Wealth Fundamentals

As demonstrated by the Logistics Pipeline article, there are numerous ways to make money in EVE; however, most of these endeavors require a solid pipeline (skills, equipment, fleets, cheap inputs) in order to be profitable and worthwhile.

Concepts

Wealth

Wealth can take many forms, including (but not limited to):

  • Fun
  • ISK
  • Loyalty Points (LP)
  • Standings
  • Aurum
  • Analysis Kredits (AK)
  • Material Wealth (ie. assets) such as
    • Ships & Equipment
    • Industry-related items
      • Raw materials
      • Input materials
      • Blueprints (and their efficiencies and run counts)
    • Pilot Services
      • PLEX
      • MCTC
    • Vanity
      • Clothes
      • Skins
      • BRC
  • Fun (worth repeating!)

Not all of these items are directly comparable to one another; in particular, it can be difficult to assign a quantitative figure to ‘fun’ for comparison to ISK. For this reason, comparison of wealth should generally be done holistically. However, of all of the above items, none is more important than fun: every endeavor you undergo should be something you enjoy or something that will increase your ability to have fun without exceeding your boredom/patience threshold. Often times it is better to sacrifice a little but of non-fun wealth in order to gain a substantial amount of fun.

Return on Investment over Time

Return on Investment (ROI) is a well understood concept; however, the metric is fairly useless if it is not related to time. Even if the ROI is high, the pursuit might not be worth doing if the gains do not occur in a timely fashion. If I told you of an actual and legit opportunity where you invest 1M and get back 1B, would you do it? What if you had to wait 10 years for the returns to reach 1B? Suddenly, it is not so satisfying or impressive.

In EVE, “good” and “bad” is not measured in terms of your ability to perform, but rather in your ability to perform to your fullest potential in your current set up, in an alternate setup, or in an entirely different endeavor altogether. The returns on making “30M a day mining” pales in comparison to what is gained from a single L4 security mission, which is done in 30 minutes or less; of course, if you are bored of security missions and are fond of mining, then perhaps the “30M + fun in a day mining” outweighs that “30M + boredom in 30 minutes mission running” of L4 missions.

Opportunity Costs

Definition and Relevance

The Opportunity Costs of engaging in one endeavor is the value of other of doing the same endeavor differently, or engaging in different endeavors altogether. In other words, it tells you what value of the opportunities you forfeit in choosing to pursue your current endeavor instead of another endeavor.

To evaluate Opportunity Costs, there are many factors to consider, including by not limited to:

  • Assets gained
  • Liabilities (ie. Assets expended or at risk)
  • ROI/Time

Understanding the Opportunity Cost of various endeavors will help you ensure:

  • That you are making the most out of your current endeavor
  • That you are pursuing the most worthwhile endeavor
  • That you understand which endeavors you can and cannot ‘afford’ to engage in, and whether you should start ‘saving up’ for an endeavor you cannot presently afford

If any of the Opportunity Costs of your current endeavor exceeds the value gained by pursuing the endeavor, then you are missing the opportunity to engage in a more worthwhile endeavor.

Example of Opportunity Costs: Mining Using a Titan Equipped Only with Non-Deep Core Mining Lasers

  • Assets: the value of the non-Mercoxit ores acquired
  • Liabilities: Extremely expensive, vulnerable ship whose loss would be devastating. The amount of ore mined probably wouldn’t even cover .01% of the loss.
  • ROI/Time: Ores are acquired painfully slowly. Far cheaper ships could acquire them far faster
  • Opportunity costs:
    • Improve current set up with strip miners, warp stabilizers, and buffers
    • Switch out the current set up with switching over to a ship with mining bonuses so you increase mining yield and decrease the liability incurred by losing your ship losing your ship
    • Switch out the current endeavor with:
      • Putting your high Titan skills to good use in alliance/sov warfare
        • Asset: Huge contributions to the alliance/sov efforts
        • Liabilities: Depends on how well your fleet composition is, how readily this Titan can be replaced and how much or how little the loss of the Titan affects your force’s efforts and your personal/corp/alliance assets
      • Putting your low exploration skills to use
        • Assets: Ability to find some exploration sites and hack some cans. Unable to claim many cans due to slow/high-failure hacking efforts
        • Liabilities: A lot of time will be wasted finding sites with low exploration skills.

Clearly, there are better ways of making use of your Titan, or making better use of your time.

Comparing the Opportunity Costs of Synchronous with Asynchronous Endeavors

Comparing synchronous with asynchronous endeavors cannot be directly compared except with respect to training time and initial investment.

Support you roll out a fresh character and start training exclusively towards reprocessing skills. While you might be realizing long-term gains sooner than if you didn’t start training reprocessing right away, you are also depriving yourself of skills needed to perform asynchronous endeavors in parallel: for the most part, you’ll be stuck with the rookie ship. Now, if you already have other characters that can perform asynchronous tasks well, then this is not a problem (in fact, it would be making good use of multiple characters on an account); however, if you have no such character, then you’re not going to be much better off than ‘hibernating’ that character.

For this reason, it is suggested that you first focus on specializing towards an asynchronous endeavor before engaging in a synchronous endeavor. While you might initially be missing out on free money in your sleep, it will not only be rewarding in itself, but it will allow to to continue having fun and earning wealth while you train the synchronous endeavors later on.

Balancing Short and Long Term Endeavors

The following advice is geared towards new players who do not have a well established main. Obvious adjustments may be made for more experienced players that have established characters (skillwise)

  • First invest in an asynchronous endeavor before a synchronous endeavor; that way, you’ll have something to do while you train and engage in synchronous endeavors.
  • Spiral your training in synchronous endeavors across your characters in order to maximize short term gains without compromising long term gains
  • Be aware of Prerequisite Dependencies: The ROI/Time of your current endeavor is constrained by the ROI/Time of the input materials gained from prerequisite materials. For example: Manufacturing common items is far less profitable if the BPO/BPC used isn’t well researched and if the input materials required were expensive to get (eg. off the market)
  • Be aware of Equipment Dependencies: The ROI/Time of your current endeavor will be limited by the equipment you have access to. For example, your reprocessing efficiency will be less at an NPC station than at a POS; your reprocessing efficiency will be further restrained at an NPC station if it has a low base reprocessing efficiency, and if you have low standings with the owning NPC corp (at about 6.67 standing, there is no reprocessing tax).
  • Most endeavors do not yield enough ROI/Time to earn tremendous wealth rapidly by selling goods in the market or via contracts without extremely high skills and equipment and plentiful, cheap inputs; however, with relatively low skills/equipment and low efficiency of input acquisition, it is possible to be fairly self-sufficient for yourself and your corp/alliance

The Best Asynchronous Endeavors for Newbies

If you are a new player, or if your main is not well established, then Mission Running is by far the absolute best endeavor for accumulating wealth early on. Furthermore, it remains a great source of income even later in the game, and indirectly helps make other endeavors far more profitable.

  • Your main should strive towards soloing L4 missions in a battleship as soon as possible. In particular, you should train the minimum skills require to advance ship size (Rookie > Frigate > Destroyer > Cruiser > Battlecruiser> Battleship) and use racial doctrine weaponry. Affording these ships will not be a problem: you will typically earn the necessary funds faster than you can train the skills themselves.
  • You should also train the relevant Social group skills to increase your mission rewards, standing gains, and effective standing
  • By the time you can proficiently do L4 missions solo in a battleship, a lot of the newbie naivete and ignorance should have faded away
  • The rewards for completing missions increase exponentially with mission level and agent/NPC corp standings
  • The gains from missions goes far beyond the mission rewards. They include:
    • ISK
    • LP
    • Standings gain
    • Bounties (In L4 missions, enemy ships have bounties of around 1M a piece, and they only take a few seconds to take down)
    • Loot (easily collected with mobile tractor units while you’re completing the mission)
    • Salvage (easily harvested with salvager drones while you’re completing the mission)
  • L4 missions take no more than 30 minutes to complete solo (much faster in fleets or with higher end builds) and can easily earn you 50+M a piece
  • Having high standings will help you with every single other endeavor you do:
    • Decrease taxes with NPC Customs Offices
    • Decreases/Eliminates Reprocessing Tax at NPC stations
    • Decreases Research fees at NPC stations
    • Allows Datacore Farming with multiple high-level Research Agents
    • Decreases Manufacturing fees at NPC stations
    • Reduces Broker Fees for selling items in the market
    • Permits installing jump clones with sufficiently high standings at NPC stations
    • Makes available very rare BPCs with sufficiently high standings
    • Contributes to your corporation/alliance standings, thereby raising the minimum standing with corps for all members
  • Having high combat skills will allow you to contribute to other related PVE/PVP endeavors
  • In the worst case scenario that you’ve lost all your money and assets, and you have no corp/alliance to help you, your combat skills and high standings will allow you to quickly propel yourself from using a Rookie Ship in L1 missions back to a Battleship in L4 missions

The second best endeavor would be exploration: many sites are soloable and contain extremely valuable loot that you could, donate, or sell. The skills required to be an effective explorer make it easy to survive in nullsec and w-space, and also lead naturally towards using covert ships such as stealth bombers.

General Advice

  • Engage in synchronous tasks as early as possible so you can profit from them while you do other things, in your sleep, etc.
  • Refinables or items worth refining should be refined by master refiners and/or at high-efficiency bases and/or at stations with high efficiency/standings
    • Master refiners can get more from reprocessing than those with low skill levels in refining
    • Reprocessing efficiency is higher at POS than stations
    • Station reprocessing efficiency increases with standings with the owning NPC corp
  • If you are not 100% sure of what an item is or what it can be used for, do not sell or refine it
    • There’s a reason why people are buying the item in the market: always ask what an item is used for if you’re not sure of its use or purpose
  • 99.99% of items in EVE are more valuable intact for yourself or corp than reprocessed or sold to market
    • Examples of high-value items that should be kept or donated instead of sold:
      • Dogtags (used to trade in for Faction items and/or otherwise rare/expensive items)
      • Scrap Metal & Alloys (can be refined into minerals)
      • Salvage (used to make rigs)
      • Datacores/Decryptors (used to create T2/T3 Blueprints

Further Reading