Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Casual Look At The Latest Manufacturing Dev Blog

Yesterday CCP announced in a dev blog that this summer's expansion for EVE Online will focus on industry as a whole.  Now, I'm not really qualified to judge the changes that CCP is making.  Sure, I do some mining, manufacturing, and run some planetary interaction colonies, but I'm more a hobbyist than a serious industrialist.  I'm slowly expanding my product line and finally reached the 250 million ISK total in sell orders on the market last night.  Basically, my operation is a rounding error to the serious industrialists and traders in EVE.  But I have fun.

People who do know something about industry have started to give their impressions.  Lockefox wrote a post with his impressions:
"The proposed changes are bad for cooperative industry and strongly incentivize solo industry as-is.  Though the changes aren't a catastrophe for corp-level/frontier industry, a lot of the changes will make many of the tools people use difficult."
No, CCP is not catering to my play style.  If I understand Lockfox's concerns, a lot of his concerns trace back to bad corporation role design and the possibility of corp theft.  Also, note that he stated "as-is".  CCP still has four more dev blogs to release that may address some of his concerns.

I don't know how important some of the changes are.  The rearranging of items into materials, components, and research equipment on the market UI might make things easier to find.  Getting ride of the "damage per run" on Robotic Assembly Modules (R.A.M.) and Research Databases (R.Db) is a welcome development.  I've created objects using these things and I never really did understand how they worked.  And getting rid of extra materials?  Hallelujah!

I wanted to discuss the POS changes next, but I need to address the biggest change for me first: the elimination of industry slots.  Yes, CCP is killing all the slots.  Living in low sec, I never have to wait on manufacturing, time efficiency, or invention slots.  But having to wait on copying and material efficiency slots is a pain and really slowed me down.  Instead of slots in manufacturing and research stations, CCP is instituting a cost scaling system, where the more activity in a station, the greater the cost.  CCP Ytterbium stated, "Expect costs ranging from 0% to 14% of the base item being produced for the most extreme case."  I expect the cost scaling system to become another major isk sink, although we will need to wait for CCP Greyscale's dev blog to learn all of the details.  But the one thing for sure is no more waiting for a slot to open.  Yes!

The last part of the dev blog concerns POS changes and blueprints.  As I've never owned a POS (and probably never will), I'm just going to copy the relevant section:
"The Blueprints in question can be researched remotely, by installing them at a station while using a Starbase Mobile Laboratory in the same solar system. With the removal of slots this use case is no longer that important, as we expect research slots to be widely more available.
"In turn, this allows us to change several points:
  • Allow Starbases to be anchored anywhere in high-security space and without standing requirements (minus some protected solar systems, like Jita or new player starting systems of course).
  • Remove the ability for players to use stations to safely store their blueprints without putting them at risk in Starbase structures. Players will still be able to start their jobs remotely (via the use of Supply Chain Management and Scientific Networking skills), but will now have to move their blueprints directly into the starbase structures that require it, like other materials.
  • Improve Mobile Laboratories and Assembly Arrays to compensate for such risk – we’ll give you final numbers as soon as we have them.
  • Reduce copy time on all blueprints to be less time consuming than manufacturing something out of it. This gives the option to use blueprint copies to build items at Starbases without risking the original.
"So player corporations will now have the choice between the safety of NPC stations or the efficiency of Starbases to operate. The core goal is to motivate player entities to actually defend their Starbases if attacked or be reactive enough to take the blueprints out before they go into reinforced mode.
"We are aware of the significance of this change and do not expect very expensive blueprints (Battleship and above) to be risked in such a manner, but we do feel it to be a good trade-off for smaller blueprints."
From watching Twitter I believe the big objection isn't exposing the BPOs to PvP loss, but to corp theft.  Under the current system industrialists had figured out how to safeguard their valuable blueprints so that other members of their corporations could use them.  Now?  The possibility for theft is much greater.  This is why Lockefox believes that the changes that we know about incentivize solo play.  An industrialist in a one-man corporation doesn't need to worry about the theft of a valuable library of BPOs.  I think CCP foresees players working around this issue by using blueprint copies, but that introduces additional issues that I don't quite understand, including running into the 1500 item limit in stations.

I don't want to get too excited one way or the other because CCP still has four more dev blogs to publish.  Also, I expect to hear additional information once inside Fanfest.  But at this point I'm cautiously optimistic I'll like the summer expansion more than I liked Odyssey.

Edit 16 April 2014:  The original version of this post stated that the theme for the summer expansion will be industry.   While industry is getting a comprehensive revamp, CCP stated last year that expansions would no longer have a single focus on one area of play or on a "Jesus feature".  I've changed the introduction to reflect that change in CCP's development philosophy.


  1. With the growing emphasis on POS use, I hope they do something to make unused POS in highsec easier to remove. An abandoned POS shouldn't require a wardec and days of timers to remove.

  2. I think the standing change is a good thing. But with the ease of picking up a POS and moving now, plus the huge amount of moon slots about to become available, hisec POS warfare is going to change a lot...

  3. Sandbox is a term used all the time to justify the weaker being dominated by the strong. Kinda funny to see arguments for rules (the opposite of sandbox) when it comes to asset protection or levels of authority.

    1. I think you are confusing rules with tools. They want tools that the informed can use in order to their protect assets.

      Using said tools to build a customized set of rules that works for a corporation isn't really breaking the sandbox.

  4. Also not sure how this is going to impact T2 manufacturing. Currently a lot of T2 manufacturing revolves around copying and inventing. Typically copying BPO in a POS while keeping the BPO snug and safe in the station.

  5. One thing I don't understand, is the 14% based on the raw material cost of mfg, or the estimated sell value based on multi-region averages? And the fact that even if you do own a POS, you are subject to manufacturing fees, on top of your existing fuel costs, and risk of running a POS in the 1st place, is plain stupid, stupid, and cruel.

    1. I believe that those fees would only apply to the use of npc station, not POS...

    2. POS industry will also have unlimited capacity, with added costs in the same way as stations. So you can pay extra to overclock your POS from what it can do right now instead of a hard cut-off and needing to set up a second module if you are slightly overcapacity.

      The advantage of the pos is that you have it all to yourself / your corp. The disadvantage will be having to put your blueprints in the tower rather than keep them safe in a station.

    3. You are correct, I had missed that subtlety. I guess now we need to wait for the numbers to see what they actually mean...

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  7. The corp management is pretty hard for POS stuff, I understand those who say it is a higher risk for corp theft. fortunately most of the Jobs can be installed with "view only" rights on the blueprint. If a corp theft steals the materials well, the damage is done and gone. But the blueprint stays safe. All he can do is call in war decers for destroying the POS that might have this BPOs still in it.

    My main concern still lies with copy time changes as it allows T2 BPO owners to copy faster than manufacture and there for making it viable to either have multiple manufacturing jobs parallel increasing their output. Or they have BPCs of high quality for sale that no T2 inventor could compete with.

    The most frequent argument I here for current t2 BPO existence is that they have limited output. This might be increased through copy time increasing the pressure on Inventors. Those owners already get more profit from each item they produce, if they get even more items out money flows one direction...
    From new players to the old veterans. Fortifying the impression that they can never compete with the old players, which in terms of T2 BPO owner ship is more than true.

  8. No slot limits? So 90% of items created in EVE universe will be made in Jita now? I wonder if the servers can handle that.

    1. I won't manufacture in Jita. I'll use the empty slots in Perimeter, and not pay the 14% high-demand tax. I can then undercut the Jita price by 10% and still make more profit per item.