Friday, 6 September 2013

The costs of POS research

TL:DR; POS are great for research, but be prepared to spend 10K/hour for copy and material efficiency slots.

The Foo Corporations run research modules in our POS, in both highsec and wormhole spaces.

This post looks primarily at the costs of research POS, rather than their benefits.  I wrote some of these up in this post.  In summary of that post, the benefit of POS research is the ability to get nearly 4 times as much research completed rather than using highsec stations. (I can't speak to null research slot access, not having any experience there).

A hypothetical research tower

Lets take a hypothetical medium Caldari POS, using

Caldari towers are generally used for dedicated researdch POS, for the increased powergrid.

This contains 5 Mobile Laboratories, 2 Advanced labs. 
Each Advanced Mobile lab has the following slots:
  • 3 copy (time multiple 65%)
  • 2 invention (time multiple 50%), 
  • 2 material efficiency slots (time multiple 75%)
Each Mobile lab has the following slots :
  • 1 copy (time multiple 75%)
  • 5 invention (time multiple 50%)
  • 3 material efficiency slots (time multiple 75%)
  • 3 production efficiency slots (time multiple 75%)
So, our hypothetical POS has  :
  • 11 copy slots
  • 29 invention slots
  • 19 material efficiency slots
  • 15 production efficiency slots
The copy and material efficiency slots are in high demand in empire space, with many of the NPC slots having queues of a month.

The production efficiency slots are not generally overwhelmed like copy or ME research, but are still useful, due to the time multiple bonus.
The time multiple is a bonus; reducing the total time for any jobs with that mulitple;  eg 4 days of materiel efficiency research in an NPC station would only take 3 days in a POS.

The invention slots are only useful for long invention jobs.  They are a pain to use, as everything needs to be in the POS (BPC's, decryptors, datacores, parts etc), as well as the inventor.  In an NPC station, the pilot doing the inventing can be systems away according to your Scientific Networking skill.

I do not feel the need for 'fast' invention jobs, when for everything other than ships, it only makes an hour difference, especially as my invention pilot does more than sit at the POS all day.

The only time we use our POS invention slots are for ship invention as it takes days rather than hours.  For everything else would rather leave these idle and pay for NPC invention slots.

Number of researchers per tower

A researcher with Advanced Laboratory 4 can do 10 concurrent research jobs.  To fully utilise this medium POS, we need 3 full time researchers to use the copy/material slots; another 2 researchers to use the production efficiency slots; and will potentially soak up some invention slots with the remaining research slots.

So, as a rough idea for number of researchers by tower size:
  • A small caldari research tower supports roughly 2 full time researchers.
  • A medium caldari research tower supports roughly 5 full time researchers.
  • A large caldari research tower supports roughly 10 full time researchers.


For costs, I look at the copy and material efficiency slots, with the other slots being a low value bonus.  A medium tower takes 20 fuel blocks / hour.  As of this post, approximately 15k ISK /fuel block.  So for fuel, we need 300k ISK/hour.  Assuming 100% utilisation (which is harder than it seems); across 30 (copy + material efficiency) slots; this is 10K/slot/hour in fuel costs.  This compares quite poorly to highsec research direct costs, but are available now.

A highsec tower has an additional requirement of 1 faction charter per hour; current value of 3k Isk/hour, or about 1% of the fuel costs.  This is so small, that we ignore this cost in our price setting.

Researched BP's

I am currently building up a set of researched and copied BP's, both for use and for sale.  Many BP's can be sold researched well in excess of these costs, if somewhat slowly.  I have not had much luck selling blueprint copies, and seeing some main region copy slots only having 3 or 4 day wait suggests that the demand is not as strong on copy slots as it is on research slots.

In summary.

If you want to spend 500 ISK/slot/hour on research, but are prepared to be limited in access to slots; NPC station based research works for you.

If you have a consistent demand/use for ME or copy slots, and 10K ISK/slot/hour is not an issue, a research tower may be in order.


  1. Thanks for both of these articles. As someone who is a part-timer on the T2 side it helps me understand what it would take to make this my primary ISK generation source - and I'm not even getting into the idea of plexing another account yet.

    One thing I don't think you touch on is the standings bit. Yes, I know you can hire someone to set up a corp with the right standings, then anchor your POS, then that person steps out of your corp, but it seems like there are a lot of holes (and expense there). If nothing else it adds to that wallet you have to have to even get started.

    There are a couple other things on my mind, but maybe I should think through a post on my own blog instead of filling yours with rambling.

  2. One of the other costs to POS research which the author failed to mention are associated with hostile forces blowing it up ... (!)

    Perhaps a blog on POS and WH defense would be useful ...


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