Houston, We Have Liftoff!

Warp 9, Engage!

So the replacement for my melted-down video card arrived Saturday. However, I had friends in town and thus the install happened late Sunday night.

Oh what a joy the new Sapphire card is!! Granted I’m sure it’s nothing compared to the latest and greatest, but it was a big step up for me regardless and I’m loving running through New Eden with all the graphics settings cranked to 11!

Once everything settled down the rest of the evening was pretty eventful. Though we had had some invaders earlier in the day they seemed to have gone their separate ways which left lots of time for exploring.

We had a connected Class 1 WH which was inhabited but still deserted. I took the liberty to run a Radar (Hacking) site as well as 4-5 Combat sites. I lack punch in the the DPS department so it took quite awhile to get through everything, but it was well worth it in the end as my salvaging netted nearly 150M.

We had a new recruit in the Alliance who is fairly new and he wanted to come tag along and helped out greatly. I remember when I was in his shoes! Funny thing is, I still feel like a newbie with no clue what I’m doing…it’s all relative I guess.

I spent the remainder of the night cleaning up a Grav (Mining) site that was in our home system. I didn’t get much, but still a cool 20M or so. Living in Wormspace is turning to be quite profitable.

My next goal is to acquire everything necessary to construct a Tier 3 Cruiser – The Tengu. I’m already over half way there, but I still have a few Battleship level components and some Gas to harvest. The sad thing is our most recently connected Class 1 WH had over 12 Ladar (Gas) sites, but I didn’t have a Gas Harvesting ship. I solved the last problem last night, but unfortunately the Gas heavy C1 had already collapsed.

So that is the story so far. Last night was fairly quiet as we had no sites in our Home system and no sites in our connected C1. Hopefully tonight will bring more action!

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I love a good Scan Job

So last night, in the midst of all the Planetary Interaction excitement, word went out through our Alliance that we should all keep our eyes open for a few good new Wormholes which we could potentially colonize. Since I had little else going on I fired up the ol’ Buzzard and went a scanning!

I started in our home system and branched out from there. It didn’t take me long to find a good candidate. About 2 jumps away I found an Unstable Wormhole that was nearing the end of it’s life-cycle, nonetheless I fearlessly jumped on through.

I landed in a simple Class 1 Wormhole that was unoccupied. Now C1’s are not very desirable as Star Defender and p@tsh@t have pointed out, but I figured I was a little rusty so I should scan the system down for practice. After looking at dotlan maps I could tell that this system had been dormant for quite some time. A cursory scan revealed roughly 20 combat sites and another 30 signatures! I spent the next 2 hours scanning down each one to shake the rust off and see what else we had.

I was initially interested in this particular system from a PI perspective since it had quite a good mix of desirable planets that were not as common in Hi-Sec…at least in our neck of the woods. When all was said and done I found roughly 10 Gravametric (mining), 10 Ladar (gas), 2 Magnometric (salvaging), 5 Radar (Hacking/Archaeology) and 3 Unstable Wormholes. It was quite painful at times, but I was able to lock down most sites pretty quickly.

In the end the system just didn’t quite offer what we were looking for in terms of a new system, but it was a great evening for me to get back in the swing of things. I’ve been scanning constantly in Hi-Sec, but it’s not quite the same as landing in a new system with 30+ sites. If the entrance WH had a little more life left in it, and if my wife would have let me, I would have jump back in and started running some of the Grav & Radar sites. There was lots of ISK to me made last night, but alas it was not to be. We’ll just have to see what tonight holds.

How to make money in EVE Online

I figured I’d write a post on how I’ve found to make ISK in EVE Online, similar in fashion to my previous entry on starting an Alt.

Being a fairly casual player and only having played for about a year it has taken me quite awhile to identify ways of making money. There are plenty of write-ups and discussions on this topic, but I figured I’d present my practical approach on how I discovered these activities and who they generally apply to.

1. Mission Running

  • This is pretty much where any new player starts. When I first began I didn’t fully comprehend what all mission running offered me. What I eventually figured out was that running missions increased your standing with whatever Corporation the Agent was associated with. As your standing increased you were granted access to higher level Agents which offered larger payouts, loyalty points and standing increase. Higher level missions were obviously more difficult to complete, but offered better loot and salvage. As your standing increased this also lowered the amount of tax incurred by the given Corporation when doing things like refining ore or items.
  • The first thing I discovered was Salvaging. I trained the skill so that I could salvage the wrecks of the mission NPC ships. I eventually found that the best way to proceed with mission running was to have a ship that could dish out and take lots of damage thus completing the mission as fast as possible. I then purchased a Destroyer and fitted it with 4 Salvagers and 4 Tractor Beams. I would then return the to mission location and collect everything of value I could. I found this to be a great start for me as a new player.

2. Mining

  • As I began to expand my knowledge of EVE in general I latched onto the concept of Mining. I did as much research as I could and did my best to train up the necessary skills for ships and mining that offered the best return. I only mined in Hi-Sec focusing on Veldspar and Scordite. I would run missions until I received one that had lots of asteroids in the mission room so I did not have to compete at asteroid belts. However if I did mine at asteroid belts and if I was in a 0.7 security status system or lower I would anchor Giant Secure Containers at the asteroid belts so I could fill the containers up with ore and then come back in a hauler instead of running back and forth in my mining ship.
  • Hi-Sec ores do not have a very significant return, plus my corporation standings were not very high so I was losing a lot of minerals in the refining process. Ultimately it would have been better if I simply continued running missions as the level 4 missions have great payout in terms of rewards, bounty, salvage and loot, sometimes upwards of 20 million ISK per missions. That is well above anything you can make mining in Hi-Sec then refining and selling the minerals.
  • However once you get into Wormholes and have access to the A,B, C’s of asteroid types then payout can be much, much larger. (I made over 200 milling in my first mining op)

3. Scanning

  • Eventually I learned of the scanning mechanism. This involves fitting a Probe Launcher and scanning out a system for Cosmic Signatures and Cosmic Anomalies. I really enjoy this particular activity as it’s best tailored to my schedule.
  • You mainly want to focus on finding Cosmic Signatures, as these sites offer the biggest and best rewards. You will typically find Radar (Hacking skill), Magnometric (Salvaging Skill) and Combat sites. Occasionally you will find a Gravametric (Mining) or Ladar (Gas Mining) sites.
  • My favorite are the Radar or Combat Sites (Complexes, Plex). As the materials that can be found in the Radar sites can range in value from 3-15 million per unit. Also, running Combat sites typically leads to what is called an Expedition.
  • Sometimes when running combat sites when you kill the final NPC ship, or (more often) destroy a structure (Communications Towers are good ones to try) you will receive a popup message saying you’ve intercepted a communication or tracked extra enemy ships to another system. You will then be able to find an entry in the Expeditions tab of your Journal. The next steps  involve traveling between 4-15 jumps away from your current location to engage in a small combat site, which can be ‘warped to’ from the entry in your Journal. This leads to another small combat site 4-15 jumps away and so on. Once you’ve done about 3 or 4 of these chained sites you will get a final combat site which is typically in Low-Sec so be careful. The last site yields a special commander ship which Faction or Deadspace loot which sells very, very well. Some loot cannot be sold on the market, so be sure and check contracts for a specific item.
  • What I typically do is check out the exceptional EVE mapping site DotLan Maps and see how many NPC’s have been destroyed in a given system recently. I will then typically head out to systems that have not been very active potentially indicating that lots of good scanning sites will be available.

4. Trading

  • This activity can be very lucrative, however I am very bad at it. It involves using the Market to identify items that can be sold in a number of ways to make a profit. You can identify items that have low Buy Orders which you can place and once (if) they are fulfilled you can then turn around Sell the items for a larger amount. You can also find items that sell very low in one location which you can then transport to another location and sell higher. This is a very complex topic and one I have very limited exposure to, but if done correctly and if you put in a good amount of time, research and effort you can make a lot of money. I typically went the route of placing Buy Orders for items and then immediately turning around and selling them for a profit. This particular method can be quite taxing as you have to “babysit” your orders because people will undercut or overcut your prices by 0.01 ISK at times forcing you to modify your orders. Again, there are many methods that work here, I’m just touching on the one method that I tried and had limited success with.

So those are the 4 main areas I’ve found and used to make ISK in EVE Online. Again, there are TONS of write-ups on these subjects that offer much more detailed accounts and instructions. Yet I just wanted to list out the methods I found as a new player coming up through EVE and what worked for me.

Please feel free to add your thoughts and what a new player could do to make ISK in EVE given no previous experience.

New Eden Community College

I finally decided to send Freddy back to school. The easy part of that in EVE is you simply need to buy your skillbooks and inject them into your neural network…and then train for days to raise their skill level, but the setup is still pretty easy.

Recently I’ve noticed quite a few green checkboxes in my Character Pane Skill List. I’ve always meant to pick up a few skillbooks at a time whenever I’m in or near Jita, but I always tend to forget. So finally the other day I decided I’d bite the bullet and get it done with. So I turned on the trusty auto-pilot after setting a course to an Academic Station in a System near Jita. When I finally got there I noticed quite a few scammers trying to sell the skillbooks at huge prices. Skillbooks in general are sold by the NPC station itself for a set amount of ISK, so I was careful enough not to fall for any tricks.

I set some guidelines first, such as I would not buy any skills over half a million ISK, even with this stipulation there were quite a few skillbooks I could purchase. When all was said and done I had spent roughly 5 million ISK and purchased over 20 skills. I was amazed at the price of some Science skills, I have probably 10 or more skills that I can learn, but each book costs near 30 million ISK. Perhaps someone can explain that one to me!

After I had injected all of my new skills I trained each one to level 1, just so that I would have basic competency in all the new areas. Granted there may be a few that I hardly ever use (like all the rigging skills?) but now I think I have a much more well-rounded skill exposure. Plus I can fit most things that I previously could not, so I felt it was well worth the trip. Freddy just past 6.9 million Skill Points, so I’m making steady progress.

Aside from the rampant skill training I also bought myself a new toy. I purchased a Heron Frigate for scanning. As I mentioned earlier I really enjoyed scanning, but hadn’t a need to really try it out recently. So, I bought and fully fit a Heron just for that purpose because it has a number of modifiers for increasing scan strength. I’m a week or so away from flying it’s Tech II counterpart, the Buzzard, but for now my Trusty ‘Explorer I’ is doing just fine.

I’ve actually been scanning my home system quite a bit recently. I’ve found all kinds of signature sites, such as hacking sites, salvage sites, Pirate rooms, etc.. One site in particular had me go through 3 or 4 heavily guarded Gurista rooms, and when I was finally through cleansing space of their infestation I received a popup saying I had intercepted their last transmission which was sent to another system. What the heck does that mean? I couldn’t find anything in my log or Journal that would have sent me to another system to track the message, so it must have just been for flavor. Perhaps someone knows what this was about and can fill me in.

I’ve also just finished raising a number of rare ore processing skills to level III, which allows me to fit their corresponding Tech I mining crystals to my Hulk fitted Modulated Strip Miner II’s. I will focus on getting the remaining ore processing skills once I’ve decided to finish up the 2 week training of Refining Efficiency V & Metallurgy IV. But for now I feel my mining skills are up to par for what I can reasonably encounter.

Finally I decided to queue up Electronic Upgrades V. I’ve wanted to do this skill for quite awhile and it was a toss up between that and Survey V. The former takes 8 days to train and the latter 4. However there are quite a few skills that rely on EU V, such as Hacking, Covert-ops, etc., whereas only one that relies on Survey V, Archaeology. I would like to get Hacking and Archaeology and then fit their corresponding Codebreaker and Analyzer modules to my new Heron. I’ve already found a few sites where I could have used both those skills. Ah well, I’ll get there in a couple weeks.

In the mean time I’m going to stick to scanning as that is quite enjoyable. I’m also still mission running & mining. I have quite a bit of work since I’ve spent around 150 million ISK in the last two weeks and my bank account is now hovering near zero. I’m still amazed I was able to purchase so much. Let the good times roll I guess, and kids…stay in school!

To Boldly Go

I apologize for the overused, ‘Star Trek’y saying…but my title creativity seems to have left me for the moment.

During my past week in New Eden I spent the time mostly running missions and, when appropriate, mining those mission rooms containing excessive amounts of Veldspar. It was mostly slow going as my newly minted & fitted Hulk crawls along so slowly. It usually takes me longer to get to the asteroid field than it does to fill up my 180,000 m3 hold, such is the life of the miner I guess. Either way with the generated ISK I’ve been able to buy and fully outfit my Hulk & a new Passive Tank Drake. I’ve been eying a new Drake because I’ve been getting close to level III missions and I need something a little tougher than my trusty Caracal. Well, finally on Friday I passed the needed 4.0 corp standing to enable my level III, quality 0 agent. I was pretty excited and jetted to Jita to make my big Drake purchase. Once that was complete I even outfitted it with a cloaking device…because I could and I had an empty slot.

When I returned to my ‘home’ station my new agent simply ignored me. I asked in local if anyone could help me figure out the problem, since I was clearly above the required standing level. Finally someone said “when in doubt, relog” which I did…and which solved the problem. So for all you out there that might be in the same boat, make a note of that.

I’ve run about 5 level III missions so far, and though they are definitely tougher, the rewards in both ISK, loyalty points, loot & salvage don’t seem to be that much higher than my level II’s. Either way they are much more fun and I’ve even become stuck on my latest mission. The Drake handles & tanks marvelously even with my sub-par shield skills. I’m able to outfit it with mostly Tech II modules, but there are still a few lingering Tech I pieces. The problem mission requires me to kill a battleship with a pretty decent tank. Being that the Drake is a missile boat and my missiles skills are even worse than my tanking skills I just don’t have the DPS to bring her down. I can get the BS into structure, but that’s after about 5 reloads and every time I reload the shields fully recharge and it’s game over. Ah well, at least I know my limits and what to work on next!

Now in terms of boldly going somewhere, I also outfitted my Drake with a core probe launcher. When I first began my adventures in New Eden it was a month or two after Apocrypha and the scanning revamp. Some of my first trained skills had to do with scanning, and my first manufacturing job was to produce 80 core scanning probes. So clearly I’ve always enjoyed scanning, I just never had a huge use for it and thus I haven’t scanned in a long time. I’ll even confess that just this week I discovered the true use and power of the directional scanner. Anyways, I figured I’d give it another try with my Drake.

I started in a neighboring system to “Home” and within about 10 minutes I had found a wormhole that was only going to last another day, but had yet to be disturbed by ship traffic. After a minute or two of convincing myself, I finally jumped through not knowing what I’d find on the other side. Once the WH materialized I promptly bookmarked its location and engaged my new cloaking device. I then started scanning again, but I only found a couple of hits initially. Being that I was pretty nervous, and that this was only the second WH I’d ever been in, I decided to only focus on one site and then get back home. After another 5 minutes I had finally locked down a Gravimetric site, a.k.a – mining site. Again, after a little self pep-talk, I warped to within 25km so see what the site held. To my amazement there were some HUGE asteroids made of minerals I’d never heard of. I have no clue what ‘class’ this WH was, but it didn’t matter I guess, I was having a blast. Being that the WH was apparently empty I half intended to run back and grab my new Hulk to do some WH mining, but then I realized that I didn’t have the requisite ore processing skills to fit my Modulated Strip Miner II’s with the necessary crystals. Ah well, another day then I thought. So I warped back to the WH and jumped home.

So it was a fun week, though slow at times. Flying solo can be rewarding, but I have to make sure and keep myself motivated with goals and new experiences. Some day I’m sure I’ll be able to help a Corporation as I feel that is the way truly experience EVE Online!

Slow Return

Though I am still without employment (not for lack of trying!) I am finding a little more time to return to New Eden. One of the things I’ve always liked about EVE was the fact that even if you cannot log in, your character may advance. Since I have been gone for nearly 2 months I queued up my skills for flying a Hulk, and as of last week they all completed! I have passed over 6.5 million Skill Points, and my lowly clone is only able to handle 4.8 million, so I need to rectify that soon.

The one problem I knew was coming, but I chose to ignore anyways, was funding such a behemoth. When I finally logged in I had just over $50 million ISK, peanuts compared to flying and outfitting a Hulk and it’s skills. So I hit the rocks with my trusty ol’ Retriever and after a week of mining and the few Level II missions I was sitting at around $80 million ISK. I guess I’m not the most efficient money making machine, but I get by. I discovered some dusty implants lying in my hangar, imagine my surprise when I saw that their combined market value was $20 million ISK! I was able to sell them last night and that put me over the top for purchasing my ORE Exhumer.

I’ve been reading alot recently about Hi-Sec Hulk suicide gank fleets. This has made me more than uneasy as once I’ve finished outfitting my hulk I am all but broke. Also, since the Hulk is a Tech II ship the insurance coverage is little to nothing. So I’ve decided that I will stick to mining mission rooms. I’ve found quite a few rather large areas that take a good amount of time for this solo miner to clear. I just wish I had another account (I had to cancel my trial account for obvious reasons) because the Hulk is just so slooooow it takes me forever to navigate around from asteroid cluster to asteroid cluster.

Anyways, here is the fit I went with. I chose a pair of Expanded Cargohold II’s over the MLU’s since I’m acting as my own hauler effectively. The tank isn’t anything to write home about, but I would love any help or suggestions.

Next on my skill queue are the prerequisites of Hacking and Archeology, I’m about 8 total days away from them, then hopefully I can try my hand at that. PvP is still a bit of a gray area for me, so hopefully I’ll get to that at some point to.

When (not if!) I am re-employed I’m sure I’ll have much more to report! Thank you again for all the support, the outreach has been tremendous!

Well it finally happened…

For the first time I’ve been killed by another player. Now, I knew this day was coming, I just wish I would have handled the experience better. On the other hand, it was a great way to learn and get accustomed to what lay ahead.

I’m sure many of you veteran players and pirates will laugh yourself silly at my mistake, but it is what it is.

I was happily jet can mining in a 1.0 sec system, a new player system at that, in a lonely belt with only a few asteroids left. I looked away for a second and a red Merlin pilot had appeared and was sitting right next to me. Sure enough, a large stack of Dense Veldspar disappeared and he started moving away, slowly.

Here is where I made my mistake. A stake of Dense Veldspar which I could replace in about 5 minutes, turned into catastrophe. I figured ‘Hey, he’s only in a Merlin, plus I’ve never actually engaged another player before, let’s see what happens.’ Wrong wrong wrong.

I sicked my drones on him and he happily warp scrambled and webbed me, then picked off my drones one by one. I knew I was done for. I was hoping he wouldn’t pop my pod, so I eventually ejected and warped off quickly. Bye bye trusty little mining Retriever.

So that’s no biggie, yes dumb, but nothing compared to what I did next. I had my salvaging destroyer parked at the station so I figured I’d return and see what kind of damage I could do. Why did I do this you ask? Again, I’m a true newb in every sense of the word. Anyhow, I returned and lasted even a shorter amount of time than I had originally.

I was checking out the Battle Clinic loadouts for PvP/Pirate Merlins and found that even though it’s a Frigate class ship, it can still be fit pretty well to handle things like Destroyers and even a few Cruisers.

So I’m happily out around 20 million ISK with all the T2 mining laser, T2 extenders, salvagers and tractor beams . *facepalm* A pretty expensive lesson I guess, but again I knew it was coming. It has to happen to everyone at some point and in the end I’m just glad for the experience.