Daily Archives: August 20, 2008

Ice in the Veins

The problem with finally settling into the various economic activities I have pursued in EVE Online, production, trade, mining, and mission running, is that I am starting to accumulate a lot of ISK.

Okay, that isn’t really a problem.

The problem is that all that ISK causes me to make foolish choices. I start spending ISK just to experiment just to answer questions like, “Can I corner the market in missiles and drones in a particular mission hub system then jack up the prices?” (Yes, I can, at least in the short term.) Or I start looking for esoteric skills that might improve some tiny aspect of my abilities.

In other words, it starts burning a hole in my pocket.

A couple of weeks back Potshot and I were discussing corporate goals. What we should try to do in the long term, the short term being given over to training up skills and piling up more ISK.

Some of our goals sounded suspiciously like things we wanted to do when we were kids.

“I want to be the captain of a jump freighter!”

“I want to run a space station!”

“I want to mine on the moon!”

In some of our ambitions, I spotted a thread; the need for ice derived products.

So I did what any male would do in this situation, I went out and bought all the equipment to support a venture I wasn’t even sure we were going to embark upon.

A Mackinaw exhumer, ice harvesters, ice harvester upgrades, and a couple of skills ran me close to 80 million ISK.

My mining alt only had to train a single level 1 skill to get started.

Let me tell you right off the bat that if you find regular asteroid mining to be too hectic, this is the economic activity for you!

The default cycle time, the time it takes for your Ice Harvester I to actually mine some ice and drop it in your cargo hold is ten minutes.

At the end of that time, in a Mackinaw, you get four chunks of ice, two from each harvester. Each one is 1,000 cu/m in size.

There is no need for giant secure containers in your hauler. They hold 3,900 cu/m, so that free 900 cu/m you get goes to waste. So no more shuffling through boxes in your cargo hold, just dump the ice straight into the ship.

You never need to move. The giant ice floating in space have anywhere from 60K to 120K units of ice in each. You just pick one, lock on, and drag the ice over as it comes in.

And you never have to rub shoulders with anybody. Ice fields are so big that you can use your warp drive to get across them. Just bookmark some distant asteroid and fly direct from then on to your own secluded part of the field. Rats are even less of a bother. I have had them spawn 150km or more away from me and never come my way.

I would recommend that when you warp into your bookmark that you not use the “warp to within 0 m” option. Ice asteroids are huge and warping in that close seems to result in your ship bouncing off the asteroid you are headed towards at a high rate of speed. I have seem my Mackinaw exceed 2,800 m/s on a good bounce, which will also send you a good distance out of mining range. Warping in at a 20km range works best for me.

A very relaxing way to play EVE while doing something else, like writing checks or blog entries.

I did, of course, work on skills and upgrades. My miner alt can now mount Ice Harvester II modules so the cycle time for collection is down under six minutes to get four chunks of ice.

All of the information I needed for ice mining was in Halada’s Complete Miner’s Guide. An excellent resource, I recommended it highly.

So now I am mining, chipping ice at a happy rate and hauling it away. I just have to figure out the economic aspect of ice mining.

Ice by-products seem to be a buyers market, at least in my local region. None of the items I have put up for sale have moved. There are, however, a lot of buy orders and the competition that is setting the price seems to be more on that end than among the sellers.

I need to scout around to see what ice by-products are selling for in other regions. I have enough little points of commerce around now that I generally have a load to haul in either direction when I go somewhere. Each harvested chunk of clear ice (called an icicle, which I find odd), yields:

50 units of Heavy Water
25 units of Liquid Ozone
300 units of Helium Isotopes
1 unit of Strontium Clathrates

So I have to find the best markets for these items.

Meanwhile, though I am loathe to sell things at the local ask price after my time with minerals, I have released enough ice by-products at the market price to cover the price of the equipment, making this experiment more viable than many of my past home projects.

As always with EVE, there is still more to discover.