Friday, 5 December 2008


I've been playing Eve Online on and off since Christmas of last year. Mostly off in all honesty, I tend to subscribe for a month at a time then let it drop for two to three. Maybe that'll change now that CCP has nerfed the ability to ghost train (you used to be able to leave a long skill training which would continue after your sub expired).

Anyway, I digress. In the time I've been playing (or, more appropriately, skill training), I've had a vague 'Plan' in my head. I've always been interested in MMO crafting, and Eve is the current nirvana in this respect (at least since Star Wars Galaxies was stoopidised). In Eve, you can manufacture pretty much anything in the game, from basic gun ammo all the way up to space stations. You can even create better stuff (called tier 2) by performing research and invention on the basic stuff, so this was definitely something I wanted to have a go at.

After a wee bit of interwebs research, it quickly became apparent that you need not only the correct (and somewhat advanced) skillset to invent things, but also cash. Lots of it. And so the second part of my 'Plan' came into being - get access to level 4 missions as soon as possible. Never one to do things the easy way, I'd started my character as a Minmatar Industrial specialist in anticipation of the huge wads of cash I'd be rolling in from inventing 'Stuff'. This of course meant that my combat skills were cack, and even the lowly level 1 missions were pretty tough for a while. I seem to recall losing three Merlins and a Kestrel in my first two days. Yes, I know, Caldari ships - I was even less qualified to fly them than Minmatar ones, but hey, they looked cooler!

Interwebs research also revealed the secret of utilising R&D agents to get free datacores, one of the components used in invention. Each item requires certain research skills to invent. I'd already decided that my first try at invention would be to make Expanded Cargohold II's - in no small part thanks to The Ancient Gaming Noob. The basic blueprint is cheap, it seemed like an item that people would want, and at the time when a 50k mission reward was the norm, manufacturing and selling 'Stuff' for a million isk a pop seemed like wealth beyond my wildest dreams! Molecular Engineering and Nanite Engineering were the skills I needed, no small investment at 40mil isk each.

At this point I'd done a fair bit of travelling throughout the Eve universe, more than enough for the novelty of seeing new systems to wear off. I needed a fast way to get around, and that way was Jump Clones! Jump Clones allow you to store a clone of yourself at a space station which you can teleport back and forth to at will (with a modest cooldown, I think). All that's required is a Med Lab at your station of choice and a standing of at least 8 with the corp that owns it. Simple! I know there are much easier ways to get yourself cloned up, but this is me remember?

And so it was, in a moment of illumination that bordered on the transcendental, that my three, so far disparate ideas, came together to form 'THE Plan' - I'd search out a corp that had a good quality level 4 combat mission agent, that would give me access to high level agents offering both Molecular and Nanite Engineering research, that had outposts scattered across the known galaxy allowing me super fast transport via Jump Clones. Off to I went, and discovered my Holy Grail of Eve efficiency - Core Complexion Inc! Achieving a standing of 8 with just a single corporation would place the galaxy in the palm of my hand! Jump Clones! Level 4 missions! The fastest researchers in the West!

I'm sure the veteran Eve players can see exactly what's coming next. Me being the noob that I am, it took me about three months of play time to realise. You see, there was just one small flaw in 'The Plan' - there isn't a single Core Complexion station in the ENTIRE galaxy with a Med Lab installed..... Can you say /facepalm?

Still, on the bright side, there's no such thing as wasted time in Eve! I achieved two of my objectives - I have an R&D agent beavering away on Molecular Engineering, creating datacores at the rate of about 300,oooisk-worth a day, and I theoretically have access to level 4 combat missions, though not yet the cash or the skills to fly a ship capable of doing them. At least now I'm a half decent combat pilot (up to battlecruiser level), and my standings with the Minmatar and Gallente are such that I can jump straight into level 2 missions with almost any of their member corps. Now I just need a 'Better Plan'....