First, if you have never seen the Eve: Causality trailer, or can’t remember it, or just want to watch it again – click here to watch
At 2 minutes in, the only realy relevant bit takes place – the corp theft.
A couple of months ago, the Corp suffered it’s first major theft. The thief was a Director who, probably inspired by that Eve trailer and imagining his moment of glory, drained the wallets and moved all unlocked Corp assets into his own hanger. He then sent a mail to the Corp telling us what he had done, and claimed that it would result in the break up of the Corp, which was what we all needed anyway.
How did it happen? I’m not completely sure to be honest. In the past, this particular person had been very much against anybody who had tried to infiltrate our corp, and (like the pilot in the Eve trailer) had behaved with honour and had put in considerable work for the corp. However, there were signs of discontent which we didn’t pick up on and respond to, perhaps because of the person’s past efforts with the corp. For example, he had alternate characters in Red vs Blue, and was increasingly not being involved with any corp activities, spending all of his game time in RvB combat.
How bad was the corp theft. Well, it was very significant, with assets and liquid ISK taken easily valued in the 10′s of billions of ISK. Fortunately for us, we did have some controls in place. We operate a “bank” corporation. The identity of this corp is only known to four people in the corp, myself included. It’s sole function is to hold large sums of liquid ISK for the corp, and to conduct all the selling and purchasing of goods in Jita, both on the market and via contracts. If you research well enough, you can see what a corp is involved in from it’s purchases, sales and contracts. It’s no mean feat to do so, but it is possible. Therefore the bank corp was created to mask this. Similarly, we have multiple alts in NPC corps who transport goods for us to and from Jita to our staging points, which again masks the corp and also protects us from war decs – it’s a very common thing to do and I would say that most reasonable sized corps will probably operate logistics in this way, although the bank corp is an additional layer of paranoia I will admit!
Liquid ISK was one thing – unfortunately we had a reasonably large (for us) amount of liquid ISK in the corp wallets at the time of the theft. Also, and perhaps this is the most inexcusable part of the whole thing, we had neglected to lock down a number of blueprints (including most of our capital construction part blueprints and also some of the actual capital ship blueprints). The reason for this initially was that we wanted to be able to move them quickly should our Outpost be sieged. Also, the blueprints could only be accessed by Directors, and we trusted all of them of course. The last reason was, really, that we were just too lazy to lock them down in a null sec Outpost, as there were lots of blueprints aside from the capital ones, probably well over 100, and the process of locking blueprints down is, as usualy with CCP and an industry feature, stupidly slow. First you have to propose a lock down vote individually for each blueprint. Then the CEO (assuming he has the shares) has to approve the vote. Then you have to action the approved vote the next day when it appears in sanctionable actions. Therefore each of the 100 blueprints has to have three things done to it to lock it down. Due to the number involved, we just left it.
So, stupiditiy on our part for not at least locking down the most important blueprints and for not keeping the liquid ISK in the Corp wallets at a reasonably low level.
What have we learnt from this that I could share with you all to help prevent or mitigate a similar corp theft? It’s difficult, because in Eve the only person you can trust pretty much is yourself and nobody else. I know it’s a sad fact, but it’s quite often proved true. So what are my top tips? Here we go… they are by no means exhaustive and I’m sure many of you will disagree with some of them too:
1. Corporate Roles
Set up your Corporate roles so that people only have access to what they need to have, and nothing else whatsoever, not even “view only” rights. If all they can see is the general tab where other corp members drop junk and salvaged modules in, then that’s all they can steal. If a player is to be involved in production, make sure that you set up a wallet division just for player production which has as little ISK in as possible. Also, if they are involved in production, write to CCP and complain about the useless “on or off” corporate roles setting for production. To let somebody do production, you have to give them the rights to be able to cancel any job in production, not just their own – that’s dangerous.
Consider who really needs to be a Director, as that gives great power. If you get this wrong, then a Corp theft is always likely to be more damaging to you, so there’s not a lot I can do to help here, although the next point should help
3. Inactivity / behaviour
If somebody becomes inactive for a period, take that person’s roles away immediately. When / if they come back, they can ask for them back and earn them back if necessary. For behaviour, if they are backing away from a particular area, or in our thief’s case spending more of their time elsewhere, remove roles as appropriate – certainly if they’re a Director, strip that role immediately. If they want to be a Director of the Corp again, then they need to want to be in the Corp and with the Corp
4. Blueprints and other assets
The only option here really is to lock the blueprints down, even though it will make you want to quit Eve after the 50th blueprint. For an industrial Corp blueprints are your life, and for us a lot of that was ripped away from us because we hated the interface so much we neglected to do it. As for other assets, you can only try to limit what you store where. For us, we had Corp freighters that were stored in the admin tab that were used by a number of Directors for various activities – they were stolen. Also, you can’t do much about things like minerals and other building components, as you will have stocks of those as necessary for your building activities, so if you’re building things like capital ships, then you’ll probably have significant quantities of minerals which could be stolen
So how have we coped since the theft? Did we die and split up as the thief intended? Not really. Instead we’ve moved regions and are now renting under a new landlord. The theft has really hurt as we now have to rebuild our ISK working capital and also replace the blueprints that were stolen, which easily come to 20 billion ISK in value. We are, however, recovering… albeit slowly.
One little trick is that I had stored away a number of things in my own hanger at our hi sec manufacturing base. Not corp theft on my part I hasten to add! However, these were things that were work in progress, for example invented T2 blue print copies, 1000′s of T1 blue print copies ready for invention, duplicate blue print originals of some ships. All of these have helped in a little way, although the biggest help was a T2 project I had on hold, as it only needed around 3 billion ISK worth of minerals to let me finish off and produce 10 billion ISK of modules, something that ironically finishes the last bit of production now, and completes the injection of 7 billion ISK into the corp.
Unlike the Eve: Causality trailer, I don’t believe that we did anything to offend the individual to cause them to want to enact revent upon us. They certainly did drain our wallets and steal lots of T1 and T2 blueprints (not T2 originals I hasten to add – we’ve never owned one) and also all the assets they could get their hands on. Also unlike the trailer, it hasn’t resulted in the Corp’s destruction. It certainly did hit morale because of the nature of the theft, but things are continuing and rebuilding.
You probably can’t completely trust anybody in Eve except for yourself, and in the case of the Corp thief, based on what he has said previously, sometimes you possibly can’t even trust yourself. Onwards and upwards!
So you’ve completed the production of your Outpost and have it ready to deploy… or do you. When building an Outpost, you need “fuel” as it were, or probably more affectionately known as extra materials. These extra materials are all shown in my spreadsheet from my “Raw Materials” post.
Fo this post, the example I’m going to use is a Caldari Outpost, which I went onto the test server and built. I claimed Sov in a system adjacent to one that had an Outpost in which I could use. The outpost also had a 100 ISK Test Server market, so for the materials I simply purchased them with the exception of the minerals, which I purchased 425mm Railgun I’s and reprocessed (yes I also used a Minmatar Outpost as my base).
Firstly, you can only move the egg in a Freighter - not even a Jump Freighter is big enough for this as it is 750,000 m3. This will mean that you’ll want an escort to move your Freighter and very expensive cargo through the gate(s) to the deployment system. As Outposts can only be deployed at planets, please make sure you will select a very cool planet to deploy your Outpost at. Ice and gas planets (such as the one I picked – bad me!) are a definite no. A very nice lava planet is a good idea – make sure that when docking and undocking, or when shooting your station, people have something nice to look at.
Once there, you can launch the egg for your Corporation (as long as you hold Sov). As with other unanchored structures, it looks nothing like the anchored version.
Once there, you can begin the anchoring stage, which takes only one hour to anchor, which is pretty good I suppose if you think about it. Once anchored, you are confronted by the much more familiar egg shaped object.
Now that you have the egg anchored, you can fill it up with the extra materials needed. To illustrate the requirements, for me it took 5 Charon’s to bring all of the extra materials needed for the egg before I could start the actual building process.
As everything cost 100 ISK, I was lazy and purchased the 5 Charon’s, filled them with the materials and flew each there, ejected and went back to get the next one. Once completed I self destructed all the carriers, but I thought it would make a pretty picture first before I did that.
Now that all the extra materials are in, you move to a different timer system completely. Now you live and die by downtime, not by timers. Once you click on the egg with all the required materials in and choose build, you rather unhelpfully receive no notification that anything at all is happening, except if you try to repeat the process as it will fail. Now you have to simply wait until downtime and hope that nobody comes along and tries to blow the egg up, although I believe that in this state they have 100 million hitpoints, so it’s not an unreasonable target with a number of super carriers and some spare time.
Once downtime passes, and assuming your egg hasn’t been exploded by Pandemic Legion, you will return to the planet you left the egg at to find your shiney new Outpost. Here’s the one I built:
As long as you have the correct Corporate roles, you can now dock and try to work out how the station management interface works. It’s not as easy as you would hope. At this stage, please can I ask that you consider renaming the Outpost, but just remember that there are lots of stupid names out there already, and Mos Eisely Cantina is already taken.
If you want to see how frequently new Outposts are being deployed, Dotlan Maps has a very cool page that lists them.
So there you go. You’ve gathered all the materials, constructed it, and now anchored and built it in space. You officially own your own piece of null sec, and also now control something very rare in Eve – something that can’t ever be destroyed.
“EVE Online is a unique piece of science fiction that is ‘participatory’.”- CCP Seagull, December 2012
EVE Online is heading into its Second Decade with renewed vigour and a new development strategy. At the CSM Summit in December, Executive Producer CCP Unifex and Development Director CCP Seagull explained how future development and expansions will be broader in scope than recent “collections of features” stating that CCP “want to create something more inspirational, that players aspire to play.”
With the return of Live Events such as the Battle for Caldari Prime, clearly the prime fiction of EVE is back in favour as part of this new thematic approach to expansions. However, EVE’s story is very much a tale of two playstyles, with an entirely player-driven narrative unfolding daily in parallel to the reinvigorated backstory. Often, they do not mix well. How can these two disparate elements be united or at least comfortably co-exist in a single sandbox universe?
Well, this is my first blog banter for some time, and Mr Stan has thrown down an interesting challenge which made me consider waiting another month.
I genuinely admire CCP for trying to invigorate the back story. I was saddened when the chronicles pretty much dried up, but understood that came at a time of corporate crisis, with the very sad loss of some people’s jobs as CCP tried to refocus on what the players wanted… no, what the players needed to continue to play and pay their monthly dues which kept CCP’s cash flow… flowing.
Eve is a very funny game though to attempt this with. Before the Alliance structure existed, players had essentially formed Alliances. Pretty much every time CCP releases something, the Eve players take it and do something unexpected with it – irrespective of what happened on the test server and with CCP’s own theory crafters.
Over my years of playing Eve, I’ve been a hi-sec industrialist completely unaware of any in-game politics, unaware of the CSM and somebody who was interested in the lore of Eve and looking for which direction it would lead my game, only to be sadly disappointed that it didn’t really do anything apart from give me an interesting read while my freighter moved the latest batch of Hobgoblin II’s and minerals from Croleur to Dodixie. Then I arrived in null sec fresh faced in a new “awesome” alliance as pets in Vale of the Silent, just before we swept through and conquered Geminate. I quickly learned politics as alliances fail-cascaded around us and we evacuated (well, actually were pretty much pushed by our own short-sighted alliance leadership) just before Pandemic Legion showed the power of capital fleets and squashed any resistance by completing it’s contract and retaking Geminate, and Vale of the Silent too just for good measure.
With player created content such as that, it makes you wonder where the CCP created content could fit it. Incursions are, of sorts, an ongoing storyline, but surely Sansha should have been either victorious or defeated by now? Where is the iteration? The possibilities with incursions were purely incredible, but I just feel that they’ve been missed and left as a feature instead of a story.
Prehaps the answer is that the “silent majority” are the ones who need to be engaged more. I’m talking about the hi-sec inhabitants who don’t necessarily get directly involved in any politics or activities. A classic example is the CSM voting – the reason null sec blocs can dominate the CSM is because they’re organised, not because they’re numerically superior. With another “burn Jita” event supposedly about to take place, how many “normal” hi-sec residents are actually aware of this? I know because my Alliance depends on hi-sec logistics and so has alerted everybody about this potential event and made plans to negate its effect. What about the small hi-sec Corp who doesn’t have contacts in larger alliances? They’ll probably find out the hard way – an interesting and painful way to “get involved” in the bigger story of Eve, which in this particular case is purely about trying to profit as much as possible from moon goo before CCP brings in any radical changes.
So much of the game content of Eve is driven by the large null sec alliances. What do I mean? Eve players pretty much fall into two camps. Camp 1 – you follow the political developments (null sec and worm hole space) by news channels or participate in it by actually being there. Camp 2 – you are a (possibly unknowing) passive participant… you mine, you make things, you do griefer war-decs on Corps and Alliances. You could argue that there’s a third camp, which is occupied by Red vs Blue, but I’ll leave that for you to consider whether they actually fit into camp 1 or camp 2 and don’t really know it themselves.
So where am I going with all of this? I have a rather radical proposal. Every single day in Eve, something happens that is newsworthy. There are enough news sites and blogs active to testify to that fact. I’m proposing that CCP set a number of broad frameworks for how the different NPC factions should develop over the next 12 month period – making sure that it’s a pretty open ended flexible framework. Then, they have a small team (or large if the timing is right for a particular event) who look for opportunities to develop the back story further. These opportunities could then take the form of a chronicle, or an impromptu live event to react to an in game event. Imagine if the Guristas pirates decided to launch a (small and time limited) attack during a burn Jita event, trying to defend their pirate territory. What if Sansha tried to invade a C6 wormhole to recover a prized artifact, only to be faced by not only the sleepers but by a Jovian force – what if this could be the ultimate downfall of Sansha himself – give the wormhole people some serious backstory to play with for a change.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that if CCP try to set the pace and direction of the story of Eve, they’ll have to do so much that they force people to get involved and so take away part of the sandbox effect. I think that if CCP turned the idea on its head and followed the player created story and then dipped into it with new subplots, developments with existing storylines, and dramatic completion of long drawn out “features”, they could do something groundbreakingly different in the games industry, and that would be something that would surely result in lots of attention from the industry press, and with the cross-over with Dust, a universe environment that players genuinely would aspire to be part of.
So, undaunted by the amount of ISK you need, and not having destroyed too many calculators working out the volume of material needed to actually build the Outpost, let’s talk about actually making the thing!
Now the first thing to be absolutely clear about is that you should plan to make the actual station parts all in the same place, and that place should be where you plan to construct the actual Outpost itself. I’m not talking about where you want to deploy the Outpost, as that’s physically not possible as you can only build it in an NPC station or player owned Outpost anyway. Why am I saying this? You need around 13.5 million m3 of materials to be able to construct and deploy an Outpost, so that’s around 15 freighter loads of materials. However, once you start making station parts, each part takes up 100,000 m3 of space. To make an Outpost you need between 297 and 352 station parts. In other words, that’s from 29.7 million m3 to 35.2 million m3, or between 33 and 39 freighter loads. Let’s just be nice and build it all in the same place
Each station part takes 1 day (or around 18 hours after skill discounts) to make. Given that you’ll be making between 297 and 352 parts, you’ll want multiple copies of the big run parts, for example a Caldari Outpost needs 176 Station Laboratories and 66 Station Office Centres – you won’t want to be doing those from one blueprint.
Now you’ve got all the materials, and made all of the station parts, you can put the Outpost into construction. The base production time in an NPC station is 7 days, 9 hours and 46 minutes, but with the usual skills you’ll be making it in just under 6 days. When you’ve finished production, you are left with what’s affectionately known as an egg.
This little beauty will now magically only take up 750,000 m3, (which is an incredible compression ratio – forget 425mm Railgun I’s!!!), and therefore is safe for you to move in a freighter.
Hmmm… when I say safe, what I actually mean is that you can fit your 25 billion ISK investment into a freighter, which sort of makes it one of the most unsafe freighters in the whole of Eve. This is where logistics come into play, as you now need to get the Egg (and “fuel” materials” into your non NPC null sec system which you hold Sov in and which doesn’t already have an Outpost in.
How do you go about this? Ideally at a very quiet time in Eve, when nobody else knows what you’re doing, with a really big escort and with a large capital fleet on standby in case you get hot dropped.
The easiest way, and I’m guessing this is how most of the medium to large alliances operate this, is to jump your freighter through a gate into lo-sec and warp to a pos (with a nice escort on the gate just in case). At the POS you say hello to Mr Titan and you get Titan bridged to a POS in or next to the intended deployment system. For those who don’t know what a Titan bridge is, it’s where somebody in a distant system lights a cynosural beacon and a Titan activates a module which locks onto that beacon. Ships in the Titan’s fleet can then select the Titan and choose to “jump to” the beacon. It’s a very efficient way of force projection as dozens of ships can use this to jump to a beacon and turn the tide of a battle. It’s also the cause of many fails as the Titan pilot can sometimes accidentially choose to “jump to” the beacon instead of “bridge to”, meaning that instead of dozens of alpha Tornado’s arriving to turn the tide of a battle, a rather red faced Titan arrives on his own instead causing a scramble to get him out before he gets counter dropped by a cap fleet himself.
Instead of deploying the Outpost yourself, you may simply decide to transport it to a trade hub (ok, we’re talking Jita here of course) and put it up for sale. You do see Outposts available for purchase fairly infrequently, so it demonstrates a market potentially does exist. Of course, this is driven by null sec politics. Recently when we were renting in a drone lands region, we were specifically told that no new Outposts could be deployed until all Outposts in that region had been rented. Other rental Alliances are much more flexible, and of course if you’re the landlord, then you can do what you want!
Sorry for the delay in posting. I’ve found that all of my rather limited energy has been spent on helping my Corp get going again after the theft (which will be another post). Normal service should be resumed very shortly, including the second part of the Outpost Construction series following today.
One thing is for certain – if you plan to build an Outpost, you’re going to need lots of materials. As promised, I’ve updated my spreadsheet (which those who know how to use Excel properly will no doubt laugh at). The spreadsheet can be downloaded by clicking here. I’m not going to fill this post with lots of tables of materials and such, as the spreadsheet covers that and, if you can’t / don’t want to download the sheet, then all the details are easily accessible by looking at the blueprints and items in the Eve market.
Essentially, to construct the Egg itself you need base minerals: Tritanium, Nocxium and Zydrine. Be aware here that you will need approaching 1 billion units of Tritanium. Add to that around 2 million Nocxium and you’re talking around 7 billion in minerals to start with.
Outposts are made by acquiring a blueprint (or blueprint copy) of the Outpost you wish to make. Your choice is:
- Amarr Factory Outpost – mainly used for manufacturing
- Caldari Research Outpost – for science based activities such as invention and research
- Gallente Administration Outpost – offices… lots of offices, useful for an alliance to stage when invading new territory
- Minmatar Service Outpost – refining of materials… the only outpost that you will do refining at
Once you have the blueprint (or copy), you use minerals (as above) and Advanced Commodities produced from Planetary Interaction to make the various Station parts as detailed in the blueprint. Sounds fairly simple, and realistically it is pretty straight forward. The problem is the sheer scale of the task in hand. For this series I decided to produce a Caldari Research Outpost. To do this I needed to make 341 Station parts. Each part is 100,000 m3, so that’s 34.1 million m3. Let’s be pretty clear that if you’re producing your Egg in a station that you could lose control of, you’d better be pretty sure you won’t do so during your production schedule as it would take 38 Charon’s to move that volume around the galaxy.
Once complete the Egg itself is only 750,000 m3, which at around 45.5 to 1 is a pretty good compression ratio I think we can all agree! For information, the two Outposts that my Corp has produced have both been started in null-sec space but actually constructed in hi-sec space due to various circumstances.
With the Planetary material you have a choice as which grade of material you purchase, and this can potentially affect the construction price quite significantly. For example, based on Jita prices as at 24 March 2013, the construction price of a Caldari Research Outpost, if you purchased all raw materials from Jita sell orders, would be as follows:
- Purchasing P1 planetary material = 23.5 billion ISK, 8.55 million m3
- Purchasing P2 planetary material = 24.6 billion ISK, 1.96 million m3
- Purchasing P3 planetary material = 25.9 billion ISK, 1.09 million m3
- Purchasing P4 planetary material = 26.8 billion ISK, 1.21 million m3
Quite a difference between P1 and P4 material. Now if you’re doing this with production planets in hi-sec, then the tax rate on the customs offices would almost certainly be a major factor. If you control your own customs offices in lo-sec or null-sec (I’m including wormholes here), then it is a different story of course. It’s just the time involved in converting the material. Based on the volume, starting from P2 material with your own customs offices looks pretty attractive.
To put things into perspective, to build the Caldari Research Outpost, you will need just under 3.4 million units of the base Planetary materials (i.e. some of all of the things such as Aqueous Liquids and Ionic Solutions). That’s around 34 million m3 of base Planetary material. That’s quite a few installations on quite a few planets to get that much material in any reasonable amount of time.
One more concern is that you will need what we call in our Corp “fuel” for the Egg. This material is also shown in my spreadsheet and, essentially, once you have anchored the Egg you need to drop all of those extra materials, ranging from Janitors all the way through to Plutonium and Slaves (the latter two are both restricted in many areas of space which again can be a factor in where you construct your Egg). Once the Egg is anchored and the “fuel” is in, you can click on the Egg and tell it to build itself.
So, you have around 20 billion ISK free and don’t know what to do with it. You don’t fancy buying a Super Carrier that will obviously just end up being hot dropped by PL. What can you do? You can build your own outpost of course!
Building an Outpost is a huge undertaking, as I’ll show over the next few posts. So far, our corporation has built two Outposts, and Amarr and a Minmatar, and upgraded a Minmatar Outpost. The first Outpost we built was constructed from PI material the Corp harvested, the second was around 70% from the Corp and 30% from Jita buy orders.
An interesting fact is that, as far as I know, this is the only item in Eve that can be used a finite number of times. I perhaps haven’t worded that particularly well, but currently CCP only allow one Outpost to be deployed in each null sec system where Soverignty can be claimed. As there is a limited number of such systems, there can only be a limited number of Outposts deployed. Why? The simple fact is that Outposts currently cannot be destroyed. For those unfamiliar with the mechanics of taking Soverignty in null sec, when you “kill” an Outpost, the Corporation of the person who got the final blow becomes the proud owner of the Outpost, which survives its structure being completely destroyed.
I plan to spread this over a number of posts, I may change things as I go along, but my initial thoughts are:
- Raw materials you need
- Production time and logistics
- Deploying your Outpost and extra materials needed
- Differences between Outposts and uses
- Upgrading your Outpost
Five posts looks like quite a bit, so I may combine some depending on how much material I end up having for each one. I will probably try to tidy up the spreadsheet that I made for calculating the PI material and cost used when we first did this a couple of years ago and, if I’m not too ashamed of it, I’ll make it available for download if anybody is interested in how not to do an Excel spreadsheet. If I do post it, my ego will set any comments pointing out how fail my spreadsheet is as spam
Just an update to any who still might be following this blog – things are progressing and I’m going to be posting a few things over the next few weeks. Posts should include:
- Building a lego house (experiences in building and upgrading Outposts)
- Recovering from a Corp theft (yep, we got raided)
- Moving to a new region and setting up operations (yes – we moved again)
- Automating activities for Industry Corps via a PHP based website developed by a Corp mate
The above should each be split over a few posts each, so hopefully some interesting and useful content for you all to digest.
Ages ago I registered the domain eve-hosting.net with the idea that I’d offer blogging, website and killboard hosting for small amounts of ISK to players, corps and alliances.
Needless to say things have moved on.
So earlier today I created a forum post offering the domain transfer for ISK. I think it’s a potentially strong web name if the right person or group want to take it forward.
If you’re interested, go to the forum and bid – that is the only way I will consider doing this – the proper Eve EULA compliant way.
I don’t have a figure in mind, but hope to see the project moved on and maybe have a little ISK to use when I beat this and can return.
UPDATE: I’d be happy to provide details of the excellent hosting service I use who have MySQL, WordPress hosting, and CMS systems all with large monthly storage and bandwidth, unlimited virtual hosts, FTP and email addresses etc.
I’ve been truly touched by the comments left after me last post. After talking briefly with some people in game during a better moment, I thought I should offer a better explanation.
No – I didn’t emorage quit, even though I lost a Nomad to a well organised war target trap.
Yes – I’m not well. I’m posting this from WordPress mobile while receiving chemotherapy for Myeloma, which is a (currently) incurable form of blood cancer, although treatments can be quite effective so I’ve been told.
I’m also having some radiotherapy and will know more in about 15 weeks.
For now, I’m not in a state to play or really follow or comment about Eve and, as many will sadly know from personal experiences, my young family has to come first.
So enjoy Retribution, and if things work out then I may be back some time in the future.
Best wishes to all my friends, enemies and readers.
aka Eve Scientist