Eve Briefly

Eve on the brain.  I’ve got it.   Trouble is, I’d rather be playing it than writing about it.  Every post I’ve started lately has collapsed under its own weight, so I thought I’d take a different tack.

Here’s what I’ve been doing since Apocrypha launched:

Orca Mining Ops
Orca Mining Ops

Working on my standing with the Imperial Chancellor and of course:

Mining Mission Spaces
Mining Mission Spaces

And, like Wil and Darren, I strapped into a Heron and headed out to the unknown:

Through a Wormhole, Darkly
Through a Wormhole, Darkly

I was able to scan down a gravimetric site on the other side, but I wasn’t going to risk my Orca and a Hulk for Veldspar no matter how much there might have been.  To my surprise, it was much easier to find interesting things via exploration than I had anticipated.  The fact that these things are right under my nose in systems I routinely frequent makes it even cooler.

wormhole-info

For those of us with a high Bartle “E” coefficient, there really isn’t much better than seeing this when you pop out of a wormhole:

unknown

Whale Ho!

Or perhaps habemus Orcinus orca would be more appropriate.  I give you the Ambulocetus:

The Mighty Orca
The Mighty Orca

With the invaluable assistance of corp mates and the market gods, I was able to complete the training for and compile the isk necessary to pilot an Orca.  I think the Orca is the first ship in Eve that I actually had the name for before I had decided to train for it let alone purchase it.  With diligence and persistence, I was able to generate the 500 million+ isk for the ship, the skills and fittings within the time it took me to train for it and give it to myself on my birthday.  Considering not long ago, I had not seen 100 million isk in the game, getting over the 1/2 billion mark in short order is a bit of a personal milestone.

In an odd twist of fate, it turns out that I ended up purchasing the beast from one of my most regular buyers of copious quantities of minerals.  Talk about reprocessing.  At least I know where all those minerals are going now…  And in a story I’m sure will be retold elsewhere, it was the second ship I purchased from the same player this weekend.

I still have a few days to get the skills necessary to use the mining foreman gang assist modules, but everything else is online and fitted out.  Fully rigged, it can haul 77,879 m3 of cargo (at the moment), has 40,000 m3 of corp hangar and a 400k m3 ship maintenance bay.

With a top speed of only 59 m/s at the moment, its wont even win a drag race with Wil’s Charon freighter, though I think its probably more agile.  Or at least I want to think so.

But wait, there’s more:

Role Bonus:

250% bonus to tractor beam range

100% bonus to tractor beam velocity

500% bonus to survey scanner range

99% reduction in CPU need for Gang Link modules

Can use 3 gang link modules simultaneously.

Industrial Command Ship Skill Bonus:

5% bonus to cargo capacity per level

3% bonus to effectiveness of mining foreman gang links per level

What it lacks in speed, it makes up for in utility.  Simply put, it allows more miners to put more beams on more rocks for a longer duration.  The Orca is literally the hub of small mining ops.

Belt Operations
Belt Operations

Just for a test drive, we ended up with sort of an ad hoc mining op.  While I was mining on one account and manning the Orca on the other, Wilhelm stopped by in his salver to survey the situation and park in the ship bay.  Eventually, he came back with his hauler and took the ore from the corp hangar back to base.  Later, Gaff came by with his two Hulks and we tore it up.  Hulks keep eating, Orca tractors the cans in.  All without moving.

When Wil had to go AFK, I eventually had to haul to base with the Orca, but carrying 4+ jet cans a trip meant relatively few trips which were not as painful as I might have imagined.  Not sure I would want to use it to ferry loads out of a solar system, but very workable.

I can see that for our small corp, a configuration of 4 miners, the Orca pilot, and a part time hauler/part time miner would probably be optimal.  With the ship maintenance bay, the Orca could ferry the extra mining ship while the other pilot flew the hauler to the mining site.

So far, its pure awesomeness.  Possibilities abound.

Whats that in the road, a head?

“Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee”

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

As the economy has turned, so has my own focus and interest to some extent of necessity.  Oh the irony of having to work more to create or preserve business in an economy in which business activity is contracting.  But when given lemons, as they say….

Consequently, I’ve been working more, posting less, playing more and given that our WoW group is on temporary hiatus, I’ve immersed myself back into Eve with some gusto.  Seems, I’m not the only one returning to the inky cold blackness of space as a welcome respite from an even drearier real world.  Corp activity has been high of late and that always makes for fun, discovery and development.

Nonetheless, its always to important to be working toward a goal (or several) in Eve.  A few weeks ago, I had hit some personal milestones, but hadn’t really set the Next Big Thing for myself in Eve.  The sheer awesomeness of the Hulk has been a big facilitator in creating a new horizon of possibilities in Eve.  I had been thinking about upgrading to battleships (and all the skill training that would entail) but within our little corp, that path has been explored and I was in a bit more of an exploration mode.  I’ll go there, but I was interested in something new.

Since several of our on again off again corp mates are currently back on (and like myself with multiple accounts), I thought something that would both be of use in a personal and a corp setting.  Preferably something that would also help the isk earning power too.  Isk before risk, I always say.  Hence, Hulk before Raven…

Wil has explored the freighter route which I thought about, but the price tag is a bit much for my current budget (though its been awfully convenient to know a guy with a truck).  Actually being able to move product to lucrative markets in volume quickly has allowed me to put isk in the bank rather than wait for buyers to move.

Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the mighty Orca would be a great multi-tool addition.  Part hauler, ship carrier and part mining gang pimper, I think it will be just the ticket for our typical ops for us which tend to be 3+ miners, most in hulks.  I’m really interested in seeing just how many uses I can find for it.

At about 500 million isk, the price would be attainable for me in the relatively near future and the skills to use it would only take about 2 weeks to be able to fly it, and a bit more for some of the most useful modules.

So I took stock of my isk and the state of my skills and with the help of Eve Mon set out in quest for the great whale.  So far, progress has been better than I thought.  I wasn’t sure whether it would be the training or the isk that would be the rate limiting step to Orca-hood.

I’m thinking it will likely be the training time rather than the isk.  I’ve made steady progress and this weekend crossed the 500 million isk mark, another personal milestone.  That will barely cover the cost of the ship alone, but there are all the necessaries that go along with it, not the least of which is about 45 million for the Industrial Command Ship skill book required to fly the thing nor the cost of insurance as well.

Even so, it will require several level V skills– Mining Foreman V and Leadership V.  For me, thats about 12 days and another 6 days respectively.  Still, I didn’t really think I’d be waiting for skills before the isk with a 1/2 a billion isk ship.  If all goes well, I should be able to give myself a shiny new Orca for my birthday.

At least in the virtual world, there is work aplenty and the markets are strong.

More Everything

Well its been a few weeks since I got my Hulk and managed to recoup the investment in short order.  Much more so now that I think about it, because I’ve been pursuing a number of parallel endeavors, all of which required more than a modest amount of isk.

Fortunately, the tritanium market has been very strong lately– easily the highest isk/m3 mineral right now in high sec.  Drop a footnote for unprocessed specialties like Omber or Kernite which are needed for certain missions, but that market has been unreliable even though lucrative.  Even with the outlay associated with these projects, I’ve managed to recoup my up-until-then biggest Eve purchase in about a week and a half.

So what have I been spending my modest flowing wealth upon?  Short answer: upgrades, all around.

Missions and more missions.  Been trying to raise my miner’s reputation and thereby lower his refining taxes.  He’s managed to claw his way into Level 3 missions, but the highest quality agent he can access is 14 jumps from home base.  A few more missions and he’ll be able to access a L3 agent at my main hub.

Improved hauling.  I decided to drop some isk on a few rigs for my main industrial hauler, the Iteron V.  With two Cargohold Optimization I rigs, it can hold a little over 33k m3.  If I wanted to stick 11 Giant Secure Containers in there, I could max out at 42,900 m3.  Loading and unloading 11 cans is a bit more work than I want to do unless its an extraordinary circumstance.  So for most applications, having raw hauling space greater than a jet can works out nicely.  This speeds up hauling considerably.

More mining.  With the acquisition of the Hulk, that left me with a spare Covetor, so I’ve been able to train up my mission runner/hauler to Mining Barge V.  He still needs Refining V to be able to use some of the crystals for the Modulated Strip Miners, but now I can put 6 MSM beams on rock simultaneously.

More passive tankage.  Both my accounts have Drake battlecruisers which I initially fitted out with a passive tank of primarily Tech I gear.  Pooling our resources from missions has yielded enough salvage parts for Wilhelm to manufacture two Core Field Defense Purger I shield rigs for me.  Likewise, I’ve rotated in Tech II versions of my shield extenders, hardeners, power diagnostic systems and shield power relays.  All the upgrades cut my recharge from 800 something seconds to just over 500 seconds.

More efficient ops.  More missions means more salvage.  Where there’s mining to be had in the mission, salvaging is incidental since mining will take some time.  On pure combat missions, though, not having a salvage monkey to deploy has meant either leaving isk on the table or taking quite a bit of time to salvage those 50 wrecks spread out over 150km.  So now I’m the proud owner of two Cormorant destroyers fitted with 4 tractor beams and 4 salvagers on each.  Much faster.

Micro Trading.  Running more missions also means chewing through more consumables, so I’ve been increasing the number of buy orders I have in various places for the items I tend to use a lot of as well as trying to take advantage of temporary price/supply discrepancies for the items I tend to follow.  After a while you get tired of always having to go buy something you need when you need it 4 or 5+ jumps away.  So, I figured that if its something that I need, probably someone else needs it too so why not buy a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand and list them locally?  So far, I’ve been amazed at what kind of convenience markup I can get away with on basics like milk, eggs, butter drones, mining crystals and shuttles.  As a result, I’ve been actively trying to avoid deadheading on a portion of a trip if I can avoid it.  If you’re patient and attentive, all these little things add up.  And best of all, the market works 24/7 so you don’t have to.

Since I rigged the Iteron V, I’m more careful about where I take it, so I’ve been using a Badger II for my trading milk runs.  Plenty of storage and not very flashy.

The Eve of Manufacturing.  Now that I’ve got a little scratch laying around and have become more trade focused, I’ve taken the time to get one account’s manufacturing skills up to snuff– Production Efficiency, Research and Mass Production, so far.  He hasn’t actually started to produce anything yet, but that’s just a matter of time until he’s back to base.  Of course, I’m sure there are more skills I’ll need that I haven’t thought about yet.  Its still Eve.  I’m sure there will be hijinx, the loss of isk and the gnashing of teeth.  Stay tuned.

Battleship on the horizon? Gaff and Wilhelm are on me about getting a battleship so I can stop playing Prinz Eugen to their Bismark.  Certainly in the realm of possibility now, but since I’m still running L3 missions on my own, the Drakes are plenty and I don’t seem to be slowing the fleet down when I get invited to do L4s.  Still, it would be nice, but in these recessionary times, its always nice to have a safety cusion of isk in the bank.