Saturday, April 12, 2014

Business Saturday: Avoiding Burnout

I estimate that I made between 2B and 3B isk in profit during my time as a station trader.  This consisted entirely of placing buy orders and sell orders, all without ever undocking from Jita.   Station trading is great for making isk, since it scales fairly well with the amount of isk invested.  Although profit scales nicely with the number of active orders that are placed, beyond a certain point "fun" quickly goes down (at least for me).

Dealing with burnout is probably the biggest problem that I face with any of my business endeavors.  With station trading this can be a big problem.  Thing about it: what happens if you burn out while you have billions of items listed for sale or purchase?  Cancelling buy orders is simple enough, you forfeit the brokers fees you put up, but that's a sunk cost anyway.  The items you have listed for sale are a bigger problem.  The difference between actively managing items for sale and liquidating everything to the highest buy order was well over 5% for the items I traded, meaning the average station trader would be losing hundreds of millions of isk.  Leaving the items sitting in your hangar is also rather pointless, and potentially unfeasible if you need the liquid isk on hand.

I wrote about how I'm on track to make 1.5B/month from my PI factory planets in an earlier post, but this number assumes that my planets continuously run 24/7.  For this to be true, I have to consistently load and unload customs offices every two days on all my planets on both my PI alts.  Realistically, this isn't happening because it's incredibly tedious work.  Fortunately, if I fall behind I may not maximize my profit, but I'm not really losing anything.  The P2 goods will still be sitting in my launchpads if I ignore my planets for a week.  The only problem is, if I decide today that I don't want to do PI anymore, then the input P1 commodities I bought are now worthless. They would have to be liquidated, probably at a loss.

The risk of burnout is the main reason I haven't looked into doing research, or manufacturing, or drug production, or anything else that requires a POS.  A POS requires fuel every month (a fixed expense).  Burnout, or failure to maintain or refuel your POS, means either losing everything or paying for dead weight every month.

To summarize, I deal with burnout in a couple ways:

1. I don't worry too much about maximizing profit.  If I don't feel like re-stocking my factory planets, then I simply don't.
2. I don't run large scale operations.  In fact, in everything I've done I started small, and slowly built up my activity until I gained a better understanding of what my limits were.  I could obviously be making much more per month if I ran factory planets on 5 additional PI alts, but there is no way I could handle this.
3. I always make sure that I have enough liquid isk on hand to fund all my PVP activities many times over.  I don't ever want to run into a situation where I feel that I have to liquidate assets at a loss.
4. I have a couple different isk-making avenues available to me.  If I get bored with PI, I might start station trading again.  Or I might start running relic sites in null sec again.
5. Probably the most important: I decided long ago that I would just pay for my accounts.  I am fortunate that I have the means to do so, and this relieves me of any pressure to PLEX my accounts every month.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

PVP on a Budget: Destroyers

One of my tenets as a pirate is that tend to fly cheap ships and a relish the opportunity to engage and destroy ships that are many times the cost of my own.  In my mind, there is no better class of ships in terms of "bang for the buck" than the T1 Destroyers. Fully-fit with T2 mods, they will cost somewhere between 10M and 12M isk, and unless you run into a counter-fit they are generally able to win against most frigates, even the more specialized (and more expensive) T2, faction, and pirate frigates.  Gangs of kiting Talwars can wreak havoc on large frigate gangs as well as punch above their weight.

The frigates I tend to fly are usually scram-kiting ships, which are extremely strong in 1v1 frigate duels, but very weak against multiple targets.  To expand my horizons a bit, I've decided to fly destroyers that are designed to engage frigate gangs.  For this purpose, I'm looking for high DPS, high speed, and good projection.

[Thrasher, 280mm Artillery]
Gyrostabilizer II
F85 Peripheral Damage System I
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Faint Warp Disruptor I
Tracking Computer II, Optimal Range Script
280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP S
280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP S
280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP S
280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP S
280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP S
280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP S
280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP S
[empty high slot]
Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Processor Overclocking Unit I

My current favorite is this 280mm Artillery Thrasher.  It does a very good dps of 275 overheated, but more importantly is the alpha.  Each volley deals over 1600 damage!  Projection is also decent, at 13+14 km with the tracking computer running.  This is powerful enough to take out most lightly-fit tackle frigates in only a couple volleys.  The speed of the shit is nearly 2600 m/s with the MWD overheated.  Not the fastest ship out there, but quick enough to outrun any AB frigate.  Total cost: around 12M isk.

[Cormorant, Rails - 150mm]
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Damage Control II
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor II
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
[empty high slot]
Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I

The Cormorant was my ship of choice until I trained into Thrashers.  The Cormorant has much better optimal range (20 km), and very similar speed to the Thrasher.  It deals slightly less DPS, and has a much lower-damage alpha.  An advantage is that it's able to fit a defensive web, and it's able to swap ammo to further improve its optimal range (if needed).  The biggest downside is the capacitor.  The railguns eat up a lot of cap, so it can't run its MWD for nearly as long as the Thrasher can.  I still love this ship though, and the best part is that it's very, very cheap.  This fit costs less than 7M isk.

[Talwar, Light Missile 2]
Ballistic Control System II
F85 Peripheral Damage System I
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Faint Warp Disruptor I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Upgraded 'Malkuth' Light Missile Launcher, Caldari Navy Nova Light Missile
Upgraded 'Malkuth' Light Missile Launcher, Caldari Navy Nova Light Missile
Upgraded 'Malkuth' Light Missile Launcher, Caldari Navy Nova Light Missile
Upgraded 'Malkuth' Light Missile Launcher, Caldari Navy Nova Light Missile
Upgraded 'Malkuth' Light Missile Launcher, Caldari Navy Nova Light Missile
Upgraded 'Malkuth' Light Missile Launcher, Caldari Navy Nova Light Missile
Upgraded 'Malkuth' Light Missile Launcher, Caldari Navy Nova Light Missile
Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I
Small Warhead Flare Catalyst I
Small Ancillary Current Router I

The Talwar is what I would fly if I had decent missile skills.  Like the Thrasher, it has a very strong alpha strike, but it has projection out to 45 km, limited only by its targeting range.  The downside?  It's the slowest of the bunch, moving at only 2300 m/s overheated.  It's also not an ideal solo pvp ship.  The amazing projection is a bit of a waste in situations where you have to keep your target pointed.  Talwar gangs are excellent against frigates however.  Cost is around 9M isk