Wednesday, 4 March 2015

PI general questions

A corp member asked a set of general questions about PI.  These are reasonable questions, and I will attempt to give a somewhat reasonable answer.  I will also use too many words to do so.

You know those white, red, green colours when we scan the planets right? White/red means better yield and green/blue means almost none. The longer we extract stuff in a spot, the colours getting more green and blue will gives nothing.
What I want to ask is, Any difference to the the speed of those colours change between cycle times?

If it is, how much different between 1 day, 2 days, or 3 days cycle?

I want to find the optimum setting of my planet and thinking to change stuff a little bit.

All these time when I set the extractor at white area in one day cycle, I got so much yield that eight of my processing facility can't handle, so much to the point some of the yield get wasted. But not too many days later, the colours got green and the yield got low. I have to find another spot because some of my processing facility idling around at those time.

Not to mention maintaining the cycle between 6 pilot takes time too. I spent 2 hours per day to do those stuff and hauling the waters and electrolytes to the coolant manufacturing planet.

I'm trying to find the optimum settings to extend the time between the activity finding new extracting spots while eight of my processors keep working full time.

How you handle these things? considering you got 4 account that means 12 pilots. If using my way, it will be translated to 4 hours spent each day.

Too much white

If you have a planet with too much 'white', I would like you to change your scanning sliders to show more accuracy.

This image is too saturated with 'white'

Scanning sliders

Change your PI selector in the top left from 'build' to 'scan' (1).  Click on the resource (2) want to tweak, and then adjust the slider (3) so it has a better 'mix'.  Personally I try to just have red, or small spots of 'white'.
Good enough


In my experience, I have noticed a few guidelines for resource hotspots and replenishment.

A planet starts out 'pristine'.  That is no one has done PI on it for a long time.  These initially have a bonus to the amount of PI able to be extracted from any hotspot.

The more heavily you farm any given hotspot, the worse that spot becomes.  2 or 3 players farming the same hotspot with daily cycles will strip clean any location in very short order.

There appear to be 2 forms of replenishment:
  • Over time, the entire planet replenishes it's PI hotspots.  The lower the security status, the faster this occurs.
  • Very good 'nodes' of resource also regenerate far more quickly, especially if given 'respite' from over extraction.
On top of this, some (or all?) nodes tend to 'drift' around the planet over time.

So how fast can you extract a resource?  Some of our pilots are extracting huge volumes of P1 very quickly.  They tend to use daily cycles, and I am actually a little jealous of pilots in my own systems earning more out of PI than I do.  I know what they are extracting, because I buy it from them.

Daily cycles come at a cost in time, and they need to spend much more time than I do 'tending them'.

Cycle time differences

I find that for the many of my wormhole planets, on a 2 day cycle, I can leave extractors control units largely alone for months, only shifting heads every week.  This is optimal from a time management, but not optimal from total ISK earned.  One way I solve this is by initially stockpiling the surplus raw extracted material (P0) either on planet, or if you have a low enough tax, in the customs office.  Later as the extraction slows down, feeding that back into the basic manufacturing plants.  After a few months of this, I generally have to move the extractor control units.

I do have some other planets where I have tried alternatives.  I have one lava planet colony which manufactures single planet P2 transmitter, on a pilot with command center upgrades 5.  This planet uses 2 extractor control units.   I barely move the extractor pins, and even less rarely tweak the number of heads on each ECU.  It is amongst my best ISK/active hour planets, but certainly not best ISK per month.

Backed by comments from other pilots in corp playing with the difference between a 10 extractor head ECU with 24 and 48 hour extraction cycles, the 24 hour cycle earns nearly twice a 2 daily extraction cycle, but take much longer to manage as it quickly causes local depletion .

Logging in

If you have regular logon/off times, another time saving item is to have extraction cycles slightly less than the period between logons.  That is, if you log on at 7pm every night (for either 1 or 2 day cycles), set your extraction timer for 23.5 or 47 hours.  Otherwise you will find yourself slowly logging in later and later as you either have to cancel the last few minutes of the cycle (taking time and wasting the cycle), or be watching countdown timers as you wait those last 5 minutes for the timer to finish.

I run PI on all 3 pilots on each account.  One of the time consuming parts of this process is logging in.  Watch for .  This, combined with a separate launcher per account will save time for swapping between pilots on an account.

Once download on demand is live, I will be tweaking my current login setup to use download on demand for patching multiple installations.

Flying time

Only fly when you have to.  Your customs office can hold much more than a launchpad or storage unit.  The majority of my planets are Extract P1 + Import P1 to make P2.  My flying cycle is to
  • Wait until the customs office is full, plus a nearly full launchpad on planet.  This will generally consist of the relevant P2, plus some surplus extracted and refined P1
  • Haul out about 75K units of the Import P1.
  • Warp to customs office (generally via an offgrid tac to misdirect anyone cloaked but following too closely).
  • Swap the customs office contents between the Epithal and customs office.  Export of planet the last load in the lauchpad and put that (largely) into the Epithal as well.  This takes longer than the shortest possible time at a customs office, but so far has been safe enough (especially combined with the misdirect warp above).

Hauling to market

Some pilots haul their own PI.  Other pilots take a smaller price and sell it in the wormhole itself.  I don't feel comfortable in highsec with an Epithal full of PI.  I feel much more comfortable in highsec with a freighter (Red Frog is easier), Orca or deep space transport.


PI has several choices to make between optimising for ISK per active hour, vs ISK per elapsed hour.   It is another element of Eve that there is no single 'right' answer.

One of the Foo Corp pilots runs single day cycles, on all 3 accounts, and is plexing his account plus has ISK for shiny toys, despite being relatively new to Eve.

Another Foo Corp pilot runs only single planet PI and has a much higher ISK/active hour.  He however spends more time shooting red crosses for the rest of his ISK.

Work out how much time you are willing to invest in PI, and how many pilots you are willing to do it with.  Then take your earned ISK and do something with it.


  1. The only issue that remains is the requirement to actually be in the system to be able to move between planet and Custom Office. I wish it was remote like regional market orders or industry job management.

    Almost all of my PI gets consumed in my tech2 manufacture. But I recently moved to attempting mobile deployable manufacture for variety.

    I would have preferred a digital method to enter in the extraction cycles, over the analogue slide bar. It is interesting however to move the slide along so that it can be matched against the consumption of basic factories. But this means an alarm clock or calendar event setting to know when to reset extraction. That's why I just use an arbitrary 6½ day cycle, so that I only need to attend to PI once a week.

    I use both a DST and Blockade Runner - volume depending. DST with the native stabilisers, tanking bonuses and fleet-hold provide a solid performance and reasonable compromise.

  2. I don't bother with trying to get the absolute maximum efficiency out of my PI. And I say that as someone who relies on PI to play. My PI income is my guaranteed PLEX income.

    I run 24-hr cycles on 5 characters. I always run the characters in order and always the same activities in order. So my daily PI consists of: log in to character 1, start PI running (and change ECU/head location where needed to keep 8 processors running), switch to character 2, repeat. Then go back to character 1, move any PI I need to move, repeat. By doing this, I very rarely have to wait to run my PI, as by the time I get to my last character, any remaining timer duration usually has expired. It does take me about an hour to do PI this way if I'm moving it about.

    I don't mind the time, so it's fine. But for those that do, I usually suggest a 2-day extraction cycle, as that give the same yield as a 24-hr cycle, but requires less work on PI over a given time frame and thus increases the liklihood that a player will actually run PI.

    The other major factor for me is that, if I don't attend to my PI every what? Sometimes I just don't feel like it, other times I have to drop attending to PI to go defend the hole, and still other times, well, I might not log in to the game for a couple days.

    It is only a game, after all :)

    My main suggestion for anyone running PI is to put only that much effort into it as you are willing to. No sense making it into a job :)


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