Saturday, 1 September 2012

Blog Banter 39: Home

Having a big break form the community also means I have not made any Blog-Banter entries. So I am keen to get back into this... and here goes.

"Some say a man's home is his castle. For others it is wherever they lay their hat. The concept is just as nebulous in the New Eden sandbox. 

In EVE Online, what does the concept of "home" mean to you?"

Throughout my time in New Eden I have uprooted and moved many, many times. As I'm sure most people do. I have ventured through High-Sec, Low-Sec and W-Space, either dwelling in stations or living out of POS's. The system where I have stayed most will be Ichoriya, a Level-4 Mission hub that sits right next door to Low-Sec. Anyone familiar with Ichoriya is aware of how busy the system is. It is a popular choice for mission-runners and, because of this, attracts other players as well: Ninja-Salvagers, Merc's and general griefers. As it sits in Black-Rise it is rife with Factional Warfare, too. And during our time there we were victims to all. Perhaps I will go as far to say that it is the Mos Eisley of the area. Whether it is still like that, I don't know. I'm talking a while back now. But it sure was an eye-opener and gave me the kick into the darker sides of EvE.

As a Corp, this system played an important part in our evolution. Although we still ran plenty of missions and mining Ops (up until this point, that was all I really knew about the game) it was our step into Alliances. And through that we learnt PvP and Wormholes.

 But would I call it home? No.

For the last few years I have been attached to Wormholes. I love them. At the same time they offer the most dangerous and the safest sides to EvE. Close off your static, collapse any K162's and you are isolated from the rest of New Eden. Totally on your own and safe. Or are you?

I digress.

Even though I can't see myself leaving our C4 any time soon, I wouldn't call it 'home'. Even after I've been there for 3,4 or 10 years I don't think it will earn the right to be my residence. Perhaps it's because I know that eventually I will move up to a C5. Or maybe because the danger of being 'evicted' is ever present. Every time I log and warp towards our POS I always ask myself 'will it be there?'. Who know's the reason. But I know that it will never be 'home'.

When I first read the post from Seismic Stan about this Blog, there is one place that sprung instantly to mind when I read the word 'Home'. And it is a place that I still think of fairly frequently. Kino.

Kino is a 0.7 system. As I type this out I'm actually flying to that system in a shuttle to let the hull bask in the glow of the star and nebula. I haven't actually been back there since long before the graphics upgrade in Crucible, so I don't know whether it still has that red glow emanating from the ring nebula that hugged the system. 8 more jumps and I will find out. But when I think back to that system, I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside that would rekindle any passion that I might lose about this game.

So why Kino? Well, it was the system I moved to with my very first Corp. It was a mining Corp, and I still recall blasting away rocks in my little Bantam. But the fuzzy feeling I get from thinking about Kino isn't associated with killing asteroids, but more attributed to the realisation of the wonder of this game. It was only when I became part of that mining fleet that I fell for EvE. It was when the sense of scale, depth and comradeship that this game offered hit me. Everything was new and interesting, and the game enormous. I had so much to learn and explore about this great and unknown galaxy. I had realised then that the galaxy was at my feet. I knew I was now embarking on a great adventure. And how true that was.

I have just jumped into Kino. The old red nebula has gone and I am looking at a laser-blue star set within the Caldari blue/grey nebula. Not how I remember, sadly. I am currently sat outside my old station and a lone Orca floats outside. Almost peaceful. Shortly it is joined by a Bestower. I sit idle and soak up the ambience on my 24" monitors. Some emotion surfaces as I think back to how the game seemed to me all those years ago. I remember feeling so much wonder. It is that feeling that I cherish. But that feeling has slowly died as I have explored, conquered and understood. I have since learnt that EvE is a savage and violent place that can turn people bitter. The wonder has mostly been drained out of my veins.

But Kino can take me back before all of that. Kino still harbours that precious child-like feeling of awe and wonder. Like passing your driving test and heading out for the first time on your own: so many places to visit and things to see. Now I just drive to get somewhere. Same thing applies in EvE. Kino can show me that feeling again. It can make me feel glimpses of 'EvE that was'.

Yup. Kino is my home.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Crews in our EvE Vessels?

I came across an advert from an EON edition that noted crews for our ships. I have not signed up to EON (something I may well change very soon, I'll add) so I don't know the in's-and-out's of this idea. But I thought it would be fun to throw in my own spin.

First of all is the morale implication. It is a solid fact (stand-fast station-spinners) that we will lose our ships at some point through PvP, NPC or Concord. If EvE was real, I for one would not sign up to be an engineer to a Capsuleer's ship. Not unless I had a death wish. Although this is really nonsense, would it not be a nice touch to have miniature escape pods blasting away from the ship as it explodes and have your crew awaiting your arrival at whichever station you dock at? To combat lag, perhaps this visual mechanic could be included in the graphics sequence of a ship popping. Titans may be an issue with the amount of escape capsules accelerating away, granted. Or maybe an un-lockable (or not - yarr!) escape shuttle will remain following the explosion, which will then warp your crew away to safety. Perhaps the easiest away around this is to use expendable droids as a crew, which could be recovered through salvage if you really wanted them back.

The reason I am imposing some sort of 'crew recovery' system is because some depth could be implemented in the development of a crew. Crewman could have their own skills (AI controlled) that increase through time and/or experience as we progress through missions/PvP/etc. much like our standings with agents. So as we 'develop' our crews through game-play, they increase their effectiveness on our ships. Perhaps even crew specialised to certain player styles, such as pirate crews and explorer crews. But with every ship lost, a certain percentage of crew will not survive and/or have their bonuses reduced - much like our fitted modules.

Crewman could be bought/hired through a special recruitment hub through the market. The more you spend, the higher their rank and, therefore, the better their ability. Skills for our characters could be bought to increase our crews standing effectiveness as well as ones to accelerate their training time. I simple promotional system could exist with billeted slots, so that your ship isn't run completely by experienced Commanders. But such mechanics could lead to a complicated system that people quickly get fed up with.

However, a system like this is very much in use at the moment - Hard-wire implants. Bonuses to weapons, defences, navigation, etc, are already available, so to introduce a system that I have just described would only mean duplicating something that already exists in the game (apart from the increased bonuses through time). Plus, do people want to have something extra to manage with their ships when all they want to do is fly and fight? Probably not.

I'll say that a lot of thought would have to go into something like this, as it will need to be well-balanced. I'm sure players don't want to go through the potential painful motions of training and losing crew to make it a fair fight against their opponents. So maybe limit ships crews to Empire or even just High-Sec?

Who know's. It is definitely something that will make us more attached to our ships, but it will need to be simple enough not to effect game play as it currently stands.

I very much welcome your thoughts on this!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Blog Banter 29: Immersing Oneself in EvE

I have to start by admitting that the storyline behind EvE is something that I am not completely familiar with. So that level of immersion is somewhat alien to me. For a long time I've been playing the game as a game, and not paying attention to the backstory. I have annoyed myself by doing this, really, as it does bottom out the whole experience at a shallow depth. After getting involved in the EvE community over these last couple of years, playing and talking in-character, as many pilots do, has become very appealing to me. One reason is to sculpt a model of, if we're honest, an aspect of our personality that we perhaps could not exploit in real-life. EvE gives us the opportunity to focus this aspect on our character and develop him/her into a fantasy portrait of ourselves in a place with very little consequence. To some, this may seem a bit geeky or even strange. But to others, myself included now, it can be a lot of fun.

Although I was aware that some pilots played in-character in and out of game, I was reluctant to try it myself. Mainly because I had been flying with my Corp members for a couple of years, and to suddenly switch from being me into someone I thought Akinesis should be seems a bit ridiculous. However, the clincher for me trying to 'act' was following a War-Dec on our Corp a while ago. The WT's we were fighting were tough, and many times we would engage in conversation with our enemy characters (be it smack talk, etc). But at the end of the war we discovered that these characters were all played by one individual, who turned out to be a rather top bloke. This showed me a side of EvE that I hadn't come across before, and it seemed a lot of fun. So, shortly after, I started a new account so I could trial this experience. So far I have, and continue, to trick a lot of people. And it proves to be a lot of fun to see the reactions and behaviors of others in response to this false identity I have created. Whether this is shallow, pointless, or whatever people might think, it is a break from the norm (albeit innocent deception at the moment). Although not a back-story character, I have created a personality that I believe suits the character, which I continue to develop.

RocWeiler has delved deep into his character and kept the backstory of his Minmatar origins very close. He has designed an upbringing with which Roc's personality responds from and I enjoy reading his stories. This has very much inspired me to do something similiar to Akinesis and Chrieghten. Although I am too far gone with these characters to employ this into the Corp (therefore, the game), I frequently mull over the thought of starting a series of mini-stories in my Blog to explore them. I would enjoy such a venture, but if I do it I want to get it right. This involves learning the history of Caldari and the other races to a good depth to ensure my characters slot in accuratly. I am looking forward to designing a history for them and how they met, etc, but it will involve time which I need to spend playing the game at the moment due to some drastic changes happening in the Corp. However, it won't be long before I begin putting some life into these guys.

So immersion in EvE can come on many levels, and all seem very interesting. It allows you to play the same game in many different ways, and can even make you challenge yourself without even realising it. A couple of times I've had to be careful not to 'break out of character' by saying something that I don't believe my in-character Alt would say. Adopting phrases and tones that are fitting are tricky as these are often things I would say normally. Placing a limit on sharing information is also something I have found hard to do, as a lot of the members of the Corp my Alt is in are quite junior to me. Several times I have watched them make mistakes that I could have perhaps prevented, or listened to them spit-ball ideas that I myself know would or wouldn't have worked. In a way I feel cruel to sit back and let them waste ISK or ships on things I could have helped them on, but to do so would break my cover and ruin the very experience I am very much enjoying. At the end of the day, they don't know any different and I am having a good time putting myself through the challenge of ensuring that it stays that way.

Although I'm only just getting into the deeper immersion side of EvE, I'm enjoying what I'm experiencing.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Gaining Sec-Status in Eve

A fellow pilot asked me if I had the time to regain the sec-status of his PvP toon for a generous reward. He had real-life commitments happening and didn't have any spare time. I agreed and, after a few pointers on the best way to do this, I got to work.

Had I known the level of time required, perhaps I would have declined the favour.

OK, so the best way to increase standing for a character at the back end of -10 is relatively simple. Ratting. A speed-tanking Manticore was the ship of choice and I headed to a 0.1 system where the NPC Battleships live. Taking out NPC BS's is the way to do it, as these have a significant standing increase over any other NPC pirate ship out there. At first, I picked a solar system and began 'grooming' the belts. If you warp into an asteroid belt and a spawn containing a Battleship arrives, just kill the BS and leave his buddies alone. After about 20 minutes, the BS will reappear. If you warp to a belt and there is no BS present, kill the entire spawn and hope that the next group will contain the precious BS. If it doesn't, wipe out that spawn and repeat until you get the BS.

You can do this until all the belts with spawns (note that only a certain percentage of the belts will ever get spawns at all) and then you can just warp from belt-to-belt wiping out the BS's. This is a great way to earn ISK but, as I found out later on, not the best way to gain sec-status. It wasn't until I posted my frustration on Twitter that @DavidKMagnus pointed out to me that you will only ever get ONE sec-status increase PER SYSTEM every 15 minutes. This means that whatever ship you kill first in the belt will be your status increase for that 15 minutes window. From my experience, a BS will give you up to a 0.2 sec-status increase while a frigate might only give you 0.02. So if you spend the best part of the day in one system and happen to kill a Frigate as each 15-minute timer runs out, it will be a while before you see any credible gain. For the few days previous to the welcomed advice, I wondered why my sec status increase was going up so slowly after killing many  0.17 - 0.2 BS's. This fifteen-minute timer was the reason. But this timer only exists within the system, and jumping to a new system will start it's own seperate timer.

So the best method involves the need to travel from system-to-sytem killing just a single BS before proceeding through the next gate. I was lucky enough to find a loop of 0.1 systems not far from where I was operating at the time. I jumped to the first system of the loop and warped to asteroid belts until I found one with a BS, made a note of the belt and system and then proceeded to the next. I did this until I arrived back at the start of the loop. Then I put the Manti to work, killing the BS in the noted belt before jumping through to the next. Then the next, then the next. By the time I got back around to the beginning, the 15 minute system and 20 minute spawn timers were just about reset and so I went around again. And again. And again. I did this until the sec status was where it needed to be. Using this method, the status rocketed up in comparison to my original technique.

By the end, I was a zombie and fed up of NPC rats. It has deterred me from ever getting my sec-status below -1.99 on any of my toons. And spending so much time permanently in Low-Sec made me value HS so much more from the simple reasons of aquiring equipment and ammo. This is a lot more challenging in LS for many reasons - gate camps and the sheer sparsness of sell-orders in Low-Sec (in the area I was operating in, anyway).

So there it is - a quick run-down of how to regain your sec-status. If you ever need to do it, make sure you have a good supply of coffee.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Chimera Inbound

Now that my Alt is a logistics guru in both RR and hauling, I started to think of what area I wanted to pursue next. The only goals that I hadn't reached were full salvaging skills and a jump freighter. Although these aren't far off, the Level-5 skills needed are a bit painful to wade through. So I decided to set him down the path of a Vulture, and the Hybrid-weapon skills started to trickle through. But with so many drone skills to his name as well as maxed armour skills it seemed a waste to abandon Gallente ships and switch to Caldari. And an armour-repped Gallente Command ship sporting shield command-modules seemed a bit ridiculous.

So where should I go? Recently, while having a smoke to dwindle on the matter, I flicked through the iClone App. I went into 'Capital Ships' to see how far off I was from a jump freighter. I thought it might be worth finishing off that job. Capital ships was an area I hadn't really looked in before because my Corp operates mainly in High-Sec. So, for a giggle, I looked under Dreadnaught and was surprised to see that Chrieghten really was not far off from flying one. After training Battleship and Advanced Spaceship Commmand to Level-5, he would pretty much be there. This was quite exciting. But was it worth it? Not really. It might have some use in our Low-Sec and Wormhole holdings, but not to any great effect. Plus I would still be faced with the same issues if I were to train the Vulture. Well, more in fact, as I would have to train up missiles. Then I thought about turning the Dreadnaught into an RR ship the same way I did the Domi. But this just looked too extreme to pursue and I quickly abondoned the idea. While I was in that menu, however, I thought I'd just have a peek at Carriers.

I would be lying if I said a smile didn't spread across my face. I'm ashamed to say that I had no idea, but as I don't have anything to do with Carriers at the moment how would I have known? So, the Carriers have repping and drone (or fighter at this level) bonuses. It was sold to me. As my Corp is mainly a shield fleet (and I'd prefer to have a capacitor rep, too), I will be going for the Chimera. This means that I will still have to train shields, too (not complaining though, as these are nearly finished thanks to the need through Chrieghten flying a Basilisk). There are still some long Level-5's to go through, but this will be worth it.

However, moving to a Chimera doesn't come without it's problems. I plan to mainly attack Wormholes with it, but while in Empire it will be living in Low-Sec. And to make the most of this ship I will need to spend a fair amount of time using it in Low-Sec, which will bring potential logistical issues that is best solved with a jump freighter. Also, I still really want him to have maxed salvaging skills as I am involved in a lot of rig production. Right now, though, I'm just too damn keen to get him into a Chimera. Especially as other Corp members are starting to step into the Capital ships.

How do I combat this issue? Get some patience? After failing to find patience, I started another Alt. Although I wasn't in any way upset to do this, I did have to creep around my other half and inform her that my bank account will be shy of a little more money every month (although, I think she's more concerned that I might be spending even more time on the game). But once again, this did present problems (well, patience again) as I would be waiting for a while to get more damn skills under the belt.

But then my CEO typed in chat that he was selling one of his Alts. It was very much perfect timing. I was familiar with this toon, and he was a logistics alt in both senses just like Chrieghten. But he was pure logistical, instead of dwindling in other areas such as drones and weapons. And there was the added bonus of maxed PI skills. So I expressed my interest and after a couple of days of bartering and the usual 'ums' and 'ahhs' we agreed on a deal. This came with an additional bonus that if I got one of his pirate alts to a sec-status that would allow High-Sec access, he would throw a Providence in. I agreed (ignorant to the work involved in regaining sec-status, but more on that another time), and this weekend I claimed my new Alt and the freighter. There are some skills to train up still, but they are pretty much picking up where Chrieghten left off. And I also now have the benefit of two maxed RR toons. The only downside is that my new alt cannot fly an Orca, which is a ship I use quite frequently. So I am planning to get those skills underway before I move onto the Ark. But first, he will become a Level-5 salvager.

At the moment I'm very happy. And by Christmas I should own three very specialised characters.

Here's hoping for a fun and profitable future just around the corner!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Blog Banter: The Future of EVE Online, CCP and CSM

In recent months, the relationship between CCP and it's customers has been the subject of some controversy. The player-elected Council of Stellar Management has played a key role in these events, but not for the first time they are finding CCP difficult to deal with. What effect will CCP's recent strategies have on the future of EVE Online and it's player-base? What part can and should the CSM play in shaping that future? How best can EVE Online's continued health and growth be assured?

Firstly, I would like to say well-done to Seismic Stan for taking the reins of the Blog Banter in the Post-CK time we are now in.

This topic is quite convenient as I wanted to make a post in this area. After stepping away from EvE for a few months, it was quite a surprise to find the state of the player base on my return. The only info that I really got about Incarna when it was first released were a few texts back and forth between myself and my CEO. At the time, I didn't have internet so I couldn't get onto the game even if I had wanted to. And his thoughts of the expansion did not exactly make me want to rush to re-establish connection. When I returned to the game and the community outside of it, I gotta say that I wasn't totally surprised to see the reaction. But I would never have thought that the scale of the reaction would be as large as it is.

Incarna has been a promise of CCP's for a long time now, eagerly awaited by some and feared by many. A lot of the arguments is that EvE is a game of internet spaceships, and if we are suddenly allowed to get out of our ships and start walking around, it will lose a lot of that title. People have been worried that other players will just spend there time in stations, wandering around content enough with the game to never set foot in a spaceship. This, however, does hold truth in the game as it stands (referring to station-spinning alts), but if players are drawn into the station a lot more, there are less targets to shoot out in space. And I agree with this to an extent. But this list goes on-and-on, as is evident in past Banters and many, many other Blog posts.

When I was reconnected, downloaded and logged on for the first time in the Incarna expansion, I was a little wow'd. The graphics are good and it's a fantastic sight seeing your ship floating behind you. It puts a sense of scale to things and you start to realise how big these fantastic ships are. But more than that, it is great to actually see my characters alive. No longer are they 2-D passport-sized images on our screens. They move, walk, blink, scratch... everything. And (for me) one of the best features is that we can now alter the appearance of them as much as we like, which is an excellent feature. In addition, the new agent-finder and the revised mission categories and standing-requirements makes me really have to tip my hat to CCP.

However (and there is always a however!), like a lot of other players I have more than one Alt that I like to run at the same time. I've lost count how many times I've read about this, but, yes, my graphics card also goes absolutely nuts. If I am running three accounts at the same time funny things start to happen to my characters and their surroundings. My laptop won't load the environment at all and just crashes to desktop (and both my PC and Laptop are new this year!) and I have just had to replace and upgrade the GC in my laptop after the original went up in a puff of smoke. Because of this over-demand on our precious GC's, I have turned my station environment off and have no intention of turning it back on. Which is a damn shame, really. But why, for f***'s sake, couldn't we have the good old station spinning instead of that useless 2-D backdrop of our CQ's when we turn 'Load Station Environment' off?! I have read that they are bringing a form of spinning back and, for me, that release cannot come quickly enough!

Apparel. Well, what do I say about that? As it stands, I have no intention of using it. Even the 1000AUR we received is still sat untouched in my accounts. The prices of items, I think, is ridiculous. And I am by no means alone. Will I ever use it? Hmmm, hard to say. It depends what else they bring out and whether items become reasonable. The other thing at the moment is that no one else can really see what our characters are wearing, so it seems pretty pointless at the moment even if there were some desirable items up for grabs. The head-wear is a little different - people can see that, if they are willing to spend that ridiculous amount of money on them. Personally, I won't be converting Plex's to buy anything. No way.

The other side is the possibility that this Micro-Transaction step of CCP will eventually lead into Golden Ammo. In the interviews it was stated my CCP (backed up by CSM members) that 'there are no plans' to do this. But 'there are no plans' is not 'we will never do this'. It bothers me to think that it may lead down this path, but, to be honest, I'm not going to worry a great deal until the day it happens (if it ever does).

Because I have missed out on a lot these last few months, I don't want to get too deep into the future of EvE Online. My knowledge, at the moment, is rather limited and I don't want to risk waffling about things that I don't quite understand. But from what I have gathered so far is that these new features are nothing but a test-bed for CCP's future games. This saddens me as much as it enrages me. What I fear is CCP losing sight and possibly interest in EvE and pouring their resources into the potentially bigger market of FPS's. A lot of EvE, as we all know, is broken and/or needs a good overhaul. Faction Warefare is something that seems to have been largely forgotten about. Low-Sec is still not receiving the attention that it needs. But this is nothing new. And these MT's and their recent Plex package are signs that they are struggling. If I'm honest, I would prefer it to be greed rather than desperation, as the leaked information suggests. However, business is business, and I can't argue with that.

Yes, it does seem to me that CCP are losing touch a little with their player-base. And the difficulties CSM have been having don't exactly fill us with confidence, either. The game at the moment does feel like a test-bed for their other ventures after Incarna gave us nothing but burnt-out graphics cards.

So, as beautiful as Incarna looks inside the station, I don't like the noises it makes my computer make or the loading times. Honestly, I can't wait for the return of station-spinning.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Research and Invention in EvE - Donning the White Lab-Coat

From the moment that I was aware of Research in EvE it had always been a form of magic to me. I didn't really know what you could do with Blue Prints other than make stuff from them. When buying Blue Print Copies I noticed that ME and PE efficiencies were different on occasions, but this, again, meant nothing to me. My former CEO was very much into the whole Science and Industry scene, and we used to have a High-Sec POS that offered research labs. But ask me what these were used for and I would have simply shrugged.

Following our recent Corp move, we landed close to a very appealing Low-Sec area. One of the other directors set up his own POS purely for personal research labs. The CEO also then decided to place a Corp POS in the system to use as a PvP platform. As a director also, I was selected to construct and run the new tower. With our new tower being a PvP base, you can imagine that our structure needs consisted of nothing more than a Hangar and Ship Maintenance Arrary and the usual defences. Being the manager of this POS, I decided that I would allow myself some perks. So I pinned down the other director and asked him to explain the whole research idea to me. I was carrying the intention of using the spare CPU and Powergrid in our PvP POS to set up some labs of my own. After digesting the basics of research, I hauled in two labs (one for my main and one for my alt) and blew the dust off of my blueprints.

I sucked up some information through a conversation in Twitter, too. I had been informed a while ago that researching Blueprints was a good passive income. Being a sucker for free ISK (!) I was keen to get my prints going. But in the Twitter conversation, I was informed that this venture was far from passive. Well, I've already learned that it is as much as it isn't, depending on what is done.

Although I know that I am only scratching the surface of research at the moment, I can safely state that Material Efficiency (ME) and Production Efficiency (PE) as well as Blueprint Copying can be turned into a passive income. They can either follow on from eachother, or be used individually to generate ISK. But it also greatly depends on the Blueprints used, which I will clear up shortly.

So, how is this done?

There are three basic ways to start researching Blueprints. NPC stations, POS with NPC station in system, and a stand-alone POS. I would say that the most undesirable way to research BPO is in an NPC station, mainly because the research slots are nearly always full. But this also means that you will have to queue your BP's behind someone elses, and this can leave you waitng days or even weeks before you prints even get a look-in. Although, this is by far the safest option and if you have time on your side then consider this method. There is a search feature that can be used to find any free slots, but as this is not the option I choose to use I haven't looked into that. Plus, with this method, there are no POS-running costs.

A POS with an NPC station in the system is, in my view, the most desireable option. What this gives you is the ability to keep and run your BP's remotely from the NPC station without having to travel or store any prints at the POS. The benefits of this is that if your POS comes under attack and is destroyed, you have not lost potentially billions of ISK worth of BP's.

The other option is to set-up a POS in a system without an NPC station. What this means is that jobs have to be started from your POS, and BP's and materials will need to be stored in your labs. Perhaps not such a problem in High-Sec, but in Low-Sec hungry pirates with enough fire-power may want to get their hands on any valuable prints kept at your POS.

OK, if you've got your research method set-up and BPO's ready to begin researching, what can you do with them?

Well, I have gone with the three most basic options at the moment. I'll start with perhaps the most simplest, which is Copying. But you need to have a BPO worth copying in the first place. For instance, copying a Drake Blueprint Original (BPO) will produce Drake Blueprint Copies (BPC). These copies can then be sold on the market, and the income generated can be worth while. Initially, a Drake BPO will set you back around 400mil, and the copies can be sold for, say, 500,000ISK a time. After a while (and through mass-production of these prints) this will return profit providing they are continually pumped out. However, copying a 10mn Afterburner I will not be worth while (unless it's for invention, but I will cover this later) because the BPO original is so cheap to buy in the first place.

Ships will take a while to copy, and a basic lab only offers one copy slot. So although the process is slow, it is passive in that you can set the print for several copies and/or runs (copies being how many individual BP's are produced and runs are the amount of times someone can manufacture the product from each print), and leave it to work itself for the best part of a month. Once the job is ready, simply deliver the prints to your hangar and cart them off to a trade hub and sell them. This process can constantly be repeated and requires very little interaction.

To churn a bit more ISK out of each print, we can research ME and PE. ME will reduce the amount of materials required to manufacture the item, and PE will reduce the amount of time the job takes to complete. Although the saving may seem tiny in small production lines, the difference will be greatly felt when manufacturing 1000's of unit of the item. But on a Drake blueprint, I would say the ME factor is more important. Although ME can take a while to research, a standard Drake blueprint will have a material wastage factor of 10% (ME level 0), where an ME level 20 will only have a material wastage factor of around, say, 0.5%. So using the ME20 blueprint will straight away have a desirable saving on a single production run and allow you to sell the BPC for more than an ME0 BPC.

The final area I will cover is Invention. This is a great little tool that allows you to produce T2 items. I have selected to invent Scourge Fury Heavy Missiles, as these are a popular consumable. To start invention, you will need a BPO of the T1 component - in this case, a Scourge Heavy Missile. This needs to be taken to the lab and copied (ideally several times), and only one run is required of each BPC. It is worth pointing out here that the ME and PE of the BPO has no effect in invention. Datacores are required to start the invention. These can be purchased or you can acquire them for free using R&D agents, and note that these are consumed whether your invention was successful or not. Providing you have the skills (pre-requisitions for invention are shown by selecting the BPO 'Bill of Materials' and selecting the invention tab - it will show you the skills needed as well as the data cores and other items required) you can start invention.

Invention only takes a short amount of time to complete (37 minutes for me to invent a T2 missile print), so there is not long to wait. There is a percentage of chance of successfully producing a T2 blueprint, which can be increased by using Encryptors (expensive and not worth it on small, cheap items) and/or T1 variants of the item you are trying to produce. I use Caldari Navy ammo as my 'helper' product to increase my chance of a successful T2 print. Unless Encryptors are used, you will only ever produce a single-run T2 BPC. Encryptors do various things from increasing the chance of a successful outcome, increase the number of runs available from each print (up to 10), and give the print a higher ME rating. But these vary from 3.5mil to 50mil, so unless you can get them from areas such as Radar sites for free, then I don't think it's worth it for the smaller Inventions. As a rough average, I am successful 2/3 of the time and have a hangar full of T2 Scourge Fury prints. These can then be sold or used for your own production.

The other are is reverse engineering, which is used when you have acquired sleeper artefacts. However, I have not started down this path yet, so I have no knowledge to share on that topic.

So, if copying and ME/PE is the focus, researching can be a nice passive income. For T2 Invention, this requires quite a bit of attention if you are wanting to churn out the prints at a fast rate.

I hope this is of use to someone!