Outside of high-sec, the main problem EVE industrialists have is shortage of materials. Necessarily, this means that making titans, supercarriers, or fleets of ships is especially difficult. That's where mineral compression comes in. Read this EVE guide to find out more!
Why Compress EVE Online Minerals?
Mineral acquisition is the main obstacle to industry in null-sec space. EVE minerals are needed for pretty much everything: from ratting ammo, to ships, to station parts. Yet the mineral supply is not what it could be. Unlike in EVE Online's high-security space, there are generally fairly few miners in low- and null-sec, and these are far more likely to use their minerals than to sell them on the market.
Oftentimes, there are some small local supplies of minerals produced on a market, as ratting players refine their loot and sell the result, or players get rid of leftovers. But these rarely amount to more than a trickle, and are certainly not enough minerals to supply the Big Things of EVE Online: mass battlecruiser/battleship construction, capital construction, fleet replacement, and supercapital construction. These projects require huge amounts of minerals that most local mineral markets in EVE Online absolutely cannot provide.
Here's where mineral compression comes in: by compressing minerals to approximately 1/20th of their original volume, you can either make moving your minerals twenty times easier, or else increase the scale of your operations by twenty times. A good way to think about it is if you would normally be importing enough minerals for a single battlecruiser that would sell for 10mil ISK net profit, suddenly you have enough minerals for twenty battlecruisers and 200mil ISM net profit.
Is Compressing Minerals Right For My EVE Online Play Style?
Whether or not you should get into mineral compression depends on a lot of things, but chiefly whether you live at a place where you can turn those minerals into profit, and whether you have a safe line of travel to get there.
First of all, finding uses for minerals is not usually difficult. Even stacks of humble tech one modules will turn remarkable profits, given customers and a long enough time frame. The question is more whether or not your personal or corporate operations are large-scale enough that it is worth the bother of getting set up to do mineral compression. It's usually the kind of situation where you know for sure when you need to start, or you probably don't need it at all.
Secondly, the travel issue is tricky. With a little bit of elbow grease and scouts, one can use blockade runners, deep space transports, or even freighters to move cargo. However, most players would agree that it is better to use jump freighters, which can travel in EVE Online with near-total safety. Even if you do not own one, there are frequently members of corporations willing to use theirs on others' behalf, especially if they are paid. If you are near NPC null-sec, it is also possible to use the Black Frog Freight Service or another collateralized freighting company to move things, though these often cost enough that it is difficult to justify their use.
If you have a good spot and a safe enough way to move compressed minerals to that spot, it's time to start skilling up.
EVE Online Skill Training For Mineral Compression
The first thing to do is train the following skills:
- Production Efficiency 5: It is critical that you not be wasting minerals when compressing modules. Anything less than 5 is unacceptable and will probably bankrupt you.
- Mass Production 5: Training this all the way up will give you an extra 5 production slots (six total) and allow you to train Advanced Mass Production.
- Advanced Mass Production 4: Having multiple slots is essential for compressing minerals in a timely fashion. With this at level 4, you can run a total of 10 slots, simultaneously. That should be enough to keep your compression blueprints running, with some room to spare for other things.
Those skills are sufficient for large-scale compression projects, but are handy for many other industrial tasks. The decompression portion is rather more arduous, and I recommend training it on a different character just to keep clone costs down and so that you can have him located at a different spot than your compression character.
The skills needed are:
- Refining 5: Turning your compressed modules or ammo back into minerals requires refining, and this is the basic skill for that.
- Refinery Efficiency 5: Allows superior refining of asteroid ore. Not helpful for this project, but a pre-requisite for Scrapmetal Processing.
- Science 4: A pre-requisite for metallurgy, but also generally handy for research-minded players.
- Metallurgy 5: Used to reduce the research time required to improve the mineral efficiency of blueprints. Handy in general, but useful here as a pre-requisite for scrapmetal processing. Lamentably, this skill takes gosh-darned forever to train.
- Scrapmetal Processing 4: The granddaddy of refining skills. With the correct refinery station (and possibly some implants) this allows you to get a perfect refine on your minerals, resulting in almost no minerals lost in the compression/decompression process.
Once you have these skills trained or are most of the way there, you should start acquiring compression blueprints.
Compression Blueprints In EVE Online
There are several good options available for compression blueprints. Some offer better compression than others, but there are a couple factors to consider:
Local Supply: Some minerals may be available in good supply on the local market, or you may already somehow be in possession of a large stash of a particular mineral. I find that in my area there is essentially unlimited pyerite produced locally, so I want to avoid bringing unnecessary amounts of that out in order to avoid wasted space and effort.
Mineral Ratio: Are you building tech I ships? That requires a different blend of minerals from, say, capital components. Are you planning on making a Nyx supercarrier? That's going to involve a heck of a lot of importing, and bringing billions in extra unwanted minerals because you chose the wrong compression blueprint will be pretty wasteful.
Suitable Blueprints For Compression In EVE Online
The options listed below include the most highly recommended compression blueprints, along with their merits and drawbacks.
The large-sized, long-range guns of each race are absolutely fantastic compressors, often squishing minerals down to 1/20th of their size, or better.
Tachyon Beam Laser I, 425mm Railgun I, and 1400mm Howitzer Artillery I: These are all pretty much the best blueprints for macro-scale manufacturing. They include all tech I minerals (that is, all of them except morphite) in ratios that are comparable to those of most big ship hulls. If you are starting up production in a void where there are no minerals available, any of these is a great place to start.
Doom Citadel Torpedo: Useful for compressing large amounts of tritanium, along with some pyerite and zydrine.
Purgatory Citadel Torpedo: Involves a wide spectrum of minerals, including relatively similar amounts of pyerite and tritanium. Useful if you need high amounts of both.
Rift Citadel Torpedo: Perhaps the most exceptional option for compressing raw tritanium, which is often the mineral most acutely needed for large-scale industry. This blueprint only makes use of large amounts of tritanium, along with eminently transportable stacks of megacyte and zydrine (see below).
Thor Citadel Torpedo: A fine means of compressing tritanium, which also brings along about 1 pyerite for every 10 tritanium, plus some megacyte and mexallon. I often find myself using thor citadel torpedos to meet particular mineral shortfalls in things like battlecruiser care packages.
The Second Part Of This Guide
Check back in with us later this week for part two. The second half of the guide discusses the transportation, decompression, and practical uses of large amounts of minerals, as well as some tips and tricks for making the whole process more efficient.