Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Getting Busy With Industry

Industry is a complex and intriguing activity in Eve.  Just about everything players use is built in some manner by other players.  This drives a flourishing and expansive economy which itself is nearly unique in MMOs.

Types of Industry
There are a number of different types of industry or manufacturing.  This guide will touch on those you are likely to get to in your early career.  Here is a list of the different manufacturing "systems" in the game.
  • Tech 1 manufacturing - Building tech 1 modules, ammo, rigs and ships
  • Invention and Tech 2 manufacturing - Inventing and building tech 2 modules, ammo, rigs and ships
  • Planetary Interaction (PI) - Mining planets and building materials on planets.
  • Moon Mining and Reactions - Extracting materials from low sec moons and using reactions to make advanced materials. Requires a POS.
  • Polymers and Hybrid Components - Use gas and materials from wormholes.  Requires a POS.
  • Reverse Engineering and Tech 3 Construction - Obtaining Tech 3 blueprints and building the subsystems and hulls.  Requires a POS.
Of the set, Tech 1 manufacturing, rig construction and planetary interaction are the easiest and cheapest to get into.  They also require relatively fewer skills to start and don't need access to special facilities like POS.  The others are included here so you know they exist.

Just about everything you want to build needs some kind of blueprint.  Even PI has "blueprints" or schematics but they are built into the manufacturing facilities.  Fortunately for the Rookie industrialist, the bulk of blueprints are available on the market or on contracts.  These are almost entirely tech 1 blueprints and range in price.  You will need to work hard to afford a battleship blueprint.

Blueprints come in two basic types; Blueprint Originals (BPOs) and Blueprint Copies (BPCs).  A BPO can be used as many times as desired without it ever running out and may also be researched to improve it or copied.  An original will state that it is an original in the attributes.  Beware of people misrepresenting copies as originals.  A BPC can be use for manufacturing up to the number of runs on the copy.  Then it disappears.  BPCs are also needed for Invention which is the current mechanism to create tech 2 BPCs.  Some Tech 2 BPOs still exist from the old days but they are now worth multiple billions of ISK an are beyond the reach of a new industrialist.  BPOs have a darker colour than the BPCs so they can be quickly distinguished.

Blueprints have some stats that define how good it is at its job.  The Material Level of a blueprint is a measure of how much waste is used when constructing an item.  Material Level is usually called Material Efficiency in game and abbreviated to ME.  The higher the number the better.  There is however a point of diminishing returns where the cost to research further does not justify the savings. For example a Carrier blueprint with ME 4 is considered ideal whereas a module might go to ME 100 to be efficient.  The Bill of Materials will tell you how much material is needed for the current ME of the blueprint.

Production Level (called Production Efficiency or PL by players because it made more sense) is a measure of the time taken to produce something.  This indirectly leads to a cost from the construction facility.  However, empire construction facilities charge so little for manufacturing that this is rarely an issue.  only things that take a long time to build really need PL research.  Again higher the better.

 The Bill of Materials tab will show will have a number of tasks on it.  This one has Manufacturing and Invention.  Each tab tells you what skills and materials you need to perform that task. For example the materials and skills to build a single armour hardener is shown in this image.  Each tab will have different details.  Some BPOs require special skills and materials to copy or research.  Check for this before buying a BPO in case you are unable to use it.  Some blueprints produce more than one item per run.  This shows on the Attribute tab where it says "Produces".  This is common for ammo and fuel blocks.

Special blueprints like Reactions and Polymers don use ME or PE.  This is because they are run in a special POS array.  Just be aware that not all blueprints are created equal. PI doesn't have a research component either so its viable as a starting industry.

New industrials are often faced with the daunting task of buying BPOs and then waiting for them to be researched enough to be profitable.  There is an option for you.  People make business of copying well researched blueprints and selling them on the contracts market.  You can start out by buying BPCs that are already profitably researched and work up to the privately owned blueprints down the line.  Make sure you do your sums though.  You don't want to pay your whole profit margin to buy those blueprints.

Essential Skills
The skills you need depend on the things you want to build.  The most important skill of all is Production Efficiency (in the Industry section).  You must get this to 5 as soon as you can because you will be wasting materials with every build until you do.  When you have production efficiency lower than 5 the bill of materials will show you two values for each item.  The first is what you will need and the second is what you would use at production efficiency 5.  While this skill is low your are losing your profit margin to wastage.  Fortunately its an easy skill to learn.

You get one build "slot" with the Industry skill.  Thereafter you get one for each level of Mass Production and one for each level of Advanced Mass Production. If you get MP at 5 and AMP at 4 you will have a respectable 10 build slots.

For pilots looking into Planetary Interaction, the above skills are not used.  Start by getting some levels in Planetology and Remote Sensing so you can start investigating planets.  Next get Command Centre Upgrades to 5.  I say this because this skill dictates how many structures you can put on a planet.  If you start out with a lower rating you are disadvantaging yourself and you will have to redesign later.  You then need Interplanetary Consolidation.  Each level of this skill gets you another planet beyond the minimum of one. A serious network needs all six planets but that can wait.  Get Planetology to 4 and Advanced Planetology to 3 or 4.  This skill allow your to better determine the location of material deposits on the planet so it helps to find the sweetspots for mining.

Invention and tech 2 building take a lot of science skills.  Invention is more a long term goal and I'll cover it more later.

Getting the Stuff
For all manufacturing you will need to obtain the materials for the job.  Many industrial mine their own minerals but you can Buy most materials from the market.  I highly recommend you use buy order to obtain anything from the market.  There are plenty of people who do not have the patience to wait for minerals to sell.  They quicksell to the best buy order at their station.  If fact you can get some great deals on minerals and other materials buying away from the hubs.  Miners love quiet backwater systems and hate transporting their minerals to market.

the truth is trying to get all the materials you need personally is logistically improbable.  For starters, Nocxium, Zydrine and Megacyte don't occur naturally in high sec.  They have to be brought in from low or null.  You will have to buy them.

Next problem is getting the stuff to your chosen manufacturing facility.  There are dozens of public manufacturing stations.  You can find them on the Science and Industry screen under the Installations tab.  you will probably need some kind of industrial ship to move your stuff.  Train for the one that suits you.  Alternative you can use courier contracts to pay other people to move your stuff.  This is the only way to insure your cargo but you do have to pay a decent fee or it wont get done.  Warning: Never transport an expensive cargo in a flimsy ship, especially on autopilot.  If your cargo costs more than the ship needed to blow up yours then people will suicide gank you to get the cargo.  Remember that a destroyer can manage to take out a hulk or industrial before CONCORD kills him.

Building the Item
Once you have collected the materials and blueprint in the one place you can put the build job on to cook.  You can start the process by right-clicking on the blueprint.  You will have done the example tute in the Career Agent missions.  Here's a quick step by step:
  1. Right click on the blueprint and select "Manufacturing".
  2. Select the "Pick Installation".
  3. Assuming you are using a Station Factory, set the Range to "Current Blueprint Location" and the Type to "Public".
  4. In the bottom panel, select the next available Assembly Line.  (double click to select).
  5. If you are using corp resources, set the input and output hangars.  Otherwise skip this bit.
  6. Set the number of Production Runs you wish to build.
  7. Select OK.
  8. You should see a summary of the build job.  If everything checks out, select "Accept Quote".  The job now starts.
  9. Use the Science and Industry >> Jobs panel to monitor your job progress.
  10. When the job is done, select it and push "Deliver".  The product and BP (if not used up) will appear in your hangar (or the corp hangar you set).
Empire installations are cheap and highly accessible.  You can queue your jobs on the ends of other people's jobs if you need to.  No need to wait for an empty slot.   When the job is done you will have to deliver it.  It should be put into the hangar it is set to go to. 

Don't get ideas of setting up a POS and using manufacturing arrays.  For most arrays this incurs a 10% wastage on the build adding to costs.  Its cheaper to build in a station unless you are in null sec or a wormhole.  There are exceptions to this rule but they are for advanced manufacturing.

Planetary Interaction
Planetary interaction starts with some research (as all manufacturing should).  You need to find out three things.  What is material is available, what can be made from it and what is profitable.  It helps if you do PI in your nearby region so you will be looking for likely planets in and around your base of operations.  At this point I should mention that high sec has poorest planets followed by low sec, null sec and the best yields come from wormhole space. Factor this (and the risk) into your calculations.

We classify materials from moons by their tier.  The stuff you get out of the ground is referred to as "raws".  All raws have a single tier 1 item they are turned into.  It is better to extract and process into tier 1 on the same planet due to space considerations.  If you want to build tier 2 or 3 items consider creating a build planet where you bring the tier 1 items and land them into your production line.  I have managed to make my low sec planets run tier 1 and 2 on one planet but it needed planetary upgrades 5 to do it.

There is a useful PDF for planning your PI at the following site .  I recommend POS fuels as a stable income source since there is a steady market for them.

To start a planetary colony you need a command centre. These are specific to the planet type you plan to land it on so choose your planets in advance. For example, a gas command centre is needed to make a colony on a gas planet. The command centre is the only thing that is purchased off-planet. Everything else is paid for from the planetary interface as you submit a change to your network. You need to move the command centre to the planet to land it so a transport of some kind is needed.

There is a basic guide made by CCP to explain PI on YouTube at .  There are a few things that I would suggest counter to what the tutorial says.  First, Extractors and Processors will not store any produced goods so they should always empty into a silo or spaceport.  If a processor has been filled and the extractor tries to send it stuff, the excess is wasted.  I suggest the following design model.  Extractor >> Silo >> Processors >> Silo (can be the same one) >> Processors >> Spaceport (final product).  You can add as many processor steps as you want.  Below is a screen shot of a two tier planetary network I have running.

Invention and Tech 2 Production
Many new players will have heard how profitable Tech 2 production is and want to try it.  I admit it is profitable.  My corp does it.  However you need a large amount of infrastructure to support it and the money gets whittled down with costs.  It also require a large number of skills to make it work.  I'll give you an overview of what's involved as a guide to future training.

On most tech 1 blueprints is a Invention tab under bill of Materials.  This lists the skills and materials you need to make an invention attempt. You also need one BPC of the item you wish to do invention on per attempt.  In general it is better if this BPC has the maximum number of runs on it that the BP can support (so 300 for a normal module).  If you want to invent a tech 2 Power Diagnostic System then you need BPCs of the tech 1 variety.  This means you need to be able to either make copies of an original blueprint or buy them.  In Empire this usually mean you need a POS with Labs or a lot of patience as public copying facilities are heavily booked.  You also need the BPO to make the copies from unless you are buying your BPCs from contracts.

The skills listed in the Invention tab says you can do the invention attempt at level 1.  however your chance of success depends on your skill level in all three sciences (Encryption Methods and two others).  You are probably wasting materials trying to invent with less than 4s in these skills.  Getting 5s is nice but not necessary.

Now take your BPCs, Datacores, and Interface to a lab.  The public invention labs are often available but they take longer to use than a POS lab.  You start an invention job by right clicking on the BPC and selecting "Invention".  Then its just like a build job.  When the job finishes and you deliver it, there will be a % chance that you receive a Tech 2 BPC.  You can use decryptors and base items to try modify the invention results.  Decryptors are items found through exploration that have a specific effect on invention and are used up in the process. Base items are a a tech 1 version of the item you are inventing used as a "guide" during invention.  They are used up in the process.

Important Note:  Date Interfaces are not used up in Invention and do not disappear with each job.  This lets you use one data interface to put on many jobs.  You shouldn't need to buy more than one of two.

If you can invent something you should be able to build it too.  Materials often cost quite a bit though.  You should try to invent to suit your budget or you will be unable to build what you have blueprints for.  inventing 10 Hulks sounds good but you are going to need at least a BISK worth of materials to make them.

Moon Mining
Even I dream of mining moons one day.  Its an income source that does not use up a manufacturing or research slot so you can do it in addition to what you have going elsewhere.  The problem is you need a POS in a system of 0.3 security or lower to do it and many of the good moons are already taken.  What that means is that Moon Mining is largely beyond a new pilot.  Here's a list of what you need to run moon mining;
  • Corp roles to Erect and maintain a POS.
  • A spare moon with profitable materials (don't assume they are all worth it).
  • A POS with Moon harvester, Coupling array and Silo at the very least.
  • Sufficient corp faction standings to build in that security level system.  Corp needs a faction standing of 3.0 to build in 0.3 systems.
  • A way of getting stuff to and from the POS (remember low sec).
  • Capital to run the POS for a week or two before the material becomes available to sell.
  • Ability to defend the POS.
When you are ready to put up a POS and maintain it there are many guides available on the net.

Tech 3 Reverse Engineering and Polymers
Ok I admit I have almost no experience with these.  I'm told Polymers are typically done at the POS towers used by Wormhole corps.  Its a way of covering the expense of the tower.  Reverse Engineering is similar to invention but done of items rather than blueprints.  Again these require either a large amount of infrastructure or skills.  If you are up to this level have a look for guides on the net.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Mining as a Career in Eve

Mining is the backbone of the Eve economy.  This is especially true since the recent changes to the mission loot tables.  Minerals are rising in value significantly and are set to keep rising for a while yet.  The ships and equipment that PvPers happily blow up so regularly are made with the minerals that the humble miner collects.  Its not until you mine the minerals for a battleship that you realise how much time goes into a ship.

Mining is broken down into several distinct steps.  You will need to train the skills for each step or have an alt or friend/corpie help you with them.  The steps are Mining, Collection, Refining, Transport and Sale.  Some include a manufacturing step but that's further down the line for the average rookie.  Lets look at the steps in sequence.

Whether you are mining Ore, Ice or Gas this step is largely the same.  Go to a belt or exploration site and activate your miners on the resource.  It does get more complex though.  The main goal of a miner is to increase the mining yield of his ship.  This depends  a lot on the ship you fly.  Currently, the mining frigate of choice is the Venture.  This ship has a great ore hold, bonuses to mining yield and warp core strength for running away when needed.  They use mining lasers and/or mining drones. Training to use this frigate is probably your first step in your career.  The next step in your career is the Mining Barges.  These ships are the Procurer, Retriever and Covetor.  Each of these ships has a role.  The Procurer is supposed to be tough to kill and suitable for use in dangerous environments like low sec.  The retriever is the solo mining barge with a huge ore hold.  The Covetor is the fleet option with a small hold but the best yield of the three.  Covetors are meant to be supported by other ships.  These ships use strip miners.  They are better able to handle the larger ores and have bigger ore bays.  They use drones to protect themselves from belt rats and are shield tanks.  After the mining barges are the main mining ships, Exhumers; the Skiff is the tech 2 version of a Procurer, the Mackinaw is like the Retriever and the Hulk remains the king of mining yield.  These ships are very expensive so it will take time to get them but they produce significant yields and so pay themselves back quickly.

There are four basic methods of mining.  The first is mining until your hold is full and then going back to the station, dumping the ore and returning to the belt. This suffers from being extremely inefficient but it is secure.  No-one gets a chance to steal your ore.  The next method is to learn Anchoring to 1 and anchor Giant Secure Containers in the asteroid belt you are mining.  Then mine and empty your hold into the can.  Come by later with a hauler and collect the ore at leisure.  You can put a password on the cans so your can share them with friends.  This is also secure but when you get to mining barges the cans are filled in one cycle. Also, the Venture has an ore hold bigger than the available secure containers that you can anchor so you may as well empty into a station.  This means you are constantly moving around the belt.  You also need to visit each can with a hauler. The third method is to create what are called Jet Cans.  These are created when you jettison something into space.  Right click on the item and select Jettison.  The can will be created beside you with the item/s in it.  Its a good idea to name a jetcan after the time it was made. A jetcan can hold over 27,000m3 of stuff and lasts 2 hours in space.  You mine and empty your hold into the jet can.  Make as many as you need.  Then come along with a hauler and empty the jetcans.  This method is very efficient time wise but has a drawback.  Anyone can come along and take stuff from a jetcan.  They are officially stealing and anyone in system will be allowed to attack them.  However this is mostly done to provoke a fight and the guy is ready to take you out.  You can secure the cans with some combat guards or empty cans quickly so they aren't easily stolen from.  However there are many systems where you can use this method without being bothered.  The forth and best technique uses the jetcan model but adds in a hauler or orca to collect the ore as soon as the can is full or a threat shows up.  This required friends or an alt to manage so solo miners are restricted to the first three methods.

Modulated Strip Miner IIs are an advanced option for miners.   They use mining crystals as ammunition to increase the mining yield.  You must use the right crystals for the ore you are mining otherwise you will have a worse yield than Strip Miner Is.  If you are changing ore regularly use Strip Miner Is or carry all the crystals you need with you.

Deep Core Miners are used only for Mercoxit.  This ore spawns only in deep null space.  Most rookies wont see this for a long time.

Gas mining is done with gas harvesters.  These are turret base modules so they don't fit on a mining barge or exhumer.  You need a ship with 5 turret slots to make it worth it.  Battlecruisers and battleships  are perfect.  Gas is only found in low sec, Null sec and wormholes.  Not something to train straight away.

The most efficient mining options require you to come along later and collect large amounts of ore.  This means you should be training for an industrial ship soon after getting your Venture or barge.  The top tier of industrials can manage ~38,000 m3 cargo space so they can clear a jetcan plus some.  Its worth getting the small tractor beam too to make collection easier.   You will need a top tier industrial to handle the mining output of a Exhumer like a Hulk.  They mine enough to fill a jet can very quickly.  The ultimate ore collector for high sec work is the orca but they need a lot of skills and money to get into.  An orca has a bay especially for ore and a corp hangar as well as its own cargo bay.  You can make the orca carry over 170,000 m3 with the right skills and fittings.  That saves you trips to the belt and back.  Orcas also get bonuses to tractor beams, mining gang links and survey scanners.  They are a valuable tool if you have a lot of miners.

Freighters can now collect from jetcans in space.  This means they can collect from miners or orcas.  The problem though is they are really slow and can't fit a tractor beam.  Best have everything in one place for collection.  They do become useful to move ore and minerals around once its collected on a station or POS.

To begin with, your refining skills will be pretty poor.  This means that you may be better off selling your ore as is.  You need to check your refining yield and the current market prices to find out which way you should go.  To check your refining yields, select your ore, right click on it and select "Refine".  You will be told how many minerals you will get if you choose to refine.  Do your calculations.  You are wasting time mining the wrong ore and you are wasting effort if you don't get the best price for what you mined.

Each type of asteroid has three sub types.  For example, Veldspar comes in normal Veldspar, Concentrated Veldspar and Dense Veldspar.  These special Velspars have increased mineral content.  Thus Concentrated Veldspar has +5% Tritanium and Dense Veldspar has +10% Tritanium in it.  Given the choice you should mine the +10% version first.  Learn what type is what in your home system.

Not all stations can refine and some are worse than others.  Stations have either no refining, 25% refining or 50% refining.  Your skills can take this up to 100%.  However all stations (except some in null sec) charge a 5% tax on refining ore.  You can reduce the tax amount by doing missions for the corp who owns the station.  The Mining missions may be a good option for you here.  If you get your skills and corp standings high enough it is possible to get perfect refining in empire stations.

Refining Arrays for POS can only be used in 0.3 and down and are pretty inefficient.  They also take time to do their refining.  They are really an option only if you are living a long way from any refining stations (eg in a wormhole).

Once you have your minerals or ore, you must sell it.  However you will probably find that the out-of-the-way mining system you have chosen does not have an active market.  You could sell locally but you'd have to settle for a lower price.  For premium prices for your minerals you are better off moving stuff to a trade hub.  This is where your industrial does some extra work.  Minerals take up less space than ore so you will get more in the hold.  However, a week's worth of heavy mining from hulks is going to need an orca or freighter to haul.  The freighter is a good option.  My obelisk can hold 90 million units of minerals and I haven't trained the skill to 5 yet.  A freighter is a long term project since their value is going up a lot at the moment.  You could have a go at mining the high sec ore yourself and buying blueprint copies to let you build it.  A mining corp should really work towards one.

This is the point of the exercise.  You want your money.  There are two ways to sell your minerals.  You can quick-sell or place a sell order.  Quick-sell is when you sell to whatever buy order reaches your current location.  If you are in a trade hub then this should be a reasonable amount.  However people in a remote station will probably be selling their minerals at well below market rate.  To find out which orders affect your current location, right click on the mineral and select "View Market Details".  The orders marked in green on the bottom panel affect your location.  Sort the panel so the best price is at the top and see what you can get.  Quick-sell by right clicking on the mineral and selecting "Sell this item".  Check the bottom right of the panel.  If it says "<< Simple" then click that button.  The screen you should now be on is an immediate sale screen and it will tell you how much you will get for your minerals.  Hit the sell button to make the deal.

A better option for a miner is to sell their minerals on a sell order.  You will need a couple of levels of the Trade skill to do this.  Essentially you will list the minerals as for sale and set a price.  Choose a price similar to the minerals being offered on your current station.  Someone will come along and buy your minerals at a later time.  This method mean you have to wait for the money but you will get a better price for the minerals.  See my blog about the market for info on how to list orders.

The Extra Step - Manufacturing
Some miners make a little extra money by turning their minerals into a product of some kind like a ship.  You won't be able to mine everything you need in high sec but the minerals you can't get can be bought at trade hubs.  You will need the Industry skill at least to do this.  Production Efficiency 5 is needed to avoid wasting materials when building.  Consider buying blueprint copies from the contract market to make products from.  You want a blueprint with a good Material Level as the ML (also called ME) affects how much material is wasted in the build process.  I plan to right a blog all about Production and Industry so stay tuned.

Getting Higher Yields
Every miner wants to get more ore per hour.  This is your yield.  For rookie miners the easiest way to increase your yield is to get better mining lasers.  Tech 2 is best and is reasonably cheap.  You can also train extra levels in the ship you are using and fit a Mining Laser Upgrade.  Mining barges are a big step forward.  You will need to be able to use Strip Miners to use a barge.  More levels in barge will put up your yield.  When you can get Modulated Strip Miner IIs and mining crystals.  The top level is a hulk with tech 2 strip miners, at least one tech 2 Mining Laser Upgrade and tech 2 mining crystals plus tech 2 mining drones.  This is where you want to get to.

Ice mining is about reducing the time it takes to get your ice blocks.  You don't mine "more" ice per cycle.  The same techniques to increase ore mining yield work on Ice mining too.  They just have a slightly different effect.

There is one more layer of yield bonuses you can apply to mining but it requires at least 2 people to work.  There are leadership skills you can train to provide bonuses to anyone in fleet with you.  These are Mining Foreman and Mining Director.  The person with the leadership skills needs to be fleet booster and there must be at least one other person in the fleet for the bonuses to work.  There are also three gang links and some implants which will provide bonuses as well.  If you fit the gang links to an orca which is piloted by a person with all the leadership skills you will do some serious bonus-ing.  Strictly speaking an orca is worth having once you have three miners in the fleet.  Otherwise you are going to do better putting the orca pilot in a Hulk.  However this is a fair way in the future for your beginning character.  You are best to ask your corp if they have a fleet leader or orca to help out.

Pro Tips
  • Don't put your lasers all on the same asteroid.  If one laser empties the asteroid the other lasers are wasted.
  • Mining lasers and strip miners can be stopped part way through their cycle and will mine a portion of their yield based on how long they ran for.
  • You can use a survey scanner to work out how many units of ore are in an asteroid.  You can then turn off your miners when you think you have all that is left rather than wait for it to cycle.
  • Rats love to shoot mining drones.  Pull in your mining drones as soon as you see rats.
  • When mining in a group its worth splitting up the field or asteroids in the field so you don't end up doubling up on a asteroid which wastes time and yield.
  • Some Exploration sites will offer low sec ores in high sec (or null sec ores in low sec).
  • Five Mining Drone IIs work out to about half a strip miner on a hulk.
  • Use Giant Secure Containers in your hauler to get extra carrying capacity.  For some reason they are bigger on the inside than on the outside.
  • If you get close to a Asteroid, your mining drones will use less time travelling.
  • Mining in a group with voice comms is a lot more fun than mining alone.  You also get to watch belts disappear before your eyes.
  • Hulkageddon is a annual competition to kill as many mining ships and industrials as possible.  It means people will suicide ships to kill your mining ship for points in the competition.  As of June 2012 this has become a year long thing with the Goonswarm Federation offering a bounty of 100 MISK on every 10 exhumers killed.
  • Destroyers (particularly the Catalyst) are the favourite ship for ganking mining ships.  If you see one enter your belt Get Out Fast.
  • Don't leave too much ore lying around in cans.  You never know when someone will come along and take it or force you to leave it behind.
  • I don't recommend low sec mining to new pilots.  Its not so much more profitable than high sec mining.  The risk is exponentially higher.
  • Rats often drop Metal Scraps.  These things have the same size as a unit of minerals but are worth more than megacyte.  Each unit refines into 500 Tritanium.  Its worth collecting them.