With the new character (Alt 4) coming up to her 1 month anniversary, I decided to sit down today and ensure she was in a position to start being useful. She has less than two days to go on her PI training plan – which was basically rank IV across the PI skills and being able to fly and T1 fit a Mammoth.
After a review I added an extra 7 days of training to get Cyno Field Theory III and Cloaking III (two skills which up the value of the character).
I then ensured she had the remaining skill books required to finish off the training, and set up a Mammoth to haul PI material & two Probe Frigates (one as a small cargo shuttle, the other as an emergency Cyno Ship).
At Rank III for Minmatar Frigate and with T2 Cargohold Expanders, her Hauling Probe can carry 598m3. At Rank IV for Minmatar Industrial and also with T2 Cargohold Expanders, her Mammoth can carry 17,838m3. Both are rather useful volumes for cheap ships without rigs and low SP requirements.
To keep things simple I am only planning on using her for gathering Processed PI Materials (the first step up from the raw materials you extract). She will dump these into the PI Hanger, where Alt 2 will be able to grab them for input into the Refined and Specialized Commodity chains.
I then visited the 9 systems within 2 jumps of my home and manually surveyed the 82 planets within. This seemed like a good idea at the start, but turned into quite a long chore. Basically all planets of the same type within Empire are not equal, with some containing more sustainable deposits of the rarer materials than others. With this reconnaissance done I will revisit Alt 2’s installations, and move or fine tune as required. The last step will be to go back to Alt 4 and ensure I fill in any remaining material gaps.
While not constantly busy on this, Alt 4 was logged in for over 6 hours today as I worked on these tasks. From an ISK perspective this effort won’t ever really be worthwhile in Empire. I hope however the skills I hone here will make it easier and quicker to setup worthwhile chains in Low or Null Sec.