Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So we made a guy leave WH space.

I’m split behind being proud of that and ashamed.  On the one hand, we drove a guy who could have brought a fight at a later engagement and on the other we out witted, out smarted and hunted another player with the utmost efficiency.

I discussed this story on the latest episode of Down the Pipe episode 9. So I’m writing this on the assumption I left something out of the story, or my blog readers simply don’t listen to podcasts.

(TLDR) This story will go into the thought processes I used, and their resulting KMs. I want to go over how effective intelligence, tactics and patience can result in some nice kills

Story and Hunting Lesson:

Friday night, I log in and I notice I’m the only one online. Jim (home hole) hasn’t been resolved (fully scanned out) in less than 10 hours. So I drop probes and resolve Jim. Nothing special, so I warp to the only connecting hole, which is our static, Sally.

I warp, book mark the hole and jump in.

First thing I do is hit D-scan. Instant results show a single Sisters Core Scanner probe on D and two towers without force fields. 

Good and bad news. Good news because it means someone was in this hole in the past 1.2 hours or is in this hole now. Probes in space only last for that long. Bad news, because if he has probes out already, he either just saw the hole open and a new sig form on his scans. A K162 will not open unless a human actually warps to or probes down the hole from the opening side.  That rule known, this guy can safely assume he is no longer alone.

Second thing I do is hit the probe scan without any probes out. This will tell me how many anomalies are in the system without dropping probes. The information I glean from this will dictate how active I think these targets may or may not be. Few anoms means this hole is well traveled and its residents play quite a bit. Large amounts of anoms means the people living in it haven’t gotten around to running them, don’t care about running them, or are simply not very active. It’s a quick, easy thing to click before continuing with the hunt. 12 anoms on scan.

Third step, book mark the Sally to Jim hole I just passed through.

Forth, click update location on in game Wormnav. This will give me more info about this history of this wormhole. How many NPC and Player ship/pod kills. It will tell me the static of the wormhole and the wormhole's space effect. If you see recent NPC ship kills (within the last hour) good chance those guys are still online. You can also use some deduction to figure out what time zone they play in.  If we are at their peak timezone, you can expect a positive reaction to a bait ship. Few people will chance a bait ship by themselves. Not peak, the pilot with the probes out may just log off and ignore someone ratting in his hole. This doesn’t always work, because people sometimes rat in other peoples WHs, but it gives you just a little bit more information. Typically information may have been ignored.

Fifth, check the mini map (found by pressing F11) and see how much of your D-scan is actually showing what is in the hole. That white area around you is the distance of your D scan in relation to your system location. The wormhole from Jim opened closest to the sun (center of the system), and you want to scout out the entire system before you commit to a plan of action. 

Remember the controller of those probes saw the new sig (Jim) open to them, so the clock is ticking.

These steps are all done in the 30 seconds before you uncloak from your jump cloak timer.  It sounds like a great many steps to do in less than 30 seconds, but honestly it becomes 2nd nature if you are an active hunter.

Sixth, warp to the farthest planet and cloak the second after you click warp. This is the tense part of any hunt. Because for a split second, you are able be seen on your targets directional scan. Most WHers are paranoid and hitting that D-scan button every few seconds gives the targets valuable intel. 

This is where corp/alliance ship name stealing comes in handy. If I’m a forward WH scout, I’ll steal a targets ship naming convention and add it to my scout ship before I even uncloak. Anyone hitting D-scan may assume it’s a fellow corpmate/alliance member just switched ships or jumped through a hole, and not a roving band of WH hunters.

I warp my scan ship to the farthest planet(from the sun) in the system, mashing D scan the entire way there. I see 3 more probes on scan once I land. Then I see a Loki, a Tengu,  a Cyclone, a Noctis, a tower, and a force field. Too many people leave ships just floating inside their pos’s for me to totally assume they are unpiloted or piloted. It’s worth the few extra minutes to see if those ships are piloted. If those ships are piloted, it means I’m terribly outnumbered and outgunned. It’s just me and another human online. I would either need to multi box in combat (not smart) or fight 2v3 (also not smart). 

We call it ‘getting eyes on the targets’. There are a few ways of doing this, but I’m old school so I’ll tell you mine. I’m fast at it, I’m an old man and habits are hard to break. Since some planets have like 10+ moons, I’m not about to warp to every single one of them looking for a POS. 

Once I have landed at the planet, I narrow my D-scan to 60 degrees, point it at a random direction, look for the ships. Nope.  Mark the location in my mind, shift the camera around the horizontal axis, scan again still at 60 degrees. Nope. Repeat till I find the ships, click off overview only. This way I will see moons, POS’s, ships, whatever.

Hit scan again. If the moon list isn’t very long or I get lucky and have only 1 moon show up using the 60% scan. In this story, I got the POS at moon 5 by itself, no other moons.  I right click on the moon and warp to it at 100.

This took me about 2 minutes, including the warp to the planet from the hole. I

Remember the clock is ticking. I’m racing that scan ship who is controlling those probes, and how fast he can find the hole I just left, and get eyes on my POS/Ships.

I land on grid 198k from POS and its ships. All ships are piloted. YES. Piloted ships means, a chance at a fight of some sort.  The probe ship has a great chance at being with these guys. They may respond to a bait set up. Now to get some intel on what kinds of fits they have.

This is done by getting within 100k or less of ship, clicking on the little eyeball button on the target sub menu, and making some educated observations. This button will zoom you in and you can see the turret type, weapon system type, how many guns and lack of guns (meaning nuet ship set ups). 

T3s are dangerous, but they are predictable based on the fit and the shape of its hull.  You can rule out a PVE Tengu from joining a fight on a bait target, though I have personally seen it in action, it’s rare and not something to base educated choices on. There is a website that will show you the subsystem/and the ship picture it matches up with, I can’t remember what it is, I myself have memorized them (yes I’m that nerdy)  but if I find it, I’ll post it on my links page.

While my scout was flying to 100k. My other alt pilots were hiding in the Jim hole in anticipation for the target scouts eventual jump into Jim to put eyes on our side of the hole.  I hide a cloaked double bubble Eris interdictor on the Jim side of the hole, then I cloaked up my falcon right next to him, then cloak up another scout at a safe. (Yes I’m play 4 at once, what of it?!?)  I tell cylin to cloak up too. The worst a scout will see on scan, is our pos and a shuttle. Jhimmy insists on putting on top of our pos for passing bombers to bomb (don’t ask).

Cethion logs into Team Speak 3. I want to point out our most of our guys have learned to jump into TS3 BEFORE logging into the game. We use log in tactics in some of our fights and it just makes sense to check via voice coms before you log your ship in and spoil a hunt/fight.

I give Cethion the sitrep. I explained we are expecting a targets scanner in the hole and to get off D-scan ASAP. He logs in on his cloaked proteus, and another scanning alt both of which warp cloaked to 10k from the sally hole.

Since we don’t know the type of load outs for those ships yet, I assume they are pvp fit. I want to get eyes(scanner alt) on the Sally side of the hole, since the 3 ships and the POS are off D-scan from the Jim/Sally hole and the probes are still out.  The thing about scanners I have found is, they watch the scanning map screen more than D-scan, a scout being placed somewhere usually goes unnoticed. It was worth the risk to me to expose another Cov ops ship for 2 seconds.

We check the corp kill history by pulling up the pilots kill boards. Turns out they have a great deal of Null sec kills and not much in wormholes. A group called “The Retirement Club”. Some of our members say they are famous for being being a place where players go to retire. I just figure they are trolling me or something.

I get my first scout to 99k from the Tengu and check its fit. It's fit for shield PVE. I check the Loki, its also fit for PVE. The cyclone, has no weapons. We thought it was strange at first, but I think it was set up for remote shield transfer. Add this to fact the Noctis was also piloted, this guy is about to run sites!  I could use some tasty t3 to start my weekend off.

10 minutes pass and still no scout has jumped into Jim.

Jhimmy logs in, then Val, we pass more information to them to not stay in the POS in combat ships and get cloaked or log off ASAP. Jhimmy brings a rapier and Val gets into a cloaky scanner.

We wait at least 10 more minutes.

Then Cethion says “ Buzzard on Jim hole, corp is in the retirement club” I tell everyone to hold cloaks, and let him get a good look around.  The buzzard jumps into Jim, stays cloaked for a moment. If he hits D-scan at this point all he sees on scan is a POS and a shuttle. He jumps back into Sally.  Had he known the level of cloaked death that was less than 10k from him, he wouldn’t have done exactly what he did next.

He swaps out his Loki for a Naga, then his Tengu for a Dram… Then his Cyclone for an Orca.

We assume at this point he is going to try and bait with his Orca. Or about to try and close the hole. He may have seen our scouts jump in, and the dram and Naga were going to blap any kind of scouting tackle. Either way, we have this shit handled. 

Everyone in fleet is saying “Please warp please warp… “ His Orca gains speed and warps.  At which point everyone in the fleet screams “FK YA!” I give permission for the people in scan ships to ship up into DPS. 

He lands 6k from the hole.  His scout book marked the location from the scanning window and not the actual hole. Whups! Cethion says the Orca is aligning to the hole and moving toward it. Then the buzzard uncloaks and is about to jump through, I tell the guys who just shipped up to get away from the hole and off D scan in the event he jumps the buzzard in before the Orca. 

We could have all jumped in at this point, but I didn’t want to lose the orca to bull shit with polarity. The dram lands, the naga lands,  the buzzard jumps in… then the Orca jumps in. He's fucked.

I uncloak my dictor and bubble up the Jim side of the hole, our fleet is split and the Hurricane and tackle frigs land outside the bubble. The cloaked part of the fleet all jump into the Sally hole. The Orca, now realizing that he is trapped in a bubble with a Hurricane, jumps back. The Dram jumps into Jim also.

The Orca is now back in Sally. My interdictor uncloaks and throws up a second bubble. The only ship now stuck in the 2nd interdictor bubble is the Naga. It melts. Since the Naga pilot was at 0 on the wormhole and has yet to jump into Jim. I give the fleet permission to pod him. He could have escaped back into Jim and then back into Sally, holding out his jump cloak timers.

We wait for the Orca to uncloak. The Orca has polarity at this point.  When the Orca does uncloak… he dies. We lock up the pod. The pilot has polarity and in a bubble, and now scammed/webbed. He isn’t going anywhere. 

We give him 30 seconds to give us a Hiaku.  He tried… Gave us one 5, 7, 3. Third line doesn’t have enough syllables, we say, “nice try” in local, he dies. 1.2 Bil pod because he got a poem incorrect.

Now we have a dram flying around in Jim. Through what we could only assume was depression induced suicide the dram parks 100k off one of our POCOs, and is scanned down, then destroyed. Our tackle ship locks up the pod, and once again gives him a chance for a haiku. He fails AGAIN!... We have Cethion explain it politely in local chat. He dies. 

Now we have a buzzard cloaked somewhere inside of Jim. After a few minutes. We offer to sell him passage for 30m. It’s a cloaked ship, the chances of us catching him are slim at best. He could just log off and scan his way out when we were all offline. He refuses. He does note in local chat, he is done with WHs, they are too dangerous and he was going to go back to Null space. It was safer. We all laughed. He refuses to buy his way out of Jim.

He took his chances. Cloaked scout from the Jim side of the hole sees the Buzzard trying to get back home. My cloaked interdictor puts up a bubble, then about 5 cloaked ships try and de-cloak the Buzzard. We got him. He is so far from the hole when was popped the chance of him escaping in his pod in the bubble was slim to none.

We give him another chance at a haiku. The entire time, we are shouting in local, to “PLEASE DON’T GET THIS WRONG!.” “We are rooting for ya!”

He gets it right. O thank god! We set  him free. Net loss for this guy in about 30 minutes. 2.5 Bil in pods/ships.

If that guy ever reads this blog or hears about it on the podcast, I want to really say to him. We appreciate his sacrifice and wormholes are dangerous… o/ Stay frosty.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Multi Account management, worth it?

(TL-DR - I show more than one account is not worth your time\money)

This is my EVE situation. I have four accounts, each account has three character slots. I recently sold one of the characters from one ofthe accounts, for 6 billion ISK.

The character was trained to fly a spider tanked tengu (not very well mind you), run PI, scan and fly a cov ops. That’s it. It had 8.9 mil skill points. It sold in 15 minutes of putting it up for auction.

So here is my problem. Well not so much a problem but more an observation of how the game values money and time spent playing it.

The facts:

An account costs me $15 dollars a month to fund. With four, I’m paying $60 a month in electronic entertainment expenses. Since EVE is my primary source of entertainment, I get away fairly cheaply if you compare it to say buying a play station game once a month for near $70 a game for new releases. Or two of those games, half price used.  

Outside life expenses get more pricey. Movie trip with my wife, 20 +10 for snacks. Not to mention the gas it costs to get there an back, works about to be about $10 round trip.  That’s just 1 trip to the movies, which can happen more than once a month. Drinks with friends gets a bit more expensive. EVE soaking all my time is a bargain.

Back to EVE.

So with 4 accounts. Each character is set up for Planetary Interaction. The way I set up Planetary Interaction, I just need touch the character and its planets once every 5 days, for on average 5 minutes per character to reset the jobs and 10 to 15 for a pickup for materials. I do all my PI in our wormhole with a 0% Corp tax.

 Since my PI set up is set on a 5 day cycle, my output is fairly gimped. I could frequently alter what I’m building, run factory planets, resource planets, set up feeding points, blab blah blah, and double what I’m making. But for me, working a another job after I get home from my job is lame in my mind. So I choose to make less. More about that later.

Each planet produces 8 to 10 million isk worth of material every 5 days with little effort from me. So that’s on average of 40 mil ISK (5 planets each char) x3= 120m. 120 ISK per account every 5 days. 4 accounts. 480 from my entire set up every 5 days.  Each month is 30 days. This works out to 2.88 Bil every month.

Not a bad chunk of change.

Getting it to market is a different story. Its stuck in the wormhole and needs to be dropped off in a K-space connection. Since our static is a c3, a high sec connection is fairly common for us. Maybe 2 times a month I undertake what I call a “Shipment event”. This is where I ‘secure’ the wormhole.(nothing is truly secure in wormholes, but you can make it a little safer with some common sense practices) Then make a mad dash with some Iteron 5s to K-space. Each Iteron is carrying about 215 mil. So even if it gets caught/popped. It’s not a really big deal for my operation. I find the nearest station, drop off my stuff. I don’t haul across Kspace because of suicide pilots who will pop me in a 2 mil destroyer.

This is where Redfrog freight comes in. For whatever reason, there are people in EVE who think hauling is the tits. I guess it can be done fairly AFK and it works for them. Redfrog was born. They have an out of game calculator, where you put in the starting system, the ending system and they give you what they charge. You create a contract 1 billion collateral 800m3 max. Done and done. Clean easy, simple. My only hauling danger is the static connection I pass very briefly though.  Average charge is 7 to 14 million depending how far our high sec is from Jita 4-4.

My expenses each month:

350mil ISK for POS fuel.
7-14 million in Redfrog charges per 1 bill worth. About 3 shipments 2 times a month. – let’s say 60m a month total.

So total expenses are $60 real life money and 410m a month.

That’s 2.8bil in each month, 410m out each month. With little to no effort on my part.

Now 4 accounts doesn't go over well with my wife. She already shakes her head at my multi monitor setup. I plex one of those accounts to reduce the glaring. 525 each month – 1.945 bil income. Let’s say I plexed every single one of my accounts,  that still leaves me with 370m each month.

Now here comes the scary part.

If I added 1 more account to my empire, how much money would that add to the process?

Three characters all running PI, that’s 15 more planets, each planet producing 8 mil x5 (lvl 4 skills) 40m x3 chars. 120 every 5 days. 30days in a month/6 – 5 day cycles.  Another 720, only really adding another 20 or so in shipment fees, puts me at a gain of 680m. Plexing that new account, costs me 525. Gain of 155m.  

 In theory, I could add 20 more accounts(not that I would) and gain 3.1b or less and just do it for the 155m a pop. Using the extra cash for skill books.

Sounds reasonable, but then there is something called ‘character sales’.

Each character that is set up for a specific job typically sells for much more than it costs to plex the account through the entire life of the character. Take my character I sold 6 billion last weekend. This character was set up to fly tengus, badly I might add. (only 3 subsystems were at 5) I totaled all the plex it took to get the character to this point and came up with 5 plex( 5 months of just getting XP and doing little else) . Each plex selling for 525m. Total cost 2.62bil. It cost me two plex to transfer 1.05bil. Total cost for this character. 3.67 bil. Sold for 6 bil.

Net 2.33b. And I would like to point out, I was doing it BADLY, days I let the XP stop, or I stopped XP to work on an alt on the same account.  

So if I had been running PI with that character or future characters for that matter. Using the math we have already worked out. Each account gaining me 155m per month.

A fully plexed character/account working its 5 planet PI for the duration of me keeping it (end point would me selling it). Total gain per character… .*drum roll* keeping the character for 5 months gives us an income of 775m per account.  and sold for 6 bil + 775 = 6.75b in 5 months, per account. And I’m only touching the account and its PI like 45 minutes every 5 days.

45 minutes(I’ll include shipping time, and PI set up time in this) x 6 (5 day periods in a month) – 4.5 hours a month. X 5 months. 22.5 hours a selling event( the life of the character working in the PI slave mine, only to be sold upon whatever maturity level I deem fit).

This works out to be 306million isk an Hour. Per account.

Mission runners get like 10-15 million isk an hour. Some miners run 20 million isk an hour. We just made 306 in an hour!!

So back to my original question. To multi account or not to?

Isk making wise, the math, however fuzzy, works.  But remember this. We love to play EVE and it is entertainment!

This shouldn’t be about making money, and if money is your only desire, why make it in the game?

Use your management talents outside of EVE, because in the end. 22.5 hours to get 6.7 bill, works out to be. 6.7b/525m = 12.7 plex, 15 dollars a plex. = $190. – 22.5 hours $190/22.5hr-  $4.00 an hour. Now unless your primary job is sewing NIKE shoes in China, this is a loss. 

Moral of the story, even in extreme cases such as the one I described. Just work a few extra hours a month in overtime. Save that money, put it into the game and enjoy. Make what you need, to do what you want.

Chasing ISK if a fucking waste of time.

EDIT: I received a question from a guy who read my blog and I wanted to post my response because people might get use out of it.

His question;

""What exactly do you do in PI. I understand the basics of it and all, but what were you doing to make that kind of ISK? I'm looking for something to do in my time while i'm at work to churn out a few extra ISK without too much time investment and PI seems to be a way to do so. I'd appreciate any insight/info you'd be willing to provide. I would prefer to keep it highsec if possible though.""

My response; 

""About PI.

So I do PI in a wormhole, which is a -1.0 system. PI outputs scale with the security status of the system. The more dangerous, the more output you can get. Since wormhole sec status is the most dangerous, it has the highest yields.

Another thing, my article assumes, is that you have access to a POCO (player owned customs office) with 0% tax. I make this happen in my worm hole by removing the NPC POCO and putting up my own corp run (my corp) POCO with a 0% tax. The investment for each POCO on each planet is about 90m. I think it cost me about 600m to replace all the planet POCOs when I took the wormhole.

So the main risk factors for me, are needing to defend my POCOs and POS from people who wish to take it from me by force. Since my corp is a pvp corp, this isn't much of a problem and we welcome attackers.

From what I understand of High sec PI, it doesn't pay to harvest materials from the planets. The amount you get off of any one planet in high sec, is very minor. Add a 14% NPC POCO tax rate by default and your profits go way down.

But! There is a way to make a solid profit from high sec PI.

This involves importing P1 material to a set of factory planets and creating P2 material based on market demand. Not nearly as easy as what I do in wormholes, but profitable. I'll run through it.

Using this chart

A guy made it connect to evecentral, which is a real time eve market watching program. You can us good judgement as which PI products are profitable to combine and which are not.

Looking at the chart you can see the materials in column M and the price they are currently selling at. The materials in RED are selling at a loss. All P1(stage 2) materials will sell at a profit, because the P0(stage 1) sell for almost nothing. 

The reason some materials are selling in RED, people are lazy, don't watch the market and don't want to change the PI production lines. I can't blame them, its a total pain.

An example of a good P2 product to make looking at this chart today is, Coolant. Coolant is critical for POS fuel production, since POS fuel is ALWAYS needed, its demand is always high. Supply rarely exceeds demand.

Using the chart you can see that after you purchase the two P1 materials(water and electrolytes) to make the P2 (Coolant) you end up with a 6,253 profit per cycle. Not a huge chunk of change, but good for low risk, and if you can pull it off in high volume. This could be very profitable.

So here is the idea. Each of your characters sets PI base of operations next to a major trade hub. Like the next system over that has a station and at least 5 planets. On each of the 5 planets you set up 19 basic factories, 2 launchpads, and 1 storage(I'm assuming you have level 4 PI skills). This is called a factory planet. The reason you are using launchpads instead of all storage is for pure ease of use as you make your drop off and pick up rounds.

Take 10k m3 water that you have purchased at the trade hub. Drop it off at the NPC POCO. You will be charged a 14% transaction fee to move the materials down to the launch pad.

Do the same with 10k m3 worth of electrolytes. Then set up a route from the launch pad to the 19 basic factories. You will only need to do this once thank god. Each of the basic factories will be set up to make coolant, the output from the basic factories will be smaller than whats been put in. You then route the basic factory output to the storage, where it will sit till you want to ship it to the POCO.

Upon shipping it to the POCO, 14% tax rate included. You pick it up in a hauler and take it to the trade hub for sale.

With 19 basic factories running on 5 planets, you will need to touch your PI empire daily if not every other day, because your supply launchpads will run dry. Most of the time you can keep a 30k m3 storage worth of P1 in the POCO and won't need to actually be at the POCO to make the shipment down to the planet. Just in the system. This will give you an every other day need to fly around and fill up the POCOs. 

The idea is, you are simply being smart about what you are making, and working the market based on demand. As the demand lowers for one type of p2, you can alter your production lines to keep making a profit.

One thing you can do to increase productivity, pay redfrog to move 850m3 worth of p1 from the trade hub to your PI production system. The cost is MINOR compared to buying your own freighter and moving the crap yourself. Like 5 million a trip. Well worth it to move a huge amount of material one system. The alternative would be to buy a freighter yourself or make 20 trips in a Iteron 5. But the more stock you have on hand, the less flexible you are to market changes.

This is the only real way I can see how to make high sec PI work.

I hope this helps.

If you want to know how to make WH PI work, I can discuss that also.""

If anyone wants me to ramble about WH PI idea's just ask, if not. I won't bother.