Planetary Interaction Challenge

Update on 3/7/2014:  The information in this guide was gathered before the POCO system was implemented.  Taxe rates are different now, and variable.  So make sure to check the tax rates on the POCOs for potential planets.  While most High Sec POCOs have tax rates in line with the NPC rates, some are much higher, and this will impact your profit.

In a series of posts, Mabrick over at Mabrick's Mumblings claimed that a noob with roughly 2 months of training could make 500m isk in one month using only one high sec system and 6 planets.  I decided to give this a shot, as a challenge that will make me isk is a challenge I accept.  Bonus points for the fact that it has me creating new spreadsheets!

Below you will find my posts regarding this experience, collected in chronological order for your edification.  The first post notes how I modified the challenge and get started.  Enjoy!

DAY -1

As mentioned, I am giving Mabrick's proposition a shot.  From the latest post, there a few things I am unsure of, namely, if his 500m isk/month claim was based in HS or WH space.  But, here are the conditions of my experiment:
  • Skills:  
    • Command Center Upgrades 4 
    • Interplanetary Consolidation 4 
    • Planetology 2 
    • Remote Sensing 3
  • Production
    • Final Product: Robotics
  • Planets:
    • 2 Barren R0 > P1
    • 2 Lava R0 > P1
    • 1 Barren Production Planet P1 > P3
    • All planets are in one High Sec system with standard Customs Office rates.
A few other notes.  I am not taking up the challenge as presented mainly because I don't want to move the alt, and it has about 30m skill points.  Those are almost entirely in mining, production, and recently combat.

Here are the Planetary Management skills, IC 4 will be done soon:
Here are the planets, pending the production planet due to IC 4:
Here is the pattern used for all of the R0 > P1 planets:
You'll notice that the extractors are much further from storage than Mabrick indicates.  This is because HS planets have crap for resource distribution, so the R0 > P1 chain is located central to the hotspots I judged to be closest together on each planet.  Notice the bands I used on the scanner, to give you an idea of the resource density here:

Mabrick contends that something around 500m isk is viable each month.  Many readers disagreed.  Given my skills, I'll shoot for 50%-75% of his estimate.  Thats 250m to 375m isk in one month.  I'll start my timer from the day I get the production planet up and running.  I am going to have ~2 days of P1 production already created by the time that happens, but given the nature of resource depletion, I'll use them and consider it to be a wash.

Initial Costs:
  • Setup of 4 planets with level 5/6 Command Centers: $23,720,000.03.


I set up all the planets for the challenge, 3 barren, 2 lava, and have the production planet going.  I also have a sheet set up to track the costs by line item.  I loves me some Excel!  Without further ado, here are the costs incurred in buying the command centers, setting up the planets (including a few mistakes in placing and rebuilding PI buildings), and transferring the first production loads from the resources planets to the production planet (also including one mistake):

The Customs Office interface is still horrible, and you can easily transfer crap back to a planet when you think you are loading it to your ship.  Why?  Because CCP decided that the CO inventory screen should not be part of the unified inventory.  That's great.  That cost me about $500k isk.  Remember to open your ship inventory and drag the items from to CO to there, and not hit the Transfer button.

The PI interface still leaves important info out of the equation when placing buildings.  So if you click the wrong facility, you cannot check what it makes until after you spend the money on it once you are in that process.  Yes, I could right click, show info, and then choose and place it.  Perhaps the Build Panel could include a PX > PY note right on the screen.  So be careful if you are setting this stuff up.

Accounting note:  My production planet came online on Eve-day 3/8/13, so the challenge will run until I sell products made withing 30 days of 3/8/13.


Although it's another day for me, it's the same Eve day, so this goes into the first day, hence the Part II.

I took the first batch of Robotics to market.  111 units to be exact.  I also removed some storage facilities and added some ECU Extractor heads on my low yield planets.  I've adjusted the tracking sheet to account for a few more things.  Here are the results from my labors:

Back of the envelope calculations show this scheme, if static for the next 29 days, will yield the following:
Hmm.  We might have a problem here. At roughly 5/6 capacity of Mabrick's approach, we are looking at about 30% of his estimated income.

I found I could add a second production line on the factory planet, which accounts for the increase in Construction costs.  But I am not sure high sec planets will be able to keep two robotics lines fed.  The resource density on one of the planets is already starting to take a hit, and cannot feed 4 R0 > P1 factories.  That means I may not be able to keep even one robotics line running at full capacity.

For reference, one Robotics line running at capacity for one month will produce 2160 (24 hours * 3 units * 30 days), and two lines will produce 4320.  At current Jita buy prices of 81,000 isk per unit of Robotics, before accounting for import and export taxes, that equates to roughly 175m to 350m isk in sales per month.  Setting up sell orders increases the price by 1,000 isk per unit, giving 177m to 354m isk.

Perhaps selling extra materials on one end will make up the difference?


In response to my own questions from last post regarding the shortcomings of my production as it was implemented, I went looking at how to use the excess resources from my over-producing R0>P1 planets.  If you are running 4 planets to get the materials for Robotics, you end up with an imbalance among the following P1s:
  • Chiral Structures
  • Precious Metals
  • Reactive Metals
  • Toxic Metals
These in turn can be used to create a variety of P2s:
  • Consumer Electronics (used in Robotics)
  • Mechanical Parts (used in Robotics)
  • Enriched Uranium
  • Construction Blocks
For nice list of all the PI flow charts, take a look at this.  So the question I had to answer was how can I take my excess PI products and make them profitable, and easy to get to market?  The answer, I think, lies in looking at market prices for the P1s and comparing those to the prces for the various potential P2s, and making the P2s which are worth more than the P1s you started with.  Given the high rate of import and export taxes, this is not a trivial calculation.  I'll let you run your own numbers, but I was able to find a solid excess line, and factor in the estimated overproduction of P1s that are worth more than their P2s, and came up with something like this:
I haven't fixed the costs, so expect the import/export to take roughly 10% off each of the non P3s (i'm keeping it at 10% for simplicity, and to account for increased profit as you go up the chain), you get this
Huh.  We are back at roughly 500m isk, and that's with 5 planets instead of 6, and without Elite Command Centers.  Maybe my doom and gloom from yesterday was a bit premature.

DAY 3/4

Warning, this post contains many charts.

Edit: Thanks for the link Mabrick!

First:  Mabrick stated this in my last comments section:
You have extra R) and P1? The way I deal with extra R0 and P1 is to not have any. That may seem a bit arrogant, but hear me out. Robotics is a 2 extractor, 4xP1 and 2xP2 production chain - per planet. When you get to Elite command centers it will be easier to do, but you should aim for 2 extractors each pulling 288,000 m3 of R0 with 2xP1 facilities per R0 type and 2xP2 facilities to take their product. You then have to move one of the P2 products to another planet to make the Robotics. I move Mechanical Parts to my Lava worlds where I have on additional P3 facility in my setup. Precious Metals is typically the weakest producer across all the planets I've run and that's why I produce Robotics on the Lava worlds. All three Lava planets process 1/3 of my Robotics each. I use no silos and I try and keep a day's worth of R0 in each Landing Pad as a buffer. To keep this working as stated, I actively adjust my extractors to make sure I don't over produce, even if that means I remove heads and have grid left over. It's just easier that way to me. 
To answer, in short, I don't have Elite Command Centers.  The long version is my planets, even after removing the storage facilities I didn't need, cannot support the mixed production chain he is describing.  In part due to CPU/PG, in part due to low resource distribution.  I am curious to know what planets exist in HS that could support his approach based on resource density.  I'm sure they do, but trying to find the 5-6 planets needed (3 barren, 3 lava), in one system, and also near whatever else you happen to be doing in Eve, seems like chasing after Enigmas.  Below is an example of the resources on one of my planets.  You can argue about ECU placement, but even if I consolidate to one ECU with 10 heads, I end up at about the same production, and then can't afford the chain Mabrick is describing.
Second:  Extra P1s are looking to be saving grace of my setup.  I can sell those excess materials.  In my mind leaving them on the table is lost isk.  I'll have numbers to show this later.

Third:  I lied.  I used Mabrick's advice in a different way.  Precious Metals are killing me.  So I played around and realized I have PMs on my factory planet.  Down goes an ECU head, fed into my production line to bolster production a little bit.  Not glamorous, but it should add a little margin.  Unfortunately, I've hit a wall in that I can't keep even one Robotics line going at this point.  See the image below to see the link going off to the ECU, and the current supplies inside the launchpad on my factory planet that supplies the whole P2>P3 chain.
It's lonely in here...
You need 288,000 * 2 units on each R0 to keep one robotics line going.  At capped out Command Centers on my Planets, here is what I am getting, with ECUs set to provide coverage of the best hotspots on the planets:
I'm making up the difference on P2s and P1s that are overproducing the rate limiting R0 (Noble Metals > Precious Metals):
So here is where we stand today:
For the complainers, I know sales tax probably shouldn't be included in costs, but I haven't bothered fixing everything yet.  This is feeding into a nice overall graph that will come later, and I haven't fixed that part yet.  But regardless of the -336,198.31 isk in sales tax, we're still in the red.  Production is slowing down considerably. I went from over 100 units of robotics a day down to 54.

I'll try to come up with a way to increase R0s, but it may take a few days.  The next two days are busy real-life wise.


Just a quick update on the PI challenge.  I've made lots of tweaks to max out extraction.  Last update, I was at about -9.3m isk on the whole affair.  Today's total running numbers:
I broke into the black!  And so far, over 8 days, I've averaged a little over 2 million per day in profit.  In revenue, I've averaged about 8 million.  8m x 30 days is 240m isk.  For the 500m isk goal, this thing is probably going to be a complete failure.  Assuming no more costs, I'll be surprised if I get much past the 200m mark.

Some mid-challenge analysis.  In 2.5 hours, while working on other stuff, I went mining today.  The sales from that were 29.3m isk.  On another front, I ran a max run of Phased Plasma L ammo.  That sold for 18m isk.  So in less than the time it took me to do a week's PI, I netted 47m isk into my pocket, for less actual effort than the PI.  I have no idea what that ammo cost me to make, because the materials were lying around, but there you have it.

This brings up a bigger question:  What is the most enjoyable way to secure income in only high sec space?  So far PI is ranking very low.  It's active playing when I'm doing it, unlike mining.  It lacks the explosions of mission running.  It's more intensive than manufacturing.  There is training time to consider, but based on where I stand in the game so far the PI challenge has been more frustration than fun, and the perceived effort of this PI setup is tedious at best.

Tomorrow: My first foray into Faction Warfare!  Teaser:  I'm terribad!

Day 11

Here's the update:
Trending a little bit better.  I got the Precious Metals output a bit higher, and now Chiral Structures are the rate limiting factor.  This means I'm pulling in an extra 1.4m or so per day on Enriched Uranium sales.  The POCO taxes have taken about 16m in profits at the 10% high sec rate.  That's not 10%.  That's an effective tax rate of about 18%.

They get you coming and going!  Interstingly, the tax rates are pegged to old values, with P1s going for 50isk/unit and P2s going for 900isk/unit, and P3s for 7000isk/unit.  This results in interesting tax rate anomolies as shown above.  There are a few errors, as I lumped a few things together in the beginning and I can't sort the out now.  Stupid March 11.  But the overall tax rate of 18% is correct.  If I had no taxes, I'd be at about 51m in profit 11 days in.

Edit:  My original effective tax chart was poorly formatted.  I updated it.

Day 18

More results for you:

Up from 36m isk in profits to 72m isk.  The daily average profit is now at 3.6m/ day, or an end estimate of 108m isk, in profit.  Interestingly there is a side to this that I have not spoken of:  What you will profit not including the initial costs.  Since my initial outlay of about 33m isk, my daily costs have hovered around 1.5m, and my total sales are at 133m.  That means the profit only including day-to day costs is 106m, or 5.9m isk per day.  That gives a final profit, less sunk costs, of an estimated 177m isk.

So month one may be a bit of a bust, but subsequent months will be more profitable, by a considerable amount.  I'm interested to see how this plays out.

Day 23

Results as of day 23:

Daily average profits are now at 4.28m isk.  We are getting close to the end.  No commentary today, just wanted to update the progress!

I also moved a lot of ECUs around today to combat depletion, which cost 315k isk.


  1. This was really helpful. Thanks.

  2. I read through those articles over at Marbricks, he's definitely doing this in WH space. I set mine up in Null, works great. In addition I made changes similar to yours as I have a similar play style.

    1. Am actually on Day 1 - wiped everything that didn't fit the plan and reset the books. I haven't been tracking anything really, in my head I know I'm on the positive, but I couldn't tell you how much. I admit I'm already making that much in PI but in doing this I'm resetting up my books and getting some of the already trained alts in on the game as well as looking for super accuracy in the accounting.