Strategy and market
The experienced industrialist greatly profits from developing a comprehensive strategy for his colony management. Setting up colonies means investing time and money and you won't want to do this too often. Then again, markets are changing. Your setups should be flexible enough to take that into account. We will show you some key aspects of PI strategies here.
- Develop your own strategy for your Planetary Interaction business.
- Get a market overview and decide which products you want to produce.
The importance of Market Analysis
One of the first question when setting up colonies will often be: what should I produce?
The answer is of course: it depends, analyze market prices.
You will quickly realize that this task is not easy as there are 83 different PI materials and commodities that are produced in through 5-tier (P0-P4) production chains. Many of the intermediate products have their own unique uses that make predicting the market very complicated.
Nevertheless, your profit will depend greatly on the current market situation, so the ability to quickly analyze and evaluate the market is crucial for success.
You should repeat your market analysis on a regular basis and adapt your production in order to take the maximum possible advantage from changing market prices.
Much of this needs experience, but Standard Fuel Company provides you a tool that can greatly reduce the time needed for your analysis in the market overview section.
Developing a customized strategy
On a strategic level, the basic decision for each colony is: will it be an extractor colony or a processor colony?
An extractor colony is a colony that does only exports, i.e. P0 ressources are harvested from the planet, processed to a certain degree and then exported. A processor colony imports goods and processes them further before exporting them.
Note: More about processor or factory colonies. Before you read that, stick with us here, we need to lay the theoretical foundations for using factory colonies first.
It is of course also possible to use hybrids that do extract a bit and import a bit, but to sum it up: forget about them. They will always require more micromanagement, thinking, warping, clicking. Not worth the effort.
Use two or three standardized colonies with the same layout – this will greatly reduce the time needed to operate them.
Which brings us to the second question: how much time per week do you want to spend on PI? More time means more profit, but there are diminishing returns from depleting ressources and you should not underestimate that we are talking about a repetitive task that is about to be performed for several months.
An example strategy (lazy people -> copy-paste)
So here is my current strategy: I am using 6 colonies, whereof 2 are factory colonies (since I like trading and speculation). The other 4 colonies are a mix of extractor colonies. All colonies are started twice per week.
I want to keep the time spent on PI on a low level, so I can easily operate the colonies for months and still have plenty of time for other activities.
Also, you should never put all your eggs in one basket! If I can't find the time to refill the factories or the market prices for raw materials aren't good, I will still get some profit from the extractor colonies.
And last but not least: the P1 raw materials for one batch in 2 factory colonies fit into one Epithal hauler. Which means that I can do a visit of all colonies including bringing input and fetching output in just one single roundtrip! (in the end, hauling stuff is the greatest part of work related to PI)
Raw materials are bought for 8 or 12 batches at a time, so the market analysis/price comparison etc. need to be done only now and then.
With some routine, the monthly workload for operating the colonies is about 2 hours which translate into an estimated profit of almost risk-free 250-300mISK!
(market prices may change and your hauler might get suicide ganked)
The prerequisites for success
To sum it up, what do you need to get started?
- A. A character with the following skills (854590 SP total):
- Gallente Industrial III
- Remote Sensing III
- Planetology IV
- Advanced Planetology IV
- Command Center Upgrades IV
- Interplanetary Consolidation IV (V preferred for an extra colony)
- Customs Code Expertise IV (V preferred especially for factories)
- B. Some capital. In my example, 250mISK would be sufficient.
- Building an extractor colony costs about 5.5mISK, the presented factory colony costs 11.8mISK. That makes 45.6mISK for 4 extractor and 2 factory colonies.
- You also need to buy and fit an Epithal (~15mISK), get some Command Centers (80kISK apiece)
- In addition you need the base materials to run your factories. If we have 2 factories with 2 batches per week, we should start with at least 8 batches of raw material to keep the factories running for two weeks. By then, we can have bought new base materials from the end products.
- The base materials for two weeks cost around 120mISK, depending on current market prices and manufactured goods. In addition, you have to plan with an estimate of 50mISK of taxes that have to be paid during production.