"Dude, Where's My Free Astrahus?": When High ME + Low Run Counts + Few Input Materials Yield No Freebies or Discounts Worth Mentioning

Good EVEning, CSM!

(CSM @Steve_Ronuken this might be of particular interest to you)

This is an issue I’ve discussed with CCP via ticket and was directed to bring to your collective attention.

I’d like to draw to your attention what I personally consider to be a massive problem for industrialists: without knowing about the futility beforehand, many industrialists such as myself have or will end up expending a lot of time and ISK researching the Material Efficiency (ME) on blueprints that simply do not have enough runs (off the BPCs and/or BPOs) to yield “free” products or any discounts on input materials worth mentioning. I’ll use some examples to make my point and propose some plausible solutions the serve as the basis for further discussion. (I am using https://eve-industry.org/calc/ and https://www.fuzzwork.co.uk/blueprint/ to corroborate my data)

Please note that the following examples take place in NPC stations; however, for the “problem cases” I have confirmed that the problems persist even in a Sotiyo with the appropriate T2 manufacturing rigs. I always pick the higher run count limit of BPO or BPCs except when there is no “problem” to begin with.


===Example A: 10x Hyperions w/ ME10 = 1 Free Hyperion===

Here is a baseline case of something that does and should work as expected and intended. The Hyperion BPO requires sufficiently high amounts of each input material, and both the BPO and BPCs permit sufficiently high run counts (ie. 10 or more; 265 for BPO, 283 for BPC) so that you will score 1 or more free Hyperion’s worth if you have the resources, time, and will to do so.

This is what should happen. This is worth the time and expense of max ME researching the BPO on the order of 113 days and and a few hundred million in a HS NPC station


===Example B: ME 10 Astrahus===

By contrast, only requiring one of each of its input materials means that, mathematically speaking, an Astrahus BPO would also require at least 10x runs to get a freebie… except that the BPO only permits 7 runs and the BPC only permits 9. This means that there is literally zero benefit to researching ME to any level at all whatsoever on the Astrahus BPO.

Theoretically, if the run count on either were 10x, then we should get one free Astrahus, but unfortunately this is not the case.

How much did people who max researched an Astrahus burn? Around 2 years and 2 billion in a HS NPC station.


==Example C: 10x-13x Raitaru w/ ME10 = Zero Free Raitaru?==
Here is where things start to get absurd. Now we have (more than) enough run counts to get a free Raitaru with ME10 and… we don’t get a free Raitaru. Why not?

What’s the burn? Around 500 days and about 15m in a HS NPC station. ISKwise it’s not worth mentioning, but that’s a long time for a science slot to be go wasted.


===Example D: 7x Athanor w/ ME 10 = Laughable Discount===

Manufacturing the upper limit of 9 Athanors per BPC ME 10 saves you a grand total of… 2 Structure Reprocessing Plants, saving you about 280m, or about 3.2% of a 9-run job. Shittastic. I’m pretty sure nobody and their grandmother had this in mind when they researched the ME of the Athanor BPO.

Technically speaking there is a discount in this example, just not a discount worth spending over 2 years and 20m in a HS NPC station to research ME10 over. In this particular example, raising the runcount would permit discounts to apply to the other input components and give us that free Athanor we all crave.



As stated earlier: Yes, I have checked, and the above problem scenarios do exist in a Sotiyo with the appropriate T2 manufacturing rigs, so it’s not a matter of POS vs NPC stations.

To summarize my points:

  • There are times when researching ME provides zero benefit under all circumstance due to insufficient run count
  • There are times when researching ME provides zero benefit under all circumstances despite sufficient run counts
  • There are times when researching ME yields laughable discounts that do not merit the time and expense of researching ME. This is due to a combination of:
    • Low run counts
    • Certain materials that have sufficiently high quantities to be discounted not being discounted for some reason

How do we address this? Possible solutions:

  • The direct solutions are to
    • Up the Run counts on BPOs and/or BPCs with less than 10
    • For those that already have 10 or more, actually give us the accompanying discounts on input materials, thereby giving us the equivalent in freebies
  • Alternatively Incorporate an “ME Block Flag” that prohibits players from researching ME on the problematic blueprints precisely so they don’t waste their time and money on BPO/BPCs designed to never yield benefit from ME.
    • It is completely and totally understandable if certain BPOs were never intended to yield freebies given that they would be too disruptive to the market; that’s understandable, but a players should not be punished for their ignorance of the worthlessness of ME research of these BPOs. Such a flag would protect them in this regard.
    • If this is done, CCP/CSM should consider resetting the ME to 0 and provide some form of reimbursement to the BPO owners for the value of the useless ME research. (T2 BPOs, anyone?). I doubt this would actually happen, but it is worth discussing.
  • Another way to achieve the same effect as the last proposed solution is to make the ME research time and cost virtually free and instantaneous in cases where there is zero benefit at ME10 as intended and that is never to be changed. This will make it easier for trading via contracts because, you know, who wants to buy a BPO with ME0? My reimbursement suggestion remains the same, except that there would be no ME reset.
    • The biggest downside with this concerns third party developers: poor @Steve_Ronuken and others would have to update their programs to identify BPOs with this “Useless ME” flag that have their own unique formula for research time and cost. The formulas would be straight forward (perhaps a constant 1 second and 1 ISK at all levels, for example) but it is still an inconvenience to them).

I appreciate your time and consideration in this matter.

(I apologize in advance if there are any spelling/grammatical errors or messed up sentences; I’m sleep deprived and will iron this post out when my head isn’t as mushy)

Reserved for updates to initial post

The last option isn’t a problem. We don’t calculate the research times. The base time is provided, in seconds. And if it’s set to 1, then it doesn’t really matter if you research it to ME 10.

However, to a degree, I’m thinking caveat emptor. You shouldn’t be researching something, without understanding what this will benefit you. Maybe, with regards to the ones where it’s less obvious.

I’m not a huge fan of the suggestions you’ve made, however, you have a point that this isn’t pointed out too well in game. I’ll have a chat with appropriate devs and see if something can be done to at least alleviate some of the problems. (I make no promises. I can’t, and it wouldn’t be honest to do so.) That “Can’t go below 1 per run” thing is just too ingrained in my head, as I was there from the beginning of it.

1 Like


It turns out that I didn’t know about something.

There’s actually ME/TE previewing in the game. If you’re in manufacturing mode, you can click on the ME or TE and change them, to see what they’d be like.

I’m going to go rethink my life, and not sell you death sticks.

A few things are incorrect here.

First of all, it has little to do with any limitation on the number of runs you can install at a time.

Most of the inputs for an astra are single unit quantities, and no matter the run count, you will never achieve an input of less than 1 x of each input per run. If you could run 100 astras at 10 ME, you would still require 100 of every input item, except for the structure market network.

Additionally, the maximum runs per copy for an astra is only 2, so unless there are some “weird” BPCs out there (this has happened with some past conversions but I can’t imagine why they would exist for astras), you’re mixing up the copy job runs and the runs-per-copy.

You can also run more than 7 astras in manufacturing at once, you’re just going to need to do it in a structure with a TE bonus. The run ceiling is 30 days (the total run time can exceed this but you won’t be able to increment the runs any further once it has). At TE 20 you should be able to install at LEAST a 12 run job in an unrigged sotiyo, and 20+ runs in a T1 rigged sotiyo (I’m checking this with an unimplanted, imperfect character on Singularity, so it can actually be higher). Obviously a T2 rig will be even more, but I don’t have a T2 structure rigged Sotiyo handy.

Finally, at ME8, you will save 1 Market Network on a 3 run job even in an NPC station, so there is more than zero benefit.

There is never any benefit to ME on a Raitaru, however.

@Haulie_Berry For the most part you said exactly what I said, though there are some differences worth clarifying.

Here comes a major question: my understanding - and I could be 100% entirely wrong on this, is that the discount should apply to the net total of parts rather than the individual runs summed up. If it is the way you pointed out, this actually strengthens my argument that, despite a few minor errors of premise in my part, certain ME BPOs are 100% useless and ignorant players should not be penalized for researching them. Having said that, evidence suggests this is not the case, at least not entirely, as insufficient run counts yield no discounts for many BPOs/BPCs and it’s not until you reach a certain threshhold that you get something (See Example D).

My discussion is not about TE at all whatsoever - I am strictly discussing ME. Discussing TE is entirely outside the score of this conversation. Clearly there is always a TE benefit and that is not being debated as an area of concern.

I probably should have made my last option the first option, because it’s actually my favored and the one I personally consider to be the most feasible.


I knew you wouldn’t want to take advantage of the ignorance or unawareness of others.

Correct - interestingly enough, this information is not present in the info window but if you simulate a BPO/BPC then it will be present in the industry window. This is where I got the remaining piece of information that was not present in EVE Calc. In EVE Calc you are under the mistaken impression that you can go running around manufacturing 1000000x whatever at a time - this is simply not the case, however much the mathematics might be accurate otherwise.

I am very, very curious as to what you are specifically referring to :smiling_imp:

You are almost correct.

YES, the discount applies to the sum of the job inputs.
HOWEVER: There is a hard floor of 1x of each input per unit.

Consequently, ME bonus will only ever save you structure market networks on an astra BP (4 per run), and will never save you any of the other items (all 1x per run), regardless of batch size.

You misunderstand. You had stated that the maximum number of manufacturing runs for an Astra is 7, but this is incorrect. The maximum batch length is 30 days (or rather, you can’t increment the run count once crossing the 30 day threshold, though the duration itself can surpass it. For instance, if something takes exactly 4 days to run, a 7 run batch will take 28 days, and you will be able to increment the batch once more to 8 runs, at which point the 30 day threshold will be crossed and your maximum batch is 8 runs over 32 days).

Consequently, the maximum batch size is contingent on the speed of each run. You can plug a 20+ run astra batch in under the right circumstances. As you’ve noted, batch size can make all the difference as to whether or not an item with low-quantity inputs gets any ME savings.

Exactly my point, though I failed to state it explicitly - this hard floor is not made apparent to players. I’m sure it is listed somewhere in the API - somehow EVE Calc knows what they are - but it certainly isn’t shown in game. Players don’t know what they’re getting themselves into when they research a BPO. According to EVE Calc, on certain BPOs even if they had unlimited counts you’d get zero discounts - Astrahus being one of them

My apologies - I glossed over this part in haste, but now I know exactly what you are referring to.

So this brings up another area worth mentioning: In cases where BPs currently do or could, potential changes pending, net discounts, could exceptions be made for certain BPs or classes of BPs to extend past this 30 day cap?

For example: If an Astrahus BP had infinite runs, existing mechanics would still block it at the 30 day cap as you pointed out, but if that cap could (as an arbitrary example) be extended to 90 days AND if the arbitrary limit on discounts of certain input materials be eliminated (or at least raised some), then we might get gains that merit the ME10 effort.

Alternatively, we could opt for my “Useless ME” flag that makes ME research virtually instantaneous and free. Personally I’d rather have a free Astrahus, though, and improved discounts on BPs with near-useless discounts at ME10, and I think most would agree. Regardless, it merits heavy debate. Wouldn’t be surprised if the debate were contentious enough to issue a survey: would you rather have a free Astrahus or free/instant ME research for BPOs with useless MEs AND have us improve savings on BPOs with near-useless discounts? :thinking:

There’s no api for build logic or numbers. Just the SDE.

However, we talked with the devs to get the actual math involved.

From memory it’s something like
max(runs,ceil(round(runs*quantity*ME modifier*rig modifier*structure modifier,4)))

where all the modifiers are like 0.9 for an ME of 10

The rounding at 4 decimal places is to eliminate a floating point error

1 Like

I think the most knowledgeable non-CCP person about this is Qoi, the developer of EVE Calc. I’ve always found EVE Calc to be 100% accuate and it even managed to know what the hard-limits are on the discounts. I would have tagged him but he does not appear to have a presence on the forums. In conjunction with CCP, I would reach out to him and see what he has to say, at the very least get a player / third-party developer’s perspective.

As far as I’m aware, my calculator is entirely accurate :slight_smile:

I am personally not familiar with your manufacturing calculator (didn’t know you had one); I’ve only ever used EVE Calc for manufacturing (I do use your other calculators, though). Nothing personal!!!

You know you linked to it in your first post, right? Fuzzwork is mine :slight_smile:

1 Like

I’m not familiar with Eve Calc, but this is most assuredly incorrect. You will save Structure Market Networks.

For example:
At 7 ME you will save 1x network on a 4 run job
At 8 ME you will save 1x network on 3 run job

The floor is simply 1-per-unit.

If the base BPO requires only 1x of something per run, you will never yield any ME savings on that item. If it requires more than 1, you will save some quantity of that item, given a batch size where the rounded-down “savings” is at least 1.

1 Like

Oh yeah but… y’ know… EVE Calc is… a bit more… detailed for manufacturing… :flushed:

And yeah I did @ mention you for being the glorious creator of Fuzzworks - :sweat_smile:

Regardless of the specifics, the point is that it’s not always apparent to the players. The fact that we’re having this conversation is representative of the fact that not all players understand the specific details. They have a general understanding, but the devil is in the details.The case studies I provided are examples where the details matter and players can feel burned.

There is nothing in the EVE UI to explain the specifics to us (Do the discounts apply individually and are added to the sum or are they applied to the sum? What are the hard limits on a specific BP?), and CCP said “screw end-user documentation” centuries ago (RIP EVElopedia). Sure, they provide it to third party developers, but how does that help Joe Average Industrialist? We might rely on Fuzzworks and EVE Calc, but even then we might not be aware that ME is useless or virtually useless in advance. Many of us are naive enough to trust CCP (nothing personal but the reputation isn’t exactly spotless) to think “surely they wouldn’t make ME useless”, but here we are having this conversation.

If CCP insists on maintaining these artifacts (God forbid), they owe us an in-game research simulator as a matter of principle (like they did with the in-game fitting simulator despite the presence of exceptional fitting tools like Pyfa) to simulate what manufacturing would be like given an ME level. On top of that, they’d need to enhance the info windows and/or provide in-game dialogues clearly delineating what the hard limits are. Ironically enough, either Fuzzworks nor EVE Calc explicitly state what these are to end users either (not that it’s their responsibility - both are superb tools written by superb members of the EVE community) - so this just goes to show you how far removed players are from this knowledge both from CCP and from other third party developers. (Yes the information is implicitly there but that’s not the point.)

The situation is all around bad, and something has to give. We cannot have players be taken advantage of like this. One of the reasons the PLEX Vault was largely created so we didn’t take advantage of the ignorance of newbies buying $500 worth of PLEX and then getting blown up by smartbombs because they were traveling in a shuttle not knowing any better because they had only been playing for 2 days. A similar change needs to happen here.

As I pointed out, there is an in game research simulator.

Sure, it’s badly signposted, but it’s there.

I think we might be talking about different things. What I’m saying is something where you can manually specify both ME and run counts to see what the results will be. You can simulate a BPO/BPC with set ME, sure, but there’s nothing to my knowledge that lets you change the value for experimental purposes. If you want to experiment on a different ME you’d have to find a different ME BP somewhere in contracts to simulate in game.

(yes, today I learned about this. hence the badly signposted. But it’s been there for years, and I’ve been told by some people they knew it was there. I’ll admit, I just never went looking for it, using my own tool)

Oh ■■■■! A feature I didn’t know was present. Thanks for pointing that out!

This makes me feel better.


Question is: how much of the general EVE population knows about this? And even if most of them knew about this, I doubt many of thing would check in advance to see what the gains are on ME10.I think most would blindly assume it’s worth it in general. It’s certainly worth it for the vast majority of BPs, so why wouldn’t it be worth it everything else like the problem cases I pointed out?