Five Frequently Asked Questions About Invention (EVE Online Guide)

Invention is one of the most active areas of EVE industry, yet there are many misconceptions about the various aspects of how it functions. This EVE guide will clear up some of these invention-related questions.

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5. What is the best decryptor to use in an invention job?

Each race has five decryptors associated with their invention jobs. These decryptors modify the chance of an invention job succeeding, the number of times any successful jobs can be used, and the amount of ingredient materials required. Decryptors can add millions or even tens of millions of ISK to the cost of a job, so they are not always a good idea, but can work to your advantage if you choose your ships and decryptors carefully. Which decryptor best meets your needs for a given job is something that takes a little time and a spreadsheet or invention profitability calculator to consider. Further complicating this is the fact that nearly all tech II ships are unprofitable to invent, unless a decryptor is used. This is something that a lot of rookie inventors have discovered to their chagrin, as they end up with blueprints for ships that require ingredients that are more expensive than just buying a finished ship on the market.

Some general guidelines:

  • To the best of my knowledge, decryptors are never practical to use for non-ship invention. It is possible that some items may be exceptions, such as Large Mobile Warp Disruptors, but I haven't done the math.
  • The -40% success rate decryptors that give +9 runs seem to be practical for some tech II frigates and interdictors, but not all.
  • The decryptors that do not modify your success chance, but give +2 runs on a successful job seem to be optimal for inventing tech II cruisers of all races. The down side with this method is that the blueprint copies used in the invention job need to have the maximum number of runs.
  • The really expensive +80% success chance decryptors are only useful for the expensive attempts like those used to make jump freighters.
  • The rest are useful for some ships but not others, and the only way to figure it out is to run the numbers.

4. Is it true that tech II blueprint originals wreck the invention market and prevent inventors from making a profit?

With a few notable exceptions, this is completely untrue. For newer players that might not be aware, the original way that tech II goods were introduced to EVE Online was via a random lottery of blueprint originals. Though CCP have long since replaced that method with invention, many of the original blueprints are still out there. While there are quite a few tech II blueprint originals around for ammunition, modules and ships, and also true that most of them are capable of producing goods in a much cheaper fashion than invention, they are completely unable to scale up or meet market demand.

This means that, aside from the exceptions that I will note in a second, the market price is determined by what the costs associated with invention, not tech II blueprint originals. This is a good thing, since invention is designed in such a way that the blueprint originals could out-compete them in a heartbeat, due mostly to their superior material efficiency. But consider that even if a blueprint were producing 24/7, it is still only a single slot of production. That player's other slots cannot somehow utilize that blueprint unless, perhaps, time was wasted making copies of said blueprint. Nor is EVE Online's ever-growing economy able to be supplied by a couple dozen blueprints, here and there.

There are two exceptions to the above rules: first, when a ship or item has such low demand, that nobody bothers inventing it; second, when a ship is so huge that the material efficiency trumps all of the decryptors.

Ships can have low demand due to being unpopular or making use of game mechanics that are in disfavor. The Eagle leaps to mind. They may also just not be lost much, so a player using them is likely to retain them. Such is certainly the case for many of the command ships. Because so few of these ships are sold, the blueprint original owners are able to completely meet demand, and can afford to sell at a lower price than anybody using invention.

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The command ship class is essentially the only set of tech II EVE ships that have expensive enough ingredients that they cannot be invented properly, through any means. At any given time, the difference in invention-produced costs and blueprint-original-produced costs will be tens of millions of ISK. These cheap prices can easily be maintained by the blueprint owners, while inventors would have to swallow huge losses to sell. For reasons mentioned above, the ships do not have a high enough turnover/demand, so they remain exclusively in the realm of blueprint-owner production.

Newer ships such as black ops battleships, marauders, and jump freighters all require large enough batches of ingredients that inventors would not be able to compete with blueprint holders, as well. It is fortunate then that these ships were introduced long after the tech II blueprint lottery stopped, making invention the only way to produce these.

3. Why doesn't anybody want to buy my tech II blueprint copies?

The unfortunate truth of industry in EVE Online is that for any production process, the majority of the profit to be had will be shifted to any bottlenecks in the overall process. In the case of invention, this means that the actual production of tech II blueprints via invention does not usually add a ton of value to the items involved. The actual money to be made is in using the blueprints to make finished products.

This is due to a combination of factors, including the ease with which blueprint copies are made (for people that own a starbase, anyway), the relative speed with which most invention jobs complete themselves, and the fact that anybody that wants to build a tech II item is most likely capable of making the blueprints themselves. Why pay a premium to someone for an already-made blueprint, when you can do it yourself with a day of turnaround at most, and often far less than that.

The main exception to this rule is jump freighters, which require incredibly expensive ingredients in order to attempt their invention. With them, people looking only to build one or two specimens are probably better off paying a premium to another player in exchange for that player dealing with the risk of failing such an expensive invention job.

2. What material efficiency should my blueprint copies be at, in order to get a higher tech II blueprint result?

Trick question, friend! There is no relationship whatsoever between the material efficiency of the ingredient blueprints and the product. The default material efficiency is -4, and the only thing that modifies it is including a decryptor in the invention job (see question #1).

1. Is it better to run radar exploration sites and get decryptors myself, or buy them on the market?

For most players, it is probably better to buy them on the market. Exploration is fun and all, but the money really is not in running the radar sites, which seem almost like practice sites, or just a fun alternative to ratting. A general rule in EVE Online ISK making that applies to this situation is as follows: if you have other stuff that you could be doing that would earn more ISK, it is usually better to focus on that and leave the unprofitable stuff to the suckers.

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