Reprocess all the things!

By CCP Ytterbium
| Comments

Of the various activities available to EVE Online® players, one in particular has been around since day one: reprocessing. It grinds ore into the minerals needed to start basic manufacturing. It turns ice into fuel required to operate Starbases, Jump Drives and Forcefields. It also is a secondary income for some people that actually bother to loot. Last but not least, players have used it for years to facilitate mineral transportation across the universe.

This dev blog is about the significant improvements to reprocessing coming in EVE’s summer expansion.

Paving the way to Rome

Before listing the nitty-gritty stuff in detail, let us explain the general reasons why we are tweaking reprocessing as a whole before someone posts “it ain’t broken, don’t fix it pal” .

There is one particular design problem with reprocessing: Currently you can reprocess at a perfect 100% rate uniformly across New Eden, regardless of system or station. As a result:

  • It prevents us from giving low and null-security facilities some advantage: Player-built stations in null security space can only be, at their very best, equivalent with NPC stations that are spread all across New Eden.
  • Perfect refine reduces the incentive to train most reprocessing skills, since it’s possible to get to the cap without maximizing them all. As an indirect consequence, it discourages players specializing in this particular activity.
  • It limits a game designer’s ability to increase material composition on items when needed, as this would give players free stuff in the process. As an example, we were forced to add Extra Materials to most of the ships that have been through the Tiericide initiative (which by itself, added a lot of confusion for players engaged in Manufacturing).
  • It devalues the Rorqual and its compression facilities as a whole, since modules exist with better compression ratios.

And that’s why perfect reprocessing is out of place right now – since there is no reprocessing loss, there is no gameplay room to get better at it or geography that matters. Perfect reprocessing offers no landscape on the sandbox, just a flat, barren plain with small bumps that aren’t that noteworthy in the first place.

As we write those words, we feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were definitely not silenced. Are you afraid you are going to get your favorite profession killed because of CCP? Stay calm. Don’t panic and read what’s below.

  • Yes, we are going to reduce reprocessing efficiency down by quite a bit, but we are going to keep mining efficiency the same as it is right now by increasing minerals gained from reprocessing ices and ores.
  • Yes, module compression is going to be heavily nerfed, but we are going to boost existing ore compression to compensate.

So, take the blue pill and sit on the sofa over there. Stretch your legs for a bit. Want a baguette? A glass of Bordeaux? Relax, we have you covered. We know about the consequences of decreasing reprocessing rates – they are mentioned, tackled and solved later in this blog, which is why we strongly encourage you to fully read it.

E = MC²

The first thing we are going to look at is the reprocessing formula and its related skills. Those familiar with reprocessing know it as:

Reprocessing yield: Station Equipment + 0.375 x (1 + Refining skill x 0.02) x (1 + Refining Efficiency skill x 0.04) x (1 + Ore Processing skill x 0.05)

There are several issues with this formula.

  • Our design philosophy on specialization in EVE suggests that it should take more time (or resources) to dedicate yourself to one specific field. That’s the case with Tech II in general. If you look at Gunnery skills, you will notice that Tech II specialization skills give less benefit than Tech I turret skills of the same type (2% vs 5% damage per level).Training for Tech II as a whole follows the same principle. However, in the case of Refining, Refining Efficiency and Ore Specialization skills, this process is reversed, with 4-5% given from the advanced skills, and only 2% gained from the basic one.
  • There is a default 0.375 base variable that is arbitrarily added to the whole skill-part of the formula. It is not needed and decreases the value of station equipment.

As such, we are planning to change the formula to the following:

Reprocessing yield: Station Equipment x (1 + Refining skill x 0.03) x (1 + Refining Efficiency skill x 0.02) x (1 + Ore Processing skill x 0.02) )

  • We are removing the 0.375 base multiplier, instead having the station equipment directly multiplied by skills in the new formula. We are primarily doing this to increase the importance of finding the right station, while achieving our goal to reduce reprocessing efficiency. It is also important to note that NPC station reprocessing rates are not being changed for now.
  • Refining now gives 3% instead of 2%, Refining Efficiency and Ore Specialization skills only giving 2% each instead of 4% and 5% respectively.
  • Also, all refining skills and implants will now only affect ore and ices. Any item that’s not part of the two categories mentioned earlier (like ships and modules) will only be affected by the Scrapmetal Processing skill, which will be decreased from 5% to 2% efficiency per level. That means you’ll only be able to reprocess ships, modules and other items at only 50-55% rates.
  • We will alter the skill requirements a bit, and thus Refining Efficiency will now only require Refining at level 4 instead of 5 to train, to allow players to get better yields a bit more easily.
  • We will rename all instances of “refining” into “reprocessing”. That includes changing skill names to Reprocessing, Reprocessing Efficiency, renaming the station service as a whole and all its references in the game. This is made in an effort to help players to quickly identify this activity and clear confusion in general. We will use “reprocessing” as the default term from this point forward in this blog as well.

To realize how this will affect reprocessing rates in general, let’s compare efficiencies before and after the changes.

So we can see a drop of 27.6% in reprocessing rates from a maxed character from 100% to 72.4%. Again, we know this has side-effects on mining and compression, which are tackled in the next sections of the blog.

Rock you like a hurricane

Decreasing reprocessing efficiency as a whole affects the outcome of mining, which really doesn’t need to be nerfed right now. As such, to keep ratio fairly identical, we are going to boost all minerals and ice products gained by reprocessing ores and ices approximately by 38.1% (1/0.724). This will apply to all the unrefined alchemy material as well.

In an effort to promote simplicity and consistency, we are also going to use this opportunity to unify all ore reprocess batch sizes to 100 units. Which means tampering further with amount of reprocessed materials gained from ices and ores a bit to keep fairly identical numbers with what we have right now.

So, to get the new quantity of refined minerals from a particular ice or ore type, we will use the following formula:

New mineral quantity = (old mineral quantity * new ore batch size / old ore batch size)* 1.381

This gives us the following quantities (rounded up for ores, rounded to closest digit for ices):


 

What does that mean in practice?

  • A character with Reprocessing 5, Reprocessing Efficiency 1 and perfect NPC corporation standings will get 10.2% less reprocessed minerals in a 50% station than currently. This is intended as we now are pushing for all skills to be maxed out by players wanting to specialize in reprocessing in order to get the most of it
  • A character that has perfect skills/standings who reprocesses at a 50% station with all skills maxed but without the 4% implant will have 2.8% less reprocessed minerals than currently. Again, that is an intended behavior, as we want players to invest in reprocessing to get the most out of it.
  • A character having perfect skills and standings, reprocessing anything that’s not ores and ices at a 50% station will get 55% reprocessing outcome (The Scrapmetal Processing skill is applied on the same fashion than ore specialization skills on the formula above).

For a character reprocessing at a player-built outpost, don’t tune out yet, we have more news for you.

Little outpost on the prairie

Player-built outposts are currently very biased regarding reprocessing. Minmatar outposts have a default 35% output and all others have none. Currently there is not much of a choice on that regard.

In the same vein, there is not so much of an incentive to upgrade an outpost for better reprocessing yields, since perfect reprocessing rates are so easily achieved.

After the summer expansion, all outposts will now have a default 50% reprocessing rate (on all items, including ore, ices, ships, ammunition etc…). However:

  • Amarr, Caldari and Gallente outposts can be upgraded to further increase ore and ice reprocessing by 2%, 4% and 7% (for a total of 52%, 54% and 57%)
  • Minmatar outposts can be upgraded to add further 3%, 7% and 10% on ore and ice reprocessing rates (for a total of 53%, 57% and 60%)

In practice, that means that someone with perfect skills, implant and standings refining at a fully upgraded Minmatar outpost will receive 14.4% more reprocessed minerals than currently.

However, it is true not everyone has the resources or organization to own outposts, which brings us to the next point.

Back into the structure

Except in some rare edge-case scenario, Starbase Reprocessing Arrays are quite useless nowadays. They can only reprocess one type of material at the same time, have long cool-down timers and not-so-good reprocessing rates compared to NPC stations.

We would like to give more options to player groups who don’t have access to outposts or null-security space. As such we are revamping them on the following fashion:

Note: both Reprocessing Arrays may only contain ore and ices.

You may notice the third type of Reprocessing Array, previously named “Medium Intensive Refining Array” has disappeared from this list. Keep reading, young grasshopper, for this shall be explained in the next section.

Compressing the universe, one asteroid at a time

With the max reprocessing rate for any item that is not ore or ice dropping to 55%(with Scrapmetal Processing trained at 5), we needed to find other ways to favor compression or else null-security industry would simply stop functioning.

The solution is to improve compression ratios from Rorqual ore blueprints by increasing their outputs by 38.1% (due to the reprocessing changes above) while tweaking the compressed ore volumes to make it competitive with current modules like the 425mm Railgun I for instance. Exact figures on compression changes available below:

However, since the Rorqual cannot enter high-security space, this doesn’t completely fix our problem, since people would face increased transportation issues in this portion of the galaxy. That is why we are turning the previous Medium Intensive Refinery into a Compression Array that functions the same way that the Rorqual does. The stats for the Compression Array are below:

Note: the Compression Array may only contain ores and ices.

Please note that we are removing compression blueprints altogether in favor of a more user friendly solution.

  • Compression blueprints are quite redundant and annoying to deal with, which is why they are being removed altogether. Players who currently own them will be refunded at market buy price. If belonging to a corporation division at the time of the change, the money will be wired back to the corporation wallet.
  • From now on, when working with the Rorqual or the Compression Array, players will be able to right-click the ores or ices they wish to compress to immediately get the output.

Also, we do know the Rorqual needs more love to be a more viable ship, and that is being looked into, but chances are this won’t make it in EVE’s summer expansion.

Reprocessing like a boss

Before we bring this blog to a close, Teams SuperFriends and Game of Drones would like to show you some work-in-progress designs for a new reprocessing window. Here is a small glimpse on how it is currently looking. Please note that all of this is still work in progress. Values expressed below are purely fictional for the purpose of the mock-ups and not actually representing accurate reprocessing numbers.

Main functionalities are:

  • Ability to directly add materials by drag and drop from the inventory into the input area of the window.
  • Ability to remove items from the input area by drag and dropping.
  • Sorting of materials into groups to break up long confusing list of items
  • No need to press a “Quote” button anymore to get output results every time an input is changed
  • Clear indication of the average market price of all input and output items
  • Calculation of the total volume of all output materials, which is useful if you might be thinking about transporting them later
  • Display of the user reprocessing rate based on character skills and station equipment (yellow bars in the output part of the mockup)
  • Ability to change the output destination of reprocessing (hangar, corporation hangar or a container within those)
  • Clearer representation of items that cannot be reprocessed or that are below batch size (red forbidden icon on asteroids).

  • Warning indication of items that may be too valuable to be reprocessed (yellow interrogation mark on ships and tech II items)

  • Marker to represent if output materials can be reprocessed further (green recycle icons)

And this concludes this blog on reprocessing – please remember all of this is still subject to change over time, as we will open feedback threads on the proper forums soon. Stay tuned for more as this only is a fraction of what we have in the oven for summer.