13
Apr
10

How much is that shuttle in the window?

Here is a Minmatar shuttle:

Photobucket

Shuttles are tiny, cheap, and have the structural integrity of a wet paper bag. They’re also pretty useful for various situations; I carry one around in the cargo hold of Thunderbee, my Hoarder, for times when I need to get two ships plus a large amount of stuff from station A to station B and don’t want to deal with some internet spaceships version of that puzzle where the farmer has to get a fox and a chicken and a bag of grain across a river but can only carry one at once and the fox will eat the chicken and the grain will eat the fox and so on and so on. Shuttles are handy.

(Also: Minmatar ships get a lot of slack for being rustbuckets held together with duct tape, which in my humble opinion is totally unwarranted. Come on, now! Look at that thing! It’s like a solar-powered spider. In a good way.)

Anyway, like most other ships in the game, these are made and sold by players. The only ingredients you need to make one of these are several thousand units of tritanium, the most common mineral in the game. I have a lot of tritanium around the moment, all from asteroids I’ve mined myself, so on the face of it this seems like a pretty simple calculation – get minerals for free, make ship from minerals, sell ship for money, and profit. Simple!

No.

First of all: I can’t make a shuttle without a shuttle blueprint, and those cost money. Not much money, for something like a shuttle – Minmatar shuttle blueprints go for 45,000 ISK – and once I’ve got the blueprint, I can make unlimited shuttles from it, so it wouldn’t take long to pay for itself. But still, this is a cost outlay.

Second of all: Those minerals aren’t really free minerals. I have to go out and get them, first of all, and I have to pay for the mining lasers I need to mine them, second of all, and I have to refine the ore into minerals, third of all, but even assuming that mining lasers aren’t that expensive (they’re not) and that my time isn’t massively valuable (it isn’t, plus mining in high-security space is a great semi-afk activity; I was reading a book while I got that batch), and leaving aside the issue of refining for now, the most important thing to remember is that by using those minerals myself, I lose out on the money I would have got by selling them.

So: One Minmatar shuttle requires 3125 units of tritanium. Tritanium in Metropolis is currently selling for anywhere between 2.50 and 9.49 ISK per unit, with a couple of people selling one unit for eight hundred million ISK near newbie systems because people do that sometimes, tsch honestly what is the world coming to etc. The higher I price my tritanium, the longer it will take to sell – if I wanted to sell immediately, I’d be looking at the prices people are offering to buy immediately for instead, and they range from between 0.01 ISK (oh I think not, my friend) to 2.81 ISK per unit. But let’s assume I could sell my tritanium somewhere for 3.15 ISK per unit, which would be reasonable enough.

3125 x 3.15 = 9,843.75 per shuttle.

So I need to be pricing my shuttle higher than that, or I may as well just sell the minerals. Next thing to consider: how much will the manufacturing process cost? Installing the blueprint in a manufacturing slot costs 1,000 ISK, plus an extra 333 ISK per hour for the process itself. Slightly cheaper at the station I’m in at the moment, since I’ve been doing a lot of missions for the corporation that owns it, and this is one of the rewards. Still, if I make fifty shuttles at once, it’ll work out cheaper than making them one at a time – but let’s assume I don’t have fifty shuttles’ worth of tritanium, and let’s assume I want to start making my shuttles right the hell now. Ten shuttles, then.

979.06 [install cost] + 1,593.91 [usage cost] = 2,572.98 [total manufacturing cost].
2,572.98 ÷ 10 = 257.30 per shuttle.
257.30 [manufacturing cost] + 9,843.75 [mineral cost] = 10,101.05 per shuttle.

And that isn’t even taking into account any of the following:

  • the broker’s fee charged for putting things on the market;
  • the cost/benefit analysis of researching blueprints to reduce the production time and/or material levels needed to make my shuttles (pro: shuttles are quicker and cheaper; con: research costs money, plus time in which I don’t have the blueprint to make stuff from; footnote to con: this involves deciding how much research it’s worth putting into the blueprint, and working out how much it’s worth to me to have the job done quickly, because if the answer is ‘massively important’ then there are stations in low-security space that have research slots available a lot quicker,  but that involves flying through low-sec, which is more dangerous…)
  • the effect of my standings with the factions and corporations who own the stations where I’m doing my refining, research, manufacturing, and selling;
  • the skills I can train to improve any of the above steps, which all cost time and money and sometimes prerequisite skills in themselves;
  • and so on.

So basically, any shuttles I make right now won’t be worth it unless I can put them on the market for somewhere over 15,000 ISK, and there are people out there in some stations selling them for 9000. And that, of course, leads to the question of where to sell the shuttles…

Space capitalism is a hell of a lot more fun than you ever imagined it could be.

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1 Response to “How much is that shuttle in the window?”


  1. June 2, 2010 at 7:10 am

    It sure is allot of fun. It’s funny how in a short time playing Eve you can amass a tiny shuttle fleet for speed jetting around to and from various systems.

    So far I have about 2 dozen Amarr Shuttles I bought for about 6500-7000 on one big bid purchase in Amarr which is central and heart of Amarr space. Busy station! I eventually moved a few to various logistic stations in systems on my travel route doing missions. Works great when have to travel in a hurry and need max Warpspeed at 6 Au/s.

    Whenever I haul any my Transport ship on a long haul I pack and cargo carry a shuttle as well that I can either leave at destination station or return in the shuttle leaving my hauler there for some logistic reasons. They fun tiny ships for speed pickup of packages and moving around.


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A new EVE Online player comes to term with spreadsheets, spaceships and the steepest learning curve in MMO history. (SPACESHIPS, you guys!)

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