So Tyrannis has been out for a while now, and a lot of people have gotten into the new Planetary Interaction feature. I tried it out a bit as well, but recently my little water producing colony has been lying fallow. Maybe I can start up a fish farm or something. I’ve come to the realisation that I’m unlikely to be able to make much use of it for now.
Initially, I thought that PI would be a nice passive money maker and something fun to try out. It is fun, but the passive money making part is definitely not true. As Audra Li discovered, it takes a lot of clicking and managing to keep your colonies running, especially if they are in different systems. I think you can only manage planets within the system you’re currently in (although you don’t actually have to be at the planet, you can even do it while docked in a starbase) so this means a lot of jumping around everyday unless you somehow managed to find the holy grail of systems that contains all desirable planet types. Also, Letrange has found a bug where he seems to be missing one cycle of production from some of his structures, which can throw a hitch into those carefully planned colonies >.<
Incidentally, I found a great guide for PI here which pretty much explains everything about how to set up a colony. As the production cycle for the processors is 23 hours, this pretty much means that to be really efficient you’d kick start things with the accelerated 5 hour cycle, and then once your processor has enough material to start working you’d switch to the 23 hour extraction cycle to be synchronised. Thus you’d only need to log in once every day to restart all the extractors. Incidentally the 23 hour cycle is a great idea, kudos to CCP. Blizzard actually ran into this problem in WoW with their daily crafting cooldowns which used to be 24 hours. But they found out that people inevitably ended up “missing a day” as their cooldown times kept slipping later and later from their usual login times. Moving to a 23 hour cooldown solved that problem, so it’s good to see CCP either learning from others or just having good foresight.
Now that I look at it, PI seems aimed more towards null-sec and wormhole dwellers rather than high-sec pilots like me. It’s not a very passive money making scheme at all, more like a convenience that allows pilots far from empire to get the logistics supplies they need such as POS fuel and modules without having to jump all the way to empire and back hauling stuff every week.
First of all, PI requires you to have a fixed base around which you set up your colonies. As a high-sec mission runner, I’m constantly switching systems depending on where the best agents are and which corp I’m trying to gain standings with. I’m not going to make a bajillion jumps every night just to restart my extractors. You also need to ship product around to a temperate/barren “production planet” for the highest tier goods, since you can only place the most advanced production facility on those planets. This makes for even more jumping around and hauling every day.
Secondly, the resources in high-sec are poorer, which means more extractors to supply 1 cycle’s worth of materials. According to the guide I linked earlier, in 0.0 it takes 2 extractors to supply 1 P1 processor’s 23 hour cycle. In high-sec, this goes up to 5, which makes it a lot harder to set up efficient planets.
Thirdly, high-sec pilots would only be interested in this for the money since they have no real use for the end products. Unfortunately, to be able to make money you first have to determine what sells and for what price. The guide has a link to a great PDF flowchart of PI materials and products which I’ve included here, but until the market settles down I still have no idea what sells well, which means I have no idea what planets to look for. Everyone is busily making POS fuel, but that might cause an oversupply? For the POS operators, however, they have a clearer picture of what they need so right from the get-go they have a defined goal for their production efforts.
I’ve recently been on a buying binge with PLEXs since the prices predictably came down. I picked up a couple at 300 million (prior to this they were in the 310-315 range) and then as prices continued downwards I got a few more at 290 and 280 million. 280 million seems to be the support level, however, so it looks like I managed to get a few good deals. I’m now subscribed to mid-August, with 5 more PLEXes in Jita waiting to be used.
As a result however, my liquid ISK has gone down considerably. I have also been trying a bit of market manipulation, albeit in a very crude form, which has had mixed results. I simply buy out anyone who tries to ridiculously undercut current (admittedly high) prices. This is kinda risky because I now hold a lot of inventory of this item, and I can’t keep buying out people indefinitely. But it seems to work most of the time, as long as the deep undercutter’s order is removed most people are willing to keep their price near current levels so it takes a while for the prices to fall. Part of me feels grumpy that I’m probably rewarding the undercutter, since I’m teaching him that deep undercutting gets him quick sales and encouraging him to keep doing it. On the other hand, I have no idea where these people are getting 90 skillbooks to dump on the market at one go. Is it from hacking or archaeology or what? It’s not from the NPC vendors because the NPC price is way over the sell price… As long as I’m not missing some quick easy source of supply I should be able to sell faster than they can dump stuff on me.
I’m also trying to branch out into a new market which looked like it has good potential. Unfortunately, I’m finding that this market is somewhat similar to the implant market in that there are crazy 24-7 campers refreshing their prices every 5 minutes. Margins and volumes are good but the competition is a wee bit too intense, will have to see whether its profitable in the long run.
Speaking of the implant market, I saw a buy order from someone for 30 implants. The range was station only, but the order was placed in Jita Planet 4, Moon 5 instead of the main trading hub at Moon 4. I feel kinda sorry for this guy since his order has been around for about 3 weeks now and will never ever ever be filled. It must be some new guy who sold a PLEX and is trying out station trading, because how else can you miss the fact that every single other order is unhighlighted and only his order is green. Maybe he thinks that green highlighted orders refer to those put up by him? It’s not helped by the fact that both stations are called Caldari Navy Assembly Factory, and in fact I think I accidentally set up some orders there too when I first started out. I wonder when he’ll find out… I’d send him a mail telling him about his mistake, but there’s no way to find out who put up the order unless I sell him some item and check the transaction log. Despite being a paragon of virtue, my river of charity does not run so deep. Plus I’m a lazy bugger.