Monday, October 31, 2011

October monthly financial report

EDIT: Yes october, I just forgot to change the month in the header and I'm too lazy to fix it.

I said I was going to revise the spreadsheet this month, but I didn't. Maybe next time.

Increase in net worth is more than the profits I listed. This is largely due to isk from incursions, which I spent some time on at the beginning of the month.

Obelisk margins (in red) are pretty miserable right now, and haven't improved since the last sale. A 5% margin (minus tax, which is in the overhead section instead of the manufacturing section) is a profit of less than 30 million, which is just pointless. I'm holding obelisk production for the immediate future and putting the liquidity into things that make actual profits. It will probably only been a couple of weeks, knowing the market.

Despite having issues with production wait times and moving to a new system, I actually sold more ships than I expected to this month, though profits dropped a lot. I have a bunch of ships finishing in the next few days, and jump-capable capital prices are looking really good right now, so I expect next month to be a good month.

Instead of continuing to copy my supercarrier BPO, I'm putting them into research so that I'll be able to sell them sooner when prices start coming back up. This means that I won't be seeing any copying profits from them in the immediate future, once the final copy has sold.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Considerations when deciding where to build or buy capital ships

Short answer: Probably, although thalaka specifically has a very weak capital market for whatever reason. I'm not familiar with the nullsec dynamics in that area.

Long answer:

Probably. This was one of several factors when I was looking for my new building station, and this post is now about describing in excruciating detail this and similar considerations when deciding where to sell and buy capital ships.

Though, oddly, I hadn't actually thought to check the portion of players who buy my ships that are from 0.0. Checking a very small sample indicates a possibility that few 0.0 players actually buy capitals from the highsec market: Of the last 9 capitals I have sold, 6 were purchased by players with no alliance (3 in NPC corp), 2 were purchased by a SOMER character (lottery corp) and 1 was purchased by a person in a 0.0 alliance. I would be surprised if the proportion of 0.0-based buyers was actually that low, but I think we can be somewhat confident that a significant portion of buyers are not 0.0 based. A likely explanation for this is that most 0.0 players have access to corp or alliance capital builders who will provide ships to them for less than market price.

But let's say that I want to maximize convenience for 0.0-based buyers (I do). Convenience comes in several forms:

1. Price. Buyers prefer to buy cheaper ships, so I will price my ships below other ships for sale.

2. Location. As a 0.0 based buyer I would prefer to get back into my alliance's jump beacon network with the minimum number of jumps, so I will prefer systems which are in range of one of our jump beacons. Let's check two building systems in forge, maila and otsela. We will use a rorqual or dreadnaught with jump drive calibration 4 to see what is in range.

Now we cross-reference the systems in range with the in-game map with a jump beacon overlay to see what alliances have jump beacons in range of the respective systems:

Maila is in range of 2 regions and 5 jump beacon networks, and otsela is in range of 3 regions and 7 jump beacon networks. Both systems are in range of the FDZ npc station system. In terms of location, I would prefer to build in otsela.

3. Modules and fuel. Capital modules are bulky and are tedious and/or dangerous to transport to lowsec, especially if somebody doesn't have a covert hauler. Because of this, I will prefer to build in systems where capital modules, fighters and fuel are available, or stock them myself if they aren't.

To explore how these things might work in the mind of a buyer, let's run through the following scenario: We are a member of NCdot who wants to buy a pve fit thanatos for his macro. We have a cloaky hauler available and know how to use RF freight.

We start by looking at the market:

Starting with the cheapest ships first, we cross-reference the systems where ships are available with the jump range tool and the market for capital modules we need. We see that there is a ship available in akora, but it is not in jump range of our jump beacon network. If there were fighters and capital modules available in akora we might consider buying there and doing a lowsec jump to get into range of our beacons, but there isn't. We keep looking.

The second ship is in otsela. This is in range of our jump beacon network, but again there are no fighters or modules available.

Going down the list, the third system with a thanatos for sale is maila. This system has capital modules and fighters available, but the ship is more expensive than earlier entries and the modules, fighters and isotopes are above jita price. It is also not in range of our jump beacon network.

Having to import modules from jita is much more difficult than doing a lowsec jump, so in terms of convenience the ship in maila wins. But it's also more expensive to buy and fit the ship there, so we might prefer to do the price conscious thing, buy in otsela and move the modules etc. in, using RF freight to ship them to the adjacent highsec then shuttling them to the lowsec station with our cloaky hauler.

And that's how equstria was made.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Outsourcing capital component production: Yea or nay?

This is a very special sort of question. It has a simple answer, which is "no". But then you follow the line of thought and go "...huh." And you start looking at some numbers, and it starts to have a different and much less simple answer, which starts with "this probably isn't what you had in mind at all, but-", involves a lot of spreadsheets (from which the reader will be spared, fortunately) and might end with a complete re-evaluation of your long term plans, although though you can already think of four reasons why it probably wouldn't work. But if it did....

...let's start with the long version of the simple answer.

The most dangerous and tedious part of building capitals for me is jumping materials to lowsec. Capital components have a larger volume (by about 30-50%) than the minerals it takes to make them, so getting components from a different system (say, jita) would increase somewhat significantly the number of jump freighter jumps I need to make. In fact, most capital builders compress minerals into 425 mm railgun I, allowing them to move about 10 carrier builds worth of minerals in one jump, at the cost of what is reported to be very slight inefficiency. I haven't looked into this yet because I'd need to grind standings to fix reprocessing tax, research railgun blueprints, probably train another manufacturing character....

But let's say that I did outsource component building, stopped building components altogether and just got them in jita.

And for the sake of this discussion, let's say that I'm limited to the 30 manufacturing slots I currently have, and that a capital ship hull takes 10 days to build. I currently have 9 capital ship hull blueprints, and under optimal conditions can keep them all building at all times, which comes out to a theoretical maximum of 27 ships per month. This is pretty standard for a serious capital builder; the other two I know report building 21 and 28 ships per month.

First, we have to know if it's actually possible to get components at a reasonable price. Comparing my spreadsheet to jita prices for capital armor plates, I find that plates in jita sell for 5148 thousand isk, while at jita mineral prices it would cost me 5107 thousand to build one run. This is a difference of 0.8%, which is negligible.

(related: armor plates are probably the worst possible component to look at for this purpose)

So if I were to put in a bit of extra work, I could avoid having to build components. That in itself doesn't really do anything for me, but if we take the 'buy components, build capitals' idea to its logical extreme we get to some really interesting places. What if, with no component bottleneck, I could build capital ships in all my manufacturing slots? 30 slots at 10 days each is 90 ships a month. Which is, like, a lot.

...and obstacles at every step.

Second first off, capital BPO. This isn't actually much of an obstacle, but buying and researching BPO would cost about 30 billion isk and take about a year. Isk I don't have right now, but this is eve. Isk happens.

Second, liquidity. If I have 30 capital ships building at all times, I will probably have, at a very rough estimate about 60 billion isk of material (components, hulls) wrapped up in the manufacturing process. This is doable, but probably not until I can get rid of my supercarrier BPO.

Third, buying components. Using armor plates as a standard (as mentioned, probably a very bad standard) there are about 300 units available in jita for a reasonable price, and they move about 50 units per day. That's enough to build 4 capital ships per day. I would be building 3 ships per day, which would increase demand by at least 75% (probably more, since some of the movement is traders) and probably drive prices up enough to make this idea not profitable.

There are a few things I might try to mitigate this. One of them is people who build capital and supercapital component packs -- with the supercapital nerf there's a good chance these guys are facing a decrease in buyers, and may have spare component building capacity that I could yoink for a reasonable price.

Fourth, selling. The forge market sells 280 capital ships per month that aren't freighters, orcas or jump freighters. Demand for capital ships is inelastic to price, so dumping another 90 ships per month on the market will drive down prices, probably in a significant way. I would probably try to mitigate this by spreading my operation to multiple regions around highsec -- probably the amarr, rens and jita regions, plus maybe one or two others (I hear good thingsabout lonetrek). Conveniently, this would also make it easy to spread buying of components to the other market hubs.


This is all pants-on-head theorycrafting, but if somebody could make this work it would be pretty awesome. To the tune of 19 billion isk of profit per month, under perfectly optimal conditions.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My favorite kill ever

It's this one.

It's not a titan, it's not expensive, it's just a shitfit battleship. What makes it special is how he died: A single volley from yours truly.

(yes there are other people on the killmail, no they didn't do damage)

Volleying a battleship (EDIT: With guns, doomday doesn't count) is something that doesn't happen very often, even for titan pilots. A properly fitted battleship has more EHP than any titan can deal in a single gun volley (except sometimes the ragnarok). What allowed this kill to happen is the fact that the battleship was not properly fitted, allowing my naglfar's alpha (about 40k) to exceed its' EHP. Not many people can claim to have volleyed a battleship, and I am still vaguely smug about it.

I didn't post about it at the time because I was still being all :secret: on account of being in a 0.0 elitepvp alliance filled mostly with dicks, but I saw a nice kill today and it came to mind.

While we're on the subject of the naglfar, I'd just like to mention that I love the guns on that thing. The alpha is great, and they're also oddly good at picking off targets with low angular velocity. I once got three pod kills in a row (like this one) at a range of 150 km. Another time I killed a stealth bomber that was doing a bomb run.

...sorry, bit of a memory lane trip there. Here's to hoping they make dreads useful again.


Fucking math how does it work

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

...I want the door back

I may well be alone in this, but I didn't mind the door. Here's why:


No moving things
Graphics card fan not audible

Ship spinning:

Moving things
Graphics card fan audible

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Freighters suck.

When you undock a freighter from a generic caldari station and warp somewhere, if that 'somewhere' is to the right of your ship you're going to bounce off the station and fail to warp. So when an industrial type picks a station to freighter minerals to, they prefer stations where the undock is pointing at the place where they warp after undocking; or failing that, a point they can warp to, then warp to where they want to go (a bounce spot).

Jita is an impressively bad system for this. If you buy minerals in the 4-4 station, there is only one manufacturing station you can warp to without having to use a bounce spot. And undocking from that manufacturing station, you have to use a bounce spot to get to the 4-4 station without getting stuck.

(I'm going somewhere with this, I promise)

In lowsec, this is exacerbated by the lowsec aspect because if you fuck up you die. Therefore, when building in lowsec one very much prefers stations where you can warp a jump freighter straight to the out-gate after undocking.

In the lowsec system where I have been building capitals, there are two good stations. One has practically a straight out warp to the highsec gate, the other takes a while to align but also has somebody stocking it with capital mods so it's better to sell ships there.

I initially started building at the station with the capital mods, but pretty soon after I started somebody started repeatedly installing 10 day runs in every manufacturing slot. I moved to the other station, and that was good until the end of last month, when there started being jobs in all the slots. Not 10 day jobs, but there are always wait times now.

This is not okay. You could think of my capital production as a just-in-time process, where a delay at any stage holds up the entire system (this is actually completely untrue, but the analogy works). Short version, a wait time of a few days for production jobs to start has a really bad effect on the number of ships I can build in a month. Like say, a 4 day delay reduces the number of ships per month by 50%.

EDIT: Hence the title of the post.

Problem-solving time.

The first thing I did was decrease granularity. Example: I have two capital ship runs which each need 20 units of a particular component. If a 20-unit run takes 60 hours and the wait time on the manufacturing slots is 100 hours, it would take 320 hours to do two 20-unit runs; but I can also do one 40-unit run, which will only take 220 hours.

The second thing to help the situation was to farm out farm out component runs. There are two stations in the system which still have free manufacturing slots. If I can move minerals and components between the stations, I can avoid wait times. My jump freighter pilot isn't always available to move stuff in lowsec, so I trained one of my alts to fly a freighter and built a fenrir (fastest align time) from a blueprint copy. This is a decent stopgap measure, but not a solution. Unfortunately, the manufacturing slot situation isn't improving.

One thing would be to move my entire operation to a different station in the system. Unfortunately, both of the remaining stations result in the jump freighter getting stuck trying to warp to the out gate. So....

Move to a different system. There are 5 systems in forge which I could use for cap building, with a total of 11 manufacturing stations. Two of them have captial mods for sale. Conditions are better in several of these systems, and if I really have to I can even stock a system with capital mods.

I evaluated all the stations. Seven of them were bad for one reason or another, three are less than great and one looked pretty good, so that's where I'm moving.

Unfortunately there are no capital mods for sale in the system I've chosen. This is semi-important because the availability of mods makes your system a more desirable place to buy a ship. Properly speaking I don't have to stock it, but it's bad to have ships stuck on the market longer than necessary, so I will. Which will set my less short term plans back at least half a month, but whatever. I'm retired; it's not like I'm in a hurry.

Oddly enough, a capital manufacturing operation is highly portable -- all I have to do is change a few bookmarks and move my blueprints to the new system as my current runs finish up. NBD.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Almost like a real fleet

Minor update on incursion running. I've spent a few hours on it over the past two weeks, and the money is a little better than I had said -- 50m/h is the very low end of normal, while a good FC and fleet can make 100m plus LP.

I also got in on an HQ (40 man site) fleet. Unlike vanguard sites, which most fleets are for, HQ actually keep you awake. From a grunt's perspective it's almost like a real fleet, except there's no danger and targets are designated with tags instead of broadcasts. I have yet to see a ship die in an incursion.


EDIT: Blogspot is opening screenshots in the foreground and graying out the background, which resizes larger screenshots to ick on smaller monitors. Hm.

Monday, October 3, 2011


So I read this post (if you're thinking of getting into incursions click the link, read the post and the guides it links).

I've heard that incursions are the best thing going in highsec, and had considered trying them. After reading that post and one of the guides, I decided to go for it. Fitted out a scimi -- logi are highly sough after in incursion fleets, and much cheaper than many of the DPS ships people fly.

I got into a fleet doing tier 2 incursion sites, which it turns out are not very difficult, and made 54m/h over 3.6 hours. So, easy money, and apparently much more profitable than missions. Unfortunately profit still scales linearly with time, which is something I've been trying to get away from with manufacturing, science and trade. Odds are I won't be doing these much in the long run.

If you decide to give incursions a try, I highly recommend getting at least a logi or tier 3 CR battleship before trying to get into a fleet. They can be somewhat selective.

Not one of the more difficult sites.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The ice must floe

So goons are ganking bots and people who are mining gallente ice (which produces oxygen isotopes), to fill the game with tears and fuck.

You can read the plan. There's been some discussion as to whether it's for real or not, and I was curious to know what was actually happening. So I checked.

The plan includes a list of target systems. Shortly after hearing about the project I checked a few systems and found no gankers, and about 10-20 miners in each ice belt. 12 hours after that, I went through the list and checked every (non-island) system. This is what I found:
  • Ardallabier - 2 miners, down from ~15 earlier. Ganks ongoing.
  • Brapelille - 12 miners, ganks ongoing.
  • Jaschercis - 5 miners. These ones are trying to be tricky, using ECM drones, RR, and hulks instead of mackinaws. An alpha pest or maybe two smartbombers could kill them, but I hung out for a while and nobody took them out.
  • Angymonne - 1 miner.
  • Aydoteaux - 5 miners, ganks ongoing.
  • Carirgnottin - 6... 5... 4 miners, ganks ongoing.
  • Tolle - 1 miner.
  • Ignebaener - A single miner, being bumped by a gank brutix while the brutix pilot mourned the lack of remaining targets.

Out of curiosity, I then re-visited the systems in reverse order

  • Tolle - No miners.
  • Carirgnottin - No miners.
  • Aydoteaux - 3 miners, surrounded by exhumer and gank ship wrecks. I suspect they were replacing lost mackinaws from a stock in station. Obviously bots. Ganks ongoing.
  • Angymonne - No miners.
  • Jaschercis - 2 miners. No visible gank activity.
  • Brapelille - 2 miners, ganks ongoing.
  • Ardallabier - 1 miner, ganks ongoing.

Here's the goon killboard. The search tool shows 280 exhumer and mining barge kills in the last two days, which appear to have taken place almost exclusively in gallente highsec.

I'm gon' call it, highsec oxygen isotope production has been shut down hard. So what's going on with the market?

Well, as soon as the 'goonswarm shrugged' announcement was made, well before ganks started, speculation drove the price of isotopes up to about 3 times their previous price. At that point people started selling stock for hilarious profits, which caused the price to stabilize and even decrease. Some people who would have otherwise held their stock mistook this for a peak and also put their stock up for sale. Currently oxygen isotopes in jita are 1050 isk per unit, down from a peak of about 1300.

And what happens next? Two possibilities:

1. Goons stop killing miners, prices return to normal.
2. Goons keep ice production shut down, stocks are depleted and the price increases more. Possibly a lot more.

I'm betting on number 2 at the moment. It won't last forever, but things could be really interesting in the meantime.

Lastly, forums. There is a thread, and it is full of sperging goonhate, tears and some of the dumbest shit I've ever read. It's beautiful.