a bit of skill thought

So I’m sitting here looking at a skill plan for my trial, both as 14 and as 21 day. I thought it would make a good meander.

Now, everyone who mentions skills points out that they continue to train even if you’re offline. You set up a queue and it’ll run that queue till it’s empty whether you get back online or not. You can only queue starts within 24 hours, but as long as that start is in time it can go any length. So if you’ve got something that takes four days it’s no problem. One of the things I’ve taken away in the past is that if I’m going offline for a day, try to make it so skills are almost done training when I come back.

Having said all that, I want to take a hard right turn. See, it’s important but insignificant to my present point. Instead, I’m looking at my skills in a different light.

I have 14 days (or maybe 21) to make over 500 MISK. My skills need to be aimed at doing that as soon as possible. Obviously this means money making skills are more important, but there are some others that can’t be ignored.

Before I go further I want to point out that all skills, or at least the first level of them all, fall into one of two large groups. Some are gateways – if you have the skill you can do the base activity, if you don’t you’re out of luck. An obvious example here is [race] frigate. If you don’t have that you can’t fly that race’s frigate. Everyone starts with the frigate skill of their race, but the other three must be obtained and trained to fly the ships.

The second large grouping is ‘polishing’ skill. It doesn’t so much let you do something as it lets you do the something better – more flexibility, more options, etc. An example here that’s specifically in my objectives is Accounting. I can buy and sell without the skill. Having the skill reduces my tax rate which increases my net profit (or lets me go to tighter trade margins).

So. To start I need trade, and I will need Retail early. Both let me have buy and sell orders on the market. Four per level for trade and eight per level for Retail. (For those who don’t know, levels cap at five, and each level takes significantly longer to train.) I start with level 1 Trade, will train level 2, and will get Retail during the career tutorials which I will also train to 2. 24 trades to start isn’t enough in the long run, but it’s quick.

I want social (which I get at start, I think), but it turns out that for the beginning the various things like connections don’t matter. The better the rating – the friendliness with which you’re held by the race (factor) and/or corporation that owns the base at which you’re trading – the lower your brokerage fees. You get these improved by doing things for the group or its friends. (doing things for their foes lowers the rating.) Social skill gives a bonus to the rating change. Connections and most of the rest of the social skills change the effective rating. However, for trading only the base, not effective, rating matters. (The effective matters for things like getting access to mission agents and for fees related to production, something that’ll probably be delayed by a week or two.)

So, social to 2, and maybe 3. Early, so as I finish the career tutorials the rating improvements I get are higher.

One skill I want that’s sorta both groups is marketing (and not much later procurement). That allows me to create sell (and buy) orders even when I’m not at a station. That in turn saves me a bit of time, but the big payoff comes with what it then allows.

Recall from earlier posts that it’s possible to find yourself in a bidding war. With marketing and procurement at level 2 I can add daytrading. Without it my choices are deal with the bidding or gather things to sell. With it I can change my bids while traveling. At level 2 I can’t do it from a great distance (level 2 is ‘only’ five jumps), but it’s still better than having to dock, deal, and undock.

One last skill in the Trade group is Margin trading. Just as the real world it’s simultaneously very risky and very profitable. Basically, when you put down a buy order you have to put the money in escrow. With margin trading you don’t have to put it all into the escrow. The assumption of the game is that you will have escrows on several things and none will pay out all at once. In the event you do burn through the escrow amount the buy orders end.

(This gives an opportunity for an existing scam. If you’re interested: here. I figure the scam hole is going to get modified if not closed, basically because unlike almost all other scams it’s possible to set it up without cueing the suckers that it might be a scam. If’n I’d been the one closing the hole I’d add a ‘margin call’, pulling from your account’s bank. More likely you’ll see a ‘margin trade’ flag. But that’s a guess.)

Anyway, that’s the big trade deals. I figure to have all but margin trading before the third day is complete and margin trading before the first week is done. Actually the listed training is a bit over 8 hours. But there’s another income production area I want to tag.

Actually, I need to do one “odd” skill before I go to ship time. Cybernetics. This allows plugins. Plugins – think cybernetic expert systems. They are general (attribute) and specific (skills). I get two level 1 plugins for free during the career tutorials. Increasing the attributes decreases training time for skills. The fun thing is that skill level one will allow installation of up to +3 plugs. To get +4 you need level 4 skill. I’ll wait. And I’ll pick up level 1 plugs, level 3 when I can afford them.

Anyway, another area of money making will be reprocessing. That is, taking stuff and breaking it down to components to sell. I’ll only do this if I can’t sell the object for more than the resulting components. Thing is, with the frigate (and later cruiser) I’ll be using there are a lot of things I can’t carry. In that case I may – no, make that Will – be able to break them down for some profit. Sure, getting them to a better market would be more profitable, but some beats none.

Now you can do the reprocess with zero skills. So everything being added for this is to increase the profit: reduce waste, cut fees, cut taxes. I’ve already mentioned standing, and here the modified standing can matter a lot. It’s time to grab two levels of connections. Add Refining to level two to reduce waste. Advanced refining would be good but it’s for further down the road – it needs refining level 5 first. Probably not going to happen during this phase.

Most of what you read – and my limited experience supports this – says production isn’t much good till your skills are at least level 3. That’s industry 3, and a start on both mass production (allowing more than one job) and production efficiency (reducing waste). Unless I find a great thing to produce this is probably happening after ship skills, but it’s only 7 hours for the basic package.

That’s it for the main money skills. It’s just under 16 hours, which means I’m still going to want some long term stuff laid in for over-nighting the schedule.

This is getting long, so I’ll save the ship skills for the next post.

Have fun.

~ by Kirk on September 13, 2012.

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