Datacore Farming 101

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This is a deprecated class syllabus, intended as historical record for the teaching department.

Creating syllabi is no longer our process for new classes, and no classes in the syllabus library are considered current. They are here for historical purposes only, as well as an optional starting point for designing new classes. Please do not assume any of the classes you find here have slides, or have even been taught for many years. If you do use information in a syllabus, ensure that you have brought it up to date with contemporary EVE.

NOTE: possible changes in the Inferno expansion of EVE Online may cause all of the following advice to become out-of-date. You may want to wait until after the Inferno release, before investing in datacore farming.

See this recorded interview with CCP Soundwave for some hints about what is in store for datacore farming:

Class Information

This is a syllabus for a class provided by EVE University. This section contains information about this class and its contents. General Information includes materials to create a proper class listing on the EVE University forum. Additional resources and teaching tips are listed under Notes for the Teacher.

General Information

Copy and paste the following BBCode template to create the forum announcement:

[size=150][b]Datacore Farming 101[/b][/size]


How do you make up to 100 million ISK every month, without lifting a finger? You plant and nurture the seeds of datacore farming, that's how.

In this class, we will explore the key questions about farming datacores: how to do it, what it's good for (not just getting rich), what resources you need to get started, and how long it takes to start seeing the ISK flow in.

[b]Duration[/b]: 60 minutes
[b]Location[/b]: Docked up safely in any station 

[b]Class contents[/b]:
* What is datacore farming?
* Datacore farming skills
* Planning your datacore farming campaign
* Developing R&D agent relationships
* Starting the research flow
* Making ISK from datacores
* Long-term benefits of datacore farming
* Q&A 

[b]Student requirements[/b]:
* Mumble registration and access - make sure you have Mumble sorted out and operational well before the class begins.
* Access to the Class.E-UNI in-game chat channel 

[b]Questions?[/b]  Ask here and I'll answer in this thread.

Notes for the Teacher

Required materials:

  • Class.E-UNI chat channel, to receive questions and post relevant links
  • Datacore Farming - a UniWiki "how to" article

Class Contents


Welcome to this class on datacore farming!

This course is designed primarily for those who are looking to establish a reliable source of passive income in EVE. After just a few weeks of effort, you can earn over 100 million ISK each and every month, forever, without having to do anything more, other than collecting and selling datacores. Datacore farming requires a few skills, a little planning, some missioning and a bit of patience, but once you set them up, your datacore farms will operate continuously, producing ISK for you, even while you sleep!

(Instructor should then introduce himself or herself - covering relevant experience level and background.)

We have a few ground rules for this class:

  • Please put your Mumble settings on "Push to Talk" if you have not already done so.
  • Feel free to type any questions in the Class.E-UNI chat channel as we proceed - I will try to answer your questions as they come during the class. At the end of my lecture, we'll open Mumble for any further questions or general discussion.
  • You should be docked up safely in a station.

Everyone ready? OK, then - let's begin....

What is datacore farming?

  • One of the most interesting ways to earn InterStellar Kredits (ISK), the currency in EVE, is to develop relationships with research and development (R&D) agents in non-player corporations. Once you have access to R&D agents, you can then ask them to conduct research for you on your behalf. They will produce Research Points, which you can then use to purchase datacores.
  • Datacores are a key part of the invention process in EVE, which produces advanced technology "Tech II" items, also known as "T2" items. Datacores are consumed in the invention process for creating T2 blueprint copies. (For full details on invention, see this syllabus: Invention_101) Every invention process requires datacores, so they are always in demand.
  • Datacores are therefore very valuable, and can be sold on the market for ISK, in addition to being used for T2 item production. This is a very good thing, as it means that "datacore farming", once established, can produce a passive income for EVE players. Without any further action required, an R&D agent will happily generate research points, which you can periodically convert to income.
  • With five Level IV R&D agents working, and under the right market conditions, it is possible to earn an income of 100 million ISK per month, or more.
  • How long does it take to do datacore farming? Most players should expect to train all the required skills in one to two months. Meanwhile, you can run missions to get to the required level of standings to unlock the higher-grade agents. So, in less than a couple of months in game time, you can establish a reliable passive income stream that will last forever.
  • There are four things you must do to become an effective datacore farmer:
    • Train the required skills
    • Plan your datacore farming campaign (i.e., choose the right corporation)
    • Develop standings with your selected R&D agent corporation(s)
    • Begin the flow

Training skills for datacore farming

  • The following skills are required to start using one R&D agent:
    • Science V
    • Mechanic V (or) Engineering V (or) Electronics V
    • At least one applied science skill to level I or higher
  • Datacore market prices fluctuate, and you'll want to select applied sciences that produce the highest datacore prices, but which also match the high-level R&D agents' abilities in the corporations that you are targeting. We'll cover how to select the optimum corporation and R&D agents in the next section. To research datacore prices, you can look them up in your market window, or use the player-contributed database of EVE market prices, EVE Central.
  • Applied science skillbooks cost 10 million ISK each - not a trivial investment. So, be sure to check the prices and market trends of various types of datacores before you choose the skills to train.
  • Note that the above skills give you access to one (and only one) R&D agent. To maximize your income, you will want multiple R&D agents working with you. The following skills are required to use more than one R&D agent:
    • Laboratory Operation V
    • Research V
    • Research Project Management I - Each level gives you the ability to use another agent up to a maximum of six at level V. Note that this skill is a 40 million ISK investment.

Planning your datacore farming campaign

  • While you are training the required skills, you can do a little planning. Not all non-player character (NPC) corporations offer R&D agents, so some pre-planning about which corporations you will select for your datacore farming plan is absolutely required for success.
  • Also, different R&D agents specialize in different types of research. They won't even speak to you unless you have the required skills trained and completed, and then they will only conduct research in their areas of expertise, and only if you have trained in relevant applied science skills that match their expertise.
  • The Agency allows you to search for agents, filtering by location, NPC corporation, R&D and level, but there is presently no filter for what skill they can perform R&D for.
  • To see if you have any relationships with corporations that have R&D agents already, use this procedure:
    • Open your character sheet
    • Click on Standings
    • Click on the "Liked By" tab.
    • Scroll down to the "Corporations" section
    • Right-click the top Corporation
    • Click "Show Info" in the menu
    • Click on the "Agents" tab in the new window
    • Scroll down to the "R&D" agent list
    • In the "Available" list, scroll down to the highest level agent and do a show info on him.
    • Look under the "Agent Info" tab for one of the above mentioned research fields.
    • If none of the above skill areas are listed (Mechanical Engineering for example), move to the next best agent and repeat.
  • In order to maximize the production of RPs, and therefore to produce more datacores, you will want to work with the highest level R&D agents - level IV. (Note: there are no level 5 R&D agents - though some agent-finder sites may show them, this is an error.) The corporations with level IV R&D agents, sorted by their associated factions, are:
    • Gallente Federation: CreoDron, Roden Shipyards, Duvolle Laboratories (a mix of research corps is needed to access all level four agents, unfortunately)
    • Caldari State: Kaalakiota Corporation, Ishukone Corporation, Lai Dai Corporation (best)
    • Minmatar Republic: Core Complexion Inc. (best), Boundless Creation
    • Amarr Empire: Carthum Conglomerate, Viziam
  • There are some other corporations with a few R&D agents:
    • Thukker Tribe: Thukker Mix
    • Khanid Kingdom: Khanid Innovation (Note: UNIs must never talk to Khanid Innovation agents! See Jump Clones.)
    • Ammatar Mandate: Nefantar Miner Association
  • Only level IV agents produce datacores in useful quantities. Because the good Gallente R&D agents are scattered between three corporations, they are not an optimal choice, unless you have already started grinding missions there, or are otherwise committed to their faction. For most players, the optimal choices are Lai Dai (Caldari) and Core Complexion (Minmatar).
  • After you select your ideal corporation and R&D agents, make a list of who they are, where they are located, the science skills they require from you, and most importantly, the level of standing you will need to develop to get them to talk to you.

Developing R&D agent standings

  • Each R&D agent requires a certain level of standing with their corporation and their faction, before they are willing to talk to you. Even if you have faction standings high enough to use a normal level IV agent, it may not do you any good with R&D agents.
  • To access a research agent, you must fulfill both a normal standings requirement for an agent of their Level, as well as a requirement for Corporate or Personal standings at 2.0 less than the normal standings requirement. For example, to use a Level IV research agent, your effective personal standings must be 3.00 or higher toward that agent's corporation, and you must have an effective personal standing of 5.00 or higher toward this agent, the agent's faction, or the agent's corporation, in order to use that agent's services.
  • Note that attaining the required Corporate standing automatically fulfills the lower requirement. The extra requirement exists only to prevent those with high Faction standing from accessing top-level researchers without actually working for that corporation.
  • To see what faction and corporation standings you need to speak with an R&D agent:
    • Open your character sheet
    • Click on Standings
    • Click on the "Liked By" tab.
    • Scroll down to the "Corporations" section
    • Right-click the Corporation you wish to work with (if that Corporation isn't listed, then you have not yet spoken with one of their agents)
    • Click "Show Info" in the menu
    • Click on the "Agents" tab in the new window
    • Scroll down to the "R&D" agent list (not all Corporations have R&D agents - if none are listed, you can't use them!)
    • In the "Not Available to You" list, right click on a desired agent and select "Show Info" on him or her.
    • Look under the "Agent Info" tab, and look at the "Compatibility" section at the bottom. (If there is no "Compatability" section, then you arleady have access to that agent!) It will say something like: "Your effective personal standings must be 3.00 or higher toward this agent's corporation in order to use this agent, as well as an effective personal standing of 5.00 or higher toward this agent, its faction, or its corporation in order to use this agent's services."
  • So, if you had perfect 10.0 standings with the agent's faction and 0.0 standing with his/her corp, you couldn't use that agent. However, if you had 10.0 faction standing and 3.0 corporation standing, or if you just had 5.0 corp standing, then you could.
  • All of this means that a certain amount of mission grinding with an R&D agent's corporation is unavoidable, but a high faction standing can reduce the amount of mission running required.
  • To establish high faction standings:
    • Run the tutorial agents for that faction
    • Train Social, Connections and Negotiating skills
    • Run Missions with one faction repeatedly - and with one corporation in that faction with whom you intend to use R&D agents, ideally
    • Run the Sisters of EVE epic arc, The Blood-Stained Stars - which provides you with a minimum 7% faction standing increase with any one of the four major factions
    • Use the highest level agents you can run to maximize standings increase.
    • Accept and complete storyline missions when offered by that faction
    • Run COSMOS and Data Center missions for that faction
    • Don't do anything in that faction's space that will endanger your standings with them - no transporting of illegal goods, or running missions for opposing factions
    • Run missions for factions that support the faction you want better standings with. Minmatar or Gallente standings increases also increase standings with the other faction, just at a lower amount. In the same fashion, Amarr and Caldari standings increase for running missions for either faction. See this table for an explanation of complementary faction relationships.
    • Joining in factional warfare for a particular faction can also increase your standings with that faction, although this means dropping from Eve University.

Starting the research flow

  • Once you have the standing level needed to speak with an R&D agent, go to the station where the desired R&D agent is located, and begin a conversation with him or her. One of the options that they will provide to you is to start research - select this option. They will offer you their areas of applied science to research. Select the one(s) in which you have trained your skills. The agent will then start to produce research points (RPs) for you.
  • The formula for how many research points you'll get in a day is: ((Agent Skill + Your Skill)^2 * (1 + Effective Quality / 100)) * Area Bonus where:
    • Agent Skill: Determined by the Level of the agent. Level 3 agents will have Level III of the appropriate research skill.
    • Your Skill: Determined by your training in the research skill.
    • Effective Quality: the derived quality of your agent after factoring in the effects of Negotiation, Connections and other Social skills.
    • Area Bonus: Depends on the research field. Most fields have no modifier (e.g. 1), weapon-area research is doubled (2), and ship research is tripled (3). Don't worry about this one too much - as the price of datacores is scaled to the area bonus.
  • There are several additional skills that can improve the amount of RPs generated per day. These include:
    • Negotiation: Directly improves the effective quality of your agent, and is the most efficient skill for raising the number of RPs you earn each day. Negotiation IV, for example, raises Effective Quality by nearly 20 points.
    • Connections: Not terribly efficient (but very useful in grinding standing to be able to use agents), Connections can minimally raise the effective quality of your research agent.
    • Area Specific Skill (Mechanical Engineering, etc): Each level of your skill in this area increases the "Your Skill" part of the equation listed above. Train this skill to level 4 or higher.
  • - This site lets you input your skills, standings, and such and it'll show you in order which agents/skill combinations are the most profitable. You can use your real skills/standings, or experiment with other possible combinations to help with your planning.
  • Once your R&D agent is working for you, that agent will offer you a special mission once per day. Each of these R&D agent missions will reward you with one day's worth or RP - effectively doubling your ISK potential. R&D agents offer relatively safe missions, half of which are short courier missions and the other half are trade-related. There is no penalty for ignoring or declining a mission from an R&D agent, despite the warnings they may give you - turning them down will not stop their research or the flow of RPs.

Making ISK from datacores

  • You can track the amount of RPs being created each day by your R&D agents by clicking on the Journal button on your NeoCom, and selecting the Research tab. This will also tell you the amount of accumulated RPs you have amassed with each agent.
  • Periodically, go talk to your R&D agent again and tell him or her that you wish to purchase datacores. The agent will tell you how many you can afford, based on the number of RPs you have accumulated. Regular datacores cost 50 RPs each - weapon-related datacores cost 100 RPs each, and starship engineering datacores cost 150 RP each. Buy as many as you wish - unused RPs remain in your accumulated pool.
  • After ordering your datacores, transport them to a trade hub, and sell them there. Voilà - you have made ISK from datacore farming!
  • To maximize your ISK from your datacore farm, you will have to give it some care and feeding every month or so. If you are not earning what you would like to see from your datacore farm, consider these improvements:
    • Train Research Project Management all the way to V, so that you can access six R&D agents.
    • Some corporations base their best Level IV R&D agents in low security space. Fly a cloaked ship, if you can, and take care in low-sec, as pirates like to hunt there!
    • Track the prices of datacores using and change your agents' research focus from time to time, to take advantage of higher prices. To do this, you will probably have to train additional applied science skills.
    • Use the Profitability of R&D Agents site to see what the current rankings are for your areas of science research focus. Try other sciences to see if you can make more ISK by training those and switch agents.
    • Train your Connections and Negotiations social skills to 5, to increase the payout of your R&D agents.
    • Train your chosen applied science skills to 5, to improve the number of RPs generated by each agent researching in those skills.
    • Do the offered R&D missions - these can double your RP production, and therefore, double your datacore farming ISK.

Long-term benefits of datacore farming

  • Farming datacores gives you a reliable income stream.
    • If you have chosen your datacore types wisely, you can expect a reliable income of about 100 million ISK per month, every month.
    • Monitor changes in datacore prices and adjust your research every few months in order to maximize your passive income earned.
  • Datacores improve profits from invention and Tech II manufacturing.
    • If you choose to start making money by building Tech II items, which command higher prices in the market, having your own cost-free sources of datacores will improve your profit margins.
    • Datacores are consumed in the invention process. Although you can purchase them in the open market, you can save a lot of ISK if you can make them yourself, and use them to produce multiple high-margin items for sale.

Class Wrap-up

  • Thanks for attending this class!
    • I would appreciate any feedback from people on how to improve the class
    • If you enjoyed the class, please send me a tip of 1 ISK, and send me a comment.
  • Questions ?