One Pilot’s Journal, Part V: “The Waiting Is the Hardest Part”


Art by Empanada.

TL; DR in the form of a haiku:

The industry man

Watches and waits. The summit

So near and so far.

When I first entered the world of EVE Online, I decided I wanted to choose the career of the industrialist. I saw my future self as an arms dealer to the Imperium, selling ships and modules and ammo galore! I was going to be rich—yes, richer than a king—and admirably schooled in every grace. But I have wavered in my commitment to this career. To go back to the analogy I first started with in my first journal entry, I am at the Hillary Step of Mount Everest. That’s how far I’ve come in my time on EVE! But I’m finding a large crowd at the Step, all waiting in single file to climb that last difficult part of Everest.

Let me recap my route and tell you what I see both below me and above.

“You Take It On Faith”

I have found that breaking into industry in EVE poses many difficult problems. When I first arrived in EVE, as I have discussed in a previous article, I couldn’t really DO anything. I couldn’t mine the local asteroid fields without dying from the pesky Bloods. Production without mining makes for minuscule or non-existent margins; further, I didn’t have many blueprints, and those that I had were for the most basic newbie ships. Who in Delve wants to buy a Burst?

But I also realized that my skills were so poor that much of the ore I might be able to mine, or buy, would get lost in the processing. I would need more training to efficiently process the ore; more training to efficiently build the products; more training to put stuff on the markets. But I was determined. I don’t tend to give up easily and hate to readily admit defeat. So I kept asking people for tips on industry and production. I got some wildly disparate, if well meant, advice.

One person who I trust and is very knowledgeable suggested I forget making anything small. I needed, he said, to create stuff for ships that actually sold and had a good margin. He suggested the Revelation, further suggesting that I just choose to make a single part for the ship. I found this advice discouraging. I would have to spend a lot of ISK to purchase the blueprint to make a single part! What if the part didn’t sell well or at all? I would be competing with players whose high mining and processing skills would put my meager skills to shame; therefore, my finished product would have to be higher priced than their version of the same product. I will call this phenomenon the “Newbie Conundrum”—you really have to play a long time, or do a lot of skill injecting, to make decent money in EVE.

“You Take It To the Heart”

I kept asking around. Another person suggested I try making doctrine ships for the Imperium, though he also noted that “the margins will be small.” I faithfully read the page on the Gooniversity website dedicated to ship doctrines. While it is amusingly written in an “I’ll-cut-your-heart-out-if-you-mess-up-your-doctrine” kind of way, I found it imposing. I could, the page states, put the ship on the market at 30% markup over the Jita costs plus ITL costs, but I ran into the Newbie Conundrum again. I would be competing against other industrialists who have more training and better skills. I would have to accept very low margins, I felt, to compete with them. When production just doesn’t make any money, you might as well just become a ratter and be done with it. I’m not THAT far away from being able to fly a VNI, and I’ve read about the happy ISK involved in null-sec ratting.

But to hell with ratting! I entered the game to become a giant of industry! Right then I had two fortunate encounters. First, I met a player, Viektor, who had read my work on INN. We got to talking about ratting vs. industry and I shared my frustration. He was an industrialist and shared a good deal of his vast amount of accumulated know-how. He was engaged in PI, moon mining, and production on a grand scale. When he heard I had been considering the possibility of building Revelation parts, he suggested I might start with ammo instead. “Look for something in relatively high demand that might have a decent margin.” I pondered his advice, and the following day I did some research and thought I found the answer: combustion bombs. The market showed an upward trend on prices. The initial buy in was high but not ridiculous: two million ISK for the blueprint alone. Still, I was determined to buy it, despite the fact that none were for sale anywhere near my location. A niche item, it seems. Of course it was for sale in Jita, but I was in Delve, and the last time I appeared in space in Jita I was blown out of my pod within seconds.

“To Make Me Wanna Live Like I Wanna Live Now”

I was about to mine the following evening when my new friend’s alt, Captain Blownapart, appeared and asked if I had decided on something to make as I began my storied career as an arms dealer. “Combustion bombs,” I proudly said. He asked how much the blueprint cost, and I told him. He suggested I might start a bit slower and diversify some. To go seemingly all in with one niche item might not be the most judicious move. Then, he said he would gift me a few things I might consider starting with and see how they did on the market. When I retrieved the contract it contained blueprint copies for over 50 items, each with multiple runs. I was overwhelmed, and I have to say that the community in EVE, and specifically in KarmaFleet, makes this game worth playing. The blueprints were for ships, modules, and various forms of ammo. Now, I could really test the waters, make a lot of different smaller things and see what sold and what didn’t.

The following night I was about to go mine, determined to start stockpiling the ore. I would get plenty as I trained my processing skills and then I would turn that ore into end products for the market. The whole endeavor would cost nothing except the time involved to mine the ore and create the product. Too bad my Procurer had such a small cargo hold.

I asked in fleet chat about mining spots when FSync, a fellow KarmaFleet member, suggested I join him mining; he was in a good spot, he said, but when I told him I could start immediately toward him in my Procurer, he suggested I bring a Covetor instead and he gave me enough ISK to cover the cost of the ship. Oh man, my luck was running high. I bought the Covetor, fitted that puppy up with a fitting FSync suggested (just the day before my training in Mining V was finally finished, so I could get those Strip Miner IIs–another piece of luck). I warped to FSync’s alt character and started mining Arkonor. I mined it so fast I had to compress it in his fleet hangar about every other cycle. And the value! In about 80-90 minutes I had mined and estimated 33m in Arkonor, more than enough to cover the cost of the fittings many times over. And I also had a new ship and a new friendship with someone who knew about mining. And all this at the moment I had my hands on blueprints.

So, I’m at the Hillary Step. I’ve come so far in EVE and have learned so much. Soon I hope the ladders will clear and I’ll take the first upward step on the last leg of the journey. I’m still in a holding pattern, waiting for some skills to train, but I have the time and the plan. I’m thankful for the guides along the way, my Karma Sherpas, so to speak. I hope my next journal entry will be my last, and that it will be written from my perspective at the top of the world, the summit of EVE.

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  • Mick

    Never forget opportunity cost. If you don’t know what that is, get on the wikipedia page and read it all until you understand it.

    The industrialist who mines their own raw material and thinks it cost them nothing is the industrialist who will never get past your base camp. Many end up selling their finished products for less than what they could have sold the raw materials for, convinced that because they had a “zero material cost” they are still making money. I’ve met hundreds of this person across two different MMOs, and it has convinced me economics should be mandatory in high school.

    If you’ve mined a quantity of ore that you could have simply sold for 33m, this ore then has an implicit cost to you of 33m – as you had the opportunity to sell it unimproved for that price. If you then improve the materials through manufacturing and sell the lot for 35m, your net gain from industry is still only 2m – and may not have been worth the time it cost you to do so.

    Note that you also paid the explicit cost of 80 minutes of your time for that 33m of ore. In 80 minutes flying a VNI you could easily have made 45 million at low skill levels (4x 12m ticks is achievable at T1 before tax), giving you an opportunity cost of -12m to have gone mining in the first place.

    True industrialists don’t mine or rat or run missions or other nonsense like that for anything except the fun of it really, not once they have a workable capital. Eve is capitalism writ large – have money, make money – and industry is one expression of that. Pay the workers to do the work for you and take your margin out of the other end like a proper factory boss should. Buy ore. Make stuff. Sell stuff. Profit.

    October 2, 2018 at 7:58 AM
    • Gray Doc Mick

      Mick, Your comment is an excellent one. I am aware of the opportunity cost involved in the entire mining/production enterprise. Indeed, I am only TOO aware of it, which has made me very reticent to produce anything up to this point. However, economic benefits are not the only rewards to be found in EVE. A few weeks back I participated in the huge four Keepstars fleets and I found it terrific fun, though I didn’t make any ISK at all. I have started producing some stuff in small amounts and have taken real pleasure in seeing it sell. Was it “worth” the cost of the time involved, the ore mined, the minerals processed, etc? Not from a purely economic standpoint, it was not. But I don’t want to play the game from a purely economic angle. I want to experience a lot of aspects of the game to see what all is here. EVE is a complicated game and I don’t want to only play it as an ISK generator.

      October 3, 2018 at 4:53 PM
      • Mick Gray Doc

        Fair enough! For everyone who does understand the basic economic principles there are hundreds who “mined it so it is free”, so my apologies for the presumption.

        I too was in one of those keepstar fleets. I did not enjoy myself. I was not happy watching my Megathron explode because our FC didn’t have an interceptor scout out front 🙂

        October 4, 2018 at 5:46 AM
  • General Thade

    God I hate mining

    October 2, 2018 at 3:29 PM