Archive for 2013

Red Frog

Red Frog I recently had my first experience with Red Frog Freight and I have to say I was suitably impressed with their service.

I spotted an opportunity to buy some ships from Amarr and ship them across to Rens. Based on my analysis of the respective markets I conservatively estimated a profit margin of up to 300% via sell orders or, worst case, 100% selling to buy orders. Either way, I figured a minimum of 50m ISK profit for a 10 day old character was nothing to sniff at but with a volume of 800,000 m3 there was no way I was going to be able to move the stock myself. I remembered reading a post a while back about Red Frog so I figured I’d give them a try and went ahead and bought up a few sell orders in Amarr.

Having never used a freight service in New Eden before I wasn’t sure how it would all work but Red Frog’s FAQ was easy enough to follow and within a few minutes I had the courier contract set up and was “Zuminov” to Rens ready to receive the shipment and get the stock on the market.

Their service status page indicated that their queue was currently classified as “Huge” with around 190 contracts waiting to be completed and about 45 in progress. I headed to bed and figured that it would arrive some time the next day so I was very impressed to see that it had been completed by the time I woke up less than seven hours later.

Needless to say, I’ll certainly be using these guys again!

The House of Zuminov

A few weeks back I set up buy orders for all the skill books I was going to need for my “Traders” account. Most of these, with a couple of exceptions, and significantly below market cost might I add. Off the back of this, I took the plunge and created my third EVE account.

I toyed around with a couple of ideas for names, but ultimately decided that I wanted to have a common family name for all my traders to provide a little consistency. My wife suggested the name “Zuminov” (which she’s used variations of in other games) and we agreed that it had a good ring to it. I’m not sure exactly how the lore works regarding the Zuminovs being spread across the various factions of New Eden but they are, so deal with it.

And so, without further ado, I present to you The House of Zuminov:

 

Dimitri Zuminov

Dimitri Zuminov

Amarr – Ni-Kunni – Free Merchants

Dimitri was the first character to be created on the account. I’ve worked through the new player tutorial and the career agent missions in all three rookie systems.

I took things at a pretty leisurely pace for the first system as I reminded myself what was needed and got faster as I went. I admit I totally cheated for the most part… I flew Jhiqui up to Amarr space in a Corax fitted with missiles and just blew up all the rats while Dimitri looted.

Progress wise; I’ve finished training all the ship skills I wanted and have remapped to a Charisma build to train trade skills. So far he’s up to 53 market orders with support skills to three or four across the board.

Dimitri is going to base out of Amarr. I gave him an initial 50m ISK cash injection which I’ve doubled already mainly by buying skillbooks & implants and shipping these back to Amarr to resell. He has a fitted & rigged Executioner to facilitate rapid movement around the local area and will also be issued with a Bestower when he has the need for it. I’m also thinking I’ll pick up a Magnate and run some level 2 distribution missions to get his Emperor Family faction up a little as I can do this “afk”.

 

Anastasia Zuminov

Anastasia Zuminov

Gallente – Jin-Mei – Sang Do Caste

Anastasia is going to be based out of Dodixie and will have an Atron, Iteron III and probably an Imicus for the same reasons as Dimitri.

So far I’ve completed the tutorial and done the first couple of Exploration missions in the first career agent system. I know that I don’t really need to do these but they have the benefit that they give a decent initial standing boost for fairly minimal effort.

Her training queue is currently on hold until Dimitri reaches the end of phase one. This is where the limitation of only one character per account being able to train at a time is somewhat unfortunate as it would be really good to get two characters up to speed faster. Still, these are the rules within which one must work.

 

??? Zuminov

Alexei Zuminov

Minmatar – Sebiestor – Rebels

I have literally zero experience with Minmatar, their ships or their space beyond a few hauling runs I did from Jita to Rens back when I first started out.

Despite this, I’m aware that Hek is one of the fastest growing trading hubs in New Eden and that I should be able to make a reasonable return on investment by setting up shop here. Given that Hek isn’t as close to the Minmatar starter systems as Amarr & Dodixie are to theirs I’m expecting that I’ll either need to haul stuff in to sell or focus on station trading. For this reason, Alexei will be the last character on the account to be trained as I have the least experience in these areas. I’m considering starting him out in Rens and moving to Hek once I get a little more established but I have a while to decide exactly what I want to do on this front.

 

So, the grand experiment has begun. Given that I’m 10 days in and have made around 80m ISK on a single low skilled character I’m hopeful that I should be able to fund at least this account from PLEX by the time the initial 90 days ends. Stay tuned!

Experimenting – part 2

A couple of days ago I mentioned a business opportunity that I’d identified. At the time I didn’t want to give too much away, but having had a few days to look at it more closely I figure I’ll share.

I had an old Thorax sitting in my hangar which I figured I’d get rid of. Since it had rigs fitted, I checked Contracts to see what the going rate was. I figured with all the modules and rigs it was worth somewhere around 30mil. (Thorax hulls are selling for ~12.8m ISK in Jita at the time of writing this, 3 rigs at ~3m each, plus guns etc.)

This got me thinking and so I had a look at what other people were selling. Instead of selling my Thorax, I ended up buying 3 over the space of an hour. One I only paid 8m ISK for, fully rigged and fitted with T2 modules. I stripped them and sold them piecemeal. With an investment of 35mil ISK I was able to turn around and sell everything on the market for just under 80mil.

Unfortunately, this was where the plan came somewhat unstuck. After exhausting all the fitted Thoraxs on Contracts I scoured all the other Cruiser hulls and couldn’t find any that were worth buying, so my little venture dried up almost as fast as  it started.

For the effort involved, the return was decent, but it’s more something to do between other things so will be one I leave on the back-burner for now.

Experimenting

Last night, almost entirely by accident, I stumbled upon a potentially very lucrative business opportunity.

It’s early days yet so I don’t want to give too much away for risk that it either doesn’t work out or someone else jumps in on a good thing. What I will say though is that it doesn’t involve scams, piracy or anything “illegal”. It’s simply taking advantage of people with less… market awareness. Based on my initial testing it has the potential to net anything upto 200% ROI (possibly more) with minimal effort (mainly just running around in a shuttle), though I’m not sure yet how scalable or sustainable that is.

 

Trade Alt(s)

As I mentioned previously, I’ve been thinking of starting a third account. My two main accounts income is currently sufficient that, if I wanted, I could finance a third account with PLEX which would mean that it would not cost me anything beyond the initial setup fee, for which I’d use the “Power of Two” offer that CCP are currently running. (90 days for £19.99)

What would I do with such an account you ask? Basically; pure trade.

My intention would be to create 3 alts basing them in (most likely) Dodixie, Amarr and then either Jita or Hek.  From these locations I’d initially start out with regional (5-10 jump range) buy orders for lower value items (skill books, implants, the usual sort of stuff). As wallets, skills and my own experience grow I’ll begin to fine-tune the items I trade and wind the range in to maximise my ISK/Hour. Ideally I’d like to spend no more than an hour a day managing everything on this account (preferably less) so it’s important to get everything running as smoothly as possible.

Each alt would follow the same training plan with the goal being to get some basic ship skills (to enable me pick up regional buy orders and transport them back to the hub for resale) and then focus purely on trade skills. I’ve built myself a plan in EVEMon with a 28 day “Phase 1” which will enable me to rotate training around the 3 alts fairly rapidly so that they’re all up to speed by the end of the initial 90 days. If, after this time, the account is not self-sustaining I can simply cancel the subscription.

Here’s my initial plan:

Cybernetics I

Install +3 implants for Int, Mem, Charisma & Willpower (I can purchase these with LP on one of my mains or off the market)

Amarr Frigate III
Amarr Industrial III
Hull Upgrades III
Shield Upgrades III
Afterburner III
Warp Drive Operation III
Evasive Maneuvering III
High Speed Maneuvering III
Mechanics III
Jury Rigging III
Astronautics Rigging I

Training Time: ~5 days – Ability to fly Frigates & Industrials with a tech 2 tank.

Remap to Charisma/Memory and continue training…

Social I
Trade IV
Contracting I
Retail IV
Accounting IV
Broker Relations IV
Margin Trading IV
Retail V
Marketing IV
Wholesale IV
Daytrading IV

Training Time: ~23 days (28 days total) – All core trade skills trained. Worst case cost 100mil ISK (including skill books & implants).

Training would now shift to the next character on the account and repeat the same process. Once all three have completed phase one the plan then moves on to training the supporting skills (Accounting, Broker Relations & Margin Trading) to V and then training for Tycoon IV. This will take a further 47 days per character at which point their training will be “complete”.

Middle term; I’d most likely train one character to be able to fly a Freighter (around 30 days with a Perception/Willpower remap). Possibly train all 3 into Interceptors & Covert Ops (another 30 days) and maybe train for Transport ships (yet another 30 days). Again, working in cycles around the three characters.

Long term; I’d look to get into R&D, possibly establish a POS (I’ll have enough Gallente faction on Jez by that stage to anchor in 0.6, possibly 0.7 space) and begin researching and producing T2 BPCs, but that’s as much as a year or more away and who knows what I’ll be doing by then.

What’s New With You?

There’s been lots of changes going on in my gaming life recently…

 

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

Mists of Pandaria has been out for for a while now and while I remain really positive about much of what Blizzard have done with this expansion there remains one aspect that I’m not so excited about: The daily quest grind.

As I have mentioned previously, I levelled two toons to 90 (Priest & Hunter) and have completed the quest lines in Jade Forest, Valley of the Four Winds, Krasarang Wilds & Kun-Lai Summit. I’ve done maybe a third of Townlong Steppes and have yet to start of Dreadwastes or Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

I’ve run through the first round of LFR a few times and while it’s beautiful it was also more than a little face-roll. Sure, I should probably have gone in search of a PUG and run 10/25 normal but I was at the point where I found that my motivation to log in had simply run out. Rather than completely destroy any enjoyment I still had for WoW I decided it was best if I simply took another break from it. Doubtless I’ll end up activating my account again in the future (I usually do) but for now, WoW is on hold.

Star Wars: The Old RepublicStar Wars: The Old Republic

Back in the middle of last year Bioware announced that they were going to be taking ToR down the “fremium” route: Free to Play with an optional Pay to Play component.

I’d played in one of the beta weekends before ToR was released and had found it to be quite playable. My only criticism when I played on that occasion was that it felt more like a single-player game with the MMO bit kinda bolted on to be trendy. Based on this, I didn’t buy it when it released though I know a lot of people that did.

My dissatisfaction with WoW coincided with the release of ToR F2P so I created myself an account and started playing. I created a Sith Inquisitor (I’d played one in the beta so decided to stick with what I know) and got to about level 10 where I decided that I was enjoying the levelling experience sufficiently to subscribe for a month (a subscription removes the XP reduction, lets you train mounts earlier, removes the currency cap and gives you more storage, all things I was starting to need). As I found over the following few weeks, there’s good and bad about ToR.

The game plays fairly well, it’s pretty slick and looks good. The companion system is a really nice as it means you can take on mobs higher than you should probably be able to alone. I found making money to be insanely easy; people will pay, what I consider to be, ridiculous sums of credits for low-mid level items. For example; I looted a level 40 purple item that I was able to turn around and sell for about 500k credits. I don’t know if there’s twinking in ToR like there is in WoW, but that just seemed to be like a crazy amount of money to pay for a levelling item.

The crafting system is pretty decent, I really like the idea of sending your companions off to make things for you leaving you free to continue questing, however I find the gathering of raw materials to be a little tedious. Sure, your companions do the actual gathering but when all you need to craft something is one item and your companion keeps bringing back another it gets a little frustrating. At least in WoW if I needed Ghost Iron I knew I could run to the Greenstone Quarry in Jade Forest and dig up a few stacks in 5 minutes.

My biggest problem with ToR though was that the galaxy doesn’t really feel alive. At one stage I found myself playing through the entirety of one planet (Quesh, I think) without even seeing another player! Part of this problem is self-inflicted; I started my Inquisitor on the realm where my WoW guildies had been playing, unfortunately most of them had either quit ToR by the time I started or had moved to other servers. For now, like WoW, my ToR account is inactive and I think that if/when I return I’ll have to start over on another server with people I know. One of my real life friends has found a good guild on EU so I’d guess I’d go there (although they’re Alliance and I rather enjoy playing Sith).

 

Hitman: Absolution

Hitman: Absolution

I’ve played a couple of the older Hitman games and really enjoyed them so, when my wife bought me this for christmas, I was pretty excited to try this one out (she knows what I like!) I know that Absolution has had some very mixed reviews but I really enjoyed it:

The graphics are excellent and actually gave my (newish) video card (GTX 680) a bit of a work out. With all the settings cranked to the max I was still able to get frame rate that was just about playable and with them ever so slightly wound down I found I was able to achieve around 50fps in the most crowded of scenes and still have something that looked amazing. The game engine boasts that it can handle scenes with hundreds of people moving around at any given time and it certainly lives up to that claim. The scenes in Chinatown feel alive and really challenge you complete your objectives without being spotted.

I really liked the “story” of the game and it was very cinematic and with a few nice twists. I’ve started over again on the “hard” mode difficulty now and can definitely see that (like Crysis 2) this is a game I’ll probably return to time and again.

 

Farcry 3

The Power of 3

Farcry 3

Farcry 3 has been out for a while now and has had some excellent reviews. It looks stunning and sounds like it has an interesting story to go along with the visuals so all told it should be pretty interesting to check it out. I enjoyed Farcry 2 (I got it free with a video card a few years ago) so if history is any indicator I’ll probably enjoy this one as well.

 

Crysis 3

Crysis 3

I never played the original Crysis (I doubt the PC I had when it was released would have been able to handle it!) and I only really played Crysis 2 by accident (I won a copy in a competition). However, I really love Crysis 2, it’s one of my favorite games and I’ve played through it from start to finish several times.

All the screenshots and gameplay videos I’ve seen of Crysis 3 have looked amazing and it was the main reason that I replaced my video cards (SLI’d GTX260s) with my new beast of a card. It’s due to be released in about a month and is certainly something I’d be willing to buy(it’s been on my Amazon wishlist for quite a while)

 

EVE OnineEVE Online

So, what am I playing now? Well, for the moment, I’m back playing EVE. I find EVE to be a fairly relaxing game where, even if I only have an hour to play, I can log in and blow some shit up.

For now, I’m still living in high-security space though I keep considering venturing out into the wide open galaxy of null. The biggest challenge with this is that I’d need to find myself a corporation that fits my play style (ie; I don’t, currently, initiate PVP) which seems to be a rather daunting prospect given that there’s so much suspicion between players in null (This goes both ways; corps want to keep spies out and players don’t want a corp that’s going to take advantage of them.) – I’ve considered training into heavy interdictors (Probably a Phobos as I really like the look of Gallente ships) so that if I do join a low sec corporation I have something to offer, but this is a way down my skill plan at the moment.

Currently, I’ve got my two accounts flying Ravens with pretty decent support skills. I’ve adjusted my skill plans for both accounts to focus pretty much exclusively on combat for the foreseeable future since this tends to be what I do most. I should be able to switch to a pair of Caldari Navy Ravens within the next week which should bring my mission times down even more and increase my hourly income. Since being back (just over two weeks) I’ve made enough ISK to PLEX one of my accounts so I need to continue to fine-tune my strategies to maximise this.

I’ve been messing around in EVEMon with how I’d spec out a third account as a pure trader/industrialist. I’m setting myself the restriction that I don’t want to spend any more money on the game so that if I do start a third account it needs to totally self sufficient – ie; making at least enough ISK to pay for itself with PLEX and ideally finance my combat characters too.

 

I’m hoping that I’ll remember to blog a little more often this year. Even though I don’t think many people read what I write I still enjoy writing it. I’ve got a few ventures in mind for EVE which I’d like to try out and write about how I get on so I’ll have to think about that over the coming weeks/months.

Stay tuned!

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