Friday, June 29, 2012

Logistic: Love It, Live It, Loathe It

I've often heard and answered the question, "How do I give someone stuff?"

It is a truly deep question, deeper then the asker may realize the first time the question comes up.

Eve is made of Stuff. Stuff runs our Eve life. In Eve, stuff matters. Stuff is tangible and stuff is destroyable. Stuff also has mass and size. Stuff has cost. Stuff needs to travel from one place to another.

That early question of "How do I give someone stuff?" may have another form such as "How do I get stuff?" and "How do I move my stuff?" The last often brings up the question, "Can I mail my stuff?"

No. You can not mail stuff.

Eve does not have magical mail where you can place your battleship into an envelope and send it to where you want it to go. No. Eve has logistics. You want your stuff from Point A to Point B you have to figure out how to get your stuff there.

Logistics matter. They matter a lot. Not all ships are made to transport stuff. Some ships are made to only transport stuff. Ships have stuff limits. Some stuff is bigger then other stuff.

Stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff.

The most basic way is to get into your stuff and fly it. However, not all stuff is getintoable and flyable. That means you shove it into flyable stuff (such as a spaceship) and then pilot said spaceship, full of said stuff, to said location.

Contracts are a secure way to exchange stuff. You can exchange stuff for stuff or stuff for isk or stuff for nothing. I use them when I buy things for people and they are not there. I write up a contract and they will have it when they next log on.

However, contracts are limited insofar that the person must come to the station the contract is set at. The contract does not turn into magic mail.

Enter courier contracts. You can pay someone else to move your stuff for you. You write the contract, the game puts your stuff into a magic box, and they move your stuff, drop it off, hit finish, and you have your stuff for a fee.

Anyway, moving stuff in Eve is a major part of how the game works. Items have a tangible mass because they can not just be magicked around the galaxy. It requires the player to actively cause the item to be moved. Moving in Eve takes time. Jumps are not hard but they quickly become time consuming. A run to a trade hub makes a lot of sense, but for me its a half an hour trip in each direction.

Moving ships can become tedious when your destination is half an hour in each direction and you can move one ship. There are haulers that are easy to train into, but the lower levels carry very little when you start shoving ships into them. A cruiser takes up 10k m3 of space. That's my entire Viator shoved full. It's irritating.

When I was brand new I ran between Gallente Space and Derelik (24 jumps) daily for about a week before I moved my stuff down. After I moved my last frigate, I decided that perhaps, what I had done wasn't the smartest thing I'd ever thought of. That was when I learned about selling cheap, common things and buying them again on the other side.

So, no magical mail. Freighters take a while to train for. Their skill books alone cost 67.5mil for each racial freighter.

67.5mil is nothing! Sure its not that much but, well, isk. Plus the freighter alone is going to cost a bit over a bill with current prices. Then you have to have a toon that can fly them. Then you worry about war decs so you want an out of corp alt. Oh, then you want a jump freighter.... lets start looking around 8-9billion for one of those beauties.

So, moving stuff, when it gets beyond your own personal stuff is a bit of a task. Then add in dynamics such as low sec and that whole 'everyone trying to kill you thing'. It is minor, but I'll bring it up. It makes moving stuff just to move stuff a bit of in game misery.

That is why today, I am writing a contract to black-frog. I am about to spend 50million for them to move a stack of stuffs (about 6 ships and all the fixings) down to a place in low sec for me. It would be a total bitch to move that many ships of the various types I am moving.

Black-Frog is a subset of Red-Frog, one of the games largest logistic services. In Eve, you can have a career as a hauler. They make moving stuff for players much easier.

I debated the entire thing, but since I decided to have a road trip I decided, why the fuck not. I'd spent most of the month spending money, I might as well spend a bit more. My wallet still seemed to have some pocket change in it, so I shook out the fits for a few canes, some jags, a few covops, and an oneiros and wrote my contract o black-frog.

Like an idiot, I cheerfully ran in and out of rens about six times putting together my package. The reason I ran in and out of Rens is because my builder dropped my ships off at the wrong station. I am currently going to have to create a courier contract just to get them from one station to another. Sugar, my cane pilot, can not fly around Rens happy as can be. Something about the -3.3 sec status. In general, I can't run around as happy as can be with Chella either. Something about the 2 active war decs.


Anyway, I got everything (I hope, I'm sure I forgot something), packaged it up, wrote up the contract and sent it on its way. Shopping in Eve can be so time consuming. It's crazy. It's an in game task all in itself.

"What are you doing today?"
"Fitting ships."
"Oh. Yuck."

I also have 200mil in sell orders sitting on the market now. Hopefully they will sell in good time and my wallet will regain a bit of plumpness.


My stuff was moved in under 12 hours. Go, go Frog!

I forgot lots of stuff.

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