The following guide is derived from a syllabus of a class that I teach at EVE University. I wrote the original version of this syllabus in 2010, and it has since been improved and updated by my fellow professors and teachers at the UNI – my heartfelt thanks to all of them.
This guide was last updated on April 6, 2015.
Invention is the process in EVE Online that produces Tech II blueprint copies, from which one can manufacture advanced technology items and ships. Tech II items command higher prices in the market and can be a lucrative way for players to earn ISK.
However, for those who are not well prepared, trying to perform invention can be a costly nightmare. This guide endeavors to illuminate the potential obstacles to successful invention, and provide useful advice to budding Tech II entrepreneurs.
History of Tech II Invention
Once upon a time, long, long ago... CCP decided that Tech II (Meta-level 5) items and ships would be a cool thing to offer to EVE Online players.
To maintain play balance, Tech II items had to be more expensive and harder to get than Tech I (Meta-level 0-4) items, since they represent a significant improvement in performance. They couldn't simply seed Tech II blueprints in stations, as Tech I blueprint originals (BPOs) are provided, or else no one would ever make Tech I items anymore. And so, in their infinite wisdom, CCP created the Tech II BPO lottery, where a limited number of Tech II blueprint originals were awarded to players, based on the number of research datacores they owned. This happened with the Castor expansion in 2003.
This solution presented some significant problems. The production of Tech II items was reserved to a relatively small number of EVE players who were lucky enough to get one of the BPOs. This allowed them to control prices, making Tech II items dreadfully expensive.
So, in their now smarter infinite wisdom, CCP developed the invention process, released with the Revelations expansion in 2006, which allows any EVE player to produce Tech II blueprint copies after a significant investment in skills, materials, and equipment. The invention process produces limited-run Tech II blueprint copies, but with a chance of failure, thus making Tech II item production more difficult, but still attractive enough to warrant investment by players. Since BPCs produce limited runs of items, unlike BPOs, the invention process also keeps Tech II item production at a much more intensive but more scarce level than Tech I production.
Tech II BPOs still exist in EVE, and are highly prized and hideously expensive. Their owners have become very rich in the game, and they guard their use very diligently. Some pundits in the EVE Online player community have speculated that Tech II BPOs may one day be discontinued. If this ever happens, then the invention process will become the sole source of Tech II items in the game.
How does invention work?
A player using the invention process takes a blueprint copy (BPC) for a Tech I item, adds a required number of research datacores, and attempts to convert it into a blueprint copy for a Tech II item with an invention industrial job. Although it sounds simple, invention can be expensive and difficult to do successfully if you don’t possess the right skills and use the right methodology.
Not all Tech I items can use invention to create Tech II variants. For example, there is currently no Tech II version of Salvage Drone I. To determine if an item is eligible for invention, search for the Tech I item in the Market, select "Show Info", and click on the "Variations" tab. If you see a Tech II variant listed, then that item can be invented.
Required Skills for Invention
You need to train several different types of skills in order to perform the invention process.
The basic skills needed for invention are:
- CPU Management II*
- Power Grid Management II*
- Electronics Upgrades III
- Science III*
- Hacking II
*Note that advanced sciences skills (listed below) require Level V trained for Science, Power Grid Management and/or CPU Management, so in effect you must train to Level V for those skills as well.
There are four racial encryption method skills. Each Tech II item requires a specific one of these encryption methods:
- Amarr Encryption Methods
- Caldari Encryption Methods
- Gallente Encryption Methods
- Minmatar Encryption Methods
Each invented item also has two advanced science skills associated with it. The advanced science skills are:
- (Racial) Starship Engineering - one for the four racial factions (Amarr, Gallente, Caldari, Minmatar)
- Electromagnetic Physics
- Electronic Engineering
- Graviton Physics
- High Energy Physics
- Hydromagnetic Physics
- Laser Physics
- Mechanical Engineering
- Molecular Engineering
- Nanite Engineering
- Nuclear Physics
- Plasma Physics
- Quantum Physics
- Rocket Science
An inventor must have the basic skills, the proper encryption method skill, and the two science skills trained, as required for each item, in order to start an Invention job. Higher skill levels of the encryption methods and science skills lead to a better chance of invention. The basic skills do not alter your success chances.
In order to see which skills are required, select "Show Info" on a Tech I item's blueprint copy, and look in the Invention section. (If there is no Invention section, then that item is not eligible for invention.)
- For example, 1MN Afterburner invention requires:
- Minmatar Encryption Methods I
- Molecular Engineering I
- Rocket Science I
Required Items for Invention
There are two mandatory items required to start an invention job:
- Blueprint copy (BPC)
- You must have a Tech I BPC of the Tech II item you wish to create. If the Invention job is successful, the BPC will be transformed from Tech I to Tech II. If the job is unsuccessful, the BPC will be destroyed.
- See the section below about how to acquire BPCs
- The Material Efficiency and Production Efficiency of the BPC does not matter for an Invention job.
- Each invention job will require two types of datacores, consistent with the science skills required for that item's invention. The number of datacores needed depends on the size of the object created. Small modules only require one datacore of each type, for example. The larger the item, the more datacores you will need. For instance, Battleships require 32 datacores of each type.
- Datacores may be collected from R&D agents (see Datacore Farming), redeemed as rewards in faction warfare loyalty point stores, or purchased in the market.
You can also apply an optional item, a decryptor, to change some characteristics of an invention job. Decryptors can affect the invention chance of the process as well as the Material Efficiency (ME), Time Efficiency (TE), and number of runs of the created Tech II BPC. Decryptors will be consumed during the Invention process, whether successful or not.
When using no decryptor, the base values for a successfully produced Tech II BPC are the following: Runs: 1 for ships, 10 for modules/items; and Material Efficiency: +2%, Time Efficiency: +4%. Add the values from the decryptor to the base values to calculate the final outcome of a successfully produced Tech II BPC. Decryptors affect the results of Invention jobs, as follows:
- Accelerant: +1 run, +2 ME, +10 TE, 120% chance of success
- Attainment: +4 runs, -1 ME, +4 TE, 180% chance of success
- Augmentation: +9 runs, -2 ME, +2 TE, 60% chance of success
- Parity: +3 runs, +1 ME, -2 TE, 150% chance of success
- Process: +0 runs, +3 ME, +6 TE, 110% chance of success
- Symmetry: +2 runs, +1 ME, +8 TE, 100% chance of success
- Optimized Attainment: +2 runs, +1 ME, -2 TE, 190% chance of success
- Optimized Augmentation: +7 runs, +2 ME, +0 TE, 90% chance of success
Preparing for Tech II Invention: Making Copies
Invention can only be performed on blueprint copies (BPCs). You will need to either create your own copies from BPOs that you own, or acquire BPCs from other players. You cannot buy BPCs in the Market, but some players sell them as contracts. To see what BPCs are available, select the Neocom button (in the upper left corner of your screen), choose "Business", and then "Contracts". Click the "Available Contracts" tab, then select the Buy & Sell category. Under "Contract Type", select "Want to Sell". Under "Item Category", select "Blueprint Copy". Set the remaining parameters as you desire, and press the Search button.
Most inventors buy their own BPOs and make their own copies, using facilities in stations or in Design Laboratories in Player-Owned Starbases (POSes). To see what facilities are available in your region, click the Industry button on the NeoCom (or use the shortcut Alt-S), and click the "Facilities" tab. On this list, you will see icons for each of the types of industry facilities available to you.
Since a Design Laboratory anchored and online in a POS provides a 40% reduction to copy times, most serious inventors set up their own POS to run copying jobs. However, this is not a requirement, and many players who run occasional invention jobs find copying in public station facilities to be adequate for their needs.
You do not need any skills to run a single copying job, but if you want to run more than one at a time, then you need to train Laboratory Operation for one additional job per level. (You can run up to a maximum of 11 simultaneous research jobs, including copying, if you train both Laboratory Operation and Advanced Laboratory Operation to V.)
To copy a BPO, first move it to the facility that you've selected. Right-click the BPO icon, and select "Use Blueprint" (or open your Industry window, select the "Blueprints" tab, and then select your BPO from the list). Select the "Copy" job type by clicking on the icon that looks like two beakers.
In the "Job Runs" field, select the actual number of BPCs you want to produce. In the "Runs Per Copy" field, it's generally a good idea to set this at the maximum value - this varies by item type. The Runs Per Copy determines how many invention jobs you will be able to run later on that BPC, so unless you have an immediate need and need to have a short copying time, go ahead and set it to the maximum possible value. The copying job duration and cost will be displayed - click the Start button in the lower right corner to begin the job.
You can monitor the copying job's progress in the "Jobs" tab of the Industry window. When the job is finished, you can receive your BPCs by selecting the "Deliver" button next to the completed job. Once you have a BPC in your possession, you can being the invention process.
The Invention Process
1. Assemble all the elements that you need for invention.
- Check the Invention tab on your Tech I blueprint copy for all the required skills and materials. Make sure you have trained all the required skills to the recommended levels.
- Acquire or produce the required items: BPC and datacores.
- Acquire decryptors, if you wish to use that optional item to boost your chance of success, or to affect the resulting characteristics of any successfully produced Tech II BPCs.
2. Transport all required items to a invention facility, either a station facility or a Research Laboratory at a POS that is open to you.
3. Select your Tech I BPC, right click on it, and select "Use Blueprint".
4. Complete the invention research job dialogue box:
- Job Runs: you can run multiple iterations of invention jobs, provided that you have enough runs on your BPC and a sufficient number of datacores (or decryptors, if you use them) for each job.
- Input/Output: select the location(s) for all required items needed for the job, and where you would like the Tech II BPC to be deposited, if successful.
- Decryptor: if you include a decryptor, be sure it is selected as an optional item.
- Output Type: if you can produce one of several types of Tech II BPCs from this invention job, select the desired output here. For example, conducting research on a Gallente Atron frigate can produce either an Ares or Taranis interceptor, depending on what you select.
5. Start the job and wait for the outcome. You can monitor the status of your invention jobs by clicking the Industry button on your NeoCom, and selecting the 'Jobs' tab. The job status updates in real time, so you can leave the dialog up if you want a second-by-second countdown timer. Wait times for invention jobs range from about an hour for simple modules, up to several days for large ships.
5. Each completed job (in the Jobs listing in the Industry window) shows a Deliver button. Click that to have the product of your job delivered to you. When delivered, the Jobs window will show you if your invention job failed or succeeded. If you initiated multiple runs of invention jobs, it will tell you how many of your runs succeeded. All input items are consumed by the invention process, whether successful or not.
When the completed invention job is delivered, you'll get a Tech II item BPC for each successful run.
- Tech II module BPCs have runs of 10 items, unless modified by a decryptor.
- Tech II ship BPCs have runs of 1 item, unless modified.
- ME and TE on Tech II BPCs are +2 and +4, respectively, unless modified by a decryptor.
- Tech II BPCs generally require a Tech I version of the item, some additional specialty items (from planetary interaction and/or moon mining component production), and morphite to build. Most starting inventors simply build the Tech I item, and acquire any additional items using buy orders in trade hubs.
Maximizing Invention Success
All inventors should become familiar with this ultra-useful industry and invention chance calculator: http://eve-industry.org/calc/
The chance for a successful invention is calculated by this formula:
All modules, rigs, and ammo have a base chance of 34%.
All Frigates and Destroyers have a base chance of 30%.
Cruisers, Battlecruisers, Mining Barges and Industrials have a base chance of 26%.
All Battleships have a base chance of 22%.
Freighters have a base chance of 18%.
It's not difficult to get a decent chance of success for modules (close to 50%), but progressively more difficult for ships as their size increases. This is why investing in some decryptors is a good idea for Tech II ship invention jobs.
Note that the following factors have no impact on the probability of invention success:
- Material level of the input BPC
- Time Efficiency level of the input BPC
- Maximum runs of the input BPC
- How attractive, charming or brilliant you are. :-)
A few helpful guidelines:
- Encryption skill affects the chance of success moderately - training up to level 3 is useful - beyond that, it produces only very slight improvement
- Science skills affect success most significantly - train up to at least level 4, and eventually to level 5 if you are going to be producing significant amounts of certain items
- Decryptors can greatly improve the chance of success, but can also be very expensive - in general, use these only for expensive invention jobs like Tech II ships or large Tech II ammo.
- To maximize profits from invention, you need to minimize your investment costs. This means using buy orders to purchase datacores and decryptors in the market. You'll also want to shop around to different stations to find the most affordable blueprint copying and invention research labs - the more used the facilities in a system, the higher the job costs.
- Reverse engineering, which is the process to produce Tech III ship components, works very similarly to Tech II invention, except it uses some different components. Once you've mastered invention, reverse engineering is not difficult.
- As you gain more experience in invention, you can experiment with different investments to improve your efficiency. Many inventors tire quickly of depending on public resources for blueprint copying, which are 40% slower than labs in a POS. If you are going to be a serious producer of Tech II items, you will eventually want to establish a research-oriented POS, so that you always have optimal copying and invention job times. But that is the subject of another guide....
Fly safe! o7