Adventures in T2: Trends, Tips, and Spreadsheet-Fu
Before anything, I need to give a humungous thank you shout-out to Locke Fox (@HLIBIndistry ) for being my own personal Obi-Wan Kenobi. I have been hard at work training my Jedi spreadsheets-fu, and he’s has been an absolute rock-star in helping me with the process; answering stupid noobish questions, always teaching instead of telling, and always willing to sit down and show me where I did bad and where to improve. You, my friend, are amazing.
me: ok just sent it
John: lol… I hate your sheet
you mean cause its SO AWESOME???
John: *head pat* yes dear
John: let me see if I can get my sheet to look like yours… for troubleshooting
me: for science, of course
John: I need to make a series of youtubes on spreadsheets… don’t I?
me: yes….yes you do
As my master “take over the world” spreadsheet-monster comes to life, I’ve started to be able to pick out certain trends and patterns that emerge in the T2 game, especially where it comes to components. The savvy T2 ship builder knows that the way to mitigate costs is to build your own components from T2 materials. This isn’t always the case, but some basic spreadsheet wizardry to give you a breakdown of cost-to-buy vs cost-to-build will give you a rough idea of whats better to build yourself rather than to buy on the market (spoiler alert: 85% of the time it’s a cost saving to build it).
However, you also need to take into consideration time and effort; as Blake is so fond of saying over at k162Space, time is money. So, the next step is to look at your ship build spreadsheet and basically look for “where am I spending the most to build what”. For instance, in the case of T2 cruisers, the bulk of your investment is being spent on armor plates. Luckily, its across-the-board cheaper to build rather than buy Armor Plate T2 components. Even with the small margin of difference, the sheer volume needed in really any T2 ship class will expand that savings in a major way. So, “yes” to Armor Plates.
Another big isk-sink for T2 builds are Microprocessors.
Here, unfortunately, is where you are as they say, shit out of luck. It is, as of writing this, absurdly more expensive to build microprocessors than to buy them; almost double the price. I can really only attribute this to the high cost of the Nanotransistors needed to build them. So in this case, there’s no dodging cost really. (Edit: Fuzzy Steve from Fuzzworks is a lifesaver. Thank you for pointing out my woopsie…my spreadsheet was counting the cell for price of nanotransistors twice, literally throwing my entire sheet off. Fixed, and wow do my calculations look betters! 😉 Thanks Steve!)
As you go down the line of big needs however (Sensor Clusters, Capacitor Units, Shield Emitters, etc), you need to start prioritizing what simply isn’t worth it to build, time-wise, for what you’ll be producing. One way to do this is to have two master build sheets for each race: one gives you the basic build cost breakdowns with buying the components; for the no-fuss, “just build it” type. The second will give you the same data, the same breakdown, and the same build/sell cost benefit, though with all components being build; its certainly an eye opener to see how it changes the numbers, I can promise you.
As my monster spreadsheet v 2.0 took shape, and I started to see real cost/loss ratios for different ship classes and decryptor variations, I went a little buy-crazy and bought up multiples of each of the component blueprints I would need to build the T2 Amarr and Minmatar ships I’m currently producing. However, again, time is money. Some of the components do save you money by being built over bought, but the difference is so inconsequential that its really isn’t worth it, at least in my opinion, to bother with buying, researching, hauling materials, and building those components; not to mention tying up research/build slots on those characters. So at least for me, the focus is on plugging the big holes in that isk-flow over the smaller cracks. For my builds right now, that means Armor Plates, Shield Emitters, Capacitor Units, Microprocessors, and Sensor Clusters.
For your own build sheets, I recommend finding the percent difference between the buy and build prices, and then find a good balance somewhere between the percent savings and the volume number you’ll need for a typical build cycle. For instance, to build 10 Vagabond runs from a ME-2 PE1 (Advanced Theories Decryptor; will yield 2 Vagas per run, so 20 total), you will need 97,500 Fernite Carbide Composite Armor Plates. There’s “only” a 9.4% savings in building vs buying these, but since you’re building so freaking much of them, that turns into roughly a 70mil isk savings.
After deciding which components you will be buying and which you’ll be building, I recommend creating a third racial spreadsheet with all of your actual build-vs-buy choices entered in, in order to keep accurate profit results. The reason to have a third separate sheet? The T2 market is fickle, and so having the ability to change your build/buy priorities in a master spreadsheet will absolutely come in handy.
Remember that though: the T2 market is fickle and fluctuates a lot. The trick to staying on top of profit is being able to spot those trends before they blow up and capitalize on them. One thing I’ve begun to do is think in terms of “I’m not the only one with a spreadsheet”. In fact, most T2 inventors do have one, and we’re all watching to see when one ship/dycrptor combination pops up as a lot more profitable than the rest. Being ready to jump on that trend as fast as you can is key, because as more people catch on to its profitability, demand will increase component costs and build costs, and eventually drop profit back down.
For now, my next trick is to flesh-out racial build sheets for Gallente and Caldari, as well as work on a smoother version of a “shopping list” spreadsheet. In-game work-wise, I’m still on T2 Cruisers for now, but am on path to transition into Marauders (and possibly Black-Ops), which will allow me to put less time into updating invention slots, hauling materials, and building for roughly the same profit; we’ll see.
Edit: Again, thanks so much to FuzzySteve for questioning my math and making me see that somewhat huge error!