Greedy Goblin

Thursday, November 28, 2013

N110 PI goldmine

While I’m checking out the various kind of sites in my home wormhole system, I’m skeptical about their worth. The reason is simple: doing PvE missions, anomalies and sites is the basic moneymaking activity of the masses. Like daily quests in WoW. Since every Tom, Dick and Harriett does them, their income is necessarily average. Sure, you can do better than some braindead ape, but I’m not looking for ways to get 2-3x more income than the average grinder, but magnitudes higher.

One such source is Planetary Interaction. It is a semi-passive income source, you set up a planet with an initial time commitment, then you have to restart extractors every day or two and visit the planet once a week. After it’s set up, my highsec results show about two hours a month for a PI pilot. And monthly income can easily be over 500M, providing trading-level ISK/hour. You can increase the ISK/hour by making the extractor cycles longer, of course at the cost of lower ISK/month. Of course, you are limited to 3 characters/account and have to PLEX the account. But you can do other activities on the account that get ISK, like researching or even farming.

Before we set up the planets, let’s look at the overall PI market, especially with the recent changes. The smaller change is the new PI cargo ship:

[Epithal, N110]
Damage Control II
Warp Core Stabilizer I
Warp Core Stabilizer I
Warp Core Stabilizer I

Large Shield Extender II
Medium Shield Extender II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Limited Adaptive Invulnerability Field I

Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I
[empty high slot]

Medium Low Friction Nozzle Joints I
Medium Low Friction Nozzle Joints I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I

Remember the uniqueness of the N110 space! You don’t have to pass multiple unprotected wormholes or gates. You just warp from your customs office to your tower or from the tower to the N110. The only way for them to catch you is camp the customs, in which case you need enough EHP to live until you put everything back to the customs office, so you lose only a 5-10M ship, assuming they have more than 3 points of warp scramble. They can also bubble the N110, but you can warp to a 300km bookmark and look. The Epithal can carry 60000 m3 PI materials with Gallente Industrial 4, greatly increasing the transport speed of PI.

The other, more important change is the highsec POCO ownership and the new NPC tax decreasing skill. I made some flying around and found the customs are taken around major hubs. But the customs in distant systems are still NPC. Why is it important? Because Red Frog moves 1B ISK worth of cargo to 18 jumps for 10M, which is 1% of its price. So saving 1% tax worth setting up shop in the middle of nowhere. This practically means that factory planets can work cheaper in highsec than before. One can buy P1-P2 in Jita, get it hauled to his base, run multiple characters with factory planets paying 5% tax. I predict significant increase of highsec P3-P4 production, since the logistics is easy and you can warp around in a gank-proof Orca, filling up all your planets at once.

As highsec gained competitive advantage in factory planets, non-highsec must have gained competitive advantage in extractor planets. The planets here have much better yield anyway. Before we continue, let’s compare the value density (value of 1 m3) of various levels of PI material:
  • P0 (from the extractors): 3 ISK, 0.01m3: 300
  • P1 (from basic factories): 500 ISK, 0.38m3: 1300
  • P2 (from advanced factories): 8000 ISK, 1.5m3: 5300
  • P3 (from advanced factories): 60K ISK, 6m3: 10000
  • P4 (from high-tech factories): 1.2M ISK, 100m3: 120000
A full Epithal can carry approximately 20, 80, 320, 600, 7200 million ISK from the various levels. Of course if you are transporting P0, you are dumb. However transporting P1 and P2 out of your hole to the nearest station, then Red Frog it to Jita is a very profitable venture. Please also note that while 80M for a few jumps is nice, to gank it’s not that great. No one will bother setting up a great trap to catch an Epithal full of Coolants, and the posted fit will protect you from lolPvPers. Of course not being totally predictable with your pilots helps too.

Below you can see two planet designs, both optimized for getting decent ISK as little time as possible, instead of getting the last bit of ISK for much more time. The first is the in-planet P2 colony:
It features two extractors with 4 heads, filling two storage facilities. There are 3 basic factories eating the P0 and filling back the P1 into the storages. The advanced factories that surround the launchpad are using the P1 from the storages and fill the product to the launchpad. Some flexibility is needed, because sometimes one of the materials is more abundant than the other. This case you change to 3+5 extractor heads. Sometimes both are in abundance, then you let the storages almost fill up, then cut extractor heads and install one more of each factories until the storage is empty.

The main advantage of this setup is the low maintenance. The few extractor heads don’t overfarm the resources, so it will take lot of time before you have to replace the extractors, which could mean replacing everything to prevent too long supply lines. The second advantage is that it creates the more expensive P2. The main disadvantage is that you have to find a planet that is abundant in two resources that combine into an expensive P2.

Let’s calculate with 3.33 factories (3 factories in 2/3 time, 4 in 1/3) and 8000ISK P2 price! An advanced factory produces 5 units/hour, there are 6 planets, 24 hours, 30 days. The monthly income is 575M. Since the volume production is 3.33*5*1.5*24 = 600/day/launchpad, you need to visit your planets twice a month with a ship, making the maintenance of such colony very time efficient, about 3-400M/hour. If you don't mind a little risk, you can skip half of it, by remotely moving the products to the customs office. You can lose it if someone blows the customs.

The second colony is a simpler P1 extractor:
It features one extractor with 9-10 heads, filling the storage. 9 basic factories are eating the P0, filling the P1 into 3 launchpads. If the storage fills up, just decrease the heads and add 3 more factories until it’s empty again:

The main advantage it that such colony can be placed on any planet that has one valuable P1. There are several very cheap P1 materials, I wonder who creates them, but it shouldn’t be you. The main disadvantage is that such monster extractor can eat up nearby resources which means relocation. Since the extractor-storage line must be upgraded to deal with the load, that can easily mean relocation of the whole structure.

Let’s calculate with 10 factories (9 factories in 2/3 time, 12 in 1/3) and 500ISK P2 price! A basic factory produces 40 units/hour, there are 6 planets, 24 hours, 30 days. The monthly income is 860M. Since the volume production is 10*40*0.38*24/3 = 1200/day/launchpad, you need to visit your planets once a week in a ship. The more flights and more relocations mean more hours, but still it's around 200-250M/hour.

Please note that managing the planets is a totally safe activity, you can be under the shield or even in highsec, docked while restarting extractors. This means that you can interrupt and restart the activity at your discretion, making PI a very casual-friendly activity.

Not all systems are created equal, since not all planets created equal, because the materials are not equal. A unit of Chiral Structures, coming from Non-CS Crystals worth 550 ISK. Biofuels, coming from Carbon Compounds worth 150ISK. The valuable materials:
  • Autothrops (Industrial fibers, 420) on Temperate
  • Complex Organisms (Proteins, 560) on Temperate and Ocean
  • Felsic Magma (Silicone, 500) on Lava
  • Heavy Metals (Toxic Metals, 420) on Lava, Plasma and Ice
  • Ionic Solutions (Electrolytes, 400) on Storm and Gas
  • Noble Metals (Precious Metals, 520) on Plasma and Barren
  • Non-CS Crystals (Chiral Structures, 550) on Lava and Plasma
  • Planktic Colonies (Biomass, 550) on Ice and Ocean
The planet extraction value in order is Lava, Plasma, Ocean, Temperate, Ice, Barren, Storm, Gas.
Dotlan has a table for both N110 regions. Damn, I wish I'd live in J105837 with 4 Lava and 3 Temperate planets. Choose your systems according to planets, but keep in mind that a Lava planet with poor material levels is worse than a Gas that is all white on Ionic Solutions.

Considering its easiness, low skillpoint demand, near-zero ISK investment need and high income, it’s surprising that PI is so underutilized. I mean if more players would do it, the prices would be obviously lower. There are two reasons for that: one is that it can’t be farmed. The dumb people don’t have large safety deposits, on the other hand, they are often broke. When they are, they need an activity that gives them ISK right now, and not a week from now. For them, the time-intensive, but instantly rewarding grinding is more fitting. The other reason is the underutilization of N110 space. You can’t get so good results anywhere else. In highsec, the planet would provide half as much output for the same effort and then you have to pay tax. In lowsec, nullsec and deep-WH you have logistics problems, you need to make serious effort to get your materials to highsec. For this reason, most PI guys build P3-P4 which is easier to transport, but has much lower ISK/hour, due to having to be moved between planets.

PS: if anyone can point me towards reliable WH mercs, please do. Currently I don't need their services, but considering that Foo had an invasion attempt, it's better be prepared.

PS2: I'll put more effort into the Goblinworks channel from now as I returned on business focus.


Anonymous said...

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Druur Monakh said...

A few notes:

Why the Halcyon stabs on the hauler? Regular stabs work just as well, at 1/7th the cost. If the fitting is the problem, consider dropping some of the other modules from T2 to Meta. If you're facing an attacker smart enough to bring 4+ points, you're gambling on survivability already.

I definitely don't understand the probe launcher: if you're only warping between POS and POCO, it doesn't give you any benefit at all. Unless you're silently implying a POS-less operation, which could be done.

Another thing to consider is that if you're using a POS-based operation, the POS fuel needs to be deducted from your income - for a large tower that's about 450+M/month.

Anonymous said...

its been a while since I did PI, but when I did I had single planet P3 setups.

mine two resources. convert to p2.
adjust harvesting.
mine other two resources. convert to p2 and start p3 production.

switching resource harvesting every so often to maintain supply.

I did it in 0.1 system a couple of jumps from highsec. i'm guessing your WH system has better resource density.

have you considered crunching the numbers on such a setup?

Paul Dejean said...

For mercs I would recommend these folks:

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: didn't SYJ moved to Sov warfare?

@Druur: you are right, fit fixed

@Anonymous: sounds lot of clicking

@Paul: will do

Foo said...

The other issue, 1 (or more) large pos; customs offices both ISK and DPS requirements have costs.

These are time, as well as ISK; and are difficult for many individuals.

In an c1->hs wormhole; for the solo player, the POS is optional, especially with mobile depots. Maybe.

If not; keeping a POS fueled is a challenge I have seen players fail at.

Offline core launcher gives you a get out of jail option if under attack. We use them.

Dado R. said...

so that is how you are leaving your mark on New Eden, 1.5b a month PI??

I know it is still a work in progress, but still.

Unless of course this blog is turning into a guide on how to get into the different EVE professions for newbies

E Dyn said...

What about creating P3 and transporting that? You could set up a plasma planet to create Robotics. But I guess the ISK/hour will not outweigh that of other planets?

And transporting it from one planet to another would be called a "waste"?

daniel said...

"In highsec, the planet would provide half as much output for the same effort[...]"

I would be very interested in a longterm observation of the planets yield.

Gevlon said...

@Dado R: no, it's me looking around for income in WH space.

@E Dyn: yes, transporting is a waste of time. Advanced facility is also. These are better done in highsec.

Foo said...

@daniel; for extraction PI, wormholes can support 40-50 pilots. At that point, some planets start to suffer from over utilisation.

But a wormhole planet suffering from over-extraction is still better than either lowsec or highsec extractions planets in their pristine state.

This is from personal experience in doing PI in both lowsec for 6 months, and the roughly year since being in wormholes.

Lucas Kell said...

What's with all the launchpads? A p1 planet should not need more than one.

Also, your extractor heads are all going off in different directions. I take it you are scanning down to find the resource hotspot?

Gevlon said...

@Lucas: they are storage. 1 Launchpad would fill up in 3 days. I don't want to warp around that often, that would cut into my ISK/hour.

The extractor heads are covering a larger region, all bright red on scan. A bit lower yield than putting them all on the middle of the hotspot but more time to run dry.

Lucas Kell said...

"1 Launchpad would fill up in 3 days. I don't want to warp around that often, that would cut into my ISK/hour."
You can reduce in to one launchpad anyway. You'll be in the system daily anyway, so all you need to do is open the customs office and export your product to the customs office. That can hold like 2.5 launchpads worth, and you don't need to fly to the customs office to do it or anything. In turn that will free up resource to add more extractor heads and factories. On a P1 planet, you really only need extractor, launchpad and a load of factories, you don't even need the other storage really.

"The extractor heads are covering a larger region, all bright red on scan. A bit lower yield than putting them all on the middle of the hotspot but more time to run dry."
OK, you can probably dump them into a hotspot to be honest. You'll find it hard to run a WH planet dry. They aren't like high sec where you can drain them in a few days, they can take months to drain a hotspot.

Anonymous said...

@Lucas Why would you be daily in the system *with all your chars*? Sure, some of my Wormhole chars are, but my trader high-sec chars visit the Wormhole only once a month to move their PI to market (using 2 Launchpads as storage).

Quixilva said...

Actually I'd argue that doing P4 production in a wormhole is actual more cost and time effective than shipping the p1 and p2 products to highsec and doing the manufacturing there. The main issues with highsec factory planets being tax and per volume transport costs.

Carrying more valueable cargo in your epithals is perhaps a bit more of a risk, but you'll get targetted in a wormhole whether you have 80M or 8B in your hold.

Lucas Kell said...

"Why would you be daily in the system *with all your chars*? Sure, some of my Wormhole chars are, but my trader high-sec chars visit the Wormhole only once a month to move their PI to market (using 2 Launchpads as storage)."
Then why even bother doing WH PI?
You could easily pull considerably more product from a high sec planet using short cycles than a WH on month cycles. 2 Launchpads you could fill inside a week, and you'd need to travel less to transport it. Tax is beside the point, since what's the point in saving 15% tax if you are reducing your efficiency by 75% to save it?

My high sec guys just run high sec factory planets to pull in between 600m and 1b/month/planet.

Julian said...

How do you hande CO tax in WH, solo? How does that fit into your calculations?

Anonymous said...

"Then why even bother doing WH PI? You could easily pull considerably more product from a high sec planet using short cycles than a WH on month cycles."

Huh? What are you talking about? They use short cycles. That was my original point: That you don't need to be in the PI system to restart cycles. You can do that from the other end of the galaxy.

And why bother with WH: Because refilling factory planets is more effort. I optimized for ISK/effort, not ISK/month.

Anonymous said...

I have tested that fit against bombers. You need a forth Warp Core Stabilizer I. You will live through a few volleys, but not 2 scramblers, which I now fit on my bombers.

It is not a huge issue since they are cheap and you should be able to put your PI in the CO before you die. Just check for bubbles before running spendy goo in an open system.

Foo said...

On the extra launchpad question;

Pilots that 'day trip' once / week or more; these want to have additional on planet storage; as do any factory planet.

I use less launchpads and more storage units as storage units hold more; and use less powergrid? CPU? (cant' remember of the top of my head). This means that when it is time to launch; I need to expidite transfer, but it's only a few more button clicks.

Gevlon said...

@Foo: Launchpad and storage has the same powergrid, but Launchpad need a lot of CPU. That means expedited transfer on factory planets, but on extraction, it's irrelevant, as your CPU usage is still 50-60% when PG is maxed.