The plan was, and still mostly is, coming along quite swimmingly (note the nautical theme . .) but as I sit at about stage 2.8, getting to the starting point of stage 3 is going to take a little longer than planned. The problem isn't anything major and it's not like I wildly underestimated the amount of time it would take to get everything trained to level 4 (which I did a little anyway . .), the main issue is concurrent activity. Concurrent activity, as in more passive bidness going on in the background to earn isk, fame and world conquest.
In checking out some of the COSMOS basics, starting with Amarr, it's recommended that I be at least at a rep of 4 with them to start. Not a problem. I was 2.97, and now I'm up to about 3.5 with level 4 in Social and Connections (plus I went to 4 in negotiation to boost my ph4t l00tz too). Progress is coming along nicely as I run mining and fedex missions with three of the toons and mine with the other three. It's steady, reliable income with a rep boost to boot. Not the fastest progress, but it keeps the training que full. So, the "problem", or more of an "issue", is that I would like to be grinding out a little data core love while all this stuff is going on, just prior to, and during, the COSMOS stage. I only need about 2 billion more isk for a Michi's implant and a Gallente freighter, and then it's all gravy.
I picked the Carthum Corp to get the rep up with because they were close enough to my AO that I didn't need to move tons of ships, via slowboating and shuttles, halfway across the universe or farther. I can access some level 1 and 2 R&D agents with them right now, and I all I need is some cursory training in the science skills to pique the interest of said agents. Most of the toons are level 5 in engineering already, and 4 in science. 4 days and they can all be up to Science 5, and then I can start getting the individual research skills and quickly get them up to level 1 or 2, 3 at the most. I only have to worry about 2 to 3 skills each, as well. The main 4 toons are all done everything else, and now are up in the drone skills and finishing them off. Then I was planning to go after maxxing the orca and indy skills for a freighter, as well as the exhumer 5 skills for mining. The problem is, the R&D skills aren't cheap, and I'd like to get the freighter and the Michi's and be done with that part of the plan. I also want to get the other 3 toons done with their astrogeology and get them into hulks as well. The question is, which to do first.
I think the smart thing to do is to go for Science 5 first, buy and train the R&D skills, and then start getting some data cores, even at a low rate. In the mean time I can get to some hard mining (which is the easiest and fastest way for me to make isk, ATM) and then once the three toons go back into astrogeology to get the hulks, I can be slowly churning out "stupendous" amounts of data core goodness. I can always run some more missions later to boost the rep so I can eventually access level 4 R&D agents, but I imagine that is going to require some fairly major time investment in skill training too. The upside is, I already have three extra hulks that are sitting in a low sec area that was supposed to be an area for some mining ops, but life and timings never really allowed for that to happen any more than once or twice. I can pull all those boats out before the area fills up with too many pilots and then I'd have to pop their rigs and take them out with a blockade runner. Then I can switch off between running missions for Amarr and Carthum rep, and mining for iskies. It'll maybe be closer to the end of Oct before I start the COSMOS runs. In the meantime maybe I'll throw a few skill points at the other toons to get them well up into the gunnery skills and make sure their cruiser skills and med weapons are at a decent level to help oout with some of the tougher missions.
The Point? Having a plan is great, but it's a smidge of a bummer when you find out you could have had something planned for, and running concurrently, had you known about it. It's sort of hard to plan for something that you weren't aware of.