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Monday, February 18, 2013

WH Planetary Interaction - Redux

It's been awhile since I've written anything about my planetary interaction (PI) part of the business. If you remember, I was making NRP in the old class 3. That was a very lucrative business and I was making around 650 mISK a month with it.

Making NRP is no longer a possibility for me. NRP requires an ice or ocean planet to produce Biomass and neither are currently available to me. In high-sec this isn't a show stopper. It only decreases your potential margin by the cost of the Biomass you have to purchase in order to make Supertensile Plastics. In wormhole space you can forget about it. There is no such thing as an easy run to the store for things you can't produce yourself.

I've had to find something else to produce. I wanted it to be just as profitable as the NRP was. It took some planning, but I figured out what the new system is really good at producing. Before I tell you though, I'd like to use this as an opportunity to reiterate the nature of PI.

Some people have called PI Farmville in space. Those people are wrong as well as not being true industrialists. PI is not Farmville in space. I've never played Farmville, but my mother and several other family members did. Farmville is a social game where you get ahead by knowing lots of other people and making trades for what you need. Go ahead and try that in New Eden. I dare you. Please send video.

The true nature of PI is mathematical. Specifically, it is a game of ratios. Once you understand that, setting up profitable manufacturing lines are relatively easy. I once went into detail on PI setup formulas so here I'll just give a summary.
  • Start from the top down (what you want/can make)
  • All facilities run on a one hour cycle except P1 facilities which are twice as fast (30 minutes)
  • One P4 facility takes two P3 facility per ingredient to run at full capacity
  • One P3 facility takes two P2 facilities per ingredient to run at full capacity
  • One P2 facility takes one P1 facility to run at full capacity
To produce one Wetware Mainframe every hour requires one P4 facility, six (2x3) P3 facilities, 18 (6x3) P2 facilities and 36 (2x18) P1 facilities. 

That's a lot of power demand and you've not even built the extractors yet. It will take one extractor per P1 facility to stock it. The number of extractor heads depends on the availability of resources on the planet. That in turn is determined by where the planet is. High-sec planets have the worst yields. Null-sec and wormhole planets have the best. Bottom line, you will need more extractor heads in high-sec than in a wormhole to get the same amount of resource.

And the amount of resource is what you should key on, not how many heads, etc., etc. Here is another key number for your ratios game. It takes 144,000 m3 of any resource to keep one P1 facility in production for 24 hours. PERIOD. If you are running anything other then a 23 hour cycle on your extractors, you are taking ISK out of your own pocket. PERIOD. Why? Because the P1 facility runs on a 30 minute cycle. At 23 hours, so does the extractor. It's a perfect match (or as near perfect as you'll get.) 

If you run longer extractor times, you won't get as much resource. You will have to use more heads. That costs you ISK in terms of lost production because every megawatt you use for an extractor head means less production making something you can sell. If you are running less than a 23 hour cycle, you will produce more than one P1 facility can handle. That will take ISK for storage you shouldn't have to use as well as potentially causing you to upgrade routes which is also wasted ISK. If you build more P1 facilities, you have to expand the number of other facilities too or have the same storage issue. Any way you slice it, it costs you ISK. Plan for 23 hour extractor times - PERIOD. (I really can't stress this enough. If you can't make the commitment to be there every day at that same time you need to re-evaluate if you want to be a PI industrialist. Longer times are fine if you are a casual PI user who really just makes POS fuel. If you are running shorter times... I roll my eyes at you.)

That all said, let's go back to our planning. You will need to setup four scenarios here: 144k, 288k, 432k and 576k resource extraction rates. That corresponds to one, two, three and four P1 facilities. In the example above that's 36, 72, 108 and 144 total P1 facilities. Guess what, there isn't enough grid total in six level six command centers to run a P4 production line at the upper two extraction rates. You run out of power long before the line is complete. You'll be hard pressed to do it at 288k and forget that rate in high-sec. The extraction rates just aren't high enough no matter what. In short, very profitable P4 production takes a corporation, not a lone wolf industrialist and that's a completely different post.

So, back to what I've decided to do in the new hole. Without giving planet types away, etc., I determined the most productive PI I could do is producing one P3 item in large quantities. It takes two planets per P3 line. I am running a total of six P3 facilities, 18 P2 facilities and 36 P1 facilities. That's a [(2xP3) <-- (3xP2) <-- (6xP1)] setup on three planets and a [(3xP2) <-- (6xP1)] setup on the other three. These production lines require 432k resources every 24 hours which required three or four extractor heads depending on planet. At current Jita prices, the lines produce 750 mISK of P3 product a month. There is one catch though. It was easy transporting the NRP out of the hole. P3 products take a lot more cargo space so plan accordingly.

Fly Careful


  1. " One P4 facility takes one P3 facility per ingredient to run at full capacity
    One P3 facility takes two P2 facilities per ingredient to run at full capacity
    One P2 facility takes one P1 facility to run at full capacity

    To produce one Wetware Mainframe every hour requires one P4 facility, three (1x3) P3 facilities, nine (3x3) P2 facilities and eighteen (2x9) P1 facilities. "

    False, 1 p4 facility takes 2 p3 facilities per ingredient. Therefore , 1 full-power wetware mainframe line takes
    1 p4 factory
    6 p3
    36 p2 (since each p3 facility for WM has 3 ingredients, and as you have correctly written but carried out incorrectly, 2 p2 per ingredient per p3 factory)
    72 p1 facilities.

    2 separate errors has you off by a factor of roughly 4.

    "In short, very profitable P4 production takes a corporation, not a lone wolf industrialist and that's a completely different post."

    This is false, if a lone wolf industrialist has 3-4 accounts he can then have 54-72 level 6 command centers, plenty for producing more than one p4, if he's residing in a wormhole with the appropriate planets.

    1. I've corrected the numbers above. That's what I get for trying to do a post while at work. It didn't even agree with my previous post that I linked to. So thanks for so quickly prompting me on that Rammstein.

      I will posit one thing to you though concerning your lone wolf industrialist comment. If you have 3-4 accounts all working PI, are you really a lone wolf industrialist? I have no alts. When I say lone wolf, I mean LONE wolf. What you have is a corporation whether organized as such or not. BTW, if those accounts are not in a single corp to take advantage of the best standing (and this best tax rate) available among all the characters you're costing yourself ISK.

    2. I have to call you on your 23-hr cycle, Mab, and the assertion that only "real" industrialists use 23-hr cycles and nothing else and that everyone who uses anything other than a 23-hr cycle is a "casual" industrialist.

      There is also the trade-off between time required to manage and time desired to be spent doing the activity. Folks can make a relatively large amount of isk and not have to log in every day. It all comes down to what's fun for them.

      Actually, maybe what it comes down to, now that I think on it, is what's meant by "serious" industrialist. Does one have to log in every day and squeeze the last bit of efficiency out of the process to be considered a serious industrialist? If so, you're admonition is absolutely correct. Not to say that's a bad thing, really, if logging in every day is what has to be done to be considered truly serious industrialist. Guess it means I'm not a serious PI indy type, then :)

    3. I use 24 hour cycles. Would be quite interested in the maths. Sure, I sometimes interrupt a cycle but I'm not perfectly punctual so sometimes I'm late and I get an extra hour's worth and if I'm 0-59 minutes early it's no big deal.

      I suspect the numbers favour full coverage over stopping an hour early.

    4. Also, quick aside that I've found after having actually gotten back from vacation and have time to kill finally figuring PI out-

      You say that the reason you want to run 23 hour cycles is so that the extractor cycle syncs with the Basic Proc cycle (ie, 30 minutes) - however, when I'm tinkering, my ECUs don't kick over to a 30 minute cycle until they are queued up for 25 hours (or more) - typo/mistake?

      Because then I also had the thought that the actual reason you'd want that kind of resource pull in 23 hours is so that the 24th hour the procs would still have the necessary resources to do a 'full day' of production- but that still gives you an extra hour on your ECU' I'm a bit confused.

  2. Good post - PI is the lifeblood of many WH residents as it provides nearly risk-free ISK. In WH, the space compression is also a factor as you do not wish to export too much volume.

    Most WH corps that I have seen or been involved with strongly encourage the making of POS fuel components and will have handsome corporate purchase agreements. This reduces the risk even further as no export at all is required. For myself, my 3 toons could make 600 mil or so / month without much min/maxing. Thats on 2 day cycles and with dedicated manufacturing planets. Sure, it was involved but when you live in a C2, making 600 mil / month is a lot of sleeper shooting.

    From the pure game mechanics point of view, PI is about as badly designed as it can be. Basically the threshold to entry is the punitive and non-intuitive micromanaging of the supply chain. It is tedious and clearly done by some interns at CCP. We tolerate it since it provides so much free ISK. But if you truly "enjoy" PI, you need to talk to someone in a white coat.

    And lastly, since PI takes so much time and generates so much ISK, many WH corps seem to have "PI corpses", i.e. players who only log in to set up their planets and then log. No need to fly combat ships and these guys don't really participate in the corp at any level.


Be civil, be responsible and most of all be kind. I will not tolerate poor form. There will be no James Hooks here. We are all better than that.