New Project!

Hi folks,

Just started playing again the past few days.

I’ve been considering doing some of the projects I’ve done on this blog, such as starting a fresh character and documenting how I go about making isk. But the real reason I’ve started playing again is that I’ve been working a lot with Amazon Web Services for work and it solves one of my issues with building any kind of nice set of tools – hosting is a pain, expensive(potentially) and I’m a bit of a control freak so I wasn’t prepared to do it without direct access to the server myself.

All in all, too much of a pain to bother doing for something with questionable amounts of gains of virtual money.

But now it’s more appealing for a couple of reasons:

  • I can refresh my skills at programming, which have atrophied over the years.
  • I can gain more familiarity using AWS. I’m pursuing certifications around AWS so this is useful for my career.
  • I can learn Java, which I’d like to know well to do mobile app development for Android.

The upside for you? I’m going to document the process like I’ve done with other projects in the past. If you have an inclination to take the API data from Eve Online and craft your own tools to provide you with specific information that no-one else has the toolset to acquire, you might be interested in following this as it progresses.

Otherwise I need to get to grips with all the patch changes since I last played, and figure out what I want to do. When I left I was a bit bored out in nullsec, so I might look for a new direction.


Hulkageddon is srs bzns

Totally unrelated to the srs bzns podcast, which is great by the way. Blackhuey, I demand more casts!

Helicity Boson recently posted about the affects of Hulkageddon so far, including the death threats he’s received. I know Eve is about serious internet spaceships… but that is going too damn far.

To date, the Hulkageddon campaign has downed 5000 mining vessels and done 1 trillion isk worth of direct damage to the Eve economy. That is only direct damage however, the further consequences of Hulkageddon are more than just a bunch of destroyed hulks and destroyers. Firstly, you have the miners who didn’t undock, or got discouraged by gankers from undocking and stayed docked after that. These guys aren’t raking in the veldspar like they usually are…

A ~46% reduction in ores mined in highsec is HUGE. That said, there still must be a ton of mining going on, as highsec has about 1.5b m3 mined from it daily.

Clearly there are still plenty of hulks out there for the taking.

So, there has been 1t worth of minerals in hulk and orca form blown up in New Eden lately. On top of that, mining outputs in highsec have almost dropped by half. This means there are a great deal less minerals coming into New Eden right now, and a lot of them have exited the game in wreck form, reducing the total amount.

Typically, I would say this means it is a great time to invest in minerals, however there is a ton of volatility in the market right now due to players who speculated in the market dumping their stock in a panic. There is likely considerable amounts of isk to be made flipping minerals, and that is what I’ve been doing rather than investing in minerals. Investing would potentially grant higher returns, but I’m not sure which way the market is heading so I’ll take the easy buck rather than the risky one right now.


Regifting and you + Eve-Skunk intel leaks

So Eve is about to turn 9, and there are gifts slated to be given away by CCP to every active account when the big day rolls around. The gift packs are as follows:

Players are going to do a few different things with these gifts:

  1. The vast majority are going to sell them directly to the market. Region wide buy orders for the above items will probably net quite a considerable profit, and people trading these in trade hubs are going to see a lot more supply, driving their prices down. This is a nice opportunity to buy them and stockpile, especially for the skillbooks.
  2. They might use them, which means they are going to need items to fit them. This could mean a slight uptick in retail sales.
  3. All of these are mineral fountains, where tons of minerals will be added to the game with no direct cost in player time. This may affect mineral prices negatively, but I doubt the effect will be very noticeable.

I’ve been moving heavily back into retail and now have about 5b in sell orders in Rens. I’ve been getting tired of Rens though. I had an opportunity to do some trading in Co-Processor IIs in Amarr on my alt the other day and I didn’t get undercut in 8 hours. That has never happened to me in Rens, with my massive stockpile of Co-Processor IIs I’m sitting on. I stupidly bought 1000 of them for 900k, which is a good deal but overcommitted me to one item. I’m moving them to Amarr now to see if I can liquidate quickly.

Eve-Skunk was linked on Reddit today. I hadn’t seen this before, but it is a collection of leaked alliance emails, from API keys which have been carelessly configured and used. It is a nice resource for intel for traders, or… anybody. I expect there are a ton of counter-intelligence guys in alliances all over New Eden flipping their shit over this.


Gaming SOMER Blink

Tl;dr – I turned 500m of SOMER Blink credit into 594m of isk in my wallet. Use the promo code ‘Disclosed Blink’ to get 2.5m free credit signing up to SOMER Blink.

As a continuation from my last post where I got sponsored by SOMER Blink, I decided to investigate their system to see if I could pull positive expected value from it. If you’re unfamiliar with Blink, it is a microlottery scheme where people purchase tickets for some Eve related item, such as ships, faction modules or PLEX. Typically they’re high value items, as noone wants to win a Badger MkII. A fairly typical blink looks like this:

You put credit into the system, and click the ‘Blink!’ button, and you get a ticket in that lottery. The astute reader will notice where Blink make their money, 8 tickets @ 2.5m is 20m, yet their prize is worth 13.5m isk. As always, lotteries as a tax on people who are bad at math. Normally I would look at that point and disregard it, but SOMER have a few promotions that make playing worthwhile.

1. If you buy GTCs to turn into plex via Shattered Crystal, you get 100m isk per GTC, and a further 100m bonus for every 4 GTC you buy at once.

I pay for Eve, rather than buying plex with isk, so this option works perfectly for me. I purchased 4 GTC to stock up on game time for my accounts, and was rewarded with 500m SOMER isk credit and 500 bonus tokens to use in their bonus blinks.

2. When you get credit via donating, you get bonus tokens.

These bonus tokens can be used to play in the bonus promo blinks which pop up on the site every 20 minutes or so, and in the large celebration blinks when SOMER holds them for whatever reason. As you can see below, the prizes for the promos are very nice:

These are nice perks, but how does this help you get +ev?

Initially, I wanted to cash out the simple way. When you win an item in Blink, you can either get the item itself, the buyout price directly in your wallet, or the buyout price +5% back in Blink credit. By identifying a Blink which you have the isk in your Blink wallet to dominate, you can buy nearly all of the tickets quickly and stand a very high chance of winning the item. You can then request the isk in your wallet, and get it sent to you immediately. I started doing this and won three Tornadoes in short order. This is the simplest way of getting credit out of Blink, but it is -ev because you’re essentially paying SOMER’s ‘tax’ on each item. For instance, on the Tornadoes if I purchased each ticket I’d be buying 8 tickets at 11.5m each for a total of 92m, to ‘win’ 73.14m, a 20.5% loss in isk.

An action shot of someone attempting an isk cashout

This isn’t bad to get your bonus credit out of the system, but it’s not worthwhile if you’re depositing isk.

For my second attempt, I looked into the achievement system of Blink. On my new account I managed to pick up 118m isk worth of achievement rewards from my 500m isk deposit bonus, a 23.6% increase in value. This puts me over the expected value of cashing out directly, but it is dependant on quite a bit of luck. The most notable ones I picked up are the following:

You can target these two blinks with enough capital, quick fingers and a spot of luck. I started blinks for items that I had selected, and filled them as quickly as possible, snapping up these and another 10 achievements in fairly short order.

All in all, this is how my 500m of initial credit went:

So how did I do? Well, I took 314.64m out directly in isk, and 279.7m isk worth of ships, totalling 594.34m isk. That is in isk value in Eve, not in SOMER Blink value, which reports my winnings at 812m. Not bad for bonus isk.

I purchased 125 tickets over 28 blinks with a win rate of 67.86% where the expected win rate would be around 55% for that amount of tickets, so I was quite lucky, if my math is right. It probably isn’t, I’ve always been terrible at probability. Don’t tell me the odds.

I chose to go for the covop frigates as their sell price is significantly higher in Rens than it is in Jita, so I can ship them here in my next shipping contract and make additional profit. I could calculate the profit on these, but it is relatively meaningless as I could just buy them at Jita and freight them anyway. It’s a nice bonus, but not a true one in any sense of the word.

Lastly, I now have 500 bonus tokens sitting in my account waiting to be used. It’ll take a while to use them all up, but I expect to win at least something off them. This will increase the +ev further of using this method.

If you do sign up for an account, use the promo code ‘Disclosed Blink’, which gives you 2.5m free isk and makes me some money to boot.

Spreadsheet Saturday: Basic Eve Api usage

Ok, to start with I’m aware its not Saturday anywhere right now.

I sat down and tried to figure out a new name for a spreadsheet topic, but I came up with nothing. So, lets just pretend its Saturday in Rens.

In my last post I didn’t cover what XML is very well. XML is short for EXtensible Markup Language, and it was designed to be a reasonably simple language that can be read without much difficulty by humans and computers.  For an example, check out my character sheet in XML format.

For more, click the link to see it. Go on, I’ll wait.

Ok, so CCP fails pretty hard at the human readable part of it. In particular, your skills and certificates. Still, given our list of typeIDs referenced in the last Spreadsheet Saturday post, we can figure things out without too much difficulty.

Now, the XML is all well and good to read with eyeballs, but we want to read it with spreadsheets. So, we use the importxml() function of Google Spreadsheets.

Basically, when you call the importxml() function from your spreadsheet, it runs off and downloads the file and then scans it for whatever you tell it to scan. It uses the following syntax:

=importxml(xml url, xpath query)

XPath is a query language, which you use to tell the spreadsheet how to navigate the XML document. The syntax is pretty straightforward, though getting your head around it to start with can be tricky. You can find a full tutorial on how to use it here.

Now, building your own functions from scratch with no experience can quickly turn into a clusterfuck, so we’re going to break it down a bit by putting the individual elements into a table and then concatenating the together in the final function.

First, lets take what we know and put them in a spreadsheet:

Replace my API key details with yours of course.

I’ve cut the url up into two sections, “” and “/account/Characters.xml.aspx?” for simplicity and for indirection’s sake. Now, we’ll build functions to put these bits all together. The function in question we use to combine strings is concatenate(). It takes as many strings as you want to give it, and sticks the together. The base syntax of concatenate is as follows:

=concatenate(string1, string2, string3, ...) 
e.g. =concatenate("In Rust", " ", "We Trust")
Would result in the string "In Rust We Trust"

We can use this with the elements above to build our XML url:

=concatenate("", B7, "keyID=", A3,"&vCode=",B3)

Results in:

We can then use this URL to go fishing for data with an XPath, using the importxml() function, like so:


And we get something lovely that looks like this:

So, we’ve put together a bunch of simple bits of data and pulled some stuff out of the Eve API. Lets take the character ID we retrieved, and use it to get stuff from my character sheet.

Extrapolating that out, you can derive skill levels as well using the following formula:

=importxml(", "//row[@typeid='16622']/attribute::level")

The 16622 in the formula above is the typeid of the Accounting skill. This will spit out 0-5, representing your skill level. These techniques can be used to further extrapolate other pertinent trade information, like the following:

With these skills, and the market price lookups covered in the last Spreadsheet Saturday post you can do the vast majority of tasks that are needed from a marketeers spreadsheet, such as tracking the profitability of station trading an item, manufacturing a specific good, or comparing prices between trade hubs. There is a reference on the Eve Development Network wiki upon which you can find almost anything you need. Go forth and do amazing things with it.


Issues with Eve Nexus

Things have been a bit quiet lately, Evewise. This is due to two main reasons:

  1. RL stuff all weekend
  2. Diablo 3 open beta

I’m working on new posts now though, so things should be back to normal shortly.


Eve Nexus is rapidly losing its appeal to me. Its pretty, but it has some major flaws.

There is a bug where profits are not counted properly. This occurs about 90% of the day for me, so I have to watch it like a hawk to find the right time to screenshot it. For instance:

It is safe to say I have profited on more than 10 sales in the past two weeks.

Further, more and more of my time is going into industry now. I’m making Covetors and Moa primarily, and their sales are not being accounted for by Eve Nexus. This is skewing the projections poorly, and it is lowering the importance I place on Eve Nexus. I’ll be looking for a replacement soon, though I suspect that replacement will need to be a spreadsheet. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know in the comments.