Tag Archives: Production

Rocket Science

A while back I started in on the long skill path to get to tech II heavy missile launchers for my alt.  And as I was setting that up, I thought that perhaps I ought to start working on making some tech II missiles to go with them.

If you’re going to mount tech II launchers, you might as well be shooting the best ammo out of them.

Fortunately it was going to be some time before my alt was ready for those missiles.  I had time to plan.

Nothing like this is ever quick in EVE Online.

This was going to be another foray into invention, and unlike some of my past ventures, I wanted to keep this light on the wallet.

I already had original blueprints (BPOs) for the four heavy missile types as well as their cruise missile variants.  All of them had material research done on them previously, so I was setup in that regard.  It was time to make copies.

You can only do invention on a copy of a BPO, called a BPC.  The queue for doing copying can be quite long.  I counted myself lucky that I found a system not too far off from my home base with a facility where the queue was only 14 days.

So the copies once the copies were in the oven it was time to start looking into datacores.  You need datacores, usually two types in my limited experience, for an invention job.

One of the datacore types, Electronic Engineering, I already had coming in from an R&D agent to use in the creation of tech II mining crystals.

The second datacore type, Rocket Science, was new to me.  I had to find an R&D agent that was within a reasonable distance with whom I had enough standing to start in on research with.  I used EVE Online Agent Finder to locate some likely suspects.

I actually found a level II agent with whom I had enough standing pretty easily.  The nice thing about having done enough missions to get 8+ standing with three Amarr coprorations is that I have run enough storyline missions to have my base standings with all Amarr corporations bumped up quite a bit.  I had never done anything for this corporation but I was already eligible for a level II R&D agent.

However, I saw that if I did a little bit of mission running with the corp, I could raise my standing enough to get a much better level III R&D agent working for me.

I went that route because I wanted the better agent, and thus more datacores per day, and because I had some time before I could start doing any Rocket Science research.  First I had to go buy the skill Rocket Science (that will be 10 million ISK please) and train it up to level III to use the agent.

Plus I had to go free up a research agent slot.  I have the skills to have five R&D agents working for me, so one had to go if I was going to pick up Rocket Science.  I had started research on Mechanical Engineering for some past plan that never came to fruition and had just been harvesting and selling the datacores for a tidy profit.

I made a note to go collect my final datacores from that agent and cancel the research while I ran a few missions.

Again, fortune favors the silly and I was cleared for missions with a level III agent with the very corporation with which I needed standing.  Membership has its privileges… or something.

So I was able to run some missions and get my faction up, break things off with my old R&D agent, and take up with a new one offering me Rocket Science datacores.

And then I waited for copying to finish, to get a couple more skills up to snuff, and to get a supply of Rocket Science. datacores

Finally, the day came.  I had some datacores.  The copies were done.  My skills were primed.  It was time to invent.

And for once I got a hit on my first shot.

Widowmaker Fury Missiles

Widowmaker Fury Missiles

The limited number of runs seemed a bit disappointing to me until I looked at the new blueprint.  Unlike regular missile blueprints, which only turn out 100 missiles per run, the tech II versions turn out 5,000 missiles per run.  A six run blueprint like this can make 30,000 missiles.

So then I had to start making the missiles.

I was a bit worried at how much the missiles would cost to make.

Yes, they required some exotic materials like Phenolic Composites, Plasma Pulse Generators, and Rocket Fuel, the origins of which are a mystery to me, as well as morphite, megacyte, zydrine, nocxium and a good pile of tritanium.  All of those combined add up to a production cost of about 140 ISK per missile.  At that price I can afford to shoot them or make some money selling them.

I have started producing the fury version of the four basic heavy missiles, Widowmakers, Thunderbolts, Havocs, and Scourges.  They seem to work well and the sell well.

The precision version of the missiles I am less sure about.  I have made a few blueprints, but my tests with them against smaller ships didn’t seem to show them as dramatically better than standard heavy missiles, which run about 20 ISK each to make.  That and the market for them, the sell price around my area is about my cost to make, discourages me from doing much else with them.

The blueprint copies for the cruise missile versions should be ready soon and I can look into making a few of those as well.

Making Some ISK

Once in a while somebody makes a bad assumption and thinks I have deeper knowledge of EVE Online than I clearly posses.  I generally try to respond with what knowledge I do have, making it clear how limited it might be.

Sometimes though, it is better to open the question to a wider audience, the EVE community being the most excellent source of answers.  With that in mind, I received the following from Yolande:

I recently started playing EVE Online again and altho I have played it casually off and on (its sort of my “part time” MMO, my main one being that 10million sub cartoony one) I have so much to learn!  I have a pilot with a decent amount of SP (7Mill) and most learning maxed and yet still dont know how to make money in that game!  Any tips or could you point me to some archives in your blog?

I can answer for how I have made ISK so far in the game:

Missions – Running missions is the easiest way to get started I think.  Once you get to level III missions you actually start making enough ISK that you can invest it in other ventures.  And when you get to level IV missions the ISK really begins to flow.

Mining – The most reliable ISK generation device for me has been mining.  It starts slow and somebody (e.g. nerrellus) is going to comment about how boring mining is.  And that is true, mining is hardly exciting.  But when you have things setup right, you do not have to pay close attention to the game.  You can do something else… like write blog posts. (I’m mining ice as I write this.)  Following Halada’s excellent guide to mining will get you on the path to mining riches.

Production – Making things.  I turned to this when mining was going strong as a way to sell my minerals for more than the market price.  Rather than making 3 ISK per unit of tritanium by selling it in bulk, for example, I make produce things that sell for enough that I am essentially making 6-10 ISK per unit.  This requires some up front investment in blueprints as well as some research into the market to see what is selling and where it is selling.  The “where” is actually the more important.  I have found you can sell just about anything for a decent return if you can find the right location.  I have written about producing missiles and badgers on the blog.

I have tried other things.  I do a bit of the market speculation, buying things cheap in one area and selling them for more elsewhere. I also poked my nose into invention, but my first attempts at invention were poorly planned and cost me much more ISK than I ever got in return.

What other ways are there to make ISK?  What professions out there turn a profit?

Building Battleships

As I wrote previously, it is time for me to take a step forward in EVE Online, to get past my comfortable and reliable battlecruiser and level 3 missions, and start on something bigger.

The first step was, of course, acquire a battleship.

Since I had mostly trained up the Caldari spaceship command skill tree, the choices for which battleship were pretty clear; either a Raven or a Rokh.

Either represented a chunk of ISK, with Ravens going for around 85 million ISK while Rokhs for close to 130 million ISK.

While the Raven, oriented as it is towards a missile offense, was probably the right choice, I did not want to dismiss the Rokh out of hand. Having flown a Cormorant for early missions, I spent a good deal of time and ISK upgrading my gunnery skills before I joined the cult of the missile launcher.

I wanted to try them both, but I did not necessarily want to buy them both. At least not outright at market prices. That would have drained my bank account.

So I decided to put in some time working for them instead. Working in the form of mining so I could build both of them and still have money left to equip them and, ever so important in EVE, replace them should I have a mishap. And given my track record, that seemed a likely scenario.

I went to the contract interface and found single use blueprint copies for a Raven and a Rokh, both of which had nice high material efficiency ratings (40 and 32 respectively), to ensure I wasn’t wasting too much material in their construction. And then I started sorting out the minerals.

How much material to make a battleship?

The Raven blueprint required the following materials (with estimated market price):

Isogen      118,942 Units  7,136,520.00 ISK
Megacyte      2,262 Units  7,690,800.00 ISK
Mexallon    476,370 Units 16,672,950.00 ISK
Nocxium      29,701 Units  3,267,110.00 ISK
Pyerite   1,901,569 Units  8,557,060.50 ISK
Tritanium 7,604,695 Units 22,814,085.00 ISK
Zydrine       7,085 Units 17,712,500.00 ISK

I probably placed the price of minerals a bit high, but I tend to use the price I could get for those raw materials, since that is the cost to me to use them for construction rather than selling them on the open market. So the total cost of my Raven was:

Materials 83,851,025.50 ISK
Blueprint 900,000.00 ISK
Manufacturing 1,910.48 ISK

Total 84,752,935.98 ISK

Roughly equal to the lowest priced Raven I could find on the market, but without draining my ISK and giving me the additional satisfaction of having built it myself.

So I went to work on the Rokh next. Materials (with price estimates):

Isogen       169,546 Units 10,172,760.00 ISK
Megacyte       3,038 Units 10,329,200.00 ISK
Mexallon     668,504 Units 23,397,640.00 ISK
Nocxium       48,770 Units  5,364,700.00 ISK
Pyerite    3,182,327 Units 14,320,471.50 ISK
Tritanium 10,816,225 Units 32,448,675.00 ISK
Zydrine       12,430 Units 31,075,000.00 ISK

By this point I had used up my stores of Zydrine and Megacyte and had to go purchase some on the market, so the Rokh required some cash out of pocket

Materials 127,108,446.50 ISK
Blueprint 800,000.00 ISK
Manufacturing 1,910.48 ISK

Total 127,910,356.98 ISK

A bit of a discount when compared to the cheapest Rokh I could find on the market!

So I have another 212,663,292.46 ISK worth of ships sitting in my hanger and my bank account remains about the same, sales and a few missions having offset most of my costs.

Now I just have to equip them and figure out how to fight them.

And when I decide which one I like, I’ll just repackage the other one and sell it.

The Realities of Production

So far the production of Badgers, the Caldari industrial ship that is one of the most ubiquitous haulers in the game, has gone well.

Production and sales have been steady, while the prices I have been able to get for the ships has been well above my initial target price, thanks in large to the previously mentioned regional price differentials.

One of my goals for this production experiment has been to minimize the outlay of ISK. So after buying the blueprint original and doing the material efficiency research on it, I have kept the actual ISK expenses to just production station costs.

That meant mining my own minerals versus buying them on the market.

Not a problem, at first. Each production run of 15 Badgers requires the following minerals:

Tritanium   372,000 units
Pyerite      98,865 units
Mexallon     37,860 units
Isogen        5,760 units
Nocxium       1,980 units
Zydrine         375 units

The first four types are all easily obtained by mining in high security space. And Nocxium can be found in high sec as well by mining Pyroxeres, though the rate and which you get it is pretty slow.

And then there is Zydrine.

I do not need a ton of it, but it is not readily obtainable in empire space. There is at least one mission where Gneiss asteroids show up, and refining Gneiss will get you some Zydrine, but it is a roll of the dice actually getting the right mission.

I managed to get through the first half dozen production runs without going to market just based on the Zydrine I had collected from missions. Reprocessing every equipment drop from every NPC will supply a little bit. The drops from drone missions will get you a little more.

But, in the end, I had to start buying it.

Granted, it is totally worth the expenditure.

But something about it rankles. I like to be self sufficient in my trade skills and not at the mercy at the market.

But that’s just me.

ME 20 to ME 80 – The Bet

After losing my Mammoth a while back, I went looking for a way to get another Cargohold Optimization Rig I built for its replacement.

The sticking point was alloyed tritanium bars, which currently run for around half a million ISK on the market.

The blueprint original I have for Cargohold Optimization required 100 alloyed tritanium bars.

50 million ISK for one set of ingredients alone. Too much.

While I was slowly collecting those bars by running missions (I have 34 total now) I decided to see if material efficiency could save me a little ISK.

The blueprint original I had been processed to a material efficiency level of 20.

To get it to a material efficiency level of 80 would cost half a million ISK.

If getting to 80 would cut the bill or materials by even ONE alloyed tritanium bar, it would pay for itself.

So I queued up the blueprint and waited.

After a 30 day wait, I got to see if my bet paid off.

The answer is: No

At material efficiency level 80, the blueprint still requires 100 alloyed tritanium bars.

So the jump from 20 to 80 does not change your bill of materials by even 1%.

Be warned!

The Economics of Badgers

Some weeks back I put up a post about how long material efficiency was going to take for my new venture into ship building.

Eventually the 49 days elapsed.

My blueprint was in hand.

I had materials stored away for production

I was ready to commence production.

I was going into the business of Badgers.

I chose that lowly Caldari industrial ship, the first hauler for so many people, because:

  • The blueprint original (BPO) was cheap for a ship
  • They seemed to sell well
  • The price seemed to be stable and at a level where I could make a profit

The last bit was, of course, the most important. If I was going to invest in a BPO, I wanted to be able to make my money back.

The BPO itself was 3,138,750 ISK.

Researching to Material Efficiency level 12 on the BPO added 2,278,836 ISK to the investment.

So my initial investment was 5,417,586 ISK, plus 49 days of waiting.

Fortunately, the market stayed stable while the research went on.

Materials and manufacturing cost per Badger, based on current mineral prices:

ME 0 – 348,720 ISK
ME 12 – 306,196 ISK

So the 49 day wait was worth over 40K ISK per Badger produced, which ends up being a pile of tritanium on a production run of 15 ships.

My selling price for Badgers is 540,000 ISK, which turns a tidy 231,104 ISK per ship sold.

Which meant that I had to sell 24 Badgers to get back my initial investment.

I have already sold 40.

So, if nothing else, Badgers have made me some money.

Of course, there have been some challenges.

I only noticed after my first production run that a packaged Badger is 20K cubic meters in size. That is more space than any of my haulers can handle.

The next size up in hauling from an industrial is a freighter. While I am a mere two hours training time from flying a freighter, the cost to buy both the ship and the skills runs to the 1 billion ISK mark. I just have to sell about 4,400 more Badgers to get there.

With a freighter not an option for now, I have had to improvise and build where I plan to sell.

I load up the BPO and all the materials for a 15 ship production run, fly off to the neighborhood in which I want to sell, and start producing on location.

I have thus, established myself in the ship building business. Plus I am sure I could sell the BPO for quite a mark up if I tire of production. There seems to be a pretty steady market for BPOs with some material efficiency research on them.

I wonder though, with the removal of NPC sold shuttles, if I should go into the shuttle business as well?

Moving To Amarr Space

My work at increasing my faction with Ishukone Corporation has had me flying all over empire space, seeking out the highest level, best quality agents that will work with me.

And so it came to pass that I ended up many jumps from home in Amarr space to work with a specific agent.

One of the first things I noticed about Amarr space was that it seemed to be much more sparsely populated. I flew through several low sec systems where nobody was home but me and the NPCs.

Now, in an MMO, low population does not seem like a desirable situation. That is, unless you’re a lone… well… I was going to say “wolf,” but I’ve written about my combat record here… lone sheep? A veritable rogue merino?

Anyway, if you are more the explorer type, like myself, then being in a thinly populated area feels more natural.

Then I started exploring the market.

Opportunities abound!

The regional market around Amarr is also not very well attended, leading to wide variations in price, scarcity of supply, and low competition. Just the sort of thing a budding manufacturer wants to see!

And unlike the market in the thick of Caldari space, buy orders for many of my standard items of trade are nonexistent. I am going to have to go invest in the wholesale skill to up the number of open buy and sell orders I can have.

The situation reminds me of the difference between the horde and alliance markets on my server in World of Warcraft. The alliance side is heavily used and very competitive. Supply is high, margins are thin, and there is always somebody out there willing to undercut your price.

But on the horde side, with a much smaller population, the market is not so fierce. I have made more money on the market with my main horde characters than any three other characters of mine.

And I see something of the same market conditions in Amarr space.

Still, that is not enough to make me pack up and move everything 25 jumps. No, there was one more thing.

(cue Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” as performed in “A Clockwork Orange”)


Luminous! Fiery! Regular!

I flew through system after system and investigated asteroid field after asteroid field, and I found an abundance of sweet, sweet kernite.

That was enough to get me to start hauling stuff those 25 jumps to set up a new base of operation.

Fortunately, a Hulk, when broken down, fits in a Badger with cargohold expanders, so I did not have to fly the barge itself 25 jumps.

I have not left Caldari space. The pricing differentials and the opportunities for arbitrage will keep me commuting between Amarr and Caldari space.

But my missions, my morning mining runs, my production, those are all going to go on in a new location.

The Fifty Day Cap

One of the nice things about production in EVE Online is that you do not have to be there for it. Production there is at the polar opposite of the way it works in EverQuest II, where you must actively (or proactively if you want pristine results) participate in the crafting whack-a-mole mini game.

No, in EVE you show up at the production facility, blueprint and materials in hand, submit the build job, and then sit back and wait.

Or log off and wait.

Or run off and do something else.

In fact, sitting back and waiting is pretty unlikely, as production jobs can take time.

Sure, running off a single production run of low level ammunition might only take a minute or two, but generally to produce items in the quantity you want, the wait time can be anywhere from hours to days.

I have had my share of material efficiency runs that have lasted up to three weeks because of queues to use the facilities.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to me to learn that there is also a cap on the amount of time any job you submit can take, including time in the queue.

I decided to start producing ships.

I found a ship model that seems to sell reasonably well and which I could produce at a profit even at the price range of some of the buy orders available.

That is a pretty rare thing for items I have been dealing with so far, ammunition and ship components. But ammunition and ship components drop off of NPCs with such regularity that production turns out to be the least efficient way to obtain them. The market will provide, usually at prices far below the cost to produce.

NPCs, though, do not appear to drop whole ships. At least not on the missions I run.

So I started getting things lined up for ship production. I bought the blueprint. I got my miner account out of storage to start generating raw materials.

I also decided that while, according to my calculations, I could make a profit immediately from the ship blueprint, any reduction in raw materials would be of great benefit. So I decided to do a material efficiency run on the blueprint before I committed to production.

Which is how I found out that fifty days is the upper limit on how long a production related job is allowed to last.

Queues for starting a material efficiency run were sitting at the 15-20 day range. I chose the shortest queue I could find locally, selected my blueprint, and chose a material efficiency target of 20, then submitted the job.

And it was rejected.

A message came up telling me that jobs which take more than 50 days to complete cannot be submitted.


Double ouch.

First, I had not imagined there was such a cap.

Second, material efficiency on a ship blueprint takes a long time! I am not talking about a battleship blueprint here either, but something quite a bit more modest. (And no, I’m not telling you what ship. I am not looking for competitors.)

I was able to fit the run into the 50 day limit by dialing back the desired material efficiency target to 12.

A target of 12 put the run at just over 48 days, of which a little over 14 was queue time. The remaining 34 days were actually run time for the blueprint.

But that gives you a taste of the time scale in which you must sometimes work in EVE.

At least that will give me plenty of time to pile up raw material.

I just hope the market does not change dramatically before I can put some ships up for sale.

Material Envy

After a few weeks of waiting, my first blueprints have finally finished their material efficiency runs.

I must say that I am mildly disappointed.

Not that I have any reason to be disappointed, really.  I was not sure what I would be getting as an end result, but the effects of a multi-week wait seemed to compound my expectations.

The first blueprint I got back was for Flameburst light missiles.  I read on one of the forums that material efficiency hits the point of diminishing returns between level 12 and 20, depending on the blueprint in question.  I decided to run this blueprint to 20 just to be sure I got at least to the point of optimum results.  The before and after:

Material Level 0 
Pyerite    75 
Tritanium  60 
Material Level 20 
Pyerite    69 
Tritanium  55

For each 100 missiles I make, I save 6 pyerite and 5 tritanium.

Given these current prices:

Pyerite 4.50 ISK
Tritanium 3.30 ISK

I save a total of 0.43 ISK per missile, cutting my materials cost from 5.56 ISK per missile to 5.13 ISK per missile.  That is almost an 8% cut in my material cost.  I should be happy.  I guess that after waiting for more than three weeks I expected a huge cut in costs.

Of course, that expectation may have also been set by some of my competitors.  I see people selling the missiles for 6 ISK.  I gave them the benefit of the doubt and assumed that their costs were much lower, but I begin to suspect those are people who see the minerals as “free” if they did the mining.

The flameburst material efficiency research cost me 108,066.67 ISK, so assuming all other things are equal, I need to sell another 250K missiles to make this effort worth the cost.  Production is a long-term effort.

I also purchased the Widowmaker heavy missile blueprint, mostly to keep myself stocked, as they aren’t as widely available for sale and the prices have a wide variation.  I decided to run the Widowmaker blueprint up to level 15 material effecieny.   The before and after:

Material Level 0 
Mexallon   6 
Nocxium    3 
Pyerite    2 
Tritanium  741 
Material Level 15 
Mexallon   5 
Nocxium    3 
Pyerite    2 
Tritanium  680

It appears that material research may not affect all of the minerals used in a blueprint.  For each 100 missiles I make, I use 1 less mexallon and 61 less tritanium.

Market prices for the minerals:

Mexallon 35.00 ISK
Tritanium 3.30 ISK

This change saves me 2.36 ISK per missile, cutting my materials cost from 30.69 ISK per missile to 28.33 ISK per missile.  Again, that is close to an 8% cut in price.  I was actually happier when I saw this result because I had already seen the flameburst improvements, so my expectations were set somewhat, and because the numbers are just bigger.

The widowmaker material efficiency research cost 81,300 ISK, so if all goes as before, I need to sell another 35K missiles to make this effort worth the ISK invested.  That should be easy enough, as I sold out my first production run pretty quickly and had to go buy some missiles while I was waiting the 3+ weeks for the material research to complete.

So there is my first run at material efficiency.  I have some more blueprints in the queue for material research.  I decided on a couple of them that use more expensive materials to run them all the way up to material level 40.  The time, given the queue, is negligible.  I will have to see if it is worth the ISK.