Sunday, 30 December 2012

Day 196 : Space Noob P.I.

You have no idea how tempting it was to photoshop my characters head onto a picture of Magnum PI. I couldn't because this post isn't about me becoming a Space Detective and also because I'd have spent the whole time photoshopping perms and mustaches onto my character portrait and cackling like an imbecile. This post is instead about the much duller subject of Planetary Interaction. It is even less interesting than the fact that I don't have Adobe Photoshop and that photoshop has become a verb. I wonder if it is in the dictionary.

My quest for a regular source of income that mining supplements in an emergency rather than the other way around continues. The regular income is intended to get me being blown up more. It is intended to remove the time between losses rather than the negative impact of losses. The negative impact I want to retain, otherwise the fights won't feel as intense. This means the income doesn't have to be high. I'll be in cruisers with the odd BC at maximum. High sec Planetary Interaction is one such source. It requires minimal effort once set up and yet could yield a few cruisers a week if done right. Planned right it might also assist some basic T2 industry.

I finally got around to investigating PI last week. I had my alt trained up with the following skills which took a couple of days.

Command Center Upgrades III ( I was on II when I started and things got tricky)
Remote Sensing III
Planetology III
Interplanetary Consolidation III

(Update from Rhavas at who suggests getting Advanced Planetology to III at minimum, so do that if you have the time)

I put aside around 6 million. Experiments (or good mistakes) made this a little higher but I had just managed to sell my Christmas gift implants before the market crashed meaning I was a little flush at the time. I think I spent around 10 million. I made this money back but I can't tell you the exact rate as I funnelled some of the products into other purposes and made some more mistakes. After a week you should be generating around a million per planet per day (as long as it isn't just a factory planet but more on that later).

You'll also need to be able to haul a minimum of 1000m3

This allowed me to run three simple planets, none of them particularly efficient but enough to see what the whole thing was about. Whatever I read about PI it didn't seem clear to me what it actually was. Everything seemed to be a confusing mess of maps with circles on them, mentioning stuff while assuming I knew the basic concept. Assuming basic concepts are understood is a real failing in EVE.

DISCLAIMER : This is hi-sec PI. I haven't investigated low or null where resources are richer but taxes vary wildly. I may have made mistakes. This may be a better guide


PI makes stuff.


PI is a method of producing some of the items you see in the market that don't have a corresponding blueprint available and are still on the material component list of other blueprints. An example is Robotics. Look it up in the market. Now look up the blueprint for a Gallente Fuel Block. There is more than one PI produced component on there in addition to Robotics. Some PI produced items are easier to produce than others, there is a tier system that ranks them all. I'll get to this later.


Ah you mean that illusive basic concept? PI is a mini game. The nature of the game is I/O. Input/Output. You build a mine (aka Extractor) that produces raw material at a certain rate. This rate differs over time requiring your input at regular periods in order to restart the process before production drops off to nothing. The raw materials are consumed at a certain rate by factories and must be buffered in order that a fresh mine doesn't send stuff to a factory that can't accept it because it is at its processing limit. Excess is wasted without this buffer. The output of these factories can be combined in a different type of factory to produce more complex things at a certain rate. Your job is to design a system (aka Colony) where the rate of production from the factories is maximised by altering the extraction rate of the mines and by having enough factories. The number of things you can build is limited by the power and cpu supplied to the colony which is effectively your Command Center Upgrades skill. Clever designs can increase what you can fit into your colony. In areas other than hi sec you might have to balance the flow between buildings as output outstrips the ability to move it to the next stage. Variance in the location and concentration of raw materials on a planet provides the random element that ensures that there is no guaranteed layout but core concepts ensure some similarity.


A variable amount of time to grasp the concept, then set up your planets. Mine took me around four hours to do both but I've since tweaked the setups.  After that you'll need to regularly check up on each planet at an interval chosen by you. I've yet to determine the respawn mechanism for the raw materials but it looks like once per day, with a couple of minutes per planet should be fine. Eventually you'll have to collect the output which involves flying to the planet. Depending on the system you set up on a planet you might not have to fly to it for weeks at a time. So basically a single chunk of playing time and then some very small jobs every now and again.


No. It takes a basic investment to build your colony, and later to install upgrades. There are export taxes when removing produced stuff from a planet and then later import taxes if you move that to a planet that needs off world input (eg Planet A and Planet B produce stuff that you combine in a factory on Planet C)


Once set up it is a passive income stream with little effort can be kept up to date using very small segments of time. It won't make you rich in Hi Sec. Imagine 5 minutes over breakfast per day. Had I known that the barrier to several million a day was a 1000m3 hauler and 2 or 3 days skills I'd have done it from day one, seeding one planet at a time to pay for the next. If I ever have a third alt this will be it's first task. Lets say you have the basic skills above on all three characters on your account. It should be able to generate around 3 million a day, 9 million per account per day. With more planets and a second account it starts to look like PLEX money even in hi-sec although clicking around lots of planets every day is going to become highly monotonous and you'll have to research the market well. I am considering it given that I have a high boredom threshold (see earlier ability to mine). Normal mortals would be a drooling mess within days.

It is a very mild amount of fun at the start. Learning the concepts, planning of the set up of the colony and the greed of seeing loot accumulate for doing nothing. Not that much fun after that really, just simple logistics.

It can make you self sufficient in materials for more advanced industry cutting out some travel time and buy order costs.


Ok. This is a rough guide to setting up in hi sec. It won't earn much but hopefully should give some basic information on getting up to speed with PI. I learnt a couple of things while writing it so be careful that I haven't gone completely wrong somewhere.

1. The Products

Pick a product that you want to produce. You might want to produce it to sell or as the component for further industry. The product you pick will ultimately be composed of  raw materials whose source will be one or more types of planet. Certain raw materials are found on certain types of planet. For example gaseous material like Noble Gas will need a Gas planet in your set up somewhere.

Products vary in their complexity. Firstly there is the raw output of  your Extractors. These are "Raw Materials". It takes 3000 of these to produce 20 of the next type of material. These are "Processed Materials" and it takes 40 of two types of these to produce 5 of the next type of product. These are "Refined Commodities" and it takes 10 of two or three types of these to produce 3 of the next type of product. These are "Specialised Commodities" and Robotics is an example of them. There is another tier of products that I haven't investigated where the tiered nature of production isn't as clear. See the following link for the raw data :

My aim was Robotics which is made out of Mechanical Parts and Consumer Electronics.
Mechanical Parts are made out of Reactive Metals and Precious Metals (fuck knows why, maybe its like watches or something) which are in turn made from the Raw Materials "Base Metals" and "Noble Metals"
Consumer Electronics are made out of Toxic Metals and Chiral Structures which are in turn made out of the Raw Materials "Heavy Metals" and "Non CS Structures"

(Update from Rhavas at : try one product per planet in concert with Advanced Planetology for efficiency)

The Raw Materials govern your choice of Planet. This next paragraph is an example of how complex things can get when attempting to describe PI step by step. Read it and then ignore it until you get to the section on Extractors.

All four of my necessary Raw Materials could be found on Plasma planets but there wasn't one nearby and I doubted that with my skills I'd have the power to run four extractors and the necessary factories. I think I could run less extractors and have them extract one material at a time and change that by the day (time consuming and needs cost weighting). Unfortunately I'd have to be lucky with the distribution of the raw materials on the planet and have the willpower to determine the placings correctly and then to micro manage the colony by changing the extracted raw material every now and again. It is easier to plan for, and allowed by the skills above, two types of Raw Material on each of two planets and combining these on a third. Single planet production of tier 3 "Specialised Commodities" is best left for higher skills and planets outside hi-sec which have higher deposits.

The types of planet where Raw Materials can be found are summarised here

2. The Command Center

This is where we get into the interface. The Command Center is bought from the market and transported to the planet by you. All the command center does is provide power and CPU to the colony which allow you to install other structures, much as you would fit modules to a ship. As far as I can tell the Command Center doesn't have to be linked into the rest of the colony to power it so we could place it anywhere and have it provide power and processing. However it has some minimal storage and export facilities that you might need later so its handy to position it as the focal point of the colony.

Command Centers are cheap, the cost comes after you position the center and then "upgrade" it which increases the amount of power it provides. The extent to which you can upgrade it is dependant upon your Command Center Upgrades skill.

Firstly scan a suitable planet. It's handy to set up a planet only Overview tab for speed when scanning the planets in system. You'll need the Customs Office around it later on but I dealt with that via bookmarks. You can scan planets in other systems at a distance governed by your Remote Sensing skill.

Right click the planet in the Overview, on screen, on the System info window, or whatever esoteric way you have of looking at planet entries. Select "View in Planet Mode". On the left of the screen you'll see the Viewing Planet Menus. The default mode is "Build" which just lists all the possible things you can build on the planet. You don't need them yet. Click "Scan".

You should be looking at a list of all the Raw Materials available on the planet. The component Raw Materials of your chosen final product should be on it. The graphs to the right of the name indicate the relative amount of deposits. Click on the lowest of your desired Raw Materials

The planet may not have changed in appearance since the default set up is to colour code the full range of deposit density. In hi sec this means that some of your desired deposits will be so low density that you'll have difficulty making out the colour range. The colours can be altered by the slider above the names of the Raw Materials. You should have a mess about with this right now and try the following

1. Increase the colour range of the high value deposits : move the right triangle to the left
2. Increase the colour range of the low value deposits : move the left triangle to the right
3. Alter the range of the scale : the whole set of colours is a slider and can be moved along the scale.

By now you'll have realised that you can get more accurate scans by compressing the slider and making the colour gradations a more precise indicator of deposit concentration.

You are looking for two things

1. The best deposit of the rarest of your desired Raw Materials.
2. A deposit of your other Raw Material(s) near to the first type of deposit.

UPDATE:  from Chirality Tisteloin ‏@ChiralityT

"@SpaceNoob1 look at other player's structures while surveying. PI is pretty pvp. Note compression isk/m^3 for higher tier commodities"

You can right click the planet and select "Show/Hide other characters networks". This will display other command centers you can click on to see if others are extracting nearby. I find the things very difficult to see.

How nearby the other deposits are is hard to describe, eventually the distance will eat available power when you start to link things up and I haven't found a useful metric to judge this visually. Let me know if you find one but until then know that the radius of planets differs so an arbitrary fraction of screen space on one planet will be more distance than the same amount of screen space on another planet. With Gas planets being so large this will come back to haunt you later on. As a rule of thumb zoom the planet so that you can see all of it on screen with as little space as possible around the edges. Try and make sure that your Raw Material deposits are no further than a third of the planet from each other. On Gas planets you might want to reduce this further. Of course you can get into the math based on the radius of the planet (the distance from the center to the edge when looking at it flat on) and the power and CPU required per km of link but for your first planet stick with "nearby". More on links later.

Once you have a set of deposits you like then place the command center near one of them. To do this you just fly to the planet, view it, select COMMAND CENTERS from the Build menu, click the entry that appears under that and then click on your desired location on the planet.

To make this permanent you'll need to click the Submit button that appears. This will appear when you make any major changes to a colony. If you've made a mistake you can click Cancel and not waste any money. You'll be clicking the Submit (or the Cancel) whenever you build or alter production.

You can "upgrade" a Command Center to make it provide more power and processing. Click on your newly placed command center and you'll see all the information on it. The button on the far bottom left of this window is the upgrade button. Click it and you'll see how far you can upgrade the center. It will cost money to do so and require a Submit. Don't do this until you get stopped from doing something you want to by running out of power or CPU capacity. While you are there looking at the upgrades check out the other buttons as they'll be used later. Don't worry about them though.

3. The Extractor - where the raw comes from

The next thing you want to build is an Extractor. This is more like the office at the top of a mine than the mine itself. All the mining is done by Extractor Head Units. You can make 10 of these per Extractor and spread them out all around the Extractor itself. Each Unit uses power so you'll start with 3 or 4 per Extractor and maybe increase this later when you upgrade the command center.

Extractors run for a set period of time. Longer periods mean a slower rate of extraction ( and therefore production) but mean you don't have to come back to look at it as often. I generally set the period of time to around 24 hours. The Extractor window will provide the average over time and the cycle rate of extraction (so you get enough out, fast enough to run the factories at the start).

Select EXTRACTOR CONTROL UNITS from the Build menu and then click near the edge of the first deposit you chose above.
Click on the placed Extractor and then click the "Survey for Deposits" button.
Select a Raw Material to mine from the icons in the top right of the resulting window. The planet should colour as if you were doing a scan. You can click back to the main Scan menu to alter this without dismissing  the window.
Click one of the circular buttons on the left of the Extractor window, under the title "Extractor Head Units"
A blue circle will have appeared on the planet. Move this around until it is in the densest area of Raw Materials.
Add a couple more and make sure they don't overlap, you'll get red warning indicators where they do. In some cases it might be profitable to overlap slightly so look at the figures change.
Alter the slider at the bottom of the window under "Extraction Area Size".

While you've been doing this you'll have noticed the graph and the "Program Output" (bottom right of the Extractor window) changing. This is the rate at which you'll mine during a set period of time governed by the
"Extraction area size". Changing the "Extraction area size" alters the full duration of your extraction. It also alters the size of the extractor heads so you might need to move them around a bit. You'll be juggling the number of heads and the extraction time with a low power colony so have a mess around and see how high you can get the figures. I tend to aim for multiples of 3000 per hour so I can judge what I am providing to a factory. 6000 per hour of each Raw Material would be ideal as a basic factory consumes this per hour but it might prove difficult to get that at the start, without further upgrades, depending on what you are extracting. Extraction rates vary overtime but the Extractor window displays the average as well as a graph indicating the varying rate.

4. Storage, Links and Routes over those Links.

All that stuff you are extracting has to go somewhere before it can be used. Once it is used the ouput of that factory has to go somewhere. That output may even go to another factory, the output of which also has to be stored. All this can happen with a single storage unit.

There are three different units that can provide storage. Command Centers can store 500m3. It isn't a lot so ignore it for now. Storage Facilities (see the Build menu) can store 12000m3. Launch pads can store 10000m3 and also export stuff. The Launchpad uses the same amount of power as a Storage Facility but a lot more CPU. The CPU amount may become an issue if your Extractor heads are far apart but the storage is likely enough for a hi-sec planet, so unless you have a need for multiple storage facilities (you won't on a hi sec planet) or you have a lot of distance between Raw Material deposits use a Launchpad for storage.

Use the Build menu to place a launchpad. Its under SPACEPORTS on the Build menu. Drop it between your two extractors.

You now need to provide a method of getting Raw Materials into the storage at the launchpad. This is done in two steps.

i) Linking. A link is a railroad between units in your colony. It eats up power and CPU depending on its length. To create one click PLANETARY LINKS in the build menu, select "Create Link", click on your Extractor and then (you should have a white line trailing the cursor by this point) click on the Launchpad. The two units are now linked. Complete this step for the other extractor.

ii) By itself the link does nothing. You must tell the factory to "route" its output to another unit. This routing will utilise the link. Click on the Extractor, then on the Products button, the second from the left along the bottom of the Extractor window. You should see your Raw Material with the words "Not Routed" in red. Click the Raw Material and then the resulting "Create Route" button at the bottom. Click on the Launchpad and then click the Create Route button again. You should see that the link now has an animation effect on one of the two lines making it up. Make sure you click the Submit button above the Build menu. Repeat for any other extractors.

Links have a capacity that, as far as I can tell, you just won't hit in hi-sec. If you do they can be upgraded to carry more but I've never had to do this.

5. Processing. The Factories

With Raw Materials now being extracted, routed to the Launchpad and stored there you now need to do something with them. You could just Export them (see below) but I've never run the math or done market research for how effective that is. Instead I use them to build something else.

Raw Materials are consumed at a rate of 6000m3 per hour by a Basic Industry Facility, ideally your extractors should be routing this (or more) into the Launchpad. Build a  Basic Industry Facility as close to the Launchpad as possible. They are under PROCESSORS on the Build menu. Build a Link between it and the Launchpad.

Click on the new Basic Industry Facility and in the new window click the Schematics button. Choose the product you want to make out of your Raw Material and click Install. The factory now knows what it wants to consume and produce.

Click the Products button and use the entry you see to create a route back to the launchpad.

You now need to route stored Raw Material from the Launchpad into this new factory. The Launchpad might not have any storage yet but so there will be nothing we can click in the storage section in order to create a route. Instead we use the Routes button on the Launchpad window. It will have the incoming route from the Extractor listed. Click on the material and a new Create Route button will appear. Use this to create a route to the factory.

By this point you should have Raw Materials routed into the Launchpad then out to the Basic Industry Facility and the results of that routed back into the Launchpad. Repeat this for any other Raw Material you are extracting.

If you have enough power left you can combine the output of two Basic Industry Facilities in an Advanced Industry Facility. The technique is the same as building a Basic Industry Facility. Build it, link it, choose the output Schematic, route the output, use the Launchpad routes list to route the required materials (the output of two Basic Industry Facilities) into the Advanced Industry Facility.

6000m3 each of two types of Raw Material is combined in a Basic Industry Facility to produce 20 units of Processed Material per half hour, or 40 units per hour. 40 units per hour of two or more types is the required input for an Advanced Industry Facility so this is what you want to aim for.

6. Export

After a couple of hours you'll have some final product. You either want to sell this or combine it on a planet that has another setup of factories. I've not got the skills or the hi-sec resources to have a single planet producing the next tier of product but I did use a dedicated colony of factories to combine two tier 2 products into Tier 3 products (Robotics in my case). This involved Exporting from two planets and Importing to a third. Once I have more upgrade skills I may experiment with the extra factory on one of the production planets, cutting out the need for one of the Export/Import steps. I need to have a think about how efficient this is against the saving because export and import cost money. How much more I could make by extracting more instead?

There are two methods of exporting.

You can launch stuff into space from a Command Center. I've only experimented with this. It costs 50% more than exporting to the orbiting Customs Office in hi sec and then you have to fly to pick it up, presuming someone else doesn't get there first. Such launches appear in the Planetary Launches tab of the Journal.

Launching from a Launchpad is the better way to get stuff off planet, at least in hi-sec. To do this you have to be in space. Click on the Launchpad to get the control window up, and then click on the Launch button. All you have to do then is to drag what you want transported from one side of the resulting window to the other and then click the transfer button.

If you want to pick this up then fly to the planets Customs Office and right click it. Select Access Storage and then drag the items from it into your ships cargo bay. You can also cause the launchpad to transfer material from the planet to the Customs Office via the Customs Office window. If you do this then don't forget the second drag step of transferring the result to your cargo bay. I've done this several times and had to fly back to pick up stuff I left in the Customs Office.

The price of export is based on a set base value for the type of material you are exporting. These values are:

Advanced Commodities: 1,350,000.00 ISK
Specialized Commodities: 70,000.00 ISK
Refined Commodities: 9,000.00 ISK
Basic commodities: 500.00 ISK
Planet Resources: 5.00 ISK

These values per unit are altered by the local tax rate. For hi sec this is 10%. So, for example, it costs 900 ISK to export 1 unit of a Refined Commodity (10% of 9000 ISK).

If you have a multi planet system of production you'll have to factor both this cost and the subsequent import cost into your profit margins. I need to look at this myself to see if it is cheaper in hi sec to have the third tier factory on one of the tier 2 production colonies. I'd have done this already if it wasn't the holidays. I can only think so much when I'm off work.

7. Import

Importing is the reverse of Exporting.

It too costs money, 50% of the Export cost (see above)

Fly to a planet with material in your hold, Access Storage on the Customs Office, drag the materials across, and then click the transfer button. If the planets Launchpad has routes set up then these materials will be instantly in use.

8. Examples

Two Extractors, two Basic Industrial facilities and a single Advanced Industry Facility. Produces Coolant for export.

Producing just Oxygen using a crowd of Basic Industry Facilities. This was before Command Center Upgrades III and needs another Extractor to be fully efficient with 5 Basic Industry facilities. 

Another 2/2/1 setup but where I ran out of power to have enough extractor heads for fully efficient use. Again waiting for a third Command Center upgrade.

    I have another planet on an alt which just has factories to produce Robotics but it needs cleaning up after being created with a useless storage unit. Think of it as a launchpad surrounded by factories and no extractors.

9. Further work

All this is just the result of a basic investigation one afternoon. I need to have more of a think about what I am producing and where I am producing it to see if more complex setups yield more ISK value. See the eveonline wiki entry in the References below for the 3 product planet example for another kind of colony I need to investigate.

9. References (aka better and non noobish descriptions) (thanks to Thighzen in the comments and a couple of other people who mentioned it)

EVE Track of the Day

Still Life - The Horrors

PS. Thank Fuck that's over.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Day 185 : Land of the Noobs

Rixx Javix posted something about the future of EVE and encouraging new player intake by getting them playing rather than the slowly-walking-barefoot-on-hot-coals trial-by-fire that the new game can be. He wasn't satisfied with the post and subsequently took it down. Not before I caught it via Google Reader, and not before it made me think. (NOTE: he subsequently rewrote and posted this version

My character is six months old now and a new expansion has just been released. I'm in a good position to look at that expansion and how it improves things for the new player because I still have clear memories (and an entire blogs worth of less clear memories) of being that new player. Maybe I am in a good position look at these improvements and suggest more that would benefit new players without being unfair to existing players. Maybe my perspective will be useful. Maybe I'm not in that position but I'm going to do it anyway because conversations leading up to this post revealed that leaving stuff in your head rather than writing about it causes headaches and other phenomena related to intellectual rot.

I can't summarise the entire of Retribution for two reasons. Firstly, did you see the patch notes? I had to have a rest in the middle of reading them and that wasn't because I was laughing after running them through Secondly I've been on a carebear kick recently so I'm wary of bias. I'm going to write as if that bias didn't exist, just to see what comes out and trust in the fact that my carebear activities are all mainly to do with being able to afford non-carebear activities in future.

1. Dscan, Complexity and Time

   Complexity was a draw. Difficulty was a draw. Yet some things were time consuming with no need. Some things need to be complex, but time is already a precious commodity in EVE and it shouldn't be part of the most basic tasks. The new camera tracking allows play and action without pointless faffing around. Sure some people will have become expert in it. I've practised it a lot myself. That doesn't mean it wasn't a pointless life drain on the gameplay. EVE is often compared to the tactical nature of submarine warfare. We want that intense tactical tension in the same form as a WWII film might provide it, not in the realistic sense of sitting in the middle of the ocean sweating for days on end. Complexity without time. If I had to point at a single genius idea of the entire expansion, camera tracking and the interaction with Dscan would be it.

2. Crimewatch and Simplicity

   Before crimewatch I had fights where I didn't consider what state I'd be in afterwards. This was mainly because I wasn't sure what that state would be. It wasn't clear enough in any documentation and the volume of reading defeated even my tolerance for reading in a browser while mining. Crimewatch has made the law of EVE simpler to interpret. It is still relatively complex compared to other MMOs which is a good thing, but it is no longer something that causes arguments akin to family Christmas feuds borne out of obscure boardgame rules. This means that. Determined cause and effect. Control. You no longer have no idea WHY.

3. Expansions and Populations
   The expansion brought people back. It must have. Populations went up. With higher populations there was more conflict. Conflict was easier given the new Crimewatch rules. Conflict is the source of EVE dynamism. That's the stuff that really goes on in the game, whether it is being done by you or to you, whether by NPCs or by PCs, spaceships that shoot at each other and go boom makes a game. It makes a game whether you are attempting to make them go boom or attempting to do something entirely different while not going boom. It feels like people are staying longer than I expected (or maybe there are even more mining concerns moving into my home system). I think the iterative process refreshed a lot of EVE rather than replacing the most focal part of it with something else.

 So what else could be done? I'll highlight an example of each and see if anyone else comes up with any more examples.

1. Complexity and Time

Invention is already complex enough to be intriguing. Sourcing the materials and fine tuning a research process is an exercise in logistics that not everyone would enjoy but I found it interesting. Not interesting enough to become a super industrialist but enough to dabble. If you have ever done Invention then you'll know about the cycle time being small and the number of clicks to submit an invention job being monotonously high. There should be some way to chain similar actions, for example submitting five invention jobs at a time rather than one. Perhaps there should be a way to automate the submission of such jobs but I'm uncomfortable thinking about the repercussions of such automation. It might lead to less people logging in as jobs complete by themselves.

2. Simplicity

I often Show Info on things to find out one row of detail from the attributes. It is commonly the meta level of items or the ME of a blueprint where I have multiple copies. It's a pain in the arse frankly. I think you should be able to configure an overlay for icons of simple information from that type of object. Imagine if you could have the meta level of an item in the top right corner of its icon, or the ME of a BPO there. The bottom right corner already shows the stack number which is presumably the hardest bit - the overlay code and the server based information. The overlay code must already be there and the configurable information should all be client side.

3. Populations

How do you retain a population between the peaks of expansions? To a certain extent things like the market, the invention process and PI cycles make it a requirement to log in every now and again but not to fly. You have to make people want to go out and try something, or to see something. Nothing is going to have the same effect as an expansion but form of regular changes might keep small spikes of population happening. That's how expansions draw people in : change. What could you change regularly while requiring limited developer time? CCP have already done this recently with their Live Events but what could you automate? Some ideas:

*  A single hi sec systems sun has an event lowering CONCORD response times and introducing fluctuating wormhole conditions.

* CONCORD abandons a particular system after a collapse of law. Drug running and all other illegal activities can be indulged in.

* CONCORD attempts to get a foothold in a low sec system, destruction isn't assured but there will be a response. Will industrialists attempt to take advantage of the extra safety?

* The death of a noted industrialist reveals a will requiring his wealth to be seeded randomly through EVE in cargo cannisters that must be scanned down. might require more developer time but you can imagine people flying to view it's progress and the inevitable scraps.

* A stable wormhole opens between two busy systems and it might last for the entire month. Constellation wide traffic patterns change. Perhaps the wormhole could open from hisec to the nearest low sec system near a far trade hub tempting traders to take the risky fast route.

* A situation causes the spawn rate of belt rats to dramatically increase in a particular constellation.

* A gas planet suffers a gravitational shift throwing PI raw materials into space where they can be scanned down and collected if your cargo bay is large enough.

One more idea before I go that is sourced from the difficulty of the first month of EVE. The crimewatch system makes for easier combat situations but the barrier to combat remains the price of loss. Give every new player who completes the tutorial missions a fitted frigate every two days, a frigate that you can't remove the modules from or sell on. It should be a frigate that the player can fly within a few days training and the fit should vary (buffer/active tank, long/short range, etc). A combat viable noob ship that exists only to be blown up.

I meant to post this before Christmas and failed due to holiday overload. It didn't turn out to be the article I thought it was going to be because it was written over a long time. I can't be arsed to make it focus properly. Any spare time over the holidays has been spent reading other blogs rather than writing this one and being lost in more carebeariness than I am happy with. The quest for an easy regular income to fund being blown up goes on and has been slightly extended by the discovery of T2 production and PI. Hopefully I'll have a Noob guide to each coming up soon. Once I've got that out of my system I should be back to getting my pod handed to me by the end of January. Any suggestions on a focus for getting blown up would be highly appreciated.

EVE Track of the Day

Heavyweight Champion of the World - Reverend And The Makers


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Day 181 : Don't You (Forget About Me)

It's been a while since I posted. This is partly thanks to the launch of Retribution, partly due to the real life chaotic business of December, and partly due the milestones I was yakking on about in the last post. I've decided to catch up by dumping a summary of the last twenty days in case anyone thought I'd vanished.

I nearly made a Blog Banter 41 post. Owing to the direction my thoughts took about representing aspects of capsuleer pod clones I ended up with the Quantum Leap theme music stuck in my head. I had to try all kinds of things to get it out of there and I couldn't even go near the blog without reinforcing it. It was the worst case  of tune-stuck-in-the-head that I have ever had. Even now I can hear it echoing in the far reaches of my brain, trying to inspire wacky EVE based spin offs of said TV show. In the end BB41 was superceeded by the BB42 premise (I will also attempt and fail to answer this) and I crept back. I ended up getting rid of Quantum Leap by replacing it with Don't You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds thanks to it appearing in two films I watched in the same week. That's playing right now. Don't ask. I'm left with a lingering habit of trying to convert any movie or TV show I watch into an EVE based equivalent. I saw Seven Psycho's at the weekend. That worked quite well.

Anyway, back to EVE and all that stuff I've been doing when not suffering the whims of nerd mind.

The Milestones

1. Invention

I managed to get an Invention run to succeed for T2 Hobgoblins on the third or fourth attempt. Typically the next three also succeeded. Invention is like buses. At least I've done that now and can just stockpile them until I decide to use them which won't happen until I've put more work into reading about T2 materials and Planetary Interaction production chains. I've put one of the BPCs into an auction contract which will fail and will be cycled until I find the price that they do move at.

Along the way I learned that Invention appears complex but in fact isn't once you bite the bullet and have a go. Some tips for fellow Noobs:

Datacores are generally cheap. I've a zero cost source of one type from a Research agent but the others are so cheap that if you are poor then a trip round the local system belts in hi sec will get you enough to  buy what you want. I was expecting datacore prices to be more extreme and I guess the cost mounts when inventing larger items like ships.

Meta level 0 items, normal versions, have no effect on Invention chance. I didn't notice this at first and its a boon not because you don't have the cost of the item but because there IS A FUCKING SHIT CACHING THING GOING ON WHEN FINDING THE BASE ITEM WHEN BUILDING AT A POS. Sorry. Had to get that out of my system. After dropping the base item in place (either at the POS or a corp hangar) the Invention dialog window still couldn't find it. This generated some classic internet nerd rage. I even threw something across the room and turned the TV on simply to have some faces to swear at.

2. Dough

I made my billion. Within a few hours a quarter of it had gone, then some more, then 100 mill pushed into my  next level of Industry experiments. It turns out that in EVE, as in RL, money is a lot easier to spend than it is to accrue. I was left with a huge gap in my finances and not even one new ship to show for it. I was rescued by in game events. I'll come to that in a bit.

3. POS

I managed to set up a research POS. It happened a day later than I eventually expected because I'd missed a single role checkbox in the Corp Management interface. I had to kick everyone from the corp to give the corp enough standings after the daily reboot to allow me to anchor the POS in the first place. You can only kick people twenty four hours after their roles have been removed. Thus missing one checkbox lost me twenty four hours when I realised I couldn't kick one of our members.

Before I forget : Thanks to Jax, AJ, and Dave for putting up with the kick/invite thing while I sorted this out.

Currently the POS only has a single lab anchored to it and doesn't really make financial sense in terms of running costs. The costs don't matter, it is nice to have completed the milestone and worked through the process of anchoring and fueling it. Let's face it, it is also a great feeling to have my own bubble space tower in a game. The best thing about it is escaping the infernal queues for high sec NPC research slots. I've managed to use it to kick off a couple of industrial experiments.

During the process of anchoring the POS I ran across a couple of damaged POS gun modules hanging in space damaged with no parent POS in sight. When I had time I went back and AFK repaired them, the first with a battleship and the second with a Retribution boosted Exequoror and drones. It took a while but I was watching TV for the most part. The worst bit was where I trusted the rollover figures which claimed 100% structure when in fact there was a tiny sliver of red on the target readout. I had to return with hull repairers before I could unanchor the things. The best bit? The look of my cruiser and five repair drones washing the broken gun with their armour repping aurora borealis.


I had a lot of plans for Retribution, mainly involving drone ships. I was going to experiment with the Tristan as a 5 drone frigate. I was going to try a comedy Tristan fit that involved dropping a sentry drone, orbiting it and repairing it. I was going to try out the new drone based destroyer the Algos. Greed got in the way.

On the day of launch the server was up faster than expected. I patched and logged in from work during lunch, grabbed copies of various new blueprints and put them straight into manufacture. When I returned home I flew the result to Dodixie and dropped them into the market at something over 2000% profit. They sold like hot cakes. I was selling the new Corax destroyer for 28 million. I was selling the Salvage drone for 1.7 million PER DRONE (somewhere in the region of 30 times its production cost). As supply increased and demand was sated the price began to fall but I'm still making a profix on the odd Corax hull nine days after launch.

Around this time my next industrial experiment reached the point where it I'd finished gathering materials from buy orders. I gathered up the purchased materials and put them into build. I ended up with 100 Small Ancillary Current Routers. Given the rush to fit all the rebalanced ships I couldn't have picked a better time. At one point they were selling for 2.5 million in Dodixie. Small rigs. I kid you not.

I've been branching out and researching more markets as I go along. Industry is going to be my mains background source of cash while PI and mining remain on the alt. Hopefully I'll be able to bring them together to push some form of T2 production, even if only for my own supply.

I feel oddly guilty about all this industry experimentation but it is all designed to get me into combat ships more often in the New Year. I have done some flying. Well I've done some exploding anyway. I went grave robbing in Old Man Star after missing the CCP fleet. I think I came away after two ship losses with about 14 million in profit. I didn't kill anything of note, just one guy in a noob ship whose character name annoyed me into activating the guns.

Money, money, money. I'm fISKated. At one point I found myself hanging outside a trade hub scooping up  the drones after fights and running away. I reckon there are millions to be made there on a busy night. I'll be trying it again. Given the tactics look out for a ship called Kingfisher or, more likely, Magpie.

Abandoning the lust for cash I tried out the Algos. I scanned down an easy  Serpentis site and warped in with my alt who could mine the area out. I found the site already active. Oddly though the pilots involved were just mining out the first room and had ignored the second. I sent my alt back and went to test out the drones in PVE. I'd heard some bad things about the AI upgrade. Sure enough the drones took a lot of aggro and I had to return one of them which was taking a pounding but I managed to clear the area. I then cleaned up by dropping a full group of salvage drones and cleaned out the place in record time. As a bonus a rare Serpentis ship spawned (not that I noticed at the time, I was managing drone combat) and dropped a Low Grade Snake Beta implant. I managed to sell the implant for 33 million. More dosh. Speaking of salvage drones, take one with you instead of one of your combat drones when hisec mining, you won't regret it.

Why am I going on and on about cash? It kept me busy, my own greed for pixel pennies seems to entertain me, and even more amusingly I was doing nothing you couldn't have done with a character that was a month or two old. No extreme combat, I've only got Production Efficiency IV, and you can start making a profit out of building rigs with some very basic trade skills and no material research at all if you pick the right ones.

Now that all that cash grinding is done, it is time to start fitting some ships and getting into some scraps. Retribution has raised the number of active pilots online (100+ in Algogille is no longer unusual for example) and caused them to fight more. The new Crimewatch is excellent. The new graphics are excellent. The camera control is excellent (and takes the hassle out of dscan, OMG the dscan ease). T1 ships are excellent. It's basically all good. Over the next couple of weeks I should build up an array of frigates, destroyers and cruisers to be very, very bad at PVP in, hopefully including a couple of the odd ideas I had before the expansion came out.

EVE Track of the Day

None. Don't talk to me about tunes stuck in my head all day. Ok?