CRIUS: POS CHANGES AND YOU

TMC Archives 2014-04-29

Crius is less than a month away, and with it comes significant changes to POS and their use as tools of industry. Most if not all of these changes have been in the wild and known for some time; their overall effect on the environment is somewhat less appreciated.

WHAT IS CHANGING

Most of the POS changes are gathered up into one devblog, which can be found here. In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a quick summary.

ANCHORING IN RESTRICTED SPACE

Standings will no longer be required to anchor a POS in highsec, and the restriction on 0.8 security and above will be lifted in all but a few cases (such as Jita), opening up thousands of new moons for use.

On top of that, the inability to anchor Moon Harvesting Arrays in 0.4¬†– which didn’t make it into the above devblog and was instead leaked on the forums – was apparently nothing more than a minor but long-standing bug in the code, and it’s getting fixed. As 0.4 systems are often highsec borders, this will open up quite a bit of choice real-estate that was previously inaccessible for mining.

REPROCESSING ARRAYS

Two of the existing Refining Arrays will be retooled, becoming the “Reprocessing Array” and “Intensive Reprocessing Array”. Unlike the current implementation, the new arrays will reprocess instantly, take skills into account, and can mix ore, ice, and gas in the same batch; they cannot, however, reprocess modules. The Reprocessing Array will have a base yield of 52% (maximum yield of 72.6% with all V skills & RX-804 implant) and can be anchored anywhere. The Intensive Reprocessing Array, on the other hand, will offer a 54% base yield (75.1% max), which is a little better than an un-upgraded Minmatar outpost and on par with the Tier II reprocessing upgrade for any other outpost. However, the Intensive array can only be anchored in 0.4 or below.

The third Refining Array will be removed from the game, as it serves no real purpose anymore.

COMPRESSION ARRAY

Brand new in Crius will be the Compression Array. With perfect reprocessing no longer achievable for modules, mineral compression as classically thought of will be going away. In its place, Ore Compression will be considerably upgraded. Ore compression is normally performed by a Rorqual, however, so the purpose of the Compression Array is to provide a means to compress ore where Rorquals can’t go (as well as an alternative where they can). Like Reprocessing Arrays, it will do its thing instantly and can mix ore and ice. It also has an absurdly large storage capacity (20 million cubic meters) which dwarfs the storage available in a Rorqual and will likely make it popular even in nullsec.

NO MORE REMOTE USAGE

Common practice with POS today is to store blueprints safely in a station and leverage the ability to do work remotely to minimize assets at risk. While it will still be possible to start and deliver jobs from elsewhere in EVE, the blueprint will have to be physically present in the structure to start a job.

SLOT CHANGES

Like industry everywhere else, the concept of slots is going away and will be replaced by the cost scaling system. In an effort to offset the remote usage nerf and make POSes worthwhile despite the risk, they will be receiving a variety of buffs in the form of increased time, material reduction, and install cost bonuses.

The first bonus a POS will receive is exemption from the +10% NPC tax on job installation costs found elsewhere.

Next is a stacking bonus per type of array. On top of offering sizable reductions in install costs, the intent of this bonus is to encourage players to do something more than anchor a small POS with a single array, something perfectly feasible with the removal of slots.

Structure Type Cost reduction per structure Max bonus per structure
Medium Ship Assembly, Advanced Medium Ship Assembly, Subsystem Assembly 2% 26%
Large Ship Assembly, Advanced Large Ship Assembly, Capital Ship Assembly 3% 21%
Design Laboratory, Experimental Laboratory, Hyasyoda Research Laboratory, Research Laboratory 1.5% 22.5%
Drug Lab, Ammunition Assembly, Drone Assembly, Component Assembly, Equipment Assembly, Rapid Equipment Assembly 0.5% 25%
Supercapital Ship Assembly 5% 15%
Advanced Small Ship Assembly, Small Ship Assembly 1% 27%

 

While jobs run in a POS will contribute to the overall system usage that determines the base cost in a system, the bonuses from these arrays are limited to per-POS and will not stack with starbases elsewhere in the system.

On top of the stacking bonuses, Labs and Assembly Arrays will have their time and material bonuses improved as well.

  • Research Labs (formerly Mobile Lab) will have a 0.7 time multiplier for Research, down from 0.75
  • Design Labs (previously Advanced Mobile Lab) will have the time multiplier for copying improved to 0.6; the Invention time multiplier remains at 0.5
  • The time multiplier for Research in the Hyasoda Lab will drop to 0.65 from its current 0.75
  • Most Assembly Arrays will receive a 2% material reduction; the Drug Lab, Subsystem Array, Rapid Equipment Array and Supercapital Assembly Array are excluded. All Assembly Arrays retain their 25% time reduction.
  • Advanced Assembly Arrays no longer have material waste, and Rapid Equipment Arrays will see their waste drop to 5% from its current 20%.
  • Assembly Arrays will have their cargoholds increased by various amounts.

Thukker Component Assembly Array

In response to very valid complaints from lowsec capital producers that they’d be dramatically out-competed by the outpost bonuses available in nullsec, CCP designed a lowsec-only assembly array intended for use in capital production. It will only be usable to produce capital construction components (and advanced capital construction components), but will receive a 25% reduction in their manufacturing time as well as a 10% reduction in required materials. Notably, the materials list for these arrays includes “Covert Research Tools”, which until now have been a useless bit of fluff sourced from the new Ghost Sites.

MAN THE GUNS

Starbase Defense Management now only requires Anchoring 4, making it far more accessible a skill than it is now, which in turn makes it just a little easier to use the defenses of a POS against attackers.

WHAT WILL THIS ALL CHANGE

MORE OR LESS POS USAGE?

The excuse given for the 50% jump drive fuel increase in Kronos was, first and foremost, to offset the impact on isotope prices from an expected drop in POS use, primarily in highsec. Highsec industrialists are supposedly too risk averse to use their research POS if they can’t do it remotely (the amount of doomsaying over that change on the forums certainly lends a great deal of validity to that idea). More significantly, availability (or rather lack thereof) of copying slots is one of the leading reasons for the use of POS in highsec, but the elimination of slots combined with the one-two punch of reduced copy times and elimination of max-run BPCs as a requirement for Invention will solve that nicely (if you’re interested, you’ll want to hit all the blue posts in that thread.) On top of that, throwing down a POS means anchoring yourself to some degree to a location, not necessarily something that’s very attractive when the new cost scaling system rewards moving around to pursue optimal costs.

And yet, the advantages of a POS are a hell of a lot more compelling under the new rules, and far less risky than they appear. If you’re doing Invention, there isn’t all that much value at risk to begin with, and with so much emphasis being shifted to the invention task, the 50% time bonus (which is superior to anything short of a fully upgraded Caldari outpost) is even more invaluable. If you’re doing copying, keep the runs under 24 hours in length and you can easily evacuate the blueprints before a wardec goes live. The same rules apply to building, and in both cases, the speed bonuses of the Labs and Assembly Arrays translate directly to a higher isk/hr and aren’t available any other way in highsec. A 2% ME bonus on Assembly Arrays sounds small, but can add up fast, and between the lack of 10% NPC tax and the stacking install cost reduction bonus, a producer will be able to realize upward of a 36% cost reduction to their install costs. And the most potent tool in the toolbox will be the Refining Array. Using it and buying ore rather than minerals will offer up to a 4% cost advantage (depending, of course, on the price of ore).

None of this adds up to making POSes the unequivocal ‘way to go’ for an industrialist in highsec. In fact, it will probably be possible to achieve higher overall savings by moving frequently, chasing the low cost systems as they move around. For those who would prefer not moving, though, a POS (or a few POSes) will be an invaluable tool to remain competitive, and so I wouldn’t count on a drop in their usage being quite as big as you might expect.

Out in lowsec, on the other hand, I expect to see quite a lot of new industrial activity. The ability to anchor arrays¬†in 0.4 space, which frequently borders highsec, offers additional opportunities to nominally highsec-only industrialists. A POS in 0.4 means the ability to use the Intensive Reprocessing Array, which offers an even larger cost advantage than its regular brother, and lowsec systems are likely to have much lower install costs as well. It’s a safer arrangement than it sounds – bring raw materials in via jump freighter, or scouted and web-warped freighter during quiet times, then export the finished goods straight into the (relative) safety of highsec. And of course, lowsec capital builders who hope to compete with those in nullsec will have to use POSes.

LOWSEC MOON MINERALS

The opening up of 0.4 represents a little over 11,000 new moons open to mining, and surely there are some R64s there. Will that upset the market? Probably not. Consider it this way: There are a little over 170,000 mineable moons currently in nullsec and lowsec, so the new moons in 0.4 represent an increase of about 6.5%. However, based on moon scans I’ve seen, lowsec regions also tend to have about a third as many moons as a nullsec region of “equivalent” density. Given that, it’s safe to argue that the increase in R64s will be around 2%. Invention BPCs will now come out with positive ME, rather than negative, and the adjustment to material requirements to offset that alone results in an increase that offsets the increased supply, nevermind the inefficiencies of the moon mineral markets themselves and, of course, siphons simply destroying some fraction of what gets mined.

WHAT’S STILL MISSING

SECURITY

While much of the complaining surrounding the removal of remote research is simply mewling over the loss of completely risk-free operation, there is a far more reasonable complaint regarding the ability to lock down blueprints. Blueprints can be locked down in stations and so remote research allowed collaberative research without also requiring full trust. That simply isn’t possible in a POS – if someone is able to access the blueprints for research, they’re also able to take the blueprints themselves and possibly (I’d have to check the roles!) the entire POS as well.

DEFENSE

One method to mitigate risk to an industry POS is to make defending easier, and it would be awfully nice if the POS was actually capable of that itself. Unfortunately, POS guns, even while manned, are just plain bad. Ships themselves received numerous buffs over the years and tactics have advanced, with logistics capabilities being ubiqutous. POS guns, however, are still stuck in 2006 – or earlier. A buff to the stats of POS guns – ideally, only while manned – would be tremendous for anyone who runs a POS, industrial or otherwise.

TRANSPORT

Moving product is a cornerstone of industry. If you’re working in a station, you can pay someone else to do it for you, even someone outside your corp; if you’re working in a POS, you can’t. This can be summed up in five words: “Courier contracts to POS, please.”

CCP’s plans after Crius include a focused revamp of Invention, so we may see more extensive changes to POS then. And of course, as (re)-revealed in the Fanfest keynote, Structures are on the future roadmap. In other words, the days of any complaints you might have about POS may well be numbered.

This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Mynnna.

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