So we moved to a C5 with a C2 Static for a number of reasons.
1) So Solo people could farm the C2 anoms for Isk
2) So the really "bad" people with C5 statics would be less inclined to invade us
3) To be able to run Capital Escalations for boatloads of Isk
With the thought of either leaving Sov Null, or at the very least wanting to find a source of income out side ratting in Null, we set out to establish ourselves in a C5 wormhole to run Capital Escalations. I was enticed with the notion of a group making 3-4B in a night running sites. Well as with most things in EVE the results have not lived up to the expectation.
Sure there is serious
Isk in running Capital Escalations. I mean SERIOUS Isk. 2-3B in a hour with the right group is doable. But so is 500m. And sure 500M sounds great, till you realize that it takes 8-10 pilots to run a C5 Capital Escalation properly. Then all the sudden 500M - fuel tax / 8 = 50-55m in an hour. You can get that in Null Sec anoms running two pilots in a Vindi and Carrier throwing fighters in a 20 minute tick.
And as with all things W-Space, one does not simply fall out of bed and start running Capital Escalations.
First you have to have someone log in and see if CCP has made your wormhole into a Swiss Cheese full of K162's. Then you have the inevitable guy that needs to be scanned in from High Sec cause he went on a logi run for a Skill Book 3 days ago and has yet to get back in. Then you have someone that is always late and with Capital Escalations, you don't (you sometimes can't) run without a full team.
So backing up a second, what exactly is a "Capital Escalation".
It seems that CCP decided when WH space came out that they didn't want to have people running C5 and C6 anomolies in Capital Ships, so they made it so the first and second Carrier and Dread into a combat site will spawn additional Battleships, up to 8 it seems. So that is a total of 32 potential Battleships. And Sure if you were not smart and warped the whole fleet in at once that would hurt. Alot.
Well as with most things CCP does to deter pilots from doing something, some pilots will learn how to profit from them. Sure enough Wormhole Capital Escalations are no different. The key is to simply figure out how to run the site with staggered capitals to maintain "control" of the site (read DPS and Neuts) enough to not lose ships.
So doing our research we settled on the "tested" method that uses the following ships:
1) Lead Archon
2) Lead Dread
4) Armor Booster
5) Web Booster
6) Second Carrier
7) Second (and third and fourth) Dread
In truth, you can run with only one carrier and one dread, but it seriously limits the Isk and only reduces the pilots needed by 2. So half the Isk and still 7 pilots.
As you can imagine, these pilots are not your "run of the mill" 13m SP tengu pilots raking in Isk, or better yet a 14 day old pilot orbiting a FW target making sick Isk. This is a very High Risk endeavor with seriously skilled pilots. I would EXPECT the Isk to be about the best in the game. And it can be.
So far in the month we have run sites, we have had a couple "close calls", a couple cancellations due to people not showing up and too many wormholes, and a couple really good nights.
I guess overall, to me, the jury is still out on if Capital Escalations are an Isk printing machine, or just another illusion of easy money. Sure the Isk in the hour you are running can be awesome. Especially if you are the lower skilled pilot flying the Noctis, or prober. But to take a highly skilled Dread Pilot to do PvE seems extreme and I am not sure they could not make similar Isk doing other things. Start to figure in the "non-revenue" time scanning, doing logi, getting ready, closing WH's etc etc and the Isk per hour invested goes down quite quickly. Especially versus logging in, undocking and flying to the closest Hub in a Vindi.
The biggest advantage I see is that it is about the best Isk a "Group" can make actively. With other PvE the Isk each guy makes decreases the bigger the group it seems. Like in ratting, the best Isk is solo, as two guys ratting never seem to make what the guys would make apart. At least with Capital Escalations, you are on comms with 6-10 other pilots and having fun, versus just sitting in comms listening to each other chain sites.
And that social aspect is why we play MMO's isn't it?