While it might be better to make different threads, I opted for a single one with several suggestions inside. All have a short reasoning at the beginning, followed by a proposal, then several main effects, and some conclusions/details at the end. To summarize, the main points are:
1) Research on BPOs degrades due to print use.
2) Make Meta T1 items buildable.
3) Stackable meta - enable 2+ modifiers.
4) Faction/deadspace/officer becomes T2 meta1-4 (and buildable)
5) Mutaplasmids improve meta level of modules.
(I would have put links here to jump to the correct section.
Mostly independent suggestions, though somewhat linked.
Now, for the suggestions:
The only thingy that eventually will get saturated are BPOs and their research. Other things explode, this mostly doesn’t. Sure, adding new items postpones this wall, but I believe it will be eventually still reached (assuming game lives forever with similar player base and pace of changes).
I believe constantly needing to buy new BPOs doesn’t make much (any) sense - it is just an ISK sink and makes BPO less “infinite” - but constantly needing to research them does, as this is where interaction with player stations comes in play (especially if suggestion 1 is implemented too).
1. Make ME/TE research on the BPOs slowly degrade with use, to keep ME/TE research on current prints always needed.
a. Decay should be fast enough about ME7/TE14 would be the optimal point from cost/time perspective for average print on an average industry station - higher ME would eat more money due to time taken than it would save in less materials taken, while higher TE would flat out cost more time in research than save time in manufacture.
b. However, despite this decay and optimal point, 10/20 still gives you some value. You can make those ships/parts faster and cheaper when you need them, or to keep your production lines always fully busy you might as well have a few extra prints that keep getting researched and always manufacture with 10/20 prints.
c. This obviously applies to copying as well, but it doesn’t influence production using the BPC.
Meta modules are very common and even needed for some fits, yet cannot be manufactured. Why not make them possible to build?
Having ~4x as many BPOs would be pointless as everyone would be making just the best stuff. Unless mineral reqs are different, which brings its own balance problems etc etc. So:
2. Blueprints get another parameter “Quality Efficiency” that gives it chance to produce meta1 module instead of t1.
a. QE 10 (max) would mean the print has 10% chance of producing meta1 module instead of T1.
b. Blueprint copying cannot produce meta1 BPC - only resulting BPC can during manufacture. This prevents people from doing copy and then fabricating just meta gear (as it would result in the same thing as having inconvenient meta1 BPO)
c. Meta1 modules that are produced are random from all the possible meta1 stuff.
This will make fits requiring various meta modules more obtainable - you could always rely on having access to that absolutely needed module for that fit in arbitrary quantities. Possibly with lots of production runs if there are multiple meta variations, so some items might remain costly.
I don’t see a problem with this being luck based, you generally aren’t making a single item, so it will even out over time, plus other things such as invention are random.
(not an industry suggestion, but somewhat sensible for suggestions 4 and 5)
There could be higher tiers of meta items - by having combinations of modifiers.
3. Combination of meta modifiers possible - such as “scoped enduring compact”, meta3 then means 3 modifiers.
a. There would exist 1 extra item if you had 2 modifiers possible, 4 extra with 3 and 11 with 4 modifiers. A lot, but not too over the top.
b. Higher meta improves the main base stat further (say a web would go 50% T1 meta 0, 52% meta1, 54% meta2 and 56% meta3; 58% for T2). It is mainly an incentive to try getting “useless” modifiers too, and is important for the suggestion 4.
c. If only the primary bonus can change (say in case of a coprocessor), then the die is simply rolled several times, as if there were actual different modifications. Obviously there is no final difference between rolling “success” on 1st or 3rd die, generated item is the same.
d. Guns and repairers/boosters can get various modifications like “scoped” and “enduring” to replace their current meta-stuff.
e. QE10’s 10% chance of modification becomes 2.5% for each variation for an item with 4 meta variations (and thus max meta 4). You can get all 4 if you are very lucky (probability of ~4 * 10^-7).
f. Storyline would then likely become compact+something meta2-3 items.
(Note that item could also have 4 modifiers and be limited to fewer concurrent ones, though I prefer if all modifications are possible at the same time)
In line with the suggestion 2, I believe all stuff should be manufactured, nothing except the base materials should be LP/loot only. T1 has that, as does T2. T1 meta gets that with suggestion 4. The rest can get that with all the fancy stuff renamed to meta T2 (keeping generally the same stats):
4. Previous suggestion (“stacked meta”) is applied for T2 too.
a. 1% at QE10 instead of 10% for T1, to keep reasonable (high) price.
b. Meta1 T2 = faction. For example, FN web could be “scoped - range bonus”, while Amarr would be “enduring - cap bonus” and Minmatar might be “compact - fitting bonus”.
c. Meta2 = deadspace C, B, bottom officer. Meta3 = deadspace A, mid officer. Meta4 = deadspace X, top officer.
d. As in T1, base stats are improved as the thingy goes up the meta ladder. (As an example, T2 web would be 58%, equal to another meta-jump beyond top metaT1 item. Then meta1 T2 would be 60%, meta2 62%, meta3 64% and finally meta4 T2 at 66% would be giving the same max as currently achievable by mutation. Obviously progression needs not to be linear)
e. Possibly LP/research needed to get items to research QE.
A side effect - faction stuff becomes T2 (except ammo and ships as their T1->T2 progression is quite a bit different than in other modules and even drones. Faction ammo could be meta T1 instead, while even navy ships are too special to be relegated to meta T1). I actually find this side effect pretty neat, as I couldn’t comprehend why a top ranking officer could even consider using mere T1 guns or whatever. No need for any rebalance for most stuff as it only means increased skills are required. But it requires rebalance on guns and drones due to extra bonuses by skills.
I am aware that most items will be reworked due to these changes - say officer reps can no longer require higher PG/CPU after the change. Not sure if that is going to break too many things, but I think it could work reasonably well in most cases. On the plus side, after initial bonuses are decided, all other meta-combinations are automatic - no need to balance every individual module.
Note that say FN web BPC could be still bought from the LP store, and it would build exactly FN web in 100% of cases. You would only gain ability to get the FN web during ordinary T2 item building.
(not an industry suggestion but related to the rest)
I don’t like the concept of loot fairy in the form of mutaplasmids that much (though I haven’t tried my luck yet). It doesn’t feel like player-based industry, more like a cheap copy of loot in other MMOs. Pray for the final +0.001% better module and all items are essentially unique. Beh.
But, why not keep some form of modifications? So, the proposal is to make mutaplasmids improve meta level of modules.
5. Mutaplasmid can change T1 to meta T1 and improve meta T1 into better meta T1; likewise for T2.
a. Get rid of current mutated items and mutation stuff, perhaps make lore “modifications proved unstable and items reverted back” to remove already existing mutated items and give back items and mutaplasmids.
b. Low tier mutaplasmid has a low chance of bonuses, high tier has high chance. Perhaps decayed has 10% for T1 and 0% for T2, gravid at 50%/2% and unstable with 400%/10%.
c. Single mutaplasmid can give multiple bonuses, like for print QE
i. For example, T1 item with 4 variations and decayed = 10% -> 2.5% for each modification.
ii. Existing modifications do not boost chance of the remaining ones. So, while meta0 has nearly 10% of getting at least 1 modification, meta3 has just 2.5% to receive the final modification needed for perfection.
d. Item is not destroyed or made worse in mutation
i. Though IF max number of meta modifiers at once is lower than the number of modifiers possible, modification could result in a less pleasant combination.
ii. But such item would be still better than the previous one - it just couldn’t be upgraded to the desired combination.
iii. (I prefer all meta combinations are possible though).
e. Each item might be attempted to be improved arbitrary number of times (until it reaches max meta, obviously).
Note that mutaplasmid rework can happen without adding QE to the prints (suggestion 2), but I would prefer to have QE there to have stuff directly manufacturable, instead of having to go through such pointless hoops.
Another possibility would be that adding mutaplasmids during manufacture is raising this chance of getting higher meta item (and there would be no QE on prints). But this removes the modification of existing built items - a larger conceptual change to mutaplasmids than the comparably minor edit I am suggesting.
I don’t expect any of this to get implemented as it takes people to do and there are likely higher priorities than stuff that doesn’t seem to be a problem in the first place. But I believe these changes would make the game better.