Sunday, June 27, 2010

Passive income part 2: Copying capital blueprints

EDIT 2012-8-20: This post has been replaced by this post series.

The second part of my two-part series about passive income.

EDIT 2010-9-22: Updated spreadsheet snapshot, added titans.
EDIT 2011-2-9: Updated spreadsheet snapshot
EDIT 2011-4-10: General update, new spreadsheet snapshot, new information about titans and supercarriers.

To start out, let's introduce the concept of blueprint copying: If you have an original blueprint (BPO) you can make blueprint copies (BPC) with a certain number of runs. BPC can be sold on contracts,and are bought by people who want to manufacture a ship without buying the BPO. Once they have a BPC they can manufacture a number of ships equal to the number of runs on the BPC.

What type of blueprints do we want to use? I'm looking for passive income, and capital blueprints are best for this: They have a long copy time and a maximum of 1 run per copy. This is much simpler than battleships, which have a maximum of 10 runs per copy and presumably can be copied multiple times per month, which would mean more time doing math, more time setting up contracts and more pain in the ass.

There are a total of 22 capital blueprints that can be copied: Four each of carriers, dreadnaughts, supercarriers, titans and freighters, plus 2 industrial ships. We need a way to decide which of these is the best to invest in, and I propose a metric as follows: The value of the BPC in millions, divided by the number of months it takes to copy, divided by the price of the BPO in billions. The resulting number is the monthly return, in millions, for each billion invested. This number will be referred to as MMPB (monthly millions per billion).

Before I pull out the spreadsheets though, we need to talk about capital industrial and supercarrier blueprints because they're a little more complicated than the rest.

Capital industrial blueprints are not sold by NPCs in highsec; I suspect they come from players working for the ORE corporation. Consequently, the BPO cost can be highly variable. Although 3.3 billion seems typical for a rorqual BPO, putting its MMPB at around 32, I once saw one on contracts for 1.75 billion (though I didn't have the presence of mind to buy it).

Supercarrier blueprints had a dramatic price spike after dominion, but so many people invested them that once demand fell off their prices fell to pre-dominion levels. Today (4/2011) a nyx BPC is worth 600 mil, compared to 3.3 billion in early 2010. This has lead to people getting out of the market, and you can sometimes find researched supercarrier BPO on contracts in jita for NPC price.

Without further ado:

Copy time is for science 5 with no implants
BPC prices updated 2011-4-10

What does this tell us? Mostly, that dreadnaughts are a terrible investment. So are supercarriers, except for the wyvern (I suspect everybody invested in nyx and aeon because they're the ones that don't suck, while many people are caldari specced). Among carriers the thanatos and archon seem to be the way to go, and watching them over the last year they have been consistently more valuable than the chimera and nidhoggur.

Titan blueprints are actually a pretty good investment right now. They are in very high demand, with the leviathan BPC above 3 billion for the first time since dominion and most of the rest selling at 10 bil as soon as somebody puts a contract up. I would tend to recommend the erebus, as they are highly desirable for their armor bonuses and tend to die a lot for the same reason. Do note, however, that it's possible overinvestment may eventually lead to titan BPC going the way of supercarriers.

One's tendency would be to buy a bunch of whatever has the highest MMPB, but there are a few factors which you may wish to take into account:

Utility. If you think you might have need of capital BPC or BPO at some point then maybe it would be better to get a variety of blueprints.

Market fluctuations. Investing everything in one type of blueprint will leave you vulnerable to price changes. If you get 10 archon blueprints and their price drops significantly, you'll lose out. Spreading your investment over multiple types of BPO will give you lower profits but more stability.

Copying slots. You get a maximum of 11 per character, and although it's easy to train another research alt this will make things more complicated. If you have enough isk to fill your research slots it might be better to buy fewer but more expensive blueprints, perhaps going with freighters or rorquals instead of carriers.

Now, before we can start copying we need to research material and/or production efficiency. Looking at contracts we can see that the typical freighter blueprint copy has 3 levels of material efficiency (ME) and 0 of production efficiency, while carriers have 2 of material efficiency and 1 of production efficiency. If you like to play with spreadsheets you will find that higher ME levels than these do not significantly change the component requirements to build these ships. Manufacturers know this, so there's no point researching them higher. As an example, an archon costs 516 million to build at ME0, 510 at ME1, 471 at ME2, and 464 at ME999.

For carriers and freighters each level of research takes 2 months, so once you have the blueprints you're looking at half a year before they start to produce. What's more, it actually takes longer than this because all NPC stations have ME and copy jobs in all their slots at all times; you will probably never see a research slot for those which doesn't have a wait time, except maybe in NPC or player sov 0.0. If you're okay with moving your BPO to lowsec (use a T3 or stealth recon, NOT a frigate hull) the wait times there are much lower, or you can avoid wait times by using a personal research pos or renting slots from an organization such as New Eden Research, though both of these will introduce overhead and increase the amount of work you have to do. Do not under any circumstances keep BPO in a conquorable station unless you have a plan to get them out if the station changes hands abruptly. I suggest a jump clone, nullified T3 and instawarp bookmark.

There are also some implants you can use to speed the process a little, reducing research times by a maximum of 5%. At 120 million isk the 5% implants don't look like a great investment except for the copy time one; for me, a bonus of 5% would be worth 18 million per month, taking 7 months to pay off -- not bad for a long term project like this, provided you never lose the research clone.

The implants are as follows:

zainou 'beancounter' I40, I50, I60 - production time research speed bonus
zainou 'beancounter' J40, J50, J60 - material efficiency research speed bonus
zainou 'beancounter' K40, K50, K60 - copying speed bonus

When I started looking into capital blueprints I was looking to spend about 10 billion isk and elected to go with an unfocused blueprint set, buying one of each type of carrier and freighter for a total of 11 billion, which will make me 360 million isk per month (31 months to pay off the investment, though BPO should be considered equity). If I were looking to maximize MMPB, at that point 8 chimera blueprints would have cost 6 billion and generate 296 million per month (20 months to pay off),and somebody wanting to maximize monthly profits on 8 BPO could have gone all fenrir (since you will not find 8 rorqual BPO) and made 472 million per month on a 13.3 billion investment (28 months to break even). A nyx is an 18 billion isk investment and would have taken 23 months to pay off. Today, this is closer to 104 months.

Spreadsheets (open document format):
Capital build costs (stolen from someone in alliance chat)

My blueprints

Friday, June 25, 2010

Passive income, part 1: Datacores

In which I grind missions in highsec

In which I receive angry comments

With absolutely bugger all happening in eve, it's time to talk about carebearing! Starting out this post, I have to say that I have sort of a love-hate relationship with mission runners. On one hand, they're worthless scum who are too cowardly to play the real game. On the other hand, they provide an important service by providing cheap implants for real players, plus they give me billions to fit their missionmobiles with the faction and deadspace shit I find.

Of course I would never run missions as an income source - I have some integrity - but recently I've been thinking about passive income. Copying blueprints and using R&D agents for datacores are the most common methods, so I figured I'd give them a shot.

I grabbed my poorly-skilled highsec alt, checked a guide on TTH to find an amarr R&D corp, located an agent and started grinding standings for carthum conglomorate with the goal of getting my standings high enough to use the best research agent. This took a while, since I wasn't willing to waste training time on mission skills beyond social 3. The guy who did the datacore guide on TTH also has guides for grinding standings and how to speed up the process, but there's all this stuff about tags and storyline agents and things, which are far too complicated for a 0.0 person whose entire concept of 'standings' is killing anything that isn't blue.

When I had ground sufficient standings to use the best research agent I found that I still needed a bunch of skills: science 5, research 5, research project management 4, negotiation 4, connections 4 and then, horrors, science skills for each datacore type t (e.g. mechanical engineering for mechaninal engineering datacores). Worse, the tool to find how many datacores you get per day with given skills shows that the last level of the datacore-specific skill makes a huge difference in productivity; from my best agent it goes from 1.75 to 2.22 datacores per day between levels 4 and 5. What's more, maximizing profits means getting multiple types of datacore, and training the skills for them; for carthum conglomorate you would need mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, nanite engineering and hydromagnetic physics all to 5 in order to maximize your income. In terms of training time, though, it would be better to use agents that make the same type of datacore and reduce the number of skills you train - the top 5 agents for carthum give a total of 80 million per month and require training 4 skills, but using the top 3 mechanical engineering agents and the top 2 rocket science agents would give 75.6 million - not a huge difference in isk.

Each of your R&D agents will offer you a mission once per day, completion of which will give you one day worth of research points. This potentially doubles your monthly income, but it also completely defeats the purpose of passive income. The missions are really easy - get a couple thousand units of tritanium, carry a package 2 jumps - so they could easily by done on a second client while you're in a fleet or something, but it's probably not worth the effort for a few hundred thousand isk.

My current research agents, showing a massive 51 million isk in accrued research points. If I ever get around to collecting the datacores I'll do what I suggested above and switch Qerray to rocket science datacores and trade out Kudfa for Kilures, who does mechanical engineering.

Overall I'd have to say that for a strong earner, getting into datacores isn't worth the time. I did my standings grind while sitting in h-w waiting for something to happen on a second client, but really, 80 million? If you already have standings with an R&D corp go for it, but I wouldn't recommend grinding standings just for the datacores.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tanking the 180,000 damage torpedo with subcaps

A 180,000 EM damage citadel torpedo from an NPC outpost will hit a ship with 95% EM resist and a signature radius of 130 for 750 damage when stationary, and 190 damage when traveling 50 m/s; and if somebody had bothered to post these numbers before now I would have gotten into these plexes much earlier.

I was doing dread guristas fleet staging post today and the final stage escalated to cobalt edge. While I would normally ninja a carrier into enemy territory, cobalt edge is way out of jump range. This made things... challenging. I've been working on some fits to run the maze, but until now it's all been theory and EFT warrior stuff. What's more, the outpost in DG fleet staging point is much worse because it spawns energy neutralizing sentries and repairs itself.

EDIT: The outpost in the maze is actually identical to the DG fleet staging outpost, including repairing itself, but the spawns are different.

The broadsword fit I ended up using had no armor plates and a single passive (because of the neuts) armor EM resist mod, but 3 passive kinetic armor resist mods. This worked out pretty well; although the outpost could hit for about 1/3 armor when the broadsword was stationary, my repping oneiros would take it back to full armor in one cycle. Meanwhile, a third character in a DPS raven did the actual damage; we had about 970 DPS total, which should have been enough, but the outpost has some sort of anti-missile defence which significantly reduced incoming DPS. Fortunately most of its self-repair is in armor, and the armor buffer is only about 10,000; if 3 consecutive volleys from the raven made it through, the outpost took significant structure damage.

The drops weren't great - only 447 million - but the lessons learned will make me hilarous amounts of isk in the future.

The broadsword fit I used. I would replace the trimarks with thermal resists rigs, but none were available nearby. The tracking computers increase falloff on the autocannons so that it does more damage at range.

EDIT: Removed an ishtar fitting I was thinking about using for the maze because it would have resulted in dying horribly as flameburst light missiles blotted out the sun.

EDIT: Fail title fixed, 180k is the volley damage. It fires once every 30 seconds, so 6000 DPS.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Keeping the pain train rolling

In followup to yesterday, word on the street is that the ships which jumped out of system before dying appeared in space after downtime pilotless. Most sources are saying that we recovered 5, though my best information is that we recovered 3 out of 6 titans, 2 really died, 1 was taken by an enemy pilot and all 3 motherships were recovered.

Screenshot of Rolk's Drift's avatar on scan prior to recovery.
Or a fake, since at this point you can pretty much believe whatever you want.

In any case, today we formed up about 450 people and went out reinforcing a bunch of ROL towers in Pure Blind. They're coming out of reinforced around downtime on saturday, which isn't really the best time for me to attend. As I post this we we're out reinforcing towers with a somewhat smaller fleet after going home to refuel. I'll post if we get hotdropped or anything, but it's past enemy prime time.

A screenshot, just because it's been too long since I've taken one

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In which we accidentally our whole supercap fleet

I wasn't there so unfortunately I can't give a first-hand account, but what I'm hearing is that we formed up a supercap > * fleet and headed out to destroy a Rebellion Alliance pos, failed to load grid and lost at least 6 titans, possibly as many as 10.

EDIT: The final count appears to be 6.

One might recall that I postulated dominion lag would be the deciding factor in max 2. I was wrong about that, but mainly because there were never big capital/super fights. What happened today was classic y-2, with titans staying in system long after their 15 minute logoffski timer would have run out. According to forums several of them actually jumped out safely, got to a safe pos in another system, took screenshots and then died. We can hope that might be enough for CCP to adjust their stance on fleet fight reimbursements, though I won't be holding my breath.

EDIT: Better battlereport.

There's actually a coalition-wide ban on posting about this, but this isn't a forum and I hope I'm not providing too many tears; lag kills are just a fact of life.

Anyway. We're off our isk-making break for what sounds like short-term combat ops, so I may have some fights to write about over the next few days.

Looking forward, looking back

With the war over I've come to the realization that I don't have anything to write about. This is funny because I actually had the idea of starting this blog before the fighting started, back around November of last year. I can't remember any of the posts I had planned to write, but I'm pretty sure there was going to be a lot of industry stuff; I was planning to mine and manufacture for fun once I had earned enough to buy a mothership.

During the last six months everything has changed: my short and long term goals, the ships I can fly, where I live and even the large-scale political situation. Gone now are the halcyon days of my youth when I thought there might be such thing as enough isk; as my earning power and knowledge of the game have increased, so have my goals and the cost of reaching them.

I've been rather dismissive of writing about myself (the 'nobody cares' tag was established for this purpose) but with my alliance on an isk-making holiday my attention has turned to PVE, and so too will the content here. Fortunately for you, dear readers, peace never lasts; there have been hints of a new campaign starting in the foreseeable future, and even if that falls through it's only a matter of time before somebody attacks us.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blag meme: Where I've been

Because I actually find these interesting. I've lived in vale (for a month), branch (westmost 3 constellations), geminate and now tenal; everything else in NC space is combat ops. Once of the nice things about living here is that we don't have to fly halfway across the galaxy to get a fight; the flip side, of course, is that when we have a war it's almost always in our own backyard.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Video: Flying a titan in combat

Just like it says. This is from the viewpoint of an NC titan pilot during the h-w fight. Battlereport here, teamspeak recording here.

Is that awesome? Yeah, that's awesome. My new goal is to fly one.

Also, this is my last item of war media spam. Rejoice, damn you, rejoice!

AVI, 1200 MB

EDIT 1/2012: This post has the content tag because I appear in the video ^^

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Teamspeak recordings: Killing SC supercarriers in h-w

Shut the F*** up! Shut the F*** up! Don't talk. Just don't talk any more.

-the NC discusses target calling

This is another (the last, for now) in a series of posts with teamspeak recordings. NSFW, as always. This episode goes with this post, in which we killed 5 SC supercarriers in H-W. It starts a few minute before downtime with the subcapital fleet as we try to take down some battleships, then switches to the capital channel when the server comes back up. Editing for brevity affects this recording more than previous as trimming silences makes the downtime seem really short.

MP3, 45 minutes, 62 MB

Friday, June 4, 2010

Teamspeak recordings: Killing russian supercarriers

This is another in a series of posts with teamspeak recordings. These will likely not be of great interest to somebody who has been in a real fleet, but rather to people who are curious as to what goes on in them. Teamspeak recordings are always NSFW.

This recording is from this fight in which we were batphoned by PL to help kill some drone lands coalition supercarriers. See also this video from the perspective of a PL logistics pilot.

MP3, 33 minutes, 32 MB

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Video: Armor logistics in action

This is PL's Armor Theory video, demonstrating armor logistics in a HAC and heavy dictor gang. This video goes with this post, in which we were batphoned by PL to help kill some russian supercarriers.

If you want to see A-team logistics in action, this is it. PL spent months developing their strategy and now their logi/HAC gangs are the envy of every alliance in new eden. While watching you might note that dictors cannot be remote repped while their bubble is active. To get around this PL alternates dictors, having one bubble for one cycle then get repped while another bubbles. Dictors get primaried as soon as they bubble and a few are lost, but it seems to work reasonably well. Another item of interest is that the pilot overheats his highs at one point to save a command ship, which was probably running armor links for the gang.

Also, this is the first eve video I appear in.

Eve files link
MKV, 166 MB, 8:10

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I don't care how many WPM you typed

Today I am going to make an exception to my no-writing-about-things-outside-of-eve guideline. See, I read eve blogs for content, and this is something the majority of blog entries do not have. Banter blogs are bad enough, generating dozens of posts full of identical drivel, but this recent how-fast-can-you-type thing forces me to complain; it's not even eve related.

"Design your own mission"? Boring and pointless. "What are your plans for the next year"? Boring, but at least it's relevant. "Post your killboard statistics"? Meaningless, and only a couple lowsec pirates will even read it.

If you want me to read your posts instead of just skipping to the next item in the feed aggregator, post content. If you don't have anything interesting to say, don't say anything. Those of you with no posts other than banter blogs, stupid memes and copy-pasted eve news, I am talking to you.

It's not a popularity contest, pageviews are a terrible metric for success and if you want to write you should start by having something to write about.

That is all.