Let's start with a really fun topic: risk-free ISK.
Risk-free ISK is bad, we're told again and again. L4 mission-runners, incursion-runners, miners, and high-sec complex-runners are all bad people because they are only involved in EVE for risk-free ISK. For this crime, they should all die (or be encouraged to kill themselves). People right up to Mittens say this.
And this statement hides gross hypocrisy, because the most risk-free ISK in EVE is made in the most distant possible space from the L4 mission-runner.
One of my own means of making ISK is Tech2 production. One of the items I produce are anchorable bubbles. To make a Tech2 anchorable bubble requires, among other things, Graviton Pulse Generators and Nanomechanical Microprocessors, two "ship components". Both of these components have as a key ingredient "Nanotransistors", an "advanced moon material" that is 0.25m3 per unit. Nanotransistors are made from a mix of three "processed moon materials", sulfuric acid, platinum technite, and neo mercurite. Platinum technite is a mix of two "raw moon materials"... platinum and technetium.
Technetium is the "tech" of legend.
Essentially, moon material processing just is like PI, where Base Metals and Noble Metals (raw) become Reactive Metals and Precious Metals (processed) become Mechanical Parts (advanced).(1) Except that one unit of Mechanical Parts is six times bigger than one unit of Nanotransistors.
A single unit of Nanotransistors costs about 6300 ISK on the market today. Even in their raw form, they go into building an absolute ton of stuff, including every single ganglink. Put them into a Nanoelectrical Microprocessor, though, and they go into an enormous pile of T2 modules, including virtually every Amarr module such as the Cap Recharger II. Put them into a Graviton Pulse Generator instead and they go into another large pile of T2 items... including every type of T2 kinetic missile. Nanotransistors into Oscillator Capacitor Units? Virtually every Gallente T2 ship. Nanotransistors into Electrolytic Capacitor Units? Virtually every Minmatar T2 ship.
You're using technetium right now and you might not even realize it. It's in lots of products you use every day, as the commercials say. And because it's only found a few places in the galaxy and is so widespread in its use, it's hugely valuable. A single tech moon -- one -- is worth 7.3 billion ISK profit per month to the one that holds it.(2)
That means that there's 240 million ISK pouring out of every single tech moon in New Eden, every single day. That's a lot of Nanotransistors.
Know something you almost never see, though? A hauler full of Nanotransistors go splat. You almost never see a moon-goo ship ganked. Sure, it happens from time to time, but it's extremely rare. There's 240 million ISK flowing out of 0.0, per tech moon, every single day of the year. Given the amounts of ISK involved, we should be seeing this stuff go splat all the time.
Know why we don't? Two reasons:
- Nanotransistors are 0.25m3 per unit, which means that a cloaky hauler can very comfortably haul that 240 million ISK daily take in a single load. No freighter needed.
- The process of gathering, producing, and putting those nanotransistors into the cloaky hauler is in all other ways also completely or nearly risk-free.
Technetium comes from technetium moons, which are spread around the galaxy with a much larger concentration in the "northern" part of 0.0. It is automatically brought into a POS (behind the POS shield) by a moon mining array in a constant hourly stream (no player input needed), then stored in a silo (likewise behind a POS shield), there it is combined with platinum which is mined at a second moon. This, incidentally, is why when you do see moon-goo haulers ganked, more often than not it's platinum that they're carrying. The platinum gets carried to the tech moon, not the other way around. Platinum isn't as valuable. Platinum is dumped into second silo and the two are combined into platinum technite in a simple reactor (also behind a POS shield). From there, the platinum technite is put into another reactor and either combined with sulfuric acid and neo mecurite to make Nanotransistors, or it's combined with carbon polymers to make Fullerides (also behind a POS shield).(3)
The combined products are moved into another silo, and from there, to a Corporate Hangar Array. A jump freighter is brought in, and the final product is loaded (both steps behind a POS shield). The JF is then jumped to a nearby low-sec system near a station, immediately docked, and the final products are loaded into fast cloaky haulers for delivery to market (assuming the owning alliance doesn't just pump the products right into their own T2 production lines). Short version: advanced moon materials are so small that there's no need to use a non-cloaky hauler, much less a freighter, to bring it in.
The entire process is remarkably risk-free. There's far more risk involved running a single L4 mission than there is making that final cloaky hauler run into Jita or Amarr or Rens. And the bulk of the process of gathering and generating that moon-goo requires no human intervention at all.
So, until moon-mining requires a mining fleet to warp to a moon and run active moon-mining modules for a couple of hours outside a POS shield, the next time someone rails about "risk-free ISK", feel free to keep in mind that the person doing it is probably a beneficiary of the most risk-free ISK in New Eden.
If I haven't ticked you off yet, come back tomorrow. I'll talk about how sov should work, but probably never will. In the process, I'll expose some more hypocrisy.
(1) Well, technically, it's the other way around: PI was modeled after the refining of moon materials.
(2) Hell, even platinum isn't terrible. A single platinum moon is worth almost 300 million ISK profit per month.
(3) Fullerides -- and the tech that goes into making them -- go into the making of virtually every T2 turret ammo, among other things.