Posted Mon, Jun 14, 2010 by Space Junkie
I had hoped that by now things would have settled enough to write a definitive guide to making ISK with planetary colonies, newly introduced in the Tyrannis expansion to EVE Online. Though the command centers are seeded and most planets can be colonized, the underlying economics of the situation have not been set in stone, and NPC buy and sell orders are still on the market. This guide explains how to make ISK via planets as the mechanics currently exist, with the understanding that as soon as CCP removes these NPC orders, this guide will become obsolete. In the meantime, this guide will make you piles of ISK. Best hurry!
How Planets Work
Your colony's structures need to be carefully chosen to ensure optimal profits.
Why Hasn't The Dust Settled?
Under the current state of affairs, it is not especially profitable to do many of the industrial steps available on planets. This is because many of the goods are available more cheaply from NPC sell orders, and because the end-products of planetary interaction remain available via the market. Until these are removed, everything involved with planetary Interaction is going to be wonky.
CCP is probably just giving people time to get their production colonies set up and producing, before they pull the rug out from under the market by removing the remaining NPC sell and buy orders.
How Can This Make Me Rich?
Because there are still NPC buy orders up, unlimited amounts of certain goods can be sold at solidly decent prices. One of those items in particular, Robotics, can be manufactured cheaply and in a single step, with two other goods that may be purchased from NPC sell orders. The robotics can then be sold to the NPC buy orders, for a quick profit.
The resulting profits won't make anybody rich as sin, but they will keep a cash-strapped newer player rolling in enough ISK for whatever else he wants to try, with fairly low human involvement.
Prep Work: What You Need
In order to make effective use of this business plan, you need to be capable of flying an industrial. Any industrial will do, though larger is (as usual) better. Moving large amounts of ingredients is essential for this, and anybody not capable of flying and industrial will quickly become miserable.
Skills needed include training Command Center Upgrades to III. Higher will do you all right, but III doesn't take long and is enough for you to use an 'improved' command center of an appropriate type. This is important so that you can run a good amount of Advanced Processors simultaneously. Less advanced command centers will work, but will be less efficient, requiring more time to process goods before you can reload them.
You will probably also want to train Interplanetary Consolidation, so that you will be able to repeat this production model on several different planets. The more the better, assuming you don't mind periodic hauling binges.
Because this plan does not rely on harvesting anything from the planets, you do not need any of the other planet-related skills.
Making It Happen: Setting Up On A Planet
For the sake of argument, let's assume you decide to set up on a barren planet. It really doesn't matter what kind you're building on, but barren planets are in great abundance so we're going with that. The system you choose to do this in should be close to an NPC sell order for either Consumer Electronics or Mechanical Parts. There may even be a system out there that has both of these commodities for sale, somewhere. You can tell if an item is seeded by NPCs at a glance by noting if there are large amounts of sell orders with a similar amount.
For example, if there are a dozen sell orders for Consumer Electronics with exactly 22,571 units for sale, they are all likely NPC orders. They will not run out, no matter how many you buy. Though their price might inflate slightly as you buy out the orders, it will eventually reach a maximum selling price cap.
Anyway, you should plop down your command center onto the planet, drop two launch pads nearby, and surround each with nine Advanced Processors. Each should processor should be as close to the launch pad as possible. Create planetary links from the launch pads to each adjacent processor, and make sure that there is a link between each the two clusters of processors, somewhere. See my illustration here to get an idea of what you should be trying to build. The central blue icons are launch pads, and the orange icons surrounding them are processors.