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Thursday, July 31, 2008

0.0 and observations from affar

As most of you know (at least if you read this blog you bloody well should), my alliance is currently a little short of PvP pilots. Not that some of us can't AC/DC but I need more. That being the case I'm kinda stuck up here in hi-sec for the foreseeable future. This is not to say I don't maintain contacts in the 0.0 PvP world. I do. One of my good friends started playing eve (my fault, yea I know). But coming from the gaming background of Quake and such things, and not being into the crafting side of things, it was prety evident to me what type of pilot he was going to be happiest as. Minmatar combat build heading straight for the Vagabond.

Even with the upcoming speed nerf, I suspect that the whine bunnies are over-reacting and we'll endup with the Vaga as the only remaining "nano-able" cruiser. So in the long run I'm not too worried about his surviving the upcoming nerf.

When he was a newbie and had just gotten his feet under him, I pointed him in the direction of a pure PvP alliance down in 0.0. Although there have been some rought spots along the way the result is that he's definitly a 0.0 PvP pilot. Now that he can fly interceptors he's happy as a pig in mud. At 6mil SP. One of the things we arranged was that once he got the setup to his favorite T1 ships ironed out, I would supply him with some BPCs of the ships and all the modules and the ammo he uses. This ensured that no matter what happend with the supply situation in 0.0 he'd never be without the ability to be self sufficient in T1 combat ships. The wisdom of the move has proven itself out with time. There have been occasions where he's been able to supply Rifters and Stabbers to other much more experienced pilots when those pilots ran out of their usual ships. Although he's now starting to fly T2 ships, he'll never be without a reserve of ships to throw at situations and with a bit of 0.0 ratting he'll be able to keep going indefinitly.

What I'm trying to point out is that no matter what the promises of the corp you join, or the situation when you start, 0.0 is not hi-sec. There are a lot of areas where you can get cut-off from supplies of hulls, modules and ammo to use. If you don't prepare ahead of time to handle the situation you could get caught out without any recourse but to go beg from your corp/alliance mates. And they may have their own problems or they may not fly the ships you fly. Also the more experienced pilots definitly forget the limitations of starting pilots. So they may not be even able to support you if you run into this type of trouble.

On the other hands, ratting in 0.0 provides oodles of meltable loot. Being able to convert that into flyable ships yourself makes you logisticaly independent. There is also the added advantage that if you need to move you can have all your spare stuff melted, setup a contract to move the mins by your corp's jump freighter and re-build your reserves at destination. Or just sell the mins on the local market and move a few ships instead of a whole fleet and rat at the destinanation. BPC's are cheap and easy to move. And if you loose them they are much easier to get shipped down from high sec than entire ships and GSC's worth of modules.

This is why I stated in a prior post that even PvP newbies should learn how to manufacture things. Sure you're never going to be as efficient as an industrialist (well at least till you've played the game for 5 years). But being able to get yourself back on your feet after a setback will make you a more valuable pilot to your corp/alliance.

Updating the blog layout a bit

Not much happened last night. More of my newbies getting in trouble. More of my experienced pilots chasing after the war target. Same old same old.

Took the opportunity to mess with the layout of my blog a bit, I really need to get a good pic for the header - probably something with a Prowler in it (man I love that ship). I'll see what I can do this weekend.

I'll need to go over the other eve blogs I actually do read and put them in my list.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

EvE and it's Industrial System (Intro to)

I did not have a lot of time to work on things last night. Too busy having friends over stuff like that (Yes I know, an MMO player with a life outside the game - rare indeed).

One of the reasons I like EvE's industrial system is that unlike a lot of crafting systems in MMOs, it does not assume that crafters need to be kept entertained while their stuff is manufactured. In fact with certain skills it's entirely possible to do all your crafting while mining away. Or during certain missions. Or managing a war-dec. There is also the fact that unlike other systems, the stuff you learn in the "early levels" is still applicable in the "end-game" levels. For example, I still regularly make Isk of the first BPO I ever bought. Ammo, it'll never go out of style.

In most other MMOs, once you learn a crafting recipe at level 10 you never again use the crafting recipe of level 1. Those early crafting recipes are just stepping stones. In EvE, with it's constant influx of newbies or pilots forming a frigate gang for a fast patrol, etc etc, there will always be a use for Tech 1 ammo. Of all stripes.

Mind you in a certain way this does make for a bit of a barrier to entry into the manufacturing world of eve. You're wondering "what does he mean?". There is no barrier to industry in eve in the "large" sense of the word. The rankest newbie and litteraly make enough isk in a half hour and get into manufacturing things out of the minerals he mines. Read on to see what I mean:

First get your rookie killing stuff. Dock up in your rookie ship, pop out the mining laser and the civilian gun. Get out of your ship (right click - leave ship). Trash your current ship (the one you're not in). Undock and redock as soon as you can. Because you are in a pod, and you're docking in a station that does not have a ship, you get a new free newbie ship. Swap out the mining laser for the gun you saved from your previous ship. You now have a 2 gun newbie ship. head to the nearest 0.8 system with lots o belts and go ratting. When you're cargo hold is full head back to the station. If you're in your faction's area the rats should drop quite a bit that's "usable", keep the stuff you plan on using for your upgraded ship. Sell the rest ruthlessly. Between the bounties and the loot sales, you should have enough isk to move forward. If you got lucky and got a copper tag, even better, these use to be pretty useless, but because of the mechanics of Faction Warfare, they are now worth quite a bit.

You should now have enough isk for your next step - your first and probably 2nd frigate. While you've been ratting you should hopefully have been paying attention to what skills you'll need for your plans for this(these) frigate(s). You should get: 1 combat frigate and 1 mining frigate. Your combat frigate is your isk maker. Your mining frigate is to allow you to get ore without having to buy it off the market and do some nice relaxing mining. So buy your frigates, equip them with modules you can use, train for modules you'd like to use. Take note of the ammo type you like for the guns you've equipped your combat frigate with. At this stage, forget about guns for your mining frigate. It will be mining in 0.9+ systems. Now it's time to find a home. Look for a system that's got a station, either in a 0.8 or a 0.7 system. Make sure that some 0.6-0.8 and also some 0.9-10.0 systems are nearby. Make sure this station has a base 50% yeald on it's refining. Make sure that there are some manufacturing slots on the industry tab of this station. This will be your home for a while as you learn the intricacies of industry. Move your ships there.

Now to prepare for your next step: Being able to independently supply your own ammo. The first thing you learn once you're out of your Rookie ships is that ammo costs. Not a lot, but it's an expense. Your initial choice is going to be to buy some off the market. In high sec you're blessed with an active market and ammo is readily available. But to make sure you're never without ammo it would be nice if you could make your own. Note that even with creating an industrial character the ammo has a good chance of being more expensive than what you can buy off the market. But it's independence we're going for here, not cost effectiveness (that comes later).

So you've looked at your combat ship, and chosen a likely ammo to use with it. Now what you do is you look at your local market and find the BPO for said ammo. Fastest way to do this is to use the search feature of the market and type in the ammo's name. When you hit return at least two of the options that show up will be the ammo and it's blueprint. Since you can't sell copies on the market, you know that it will be the original. Another clue to this is the fact that it's on sale for 364 days (since the max a player can put stuff up for is 90 days, this means it's an NPC selling it. There may be one or two available for under NPC prices or 1000 times the NPC price. The first are people who accidentaly bought one and are selling the spare they don't need at under market price. The other are scammers trying to catch you out. Be a chum and free up that sales slot on the guy who did his "oops", ignore the scammer.

Now that you have your BPO you need to know what to get to build your ammo. So you open your info window on your bpo and look under the bill of materials tab. This will tell you how much of each mineral you need to make a single run of this ammo. Note: a single run is 100 rounds except for laser crystals. So if you want to make 5000 rounds you'll need to make 50 runs. 5000 should give you a good reserve for lots of ratting and eventualy mission running. So you multiply each mineral quantity by 50 and that's how much of each mineral you need. Depending on your ammo, you'll probalby need Tritanium and Scordite and maybe even some other mineral in lesser quanity. There are many ways to get the necessary minerals. You can mine the right ores and refine them into minerals (with some losses and some taken in refining tax). You can reprocess existing spare modules (again with some losses). You can buy the minerals straight off the market. You could buy the ore straight off the market and refine that.

This mini guide will assume you're trying to get the entire process down pat. So you take your mining ship out and go to 0.9 system and mine some Veldspar and some Scordite. Named Veldpar and named Scordite are just like the un-named variety in what they produce, they just have higher concentrations of minerals per m3. So after a few trips to the belt you should have enough to refine of the ore you've been mining. Do so. If you don't have enough minerals, back to the roid mines you go. For the more "advanced" minerals you may need to go to riskier areas of space or simply rat and melt modules (check the info and attributes tab of any modules that drops - if it has a metalevel entry above 1 - sell or keep it don't melt it). Or you can try to ninja mine in lower security belts (don't go below 0.5 for now). In high sec space you should be able to get Tritanium, Pyerite, Mexallon, Isogen and a little bit of Nocxium depending on what area of space you're in. For the others you'll need to either buy them off the market or get them by melting loot. Once you have enough of each mineral you need to make the ammo, you get your minerals, your BPO and yourself to your station with the production line. Put all of this in your hangar. Right click the bpo and choose "manufacture". This will pop up a window where you'll have to choose which production line to use (hopefully one that's available "now"). Indicate the number of runs you want (50 in this case) and hit the manufacture button. it will show you a list of all minerals needed. If any are in red then you don't have sufficient of that mineral - back to the mines, ratting or the market you go. If they are all white, you will see an accept button and a cost to manufacture as well as the amount of time it will take to run your job. Hit accept and go do something for a while. More ratting, more mining and or the dishes - your choice. At some point after the necessary amount of time has passed, you can go back to that station and go to the industry window, hit the "jobs" tab, get the list and see if it's ready for delivery. If not, keep ratting and come back when it's ready (whatched pot and all). If so, select it. A delivery button pops up. Push it and a stack of freshly squeezed ammo shows up in your hangar. Ooooo, shiny. You also get your BPO back, so with more minerals you can make even more ammo.

Congradulations it will now be very hard for you to ever run out of ammo, since even if you loose everything else, so long as you have that BPO you can always get in a rookie ship and go mine enough minerals to repeat the process. Or kill things to get in a ship what will eventualy allow you to get your minerals faster.

Now for the bad news: It would have been faster and (for the value of the minerals involved) cheaper to simply buy the ammo off the market. You're going to go "but why?". And the reason is as follows: Notice when you got your ore and turned it into minerals? You lost some of the minerals to refining waste and the npc corp took a cut as a fee for letting you use their facilities. More advanced pilots have skills that can reduce both these losses to 0. Same deal for melting modules. Notice your Bill of Materials? Well unless you rolled a char with some Production Efficiency skill or unless you went to the contract market and picked up a researched BPO, the amount of materials necessary can be up to 35% more than a more advanced character would use. This means that even if you and a more experience manufacturer both buy your minerals off the market, you ammo will cost you 35% more to make than his will. So either you have to put it up much higher (it'll sell slower) or you will be makeing a much smaller profit.

The thing you're going to realize very quickly is that the EvE economy is VERY efficient. You aren't. With very occasional exceptions, you just aren't going to be competitive out of the box with guys who've been around for a while. Do not let this discourage you. There are other reasons to learn how to do this. The first is to understand how it works. Then there is future planning on what you want to be able to do. This will help guide you thru some of the skills you may want to aquire to be able to accomplish your goals. Also if you're outside a hub you can usualy mark up your prices quite a bit. To the point where even with your in-efficiency it's profitable for you. You can work on making part of the process efficient and use other pilots in the corp you're in who are efficient in other parts of the process. etc... etc... etc...

In a future blog I'll go into one of the reasons even PvP newbies should learn how to do this, especialy as it relates to surviving in 0.0 space.

I'll also see what I can do about adding pictures to this post when I'm acutaly with the game nearby.

Monday, July 28, 2008

*sigh* there's always one

One of the more annoying things about being in charge of a high sec alliance is the way people don't listen to you when you say "Watch local and use your buddy list". One of my pilots just had a hard lesson in PvP. A totally avoidable loss of a sisters scan launcher. The opponent's corp is down to a one man corp - probably using his alt as a scout. Still flying in a Tristan. But he keeps moving and he's avoiding our better pilots quite handily.

My PvE pilots still don't get that if the enemy is flying a frigate and is avoiding engagement you don't bring a Drake....

/me knocks his head against the wall...

The rest of us are in Assault frigates and such. Note to self - get into interceptors before the next war....

Interestingly my earlier work on getting into AF's is proving to be prophetic whenever we get into a war, those who pushed on to BS and BC for mission running are proving not to have any chance against faster nibler opponents we most often fight in these high sec wars, not to mention they have totaly the wrong fit for any real PvP battles on their usual ships... My income may be gimped compared to a pure mission runner but at least I'm not just a fat target whenever a war comes arround.

Let this be a lesson: Don't neglect the frigates no matter what you end up flying.

Weird ass weekend

And once again life in eve goes strange. We got wardec'ed. By a 2 man corp. I can tell this is going to be annoying. So far it does not look like a ruse de guerre but...

Ah well he'll provide an annoying distraction to those who like to PvP and hopefully get us organized. He seems to bop around a lot. So far we haven't seen hide nor hair of the 2nd guy in his corp. I assume an alt. Time will tell

Meanwhile the projects progress. I only have the Dominix left to sell from the 2nd project, most of the construction budget for the 3rd project is distributed to the parties involved. So, we're underway.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'm not sure you grasp the situation

There are quite a few times that I'm asked why I don't have a list of BPOs that I own posted somewhere... I think a bit of work with photoshop will explain the situation so that even the most dense can grasp it:

Letrange's BPO Collection

To make it clear, that's my current BPO collection minus what's in research (about 15 more bpos). I had to take 4 screen shots and stitch them together to get that composite image.

There are still a few things to add to it. I still need to get 8 of the missing cruiser BPOs, I still need some of the more expensive and essoteric modules like cyno modules, the rest of the gang modules, the BPO for that nanite paste (I think there's one), The hurricane bpo, the T1 cloak. Basicaly any T1 module that is usable in a battleship or smaller hull and ammo for same, module wise. Hull wise all cruisers and bellow, and Minmatar battle cruisers and eventualy Minmatar battleships

I figure once I get that I'll be set with my high sec research corp for making copies both for use in low sec/0.0 and for T2 manufacture. The rest of the alliance can handle the other battle cruisers and battleships and capital components. Hard to say whether I'm crazy like a fox or just plain crazy....

In other news we managed to raise the necessary funds for the next alliance project withing 13h 30min of the start of investment raising. We did no even get to the "unlimited investment phase". The first phase was limited to 100mil per investor so that one or two people didn't just buy out the investment at the start. The Megathron BPO is purchased and safely researching from it's station. Now we just need to allocate the existing BPCs with construction budgets and get the ball rolling.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Threadnought in progress

For all of those interested, a Threadnought is in progress:

This is the long awaited "Nano Nerf". It should reach a few hundred pages in short order.

Getting ready for investors

Even though this is not a full blown IPO, a la Market Discussions forum, there is still a lot of preparations that go into getting a major project underway. Over the last 2 days, I've:
  1. Made sure the currently free alt was available to form the new alt corp necessary for the share creation and distribution
  2. Transferred 5mil Isk to him as seed Isk to form the corporation and get things setup
  3. Created the new corporation: AMC Financial [AMC F]
  4. Proposed and voted on the creation of an additional 350 shares (necessary to reach the proposed 1.35 billion in investment at 1 mil Isk a share
  5. Applied to join AMC (in reality not absolutely necessary but it does make the investors think of the corp as part of the alliance)
  6. Approved the application
  7. Implemented the share creation vote.
  8. Sent off the 5 shares to my main to cover the seed investment
  9. Invested a bit more as I needed the isk for the purchase of the existing BPCs from the AMC Domi Project.
  10. Purchased said BPCs (so that when the dividend distribution on the domi project that handles the Isk from the BPO sale goes through, all that's left is the sale of any BS on the market).
  11. Come to the realization that the initial BPC purchase budget assumed price of 150k per BPC and our changes to 450k per BPC.
Well you get the idea. I'm not about to change the initialy set budgets at this late date, but I will use the spare isk in the BPO budget (it was set to handle the most expensive Tier 2 BS BPO purchase) temporarely until the first few sales profits allows me to shore up the budgets properly.

The rest of my time was spent killing off the first room of the mission I've still got going (It's good till the 30th) and mining out some Omber, Scordite and Veldspar. I suspect I won't have time to mine it out tomorrow since that's when the tsunami of isk will be flowing into the alt corp and I'll become horribly busy. Mind you, it's a relaxing hour and a half getting those 4 cans (works out to about 51% omber, 33% veldspar and 16% scordite by volume). So I'm slowly stoking up my personal mineral reserve for when the corp or the project needs the minerals.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Things are moving again

Well all the planing and forum posting is done. I finally got off my ass and nailed down how the next alliance project is going to work, it's budget and startup schedule as well (crap need to create the finance corp tomorrow night before 8:00pm).

In other news, I finished melting all of my T1 module reserve and most of my ammo reserve. Useful in that it gave me about 2 BS worth of minerals in personal reserve. I've also gotten fully back in to the cruiser game as far as my corp manufacture goes so all is well there. The upswing in corp income is very very noticeable. I'll have to make a decision at some point whether to invest in corp BPOs at the cruiser level or to have my corp buy out my POS ownership slowly but surely. I"m actually thinking the later may be the way to go as one day I'd be able to sell the corporation and it's assets as a unit. It would certainly free up some iskies to work on my personal BPO collection (which is independent of the corps).

I'm of course still solidly in the "get all my generic combat skills to level 4 before moving on" stage. One of the problems with eve in mid life (I'm at 20mil SP now) is that you realize that you realy should get your basic skills at least to level 4 at some point before moving on.

Currently of course I'm still in the middle of working on Leasure as my next NPC corp to 6.7 standing. This gets regularely interrupted as I get missions I can actually repeatedly mine out. This makes for greatly relaxing mining as most griefers go hassle newbs who are liable to react and are easier to find in belts. Still stuck on level 3's one of these days I realy need to get my mission running skills up to BS level...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Been a while - but it's been good

Been a bit of a roller coaster ride for the alliance lately, but on a personal level it's been pretty good. First the alliance:

We've acquired a new corporation: Ace Adventure Corp [ACEAC]. They similar to ourselves ended up at loose ends thanks to PvP guys in charge of the alliance wanting to go pure PvP. Only difference is I ended up with the alliance instead of getting kicked out.

Meanwhile the rest of the corps have been having the usual losses in personnel over the summer. Sometimes permanent, sometimes summer based. So it's been a little rough on that level. Haven't seen doc in a bit but we're surviving.

I really need to get off my ass and get together on forming the next project. Kinda difficult since I'm still trying to come up with methods and operating procedures to keep it working in the long run. Integrate it with the bank, establish procedures for the bank etc... We'll see what I come up with over the 2nd half of my vacation.

On to the personal front:

The hulk has resulted in an immediate upswing in my personal income. The only reason I've actually sold any minerals on the market is that I did not feel like going back to get the last little bit. I've normalized my hull reserve over in Uttindar. I'm running missions for Leisure. The BS sales have stalled a bit, I may need to lower the price ; ;. Ah well. On the flip side I'm about to get back into the cruiser manufacture at the corp level - using BPCs. So my mineral bank should start seeing some thru-put and bring it closer to the market. Plus I'll be able to sell my own mins to the corp more often.