Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The bright future of mining

I won't continue whining over the fact that large portion of EVE is "space WoW": players get tailored, instanced, a la carte missions which reward them for spending mindless time. I concentrate on the part which is not space WoW: everything can be purchased and things are destroyed. So a smart trader can get rich on the work of the "space WoW players", or at least can battle inflation.

Inflation is created by the huge influx of ISK due to mission rewards, incursion rewards, NPC bounties. Since most missioners switched to "blitzing", completing as soon as possible, ignoring salvaging, the missioners get even more cash and create even less items. What is the best measure of inflation? Plex! Plex is purchased for real money in more-or-less stable quantity, for an unchanging purpose. So we can accept the value of Plex stable and the variation of Plex price to be actually the variation of ISK value. As you can see, the price increased by 40% in a year. That's some nice inflation.

With the overall inflation, obviously the price of items increased too. For example the Raven battleship:
Or look at its main production component, mexallon:

What causes this inflation? Obviously the welfare ISK shower. This can be proved if we look at the price of a typical LP store item. Welfare generate Loyalty Points too:
Despite the Navy Raven is similar in use as Raven, its price moved in the exact opposite, losing 30% of its value.

OK, we got it, missions are bad and they cause inflation and help baddies, can we move on?

Now, how can we profit from this? If the price of the player crafted items increase, we can make more and more ISK from crafting and mining as time goes on. Yes, the "lowly grind" of mining will soon outperform (or already did) mission running. Of course trading will always be better, but a smart goblin always has a fallback point, as trading has ups and downs. Also we all must start somewhere and I'd like to find a way where a beginner can make good ISK while being useful to the economy.

Mining has one more positive: it's a group activity. Social people suck in that as they form their groups from "friends" and they don't kick leeches or they must work for the "group", filling the corporate wallet (practically the CEOs wallet) instead of their own. That's why many miner mines alone or with his second account, since he don't have to carry M&S this way. But a good group of goblins seriously outperform a soloer for two reasons. At first one of the members is the "fleet booster". He buffs the whole fleet if he has the proper skills and link modules on his ship. This boost can be up to 30% efficiency.

Secondly, the miner ships are bad transport ships. Their cargohold fill up fast and then they have to dock in a nearby station. However there is a method that a group can use: the full miner ship simply throws the minerals into the space in a "jettison container" (or dock to a nearby orca) and keeps mining, while a transport ship (which can carry 8-10 times more cargo) carries the minerals to the station for all miners.

What is the goblinish way of running a mining operation? The group is lead by the businessman. It's simpler if he is in the transport ship, but can be one of the miners too. Whenever the transporter picks up a jettisoned batch of minerals, he instantly pays the miner using the give money feature. The price of the minerals is agreed before they started mining. The one who gives the mining boosts is hourly paid on a pre-agreed price. If the businessman is not the transporter, then the businessman sometimes docks too and trade the ore from the transporter, paying a higher price than the transporter paid to the miners. Of course in the first times the prices must be carefully negotiated, but then it runs smoothly. Please note that this system is scammer-proof, the worst thing that can happen to a miner is that he loses one can worth of minerals (about 1M) or the buff-giver is not paid for the last hour (2-3M as usually many people can give the boost so they break down the price).

This is not an optimized mining operation, just my girlfriend making her first steps in EVE.
We determined that Jetcan-mining dense veldspar with a Bantham and a Badger yields 600K/hour/person, so rather don't do it until you get a Covetor, unless you really like mining. However if there is already a mining fleet running where the transporters are not overloaded, a one-day newbie with the Bantham can join and gain about 1M/hour, which is stellar for him, while he is not at all boosted by others, his presence increases the income of the transporter and the businessman, even if just by a little amount. Similarly, a 3 days old newbie in a Badger II can support 3 Hulks, being a valuable member of a fleet where the transporters are overloaded.

Business report: buy+sell+cash = 1.47B (0.49B gifts)

PS: The post about the ships needed and skills used is updated for Jump Freighter and Hulk.

PS2: Anyone knows why Pyerite in Jita peaked at 8 Monday 15:30-19:30, when before and after was just 5.4? Not complaining, I was hauling there from 2-4 jumps getting about 30M profit autopilot (pirates won't waste a Tornado for a Badger II with 8M cargo) but still curious.


Anonymous said...

Insight on the inflation from the inside:

Steel said...

The PL titan read here: (tl;dr: PL are so ~l33t PvP~ they are camping the gate in Amamake in titans smartbombing shuttles and noobfrigs, the locals got fed up about that bullshit). Btw, is the main site where all the political drama of the 0.0 big movers is played out, you should check it out if you want a feel for that side of the game

As for mining, its future is 'bright' primarily because ccp plans to replace drone alloys with bounties. Drone alloys were an important mechanic that changed (killed) the viability of mining long ago. It's a long complicated story...

Mika Hirvonen said...

There's no need for miners to personally drop off ore to the Orca, that's what the Orca's range-boosted tractor beam is for. You might also want to try out the Retriever instead of the Covetor; It requires much less training and the skill difference between the Covetor and the Hulk is small when compared to the difference between the Retriever and the Covetor.

IO said...

For PS2: market speculation.

Anonymous said...

Sudden jumps, or drops in items in jita are often price manipulation, pure and simple, often the result of a late night chat, which usually starts out as a "how could we..." and then the next day turns into "lets do it for a few hours".

There are as well the rumours, counter rumours and "leaks" which play into this, basic social engineering 101.

There can be valid reasons such as upcoming patches etc, but often it is just "lets have some fun and see if lemmings follow"

Gevlon said...

But why would anyone manipulate Pyerite? What is the gain? If he mass buys it under 8M, he gets lots of Pyerite that he must sell later for less. All the ISK I made and of course people with bigger ships made is an ISK the "manipulator" lost.

Bobbins said...

The retriever (and its golden) is the first real mining vessel. Mine takes 3 minutes to fill its cargo hold of 2000m^3 or about 100000 isk per minute.
Why veldspar when i worked it out pyro and plaig were better isk per m^3. At trit = 5isk. 1 veld=15isk. Veldspar= 150isk per m^3. (Dense *1.10). Note :At 5isk it is getting close.

PS Avoid the procurer it is BAD. The osprey is a decent mining cruiser (I moving to it after the bantham). You can get an implant to increase mining skill. Mining is cpu heavy so electronics skill helps.

Anti said...

my personal mining progression was

osprey - on 3x 21 day trial accounts
retriever - on main
hulk - on main
hurricane / thrasher for lvl 3s
maelstrom / noctis for lvl 4s

i got bored of mining pretty quick and moved to missioning and salvaging.

but if you must mine
is great to find the most profitable ore. but with a hulk i tended to just strip mine belts.

AureoBroker said...

Pyerite? The alleged drone-alloy removal caused a spike in buying of all minerals, mainly Zydrine.
I'm sitting on a nice stack of isogen and pyerite myself.

Anonymous said...

your comparison to group mining vs solo mining just looks at worst case solo scenario

realistically many mine several jetcans full and go to base to with full cargo, switch industrial, haul all cans in one go with a industrial,return to miner, this process takes less than one cycle to do so the trade off between solo and miner+transport is not much unless you actually get jetcan flippers

if you consider a fleet booster
you have 30% boost vs cost of him.

Splitting cost by grouping several miners means more moving arround belts as the belts get emtpy faster
with more miners arround

minmaxing all those variables into the optimal fleet setup would be interesting to see.

Fade Toblack said...

"why would anyone manipulate Pyerite? What is the gain? "

Why does there need to be a gain? It's *supposed* to be a game, sometimes people do things just for *fun* - because they can.

Welcome to the sandbox!

Gevlon said...

@Fade: if it's a game, people want to win it. I don't think there is a definition of winning as "pointlessly messing with Pyerite". Also it's not a big deal, even a 5 years old know that if you mass-buy something its price goes up, so you prove nothing.

Caramael said...

Reading your recent posts about trade and ISK supply, I've come to the conclusion that there is no combat-related activity in EVE which is:
- not an ISK faucet
- not a criminal activity
- contributes to the economy / has income potential

Having spent close to 4M skillpoints in mostly spaceship command, defense and offense skills, I'm not sure where to continue from here.
I guess I could apply to a null sec corp, but I'm afraid I'll only end up doing PVP just for the heck of it, and shooting rats to finance that.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of dumb people who play EvE.

There are also a lot of people who do things in EvE solely for shits-n-giggles.

The intersection of these two sets is also interesting.

Parasoja said...


There have long been rumors of widespread manipulation of the high volume mineral markets. If true, then it's a fair bet that the exact methods are opaque to plebs like me and newbies like you.

Mind you, the volume and complexity of mineral markets can make them unpredictable. Sometimes they just do freaky **** for no reason.

Anonymous said...


Your idea is basically how I had conceived to run a mining operation if I ever had the (mis)fortune of doing so. The only difference was that my plan had been running under the assumption that the gang was a corp gang doing it for personal profit rather than corp profit. Mechanically I have some base rules I would put down. Miners would need to jetcan their ore into a can which they label [Mine - HH:MM – Name]. The purpose of time stamping is so that the Orca doesn’t pull away your jetcan before you can jettison a new one as well as let him know which cans are the oldest. The purpose of the name is so that the Orca can record who mined the ore so you can record how much that person mined for payout. The Mine portion is just to identify a jetcan being mined into as well as to keep jetcans sorted on the overview. The Orca then keeps ore in the bay until it has enough to drop a jetcan for haulers which is labeled [Haul – Name – HH:MM]. Haul, once again, is for overview sorting. Name and the time stamp are swapped since for hauling who hauls the can is more important than the time stamp and sorts better. The Orca pilot records how much ore was dumped for each hauler. The final step is to employ an audit log container that allows the hauler to dump ore into that container which records how much that pilot deposited. That creates an audit trail so you can ID who, if anyone, is trying to skim stuff off the top. Unfortunately that mechanic only works if the haulers are all in the same corporation as whoever is managing the op.

What I like about your method is that it reduces the risk of scamming by increasing the frequency of payments. What I don’t like about your method is that it increases overhead by increasing the frequency of payments. I don’t see it scaling it very well. I think you need an Orca to make your idea work and I would suggest the following. You establish three prices rather than two. The first price is the price paid to miners for each unit of ore mined. This is the mining price. The second price is the price paid to haulers. This is the hauling price. The third price is paid to the hauler. This is the final price. The mining price is paid by the Orca who pays it for each can he tractors in and dumps in his bay. The hauling price is paid by the hauler to the Orca for the Orca to dump ore for him to haul to a station. The final price is paid by the organizer to the haulers at the station for all the ore. You don’t pay the booster an hourly wage for being there. You factor in the benefit of his skill when determining how much you pay miners and how much haulers pay the Orca.

One Tritanium is 5 isk. You get 1000 of them from 333 Veldspar. That makes each veldspar worth 15.02isk. Let’s say that an Orca is boosting mining by around 12.5%. You know that the mining ships you have in the op have a base yield of around 5,000,000 Veldspar per hour (75,075,000isk with some Veldspar left unrefined). With the Orca, you know you’ll get 5,625,000 Veldspar per hour (84,455,000isk with some Veldspar left unrefined). So you’ll want the Orca to get paid somewhere between 0 and 9,380,000. Let’s say 7,000,000. 7,000,000 / 5,625,000 = 1.24isk (lets round up to 1.25 for ease of calculation). So the haulers should be paying the Orca 1.24isk more per Veldspar than the Orca is paying the miners.

For the organizer, you need to make profit off selling the tritanium. So 15.02 isk is not what you’ll be buying it at from the haulers. Let’s say you buy it off the haulers at 13isk per veldspar. That will give the organizer 11,250,000/hr. So the haulers get money, they’ll buy it from the Orca at 12isk so they make 5,625,000/hr for hauling stuff back and forth in system. The Orca buys from the miners at 10.75isk so it makes 7,031,250/hr. The miners, of course, get paid for what they mine. That means the Hulk that does 850,000 veldspar an hour gets paid 9,137,500/hr.

Anonymous said...

In two parts because of character limits.

Pt 1

The only reason to deal with a Covetor is to purchase it to make a Hulk. The Hulk only requires Exhumers III over the Covetor which requires Mining Barge V. The Retriever is the first true mining craft worth using. It's better (because of Strip Miner II) or at the very least comparable to 8 turret battleships.

The Orca is an odd boat. If you can pilot an Orca you’re a couple hours of training away from piloting a Hulk so you need to compare the Orca’s bonus in terms of whether it’s providing enough a boost that it generates a higher yield than if that pilot had just been in a Hulk. So the basis of comparison for yield is a Exhumers III Hulk pilot. A reasonable assessment is that he’s getting +15% from Mining Barge, +9% from Exhumer, +25% from Mining, +25% from Astrogeology, and 2 Mining Laser Upgrade IIs for +9% each. A Strip Miner I has a base yield of 540m3 so that Hulk pilot would be pulling 1256m3 for each cycle of a Strip Miner (which is 3 minutes). The Hulk has three of those so 3,768m3 of ore every cycle or 75,360m3 per hour. I’m not going to touch Strip Miner IIs since those require investing heavily into the Refining Branch. Additionally, since you will still be able to get the 15% foreman you end up with 86,664m3 per hour.

So in a mining fleet of mining barges the Orca must increase the overall yield by at least 86,664m3 per hour in order for it to not cause a decrease in total yield. It is generally assumed that the Orca pilot will also be a booster just from the nature of skills necessary to fly an Orca along with implants you would use. The Orca will boost mining yield directly by 15% (the foreman implant will replace the 10% from Mining Foreman with a 15% bonus as well as boost gang link modules) and indirectly an Orca pilot can decrease cycle time by using the Laser Optimization gang link module.

Someone correct my math if I have it wrong.

A “perfect” Orca pilot would have Industrial Command Ship V (15%), Mining Director V (400%), Warfare Link Specialist V (50%), and the implant (50%). That’s not entirely reasonable so I’m going to go with III for each of the skills. IV is a decent time investment and I’d estimate it to be around 13 days to get those three skills to IV and around 70 days to get them to V. So we get 9%, 200%, 30%, and 50% as bonuses to the modules. The cycle time module provides a –2.5% bonus so the overall bonus would be around –10.6% so the strip miner would cycle every 161s. So instead of 20 cycles an hour a strip miner would get 22.3. Additionally, the 15% foreman bonus would increase the Hulk’s yield to 4,333m3 per cycle. Overall that boosts the Hulk’s per hour yield to 96,626m3 or an increase of 9,962m3 per hour. So a basic Orca would need to support nine Hulks in order to justify its existence.

Anonymous said...

Pt 2

Unfortunately, you lose the foreman and gang link modules when you dock and possibly during warp. That means that the Orca is not a desirable ship to use to haul that ore to the in system staging point. That means that you are going to need to hire a hauler to transport the ore from the belt to the staging point. At this point you want Iteron Vs if you want to minimize the number of haulers you need. They can carry 38,433m3 of ore without using giant storage containers. Each of the nine Hulks will fill up a jet can in about 15 minutes and the Iteron V will need to make seven trips to move that ore to the staging point. That’s probably not reasonable for a single Iteron V to perform so you’re going to want a second hauler. So now your mining op is running twelve ships (1 Orca, 9 Hulk, 2 Iteron V).

I didn’t look at top end numbers. I did skill levels that were reasonable to obtain rather than maximizing. A maxed out Orca should reduce cycle time by about 25.8% instead of the 10.6% I had in the numbers. A maxed out Hulk will be pulling in 5,883m3 each cycle instead of 3,768m3. So the max Hulk will pull 117,660m3 each hour instead of 86,664m3 and with the Orca boosting him he’ll do 27 cycles instead of 22.3 so he’ll be pulling 158,841m3 an hour instead of the 96,626m3. At that point the bonus yield from two max Hulks (124,430m3/hour) surpasses the per hour yield by 7,000m3. So you drop from about thirteen member to five members (1 Orca, 2 Hulk, 2 Iteron V).

Using Veldspar and Jita prices for Tritanium (4.9 Buy, 4.93 Sell) – Assuming Refining with no waste and no tax.
A Team Hulk: 86,884m3 = 866,640 Veldspar = 2,602,000 Tritanium = (12,749,800isk Buy, 12,827,860isk Sell)
A Team Max Hulk: 117,660m3 = 1,176,600 Veldspar = 3,533,000 Tritanium = (17,311,700isk Buy, 17,417,690isk Sell)

Plagioclase/Pyroxeres is better than Veldspar, as another commenter stated, but Veldspar is very easy to run calculations against.

Gevlon said...

@First anonymous: the overhead is low and does not scale, because every jetcan means one payment. You don't have to record anything, miners just label their names. When anyone (hauler, orca) touches the container, he pays. He needs to look into it, type the number into the calculator and done.

@Second anonymous: you underestimate the Orca. At first it has a mining capacity of its own.

Secondly, it can haul. When the orca is away, its boosting is offline, but for that time one of the hulks can be promoted, providing the same buffs as the all-hulk operation would do. Orcas can carry 4x more ores than even Itheron Vs, as they have hangar, corporate hangar and ore hold.

So consider the orca a huge hauler who also provide buffs and mines some ore itself when not busy hauling.

Anonymous said...

@ Gevlon

I am not underestimating the Orca. It is, in fact, you who is overestimating it. Think like a goblin for a bit here. As a miner, I'm am going with your group instead of mining on my own because of the Orca benefits. I'm assuming that you're getting a higher price for minerals than what I get since you'll probably be setting a sell order rather than filling a buy order. That's something I don't do. That means to me I need to be paid at least as much as I would earn on my own to buy into your plan. In a fleet full of people like me, the Orca is where the organizer is making his money from unless he's mining. Since as an enterprising miner I made sure to make preparations so that I always get that 10% bonus from the mining foreman skill. Without the gang link modules and the 15% instead of 10% mining foreman bonus to yield the Orca does not have a purpose.

Losing the extra 5% from the Mining Foreman implant would cost me 8.5k every cycle using that 10.75isk figure provided earlier. I don't even know how that would impact the cycle time reduction but every one of those I lose is at least another 200k.

DSJ said...

Mining with an ORCA is cost effective even assuming only one person in a fleet which is exactly why you see solo setups with one miner and one orca (alt account) mining away at veldspar in highsec. The hauling component is what makes that profitable. Without factoring in the hauling component it is useless to do math on the maximum hulk yield per hour since the cost of the second account for the itty V or the hulk warping to station is being overlooked. I can easily show a maximum profit per hour in theory topping 60-70 million with a hulk assuming I don't count the cost of hauling my ABCS out of 0.0 with a JF.

The selling point of the plan Gevlon has stumbled onto is exactly what successful mining corporations do all the time throughout highsec and 0.0. You are essentially allowing the miner to make greater profits by doing all the management of the mining process and reducing the miners requirement to pressing F1,F2,F3. It is specialization plain and simple. The success of your plan depends entirely on the ease of your setup and its useability. Speaking directly from experience in 0.0 my corporation setup a google doc. A miner mined and as ore was dropped it was recorded in amounts and accounts were settled once a week at preset prices. Hauling / Boosting were at set rates as well. Once a week accounting was best because of the large volumes of ore and the ISK being turned over (generally upwards of 5 billion per week).

Ignor the theory of maximum yield and focus on the business plan of selling a service miners need. The following links should come in handy.

JThelen said...

Mission spaces are not instanced unless something had changed; you can be scanned and popped same as anywhere else in EVE.

As for why people would mass bug anything to artificially drive up price? Simply because they can. To folks like that(read:Goons) your tears are their win condition.

Fade Toblack said...

@Gevlon Define "winning" for me in the context of Eve.

I know a guy who lives in lowsec, who buys a plex every month converts it to ISK and buys a load of spaceships. He then goes round lowsec shooting people for the month. He has no notable assets in the game, but I consider that he's winning the game.

Eve is a sandbox game - there's no way to win or lose the game - you set your own goals. For some people that may be to build the biggest sandcastle in the game, for others it may be to demolish as many sandcastles as they can. Meanwhile there's a guy who is trying to make the prettiest sandcastle, and somebody else who doesn't really care about the sand at all, and is looking for crabs in the rock pool. Thing is all of those are winning - in their own ways.

Vincent Trevant said... is a better ore chart.

The Orca is great for mining and for trading. The corporation hangar is unscannable and doesn't drop when you get popped, so you can use it to move high value stuff a lot safer.