As many noobs in this game, I still have this childish admiration for the greatest ships in Eve: Super-Capitals. These gargantuan demigods are so big that, rumor has it, they can even work as stations! These things however, are expensive, more expensive than I could even conceive. For that, they received my unquestioning admiration. Until the battle of Asakai, the Burn Jita, and the war over the Fountain region came to shatter my idols. There were tales of hundreds and hundreds of destroyed, and a vast amount of ISK destroyed. How can Null-sec alliances afford such a waste of Titans? How do alliances get money in the first place? And how much do they make?
I did not have to Google very far to find the first answer: moon goo, the precious minerals ripped away from the core of Eve moons by heavily defended POSes, sustains their countless hordes. It is also common knowledge that the Fountain war is a result of CCP making r64 minerals more profitable than Technetium. The last piece of common knowledge I found was dull: moon minerals within an alliance territory is one of their most veiled secrets. The only thing in open web is a mix of biased data-sets, guesses and conspiracy theories. Then I thought, if everyone is guessing, why not do the same?
Here is where it gets technical. The first thing that draws my attention is that CCP is making an effort to scatter the valuable moon goo across the universe . They have done so, by making r64 minerals, which already were pretty widespread, the valuable ones . Given that, I have no reason to think that CCP used anything more complicated than a simple probability generator. Each moon have a 1/64 chance of getting an r64 moon mineral. If that assumption is true, and if I know how many moons there are within a region, I can estimate the number of moons with r64 minerals. Then, I just have to follow the boring mineral moon charts and calculate profits per hour.
Let’s see how it can be done. First, I will take Fountain region as an example due to its recent focus in the previous weeks. I know from the CCP static database, that Fountain has 4148
moons. I cannot be exact on how many moons have r64 minerals, because I do not know how ‘lucky’ the region was when CCP algorithm rolled its dice. But some crazy statistician invented a thing called binomial distribution. This distribution tells me how likely it is that a number of moons have r64 minerals, given each of the moons odds and the total numbers of moons. It can also be used to tell the odds of getting two heads when tossing two coins, but who cares? The magical distribution told me that there are 50-100 r64 moons with an average (i.e. most likely number) of 74. Nice.
Now let’s get to the boring part of turning that into ISK. Extractors strip the moons of 100 units per hour; therefore Goons are now extracting 7576.5 mineral units per hour in the entire region. Assuming all minerals are equally likely to exist, we are dealing with 1894 units/hour of each. I did a quick fetch on their prices, and they are likely doing 120 million ISK/hour or 87 billion ISK/month in raw materials.
Obviously, they do not sell raw materials. If we look at the Goons killboard, they have around 800 billion ISK of expenses per month. We know that, when you convert raw materials to processed, they double in quantity at the expense of lower-level minerals. We have no reason to believe that an alliance would be short of any non-r64 material after CCP attempted to insure the bottleneck is r64 materials. If we consider this, Goons in Fountain make about 157 billion ISK/month in processed materials and roughly the same in advanced materials.
That is an impressive amount of money, equivalent in the real world to US$4710/region/month, assuming a Plex of 0.5 billion ISK=$15.00. That is not bottomless though, and $10 billion of super-capital still a considerable loss. The take home lesson: when Goons could actually buy a new car each month with the real-world dollar equivalent of their profit, the motto “internet spaceships are serious business” has a whole new connotation.
P.S. At the time of writing this, another player had actually made a more precise estimate. As our results roughly agree and this method can be easily transposed to other regions without conflicts, I decided to post this anyway.
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