ISK is one main throttle on activity in EVE, and the other is time. ISK is needed to purchase skills, ships, modules, replace losses, among other things. By time I mean real time, ticking away second by second towards a skill.
I can’t do much about the time needed, other than make sure my skill queue always has something in it and be working towards a goal. As far as ISK, I don’t really have a good income source, so I’ve become preoccupied trying to figure one out.
Ideally, an income source will be fun, will not dominate my in-game time, allow flexible scheduling, and is low-risk (at least while starting out). The more I think about it, the more the answer is Planetary Interaction.
PI has several advantages. First, I do enjoy it. One of my favorite indie puzzlers is Space Chem, and I get a bit of that feeling making factories and producing stuff in EVE via PI. I haven’t done much besides produce P1 (processed materials), but I like it so far.
Second, it occurs in the background and the ongoing maintenance is reasonable. Set up the colonies, figure out what to extract and process, let it run, collect resources later. Unlike mining, or grinding missions, or even trading, the ongoing maintenance is low. That’s ideal because when I do get a block of time to play, I can do other things like missions or exploration. Say I do find some low level PvP – it may be fun but it also doesn’t earn any ISK, so time spent doing that takes away from other “active” sources of income (mining, trading, missions, etc). But not PI, it produces while doing other stuff!
Third, PI is a good balance between time spent, risk involved, and ISK earned. Especially the risk part, which is low for PI in high-sec. I’m sure planets are better in low sec or null sec, but I’m not in the position to go there.
Fourth, PI is alt friendly. It doesn’t take long to make an alt character viable for PI. I have two other character slots that aren’t doing anything at all, and worst case they could be generating P1 commodities after an initial investment.
My single colony is doing well – it has produced about 1 million ISK of toxic metals, a P1 (processed materials) resource. It hasn’t required too much upkeep, so I’m very interested in trying PI on more planets and producing higher level goods, P2 (refined commodities) and up.
Overall, Planetary Interaction is the most ideal form of income I’ve come across. I will be testing that over the upcoming weeks/months.
Therefore, I’m going to be running colonies/factories on planets, for the foreseeable future. Due to initial startup costs (skill books and buildings), I’ll be even poorer in the short to medium term, busy recouping the initial investment and plowing profits into PI on more planets, but over time that should turn around.
I’ll update with how it’s going every now and then, and get back into playing other MMOs in the meantime.