Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jack Dancer - Business Man

In some ways I’m very different from the typical Black Rebel.  I seem to be a better business man than rabid killer of innocent pilots… 

I often hear of people having trouble earning isk to pay for their PVP activities.  Let me help with some of my experiences earning isk - I currently have four “money makers”.  Listed from least profitable to most, they are:

  • Datacore Farming
  • Exploration
  • Planetary Interaction
  • Station Trading

Datacore Farming

This is an incredibly “hands off” method of isk generation.  I’ve set up one of my alts to be able to work with a level 3 research agent somewhere (I can’t remember where) and every few months when I think of them for some reason I go and collect the datacores that he’s produced.  Training the skills takes a bit of effort and time – but once it’s set up there’s zero daily maintenance.

This used to be more profitable than it is today (CCP made some changes that affected datacore prices).  So I probably won’t take the time to train my alt so that he can talk to level 4 agents.  But I might.  We’ll see.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a isk generator.


In a huge contrast to Datacore Farming – Exploration is a very time intensive “hands on” method of isk generation.  I have succumbed to the siren call of exploration on occasion and have spent days and weeks devoting most of my Eve time to it.  So beware!

I worked up the appropriate skills on one of my alts so that I can fly a cov-op frigate (helios) and a heavy assault ship (Ishtar).  With them I can ramble around high/low/null space looking for hidden DED sites.  These require the use of probes to discover and then a ship appropriate for fighting the rats that protect the sites.  There are other sites too (radar, magnetometric, etc.) that can be profitable – but not to the extent of the DED sites.

My best haul from a DED site (in high sec!) was about 500 million isk.  I’ve had a couple of those.  On the other hand I’ve gone through a dozen DED sites in a row and collected a total of maybe 20 million isk from all of them.  This activity is very much like gambling – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  You have to be prepared for extended dry spells.  And they can be brutal - you sometimes wonder if you'll ever find anything of value.

I find exploration to be a fun activity, and have always enjoyed the gambling aspect of life – so it’s a good match for me.  But beware – it can become so much fun that your PvP skills might get neglected…

Planetary Interaction

A new one for me is Planetary Interaction (PI).  I trained an alt so that he can fly a blockade runner (viator) and about a month ago set up 5 planets to produce whatever it is they produce.  I’ve focused on producing robotics which appears to be the highest priced, highest demand item.  My planets are all in low sec in a back corner of a quiet region.

PI is tricky.  I watched some youtube videos, read some webpages, and thought I could sort things out.  It wasn’t that easy.  I’ve made some big blunders.  You need to be sure that the customs office associated with the planet has a reasonable tax rate (not 100% like one of the planets I selected!).  You need to be sure that your set-up can reach the minerals that you need.  You need to be sure that you aren’t producing too much basic stuff so that your system gets clogged and stops.  You need to be sure you visit relatively often to keep your extractors extracting.  You need to…  (You get the idea…)

I don’t have a handle on how profitable this is.  But I do know that the viator’s cargo hold (3750 m3) full of robotics sells for about 30 million isk.  How often I can produce that and get it to market is still undetermined.  But I generally get the feeling that it’s going pretty well.  I’ve filled up a couple viators and have more robotics waiting to be gathered and hauled to market.

The time requirements are hard to categorize.  Every day I spend 10 minutes resetting my extractors to continue extracting materials (these extractors work on a timer, so I think it could be set to as long as 2 weeks if you don’t want to mess with them very often).  Plus every few days I mess with my production facilities to be sure they’re making what I want them to make and are getting the materials they need (often they aren’t).  Plus every week or so I gather the robotics that have been produced and haul them to market or to a central station for storage.

I’m still very much a beginner at this.  My facilities often go dry or I forget to set up a supply link for one of their needed materials, or I produce too much of one item and not enough of another.  It’s complicated.

But it also seems to be a “hands off” isk generator generally.  I can check every day for a few minutes or just let it run for a few days without checking.  Either way it’s churning out robotics components that can be sold for a profit.

Station Trading

I’ve spoken about my station trading multiple times.  I drifted away from it a few months ago, but now I’m back.  It’s paying for the two PLEX I need for my two accounts plus adding to my bottom line every month.  I’m up to about 3 billion in cash+buy orders+sell orders and have generated about 50 million isk per day over the last month according to my spreadsheet. It takes about 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening.

I’ve seen people say that they don’t have luck at station trading and can certainly understand that.  Finding profitable items can be tricky. 

Here’s what I would suggest: Start an alt and put them in Jita (you often hear that other markets are better for beginners, but the volume of Jita trades makes it a great place to get your feet wet – you’ll get fast action). Be sure you have enough trade slots available (I have about 40) – you want to diversify. 

I would recommend starting by trading implants.  Look through all of them (there's a lot!).  Find some that have a 30% difference between the buy and sell prices and also have a relatively large number of trades every day.  There are a lot of profitable implants (and a lot of unprofitable ones too).  Your goal is to find 25 or 30 profitable items to buy (the other 10 or 15 of your trade slots will be for your sell orders).  Put up buy orders to purchase at least 3 but probably fewer than 15 of each implant on your list - depending on their price, their profitability, their demand, and your bankroll.  I started buying and selling 200k items and now have a few buy orders for things costing 45 million isk.  You need to ramp up your activity depending on your bankroll.

I can do 10-key by touch, so there’s no hunting and pecking.  My usual routine is to go through my list in the morning updating the buy orders to be .01 isk higher than any other buy order and updating my sell orders to be .01 isk lower than any other sell orders.  I don’t worry about someone else coming along and beating my price by .01 isk because with the volume of activity in Jita my order will work its way back to the top pretty quickly (and even if it doesn't, I'll be updating it 12 hours later).  In the evening I do the same.  20 minutes each time.  I definitely recommend this isk maker if you can spare the time from your PvP addiction - though I also recognize that this sort of bean counting isn't for everyone...


That’s it for isk making ideas.  Of course, if you are totally devoted to PvP it might be worth buying PLEX instead of wasting your play time with any of these options.

For more information on all of them, I’d recommend the wiki of our wonderful good fight friends at Eve University -


  1. I recently finished Astrometrics V allowing the use of Deep Core Porbes. That skill made my life so much easier. I dare say its the best skill I've trained to date. Now exploration isn't "fun but tedious" anymore, it's just fun. I haven't even looked for a fight in weeks. MB is gonna kick me... :p

  2. HAHAHAHA! I also use Deep Core Probes and totally agree. A sublime experience...

  3. [02:41:43] Damikin > Jack Dancer - businessman!