Originally published in the October 2013 issue of The Industrialist
I touched base on planetary interaction (PI) in our last issue. Lots of people commented on it, so it is only natural that I expand upon that article.
In last month's issue, I briefly explained what PI is and why it is important. I also threw out some very simple layouts that I use. I didn't really go into detail on why we do PI. Some use it for passive income, but I do it for a very specific reason: manufacturing.
All tier 2 (T2) items require some sort of PI. Ships use construction blocks and the like, while modules use things like mini electronics. Drones use guidance chips, and station spikes use wetware mainframes, broadcast nodes, and all sorts of other fun shit.
When doing PI for construction of capital parts and station stuff, you will not be able to do it on one planet in high sec (0.5+ security). Depending on the item, there are very few that you can make on one planet in null/low sec [Raw to tier 3(T3)], but it is possible.
I was making wetwares, broadcast nodes, and a few others on a factory planet in high sec. I had all four of my alts gathering the materials from high sec planets to make them. It is very time consuming and completely inefficient. I don't advise it unless you are using the material yourself OR have a repeat buyer of it. Selling PI on the open market isn't very rewarding. It doesn't really move too quickly. Most people that use it make their own or pay someone to make it for them. I found that wetwares and other high-tech commodities took a while to sell. If you are funding your PI with PI sales, the returns might take a while to start adding up. Keep that in mind when you are exporting all sorts of T1 material to make T3 commodities. You will need to put in a lot of capital to set up and carry the endeavor until your first big sale.
The key to PI is maximising your efficiency. What that means is getting the most raw material from the least amount of extractor heads. Also, keeping your links as short as possible will help out a lot. So for all intents and purposes, less extractor heads and shorter links equals more CPU & powergrid for basic and advanced factories. In high sec, I generally just pull raw material and turn it into tier 1 commodities on planet and then take that T1 material and offload it onto a "factory planet" to turn it into the two-part T2 and T3 commodities.
Just a fun fact: in EVE Online, CPU is expressed in terraflops. A terraflop is equal to one trillon FLoating-point OPerations. A floating-point operation is an arithmetic operation performed on floating-point numbers which are basically a representation of a real number in a way that supports a wide range of values. Not really important, as you only need to be concerned with the raw number, but it is interesting that EVE uses real-world terminolgy and technology.
I prefer low/null sec PI due to the huge bump in extraction rates. As mentioned last month, the hot spots are larger and more numerous. The base level of minerals on those planets is also magnitudes higher, so even if you are not on a hot spot, you often can still gather more material than on a hot spot in high sec.
Get yourself a transport "blockade runner" and you can do low/null PI pretty easily. I use a Viator and a Prowler. I have two alts running low sec PI. I have only run into one camp, and I breezed right through it before they even targeted me. Be wary of heavily traveled systems as gate camps can get pretty intense with insta-locking ships. If you get caught in an insta-locking gate camp, even a cloaker will get roflestomped.
On my low/null planets, I like to have one spaceport, two extractors and a myriad of basic/advanced factories. On my planets in 0.1 space, I run 3-4 extractor heads on my two extractors, which will give me enough raw materials to run about six basic and two advanced factories. Be careful on large planets like gas giants, as the link length is far larger than represented by the icons due to the massive size of the planet.
Also, be cognizant of the fact that you may need to upgrade a link due to traversing material being larger than the capacity of the link. To upgrade links, click on a link and it will bring up a window similar to the command center upgrade box, where you can upgrade the link. It will use more [regular term for this thingy] (PG) and CPU, though.
You can only build high-tech factories on barren and temperate planets. You cannot put them on any other planet. Keep that in mind when laying down command centers. Save your barren or temperate planet for factory use if you even remotely consider doing it. Planning ahead will save you lots of ISK in tear down and redesign. Trust me.
Something of note: you can set up your extractors to work anywhere from 15 minutes to 14 day cycles. It all depends on how much you want to mess with it. On my high sec planets, I set my PI to run for 7 days. I do so on Sunday and therefore, I am pretty much available to update it on Sunday evening.
When you have a few alts doing PI, it gets tedious if you have to pull stuff off planets. If you are just restarting the extractors and don't need to export/import any material, its not too bad. Expect to take around 15-30 minutes to do PI where you are going to the customs office and physically handling the material. I am basing this on using an Epithal, making one round trip from the station to each customs office (CO) and then back to the station (not offloading in the middle), at a total of six planets in the same system. If you are using a ship with a smaller cargohold or having command centers in multiple systems, you can add more travel time.
On my low sec planets, I have two planets in one system and three planets in another about 4 jumps away. I also set the low sec PI to 24 3/4-hour (or is that 24.75-hr) cycles. The shorter the cycle, the more material is pulled per cycle, with faster turn around. From 1hr to 24.75hours, the cycle time is 15 minutes. The cycle time lengthens the longer you run the extractor. At 25hours the cycle time is 30 minutes. At 7 Days, the cycle time is 1 hour. As a rough example on a 7 day cycle, I might pull 13k/cycle (1hour) but on the same location and a 24hr cycle (15minutes), I might pull about 22k/cycle. Huge difference.
CCP likes to reward those who like to micromanage everything. Regardless, I go there about twice aweek to export/haul. I go to one system, grab everything and then go back to my home station, unload and then go back out to the other system to grab the other three PI. I have to travel back through my high sec office anyway, so its not a big deal to stop and drop. Doing all that and not really factoring dealing with camps, it takes me about 40 minutes to run one toon through low sec PI. I have four alts, so if I did PI everyday, I wouldn't have much time to do anything else.
I have done PI in wormholes and if you are in a corp with a good wormhole (WH) and a high or safe low sec static exit, it is really awesome. I find that WH PI is really where passive income can be argued. If your corp owns the customs office (POCO), then the TAX should be less than 10%. POCO tax can be set by the corp owner. If the tax is low, all you need to do is get the material to high sec and sell it. It really doesn't matter how long it takes to sell, since it really isn't costing you a shit-ton of ISK, and it's only a secondary or tertiary thought. WH logistics is a PITA; I have mentioned my disdain for it in a previous Industrialist issue, but I put it out there for you to make up your own mind. Try it out and see if you like it.