Monday, July 22, 2013

Industry for Newbros

One question I was asked about in my Cap Stable interview that I felt I gave a crappy response to was: "What advice would you give the newbie player for industry".  I was also poked on twitter by someone fresh out of their trial with some general questions about getting into industry.

Also writing about this keeps me from making an ass of myself ranting about a rather public, melodramatic, rage-quit this weekend.

Day-0: I wanna craft things

For those who have yet to finish their trial or are still working on their first 1M SP, I have to put the breaks on.  EVE isn't your standard MMO and a large swath of the assumptions from other games do not apply here.  Before getting into meat-and-potatoes of EVE industry, I'd like to drive home some important themes to the greenest players.

Time is a precious resource:

It should be obvious from the skill system that EVE is a long and slow game.  Patience is the most precious resource and EVE is a game for tortoises.  Nearly nothing is instantaneous and most professions and endeavors require a long-view plan to execute.  The primary metric to keep in mind, when trying to grind cash, is ISK per hour.  Mission running, planetary interaction, mining, industry, hauling... all boil down to this critical metric: ISK/hour.

EVE does not have many "Low hanging fruits"

Long maligned as a "hard mode" kind of game, EVE does not look kindly on the brand new player.  As such, many of the traditional low hanging fruits designed to give the budding industrialist their foothold are actually ISK sinks and tend to prey on the under informed.  Most T1 manufacturing requires highly-researched Blueprint Originals (BPOs) and highly skilled characters to milk the razor-thin positive margin out of the traditional "newbie industry" route.  Also, products with livable margins are hidden away from the main stream, meaning newbies don't even know what products to look at when starting out.  Items like R.A.M. have decent margins for low-skilled characters to make ISK on... but new players do not understand what R.A.M. is even used for.  Guns, bullets, ships, modules, drones... these are the first places many people look to start an industry career and are historically poo

Everything has a price.

It is critical to remember that everything costs something in EVE.  It's easy to think that "mined minerals are free", but if your manufactured result does not add margin on the raw ore, then you're technically losing ISK.  In the end, your margins are payment for your time.  
  • Selling raw minerals to the market is ISK/hour for mining. 
  • Mission bounties are ISK/hour for missions
  • Salvaging is also ISK/hour for mission time
  • Building is ISK/hour for your manufacturing resources and time to gather everything

Day 30: Tutorials finished, I want industry as a profession

I really can only advise this path to those who decide that the high-sec/PVE lifestyle is their route.  To those who join up with TEST/Goon under their trial or take up FW as a low-SP calling, your path will be different.  My advice is aligned with my previous tutorial: Making an Industry Alt.

So you've read my tutorials and want to get into the world of T2 manufacturing.  At <5M SP, I believe this is a bad plan for making your EVE career long and enjoyable.  The skills required for T2 manufacturing do not have any bleed over into useful keyboard-time activities like missions, hauling, PI, or mining.  Also the plan does not have many corners to cut to make the tree half-useful at midpoints: it's basically an all-or-nothing plan.  My biggest advice to the new players is: Find something interesting to do FIRST, then come to industry.

If you're still insistent on being the Industry Czar, then let me outline a path that is more sustainable to long-term EVE career building rather than "hurry up and wait".
  • Invest some time into Planetary Interaction
  • Work toward a mining barge or exhumer
  • Work toward an orca
  • Get the basic skills for low-level manufacturing
    • Laboratory Operations 4
    • Mass Production 4
    • Production Efficiency 5
    • Science 5
    • Industry 5
Some pitfalls to avoid in your climb toward industry
  • DO NOT buy a bunch of BPOs: It's fine to grab some module BPOs to play with, but resist the siren call of ship BPOs
  • DO NOT stockpile a bunch of raw materials.  Cash is your friend
  • DO NOT get bent out of shape over ore-can theft.  Mining barges have ore holds now, they're baiting you to lose even more.
Just like you wouldn't (or shouldn't) rush to get into a battleship with nothing else to do nor the appropriate skills to use it well, T2 industry should be viewed with the same expectation.

Okay guru, 6mo in.  Can I industry now?!

Congratulations.  You've cultivated a primary (and maybe a secondary too) playstyle.  You have found a corp worth your time, and things to do when you're at the keyboard.  You have a steady income to fall back on if things go catastrophically bad.  Also, you have things to do while industry jobs cook.  Now, you are ready.

This would be an excellent chance to roll an alt.  Grinding up a pair of characters through the skill tree will mean you have twice as much horsepower to produce once you're done.  Also, doing the skill train on an alt means you can still focus on your main's goals and generate isk.  Now, instead of waiting to play until a goal is achieved, you're growing your pool of things to do.

Also, you will be armed with a better understanding of the game around you and be prepared to follow through on some extra expectations.

Things you will need to start your industry character:
  • 250M for skills per character
  • ~3-4M SP worth of skills
  • 150-200M for BPOs
  • 500M "production purse" per character
  • 1B for a brand new POS + mods (optional at start)
  • Access to an Orca or freighter
Since you waited until you had an income stream to start the industry skill grind, you have a means to generate the ISK required to start without being stuck with crappy half measures.  It will take 3-4 cycles to really reap the fruits of your labor and really get the hang of the process, but once you have the means, the machine becomes pretty self sufficient.

I know this reads like "need 2B to do T2 industry", but these are the upper limits of what you'll want on hand to just start the machine from cold.  In reality, a few weeks on the front end using some of the very-high-margin products and some hard work can help generate this final 2B target.  Once you've crossed that threshold, it becomes more about growing your project into the shape you want it to be.

Just remember industry is meant as a ISK generating activity, and takes a lot of effort to make it "primary play style".  Also, remember the lessons from my other invention tutorial.  Hope this helps some of the greener players out there who are interested in the creation/enabling side of the game!