Building better worlds, an EVE dev blog synopsis

EVE online manufacturing activity

Note: The publish date on this piece is a bit messed up due to a little bug, as you’ll soon read I was massively off wit quite a few predictions. Expect follow up blogs in next few days.

It’s honestly the first time in a long time that EVE online industry players have a reason to be excited. Having not played EVE since late 2013 due to a mixture of personal commitments and a lack of motivation to install thousands of industry jobs each week you can imagine how the recent dev blog ‘Building better worlds’ caught my attention.

With the summer release being focussed on industry I was initially extremely excited and surprised, CCP stated that 50,000 characters use manufacturing but I wonder how many alts are in that whilst I doubt it will be as well received as other releases it definitely keeps a smile on the industry players face who’s last major things to smile about were T3 production and the introduction of the Rorqual and Orca many moons ago.

My biggest concern at this point in time is the stated objectives which are:

To attach gameplay to industry features – Personally this sounds like a potential disaster waiting to happen, especially if it means that industry becomes as active an activity as mission running. Currently my network of 21 characters only works because of the scalability and minimal time commitment of industry. Many players do industry as something on the side or something for their alliance putting barriers in the way could ultimately be a disaster and annoy the hard-core industry players which are really looking for the next big thing to help them scale their success.

To be balanced using risk versus reward – By far the biggest highlight not only for myself but for all industry players should be bringing a balance of risk vs reward. Since I started large scale production I’ve made use of POS networks and at long last that risk will be rewarded. However on the other end of the scale it also allows me to come back casually to the game and do station based industry a few jumps out of Jita something previously not possible due to slot competition.

To be easily usable and visible – This is a great thing for EVE, but to some extent a bad thing for industry players more people are likely to get involved and this will push down prices and margins. As new industry players often sell below cost, excluding the cost of slots or minerals from their calculation, the market may be up in the air for a while post release. Cheap PvP will be greatly received however.

The initial blog has unfortunately left us in the dark somewhat to the complete direction with follow up blogs expected in the near future on the manufacturing UI, changes to ME, PE and copying, another on changes to job installation and the final blog where the concept of teams is introduced.

What we know so far is that some great changes have been made to bring further simplicity and usability to the manufacturing process:

Tidy up of the industry market groups – Ever found yourself giving in and using search functionality when trying to find a manufacturing item on the market, I personally know I gave in myself a long time ago. The change brings manufacturing items into three groups materials, components and research equipment breaking these down into easy to understand categories. Still I feel most people will resort to using search functionality but it’s nice to have things back in order.

Stopping damage to R.A.M. during production – Damage to R.A.M. was well a bit random at times often not behaving quite as you would expect. Removing the concept of damage by multiplying their usage by 100 and dividing material usage by 100 is a clever way to solve the problem making things much simpler to manage, my spreadsheets are eternally grateful.

The end of extra materials – Removing extra materials wasn’t possible previously due to the changes in ship material requirements whilst ships were being rebalanced. However after the previous blog which explained the changes to reprocessing and nerfed old school mineral compression out of existence it became viable to remove extra materials and once again simplify calculations of material requirements when looking at a blueprint. This is an awesome change that will likely see mineral price drops as players reprocess any items they held in stockpile for activities such as titan building. Low mineral prices are great news for PvPers and industry players alike helping us limit the value of our current industry, on the other hand the downside is that items produced if not sold fast may drop below their production prices as material prices drop.

Uncapping the number of slots per station – Right now stations have a cap on the number of slots with uniform cost per slot in the very near future these caps will be removed but cost will scale with usage a very exciting prospect. This actually can go either way but I’m expecting to see more players in highsec shift to station usage simply due to laziness, if you’re holding onto large amounts of isotopes or other POS fuel items then now may be a good time to sell. It’s going to be an interesting balancing act slot costs against fuel prices, I’m going to be watching the market closely on this one I could be completely off and with up to 14% manufacturing cost increases we may see people do completely the opposite and shift to POS production. We’ll see a new ISK sink which is great news for the EVE economy.

Forcing POS production to have blueprints in space – Yet another interesting change with the increased risk of holding your blueprints in space both your manufacturing and research slots become more effective. This both increases the ISK sink of BPOs going boom and gives further incentive for the use of POS’s for production, it’s difficult to say how things will balance we’ll know better when we get specifics right now the impact of this change hangs in the balance depending upon if the improvements are to material efficiency or production time.

Reducing copy time below production time – Depending upon the costs of large scale copying in station we could see this used with interesting effects. Take for example mass copying programs so that 10 BPOs can produce 11 ships in the same time period they previously produced 10, whilst this isn’t so interesting for small ships if you look at ships such as capitals you may see in the region of 50mil drop off prices due to increased potential output from current blueprints. Interestingly for myself this also reduces the cost of BPCs some ships have copy times in the days which will drop to half a day after the change, these savings will be passed directly onto people buying ships. Cheaper industry is great news for PvPers and industry players alike.

Overall it’s clear we’re in for one hell of a rollercoaster with so many simultaneous changes in industry. Personally I’ll be holding off returning to EVE fully for at least a month after the change and simply monitor the markets until I know when I return I can make a consistent profit. These changes do mean one thing for sure EVE just became interesting for me again rocking the boat is a great thing the changes yet to come in my mind could be yet more exciting.

The next blog described changes to the industry UI which is one of the reasons EVE is referred to as spreadsheets online the changes as of yet are a mystery other than one extremely sexy screen shot of what is to come. Right now it appears that the changes are simply a beautification of the system with no real glimpse into what changes to expect in terms of functionality. Currently I don’t feel like much is being added here but I hope there’s a surprise in store such as bulk installation of jobs in multiple slots. If we see one change that will change industry forever it will be the bulk installation of jobs I’ll be getting a whole load more competition at that point in time but yet it’s still a welcome change.

Following this discussion on changes to ME, PE and copy time start we’re hopefully going to be looking at quicker ME research allowing increased competition and lower prices also introducing a cap to ME and PE efficiency so that old school players with ME10+ capital BPOs don’t hold a large advantage for years on end. Changes to copy jobs are pretty clearly related to the already announced changes in copy time and also potentially changes to lab slots copying in a POS right now is a bit painful and can require quite a few POS alternatively the CPU requirement of labs may be reduced. As for PE changes hopefully we’ll see things be made easier for new comers again as well as increased benefits of POS based production when combined with PE level.

We then get the details we need on the costs of installing jobs in stations in a follow up blog which will bring a lot of clarity on what is to come and see shifts in market prices of everything from POS fuel materials to BPCs. Then a final industry blog will details a new concept of teams it’s my personal hope that this is a boost to producing as a team which can positively effect groups or people like myself with multiple EVE characters. In likelihood it’s an in game planning tool for groups of players production which encourages collaboration whilst giving no practical benefits, either way I’m proud to say I’m excited to see what changes are ahead something which I’ve not said since the introduction of wormholes to EVE online.