Escalation: Making Money with Minerals and Modules

A rising tide lifts all slackers.  The morons drown regardless.

-What a Goblin might say

EVE is getting the first bits of the Inferno expansion tomorrow in the form of a package of updates called Escalation.

That is tomorrow in game time, which runs on UTC, which means in EVE a big chunk of tomorrow is today for me… which explains why I set my long, pre-patch skill training yesterday.

I suppose the long skill thing might not be required any more.  CCP hasn’t screwed up a patch day and been down for extended periods for a while now.  They might have outgrown, as a company, having to keep the game down for 48 hours for a patch at this point.  Or they might be due for another screw up.  Either way, I queued up longs skills last night my time… which was still today in EVE time.

There are six things going into this patch.  The Escalation features page is here, (or there are the actual patch notes, which include a lot more) but the quick list is:

  • NPCs no longer drop tier 1 modules which have blueprints available
  • Null sec drones now have bounties and no longer drop minerals
  • Status effects notification panel
  • Update to Incursions
  • Titan tracking changes
  • Character creator updates

Of these, the first two seem like they could have a huge impact on the in-game economy.  And, so, my first thought… once I got around to thinking about it… was, “How can I make money on this?”

The obvious choice is to start mining.  I have the skills and the equipment, I just need to invest the time collecting and processing some ore to cash in.

The problem is the time.  Mining is work and I really want to, you know, MAKE MONEY FAST.  It was time to see what I had sitting around.

Since I have been playing in null sec for the last few months, I tend to focus on what I have there.  But after more than five years of running around in EVE, and being something of a pack rat, it turns out that I have a lot of stuff sitting around in high security space.

For example, I appear to have millions of light missiles in stations around Amarr space.  This was left over from my experiments in production and then later my successful attempt to, at least momentarily, to corner the light missile market in a couple of key mission hubs. (With associated oddball player behavior.)

This was all done at a time when mineral prices were really low.  I was buying tritanium for less than 2 ISK per unit. (It looks to be a bit north of 6 ISK per unit today.)  And I was buying out mission runner light missile sell orders at around 20% of my cost to produce.

So, just with light missiles, I have a ton of inventory that is a lot more valuable than when I acquired it.  And I also have piles of heavy missiles, cruise missiles, as well as some other tier one modules I used to buy up and resell for a profit.

The question is, how do I best convert these assets into ISK?

The easy answer is to run around and collect up all of these missiles and modules, bring them back to my home station, and reprocess them into minerals again.  With my skills and standings I can get the maximum amount of minerals out of these items.

That though, seems a bit like recycling aluminum cans.  You can get one convenient payout, but you are kind of done at that point, and the guy you gave them to turns around a converts them to more money for himself.

Selling to the middle man is easy, but does not maximize profits.

Another option is to collect and reprocess most of the items and then turn around a start making tier 1 modules.  I have, for example, always been able to make a tidy sum with Warp Core Stabilizers.  I have a BPO for them that has already been researched.  They do not cost much to produce.  And when seeded in systems adjacent to low security jumps, sell for 15-40 times the cost to make. (My general rule is to never bother selling T1 modules for anything less than 25K ISK, which is often much more expensive than the regional average, but which is a price point so low for most players that they won’t even think twice paying that much if it is in the station where they need it.)

This plan turns minerals into something more valuable that their raw form.  And that is the point of manufacturing, to create something that is more valuable than the raw materials from which it was created.

That still requires some work in reprocessing the items I do not want to bother selling, some production time, and the usual running around to find the systems where you can get the best price.  I tend towards the fringes of high sec on that regard, away from the trade hubs.  At the trade hubs, like Jita and Amarr, the differences between the buy and sell prices are generally pretty small.  Out in the periphery, huge profits can be reaped by being using the convenience store model.  Sure, that module is cheaper in Jita, but I have one here for sale now!  People will pay a premium to not have to travel.

The final option is just to sell what I already have.  This is the option that requires the least amount of effort.  I might want to move some things around, but generally I can stay in one spot in a region and do all my listing.  I have region-wide skills for all of that.

The hitch here is that a lot of my stock is in tier 1 ammunition.  As I found out when I was manufacturing, drops from NPCs can kill that market because mission runners can resell with no cost of goods sold, while as a manufacturer I know exactly what my costs, and therefore minimum price, are.  The only way to compete was to simply buy up the low listings, raise prices across the board, and try to control the market in a given system.  It is completely doable, but you have to be on top of things all the time, and somebody else with the same idea can ruin your whole plan.

Up to this point I have only read that tier 1 ship modules would be removed from NPC drops, which sounded to me like tier 1 ammunition would still drop.  The April 24 patch notes say:

Meta 0 modules in NPC loot tables have been replaced with Metal Scraps.

But the Escalation features page makes it sound like ammunition might be included.

NPC ships will no longer drop manufacturable T1 loot. NPCs will continue to drop modules, however T1 items which have a blueprint will no longer drop, making player manufacturing the primary source for these items.

If that is the case, my best plan is probably to just sell what I already have.  I checked light missile prices in the mission hubs I used to sell in… which is where my stock is sitting for the most part… and prices already seem to be up a bit.  It used to require some attention on my part to keep the price above 10 ISK per missile, but last night it looked like 12 ISK per missile was the floor price.  And that is pre-patch prices.

Anyway, I have some time to think on this.  Prices won’t spike for a while yet, so there is no hurry to get things on the market as soon as the patch drops.  A lot of those missiles have been sitting in hangers waiting for the right moment for more than three years.

Do you have plans to make money in the post-Escalation economy?

Addendum:  Light missiles in New Eden!


7 thoughts on “Escalation: Making Money with Minerals and Modules

  1. mbp

    I have neither he capital nor inclination unfortunately to cash in but there are interesting times ahead certainly.

    I have been thinking a bit about the changes (from a completely uninformed perspective it must be admitted) and while I think the changes are geneally for the best I do have one significant concern that I haven’t see elsewhere.

    I am worried this may start to break the links between null sec and high sec. Up to now null sec populations have all come to Jita to buy and sell their stuff and even though Jita is a terrible place in many ways it is the thriving heart of EVE where everyone washes up eventually. By removing all sources of high end minerals from high security areas it will reduce the incentive for null sec populations to come to high sec. Null seccers may just decide to forgo the tedious logistics involved and instead focus on setting up self sufficient mining and manufacturing operations in 0.0.

    I know some folk (Brendan Drain) thinks it woud be a good idea to make 0.0 self sufficient but I think it would be terrible. Eve works because it is a big interconnected world where everybody eventually interacts with everyone else and Jita is a big part of that. If null seccers become independent of high sec then the world become fractured and poorer for it.

    One simple solution that seems like a good idea to me would be to have certain items that are only available in each area. Certain ores only in high sec for example, certian ores only in low sec and certain ores only in nulsec. That would bind the whole economy of eve together with everone relying on everyone else.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @mbp – I only have my own experiences to go on, but I do not think this will impact the relationship between Jita and null sec.

    You can sell stuff in null sec. Some items, like meta 3 or 4 drops that are used in reimbursable ship fittings can sell for decent ISK and relatively quickly. But a lot of stuff will just sit on the shelf. There just isn’t anything like a Jita out in null sec. And when you need to buy something that isn’t common, good luck!

    So all of the drops I get from anomolies that I cannot use get shipped to Jita. (VFK to Jita 4-4 is a regularly serviced, and profitable, jump freighter delivery run.) And I understand that is also the common end point for minerals mined in null sec.

    Likewise, buying ammo is cheaper in Jita, even with shipping costs (you pay per cubic meter), most days of the week. And while some things need to be produced in null sec, it is usually safer and easier to create a corp of production alts in some system with a POS in high sec to churn out goods, like things tech II fittings for fleet ships.


  3. Stabs

    With your missiles I suggest you put them up on 3 month sell orders valuing the trit at 10 isk per. (Eg if a missile take 3 trit to make list it at 30 isk).

    I think what’s going to happen is this. We’ll see the traditional two spike in mineral prices (big speculation pre-patch, many people cashing in after the patch, second spike to settle the market). After that though we’re going to see a long steady price rise.

    T1 prices will lag behind mineral prices for a while. For a lot of traders they bought something at 20, selling it at 30 is fine, they don’t know the mineral value precisely.

    Then there will be a situation where almost no one is providing T1 to the market. It’s better to refine it than to sell it.

    Then we will see a price spike and your missiles will sell at almost any price as long as your hubs are reasonably busy.


  4. Mika Hirvonen (@Hirvox)

    Being mostly in manufacturing, I’m currently at the “wait and see” phase. Most of my product portfolio is currently unprofitable to manufacture, and there’s plenty of surplus goods floating around.


  5. Ardent Defender

    Got somewhere around 4-6 Billion in Mineral Speculation for Inferno and about 3 Billion or so of that just sitting in Jita and not even on the market yet just waiting for market chaos. Rest i have in my normal trade region taking advantage of the high prices of which all the minerals there is already seeded on the market.

    Overal i think way too much speculation is going on and allot of people are holding lots and lots of minerals in reserve. And at the end someone or quite a few may potentially get burn holding the bag on lots of stuff they are sitting on trying to catch the peak price over the next 6-8 weeks.

    You can cash in on maybe buying Helium Isotope, you can make money on that if you buy it at a good price and flip.


  6. Aufero

    After playing a bit today post-patch, it appears T1 ammo (which includes drones) is still dropping in missions.


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