Monday, November 25, 2013

Economics of C4 PVE

Last night my corp had an ideal system for running sites.  It was a connected C4 system packed with anoms, many of which are the best type, and totally zipped up.  We exploited it to the max.  So, how much does it pay, running C4 sites?

We have found that a typical C4 anom will earn about 100m ISK in salvage and blue loot.  There is a lot of variance, because about half of the value is the salvage and it has a strong element of chance.  There is really only one salvage part that is worth much: melted nanoribbons.  If you get lucky on melted nanoribbons, you get more than average.  C4 radar and data sites are considerably harder sites, and they earn more.  Perhaps 120m average in blue loot and salvage.  You can also get perhaps 60m from can-cracking in relic sites, which is worth doing.  The minigames for C4 data/relic sites are the hardest ones in the game, so their earning rate is not great without maximum skills.  Data site cans are not worth it, although with a cargo scanner you can probably select only the relatively high value cans and earn a decent rate on a few cans.

Last night we completed 13 combat anoms, and another 2 radar sites.  So we would expect to earn about 1.5 billion, and we did.

How long did this take?  We started right at 8:00 with three of us.  Hiljah joined about 9:15.  We ended some time around 11:30; perhaps 11:15.

Using 11:30 for a conservative estimate, three of us spent 3.5 hours each.  Hiljah, 2.25 hours.  Four players; what did we earn per player?  We earned about 117m per man-hour.  What did we get per-character?  We used nine characters: two logis, one salvager, one fleet booster, and five DPS.  Thus,we earned 52m per character-hour.

There was some inefficiency in our setup.  Our salvager was not busy 100% of the time.  Adding DPS would increase his rate of earning a bit by keeping him busy more of the time.  And of course the logistics have very little DPS.  So, by adding a few more DPS characters we might get a moderate improvement.  (In fact we left one radar site untouched for lack of time.)


  1. How much time you spent getting there (rolling a connection into it)?
    How reliable it is to get a system like this? I mean if the four of you could play 24/7, could you constantly run such sites with 117M/hour?

  2. Before I joined Complex Systems I was camping in a C3. I made about 75M/hour if I only considered time in sites. With a few more skill points I think I could have increased this to 100M/hr. I was careful and never lost a ship, but that meant making at most 300M a week.
    I had plenty of time to watch sites spawn and people come through and run them. Spawn rate varied between 1 and 2 sites per day on average and they were usually run on the weekend. I would say our C4 spawns a bit less (stays closer to 1 per day) but Von could be more accurate.
    Personally I feel running sites on the weekend is a bad idea because of how often you will get visitors. Can we say 23/5? And does an average of 4 sites per 2 rolls (one to find it, one to zip up) sound about right? So 11ish minutes per site and 5ish minutes per roll? Call it an even hour and you get 400M split 4 ways.
    I think the low skill point and isk investment is also an important consideration.

  3. @Gevlon: This was actually a connection from that C4 system to ours. We have a C3 static. We plan to move to a C4-C4 system so we can do this more regularly. This was far and above the largest take we've ever had, which made it notable. But, in general it takes us about 10 min to pop a hole, unless I'm doing it by myself, then it is more like 15. The C3 connections we have probably average somewhere around 5-8 combat anomalies. If C4s hold to that, then you'd be talking a decent throughput. However, we are careful and will completely search down systems before running them, so that eats into your throughput considerably.

  4. Gevlon, as Jayne said, this was an exceptional event for us, in that for to get a direct C4 connection is rare. We cannot roll into C4s at will. We have run C4s before a few times, usually ones connected to our static system. This involves taking our fleet across C3, and having to watch holes.

    We are wealthy enough that we do not often run C3s any more, even though that is what we chose our static for. C3s are generally not as safe as C4s; they tend to have significantly more incoming wormholes. And sometimes the inhabitants are active. (This is another thing to adjust for: my corp plays in US evenings, when EVE is in general less active.) I would guess that perhaps 1 in 20 of the C3s we get is uninhabited; these tend to have unpleasant effects but some are runnable. Perhaps 1 in 10 has anyone there, at least that we can see. What tends to make them not work is the wormholes: it is rare that we have one with no wormholes at all aside from their static (which is always present). Often they will have an extra connection to lowsec or nullsec, and that is not a serious problem for running sites. But any connection into wspace has to be checked out. You have to enter it, find any towers, and see if anyone is there. If there is anyone, you cannot run sites safely. If not, then it is probably acceptable to put a sound-picket at that wormhole. But you lose an alt for each such wormhole. Lose too many, and you cannot run sites.

    I addition to the problems of operational security above, C3 sites also do not pay as well as C4 sites. C3s average perhaps 50m per site in blue loot and salvage. They are easier, of course: they have fewer battleships. Battleships have a lot of hitpoints and thus take longer to kill, but they are worth it. (Sleeper battleships are where the money is.) I would guess site-running in C3 earns at perhaps 70% of the rate of site-running in C4. (This is similar to Hiljah's estimate.) C3 gangs do not need two logis. You can get by with one or use a spidering setup because there is not much nossing and warp scrambling is rare and limited to easily killed frigates.

    In any case, back to your questions. The major time-losses in running sites via static are as follows: finding unrunnable systems (perhaps 2 of 3 C3s, 1 in 3 for C4s); popping the hole (5 minutes with 2 Orcas, 10 with one); reconnoitering the static system and any attached systems (5 minutes if lucky, +5 per each attached system); and losing out DPS ships to be sound-pickets at potentially dangerous wormholes and towers (perhaps 2 lost on average, for us in C3; with a C4 static this would be 1).

    If we had the same four we had two nights ago, we could pop holes in 5 minutes. And we'd be able to parallel process the scanning, so that we'd average no more than 10 minutes of scanning per hole. On average we'd find a decently runnable system in 2-3 attempts. Then we would run sites for perhaps an hour or so (I agree with Jayne on the 5-8 average). So, my guess is that we could spend at least 50% of the time running sites, and I think more like 66%. We'd probably net out about 50m ISK per manhour.

    We will do better when we move to C4/C4. We will spend a lot less time finding decent systems to run. And the sites take longer to run and pay better per unit of time. I expect to need maybe one hole-pop on average to find a good system, and to lose one alt to hole-watching, so that our overall rate drops to perhaps 80m ISK per manhour.

    You would do a bit worse in either situation, due to playing in peak European playing hours.