The joy of spreadsheets
This is going to drive a lot of people from ever trying out EVE, I gather, but nevermind that. I’ve never really used Excel, apart from occasionally at work when nothing else really would do. I wouldn’t use it recreationally, who the hell would? But with EVE, I’ve come to change my mind.
That’s right, EVE has driven me to use spreadsheets. In fact, I couldn’t play EVE without it. Manufacturing stuff isn’t straightforward, and selling stuff isn’t that uncomplicated either. Well, that depends really. If you’re happy with whatever amount of ISK the first filthy Minmatar offers you then go ahead, sell your produce and be happy with it. But if you want to maximize, you gotta do some thinking first, boyo.
It boils down to this: you want to build a spaceship. Excellent. You lookup the blueprint on the market and you buy it. You get the blueprint and give it a look-see. One spaceship requires (for example) 100 tritanium and 10 pyerite, and 5 mexallon. Superb. You quickly buy those minerals and rent a factory slot. Now you just have to wait.
It takes a varying amount of time to build a spaceship, or, well, anything really. Lets say, for this example, that it takes 5 minutes. During this time you browse the market and this is when you realize that you would’ve been able to get those minerals a little bit cheaper further away, if only you had been bothered to travel some. Oh well. Next time.
You see that you should be able to sell your soon-to-be-done ship for 300 (some guy is selling for 310, but you figure that if you go a bit lower you’ll sell yours, while he’s stuck with his, sucker). However, somewhere in the back of your mind a tiny bell is ringing. You open up your wallet (not your actual wallet, but the ingame wallet) and look at the latest transactions. You add up the expenses for renting the factory slot and buying the minerals and realize that it cost you over 400. What the F? Double-checking the market you see how people are happily selling that spaceship for less than it costs you to acquire the raw materials and build it. You feel depressed, log out, emoragespam the eve-o forum and go back to WoW.
All these numbers were made up, but the emoragespam is all too real.
Manufacturing isn’t so straightforward in EVE as it might be elsewhere. The market is demanding, and you have plenty of competitors (well, depending on where you’re trying to sell stuff). And as a new player, you’re disadvantaged, since you’re likely to not have Production Efficiency V – you want to build stuff, that’s the skill you get. Basically, what the skill does is that it lowers the amount of minerals needed to build something. Less minerals equals less cost for building equals more isk for you.
If all this sounds new and strange to you, have a look at GC13′s excellent Science and Manufacturing guide. It also contains information about invention and BPO research, which is also very very important if you want to build stuff.
The solution to many a problem in EVE is research. Look things up, ask, ask again, get a different opinion (if it is to be had), do the math, and if you come up short, figure out what you can do to improve your numbers, and think about what you can do in the meantime. The reason you’re building anything is probably so you can sell it, so that you can earn isk. And if you’re being stupid or just don’t know about stuff, you’ll end up losing isk instead.
I was stupid once, but now I use Excel (well, OpenOffice really, but still). Sometimes I spend more time tallying up amounts of tritanium, pyerite, mexallon etc, and their market value (which changes all the time), comparing the cost totals with potential profits (also subject to change, and sometimes you might not even be able to sell your product for a long long time). I’m no longer stupid, but I also suspect I’ve lost a bit of my sanity.
If spreadsheets are not your thing, fear not, there are plenty of applications out there, created by members of the EVE community. However, I have yet to find one I’m completely satisfied with, so I’ll refrain from mentioning anyone for now.
Currently training: Gallente Industrial V (12 days 3 hours remaining)