The second part of a series of guides explaining mineral compression in EVE Online. This EVE guide includes guidelines for skill training, designing successful business models, and (of course) the nitty-gritty details.
In the first part of this EVE guide series, we dealt with motivations for importing minerals, situations that would require large amounts of minerals, training the required EVE skills, and some suggested blueprints for compressing minerals. In this second EVE guide of the series, we focus on EVE mineral acquisitions, transportation in and out of high-sec space, refining compressed minerals back into their constitutuent components, and so forth.
Acquiring And Packaging EVE Minerals For Compression
The need for minerals in null-sec space can reach the billions of units, at least where tritanium is concerned. With volumes like that, even small price differences can mean a lot of ISK saved or squandered, depending on what happens. There is also the risk that you may buy a large quantity, and the market will shift downwards, de facto reducing the value of your mineral investment. The market for tech I minerals is generally as likely to shift up as down, though, so don't worry about that too much.
The simplest way to obtain minerals is to put buy orders up in Jita. It is rare that it will take more than a day for even pretty large buy orders to be filled, and will be convenient for moving them, whether you are using a freighter to carry them yourself, or can afford to pay for courier contracts.
The less simple way is to pick somewhere off the beaten track and place buy orders there. This will mean taking longer to fill your buy orders, and possibly increase the amount of time required to collect all the minerals for compression. The up side is that you can probably get a better price for your minerals, which will pay off pretty meaningful dividends since you are presumably buying really large amounts.
Transporting EVE Minerals In Empire
The best way I have landed on is to not carry more than a billion in minerals, then autopilot it from point A to point B. For smaller volumes I have sometimes used courier contracts, but I generally think it is not worth taking the hit when autopiloting is so easy. The down side here is that you need to have a freighter character and hull, but such is life.
Finding A Compression System In EVE Online
In and of itself, Jita has a tremendous number of production slots available. Most of the time they are back up a few days, but if you amble over to Lonetrek, Sinq Laison, or another nearby region you should be able to find plenty of unused production slots.
Using Compression Blueprints In EVE Online
Having assembled the appropriate compression modules described in the first part of this EVE guide series, you may be wondering what material efficiency is best for each of them. Most blueprints have an "optimal" level to which they can be researched, after which the diminishing returns make it not worth doing.
For the large-szied guns mentioned in the previous article, the ideal material efficiency level is 36. For the citadel torpedoes, there is rather more variance:
- Doom Citadel Torpedo: 34 material efficiency.
- Purgatory Citadel Torpedo: 53 material efficiency.
- Rift Citadel Torpedo: 16 material efficiency.
- Thor Citadel Torpedo: 30 material efficiency.
Managing Your Compression-Related EVE Blueprints
Sometimes you are between big projects. Maybe your alliance is in a time of uncertainty, and you don't want to move more resources out to their area of space. Maybe you're bored or burnt out. Whatever the cause, you aren't always exporting huge stacks of compressed minerals.
Make good use of your down time by copying your compression blueprints. Spare copies mean you can keep more production slots going, simultaneously, and compress your minerals faster, even if you don't own a full complement of compression-related blueprint originals.
Transporting Compressed EVE Minerals
Moving compressed minerals around outside of high security space is inherently risky. It's something that you should do with a jump freighter or a scout. Ideally, both. That said, I have made many, many runs through low- and null-sec with my trusty Impel, which as a deep space transport cannot even warp while cloaked. All it takes is having a friend stay one system ahead of you, and being willing to cloak, dock up, or otherwise wait out hostile pilots. Sometimes it takes seconds, but sometimes it takes days. Them's the breaks.
That said, be sure to pursue every avenue of networking available to you. The other pilots in your corporation presumably wish to assist you in their projects, especially if they would get paid. Ask your CEO if he or she knows anybody that regularly moves things around with a jump freighter. There are plenty of people who spend their days with transports full of moon miners (or whatever) to empire, but relatively empty cargo holds on their way back. Find the right guy, and you might not even have to pay him anything. More likely is that you will pay some kind of cost based on the volume of your compressed goods. Just be sure to factor that cost in when planning your business.
Decompressing Your EVE Minerals
Decompressing your minerals is where logistics and politics intersect. Here are the major challenges to be surmounted:
A Refinery Station: First of all, you need to find a refinery station or outpost to actually break the minerals up. It must have a high enough refinery efficiency that there will be no waste. This usually means one of the few conquerable stations, an NPC-owned station or a Minmatar refinery outpost. If the difference is very small, you can make up for it with an implant; the Zainou 'Beancounter' H40 implant or the "H50" version will reduce your waste by 1% or 2%, respectively. Note that starbase refinery arrays are unsuitable for anything except ice asteroids due to their extremely inefficient refine rates.
A Way To Avoid Refinery Taxes: NPC stations have refine tax rates that can be avoided by obtaining high standings with the corporations and factions that own the stations involved. That requires grinding for mission standings with pirate corporations, which is lengthy but by no means impossible, especially if you enjoy the challenge of living in pirate space. What may be more difficult is convincing the people that run a player-owned station to temporarily turn off the taxes so that you can import a major load of minerals. Once you find the right people and explain what you are doing and how it works, most people are willing to forgo the taxes --especially since if there are refinery taxes in place, you will likely not import any minerals and they would miss out, anyway.
A Production Area: Your refinery station must either have production slots or, more likely, be located near somewhere that does. There are several possibilities here. If you are setting up in NPC space, you may be lucky enough that the closest factory station is located in the same system. If you are setting up in conquerable space, the second station will probably be located one jump away. If it is several jumps away, you will likely want there to be a jump bridge between them. One possible solution is to erect a starbase with the appropriate assembly arrays in the same system as your refinery station. Of course, you should only do this if you are sure that it makes sense financially.
Recycling EVE Minerals
Note that some of the compression blueprints used might have unhelpfully high amounts of zydrine, megacyte, and to a lesser extent nocxium. They may be helpful for their compression of low-end minerals, but high-ends are often worth less in null-sec, rather than more. Don't sweat it: just move your high-end minerals back to high-sec and re-use them in the next compression batch.
Check out the final part of this EVE guide series, next week. We'll talk about practical applications of all these minerals, and design a spreadsheet for estimating profitability. Until then, true believers!
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