Making Hulks In EVE Online, Part 1: Inventing Hulk BPCs

This article is the first half of a two-part article that explains the process of manufacturing Hulks, the most effective mining vessel in EVE Online.

This article is the first half of a two-part article that explains the process of manufacturing Hulks, the most effective mining vessel in EVE Online. Hulks made in this way may be used, sold for profit, or sold at-cost to your friends, at your leisure. This is not something a player will want to do during his first or second month of playing EVE Online, but a slightly older player looking to diversify his income sources may find this to be a very worthwhile business project, or at least benefit from having the tech two ship production process thoroughly explained.

In this article, I basically do all the homework and math for making hulks, so that you don't have to. It still may fly over the heads of some people, especially newer players and that's all right. If you need to, print this guide out and highlight the important parts. Just don't be intimidated by how complicated things seem. Half of the ISK made in this game is obtained by bilking it off of people that are intimidated, one way or another. Though hulks are the focus of this article, there will be an addendum included in the latter half that will explain how to do a little research so that the process can be re-purposed for any tech two ship that you have an interest in making. You may wish to familiarize yourself with the invention process before reading this guide.

Why Hulks?

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The Hulk is the best mining ship in the game.

Professional miners use hulks. Newer miners use other ships, sure. And yeah, many of them will have Orcas or Rorquals compressing ore or giving out mining bonuses. But when it comes time to suck up that ore, pilots get in hulks. Fleets of hulks ravage the belts in high-security space on a daily basis. Though rarer in low-sec and null-sec, there are still miners chewing away out there as well.

These ships blow up, too. They get killed in high-sec wars, wander into low-sec by accident, or are suicide-ganked by pirates. So there is turnover and a steady demand for new hulk hulls, as well.

Because they are more or less the end-game ship for the mining profession, hulks are also hard to invent and manufacture. They're a big fish, more or less.

An Overview

The goal of this process is to use invention to turn covetor ship blueprint copies (aka "BPCs") into hulk BPCs in a way that allows you to sell them at a profit or use them yourself.

In order to invent in this way, a number of research and industrial skills will need to be trained, and some investment capital will be needed. Since the end result will be that you are able to make your own hulks, it is certainly worth it.

Throughout this guide, a number of steps are simplified by relying on the market rather than total construction. You may take these steps manually to increase your profit margins, but it may not be efficient to spend so much time on it.

Part One: Preparing To Invent

The first part of preparing to invent hulks is buying and training the skillbooks needed for that process. You will need the following in order to attempt to invent hulk blueprints with any degree of efficiency:

  • Gallente Encryption Methods IV
  • Hacking II
  • Science III
  • Electronics Upgrades III
  • Gallentean Starship Engineering IV
  • Science V
  • Mechanic V
  • Mechanical Engineering IV

Most of these skills have other applications. Hacking is used in exploration. Science V allows you to use several kinds of lucrative R&D Agents. Mechanic V also allows access to some R&D agents, but is also a pre-requisite for learning Assault Ships, which most pilots eventually want to use, as well as Large Armor Repairer II modules. The encryption methods, starship engineering, and mechanical engineering are not useful be themselves, per se, but will also allow the invention of any other kind of tech two Gallente or ORE vessel, and branching out to one or two additional invention-related skills will allow you to branch out to inventing various tech two modules.

The point is: these skills are not complete wastes of time --they do have other uses and applications beyond this project.

Note that the total bill for these skills will be around 33mil.

Part Two: Invention Material Acquisitions

The following materials are needed for each invention attempt:

  • Incognito Ship Data Interface (re-usable)
  • Datacore - Gallentean Starship Engineering x8
  • Datacore - Mechanical Engineering x8
  • Covetor Blueprint Copy (1-run)

The ship data interface is required to attempt invention jobs for any tech two Gallente or ORE ship. It will be the most expensive ingredient, but because it is not expended with use, it is a one-time only fee that will allow you start invention jobs for Gallente ships indefinitely. As of this writing, they cost about 45mil apiece. Consider it a one-time fee for letting you be able to invent hulks. You can always sell it back when you're done, too.

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Covetor blueprint copies are turned into hulk blueprint copies via invention.

The datacores are required for each invention job and are consumed with each attempt. As of this writing, the Datacore- Gallentean Starship Engineering cores cost 188k apiece, and the Datacore - Mechanical Engineerings cost about 433k apiece.

The covetor BPC can be purchased off of the Jita contracts market. They tend to cost about 1mil for a 1-run BPC, with varying prices for higher-run blueprints. Note that it is not cost-effective to purchase a covetor blueprint original, as they cost over 2bil apiece, and are unlikely to pay for themselves very quickly. The material efficiency and production efficiency are irrelevant with regards to invention, and will not affect the particulars of any hulk BPCs that are produced.

If we ignore the cost of the data interface, we see that the total cost per invention job may be broken down as follows:

  • Datacore - Gallentean Starship Engineering x8 - 1.504mil
  • Datacore - Mechanical Engineering x8 - 3.256mil
  • Covetor Blueprint Copy - 1mil
  • Total: 5.76mil

As always, you can shave a good bit off of these costs by putting up buy orders and being patient.

Part Three: Starting Invention Jobs

Get all of your invention ingredients into a station with available invention slots. Right click on the covetor blueprint copy. Select the 'Invention' option. Pick an installation as you would with any lab or factory job. Ignore the base item popup, as it is not cost-effective to do with ships (at least, any ships that I have done the math on).

The decryptor part is the tricky bit. Decryptors are expensive, optional ingredients that can be added to an invention job. They can modify and of the following: chance of invention success, number of copy runs on a successful invention job, and the material and/or production efficiency of any blueprint copies produced. Sometimes it makes sense to use them, sometimes it does not. Math regarding them must be done carefully to ensure that ISK is not being wasted.

Barring the use of any decryptors (see below), successful ship invention jobs are always 1-run blueprint copies.

Part Three: The Dollars and Sense Of Selling Hulk BPCs

In order to put a price tag on your hulk blueprints, you need to figure out how much it is costing you to invent them. More specifically, you need to figure out how much it costs you per run of the blueprint.

First, you need to use an invention calculator (I use this one) to figure out your chance of success. Because this is a high-ticket invention job, you really should have Gallente Encryption Methods, Gallentean Starship Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering all trained to level IV. Anything less is a waste of time and money, because the chance of each invention attempt succeeding is dependent on what levels you have trained those three skills to.

For invention jobs that do not use decryptors, this is deduced with the following formula:

  • (Ship BPC Cost + Total Datacore Cost) / Success Chance = Cost Per Invented BPC Run

The success chance should be mathematically expressed as a fraction. So if you had a 25% success chance, it would plug into the formula as .25 in order to get an accurate result. Sometimes math is weird like that.

With the hulk invention job values plugged in, assuming that the pertinent skills are at IV, we get:

  • (1mil + 4.76mil) / .2413 = 23.87mil per 1-run BPC

Note that the cost per run can be reduced by training any of the three skills listed above to level V.

Part Four: Considering Decryptors

The decryptors used with Gallente invention jobs and their associated statistics are as follows:

  • Symbiotic Figures: -40% invention chance, +9 BPC runs, -2 material efficiency, +1 production efficiency.
  • Engagement Plan: no change to invention chance, +2 BPC runs, -1 material efficiency, +4 production efficiency.
  • Collision Measurements: +10% invention chance, no modification to BPC runs, +3 material efficiency, +3 production efficiency.
  • Test Reports: +20% invention chance, +1 BPC runs, +2 material efficiency, +5 production efficiency.
  • Stolen Formulas: +80% invention chance, +4 BPC runs, -1 material efficiency, +2 production efficiency.

The modifications are to what are normally a 1-run, material efficiency -4, production efficiency -4 product BPC. For instance, successful invention job that uses a collision measurements decyptor will have a modified material eafficiency of -1.

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The Hulk blueprints that you invent can be sold for profit or used to make hulks for yourself.

The price of various decryptors change constantly, especially if tech two ship balance is modified. Right now, Gallente are probably the least popular class of tech two ship, meaning that the decryptors are fairly cheap. If Gallente ships ever receive some kind of across the board buff, these prices will increase.

  • Symbiotic Figures - 8mil
  • Engagement Plan - 6.5mil
  • Collision Measurements - 4mil
  • Test Reports - 14.9mil
  • Stolen Formulas - 37.8mil

Note that when using a decryptor whose successful invention jobs would produce a BPC with more than one run, the blueprint copy used as an ingredient in the invention job must have the maximum number of runs allowed for the blueprint type, or the resulting BPC produced will have less runs than it otherwise ought. This is a huge waste of ISK and time, so if you don't want to use max-run BPCs as an ingredient, you should use collision measurement decryptors (that do not modify the runs produced) or forgo decryptors entirely.

In the case of covetor BPCs, the maximum number of runs per copy is 10. The cost per 10-run covetor BPC can vary a bit, but it is usually about 10-11mil, apiece.

Part Five: Decryptor Profit Math

For figuring out the price of an invented ship BPC with a decryptor and/or multiple runs, the formula is:

  • ((Ship BPC Cost + Total Datacore Cost + Decryptor Cost) / Blueprint Runs) / Success Chance = Cost Per Invented BPC Run

Be warned that you must weigh any savings from more numerous blueprint copies against the cost of an inferior material efficiency, the more expensive blueprint copies, and the cost of the decryptors used.

As an example of using a decryptor, the formula for using Collision Measurements is as follows:

  • ((1mil + 4.76mil + 4mil) / 1 ) / .2654 = 36.77mil per 1-run BPC

Obviously, a higher cost per BPC is undesirable, but the resulting blueprint has a -1 material efficiency rather than -4, which may save enough ISK to make using it worthwhile. We'll come back to this part, in the second half of this guide.

Potential Pitfalls

If the supply of covetor BPCs on the contracts market dries up, your project necessarily goes on hold. It is also possible that you may have trouble finding buyers for your blueprints, because the competition can be pretty fierce. You can sidestep these by buying your covetor BPCs in bulk, by selling the hulk BPCs you invent in the "Blueprints" in-game chat channel, or by using the blueprints yourself rather than selling them.

This last option will be covered in detail in the second half of this guide. Thanks for reading, sorry that the math is counter-intuitive, and good luck with your invention business!

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