second planet is making Sterile Conduits and things are better there. For 600K of inputs I get 800K of value out and just completed my first sale at Jita overnight, selling 207 of them for 160M, yielding 40M profit.

My next world will probably make Nano-Factories. I'm hoping that by diversifying across other P4 commodities, there will always be something selling at a good price.

[Update from Oct 2014: I'm also making Self-Harmonizing Power Cores now. All the P4 items fluctuate in price and so do their P3 inputs. When the input prices drop below about 40K I buy a lot of stock. I hold the P4 output at Jita until there's a price spike.]

Loading Your Launch Pads

This is important! Don't load your launchpads to full, because, remember, the completed P4 items will be stored there. Leave room for them! Each LP has 3 HTIFs routed to it, so every hour 300m3 will arrive. If there's not enough room at the LP, your expensive output will be destroyed!

Broadcast Nodes eat 108m3 (6 x 6 x 3) for each 100m3 item created, and all inputs are the same size. So this one is easy: load 1616 units of each input into the LP. That occupies just under 9700 m3, leaving 300m3 for the first 3 completed items to arrive in. I don't know if the game, when faced with output and input on an LP at the same time, takes the inputs OUT first, or tries to put the finished items IN first. Playing it safe, I left room for the finished items to be placed in first.

Sterile Conduits are an example of the other kind of P4 item: six each of two P3 inputs of 6m3 each, and 40 input of water at 0.38m3 each. You should build a spreadsheet (This! Is! EVE!) to figure this out, but I came to 1616 again for the 6m3 inputs and 11,000 for the P2 inputs such as water. Both types will run out after about 30 hours.

I'd share my spreadsheet, but it's a messy piece of crap that should not be seen by human eyes.

Final thought: most people do PI covering more than one stage of production; that is, they go P2 to P4, or raw materials to P2. I've done that too, but if you have the ability to pay 0% tax and can do very cheap or free transport, it seems to me that going straight to the most profitable stage of the process makes the most sense. I'll write more posts on this as the story unfolds! One of my Aideron PI buddies prefers having 2 LPs and 2 storage facilities, which would allow me to fully load the LPs, direct the output to the SFs, and let the factory run for longer.

(BTW if you can't do free/cheap transport, consider making a huge amount of output before paying PushX or Red Frog to move it for you. A JF can holds 337500 m3, or 3375 items of P4 output. If you're making 200K profit per item, that's 675M ISK profit, of which the cost of transport would surely be a small-ish part.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Heydieles Recaptured!

From flickr user jinterwas

We joined an operation last night to bash the Heydieles ihub and return the system to Gallente control! Although we didn't focus our plexing efforts on Heyd itself in the past few weeks, we did take out several installations owned by Old Man Gang, mainly Player Owned Stations. They upped sticks and moved to Ennaluri a few days ago; either we drove them out or they decided to move on their own, but the upshot is that we control Heyd again, yay!  I still have manufacturing supplies in a station there and will now move it to Yvangier, my permanently-accessible factory.

[Update from April 2014: We only held Heydieles for a couple of weeks, long enough to evacuate our stuff, do a little plexing, but not much else. No Gallente militia corps moved in there, so with nobody to defend it, it fell to the Caldari again. But, at time of writing, it's nearing 70% contested again, so we may own it again. At this point it's "just another system", not a stronghold.]

The T1 manufacturing game is going strongly - I have several items for sale in three different systems and it is all selling steadily.  I'm looking to revamp my PI setup; it seems obvious now that the smartest thing to do is build P4 items (like broadcast nodes) out of P3 inputs. You can make between 100 and 200K profit on each item, and if you don't waste a planet on building the P3s yourself you can make a considerable amount of ISK. I haven't actually built it yet, but there are several barren planets in my area that I can use for the purpose and I'm greatly looking forward to it. And it turns out that the nearest place to buy a Barren Command Center is...Heydieles! Looks like we captured it just in time :) (Update: you can buy from Actee as well, which is much easier!)

Aideron Robotics owns three  four POCOs in Fliet (and two in Heydieles), so if you're interested in doing PI and like the idea of paying zero tax, you should join us and get space-rich.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Grizzled veteran runs through the checklist
from Flickr user tamara


I seem to have become an Eve Vet :) I think it happened a while ago, but when you start drawing up checklists of what new recruits ought to know, you're definitely a vet! I did this after a couple of incidents when fleet members weren't aware of some basic concepts in fleet mechanics; I remembered that the same thing happened to me! The FC asked me to do X and I said "?" and time was wasted explaining it to me. And it was done so quickly that I didn't understand it anyway. When I learned it later it was actually quite simple and took only a minute to grasp.

I think these apply pretty widely in Eve, so I'd like to share the checklist I came up with. The idea is to keep it simple; these are the most common stumbling points that a new recruit might get wrong during our regular fleets; Bob knows I clunked into most of these and more than once. The most complex thing you learn is "Scouting 101" - how to report plexes/local population/d-scan (using eve-dingo or similar), since it is quite common for noobs to be flying tackle frigates and get asked to scout too.


  1. Setting up comms (Mumble and Teamspeak). Refer to yourself by name, not “I”. FC’s hate having to delay by asking “who is this?” when reacting to your messages.
  2. Overview, especially ensuring that “in fleet”, “an ally in one or more”  and “in militia” are above “is pirate”
  3. Basic Config: Set up “Z” as hotkey for “broadcast for armor”, change your ship name if needed, turn off auto-lockback and the 2950 ISK charge for communication.
  4. Which of our ships can you already fly? Change skill plan to get on track.


  1. Undock and find a plex - distinguish between available/popped plexes - know what ships can go in.
  2. Warp to plex at 10, slide in (video). Orbit at distance appropriate to ship. Announce yourself as you start warp so friendlies inside (assuming they are there) know you’re friendly too. Understand that the gate can’t be bypassed. Understand that you need to be within 30km to run the timer and to be awarded loyalty points when the timer reaches zero.
  3. Simple D-Scan - how to use it while inside a plex to monitor the gate (just 360 deg, 200K km)
  4. Plexing: how to capture one, how to align out and escape if someone comes in. Understand if the defending NPC ship is friendly or not, and that you can't dock in enemy-held systems.
  5. Tackling a target - point a ship and maintain orbit around it.


  1. Find and join fleet without asking “send me an invite?” on comms.
  2. Watching Local: how many war targets or neutrals in system?
  3. Basic fleet terminology: “warp to” vs “jump to”, gate is red/green, hold cloak, “anchor on me”, “ball up on me”,
  4. warp to a fleet member
  5. How to find/link your losses/kills in fleet chat. FCs use this to reimburse you (sometimes :) )
  6. create a fleet and advertise it in militia chat (maybe too advanced for new players?)
  7. using eve-dingo: get a dingo report and post URL in fleet chat.
  8. Advanced d-scan: be able to scan a point (5 degrees, up to 14.3 AU away), report what you see (maybe with eve-dingo)
  9. Being a scout: combines several of above skills -- going +1, hold cloak if needed, using d-scan (wide and narrow beam), watching local, maybe warping to plexes to hunt for targets, use eve-dingo to report fleet compositions.
  10. Drones: Set to passive/aggressive. Use F key to direct them to attack, Shift-R to come back to drone bay. Don’t deploy until told to.

One of the nicest things about being in a corp is being able to try things like this, helping others enjoy the game and avoid some of the frustrations you encountered.

Other Activities

It was pretty quiet last night, no major push was needed, so I moved some goods around. I've got a rig manufacturing plan going in Yvangier and sell the output at three different systems. I'm going to see which ones produce the most sales; the profit is good at all of them. After setting that up I scanned Fliet's cosmic signatures and found a small Serpentis combat site. I announced it on comms and in corp chat and had three people come run it with me. At least one hadn't tried that before so I was glad I could introduce it to him. We got an escalation from it too, so if enough people are interested we'll run that tonight.

Monday, March 10, 2014

And the sky full of stars

I tried to get this to start playing from 1m06s, but failed.

Last night's fleet saw us taking more losses than we were used to, but we did get 18 kills across several engagements (14-03-10 from 02:11 to 03:23). They were mostly Sniggwaffe and some Pandemic Legion. We had about 25-30 in fleet, mostly Vexors/Exeqs and Atrons for scouting and we set out on a roam from Fliet. It was difficult to find any targets -- I had come in a Tristan because I joined the fleet late and didn't want to be out solo in a cruiser. I joined the scouting group and went out ahead of the fleet to try and get good intel to the FC.

Scouting is hard :)

You're generally in a small ship, looking for large groups of ships that you can d-scan and send an eve-dingo scan to your fleet channel. The movement of hundreds of millions of isk worth of ships hangs on your words. I got our fleet to engage a cruiser gang of 22 ships, but I lost my ship in the process; my gate cloak ran out while I was getting the d-scan information out.

I reshipped into a long point Atron and rejoined the fleet in the Innia/Eha/Pavannaka area. We encountered the Snigg/PL fleet again; they'd grown to about 45 ships (I think) and the battle was rejoined. We took a lot of them out and...looking at our losses I expected to see more in one area, but it looks like we got picked off in small groups across multiple systems. They were chasing us as we headed back to Fliet and they caught us a few at a time on gates. I lost my Atron after warping to another scout who was being pointed and died as I warped to him. I took out the Stiletto that he'd almost killed and (still kicking myself over this) instead of warping to another gate I told my ship to jump through the gate we were fighting on. It was 13 km away and as my ship burned to it, the enemy fleet came through, decloaked and blapped me.  It wasn't an expensive loss, just a dumb one.

I took an exploration frigate out, hoping to finish on a high note and was rewarded. A data site yielded 25M in loot, which more than paid for my Tristan and Atron losses.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A really good couple of days in Eve

Longest fight I've had so far!

Sunday and Monday nights saw some exciting times in Eve for me. The fight you see above was a cruiser gang sitting on the Heyd gate in Old Man Star. We shipped into cruisers and took them on; it was a long battle. It took twenty minutes but we eventually won and with very few losses. We didn't get their shiny Guardians or Armageddons, but took out a lot of other ships. See here on March 3rd around 02:45 in OMS.

We had a good sized fleet last night, around 25 pilots. We started with deplexing then went on a fast tear around the neighbourhood getting lots of kills in the process. I'll make a video when I can. I mostly fly logi now, but in a Navitas you can fit one drone...might as well be a combat drone :) I got on seven kills!

My T1 industry bits are in place -- nothing major, I just wanted to be able to make all the small rigs we use on our ships. Prices in low-sec are higher, generally, than in high-sec and I've set up my manufacturing in Yvangier so I can't lose stuff in faction warfare mechanics.  There's a pilot in the corp who does free jump freighter runs from Jita (thanks!!), which is an incredibly valuable service to provide. I used that to acquire some of the ingredients and blueprints I needed to get a decent volume of stuff made.

I also fixed the audio problems on my computer - it's a bit tricky getting the microphone/speakers/volume set up so that you can properly record Eve videos, but I think I've finally got it right.

I also sold a lot of expensive items through my trader and I've finally understood what station containers are for. If you regularly receive trade items after a fleet and don't like losing them in the general mess that is your hanger, buy a couple of station containers. Keep all your stuff in them, and keep your hanger empty. When you receive new items and transfer them to your hangar, they'll be the only things there. It came in very handy yesterday when, at a moment's notice, I received a bunch of modules to fit to a borrowed ship and had to refit quickly.

Laugh of the day: This World of Warcraft player came to Eve and just did everything wrong. He spent a fortune (like $1300 REAL MONEY) buying a ship without realizing he could lose it. On losing it, he then got conned out of ANOTHER ONE, by two slick-tongued scammers. Welcome to Eve :)