Sunday, October 5, 2014

4 Months of Casual Exploration - Some Statistics

Way back at the start of 2013, I got really interested in exploration. As I posted about here, and here, I moved to an isolated area of low sec on a second character and lived as a hermit there, avoiding PVP—a strange experience since I otherwise play EVE largely for the PVP. I posted about my isk earnings over the period before Odyssey, as well as the period after until I finally moved out of low sec to take up trading full time.

Since leaving my home in low sec, however, I have not stopped doing exploration. Instead, since roughly the release of Kronos, I've been doing mostly “casual” exploration in high and low sec, or exploration as a side activity as part of something else.

Typically, what happens is that I foresee I won't have much time to play over the next few days, so I jump Sven into a +5 clone. I do get the random 15-30 minutes to play EVE here and there, so I take this time to explore new systems as part of my completionist goal of visiting every system in the game (currently, I am exploring in blood raider space, around Kador etc., hence the high number of BR sites below). While visiting, I scan the sites and run some of the better combat ones. I've continued to track my earnings, and, looking back, what I am surprised about is just how much isk you can make doing completely casual high sec exploration in spurts of 15-45 minutes of play time, scanning only 1-3 systems per play session.

Here, then, is my general earnings after 4 months (June, July, August, and September) of casual, mostly high sec exploration (prices are taken from the value of the loot when found based on buy order prices from Jita, so the prices are lower than they would be if all the items were sold on sell orders):

Sansha Lookout 2 escalations – 1m, 50m
Sansha 3/10 1 – 105m
Sansha 4/10 1 - 95m
Guristas 3/10 1 -10m
Guristas 4/10 2 - 90m, 90m
Serpentis 1/10 3 – 17m, 1m,
Serpentis 2/10 4 – 1m, 2m, 2m, 3m,
Serpentis 3/10 2 – 125m,
Serpentis 4/10 2 – 65m, 17m,
Serpentis 5/10 1 – 250m
Blood Vigil 1 - 15m
Blood Raider 1/10 2 – 25m, 45m (1,009)
Blood Raider 3/10 20 - 2m, 30m, 4m, 17m, 2m, 25m, 2m, 50m, 90m, 50m, 2m, 3m,
60m, 140m, 3m, 35m, 1m, 1m, 95m, 5m (617m total / 30 av)
Blood Raider 4/10 16 – 1m, 13m, 4m, 150m, 3m, 150m, 3m, 160m, 25m, 150m, 8m, 15m, 12m, 90m, 19m, 1m (804m total / 50m av) 

High Sec Ghost 1 - 40m,
Mordu Rats: 2 (cruisers) - 700m, 500m
Clone Soldiers 25+ - 200m
Besieged Covert Facilities 17 - 1b / (58m av)
Data 5 – 16m, 0, 0, 10m, 8m

Totals: 4b 900m from June 4- Oct 4

A few things are noteworthy about these numbers:

1) Over half of the isk came from low sec exploration—specifically, the two occasions I stumbled across a Mordu (cruiser) rat, 17 besieged covert sites I ran totaling 1b and averaging around 58-60m per site, as well as the clone soldiers and single 5/10 I ran. These sites were run primarily in June and July.

2) Most of the other sites—including almost all of the 3/10 and 4/10 DED sites--were found in high sec as noted above, and found during play sessions of 15-45 minutes. The most common site I find and run are the 3/10 and 4/10 DED sites, which have averaged around 30m and 50m per site respectively. However, the 4/10 can be run in under 10 minutes, while the 3/10 takes substantially longer due to the huge amount of frigates—this site can be run virtually on autopilot, though, and by newer players in almost any ship, including t1 frigates like tristans. These sites were run primarily in August and September, meaning that casual high sec exploration consistently brings in over1-1.5b a month for me. 

3) So far as my experience of doing exploration for the past 2 years goes, I think that right now is the best time for exploration in EVE since at least over 2 years ago. Why? A few reasons: First, when less people are playing EVE, it is simply easier to find sites. Second, exploration has been revamped but is also "old news" in a way--it is not in the spotlight as much, since the recent expansions/releases have been focusing elsewhere. As a result, I am at least personally experiences far less competition for sites than I ever have, in high as well as low sec. Third and partly as a result of less people doing exploration, demand for deadspace modules has gone up, first because of the revamp to pirate class ships (where deadspace mods are often the norm), and second because of the introduction of burner missions, where deadspace mods (particularly small size mods like small armor reps) again make a lot of sense. For example, since burner missions were released, almost all of the small deadspace armor repair modules doubled in price and have nearly maintained those prices since then. An increase of supply with a decrease of demand means that prices likely go up, and that's what we've seen happen. As a result, a drop in a blood raider 3/10 with a small armor rep used to net around 25m isk, but now nets around 40-50m, and the case is the same for many other sites/drops. 

 So, the take home message here is that right now is probably the best time in 2 years to do high and low sec exploration in EVE. Less competition, better prices, lots of capable ships, all combine to make casual exploration in EVE better than I can ever remember it being. 

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