According to the Dev Blog post: Researching, The Future, CCP has decided to mess around with the BPO system. Note: These changes have been bumped from Kronos on June 3rd to Crius on July 22nd. I am going to paraphrase and try to condense this down to the most important points.
I have no idea why I can't center this table - sorry.
There are two major changes, CCP Greyscale announces.
1. Copying times are going to be much shorter
2. They are changing how ME/PE mechanics work
As far as copying, CCP is changing the base copy time on all items to be the same as the build time. The industry skill will give a maximum build time reduction of 20% and with the science skill giving a maximum copy time reduction of 25%. Overall, this will make copying about 6% faster than build times.
There are some other details in the copying/inventing stuff, but above is the jist of what is going on with BPCs.
Here is the kicker, the ME/PE changes
A bit of semantics, production efficiency (PE) will be renamed time efficiency (TE)
CCP is looking to reclassify research and make it a more 'skill-based' activity. There will be a fixed number of research levels that give the same bonus, but will take longer to research as you progress through the levels. They state that the current system is 'unintuitive'. They also state that because figuring out your potential savings in minerals or time is on the side of onerous and they want to simplify it. After the release instead of a 'waste factor' they will be increasing the base cost of all BP's by 11%. ME will then reduce build costs by 10% of that new base level, which they state brings us back to where we started..
Once all of this has taken place, the new system will look something like this. ME will now have 10 steps. Each step of ME researched will reduce the material requirements by 1% and each step of TE researched will reduce the manufacturing time on blueprints by 2%. In an example, a blueprint with ME at step 6 will have a mineral requirement reduction of 6% and a TE at step 6 will have a manufacturing time reduction of 12%. This will be shown as ME 6% and TE 12%.
The new base research times are as follows (for a rank 1 blueprint)
Skill bonuses will reduce these times as stated. This will give a hard number target for when a BPO is considered fully researched unlike the current system where it is all over the place and nearly arbitrary.
They will also be unifying nearly every blueprint and converting it to the new system. There will be a few rare occurrences, but the majority of blueprints will be as laid out above.
You may have noted on the chart that the time scheme was for a rank 1 blueprint. They are adding ranks to the blueprints to give them a sort of difficulty level. The ranks are as follows:
"T1 ammo will be the rank 1 baseline. These blueprints all currently have a base research time of 6,000 seconds. ...To determine ranks of other blueprints, the current plan is to simply divide their research times by 6,000, maintaining the research ratios currently present. This means T1 modules are generally rank 2, T1 frigates/cruisers/battleships are 20/40/60, and the highest rank is Titans at 3414."
Now for the critical info. What happens with the researched blueprints you already own? Here is the low down.
ME/TE 1 blueprints will become ME 5% / TE 10% ones.
ME/TE 5-9 would become ME 9% / TE 18% ones.
anything over ME/TE 10 will max out at ME 10% / PE 20%
Everyone's blueprints will basically remain the same or even get better. The big uproar is that people with researched blueprints will end up losing their advantage over other manufacturers and this could also bring an influx of competition on the market making everyones already narrow profits shrink and cause them to "go out of business". I don't know about that, but I still have my reservations.
Take advantage of the extra month of pre-change manufacturing because the fundamentals will change and I only see things getting more competitive. Luckily T2 and T3 manufacturing is a lot more skill-intensive and could give that leg up over those who don't want to spend months training them all. What is your take?