EVE Evolved: Research: Invention and Tech 2

In last week's first part to this multi-part guide to research in EVE Online, I covered the basics of Tech 1 blueprint research. Tech 2 blueprints are an entirely different animal and the way players get their hands on them has changed vastly over the years. The first system put in place was an agent-based lottery system. Players would set up research contracts with the various NPC R&D agents in EVE, who would then generate a certain number of research points per day. Whenever new Tech 2 items were released into the game, original blueprints were passed out via these agents.

Each research point you had became a ticket in an on-going lottery and the prize was essentially a license to print money. After many player-run cartels, rampant price gouging and one incident of developer misconduct, CCP replaced the blueprint lottery with the "Invention" system. Although the invention system contains no way to get an original Tech 2 blueprint, it does allow players to upgrade Tech 1 blueprint copies into limited-run Tech 2 versions.

In this second part of my guide to research in EVE, I look into Tech 2 blueprints. I delve into the invention system, explain how to make your own Tech 2 blueprints and look at all the variables that could help you get an edge in a competitive marketplace.

All about blueprints:
Since the invention system came in, the only way to get your hands on an infinite-run original Tech 2 blueprint is to buy it from one of the current owners. They typically change hands for billions of ISK per blueprint, making the barrier to ownership extremely high. In contrast, all you need to start inventing is a few science skills and a little ISK. The tools of the trade here are "Data Interfaces", "Datacores", "Decryptors" and Tech 1 blueprint copies. The data interface is not consumed in the invention process and can be re-used forever but the other components are consumed. Before inventing, decide what Tech level 2 item you want to create. Every Tech 2 item, from ships and modules to ammo and rigs, has a Tech 1 counterpart. To invent it, you'll need to get your hands on some blueprint copies of the Tech 1 variant. For example, if you want to make some "Cap Recharger II"s, you'll need to get a few "Cap Recharger I" blueprint copies.

You can either try to buy Tech 1 copies on the contracts pages or buy a blueprint original from the market and copy it yourself. The ME and PE attributes of the blueprint copies used in inventions don't matter at all so you could buy a completely new unresearched blueprint and make copies from it for invention immediately. The only thing that matters is the number of runs your blueprint copy has as this will affect the number of runs the invented Tech 2 blueprint will have. For everything except ships, using maximum run blueprint copies will produce 10-run tech 2 blueprints. The maximum number of runs for a Tech 1 blueprint copy is 300 for most modules and rigs but 1500 for drones and ammo. For ship invention, the maximum number of runs for the Tech 2 blueprint created is reduced to 1 so when doing ship invention, a 1-run blueprint is sufficient.

Data Interfaces and Datacores:
Once you've picked your item and created a few blueprint copies of its tech 1 variant, you'll need to get your hands on the appropriate data interface. Each race has their own set of three data interfaces. The standard version is used to invent modules, the "Tuner" version is used for inventing rigs and the "Ship" version is used for ships. To see which race and type your blueprint needs, check the blueprint's info and look under the "Invention" tab in the "Bill of materials" section. In this tab you'll also see the two different types of datacore the job requires. For example, each attempt to invent a "Cap Recharger II" blueprint will require two "High Energy Physics" datacores and two "Quantum Physics" datacores.

The number and type of datacores required varies from item to item. The best way to get your hands on datacores is probably just to buy them from other players on the market. The alternative is to find R&D agents and start researching with them. Although the Tech 2 blueprint lottery is no longer in the game, the R&D agents are still there serving a new role. They now let you exchange any research points you get with them for datacores. This supplies a slow but steady stream of datacores for invention.

Read on to page 2, where I discuss the skills you'll need to be an inventor and a few optional extras that can improve your invention jobs.

This article was originally published on Massively.