Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thoughts on Contraband

Word's been getting around that CCP, the Corrupt Concord PoPo, will be bailing on the War on Drugs. I guess Empire politicians finally managed to pay enough to get rid of the Customs Division.

I've been told that since CCP: Customs Division, is bailing, that it will be incumbent on other pilots to manage the War on Drugs. I find this funny, and indeed a lucrative opportunity, because of all the ways pilots have of avoiding other pilots. Let's move along and list the ways drugs can be smuggled in once Customs Division is de-funded.

As you are well aware, cloaks work beautifully for avoiding targeting systems. This combined with random jump in points after jumping into a system, finding the target to decloak it can be an issue, and if it warps cloaked, well, you are out of luck.

Courier Contracts:
I've not taken many courier contracts, but, as far as I'm aware, a courier contract wraps the contents into a box that can't be peeked into. While the not-so-smart will package only drugs in the courier contracts, the craftier of us are likely to take a look at common sizes for courier contracts and place filler items in them to match common sizes. These common sizes must also be big enough to tell anyone on the lookout for smugglers that no idiot would risk shipping that amount of drugs at one time.

As far as I'm aware, the concept works much like courier contracts in hiding the contents. However, as GSCs are commonly used to hide the identity of expensive items, it will be more dangerous, if still viable, to transport goods in secure containers.

Addendum: I have just learned that the cargo scanners see through GSCs and omit the GSCs themselves on scan. Bollox!

POS production:
While your normal smuggler will cart in already finished product, a crafty POS owner may produce drugs at his tower. To achieve this, it would be necessary to bring in the unrefined production materials. To the plebs, scanning cargo and finding gas and minerals will make the smuggler appear to be just another hi-sec carebear, and a productive citizen to boot. This does have its downside however, as clever anti-druggies will likely stake out POS towers that have the capability of producing drugs.

It's no secret that Wormholes open up randomly, and often times relatively close to a trade hub. This can be the best and worst way of smuggling. W-space dwellers with a hi-sec static will find smuggling absurdly easy, while those living deeper in are likely to face too much danger to bother. Of course, W-space itself does not facilitate the raw materials for drug production, as far as I know only null sec provides that capability, so all drug trade through W-space will be at least as difficult as taking gates through null to low to empire. Still, those with W-space experience will likely find this the best option as it circumvents anti-druggies camping gates, which will surely ALWAYS be the case.

Delayed Sales:
Part of how anti-druggies will be trying to catch smugglers is by watching the sale of drugs. It will be trivial to differentiate providers from sellers, but nevertheless, if the smugglers aren't smart, it will be easy for anti-druggies to figure out that when a certain pilot enters system, drug sales are sure to follow. To circumvent this, sales should be delayed in such a way that the sale of drugs occur at random points. Such points include when the smuggler enters system, days after the smuggler enter, etc. The sale of drugs will be critical in protecting the identity of the providers.

Are the anti-druggies SOL?
But wait, if it's so easy to circumvent the anti-druggies, is there no hope for them? Perhaps, but something tells me that we're about to witness the advent of new scanning technology, tech that will upgrade current cargo scanners to pierce such veils as GSCs and courier contracts. Cloaks will still be an issue, but, as cloaks themselves remove targets to be scanned, without the advent of anti-cloak tech, no solution for that short of tacklers will work.

Without this new tech, new problems arise, such as the still funded CCP at that point wrecking the anti-druggie forces because of GCC rules. Without this tech, either CCP fails to revenge anyone who is tagged (whether the tag rings true or false), or CCP gets a free pass on blowing up every ship that attacks another in empire, whether or not said pilot is really smuggling or not.

Only time will tell, but personally, I look forward to the tears and carnage and free loot if CCP fails to provide the proper equipment. If they do provide the proper equipment, well, the game will be afoot.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Everyone Else Jumped, So Will I!

I'm probably the last person to jump off of this bridge. To what bridge do I refer? The bridge where people talk about the change to NULL, ie shallow true-sec to deep true-sec.

To be honest, I don't even really understand how true-sec works, only that the lower the true-sec of a system, the better the bounties are while ratting. So, let's dive in shall we?

It doesn't. I live in NULL, between Cloud Ring and Fountain. While it's true that I prefer Fountain for ratting over Cloud Ring (because Cloud Ring is shallow true-sec and Fountain is deep true-sec). I can make approximately double smashing belts in Fountain than I can in Cloud Ring. This all said, I hate ratting, because I hate the tedium of doing the same combat over and over and over again.

Why do I rat? Only if I'm crippled for ISK, and I do mean crippled. Yes, it's a fast and easy and reliable way of making ISK, but it is rather tedious, and it doesn't have anything close to the rewards of even the Class 2 wormhole I used to live in. I don't care how good the true-sec, the simple fact is that ISK/time sucks in NULL compared to wormhole space.

What is my preferred method of making ISK? Planetary interaction. For a modest investment of 6 million a planet, with a single character I can set myself up to make 12 million ISK a day on one of the lowest cost POS fuels out there, Enriched Uranium. Since I didn't want to have divvy up my time between Anjali and Truen1ght, I moved her to low-sec, and for the same modest investment, she can pull in approximately 6-8 million ISK a day doing the same thing. I am not doing the same thing, of course, but the principle is there. Anjali is diversifying her income across various fuels, to ensure that she doesn't flood the market.

All said, every day, between just these two, I'm pulling a tech 2 fit Hurricane every 2 days. ISK wise, it's approximately 20-25 million ISK a day. I'm considering another low-sec pioneer, and for another modest investment of 6 million a planet, and some start up funds for setting up, I can increase daily income by another 6-8 million a day in low-sec alone. And, per character, I am spending roughly 5-10 minutes a day doing PI. Even at 10 minutes, you can calculate the NULL PI manager at 72 million ISK an hour, and the low-sec PI manager at 36-48 million ISK an hour.

Truth, be told, I don't think it does except in the smallest sense. TPOG is an industrial/PvP mix. 

I'm sure people are sneering now that we are null-sec carebears, but nevermind about that. Since my corporation has industry skills, skills in the area of building capitals, freighters, bullets, tech 2 modules, etc, not being able to rat makes us a more powerful industrial force. So, while not having good rats to kill can be somewhat inconvenient, in the grand scheme it helps the alliance while having little impact on the corporation overall.

Because FA has real-estate in Fountain and Cloud Ring, those that have already moved down to Fountain for ratting will benefit greatly. However, since the corporations living there have had to pay for the upgrades, those living in Cloud Ring will not be welcome to take Sanctums and Havens from those who paid for them.

Since people living in Cloud Ring already face a bounty disparity, it is extremely unlikely that infractions will proceed beyond the occasional ratter, who will be warned, then booted from alliance if the infractions re-occur.

To understand, we must look deeper into why people are living where they are.

---Cloud Ring
These inhabitants have nearby access to hi-sec trade hubs, hi-sec prices. Because of proximity to low-sec systems, combat is frequent with the nearby pirates. Life is exciting, but with lower quality rats to destroy, the income must come from somewhere else. Anywhere else in fact, and because the true-sec change should only affect sites like Sanctums and Havens, other things like PI, mining, and trade are left untouched. It should also be noted that because Cloud Ring is at the inner edge of NULL, strategic operations are easier to carry out simply because more systems can be traversed by a single titan bridge.

These folk have great difficulty accessing hi-sec easily. As such, the market depends largely on the residents. For the opposing reasons as Cloud Ring, despite the increased ratting potential, heavy industry and trade must be plied out there. Admittedly, this region lies close to NPC null sec, where those booted from Alliance null-sec go, so there is little shortage in the way of raiding parties. In addition, because of how spread out systems are in this region, strategic operations of any consequence are difficult to show up for unless those operations are also in Fountain. Given the above factors, life in Fountain is harder than Cloud Ring, and all for the better bounties on rats, but perhaps it feels less controlled than Cloud Ring.

So what's the overall effect? Well, it would appear that while each has advantages in different areas, neither is truly better than the other. It seems that the proposed changes won't do anything to make differing areas of NULL more or less valuable, because CCP has neglected strategic considerations of each type of space. In the proposed changes, only ratting is affected, and as such, CCP'sISK will make a switch to any other form of ISK farming, and life goes on.

But is the change so bad? My opinion is that those whining about it are all suffering from bitter vet syndrome. Every time CCP proposes a change, I read floods of blog entries about how this change and that change will negatively affect the game, causing people to leave the game forever. Since when did status-quo ever become acceptable? There is an answer in fact: status-quo became acceptable when you were on top as long as the status-quo was kept. Change, however small, threatens this.

Especially when it comes to "bittervets" change is good, even if it thrown out in a haphazard fashion, as long as it is small such as in this fashion with the true-sec Sanctum/Haven generation. Such changes force evolution for the fight for dominance, whether it be the market, PvP, or simply making ISK. Even more importantly, such changes keep the game interesting. It has been proven time and time again that intermittent reinforcement drives addiction, and it's also quite obvious that a game that evolves remains fun while unchanging games die out. It should be noted that changing the rules in a game gives intermittent reinforcement in the way that it allows the player to master the rules, thus be rewarded, before having the rug pulled out from under him, thus punishing the player. This is the heart of intermittent reinforcement, down which road lies addiction.

Because EVE is a massive game built on rules, unexpected and often hampering results come from even the smallest changes. It is a fact that every program has holes that be exploited or just accidentally fallen into. The exploits are often called what they are, but the other side of it is bugs. It is therefore no secret that no program is perfect, and as such, as a program grows, it becomes more and more deformed, until it reaches a point where it simply unmaintainable.

This was a rather long-winded post about why this change is good, doesn't matter, and people who've been playing the game for a long time should stop seeing any change as an impediment, but rather as an opportunity. Every change enacts to keep them in the game, and if a game were to stop changing, well, there is only so far any person can go in an unchanging world. Stagnation breeds death, and while I'll admit that Greyscale has been looking like a total dumbass over and over, there can be no dispute that the ongoing changes present new challenges to be dealt with which work to help the player keep playing a game he/she loves to play.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Recovering from CBD

It's been a long time since there was relative peace like this anywhere in my home regions of Cloud Ring or Fountain. Since arriving, it's been almost non-stop combat, day in day out. It's times like these that give me a chance to get away from it all, make some ISK, and ... well actually, just make some ISK. The timing couldn't be better, as the white coats have diagnosed me with CBD: Combat Burnout Disorder.

Entry from EVE: A History of Medical Disorders
---CBD, also known as Combat Burnout Disorder, manifests when a pilot has been spending too much time blowing other people up and not enough time making ISK. Symptoms typically include a small wallet, lack of sex, not enough bullets, damaged ships, too much testosterone, and burns on the edges of terminals on the capsuleer. Recommended treatment is an abundance of sex, hours of ratting, some PI (but not too much), buying more bullets, and childrens' cartoons (this one is for laughter, which aids in the healing process). 

Given the above which was presented to me by the doctors, I've taken up some of this action already, namely the ratting, some PI, bullet purchases, and childrens' cartoons. I have a rendezvous with Anjali much later tonight for some romance and wild crazy monkey sex. It's been a while since we last met, and given she is often the only other person in Daran, there is no doubt she could use the therapy as much as myself.

PI is going relatively well for me. I'm cranking out 90 units an hour most days, but not all days. My planets sometimes produce a lot of Toxic Metals, sometimes not so much, and that is unfortunately the limiting factor. With Command Centers 5, I could without a doubt crank out 150 units a day tops, but to do so, I'd need a Plasma Planet nearby from which to extract more raw materials. This all said however, 90 units a day is 12 million a day for how much I sell it for, and it requires very little time.

Ratting in Fountain is sometimes great, sometimes not. I try to chain the belts, but it's difficult when the other ratters aren't. If all the belts are chained, I can make 12 million ISK a tick (20 minutes) from smashing the belts. If they aren't chained, it can vary greatly, from 0 to 7 million, which largely depends on how many ratters are in the same area. That said, I made quite a large chunk of ISK yesterday, and if I didn't already have a spare Scimitar, I'd be buying one right now.

Childrens' cartoons from old Earth, specifically the Yugi-oh brand, are awesome. It's not that the action is awesome, or the storyline deep and complex, but more extremely comical in how intense and dramatic and broken everything is in this card game the kids play. If I'm not laughing at it, I'm at least usually enjoying myself.

As for new ships and damaged ones, the damaged ones have been repaired, and I've got a new ship I'm training for, with an intermediary in between. I am training for the Tengu, with the Drake as a middle step. Before I buy and fit a Tengu, I want to train my missile skills quite high. Once that is done, I will fly the Drake in places like Sanctums and Havens, to increase ISK gain over current while skilling up some more. Eventually, Caldari Cruiser V will finish, and I'll simply need to crank out the subsystem skills, buy the hull, fit it out, and go make 15-30 million a tick in Sanctums and Havens. My path to training Tengu will also give me access to the Basilisk, another Logistics ship, one best used in large fleet engagements (while my Scimitars work better pound for pound in small gang combat).

So what's the total time to completion? Perhaps a month and a half. I'm not entirely sure on the figures, but I've every reason to believe that the Loki is not as good as the Tengu for ratting, and to be honest, I'd like to not have to run the Serpentis down with MWDs and Autocannons before killing them. Guristas are only a short step behind that, as I'll be fitting the Tengu to be super-jam resistant while still maintaining good damage and excellent shield tank. In addition, training Tengu will give me options for Hurricane combat capabilities and additional passive tank abilities I would not otherwise achieve.

Ah, Anjali's on the comms, I'd better get going ;)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Curse of Implants ( & why learning implants may be useless)

In the last 2 days I've suffered two ship losses and one podding.

The first ship loss came with my previous log entry. In that cluster**** of a logistics operation, I lost my Scimitar. I wasn't and am not really fazed about that, as the SRF will get me a new Scimitar sooner or later (or at least pay me the ISK, 150 million). 

The second loss came yesterday. This tale has a twist however...several twists leading to the ultimate conclusion actually, and we'll get there, I promise.

I was browsing the contracts in Fatal Ascension regions of space, looking for good or firesale deals, and came across a beautiful one. The contract in question was a Scimitar, fully fitted. Normally speaking, such vessels of salvation run 150 million ISK for the hull alone, and that is if any are to be found on any of the 3 markets in question (Fountain, Pure Blind, Cloud Ring). The full fit then costs roughly 50-60 million depending on the intensity of market PvP in the area. This puts the total value at roughly 200-210 million ISK for a Scimitar.

Via scouring the contracts, I had come across a fully fit Scimitar for 145 million ISK. Not only was it less than the price of the hull, but almost 60-70 million ISK less than the full fit. However, I had a problem: my wallet had never been large, even before moving to null space, and at the time, it only stood at 169 million ISK because of a Serpentis Sanctum I had cleared the day before (extremely slowly) in my Maelstrom.

I decided to sleep on it, and promptly went to sleep.

5 hours later, I woke up, decided it was too good a deal to pass up, and acquired the item for 145 million ISK. Fully fit, I got the insurance for another 10-15 million ISK (I forget exactly what it cost for Platinum Insurance). My wallet was suffering greatly at this, nigh on empty with only a few millions left. I needed some ISK, fast...

I boarded a Rifter and traversed the 11 jump pipe out to V6, where I base when in Fountain, pulled out the Hurricane I had on loan from Ranger, made two jumps to R-B, and went to work crushing Serpentis battleships. I found myself warping in and out, stunned at how much damage I was taking compared to what I remembered, finding easy ISK via ratting much less easy than before. It didn't take long to realize that I needed to finally add some resistance rigs to the thing (it was unrigged), but the only proper rigs available were in PNQY, back the way I came 11 jumps!

Seeing a golden opportunity, and just cresting 12 million ISK in my wallet at that point, I boarded my Hound, tossed the Officer and Serpentis loot I had acquired roughly a month ago into the hold, and made the trip back to PNQY. From there, it was another 11 jumps to Jita, much of which was uneventful except for a gatecamp in Kinnaka (to pirate hi-sec traffic into low, not the other way around) where I saw a friendly Machariel getting ganked by pirates.

Once in Jita, I attempted to set up contract for Brynn Jerdola's Modified Tracking Computer, only to find that I couldn't afford to set up the contract. Frustrated, I managed to sell one of my Serpentis modules for 50 million ISK, letting me set up an auction on the Tracking Computer, starting at 775 million ISK and buying out at 800 million ISK. I felt this was fair, as traders could make an easy 25-125 million while not robbing me at 400 million ISK for the module.

50 millions richer and an auction outstanding, I made another uneventful trip to PNQY, bought the rigs, then jumped into the next system on my way to V6.

The journey had tired me, and I had forgotten to check the intel channels, and found myself in a Nulli Secunda bubble camp. I aligned at something, hit the cloak and the afterburner, and tried to get away, only to get decloaked still in the bubble and tackled by an interceptor. My Hound exploded within 10 seconds, and my capsule followed shortly after. (Is it really necessary to link the killmail? Just take my word for it that it was a 30 man gang reported on intel that wiped me out.)

Twists and turns complete, we arrive at the moral of the story. Before, when I had no implants, I was invincible. Nothing and no one could catch me or kill me (although they could put me into structure, f**k yeah). Since getting implants roughly a week ago, I suffered the loss of a Scimitar, a Hound, a few (2 mil total value) shield rigs, and approximately 50 million in learning implants.

What did I gain? -100 million isk, -2 ships, -4 learning implants and several cheaper hardwirings, -4 shield rigs.

What did I learn? Learning implants are scratching mere hours off of my training times, and implants cause me to get podded and blown up ( I HAVE MY PRIORITIES STRAIGHT!). 2 of the learning implants were un-utilized, those being intelligence and memory, while the other 2 were barely working since I am maximally specced in Perception and Willpower. So, why get them at all?


Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Importance of Fleet Discipline

Today we had a CTA for Fatal Ascension. It didn't go well by any means.

Some fun yet irrelevant stuff involving a massive gatecamp occurred up to the point of interest, so let me summarize it by saying that we camped a gate HARDCORE and smashed everything except for 1 Rapier that got by.

Now to the point of interest:

Rooks and Kings had a Rapier in system. On the other side of our gate (which was high sec on the other side), a Rokh was sitting idly by until our freighters jumped in. Said Rokh jumped in, and after said Rokh drew the fleet fire, the Rapier decloaked and lit a cyno, the cheeky bastard.

R&K filled the field with close range battleships, a pack of guardians, and two Archons which were triaged for repping. They wiped out two Freighters, we wiped out both Carriers, and they destroyed a good chunk our fleet while we were unable to beat them off.

Now, our fleet, not including the freighters, numbered roughly 100. R&K numbered about 50. They took far fewer losses than us. We had to leave to get help because we had lost so many ships.

So what happened? Several things, but let's list them:
1) We were suckered.
2) Pilots were confused by apparently having two FC's (I believe one was cap FC, one was sub-cap FC)
3) Pilots did not focus down the primaries, but instead tried to killmail whore. This is evident in the fact that the only killmail more than half the fleet was on was a carrier.
4) The CTA called for close range fit ships. Almost every ship brought was artillery fit.

Of the above, the causes of death are clearly ranked this way: 3241

First, if you are a DPS boat for a fleet, you are expected to target the primary. Sure, it's not as glorious as getting killmails, on the other hand, things like our CTA won't happen either, where a smaller and definitely evenly teched fleet destroys the bigger one. 

Second, if a fleet must have more than 1 FC, as in our case, time is critical, and each section needs to have its own comms, with the FCs coordinating. I realize that this can be very difficult, as the FC must make decisions while listening for another FC while listening to his fleet, but then again, this is what the FC must do because, well, he's the FC.

Third, if an operation calls for target painters and drakes, you don't bring Blaster boats with Huginns. If the op is most likely to devolve into a knife fight, don't bring a sniper rifle. Even so, with our numbers, we still should have easily alpha'd any primary target, had that target indeed been primaried by the fleet.

Fourth, getting hotdropped happens, and this is no different. The hotdrop created a combat opportunity and played no role in the loss of our fleet except in generating the combat situation.

I would link the battle report, but I can't find the battle report to lay out the final figures. Maybe in the future?


Addendum: 3/21

I just watched the recording of the battle, and they outright wiped the floor with us. Despite having 1/3 the manpower, they wiped us out. Their fleet discipline far outmatched ours, and as a result they were able to destroy us because too many of our pilots were attempting be the final blow on killmails.

When did being the final blow on a killmail become more important than saving billions of ISK?

Why did the fleet completely lose control when presented with a target, not even thinking about why it was being attacked?

I think the answer, while blindingly obvious, displays a deeper problem. The answer is lack of discipline. The underlying problem, however, has to do with leadership.

Recently, the alliance has been kicking out corporations. I am not privvy to details about what level of activity sets the bar for expulsion, but I get the feeling that the recent wave on corporation expulsions have driven individual members to show more activity. In small roams, this bloodlust seems to work out just fine since nothing is on the line except for the pilots' ships. However, in fleet operations, this works against the alliance. With bloodlust promoted, discipline becomes very hard to maintain during critical operations such as this, and the result is clear: billions of ISK lost by the alliance because of the fear it has promoted in kicking corporations out of the alliance.

For those corporations who lost freighters in the attack, they are out those billions, as many of the items destroyed and looted by Rooks and Kings were corporate funded, not alliance funded.

Monday, March 14, 2011

PI for PLEX Results

As promised so long ago, I have discovered if it is possible to support PLEX for one account via all 3 character slots running PI on one account. Please bear with me, as a detailed analysis will make this entry a little longer, but I don't want to miss vital information.

NULL SEC PI (single character):
Let's give some background:
Relevant Skills:
   *Command Center Upgrades 4
   *Planet Consolidation 4

Product: Enriched Uranium
Setup (1 day cycles): 
   *2 Barren Planets making Precious Metals
   *1 Lava Planet making Toxic Metals
   *1 Ice Planet making Toxic Metals
   *1 Barren Planet making Enriched Uranium (90 units/hour)

ISK/Unit of Enriched Uranium at market price : 

   90 units * 24 hours * 7 days * 6500 ISK/unit = 98.28 million ISK per week.

With the current setup, I had to invest roughly 25 million ISK to build this setup. Skills as they are, this is the max I can do with 1 day cycles on those extraction planets, and as is, my extraction planets still produce more than my processor planet can handle. With Command Center Upgrades 5, I believe I could crank out 130 units/hour on my processor planet, and with Planet Consolidation 5, I believe I could actually make 260 units/hour, although I would need to trade out my 1 day cycles for much shorter ones to keep constant production. So, if we keep 1 day cycles, let's assume we make 200 units/hour across two processor planets.

   *Command Center Upgrades 5
   *Planet Consolidation 5

   *+1 Processor Planet (total 200 units/hour)

   *Previous payout * 200/90 = 218.4 million ISK per week.

Monthly Payout: 393.12 million, 873.6 million

LOW SEC PI (single Character):
I have 1 alt, Anjali Subranni, out in Amarr low sec. She actually has 1 Plasma planet to produce Uranium from. I have not achieved the same setup as Truen1ght for varying reasons which I won't go into. However, this analysis need not go very far given the previous analysis.

I've noticed that low-sec raw materials are roughly half to 3/4 of those in null sec. This said, even with the exact same setup, we can easily expect payouts to be at least roughly half of those of the null sec PI manager.

Payout for Level 4 (relevant) PI Skills: 49.14  million ISK per week
Payout for Level 5 (relevant) PI Skills: 109.2 million ISK per week
Monthly Payouts: 196.56 million, 436.8 million 

EMPIRE PI (single character):
Given what I've heard from a friend with good PI skills, he barely makes money with PI in EMPIRE. That said, we'll ignore EMPIRE PI as a means for any real ISK gains, and more as a curiosity for people with rocks to suck.

If a person can get even one character into null sec, and run PI with maximum (relevant) skills, it can be expected that the real life player will make roughly 873.6 ISK per month. A quick browse through google shows a median selling price of PLEX at (and let's be generous so that you need not scour EMPIRE for the best price) 350 million ISK. This leaves the player with about 523.6 million ISK surplus every month with which to indulge himself. Total maintenance time cost should be about 20 minutes a day per character (less on some days, more on others, this is an average), so roughly 2 hours per week per character. Total training queue time cost however comes in at approximately 1 month - 1.5 months, mostly devoted to PI, but also somewhat devoted to industrial ship skills.

If a person can get one character into low-sec, with a proper setup and the right planets, said player can generate a little more than half (but let's be lazy and just say half) than what the null sec PI manager does. In the previous iteration of this analysis, the numbers were not quite accurate, and a PLEX was not possible through this solely off of PI. However, given this iteration, the player with half the raw materials but the same setup as the null sec player can make 436.8 million ISK per month, leaving the player with 100 or so million ISK a month with which to indulge himself.

However, even if a person uses a single character in EMPIRE for PI, well, let's just say 1-2 hours of ratting in a Hurricane smashing the belts nets the same profit in the worst case, and that's not saying alot (20-40 million ISK). As such, EMPIRE PI is not my recommendation for anything except to reduce POS operating costs in EMPIRE for production, which is likely the main cash cow anyways.

Please note however that each level 4 planet cost me roughly 6 million to setup. I do not know how much a level 5 planet costs to setup, but if we assume 8 million, then at the very least, the total investment (6 planets, level 5 Command Centers) in starting isk is roughly 50 million ISK. Unless you have the ISK before starting, you will need to work your way up to that level to achieve maximum gains.

Single character analysis complete, the 3 account analysis will be rather quick:

Level 4 Payouts:
   3 null characters: 1179.36 million = 1.17936 billion
   3 low characters: 589.68 million

Level 5 Payouts:
  3 null characters: 2.6208 billion
  3 low characters: 1.3104 billion

It should be noted for those reading this that this ISK is not guaranteed. These are solely the value of the product (enriched uranium) that is being produced. I think in null sec that this will actually mostly, if not entirely, turn into the ISK stated above. For low-sec and null sec, I cannot be sure because I do not understand how much demand there actually is for low-sec and EMPIRE space. However, since you are producing purely enriched uranium, if you spread out your supply, across the trade hubs (Amarr, Rens, Dodixie, Jita, Hek, Oursulaert, etc), you are more likely to make ISK while not crashing the uranium market while at the same time undercutting every other seller at those hubs).

Since as low-sec PI managers, we will be more worried about crashing/flooding the market, and I believe the answer lies in diversifying products. It would most likely be best for the low-sec manager to make some uranium, some coolant, etc etc, to avoid a) crashing/flooding markets and b) flying to more than one trade hub c) severe time involvement, which defeats the point of PI in the first place.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Learning Achieved!

Anjali made her way into low-sec today and set up shop!

On her first trip in, she carelessly jumped into Ami with a fully (as much as possible) tech 2 fit Punisher. As we all know, it got ANNIHILATED rather quickly, leaving her down some number of millions of ISK. This time, she decided to check it out in her pod.

Why the pod?

Several reasons: 
1) The pod is VERY fast to warp, very hard to lock onto except in the case of interceptors.
2) Previous experience showed no interceptors were used, but rather a Sensor Boosted Phobos
3) She has no implants, so clone replacement is stupidly cheaper than ship replacement.

This reasoned out, let's rejoin Anjali on her move into low-sec.

Having jumped into Ami, she noticed a Sensor Boosted Phobos jump in behind her. Not worried about it, she warped to Daran, where the local population was rather low to say the least. To her, it appeared as though Ami was the only real active system, and mostly for gatecamping. Seeing this, Anjali turned right around, grabbed her Sigil with the two Temperate Command Centers, and went back to Daran. The Phobos made no attempt to target Anjali as she left Ami, but she locked him and prepped her ECM Multispecs just in case.

There was no resistance, and she slid into Daran. Without delay, she planted her 3 Command Centers (1 of which she had to pick up from a station) and redocked to set up the planets for PI. Overall, her idea is to make money with PI to supplement her pirating activities.

I myself am somewhat proud. With only a little bit of startup capital, all of which was made in the space of 4 hours of ratting on my part, she was able to get set up and going with only the 1 loss. That said, she's agreed to supplement my income for when she isn't replacing ships, as repayment for making her a capsuleer and for helping her get new life going. She has requested however that I hire on an additional employee to help facilitate her ship replacements as she plans on going outlaw as soon as possible. This new employee will also be able to cart her low-sec PI goods into the nearby trade hub of Amarr for easy selling.

What do I get out of it? Nothing major, except the ability for someone to move my stuff around high-sec when I can't be, and even more time sucked out of my training bandwidth. I feel however, that this might be a good thing, as I can fly quite a few Minmatar ships already, and flying the other racial ships would mostly be a matter of learning the other weapons systems and basic hull properties.

That said, I wasn't and still am not sure who I'll hire...I'm gonna have to interview quite a few planet dwellers before I find someone suitable to the task, preferably someone uninterested in becoming a combat pilot.

A Lesson that Needed Learning

Yesterday Anjali decided to make her move into low-sec, more specifically, Ami then Daran. Hopping into her Punisher, she warped to the Ami gate and jumped in without delay.

On the other side, she found a gatecamp, which consisted of largely tech 2 cruisers and tech 1 battleships of varying races. She held cloak for a short minute, making sure there were no interceptors around, and deciding what to do before making her move.

She initiated warp to Daran, and was warp disrupted before she could manage to make warp. No chance of warping away, she attempted a gatecrash, and failed to make that as well. As her ship crumpled, she started spamming "warp to station" commands knowing she would soon be defenseless in her pod.

Total time elapsed: 10 seconds.

After warping to the station, she warped back to the gate she had entered from and jumped back into high security space. All of her ships were there after all. She'd be needing to be able to fly them before settling down in low-sec. She logged off after that to cool her jets and give it another try another time. There's going to be a window for her eventually right?

Lessons learned? 
1) Check system information for gateway systems into low-sec to determine if you stand a decent chance of avoiding gatecamps. This can be done via CONCORD provided info or via DOTLAN.
2) Gate crash first, reattempt low-sec entry at another time. In this case, it likely would have saved her Punisher, which was MWD fit, because AB Punishers are just too slow to be of real use.