If you’ve listen to the recent podcast I did on Planetary Interaction, you’ll know you that I’ve been playing with this on the test server more and more in recent days. I figured this would be a good venue to give some more detailed information on what I’ve found about the concept so far.
The idea here is simple: there are a lot of planets in EVE, and pre-Tyrannis they have almost zero value in the game, short of a warp-to target without infrastructure around it to blow you to pieces. Tyrannis hopes to change that — and more — by letting players create an industrial surface infrastructure. I’ll get to the “why” of things later, for now lets look at the “how”.
There are a specific number of planetary types, including the usual suspects like ice, temperate, gas, etc., as well as plasma, the most rare. Each type of planet has a specific number of materials available to work with, some unique for that type. You start your endeavor by purchasing a command center on the market, one suited for the particular type of planet you want to play with. The command center has stats like power and CPU amounts similar to a ship or POS control tower, with higher level centers having more of those stats. Once bought, put it in your hold, fly to your target planet, right click on it and select View in Planet Mode. Select the location of your new infrastructure and you’re good to go.
You have two categories of tasks on the Planet View, build and scan. Build is obvious, but to determine what to build — and more importantly, where — you’ll have to scan. Scanning lets you select a resource the planet holds, showing you specifically where deposits are located that you can extract. You can play with the settings to get a nifty heat map view of the world, and almost immediately you’re going to wish you did this step first before planting your command center (hint hint!). You’ll see why that is soon.
On a particular gas planet I was playing with, I decided I wanted to extract aqueous solutions and ionic solutions. After scanning for both, you’ll see they will usually be a distance away from each other. Fair enough, so you head to the Build section of Planet View and select the appropriate extractor from the groups presented there, and being planting a few of each type into the locations you found the materials. This is somewhat like a market tab in a way, since you’ll be charged for each item you plant , although only after you click the submit button so you have time to play around a bit. I put down a storage silo to hold my extracted goods as well.
Now you must link your infrastructure together. This is like establishing roads between your buildings, the creation of which will eat up a specific amount of your command center’s stats depending on the distance of the links. Luckily you can optimize this at any time you wish. For instance if you have a cluster of three extractors in one area, linking each to the storage silo 50km away individually would be inefficient. It’s better to link them all together as a cluster and one to the silo, since links are shared.
We’re not done yet. Each extractor must be selected, so you can survey the area it’s set down in for deposits. Each deposit in the list has a a total amount and amount per extract cycle indicated, which is calculated to show you the time it will take to deplete the deposit. Select something reasonable. Now you have to route the product, by selecting where you want it to go when extracted. Doing this to your silo will show how the product moves along the links you’ve established.
Once this has all been done, and presuming you haven’t exceeded your control center’s power and CPU attributes, click submit and your set will become permanent. You’ll see your extractors will begin their work with a 15 minute cycle time. Lets get ready to take care of these raw materials.
Processor facilities let you convert your raw materials to more interesting products. Each planet type has two or more of these, each one is basically a processing tier. For my setup, I chose to put down two basic processors, linked to my storage facility. Each one converts one of the extracted materials into a product. Selecting each one, I chose the schematic for converting aqueous liquids to water for the first one, and ionic solutions to electrolytes for the second. Similar to the extractors you can set up the routing for the incoming and outgoing items. I also set down an advanced processor to take the water and electrolytes and convert it to coolant.
Just to give an idea of the amounts we’re dealing with here, to get 5 units of coolant you need 40 units each of water and electrolytes. That means 12000 units of aqueous liquids and ionic solutions.
So once you get a product and you want to do something with it, then what? You have two options. First, shuffle the stuff to your command center and launch it into orbit, in a special can with a decaying orbit that you must scoop before it self destructs. Second, you can build a launch facility on the surface which lets you interface with the customs depot in orbit of every planet.
The customs facility is a new thing orbiting each planet in EVE, allowing you to import and export goods from the surface. By exporting via this method, the can doesn’t hang out in space. This might seem less risky, however since the customs facility location is known to everyone it will probably end up being camped by those wanting to scan someone’s cargo and suicide gank them for the goods inside.
So, now the why of things. In its current state there’s not much purpose to most of this. So far I’ve seen that nanite paste can be constructed with some of the products from all of this, and I’m not sure what else out there can be constructed from the output of planet goo processing. The intent told to us is that this will eventually replace the remaining elements of the NPC market in EVE, and that is a good thing in my opinion. Additionally, this will all tie (somehow) into DUST 514, although the how of that is still a great unknown at this point.
There’s an immense time and ISK sink at work here as well. Deposits must be re-surveyed when they deplete, so every few hours you’ll be coming back to make sure stuff is still coming out of the ground. Infrastructure cannot be sold, only decommissioned, meaning you will lose the money invested. It seems to be only a matter of a few hundred thousand ISK on average for the different facilities, but that can add up especially when the ROI here is relatively low.
In a way it’s a balanced stream of passive income, as all the elements along the way can be sold off on the market to other people who don’t wish to mine/process their own. For the EVE gamer more concerned with PVP, this is a worthless addition for them directly. Industrialists and tinkerers may find a lot to reward them, but it remains to be seen if the commitment to develop this persists past a year. Think back to the Cosmos constellations and Faction Warfare for examples of promising new features that are current gathering dust…