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A Discussion on Bringing Balance to T2 Production

Author
Gamer4liff
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Caldari State
#1 - 2014-05-21 00:35:55 UTC
The Problem
T2 Production is currently a two-process affair, the processes being T2 BPOs production and Invention. T2 BPOs were handed out via the research lottery, a system which was discontinued some time after invention was released as a way to control T2 prices. Invention has, by and large, become the dominant means of T2 production. However, T2 BPOs producers enjoy significantly lower build costs, a simpler process with less clicking, and higher maximum runs, allowing for a lower time investment. The two core problems with regard to the status quo are that players who started after the lottery have essentially no chance to get T2 BPOs of their own without paying another player, and that Inventors have a class of producers who they cannot compete with, in some markets.

A Solution
It is my belief that it is possible to bring balance to these two systems while preserving the best aspects of both. We can all agree that the status quo is undesirable, but merely removing the T2 BPOs, while arguably the simplest solution, is not an ideal one and deprives manufacturers of what could be rewarding manufacturing gameplay content, but more on that later on.

Finding a Balance
I'll be blunt, T2 BPOs will lose almost the entirety of their value in this model. What I propose is capping T2 BPO ME at 1-3 ME levels less than the maximum possible invention ME. This would make invention the most efficient means of T2 production , which is fitting, given the effort required. To my fellow T2 BPO owners who would have a problem with this severe a nerf, I point you to the many comments CCP has made since (and during) fanfest. The comments strongly indicate that removal is not only in the cards, but likely. We should consider ourselves lucky if we get anything meaningful. I present this as an alternative.

Rethinking the role of T2 BPOs
The above change however, would still be insufficient for coexistence of T2 BPOs and Invention. T2 BPOs would still be held in the hands of a relatively small set of the population. Items with utility in manufacturing should not be gated like this. T2 BPOs should become rewards for diligent long-term inventors, not highly priced tools only affordable to the elite. T2 BPOs would be the light at the end of the invention tunnel for those who feel bogged down, or be a welcome surprise, depending on the system of distribution. On that note...

More T2 BPOs, say what?!
I realize that at first blush many will reject the idea of 'new' T2 BPOs, nerfed to hell or not, but please bear with me. It is/was of course, one of the hardest, if not the hardest problem to solve in balancing manufacturing. Primordial CCP itself was unable to come up with a solution. They shuttered the lottery, and let invention take over the majority of T2 manufacturing in what is arguably still a BPO-centric manufacturing model, while not providing invention with the development support it needed. Fortunately, the end of CCP's inaction on industry is at hand, and with that comes an opportunity for new systems, if CCP so chooses.

The lottery problem
In devising a new system for BPO distribution, it's important to remember why the old system failed. For those who are not familiar with the lottery or its problems, I will briefly describe them. A capsuleer with sufficient standing and skills would set up open ended research with research agents. RP would accumulate as it does now, if a capsuleer was lucky he/she would receive an evemail from the agent announcing a breakthrough, the capsuleer would spend all their RP in accepting the breakthrough, and receive the BPO. The problems with this system were many, but it did fill its primary objective, to avoid grind, and provide a long-term incentive for continuing to play. Even still, its problems were far greater than its benefits. For one thing the risk/effort/reward balance was essentially non-existent. Research agents were essentially fire and forget. Stories of people with 300 RP winning BPOs on inferior research agents were rampant. Worst of all, the actions of acquiring the blueprints (what little actions were involved) were entirely separate from the actions of manufacturing.

Tying BPOs to invention
Any new system of distributing T2 BPOs needs to start with the primary means of T2 production, invention. It is inventors, particularly long-term inventors who deserve new BPOs for their troubles, and it is through invention jobs that any new T2 BPOs should result. Regardless of the form of the distribution, the activity of inventing should increase the chance of getting a BPO, ever so slightly, either directly or indirectly. To that end I would like to propose a few potential means of distribution:

The direct method
Every invention job of a certain item you complete adds to a pool to generate a BPO for that item. The amount of credits in each pool are shown, as is the requisite amount for earning a BPO. BPO overpopulation is controlled by pegging the required number of credits to several factors: population, count of BPOs already existing in game, and velocity of the market of the item. Overpopulation would be less of a problem though because of the inferior nature of BPOs to invention.

The indirect method
Same as above, but with the credit and required credit numbers hidden.

A hybrid method
Same as the indirect method, but instead of hard thresholds, % chances with each job that approach 100% the closer they get to the threshold point. This would preserve the one good aspect of the original lottery, a lack of grind. Ideally people wouldn't be grinding for the BPOs anyway.

In conclusion
The easiest path is not always the best. While CCP would be justified in simply removing BPOs, other paths should at least be considered.

A comprehensive proposal for balancing T2 Production: here

Gamer4liff
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Caldari State
#2 - 2014-05-21 00:36:09 UTC  |  Edited by: Gamer4liff
There, ran out of characters towards the end, but that's my general idea for a system where T2 BPOs have a purpose, as well as giving invention the boost over the top it needs to be competitive. I'm also interested in hearing what other people's thoughts on potential post-expansion manufacturing systems could look like.

A comprehensive proposal for balancing T2 Production: here

Gamer4liff
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Caldari State
#3 - 2014-05-21 00:36:56 UTC
Also reserved.

A comprehensive proposal for balancing T2 Production: here

Mos7Wan7ed
Hardcore Industries
#4 - 2014-05-24 05:12:00 UTC  |  Edited by: Mos7Wan7ed
lotta words to say, can we keep them in if you nerf the ME levels.

Why are their Tech 2 BPOs in the game?
For the same reason CCP seeded shuttles for the first few years of the game. With shuttles, if miners were not able to keep up with demand the price for the minerals would rise. If it rose too high then the economy would be at risk. To counteract this, pilots could buy shuttles at unlimited quantity and at a fixed price, then reprocess them and balance out the market. CCP used this MECHANIC to ensure the market remains stable and the demand does not outstrip the supply.

Tech 2 BPOs were introduced at the same time as T2 items and invention. CCP needed a MECHANIC that would allow pilots to maintain balance. With the power of what BPOs offered, CCP only released limited quantities. The same idea applies. BPOs help manage supply to make sure supply could meet demand.

The game has grown since the introduction. Just like with shuttles, CCP is openly talking about taking off the training wheels of the tech 2 market. TBH, it is about time. A vast majority of pilots will profit from the removal of BPOs. The entire invention process from R&D, T2 Production, to finished product can become more profitable.

BPOs once used to balance and prop the market up are now only suppressing the market. Vain attempts to try and keep BPOs by nerfing ME values will not work. Nerfing ME values will only raise the ceiling that the invention process has to live under a few millimeters.

I think it would be harsh to delete them. I think player owned BPOs need to have their manufacturing and research rights revoked. They can stay bastions of an era that has long since passed. Some choice BPOs may still hold value for those willing to collect such things. But no effort is going to save the player owned BPOs. I suspect those silly enough to buy them this late in the game know this by now.

Good luck with your proposal regardless.
ugh zug
Amok.
Goonswarm Federation
#5 - 2014-05-24 09:40:54 UTC  |  Edited by: ugh zug
T2 BPO should have been pulled the day invention was released much like how bpos that no longer have an item to produce or function are removed and refunded these days, especially when you consider ccp's favoritism to certain individuals on the gifting of said bpos.

Now we have grandfathered in items that guarantees profit over invention players for the same item. I haven't even touched invention myself just because t2 bpos are still here and ultimately unfair to the people who missed the lotteries.

With the upcoming industry changes t2 bpos should be rendered obsolete as first gen t2 blueprints unable to be used on current gen equipment, or flat out removed and players with said bpo in their possession to get a golden penis trophy inscribed "elite" in their captains quarters and a monocle that blows off the head their corpse on death.



that being said invention itself could be altered to be more rewarding, by allowing players to have small chance at inventing bpc of a higher tier/meta level of the item/ship they are trying to invent, like 1 run faction/pirate/officer/deadspace item/ship variants. this would also allow ccp to add another avenue to introduce new items into the game without a whole lot of back content and really bring more life into a colorless spreadsheet world.

CCP should know this by now, their player base really likes gambling.

Want me to shut up? Remove content from my post,1B. Remove my content from a thread I have started 2B.

Gamer4liff
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Caldari State
#6 - 2014-05-24 14:35:50 UTC  |  Edited by: Gamer4liff
Mos7Wan7ed wrote:
lotta words to say, can we keep them in if you nerf the ME levels.

Why are their Tech 2 BPOs in the game?
For the same reason CCP seeded shuttles for the first few years of the game. With shuttles, if miners were not able to keep up with demand the price for the minerals would rise. If it rose too high then the economy would be at risk. To counteract this, pilots could buy shuttles at unlimited quantity and at a fixed price, then reprocess them and balance out the market. CCP used this MECHANIC to ensure the market remains stable and the demand does not outstrip the supply.

Yes, but their solution created a whole new market and isn't exactly comparable with the current situation.
Quote:

Tech 2 BPOs were introduced at the same time as T2 items and invention.

This isn't true, invention came significantly later. Too many 40m cap recharger 2's and 80m covert op cloak 2s prior to invention. Invention was explicitly designed to balance T2 BPOs and better supply markets.
Quote:

CCP needed a MECHANIC that would allow pilots to maintain balance. With the power of what BPOs offered, CCP only released limited quantities. The same idea applies. BPOs help manage supply to make sure supply could meet demand.

The game has grown since the introduction. Just like with shuttles, CCP is openly talking about taking off the training wheels of the tech 2 market. TBH, it is about time. A vast majority of pilots will profit from the removal of BPOs. The entire invention process from R&D, T2 Production, to finished product can become more profitable.

For the significant majority of items, profits will stabilize at the exact same level for inventors regardless of the existence of BPOs, the only difference would be that inventors would be more able to compete in low-demand markets (which I wouldn't recommend, frankly, low demand markets aren't good). Also build costs would rise as the demand for components would be higher because of the less efficient nature of invention. Assuming a scenario where CCP just ups and removes BPOs with no changes to invention efficiency, of course.
Quote:

BPOs once used to balance and prop the market up are now only suppressing the market.

BPOs weren't 'used to balance' the market, invention was. BPOs were the only game in town for a considerable amount of time. They are hardly 'suppressing' the market now to the extent you imply. Moreover, this 'suppression' under the current system ensures steady supplies of T2 ships and low demand items at reasonable prices. It's important to realize the outcome for the T2 consumer is important in this equation as well. But anyway just look at the relative rates of invention v bpo production on common t2 items like hulks. They can co-exist fine, BPOs existing does nothing to harm inventors in the vast majority of markets, except in the sense that they deserve the chances to get them from the game, and under the status quo that is impossible.
Quote:

Vain attempts to try and keep BPOs by nerfing ME values will not work. Nerfing ME values will only raise the ceiling that the invention process has to live under a few millimeters.

I don't think you get the difference a few ME is going to make under the new system. The increased ME will be worth the cost of invention, especially for larger build cost items. Lowering the build cost of invention below the build cost of BPOs in all cases is an excellent way to achieve the goal of making invention able to compete in all markets, how does that *not* achieve it? The only place BPOs would even be able to significantly profit would be higher demand markets where having bad ME still allows for some level of profit.

Thanks for the good luck wishes, however.

A comprehensive proposal for balancing T2 Production: here