Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Research in EVE

To manufacture items you need materials and a blueprint. Let's stick to the simpler case: T1 manufacture. In this case the blueprints are originated from NPCs who sell it in large quantities. However these blueprints are not researched. Most of them have 10% wastage factor, so you need 10% more materials to manufacture than you'd get by instantly reprocess the product. You can improve the material efficiency of the blueprint by bringing it to a station with material research slots and...
... and you see why this post is made while the research details are in the wiki.

Thanks to the ingenious design of CCP, the material research slots are clogged all around empire and even in most nullsec. The reason for that is the research costs are trivial while the value increase of the blueprint is relevant. For example a titan takes about 60B materials, so the 10% wastage factor means 6B waste. Research it to just 1 ME and it drops to 3B. Research to 2 and you save another billion. While you have to pay some fee to the NPCs running the station, it's usually less than a million. CCP managed to skip on this great option to have an ISK sink. Since research is nearly free and needs very little effort, no wonder that lot of people mass-produce researched BPOs, clogging the system.

If you aren't a professional manufacturer and just want to produce a few odd items, you are better off skipping this phase and buy a blueprint copy from contracts. Copies are made from the original and have limited usages. If you do some limited manufacturing, like making ammo for yourself from the loot you reprocessed, you can buy researched blueprint originals. They are expensive but you get them instantly.

However if you plan to run serious industry (or want some passive income), you'll need the research. To compensate for the slow waiting time you can only do one thing: having more research slots. This way the different researches don't have to wait for each other. One character can do one research without skills, that can be increased to 11 with Advanced Laboratory Operation 5, but since it's a 8x skills, it's better to settle with lvl4 and 10 slots. However there are 3 character slots in every account and you aren't bound to one account. Generally if you want to research something and you have no slots, you need another researcher. Since the waiting time is long (usually more than a month per job) even full time combat characters can research, they can do the trip to empire once in two months.

What else you need? Covops frigate (or T3). The highsec slots are usually 30+ day long, the lowsec ones on the other hand are around 8-15, significant time decrease.

Important: research - exactly because it is "free" - is not a money print. If you buy some BPO and research it, it won't sell for huge profit automatically. There are examples for good sales and there are counterexamples. For example Nyx blueprint original is sold for 18B by the NPCs. Yet in contracts with even significant research (like 5ME 1PE) you can buy them for 16B. Why? Because people bought it, researched it and couldn't sell it. Now they have to suck it up and sell the damn thing at loss. So always check contracts before you start researching!

You can set up a POS in an altcorp in highsec but I don't think it worth the effort of fueling and dealing with wardeccers. The NPC slots are free and you can cut the research time by getting multiple jobs running (waiting) in the same time.

You can also research production efficiency (manufacturing speed) but there are usually empty slots for that even in highsec.

Recently there are many JF kills. I did not list them as "idiot" deaths as they must have been in lowsec and must be full off goodies. But I'm more and more inclined to include them when I see things like this I have doubts. A single T1 cruiser shouldn't be able to do this. Either cyno only to docking rings or have an ECM alt protecting the freighter.


Foo said...

A significant reason people set up POS is for 'guaranteed' access to research slots.

It might not be an ISK dump; but certainly causes significant fuel block (and component material) consumption

Anonymous said...

Your titan example illustrates that the real cost of ME research is having the capital invested in BPOs tied up for a very long time (without actually producing anything).

One ME level on a titan BPO has a base research time (which gets reduced by skills and bonuses) of 7 months and 27 days.

I don't really see why it is so bad to give people a reason to put up a high-sec POS.
The scarcity of ME slots gives small corporations a goal to work towards to (our own POS with as many labs as we can fit), creates a mini profession (seller of researched blueprints) and another interesting "emergent" business opportunity (research alliances - which in turn are juicy targets for wars, see kartoon's jihad agains New Eden Research).

RubyPorto said...

I think the three 90% web trick still works to get JFs stuck. If that's what happened here, I suspect it's been reimbursed, as that's been deemed an exploit.

IO said...

Almost all researched BPOs make profit. Supercapital BPOs are an exception, not the rule.

You can make decent ISK researching and selling capital and capital components BPOs.

Also all decent manufacturers run their own POS. The fuel cost is negligible for anyone making serious profits, and you get 25% time reduction in research.

Anonymous said...

yup, if npc slots were empty none would set up a pos in high sec as it wouldnt benefit any1 with anything.

Anonymous said...

There has been a patch many years ago that introduced dynamic industrial slot prices in NPC stations. I think back then per hour cost was way beyond 500k in some stations.

After lots of tears and rage on forums CCP reverted those changes.

Anonymous said...

if you want todo efficient research, you run a research pos, besides having free slots there, you end up with quite a few time bonuses which make up for the fuel consumption.

Anonymous said...

A large portion of the highsec POS's in existence are for research, copying and invention.

Mind you, POS research is significantly more expensive (fuel, equipment, etc)... One would need to do the opportunity cost calculation of not having a researched blueprint busy making ships and things to figure if the POS is the right way to go.

The "cloggedness" of the system is precisely why a player blueprint market exists. Researched BPOs might not be a great money spinner but having a collection of capital ship BPOs which you copy and sell sets of over and over and over again is a great little business which requires little or no effort (only the requisite shitload of isk to get you started).

Chris said...

That is not a t1 cruiser, it's a pirate cruiser. Nice DPS on it too.

Gevlon said...

My main problem with highsec POS-es is both the cost and effort (fueling) but the risk of being wardecced and destroyed. Creating research alts (train existing alts research) is much easier and with that you can get as many slots as you want for free.

Tail said...

With regards to the Nyx BPOs, those were actually a good investment before the supercarrier nerf, you could earn quite decent ISK by copying and selling BPCs for production. Then the nerf hit and suddenly demand dropped significantly, essentially making the BPOs drop in price quite a lot. I know since a friend of mine had such a thing going, he had a well researched Nyx BPO and was making copies and selling them for good profit. He was quite annoyed when the nerf hit since it essentially made his BPO worthless.

Anonymous said...

The Vigilant is a T1 cruiser as much as the killer whale is a mammal.

Hivemind said...

"My main problem with highsec POS-es is both the cost and effort (fueling) but the risk of being wardecced and destroyed."

As someone who's been running a R&D POS in hisec for nearly 1 1/2 years now I can say that wardeccers are not a major issue, at least if you're careful. My POS is in a quiet backwater hisec system with very little traffic, it's a large caldari tower (for maximum EHP as well as labs) and though all its CPU is occupied with labs it's also got offlined shield hardeners, ECM and projectile batteries anchored to provide a deterrent.

In the event I am faced with a wardec I can offline, unanchor and remove the valuable labs and online the many defenses, manually controlling them with characters with the Starbase Defense Management skill. Even if I'm not able to man the guns the combination of high damage weapons, tackle modules and ECM pose a threat to a potential attacker - the ECM can knock out logi long enough for the big guns to take down a BS.

All of that is purely hypothetical, because the only wardec I ever received was when I accidentally let the POS run out of fuel - I refuelled it, onlined defenses and the wardec was retracted the following day. I imagine from the perspective of an attacker, there are far easier targets to go for; offline towers, small towers with far less EHP to burn through, even a large tower without the implicit threat of the defences.

Fuel cost obviously is a notable detail, especially with a Large tower, but it's a calculable cost that you can build a business plan around.

Anonymous said...

you seem to forget that adding additional accounts (or pausing training on your main) isn't free either. when you figure the opportunity costs of waiting for a slot to open, risks of ganks in low sec, and the cost of additional accounts vs. the costs of a hi sec pos in a quiet system, I think the pos wins hands down.

Hivemind said...

As a second thought, as an alternative to going for a large POS and extra defences as a safety mechanism you could just pull the POS itself down if a war is ever declared - you get 24 hours notice before any fighting can actually begin. Since you are already on daily to adjust trade orders you could just add one of your trade alt to your POS holding corp to ensure that you got any wardec notices in time to respond, and continue business as usual with just a small POS and nothing but labs. If war ever happens you cancel all ongoing jobs (granted, that results in wasted time) and pull up the labs and tower. When the wardec expires you just replace it.

Anonymous said...

The risk of being wardecced is a bit get 24 hours to take stuff out of your POS, and the most important things should not be in your POS anyway.

Foo said...

Some Random Corp that talks to no one; shoots no one and has some research slots in highsec is incredibly unlikely to be wardecced.

You can have all the research alts you want; there are simply not enough NPC ME research spots available in high.

A large POS in high; full of research modules; with the actual BPO's sitting in an NPC station has very little in the way of risk.

However, your research alts will love access to your own POS

Gevlon said...

@Foo: the amount of NPC research slots is practically infinite, you just have to wait, so they are "slow". The amount of research you do is number_of_alts*10/research_time. You can increase the amount by increasing the alts.

Hivemind said...


Surely the question to ask is "Can I gain more ISK by cutting out the 15-30 day waiting time on NPC slots than I have to spend on POS upkeep, including time spent fuelling it?"

Whether or not NPC slots are effectively infinite doesn't matter, the more or less universal waiting time to use a slot does matter.

Incidentally, POS fuelling isn't exactly an arduous process - you buy it somewhere cheap (with a buy order, of course), or buy the ingredients, and get a courier to move it for you since unlike your market orders there's no need for it to arrive ASAP. All you need to actually fuel the POS is a character with a hauler (Gallente Iteron V has the most cargo space at Industrial 5, Minmatar Mammoth offers the best cargo space at Industrial 4, Amarr Bestower has the most cargo space at Industrial 1-3) to move the fuel from station to tower and load it in once per week or so.

Bobbins said...

It is a pity that the privately owned POSes can't open slots up to the public allowing that would fix everything. I expect there are serious coding issues that prevent this.

Anonymous said...

I expect there are serious coding issues that prevent this.

Everything involving POS code has serious issues. Even the developers at CCP use the more common meaning of the letters: "piece of s*."