Researching is how pirates raise their base statistics, whether that be weapons, shields or engines. Each point of energy expended uses two research units, and will increase whichever statistic you have chosen. The more energy and/or research units you have, the more effective the research will be. So generally, you should wait until your energy and research are full before researching. As you get bigger ships and/or more levels, your research units will increase greatly, allowing for even better research.
When researching, each research attempt is bounded by the following formulas:
- E = Energy Used
- R = Available Research
- Each point of Energy will consume 2 points of Research
- Maximum = E * R / 900
- maximum possible research you can achieve
- Minimum = E * R / 2000
- minimum possible research you can achieve
Your actual research results will be a random number distributed between Minimum and Maximum.
Since total available research is multiplied by the amount of energy you choose to use, it is generally more cost-effective research-point wise to only research when both your energy and your research are both full. On the other hand if you will be off-line long enough for your research to refill completely, it is a good idea to research until your research bar is empty, you may not get as much per research point on the later research actions, but something is better than nothing. Also, until you are well along the ship up-grade trail, it is more cost-effective to upgrade your ship(gaining 10 max research) than to use Research Equipment(Once you have a high research score and low energy makes it starts becoming cost-effective to use Energy boosting equipment to increase your stat gains, but purchasing Research equipment for an extra 10 points of research is generally on the same scale as upgrading from a Warship Mk V to a Dreadnought if you don't intend to fill every slot with them)
As yet, it is unknown if there are any other factors that come into play to determine the actual result, but some players say that Research random numbers may be affected by Luck.
There is significant discussion in the SP community about what the best labcoat and method are for researching. There are two main kinds of researching; Burns of AICBs and points, which are good for rapid technology growth, and standard recharge, where the user's energy and research points are allowed to recharge normally.
The most commmon labcoat used when burning AICBs is the "4:1" labcoat. It is comprised of whichever available items get the user closest to a 4:1 ratio of research points:energy. This is done because the full research bar is burned with two full sets of energy, and by having 4:1, you use all of your research points. Each AICB requires 20 points with this strategy.
With Standard recharge there are a few more issues involved. There is the issue of which labcoat gives the best max research, however those labcoats tend to use many more research points, thus creating longer gaps between use. These factors have to be balanced based on how long the player will be at the computer, their base energy and research scores, and the lab gear they have available.
Energy tech is helpful for allowing a slightly higher rate of return on your research points. Explanation: Because the recharge rate of Research Points is the limiting factor in how often research can be performed, and twice as much research is used as energy, increasing the amount of energy gives a larger amount of research, but results in a longer period of time between researches. If a player has enough research points to take full advantage of their increased energy, this will result in a slightly higher rate of return since each point of research is multiplied by a slightly higher number of energy points giving a slightly higher total for the same number of research points. If the player only logs on intermittently, then the limiting factor becomes how often they log on, and only the amount per research is relevant.
AI Tech is helpful for allowing more time between research sessions, but unless you already have the biggest ship available, you are probably better off buying a larger ship since each better ship increases your maximum research pool size by 10 points, and the best AI will only provide 6 points, but even the lowest AI tech is still Rare and may provide enough to upgrade to your next ship if you are still in a Sloop, Frigate, or low level Cruiser
Advanced Research Strategies
(This section, and it's subsections, has been revised, by ZenOfJazz... please direct comments, flames, rum, and AICBs to him, as appropriate, for this material).
There are a number of alternative strategies that may be used. For example, when burning AICBs you may want to try some of these configurations.
The following sections have some example research numbers, and to understand how those numbers are derived, the ship in question is an 11 slot Dreadnaught Mk I. with base research of 255, and base energy of 53.
In all the examples shown below, the labcoat equipment will be specified.
- Naked Research
- (No labcoat)
- Min, Max Research returns: 6.75 - 15.01
Single Cycle Research Strategy
A single-cycle research strategy is designed to maximize your energy, bringing you to as close to 2:1 (research:energy) as possible. This will give the largest research gain, in a single cycle, but is no where near the optimal research strategy. It is, however good for those who spend time away from the game, and have their own personal labcoat, that they can be in their labcoat while offline, then research as soon as they come online.
It can also be effective when the user can't afford to spend 20 points per AICB.
- 1 Cycle Research
- (11 C3ET)
- Min, Max Research returns: 10.96 - 24.37
Note, this configuration works better when there's a better match between 2x Energy, and research. Using this same with a Dreadnaught Mk V and 15 C3ETs gives results that max out near 40.
Double Cycle Research Strategy
A double-cycle research strategy is a very good balance between cost and complexity. By optimizing the labcoat so that it provides as close to a 4:1 ratio as possible. When using AICBs, that means you'll spend 20 points per AICB, and the sum total of the resultant research is usually higher than a single cycle research strategy, even though each cycle is on average lower than the comparable single-cycle.
- 2 Cycle Research
- (6 C3ET, 5 Cyberpositronic AI)
- Cycle 1 Min, Max Research returns: 10.26 - 22.80
- Cycle 2 Min, Max Research returns: 5.08 - 11.28
- Total Min, Max Research returns: 15.34 - 34.08
Triple Cycle Research Strategy
A triple-cycle research strategy is only recommended when your research to energy ratio can easily be pushed past 6:1. Some fleets with labcoats including lots of C3ETs can manage this, but the results require 30 points per AICB. The results can cumulatively be more impressive than even the double-cycle research, though each cycle is obviously much less effective, taken by itself, than the single-cycle strategy.
- 3 Cycle Research
- (11 Cyberpositronic AI)
- Cycle 1 Min, Max Research returns: 8.67 - 19.26
- Cycle 2 Min, Max Research returns: 5.75 - 12.78
- Cycle 3 Min, Max Research returns: 2.83 - 6.30
- Total Min, Max Research returns: 17.25 - 38.34
Dual Labcoat Research Strategy
Another labcoat strategy is to use two lab coat configurations, where the first configuration maximizes research points, and the second maximizes energy. The process works like this: first, install the research-heavy labcoat, and burn an AICB. burn points if needed to fill energy, as well. Research. Swap to the energy heavy labcoat, and burn points to refill energy. Research. You will probably find that even though the second cycle doesn't have a full research bar, you get higher results on the second cycle, because the energy is higher.
The problem with this method is that it requires checking out enough gear for two full labcoats, and requires constantly swapping between the two configurations, after every research cycle, to maximize results. This can become wearisome after burning a few hundred AICBs, but is the most effective labcoat process I have found to date.
- Dual Labcoat Research
- ( 1: 8 Cyberpositronic AIs, 3 C3ET; 2: 11 C3ETs)
- C1: R=303:E=63.
- C2: R=177:E=87.
- Cycle 1 Min, Max Research returns: 9.54 - 21.12
- Cycle 2 Min, Max Research returns: 7.70 - 17.11
- Total Min, Max Research returns: 17.24 - 38.23
Note that the research results are nearly the same as those with 3 cycles, while using 1/3 fewer points to recharge. Over a significant AICB burn, this adds up to MORE stats for fewer points.
Assorted Research tips
Wait until lvl 25 This is the advice given to any young players who accumulate AICB and points. Using them before lvl 25 is inefficient, as you cannot gain the research results to make it worth the price.
Don't level until you ain't squishy! This is the flawed philosophy of believing that levelling should be put off until your stats are at least above average for players of the next level. While this may make you relatively less squishy compared to other pirates of your level, it will mean you are overall more squishy than you would have been compared to the game at large as you will be giving up the many advantages of levelling. As every player can attack you, not just folk of your level, trying to only compete with your contemporaries is very unwise.
It is worth noting that Dakar gained stat ascendancy over Phoenix and several other pirates purely because of his absurd level and its associated bonuses.
The following Items and tools can help you to make the most of your research time.
- Class I Energy Technology
- adds 1 to your maximum energy
- Class III Energy Technology
- adds 3 to your maximum energy
- Energy Max Protocol
- adds 1 to your maximum energy
- Cyberlink AI
- adds 1 to your maximum Research Units
- Efficient Cyberlink AI
- adds 4 to your maximum Research Units
- Cyberpositronic AI
- adds 6 to your maximum Research Units
- Science Fact Protocol
- adds 20 to your maximum Research Units
- adds 10 points for each step up the upgrade ladder with a maximum of 250 points for a Dreadnaught Mk. V
- AI Cycle Burst
- use this to completely refill your Research Units
- Use these to completely refill energy
- Research Spreadsheet
- determine how many points and AICBs it will take to achieve a specific level of results.
- Gizmonic Institute's Research Assistant
- monitor Research related statistics in real time.