Industry was my first love in Eve. I was fascinated with how industry in the game mirrored that in the real world. There are so many parts to set in motion, so much information to understand, and almost military coordination needed to execute a well-functioning industrial operation. For newcomers, diving headlong into industry is a sure-fire way to burn ISK; it’s essential first to understand how the pieces fit together, and what makes manufacturing profitable, or not. So this will not be a technical guide to the details of creating industry jobs; instead, I will be discussing the various facets of industry and how they interact with each other.
Raw Material Acquisition
Let us first discuss raw materials that can be farmed by individual players; the most common being ores found in asteroid belts and ore anomalies. In order to gather ores, a player only needs to use a ship equipped with mining lasers, and watch their cargo hold fill with ore. New players often try this in a Venture, as one of the first ways to make a small amount of ISK consistently.
Similar to ore, ice belts are also found in known space. Instead of a mining laser, you will need to use ice harvesters and a Mining Barge or Exhumer. This requires somewhat higher skills, and it is best carried out in specialized ships in order to accommodate the larger volume of ice that is gathered compared with ores.
Gases found in gas exploration sites in known and wormhole space are another type of raw material that is abundant in the game. In order to harvest these, you will need to fit your Venture with a gas harvester as opposed to mining lasers.
Exploration of Data & Relic sites also yields its own type of material used to build items in the game. Equipped with scanning probes, you can locate and gather decryptors and datacores after completing the hacking mini-game. These items are used primarily in the invention of T2 blue print copies and reverse engineering of T3 blue print copies. Relic sites, like the wrecks of NPC and player ships, yield salvage materials which are used to build T1 and T2 rigs.
Now that we have gone over player-farmed raw materials, let us go over raw materials farmed using structures.
Planetary Interaction (PI) – Planets yield valuable raw materials, and what you can extract depends on the type of planet. In order to do this, you will need to install the appropriate Command Center on a planet. Once installed, you can harvest the materials and store them in the planet’s customs office, which may be player- or NPC owned. All types of Customs office collect taxes from users; in a Player-Owned Customs Office (POCO) these may be much lower – or much higher.
Moon Materials – This is the oldest and potentially most lucrative form of structure-based raw material extraction. It involves erecting a player owned starbase (POS) near a moon with harvestable materials. Besides the POS, you will also need moon harvesting arrays to extract the materials from the moon.
Reprocessing and refining
Now that we have gathered raw materials, we will then need to refine or reprocess them in order to turn them into the proper building blocks from which to create ships, modules and structures.
Ores can be refined into minerals in stations with a Reprocessing Plant, and in Player-Owned Starbases (POSes) with Reprocessing Arrays. Be mindful that the refining yield will vary greatly, depending on the type of facility used, your standings with the NPC owners of a station, tax rates set by a player corporation, and your own refining skills.
Ice is refined into: various racial Isotopes, used as fuel for jump drives; Strontium Clathrates, needed for some capital ships; and Liquid Ozone, which is used to light cynosural fields and operate jump bridges. All ice products are also important for fuelling POSes.
Raw PI materials can be refined on the planets where you harvested the materials, or exported (remember the tax!) and processed elsewhere. In order to do this, you will need to feed the raw materials into various processors on the planet’s surface.
Much like PI, raw moon materials may be processed from the same POS if the arrays can be accommodated, or shipped to another POS equipped with the reactors needed.
Tech 1 Manufacturing
This is the most basic type of production. You will first need a blueprint, which may be an original (BPO) or a copy (BPC, which can be used only for a limited number of production runs). These items will detail the materials needed to build a ship, module, ammunition, or drone. Ideally, it will be best to use a blueprint that has been researched to 10% Material Efficiency, ensuring you will use the smallest possible quantity of materials for the build. The materials needed will be the minerals refined from raw ores.
Tech 2 Manufacturing
Unless you are the lucky (or fabulously wealthy) owner of a Tech 2 BPO, the blueprint copies needed for this level of production must first be invented. Invention is done by getting a Tech 1 blueprint copy, applying the appropriate datacores and decryptors, and then praying to RNGesus. Whether the invention succeeds or fails, you lose all the components used, including one run of the BPC.
With a successful invention attempt, you will be rewarded with a T2 blueprint copy. Like all BPCs, this will have a limited number of runs. The materials needed to complete this type of build will be the T1 variant of the module you are trying to produce, advanced racial components (built from moon materials), the appropriate type of Robotic Assembly Module (R.A.M., built from ordinary minerals), morphite (mined from Mercoxit ore), and Construction Blocks (derived from PI). If this sounds complicated, that’s because it is; planning for Tech 2 manufacture is the acid test of your spreadsheet skills.
Tech 3 Manufacturing
If you live in a worm hole, consider training up the skills needed for this type of production. Tech 3 blueprint copies are created using Reverse Engineering, which is similar to Invention. However, unlike Tech 2 production, instead of a Tech 1 BPC you will need an Ancient Relic, along with the appropriate datacores and decryptors. Depending on the type of Ancient Relic you use, you will be awarded with either a T3 ship or subsystem blueprint copy.
In order to complete the build, you will need Hybrid Tech Components, which can be made using salvaged materials from sleeper NPCs and reactions created from worm hole gas. You will also need the correct type of R.A.M.
Now that we’ve gone over how raw materials are turned into the various finished products, let’s consider how the materials needed can be moved into place.
Due to the way resources are allocated throughout space, you must be aware of not just where to obtain building materials, but also where to process them to gain the best reprocessing rates, and where to build them based on job costs, your logistical needs, and access to markets. Just because you can find the most valuable ores, doesn’t mean you will have a way to refine them locally. Using the same line of thinking, just because you can build several billion ISK worth of gear in an NPC station or POS doesn’t mean you will be able to effectively sell them in the same system – or at least, not at favorable prices or volume to compensate for your time.
Having spent time in nullsec and wormhole space as a dedicated industrialist, my most time-consuming activity has always been moving things to the right place to get the best results. Installing production jobs is the blink of an eye compared to the time it takes to move materials and finished products along the entire assembly line. Often this has caused me to place dedicated hauling alts at key staging points, along with the appropriate hauling ships.
Is it possible for a solo player or small corp to run an efficient production chain from asteroid belt to market? The short answer is yes. However, doing so forces you to give up an incredible amount of time, especially for mining and hauling. I have developed a workflow over the years and focused my efforts specifically to find ways to save time while still being a competitive producer in my local market. The key is this: “I don’t need to mine to build ships.”
My most profitable product line has always been battleship hulls. It has a high enough barrier to entry to keep out those who mine for their builds and don’t have the means to move very large volumes. The capital needed to keep such a large assembly line working at capacity is also enough to make most players think twice. As a solo player, I typically build and sell several dozen battleship hulls a week. How do I do it? I abuse the market.
Instead of going through the entire assembly line process, I skip steps. I buy minerals in volume using buy orders rather than mining them myself. I then move all those minerals to my chosen factory to build ships, and simply carry on that production cycle. All the while, my math must be exact. Before I build anything, I make sure there’s a decent profit waiting at the end of the process. If there isn’t, I build something else.
If industry catches your interest, be ready to enter the marketplace armed with detailed knowledge, some ISK to commit, and a competitive spirit. It’s one thing to destroy another player’s ship in battle, but if you really want to hurt someone in the game, then hit them where it hurts the most, and punch them in the wallet.