Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Metamaterial Prices Gone Wild


Disclaimer:
This is not meant as a serious analysis of the EVE Online Market but it is my view and conclusions that I have made with regard to how things are and may be in the future. Your opinion and conclusions may be different and as such no claim of accuracy is made by me.

As part of my daily dashboard I monitor the prices of the four different metamaterials and I've seen a sharp drop in the per unit price over the past three months.

This is especially interesting for me as I produce Terrahertz and Photonic Metamaterials and the drop has seen my profit margins drop from 2 billion to just over 1.1 billion per month in this time and if there is something an industrialist hates, it is losing money.

Market Conditions


Using the Market History Display (provided by Fuzzworks) it is easy to see and compare several market factors 

Nonlinear Metamaterials price since 1st June 2014

Plasmonic Metamaterials price since 1st June 2014

Terahertz Metamaterial price since 1st June 2014

Photonic Metamaterial price since 1st June 2014

Much like any market product there will always be volatility but I've been trying to work out why there has been this drop in price and whether or not to stay I should stay with these metamaterials or move to something else.

Volume is still very good, with over a million units per day being sold, usually a lot more, but it is Photonics have seen the most price drop (from around ~11,500 to ~9,000) even with a large volume being sold daily.

So far there has been no price rebound and the price continues to decrease

Supply and Demand


Supply and demand will impact any price, but if there is a large demand then we'd expect to see the price increase not decrease. Consequently should there be a large supply then we'd expect the price to drop and this is what we're seeing.

I checked the number of Orders and was surprised to see that there was far more Photonic Metamaterial for sale than any other metamaterial, nearly three times in some cases but usually at least double, and as a result there is a lot more market competition for people selling.

In fact checking the other metamaterials I see that they all have a lot more for sale than they have in previous weeks and that the demand is only slightly more than previous weeks. As a result this is most likely why we're seeing the price of each metamaterial dropping so much.

Over Supply or Market PvP


The market is showing that we have an over supply of Metamaterials and this is causing the price to drop, some more so than others, but is this going to continue or is it just a short term result of the Crius expansion being released?

Changes in the Crius expansion have increased the material requirements for T2 blueprints (copies/originals) and this has had the result of more metamaterials being needed per blueprint, so this will drive the demand up. 

However this cannot solely explain the continuous drop in price, I believe that people are Market PvP'ing these materials rather than selling to buy orders (which is logical as the difference between Buy and Sell for MM is usually between 800 and 900 per unit) and this is causing the price to drop continuously as people update their orders and lower their price to be below the "current lowest".

Conclusion


This 0.01 ISK dropping is at times followed by a significant price floor drop of between 1 and 10 ISK which just causes the price to get even lower. There has, a couple of times, been a "White Knight" of sorts who has reset the market buy buying all the low priced orders and reestablishing a higher price, but this person hasn't appeared in recent times and the price has continued to drop.

I'm still not convinced that I need to change anything at the moment, as always I am looking at other sources of income to supplement my reactions, but I still have a few weeks of inputs remaining and the price has not yet hit the level where I feel action is required.

Of course I'd like a higher price as this means more profit for me which means I can invest this ISK elsewhere, pay bills and buy shiny stuff to fly but I'm still making money. Just not as much as two/three months ago, that's market volatility for you.


Monday, 28 July 2014

My Post Crius Review

Good. With a capital G.

That sums it up succinctly. 

General Feedback


I was accosted (in a nice way) by a friend this morning when I logged in to do some skill queue updates before work and he had nothing but good things to say about the new Industry UI and the lessening of the "click-fest" we used to have.

Lorna has also said the same to me, and I'm sure there will be a blog post on it from her in the very near future.

Holding Pattern


I haven't really done any industry work since the day before Crius was deployed because I'd identified some bottlenecks that would arise and the market would be in a state of flux due to changes to blueprints. 

Fortunately I planned ahead and have about 8 weeks stock of modules on hand and another three and half weeks of moon goo for my towers. This will allow me to remain afloat whilst still meeting my commitments and leaving me some "play money".

I do have a "strategic reserve" in the form of PLEX but I do not wish to cash any of these in as they are my long term ISK store but also a valuable bank of game-time should I have any ISK poor months and I'm unable to buy fresh PLEX to fund my accounts.

I'm still watching the market and starting to plan when I'll be starting industry again, I have plans forming for new ventures alongside my existing ones.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Smiling Assassin: Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Infiltration


There was no point in doing anything suspicious for at least a month, there was the chance he could be found out so TSA made sure to login and lurk rather than say or do much. The idea being that by establishing a corporation  history or at least a month he could allay any suspicion should he be discovered within that time.

He spent the time logged in watching the chat channels and recording details of activities performed by those he saw. Better to avoid PvP focused people and concentrate on the industrialists, PvE and, like himself, newer players to the Corporation/Alliance.

Once in the corporation it was time to reconnoiter, identifying the different characters within the the corp and when they were most active. 

It took longer than expected but after three months TSA was ready to strike.

Variations On A Scam


One fateful July day TSA logged in with his alt and decided to work a different angle from what he usually did. It had been suggested that he link NPC Loss Mails and claim that the pilots were his alts. Perhaps this would be enough to solicit donations to help replace the loss.

"Not a bad idea in theory" the TSA thought and he began linking various NPC losses in Corp chat. In practice it turned out to be harder getting anyone to gift him ISK than getting blood from a stone, his corporation was full of tight-walleted players who would only laugh or cringe at the losses he presented.

So TSA decided to try a slightly different approach, everyone in the alliance rats and as he'd linked losses it would make a lot of sense to ask for advice from others on how to correctly fit a ratting ship.

Evolution - Ratting Advice


People in the corporation responded to TSA's pleas for advice, people offered fitting advice, recommendations and linked their own fits for him to view. He then took a chance and privately convo'd two of the pilots offering advice asking if he could "borrow, definitely not permanently, for a test drive before he bought a new one".

TSA > Shot in the dark here, and I won't be offended in the slightest if you decline.
TSA > But is there any possibility I could borrow that fit for like... two hours?
TSA > Just wanna test it out before I buy one.
TSA > Well, figure out if I want to buy one or not I should say haha

Three people bit the bait and two, after a convo with TSA, with a third (Armageddon) without a convo, contracted ships.

One offered an Armageddon but asked TSA to bring it from Jita:

Commander Kyle > well I wouldn't mind, only thing is my geddon is like 30 jumps from 0.0 on my alt, thats why I had to type it out rather than link it
TSA > Aaaaaaah, shit.
Commander Kyle > yeah lol XD will have to take it down when i've got a clear day
TSA > If it's in highsec, I'll do you the favour of dragging it out on my hauler alt if you don't mind me blowing through an anom or not.
Commander Kyle > ill contract it to you
Commander Kyle > its in a system called nibainkier

Another offered a Dominix, again to be bought in from Jita:

TSA > Got the alt back in Jita, docking up just as soon as this cow enters warp.
Rhakaro > i havent bought the domi yet
Rhakaro > hang on
Rhakaro > ill send u isk
Rhakaro > u can buy it and bring it in?
TSA > *nods*
TSA > Can do dude
TSA > 197 mil is lowest in Jita, unless I'm mistaken.
Rhakaro > ccc rigged domi
Rhakaro > isk sent
Rhakaro > that ok?
TSA > Thanks for the 5 mil tip dude :D

Three ships accepted and now TSA had to pretend move them. The scam had evolved quickly and very profitably so far...

TSA Freight Services


Making an out-of-corp freighter run to from Jita to Esescama will be passing through Amarr. Leaving in 10 minutes. Convo me if you have anything you want hauled.

The offer was made to the corporation how would you like to "get stuff moved to our null sec home via an out of alliance freighterbro" as, yet again, the alliance was in a war that prevented the safe movement through high sec. The only stipulation that TSA made to anyone using the service was that they pay for fuel used.

TSA Freight Services - If it absolutely must never arrive

This itself is hilarious as freighters in high sec consume no fuel and as no jumps will be made this was another method to extract ISK from the marks.

In just a few hours TSA has found the Corporation members to be a very profitable source of ISK, so why not take the next step and advertise to the Alliance; so TSA copy/pastes his advert into Alliance chat to see what else could be reeled in.

It worked, shortly after advertising to the alliance TSA received a request to buy and move an Arazu:

Timeline Redghost > Can you bring down an ARAZU?
Timeline Redghost > gimme the prize i'll send money
TSA > Def got room for a cruiser :)
TSA > Contract it to this toon, please. I don't like to link my hauler alt.
Timeline Redghost > meh, i have not it in jita I've to send money to buy it
TSA > You want rigs on it? If just T1 rigs I'll throw them on for free.
TSA > I'm fucking rolling in rigs, produced way too many a month back.
Timeline Redghost > hull
TSA > Kk
Timeline Redghost > should be 154 or like
TSA > Cheapest at 153 in Jita
Timeline Redghost > eve central
TSA > 153.9*
TSA > Send the isk over and I'll drag it out for you.
Timeline Redghost > I send to you and thank, don't forget my name fot tha contract back :)

and another to move implants worth around 100m ISK.

scopered > were are you dropping the stuff off in null or in hs
TSA > I'm stopping off in both
scopered > 1 sec got a little shopping list
TSA > I've stopped in Amarr for a bit, you gonna be long?
scopered > Inherent Implants 'Noble' Repair Systems RS-603 x1
scopered > Eifyr and Co. 'Gunslinger' Motion Prediction MR-703 x 1
scopered > Inherent Implants 'Lancer' Gunnery RF-903 x1
scopered > Inherent Implants 'Lancer' Large Energy Turret LE-1003 x1
scopered > Inherent Implants 'Squire' Energy Management EM-803
scopered > please
scopered > should be about 100 mill give or take
TSA > Fuck it, send 110 for a bit extra for fuel and I'll send you whatever I don't use.
scopered > there normaly about 20 mill each
scopered > and theres 5
scopered > sent m8

A few pilots asked for packages to be bought in to the region from Amarr/Jita and paid for these upfront instead of using Courier Contracts. This all helped to pad out the wallet.

Reeling In A Whale


The advertisement in alliance didn't yield many bites but the corporation advert hooked, what turned out to be, a whale of size to dwarf he accomplishments so far.

TSA opened the conversation request from a new corporation member and the conversation moved to requests for advice on manufacturing ship rigs. TSA strung the member along providing information and advice on how best to setup manufacturing, even including a wildly inaccurate quote of 1.3 billion ISK that would be needed to enable a start to production.

The pilot even wrote:
"You seem like a nice guy, what could go wrong :P"
and shortly thereafter TSA's wallet flashed as the 1.3 billion ISK was transferred.  But wait! He hasn't finished there as later asks for help to move ~100m worth of salvage out of the region to sell in Jita and he offers a battleship to TSA "for use when ratting".

Tally... So Far


At this point TSA was feeling very lucky, previous attempts to the freighter scam had only yielded a few hundred million ISK and here, in one mornings work, he was sitting on nearly two billion ISK, four T2 fit battleships and an Arazu with odds and an indeterminate value of modules and salvage.

After starting the day with just 120,000,000 ISK and a Newbie Ship he was now seeing a very fattened wallet and a collection of ships that could be disassembled and sold for even more profit.

Our last chapter leads us into the wrap up of the scam and the, as TSA put it, “delicious tears” that flowed upon his unmasking.

The Smiling Assassin Quick Links


Episode 4 - Ask and Ye Shall Receive
Episode 5 - The Scammer Revealed

Transmissions Resuming

I'm over the cold I've had and the PSU in my computer has been replaced.

I was all ready to travel to Sydney today but I googled for local stores in a last ditch attempt to find someone closer yesterday and found a company that actually was on my route home.

I'd never seen them or heard of them before but I gave them a ring and they recommended a course of action that meant taking my PC to them. Now I've always built my PC's and this was quite a thing to be asked but I did it and forty minutes later I had a new PSU and a working computer.

Nothing else was damage (fortunately) and I'm back up and running.

Posts shall resume henceforth!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Unexpected Break In Transmission

A loud bang, bright light and a smell of ozone was what greeted me last night when I turned on my PC. 

She not be well.

Attempts to fix have failed due to not having a powerful enough PSU spare to use so I've got to head to Sydney to get a new one and, of course, being a work day I cannot do that today. 

With luck I'll be up and running again tomorrow, even if that's on an old laptop that has seen better days.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Smiling Assassin: Choosing the Target

The Aim


TSA has one aim in mind with his next target, profit.

It’s a simple concept but infiltrating the right corporation and gaining the trust of the leadership enough to be put into a position where corp theft was possible as well as being able to extract ISK from other members is not easy.

This requires the real life skill of Social Engineering V and even then there is no guarantee that the infiltration will be successful. This means that finding the right target, with sufficient lax security, is vital.

Targets Aplenty


There are plenty of Alliances and Corporations in New Eden that are ripped for infiltration but TSA had received suggestions from friends that he target one particular Alliance based on their history and their current relationships with other entities in their region.

It didn’t hurt either that TSA had been a frequent visitor to this Alliance’s home systems in the past and his success there had resulted in, what he referred to, the locals “having a hateboner” for him.

To him this isn’t just a scam but a scam with a longer-term metagaming bonus to it and that most important aspect:

Fun!

The Target


This particular alliance is not known for it's "smarts" and certainly has a less than stellar reputation with the other occupants near their space. It's not unknown for them to lose expensive ratting ships or capital industrial ships because pilots aren't even paying attention to the local Intel channels.


In fact intel is something I've heard they do their way and only their way meaning that whereas local constellation residents share an intel channel the members of this alliance are instructed to use only the intel channel for the other areas of the region. At least that was the dictate in 2013 when I found out, it may have changed since then.

TSA has spent time investigating the various corporations making up the alliance and eventually found one that was not stringent in it's background checks and was fairly lax in most basic security measures found in other corporations. 

The Corporation Repubblica Indipendente di Genova of the Yulai Federation Alliance, who reside in seven systems in Northern Providence, now had one more member, only this member wasn’t interested in the well being and success of it’s new home...

Staying Safe


It's worth pointing out at this point that TSA’s alt character has had a shared corp history with his  main’s personal corp and has a bio full of quotes by a pilots in alliances that are red/kos to his new home. If they had checked his API it would have shown a history of transactions with red characters and a contact list full of people who are red.

Fortunately for him this corporation did not ask for an API nor did they perform any form of vetting before allowing him to join. Now he was in he needed to lay low and gather intelligence in order to successfully perform a scam later on. 

Being seen but not being seen is the first step, he would login and remain idle occasionally adding to conversations within his corporation but remaining out of alliance chats. As time passed and he remained in the corporation it gave more legitimacy to his alt as not being a infiltration character. Questions of loyalty would be easier to deflect and any characters who did claim he was a scammer would not be believed.

TSA has also been very lucky in that this particular corporation seem to have inactive leadership, the only semi-active member of the leadership Director, Sarah Barathian, is AFK more than active.

Joining


After deciding on the target he made sure he was ready and moved other character assets nearby in order to support the infiltration alt as needed.

He applied and was accepted in without so much as an API check...


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Smiling Assassin: History

In the Beginning


The Smiling Assassin did not start off in EVE Online as a scammer but after getting sick of ratting for ISK he started building Stabber's and then, before the faction icon was introduced into contracts, he would rename them to Stabber Fleet Issue and sell them by the dozen in Amarr.

Amarr at the time wasn't plagued by as many scams as it is today so it was a very profitable enterprise, so much so that TSA setup an alt whom would be dedicated to scamming and increasing his ISK.

Scamming Corporations


Over time the Stabber scams evolved into corp scams, with early attempts being as simple as asking benevolent CEO's if they could lend him ISK for PLEX. Of course this came with promises to repay any loan but never were.


Remaining in a corporation longer than a few days TSA would ask for roles in order to make use of Corporation Hangers or get access to any Corporation Hangers and in turn POSes (should corporation have one in high sec). This was another hit and miss thing and several times he turned his hand too early and had to leave before being able to steal anything.

However over time his social skills improved and he would be able to not just get ISK from marks but also access to Corporation Hangers which, often contained plenty to steal. In every case, if it wasn't nailed down the TSA would steal it.

The Fairer Sex


TSA has refined his corp theft methods each time he uses it but it isn't his only approach. He's found a female character, who has a permanently broken microphone, to be a very good method of extracting ISK from unsuspecting players who try to flirt and ingratiate themselves.


Pretending to be that elusive of EVE Online player, "the female gamer", has been very profitable with this particular alt has been a member of at least six corporations and has been able to extract from each at least one PLEX and a lot of ships and modules.

Inside the Mind



EVE is played by many different personalities and in many different ways. Talking to TSA you get the feeling that he enjoys the meta-game more than the "spaceships in space" game play and this turns out to be true as I found when I asked him about his play style:
Understanding how I play the game and what will explain why I play the way I play, is that I find the meta-game of EVE infinitely more fun than the actual game itself. I still love PvPing, don't get me wrong I enjoy the game itself, but it's all of the additional facets that aren't present in other games that keep me interested.
I asked what he thought about the PvE or ratting aspect of the game and he replied, rather bluntly, that:
Any kind of ISK-grind absolutely kills the game for me.
It's no surprise, PvE/ratting can be incredibly boring and very tiring to do and again no surprise that he turned to alternative methods of ISK income comprising corp infiltration and scamming.

This leads us nicely into the next chapter of our story, the infiltration and mockery of a, minor, null sec alliance.

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Smiling Assassin: Introduction

Background


I've been in EVE Online for a little over four years now and I've met a lot of players with different play styles. Some are/were industrialists, others PvP focused but the smallest minority also became that loathed personality of EVE Online, the Scammer.

If I was to map my EVE Online contacts somewhere, right in the middle, would be the CEO of my current corporation. It is he who, along with my out of game playing friends, has had the largest input in my in-game activates and the people I know and it is through him that I came to meant "The Smiling Assassin".

The Smiling Assassin


Hereafter referred to as TSA, has an extensive corporation history. He is a very PvP focused player but he has the social skills that he uses to infiltrate a target corporation for profit, usually through awox-ing or asset theft.

When he's not infiltrating a target he's an extremely adept foe in just about any ship and regularly roams through the regions of New Eden looking for targets. 

I have a number of stories that I'll be writing about, with TSA's permission, over the next few weeks where share his adventures as well as lessons that can be learnt from the outcomes of these adventures.

What’s To Come


Which brings us to the present where TSA managed to get an alt into a null sec alliance and has, despite being "outed" at least once, managed to gain a good reputation and work his way in the confidence of his corporation and alliance and is poised to reap the benefits.

He's on this map, he could be in your alliance or even your corporation
Over the following episodes you’ll get to know TSA and see the results of his work:

Episode 1 - Introduction
Episode 2 - History
Episode 3 - Choosing the Target
Episode 4 - Ask and Ye Shall Receive
Episode 5 - The Scammer Revealed

Good Idea or Bad Idea: Corporation Reputation

This idea came about in that ganking affects the individual but what happens when you get a group of people from the same corporation doing it, nothing really outside of what happens to the individual. Surely it makes some sense that the corporation pays a penalty?

I've had a great discussion with a friend about this today and it's been on my mind for a week or so but let me state the following:

What if Player run Corporations had a Reputation that affected how CONCORD/Faction Police acted towards their members? 

For example you had a corporation with 10 people in it, six of these people perform a gank in high sec that resulted in a standing loss of 5% for the corporation. This resulted in the reputation of the corporation, with all high sec factions, dropping to a level that meant ANY member of that corporation in 0.5 and 0.6 space to be attacked.

But what about NPC Corporations

It makes not sense to penalize NPC corporation members for people who gank under their name, they have a lot less control over their corporation than a player run one. What you could do instead is increase (double or triple) the security status penalty they take and perhaps something else that prevents them from being able to move freely within high sec for a period of time (perhaps 24/48 open kill right).

What do you think, Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Edit: It's almost like comedy but the friend I spoke to (and was very much against the idea) evemailed me later to say that not long after we finished speaking he was ganked.whilst travelling through Uedama.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Madness caused by Ratting

Paging Doctor Loopy


I've been ratting for nearly a week solid when I play EVE Online, running through the local belts in my new Gila. It's a beast compared to the Tornado I used to use and I really like it.

One thing I'm not liking is New Eden hates me, I'm sure of it. A few times now I've had to finish ratting because it's late and I leave and the next day find out that just after I left someone else who took over ratting after I left got a Domination or Officer spawn.

Once, maybe even twice I can deal with but this has happened FAR too much over the past week to be coincidence, it's clear. New Eden hates me.

My madness was compounded tonight when I broke down and, in an empty local wrote the following:

Me > DEAR NEW EDEN
Me > PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
Me > GIVE ME A DOMINATION OR OFFICER SPAWN BEFORE I LOG OFF TONIGHT

It took a few minutes and I then realised what I had done. 


Post Script


In typical fashion my request was not honoured with a Domination or Officer spawn. But I did hang about in the last belt a little too long and in came a six ship (3 BS + 3 Industrial) Convoy who dropped 19m Tritanium and 340k Mexallon.

That's better than nothing but I'm still the only person in my corporation who hasn't had a Domination or Officer spawn in our time in the system.

One day, one day I tell you...

Well, Wouldn't You Know


It's five minutes to midnight, I've been clearing the belts since downtime and I've had enough. One more Convoy spawn was had yielding 12.5m Tritanium and 2.15m Pyerite.

I pick this up and dock to trade it to a corp mate:

[13:55:46] Me > right i'm off to bed, nn o/
[13:55:50] Alliance Mate > no
[13:55:52] Alliance Mate > dont go
[13:56:04] Me > ?
[13:56:05] Alliance Mate > 7-3
[13:56:07] Alliance Mate > quick
[13:58:00] Me > i. don't. fucking. believe. it.
[13:58:52] Alliance Mate > :)

This is what I saw when I warped to the 7-3 belt:


I didn't manage to even fire a shot at him, my alliance mate was able to kill him just after I arrived but I did clear off the 'escort'.

I still maintain that New Eden hates me as the Loot Fairy was not overly kind, at least compared to other Officer spawns:


Still, 7 hours of ratting finally paid off. I had my first Officer spawn, although technically I didn't get it and I certainly didn't land a single hit on him.

Wait.

Dammit, that basically means I didn't get it. *shakes fist*

Gahhhhhhhhhhh!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

All The Small Things

Every time something new comes from CCP there are the major features and the minor features. Of course the major features get the most press and feedback but the minor stuff really can be just as good but, like the black sheep, it's often ignored.

There's a small change currently on SiSi and it's to do with the Show Info window for Minerals and Ice Products.

Tranquility


Currently if you were to click Show Info on a piece of Tritanium you would see this:



It's broadly the same for Hydrogen Isotopes:


Not overly helpful, contains the barest of details but doesn't include information on where you can find Tritanium (other than the market) or Hydrogen (in "ice in Minmatar space"). 

In short, there is room for improvement.

Singularity


Checking SiSi (best place to see new changes before they go live) and the same Show Info yields the following:


Wow. 

What a change, it looks much nicer but also has a lot more information that is actually useful for the player. 

I can remember starting off in EVE Online and having to use the ORE Calculators and Mining Guides in order to know what was in each type of ore so I could know what I should mine to get what I was after. This way you know what to search for without having to refer to a third party table.

End of Racial Ice Locations?


One thing of note is could the text for where to find isotopes indicate an end to regional clustering of ice? The text doesn't say "found in Minmatar null sec space", and nor does the text for the other racial isotopes.

It could be generic text, probably it is, but could it indicate a change in ice distribution in the future?

Buying Combat Boosters

It is said timing is everything and that was certainly true on Tuesday night for me.

There I was ratting away in null sec to test out a new Gila fit (which far surpassed my expectations in how well it worked) when I had a conversation request from my friendly Combat Booster Dealer (I wanted to say Drug Dealer but technically they aren't drugs but boosters).

I've mentioned Saucemeister (and his corporation E's and Whizz) once before in my post, near the end, on Combat Boosters. I've used their services before to purchase Combat Boosters as it's a very cut throat and complicated industry to work in.

An Aside


A lot has been said in-game and by external gaming websites about how bad EVE Online players can be. It can be a horrible game to play when you're constantly taunted or pushed around by people who take pleasure in causing grief to others.

What isn't said is there are players who are good and honourable who try to actually forge and build relationships with other players. Saucemeister is one of these to me, he may be a different if faced as a PvP opponent, but in his guise as a seller of Combat Boosters he really excels with Customer Service and building of relationships and through him that's a positive appearance for his corporation as well.

Back To Topic


Saucemeister contacted me as a previous customer to see if I'd was in need of any new boosters as they had recently updated their prices and would have supplies soon available.



Timing is everything and could not have been more perfect as I'd just written a reminder to organised a purchase of Combat Boosters that morning. I only had a couple of the Strong Exile and Drop boosters left that I use. 

Also being in a new null sec home I could take the opportunity to buy a few Improved and Strong boosters for sale on the local market and see if that bought any interest.

Buying


I was linked the pricing spreadsheet (which I'll link here later if given permission) and I then worked out what I needed. Pricing was very reasonable, delivery is throughout New Eden but is extra although free delivery is available for large orders.

In the end I decided I'd stock the Improved and Strong variants of Blue Pill, Exile and Drop so I ordered
  • 10 x Improved Blue Pill
  • 10 x Improved Drop Booster
  • 10 x Improved Exile Booster
  • 10 x Strong Blue Pill
  • 10 x Strong Drop Booster
  • 10 x Strong Exile Booster

For a total cost of just under 800m ISK, delivery was included in this price, and all I had to do was setup a Buy Contract for the items and it would be filled in a few days.

The Buy Contract is needed because you cannot create item exchange contracts for Combat Boosters so you need to setup Buy ones which does allow you to specify Combat Boosters part of the deal. 

When accepted they'll get the ISK but you get the added security of knowing that you cannot be scammed because they need to provide the actual goods (Combat Boosters) you've specified in the "Get" section of the contract.

For All Your Booster Needs


This is the type of Customer Service that rarely you see in Real Life and is something of a rarity in EVE Online. The timing was perfect and it may well have been a few weeks before I got around to contacting E's and Whizz.

I cannot recommend E's and Whizz highly enough, if you need Combat Boosters buy them from these guys. They make it pain free with very competitive prices and fast service.



Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Bon Anniversaire

My main character hasn't been happy this week, I've been so busy with draft posts and planning a new series that I forgot his EVE Online anniversary.

It was July 2010 when my friend gifted me a copy of EVE Online via Steam and I started off in New Eden. So many things I did wrong in those first days, weeks and months but I wouldn't trade them for anything as it made me the player I am today.

Handsome Fella aren't I... if only I could be this good looking in real life
I've seen several expansions, enjoyed all of them if I'm honest, learnt more about the game and how it works than I'll freely admit and enjoyed all my time here. I've visited the EVE Online Forums more times than I can remember and run away every single time by the ego's and trolls that seem to live there.

But the community is a great one and without it I would not have made the friends I have. I've also completed several personal goals along the way and as I'm nearing 100 million skill points I feel it's nearly time to make some more.

So please, raise a glass to my Main Character for reaching the grand old age of four.

A proper pint glass, not a schooner or half measure!


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Know Your Scams: Mining Operation in WH/Low/High

Setup


The scammer advertises in Local that they are running a Wormhole mining operation, all are invited to come and partake in this fabulous bounty.
WH MINING OP. WE HAVE 2xSCANNER/RAT KILLER/GATE SCOUT AND 2x MINERS! LOOKING FOR MORE MINING SHIPS 5% TAX RATE! Everybody welcome with any kind of mining ship.
A fleet is setup with a few members who are providing support to get people into a WH.

What Happens Now


Anyone who signs up is invited to fleet and asked to move to the assembly system (if it's not where the advertisement is). Once there you warp to the WH and enter, instructed to warp to [person] who is in fleet and then you can start mining.

You didn't want those implants did you?
Only you enter warp and appear at a spot within the WH system with no asteroids to mine, instead you're greeted by several combat ships who immediately tackle and kill you upon exiting warp. Your pod may be ransomed but more likely you'll wake up in a new clone without any implants and without a ship.

Variations


Two other variations known substitute wormhole for either low sec or null sec, with guarantees for safety by including mention of "large defense fleet".

How You Can Protect Yourself


Don't join fleets where you don't know the people involved, especially into places where Player vs. Player combat can occur without penalty and is common.

In the case of WH fleet adverts scanners are mentioned but what happens if you disconnect or leave fleet before you are back in the, relative, safety of high sec? 

Simple. 

You'll lose you ship and pod because you cannot exit a WH without being able to scan the exit down.

Simplest way to avoid this scam is to not join the fleet and certainly not trust someone you do no know to protect you and your ship in space where combat is the norm.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Fun with Goo and er... Spreadsheets

Since it was announced, that the bug with Moon Mining equipment that prevented their use in 0.4 systems was being fixed, I've been working on a scanning and cataloging local 0.4 systems and working on a spreadsheet to help me determine whether or not moon goo extraction is profitable.

Google Docs has been my primary spreadsheet for some time, I still use Excel both at home and work but it's much easier to share via Google Docs than Excel. The ImportXML feature is outstanding too, I know Excel can do it but for portability Google Docs wins every time at the moment.

Variables


Calculations for profitably are quite simple, figure in the running costs of a tower against what you can sell the moon goo for. It's really quite simple but calculating this based on "live" data from EVE Online can be tricky, especially when you have to take into account Sovereignty and the fluctuating price of fuel/goo.

It would also be nice to see the 30 day average amount sold for each moon goo, that way we can see whether we're be selling reasonably fast or it will not be a fast sale. i.e. The more sold per month would indicate faster selling.

Features


I settled on the following features for my first version:
  1. Calculate extraction profitability based on different numbers and tower types
  2. Allow indication of number of sovereignty based towers to reflect reduced fuel costs in overall calculations
  3. Show Profit/Loss for 7, 14 and 28 day periods
  4. Show average 30 day volume sold in Jita
Few initial features but some could end up being rather complex to get working, regardless it's a nice challenge and would certainly be a useful tool.

Implementation


I played around with various user interfaces to allow information to be entered and displayed but eventually I settled for a layout that had the different moon goo's listed vertically on the left axis and along the horizontal y axis I had the number of and tower types with the 7/14/28 day profitability result.

User Interface for Moon Goo extraction profitability

I added colour coding for the different moon goo groupings as well as using vertical colouring to indicate non-sovereignty/sovereignty towers. It's quite a simple arrangement but more importantly contrasts and works well.

Functionality


Most of the functionality of the spreadsheet is via the use of ImportXML() to get data from EVE Central and the 30 day volume information from EVE Market Data. Formulas are then used to concatenate data and perform calculations based on a couple of known constants:
  • Moon mining is fixed at 100 units per hour, this gives a maximum weekly extraction of 16,800 units
  • Use of a tower with the Sovereignty bonus yields a 25% reduction in fuel use 
With these constants we can calculate both moon goo output and fuel usage based on the tower types selected by the user.

Example Mercury Moon Extraction


Let's take a hypothetical system that I'm interested in I want to extract Mercury from a moon using a Large Tower. I input the number 1 into the white cell under AL to indciate I want to use a Large Amarr Tower:

Moon Goo extraction using an single Amarr Large Tower

Well that isn't a good start, using a Large Amarr Tower will result in a loss of 30m ISK per week or 122m over a months use if we just take what we mine and sell in Jita at current prices.

What if we downsize to a Medium Amarr Tower?

Moon Goo extraction using an single Amarr Medium Tower

That's better, now we're showing a weekly profit of 27m using just a single Medium Amarr Tower with current prices. 

All we've done is change the tower we're using so the difference of 10 fuel blocks per hour (30ph vs 40ph) is what has turned our operation from loss to profit.

We're making money now but what if we used a Small Amarr Tower instead?

Moon Goo extraction using an single Amarr Small Tower

Just as I thought, we'll make a lot more money (~50% more) using a Small Amarr Tower instead of a Medium. If I don't want to use Amarr Towers I can change the value to the type of tower I want and see an instant change in the calculations.
One serious thing to consider when selecting the tower is security, using a small tower will result in larger profit but will be more vulnerable to attack as it has lower hit points than larger towers, and more importantly, less fitting for defensive modules such as guns and dissipation arrays.
Once you've determined any tower usage you need to go ahead and purchase/deploy your chosen tower and modules. Unfortunately I do not take that into account in this version, but it is on my wish-list for the future to include "asset costs" to work out how long until profitability for towers.

Future


I would like to add information to the view to show current sell prices for moon goo/fuel blocks in Jita and I plan to allow public access to this in the, hopefully near, future. I'm currently improving the back-end to be a little more open and allow less complex formulas than I currently have. 

What I have works and I've already used it, successfully, to calculate tower deployments in a couple of null sec locations where I'm currently running towers.

I'm also working out the kinks with a version of this that works for Simple Reactions but that one is a little further from actually working.

I'll leave you with this final screenshot, it shows the profitability of running a single Small Amarr Tower on each of the different moon goo's. I think you'll agree that it's quite eye opening in what is/isn't worth the effort of extracting if you're not using it yourself and just want to sell it.

Moon Goo extraction profitability using an single Amarr Small Tower



Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Change to scanning in Crius?

I was browsing the "unofficial patch notes" at EVE Manufacturing and came across a really interesting on related to scanning that I had heard nothing of until now.

There are a few different scanning modules/rigs that can be fitted to ships including a the following passive mid slot modules:

  • Scan Acquisition Array
  • Scan Pinpointing Array
  • Scan Rangefinding Array

These improve scan time/deviation and strength passively, meaning that you don't have to activate them and can scan in relative safety cloaked.

However in Crius this will be changing and these modules will change from passive to active, meaning that they will no longer function whilst cloaked.

This change has been implemented to
combat the over effectiveness of combat scanning by adding a risk reward element allowing faster scanning by risking uncloaking your ship.
which I can understand and does make sense but it is sure to make a lot of people unhappy, if it does make it into the Crius release (which I've not been able to confirm)

Know Your Scams: Rare Item For Sale

Setup


The 'Rare Item for Sale' scam utilises some of the cheaper officer/deadspace/faction items that can be found on the mrkate. The key to the scam is setting up the contract with one or two items plus other innocus items that make it appear that the price advertised is a really good deal.

Faction items in a contract, must be a good deal
Officer items especially can sell for several billion ISK and seeing one or two for sale in a contract for, what appears to be, the low price of a billion or two can be irresistible.

Once setup the scammer will start advertising in Local, usually something like:
[Multiple Items] Hanger Clearance
[Multiple Items] Corp Closing - Hanger Clearance!
[Multiple Items] Rare Items For Sale!
With the contract linked at the start and a description indicating a firesale or rare item is available.

What Happens Now


The mark comes along and sees, what appears to be an awesome deal for faction/officer or deadspace items that appear to be well under "perceived" market prices. They of course Accept it and find out after price checking that they aren't as valuable as they thought.

How Can You Protect Yourself


Spend a little time reading the details of the contract closely will help you. Verify that the green text shows you receiving what you're expecting. This type of contract implies a ship with rigs and fit, so verify not just that you can see the fit and rigs but also the ship is there.

If you see a contract make sure you block both the issuer AND the person who advertises the contract (they could be different).

Monday, 7 July 2014

Jump Drive and Isotope changes are coming

In just over two weeks Crius will be deployed and with that a whole raft of changes to industry, star bases and one major change to jump fuel usage for capital ships.

Stimulation


CCP are trying to stimulate the isotope market and keep prices steady due to changes made in Kronos that could have seen a significant drop in the number of player star bases being operated. 

In order to stimulate the market there really needs to be something that will take over the need for the isotopes that previously would have been used in POS fuels. CCP have decided to change jump drives (and jump portals) and make them consume 50% more isotopes on use.

It's a bold change and one that has had plenty of comments in the official forum thread and it turns out that one of the comments was such a good idea that CCP have implemented it as part of the changes.

The changes coming will be as follows:
  • 50% increase in fuel usage by all jump drives and jump portals
  • 33% decrease in isotope volume from 0.15m3 to 0.10m3

The latter change is especially good against the first as without it it was probable that some multiple jump courses could require refueling stops but this means that you'll be able to carry more 33% isotopes without changing fuel bay.

Costs


I've calculated the costs for fuel usage in Kronos and post-Crius and come up with the following based on the following isotope costs:

Isotope cost as of 7th July 2014
Highlighted in red isotope quantities that exceed the ship fuel bay size


It's clear from this that any pilot not trained to at least Jump Fuel Conservation IV is going to seriously cut into any profits or rewards for jumping. 

Fuel costs are definitely going up but the reduction in isotope volume will mean most pilots will be able to continue without the need for refueling points. Only really low skilled pilots will have an issue and realistically I don't think this is an issue as any jump freighter pilot will be trained to have all jump skills to V.

How This Affects Me


Not a huge amount but for me my costs will increase by 11m per round trip.

It looks like I'll be increasing my shipping prices for Corp/Alliance/Friends. My current price per m3 almost covered the increased costs but not quite so I'm going to increase my shipping prices by 10% per m3 to cover this and still jump "at a profit".

Post Crius


What will happen post-Crius will be interesting. Will we see a reduction in isotope costs or will they stay pretty much unchanged.

I think the latter is most likely, isotope usage will increase over time but people will have stockpiled before hand to ensure that they have stable costs, at least until they use what they have stockpiled, and the convenience of a supply to last any further fluctuations. 

Personally I've bought enough to survive a couple of months worth of normal usage and I know friend who are/have done the same. It's good planning to have stockpiles for situations like this.

One Wish


Changes to Ice mining and certain events have certainly fluctuated pricing over the years I've been in game but the one thing that really makes no sense to me is the limit that isotopes can only be mined in the racial area that they are used by.

i.e. Helium can only be mined in Amarr and aligned regions, Oxygen in Gallente/aligned regions and so on

I'd like to see this change and instead all ice belts should provide a good mix of different types instead of just the one. 

Imagine warping to an ice anomaly and seeing not just Dark Glitter or Glacial Mass but maybe a group of Clear Icicle or Blue Ice. Certainly limit the amount of non-local/region racial ice that appears but start making it appear everywhere and maybe that will also stimulate the market as there would be more supplied from all over New Eden and not just certain regional places.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Ganking with a Supercarrier post Kronos

I logged in last night and saw a friend that I haven't seen for a while and before we could share any pleasantries he put this kill mail under my nose:


A couple of months ago he stopped playing because he moved back to his home country and alas he was missed but it's good to see him back and up to his old tricks.

A beautiful, but deadly, example of Gallente Engineering
The kill isn't great but what I was more most interested in was the comment he made that the damage he did on the Rhea from his Nyx was ONE salvo from his deployed fighters.

Kronos Changes


As part of the recent Kronos release, there were major changes to drones and these, in part, affected Fighters and Fighter Bombers:
  • Drone skills now affect F/FB attributes
  • Drone modules now affect F/FB attributes
  • Drone Interfacing now gives a 10% not 20% damage increase per level
  • Base F/FB damage reduced
  • Reduce deployed F/FBs per racial carrier level from 3 to 1
  • F/FB volume doubled (5000m3 to 10,000m3)
  • F/FB hit points doubled (they're more hardy now)
  • Super carriers receive a 100% bonus to F/FB damage
This means that carriers/super carriers will not be able to store and deploy as many F/FB's compared to before Kronos, but the base damage and hardiness increases and you'll be able to increase the damage and other attributes via Drone Modules and/or Skills.

Adding drone specific modules to a fit should certainly benefit the ship, the increase in attributes such as mwd speed, optimal range etc.. but more importantly, the amount of damage done. Drone skills should also provide a smaller benefit, certainly racial specialisation skills will add between 2% and 10% more damage per F/FB but better still the Navigation and Durability skills will make F/FB faster and harder to kill.

The Kill


The Rhea pilot had previously cyno'd into the system twice before, being caught once but escaping the other time, he was getting caught because he lit a badly located cyno on one of the system stations. 

Pack up your troubles in one ship just don't lose it when you jump
This mistake (a very common one with cyno's) allowed the Deimos to bump him away from station and prevent him docking, once off station the Nyx was called in and the story bought to a swift end.

As I said previously, the comment from my friend that the majority of the damage from the Nyx came in just one "cycle" of the deployed fighter bombers , thus minimising the time he was "in the open". Ten highly buffed FB's must have put out a tremendous amount of damage, I've seen ganks before and that required several cycles from the FB's to kill even a jump freighter.

What was different now for this, was it the fit or the increase in skills?

The Fit


My friend linked his fit so I was able to see how he was fit to increase the damage he was doing, and it was quite a fit to do over the damage he said in one volley.
  • Three Drone Control Units modules in his high slows, each of these allows 1 extra fighter/fighter bomber to be used.
  • In the mid slots he had two drone navigation computer II's and two Federation Navy Omni-Directional Tracking modules without scripts to increase f/fb base statistics
  • The low slots he had the a mix of tank modules with four Federation Navy Drone Damage Amplifiers.
The type of F/FBs used do make little difference to the damage that is done but regardless 13 of them is some serious firepower. 

Fitting Theory


I'm not an expert with the numbers or how the game actually works. What I present are details as I've found them (and/or researched) and reactions by myself and anyone else involved. If you find an error, please write a comment and correct me.

I've previously played with Nyx fittings and one I had with no drone modules was reported by Pyfa (with a maximum skilled pilot) would be able to put out 9000 dps with a full set of 20 FB's. 

Keying in the details above, into a Kronos released Pyfa, and modifying the skills the pilot had to match those I know the Nyx pilot had I saw that this increased by 62% to a little over 14,000 using 13 FB's. Changing the type of FB used and even using a mix of F/FB's did alter the dps but it ranged from 11,000 to 14,500 depending on the F/FB's used. 

Conclusion


Wow.

The changes in Kronos seem to indicate, with this type of fit, that a 62% increase in damage from F/FB's may be seen. That is quite astounding. Of course different skill levels, FB's used and the defenses of the ship you're attacking will change this but still, that is a huge amount of firepower for a single ship.

To me this shows that the Super carrier changes in Kronos haven't hurt the ship to the effect many were speculating and they still are a very potent and dangerous entity in New Eden.

People who have them now have a very potent and dangerous vessel, so they should they cost enough. But with the changes to industry coming on the 22nd July 2014 with the next release it could very well see the price of these ships rise by 10% of more.