A Scientist's Life in Eve

An open letter to CCP

by on Oct.28, 2014, under Dust 514, Eve online

After thinking long and hard, I have decided that the best way to communicate the below, was to do an open letter to CCP… so here goes.

Dear CCP,

Firstly, before I say anything else, I’d like to say thank you for the time and energy you’ve spent in creating Eve Online and Dust 514.  Eve is a game that has captured my imagination and commitment for longer than any other game I have ever experienced, and Dust 514 has been something I’ve spent many hours sniping and firing grenades at other people.

In many ways I can understand why numerous other commentators have compared playing Eve to being in a relationship, as you can experience joy one moment and anguish the next; your time and money disappear and you’re never entirely sure how and why.  The problem with relationships is that sometimes one of the parties loses focus, or perhaps the communication between those involved is poor, or maybe one of the people involved has an idea they want to peruse.  Relationships also sometimes sour because those involved can simply slowly drift apart.

Where am I amongst all of this?  Sadly I think I’m at the point where I think: the lines of communication have broken down; some focus has been lost; and I think perhaps CCP have been slowly drifting in one direction while I have been reluctantly trying to follow and adapt.

I’ve reached the stage where I am going to leave Eve Online, and I’ve realistically already left Dust 514.  My accounts have all been unsubbed and will all expire within the next 30 days.  Why?  What’s happened?

To be honest, I think that in Eve Online and Dust 514, CCP actually have two excellent products.  The problem is, that both games have lots of problems and don’t really work together.  So many opportunities have been missed, and that can be seen by the concurrent user statistics for Dust 514 especially that can be viewed at Chribba’s excellent Eve-Offline.Net website.  With the average for the past year being somewhere around 3,000 users, and the maximum recorded being just under 10,000 on 19 May 2013, it’s clear that there’s something wrong with Dust 514.  The figures for Eve don’t make pretty reading either.

Still, I’ve been a citizen of New Eden since 14 March 2010 when I was drawn in by an online advert on some website I can’t remember. After a bit of research and reading some stories, I downloaded the client and loaded it up.  The game was difficult to get to grips with to say the least.  I followed the tutorials and managed to work out what I was doing – sort of.  I was soon in a Badger Mk I with a Mining Laser on in an asteroid belt, coming back maybe 45 minutes later when my hold was filled.  Yes – I was sort of half way up the infamous Eve learning cliff.


Not a problem, soon I was into manufacturing and had discovered that Eve came with two clients: one from CCP to interact with the game’s database, and one from Microsoft to run the spreadsheets needed to actually play the game.  Again, not a problem as I love spreadsheets.

Through all of this, however, Eve hadn’t just captured my attention, it had drawn me in so deep I didn’t really know which way was down and which way was up any more.  Also, I’d met some really great people, and also several really not so great people.  I’d also once again been blown away, this time by the passion, dedication, creativity and innovation of the Eve Online community.  Great bloggers like Rixx Javix who made me want to write my own blog, essential sites such as Eve-Central who inspired me to rent my own VPS and learn how to plug-in to the Eve Market Data Relay to help me with my own industrial activities.  There simply is not a game that I had come across where the creators were open enough to allow access to a good API, and where so many talented people had done something with it.

A huge moment for me was Incarna.  I actually thought Incarna should have been the start of something great, however unfortunately what was released should never have been released.  For me, it would actually have been better if CCP had just said that they were holding it back until this new and cool FPS was released where the communities would be able to interact.

Instead of playing Dust, I’ve been playing Warframe, which was introduced to me by one of the people I have met through Eve, and am now fortunate to call a friend.  Why am I playing Warframe?  Well, firstly it has PvE, which is something Dust 514 sorely needed at release date.  Secondly, it hasn’t been ruined by cloaking devices.  Yes – I think the most recent injury to Dust has been the introduction of the cloaking device, which has taken away a good deal of the frontline combat feeling of the game.  The other big problem with Dust is the fact that the lack of PvE, and the massive incomes possible from Planetary Conquest, means that the average player who is not in the select group of players successfully undertaking PC battles, is left scratching around for ISK facing up against Proto equipped squads.  Scottie also has much to blame for this, although with a shrinking pool of already low numbers, matchmaking must be a difficult task.

Warframe recently deployed a massive update, introducing the ability to fly through space, literally through the wreckage of space ships and structures, as well as asteroids. Once again, it’s easy to spot places where Eve and Dust should have been leading the market.  We had the trailer showing us how the new implants for the Dust soldiers were found… and here’s a game showing us how CCP could have taken that vision and made it a reality through their game.

I am hugely saddened by all of this.  I’m not sure how this has happened.  Maybe it’s simply down to CCP overstretching and finding out that the ground underneath them wasn’t as strong as they thought.  It isn’t bad luck, as they haven’t launched a ground-breaking format which hasn’t been adopted.  Dust 514 is/was, after all, a multi-player console FPS.  Bad advice? Bad timing? Bad management? Maybe. Probably not. Possibly.

I’m not “on the inside”, so it’s impossible for me to judge the finer points.  However, what I do know is that the latest changes are the tipping point for me, and from what I can see, many others.

I have given away all of my assets, used the Eve Character Bazaar to sell my main characters, have distributed the proceeds from the character sales to in-game friends, and have unsubbed my accounts.  From the small group of people I know in-game, four people have definitely decided to stop playing Eve, and I can state with confidence that combined with me this means that a minimum of 25 accounts have unsubbed.  Looking through the forums when I was selling my characters, the number of Capital Ship pilots who were being sold suggests that this is a bit of a trend.

So the question is, what do I expect (if anything) from this letter?  A response? Acknowledgement? Rebuttal? Change? No. I don’t expect any of these. After the years of playing the game and most of the time enjoying it and blogging about it, I just wanted to say something before I left.

If anybody ends up playing Warframe or Elite: Dangerous, then feel free to look me up.  In Warframe I’m CarolynSicling, and our clan is new and looking for recruits.  In Elite: Dangerous, I’m Commander Allum, and as it’s still in Beta, things will no doubt grow and develop, but I’ll eventually be looking for a Corporation, or whatever it ends up being called, to join.

My best wishes to everybody who has read this blog, met me in game, or works for CCP.  Hopefully I will meet (or cross) some of you in other games in the future.

Eve Scientist
aka Lorna Sicling (sold)

Please note that my Eve Online accounts have been unsubbed, and will therefore all cease to be active within the next few days.  The majority of my characters have been sold through the CCP forums in accordance with CCP’s Terms & Conditions, and therefore should you see “me” in game, it will actually be somebody else.  Comments to this blog post will continue to function and be received by me at an external email address.

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CCP’s first salvo of silver bullets results in friendly fire

by on Oct.02, 2014, under Eve online

I’ve been very quiet over the past few weeks.  Apologies for that – RL stuff and things in Eve have drained my time.

Anyway, a couple of things to mention.

Firstly, the changes to invention proposed in this dev blog.  Some good things such as:

  • balancing datacore use – the new purpose based system makes much more sense to me
  • multiple outcomes for invention – I have the hang of it and then I need to work harder, this always needed some love

However, as usual there’s some bad things:

  • Merging Invention and  Reverse Engineering – these are completely different activities, the only reason to merge is to dumb things down
  • Only needing skills to level 1 for Tech II construction – really? Integrating capital class jump technology into a T1 battleship is easy you say?

Serious point here.  Can somebody at CCP please start using a dictionary when making changes.  For years we had refining skills which covered refining ore, but also reprocessing modules.  Now, they’ve effectively nerfed refining modules so only ore is refined, but instead have renamed it reprocessing.  Do you refine a piece of iron ore or do you reprocess it?

Now, they’ve decided to do the same with invention and reverse engineering.  We take a tech I blueprint and, after looking over it and using our extensive and expensive science skills, we apply ourselves and invent something new, a tech II blueprint copy.  Alternatively, we take a piece of advanced and virtually incomprehensible alien technology and take it apart, scan it, poke and prod it until we manage to construct a design for something that behaves in a similar way… we’ve managed to reverse engineer it.

Why oh why can CCP not just stick to having things named correctly, or just come up with a new name altogether.  I can understand that CCP are merging the activities code into one section for simplicity and to make it easier to update and manage – well done and congratulations – but why can’t they then have things split into two trees, one named invention and the other named reverse engineering?  Perhaps I’m being too picky, but I think it’s just lazy.

Ok, that’s as much time as I’m going to spend on invention stuff for now, as there’s more to come on that I’m sure.  The biggest point is the travel dev blog.

I read it through, and then I read it again just to make sure, and then a corp mate helpfully posted this link which shows CCP dev responses.

The funniest thing in the whole dev blog is the example of Little Bobby Tables moving his Archon in appendix A.  I got to the point where Bobby decides to fly his Archon 40 gates through null-sec.  Unfortunately CCP Greyscale missed out the end of the story where, 3 jumps in, he gets tackled by a roaming gang and, shortly thereafter wakes up in a clone vat with an insurance payment.  Yes, the limiting of force projection is a good idea, but by quoting sheer stupidity in one of his examples, it doesn’t help soften the blow within the dev blog.

Once again, CCP’s activities have destroyed an entire game play style.  If you rely on people such as Black Frog Freight, Galactic Hauling Solutions or PushX (not advertising or endorsing any solution), better start thinking of an alternative as CCP’s first salvo of silver bullets aimed at null sec will headshot these operations.  It’s a real shame, as these groups (and others like them) have worked hard to build up a business to service the usually smaller operations in lo-sec and null-sec and provide them with a way to exist.

For me, it will mean that I’d need to double the number of cyno toons to be able to continue to operate as an industrialist in null sec.

By the way, that’s partly why I’ve been so quiet.  Having got bored and stale as renters, we moved corp to join a sov holding PvP alliance in order to help ramp up their industrial wing.  I’ve been busy setting up T1, T2 and T3 manufacturing lines and things are now progressing nicely, producing fleet T2 and T3 fits for sale on the market and by Alliance contract.

However, post patch, with fatigue affecting both jump bridges and jump drives, initial calculations on fatigue and the idea of funding another one, probably two accounts just for cyno toons, I’m starting to look at this and wonder whether CCP really have any idea what the implications of these changes will be.  Yes, perhaps if we had player constructed stargates available to build and deploy at the same time as these changes…. but that’s probably around a year away I’m guessing.

Other people have suggested so many different changes, such as the need for the cyno on a ship to spool up before it can jump.  Why can’t the fatigue be applied to that instead, so that maybe radiation builds up to the state where it takes longer to spool up each time, so the more jumps you do in a short period, the longer each jump takes to actually do.  This would have meant the need to defend the final few cynos for the jumps to be possible.

Essentially, with the changes happening now and in the future, CCP are taking the stack of cards that is null sec and the Eve economy, knocking it down and giving us a new pack of cards and hoping that we will be able or bothered to rebuild it into a working game again.

I’m very concerned about this, and not entirely sure I want to go through the effort and expense of being able to be part of the rebuilding process.

On a final note, I’ve been playing Warframe  a bit recently, as I was getting a bit fed up of Dust as the low player numbers there coupled with the matchmaking system seems to result in most matches comprising at least one full squad of full Proto gear players funded by Planetary Conquest ISK, or lots of people running around in cloaks with shotguns.  The actual gameplay in Dust can be very engaging at times, but the ability to make ISK to run good suits is not great unless you’re chosen by the good and great to receive some of their Planet gained wealth.

Yesterday I unlocked the Clan Key, and travelled to the Clan Dojo, which my Clanmate is building.  CCP – you really need to look at this and learn.  As a clan, you’re able to construct a very nice looking complex where people can have 1v1 fights to test equipment and learn and practice moves.  You can also make things for clan members to use too.  If, when we had Incarna, CCP had given Corporations and/or Alliances the ability to construct something similar in NPC stations or Outposts, then I believe that it would have been successful, and would not have resulted in the terrible consequences that followed.  Even if not applied to Eve, if something similar had been put into Dust when it was launched, then perhaps the concurrent player count would not be the poor few thousand it is now, but would have been in the 10,000’s as such a title should be.

Anyway, these are my thoughts.  I will welcome comments such as “QQ poor indy noob carebear thanx for the tears yummy” and so on.  Constructive comments also very much appreciated.

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Crius – Industry teams… worth their weight in Megacyte? (TLDR – yes!!!)

by on Jul.20, 2014, under Eve online

One of the major new introductions to the industry process into Eve with the Cruis update is the appearance of Teams into the game.  Initially, upon hearing the word “team” mentioned, my corp mates and I thought that it could mean some way for multiple characters to work on a research or manufacturing project collaboratively.  The reality was very different.

In Crius, CCP have added the notion of actual people having to be hired to operate research labs and manufacturing plants, whether this be at a POS in the hidden depths of a wormhole, or in a gleaming Amarrian Station a couple of jumps from the Amarr home world.  To expand upon this further, CCP has also added the ability to bid for a specialised team to come and live in a particular station and offer their services.  Of course, there is a cost for this too.

The bidding process is pretty simple.  You go to the Industry window, choose the Teams tab and click on chartering to bring up the list of teams and various filters such as location (system / region etc.) and speciality.  Teams consist of 4 members, each of which bring something different to the table.  Once you’ve found a team you like where the auction is finishing sometime soon, you can bid on them.  If you’re successful then you get a notification from Concord and the team magically arrives in your selected station.

One really important thing to note is that multiple people can contribute to a bid.  When you bid, if your chosen system is the same as another person’s existing bid, your bid adds to the total for that system.  Strangely, once the minimum bid has been met, other people can then bid low amounts.  For example, I bid 500k on one character and 110k on another for one system, and then when I went to bid with a third character for a different system, it told me the minimum bid was 130k.  I tried again with a fourth character bidding for yet another system (Rancer this time lol), the minimum bid was 150k.

Although it might sound like it’s broken, actually it allows for a group of players to agree to each bid and contribute to winning a team, although it seems that each bidder will be forced to bid at a higher level than the last, so if you each want to contribute 200k ISK, looks like you won’t be able to do so.

The overall beauty of this system is that you can bid from one place for a team to be located in another, so if you operate a regional (or universal) manufacturing empire, you don’t have to be in the target station to bid for the team to go there.  Below you can see that I’ve successfully hired three different teams to come to my Outpost to help:

As you can see, all three teams are for manufacturing and so will not affect other activities such as researching material efficiency.  Also, each team has four distinct effects that can be used for specific blueprint types, and also a salary commensurate with how big an effect they have.

So let’s see what they do.  My first example is going to use the bottom team from Caldari Steel, and I’m going to make some Medium Nosferatu’s

So here we are with 100 runs up on the clock and no team selected.  The first thing to notice is that it shows which members of the available teams could contributing on this job, and what their contribution, and salary, would be.  Below you can see the difference when the team is added to the process:

The first thing to notice here is that both highlighted team members have had an impact.  You can see that the estimated material price has dropped from 15.25 million ISK to 14.41 million ISK, a saving of 834,820.48 ISK.  Not too shabby at all.  The job cost has increased from 263,652 ISK to 284,744 ISK, i.e. only 21,092 ISK more, giving us a total saving of 813,728.48 ISK.

So a saving of over 800k ISK from only a single job? At this point it’s pretty obvious that the bidding for teams with popular characteristics will be pretty fierce, and will no doubt run into many millions of ISK.  This, however, is a bit of a concern once again for me, as it will probably mean that the larger industrial groups will be able to spend big to get the best teams and spread their cost out over lots of jobs, again reducing their unit cost, whereas the smaller operator will not be able to compete on the bidding and will, as a result, have a overall higher unit cost and be less profitable.

Anyway, back to the team information.  You can also hover over the “Job Duration” and “Total Job Cost” display to show a very useful breakdown.  For these, I used the other teams with a couple of different blueprints.  Firstly, to show the Job Duration information, I switched to making a Dragonfly:

It’s another Caldari Steel team, but this time I’m getting a 1% reduction in materials and a 6% reduction in time.  You can see above without the team that I’m enjoying quite a good reduction in time taken already.  Below, you can see the team adding their effect:

I’ve achieved a further 6% reduction, but in this case it’s only reduced it by 8.5 hours, which isn’t really anything to write home about (although in 8.5 hours you could write home several times I’d expect!).  Also noticeable is the fact that it’s increased the job cost by 1.89 million ISK.  However, I can happily confirm that the 1% reduction in materials in this particular example has reduced the estimated cost by 18.09 million ISK, giving a total cost saving of 16.19 million ISK allowing for the team’s salary payment.

Below you can see the cost information breakdown for the above job with no team:

The system cost index is worryingly red, but I’m guessing that’s because on Sisi, I’m probably accounting for a reasonable percentage of the universal industry activity as there’s probably not exactly thousands of us testing the interface out right now.  I also decided that I wouldn’t tax myself.  Below is the final screenshot, this time using a Survey Scanner blueprint and the final team:

With this you can see that the team’s 11% salary has been added to the total job cost.  In this case the team only affects the duration of the production, and so this is probably not a particularly worthwhile addition to this particular job, although as you should be able to make out from the screenshot, the team affects the material cost of other things, and so would most likely have been bid upon for those attributes instead.

So… are teams worth their weight in Megacyte?  The answer is that they probably will be, as long as you can get the right team for the right price and then make sure that you use them properly and regularly.

I have no illusions that bidding on some teams will be very competitive, and as with any auction it is something you should calculate the value first before you bid, to make sure you don’t spend too much.  It will also mean that you will need to plan your activities more carefully if you are bidding, or adjust them accordingly if you’re sharing a team with somebody else who bid.

One thing is for sure with Crius, industry in Eve will not have a fixed cost any more, and if you’re serious about being as competitive as possible, you simply cannot ignore teams.  I think that CCP has done a really good job with how teams will work, and their addition to New Eden is something that all industrialists in Eve should be looking forward to with fingers poised over the “bid” button at the 8 seconds left before auction ends mark, just like on eBay!

The real question here is whether Crest will allow for offline bidding, leading to the Eve edition of BidSniper?






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Crius – Increasing costs of T2 manufacturing

by on Jul.20, 2014, under Eve online

Listed in part of the patch notes, it states that:

Most Tech I materials have been removed from Tech II blueprints

  • More precisely, minerals that are not morphite and components that are not Advanced Components or Advanced Capital Components have been removed
  • This does not apply to Tech I items required for Tech II manufacturing, those are staying and still have exceptions to the Material Efficiency and skill bonuses so that, for example:In some cases blueprint requirements have been modified to make sure price is not fluctuating too much

This innocuous statement has not necessarily translated brilliantly if you’re doing Tech II manufacturing.  As an example, I compared the manufacture of a ME -4, PE -4 Cruise Missile Launcher II blueprint on Tranquillity now to it’s post-patch equivalent ME -7%, TE -14%.  Look below for the results:

Firstly the Tranquillity version.  This BPC takes 1 day 7 hours to produce it’s 10 runs.  Next, let’s look at the Sisi version:

With what was the same BPC, you can see that the manufacture time for 10 runs has reduced to only 8 hours 55 minutes 18 seconds, and the new ISK sink mechanic has resulted in us “donating” 184,931 ISK to Concord or some other anonymous bureau to the privilege of using our own BPC in our own Outpost in our own sovereign space.

What is striking, however, is that this shows us two things about the new manufacturing system.  Firstly, to make 1 run of this on Sisi uses 2 R.A.M. Weapon Tech, 1 T1 Module, 11 Quantum Microprocessors, 11 Morphite and 9 Robotics, so 1 Morphite less than the current TQ version shown above, but 3 more Microprocessors and 1 more unit of Robotics.  Also, put aside the R.A.M. usage as that has been covered in the Dev Blog about x100.

Now look at the Sisi screenshot above for 10 runs.  Notice that the R.A.M. and Robotics haven’t multiplied up.  This shows that by manufacturing a multiple of the unit, instead of just 1, the BPC didn’t require 2 complete R.A.M. or 9 complete units of Robotics, so by producing in one lot of 10 instead of 10 individual runs, we’ve enjoyed a cost saving.

However, the main thing to recognise here is that the cost of manufacturing is going to be less straight-forward to calculate.  To build a Quantum Microprocessor currently costs 15 Titanium Carbide, 5 Phenolic Composites, 2 Nonlinear Metamaterials and 2 Nanotransistors, regardless of the run length.  On Sisi, the same BPO (which shows -10%, so is “perfect”), uses 17 Titanium Carbide and 6 Phenolic Composites, with the other two items remaining the same for 1 run, but if I put in 1,000 runs that scales up to 14,996 Titanium Carbide, 5,293 Phenolic Composites, 1,765 Nonlinear Metamaterials and 1,765 Nanotransistors.

Life for the industrialist is going to be significantly less straight-forward.  Do you just make what you need for that run (as I do at the moment), or do you keep a stockpile of components and top them up when you get to a minimum level?

It will come down to ISK available for working capital, and if anything will make it even more difficult for the smaller operator to compete with a larger operation who will be more likely to have a greater level of working capital and therefore be able to keep larger stock levels of materials and components, reducing their unit cost.

All I know is that my spreadsheets for manufacturing will be essentially useless post patch, as all the manufacturing costs will have changed in some way or another.  Looks like I have some work to do!

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Crius – Reprocessing

by on Jul.19, 2014, under Eve online

Before Crius arrives on the 22nd, I decided to log on and conduct some tests at some Outposts.

If you haven’t looked through the patch notes in detail, I’d suggest you do so by clicking here, things are changing quite a bit to say the least.

Firstly, you should know that the new interface is gorgeous – it has nice animations when you click on things, although it can suffer a little bit from lag if you have lots of blueprints and locations to view. If you were here when the unified inventory was introduced, you can probably get the idea, although it’s nowhere near that bad and can only get better through CCP’s ongoing polishing.


Firstly, let’s look at what used to be called refining, and is has now been called reprocessing. Firstly, I’d like to hold my hands up here and say that I’m a little confused as to why it’s now called reprocessing rather than refining. The Oxford Dictionary description of reprocessing is “Process (something, especially spent nuclear fuel) again or differently, typically in order to reuse it” and for refining it is “Remove impurities or unwanted elements from (a substance), typically as part of an industrial process“.

Ok, so in Eve you actually use the same menu option to both refine, ore and ice for example, and reprocess, mission runners reprocessing modules looted from mission wrecks or the mineral compression favourite 425mm Railgun I. However with how yields are changing, the amount of modules and things other than ore and ice that will actually be reprocessed should drop sharply, as even with maximum skills you will get a very poor return of minerals from those invested in building the item. However, refining ore and ice will actually yield more minerals than previously in specific situations, such as using one of the reprocessing arrays at a POS or with an upgraded Minmatar Outpost.

I decided to use the most simple example in the form of Veldspar for my tests. I went out and mined 10,000 units of the stuff on Tranquillity, and purchased some at 100 ISK per unit from the seeded market on Singularity at an Amarr Factory Outpost in null sec space. For reference, my skills in reprocessing aren’t perfect… well actually for the current way of working they are perfect, as I have both Refining and Refinery Efficiency to 5, and all of the ore specific skills to 4. I also usually have a 4% implant in slot 8 that covers any gaps.

So, on Tranquillity I went to a Minmatar Outpost that has been upgraded to level 1 and refined my Veldspar. The result, rather unsurprisingly, was 30,000 units of Tritanium. Hooray, the system works. Next, I logged onto Singularity and acquired Veldspar, 2% and 4% reprocessing yield implants and got to work.

The image above shows the amount I got, with no reprocessing implant plugged in, at the Amarr Outpost. The image also shows the nice UI and demonstrates how you can have multiple things selected for reprocessing. This is, obviously, less than the amount you can get now – well actually it’s infinitely more, as an un-upgraded Amarr Outpost currently can’t refine anything.

I then plugged in a 2% implant and tried again, which yielded 28,916 units of Tritanium, and switching to a 4% implant gave me 29,483. Even with an implant I couldn’t get to the current “perfect” level, and if I were to train all of the ore specific skills from 4 to 5, I’d need to invest 178 days of training time to do so. If I did though, I’d achieve 30,029 Tritanium in an un-upgraded non-Minmatar Outpost. Not too shabby.

Next up is the Minmatar Outpost, which in this case has been upgraded 1 level for reprocessing.

The above result is without an implant, and already shows that we’re getting more than we previously could have. Adding a 2% implant takes us to 31,229 and the 4% yields 31,841 Tritanium. If my ore specific skills were at 5, that would give a maximum of 32,431, which is 8.1% more than we currently can get. In fact, if you had a fully upgraded Minmatar Outpost with maximum skills and the 4% implant, you’d be able to get 36,034 units of Tritanium, which is a massive 20.1% more than we currently get. Although the ISK investment is massive, if you do serious amounts of reprocessing then the payback won’t take too long at all.

This could be a serious driver for conflict in the future, and if you rent space then expect these Outposts to either have a high tax imposed on them; a high rental value; or both.

Now the bit I’m not a huge fan of – the reprocessing arrays that can be anchored at a POS. They come in two flavours: normal and intensive, with base reprocessing values of 52% and 54%. Immediately this seems rather unfair – you’ve spent billions of ISK buying and deploying a Minmatar Service Outpost in the nether regions of known space, and some upstart plants a small POS at a moon in hi-sec and gets the same refine rate than you do. You spend several billion ISK more only to find out that he’s swapped it to a different POS module that, once again, matches your massive space installation.

This to me, is simply wrong. I tested both arrays out, and the results, with my skills and testing the implants, demonstrated the point. Unless you plan to spend tens of billions of ISK deploying and upgrading a Minmatar Outpost to level 2 or higher, you might as well try and get into either a Caldari or Amarr Outpost instead and just use an Intensive Reprocessing Array at a POS. I personally think this is a shame, but CCP probably have good reasons, and those reasons are probably aimed purely at the hi-sec industry groups, however as somebody who’s spent lots of time in hi-sec (and pretty recently too), manufacturing in null sec is not without its own costs and, as CCP’s mantra goes, risk = ISK.

TLDR – lovely interface; upgrade those Minmatar Outposts now; reprocessing arrays are unbalanced

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Death to 1,000 Clicks

by on Jul.11, 2014, under Eve online

Sisi has recently been updated so that the invention part of the new industry UI is working.  I’ve included a screen shot below so those of you who haven’t looked at it yet can see what’s on the way:

New Eve Industry UI

If you haven’t read the Dev Blogs about the upcoming changes, or played with them on the test server (Sisi), I cannot emphasise how major this change is for anybody who touches industry processes on an even casual basis.

I decided to run a comparison.  With BPC’s in place, I decided to do 10 inventions on Tranquility, and then do the same on Sisi.  It took me 90 seconds and 81 mouse clicks to do on Tranquility, and 75 seconds with 15 mouse clicks on Sisi.

Not a huge saving in time, but on mouse clicks, wow.  As I tend to do at least 70 invention/reverse engineering jobs each day on weekdays, this translates to a saving just under 9 minutes a week, which is nothing, but a magnificent removal of 2,310 mouse clicks each week from my Eve online experience – that is pretty amazing.

The teams are up and running, and I managed to successfully bid on a team to reduce some the manufacturing time on something.  It cost me 490k ISK, and essentially made me think that we’re about to get eBay for New Eden.

As you can see, the interface is fairly simple to use. You click on the columns to sort by type or high to low, and use the filters to find what sort of team you’re looking for.  Once you find that perfect team, you click on bid and enter the system you want the team to be based at, and then the value of your bid.  I’m assuming that even if teams aren’t perceived as useful (which I think they very much will be) this will be a lot like eBay in that it will only really be worth bidding towards or at the end of an auction.

Who knows, perhaps with Crest we’ll see 3rd party phone apps copying Bidsniper and placing last second bids for your Eve team through the two way API :)

One thing that I did find annoying, and perhaps it’s just me and how I’m using the interface at the moment, but if you look at the image below, you’ll see that the BPO seems to be showing the base mineral cost, and that the Industry interface is showing the cost once the BPO’s material research has been applied:

Although it’s a lovely thing to know what the base mineral cost is and to see how much your hard spent research time has improved things, it makes it necessary to change how you view blueprints from this point forward.  Never again will you be right clicking and selecting “info” to look at the material requirements, instead you will need to choose to view it in the Industry interface to see what’s going on.

In one sense, making an indy spreadsheet will be easier, as you’d just need to enter base information, and then add a column for % material improvement from research to modify the cost, and as you research the BPO you will just have to amend that one column (if you weren’t already using this sort of method before, but with the complicated formula).  It would have been a nice touch to add a base cost figure in brackets after the material cost – that way you could glance at the BPO and see how much (or little) your time researching has improved things.

One other little niggle is that, when you have large numbers of BPO’s and BPC’s kicking about as I do, the interface can be pretty laggy – significantly more so than the old science and industry interface.  Had the interface not been catching its breath to update, my time of 75 seconds for completing 10 inventions would have almost certainly have been below 60 seconds.  It’s a small thing, but think back to the early days of the unified inventory and the need to go and make a cup of tea/coffee while the corporate hanger loaded.  This isn’t that bad, but it’s still a bit annoying as the list flickers and updates.  CCP improved the unified inventory (and we also got used to delays), so I’m hopeful this will go the same way after a couple of polishing updates.

So… overall, if you are involved in any kind of industry in New Eden, you should really try to get on Sisi and play with the new interface now before it’s released.  Even if you don’t care about industry at all, I’d urge you to have at least a cursory look when Miley Crius is released – CCP have obviously worked hard on this, and it’s looking like it will be a job well done.

Now… about the pain of locking and unlocking BPO’s and the terribad Corporate interface – CCP I’m waiting to be impressed again in the very near future please!!!


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A bit more testing with Sisi industry

by on Jun.27, 2014, under Eve online

I noticed that Sisi had patched again, so I updated it and fired it up.  I’d also hit the forums and found out that the lovely new indy interface has one (for me and probably many other indy people) VERY annoying “feature”.

Copying for inventions will be nice and quick, as you only need a 1 run BPC to invent from, however, having tried one of my max run drone copies for invention, it appears that it ONLY accepts a 1 run copy, as it refused to use a 1500 run Heavy Armor Maintenance Bot I BPC to invent from, but would accept a 1 run Prophecy BPC to invent from.  For me, this means that after the patch I will have several thousand BPC’s which are useless for inventing from. The words “no thanks” spring to mind here.

As far as copying a blueprint for invention, for me in a Design Laboratory in our null sec system making 20x 1 run copies of a Stasis Webifier I blueprint took 3 hours 36 minutes and cost 15 ISK, and to do the same job for a Kinetic Deflection Field I blueprint took the same time, but cost 53 ISK.

I did find some problems inputting numbers, for example I typed in 20 runs, but for some reason it only did 5, so I started the job with another identical BPO and this time it only did 2 runs, then finally I quit the interface and clicked “use blueprint” to bring it back up again, selected 20 runs and it actually worked.

A few teething problems, but still steps in the right direction.

CCP, your “must do” list for the release is as follows:

  1. Make sure that skills and implants affect the reprocessing values at the POS reprocessing arrays, otherwise they’re basically useless
  2. Fix it so that a BPC with any number of runs can be used to invent from, as having several thousand BPC’s rendered useless for invention by this update will be pretty annoying, to say the least!
  3. Fix the interface bugs – I’m sure you’re working on those already, but just a gentle reminder
  4. Can I also assume that some new brilliant interface will be there to let us lock and unlock blueprints in batches?
  5. Any chance of letting us apply the job process to the multiple blueprints that we can select in the interface? Doesn’t have to be for all of the options, but it would be nice to be able to do batch copying, batch invention etc.

Other than that…. it’s actually starting to come together nicely and I can see how it will save me significant amounts of time

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Testing Industry on Sisi

by on Jun.26, 2014, under Eve online

Been quite a difficult past few weeks in RL, so not been able to post, which is breaking one of my New Year’s Resolutions pretty seriously.

Anyway, I’ve been playing around with things on the Eve Test Server, Sisi, and am a little concerned that CCP haven’t really calculated the impact of the changes they’re bringing in.

My main concern is the reduction to material cost when manufacturing using certain installations, the Amarr Factory Outpost being one of the places this happens.  This creates a huge disparity in manufacturing costs between pretty much anywhere and null sec.  Of course this is ultimately part of CCP’s plans – risk = ISK, and so I guess they’ll try to lure bigger manufacturing concerns into null sec, and then when they’re settled in and everything is locked down, they’ll roll out some sort of destructible Outpost idea which will then mean everybody will run back to hi-sec.

I can see the idea of having a lo-sec only module to allow you to build Capital Components in lo-sec at a lower cost, but I’m not sure why it couldn’t match the Amarr Outpost’s 30%, as it will still be easy enough to make carriers and dreads in null-sec and then just fly them out to a lo-sec system to sell if that’s your intention.

So trying out the new POS modules I got the following results:

Compression Array: 100 units of Arkonor = 1600 m3, compression reduces it to 3.1m3
Reprocessing Array: 100 units of Arkonor = 119 Megacyte, 664 Mexallon, 3590 Tritanium and 59 Zydrine
Intensive Reprocessing Array: 100 units of Arkonor = 124 Megacyte, 690 Mexallon, 3728 Tritanium and 62 Zydrine
Level 1 upgraded Minmatar Outpost: 100 units of Arkonor = 173 Megacyte, 962 Mexallon, 5200 Tritanium and 87 Zydrine

My skills are 5 and 5 with the Reprocessing and Efficiency skills, and 4 with the Ore specific skills, and I have the 4% implant too.

I then repeated with 100 Veldspar:

Reprocessing Array: 100 units of Veldspar = 215 Tritanium, i.e. 716 Trit per 333 units refined
Intensive Reprocessing Array: 100 units of Veldspar = 224 Tritanium, i.e. 746 Trit per 333 units refined
Level 1 upgraded Minmatar Outpost: 100 units of Veldspar = 313 Tritanium, i.e. 1042 Trit per 333 units refined

The old way of refining usually gave a maximum of 1000 units of Trit per 333 units refined, so from what I can see something doesn’t look very good here.  Based on reading the forum comments from the Reprocessing Dev Blog, I think that the skills are not being applied to the POS modules yet, so I’ll have to wait until Sisi updates again to see what happens.

If it is fixed however, one of the strongest combinations for a Eve Industrial player might be an Amarr Outpost in null-sec with an intensive reprocessing array in support, or a friendly neighbour with a seriously upgraded Minmatar Outpost.

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Playing with the new indy interface

by on Jun.12, 2014, under Eve online

Well, this will only be a quick post due to time constraints… and massive apologies for the lack of posting of late, lots of RL issues and things which have left me with either no time or no energy to post.

Anyway, I’ve just updated Sisi and had a go with the new indy interface.  At the moment it seems a bit buggy.  For instance, when you enter a run number in the box, it doesn’t always work properly or reset to the maximum level.  When trying to do a maximum run copy on a Hobgoblin BPO, it told me that 600 was the maximum in the box, but set 2000 on the job level.

Also, I thought we’re supposed to be using copies for everything?

Copy time of Armageddon on TQ for me = 15 hours, copy time on Sisi 3 hours

Sounds good, but when you do the same with a Hobgoblin BPO at 20 copies of a max run (1,500 on TQ and only 600 on Sisi) for inventing from:

Job time on TQ for me = 3 days 8 hours
Job time on Sisi for me = 25 days


This will need further investigation.

Nice thing was being able to set a job up and then just keep clicking on a BPC and hitting start.  Disappointing that you could select multiple BPO’s/BPC’s in the list, but that the action wouldn’t be applied to them all (even with a warning of “do you really want to start a batch of 4 jobs” sort of message).

More to come on this definitely, but I’d recommend that you download it and have a play.

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The new cost of making things in null sec

by on May.02, 2014, under Eve online

aka – why T2 production will still be significantly cheaper in hi-sec.

CCP mass released 4 Dev blogs earlier this week:

The main thing I’m going to focus on in this blog post is the changes to manufacturing cost, and the differences in cost between manufacturing in null sec and hi-sec.  CCP have made great efforts to state that they don’t want too many people running from hi-sec into null sec when the expansion arrives.

One quick comment here.  Currently, this does not appear to be an expansion, rather a change in working processes.  The Team Up dev blog hints that they may introduce the ability for players to make work teams, but that appears to be something for the future, not something for the summer.  At the moment, I’m struggling to see any new content beyond a re-working of the processes with a new UI and a complete change in the costing system.

Anyway, on to the prices.

I’ve used CCP’s formula as stated in The Price of Change dev blog.  In the blog, they used the idea of making 5 runs of an Abaddon.  Unless it’s for local consumption, making an Abaddon in null-sec and exporting it to the market doesn’t really make sense.  I’m not trying to argue that it’s going to be cheaper to make said Abaddon in hi-sec than null-sec, as in theory it shouldn’t be, unless you’re comparing a particularly good hi-sec system to building in a system without an Amarrian Outpost.

I’d recommend that you open the above dev blog in a separate tab / window, and scroll down to the formula bit where CCP Greyscale is talking about the formula and building the Abaddon.  That will make this significantly easier to follow.  Also, for the purpose of this, I’ve assumed that the system fraction of global hours will remain at 0.25% for both the hi-sec and null sec systems (i.e. 0.05 square root value), as after all loads of people will move from hi-sec to null sec in summer… right?

My first table below shows the cost of making 1, 5 and 7 Abaddons as per Greyscale’s example:

NPC Hi-Sec Station Non-Amarrian Outpost Amarrian Outpost
 Item Cost  200 million ISK  200 million ISK  200 million ISK
 System Fraction of Global Hours  0.25%  0.25%  0.25%
 System Modifier  0.75  0.8  0.5
 Taxation  10%  0%  0%
 Installation Cost for 1st run  8.25 million ISK  3.2 million ISK  2 million ISK

On the face of it above, things are looking pretty good for making things in null.  You’ll be able to add an extra 5 to 6 million ISK to the sell price, or more likely undercut Jita by 3 to 4 million ISK, when making and selling locally.

Why only sell locally?  Well, say you live deep in null making things, like me as a renter in our small to medium sized indy corp.  We easily mine enough minerals to make battleships to sell to other renters locally.  Many of them will probably be making their own ships though, so what if we decided to export them to Jita?  From where we are, it takes 3 jumps in a Jump Freighter, as well as then slow boating in a freighter to Jita.  This currently uses around 24,500 Nitrogen Isotopes if I was using a Rhea with maximum navigation and jump freighter skills.  CCP are increasing the isotope consumption of ships with jump drives by 50%, this would mean that I’d now consume around 36,750 Nitrogen Isotopes isotopes each way.

Let’s look at multiples.  A Rhea would let me export 7 Abaddons at a time, so let’s re-do the above table for 7 ships:

NPC Hi-Sec Station Non-Amarrian Outpost Amarrian Outpost
Item Cost 200 million ISK 200 million ISK 200 million ISK
System Fraction of Global Hours 0.25% 0.25% 0.25%
System Modifier 0.75 0.8 0.5
 Number of Runs 7 7 7
 Multi-Run Discount 0.8893 0.8893 0.8893
Taxation 10% 0% 0%
Average Installation Cost per Run 6.67 million ISK 2.85 million ISK 1.78 million ISK

As you can see, you’re probably now saving 4.9 million ISK per ship, multiply that by 7 and you get 34.24 million ISK saved.  24,500 Nitrogen Isotopes costs around 950 ISK per unit in Jita, giving a transport cost of 34.91 million ISK.  Assuming you’re always taking other stuff back for different things, we can do a bit of a “Goons” here and say that the return journey costs you no ISK (this is in reference to a Goons quote where they once said that moon goo you mined yourself was free).

Actually, let’s not assume you’re going back empty.  Let’s instead assume that you’re building the T2 Gallente Battleship, the Kronos.  After all, the summer expansion is called Kronos isn’t it?  Now, to build 7 Kronies (my attempt at a pluralisation of Kronos instead of calling them Kronos’s), you need 415,051.5 m3 of moon goo in addition to the usual things like minerals.  I’m not including construction blocks here, as I’m going to assume that you can comfortably produce the 2,520 required in null sec from PI yourself without too much effort.

So, as moon mining in null sec systems, particularly as a renter, isn’t the best thing in the world as all the high end moons are taken by your landlord.  If you doubt that, investigate the rental terms for the bigger rental services such as Brothers of Tangara and, as a comparison, Goons more recent venture.

I’ll be generous here and assume that you can produce one of the components in your system from the “free” moon goo.  It’s likely to either be the Crystalline Carbonide or Sylramic Fibers.  Making either will reduce your import load below that of a single jump freighter, and therefore that return journey we talked about earlier now serves a function.

Let’s re-run the figures above with making 7 Kronies:

NPC Hi-Sec Station Non-Amarrian Outpost Amarrian Outpost
Item Cost 1,000 million ISK 1,000 million ISK 1,000 million ISK
System Fraction of Global Hours 0.25% 0.25% 0.25%
System Modifier 0.75 0.8 0.5
Number of Runs 7 7 7
Multi-Run Discount 0.3509 0.3509 0.3509
Taxation 10% 0% 0%
Average Installation Cost per Run 13.16 million ISK 5.62 million ISK 3.51 million ISK

As you can see, it’s saving you around 9.65 million per ship to build, a total saving of 67.55 million ISK over all 7 runs to build in null sec instead of hi-sec.  But wait – now you need to add not only the cost of importing the moon goo (remember, the POS that you’re running to mine and convert the one or two moon goo types you haven’t imported are “free” – well, they’re not free, but should be costing you less than buying them from Jita and importing them or you’re just doing it wrong!!!), you also need to include the cost of exporting the Kronies.  As we said earlier, it’s broadly going to be a Jump Freighter load each way, so 34.9 million ISK x2 = 69.8 million ISK.

This is a very crude example still, as added to the example of building the 7 Kronies above, you also need to factor in the cost savings in producing the individual construction components from complex moon products.  This will increase the difference between the hi-sec and null sec production, and should bring it just about into a positive experience.

The other thing that CCP have alluded to, but not yet given numbers to, is that specialised Outposts and relevant upgrades are likely to get some sort of ME bonus.  As we’ve found out, ME will now be a strict percentage, from 0% to 10%.  If it is 1% as currently mooted, it would further reduce the manufacturing cost by around 8 million ISK per ship, or increase your profit margin by just under 1%.

However, all of this combined you’ve got to consider Risk vs ISK.  Is 8 million additional ISK per 1 billion ISK ship worth the risk of jumping your Jump Freighter 3 jumps there and 3 jumps back, as well has having to have your moon mining operation vulnerable to attack and the Outpost with your blueprints in able to be captured (or in the future, actually destroyed)? Does it represent enough reward?

What about the capital you need to employ to actually deploy an Outpost?

What about the monthly Sovereignty costs paid to Concord?

Is 8 million ISK extra per 1 billion ISK ship adequate reward?

OK – there are many more profitable things you can build which take up less space, such as T2 modules, turrets and launchers, but as CCP Greyscale used an Abaddon as an example, the numbers were an easier thing to compare and associate with his Dev Blog.

As an aside – is CCP’s answer to everything now to introduce the ability to cloak? We had T2 Covert Ops Frigates, then the T2 Recon Ships, then followed Black Ops, followed by the theory crafted Covert Ops Avatar.  Then suddenly everybody with anything from a shotgun to Heavy Machine Gun suddenly was running around the battlefield cloaked.  Now we have the cloaked mining ship.

Cloaky tanks (Dust 514) and POS to follow soon(TM).

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