The EVE University Wiki gives you an overview of how to do PI, with links to videos and details of what everything means and does.
Again, my posts are not really a How-To guide. Instead they are looking at the complexity, planning and decision making.
I now reviewed the skills I had and what I felt I needed to have for this project.
I knew I would need the maximum number of planets available to me – being six, so I trained Interplanetary Consolidation to rank 5. (As expected, I ended up needing more than six planets, so I had to bring in a second Alt to help.)
To fit in with CCP’s Risk v Reward mantra in EVE, the planets in High Sec generally have poorer and less concentrated resources than what you might find in Low Sec, Null Sec or Wormholes. From previous experience doing PI in High Sec, I knew I would have to upgrade my Command Centers to level 5 to allow me to maximise the number of Extractor Heads I could use. Command Center Upgrades Rank 5 was added to the training queue.
While you can’t remotely interact with Custom Offices or install Planetary Command Centers, you can do a lot of your PI work without undocking. The skill that determines the range at which you can remotely do planet surveys is Remote Sensing. I am not completely sure about this skill, but this is the logic I follow.
The skill gives you the following remote scan ranges:
Level 1: allows scans within 1 ly
Level 2: allows scans within 3 ly
Level 3: allows scans within 5 ly
Level 4: allows scans within 7 ly
Level 5: allows scans within 9 ly
Obviously outside of Capital jumps, Light Years is not really a measurement you think too much about in EVE.
I knew I was going to do all my PI in and around the Akes system in Devoid. I also knew I did not want to have to travel more than 3 jumps to any planets I was going to work on.
I used the Dotlan EVEMaps Navigation tool to work out how far away in Light Years all systems within 3 jumps of Akes were. This is a part of the tool I use when planning capital jumps.
I simply put in the Akes system, and ensured the Range Options were “Sub-Capital”, Max Jumps (Gates) was “3”, and I had Planet Type as “Show all planets”.
This showed me I had 21 systems (including Akes) within a 3-gate jump range, a count of the type of planets they each had, and the distance in Light Years they were away from Akes:
This tool also crosses into different regions, giving system options you might not always be aware of. The longest distance was only 3.057 Light Years. Since that was (just) further than 3 Light Years, I figured I needed at least Rank 3 to survey all planets within 3 jumps. As I had rank 4 already, my needs were covered.
The last two PI skills – Planetology and Advanced Planetology increase the number of gradient bands and the precision of your scans. The logic I guess is that you can better place your extraction heads.
I settled on Planetology at rank 4 so I could train Advanced Planetology, which I also trained to rank 4. While this rounded out the character, I am not sure it is critical. In the past I’ve compared doing PI on an Alt with Rank 5 in both skills with another Alt with just Rank 3 in Planetology. The amount the better skilled Alt was able to extract with better head placement wasn’t that much more than the lessor skilled Alt.
The next critical skill was getting Customs Code Expertise to Rank 5. (It is part of the Trade group.)
Another way CCP has made PI less rewarding in High Sec is by setting an additional NPC tax that you must pay to import and export PI goods. This tax doesn’t exist in Low Sec, Null Sec or Wormhole space. You can mitigate up to half this tax however with the Customs Code Expertise skill. (Each rank reduces the NPC tax rate by 10%.) If you are moving any sort of serious volume around, or trying to compete on the market, getting Customs Code Expertise to Rank 5 is almost mandatory.
Last of all from a skills perspective I needed to work out what hauler I would use.
There is a Gallente Industrial called an Epithal which has a special hold for Planetary Commodities (a base size of 45,000m3 +10% each rank you have in the Gallente Industrial Skill). This is a cheap hull that can carry a lot of PI goods, but I don’t like using it. It at times will have to carry goods worth 50+M ISK but is difficult to tank well, and other players know exactly what you are carrying.
I went back to my spreadsheet and added a column for the total volume of each PI good I had to collect. The most was around 13,000m3. I also knew I had to have room to haul multiple Planet Command Centers to allow me to initially set up my planets. I settled on using a Caldari Badger Industrial that was able to carry 14,750m3, with a 20K EHP Tank, and importantly fit a Cloak. The second Alt I am using for PI flies a Transport Ship for their PI. The First Alt will be training to get into a Transport Ship, once she finishes being able to fly a Freighter again.
So that covers my thinking with the skills I needed. Next post, I will look for planets to work with.