Thursday, May 16, 2024

Playing EVE as a busy dad

It seems I can never win this game in the long term. Years can go by when I go on about my business without a second thought of EVE, but eventually, I end up launching the game.

This time was no different. I caught myself in the game for several evenings, spinning my ship in Jita or taking Deimos for a joyride and shooting high-sec anomalies. It's not like I have more time on my hands. I started winning EVE after my first child, now a toddler, was born. But as if the suffering was not enough, we added another one to the mix. So here I am, spinning a ship while trying to deal with a crying 2-month-old and a constant attention-seeking toddler. Maybe I launched this game to remind myself of the heydays of my early twenties when I had no responsibilities and a lot of time on my hands. However, at best, I only have a few undisturbed hours in the evening.

So what can I do with those few hours in EVE? Probably not much, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. So what are my options? Certainly, wormhole stalking is still an option. There are a few concerns, however. For one thing, I wasn't sure what my setup should look like after the latest Marauders' buff, which is old news by now, but it's time I stopped actively playing. Maybe Leshak + 2 Nestors would be enough to kill without losses, something like 1-2 Marauders; maybe it wouldn't. If the enemy focuses on a Nestor, that's only 2 large reps received from another one, which sounds quite low. I was never too good at theory crafting and always relied on a hunch more than actual number crunching in Pyfa. 

There's always an option of joining a corp. Should I continue the status quo and go for WH Corp? Should I get back to my early roots and dabble in low-sec piracy? Or should I try null-sec? Despite having an account that is almost 14 years old, I never lived in null. Big empires and big fleet battles never attracted me all that much. But "never having lived in null" is a strange checkbox to leave unchecked for an account as old as mine. I decided to try it at least once.

Finding a new home

While looking for a corp, one requirement I had was a chill, mature corp with an RL comes first attitude. It turns out almost every corp in the recruitment thread emphasizes this. I guess a big portion of the EVE player base grew old. So, I browsed through some recruitment ads and decided to join NARVI, an industry-focused corp with flavours of PVE/PVP, which is part of a bigger alliance (Test Alliance Please Ignore). PVE was kind of my aim as I wanted to relax, do my thing, and be able to go AFK on a moment's notice. And if there is an itch for PVP, I am sure these big alliances always have fleets up and running. The more I thought about it, the more I got excited. Let's see how this null-sec life will treat me.


I recently changed jobs in real life and had to go through the onboarding process at my new organization. It was less of a hassle than joining a corp under TEST. I am no stranger to ESI checks and onboarding checklists, but having only been to small and medium-sized corporations, joining a big alliance takes the whole onboarding process to the next level. I understand there are reasons for every step, so I don't disagree or agree, but I will simply describe my experience.

All characters in the auth tool
Regardless of whether they will join TEST, every account and character must be added to the auth tool. I have 7 accounts, many of which have 3 characters. Some of them are dormant, and some are traders who rarely undock. I guess this problem is unique to players with many accounts, but it was a pain. It's also the first time anyone asked ESI access to out-of-corp characters, but I get it. Spies everywhere, can't be too careful.

No dual corps are allowed
This rule is probably the one I really wasn't sold on. During my time, I had a few alt corps setups to help me manage my affairs. The fact that every non-TEST character had to be in NPC corp was one of the bigger pills to swallow made me question if I was making the right decision. I also fail to see the reasoning behind it since I give ESI access to alts anyway.

Onboarding documentation
Finally, officially joining the corp/alliance, it was time to get myself familiar with new member guidelines. And there is a lot to process. Read about different services, authentication and communication setups, alliance and coalition rules, coalition services and authentication. Thankfully I could skip new EVE player topics, such as doctrine training skill plans. In contrast, my previous experience upon joining a corp was an EVE email with few paragraphs and several doctrine ships outlined, which I could go through in 10 minutes.

First impressions

It has been over a couple of weeks since I have moved to null. I have mostly been doing PVE while jumping on occasional fleet here and there. I will write a dedicated PVE post that talks mostly about the state of exploration from my perspective. I have a lot to say on that matter. So what are ISK making opportunities in null? I list them below and offer my view on it.
  • Ratting - mostly refers to shooting NPCs in an anomaly, but can also be belt ratting. It seems anomalies are the go-to #1 activity for the majority of null-sec residents. Many opt in for an AFK-style ratting with a drone boat, usually Ishtar. Others go for more engaging methods and use Battleships with active targeting for faster clearing. I have tried Ishtar ratting exactly once, and it was enough to understand it is not for me. While it offers a set-and-forget option, you still need to keep an eye on the local, and if you multi-box, you still need to keep an eye on each client. Going for the same site with multiple drone boats is inefficient because some multiple ships distract rats, who are more inclined to switch aggro on drones; therefore, 1 drone boat per site is recommended. 
  • Mining - is probably one of the most relaxing activities. Even though I never really considered it personally, I see the value of dabbling in manufacturing. While ISK/hour may not be great, it can save you from the logistical nightmare of importing minerals.
  • Exploration - this has been my go-to activity. It fits me perfectly. I like scanning, and I am efficient at it. The variance of different sites makes it somewhat interesting, and I would argue on average it pays better than AFK-Ishtar in anomalies.
  • Industry - the thought of producing stuff has always intrigued me. I have always wanted to do some serious manufacturing operations, but I was never able to start them. I thought this time could be different. I had a lot of faction/storyline/t2 module and rig blueprints that I would like to use for manufacturing rather than selling but trying to estimate the profit, plan production and materials import made this such a huge headache that I put any manufacturing plans on hold. For example, I considered using the booster blueprints that have been collecting dust for a long time

Unfortunately, no gas sites spawn in the area, and I would need a 776k volume shipped just for Malachite Cytoserocin. Napkin math says I could expect 8 billion in profit, but 2 billion alone would be spent just for the alliance freight services. Realistically, the profit would probably be even less than that. In the end, if I did it, it would not be for ISK, but for an activity itself. The problem is the planning and calculation. I have yet to find a good tool that would let me select a container of blueprints and give me a nice summary of materials to import. In most tools I looked at, I have to manually add each blueprint, and going through hundreds of blueprints IS exhaustive. It works easy if you have to produce 1 thing 100 times, but good luck trying to produce 100 different things one time. 
  • Freight & Market - this is another area I am excited about. One of the attractions of joining a null-sec bloc was to seed the markets. To do that, however, you have to have a Jump Freighter and a couple of alts. It is not a problem in itself, but the last freighting I did was over 10 years ago when I lived in null-sec. Trying to get up to speed and reading about Lance dreads disabling gates scares the hell out of me. Then, I get reminded of the importance of creating a route, picking stations, and creating bookmarks. Not to mention tons of strict alliance rules for your alts. I park this idea again as I only have a couple of hours to spare, and just the amount of effort required to get started reminds me why I sold my Jump Freighter in the first place. I know complexity is EVE's trademark, and knowing specific mechanics is a big part of it, but things like station docking ranges or kick-out stations, in my opinion, are legacy artefacts and don't have a place in a modern game. I put it in the same bucket of features like 24-hour limited training queues (remember those?) or days when there were no safety buttons, and suspect/aggro timmer was invisible (shooting wrecks in HS to extend the timer, lol). Not everyone may see this way, but in my opinion, there is good complexity, and then there is bad. Ideally, I should not need to read a 3rd party 10-page manual to do a straightforward activity in EVE.
Alright, let's talk PVP. Ok, in all honesty, it is a bit early. I have only been playing for a couple of weeks, and most of my time was spent on settling in, moving in ships and doing carebear activities. I participated in a few fleets, and while considered small by null-sec standards, these fights were bigger than what I normally engage in during my time in wormholes. In all honestly, I do not know how FCs can process information on such a scale. I had trouble managing my overview with so many ships on a grid. If not for broadcast, I couldn't find a target if just called by name. Anyway, I look forward to engaging in PVP more with time and will write about my experience in more detail in follow-up posts.


  1. I'm thrilled that you're back, if quite disappointed that you went the nullblob route though I understand where you're coming from. I would never have gone with a corp that prevents me having my alts in private corps, seems like a rather ridiculous requirement. All those anti-spy measures are really, they only prevent the ultra-lazy.

    Interesting that you touched on manufacturing, thats mostly what I do now. You can try Eve ISK per hour to find profitable blueprints in your collection, as if its anything like mine there will be a hell of a lot of chaff. Can be a bit misleading at times with thinly-traded items - cap rigs and so on - but it has been somewhat useful for me previously.
    I mostly use a combination of ravworks and adam4eve to decide what to build. You can paste a whole list of blueprints - i copy them from jeveassets - and it will tell you exactly what materials you need to import.
    For booster production specifically, the majority of them are worth it to build, just check Jita sales volumes. Avoid synth/standard exile. There are a few spreadsheets floating around that may help but again I just get my total # of jobs to do and materials to import from ravworks and figure out the rest. You can bring down the volume of gas to import by roughly 90% by buying compressed gas. With max skills in a Tatara, you lose 5% of the gas. Prices differ for compressed vs uncompressed gas but unlike ore its often cheaper. If it turns out more expensive you could compress it yourself with an Orca though its unlikely to be worth it.

    Fly dangerous :)

    1. thanks for the tips. I also use ravworks, but it can be quite a hassle to calculate materials I want. For example looking at Zeugma Integrated Analyzer blueprint, there is no way for me to get total quantities on selected manufacturing components (show profit if I bought only last level). The filters unfortunately do not provide the granularity. I gave feedback to the creator :).