How do I build a Strategic Cruiser?
By now you should know that Strategic Cruisers are the new group of modular ships we are adding in Apocrypha and that these ships are assembled from five subsystems which fit into the ship hull/chassis. You should also know that most of the raw materials will be sourced from wormhole space. Here I will outline the production chain for these ships which should be familiar mechanics to many of you who have dabbled in Tech II production and shed light on the new mechanic of reverse engineering.
The Short and Sweet Summary
Subsystems and hulls are manufactured from components; components are manufactured from a mix of Sleeper NPC salvage and Polymers. Polymers come from a reaction of minerals and fullerenes. Fullerenes are a new type of harvestable gas. The blueprints or reactions needed to facilitate these are also found within wormhole space. The skills and structures required will be seeded on the market and appropriate assembly lines added to existing outposts.
A Longer Explanation
The emphasis with Tech III production is on resource gathering and needing constant expeditions to wormhole space to retrieve the raw materials and return them to the market or process and manufacture within your own corp. As such the resource needs are evenly split between harvesting resources (minerals and fullerenes) versus ratting and salvaging Sleeper NPC wrecks. In most cases, these resources will be available alongside each other since the Sleepers are known to guard their precious fullerenes viciously.
Almost all of the resources needed have to be acquired from wormhole space; the exception to the rule is the starbase structures and skills alongside the use of ore minerals in polymer reactions. Once you have gathered the resources, there is one reaction step and two manufacturing steps to manufacturing the subsystems. It is important to note, that Tech III production is in no way related to Cosmos or Tech II production in material needs and is considered a new branch of tech (which I know might get confusing as we have called it Tech III so far! :s)
Below, I will go into specific details on the Tech III production steps. If you have tried your hand at Tech II production then all the mechanics and processes below will be very familiar to you.
Polymers are made via reactions in a new reactor array which will be seeded on the NPC market. The reactions themselves have to be found in wormhole space at profession sites. They require ore minerals and fullerenes (types of gas) as inputs and output some quantity of polymers. You will need an ordinary silo and a biochemical silo as input silos and a polymer silo as output along with a polymer reactor to facilitate the reactions.
Components are manufactured in existing component assembly lines. You will need to get your hands on component blueprint copies from profession sites. Components require at this time four types polymer and three types of sleeper salvage to manufacture them.
Subsystems and Hulls
Tech III subsystems and hulls are manufactured from components. Subsystems and hulls can only be manufactured in new assembly arrays or as new assembly lines within outposts.
The blueprints for these are made via reverse engineering of ancient relics. Reverse engineering has been designed to be fairly similar to invention (even the materials have similar names such as datacores and data interfaces) so if you have carried out invention job then reverse engineering will be familiar to you. Ancient relics are found in wormhole space. You need to reverse engineer them in a research job at an experimental laboratory starbase structure or the Caldari research outpost.
The key difference from invention besides it requiring ancient relics rather than blueprints is that there are multiple types of rewards possible from a subsystem BPC to datacores for example. So you get degrees of success rather than the Boolean success and failure invention has. In addition, the decryptor component for reverse engineering works differently to invention decryptors. With reverse engineering, you require a decryptor (there will be one for each race) which will define the type of output blueprint you are aiming for. So if you want a Caldari Propulsion Subsystem blueprint, then you would need a Caldari decryptor. The skills required will be a mix of new and existing science skills. These alongside the new starbase structure will be available on the market.
There will undoubtedly be many questions for specifics of the production steps. The only thing I can say for certain is that specifics such as quantities will change during feedback, and there will be further testing as we get a better picture of how much effort each ship takes to assemble so that we may try to achieve a reasonable balance there. I very much look forward to your comments and feedback as usual.