Wednesday 28 July 2010

Eve: Introducing The Newbie's Best Friend

My best friend started playing Eve this week after years of reluctance. I would love him to stick with it this time and I happened across a wonderful ship fit.

I've taken him through much of what Eve offers - we invaded Providence with Hydra, we hunted pirates in low sec, and we've done level 4 missions with him chasing frigates for me.

What he likes most is doing his own missions and I came across an absolutely wonderful fit to play with him:

The Hoover

Punisher (Amarr Frigate)

Small Remote Armour Repairer
Small Energy Transfer Array I
2 Salvager Is

1 MN Afterburner I
Cap Recharger I

Small Armour Repairer I
2 Cap Power Relay Is
Biggest Armour plate that would fit in whatever's left

No rigs, no drones

You can use meta 1-2s instead of the vanilla modules. They are usually both cheaper and better.

It's underpowered and needs very low skills which makes it perfect for playing with a new person. After all he doesn't want to watch you kill things, he wants to be helped with his stuff.

It gives just enough healing to see a new person in a cruiser through some of the tougher level 2s like The Blockade.

I'm upgrading to an Exqueror in preparation for more challenging content but it's been a great ship to play with a friend who's just started. I loot and occasionally heal or give him energy, he kills. I even heal his drones sometimes. It softens the learning curve without simply overpowering it.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Eve: PI Economics, part 5 The Market

PI has been in full swing for just over a month now and we are starting to see trends emerging.

P0 - Raw Materials

On the face of it there should be no point exporting these off-planet. You pay 300 isk export fees per 3000 units. There is nothing to do with these except turn them into P1. If you transform those units into P1 you only pay 15.2 isk to export the same resources. Additionally P0 are approximately 4 times as bulky. And then the buyer has to import those units and process them.

Despite that there is a brisk trade in these resources. Looking at one of the most sought after, Autotrophs, in The Forge we see that prices started high. On the first day they traded for 830 isk, dropping quickly to around 11, and now they've settled at about 3.

At the moment in the Forge if you want money for 3000 autotrophs you could sell them to the highest Buy Order for 4 isk each (at a low sec system). That would give you 11700 isk after export fees. If you transformed them into P1 you could sell the 20 P1 Industrial Fibres for 310.11 isk each. 6187 isk profit after export fees. Even just going by the high sec price it's better to sell these as autotrophs than to refine them.

This means it's much better to put down extractors and a spaceport and not do any processing unless hauling is a very significant factor. For instance I run my extraction in a nullsec system and it's rather dangerous making trade runs. It's worth my while processing.

But if you're extracting in High Sec or you're part of a corp which exports from nullsec to highsec using Jump Freighters you're probably better off putting down loads of extractors and not processing.

Currently the 5 highest P0 sell orders in the Forge region are:
Non-CS crystals 4.46 isk
Felsic magma 4.05 isk
Autotrophs 4 isk
Noble metals 4 isk
Planktic colonies 3.4 isk

Now that's particularly interesting because you would expect the top 5 to be the 5 that only spawn on one planet type. That's not what's happening.

What I don't know is whether this is a temporary blip or a long-term situation. It does seem somewhat crazy that the raw materials market is so high when the only thing you can do with these materials is process them into P1.

However if you're setting up an extraction colony and you can cope with all the hauling selling P0 to the market is probably the best money in PI right now.

To give you some idea how much hauling might be involved, my PI in nullsec could support 5 planets with about 20 extractors per planet each producing 6000 per hour for 15 hours each day. That's 90 000 cubic meters per day with three five hour cycles. In my blockade runner that's almost exactly 5 full loads. There and back. 10 trips past the gate camps from hell per day - too much for me!

P1 - Processed Materials

In general these are worth more than the P2s they make. There are exceptions. It is particularly true that where the P2 is a former NPC good large stockpiles of which exist it's just not worth processing P1 into P2.

The advantage of selling P1 to the market is that they are rather less bulky that P0. For those of us who don't want to have to haul large volumes processing into P1 cuts cargo sizes to about a quarter.

You also have less extractors if you're making P1 than if you're making P0 - a somewhat backhanded advantage that you don't have to make so many trips because you don't produce as much.

It also is likely that the P0 market will falter - it's too good at the moment. However nothing is set in stone and because the P0 market is counter-intuitive it may continue to do well as everyone and his brother gets into PI by whacking down both extractors and processors without checking profits.

The top 5 P1 sell orders in The Forge are:
Biomass 576.15 isk
Precious metals 490.18 isk
Electrolytes 410.23 isk
Proteins 410 isk
Chiral structures 401.04 isk

I suspect that these prices are mainly determined by demand. Demand for P1s is driven by what P2s people want to make from them (and to a small extent demand for Oxygen is driven by its use as a POS fuel). So demand for Biomass is high because it goes into Genetically Enhanced Livestock, Supertensile Plastics and Viral Agents. Only the first one used to be a NPC good and all are pricey P2s, currently around 9-10K isk.

So if you're interested in setting up some PI to sell P1s to the market Biomass is probably pretty good. I don't think it's just a blip that it's at the top, it's useful and it's not affected much by pre-existing P2 stockpiles.

P2 - Refined Commodities

These are rather undervalued by the market. This means that at the moment it's a bad idea to make P2 and a good idea to buy it either to hold it as speculation or to process it into something higher up the chain.

There are a number of reasons for this

- many P2s are goods that existed before PI and players bought up large quantities cheaply before the patch.

- P2 is the obvious way for beginners to set up their colonies. Most can be produced on a single planet. And beginners will generally assume (wrongly for the time being) that processing adds value.

- making P2 is attractive because volume reduces to about a quarter at both the preceding steps but the volume reduction is much less significant after. Quoting the Eve Uni wiki: "One processed batch turns 30 m³ of a P0 material into 7.6 m³ of a P1 material, resulting in a reduction to 25% of original volume. One processed batch turns a combined 30.4 m³ of two P1 materials into 7.5 m³ of a P2 material, again resulting in reduction to approximately 25% of original volume."

- a P1 can make a variety of different products, the most valuable of which will influence the P1 price. P2s are less flexible.

The top 3 P2s as determined by my secret profit-calculating formula are, as of yesterday:
Supertensile Plastics 7069.1 isk profit over the value of the P1 components
Polyramids 4360.79 isk profit
Coolant 3815.85 isk profit

2 things to note - this does not include import nor export fees and Supertensile Plastics have dropped sharply today. Every other P2 when I took my data yesterday was not worth making, better to just sell the P1s.

(I didn't even calculate the ratio between P0 value and P2 value - I'd be surprised if any P0 material is worth turning into P2).

P3 - Specialised Commodities

This is rather mixed. Of the 21 P3 products 6 make a loss over their P2 components. The largest loss yesterday was Planetary Vehicles. They sold for just 9,000 isk yesterday despite requiring 71,000 isk worth of P2s to make each. I hope none of you are making them!

The reason Planetary Vehicles are so bad is because of large pre-existing stockpiles. It's a very good item to buy, either for speculation or because you want to make P4. They do occasionally still drop in missions. PI loot in missions isn't that common but vehicles I remember as being one of the more common drops when PI does drop. Still the amount of these generated by missions will be tiny, a drop in the ocean.

The 5 most profitable yesterday (export/import fees not included) were;
Smartfab units 24,056 isk profit
Vaccines 18,663 isk profit
Industrial Explosives 16,429 isk profit
Neocoms 16,374 isk profit
Synthetic Synapses 15,488 isk profit

The following items were loss-making:
Data chips, Guidance Systems, Hermetic membranes, Planetary Vehicles, Robotics, Transcranial Microcontrollers

Data chips and Hermetic Membranes are on the list I think because of a rise in their input P2s. They are made of 4 of the most expensive P2s. This means those two are likely to go up in price. The other 4 are stockpiled former NPC goods.

P4s - Advanced Commodities

All of these make profit over their input P3s and P1s. However the P4 market as a whole is deflating because more and more of us are bringing our P4 facilities online.

Demand is, I've argued earlier, linked to nullsec wars and nullsec stockpiles. When people start blowing up each others' SBUs and POSes in earnest I expect to see a spike in this market and a general upsurge in the PI market at all levels.

For now though my P4 maker is having a somewhat sleepy time. I try to keep all 8 on sale all the time, restocking when I sell out.

Let me digress to explain a little about using the Market in Eve. When traders first get an interest in the market they usually start playing the 0.01 isk undercutting game. It's a natural first step that maximises both volume and profit margin. Deep undercutting reduces profits without necessarily increasing volume and not undercutting reduces volume. It's a sound strategy.

However the problem with the 0.01 isk strategy is it uses a lot of YOUR time. Time better spent doing something else. Which brings me to the crest of the wave strategy.

The crest of the wave strategy is a reflection that you don't need to always be the cheapest - you just need to be the cheapest once, for long enough that your items sell. So if widgets vary in price between 35 and 41 and you sell your widgets for 40 you might not sell any today but you will sell them at some point in the fluctuation. Most goods have a weekly fluctuation, you can usually shift stuff. So my crest of the wave strategy is to undercut by 0.01 isk once then just chill until my goods sell. They might sell immediately in which case I'll stock my factories with materials again. They might not sell for a few weeks which indicates the market is depressed and it's probably not worth building more. If I don't sell by the end of the month I cancel my orders, relist at 0.01 isk under the cheapest and resume the crest of the wave approach.

I get higher profit per sale than the 0.01 isk strategy, do a lot less work and am alerted if there is high demand. It does mean that my factories sit idle a lot of the time but there's no maintenance cost or depreciation - they last forever for free.

It does mean that when the market is declining, as the P4 market is at the moment I don't do much business. I have to replace about one order for about 24 P4 items per day. Of course if the market booms I'll be busy.

The top 3 most profitable P4s as of yesterday were:
Self-Harmonising Power Cores 1,055,508 isk profit
Broadcast Nodes 929,632.8 isk profit
Wetware mainframe 888,000 isk profit

Profit margins have been dropping fast though, it's likely that people will realise how good this is soon and the profit will become negligible until the next big war.

Copyright: I realise a number of people may want to copy all or part of this. That's fine, I put it in the public domain. Please link back to this blog though and don't pass it off as your own work. Cheers!

Monday 19 July 2010

Lotro: a week back

I received an invitation from Codemasters to try Lotro again for a week. I made a new character, an Elven Hunter, and decided to see what the game is offering now.

The intro and early quests are, as they always were, pretty mind-blowing. I took my time and read through the quests to follow the story. The beginning of the Elven area starts 200 years before the time of the main game with the destruction of an Elven reliquary by goblins and renegade Dwarves. It's beautifully done and demonstrates the Unique Selling Point of Lotro - that it takes its lore so seriously.

I got as far as level 12 and the recurrent theme of ancient splendor and present decline is very nicely presented. The Hunter character felt powerful, I managed to avoid dying which gives you a special title - a clever form of limited permadeath.

Experience seems a lot quicker than before which makes that title a lot easier to get than in the old days, but still an interesting mark of distinction for us old-school permadeath fans.

I enjoyed it. Lord of the Rings is an interesting place to visit. I suspect it might be more enjoyable soloing than grouping. I'm looking forward to having it on my hard drive when it goes free to play and will dive in for a bit of soloing and story every now and then. I'll probably throw some money in but I don't think it will take over as my main game.

Friday 16 July 2010

Eve: PI Economics, part 4 supply

Most PI materials begin life nowadays as products extracted on a planet but the former NPC goods still drop occasionally from missions and of course have vast pre-existing stockpiles that I covered in my last PI Economics post.

P0/P1 supply

The spawn of PI resources on planets is designed to be uneven and to generate different values to the various commodities intrinsically.

There are 3 rare resources that only spawn on one planet and are usually the rarest resource on that planet:

Felsic magma
Reactive Gas

More detailed information about P0 resources is available on the Eve Uni wiki.

You can also see on that page the numbers of each type of planet in the Eve universe. I would argue that type doesn't matter too much for P0-P1 because the rare resources don't spawn on the rarest planets. So while plasma planets may be rare everything that spawns there spawns elsewhere too so it's not a big deal.

This Eve Uni page shows some examples of planetary scans. As you can see, Felsmic Magma is consistently the rarest overall on the lava planets that are examined.

However overall rarity may not matter as long as there are notable hot spots. A hot spot is an area where the resource is concentrated, it shows as a white or red peak on the planetary scan. To give a real world analogy there's more wood about than gold. However where gold is found it's often found in considerable quantity and can be very profitable to mine.

To decide what to farm you need to assess both marketability and your extraction rates. So a resource that sells for 250 but produces 2000 units per hour is better isk than a resource that sells for 300 but produces 1200 units per hour.

To assess your hotspots simply set the slider in the scan window to about two thirds of the way along and scan the resources. If you see white dots for one resource but only red spots or even just green for another resource the first has hot spots that provide considerably more resources per hour. The better your scanning skills the more accurate this information will be.

P2 supply

Most people will naturally tend to prefer P2s that can be made without importing resources. For example you can make Construction Blocks on Plasma or Lava planets entirely from local resources.

There are 3 resources that require imports:
Microfibre shielding
Silicate Glass

These are more expensive to produce than other P2s because you must pay import fees and you must spend time moving the resources.

If your PI setup relies on producing P2 locally (like mine does) avoid these products for now. They are more work than other P2s and are not currently more expensive.

If you are set up to extract on some planets and then transport resources to a refining planet then the first two are probably good choices. They aren't very expensive yet but I predict they will become so. Silicate glass is pointless to make because of substantial stockpiles.

P3 supply

There are two additional factors introduced at this stage to diversify value. Some P3s are made of 3 different P2 types and some only use 2. Also most P3 requires importing.

The P3s that require 3 different P2 types are:

Biotech Research Reports
Cryoprotectant Solution
Gel-matrix Biopaste
Hazmat Detection Systems
Planetary Vehicles

Certain P3s require no importing of resources and can be produced entirely on a single planet. Each planet type has exactly one P3 product it can produce without imports:

Industrial Explosives
Smartfab units
Synthetic synapses
Transcranial Microcontrollers
Ukomi Super Conductors

I don't recommend producing these. I started out trying to produce them and what I found was that in order to cover the 3-4 P0 resources needed your PIN layout is too spread out. Your links are too long. Unless you found a planet with 4 white resource hot spots all at the same spot then you will need to stretch your network.

However note that other people may be attracted to the production of these commodities, PI seems designed to encourage this. But for me exporting is a lesser evil than long links.

P4 supply

Again there are inequalities designed in. Remember too that at each stage the inequalities are compounded by inequalities in earlier steps of production.

At P4 there are 3 products that use 2 P3 plus a P1 rather than the standard 3 P3 products. These can normally be expected to be cheaper to produce:
Organic Mortar Applicators
Sterile Conduits

In practical terms this means these can be very easy to make indeed. Organic Mortar Applicators is produced from Condensates (can be produced on a single planet with no importing), Robotics (huge stockpiles of this former NPC good remain) and Bacteria (which is an easy P1).

Integrity Response Drones and Wetware Mainframes not only require 3 P3s each but each of their P3s also requires 3 component resources. These two are specifically designed to be more demanding to produce than standard. No other P4 has a subcomponent P3 that requires 3 P2s to make.

Thanks to everyone who has followed this so far. The final two installments will cover recent market trends and conclusion (with a look at my set up).

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Banned from Spouse Aggro

I was most amused to see just now that I have been banned from Spouse Aggro. Beau has been resolutely defending RealID all week on the grounds that anyone who thinks they might get stalked is being paranoid about something that will never happen. He and Leila even podcasted about it where Beau argued that if you take "sensible" security precautions like never opening your front door until you've seen who it is, keeping a gun handy and owning dogs you don't need to worry about internet stalkers showing up.

I pointed politely out that the pot might be calling the kettle black. And got banned. I guess some people don't like losing arguments.

Monday 12 July 2010


In keeping with our renowned commitment to our community, Wizard Entertainment, the makers of World of Boar, Boar, Boarcraft would like to announce a new enhancement to our forums: NakedID.

As from next week users of our forums will be required to post naked with a webcam set up when starting new threads or replying to threads. We believe this will increase user accountability and raise the overall quality of our community's interactions.

We asked video game communities expert Adrianne Curry to explain the ramifications of this development in greater complexity:

I Love To Play 'World Of Warcraft' Naked And Stoned

OK, thanks Adrianne, you've certainly convinced me of the merits of your case!

Opposing NakedID is tantamount to terrorism.

NakedID addresses complex moral issues of vital importance to modern Americans. Consider Pamela here, who is something of an expert in the matter of taking her clothes off:

This is how Pam would like to dress:

But this is how terrorists would like her to dress:

See how NakedID addresses fundamental human rights issues of freedom and self-worth? Terrorists are in fact well known for their opposition to nakedness.

Consider that this man:

has never done a naked Youtube interview!

I'm convinced what do I do now?

OK we'd like fans to now vote by clicking on one of the following links. Click yes or click no, Yes to support NakedID; No if you're a sad loser.

I'm voting YES to NakedID (I like looking at women).

I'm voting YES to NakedID (I like looking at men).

I'm a fat ugly unamerican terrorist who wants to vote NO to NakedID (who cares who you're attracted to. It sure ain't mutual).

Boring boring blah blah please tune out so we can slip the dodgy parts in. Boring boring blah blah please tune out so we can slip the dodgy parts in. Boring boring blah blah please tune out so we can slip the dodgy parts in. Boring boring blah blah please tune out so we can slip the dodgy parts in. Boring boring blah blah please tune out so we can slip the dodgy parts in. Boring boring blah blah please tune out so we can slip the dodgy parts in. Boring boring blah blah please tune out so we can slip the dodgy parts in. Connection to NakedID costs $5 per minute. Users agree that Wizard Entertainment may seize their Mum and Dad's house if they get behind on payments. Fat and/or ugly people are liable for any damage they cause to other users of the service.

Sunday 11 July 2010

Eve: Suicide ganker boat

Catalyst Destroyer. It beats the Caldari Destroyer because it has more low slots allowing for more damage boosting modules.

This is the cost:

Catalyst 656,004.83 isk
8 High slots: 8 Limited Light Neutron Blaster I @ 10,001.18 isk each = 80,009.52
56 Caldari Navy small Antimatter @ 505.58 isk each = 28,312.48
3 Insulated Stabilizer Array I @ 10,004.02 isk each = 30,012.06
Hobgoblin I drone @ 2,708.06 isk

Insurance Premium: 155,561.4 (Platinum)

Insurance Payout: 518,538

Total loss after suicide = 434,070.35 isk

Prices are based on top buy order at Jita.

According to Eve Fitting Tool with perfect skills the ship puts out 276.6 dps with a 721 alpha. That's before over-heating and not counting the drone. Also if I had perfect skills I could fit a warp scrambler on just to make absolutely sure of the kill. It should be enough to take out an untanked hauler in most areas of high sec.

You also lose Security Status when you attack someone.

The basic plan is to two-box. One alt has a cargo scanner and a ship scanner, tractor beams and salvagers. When I find a suitable candidate the Catalyst goes in and the alt scoops up everything that drops and salvages both ships.

The reason I'm doing this is because a friend is coming to try Eve again having been rather bored in the past. Hopefully he'll like suicide ganking. Maybe we'll get a plex :-)

WoW: RealID, reply from Blizzard

I received a form e-mail back from Blizzard that makes no mention of removing my personal details from their records as I requested. Therefore I am taking this communication as refusal to comply. So I'll take the matter up with the Information Commissioner's Office.

This is the e-mail:

Thank you for contacting us with your concerns about Real Names being utilized on forums. We've continued to give a great deal of consideration to the design and future of our forums, along with listening to the voice of our community. To that end, we would like to draw your attention to the following open letter from Mike Morhaime, Blizzard's CEO and Cofounder:

Hello everyone,

I'd like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It's important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as conversation threading, the ability to rate posts up or down, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard's success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment

For more information on Real ID, check out our Real ID page and FAQ located at

We hope you continue to enjoy your experience in World of Warcraft and all other Blizzard Entertainment products!

Friday 9 July 2010

Eve: Thar be PLEX ahoy, skipper!

Amidst this week's other excitements comes a quiet announcement from CCP that some of the limitations on PLEX, Eve's in game time cards, will be lifted.


"• We will remove the restriction on undocking from a station with a PLEX in your cargo hold

• We will remove the restriction that PLEX cannot be put into courier contracts

• We will remove the restriction that items (including PLEX) can only be redeemed into NPC stations

• We will remove the restriction that items (including PLEX) can only be reverse-redeemed from NPC stations

• We will remove the restriction that ETC can only be converted into PLEX while inside an NPC station"

I expect to see quite a lot of trading of PLEXes. If they're light enough to fit into a small fast ship then there will be a lot of money to be made moving them from areas where PLEX are cheap to areas where PLEX are expensive.

Right now you can buy a PLEX for 292m instantly and sell it instantly in Jita for 306m. That's 14m for a shuttle run per PLEX you carry.

Expect some people to buy PLEX next week to test out trading and a lot of people to start running PLEX trade routes.

Now this is also rather interesting for pirates of various stripes. You see if PLEXes are moved around then people moving them may get ganked and looted.

"If you blow up a ship that happens to be carrying PLEX, it may drop the PLEX as loot or it may be destroyed in the conflagration (much like any other item in a ship's cargo hold). The refund policies for PLEX will not be any different from any other item."

Time to train for a Catalyst!

WoW: Hurray, we won!

Nethaera just announced a U-turn on the issue of forcing customers to reveal real names in order to post on the forums.

Thanks to TAGN and Kotaku* for the heads up.

Good job, well done everyone! And fuck you Kotick.

There's still no way I will ever play a Blizzard game where my real name is on the account.

* no link available right now for Kotaku - their web page is too busy!

The Smiths: Suffer Little Children


Over the moor, take me to the moor
Dig a shallow grave
And I'll lay me down

Over the moor, take me to the moor
Dig a shallow grave
And I'll lay me down

Lesley-Anne, with your pretty white beads
Oh John, you'll never be a man
And you'll never see your home again
Oh Manchester, so much to answer for

Edward, see those alluring lights ?
Tonight will be your very last night

A woman said : "I know my son is dead
I'll never rest my hands on his sacred head"

Hindley wakes and Hindley says :
Hindley wakes, Hindley wakes, Hindley wakes, and says :
"Oh, wherever he has gone, I have gone"

But fresh lilaced moorland fields
Cannot hide the stolid stench of death
Fresh lilaced moorland fields
Cannot hide the stolid stench of death

Hindley wakes and says :
Hindley wakes, Hindley wakes, Hindley wakes, and says :
"Oh, whatever he has done, I have done"

But this is no easy ride
For a child cries :

"Oh, find me ... find me, nothing more
We are on a sullen misty moor
We may be dead and we may be gone
But we will be, we will be, we will be, right by your side
Until the day you die
This is no easy ride
We will haunt you when you laugh
Yes, you could say we're a team
You might sleep
You might sleep
You might sleep
Oh, you might sleep
You might sleep

Oh Manchester, so much to answer for
Oh Manchester, so much to answer for

Oh, find me, find me !
Find me !
I'll haunt you when you laugh
Oh, I'll haunt you when you laugh
You might sleep
Oh ...
Over the moors, I'm on the moor
Oh, over the moor
Oh, the child is on the moor

Song on Youtube


WoW: Privacy e-mail sent

As per your privacy policy please remove all personal details about me from your records. I am no longer comfortable with your information security following the announced RealID changes. I understand and accept that it means I will not in future be able to reactivate my old World of Warcraft account. Please also provide me with details of any third parties you may have released my personal information to.

This is a response to your statement:
If, for any reason, you are concerned about the way in which we collect your personal information, if you wish to access, amend or correct it, or if you want us to delete it from our servers, please contact Blizzard Entertainment SAS, TSA 60 001, 78143 Vélizy Villacoublay Cedex, France. You can also contact us by telephone or by e-mail at: Please note that the deletion of your data will lead to the termination of your account and applicable services.

Account: [Account name]

Thursday 8 July 2010

WoW: RealID

Blizzard announced yesterday an extension of its RealID. Now instead of being able to post on the official forums as Stabs or some other game nickname you'll be required to use your RealID, as verified by the name on the account, to post there.

CM Bashiok was so confident that he gave the forums his real name, Micah Whipple. Within 5 minutes WoW fans were laughing at him for living with his Mum and ringing his house. Within a few hours it was reported the family was no longer answering their phone. Oh and to start with they got the wrong Micah Whipple who must have been rather baffled by the sudden attention from thousands of random geeks.

Arguments have since raged back and forth whether it's acceptable for Blizzard to reveal customers' names.

The main defence has been that with real names people will behave better on the forums. This is almost certainly true. It won't hurt the civility level that half the players will never post again either.

But it’s not really about the forums at all. This is part of a long term plan to monetise their player base’s privacy. Games like Farmville make most of their money through lead generation, targeted advertising that allows advertisers to identify, say, thrash metal fans then send adverts to them.

Google already does it, adverts you see on Google are influenced by your previous search behaviour. Someone who had searched a lot of Christian themes would see a different set of adverts if they typed the word “Eve” than a gamer would.

It will be a fundamental part of Blizzard’s future business model now that they’ve agreed a deal with Facebook. In addition to selling you games, collecting subs, having one-off cash items like the sparkle pony and server transfers they will now also collect money from marketing people wanting to target their players.

The current advocacy of being open about your name by Blizzard staff is corporate think. The top management are enthused about it and trying to justify it on broader grounds than “we want extra money” and so it’s become a moral issue, an anti-troll issue. It really isn’t, it’s just a cash grab.

OK, so what's the big deal if they make some money? Targeted adverts? So I see an ad for something I want instead of singles or Evony? Sounds great!

There's a few problems:


The internet never forgets

Richard Bartle recently said:
I print off physical copies of every academic paper I read, on the grounds that the only things of any permanence on the Internet are those embarrassing private details you want to disappear forever. Things you want to keep have a habit of just vanishing.

Many many people do embarrassing or dumb things at some stage in our lives. As Richard says, if it's something you want to disappear forever it won't. As a 17 year old student you might be comfortable saying and doing things that as a 45 year old bank manager you wouldn't. But guess what? When you apply for that bank job in 28 years time the personnel officer will be watching your machinima WoW gay pride video to help her decide whether you have the gravitas and respectability to run their bank.

I actually went for an open day with London recruitment firm Badenoch and Clark a couple of weeks ago. I was told it's normal for people who are headhunted to be googled. At a professional level you are normally interviewed by a panel of people, usually a couple of people from the specific profession you're in plus a personnel manager. It's the personnel manager's job to assess how you would fit in.

And it's not only recruiters. Break up with someone and guess what, everyone may be admiring your intimate photos on facebook just like this lady.

So that's one of the key things about internet privacy. Once breached you can't change your mind. Ever. If it's bad enough - like this poor lad who needed therapy after this video was uploaded - it will never go away. He actually sued and won his case and his video is still fricking everywhere.

In Eve Online, Goons CEO Remedial stole the corp's titan fund and is believed to have e-bayed it for around $10 000. Guess what happened next:

>the other Goon directors are pretty pissed. FirstName LastName, infamous EVE goon, starts working on his revenge. Eventually he tracks Remedial to a swinger site, AdultFriendFinder, and either cons Remedial into thinking he is a woman interested in a threesome or just pulls pictures Remedial posted off the site. Either way, FNLN now had pictures of Remedial and his wife naked.

Which ends up posted fucking EVERYWHERE.

Remdick.jpg is faxed to his law office with the cryptic message "FirstName LastName always gets his."

Anyone care to lay odds that that highly embarassing jpeg file is still on hard drives (or whatever replaces them) in a hundred years time?


Anyone can say anything about you. Gank and corpse camp someone? Next thing you know there may be claims on your Facebook page that you roger under-age hamsters and help old ladies under the wheels of oncoming trucks. If it goes viral you will never get that completely taken down - your only recourse is to track down each site individually and ask them to take down your personal details (and they can say no). If they do say no you have the ability to take them to court - but good luck getting judgements against a million sites all over the world.

Sometimes of course it's possible to win - this businessman successfully sued an old school friend for defamation - but even after winning the lies might still be out there in google caches and mirror sites. Also the liar was pretty dumb to do it from his own PC.


Given your real name and the fact that you play WoW people can start to crack your internet security. You may reveal details in your posts that help them. Now of course there are thousands of other sources of people's real names but RealId will combine the dangerous elements of identifiability with outrage. How you behave towards other players in game and on forums will sometimes provoke outrage. Pvping someone, undercutting their auctions, kicking them from your guild or raid will get people really furious. Here is a very not safe for work Youtube recording of an encounter between Eve pirates and one of their victims. Listen to this, to the real life threats, then tell me it's a good idea for players to be able to track each other down?

In addition to regular players getting cross with each other sexual predators can use the internet as a means of finding victims. From the Guardian article on Peter Chapman:
He created the fake profile on Facebook and used pictures of a boy in his late teens, the court heard.

"The photograph is not of him. It is of a bare-chested and good-looking boy who is apparently in his late teens," Reeds said. "The defendant is a somewhat plainer looking man who could pass for being rather older than his 33 years.

"The prosecution case is that the defendant used this handsome alter ego to entice 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall into meeting him. When she met him, on 25 October last year, he kidnapped, raped and murdered her."

Here's a not safe for work video of a WoW player who got rather cross with her former guildies. Think it's a good idea to let her find out where they live?

Guild management

WoW will see a substantial proportion of its players opt out of running guilds. There is some correlation between effective guild managers and people who have real life responsibility. Think those doctors, teachers and lawyers want everyone to think that sometimes they sound like this?

In a game that's short of raid leaders and officers causing half the people playing to be ineligible for those roles because they won't use Friends lists or the official forums is not helpful.

So even if you're ok with revealing your personal information you better also be willing to step up to recruit for your guild and run their raids when the guys doing it now stop doing it.

The slippery slope

I think what concerns me most is not that we will be required to use RealID to use full Friends list functionality, I can play WoW without a friends list. Not that we will be required to use RealID to use the forums, I can live without posting.

What concerns me is that there is clearly an attitude that is inspired by corporate greed that has become a moral theme. It's wrong to oppose RealId, some people say, you should be more honest. Got something to hide?

By making it a moral issue it become inevitable that this will be extended, perhaps eventually becoming impossible to play Blizzard video games without putting your details out there. And who knows, maybe other companies will follow suit.

Personally I'm quite torn. I know that I should hold to my principles and refuse to play another Blizzard game until they climb down. And I'm comfortable with refraining from buying Starcraft 2. I'm less comfortable with not buying WoW. And I very much want to buy Diablo 3, I loved the previous versions.

I suppose for me the opt-out solution is to create a new account with a false name. You don't need a credit card to buy these games, you can buy a WoW box in shops and buy game cards for cash. Diablo 3 will certainly be in the shops and probably won't even have a monthly sub.

Or you can play games with your names. For example James Hugh Callum Laurie, the actor, uses the name Hugh Laurie professionally and no one calls him a lying liar. He could certainly, if he played WoW, post as James Laurie without people realising who he was but without lying about his name. Actor Roger Caesar Marius Bernard de Delgado Torres Castillo Roberto, known as Roger Delgado, could like most Portuguese use a number of combinations from his name quite legitimately. Married women have the option of using their maiden name or their husband's surname. Authors like George Eliot and J. K. Rowling have used gender-neutral versions of their names to get published without actually lying or implying they're female.

So we may be moving into a time when without any normal people really wanting it we lose the right to anonymity because of corporate greed. And rather than fight it it's easier to simply sacrifice one's principles and use a fake "real name".

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Eve: PI Economics, part 3 Stockpiles

The PI market is hugely skewed because of stockpiles of planetary products that players were able to buy cheaply before the Tyrannis patch.

To understand the scope of this we need to look at the history of these commodities in Eve.

Eve was derived from old single player games like Elite. It inherited a trading system where you could buy, say, 1000 units of antibiotics in one system for 200 isk each then fly them to a system 10 jumps away where the game would buy them for 250 isk each. The basic purpose of this system was to provide a way for players to make easy isk although it was quite time-consuming and profit was low.

By the time I started playing in June 2009 this system had almost entirely fallen into disuse. This is because most of the game had been affected by inflation but this system was more or less untouched since the game's earliest days. So as time had passed these trips had become not worth making. 10 jumps for 50 000 isk profit simply wasn't worth doing - courier missions were almost the same but paid more.

Now the game had been constructed to occasionally reward players with these NPC goods as loot. They drop during missions and also were handed to players for courier missions which were not always completed allowing the goods to remain in the system. So for a few years these goods were supplied to players without it really be worth anyone's while to cart them off to a NPC trader to turn back into isk. Some would have been sold back of course but for most players we all had a small amount of this somewhere around in an item hangar or two that we never bothered to do anything with.

When Planetary Interaction was announced most people weren't very sure what it would involve but there was speculation that these NPC goods would be used. This meant that the handful of traders still hauling them to NPC vendors dried up almost completely because there was a chance that this very low value material might one day be worth something.

When PI was launched on Sisi people realised that this stuff was pure gold. They could buy a NPC's stock of Robotics and be guaranteed that it would later be worth more than the NPC sell price of 7000 isk.

So several months leading up to Tyrannis all NPC goods vendors sold out every day, mission loot planetary products were bought and stockpiled. In May for instance over a million units of Robotics was traded on nearly every day with a high of 3.2 million trades on 13th May. All of that headed for stockpiles.

When Tyrannis launched PI wasn't in yet but the goods made by PI could be reprocessed. As Letrange explained, this meant people could buy a structure, reprocess it to get p4 products. The p4s could be made into more expensive structures and sold back to the NPCs. CCP quickly removed the buy orders but not the sell orders and people frantically converted the p4s into structures anticipating CCP deliberately breaking them. This they did, those p4s generated by that loophole now only convert into Tritanium but not before yet another stockpile of structures was quickly and easily built up.

So let's conclude. We have years worth of NPC goods found as mission loot and purchased in the feeding frenzy just before Tyrannis. We have a spike in structure supply caused by the clumsy implementation of Tyrannis. We have an ongoing trickle of planetary products from missions: things like Robotics, Coolant etc all still occasionally drop when you blow up structures in missions. And we have a PI system which as yet doesn't really consume a vast amount of resources.

All this means that certain PI materials are oversupplied and will be oversupplied for some time.

To get a picture of the ratio of oversupply to consumption here's a very rough example. SBUs use 560 Construction Blocks each. In The Forge (approximately 60% of the Eve market) about 2 per day are traded. We can assume that most of the SBUs traded are consumed rather than re-traded (flipped, etc). Let's assume too that SBUs consume about 20% of planetary products used. So about 5600 Contruction Blocks per day will be consumed by the market.

Well over a million Construction Blocks have been traded most days going back a year. On 4th of July there were 2 095 311 Construction Blocks traded. Those trades were speculators selling to each other and new PI players testing the market as well as mission runners converting loot to isk. But those 2 million blocks is enough to keep the market supplied for over a year if my estimate of 5600 consumed per day is right. Even with no one making them for profit the supply of Construction Blocks from stockpile liquidation, noobs trying out PI and mission runners selling loot is likely to fully supply the market for years.

This means that it is unlikely that Construction Blocks will reach anything close to the natural level for a P2 item as determined by production costs. Anyone producing them using PI will be undercut by the many other sources of supply.

This will apply to every planetary product that existed in Eve as a NPC good before PI. Here's the list:

P0 - all new

P1 - Oxygen, Silicon, Water

P2 - Construction Blocks, Consumer Electronics, Coolant, Enriched Uranium, Fertiliser, Genetically Enhanced Livestock, Livestock, Mechanical Parts, Miniature Electronics, Polytextiles, Rocket Fuel, Silicate Glass, Superconductors, Synthetic Oil, Transmitter, Viral Agent,

(ie all except Biofuels, Microfibre Shielding, Nanites, Oxides, Polyramids, Supertensile Plastics, Test Cultures, Water-cooled CPU)

P3 - Guidance systems, High-Tech Transmitters, Planetary Vehicles, Robotics, Transcranial Microcontrollers, Ukomi Super Conductors

P4 - none

So all those P2 and P3 listed are things which should be cheap, will be kept cheap by over-supply, and are not worth producing when you can buy them cheaply instead.

Eve: PI Economics, part 2 SBUs

Build cost of a SBU based on current Jita prices:

Capital Construction Parts: 5 * 7 000 000 = 35 000 000
Broadcast Node: 13 * 1 600 000 = 20 800 000
Integrity Response Drones: 9 * 1 670 000 = 15 030 000
Nano-Factory: 19 * 340 000 = 6 460 000
Organic Mortar Applicators: 19 * 957 000 = 18 183 000
Recursive Computing Module: 13 * 939 000 = 12 207 000
Self-Harmonizing Power Core: 13 * 1 895 000 = 24 635 000
Sterile Conduits: 19 * 695 000 = 13 205 000
Wetware Mainframe: 9 * 1 200 000 = 10 800 000

Total = 156 320 000

The actual price of the cheapest SBU sell order is: 191 000 000

SBUs were introduced with the Dominion patch in November 2009. They have been available in unlimited supply on NPC vendors until June 2010. Many players will have planned future use and stockpiled wisely. Those are not the players we're trying to sell to.

The people buying SBUs from the market are nullsec admirals who didn't plan ahead plus speculators. Both are likely to be willing to pay more over the next 6 months because the supply from PI and from speculators cashing in should be considerably below the demand created by sov war and speculators accumulating. Many of the expert Eve players who will have seen this coming will not be inclined to cash in as they may be involved in sov war themselves.

We don't yet know how effective PI will be in supporting the SBU market. However because it's not a massive profit (191 million sell price for a manufacture based on 156 million's worth of materials) there won't be a gold rush at this time.

I would conjecture that PI will be a long time sorting itself out into a viable supplier of SBUs. It's like one of those dinosaurs which, if bitten on the tail, jumped a week later because the nervous system took so long to send the message to the brain.

What will happen to start with is PI will be producer-oriented. PI producers will tend to make what is convenient for them, so for example p3s which can be entirely manufactured on a single planet. Most people (me included) have gone for the comparatively inefficient method of producing from start to finish rather than, say, filling a planet with Higher Processors and importing P3. The market will correct errors in supply over time by making oversupplied materials cheap and undersupplied materials expensive. However if there's a big war, then a spike in SBU prices it takes a long time for the change in market prices to cause people to entirely uproot their carefully planned out PI networks and replace them.

There are a number of factors that give inertia to PI networks. It is an investment of a lot of time and isk to destroy all your PI networks and replace them. People are often proud of their networks and feel that they have cleverly worked something advantageous out like a spot with very high base extraction or whatever. And the market distortions will cause some producers to get burned out because they planted the wrong crop.

And even if people uproot and find new planets with the correct resources it will take time for those resources to be processed all the way up into SBUs. This means even if SBUs spike to 10 million people won't necessarily switch production because it's a spike and they won't be quick enough to catch that spike.

A number of other factors constrain the SBU market. High sec carebears lack awareness of the 0,0 sov system and nullsec industrialists might feel uncomfortable placing SBUs on the market that might be used to conquer their space.

So here's a detailed breakdown of SBU production:

Asteroid minerals:
Isogen 250 265
Megacyte 525
Mexallon 343 080
Nocxium 7 575
Pyerite 464 195
Tritanium 384 326
Zydrine 1330

P4 products

Broadcast Node: 13
Integrity Response Drones: 9
Nano-Factory: 19
Organic Mortar Applicators: 19
Recursive Computing Module: 13
Self-Harmonizing Power Core: 13
Sterile Conduits: 19
Wetware Mainframe: 9

P3 products

Biotech Research Reports 54
Camera Drones 78
Condensates 114
Cryoprotectant Solution 54
Data Chips 78
Gel-Matrix Biopaste 54
Guidance systems 78
Hazmat Detection Systems 54
Hermetic Membranes 78
High-Tech Transmitters 78
Industrial Explosives 114
Neocoms 78
Nuclear Reactors 78
Planetary Vehicles 54
Robotics 114
Smartfab Units 114
Supercomputers 54
Synthetic Synapses 78
Transcranial Microcontrollers 78
Ukomi Super Conductors 114
Vaccines 114

P2 Products

Biocells 700
Construction Blocks 560
Consumer Electronics 560
Coolant 560
Enriched Uranium 560
Fertilizer 560
Genetically Enhanced Livestock 260
Livestock 560
Mechanical Parts 560
Microfibre Shielding 520
Minature Electronics 560
Nanites 440
Oxides 560
Polyramids 520
Polytextiles 560
Rocket Fuel 260
Silicate Glass 520
Superconductors 560
Supertensile Plastics 700
Synthetic Oil 560
Test Cultures 440
Transmitter 700
Viral Agent 560
Water-cooled CPU 440

P1 products

Bacteria 16760
Biofuels 14560
Biomass 12160
Chiral structures 18040
Electrolytes 11040
Industrial Fibres 12800
Oxidising Compound 12800
Oxygen 14560
Plasmoids 21120
Precious metals 14560
Proteins 11040
Reactive metals 16760
Silicon 12800
Toxic metals 13440
Water 16760

There is also a very interesting point of game design. Three p4s are easier to make than the others, requiring 2 P3s + a P1 instead of the 3 P3s the others need. Those three "easy" P4s are the ones that SBUs use most heavily (19 each). So CCP seem to have anticipated that there will be an issue of supply here and designed to mitigate it.

Monday 5 July 2010

EVE: PI Economics Overview, part 1 Demand

I'm splitting my review of PI economics into parts. Today I'll look at how the nature of what PI materials are used for will shape the PI economy. To understand the future price trends of the market we need to first look at where these materials are used.

POS Fuels

Not actually manufactured, but an intermediate planetary product. Usable immediately as POS fuel

* Coolant
* Enriched Uranium
* Mechanical Parts
* Oxygen
* Robotics

T2 parts

Most T2 manufacturing uses a PI good. Mainly P2 and P3.

* Construction Blocks
* Consumer Electronics
* Transmitter
* Guidance Systems
* Robotics
* Miniature Electronics
* Super Conductor


Created with Blueprint and PI products

* Nanite Repair Paste

Sovereignty Structures

Created with Blueprints and P4 products.

* Infrastructure Hub
* Sovereignty Blockade Unit
* Territorial Claim Unit

Starbase Structures

Created with Blueprints and P4 products.

* Assembly Array
* Control Towers
* Corporate Hangar Array
* Cynosural Generator Array
* Cynosural System Jammer
* Electronic Warfare Batteries
* Energy Neutralizing Array
* Hybrid Turret Batteries
* Jump Bridges
* Laser Turret Batteries
* Missile Batteries
* Mobile Laboratory
* Moon Harvesting Array
* Projectile Turret Batteries
* Reactors
* Refining Arrays
* Shield Hardening Arrays
* Ship Maintenance Arrays
* Silos
* System Scanning Arrays

(credit to Eve University)

POS fuel is likely to be supplied by the owner of the POS or a member of his corp. This is simply because POSes are a more advanced stage of the industrial game and PI is easily accessible. Most POS owners will not want to rely on the market for their fuel.

Nanite Repair Paste is a marginal item. It is used by pvpers to repair overheated modules when it's not safe to dock. Docking is cheaper and more convenient. That's a fairly limited demand and there are large pre-existing stockpiles.

T2 manufacture mainly uses P2s that drop as loot in missions. This means that supplying the market for these goods is subject to competition from mission runners who will cheerfully sell cheap to get whatever they can for this incidental loot. There are large pre-existing stockpiles of mission loot. Also, as with POS fuel, T2 manufacture is done by advanced industrialist players most of whom will do PI for themselves.

Therefore structures are where most of the money will be spent buying PI goods. There may be a particular crunch on Sovereignty Structures as they are used by people who don't make them. Stockpiling SBUs and then timing your supply of them to markets that support nullsec players who become involved in major wars should be a very viable tactic. For instance next time the Northern Coalition gets invaded you should be able to sell a lot of SBUs in Vuorassi since that is the closest high sec system to the NC staging post at H-W.

SBUs are used both offensively and defensively and are consumed by use. Many more of this structure will be used than of the other two sov structures. This is the materials list for a SBU:

Capital Construction Parts: 5
Broadcast Node: 13
Integrity Response Drones: 9
Nano-Factory: 19
Organic Mortar Applicators: 19
Recursive Computing Module: 13
Self-Harmonizing Power Core: 13
Sterile Conduits: 19
Wetware Mainframe: 9

Note that the quantities are quite uneven. The P4s where 19 are needed per SBU are likely to spike in price during times of major nullsec war.

POSes are very widely used and have a similarly uneven pattern of P4 use. Large control towers use:

Capital Construction Parts: 8
Broadcast Node: 18
Integrity Response Drones: 32
Nano-Factory: 26
Organic Mortar Applicators: 28
Recursive Computing Module: 18
Self-Harmonizing Power Core: 18
Sterile Conduits: 28
Wetware Mainframe: 12

All races uses the same materials; medium towers use half as much and small towers approximately one third as much.

So we can project the market's demand for PI materials as being quite skewed. Nano-Factory, Organic Mortar Applicators and Sterile Conduits will see more heavy demand than other p4s, especially in time of heavy nullsec fighting.

In my next post I'll be looking at the supply to the market which will also be skewed.

Sunday 4 July 2010

Games as art: economic implications

People have been talking rather a lot recently about whether video games are art. Roger Ebert, a film critic with very little knowledge of games, told everyone that they weren't. People got rather cross with him. Gabe at Penny Arcade pulled rank. And now Ebert's revisited the issue saying they're still not art but he wishes he'd never told anyone.Which Lum found funny.

In all the excitement one aspect that everyone seems to be missing is that there's a lot of money to be made in being considered art.

In the UK films get money because they are "art". They get tax breaks:

# For films with a total core expenditure of £20 million or less, the film production company can claim payable cash rebate of up to 25% of UK qualifying film production expenditure;
# For films with a core expenditure of more than £20 million, the film production company can claim a payable cash rebate of up to 20% of UK qualifying film production expenditure;

They are eligible for grants: from the Film Council alone there's a film making fund, a printing and advertising fund, a training fund, regional film funds and like any business they may be eligible for other grants like the European Regional Development Fund. They may also be eligible for National Lottery money some of which supports sport and the arts.

Games development companies on the other hand are considered businesses of no intrinsic cultural value. An attempt to stimulate the industry here was promoted mainly on economic grounds rather than cultural grounds.
Our research shows that Games Tax Relief over a five year period should create or protect 3,550 graduate level jobs, increase or safeguard £457 million in development expenditure and encourage developers to adopt new business models and create new Intellectual Property.

Recently the Con-Lib government decided not to go ahead with their predecessor's plans in this area to the dismay of the industry.

Ebert is wrong, games are art and their creation is of great cultural value to the nation. The best way forward for the British industry is to keep this issue burning and address the entertainment divide where the entertainment that some people enjoy is subsidised but the entertainment other people enjoy is not. Oxford Economics estimates that film tax relief generates £13 GDP for every £1 invested. Is it not time we pressed again the issue of game tax relief? Not only because games celebrate and explore our culture. But because as a country WE NEED THE MONEY!

Saturday 3 July 2010

Eve: PI in practice

Having worked out my strategy I've spent a week implementing it and rather enjoyed it.

It's not for everyone. It's complicated for the sake of being complicated, fiddly and rather time consuming to start with. I'm sure it's not made me anything like as much as the same time spent running level 4 missions would have.

You need to start off by working out roughly what your structure will look like. I went with the layout used in this Eve Uni video: a launchpad with a ring of processors around it near my extractors. They call it a single hub star network.

As explained in the video you need to position yourself near where your resources spawn. So the first thing you need to do is work out, based on your production aims, how much of each resource you will need.

On my Ocean planet I want to produce Test cultures, Fertiliser and Livestock. This will require the following P0 inputs:
Carbon compounds
Complex organisms (twice)
Micro organisms (twice)
Aqueous liquids

These P0s, when processed, make the P1s that go into the P2s I am trying to make.

I start my scanning by looking for a spot where a good complex organisms spot is near a good micro organisms spot. There are a couple of possibilities so I check the other resources and eventually find a spot where all 4 resources are nearby.

I had an interface issue at this stage. I found it very hard to get the slider in the Scan view to move. It is quite fiddly, just make sure you have your mouse pointer in the rainbow coloured section and you should be able to slide it from left to right. Eventually I worked it out and was able to adjust my scans so that they showed small white peaks for high resource concentrations. You sometimes need to adjust it as you move from one resource to another - if you see a huge swathe of white move the slider to the right to get smaller peaks.

I began my harvesting by putting down 6 extractors: one carbon compounds, two complex organisms, two micro organisms, one aqueous liquids. I didn't worry too much about the varying output - all my extractors are on white peaks so they all produce reasonably well. My best is 1526 and my worst is 1373 which is close enough. If I had had a terribly low spot I might have had to double up one of the weaker ones.

Each extractor is routed to the launchpad and I built up a nice little store of P0 resources a few hours later. It's quite easy to miss a routing so check that everything you expected to see has turned up.

Around my launchpad I placed a basic processor for each P1 product and an advanced processor for each P2 product.

Each Basic processor needed two routes: an outgoing route to the launchpad and an incoming route bringing the P0 resource. I didn't see any way to set this up in advance, I had to wait until I had a stockpile of P0 resources in the launchpad before I could route it to the processor.

So after a few hours I was able to set up my P1 production chains:
Carbon Compounds > Biofuels
Aqueous liquids > Water
Complex organisms > Proteins
Micro organisms > Bacteria

I left it a few more hours then set up my P2 production chains. Each P2 requires 3 routes each. You will later be able to check your P2 processors are working by opening the Routes view and checking it has all 3.

What I found was that where a resource was required by two competing processors once I had routed it to one I was unable to route it to the other processor that needed it since my stockpile had vanished out of my launchpad.

So, as much by luck as by judgment I set up
Proteins and Biofuels > Livestock
Bacteria and Water > Test cultures

The next day I was able to set up
Bacteria and Proteins > Fertilizer

If I had set up the fertilizer first I would have had to wait for both the other two.

My Advanced Command Centre has 17000 MW power grid and I wasn't using it all. After a couple of days I decided to put down another Basic processor as I had stockpiles of some P0 resources built up. That was due to using short duration extraction cycles that produce more and to being a little slow to get the processing started. It was useful in the first week but I'll remove it after I write this post as it isn't doing much now that I've switched to 23 hour cycles.

Your stockpiles are your indicator of whether everything is set up right. If you are stockpiling a p1 or p0 product that should be being processed into something higher you need to check your set up. Click each processor, choose the route window and count the number of routes. Every basic processor should have two routes and every advanced processor should have three routes.

After leaving it a few days to settle down I decided to spend the rest of my grid on this planet. I had enough surplus grid to put down an extra Complex Organisms, an extra carbon compounds extractor. I was just short of the grid I needed to drop an extra processor for another resource in the white spots. However by dropping a processor right near my launchpad and consequently being able to use a very short link I did have enough to drop an extractor in a sub-optimal place. Well better than leaving the grid unused - I set up an aqueous liquid extractor by my base. It produces 1346 per cycle instead of 1524.

I've just turned to the issue of the grid I am freeing up by deleting by extra basic processor. I had 871 grid free. A micro organisms extractor costs 800. 71 grid really isn't a lot to play with. I control clicked my launchpad and moved the link towards my micro organisms spawn. Not enough to get even near the red but even on green it's worth something. I guesstimated 71 grid and plonked my processor down. It's actually 65 grid's worth of link away from the launchpad which is close enough. It produces 883 per cycle, a lot worse than the 1500 I get from most of my extractors but better than nothing.

The stored goods are looking really efficient. The only thing I have in my launchpad are Fertilizer, Test cultures and Livestock. I have no P0s or P1s building up at all! 100% efficiency. 1717 m3 out of 10000m3 room. I also have some storage (500 m3) in my command centre which is not linked to anything.

At some point I will launch my p2s and use them to make p3s on one of my other planets. Looks like it will be a few weeks before I need to worry about that.

So that's my Ocean planet. I also have 4 other planets and in about a month will add a 6th. But you get the idea of my methodology, the same methods but for different resources apply to my set-ups on the other planets. So far I have only done P0 to P2. Eventually I'd like to be producing P4 down there and perhaps even have a POS down there and be manufacturing POS parts.