I was going to wax lyrical, and somewhat incomprehensibly, about Planetary Interaction’s direct link to repetitive strain injury, but got sidetracked. I started thinking about what PI was meant to be and what it used to be like. The process is broken. There are so many little bugs with it that I have stopped writing them down. So why is it that the players persist and continue to use a faulty system to achieve their goals? (a somewhat rhetorical question)
The reason I started PI was to fuel my own little research POS. My main High Sec system had the right combination of planets to allow me to harvest almost all the fuel needs. A bit of Ice Mining, in a system not too far away, allowed me to fuel the POS with minimal expenditure from the wallet. The true cost was the time it took to put it all together and maintain the supply chains and manufacturing process.
There is no doubt that I probably could have done something else to create the funds needed to buy the fuel on the open market and whatever that ‘something else’ was I am sure it would have been less of a time sink. Creating the components and materials required to fuel the POS was the goal, doing it with time and cost efficiency wasn’t and that is a vital component in the way I play Eve.
I have moved on from generating PI for Fuel, these days it is done simply to provide some spare Isk flow for what seems to be very little in the way of time and effort. I concentrate on two processed materials that are combined into a Tier 2 Refined Commodity that has a realistic value. The whole process over two characters takes about 10 minutes and a bit more on the day the materials have to be gathered. The only drawback is the click count.
So back to broken things – the picture above shows a simple chain with a Command Centre, Launchpad, Storage units, Extractor Head and several basic Processors. The storage unit accepts the material from the processors and they are transferred manually to the Launchpad. This allows flexibility in the time between visits as the capacity of the Storage unit is greater than the Launchpad. It is my own set and forget system. I can access it every day or leave it for a week. Either way there are materials that can be shipped to a separate planet for processing.
So what is broken?
A close look at the picture shows several Extractor heads in red areas. These are low yield compared to the white areas. When I conduct a survey I have a predicted output with the heads in the position shown. If I move the heads to the white (High Yield) areas then the production figure decreases. There is a disconnect between the survey view and what is actually going on. Not a huge thing really, no reason to rage quit and self destruct that Freighter on the Jita undock but annoying all the same.
The ‘Show Others networks’ is hit and miss. I have two PI characters who can’t seem to see each others networks even when I am looking at them on two screens side by side. This functionality was meant to allow players to call in their DUST buddies to overthrow the oppositions reactors… remember that? Some of you are now thinking ‘oh yeah, that’s right’. Just another in-game function that wasn’t implemented and what is left behind doesn’t work. PI wasn’t meant to be a sub-game all of its own. It was meant to be interactive with DUST.
Planet view shows materials in Heads, Storage Units and Launchpad’s that don’t exist which makes it difficult if you are trying to finish off a cycle before reconfiguration and even more frustrating when shipping stuff down from the Customs Office.
The entire Build and Install process is click hell. If a planet isn’t performing I tend to wait a month before moving the Extractor head because it is just painful, almost as painful as the mini game in a Relic Site. Over 50 routing clicks alone in a simple setup. A minimum of 6 clicks just to reset production on each planet each day.
Command Launch is totally ineffective. The amount you can launch is miniscule and the cost is prohibitive. I am sure I read that the original idea was to allow launch in hostile areas without having to pick up from the Customs Office. This in itself is a great idea, the thought of bypassing player owned structures and the taxes imposed and sinking a little Isk back into the game would be great, but the idea seems to have been lost in translation and the net effect is a redundant system. When Interbus owned all the POCO’s it was still prohibitive to launch from a Command Centre.
None of the above are game breakers, they are quirky working as intended things that people conducting PI put up with on a daily basis, but every single one of them has been mentioned at some stage and the issues have not been addressed. PI seems to be something that was introduced in haste to fill a gap and is now largely forgotten, which is strange as it has as much relevance now as it ever has.
Citadels need Fuel. The only reason I can think of for leaving PI alone is that the raw data indicates that production has not decreased.
Everyone who embarks on the Planetary Interaction journey does so for their own reasons.
Be that profit, enjoyment or just a simple need – I feel your pain.
Fly Safe as Always,