Sunday, November 3, 2013

Newbies in Lowsec

Last time I said something about writing down pvp related things. I have not really done this mostly due to apathy, work, and not really having a chance to log into eve and such. That being said, this post isn't exactly pvp related but it's interesting and pretty technical.

I was recently talking with Sugar Kyle and she brought up that someone asked her "What isk per hour is acceptable for a new player?" in regards to a newbie trying to live in lowsec. This caused me to go on a bit of a rant as to how that question is idiotic and why. Basically it depends entirely on what the player is doing: mining isn't going to make as much as orbiting buttons in faction war. If hes scamming or robbing people he could be more or less successful with that as an income source, maybe hes doing market stuff who knows.

The point is that sp and isk investment only decides how well you can do something, and has no bearing on if something is worth doing or not. To see if something is worth doing or not you have to find a comparison in another area of space and weigh the advantages and disadvantages against each other. For example, a new player in lowsec will lose ships, but lowsec missions don't pay enough compared to hisec missions as a new player to pay back for those lost ships. Therefor lowsec missions are not worth doing as a new player. This ofcourse changes when you have more sp and such that you can blitz said missions in lowsec and actually make this potentially viable income.

The main problem is that there is no scaling. You either have x amount of sp/isk investment to make it worth doing or you can't do it at all basically. This is one of the big reasons it's so terrible to be a new player in non fw lowsec, there isn't any real viable income you can easily tap into. Oh and if you pvp a bunch, you can't go into hisec to get your income because of sec status. Missions need to be rebalanced to actually provide scaling and more frigate and cruiser level activities need to be available in both non fw lowsec and nullsec.

Now I'm not asking for the rest of low and null to be buffed to the level of fw, that would break eve horribly. What should happen is more activities are added in that give the income of a small or novice plex runner. This way I wouldn't bother doing it for income as an older player because it wouldn't be worth my time, but the new guy just getting t2 small guns would have a viable income source that he could use to resupply frigs and maybe a few cheap cruisers.

In my opinion people should be able to live in low and null even as new players, compare the income they get there to hisec and think "Why did I ever bother living there, it's so much more fun and profitable here in low/null". If people in hisec want to look at low/null and go "I might die if I go there I will instead stay here where it is safe with concord" then that's fine, but there's no reason they should have a comparable income.

Before anyone gets upset here's some easy numbers to understand: if plex are at 660m, you only need to make 22m isk a day to be able to afford one. Hisec shouldn't be complete trash and 40m an hour seems like something that can be accomplished there. That is less than 15 hours a month (about 30mins a day average) to be able to afford a plex in hisec.

I would love for the entire mission reward system to be rebalanced so it scaled better and gave significantly greater rewards in lowsec and nullsec. I would love it if lowsec anoms were a viable source of income for the amount of investment required to do them. Putting a tag rat spawn at the end of every lowsec anom and adding more frigate and cruiser level activities to low and nullsec would be amazing and really help new players feel useful and want to live in those areas since they have a viable income source that is worth doing.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Wormhole Stories

Someone by the name on Nightingale Actault waned my perspective on the wormhole thefts I've done. This person also wanted everything to have dates and such. So here it is.

After I had finished skilling my link alt into t3s, I had it learn orca and then applied to a wormhole corp that was advertising in recruitment channel. The let me in and after some fiddling gave me starbase managment roles. This was because despite giving me hanger access I still couldn't access the ship maintainence array....or that's what I told them.

Once I got roles I went afk. A few hours later I came back, killed one of the people who was also afk in a noctis, then started grabbing everything. Noticing I couldn't quite fly all the ships I started asking for help from the various MoldenHeath pirates, since the lowsec exit was only 10 jumps or so away from them. We then took everything and I stuck around to blow up anything that was anchored such as silos, sma, cha, etc. In total I ended up with around 5b, Titus got 2b, and Sard got around 3b.

Sugars writeup can be found here:

The second wormhole theft was actually far more interesting. I managed to get into a corp who only had the CEO on. After checking my api he let me in and said something along the lines of 'I gave you roles and I'm logging off so you'll be alone for the rest of the night, corp bookmarks should show you th way in.'. So there I am staring at my role as starbase manager with nobody online not 10 seconds after I join the corp.

Really? I don't.....but.....ok whatever lets just go with it. I start screaming at Sugar to get over here and help me as I run to the c2 to get into the c4 where all the loot is supposed to be. 3 orcas, a bunch of tengus, a loki, a large amount of other ships. I immediately take an orca out and have it safe in hisec by the time Sugar gets there.

The second orca gets stuck on the c2 side of the c4/c2 connection because I accidently align back to the hole while staring at the caldari navy invuln on it. Yes it was a faction fit orca. Eventually I do correct this and get it to hisec, and we also grab some of the tengus and the loki. During this I comment how annoying it is to clear out all these ships without more help. Little did I know that Bob, God of Wormholes, was going to answer almost immediately.

As we jumped back into the c4 with our pods a sabre bubble went up. It was the people who were connected through the c2s second static. I told them if they hold Sugar as a hostage I would give them an orca. They trusted me and were thus rewarded with an orca. I ended up giving them one of the tengus as well before telling them to x up and figuring out how to change the pos password. A few button presses later and all the ships were launched into space, fuel was yanked and everyone was grabing everything.

Soon the shields went down, the cha and everything else was blown up by our new friends and just like that, job done. I got another 5 bil or so, sugar got atleast 3, and the third party got a few bil themselves.

Sugars writeup can be found here:

Thus ends the wormhole stories. Next up will be a chronicle of pvp advancement much like the pve advancement I have written about earlier in this blog.

Friday, October 4, 2013

FW, It's Still A Thing

A few months after CCP changed the tier system we ran the numbers again. Minmatar was holding t4 at the time. This resulted in a rather impressive 600m an hour or so which, although nothing like prenerf faction war, was still a nice amount of isk. Kwark had joined Eve Uni on the Wrathful Penguins character and decided that since fw had been nerfed and CCP weren't likely to touch it again, we might as well put a guide out to the public.

Link to FW Guide on E Uni Forums:

It is very important to note that this information has not changed. CCP have done nothing else to faction war as of this post so everything in that guide is still 100% relevant. Income is likely 300m an hour per toon at t3, 500-600 at t4, 800-900 at t5. This fluctuates with implant and ship prices so spreadsheets to find the best conversion are highly recommended.

Remember that this is the stated income per toon, the more characters you can handle running fw at once the more isk you will get, for example if you have 4 caracals at t4 you will be making between 2b and 2.4b per hour total. Yes, I would still qualify FW as being absurdly broken but I doubt CCP will care unless we spike plex cost again.

This brings a close to the FW posts for now, so I figure I can end it with some interesting reference pictures:

Cashout Pic:
Another Cashout Pic:
Yet Another Cashout pic:
Some afk merlin losses:
More afk merlin losses:
Caracals lost to lack of attention:

And finally what happens when you try chasing a caracal and the guy decides to bring the rest of his caracals from 2j+ to just kill you (none of these caracals had points):

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

CCP (finally) Nerf FW

After what seemed like forever CCP finally put the word out that they had a change to the tier system in the works. The change would revert lp store costs to their previous standard and instead give you more lp at higher levels of warzone control. So instead of making 100k+ lp per cycle of missions at t5, you would make 100k+ lp per mission, so over 1 million lp per cycle. However you would only get this volume of lp if you were able to hold t5 to run a cycle of missions.

The members of our little cartel sat down and we had a chat about what to do once the changes were implemented. Obviously it wouldn't be feasable for minmatar to permahold t5 so faction war would be somewhat fixed. This came as a great relief to us since for the entire time FW had been broken we had been grinding it like a second job and there was the whole burnout issue to deal with. Still the change wasn't scheduled for a couple months but we decided it would be smart to start liquidating as much as possible into other assets so nobody was stuck holding stacks of mods that happened from the West and Grey trick.

Plex became the most obvious and easiest answer. It generally appreciates in price over time and even if it doesn't for long periods you can still profit off of plex stockpiles using the character bazaar. With that in mind we bought plex. All the plex, forcing the price to skyrocket up to over 630mil in a matter of hours. This also had the hilarious side benefit of forcing CCP to immediately implement the changes to faction war as well as run constant plex sales for months while releasing a large number of plex on the the market to prevent the price from going any higher.

The problem with FW was that it allowed a small group to make absurd leaps in wealth gain. Our little cartel was making over a trillion isk a week if you added everyones cashouts together. It was a horrible, horrible mistake by CCP to implement the buff like they did in the first place without considering the potential economic impact of the massive wealth consolidation. That being said it was a great isk sink, we were throwing tons of money into the abyss of npc coffers in order to convert the volume of implants and such. The money we were making was taken from people on the market who wanted to buy implants.

Faction War insanity wasn't quite over though, it would just take a few months for things to change.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Then Faction War Got Buffed

Even without going on Sisi I knew it was going to be absurd. Faction War missions already gave 20k lp each and could be over 100m an hour, and CCP decided that if a faction hits tier 5 its lp store prices get reduced to something like 1/16th of normal. There was no way anyone would be stupid enough to let a change like that go through, but CCP either didn't understand that a single cycle of missions would be about 1.6b worth of lp if cashed out at tier 5 or they just didn't care.

It took a week before we figured out how to run afk merlins and I had alreay crashed a large section of the datacore market. After that kwark fiddled with a navy caracal fit that could blitz lvl 4 fw missions. It was reasonable to get 1.2-1.6 billion isk per cycle and the decline feature meant you never had to worry about getting a mission you didn't want. The best part was that because most of the actual time taken was moving around the warzone or hitting orbit and f1, you could easily multibox navy caracals. Average total income among the ~10 or so people that we had in our little cartel doing this was 4-5bil an hour. Everyone was multiboxing at least 3 caracals most of the time.

The average cashout when minmitar hit t5 was 80-120billion isk. A picture of one of Karahs cashouts was shown on TMC. I believe mynnna called us the 'worst offenders'. And while all this was going on, what were the forums complaining about? Stabbed or afk merlins. It was shocking at just how much the public seemed not to care about the actual broken part (lpstore cost reduction) and instead on something that was easily handled by dual scrams.

This continued on for some time, I wasn't farming with enough caracals to compete with the likes of kwark an karah, whose computers could easily run more than the measly 4 accounts my old laptop sputtered with. Instead I closed most of the gap with proper usage of merlins and egg timers. Yes it got to the point where I had 3 egg timers each set to the timer of a complex on an afk merlin while I ran missions on a caracal or two with rather terrible delay because of my lack of up to date hardware.

By appropriately running plexs for amarr while nulli attempted to bring it to t5 for geddons I was able to make a reasonably large cashout out of grails, some datacores, and a couple other things when they failed miserably and only managed t4. The primary way of closing the income gap between myself an everyone else was basic marketing. I would cashout in +4 and +5 implants, then use that liquidity to buy a large amount of +3 implants when the prices for those dropped like a rock during t5. This gave me around 30-40% or so additional wealth in assets.

I was hedging my bets on waiting until CCP finally realized the massive amount of isk we were acquiring an fixing the issue eventually. It was really the only way I would ever be able to see any real profit from my hundreds of bil in +3s. The market would eventually settle back to pre fw levels and I could either slowly attempt to liquidate or leave them on one of my accounts and just open it again with hours for plex to pull the implants out if I ever needed the money. It was going to be a long wait.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Character Bazaar

Turning all of our assets into liquid took a substantial amount of time. Most of us were still trying to test things and see if anything could be done with the contract market to continue the West and Grey trick. With faction items eventually being added to the market interface those ideas were dashed against the rocks.

So here we were with a slowly growing pile of liquidity and no real way to reliably invest it well. Eventually we looked to the character bazaar since not only could you tie up a good amount of liquidity but you could also get a decent return. Getting a character for 11b and then fixing it up for a month or so to resell at 14b was a 1.5b profit after plex and transfer costs, so over 10% return. It was also very viable to just speed train tengu capable characters to sell for 1-2b profit or so per toon.

Kwark eventually took over a large section of the high sp and capital/supercap toon market using the X Atm092 character. He had a number of interesting incidents where people would either refuse to sell to him or try to trash talk him because he generally resells the characters he gets. In nearly all cases he would just wind up buying the toon anyway using an alt. Most of his toons were either quick flips resold as is for a larger amount of isk or fixer uppers that he needed to keep for a month or more to get things like triage or t2 siege.

Meanwhile, we also had a short stint of printing bhaalgorn bpcs in NPC delve. Unfortunately that wasn't really profitable compared to our WG/Character Bazaar standards but it did give us something to do in the meantime while we waited for CCP to screw something up or see if we could stumble on another reasonable source of income.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The West and Grey Contract Trick

After moving to Saranen and getting into the faction web and tracking computer production The Hatchery was doing quite well. Then kwark happened to sell around 26 bil of webs to West and Grey then we started asking questions. Eventually Apturan and Karah figured out that West and Grey wasn't just bulk buying faction items, but selling them as well on the contract market. After a bit of discussion on how this all worked out, kwark got over 100b loaned to him to help his liquidity and actually break into the contract scene.

With a starting base in the faction webs we were producing he quickly expanded that into faction gyros and eanms, as well as a few other items. Things went well and a few weeks later, West and Grey contacted him and talks were had. About a month later West and Grey agreed to sell kwark his contract monopoly for 400b and 9b weekly in exchange for WG's mailing list and stocks. A month after this happened, kwark had built this into a trillion isk monopoly that was even larger than what West and Grey initially had.

Suddenly Crucible 1.1 happened and CCP stealth patched the contract interface, completely stopping the contract trick from working any longer. Eventually the contract market became completely obsolete as faction mods were added to the market interface. Yet kwark still made over 1 trillion isk, West and Greay profiting about the same (likely more depending on how long his monopoly was up and running) and members of The Hatchery getting a few hundred billion each.

Link to kwarks post on the eve forums:

Link to the post in TL forums:

But the question remained: What else could we do with this kind of liquidity and how profitable could it be?

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Ammo Trade and Expanding Conversions

We were blitzing missions out of emol with machariels for some time before we actually sat down and optimized it further. It became clear that when you're making over 100m an hour blitzing missions, taking the time to convert the lp and sell it is wasting time that could be used to run more missions. This was solved by kwark, who decided to actually convert and sell the lp for everyone. He would stock stations with ammo and when we needed to convert lp he traded us the ammo and bought the faction ammo that we turned it into for just below market value.

This obviously cut into the missioners income a bit but since kwark was taking only a couple hundred isk/lp and most of the ammo at the time being around 1k isk/lp everyone was quite happy. Missioners were making more because they could run more missions and kwark set up an rf ammo empire in various tradehubs. Soon he was moving so much volume every day that even when he lost a 14b isk freighter due to not double packaging his cargo it didn't even make any real impact in his operation.

Converting lp also became a lucrative business as kwark expanded his lp converting to the public and other members of the Hatchery started a seperate lp conversion corp Every Day Low Prices, which focused mostly on faction items. Around this time we moved to Oddelulf and were also running level 5 missions out of Istodard in molden heath for additional lp gains.

Spreadsheets were made for many corporations to see what exactly was worth going after. The 5 run bpcs of faction items were very good profit makers and after running the numbers we settled on the quafe corporation. The system of Saranen is a 0.1 meaning that it has much better lp rewards than anything in hisec or most other lowsec, and being able to blitz missions in nanodrakes or pvp fit machs,  lowsec really wasn't that dangerous for us.

Other factors for the move from Oddelulf to Saranen were mostly pvp related. It is important to note that Ueberlisk stayed behind and decided to kill anything and everything in the area. He continues to do so to this very day.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Missions and LP

Shortly after I started semi seriously missioning as a new player, I ended up in a discussion with kwark about lp. No, it wasn't anything like a spreadsheet comparison, as neither of us had actually done any math with lp at all before. We basically sat down and figured out that the amount of isk I was getting for my lp by running missions for republic fleet was substantially better than what he was getting for caldari navy in motsu.

Now this probably doesn't sound very important at all and really it wasn't, but it got us thinking a bit. If you could make so much off of lp, why bother looting and salvaging missions at all? This eventually moved into blitzing missions, which involves shooting only what you need to in order to complete the missions as fast as possible. By doing this we ended up with most of our income being based off of the isk/lp ratio of whatever faction ammo was at the time.

It wasn't long until we started messing around with the decline feature to decline any missions which couldn't be run extremely quickly. We found that with high enough faction standing, I think it's around 6.0, you can chain decline all non blitzable missions and still be fine for an absurdly long period of time with social skills at 3 or 4. It was also vital to get both of the lp skills up to 5 asap since that was a direct increase to your income. Now you only need security connections to 5 to have the same effect.

Another important factor was to have an agent in a 0.5 security system since the lower the security of the system the higher the lp reward is for finishing missions. We ended up choosing to base out of Emol, running lvl 4 missions for republic fleet and converting the lp into whatever flavor of faction ammo was the most profitable at the time.

Finally with the maximum available lp gain per mission in hisec, the only thing left to do was to figure out the fastest way to blitz missions. The best possible ship for this was and still is the machariel. With its absurd speed and agility as well as it's very high damage and decent projection with 800mm autocannons, it clears missions with minimal problems and is even able to hit all of the triggers in the blockade mission without being in danger if you know the spawn locations.

Soon we were cranking out the lp and actually making a decent income running missions in hisec but we still had a long way to go before anything truly interesting happened profit wise.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

General Preface

This blog is meant to be a more technical in depth look on the mechanics of Eve Online and how they can be used to do everything from acquire vast amounts of isk to deal with large gangs and blobs when you are flying solo or with a very small gang (think under 5 people).

In game I'm Viceorvirtue a member of the Hatchery corporation in the Team Liquid alliance. When I first started playing Eve a couple years or so ago I made my first plex off of a 21day buddy invite by using a thrasher to grind the 2/10 static plexs in hisec for several hours every day. Eventually I moved into a maelstrom for level 4 missions, using 1200mm atrillery and salvaging my missions afterwards. Yes, that's right, I was the average hisec pilot who was very bad at the game.

From there I learned about blitzing missions, isk/lp ratios, and a number of other things in an upward spiral of incidents ranging from the west and grey contract trick era to character bazaar, to faction war. Now I don't consider anything under 20 bil to be a sizable amount of money and I don't really find much point in undocking to do any pve activity that gets me less than 500m and hour barring any ulterior motives.

This blog will fallow this spree of incidents while also going into the game mechanics responsible for them as well as which techniques can still be applied and used, since most of this information is no longer usable from an isk making standpoint. Make no mistake, this isn't likely to reveal some deep dark money making secret or anything. The majority of the information can be found by piecing together spreadsheets and doing a bit of math. I'm just writing it all down here because quite frankly I have nothing better to do.

This will mostly be focused on pve to begin with and then branch out into pvp mechanics which require a good deal more math and complexities.