And now for a topic near and dear to every capsuleer's heart: making money. ISKies!
I've tried almost every way to make money in EVE, so I'll probably have lots to say on this topic from time to time. The great thing about EVE is how many different ways there are to make money. This particular "making money" post focuses on mining (and to a lesser extent, on commodity speculation, another great way to make ISK).
Background: at one time, fully 50% of the nocxium in the game was being supplied by drone alloys. Crokite has some noc, and 20% of the noc in the game was provided by mining, mostly crokite mining. The rest was coming from reprocessing modules. However, with the heavy nerf of drone alloys early last year, crokite and reprocessing modules for noc have not picked up the slack. As a result, noc prices have been rising. The rise has not been steady. Instead, we're seeing slow increases punctuated by sharp upturns. There was a 35% jump in May 2010, a 50%(!) jump in September 2010, and 65%(!!) more since September. Noc is now selling for more than five times what it sold for this time last year.
Here's July 1 through December 31 last year. Check it out:
A lot of capsuleers (and I include myself...) made a ton of ISK predicting this jump when we saw the drone alloy composition changes. Market speculation is a great way to pull in ISK, as I mentioned.
Why have noc prices been characterized by slow increases punctuated by sharp upturns? I have a theory about this: I think the upturns in mid-2010 were caused by stockpiles of noc that various industry corps -- particularly Droneland corps -- had been running through. Each time a large stockpile ran out, you'd suddenly see a big jump in both noc prices and volume (those green bars). See those really tall green bars? Probably Jump Freighter runs, full of noc.
The December spike likely had a different cause: the Noctis. The Noctis uses a ton of noc for a ship of its size: more than 27000 for an unresearched blueprint. That's enough noc to build a battleship! There were a lot of Noctises built, which consumed a lot of noc.
How do you make money off this if you're a miner? Glad you asked.
The change has done a lot to keep crokite viable as an income source for miners. What's maybe being overlooked, though, is that there are two ores that are nipping at crokite's heels in terms of mining value: hemorphite and hedbergite. For the longest time, these two ores have been regarded as completely worthless.
Yeah, not so much any more.
As of January, crokite is worth about 23.6m ISK per hour to a perfectly skilled Hulk pilot with no boosts. Hed and hemor, previously worth less than 10m ISK per hour, are now both worth 19.5m ISK per hour. Each. Arkonor and bistot continue to be the champs, worth 40 and 30m ISK per hour, respectively, but there's not always very much bistot or ark. Whereas hed and hemor? There's probably a lot more available. Dark ochre is also slowly becoming viable, at 18m ISK per hour and rising.
Hed and hemor are both available in both 0.0 and low-sec, and there are lots of quiet little out-of-the-way low-sec systems that few people ever visit. If you have two toons, slip a small tower, a Corporate Hangar Array, a few hours worth of tower fuel, an hour of stront, a Retriever and some fittings into a Blockade Runner. Pick a low-sec system with hed or hemor, find an open moon, and anchor/online/fuel your tower and CHA. Fit out the Retriever, give it to a mining toon. Use the BR to haul back to the CHA. If a pirate comes along, warp back to your tower and wait for them to leave. When you've mined to your heart's content, repackage the Retriever and use the BR to empty the CHA back into Empire, then unanchor the tower. Pick the right system and nobody will ever know you were there. And if the worst does happen, you're out a Retriever. You won't make Hulk-quality money, but you'll make more than you will doing L4 missions, and with much less effort. And if you slip a Hulk into that system instead, you can almost make 0.0-quality money.
Wormholes and grav sites are also terrific sources of both of these ores. In particular, the Moderate Asteroid Cluster, long regarded as only being worth cherry-picking for ABC, has 100,000 units of both hed and hemor.
If you haven't already, now would probably be a good time to train Hed Processing IV and Hemor Processing IV so that you can use T2 crystals for them...
Anyway, just interesting data for you miners out there. Go make some ISKies. :-)