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.

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