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EVE Evolved: Research: Reverse Engineering and Tech 3

In the first two parts of this guide to Research in EVE Online, I covered the basics of Tech 1 blueprint research and the "Invention" system that allows players to make their own Tech 2 blueprint copies. The reverse engineering process used to make Tech 3 blueprints is a lot like invention except with a new set of materials, equipment and skills. Though the process used to create it will be familiar to inventors, the end product is a strange beast. Unlike Tech 2, Tech 3 isn't just a straight improvement over lower tech levels and doesn't use Tech 1 or 2 as a base. Instead, it's an entirely new technology used to make custom, modular ships. At the moment, the only Tech 3 products we have are the modular "Strategic Cruiser" class but more is planned for future patches. Tech 3 frigates are rumoured to be next on the development table and it's entirely possible that we'll see strange new Tech 3 modules thrown into the mix too at some point.

In today's part of this bumper guide to research, I look into EVE's newest addition to the researcher's repertoire as I examine Tech 3 and "Reverse Engineering". I'll look at how it all fits together to make a finished product, what's required to get involved and best practices for staying profitable in what has become a very competitive marketplace.

New production chain:

The Tech 3 production chain was entirely new with the Apocrypha expansion, using materials, blueprints and construction processes introduced with the expansion. A Tech 3 ship starts life as reservoirs of fullerite gas floating in space. This gas can only be collected from "ladar" sites in one of EVE's 2500 hidden star systems reached via a wormhole. The gas comes in nine different forms, with the rarest and most valuable ones being available only in the toughest Sleeper star systems.

The gas is collected with gas harvesters and then reacted together in a special starbase polymer reactor to produce one of nine fulleride polymer materials. These materials are then used to build Tech 3 components, for which blueprints are available on the market from various NPC research corporations. These Tech 3 components are used to build both the hulls and the subsystems, with no need for a base Tech 1 or 2 item.

Ancient relics:

Reverse engineering provides Tech 3 blueprint copies of the strategic cruiser hulls and the various subsystem modules it requires. The base items for reverse engineering are ancient relics recovered from dangerous sites in Sleeper space and the research must be done on a new "Experimental Lab" starbase module. There are six different types of relic and each one corresponds to a different piece of the Tech 3 ship - the hull, defensive subsystem, electronics subsystem, engineering subsystem, propulsion subsystem and offensive subsystem.

The five subsystem relics can be unearthed in deadly magnetometric archeology sites all throughout Sleeper space. Hull sections can be recovered from the wrecks of ancient Talocan ships in Sleeper radar sites. The relics come in three forms - wrecked, malfunctioning and intact. Wrecked relics have the lowest chance of success and produce 3-run blueprint copies if successful. Malfunctioning relics have a better chance of success and produce 10-run blueprints. Finally, intact pieces have the highest success chance and produce 20-run blueprints.

New skills:

With new production and research processes comes new skills to train. Reverse engineering uses a lot of the same skills as invention and as such should be easy for an inventor to get into. For someone that's new to research, however, the skill requirements may take some time to fulfill adequately. In addition to the "Reverse Engineering" skill which improves success chance overall, there are five "Subsystem Technology" skills that each improve success chance with a particular type of relic. These are Defense Subsystem Technology, Engineering Subsystem Technology, Electronics Subsystem Technology, Propulsion Subsystem Technology and Offensive Subsystem Technology.

All of these have hefty skill requirements, with the recommended skill-set being Science 5, Research 5, Electronics 5 and Engineering 5. To produce the full range of subsystem blueprints, you'll also need Electronic Engineering, Nanite Engineering, High-Energy Physics and Graviton Physics at level 4. Plasma Physics, Rocket Science, Quantum Physics and Hydromagnetic Physics are also each required to level 1 for a particular relic, but higher levels will improve success chances further. It's recommended to get all of these to at least level 3 before attempting to reverse engineer a relic.

Read on to page 2, where I talk about the requirements for installing your reverse engineering job and how to keep your profit up when reverse engineering and building Tech 3.

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