Monday, June 3, 2013

May In Low Sec

With Odyssey launching Tuesday, I'm halfway through my project of comparing my low sec experience pre- and post-expansion.  I have altered the parameters because I abandoned my plan to go to high sec and do a level 4 epic arc series.  I just couldn't make myself go to high sec, which is good since Tranquility suffered a DDoS attack this weekend.  So instead, I will compare five weeks before launch to five weeks after launch.  And while the weekend's server issues should have suppressed my profits, I did manage to do a 5/10 complex and get 167 million ISK in drops and bounties, even though I couldn't take down the final boss.

So how did I play EVE in May?  Except for the 10th anniversary celebration when CCP broke into the sandbox and had a contest for killing the most ships, I conducted all my activity in low sec.  Well, unless a mission took me to high sec or the shortest path took me into high, but I don't include that.  Here is the breakdown of the activities:

Exploration - Exploration is how I made most of my ISK in EVE, although I expect mining/manufacturing may surpass that in June.  But as exploration is a big part of Odyssey, this is the area most people may find interesting.

Total value:  321.9 million ISK.  This amount breaks down to 278.1 million ISK in drops and salvage and 4.2 million ISK in bounties.  The amount of drops was calculated by taking the value that appeared in the cargo hold value display when I highlighted the items.  The actual values may vary, but as I didn't sell anything that dropped on the market, that seems a fair way to figure out the relative values over time.

Radar sites - I managed to run 12 radar sites in May, gaining 158.7 million ISK in drops/salvage and 3.8 million in bounties.  That comes out to an average of 13.5 million ISK per site.

Plexes - I found and cleared two Minor Angel Annex complexes last month, earning 69.2 million ISK in drops/salvage and 48.7 million ISK in bounties.  While not rated DED complexes, I found the Minor Angel Annex is soloable in a Cyclone.

Magnetometric sites - I found 3 magnetometric sites in May, yielding 48.3 million ISK in drops/salvage and 400 thousand ISK in bounties for an average of 16.2 million ISK per site.

Gravimetric and Ladar sites - Once again I found no ladar sites in May.  I've never found a ladar site.  I did find two gravimetric sites last month, but I am putting them under the mining/manufacturing category.  I find that keeping all mining together makes sense.  Also, I don't consider a site that doesn't require the use of probes to find really belonging to the exploration category.  While pre-Odyssey gravimetric sites required probing, in Odyssey that is no longer the case.  Since part of this exercise is to compare the Retribution and Odyssey builds, I decided to make this change a month early.

Mining/Manufacturing - 197 million ISK.  I combine the two because I'm using a vertical integration model in which I mine all of the materials I build with.  I also used minerals only mined in low sec except for some morphite that I used to make orbital bombardment ammunition.  I may change this model depending on whether ice mining becomes more profitable.  So here's some stats:

Total sales profits:  146 million ISK.  This is profit, not gross.  I also consider that the cost of minerals is pure profit, as in role playing terms my manufacturing division paid my mining division for the materials.  I'm not an accountant though, so I'm sure someone will explain why this is wrong.  Also, I have over 100 million ISK in market orders up.

I sell in a station in low sec Molden Heath and I'm able to keep up with the volumes of sales.  I should add that I began my production/market selling operation on 14 May, so I did have a lot of startup costs to pay off (like blueprints).  Up until now I just mined and manufactured for my personal use.

Ore mined:  581,765 m3.  I mined 372,245 m3 in belts and 209,520 m3 in the two grav sites I managed so probe down.  I hope you don't mind if I don't go into specifics.  I should also add I have not refined any of the ore from the grav sites as I'm waiting for the extra minerals I'll get in Odyssey.

Minerals used in production: This amount is only for the business, not for my personal use.  My personal use really didn't change the numbers too much.

Isogen - 25,050 units
Mexallon - 14,850 units
Morphite - 800 units
Nocxium - 1,300 units
Pyerite - 1 million units
Tritanium - 2.2 million units

Yes, I can get all of those, except for morphite, from high sec, although I'd have to travel to a different region to get the nocxium as it does not naturally exist in Minmatar Republic high sec.

NPC combat - 51 million ISK.  In addition to the profits from the market is the 40.3 million ISK in drops/salvage and 10.7 million ISK in bounties I received while killing the Angel Cartel ships foolish enough to attack my battle Procurer.  After filling up my ore hold, I would switch to a Jaguar and go back and loot/salvage the wrecks.  People might consider this ratting, but as the only times I visit the belts is to mine, I put this under mining.

Missions -143.8 million ISK.  I did a total of 94 missions from agents located in low sec space.

Storyline - 83.3 million ISK.  With that many missions I was able to do 5, and that was after refusing to do a level 4 combat mission.  Most of the value came from the 4 +4 implants I received.  The implants were valued at 82.1 million while I received 1.2 million ISK in mission rewards.

Courier - 43.9 million ISK, 107,303 LP.  I did 84 courier level 4 missions carrying 363,200 m3 of cargo around low sec.  In addition to leading to lots of storyline missions, I just like flying around seeing who's out and about.  The courier missions in Odyssey will also serve as intelligence as I'll have the ability to scout out ore sites and whether any sites exist to scan down.

Security - 16.6 million ISK, 9,497 LP.  I did 5 level 3 security missions at the beginning of the month.  Needless to say the payout wasn't that good so I decided to do something else.

High Sec - 43.1 million ISK, 18,034 LP.  This doesn't count as low sec, but I did make something from my standings grind in high sec last month.  Most of the value came from the two implants I received for doing storyline missions.  I did get 13.5 million ISK in missions rewards.

When I do my final calculations I'll have to include the activities I manage to do before launch.  Hopefully the DDoS will end and I can add a few more million to the total.  But the total of 662.7 million ISK in low sec isn't too bad, right?


  1. Dinsdale PirannhaJune 3, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    How many hours of time were you online for that much ISK?

    1. I'd guess around 40-45. I didn't really keep track.

  2. Ladar sites: In K-space, ladar sites vary by constellation. Some constellations have them and most don't. I was playing and exploring EVE for over a year before I ever found one. Now I live next-door to a constellation with them and find them boring (aside from the way the Venture made them more pleasant).

  3. Hmmm... idk. 662.7M ISK - most of which was derived from active, not passive or semi-passive, sources. Not terrible, but not great, either.

    You should keep track of how much time you are spending, just grinding ISK. It seems to me that your per hour income is rather low. If you are grinding ISK to support a low sec PVP habit and not because you really enjoy ISK grinding (which some people do), then you might want to consider making some changes to improve your per hour rate.

    A few other things:

    o You should be doing PI. It is pure passive profit and there is no reason not to do it, even if you do it non-optimally. Research agents and datacores are also pure passive profit, if you are willing to invest some SP in R&D.

    o Run L4 security missions, rather than those L3s and courier missions, and forget wasting your time in some of those less valuable exploration sites. From looking at your in-game activity, you'd probably break 1B ISK in about 1/2 the time, if you switched to L4s.

    o Try selling in a high sec station, rather than a low sec station. Not a major hub, though - pick a reasonably populated system, but with no or few sell orders of the stuff you build. Jack the price - trust in the fat wallets and laziness of players to sell your over-priced goods for much higher profit. I routinely make over 100% profit on everything I sell - up to 900% profit on some items - so don't listen to anyone who says that you should be pricing for single digit percent profits and making it up on volume.

    1. Oh, my next step is to do some datacore farming. I've got the SP invested and the agents live nearby so I could do the R&D missions when I run out of sites. The idea of going to a high-sec hub to sell kind of defeats the idea of doing everything in low sec, though.

      I'll have to do some research on PI. I did it for months in high sec and burned myself out on it. The research I'd need to do is finding a nice quiet area with low taxes so my output doesn't get exploded in a takeover.

    2. @Noizy:

      o You don't have to *go* to high sec to sell there. Use courier contracts to move your goods and sell remotely. That's how I do it. I don't bother hauling anything anywhere anymore.

      o You probably burned out on PI because you were tweaking it too frequently. Just set the extractors for a long period and ignore. If you overfill the capacity of your PI structures, don't worry about it and just empty them when convenient for you. After all, this is supposed to be passive, not active, income for you. Finally, pick moons which are located conveniently for you, rather than worry about lower taxes.

      o Datacore farming. Ok, there are two ways to run it - fully passive and partially passive, lol.

      Fully passive means that you start the research with the agent and ignore his requests for mission running. You'll still accumulate RP, albeit at a lower rate. You can ignore the agents for months/years and then go collect your datacores, when convenient. This is how I'm doing it now.

      Partially passive means that you run the silly missions, which, in my past experience, consisted of only two: feed me trit, and courier something for me. The first mission just requires that you dump a massive amount of trit at the agent's station, one time, and then "complete" the mission whenever he asks for more trit - when you run out of trit, just load up the station again. The agent will typically bother you with a new mission on a daily basis. Completing the missions will improve your RP rate, but, more importantly, unless CCP changed the system, you'll get a storyline mission after every 16 regular missions - ie. about two per month per agent. The payoffs aren't great, but the faction standings gain add up quickly, if you need 'em, because the R&D missions require no great effort/time to complete. This is how I built up my standings in order to setup my high sec POS, get access to jump clone services, and pick up some Navy BPCs in exchange for pirate tags from some one-time agents.

  4. Some unsolicited tips on the mining/manufacturing stuff if it's useful. Feel free to ignore it if not, this is all just from my experience building up a manufacturing "business" over the course of a few years in EVE.

    (Apparently I had a lot to say, so I'll just post another comment with the rest)

    1) When you're deciding what to make and sell, take care not to compete with yourself. Limit what you list on the market at any given time to just enough to satisfy local demand, or maybe a little less. This is less of a problem in lowsec than in highsec, but basically what happens is that if you put too much stuff up, you encourage other people looking at the market in the area to come in and undercut you, either to get a quick sale or to start a price war. On the other hand, if you're careful with your sell quantities, competitors will usually price at or near (or sometimes above) what you've done, since you don't look like a threat.

    2) When you're calculating sale costs, factor in what those minerals would have brought you if you'd taken them to high-sec and sold them (I usually use Jita buy order prices). This becomes your resource cost to make an item. Pick a percentage above that cost and never, never sell for below that number. For example: I refuse to sell any T1 item for less than a 30% profit margin over my resource cost, even if I got all the resources for nearly free. The reason for this is that there are some items where the market is oversupplied to the point that you will quite literally make more money just liquidating the minerals in the nearest trade hub. So by watching buy prices on the minerals, and using that to calculate a price minimum, you insure you're manufacturing and selling only the profitable stuff.

    3) I'm not sure what you're making out there in lowsec but some products lend themselves to a local market better than others do. For example, ammunition will sell everywhere because most people buy it when they're running low (or have run out). They'll pay a markup to get it quickly rather than have to go 6-8 jumps for it. This is especially true for tech 2 ammo, if it's something commonly used where you're at. On the other hand, people are in the habit of heading to Jita (or some other hub) when they need to fit a new ship, so when you're selling modules or ship hulls you need to compete regionally. There's some exceptions to this - since you're in Molden Heath you could probably do a decent business in destroyers and some T1 cruisers if you wanted to, as people get those blown up and want to get back into the fight right away. But in general the bigger/more expensive the item, the wider you'll have the cast the net when determining your price point.

  5. Part 2!

    4) It probably doesn't happen as much in lowsec but in highsec people play market games all the time. Just last week someone bought me completely out of Cap Booster 100s in 4 systems. Why they bought only Cap Booster 100s, and so many of them, I have no idea, but I wasn't complaining about the profit I made. If you see someone jacking the price on something way up, and you're quick, you can usually post the same thing at an inflated price that's less than what they're doing and it will sell. Likewise, if you see someone dumping stuff on the market, you can list your stuff high on purpose to bump the regional average up. Your stuff won't sell, but other sellers will see that scary red number and price high as well. It doesn't always yield immediate profits but with a little work and research you can manipulate the market (and other sellers) slightly to your advantage.

    5) Last thing I promise. Avoid the temptation to alter your sell orders if they're not moving. It's really easy to get into the bad habit of "tweaking" your prices every few days and before you know it, you've eaten away at your profit margin. The better thing to do is to leave it there at the original price until the order expires. Unless you're selling in a super-competitive place (like Jita), there's a fair chance everyone undercutting you will sell out within a week or two, and then your stuff will get bought. In the meantime you've been making and selling other things - diversity is the key to continuous income from manufacturing :)

    Hope it helps!