Saturday, November 27, 2010

How to Make the Most ISK From Your Loot

After completing your mission and salvaging and looting all your wrecks, you may find yourself wondering what to do next. In EVE, selling your loot isn't as simple as clicking "sell". You have a few options. You can:
  1. Sell your loot with a basic order
  2. Sell your loot with an advanced sell order
  3. Reprocess your loot
There are not easy hard and fast rules for this. It is extremely situational. The best decision with any given item will depend on the item, the current market conditions, your skills, and your location. Giving detailed, case-by-case directions is beyond the scope of this guide, but I will do my best to give you the basic tools you'll need to make an educated decision.

There are some basic skills that will help you make the most from your mission loot. These are:
  • Trade. This is your basic trading skill. Each level in this skill increases the number of active buy or sell orders you can have at one time by 4.
  • Retail. This requires Trade II to get. This skill increases your number of active buy or sell orders by 4 per level.
  • Broker Relations. This also requires Trade II to get. This skill reduces the cost of setting up an advanced buy or sell order.
  • Accounting. Requires Trade IV. This skill reduces the tax on all your transactions.
  • Refining. This skill allows you to reprocess items into their base materials. This is great to use with items that don't sell much (or at all). You can reprocess ships and modules and a few other things as well. You also use this to refine the materials you mine from asteroids into their base elements. I suggest you get refining to at least IV. The higher your refining skill, the less of the materials are lost in the refining process. With a refining of IV or V, you can often get more ISK by selling the base materials than you would for selling the module itself.
As I said, there are no hard and fast rules for selling in EVE, but I can give you a few basic guidelines. I suggest you do price checks on all items in the beginning. Then see what the item will refine into and what those materials are worth. It's a bit of work with the calculator at first, but as you get more experience, you'll get a good feel for which items to sell and which to refine. Always pay attention though, because market conditions can and will change. If a module is a named module or a tech 2 module, there's a good chance you're better off selling it (especially tech 2). However, again, always check, because not all named modules are worth selling. A lot also depends on where you are in New Eden.

To sell an item in your hangar, right click on the item and select "Sell This Item" from the contextual menu. You will see the following window:

This is the basic selling window. You want to pay attention to how the price compares to the regional average (in parentheses after the price). If this number is red, the default sell price is lower than the average, if it's green, it's above the average price. If it's green, you're golden. Just sell the item and avoid higher broker fees. However, if the number is red, you may want to consider an advanced sell order. Whether or not this is worthwhile depends upon the price of the item, the percentage the simple sell price is below the average, and your own personal preferences and willingness to micromanage. In my early days, if the total sale price was less than 4,000 ISK or if the default sell price was less than 10% below the average, I just took the simple sell. You'll come up with your own criteria with experience.

If you decide to go with an advanced sell order, click the "Advanced" button at the bottom right corner of the window. You will then see the following window:

At this point you can set your own sell price, as well as the duration of the order. You can also sell multiple items at once. To start with, you can set your sell price for the regional average until you get a hang of things. Always compare your total with the total on the previous simple order screen. With an advanced order you pay a broker fee, and sometimes you'll get less money back (even though you're selling the item for more) than you would with the simple order.

If you want to make an even more informed decision on price, you can check out the price history. You can get to the price history from the market window. You can also easily view the market data of any item by right-clicking on the item and selecting "View Market Data" from the contextual pop-up menu.

The market screen looks like this:

You can get to the price history from here by clicking the "Price History" tab above the "Sellers" section of the market window. The Price History screen looks like this:

This chart has a lot of good information including, 5 day moving average, 20 day moving average, median day price, Donchian channel, and volume. The moving averages are lines showing the average price over a 5 day and 20 day period. The median day price shows the avearage price that day. The Donchian channel shows you the high and low prices for each day. The volume (bars at the bottom) indicates how many orders were filled each day. Armed with this information, you can figure out a good price to sell your items at.

Sometimes reprocessing an item is the better way to go. You can reprocess an item by right-clicking on it and selecting "Reprocess" from the contextual menu. You can reprocess multiple items simultaneously by selecting them all, right clicking on one, and selecting "Reprocess". Reprocessing is based on your Refining skill. The higher your skill level, the less materials are lost (waste) when you reprocess. There is also a fee for using a station's reprocessing facilities. In general, I don't recommend reprocessing until you get your Refining skill to at least 4 as the waste incurred from your ham-fisted reprocessing will really eat into your profits.

You'll have to do some calculations in order to decide if you're better off selling or reprocessing a particular item. Remember to figure in the fees for reprocessing. Eventually, you'll get familiar with the items you see dropping a lot, and you'll remember which to reprocess and which to sell. As with a lot of things in EVE, some research and time in the beginning will pay dividends in the long run.

This is just a basic guide to get you started. Feel free to experiment and find your own style. The money you get paid by your agents is a small fraction of the ISK you can make from missioning. Combine salvaging, refining, and smart selling and trading with your missioning to get the most bang for you buck.

Good luck, and I hope you all become EVE tycoons!

Fly smart!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Video of the Week: How It All Began

I am starting a new feature on EVE A to Z. There are a lot of great trailers that CCP has made for EVE, and if you're a new player like me, you may not have seen them all. Each week I will post one of these trailers.

The following video is one of the earlier EVE Online trailers. Check it out if you haven't seen it. It gives a great overview of some of the background of the story in the game.

Fly smart.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Say Goodbye to Your Learning Skills!

CCP has announced they are doing away with learning skills. This is planned to go into effect December 14. Here is a summary of the main points from the DevBlog, which you can read in its entirety here.

  • As of downtime today, all NPC sell orders for the eleven skills in the Learning group (hereafter referred to as "learning skills") have been CANCELLED. They're really not much use in the long run, we don't want to complicate later steps with unusual inflows of skillbooks, and it might go some way towards limiting the amount of scams that we know you're going to be running. Please, think of the children newbies.

FURTHERMORE, as of a patch which should arrive on (or about) the 14th of December:

    • We're not kidding. In your head, in your hangar or in your anything else, they're gone. Vamoosh. Deleted. Sent to the big recycle bin in the sky. Etc etc.
  • All skillpoints invested in learning skills will be reimbursed, including all the fiddly corner cases. If you have 2,012,692 SP in learning, you will find yourself down those skills, but with 2,012,692 skillpoints to redistribute.
  • All skillbooks not currently injected into people's heads will be reimbursed at the old NPC sell price. The money will go to whichever character or corporation owns the container that the skillbooks are in. For example, things in cans you've anchored for yourself will be reimbursed to you, things in corporate hangar arrays or the "deliveries" bin will be reimbursed to the owning corporation.
  • This will also involve cancelling any and all market orders containing these skills. Contracts containing learning skills will have those skillbooks substituted for copies of the Pax Amarria.
  • All new and existing characters will have an extra 12 base points (ie, non-remappable) in each attribute.
  • The 100% training speed bonus up to 1.6m SP will no longer be available. People partway through this bonus will lose the remaining bonus amount. They will of course gain a huge attribute bonus to make up for it.
  • Miscellaneous other cleanup tasks will be performed that are not very interesting, details available on request.
As a relatively new player in EVE, I really don't understand all the fuss with the learning skills. I don't have a problem with them. Sure, I spent a good portion of my first month training them instead of training more "fun" skills, but I also didn't allow myself to become a slave to the process. When I needed or wanted another skill, I trained it. I found an organic balance between training learning skills as needed while also training other skills I wanted. I've only been playing since the end of August, and I have all the learning skills (including the charisma skills) at 4 and 5.

I like the learning skills. I think it's cool that, like in life, you can choose the "quick and easy" path for immediate gain (by training fitting and ship skills right away), or you can choose a more long-term strategy (by training the learning skills), or you can find your own balance between the two as I did.

Now, I'm looking at this from the perspective of a person playing their first character in EVE. Let's face it, you don't need much beyond the skills you start with to do the tutorials, start missioning, and learn the game. I trained my learning skills while I was doing those things. No big deal.

I can, however, see how the learning skills would become more and more annoying as one becomes more experienced in the game and starts training up alt characters. Each character basically has one to two months (or more) of "downtime" in the beginning while they're training learning skills.

I can also see how it is frustrating for some new players that don't have the patience to train the learning skills, but feel like they're at a disadvantage if they don't (but isn't that part of the game? oh well). Ultimately, I see bringing new players into EVE a good thing. If we can make that entrance more enjoyable for them (without dumbing it down or making it to easy), then I'm all for it.

In the end, I support this decision by CCP. It doesn't really affect me, except that now I'll have a few million skill points that I'll be able to spend in other places, which will actually be pretty nice. I'm sure it will also be a nice change for new players coming into the game and for veteran players making alts. I honestly have a hard time imagining how someone could be unhappy with this.

It's kind of a bummer that you won't have the 100% training bonus for the first 1.6 million skill points, but you'll also have 12 extra points in each attribute starting out, so that's a fine trade by me.

What are your thoughts? Please, feel free to post in the comments and tell us all what you opinions on this are. Also let us know if you're a new or veteran player, or somewhere in between. I'm very curious to see how the community responds to this. My guess is that it will be a positive response over all.

Fly smart, and enjoy your bonus skill and attribute points in December!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Vote on the Changes You Want to See in EVE

Everyone, this is your chance to make a difference in EVE, and maybe, just maybe, make it more like the game you'd like it to be.

The CSM has released a list of around 200 changes and improvements to EVE. They're asking you, the players, to vote on the items you would most like to see. The winning items will be proposed to CCP by the CSM.

Please take this opportunity to vote your conscience. It seems every player I ever met has improvements they'd like to see in the game. This is your chance to help make some of those changes a reality. The list is quite extensive, and I'm fairly confident everyone will find at least a few items on there they'll like.

Voting ends at downtime on the 25th, so cast your votes today!

Fly smart.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Moving to a New Mission Area

If you've been following the previous mission guides, then you've always been on the lookout for higher level, higher quality agents. As you do missions for a corporation, your faction will steadily increase, giving you access to better agents every few missions. If you fly to the better agent as soon as one becomes available, then you'll find yourself changing mission areas a lot. That's a lot of moving from system to system.

It seems like some people stay with a less than optimal agent because they're laboring under a false assumption. This assumption is that if they relocate they have to take all the ships and modules they've accumulated with them. This simply isn't the case. There's a better way.

I've done a lot of big moves in my missioning career. I'm constantly looking for better quality agents, and as soon as I get access to one, I pack up shop and move. Because I do it so often, I've become quite efficient at it. I have 2 styles that I use, depending on how long I plan to be in the next area and how far away it is (and whether or not I think I'll be returning to where I'm already at).

Here's something to keep in mind--you really only need one, or at most 2 ships to run missions--your mission ship and a salvage ship. If you're having to do a lot of long moves, or just want to save a lot of time, use the same type of ship for both. I'm assuming you're doing primarily combat missions here. This setup doesn't involve dragging a mining ship with you wherever you go. If you get a mining mission, you can either just buy the ore for the mission and get on with your life, or you can decline the mission (just remember not to decline more than one mission per agent per four hours). I also tend to decline courier missions because of the low payout, but you will be able to do the occasional courier mission if you want with this setup.

A lot of people seem to have this weird sense of pride about missions. They say, "I'm not going to buy the ore for this mission, I can mine it!" Well, that's great. But if you're staying in one system with a crappy agent just so you can have your mission ship, salvage ship, mining ship and hauling ship, you're missing the point. You're never going to get rich doing low level missions with low level agents. If you want to make ISK in this game, you want to get to higher quality agents with higher level missions. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Method 1 - The Quick and Easy 1 Ship Method

Find a good mission ship that will also make a decent salvage ship. The priority here is having a good mission ship. Almost any ship can be a decent salvaging ship. Come up with a good mission fit and a good salvage fit for your ship. When you're ready to move, fit your ship for missioning, except swap out lows for expanded cargo holds (however many it takes to pack your gear). Pack your hold with all your fittings for your salvage fit, and all the extra fittings for your mission ship (hardeners for all damage types, extra drones, ammo, etc). Remember to repackage all your fittings to save some space. Make sure to save both your fits in the fitting menu.

Please Note: I'm assuming here that you're taking the "safe" route to your new mission area--that is you're traveling through high sec only. If you're going to take the "short cut" through low sec (which is fine, I do it all the time), you're going to want to make sure your ship is fitted for PvP on the journey. At the very least put a couple warp core stabilizers in the lows. I'll do a guide on this in a future episode.

Fly to your new system. Empty your hold, swap out the expanders (and/or warp core stabilizers) for your mission lows. Run a few missions. Now, when you're ready to salvage, fit the salvage fit using the automatic option in the fitting screen. Go salvage the missions, come back, refit your mission fit, and continue on.

This method is nice because it only involves one trip. However, it's a little annoying because you have to occasionally refit your ship. This is especially annoying if you use weapon groups because you have to regroup the weapons every time you refit.

For example, right now I recently did level 2's to work up standing with Ministry of War. I used an Omen. It's a great mission ship, and makes a decent salvage ship with 4 salvagers, 1 tractor beam, and a microwarpdrive.

Method 2 - The Slightly More Involved 2 Ship Method

This is a little more involved, but you won't have to switch ships to salvage your missions. I use this when the trip to the new mission area is relatively short, or I plan to be in the new area for a while. Again you're going to use two ships--a salvage ship and a mission ship. However, in this method you will have two separate ships instead of constantly refitting one ship.

First, fly whichever ship has the biggest base cargo hold to the new mission area. Fit it with cargo expanders (and warp stabs if you're going through low sec). Put all your extra mods in the hold, as well as at least 1 repackaged shuttle. Make sure you leave enough expanded cargoholds behind to be able to pack a shuttle in your other ship. (a shuttle can carry two repackaged expanders in its hold, so you can bring two back if you need to).

Fly to your new mission area. Assemble the shuttle, fly back to the old area. Pack up your shuttle in the second ship and fly it to the new area.

It's that simple. I'm able to use the one ship (or two sometimes) to do all missions. My ship is set up for combat missions, and if I do a courier mission, it's a simple thing to swap out some lows with expanders.

A last note: The reason I don't simply repackage my ships and put them into a hauler is because my ships are all fit with rigs. If you repackage a ship with rigs, it destroys the rigs. If you don't use rigs, packing all your ships and mods into a hauler may be an option for you. However, just keep in mind you're making your hauling ship quite a prize for suicide gankers if you do this. I don't personally recommend this method for the above reasons.

I hope this guide helps you with those moves between missioning systems. As you can see, such a move can be very easy and efficient (down to one or at most 2 trips). If you're doing level 1 or 2 missions, I recommend you use the 1 Ship method. You're not going to be at that agent very long--oftentimes after only a few missions you'll get a better agent. If you're really powering through the missions, you may want to consider blitzing them and forgetting the salvage until you get to higher level missions. Once you get to level 3 missions, you can make pretty decent money. At that point, I'd recommend using the 2 Ship method and collecting all salvage and loot for all missions. You will also tend to spend a little more time with each agent at this point, so the 2 Ship method becomes more viable.

Please feel free to comment on this and the other episodes. Feel free to ask questions and make requests for future episodes. Series One is getting very close to wrapping up (unless I get some new requests), and then we'll be moving on to Series Two.

Fly smart.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

EVE A to Z is Joining CrazyKinux's EVE Blog Roll!

In addition to participating in the EVE Blog Banter, EVE A to Z is now being added to CrazyKinux's Blog Roll! Check out the Blog Roll to find a host of great EVE related blogs.

I have just a few more topics to cover for Series One of EVE A to Z, and then I will be announcing the content for Series Two. If there are any new pilot topics you'd like to see covered in Series One, be sure to let me know now via a comment.

Fly smart!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Guide to Salvaging

If you're new to EVE, you're probably wondering how you can make money in this game. Well, my friend, you have a lot of options to choose from. Today I want to tell you about salvaging.

Salvaging is a great way to make money in EVE. You can use salvaging to supplement your income from missioning, PvP, and even mining. Basically, whatever you do in EVE, if you ever find yourself surrounded by wrecked ships, then salvaging is something you want to consider.

Salvaging is very easy to get into, and is something a beginning player can do right away. If you've done all the career tutorials, you've already had a little experience with it. Keep in mind, though, that the Civilian Salvager you used in the tutorial only works for that tutorial. If you want to do salvaging for real, you're going to need a few skills. They are:
  • Electronics 1
  • Survey 3
  • Mechanic 3
  • Salvaging 1
  • Science 3 (to fit tractor beam, you don't need this right away)
  • Refining (to reprocess dropped modules; I recommend getting this to at least 4 ASAP)
Once you have Salvaging (the first three skills are prerequisites), you will be able to fit a Salvager I. This module takes a high slot and can be fitted on pretty much any ship. It takes what is called a "utility slot" in that the high slot you put it into doesn't have to be a turret or launcher hard point. You can also put a tractor beam (or more than one) on your ship. This allows you to collect wrecks more quickly. However, tractor beams are rather expensive (around a million ISK) for the new pilot. That's a lot of overhead to your salvaging operation. I recommend you start with salvagers only, and once you're making good money, then add the tractor beam(s). In order to fit the Small Tractor Beam I, you will need Science 3.

Once you have a Salvager I on your ship, you're ready to salvage. There's a Salvager II in the game, but you have to have Salvaging V to use it. If you're going to be doing a lot of salvaging, I really recommend you raise your Salvaging skill to 3, if not 4. The higher your skill level, the greater the chance you have of salvaging a wreck at the end of the cycle. The higher your skill, the more quickly you'll be able to salvage and the better your ISK/hour earnings will be.

You can make a lot of money salvaging. If you run missions, you can greatly add to your income by salvaging the wrecks you make in the mission. Especially in the lower level missions, you will make two or three (or more) times as much from the salvage as you do from the mission rewards and bounties. It's really worth the time to do it, especially if you do it efficiently.

You can also salvage while you're mining. Salvage those rat wrecks your drones leave behind in the belt. If you explore, you'll find wrecks to salvage in magnetometric sites, as well as the rat wrecks you create in all the exporation sites. If you do PvP, you can salvage the wrecks of other players' ships.

A quick note here: wrecks belong to the player who destroyed the ships. In this way they function exactly like jet cans. If another player (not in your corp) leaves a wreck behind, its symbol will be yellow in your overview (as opposed to white). This means the wreck does not belong to you, and if you loot it, the other player can fire on you. You can (technically) salvage the wreck though. When you salvage a wreck that has loot in it (a "full" wreck has a filled in triangle symbol in the overview, an "empty" wreck has an open triangle), the loot will eject from the wreck in a jet can when the salvaging is complete. You won't give the owner kill rights by salvaging the wreck, but you will give them kill rights if you open the can (or take the loot directly from the wreck before you salvage it). Even though the game allows you to salvage other peoples' wrecks without consequence, many players will be pissed off by this. If you're a friendly sort of player, you should ask permission first. If you don't mind pissing people off, go ahead and salvage it. They won't be able to fire on you if you're in high sec, or if they do, they'll get Concorded. Salvaging other peoples' wrecks without their permission is known as "ninja salvaging". This guide is designed to teach you about the game, not tell you how to play it. That is up to you to decide.

A lot of people will fit a salvager or two on their mission ship in free utility high slots, and salvage as they go. You can do this if you want, but I don't recommend it. Please see this post for more information. In a nutshell, it's far more efficient to complete the mission, bookmark a wreck in each room, turn the mission in, and then return with a dedicated salvage ship to collect your salvage. The reason for this is because on your salvage ship you can have multiple salvagers and use a microwarpdrive. Once a mission is turned in, it is no longer deadspace and you can use an MWD. Just be sure to bookmark each room before you turn the mission in, because once the mission is turned in, all the acceleration gates disappear.

If you have multiple salvagers (which you should), you'll have to decide for yourself whether it's more efficient to use multiple salvagers on each wreck, or to use one salvager/wreck. It really comes down to what your salvaging chance is based on skills, modules, rigs, etc.

Here is what the different levels of the Salvaging skill give you access to:
  • Salvaging I - gives you the ability to use the Salvager I
  • Salvaging III - gives you the ability to salvage Tech II and faction ships
  • Salvaging IV - gives you the ability to salvage Sleeper Battleships
  • Salvaging V - gives you the ability to use the Salvager II
For more information on salvaging, check out the Salvaging Guide on Evelopedia

Your Salvaging Ship

One of the really cool things about salvaging is that you can do it with virtually any ship. I do recommend you have a dedicated salvaging ship (or fit). When building a salvaging ship, here are the things you want to consider:
  • High slots. Generally speaking, you want a ship with as many high slots as possible. The more high slots you have, the more salvagers and tractor beams you can fit.
  • CPU. You want a ship that will have enough CPU to fit all the salvagers, tractor beams and microwarpdrive
  • Cargo Capacity. You want a ship with a decent cargo capacity. The more cargo you can haul, the less trips you have to make to the space station to unload and the more profitable your salvaging operation will be. Salvage takes very little space in and of itself, but if you're going to collect the dropped modules as well (which you really should), then you'll need more space. Note: don't collect the cap booster charges. They take up a lot of cargo space, are practically worthless, and can't be reprocessed.
  • Speed. The faster your ship, the better--especially in your early salvaging career when you don't have tractor beams yet.
  • Capacitor. Using salvagers, tractor beams, and afterburners/microwarpdrives can use up a lot of capacitor. You can save a lot by only having your AB/MWD active when you actually need it.
You will have to decide how to balance and prioritize these attributes on your ship. Figure out what works best for you.

As for the actual ship to use, you can use any ship that fits the above criteria. A lot of people use destroyers for salvaging. They have a lot of high slots, decent CPU, capacitor, and cargo space (at least compared to frigates). They're also a lot cheaper than cruisers or battlecruisers (less overhead in your salvaging operation = more profit). However, I've seen people salvage in frigates, and that's fine, especially if you can't fly or afford a destroyer yet. I myself salvage in a cruiser sometimes. I do this when I go to a far off system to do missions. That way I can salvage and mission with one ship, I just have two different fits (I use an Omen to mission and salvage level 2 missions). You won't be able to fit quite as many salvagers on a cruiser (and you'll have higher overhead), but you'll have more capacitor and cargo space. In the end you have to decide what will work best for you at any given time.

Here is a list of modules you may want on your salvaging ship:
  • Salvager I
  • Small Tractor Beam I
  • Afterburner and/or Microwarpdrive
  • Expanded Cargoholds
  • Small Salvage Tackle I
Depending on when and where you're salvaging, you might want to fit an afterburner and a microwarpdrive on your ship, or switch between the two. If you're salvaging your own missions you've turned in (or someone else's), then you want the MWD. However, if you're salvaging someone else's mission before they've turned it in (more on this in a moment), then you'll want an AB. When salvaging someone else's mission, it's nice to have both if you can fit them.

The Big Money: Salvaging Level IV Missions

If you're a member of a player run corporation, or you have friends in the game who are doing level 4 missions, you can make a small fortune salvaging. A lot of players do level 4 missions to make money in the game. Many of them don't bother salvaging their missions because they can make more ISK/hour by just doing missions one after another as quickly as possible. However, for you, the new player, that salvage they leave behind is many times what you could make doing and salvaging your own missions.

If you're in a player corp, ask in corp chat if anyone is doing level 4 missions that they're not salvaging. Don't be annoying, and don't be a douche, but if you're nice, you may find someone who's willing to allow you to salvage their missions. They'll either let you have all the salvage and loot, or they'll split it with you (50/50 or some other arrangement). Either way it's a great deal for you. Also, once you fleet up with them, you'll get a share of the bounties, mission rewards and standing rewards for the missions. This is a great way for a new player to earn some standings and some ISK with low risk.

Keep in mind, though, that level 4 missions are dangerous to the new pilot. You should wait outside the mission area until the mission runner tells you it's clear for you to come in and salvage. In a mission with multiple rooms, you can salvage a room behind the mission runner. The most efficient way to do this is to salvage a mission behind the missioner. If you wait to go in and salvage until after the missioner turns in the mission, you can use your MWD. This takes a bit more planning because the missioner will have to bookmark each room and leave copies for you in the station via a contract. But if you can work this out together (especially if it's a friend you do this with often), it's a very efficient way to operate. Otherwise, just stay a room behind them and use your AB.

I hope this guide proves useful to you. If you have any requests for topics you'd like to see covered in EVE A to Z, please feel free to let me know via a comment. Thank you for reading.

Fly smart.