30 Days of (space black) Night – Week 03 – Massaging the shoulder of Orion

Wherein the reader is illuminated and amused by details of my third week back with EVE Online, specifically a tale of one man’s battle to free ore from giant space rocks.

Day 15

I was unable to wrest myself free from the Lord of Terror and spent my free time playing Diablo 3. On the plus side I finished the game with my female sorcerer and got her to 60. On the downside I blew a lot of money on end game crafting so I could look like some kind of fantasy pimp.

Day 16

I had really enjoyed Danganronpa and had gotten about half way through it when real life got in the way. I really wanted to finish it so I decided that today would be dedicated to doing that (and mining in the background). I was further from the end of Danganronpa than I thought which I suppose was a good thing for my mining endeavours. What wasnt a good thing for my mining endeavours is the fact that the system I had chosen as my new mining hub seemed to be getting over-mined. I saw a few players talking about moving on as the system was infested with bot accounts mining out everything. I wasnt too sure about the veracity of that information as players in MMO’s are always quick to call “Bot!”. But ultimately it didn’t matter, whether it was players or bots the fact was that all 15 asteroid belts in the system were getting the shit mined out of them which was going to be a problem.

2014.03.14.20.45.03But not one I was going to worry about when todays session of EVE was just background guff. So I mined on. My plan to use a “mining scout” worked out quite well. I pumped my Executioner full of speed enhancements and used it to scout out the asteroid systems in advance. If I found any of the asteroids I was looking for (Massive Scordite) then I simply set a bookmark which let me warp directly to them with my slow as shit mining barge, which cut out the interminably slow “Fly to asteroid field, fly at the slowest speed ever to the asteroid I want to mine”. So that part of my new mining plan is working fine.

After a few hours mining (told you I was further from the end of Danganronpa than I thought) I decided it was time to test out the new ore hauler that had caused me so much aggravation. While you can’t expand its special ore hold with cargo expanders its default size is pretty impressive. It takes me about two hours of mining in my Procurer to amass enough ore to fill it up. So I loaded it up and flew to the closest place that gave me the best price for my ore (my rough rule of thumb is that I’ll fly to anywhere within about six jumps, but after that each jump has to offer a sizeable price increase). Luckily the best place for selling ore in the region was only seven jumps away. So I sold my ore for a cool 9 million, which I then used to outfit my ore hauler with some speed increases and a lot of shields. Dont want all my work getting blown into space.

2014.03.17.04.22.18By this point the other miners/bots had pretty much made shit out of most of the asteroid belts. I wasnt sure when or how the belts respawned (which I really must look up) so to mix things up a little I decided to try out some mining missions for the local NPC corp. They were exactly what I expected, fly to X, mine Y, fly back. I did one or two and then went back to hauling my stockpiled ore. I also tried out some refining, well to be more precise I did some refining cost analysis. The efficiency of refining depends on the station, your standing with the station and your skill in refining. None of these are particularly high for me at the moment so after checking out the costs I still make more money selling the raw ore, though its something I may want to try training towards in the future. Over the course of the day I made around 24 million, which on the one hand is nice, but on the other hand feels rather inefficient. However I was only doing it in the background while playing Danganronpa so in light of that its pretty good. I may need to look for another system but we’ll see.

Day 17

Well today’s adventures in EVE began on a rather sour note. I received an email on my alt-account urging me to upgrade from my trial account to get my name on the EVE monument. It said that the closing date was March 31st. Now my initial reason for re-subbing was to get my name on the aforementioned monument. At that point the “closing date” was March 1st. March 31st was two days after my current sub ran out and considering that in the next two weeks Metal Gear Solid V:Ground Zeroes, Final Fantasy X & X-2 HD, Deception IV, Infamous Second Son, Dynasty Warriors 8 XL Complete, Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls and Steins;Gate are coming out I’m not sure if I’ll have the time to play. I’m trying to discover if this a “second chance” and the names gathered on the 1st are done or if I’ll need to go ahead with my alt account training scheme. It’s not the end of the world but it may prove a little annoying.

Though clearly that irriation added some clarity to my thinking as I remembered a number of things I’d been meaning to check out that may improve my experience. The first of these was jumpclones, if you have the right skill and enough standing you can make clones of yourself that you can swap into, you can only jump once every 24hrs but the benefits are pretty big. The major one is that you, or in this case, I can keep my expensive implants safe. Higher level implants really help with skill training time but also cost a fuckload so it makes me rather risk averse considering how poor my current cashflow is. With this I’ll be able to take some disposable ships into null sec and try out PvP or mining or whatever the fuck I feel like without worrying that I’m going to lose a hundred million’s worth of implants.

2014.03.15.14.43.09When I actually got into the game the first thing I did was run a few mining missions in a half-hearted attempt to raise my standing. I then decided to go back to my normal mining routine. It was while I was vegging out during a strip mining cycle that I realised I’d never bothered to check the different prices for the different varieties of Scordite (the ore I’m currently mining). To quickly explain ore, each ore comes in three different varieties, the basic ore (in this case Scordite) and two variants, one of which offers +5% yield when refining (Condensed Scordite) and one which offers +10% refining yield (Massive Scordite). Even though I wasnt refining the +10% ore variants (unsurprisingly) sell for more. However what I hadn’t been aware of was how close the difference between the +5% and +10% were in this case. Massive Scordite was selling for around 5 ISK per unit more than Scordite, which would mean an extra 400,000 ISK per full hold. However Condensed Scordite was only selling for around 1 ISK less than Massive, which meant a loss of 80,000 ISK per hold. Now while I was obviously better off mining Massive when I could it also meant that when I ran out of Massive Scordite asteroids it was fine to move on to Condensed Scordite as opposed to calling it a day.

I also took some time to look at my cash flow in detail and I realised that I’m losing a sizeable amount of profit to station tax, around 15% by the looks of it. Something I’d been peripherally aware of but hadn’t really noticed. If I was going to be making my money in the immediate future by flogging stuff I’d need to do something about that. So a quick google later it seems that I’d need to raise my standing with the NPC Faction and corporation (unsurprising there) as well as train up a skill called Accountancy which gave a flat reduction in sales tax. Needless to say my next goal is to buy the skill book for Accountancy.

If I was going to be dealing with NPC’s so much it might be time to re-visit the social skills list. As a) there aren’t that many social skills at all and b) I was following the grand tradition of making social my dump stat, I’d only trained a handful of them and only to fairly low levels. I did have +1 Social Implant in but it might be time to think about upgrading that to +3. Then again, it didn’t look like it would take that long to get to level 4 in most of the social skills I wanted so I might just save my money.

2014.03.14.15.33.43I ended up mining on and off throughout the day, switching over to Condensed Scordite when I “ran out” of Massive Scordite asteroids to mine made the other miners in the system, bots or not, much less aggravating. I only hauled one load to the point of sale, where I stocked up on some salvage drones but had to forego learning Accountancy as it has a pre-requisite (Trade Skill 4) which I didn’t currently meet. I picked up the salvage drones because the five combat drones I was using to kill hi-sec NPC pirates were overkill and I might as well get something out of the wrecks. Of course as I’m writing this I realise that I have been mining for quite some time and killed a few pirates and totally forgot to throw the salvage drones in my drone bay. Oh well.

 

Day 18 – 20

If I were a better writer, or at least a less lazy one, I’m sure I’d have ample grist for the creative mill. One man trying to forge his future, his fortune, his destiny out of cold ore and colder space. Fighting off pirates and the predation of other players and bots strip farming entire asteroid fields. Battling with his short attention span and the vagaries of Alt+Tab to insure the most efficient mining cycles. Abandoning those dreams for Diablo 3’s sweet clicky action. I mean when you think about it’s basically the story of man and civilisation in microcosm. But best not to think of it.

So, now that I’ve written enough bollocks to stretch this to two paragraphs and thus feel a bit better about it, I havent been playing a lot over the last few days. I’ve been busy with what passes for real life and more importantly (and time consuming-ly) Diablo 3. Which I got back into in a big way. So I’ve only been mining here and there, usually when I a) remembered or b) was doing something else so I could mine away in the background. As I alluded to above my issues with competing players and bots mining the absolute shit out of the asteroid belts in my current system of choice continues. If I wasnt so lazy I’d just switch to missioning when I run into them. But usually after I cycle through the belts in system I usually just switch to something else. Even so this desultory mining has been relatively profitable. Well, profitable by my probably pauperish standards. I’ve around 60 million ISK, which means I actually have enough to buy the next ship in my PvE “upgrade route”. The Harbinger Class Amarr Battlecruiser. I’d also have just enough money left over to give it the basic outfitting I want. Of course as I havent stuck to my initial training schedule it will be four days before I have the skills to use that basic configuration trained.

2014.03.15.22.21.24I keep forgetting to log into my alt account to update their training queue, which would annoy me more if I was fully onboard with the idea of an alt account but I’m not quite there yet. Annoyingly enough I can’t get my alt account to work with (the endlessly useful) EveMON. I’ve it set up the same as my main account so maybe it’s because it’s a trial account? Oh well, it’s not a major problem as I know more or less what I’ll be training my alt in any way. (I did eventually get it working, it turned out that when I was setting up the API key for EVEmon on my alt characters account that I’d set it up but forgot to add any permissions to it).

Probably only going to mine for an hour or so today, after that I might bring some of my collected ore to market and pick myself up the Harbinger. On the other hand maybe I should train the skills first so I’ve something to look forward to.

Day 21

Well despite my intentions to only mine for a little while yesterday I actually ended up mining for a few hours. The reasons for this were two-fold, the first is that I was brought low by illness, I was feeling rough as fuck and wasnt really up for much so mining in the background while I burned time watching tv or trying to read was perfect. Secondly it seems that my fellow miners are in a different time-zone or gainfully employed so there was a relatively low population of competing miners which I took advantage off. I made around 30 million ISK but I decided to hold off on the Harbinger for the moment. Again the reasons for this are two-fold, the first is that I want to have all my skills in place so I can fit it and use it straight off the bat. The second is that I am very close to having 100 million in savings and I want to hit those six figures (which will plummet well down once I buy that Harbinger).

I still havent decided if I’m going to subscribe for another month (or in this case, cheese my alt characters account to get an extra month for both). While there have been a ton of games released this month I’ve miraculously managed to stay strong and so far resist buying any (specifically I havent bought Atelier Escha & Logy, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and inFamous: Second Son). Admittedly I was going to buy some yesterday to take advantage of the “Spend $60 get $10” offer on PSN. But I ended up going to bed sick and the offer has ended. On the other hand I have pre-ordered Final Fantasy X & X-2 HD, which is out Friday, Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls which is out next Tuesday and the official localisation of Steins;Gate which is out this Monday week. So that’s a lot of playing to be done as all three games are fucking massive. Next week also sees the release of a number of other games I want (Deception IV, Dynasty Warriors 8 XL, etc.) so who knows if I can stay strong?

On the other hand another month of EVE, especially as I’ll basically be getting two accounts out of it, is fairly cheap at €15 and would let me keep training my skills. On the other other hand (which sneaks out of my belly Total Recall baby Buddha style) I am flat broke and unemployed. Ah decisions decisions.

2014.03.19.12.54.40To move from my depressing real world finances back into my much healthier EVE Online finances, today I’m planning on only mining a little, just enough to bring me up to and over that first 100 million ISK hump. I mentioned in the last post that I wanted to look into exploration and planetary interaction. I looked into exploration and it seems a little risky for my liking, I will give it a go, but not until I’ve set up my first jump clone so I don’t risk my current implants. I still havent looked into planetary interaction but I think I might have the capital for it now so before blowing my load on a Harbinger I will check it out.

At the end of week 3 I’m again unsure how I feel about EVE Online. One thing I can say is that it certainly offers something unique. While it’s obviously an MMO it doesn’t really offer, or satisfy my urge for, the things I normally look for in an MMO. It does have its own appeal and offers a kind of reassuring feeling of continual progress which I like and you don’t really find in other games. In fairness though I’ve barely scratched the surface. I also feel that my isolationist mode of play probably doesn’t help, essentially walling me off from a fuller EVE experience. But I find “fuller” MMO experiences, especially when they involve the social aspects of the game, lead to increased responsibilities and demands on one’s time, which eventually make the game feel like work. I’m not saying I’ll never go down that road again but at the moment its something I want to avoid. Not least because I’m afraid that at this point it would be all too tempting to lose myself in a virtual world and identity.

Vent your spleen

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