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Orca Achievement Unlocked

[Warning: To all of those that get hives and spontaneous bleeding from the eyes when reading about industry and mining avoid this post.]

A month or two ago I decided that I was going to build myself an Orca.

I was counseled against it. The general theme was that the time and materials would not be worth my time and if I just purchased one I'd save ISK. My response was that none of that would be me making my own Orca and all the pleasure and success and fun with building spaceships that comes along with doing it on my own.

The argument back was that I was wasting ISK. If I mined the minerals and sold them to buy the Orca I would be in a better position then if I just built the Orca. It would also take less time. The minerals that I mine and the time that it takes me to mine them are not 'free'.

I understand that. I really do. I don't care. It isn't how I play my game. My idle AFK mining in a 4th account window doesn't feel like burned time to me. That particular account can only mine, build things and play the market. I hate the market. I need minerals to build. So she mines the hours that I am logged in away acquiring a massive stockpile of Ore.

And its what I wanted to do. I wanted to build this not buy it. But this isn't about all the people that told me not to do what I want that I ignored. It is more about the process that I had to go to to build the actual ship.

It wasn't a cut and dry process. Industry in Eve is very much a thing. It is in depth, complex, and filled with many many parts.

When someone starts Eve, one of the tutorial chains has them build a few basic modules with blue prints provided by the training mission. You build some ammo, an after burner, you get a blue print copy to make a cheap and easy frigate and your base skills let you build one thing at a time. Mixed with the mining that is part of several of the tutorial missions building things seems like a simple and easy way to acquire things.

Oh, how innocent and simple the mission makes these things to be.

This is how Sugar built her own Orca against everyone's advice. Also, please note that this is a dedicated industry alt doing all of these tasks. During this time Sugar was learning Command Ship V and Gallente Cruiser V. And I am not an industry expert. Thankfully I am well versed at writing about my random efforts.

First: Skills

An Orca is a capital ship. Capital ships are not made out of minerals. Capital ships are made out of capital ship components. Those components are made out of minerals.

With a very basic blue print you get a blue print and it tells you that it wants X amount of various minerals. You gather these minerals together in your hanger with the blueprint. You are at a station that has industrial slots. You then make the blueprint and in a certain amount of time it will spit out a spaceship for you.

If you are going to be like me in this you are going to ignore every bit of sensible advice people give you and start mostly from the ground up. I'm not a purist

This is effected by the level of your personal skills. Several skills decrease the amount of minerals that you need to build something. One of the things that I did was to learn Production Efficiency to V. The description for Production Efficiency is "Skill at efficiently using factories. 5% reduction per skill level to the material requirements needed for production." This means that learning this skill creates a 25% decrease to the amount of materials required for each build. That is a shit ton and well worth the train.

Because I mine my own materials I needed to spend time learning Refining to V and Refinery Efficiency to V. Refining gives 2% reduction to the refinery waste per level. Refinery Efficiency gives a 4% reduction per level. This means more minerals per piece of Ore. Rather valuable skills.

But they are not all! Each Ore also has its own Processing skill that reduces the waste for processing that ore at 5% each level. I already had the various ore skills trained because they are a prerequesit to T2 (tech 2) mining crystals. Mining Crystals are loaded into strip miners and used to increase the amount of ore the strip miners pull in each cycle.

But, there is more! Capital ship parts require the skill capital ship construction to build. I had already learned Mechanics V (because my barges are tanked and I was not giving away a single bit of the 5% structure hit points per level that Mechanics gives).

I needed Industry Level V and Production Efficiency level V to learn Capital Ship Construction. That skill happens to cost 67.5 million on the market from NPC seeded skill book sales. Fortunately, both skills were already on my to do list. Industry V I finished a long time ago and Production Efficiency V was valuable for reasons already discussed.

Capital Ship Construction is what I call an unlocking skill. The level of the skill does not do anything towards improving your construction of capital ships. The levels give you access to bigger and bigger capital ships to build. The Orca only needs level 1.

Then: Ore, Minerals and Blue Prints

An Orca is a T1 (tech 1) ship. This means that components are made directly from minerals refined from ore. Most of the minerals are available in high security space minus Megacyte and Zydrine.

This has been my favorite ore to mineral chart since I started. It tells me that I am going to mine Plag forever to get the Nocxium that I need.

My Megacyte needs were all solved by Vov's Tornado Army. It is refined from an asteroid in null sec. It was a component I would have had to buy off the market. However, due to the guy running around with 100k of it in his cargo hold, I now have plenty. :)

My second hard to resources mineral was Zydrine. If I was a badass I'd stealth mine this stuff in low sec or null sec. However, I'm not. Instead, I follow the path of industry through piracy. Back ally deals for loot drops from ganked haulers filled my Zydrine needs nicely. No one will have to worry that those precious minerals went to waste or just lined some traders pockets. They are busy lining mine.

The system I mine in has Veldspar, Scordite, Omber and Plagioclase. This covers the bulk of my mineral needs except for Nocxium. Nocxium comes from Pyroxeres and Pyroxeres is most abundant in the back end of Empire High Security. Fortunately, I used to live there and knew exactly where to go. I set up shop two jumps out of the system I called home my first 2 months of the game. I got Ender to let me use the Roraqual for some jump clones and set myself up jump clones at my three major hubs. I then purchased and fit out a retriever and set up a little secondary base to mine Pyroxeres and only Pyroxeres for the Nocxium. Once I had enough I refined it all and shipped it up to my primary base via Red Frog Freight.

At my main station I mined afw as skills trained. I made book marks at all of the belts so that I can warp directly in and land on the ore and mine. When full I dump my cargo hold. In my other windows I play my other accounts and do things like write the blog and work on my contest entries. My drones are out and I kill the NPCs that shoot at me. I also collect the loot that drops and reprocess it for even more minerals. Sadly, the other day a Rifter came and stole my loot. I was deeply traumatized by the loss of scrap metal and low meta small modules to reprocess. I've even had another hauler spawn. This one I was able to chase down in my Mackinaw and scoop up the tritanium that dropped.

I was asked: Am I worried about James315 and his New Order over at No. If they invade the systems I live in I will write up a few courier contracts and move.

And the ore fills my ore container bit by bit. I refine it now and then.

I was also given a gift of Nocxium by my ship building friend. He sat me down and we had a long conversation about the fact that I wanted to build my own things and not just buy from him forever. He was a bit sorrowful, scolded me for not buying my blue prints from him, and then gave me a ton of Nocxium. Also he often comes and mines with me and will give me Orca boosts during that time.

Now Making it All:

Building things in Eve require blue prints. Unlike games where you take ingredients and mix correct amounts to eat something Eve's science fiction aspect gives us technical things to make our game play work so we are all fancy and have blue prints.

Blue Prints start on the market as Blue Print Originals. There are basic tech one modules and ships and goodies seeded by NPCs. They cost various amounts. An Orca Blue Print Originals costs roughly a billion on the Jita market. Less I'm sure if you go to Ore space and buy them directly dealing with getting them back to Empire. Once this lovely thing is acquired it needs to be researched so that it does not cost so damn much to make it.

People make copies and sell the copies. Since the Orca is a capital ship it requires many pieces to make. Some kind copy folk make kits for capital ships. A kit can be purchased on contracts. They contain the needed blue prints to complete the ship. This is the route I went with my Orca. My kit cost around 190 million.

(this is my Charon kit as an example) Now I had a stack of well researched capital ship parts to make and then the Orca blue print itself to glue them all together into my ship. Kits are fast and convenient and yet another hallmark of way in which Eve Players can make their own income. I purchased my kits in Jita with my Jita alt. I then contracted them to Chella to run around in her Viator and drag them to my mining system.

At this point I needed to access more manufacturing slots. The basic task of just creating your character gives you the ability to have one manufacturing slot. Builders need more then that. The skill Mass Production gives you 1 manufacturing job per level. So at level 5 you can have 6. The skill Advanced Mass Production can be learned after Mass Production V is learned. This skill also gives 1 additional production slot per level. This means a single character can get up to 11 manufacturing jobs at a time. When building a lot of things this is very important.

Now, if I was good at this I'd have it set up that when one job stopped another started. However, I'm not good at it. Each of my capital ship blue prints had 5 runs. To make all 5 runs took me 14 hours at the levels that I had my skills at. With my work schedule I am only able to run one set of jobs per day. I didn't have Advanced Mass Production to V so I could only run six to seven jobs at a time. Not a big deal for me but a bigger deal for someone using this as their money maker.

Over the course of several days I fed job after job to the build. I forgot to look at what my Orca needed and wound up making more modules then I actually needed. Whoops. Fortunately they are all pertinent for my Charon which I will be building as my next major project.

I'm not max skilled and maxed anything but I'm very happy with the project and pleased with the results. Its kept me entertained for weeks.

The best part:

My alt spent so much time learning and gathering things to build the Orca that she can not yet fly it. Mining Foreman will finish two days after the Orca is finished.


  1. Grats on finally finishing it lumps! -Kelp

  2. Congrats indeed! And thank you for the wonderful idea of putting together "kits" of BPC's to manufacture a specific ship and contracting them!

  3. So I can build an Orca in a station?

    1. Yes. Orca, Charon, Jump Freighters can be built in high sec stations.

      Carriers and Roraquals have to be built in low sec/Null stations.

      Super Carriers and Titans in special space. :)

  4. Congrats. I also decided to build an Orca from scratch myself a few months ago. I know it is "inefficient" but this is a game right. I mined all the minerals myself - the zydrine and megacyte came from a mixture of grav sites in high and low, a bit of ninja mining in a wormhole, and mission loot reprocessing.

    Mining in "risky" space added spice to the exercise and, although I didn't get popped, there were some close escapes (Falcon alt FTW).

    I decided to train up a brand new character to fly the Orca as my other two accounts are more PVP/E focused. As a result I now have a third character that fly's the Orca or semi AFK mines while my other characters are doing their thing.

    In a few days my second Orca will be finished. I have invested in some component BPO's and researched them to decent ME levels. The low end minerals came from mostly AFK mining by my Orca alt but I bought the megacyte and zydrine in Jita this time.

    I am sort of at a loss as to what my next project should be.... maybe a Thanatos from scratch but that would require a fair amount of skill training to fly.

  5. Awesome read, congratz.

    I'm sure through the whole process you learned more than when you started out the project.

  6. Since you are a DIY player, here's a hint: megacyte and zydrine can be easily "mined" in high sec, too.

    Just run missions, loot the wrecks and reprocess the modules.

    Or, if you don't want to bother with running the missions, just ask folks in local to bookmark and "blue" the wrecks for you - many mission runners don't bother with loot or salvage.

    1. I actually do that to supply myself in low sec. The DED plexs and anoms that I run drop pretty high end stuff and I just reprocess it these days. Sadly my boys have not been running as many level 5's for my to salvage after.

      My last Cynabal was built out of reprocessed minerals.

      However, buying them from the hands of a ganker has its own special flavor of fun attached.

  7. Great job and good article.

    One comment: does your refining character has standing on your home stations to decrease the refining tax? If you have connections skill and do just one mission for them, that decrease the tax from 5% to 3

    1. Nope. That's the one thing I keep telling myself I need to do and not biting the bullet about. I have serious issues about hating missions. I will probably get around to it before I start on the Charon.

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