A trade for profit

In EVE Online, i’m still- and will likely continue to be for a while- doing career agent missions. Having finished the Industry career agent missions, i’m in the process of doing business missions. For one of those, i needed to get hold of a tracking computer. The agents generally don’t care if you produce these items yourself or simply buy them off the market. After thinking about it for a bit, i chose to buy it- because to produce it, i’d need to get ore, reprocess it, get a blueprint for the tracking computer and manufacture it in a station. Each of these steps leads to some losses- of time, materials and money.

The blueprint might be worth an investment, though. It’s available for around 100k ISK and in my home station one of those tracking computers goes for 40k – manufacturing one costs me around 10k ISK. As i’m in one of those training stations where pilots start off with their career agent missions, it’s clear that the tracking computer is more expensive here than in Jita. As Jita is only 4 jumps away, i decided to take a look (it’s very possible that i’m able to check Jita prices from the distance, but i haven’t looked into that for now) and fly over. Indeed, the tracking computer was traded for about 9.5k ISK in Jita.

I thought about that for a while and decided that i’ll take the opportunity to try a small trade to gain some profit and see if the computers sell quick enough to be anything else than a money sink. I bought one for myself and 10 to try it out, transported everything over to my home station, finished the mission and put the remaining 10 tracking computers on the market- undercutting the 40k price by 10 ISK. To my surprise and excitement, half of them sold before i logged out an hour later- granting me 200k ISK and thereby already being a profitable trade.

Bear in mind: this is, again, pocket change. Even if i sold all ten, it would be a profit of around 300k ISK. It’s not really one to pursue for very long as i think the demand is limited and the profit is miniscule. But for me, this is a small victory – the first profitable trade.

EVE: drowning in space

My everchanging priorities, goals and ways to achieve those goals in EVE are testament to the complexity of the game in question. As you can imagine, i’m still trying to figure it all out.

Mining attempt

Yesterday i decided to sell off all my mined ore- it’s more profit than reprocessing and i can get the later materials cheaper if i simply buy them whenever i want to produce something. Since the ore hangar of my mining frigate wasn’t full, i decided to take it for another spin (quite literally) in an asteroid belt. Mining in EVE is what i’d call relaxing- mostly, it’s just your mining ship orbiting an asteroid. When you have a mining frigate with an ore hangar, but still only use one mining laser of the second-lowest quality, it can take some time to fill it up.

But i can’t just go out and mine without weapons. While possibly every other player who wanted to could blow me up in an instant, there’s always NPC pirates to be considered- they turn up in the asteroid fields from time to time. In the regions i’m mining in, they’re not really dangerous, but without weapons, i couldn’t fight them off. I guess there might be ways to fit my ship so it would effectively take no damage from those, but i’m not there yet. In fact, ship fitting is a rabbit hole i haven’t even glanced into beyond the obvious (i don’t need a wiki to understand what a cargohold expansion does). My mistake: i didn’t check ammo. So when those npc pirates came, i quickly ran out and had to leave the asteroid belt, travelled to a space station where prices were high and earned about 750,000 ISK. Yay me!

Standings

As i need to be in good standing with someone to get player-owned-structures or manufacturing in general to a profitable activity, i looked for an agent from the npc faction i have the best standing with and found one. Doing that involved returning to my “home”, changing ships, and travel to that agent and begin missions. It was then when i understood people calling those missions a grind. The rewards for completing a mission were around 50k ISK and 25 “loyalty points” – i had to look what they’re for. Turns out that every NPC faction does not only track your standing with it but also those loyalty points, usable in the corresponding loyalty store of the corporation. Looking at one, i saw the cheapest item going for almost 400 loyalty points (and some ISK)…so, about 15 missions just to get the cheapest item. I decided, again, that i need to take a step back.

Career agents

EVE is like a big sea of possibilities and ways to get there. I’ve established that the old tutorials are gone, but what i was doing before my mining trip was actually the next best step- doing missions for the career agents. Those are the ones that pay well. I’ve also learned that now, skill books are mainly sold on the market – last time i played you were able to get the most basic ones from missions- and while i think that is still the case to an extent, it’s not many you’ll get there. I think skill books can also drop from npc pirates, but i don’t know that yet. So i bought a few skill books off the regional market- they are seeded in by CCP in “school” stations, so prices are ok, i guess, although it’s possible players sell them for less in Jita. So that’s where i am right now, doing career agent missions- i’ll do them all to get some ISK, free ships, equipment and some skill books.

Opportunities

Opportunities are the new tutorial in EVE online. They’re achievements, basically, fulfilled by the most basic actions like traveling from system to system, docking or even chatting with people. I had a look at my opportunities map and saw that one of them asked me to use the corp recruitment interface. There, i could look for player corporations of interest to me. I checked the activities i’m most interested in (mining, manufacturing, trading) and took a look around. See, names matter to me in MMORPGs, they are a first hint at how the player(s) behind the characters or guilds tick. EVE corporations seem to have terrible names- well, they might fit into the dystopian universe of the game, but i found them terrible. There were a few corporations, however, that seemed kind of interesting.

Joining a corp

Now i’m really on the fence of joining other players in EVE, but i don’t know if it’s going to be an international or a german corp. I made contact with one of those corporations who are active in World War Bee and welcoming of newbies- i might join them if the answer i’ll be getting is a positive one. Or i might go with a german high-sec corp. I have to say, though, that a high-sec only corp seems to be…well, quite limited in their activity and ability to grow. I don’t know why; i have no real desire to leave high-sec anytime soon myself, but somehow, i expect corporations of some experience to be active at least in low-sec, as well. Right now, i feel as if i’m drowning in the deep sea that EVE provides, i’m feeling as if i’m making regress instead of progress. Other players might be able to help.

Opportunities only cover very basic actions for now- there are supposed to be opportunities you have to unlock by doing others and they are of some help to a very new player, but most of what is covered there, i know already. And they’re not really helping with finding my way to the shore, take some steps in the direction i want to go.

Certificates

Certificates do that. At least in terms of skill progression. Certificates are collections of skills you have to learn in order to become better able to do some of the stuff. Nothing is holding you back from starting to trade on day one, but it gets easier when you have learned the skill necessary to place buy orders in stations you’re not currently in. To get the “Production Manager” certificate, for instance, you’d have to train the industry, mass production and production efficiency skills to level 3. Certificates are what i am looking at right now to find out which skills to train.

Happy place

So- activity-wise, i’m going with career agent missions for now. To put some roots down, maybe, and get more direct help, i’m thinking about joining a player corporation and as far as skill progression goes, i’m looking at certificates. See how that has changed from wanting to trade, manufacture or mine? Seems i was getting ahead of myself. At some point, though, i’m bound to touch base. It’s an exciting time and i’m enjoying it very much. I had to force myself to stop playing yesterday because it was past midnight when i logged out.