An attempt, and thoughts thereon

•September 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment

So I’ve spent the last week and a half making a trial run at the game. I don’t think I can leverage what I’ve got into the necessary amount in the remaining three days of the fourteen day trial. On the other hand, I got a very long ways toward the goal. Some lessons I learned to this point:

1) I might be able to do it in 14 days. I can definitely do it in 21 days.

2) I need to time my start to get two Sundays, and even better a holiday that’ll see gamers playing.

3) I need to concentrate on the trading. I got tempted to play just a bit with a corp that I thought might help (didn’t), and I tried to make some money cleaning complexes while trade was waiting the next action. The only ‘downtime’ things I should do are missions that improve ratings at my trading station.

4) Speaking of trading station, it’s getting fairly simple. I tried Jita. There was a lot of gain due to opportunity. On the other hand I spent a lot of time dealing with undercutters. One of my problems is that I want a life outside the game. Having to get on every half hour or so to adjust my prices was too much work – and the day I couldn’t put me way behind the curve.

On top of this I figured out I can’t do station trading only. Again I did ok, but it needs a bigger buffer than I had to close the deal — especially at Jita. This means transport. This in turn means I need the largest cargo capacity I can manage. And due to trial restrictions this puts me in one of two ships: the Amarr Augoror and the Gallente Exquror. The latter starts with the largest base cargo, and after development of various skills still has the largest. The Augoror, however, has enough option slots that with basic skills it has a larger effective cargo space. Hitting my other interests, both ships are intended as low level healers – none of which applies to me at this time but worth noting nonetheless.

Bottom line, I’m going into either Amarr or Gallente.

5) I need to pre-load a lot of planning. I need to plan my initial skills progression. I need to plan my ship and gear. And as much as possible I need to research my trade plan.

That last will tell you what you’re going to see in a couple of posts. I just have to do the grunt work.

Frigate Healers

•August 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

EVE Online is in the midst of a major revamp of skills and ships. I’m not really going to bore you with that background, just note that what you see if you take a trial right now is going to be significantly different next year.

There is, however, one small piece I want to discuss – because it’s near and dear to my typical play in most games. As a low level player I can now still be a healer.

In EO healing ships are called logistics ships. As of this instant you have to have cruisers – specialty cruisers – and to actually get practice in the game you need to have built up a lot of skills. Basically, if you want to play a healer you have to spend three to six months NOT playing a healer, then you start as a newbie in that ability. Picture, oh WoW players, having to be a level 40 fighter before you can change to being a healer. Tank and DSP Druids till level 40 is another example. And when you change, you’re at level 1. Yeah, it’s that unappetizing.

So among all the changes is the introduction of healer, sorry, logistic frigates for every race. You could start playing with them in practical fashion while still on a trial account. Oh, you wouldn’t be great (at first, though with time and experience and skill points I expect them to have small advantages). But you can learn how to do the job as a relative beginner.

Now I won’t be jumping in during my trial period. Again, this attempt’s goal will be seeing if I can earn a PLEX in a 21 day trial, thus having a long-term “free to play” game. But my favorite concept is now sitting ready if/when I accomplish that goal.

Or more accurately it will be ready. These are changes due this winter – six to eight months from now. If I don’t succeed in my trial challenge I still may be purchasing entry to the game at that time – they finally hit my niche.

Trading

•August 28, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I’m still planning, haven’t yet gone fishing to see if I can get a buddy invite (and start my 21 day clock). I’ve pretty much decided that I can’t do it in a 14 day trial. Some people might, I’m just not that good.

Anyway, as already noted my only real avenue is trade. One thing I’ve noticed in preparing is that a lot of people don’t get trade. Oh, everyone gets the basic rule of buy low, sell high. And they manage that for what I’m going to call tier zero and tier one trading.

Tier zero is when you sell your loot on the market. Whether it’s from NPCs or other players or mission rewards or production, everyone accumulates these things that are for the most part useless to them. They take it to the market and sell it. Pretty much everyone looks at the current lowest ‘sell’ price, picks a number some distance below that, and puts it up. They don’t really care about the price, they want it gone — and any money beats no money.

Tier one tends to turn into hauling. Basically, you watch the market – usually several markets – and look for someone selling something for which there’s a higher buy order elsewhere. Buy it at A, haul it to B, sell it for profit. Much of the strategizing here deals with getting the most money per jump.

An interjection for the non-EVE players, especially the WoW players. EVE has a complex market system. In other words you can not only put up things for sale, you can put up standing orders to buy things. You have to put your money up (though you can get skills that let you only put part of it up front and promise payment on sale). In addition there is not a unified market. Oh, you can see markets at other stations in your region, but there are a lot of other regions. And while you can buy at range (and with skills sell at range as well) the deal isn’t closed till the package reaches the station. Mostly.

Anyway, there’s a thriving trade-haul opportunity that is buying in one place, hauling, and selling it somewhere else. There’s also a little niche: pure hauling under contract. But that’s a digression and is not something I can do right now.

What I call tier two trading gets a little trickier. Here what you do is see there’s a gap between the highest buy order and the lowest sell. You offer to buy the stuff at a price better than anyone else. Then when you’ve got it, you offer to sell it at a price lower than anyone else.

This, by the way, is most of what I’ll be doing. I’ll offer to buy some things at a price higher than others are asking, then I’ll offer to sell them (perhaps elsewhere) for less than others but at levels that still make me a profit.

So what are the big challenges? Basically there are three. First, there need to be available sellers of the goods. The people who’ve got buy orders up are competitors, not customers. And since you’re offering to buy at a price below that of the current sell orders none of them are going to sell to you. You have to have someone(s) who will sell to you.

Second problem is the flipside of this. You need to have buyers. Paying for a bunch of widgets and seeing them languish on your shelves gathering dust is bad.

Third problem generates harsh words. That’s dealing with competition, usually through bidding wars. There are two general camps here: the coppercutters (or .01 iskers) and the bidjumpers. The former enter the market (or change their offer) to be .01 ISK (or 1 copper) more desirable than the current best bid. The latter jump wildly – frequently by ten or twenty percent. The former tend to be players with plenty of time who can get on and stay on, making another bid each time they’re jumped. The latter, well, they’re usually one-shotters. They’re people who do not want to stay and watch the bids.

As a rule, the cutters tend to be players with very large inventories while the jumpers’ inventories are (relatively) smaller. Cutters expect to be selling their goods over a period of weeks, Jumpers expect their goods to go in a couple of days.

Both camps despise the other. The cutters accuse the jumpers of destroying the profit margins. The jumpers accuse the cutters of smothering sales. They’re both right. And both are successful sometimes, sometimes losers. Hey, some people PVP, some PVE, life goes on. But I digress, again.

Are there more tiers? Yes, but they require skills I won’t have for a while. Are there more complications? Oh, yes – taxes and broker fees, scammers, pirates, cross-region trading, and more.

It’s a challenge.

PI road closed for now

•August 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The planetary interaction I mentioned last post looks really good but has a major road block, one that makes it unavailable till I get past the trial barrier. See, you have to carry the equipment to the planet on which you’re installing it. It’s large, about 1000 m3. The ships and skills available to me have a max capacity of 700 m3, and that’s only by doing games with cargo skills and expanders.

Um. It is possible that the device can be carried “packaged”, then unpackaged on site for delivery. I just thought of this, I’ll check. See, it’s not a lot of income – probably as low as 100K ISK per day. However it’s money that doesn’t need me standing over it to earn it. Multiple small low-effort income sources add up, and for my goal I need the additions.

But as of this instant I think PI is off the table. It’s back to pure trade and haul.

tap-tap-tap

•August 26, 2012 • 1 Comment

Is this thing on?

Hi, I’m back. Sorta. Not WoW, sorry. Finances and time preclude. I almost started another blog for this, in fact, but I’ve got a little bit of a reputation here so…

I’m going to try something and would like to document the attempt in semi-live time. The game is Eve Online. The short-term goal: earn enough while playing a trial account to pay for the next month’s account – and keep that up while I continue to play.

The simple outline goes this way. Eve Online offers a trial account of 14 days. They also have a 21 day trial account; an existing account can issue a buddy offer to another player.

A month of play costs $14.95. Yes, for some that’s a pittance. However, I’m in a situation where I have to be tight with my money – that amount pretty much kills my “fun” budget for the month. Besides, there’s this challenge.

See, you can purchase a month in-game. A player can buy a month supply, go into the game, and offer it for sale. Right now the prices are running between 450M and 550M ISK. (ISK: InterStellar Kredits, the unit of exchange within the game). The last time I had a trial account I fiddled around, did a little money stuff on the side, and had 20M ISK over ten days – of which I only played about six.

Yeah. 20 is a bit short of 550, or even 450. It’s a challenge.

Part of the work is done. I’m not a good PVP so that route’s out – even if it were likely. And it’s not, not at the start, not when I’m flying low level stuff against other good gear players. PVE is a nice solid route but it’s too slow. Mining and various industrials are like PVE (with one possible exception I’ll mention in a moment).

ugh. I’m wasting your time. Let me get down to tacks.

I will see if I can get an ingame player to send me one buddy trial. I will then run that account through one set of beginner tutorials in each of the four factions: Minmatar, Gallente, Caldari, and Amnar. That’s 50 missions in each place. I’m going to wind up with a range of supplies, several ships I will need to move or dispose of, and money. I will also increase standing with all the main factions.

With the exception of the exploration series, each set of ten takes less than an hour to complete. Exploration can take as short a time or it can take forever, it depends on skill with the scanner probes. Regardless I should be able to finish a region in five to six hours of play – call it two days apiece at worst. That gets me to ~100M ISK (yes, that much) at the end of day 8 – or more likely day 7.

It took me three days of casual play to double that amount. I need to double it twice at least. It is tight at that point for the two week trial, easy for the three week trial. I’m going to be doing region hauling and station trading at one of the second tier trade hubs – something like Agil or Nourvukaiken. Which actual hub? Well, I’m still figuring the details – this is still planning stage.

I also I mentioned I was going to try one set of production, but I need to do a bit of research first. I’m going to see about setting up a Planetary Interaction (PI) base. As a trial account I’m limited to the smallest which means it’s not going to generate lots of income. That said it looks like it’ll do enough to make some difference. Even better it’s income that requires minimal action from me – not quite absentee landlord, but close.

Last thing before I close. I’m going to keep a full and open journal. I am aware that this may screw me as anybody playing can see what I’m buying, what I’m selling, and grief me. The thing is, even if they do I’ll learn. The only thing I won’t do during the trial is to tell you my name – I only need it to last for a short time. But I’ll tell what mission I did where, what happened, how much ISK I got for what equipment, and so forth.

If it fails, well, I’m no worse off. If it succeeds, however, I might wind up writing a guide or two – doing what I did here for WoW.

So hi, all, whoever is still there.

Real World Study

•January 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I get emails, still, asking me to link to this or that thing because of this blog.  I tend to check them unless they’re obviously spam, but I don’t tend to link them.  I’ve encountered an exception.

Over at Deakin University (in Australia for us furriners), there’s a psych research study (student research, but those have sprung to interesting things before and will again) on body image.  Actually, on virtual body image, difference from real body image, and related, well, psychological issues.

If you’re willing and interested – oh, yes, and if you’re a male age 18 or older – you can participate by dropping in at www.deakin.edu.au/psychology/research/virtualimage/ .  That’s the permission form and plain language explanation to get started.

I’m going to note the date of posting: 9 January 2010.  If it’s March or later that you’re reading this you’re probably too late.

And to Dr. Alexander Mussap and Mr Jon-Paul Cacioli – good luck and good hunting.

Achoo

•December 10, 2009 • 2 Comments

My,  it’s dusty in here (grin).

No, I’m not “back”.  I just dropped by to do a bit of housecleaning and noticed I’ve had a bunch of people still dropping by.  Hi, be welcome, but be aware I’ve not freshened anything since I quit playing WoW.  That was (as of this post, which is likely to last a while) well over a year ago – around October of 2008.

The point is that while everything I wrote was to the best of my knowledge at the time, it’s probably just a wee bit different now, what with one or two major expansions and a LOT of lesser patches being done.  If what I’ve written is still of use, you’re welcome.  I ask only that you be cautious with something that old.

Oh, yes, and don’t expect me to drop by to converse very often.  Life isn’t stagnant, and while I enjoyed WoW and I may someday do so again, now is different.

Kirk

 
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