One of the most common large-scale production projects in EVE Online is building battleships. These massive ships are the workhorses of EVE Online and are used for everything from running missions to solo PvP. This guide explores one way to mass-manufacture the Raven, a popular Caldari battleship.
To many players, building battleships represents one possible end-game of industry. Constructing these behemoths requires skills, ISK, minerals, and time. But it all pays off in the end. As we shall see. Fair warning: because of the amounts of ISK involved, this is a project intended for richer EVE players, though not necessarily older ones. A player that has accumulated a nice kitty of ISK in his first few months could quite conceivably embark on a project like this. Rewarding this kind of acumen is one of the beautiful things about EVE Online: if you are successful in business, you need not let skill points hold you back.
Why Build Ravens?
style="font-style: italic;">Mission runners love ravens, and industrialists love making them for that reason.
The raven is a contender for most popular tech I battleship in EVE Online. It is famously considered to have the best short-term tank from among that ship class, and can use its powerful missile launchers to inflict any single variety of damage desired. This is a powerful combination: the raven can run combat missions against any faction and rat NPCs or run cosmic anomalies in any region of null-security space with roughly equal proficiency. While other battleships and weapon systems might not be effective, the raven can cope and often excel in almost any mission situation that another battleship could.
Using an apocalypse with lasers (that inflict primarily EM and thermal damage) will not get one very far in missions against the Angel Cartel. Nor, for that matter, would one do well ratting NPCs in asteroid belts or cosmic anomalies out in Angel space. The raven, however, could do either as easily as it could handle Blood Raiders, Guristas, or what have you.
This aptitude has made the raven essentially the standard for running level four missions. Because it is so popular, it is natural that a player seeking to build battleships would gravitate toward them. Between 100 to 200 ravens sell in The Forge, each day, making it a very active market. Clearly, there is profit to be made here.
The Business Model
The basic idea is to buy large amounts of minerals and turn them into battleships in the fastest, cheapest way possible. The blueprint and freighting are outsourced to allow you to focus on other things. Your chief concerns when running this business will be getting enough minerals to keep your blueprints working and selling the finished hulls.
As with any large industrial project in EVE, it is a good idea to train the Production Efficiency skill to five, and to train the Industry skill to four or five. The former eliminates waste due to low skills and the latter increases the speed with which you build things.
In order to manufacture battleships, you will need blueprints. There are essentially three options:
- Buy A New Blueprint: This blueprint will need at least three months of research to be competitive, and will likely take longer than that due to how clogged research slots tend to be. Not recommended unless you have already been doing this for a while.
- Buy An Already-Researched Blueprint: These tend to be horrendously overpriced, and will not help you too much because a single blueprint will only allow a single slot to work. Be sure to figure out how long it will take for you to earn enough ISK to pay for the blueprint. At a guess, you will probably need to make about 1800 ravens for this to be worthwhile, though of course you can resell the blueprint when you are done.
- Buy Blueprint Copies In Jita: There is no shortage of raven BPCS available. They tend to run for around 700,000 ISK per run, though buying in bulk can reduce this. Using BPCs does make a deep cut into your profits, but may be the only way to avoid over-investing and tying up huge amounts of ISK for years.
The latter option is most highly recommended, at least until you are absolutely 110% sure that making battleships is what you want to do for the next year.
A project of this magnitude will also require a freighter. There are two options:
- Buy A Freighter: Moving minerals and ravens around yourself will save a good bit of ISK, but freighters are so slow that you literally would not believe it unless you have seen it with your own eyes. We're talking five minutes per solar system, or even more if you are autopiloting. This is basically a waste of time and I advise against it.
- Outsource: There are several player-run freighting services available in EVE Online. The most famous of which (and only one that I know about) is Red Frog Freight, an extremely reliable and fast service that moves things around high-security space. This is the option that I recommend, even though paying them hurts your profit margins. Just be sure to always list a billion ISK as collateral on your contracts.
Again, it is better for players that are not one hundred percent positive that this is their thing to avoid major purchases, at least until you have seen whether the whole thing works or not. So even if you suspect you will want to buy a freighter for this, please refrain until you are absolutely certain.
Location, Location, Location
style="font-style: italic;">Jita is the sun, and you are the planet. Your battleship business needs to orbit Jita as closely as possible.
Your base of operations needs two things: open production slots, and to be as close to Jita as possible. The farther your base is from Jita, the more work you will need to do in order to keep suppling yourself with minerals (or the more ISK you will need to spend getting someone else to do it), and the longer it will take to get your finished raven hulls to the Jita market for sale.
I have used Suroken in the past, a mere four jumps out of Jita. Muvolailen also works well. Both are outside of The Forge region, which generally means there are more open factory slots. You can also use Dotlan EVEMaps or your in-game browser to find your own spot.
Supply In The Sky
Once you have determined your freight method and blueprint solution, it is time to start buying minerals. These are best obtained via buy orders, usually in Jita, though there is no reason you can't try to get lower prices in your base system, too. Consider the latter to be a bonus if it occurs.
The minerals needed to make a Raven using a blueprint with material efficiency 14 are as follows:
- Tritanium: 7,628,150
- Pyerite: 1,907,434
- Mexallon: 477,840
- Isogen: 119,309
- Nocxium: 29,792
- Zydrine: 7,107
- Megacyte: 2,269
The total volume of these minerals is approximately 101,720 m3.
Note that I chose material efficiency 14. This is because it is the likely minimum amount of research that a player using their own blueprint would have, at least at first. Any purchased blueprint copies will likely have better material efficiency.
A single freighter will usually hold at least 860,000 m3, meaning that a single freighter load would hold enough minerals for eight ravens, like so:
- Tritanium: 61,025,200
- Pyerite: 15,259,472
- Mexallon: 3,822,720
- Isogen: 954,472
- Nocxium: 238,336
- Zydrine: 56,856
- Megacyte: 18,152
Note that this only occupies 813,752.08 m3 of a freighter's cargo, leaving 46,247.92 m3 empty. This excess space can be filled with another 424,792 tritanium if you do not have something else you would prefer to ship. Note also that the total value of this shipment will probably only be around 615mil ISK, well below Red Frog's collateral as well as the low water mark used by most suicide gankers to determine worthwhile targets.
Some Assembly Required
Once the load of minerals is delivered to your chosen location, you can start building. With your Industry skill trained to level 5 and a blueprint with reasonable production efficiency researched on it, it should take around 3 hours and 15 minutes per raven. This means that you can potentially go through several freighter loads in a day, given inclination and sufficient funding.
Sales, Profits, and Peccadilloes
The ravens should be shipped back to Jita via freighter since a single freighter can carry 17 of them, though I recommend only shipping 12 at a time to stay below the 1bil collateral level used by Red Frog.
As of this writing, each raven sells for approximately 80.38 mil ISK. The cost of making a raven with minerals purchased directly from the market is 76.7 mil ISK, or less if you are paying extra for blueprint copies (~.7 mil ISK) and outsourced shipping (.178 mil ISK to and from Muvolailen). This means that you are earning approximately 2.802 mil ISK per raven made, or 862,000 ISK per hour spend making ravens.
style="font-style: italic;">Always double check the math yourself before investing in anything expensive.
This may perhaps seem modest at first, given the expense involved and the amount of cash that is tied up, but consider that when purchased with buy orders the actual cost of the ravens is as much as 15% lower, and that the raven market can easily swing upwards if mineral prices fluctuate or investors attempt to manipulate the market. In this way, battleship manufacturing is essentially a clearing house for minerals, allowing players that can get minerals cheaply to turn them into ISK with great efficiency.
Consider also that with sufficient supplies and 10-run blueprint copies, you could be making ravens 24/7, and earning approximately 20.68 mil ISK per day, per slot spent doing this. Do it with all ten slots and you are making 206.8 mil ISK per day. This is excellent, though of course at any given point you will have a large amount of cash tied up in minerals.
The Process In Action
Because the whole process is so convoluted, I think an example is in order:
Space Junkie has trained Production Efficiency V and Industry IV, and wants to manufacture ravens using this guide. After making sure there are enough open slots, he decides to base out of Muvolailen, right next to Jita. He flies into Jita and buys eight blueprint copies of ravens in a contract, and puts up some buy orders for some of the minerals. Most of the buy orders fill fairly quickly, but Space Junkie gets impatient with the competition for megacyte and decides to pay full price for it.
Having obtained all the minerals he needs, he goes to the Red Frog web site and uses their price calculator to figure out how to make a courier contract with them. He does so, and the goods are delivered within a day or two. Space Junkie uses each of the blueprints to start a build job, waits until they are done, and sets up another contract to Red Frog, to get the finished hulls delivered back to Jita, where Space Junkie lists them on the market.
If the experiment is a success and not too much work, Space Junkie will probably leave one of his industry characters there, chugging away at making ravens. In order to get the most out of his industry character, he expects to set up five or six freighter orders at once, just to keep himself supplied. If things go really well, he might invest in a raven blueprint so he can reduce his dependency on blueprint copies. Alternatively, he may branch out into other battleships like the dominix, maelstrom, or armageddon, since half of the people reading this guide are probably already checking his math before they start making ravens, and competition is bad for business.
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