Efficiency and decision paralysis

EVE Online players seem preoccupied with their income per hour. Players old and new regularly ask how to make the most ISK in various gaming communities. This obsession with efficiency is detrimental to one’s enjoyment of the game. Here’s why I think people should instead consider maximizing fun over money.


In most games, players spend their time improving their skills or items. In EVE, players spend a big chunk of their time getting ready for the fun activity. The game is unique in that fun is closely correlated with destruction, and oftentimes that entails the loss of your ships—and pods. Destruction is a leading driver of the in-game economy, also known as a sink; the more ships are blown up the better it is for the miners, manufacturers, and sellers. The gameplay loop is designed around grinding. No one is free from the grind in EVE Online.

Then you might as well make that part of your experience more enjoyable. There are many forms of income or faucets. Here are 10 I can think of off the top of head in no particular order: exploration, looting, bounties, loyalty points, resource gathering, manufacturing, trading, scamming, protection rackets, and collecting taxes. If you have enough disposable income in real life, buying PLEX and selling it is another option. I doubt anyone reading this would be interested in spending their hard-earned money like that. So back to the grind.

There's a social contract of sorts. Pilots willingly accept the notion that the higher the risk, the higher the reward should be. Nullsec blocs and wormhole corporations entice new players to leave highsec to strike it rich in their domain. At the same time they complain about Pochven for being an ISK printer without doing anything to exploit the NPCs or the players making money there. It's also interesting how no one talks about the level 5 mission runners in low sec. People complain about things they know about and compare themselves with others. These are recipes for unhappiness if you ask me. Hence why maximizing efficiency in a game is detrimental. There's always going to be someone outperforming your ISK/hour or doing things in ways you find unfair. But there's more I want to discuss.

Given too many options, we’re apt to feel overwhelmed. I’ve personally experienced decision paralysis because I couldn’t decide what to do with my limited time when presented with a multitude of choices. I thought long and hard about how I wanted to play EVE Online this time around. I still don’t have a clear vision. I do know that I want to perfect my piloting skills and grow a community in the small solar system that I call home.

There’s joy to be had in doing things well. For me it’s quickly completing a mission using two marauders and then salvaging the wrecks in a dedicated ship. I only salvaged battleship wrecks with the marauders in the past, but one day decided to deploy a Noctis to try out a new fit I had thought of. Recon 1/3 yielded about 35 million ISK in loot and salvage, netting me more than the bounties and agent rewards. I also found some SKINR items on the first day Equinox was released, but haven’t found any sequencers nor nanocoatings since. While suboptimal or mediocre, I am having a great time.

I see players stretching themselves thin trying to eke out ISK. By the time they get every character in an account to do planetary industry, the game pretty much becomes a chore. Do what feels most compelling to you on a given day. Calculating your ISK/hour is like examining your salary or wage. Play to have a good time. In the end that's what matters in a video game.


Reporting for duty

I’m back! I decided to play for at least a couple of weeks before writing again to see whether I wanted to commit to playing and blogging. There remain questions I need to answer: What do I want to do differently this time? Do I want to build a community or join an existing one? How will I add value to the experience of others?


I logged off sometime in 2015 and moved on to other adventures. I vaguely remember being burned out from trading and wanting more PvE content. One of my friends invited me to play a new MMORPG, which engrossed me for several years. I built a community of about 100 players and ran events every weekend. Life got in the way, and I had to take a break from that as well. Then bigger changes occurred to my human form until one day a little bit of free time and nostalgia led me to install EVE Online on my laptop.


I’m a lot more relaxed in my approach to gaming than before. Thus, I adjusted my scope of gameplay when I decided to upgrade my main account to Omega. I had also forgotten so much about the game that I had to read threads, ask questions, and watch guides before feeling safe to undock. My desires were to look at space, spin ships, and destroy NPC pirates. But before I could do all that, I was instructed to change the fitting of my ships as the marauders had their slots shifted around.

I used to multi-box missions in a Vargur and a Paladin; now I run them in just the Vargur. Thanks to the Bastion Module the DPS doubled, so I feel like I get things done with less effort piloting one ship. It could be that I am less dexterous than before—or simply rusty. EWAR can get a bit annoying in certain missions due to the nerf. I'm also having a blast zooming around with the Micro Jump Drive. This is my favorite module right now.



In 15 days, I made 1.6 billion ISK from level 4 missions. I only counted bounties and agent rewards. I’m sitting on 1.2 million loyalty points, which could be converted to a few billion ISK. I wanted to see if I could sustain Omega using PLEX, and the answer is yes. It only costs 1.38 billion ISK per month using the 24-month option. I could also trade with the money I made. Market PvP isn’t as fun as flying spaceships though.

Trading was a double-edged sword that enriched and exhausted me. I did leave my future self a small fortune though. My assets have appreciated in value. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my net worth in 2024 is approximately 800 billion ISK. The problem is that the most expensive items in my possession move extremely slowly. For example, it took one seller almost a year to sell the ‘Silvershore’ Greatcoat on the forums. I’m going to have to be very patient.

It's clear that a lot of love has been put into making EVE Online more welcoming to new players. The daily goals are a nice way to earn 300,000 skill points every 30 days, which I consider to be 1.8 billion ISK in value—that’s two Large Skill Injectors worth of SP for me. If you weren’t taking them seriously before, you should. I get 25 NPC kills from missions and either manufacture an item or scan cosmic signatures to clear the second objective every day. After my dailies are done, I go back to running missions.


Anomic missions stumped me. I am slowly learning about each burner agent. Dax Jr. hasn’t trained any missile skills, so fielding the Worm is currently not an option. I can do the Guristas agent in an Ishkur. The first time I attempted it my modules burned out, so I had to log out to reset the mission. Instead of training for multiple frigates, I’ve opted for the all-in-one solution: the Nergal. Here is a ship I had not seen before.


I can’t count the number of new ships that have been released during my hiatus. There’s a slew of pirate vessels and destroyers. I am guessing the developers wanted to incentivize small fleet engagements. Most of the new offerings do not interest me. What intrigued me was the Triglavian weapon system. The Entropic Disintegrator, is unique in that the damage amplifies the longer one fires at a target. It’s the perfect vessel for burners, but I can’t find other applications for it yet. It probably means I’ll have to train for another ship to exploit the Abyssal Deadspace.


Abyssal Deadspace seems to be the endgame PvE for many content creators. Hopefully I’ll become more knowledgeable about Abyssal filaments by the time I’m ready to fly a Gila with passable skills. I’ve grown so complacent in my mission hubs and Jita that risking ship and pod sound like a bad deal. Still, players are saying T0s are designed to be novice-friendly and impossible to fail. I could prove them wrong.


I’ve been going to Jita every other day to shop. It’s eating into my savings. Uedama has become a dangerous place. Taking a freighter through that route involves high risk. Until I figure out a way to travel safely, I’ll be in my trusty blockade runner. There’s also a dedicated stream called UedamaScout.


The infrastructure outside of the game has evolved to a degree that was unimaginable when I last played. Remember a time before streaming and Discord? There are more communities than ever in a game that is famous for its culture of security and hostility. I’ve been watching guides on YouTube to catch up on the expansions I’ve missed. EVE Online is more accessible than ever and seeing more than 32,000 pilots online at peak hours shows that the game is doing well 21 years after its launch.

I have to address the two latter questions I posed in the beginning. I think I'll take small steps by familiarizing myself with the new expansions, and then see if there's a niche that I can carve out. I'd like to run a corporation centered around missions and industry. I suppose that's what most highsec communities provide anyway. I'll have to write a separate post to solve these conundrums.


I would like to thank my old friend Aeon Noblemagus, who encouraged me to write again. I’ll need more nudges along the way and ideas for what to write about.


Battle report, February 18

[This is the copy of a report I posted on my alliance forum]

When Marcel calls, we answer.

Fleet was to be composed of kiting tier 2 battlecruisers. I went ahead in a Helios to scout the systems we'd be roaming while the fleet was forming.

Entry point was Ouelletta. There had already been some kills in local with two corpses in space. One was identified as a Black Frog pilot who had lost his cyno alt. We didn't bother with the Anshar. Instead I looked for the Tornado that did the killing, but he soon logged after I got David's Drake got in system. With local down to four I moved on.

I found Dirty Worm belt ratting in Melmaniel, presumably fielding an active tanked Deimos based on his recorded losses. By now the fleet was up and moving. The BC gang was holding at the Melmaniel gate in Ouelletta awaiting my signal. However, Dirty Worm logoffskied when David started chasing him around. Moments later Dax Jr sighted equincu ocha, a Tusker pilot, in his Brutix heading to either Costolle or Murethand. David went on to pursue him.

Meanwhile Gunther Lutgens in a Legion had jumped to Ouelletta and came in contact with the crew. He quickly cloaked and got away. We didn't know then that Lutgens was equincu's armor boosting alt.

David made his way to Hevrice and docked at the Tusker's base station to find IK Thel, Thomas Castle(boosting Loki alt) and another pirate docked. Marcel positioned the main fleet in Muetralle. This is when he noticed equincu following. He had up-shipped to a Megathron at either Murethand or Melmaniel.

Marcel decided to seize the opportunity to engage a battleship at the gate. I requested everyone in fleet to kite the blaster ship at 15km. My biggest concern was, of course, his warp scrambler and web. It was quickly revealed that the Megathron was active tanked. David made his way back from Hevrice to Muetralle to provide additional fire to the gang. equincu was bent on killing Shrike's Harbinger. With good reasons, too. a) Shrike was fielding the slowest ship, b) he had the least SP, suggesting it could have the weakest tank, and c) the Megathron's defense was weak against EM and Thermal damage in comparative terms.

I ordered everyone to overheat guns until modules took 50% damage. As we feared, Shrike had been caught up by the Megathron and had already lost a portion of his armor. Another Tusker in a Tengu came through the gate. Luckily for us, he cloaked and went his way.

The Megathron's blasters was steadily shaving off Shrike's armor tank and he went into structure. Our fleet began overheating our guns for the second time. Shrike was given instructions to align to a celestial farthest from the Megathron and spam warp. Just when we though the Harbinger would die, a bright flash of light flickered on our screens. equincu's battleship had been destroyed.

Megathron kill: http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=12481202

Since there were no stations in Muetralle, we got to a safe spot to gather our senses. Back in Costolle, Dax Jr witnessed a sudden local spike. A Tusker BC fleet comprised of three Hurricanes, a Drake and Onyx were on our tail. This gang was led by Suleiman, their main FC. I called for an immediate evacuation to our high sec exit, Raneilles.

David lingered behind in Hevrice to chat with the locals. equincu was asking for a rematch.

[02:13:04] equincu ocha > round 2 ?
[02:13:19] David Vendetta > With Suleiman on our asses?
[02:13:25] equincu ocha > ?
[02:13:35] David Vendetta > He's heading back home
[02:13:39] David Vendetta > With Konig in an Onyx. :)
[02:15:16] equincu ocha > timing is horribly, wanted a remach, someother time then
[02:15:44] David Vendetta > Of course.

Soon enough Suleiman and equincu brought an Abaddon and Rokh to the gate I was orbiting in hopes of getting me to fire. I watched the sentry guns strip away their tank and did nothing. The Drake jumped out to safety at 70% shields. This isn't the end of it, though.

I was chatting on TeamSpeak with Marcel for a couple minutes when a pirate pod came into high sec. To my surprise, he got pointed by me. Nice token pod kill to end the roam.

Pod kill: http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=12481309

Lessons learned:
1. Kiting in a Harbinger isn't as easy as it sounds. A single webifier will allow one to escape scram range.
2. Overheating makes a huge impact - train Thermodynamics to at least IV.
3. Keep scouts in pipes so the fleet doesn't get ambushed from behind.
4. When you see a pirate pod, point it!

I love flying with you guys. :)


EVE Central Bank: Doing too much or too little?

I break my silence at the behest of an esteemed blogger at Ecliptic Rift. This post departs from my usual iteration of misadventures and takes aim at the manipulative monetary policies of a company that ‘excels’ at entertaining us. Let’s talk about our economy, tinfoils off.

Traditionally PLEX prices are highly fluctuant when each expansion is introduced.

Period: May 26, 2010

Period: Phase One November 30, 2010 / Phase Two December 25, 2010 / Phase Three January 18, 2011

However biannual market events are not enough to maintain PLEX quotes. This is where PLEX for Good enters the picture. I present exhibit 1, a year long price history graph of PLEX, taken from Jita.

Exhibit 1 - PLEX price history
Source: EVE Online market data

PLEX for Good
Period: September 15 through October 6, 2010
Scale: No results published

Period: January29 through February 15, 2011

Period: March 14 through March 31, 2011
Scale: 2,549 PLEX

Period: 3 May through 16 May 2011
Scale: Results pending

Notice how CCP deviously made use of good will to forward its own agenda. This brings me to what I really want to say. Do not give away your cash. There are two reasons why players should not donate their PLEX.

First and foremost, we should refrain from giving away our money to CCP on moral grounds. How does a commercial enterprise justify donations by imploring on the conscience of players? “While you sit comfortably in front of your computer, millions are suffering. Be an internet spaceship hero and donate money. Oh, and hey, let us take credit for it.” No matter how noble the cause, if one truly wants to donate there are agencies galore in specific fields, arguably with less controversy and more impartiality than the Red Cross. As far as I know, CCP did not publish the results for Pakistan, nor did they ever fully disclose how much money they spent on ‘handling costs.’ I myself usually contribute to the World Food Program and Doctors Without Borders. No one, especially not a for-profit company should claim acknowledgment for charity paid for by its benefactors.

Second is, of course, our economy. Whether you live in high, low, null sec or wormholes the invisible hand reaches far and wide. Only the hand present is one that is short-sighted, irresponsible and pandering to certain parties with vested interests.

A larger threat lies in the lack of proper tools to control the market. In the real world, we have policies that are flexible in their implementation of different rates such as interest or tax, and a monetary authority that controls the supply of money. They mean little in EVE either because matters are almost entirely ignored for years or when they implement change, one can always expect debacle. CCP intervenes in asset value modification and supply of raw materials with little insight to ramifications, which I assure you, always follows suit. The company simply doesn’t have a buffer or punitive measures to use against speculative powers within the game.

As for ISK, there is no limit to the flow of cash. Concord for one is printing digital numbers 23/7. RMT exploiters are a testament to this broken, yet perfectly normal MMO mechanic. In an effort to sustain PLEX prices high enough to compete with RMT, CCP has contributed to the very vice they were meant to deter: inflation. Take a look at exhibit two.

Exhibit 2 - Top sinks and facuets in EVE
Source: QEN for 2010

EVE Central Bank’s statement is especially touching in this regard:
EVE Central Bank has been monitoring the money supply closely and is becoming increasingly concerned about the rate of growth in the total money supply and the subsequent risk of inflation increase. The bank has therefore proposed that in 2011 there should be a focus on increasing ISK sinks in order to curb potential inflation. – QEN4 2010, p.20
The great misfortune here is that of the obscurity of players, which in turn is a boon to CCP. The underclass are caught standing next tidal waves they are not even aware of. A small circle of bourgeois privy to exclusive information take advantage of these tides to multiply their wealth. At times it amazes me how a game could mimic the failings of reality. If EVE Central Bank were an institute, its managers should be put to trial for negligence and sued for corruption. Below is a brief history of what EVE Central Bank has recently been up to.

After letting a contingent of exploiters to hoard ISK by self-destructing insured battleships, they decide tackle the issue. On May 26, insurance policy changed to reflect market trends putting an end to unbalanced mineral supply. Yet this was only a tip of the iceberg. In August we saw the stealth nerf of drone mineral loot. DRF, or Drone Russian Federation, the main supplier of Nocxium took a tremendous hit to their business when this happened. As supply toppled, so did the economy. 2010 saw another Nocxium spike when the Noctis was introduced. This compounded with strategic mishaps by DRF itself lead to an exodus of renter corps that further aggravated inflation in the entire universe.

Exhibit 3 - Nocxium price history
Source: EVE Online market data

Planetary Interaction changed the market overnight. Fuel, previously supplied by NPCs, turned into player-made commodities. Costs skyrocketed 552 percent. This spike immediately spilled over to POS resources. Technetium is the winner among the crowd due to its prestigious rarity bearing the curse of monopoly, giving alliances all the more reason to battle over limited resources. Yet another factor to inflation. Turn back the clock to February 14, your gaze at Uemon. Contest over a Technetium moon culminated to a clash in which twelve titans and seven supercarriers were destroyed. If you cannot grasp its importance look at exhibit 4. When 300% growth per year is at stake for a valuable resource, alliances will throw everything at each other. With massive ISK sink in supercaps come… you guessed it, inflation.

Exhibit 4 - Technetium price history
Source: EVE Online market data

Null sec grunts have taken a hard punch when their anomolies were knocked out according to true sec. This caused the second exodus of renters this year, only months after the first which occurred with the changing of hands in southern regions. Where do null bears go when they leave ratting systems? High sec beware, change is coming and it isn’t going to be pretty.
If that [inflation] does happen countermeasures would have to be taken in the form of increased sinks, reduced faucets or even higher taxes in the system. - QEN4 2010, p.32
Here's a bonus. Apparently the null bears spread out in Caldari regions.

Exhibit 5 - Federation Navy Fleet Colonel Insignia I price history
Source: EVE Online market data

The paradox of Incarna is clear; if inflation goes unchecked, players and an army of alts that rely on PLEX for subscription will leave while clueless new players try out EVE. It’s like pouring water into a bucket without addressing the hole at the bottom. What can we do? We’re the constituents of EVE Online. Managing a healthy economy is far more important than balancing factional modules. It is our right, even a responsibility, to seek improved conditions for the player base. Take some time off those heated guns to contemplate the rich-poor divide. Be a real hero and demand rightful change.


Chapter 3 – North by Northwest

Dax Jr. had disappeared. I stopped blogging. David’s contract history was bad enough for an intel leak coupled with the previous loss mail. An explorer should not handle module trades – leave traceable deals to alts. Better to have locals assume you’re afk cloaked denying them knowledge of your intent. Unfortunately the billboard sign I carried was screaming ‘kill me,’ thus there were numerous occasions when resident pirates took over complexes I was running. Tuberider’s T3 gang raided my 6/10 in Ihakana, DiamondDog brought a Bhaalgorn and Ishtar to another complex in Onatoh, and there were a host of Russians in Black Rise systems who thought they could catch me by logging off in front of acceleration gates. Despite these interruptions David was able to hoard billions before I burned out. The sweetness of instant riches left missions tasting sour. I was consumed by the idea that pilots beyond the boundaries of empire space were making more ISK in relative safety with less input.

In hindsight I didn’t put in enough effort to rent null sec space, nonetheless David found himself in Branch to do what he does best. Funnily enough I joined WI. while looking for a high sec corp. I placed ads for three of my pilots in the corporate recruitment channel hoping to find a group that will take me in. It soon became clear that people were interested in David’s service, sidelining Dax or an up and coming logistics alt. On one particular convo, Lynn Deniera offered a different choice. I was impressed at Lynn for personally recruiting pilots as head of the corp. The Foreign Legion corporation was a part of Wildly Inappropriate alliance that had sovereignty over UWRZ-2 constellation in Fade and KWCZ-A in Branch at the time. The interview was relaxed thanks to his mild manners and witty comments. According to him I could do everything that I wanted to do under the condition that I participate in ops – it will be so good that I’ll never see empire again. To me it was a ticket to the northern outreaches of space. For him I was another Drake pilot. We both agreed it was time to sign the papers.

Below is my application to STOLE dated Oct. 2, 2010.
General Information
1. Do you have an alt/s? 2 active
2. If so, how many, what are their names? David Vendetta(API submitted) and [redacted]

3. Please list the skillpoints for each active character you use.
Dax Jr: 9mil (API submitted), David Vendetta: 17mil, [redacted] : 6mil
About You
Ingame Info 
1. Do you have any long term goals in eve? 
I want a meaningful MMO experience, building relationships and helping others out. Although this may just be a game, I take mine seriously and know that it involves real people. Below are some goals for my online avatars.
Character development: Dax Jr's very long term goal is to field cap ships. In the meantime he will train for T2 cruisers, T2 battleships and related support skills. David Vendetta's mid term goal is to become the perfect Tengu pilot. He's on a 500+ day skill plan. [redacted]: Guardian/Basilisk pilot. Will see what he'll do after I'm done with that.
2. What type of ships can you fly?
Dax Jr: T1 frigs battleships. Gallente assault ships. David Vendetta: Cov-ops, Recons, Tengu, Drake (working on Assault Ships and Heavy Assault Ships at the time of writing) [redacted]: Guardian
3. Are you Isk self sufficient? 
Yes. I bought David Vendetta for 3.5b, then trained him up to rat in low sec earning 1b to 2b per week. I should be able to make more ISK in 0.0 space, granted I'm given access.
4. What is your main source of income?
Missions, LP conversion, DED complex and low sec combat sites/escalations, sales of loot
5. What do you like to do in EVE Online? 
PvE combat and eventually PvP.
6. What do you use your alts for? 
Dual boxing missions, exploration, and logistics
7. Can you fly a Capital Ship, and do you own one? 
8. Do you have an FC experience? - if so please tell us what kind. 
9. Are there any specific roles you have experience with? eg. Logistics/pos gunner/Black ops. If so please list them here, and your level of experience. 
None. Eager to learn and contribute.
10. What kind of Fleets do you enjoy the most? 
Small gangs, battlecruisers and below
11. Can you tell us about a memorable fleet/battle/campaign you've been involved in, and what you did? 
Past History 
1. Please list any alliances you have been a member of. 
None. David's previous owners were in some.
2. Tell us about some of the notable corporations and alliances you've been with for extended periods. 
Not worth mentioning.
3. Tell us about current/last corp & alliance. 
Currently all my characters are in NPC corps. Last corp was a laid back carebear corp. I left due to lack of activity and CEO's inability to display any form of leadership.
4. Why are you leaving them and are you leaving on good terms? 
Left my last corp in good terms. I am a regular at their public channel, and apparently they want me back.
5. Please provide a link to a killboard with stats on you - we don't mind if it's a public board. 
Dax Jr http://eve.battleclinic.com/killboard/combat_record.php?type=player&name=Dax+Jr David Vendetta http://eve.battleclinic.com/killboard/combat_record.php?type=player&name=David+Vendetta
6. Have you ever been a member of any of the current WI corps, or a member of an ex-WI corp? 
7. Have you been a member of any corp currently 
Currently? No

Lynn suggested I liquidate assets in high sec, giving me a few days to dispose of what earthly belongings I had. A prudent friend advised me to keep a home that I could return to should things not work out. Dax Jr. would stay behind clearing the hangars of excess items that I would not need in Fade. David moved what he could carry to Torrinos, the last bastion of high security strip that laid way to NC.

I was in. Little did I know that David would be mistaken for a RED.Overlord titan pilot to come under suspicion of treachery.