Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monthly financial report (December)

I said I thought this would be a good month, and I was semi-right. Net worth increased a lot, but monthly net profit is looking anemic. What happened?

Lots of things, actually.

Net worth increased by more than manufacturing income for the following reasons:

-Exploration, which I made a post about. This accounts for 2.4 billion isk of income.
-I added a new field in net worth for tengus, since I have three of the damn things.
-Increasing capital module prices. Many of these are trading at 25-50% over their values a month ago. Since I stock these in my building system, my net worth increased.
-Increasing freighter and jump freighter prices added about 1.1 billion isk of paper value.
-Seven ships with large margins have sold and increased my net worth, but are rolling over to next month on the spreadsheet. I estimate 1.7 billion isk of profits on them, which would bring my net profit for manufacturing to 4.8 billion.

Expenses this month included 2 plex (830 million) and a few subcapitals (~600 million).

I predict next month will be average. It should be above average since so many ships are rolling over from this month, but something has also gone horribly wrong with my manufacturing process. More on this in a few days.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Topics in 0.0 ninja: Exploration in hostile sov space for the chronically risk-averse

EDIT 2012-12-15: With the Retribution AI, using bombers for ninja exploration is still possible but much more expensive. See this post for details.

Increasingly awesome title edition~

Alas, this is the end of the 0.0 ninja series unless I find something else to do there. That probably will not happen in the near future.


In terms of isk/hour, 0.0 exploration is pretty much the best money in the game. It is a fairly specialized profession, and not many people do it -- you need the right ships, the right skills... and you need space to do it in, or so many people think.

This guide will describe a method for doing limited 0.0 exploration with only cloaky ships. Using it you will be able to drive out to the edge of the galaxy, grab a billion isk of exploration loot, and drive back to jita, all in essentially perfect safety.

This guide is specific to guristas because they are what I'm familiar with, but the methodology should be adaptable to other factions (especially serpentis).


This method relies on dual boxing two cloaky ships, a tank and a damage dealer.

The tank is a nullified, cloaky tengu which scouts, scans, and tanks, set up similarly to my old 'worst tengu fit ever' exploration utility fit.

The damage dealer is a stealth bomber. These do excellent damage for their size, have a cov ops cloak, and can hit out to 60 km with t1 torpedoes.

It goes like this: The tengu goes first, since it is much more likely than the bomber to survive a gate camp. You take the ships out to 0.0, find safe systems, and scan down sites. Once an appropriate site has been located the tengu warps in first and pulls all the aggro, the bomber follows, and they get to work. Just watch local and d-scan for hostiles dropping probes.

How far you go into 0.0 is up to you. Any system that doesn't have something nasty on d-scan is usually fine, though in systems with heavy traffic or people in local it's more likely someone will try to scan you down. The further you go from empire and pipes, the less likely it is you'll be interrupted. Personally I'm quite fond of tenal.

I just do day drips, since I have to go return to highsec on a near-daily basis, but operating out of an NPC station where you can buy ammo would really streamline the process.

Doing a site
(may have to open in new tab)


Without further ado...

If your skills aren't awesome enough to be cap stable with that, you can totally switch out the boost amp for a cap recharger. It just means sometimes it will be necessary to orbit with the AB on to reduce incoming damage.

In the tengu's cargo you should carry about 6000 heavy missiles, then fill the rest with torpedoes to resupply the bomber. This should result in both ships running out around the same time.

If you don't feel like training astrometrics 5, you can switch the t2 probe launcher for a sisters probe launcher.

Also of note, I strongly disrecommend using any ship other than a tengu for this. Fast align time is key to a T3 surviving gate camps in 0.0, which means armor tanks (proteus, legion) won't work, and the loki has slower align time and a much worse tank. The tengu will definitely work for caldari and gallente damage types, and non-caldari rats are said to be much easier to tank so it may also be able to handle minmatar or even amarr; however, I haven't tested these.

EDIT: It is actually possible to get the loki align time down to just 0.1 second slower than the tengu, and for sanshas damage it has a better tank.

The second target painter is nice, but with cov ops 4 it isn't really necessary unless you're shooting cruiser hulls or elite frigates a lot. If you want to drop one for a salvager, analyzer, or MWD you can. Archaeology and salvaging sites are pretty worthless, in my experience, but salvaging dread guristas is sometimes worth a few million and an MWD would be really helpful if you do end up jumping into a gate camp (see evading gate camps in a cov ops ship).

EDIT: You can also fit a MWD by using a kmb-50 implant, which adds 3% CPU and costs 22 mil. Worth it.

The codebreaker is for ladar hacking sites (see H-PA Crash Crew), which are fast, easy, and can drop the nanite control skill book, which is worth about 250 mil. Except for drone regions, all or nearly all 0.0 regions have ladar hacking sites.

We use a manticore here because it receives a bonus to kinetic damage, which is best for guristas rats. You will want to match the bomber to the type of rats you're shooting.


This method severely limits the types of sites you can do. Sites which do AOE damage (e.g. guristas military complex) are completely out of the question. Sites which have multiple spawns, which may target the bomber, (most hacking and salvaging sites) will be very tricky. Sites where you have to kill large numbers of elite frigates or cruisers (e.g. guristas fortress) will run you out of torpedoes after only a few sites. Sites that the tengu can't tank (maze) will just plain kill you.

So what does this leave us?

Fascinatingly, with guristas this removes almost all the worthless sites, and fewer than half the high value ones. We are left with four easy, predictable, high value, and fairly common sites: DED 6/10, 7/10, and 8/10, plus LADAR hacking sites. We'll just have to see what sort of earnings these sites can provide for us.


So, does it work? Well, so far I have spent 19.4 hours doing exploration this way, and retrieved 2440 million isk worth of loot. This comes out to 125m/h.

(This figure does not include travel time to/from jita; or bounties, which I estimate totaled a hundred million or so)

Due to the highly variable nature of exploration income, 19 hours is not enough to take an accurate baseline. However, I have extremely extensive experience with guristas exploration, and my feeling is that this figure is pretty reasonable.

EDIT: After doing several more runs of this and tracking isk/hour in a general sort of way, and after the release of deadspace invulnerability fields, I think that figure might be somewhat low. Figure more than 125, but definitely less than 200.


It's profitable, easy, and mostly safe. I feel confident that the long term isk per hour is higher than that of a pretty good highsec incursion fleet, and personally I find it much more enjoyable than incursions. Intermittent and randomized rewards mean it feels like less of a grind, standard rats don't switch targets so you don't have to be paying attention every second, and there are no fleetmates or FC to worry about. Plus, there's just something very relaxing about a quiet 0.0 system. Maybe I've spent too much time out there, but highsec and low are just too cramped for me to ever feel comfortable.

Also, excitement! Sometimes people try to kill you and stuff!

tl;dr more money, more fun, more interesting

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Heavy industry 2

I've made this post before, but now there are moar. Seeing all that running in parallel is a nice feeling.

Capital manufacturing status update #1562546

Oh god the world is burning edition.

Well, the markets anyway. Trit and pyerite are up a bit, but mexallon is really interesting, and it's affecting me, which I consider a personal affront. Mex price is up two thirds since the patch, and now when buying minerals it's the largest component of a ship's mineral price.

To illustrate, here are the current mineral prices for my last buy order (in millions):

Tritanium: 1058
Pyerite: 360
Mexallon: 1337 (yes, really)
Isogen: 275
Nocxium: 605
Zydrine: 165
Megacyte: 285

Before the patch, the mexallon would have cost 785.

What's causing the mex price to increase? Well, it first spiked right after the patch, which isn't surprising. What's odd is that it has kept going up despite returning to fairly average sales volume. That says speculation to me, though with a war supposedly starting in the drone lands we may start to see an actual supply interruption.

As to the effect of this, the short version is that ships which had low margins before now have zero or even negative margins. The after tax profit on an obelisk right now is negative ten million isk -- at least on paper.

What's really happening is that capital ship prices lag mineral prices by about ten days. Thus, if prices continue to increase, by the time a freighter built with minerals purchased today is delivered and put on the market, freighter prices will have have risen to a point where there is an acceptable profit margin. You can check freighter prices on the market right now and see this happening: Charon prices went vertical 10 days after mexallon did, and as of today they're up by 70 million isk per unit. I just sold one built with minerals purchased before the mexallon spike for a profit of 138 million (before tax).

Trouble is, though, when prices go up, they often come back down eventually; and in the absence of increased demand or changes to the game mechanics, I have to suspect that's what will happen with mexallon. When it does, people who bought mex when it was high really will wind up selling ships for negative profit, which makes me nervous about buying minerals to build freighters right now.

At the same time this is happening, margins on freighters have been pretty miserable for a number of months, and I've been considering tearing up my freighter production line and switching to only jump-capable ships. The margins on them are just better; even with the mineral price increase, and with more components being added to them when the patch hit, carriers are still showing a profit on paper, and they usually have the smallest margins of the jump capable capitals. Plus, I could use the extra production slots from my freighter builder anyway.

So that's what I'm doing. I have three freighters finishing, which should fetch nice margins because their minerals were purchased before the patch, then I'm halting production. The blueprints will go into research until I need them, probably after the fuel block changeover, at which time I anticipate selling them in order to buy component blueprints to research and replace my current set with.

The liquidity freed up by dropping freighter production will buy two component blueprints, capital computer system and capital siege array, which I am experiencing bottlenecks in at the moment. These are the last two components which are used in significantly higher quantity than any others, and once I have them it would take another seven (arguably nine) component blueprints to increase production measurably, at which point I would have nearly two full sets.

In fact, with those two I will have arrived organically at a selection of component blueprints which I had earlier used a spreadsheet to observe might be useful -- a balanced selection of 21 blueprints which will allow me to build two rorquals and one of each carrier and dreadnaught every 16 days. Adding another 9 blueprints reduces this time to 11 days, but also means training another production character.

So anyway, that's how my day has been.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Topics in 0.0 ninja: Grinding sec status in hostile space the safe and easy way

Every so often I hear horror stories about the sec status grind, usually from a lowsec piwate looking to return to the promised land of jita. And usually, they aren't going about it in a very effective way.

So, let's say you need to grind sec status and you don't have safe 0.0 space to do it in. This post will provide a solution.


This guide is not intended to describe the absolute best way to grind sec status. The purpose of the 0.0 ninja series is to impart some knowledge about 0.0 and describe a few things that can be done there in relatively safety.

This guide is specific to guristas rats. Apparently it is possible to do this with other types of rats, but guristas are what I'm familiar with.

Sec status:

The way that sec status gains work is that for every system you kill one or more rats in, every 15 minutes you receive a sec status increase for only the largest rat you killed. Bigger rats mean more status increase.

Since you want to find big rats, the best place to do this is 0.0. NPC 0.0 has lower sec status and therefore more and better rats, but it's also infested with elitepvp scrubs. Player sov space, once you're past the entry points, is safer, but the grind will be a bit slower.

Since you only get a status increase for the biggest rat killed in each system, you want to kill rats in more than one system. Ideally, you would prefer to find a circuit of systems which takes more than 15 minutes to go through while killing one large rat in each.

Finally, the fast talk skill gives a 5% bonus per level to security status increases. Putting a few levels in this could save quite a bit of grind.

The ship:

It works, I promise.

  • It is somewhat of a tight fit, so if you're having trouble with it, switching to lower meta launchers or using a PG rig or cheap implants will help.
  • The dual prop setup is because you need an MWD to evade gate camps and an AB to tank guristas.
  • The thermal shield rig is because when guristas rats do significant amounts of damage to you, it will usually have a thermal component. Some smaller ships can hit you with hybrids, which are therm/kin, and some guristas ships fire thermal light missiles. The rig is nice to have, but not strictly necessary; during my test run I used a PG rig there.
  • The target painter is a big help against frigates, cruisers and BC. More on this later.
  • In case you were wondering, passive recharge.

Finding space:

You'll probably be looking for a loop of systems, and it may be desirable to have a nearby dockable station to resupply or reship at.

The UBP constellation in geminate could be a decent possibility. I'm not familiar with the locals, but the constellation forms a 7 system loop and the FDZ NPC station is one jump away.

Conversely, it may be desirable to operate further from an NPC station and any pipes, since the further you go from highsec and NPC stations the less likely you are to run into bubbles and pvp ships. Up to you.

UBP constellation -- route highlighted, FDZ circled

Getting there:

Aside from user error, the most dangerous part of this method is the possibility of running into a gate camp. Last week we covered what to do if you jump into a gate camp [link], but to reduce the likelihood of encountering a camp in the first place you should use the star map's ship kills, pod kills, and pilots in space overlays to determine whether something unpleasant is likely to happen along your route.

For 0.0 entry systems, which are the most likely to be camped, fewer than 10 people in space and only one or two pod or ship kills in the last hour usually indicates that there is not an active camp there.

The method:

Once you reach your target area, it's time to get to work.

1. Warp to a belt at 10. If there is a battleship spawn with no elite frigates or elite cruisers, proceed to step 2. If not, proceed to the next belt/system.

  • Warping at 10 keeps you from landing on the belt beacon, which can decloak you and/or prevent you from cloaking.
  • Warping to a 0.0 belt at any range will often result in being decloaked, which starts a 15 second recloak cooldown. However, there are rarely any objects actually at 10 km from the beacon, so I recommend staying uncloaked while warping, then cloaking after you land if something unpleasant is on grid.
  • The reason for avoiding elite frigates and cruisers is that they will fuck you up.
  • If there are a few hostiles in local and wrecks in the belts, don't panic -- almost all belt ratters are macros and will safe up as soon as you enter local. Just watch d-scan for anything you think might not be a macro, and be prepared to gtfo.

2. You might have noticed that the tank on that bomber is paper thin, and it is. Your AB and hardener are your tank modules, so activate them and orbit the battleship you want to kill at 30 or whatever.

3. You can tank battleships all day, but not smaller things, so kill the small stuff first. Frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and battlecruisers should take 1-3 volleys per ship if you have halfway decent skills.

To make it clear what the damage differential is like, here are ranges for volley damage you'll be taking from each class:

Frigate/destroyer: 10-20
Cruiser: 5-25
Battlecruiser: 14
Battleship: 2-5

4. Being careful not to run into any asteroids, and keeping your transversal up (guristas battleship guns won't volley you, but they can land hits if you let them), kill the battleship.

  • If your cap skills aren't great, you may find yourself running out. Turn off the target painter and you'll be cap stable.

5. Move on to the next system and start over. Passive recharge will repair your shields between systems.

Once you have the basics down you can start to get fancy - perhaps not always killing the small stuff before going for the battleship - but do wait until you're confident that you know what you're doing. With this setup, when things go wrong they go wrong fast.


Using this method for two hours I was able to achieve a ~massive~ sec status increase of 0.15, from 4.2 to 4.35. Sec status increases more the lower you are, though, so this is unlikely to be a representative figure. If any -10s out there feel like getting some real numbers, that would be pretty chill. Forum threads from the distant past speak of people going from -10 to 0 in a few days, though this may not be reliable data.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Topics in 0.0 ninja: Surviving gate camps in a cov ops ship

Jump into camp. Wat do?

I'll tell you. You'll still die, but at least you'll die trying.


Surviving camps on the in gate

Situation 1: Single interdictor with warpable object

You jump through the gate, and there's an interdictor sitting on the other side (or a mobile warp disruptor and interceptor, whatever). Fortunately for you, in the direction opposite the interdictor from you there is a planet or other thing you can warp to.

1. Align to the planet.
2. Wait about a third of a second.
3. Hit cloak, then MWD.
4. Wait until you're out of the bubble, then warp to the planet.

  • Note: The third of a second wait is because if you cloak too quickly, it will think you're still gate cloaked, the cloak will fail to engage, and you will die. The time required may vary depending on your real-world location, so test this before you actually run into a gate camp. It is the same length of time it would take the warp activation cap use to show up if you were to hit warp instead of aligning, so spend some time watching that to get a handle on it.
  • Note: An MWD can still be activated for several seconds after engaging a cloak.
  • Note: Normally you would never warp to a planet or other non-gate object at 0. It would be excusable in this case, but if you want to avoid it you can change the default warp to distance while gate cloaked, then change it back to 0 once you're in warp to the object. Forgetting to change it back will get you killed, so don't forget.

Situation 2: Single interdictor without warpable object

With no object which you can warp to as soon as you get outside the bubble, burning directly away from the interdictor will just get you caught. So.

1. Double click in the opposite direction of the enemy tackler.
2. Wait about a third of a second.
3. Hit cloak, then MWD.
4. Turn 90 degrees so that the tackler burning at you misses.
5. Once you're out of the bubble, warp off.

  • Note: The reason you should start out by burning directly away from the enemy tackle is that it takes a few seconds after activating the cloak for your bracket to disappear, and you don't want them to know which direction you turn.
  • Note: I recommend turning downward. Tacklers often loop around a few times trying to catch you, but rarely go downward.

Situation 3: Torrinos gate in EC-, e.g.

You treat this just like situation 2, except it's more dangerous. There are mobile warp disruptors in a large area around the gate, and there may be many objects which you need to avoid on your way out of the bubbles.  Since you can't get out of the bubbles before enemy tackle reaches you, the method from situation 1 cannot be used.

Situation 4: Reapproaching the gate

Say you want to jump back instead of trying to get out of bubbles.

1. Wait 10 seconds for the session change timer to expire.
2. Double click slightly to one side of the gate, such that you will pass through the jump radius.
3. Wait about a third of a second.
4. Hit cloak, then MWD.
5. When you get close to jump range, spam the jump button.

  • Note: The reason you don't approach the gate directly is if a tackler is sitting right on the gate, it can bump a cloaked, MWDing cov ops just by approaching the bracket when it appears. This doesn't happen often, but it does happen. If there aren't any tacklers sitting right on the gate, you can probably just approach.

Surviving camps on the out gate

Now that you're in the system, if there are hostiles in local that aren't accounted for you you get to worry about them being on the out gate. Out gate camps usually take the form of a drag bubble.

The way drag bubbles work is thusly:

1. Someone tries to warp from the in gate to the out gate.
2. Behind (or in front of) the out gate, and in line with the in gate, a hostile has anchored a mobile warp disruptor.
3. The mobile warp disruptor catches the person warping to the out gate, causing them to land on the edge of the bubble.
4. The hostile has also positioned a number of cans on the edge of the bubble, in order to to decloak any cov ops ships that get drawn in.
5. The hostile sits nearby and kills anything that gets caught.

Situation 5: Drag bubble (easy)

1. There is a hostile in local, so instead of warping directly to the out gate, warp to somewhere within directional scan range of the out gate.
2. Use d-scan to check the out gate. If you see a ship and a mobile warp disruptor in the direction of the gate, it's probably a drag bubble.
3. A warpable object exists which is not in line with the out gate and any other gate. Warp there.
4. Warp to the out gate. Because you are not in line with the drag bubble, you land on the gate.

Situation 6: Drag bubble (hard)

The situation 5 drag bubble is easy to evade, so people who use drag bubbles love to put them in systems where the out gate is not in d-scan range of anything else, and everything is in line with the drag bubble. Here's how you deal with that.

1. There is a hostile in local, so don't warp directly to the out gate. Instead, warp to the planet (or whatever) closest to the out gate.
2. You aren't in d-scan range of the out gate. Hit control-space over and over really fast. While doing this, every few seconds tell your ship to warp to the out gate. Every time it tries to initiate warp, it will eat some capacitor. Pretty soon your cap will be dry and the 'insufficient capacitor' message will appear.
3. Wait a second for your cap to return a little, then warp to the out gate. Make sure the out of capacitor message appears so you don't actually warp all the way.
4. You will come out of warp somewhere closer to the out gate, hopefully in d-scan range. If not, rinse and repeat.
5. Check d-scan. If you see a hostile ship and a mobile warp disruptor, it's probably a drag bubble.
6. Wait for the hostile to leave local, or otherwise be unavailable to shoot you. Go make a sandwich, you're going to be here for a while.
7. Warp to the out gate.
8. If you're going to visit this system again, MWD off 150+ kilometers at a 90 degree angle to the line between the gates and make a bookmark.
9. Okay, you can jump now.

Situation 7: Drag bubble (hard) (easy)

Just like situation 6 except you have a bookmark 150+ km from the out gate and not in line with the gates.

1. There is a hostile in local, so don't warp directly to the out gate. Instead, warp to the bookmark.
2. You now have eyes on the gate and and are at a point where you can warp to the gate without landing in the bubble.
3. Trololol

Situation 8: Surviving (usually) all types of camps without bothering with any of that

1. Get a tengu.
2. Fit it for align time, and with cov ops and nullification subsystems. Maybe a couple warp stabs if you're feeling fancy.
3. You now align like a cov ops, can warp while in bubbles, and are not affected by drag bubbles. The game.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Updated blog pack statistics

Boilerplate: I don't have particular feelings about the blog pack. This post exists because checking the health of the blog pack has become sort of a tradition.

Previous statistics post here.

Now that the blog pack is under new management, let's see how things have changed.

Short version: Pretty much all the statistics look healthier. Despite eve going to shit this past year, average posts has held steady. Blogs with no pvp content, or just no content, have decreased. Blogs with no posts in the previous month have decreased.

Long version:

I've changed what data I collect a little since last time, and now I think the categories are good enough to re-use next time. Where possible I'll compare the number of blogs in a category to the number last year.

Statistic: Number of blogs (number of blogs a year ago)

Total blogs: 39

PvP content:

Indy focused: 1 (n/a) (k162space: hero indy)
Minimal or no offensive pvp: 14 (25)
Solo/lowsec/FW/pirate/wh/small gang: 21 (20)
0.0/large fleet: 3 (5)

Type of content:

Non-eve blogs: 3 (n/a) (A Ghost Blog, 5 non-eve posts to 4 eve posts; Eve A to Z, 7:3; Roc's Ramblings, 9:1)
Only news reposts and banter blogs: 0 (5)
General stuff: 33 (n/a)
Exceptional original content: 3 (n/a)

EDIT: I may have been less than rigorous about the 'reposts and banter blogs' category. May need to redo that.
  • Note: 'Exceptional original content' is a highly subjective category.
  • Note: 'Not actually an eve blog' is triggered when less than half the posts on the front page are about eve.

Posting stats:

Total posts in November: 257

Most posts in November: 50 (Jester's Trek) (Runners up: Tiger Ears, 30; Eveoganda, 25)
Average posts in November: 6.4 (6.5)
Median posts in November: 2 (n/a)

Zero posts in November: 5 (12)
One to four posts in November: 21 (16)
5-10 posts in November: 6 (n/a)
11+ posts in November: 6 (n/a)

Front page apology for not posting more: 1 (n/a)
Longest time since last post: 2 months (4 months)
Link outdated or blog no longer exists: 0 (3)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Insightful commentary on the insurance changes

Since the ice interdiction started, highsec scrubs have been making a lot of noise about wanting suicide gankers not to receive insurance. And with crucible, they got their wish.

Since they're so fired up about it, one has to assume that they think it will change something. I'm not really sure where they would get that idea.

See this guy? I like him because he gets eve.

To celebrate the insurance changes, I bought a talos.

The end.