Connections

Recently my internet connection has gotten so bad that I am hardly able to play. Every 5 min or so I get a socket close, if I am able to log in at all. Kind of ironic, considering that I live in a city which considers itself a technology stronghold.

Because of this I am not willing to send my hauler to low sec though I really have to stock up my supplies. I also can’t dive through wormholes. So I am resorting to theorycrafting and shitposting on Reddit.

Thanks Comcast.

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A bittersweet find

As I mentioned before, my main is a pure explorer. And as an explorer there are some things I always wanted to find. This was one of them, mainly because back then its value seemed immense to me. In three years it never happened. Now, with POSes being outphased I finally managed to get one. While I won’t be able to sell it anymore (well, I could but not for a good price), I am very happy to be able to check this one of my pod list.

POS

Blood Raiders Psychotropic Depot

One of the things I hardly ever did so far was running the higher DED sites. Within the Eve lore DED stands for Direct Enforcement Department, Concord’s police division which tracks down and attacks criminals. DED sites are rated by their difficulty from 1/10 to 10/10, with 10/10 being the most difficult. You have to scan them down and the more difficult ones are in Low-Sec and Null-Sec. They have the potential of dropping valuable faction loot and blueprints.

So when I scanned down a “Blood Raiders Psychotropic Depot” in Karan (Aridia) I decided it might be a good time to give one a try. Checking Eve Uni’s wiki I learned that it is rated 5/10. I wasn’t sure whether my Stratios could handle it but after some encouraging words from a friend it didn’t seem impossible.

The site consists of 3 pockets. The last pocket contains a ship (the Exsanguinator) which might drop faction loot. The composition of the rats can be found here. Bottom line:

  • 1. pocket: lots of ouch
  • 2. pocket: lots of ouch
  • 3. pocket: dayum….so much ouch

I usually fly a rather cheap active armor tanked Stratios (less than 20k EHP). It costs less than 400mil Isk and I break even with one or two evenings of exploration. So I knew that I had to be a bit more careful. The first pocket did not decloak me when landing. I slowboated away until the closest ship was about 60km away from me. I then decloaked, launched my sentries and took care of everything headed towards me. While rather slow, this method made sure that I never went into deep armor.

The second pocket has several sentry towers at the outgoing gate but from I read you can just ignore them (I killed them anyway). While using my sentry drones approach I noticed two pilots constantly jumping in and out of the system. Since my site has to be scanned down and there is no way to fly directly to the second pocket I wasn’t too worried. But I still kept an eye on dscan and not surprisingly one of the pilots soon launched probes.

Once the 2nd room was cleared I decided that I had to change my strategy. All sites I had checked mentioned 3 webbing towers upon landing plus a substantial amount of alpha damage. So I launched my Mobile Depot and swapped my medium armor repper with a 1600 steel plate. I am quite happy that I did that since at this point I noticed that I tanked at all for EM damage, the main type of damage of the local rats. I had simply forgotten about that. A few moments later the error was corrected. 60k EHP should be enough to survive the first seconds.

Just when I scooped up the depot an Astero landed on grid and burned towards me. In addition local started to spike and I saw a Legion, a Stiletto and a Vexor on grid. Not sure what the others were flying but I didn’t want to find out. But I also didn’t want to give up the site. So I took the gate.

Instantly upon landing I got redboxed and webbed. The Exsanguinator was 40 km off me and that was the only thing I cared about. The thing with these sites is that you can kill the boss and then just warp off. Return to the site after 2 min or so and the rats will have despawned and only the wreck remains (hopefully filled with loot). I launched my medium drones, bookmarked the site and started to align out. Local was now at 7 pilots and my armor started to melt rather quickly. When the boss finally popped I was at 5% armor and instantly warped out.

I am not sure if the others entered the room but I doubt it. They would not have been able to handle the damage. As soon as I landed I messed up big time: I launched my depot and decloaked. Not the best idea when the enemy might have combat drones around and to be honest I have no clue why I did that. The depot seemed to take extra long to online and when it finally did…I dc’d.

I hate my ISP. Of course it is Comcast. Over the next 5 min I spammed the launcher button only to be greeted by an error message. I worried about my ship. I worried about my loot. When I was finally back I was alone system. I refitted and started to warp to my loot bm. The can was still there! And so was the loot:

Capture3

Time to finish: 50 min

Cost: 4 Infiltrator drones and a heart attack

Loot:

  • Corpum B-Type Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
  • Corpum B-Type Medium Energy Neutralizer
  • Corpum B-Type Energized Kinetic Membrane
  • 18th Tier Overseer’s Personal Effects (guaranteed drop), ~42mil Isk
  • Total worth: ~ 550mil Isk (Jita sell)

Not bad. Might do this more often.

 

Update: Seeding a Low-Sec market

A few weeks ago I started my project of seeding a Low-Sec market. The main goal is not Isk (as I said, there won’t be a lot of profit, if at all), I just want to see if I could do it. Right now I plan to stop when I see that 2 or more competitors are starting to participate, forcing me to adjust prices. Having actual local competition would tell me that others consider this place a good place to sell, basically a market place.

I started with mainly selling the fits for a kiting and a brawling Tristan. In addition I brought is basic consumables people might need: ammo, repair paste, cap boosters. My small ancillary armor reppers usually sold within minutes, I assume that somebody wanted to flip them since I sold them below the regional average. I feel bad for the last person since on the next day CCP finally raised the probability of SAAR BPC drops. Since then the price has dropped by roughly 60%. Because CCP said that the change in drop rate would only be temporary I assume that many traders will hoard them right now betting that the prices might rise again.

Capture

It took a while but eventually people started buying; on average I make 30 sales per day. I know that this is peanuts but since I am starting at 0 this is still quite nice. Interestingly there are things which don’t seem to sell at all or only slowly: Mainly equipment such as scram, webs, drones. I assume that the notorious pilots in that area already have a stockpile in their hangars and that it will take a while for these piles to deplete. Also many might not have realized yet that these things are now on the local market. Another possibility: People don’t bother with frigs and go for bigger stuff and/or T2 ships. When I go through my sales list there are some regular customers now. They mainly stock up on consumables such as ammo and stuff. On their killboard I see that these players rarely loose ships so I am not too surprised.

Capture2

Bottom line: There does seem to be a group of players willing to buy more local. So a market could be possible. Now I have to figure out, what exactly these players want. I might have to dive more into the data and filter out the most common players to see what they are losing. I am just too lazy to write something for that.

A long time ago I had an alt who did nothing but look for offline High-Sec POS and wardec the owners. If they didn’t respond I would then go and shoot the modules hoping for gigantic loot pinatas. Unfortunately that never happened but a few of them actually dropped a significant amount of minerals which had been collecting dust until now. Since I won’t use them for anything I decided to build Thrashers and Vexors. While the minerals are still not completely free (the cost of wardecs + time to get that stuff to a central place) building these ships is still cheap for me. They are now on the market, together with mods to try out different fits. And after reading Sugar Kyles post again I stocked up on Liquid Ozone, Cynos and Expanded Cargoholds. I don’t really get why but for some reason Cargoholds sell very well. I

Right now I spend 2 days a week hauling things to the station and setting up sell orders. I don’t want to spend more time on this. My next goal: Increasing daily sales by 50% (so 45/day). Kyle wrote that it took several month for things to take off so I am fine with baby steps. My current investments are roughly 2.7 bil.

Squinting for science

Crowdsourced science projects (aka human-directed computing) relying on gaming communities are nothing new. One of the first projects I can remember is from 2010 when a group developed a game in order to predict protein structures.

PD2
The willingness of strangers to help out with these kind of tasks is a huge thing for scientists. Very often we are faced with tasks which are important but so time consuming that it is difficult to catch up while still having to do experiments. This usually results in huge backlogs of unanalyzed data. Add this to the lack of fund needed to hire help and the immense publication pressure scientists are under and you can see that this system is not sustainable. Ironically, analyzing the data would often help identifying necessary experiments and exclude those which are not worth performing.

In the past labs used to hire undergrads for these tasks. They get the precious experience for their CV and the lab gets free labor. I heard of a scientist who went a step further and started a company in China which does nothing but trace shapes on electron microscopy images. The demand is there, though I doubt that the average lab would be able to afford this service. Not sure about companies though.

Anyway, when CCP announced Project Discovery, a collaboration with the Human Protein Atlas, people got excited. Eve players would participate in identifying the localization of cellular structures which in turn helps with the characterization of the protein. Scientists would finally be able to comb through stacks of data within a relatively short amount of time. Simply put: Eve players would try to figure out where certain proteins can be found within a cell. Knowing the location of a protein you a lot about its role. For those who prefer to know the real world application: Knowing where to find a protein and what it does will help understand diseases and how to address them. If you know that tires belong under a car you will understand why a car is not moving when you find the tires on top of the car.

I was very excited when Project Discovery (PD) started and I believe that the implementation was fairly well done, considering that this was Terra Nova for both sides. What I found very discouraging is the fact how badly PD communicated with the player base. While they had set up a subreddit, a forum post and a Twitter, they were kind of weak in motivating and encouraging their participants.

From my experience people are much more involved when they actually understand what they are doing and what comes out of it. PD chose to go the path of least resistance and released rather uninspiring updates about the latest findings, most of them which got ignored because many players didn’t know that there was a dedicated subreddit. I would have hoped for more interactions, AMA with participating scientists, reports about where this data actually came from, anything which would make the player feel as part of a team instead of feeling like another F1 monkey. There wasn’t even a final goodbye post when the project ended. At least none I was aware of. No summary of what has been achieved, no future outlook, nada. What kind of collaboration is that?

PD1

Now CCP is starting another round of PD, this time providing support for the search of exoplanets. Players get to decide whether a drop in signal intensity might indicate the transition of a planet past a sun. So far, I like it. It is still the first week, so there are lots of bugs which need to be addressed but I can see myself playing the game once in a while. What I really hope is that CCP will add a magnification feature to the window. So far it can be quite a pain for me to properly place a marker (bad eye sight) and I often find myself squinting at the monitor trying to make sure that I am doing it right.

I really hope that the communication with the players will be better this time. CCP has recently shown again that they have lost their ability to properly talk with us and I hope that PD is not picking this bad habit up.

Crickets and bad luck

I love scanning. It might sound weird but for me it is relaxing and engaging at the same time. The scan process is straight forward and even the recent changes have not been able to scare me away from it. Of course I don’t scan for the heck of it. I want to find prey in my chain, something I can attack either solo or with fellow wormholers.

Living in California and playing mostly at night has made me accept the fact that I would rarely find something. Once in a while it’s an Epithal or a gas mining Venture and in 100% of the cases they are stabbed up and get away. It makes sense: When I play Europe is still mostly asleep and the Australians are still at work or just not at home.

So when I get to play in the afternoon over the weekend it is always exciting because I like to think that the chances of getting content are much higher. However, recently things have been depressingly quiet. I would scan down 20 to 30 holes just to find some person permadocked. I just have bad luck it seems.

As a result I spent a lot of time just camping holes which look promising. Recently I found a vanilla C3 with a LS static and lots of ships on dscan. Turns out that two corps lived in there and none of them had bothered to set up a citadel yet. Why they wouldn’t leave their ships in the SMA is beyond my comprehension but it made me curious enough to stay a few days.

Every day I would log in only to see the same: Lots of ships, no activity. Both during my night sessions and my weekend afternoon sessions. Not only did they ships just float in space, but also no other wormhole corp seemed interested in running the 20+ anomalies which were piling up in there. So while I waited I spend my time thinking about running those sites myself or miraculously watching the POS shields go down revealing a gigantic loot pinata.

To be a bit more productive I scanned down the chains as much as possible, both in order to find somebody and also be able to provide an entrance for friends should something actually happen. Last weekend I was lucky to have a HS chain which allowed me to jump quickly to the system in which I run my research jobs. The chain was fresh so I took the time and headed out.

When I returned after 30 min the hole was gone. With an uneasy feeling I made the 22 jump trip to the LS static only to see it pop right in front of me. After over a week of camping and crickets I had to leave the hole on that day the corp decided to finally log in and roll their holes. I know that Bob does things for a reason but I still raged while I logged out and called it a day.

Seeding a market

I don’t care too much about grinding and ratting. I understand that Isk is needed to fly shiny things but I don’t see the appeal in these activities and from what I read most of the people who actually do these things do either.

Instead I prefer to do passive trading. I enjoy spreadsheets, I enjoy analyzing data. On the other hand I like to do it at my own pace without feeling that it becomes a second job. So instead of watching my items like a hawk and instantly updating the price as soon as somebody undercuts me I like to go for items which sell slowly but consistently. Alternatively I trade in areas where the trade volume might be relatively low and as a result has less competition. My trading char has almost max skills so I don’t have to be too selective when finding items (it actually is a pain to find enough to fill all my slots). I do wish that I could put more stuff on contracts since selling max researched BPC is a nice income.

Since reading Sugar Kyle’s post about seeding a market I always wanted to give it a try. Recently, while exploring Low-Sec and taking pretty pictures, I noticed that the local area was relatively active (pirates and militia) but the market was poorly stocked and overpriced. High-Sec was only a few jumps away but not all pirates can go there without getting shot. It seemed like a good opportunity to try out my luck here.

First thing I did was placing a few popular products on the market, things which always sell (think Warp Core stabs, repair paste or ammo). After a week I came back and behold: almost 2/3 of my items still hadn’t been undercut and sold well. So demand and competition were reasonable. Time for the next step: Finding a niche. These are the three things to consider:

  • In less busy regions, station trading is not an option – even ignoring the fact that this is low sec; nobody comes here to sell shit.
  • Buyers are lazy: As I said, the market is non-existent meaning products are scattered throughout the region without a hub people can rely on. I need to provide an incentive to prefer my system over others.
  • I don’t want to spend more than 2 to 3 hours max per week on this.

This means that I have two options: Sell general consumables or sell items which complement each other. Consumables in a Pvp area are: Ammo, repair paste, drones and drugs. Regardless what I do, these are things that will sell, no matter what. Items complementing each other are ships and fits. I can try selling a Svipul for weeks but if the buyer can’t find equipment to fit it with there is just no incentive to buy the ship. Buyers are lazy. Nobody wants to travel through x systems just to collect a working fit. Especially in Low-Sec.

A beloved staple of frigate Pvp is the Tristan, an incredibly versatile ships with a low entrance barrier. You can fit it for a brawl or for kiting, it can neut or shoot, combat drones or ewar drones. It seemed like a reasonable ship to continue my project. I selected 3 popular Tristan fits which a reasonably trained pilot could fly and bought enough to fit 10 of them in total. In addition I stocked up on ammo and drones.

Getting it into Low-Sec was a bit unnerving considering the amount of deaths Dotlan shows for that region. I used a stabbed Iteron and lots of bookmarks. Plus I never carried more than 200mil per haul. After a bit more than an hour everything was in place and I was ready to sell.

I am not a fan of scorched earth. Overpriced items are a great way of making profit but I am convinced that it won’t work long time. Especially if I want my system to be known for a good market. While my prices are higher than Jita they are reasonable and still way beyond what the few competitors around here are charging. I won’t make a lot of Isk with this. My napkin math tells me it will be just barely 10% of my investments after tax, not considering the time I spend on hauling. Doesn’t really matter though, it was never about the money. I am pretty sure that my local competitors will start wardeccing me once they notice the drop in prices. But there are plenty of ways to work around them and it keeps things spicy.

Of course there is a high chance that everything I did and said is bullcrap. I will come back after a few days and see how things are going.