Monday 30 September 2013

Rubicon on a planetary scale

This is a speculation post.   As such it is subject to the vagaries of herd behaviour.

The single biggest change for me, is the player owned customs offices.

When bashing a customs office, you can achieve a lot given time and a t1 AFK fit glass cannon battleship or 2.  I understand that concord will not intervene, but really hope that players are given a suspect flag while shooting one.

I confess to a 'rent seeking' desire; that is, to complain about how the evils of highsec player owned customs offices will destroy wormhole/null/lowsec customs office ownership.

But it won't; not significantly.  Those doing extraction based PI will still suffer huge penalties in highsec; those wanting better returns in exchange for potentially higher risk will still seek out lowsec, null or wormholes.

There probably will be a difference in factory planets.  I can see many barren planets being set up as P4 factories, with 0% tax. 

I see many small industrialists doing so; then enjoying the attention of the bigger players, especially with planets close to trade hubs.

I have noticed already a large spike in certain P4 (advanced commodities) used in the construction of customs offices.  My personal speculation is that this will continue until after the expansion drops and the rush to build customs offices is over.

Long term, I do see a probable fall in both the P3/P4 prices, as more players do highsec import based manufacture on low/no tax planets. 

I also see a probable fall in lower priced PI commodities (Biofuels, Bacteria); as these are often lower bound by the highsec PI tax rate.

I think that the rest of the materials will remain largely as is, especially supply limited items.

There may also be a move away from single planet PI and towards multi planet PI as more players get access to reasonably taxed customs offices; I am unsure if this is enough to counteract a resurgent interest in PI long term.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Research numbers

A corp member would like me to do some research for him.  That makes sense to me, I have specialised research skills that take time to get; he does not. 

Please find below the email exchange, including his request and my response

From: <xx suppressed xx>
Sent: 2013.09.16 21:18
To: DoToo Foo, 


Do you have time to research some BPO's for me?

I'm interested in the following BPO's:

Hobgoblin I Blueprint
Cap Booster 50 Blueprint
Phased Plasma S Blueprint
Incursus Blueprint

If you could come up with a price for those BPO's ME researched.
Re: Research
From: DoToo Foo
Sent: 2013.09.18 13:12
To: <xx suppressed xx>


Absolutely happy to research for you.

I do my research (primarily) in POS.  We are currently charging our highsec researchers 11,500 isk/hour for ME (Materiel Efficiency) (10,000 isk/hour for wh based research).  I suppose I should also charge a token for the use of the character research slot, but lets ignore that for the time being.

The question is how much isk/how long you wanted the research to be done.  POS based research is faster.

The other thing with research is that 1 point of ME has a huge impact; the 10th point of ME research less so, and the 90th point very little.

Hobgoblin I has an ideal ME of 91, taking 5 days, 17 hours, each ME takes me 1h 30.
Cap Booster 50 has an ideal ME of 90 taking 1 day 10 hours; each ME takes 23 minutes
Phase plasma S has an ideal ME of 29, taking 1 day 4 hours; each ME takes 57 minutes
Incursus has an ideal ME of 2400, taking 1875 *DAYS*; each ME takes 19 hours. 

To put the Incursus in perspective:
0ME : unit cost 328,453 ISK
1ME : unit cost of 313,026 ISK
10ME : unit cost of 300,672 ISK
50ME : unit cost of 298,671 ISK
1000ME : unit cost of 298,133 isk
2400ME : unit cost of 298,119 ISK

A rule of thumb is nothing needs more than a month of ME research.

0 ME has 10% waste
1 ME has 5% waste
10 ME has 0.9% waste
50 ME has 0.2% waste
Ideal ME has no waste.  That is the rounding errors on the formula is less than 1 unit of any mat.

So in summary, what ME do you want on each blueprint?

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Mopping up

The main fighting is done and dusted.  Their POS is destroyed, along with most of their front line ships.  Their precious items hauler is destroyed in the flytrap.

We now have the joy of mopping up.  This means taking down the obviously insufficient small and medium POS.

To take down these POS, we also want to un-anchor our incapacitated modules.  A couple of repair modules on unskilled pilots will be fine?  Umm.  no.  I had previously taken down Customs Offices with barely sufficient DPS; Unlike a Customs Office with passive shield regeneration that must be overcome, each unit of armour repaired stays repaired. But there are so many units to be repaired.

So, position repair ships just outside the shield, lurk under POS guns, and try to pretend that you are not AFK.  If you ever find a T1 logi ship repairing POS guns, you can probably guess that they are paying as much attention as a miner.  The remaining POS guns are however another matter, they don't sleep so much.  Sometimes you really are at keyboard and actively spamming dscan, honest.

To put a module back online, you must repair not only armour but also hull.  Both must be at 100%.  Not 99.99999%, which still shows as 100% but is not.  Is there any way to display raw numbers rather than just the percentage?  I spent a lot of time not knowing what it was that I had to repair, having both hull and armour repairers on guns until the modules became 'anchored', so much more satisfying than 'incapacitated'. There are no hull repair drones, and the hull repair modules that I used seemed to be very close range.  5k is a long way from the safety of a POS forcefield.

Also, after repairing a module, make sure to restock it with ammo.  I spent way to long under the 'protection' of recently repaired and onlined guns, assuming that all those guns I had just repaired had their remaining ammo (hint : they did not).  A Hoarder with spare ammo put aside has its advantages.

Eventually I break down and set up some real repairing ships and repair drones.  Much much faster.  This time I really am at keyboard and almost always paying attention.

Once all the modules are repaired, start stripping modules.  While you can now launch modules and repair them from within the safety of your POS, no such luck with collecting them.  I used a small/fast/tanky industrial and spent a bit of time warping away then back to the next module. Faster than slowboating, though I also did my share of that.

Finally stripped all the modules and offlined them.  On the last small POS I was wondering what an SMA was still doing on my overview.  I had not picked it up before putting the POS offline.  No harm or loss done, though that was good fortune and not good management.

Fortunately, POCO shields regenerate themselves.

Monday 23 September 2013

And the walls come tumbling down

The important timer happens.  Their re-inforcement timer finishes and they become vulnerable.

It's a week-day timer for me; I should be at work.  Instead I am home sick (really), and I eventually manage to log on.

Their POS is smashed. They lose 2 T3 strategic cruisers.  Rumour has it they have thrown everything valuable into an industrial and logged out, and maybe another T3 strategic cruiser also logged out.

One of our POS come out of re-inforcement at this time; no one thinks they will even attempt to meet the timers, especially with lots of friendly ships online and around.

Daktaklakpak. and Cold Moon Destruction have successfully completed the reverse eviction. (Both are recruiting), leave with a 'call us if they turn up again', and head off to both sleep and then cause mischief in other parts of space.

We set up a flytrap POS where theirs was, or at least where we think theirs was.  There is still some discussion about where a POS will be placed by the game. "Center of grid",  whatever that means, but comparing bookmarks (old and new) make us think we are in the right spot.

Now, a flytrap POS, for our purposes at least, is a deathstar POS, mostly surrounded by warp disruption bubbles.  We made mistakes in setting up, we know this.  (As in not much point in having guns anchored when most of our ammo is back at the main tower)

The flytrap still had a kill, followed shortly by 

For those that don't like following links to other sites; that kill is our POS tower destroying a Bestower full of expensive but portable items, followed by the POS destroying a rookie ship with the same pilot a few minutes later.

Moral of this story.  Don't log out on all your alts in your POS.  When logging in your industrial in a hostile system, ensure the space is clear.

I do not consider myself bloodthirsty by nature.  I still took great delight in knowing we had organised those reports.  Tower defence games at their best.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Red frog corporate theft, and my solution

What gives a second rate, part time blogger the right to offer advice to an otherwise far more successful corpration?

In first life, I work for a medium sized financial organisation, I am one of those that enforces separation of duties. I know (a lot of) how we fight fraud.

I hear that Red Frog lost 45B in isk and ships from their insurance plan, from a director level theft.

First of all, that hurts.  However, I don't see terrible things happening out of it; they will recover.

What I don't know is whether 45B was a small part of their insurance fund, or the entirety of it.

I read that it was a director that went rogue.  What are Red Frog doing with directors for insurance corporations?  A very bizarre decision.

Trust is a necessary evil of doing business.  You want as little to do with it as possible. You want a single defection to not destroy your entire assets.

How I would set up such an insurance scheme is with (at least) 2 insurance corporations, and other players with divisional wallets. 

The CEO's of each insurance corporation should be different real life people, of long term standing, with as much proof of that as possible.  A player of the standing of chribba (the real one and not fakes) is the type of player you want.

Each insurance corporation has an approximately equal share of the insurance fund.

Some of the items in the insurance fund will be locked down by vote items; maybe capital or titan BPO's that are undergoing research, or maybe simply copying.

One of the corporations should have a working 'division', holding a small reserve and maybe a few ships.  Multiple real life players may have access to this account.

Member insurance payments should be deposited into an account (or corporate division) that has nothing to do with insurance claims. 

All other assets (ISK, maybe plex, ships) should be stored across all available divisions, where one player (plus CEO of necessity) has access.  These divisions should represent players from different timezones so that they are available as quickly as possible.

There would be an 'insurance board', of many players, each with access to at most a working division plus one of the reserve divisions.

If a CEO goes rogue; you will lose that corporations items, less any asset locked down by vote.  This will be at most 1/2 of your assets, and should be less (due to locking items down).

If a single member of the 'insurance board' goes rogue, you lose your working account and 1/14th (2 corps, 7 divisions) of the reserve accounts/ships.  Lets assume that the Red Frog insurance corp lost everything.  A 45 B loss deserves to make a post on  However a 4B from a relatively new insurance officer would hardly rate a mention.

Saturday 21 September 2013

Industrial Corporations

Gevlon asks why there are no industrial corporations?  

I think they already exist.  However due to mechanics (kill own members without issues, lack of POS security for more than 7 players, wardecs), many are small scale events.

To a degree, any corp advertising as a research, mining corp, manufacturing or trade is your 'industrial corporation'.  Well, those with more than 3 pilots maybe.

I am not sure at what point the combined Foo corps would be considered 'an industrial corporation' by Gevlon's definitions.  I had a look at our numbers, and am considering that just maybe, we are becoming one.  We make the best we can of existing corporation mechanics.

It could be that because we are wormhole based, missing the empire facilities that many players are accustomed to, that a corporation to provide these services makes sense in here.

We even have a touch of his 'exploitation' in that we have a buying program paying a little less than players will get in trade hubs.

If you are interested in a PI based wormhole corporation, please see

Ps.  the Industry defence series will continue on Monday.

Friday 20 September 2013

Keeping Watch

At the end of my last post, their POS was under re-inforcement and completely bubbled.  Our medium POS was also re-inforced but not bubbled.  A POCO had just come out of reinforcement, but with the number of 'us' online, there is no risk of loss.

The combined natives (us) and our newfound friends (Cold Moon Destruction and Daktak), had plans on shutting them down inside their bubbled POS.

Maintaining a 24 hour/day watch, in sufficient numbers, is a task. 

The defenders have the choice of when to make a break for it.  They can organise to check for attackers and 'make a concerted push' at a time that suits them, and at a time that does not suit you.

You do leave a few online.  Your bluff is that your allies are only a 'batphone' away.  Sometimes this is true; other times your allies are asleep.  Even a failed break-away attempt brings the attackers the cost of additional needed surveillance.  For defenders, feints are worth considering.

The besieged, with their re-inforced POS, can no longer empty large POS storage arrays (LSAA, CHA), but can use ship maintenance arrays.  If the besieged overwhelm the standing guard, it can take minutes (or hours) to get reinforcements online; in which time their escape with the most valuable items has already happened.

We know; we have now been both the siegers and the beseiged.  In both instances, there were gaps with those standing guard.

Guard duty, staring at the same screen for many hours straight, is a tiring job. Especially on the back of a grind of POS re-inforcement.

While we were sieging, they broke one of the warp disruption bubbles, and even managed to re-inforce our small pos and a few more customs offices.  The purpose of the small pos was as time sink and backup ammo store, so I am pleased it was paid attention.  I noticed that they left our large POS alone (now with a huge number of backup guns; Please let this be a huge number.).  As residents, we should have been more on the ball.  Our new friends were spending time; we could have spent more.

When we got organised, we replaced the broken bubble (with a few large T1's,  so much smaller than the T2's).  But we had to be online and pay attention. 

We are now waiting for their re-inforcement timer.  Much better than waiting for ours.

Thursday 19 September 2013

Tables turned (again)

For a space ship shooting game, I spend a remarkably little amount of time shooting things.  Except for the odd customs office.

Logging in, finding a tower, and a some customs offices under re-inforcement, is ... well not part of my normal plans for the day.  Well, in this instance it was expected, just not desirable.

What was of interest, was the other fleet in system.  Very merrily beating up on a tower.  In the final stages of bringing a POS into re-inforcement.  Their tower, not mine.

My new found friends from Daktaklakpak. and Cold Moon Destruction had turned up, and had brought lots of ships.  They said they might, but I was not expecting this many.

They took one look at my ship, and told me to go and refit.  The wormhole was open.  Go directly to trade hub; do not pass go; do spend some ISK.

There was little chance I was going to have a meaningful impact on the POS re-inforcement.  I don't need kill mails; I have lots of them ... as the target.

I heard that some were running low on T2 ammo.  I offered to buy.  They put in orders for lots.  One may suspect that they might just have asked for more ammo than they used.  I really don't care.  If you are going to shoot things in my defence, you may have all the ammo you want.  Thousands of rounds of T2 laser crystals might be used, or might be simply used another day.  I will cope either way.

The other thing that was wanted was T2 Large Mobile Warp Disruptor bubbles.  At this point, I could launch t1 mediums, but never had.  6 * T2 larges are not exactly cheap; but won't break the bank.  They were going to cage the opposition POS.

I flew back home, this time with a Nereus rather than my POCO bash fit Myrmidon.  Ammo plus interdiction spheres.  Refill the ammo supplies of those wanting it. 

Wait just a bit .... There. The hostile tower is re-inforced.  And their timer is during some of our friends peak online time.  This looks good.

Now comes the icing on the cake.  Their POS is then surrounded by the 6 T2 bubbles, blanketing their POS.  They simply can not enter warp.  I didn't grab a screenshot unfortunately, but for those that spend time scanning; think 6 probes blanketing a signature, fully overlapping.

A wormhole guard is set, and we do a bit of tidying up.

I think that we might just come out of this in one piece.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Siege in earnest

After our evacuation of our industry, we looked around. They had set up a POS. One does not set up a medium POS for a random frigate roam.

I didn't know.  Bless. (Regular readers may already know I use bless as replacement for other words, but even I had to go back and edit this one.)  Ok. We thought they were trouble.  Now I know it.

Check the configuration of our large and medium POS. No we are still not happy, but it was not terrible. I hope. Finish moving everything we can into the large tower. 

The large tower will be our line of defence; as strong as I can make it given the time we have.  The medium will have some life in it.  The small tower?  It's job is as a small timesink, nothing more or less; token defences.

I can't fly some of the ships.  I can't even look at the contents of our Personal Hanger Array, let alone move stuff out of it.  Some members have not logged in before the siege started.

So now we wait, but not for long.

Next time I log in; and a couple of customs offices are re-inforced.  Our medium tower is under attack.  Joy to all (or at least to some). 

Ok. Get my POS gunner online.  That most worthy of all pilots that will lay waste to the heathens at the gates and save us all.  Or otherwise known as the pilot that could get an oracle well into armour before the dual basilisks counter my most ... ineffective of attacks.  I really need to read up on POS gunning, or have another gunner available.  I try neuting the basilisks, but that seems to fail as well.

The helpful peanut gallery on various neutral and friendly chat channels suggests that a second gunner will really help with the focussing; I can neut the basilisks and then focus fire an oracle.  (requiring several guns all locked at the same time).  I can't pull it off, and instead, just concentrate on putting additional guns online.  I thought I had a lot of guns?  I was so wrong.

While this is happening, I am in discussions with their diplomat. Mmm. We still had not heard back from their references.  Oh we can still contact them?  But you won't stop shooting until we pay?  You won't actually destroy anything structural until we have another chance to talk?  Of course that is generous; the timers seem to suggest you will leave it 36 hours anyway.

Things are decidedly looking grim.  On the plus side, the evacuation yesterday went well.  They are attacking our medium POS, and not our large one. 

Spread my alts, and log scanners out deep in space.

All is not lost, but things are looking grim.  I am however considering options.  Fight? Surrender? Tough it out and bunker up, replacing anything destroyed later?  Setting up in a new wormhole? Moving everyone to our other wormhole? Plan C?

I always have a Plan C.  I mention Plan C to a couple of people to see if it is as crazy as it seems.  It is, but just might work.  But wow, lets keep that one to one side for now; no going back from that one in a hurry.

I am not pre-disposed to surrender.  Play for time, see what options come about. Make opportunities.  Talk.  Think.  Read.  Sleep.

Ps: yes, there are things I could have done differently, and suggestions, recommendations are welcome in comments.  There is however a delayed broadcast; and the events have already unfolded well beyond these posts.  Those that were involved know the outcome. Those with sufficient investigation skills could work it out.  For the rest of you, come back for the next post.

Tuesday 17 September 2013


All groups have times that all are on; and only a few are on.  Even in that recent large null war; groups set timers for when they thought it would disadvantage the enemy.

Maintaining a lockdown for 24 hours is difficult, tiring, boring. While they are locking a system down, they are not out earning ISK, pvping or otherwise doing enjoyable activities.  They almost certainly will be dual tasking, doing another activity somewhere.

We had been locked down, our wormhole exit bubbled and guarded.  Our POS had not yet been re-inforced.  We had industrials, but not enough on field to force our way out.  And we had a ransom demand.

I had already managed to sneak in a large tower, fuel and some fittings, and a ship or 2.

We were watching for a time with only a few of them on. They were watching us watch them.

They held the wormhole to an otherwise unknown system. I had sister scanning gear.  I scanned down the exit, and chatted to friends.  Many friends.

They were secure in their bubble camp on our wormhole.  I had a stealth bomber.  I stealthed past their camp, and found an exit, and as such, also an entrance.  This was a critical turning point.

Remember what I said in the last post about remembering what ships are there?  PVP'ers like taking out *bling*.  2 T3 ships guarding the highsec exit count as bling.  I asked for help.  I offered a couple of Tengus as targets. 

An ex-corp member who moved into Daktaklakpak. brought a corp member to play with our unwelcome guests.  Daktak also brought a Cold Moon Destruction member to play (I think this was when Cold Moon destruction turned up; it was a bit of a blur).  Loot filled Tengus in shootable space are apparently attractive targets.

And play they did.  Our contribution? We had online a fleet of industrials keeping those tengu's interested.  Well I think it was a little more than that; I think we did have one combat ship on grid.

Daktak and Cold Moon turned up, and we spent the time stripping the furniture and and silverware dumping it into the nearest highsec station.

As part of this I made to make a call.  I could dual box industrials and haul everything myself, or I could give other online players additional permissions.  I don't have a lot of time.  Configuring POS permissions, saying you have access to this division takes time.  I knew that we needed to get stuff out.  Several hauling members simply got director permissions during the evac.

Before we started, one of our members said you could not send a c1 wormhole critical without going mad. 

Our new found friends kept our unwelcome guests busy.  We kept busy with a constant stream of industrials.  We would jump our full industrials into highsec fly to station, then return empty.  As we jumped back into our C1, we were usually followed by first the unwelcome guests, and then by Daktak/Cold Moon.  Our unwelcome guests would then jump back to highsec, unwilling to field T3's vs our industrials.  Sometimes we did take a bit of shield damage; but that was mostly all.

Our new friends however were quite concerned that the wormhole was shrinking at an alarming rate.  If the wormhole went critical, they were gone.  If it got boring, they were gone.  I assured them that I appreciated their time and while they were happy to stay, we were happy to shuttle stuff.

During this time, our unwelcome guests contacted me, dropping the the value of the request for ISK to half of what was originally asked for.  I said that I still had to receive a response from their references before we knew what we were doing.

Well, I don't know if we were mad or not, but we certainly collapsed the N110 (1,000,000,000 kg's) with industrials weighing 13,500,000kg.

Our friends left, as promised when the wormhole went critical.  Our uninvited guests also left the field, leaving only a heavy interdiction cruiser (HIC) on the wormhole.

This is when the only loss of the night happened, one of our pilots had gone to get pizza, and was not paying attention in the right channel.  He came back to fly one last trip, straight into the HIC bubble.

The HIC pilot, slightly bored, turned off his bubble, and went to loot the ship, and blow it up.  We had eyes on the wormhole in a cloaked scanner, and got yet another ship out while the HIC was out of place.  The HIC pilot moved back into place, and we went afk. 

An hour later, with the wormhole clearly critical, even the HIC pilot logged out, and we resumed hauling.

We got as far as moving low value gas before the wormhole broke entirely.

At the end of the Evacuation, we still have in our C1:
  • 1 Large tower (new and partially set up)
  • 1 Medium tower (old but reconfigured)
  • 1 Small tower (even older and a backup ammo supply, also belong to another of our corps)
  • A full set of customs offices
  • Some really bulky yet low value gas and ore.
We are in a much better position.  What could possibly go wrong?

Monday 16 September 2013

Industry and handling attacks

You might have been wardecced. Your low / null / wormhole POS or POCO might be under attack.

Two options spring to mind: Stand up or Roll over (you can even do a mix of both).

Don't panic; well not too much anyway. Those attacking you have more experience, but you don't need to be helpless.

I will talk to anyone, any time.  Hostile, Friendly or Neutral (if there is such a thing - maybe in highsec).  Calm, rational, approachable.  Cautiously honest.  Give as little information as possible, but don't be afraid of asking open questions.  Avoid closed questions, you need to discuss with corp members before you can answer them.

Treat hostiles like you would external auditors in real life.  Don't volunteer information.  Avoid lying if at all possible. If you do need to lie, avoid getting caught.

You need time.

Before rolling over, you want references.  There are many players out there that will offer a ransom then blow you up anyway.  There are others that stick to their word, but if you already are paying a ransom, you have little method of re-inforcing ethical behaviour.

Play for time. Talk is cheap. It costs no ISK to ask what your attackers requests are.

Do they have references that they honored previous ransoms? You need time to contact those players and research that they are legitimate. No point whatsoever paying a ransom to known scammers.

Did the last group that paid ransom get visited by another group soon after?

 What pilots, ships have you seen.  Write both down.

What to do with that time

Look at the corporation's bio, their pilots on evegate, their killboard, their current wardecs, eve who for a list of pilot names.

You have a chat log; for me, on windows 8, it is in  <user>\Documents\EVE\logs\Chatlogs.  This will help you remember conversations and pilot names.

Corp Evemails will show what infrastructure has been attacked.

Eve NPC locator agents will help to see if they are in relevant regions. Now you have a clue what you are up against.

What times are they active? Kill logs will show this.

If it is a highsec wardec corp with multiple wardecs, Use third party couriers like red frog. Keep a low profile, or simply create a new corp. Many highsec wardec corps will drop the dec with no action after a few weeks.

Put any POS into your choice of offensive/defensive configuration, with all industry offline.  Review your POCO re-inforcement times.  Do they suit you?  Can you make the times difficult for them.

If hostiles have been seen knocking at your front door, it is time to phone a friend. Do not beg or  demand.  Offer the opportunity to those PVP inclined.  Bribery works.  Let me pay for your ammo.  There are mercenary corps out there.  If it is a choice between paying 1, 2, or 10B for an unknown group of pirates, or 1, 2, or 10B for a merc corp to rescue you, what would you prefer?

If someone has recently attacked them in numbers, contact their enemies.  The enemy of my enemy might be my friend.

This is a post that will most likely live a long time, and have changing availability, so I will not list current merc corps.

Possible links :
Remember how I told you above about recording what ships?  Some players especially like blowing up expensive stuff. T3, Capitals, T2 battleships. While I have never seen one, players will fly across the universe in a rookie frigate to get on a titan killmail.

Phone a friend.  Do your friends have bored PVP friends.

Probable posts coming soon:  Evacuation (at least of industry), Fight, Plan C, Clean-up.

Friday 13 September 2013

Disaster Recovery Plan, Business Continuity Plan

A disaster recovery plan is a process to recover and protect infrastructure in the event of a disaster.  What will you do when an incident first occurs?

A business continuity plan is a process to continue your business (possibly at reduced capacity) in the event of a disaster.  How will you recover from your incident?

My real life background is as an analyst for medium sized financial organisations.  I use terms such as these in real life.  In real life, at work, we assume that the worst could happen.  Our building and primary infrastructure could be destroyed or be made unavailable without notice.  If we can not prove that we could recover, we would not be allowed to continue in our industry.

There is an upcoming series of posts, tagged Industry Defence talking about this.  In game, we had an incident, and this series is about not only the theory, but also some of the practice of what to do.  I know of a draft post from a friendly participant that will be published as part of this series.  I will link to any relevant blog/forum post of those involved in this incident, even relaxing some (but not all)  of my safe for work requirements.

I am being deliberately vague about the outcome.  During the incident, I did not know how it would play out, and so readers can share some of that too.

Good business practice ensures you do not put all your assets in one place, subject to a single incident.  I follow this practice, even if it means additional administration, and sometimes a lack of specialisation.

Starting questions to ask yourself, if an incident did occur:
  • What backup plans do you have?
  • What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? (SWOT analysis)
  • Are you diversified enough.  That is, if you are shut down in one place, can you continue elsewhere?

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Keeping your Research POS (slightly) safe

In Eve, a little paranoia is a good thing.  They really are out to get you.  I have never let that stop me.

Today's post is a note about Higsec research; and not the story that this commenter wants me to tell (and yes, in Eve, I have been busy.  A story for another day).

The good news is that a highsec POS can only be taken down by a wardec.  Concord will turn up in any higsec system before you POS is in trouble.  As such, you can have a 100% research/industry POS. 

The bad news is that wardecs are not that hard to organise; though you will get warning. 

To minimise the risk of wardecs to get your POS location, you need to be stronger than POS one over from you.  Unless it is personal, given a choice of a moderatly defended POS, and an undefended one, a rational 'pirate' would prefer to take the undefended POS.  There are plenty of those around.

Anchor a full set of offensive/defensive modules.  Multiple POS gunners are useful (Starbase Defense Management; requiring Anchoring 5).  If you have a Caldari tower, and many research POS are; you could anchor your bonused missiles; but be aware they go offline when your POS is re-inforced.  Have something else anchored to take their place.

Learn how to fit a fighting POS even if you think you will never need to. I am influenced by my wormhole background, so keep handy.

Keep your blueprint originals in an NPC station.  It not only is easier to use, but BPO's also won't be destroyed if the worst comes to it.

Learn Scientific networking and do your copying, ME and PE science remotely.  Again, not only is it easier (my researchers are also traders and manufacturers), but locator agents can not give away the location of your research POS if you are not in that system.

If you do get wardecced, and it happens, strip your labs of anything not used for defense; mats for invention, blueprint copies, offline your research modules and online your defences.  You could even unanchor modules if they are worth more than the jobs they have in them.  Ensure you have sufficient online defences.  Ensure you have spare batteries. 

When onlining defences, have a countdown timer with a buzzer.  My android phone has one; you can find these on the web as web pages.  Use an alarm clock; anything.  The two minute timer to online stuff becomes very tedious to look at when onlining all those modules.

If the unfortunate happens, and your POS is knocked over, so be it; PVP players sometimes lose their ships; industrialists sometimes lose their infrastructure.  Pick yourself up; your BPO's were safely in their NPC station.  You lost your POS and any in progress jobs; but it is not the end of the world. 

Questions to ask yourself.  Was the area too congested?  Was it personal?  Did you have the weakest POS? weakest community? 

Put your POS into perspective; Your POS is expensive; that fuel to run it is even more expensive.  You replace fuel every month.  Pick yourself up, fix what went wrong, and set up again.

When the aggressors have moved on and the wardec finished, if the POS is still standing; you can online your research, and carry on, again asking yourself the questions above, and fixing what went wrong.

There is another post (or 3) coming soon about getting help, and the value of knowing what to look for, and remembering what you have seen.

Friday 6 September 2013

The costs of POS research

TL:DR; POS are great for research, but be prepared to spend 10K/hour for copy and material efficiency slots.

The Foo Corporations run research modules in our POS, in both highsec and wormhole spaces.

This post looks primarily at the costs of research POS, rather than their benefits.  I wrote some of these up in this post.  In summary of that post, the benefit of POS research is the ability to get nearly 4 times as much research completed rather than using highsec stations. (I can't speak to null research slot access, not having any experience there).

A hypothetical research tower

Lets take a hypothetical medium Caldari POS, using

Caldari towers are generally used for dedicated researdch POS, for the increased powergrid.

This contains 5 Mobile Laboratories, 2 Advanced labs. 
Each Advanced Mobile lab has the following slots:
  • 3 copy (time multiple 65%)
  • 2 invention (time multiple 50%), 
  • 2 material efficiency slots (time multiple 75%)
Each Mobile lab has the following slots :
  • 1 copy (time multiple 75%)
  • 5 invention (time multiple 50%)
  • 3 material efficiency slots (time multiple 75%)
  • 3 production efficiency slots (time multiple 75%)
So, our hypothetical POS has  :
  • 11 copy slots
  • 29 invention slots
  • 19 material efficiency slots
  • 15 production efficiency slots
The copy and material efficiency slots are in high demand in empire space, with many of the NPC slots having queues of a month.

The production efficiency slots are not generally overwhelmed like copy or ME research, but are still useful, due to the time multiple bonus.
The time multiple is a bonus; reducing the total time for any jobs with that mulitple;  eg 4 days of materiel efficiency research in an NPC station would only take 3 days in a POS.

The invention slots are only useful for long invention jobs.  They are a pain to use, as everything needs to be in the POS (BPC's, decryptors, datacores, parts etc), as well as the inventor.  In an NPC station, the pilot doing the inventing can be systems away according to your Scientific Networking skill.

I do not feel the need for 'fast' invention jobs, when for everything other than ships, it only makes an hour difference, especially as my invention pilot does more than sit at the POS all day.

The only time we use our POS invention slots are for ship invention as it takes days rather than hours.  For everything else would rather leave these idle and pay for NPC invention slots.

Number of researchers per tower

A researcher with Advanced Laboratory 4 can do 10 concurrent research jobs.  To fully utilise this medium POS, we need 3 full time researchers to use the copy/material slots; another 2 researchers to use the production efficiency slots; and will potentially soak up some invention slots with the remaining research slots.

So, as a rough idea for number of researchers by tower size:
  • A small caldari research tower supports roughly 2 full time researchers.
  • A medium caldari research tower supports roughly 5 full time researchers.
  • A large caldari research tower supports roughly 10 full time researchers.


For costs, I look at the copy and material efficiency slots, with the other slots being a low value bonus.  A medium tower takes 20 fuel blocks / hour.  As of this post, approximately 15k ISK /fuel block.  So for fuel, we need 300k ISK/hour.  Assuming 100% utilisation (which is harder than it seems); across 30 (copy + material efficiency) slots; this is 10K/slot/hour in fuel costs.  This compares quite poorly to highsec research direct costs, but are available now.

A highsec tower has an additional requirement of 1 faction charter per hour; current value of 3k Isk/hour, or about 1% of the fuel costs.  This is so small, that we ignore this cost in our price setting.

Researched BP's

I am currently building up a set of researched and copied BP's, both for use and for sale.  Many BP's can be sold researched well in excess of these costs, if somewhat slowly.  I have not had much luck selling blueprint copies, and seeing some main region copy slots only having 3 or 4 day wait suggests that the demand is not as strong on copy slots as it is on research slots.

In summary.

If you want to spend 500 ISK/slot/hour on research, but are prepared to be limited in access to slots; NPC station based research works for you.

If you have a consistent demand/use for ME or copy slots, and 10K ISK/slot/hour is not an issue, a research tower may be in order.