Tech and meta levels
Tech, Faction, and Meta are terms which indicate the quality, rarity, or power of an item or ship hull.
- 1 Modules
- 2 Ammunition
- 3 Drones
- 4 Ships
- 5 Rigs
- 6 External links
Most modules in EVE have several (up to tens) of variants (each a module in their own right), which fulfill the same basic function, but have different statistics. You can find all related modules through the in-game "Show Info" window, under the "related items" tab, where you can also compare the modules' statistics using the item comparison tool. Modules have an attribute (also visible in the "Show Info" window) called "Meta level", which is roughly a measure of the module's quality - a module with a higher meta level will generally (but not always!) have better stats than the equivalent module with a lower meta level.
When shopping around for a module, it's recommended to use the item comparison tool to compare the module variants. While higher-meta modules tend to be better than lower-meta ones, there are plenty of exceptions, particularly for modules with many attributes (where modules will have different advantages and drawbacks compared to each other). Additionally, don't forget the cost - while officer and deadspace modules will greatly outperform Tech 1 and Tech 2 modules, they often cost hundreds or thousands of times as much!
Historically, most modules in EVE had some variants that were numerically better than others with little to no difference in price or availability. This resulted in some module variants having no meaningful uses. Module Tiericide is an ongoing project to, one module group at a time, rebalance every module in the game to remove these obvious imbalances and introduce either meaningful use cases for variants, remove unnecessary variants, or equalize variants which should be of equal quality.
For official CCP explanations of tiericide, see this article, written in 2014 introducing the project; and this article written in June 2020 explaining the methodology behind it and outlining what's left to do.
Module variants are grouped (as explained below) to make it easier to differentiate between them. You can tell which group a module belongs to by the little symbol in the upper-left corner of the module's image. Related modules all have the same base image, only differing in that symbol.
Civilian Modules are a special case and are only mentioned here for completeness. You should NEVER consider fitting a Civilian Module except in the Tutorial Missions and on your trusty Rookie Ship. These modules are useless except for educational purposes.
Tech 1 (Meta 0)
These are the basic modules that are manufactured by players from blueprints seeded on the market by NPCs. Meta 0 modules have no Meta level attribute visible in their attributes. They have generic names based on their type such as "1MN Afterburner I".
If someone offers you a "meta 0" duel, they mean a duel in a Tech 1 ship with only this type of module installed.
Tech 1 (Meta 1-4)
These are dropped by NPC ships and are not manufactured by players. The higher the meta level the better quality the item. Higher meta level items are more effective and usually have lower fitting requirements as well, but this is not always the case. Meta level 1-4 items do not require more skills to use than meta 0. Because of their better performance, some high-demand meta modules may have much higher market prices than tech 1 or even tech 2 modules; however because of plentiful supply, many meta modules have comparable or even lower market prices than tech 1 modules.
These modules have more colorful names such as "10MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner" and "150mm Light Gallium Machine Gun", and are therefore also called "named" modules.
This is one of the module types most heavily affected by the module tiericide. Non-tiericided module groups will usually have four meta variations (referred to as "meta 1" - "meta 4), with the meta 4 variant of a module being strictly better than the meta 1 variant in all ways. Tiericided module groups, meanwhile will usually have several variants with mostly equal stats but one specific improvement, and specific keywords in their names to denote that improvement. Modules will only have variants which are relevant to their attributes.
- Upgraded: Straight-up better stats
- Compact: Reduced fitting cost (less CPU and powergrid use)
- Enduring: Longer cycle time and/or lower capacitor use
- Ample: Higher capacity
- Scoped: Longer range
- Restrained: Less severe drawbacks
- Precise: Better tracking
When people talk about "meta" modules, or the act of "meta[ing] down a [ship] fit", these are the module variants they are speaking of. (Either the Meta level 4 variant for weapons, or some other applicable variant for other modules.)
Often shortened to "T2", these modules are manufactured by players through the Invention process. T2 modules are usually more effective than Tech 1 Meta 4 modules, but sometimes they are identical (and, in rare cases, slightly worse). Tech 2 modules usually require more skills to use than Tech 1 modules, and they usually take more CPU and/or Powergrid to fit. T2 modules have a meta level of 5.
When deciding whether to use a Tech 2 module, make sure to compare it to a Tech 1 Meta 4 module before making the purchase. In some cases the meta 4 module has the same performance with lower fitting requirements.
Storyline modules are rewards from missions, specifically COSMOS missions and some Epic Arc missions. In COSMOS missions you don't get the item itself, but you receive 3-run Blueprint Copies (BPCs) that need some decent skills and sleeper technology to produce and most of them are quite expensive (in ISK and skills) to produce. Epic Arc rewards are given as items but their availability is limited to how often you can do the epic arc, and the time it takes to complete them. As such, both types of storyline items tend to be expensive, and are not traded in great numbers. Stats-wise, Storyline modules are a bit inconsistent, often falling in line with Tech 2 modules, but they almost always have the fitting costs of Compact modules, which can make them surprisingly useful in rare circumstances.
- Main article: Faction modules#Faction
Faction modules are a mixed bag of stats. They usually are equal or superior to Tech 2 modules, but with reduced fitting costs; however they may also be superior in certain ways and inferior in others. Faction modules are either purchased from Loyalty Point stores either as items or blueprint copies, or looted from specific rare NPCs (usually with an obvious faction prefix on their name). These items will have a meta level of 6-12 (although most have a meta level of 6-9). They have names based on their faction such as "Caldari Navy Ballistic Control System". They tend to require the same skills to use as Tech 1 items.
You can identify a module's origin (i.e. which loyalty point store(s) you can buy it from, or what pirate faction to hunt) by its name:
- Ammatar Navy: Ammatar Mandate
- Caldari Navy: Caldari State
- Dark Blood: Blood Raiders
- Domination: Angel Cartel
- Dread Guristas: Guristas Pirates
- Federation Navy: Gallente Federation
- Imperial Navy: Amarr Empire
- Khanid Navy: Khanid Kingdom
- Republic Fleet: Minmatar Republic
- Sentient: Rogue Drones
- Shadow Serpentis: Serpentis
- Sisters: Sisters of Eve
- Syndicate: The Syndicate
- Thukker: Thukker Tribe
- True Sansha: Sansha's Nation
- Veles: Triglavian Collective
- Main article: Faction modules#Deadspace
Deadspace modules are dropped in deadspace complexes and rare NPC spawns in asteroid belts. They are universally better than Tech 2 and Faction modules, and usually have price tags to match, although they also usually have steeper fitting and other costs. These items have a meta level of 7 or higher (although most have at least a meta level of 9). Deadspace modules have names based on their faction (using the same nomenclature as the NPC rats) and quality such as "Pith B-Type Large Shield Booster". The progression from lower to higher quality is: "C-Type", "B-Type", "A-Type", "X-Type" - so a "B-Type" module will be better (and usually more expensive) than a "C-Type" module; but you should always check the detailed stats. "X-Type" variants are usually only available for battleship-sized modules.
When there are multiple different deadspace variants of a module (from different pirate factions), often one of them will be more CPU-intensive, one will be more powergrid-intensive; and they may provide different improvements to different sets of attributes.
- Main article: Faction modules#Officer
Officer modules are among the most rare, expensive and strongest modules in EVE, and as loot drops from rare named enemies which can be found in asteroid belts. Officer modules are named after the NPC they drop from, such as "Estamel's Modified Multispectrum Shield Hardener". While officer modules are usually better than deadspace modules, this is not always the case; always check the attributes before you buy.
- Main article: Abyssal modules
Abyssal modules are made from other types of modules by using mutaplasmids on them. The result is a module with randomly increased and decreased stats. Unless you are in possession of an abyssal module (or a Contract for one) and can look at it, there is no way of knowing what the module was before it was mutated, or what its actual stats look like.
- Main article: Turrets
Weapon turrets and missile launchers all consume ammunition to fire. This ammunition comes in various grades and capabilities.
Tech 1 ammunition is manufactured by players, and tends to be extremely cheap. It establishes the baseline which other forms of ammo are compared to.
Ammunition also comes in several faction variants. Pirate faction ammunition comes in a lower-grade, which gives +10% damage, and a higher-grade, which gives +20% damage. Pirate faction ammunition is found in the wrecks of Faction-grade NPCs. Ammunition also comes in a Navy variant (or, for Hybrid Charges, two equal Navy variants), which gives +15% damage and is purchased from LP Stores. Because of the greater availability of LP, Navy ammunition tends to be much cheaper than pirate ammunition, and is considered the standard ammo used for all PVP purposes. Other than the +10/15/20% damage increase, faction ammunition has the same stats as tech 1 ammunition of the same name.
Tech 2 ammunition is also manufactured by players, however it requires the Invention process and more advanced materials. Nonetheless, Tech 2 ammunition is also easily produced in large quantities, and tends to be only slightly more expensive than tech 1 ammunition. Tech 2 ammunition requires higher skills to use, and can only be used in Tech 2, Faction, Storyline, and Officer weapons.
- T2 turret ammunition has greatly increased damage over Tech 1 ammunition, but all T2 ammo types have one or more drawbacks which force them to be used in more specialized situations than T1 ammo.
- For short-ranged turrets, T2 ammo is often seen as being just better than all T1 ammo, however this T2 ammo also all comes with tracking penalties
- For long-ranged turrets, the shortest-ranged Navy ammunition is often preferred over the short-ranged T2 ammunition, because of its range penalties. The long-ranged T2 ammo gives the weapons extremely long range, but also greatly hurts their tracking.
- T2 missiles come in four variants, two each for short-ranged and long-ranged missiles in each size
- One with greatly increased damage but worse application and range (Rage and Fury)
- One with either the same damage but increased range (Javelin), or reduced damage and range but improved application (Precision)
- Main article: Drones
Combat Drones also come in five variations, with different statistics and use cases.
The common base variation of drones, these drones only require 1 level in their size's skill, and provide the baseline stats for their type.
Integrated Drones are a rarely-used drone variation, which deal slightly more damage than their Tech 1 versions and are slightly more durable, but also deal their damage as split between their race's preferred primary and secondary damage types. They are manufactured from components and blueprints found in Rogue Drones. Their price, split damage types, and generally inferior performance to Navy drones make them unpopular.
Navy Drones are very commonly used when the skills for T2 drones are unavailable. Navy drones deal 20% more damage than Tech 1 drones, and have higher speed and tracking, but have a full 140% more Shield and Armor HP than Tech 1 drones, making them extremely resistant to Smartbombs (normally the largest threat to drones). Navy Faction drones are purchased from faction LP stores.
T2 Drones are the most commonly used drones. At base, they have 20% more damage and HP than T1 drones, however they have (and require) an additional skill which further increases their damage. Tech 2 drones are manufactured by players using Invention.
Augmented Drones are the rarely-used 'super drones'. They have vastly superior stats to all other drones, and deal their damage as split between their race's primary and secondary damage types. They require (and benefit from) the same additional skills that Tech 2 drones require, and like Integrated drones are manufactured from Rogue Drone parts. While these are the best combat drones of all, drones are often seen as sacrificial or expendable enough that their price tag generally makes Augmented drones not worth it.
Tech 1 ships such as the Rifter are bought from NPCs or manufactured by players from blueprints seeded on the market. After the tiercide these no longer have different power levels. Instead they are grouped into roles, such as attack, combat, and disruption. Attack ships are fast and hit hard, but combat ships are more resilient, while disruption ships focus on EWAR.
Empire faction ships such as the Imperial Navy Slicer are bought from the loyalty point stores of empire factions, such as the Gallente Federation Navy or Minmatar Republic Fleet. They are obtained as either complete ships or as limited run blueprint copies. You can also purchase these ships second-hand from players on the market. Empire faction ships are more powerful and much more expensive than Tech 1 ships, and are normally less powerful than Tech 2 or Pirate faction ships. The main advantage of Empire faction ships is their low skill requirements. If you can fly a faction's Tech 1 ships, you can fly the Empire faction ships, making them a good way of gaining an advantage during the long skill train to Tech 2 or Pirate faction ships.
These ships are only manufactured by players through the Invention process. They are usually comparable in price to Empire faction ships while being more powerful, but have high skill requirements to use. As well as better performance and bonuses, T2 ships have increased damage resistance, making them tougher. Additionally, many (but not all) Tech 2 ships are more specialised than their Tech 1 counterparts. An example of a Tech 2 frigate is the Wolf, a Tech 2 Minmatar Assault frigate based on the Rifter.
- Main article: Pirate Faction Ship Guide
These ships are bought from non-empire faction loyalty point stores, including Pirate factions, and others, such as Sisters Of Eve; and single-run blueprints for them can be found by destroying rare high-power NPCs in certain combat sites. They can also be purchased second-hand from players on the market. These non-empire faction ships require two different races' Spaceship Command skills to use. For example, the Dramiel, an Angel Cartel frigate, requires both Minmatar and Gallente frigate skills. They do not require high levels in them, however, making them considerably easier to train for than Tech 2 ships. Non-Empire ships typically have equal or better performance to Tech 2 ships, including unique bonuses specific to their pirate faction, but also cost considerably more than Tech 2 ships.
Tech 3 ships are constructed with Sleeper components that can only be found in wormhole space. There are two classes of Tech 3 ships currently in the game:
- Tactical Destroyers are very versatile destroyers which can switch between different "modes" on the fly. T3 destroyers have generally lower skill requirements than T2 destroyers, as they serve as standard combat ships rather than filling special roles.
- Strategic Cruisers are the most flexible and among the most powerful ships in the game for their size (and mass), with enormous possible variations in their capabilities. Flying strategic cruisers requires training in Subsystem skills, and may require a much wider range of other combat skills than T2 ships.
Tech 1 rigs are made from materials salvaged from Tech 1 player or NPC ships, or found in Relic sites. They are made from blueprints seeded on the market by NPCs. Rigs do not have meta levels and there are no subdivisions of quality other than their Tech level.
Tech 2 rigs are made from materials salvaged from Tech 2 player ships, or found in rarer and more difficult relic sites. As such they are much more expensive than T1 rigs, but they also provide larger bonuses. Blueprint copies for Tech 2 rigs are available through Invention, but can also sometimes be found in data or relic sites.