Using Crystals to boost equipment is done in two stages. The Crystal Exchange Program office is Crystal intake, and the Research Academy is for application of the points to equipment.
Crystal Exchange Program
The Crystal Exchange Program collects crystals in exchange for Research Points, used by the Research Academy.
When entering the Crystal Exchange Program, you are presented with a short list of the five Crystal types (colors). Next to each is shown the total in your ship’s hold, the total value of Research Points for that stack, and then a button to trade in the ENTIRE stack of crystals. If the trade button is clicked, all crystals of that type are removed from your ship’s hold, and the number of Research Points shown is credited to your captain. (The Research Point total is shown in the Research Academy, not the Crystal Exchange Program.)
WARNING: The ENTIRE stack of crystals is traded. You do not get to determine how many are turned in. If you you want to save some Crystals, exit the Crystal Exchange and deposit the amount you wish to keep in the local Secure Store. The Crystal Exchange takes only what is in your ship.
NOTE: With the advent of the Siphon Filter and move of items to the local settlement stores, in most cases Crystals must be moved from the local stores to ship store to turn them in to the Crystal Exchange.
The Crystals are listed in the following order, and the Research Point value of each individual Crystal is listed here.
Crystal Exchange Program offices are in the following player-accessible locations.
Anvil, Trantor, Dudinskaya
Furnace, Orrat, Placidia
Furnace, Tetra, Starbase-26
Sphere, Ethan, Darius
Sphere, Kendra, Pistia
The Forge, Zarante, Venetia
Verec-per, Angusti, Kelnbur
Verec-per, Chethera, Cheq
These are the points gained by turning in Crystals at the Crystal Exchange Program, and used in the Research Academy to boost weapons, shields, reactors, and cargo expanders.
Many years ago, Crystals were used in crafting to improve some devices in specific ways. Various Crystals had specific properties in crafting, and all was well among the exiles.
Then, everything changed, as it so often does among the exiles. First, ISN reporter Gus Givens reported on the terrible disaster in Research Station 2 in Hexham. Then, it was announced that the explosion created a new form of Crystal, one that was actual sentient. This Crystal, infused with exotic matter, was deemed to dangerous for individual Captains to use in crafting. However, a new edifice of science was built, the Research Academy.
The Research Academy cultivates crystals turned in at the Crystal Exchange Program, and cultivates them in new forms. These crystal growths are then fused with some equipment in a way to boost its capabilities beyond designed specifications.
To initiate a crystal project, the Captain must first deposit a large stash of crystals in the Crystal Exchange Program to build a cache of Research Points. These Research Points indicate how many Crystals the captain has deposited, and entitle the Captain to an amount of exotic matter infused Crystals for enhancement projects.
The captain then selects a category from the list given. The options are as follows:
- Weapons : Kinetic, Energy, Plasma, and Mining weaponry are all available for enhancement. Weapon-slot devices like Target Beacon Locks and Scan Limit Expanders cannot be enhanced, and salvage weaponry cannot be enhanced.
- Shields : Absorption, Reflective, and Phased shield units can be enhanced.
- Systems XX At this time no systems can be enhanced. XX
- Reactors : Both Human and Alien design Reactors can be enhanced. Reactors with special abilities (Hammer, Tesla, etc) cannot be enhanced.
- Cargo Expanders : Both Human and Alien design Cargo Expanders can be enhanced.
Note that the equipment must be in the ship store, and so equipment may have to be moved from local stores.
Select the category, then the device you wish to enhance, then confirm the choice. The cost is based on the Captain’s level associated with the device, and varies with what is done. The process takes four to twelve hours of real time.
When complete, you will get an email that the enhancement is complete. It will include the new name of the item, and the random enhancement that was accomplished. The device will be placed in your ship hold.
An enhanced item will have “RA ###” (RA followed by a three digit number) appended to the end of the name. RA enhanced devices also have a new graphic with a brightly colored background.
- Captain Level : Reduces the Captain Level required to use the item. Usually not very useful, but it may be used to unlock a device early.
- Skill Points : Reduce the number of Skill Points in the appropriate Skill required to equip the item.
- Energy Requirement : Reduce the ship energy required to power the device.
- Output : Often considered the best result, this increases the “output” of a device. For weapons, this is damage. For reactors, this is power output. For cargo expanders, this is capacity. For shields, this is shield strength.
Player Lock and Disposal
RA enhanced devices become player locked. They cannot be sold, gifted, or traded. A device you enhance is yours alone.
The way to remove such items from your account is to return to the Research Academy. In the upper right of the display is a round blue button with two arrows. (#VI text tag “Trade in Service”.) Click this to enter the trade in service. Here, you will see, sorted by category, all of your RA enhanced devices. Click the “Trade Item” button to return the item for one third its value in Research Points. Note that the trade in is instant and final, so do not rush.
You can enhance Rare Loot, Crafted items, and the new ADV items. If you find something nice you expect to use, and you do not plan on passing it along, put the item through the Research Academy.
You can enhance the “damage” of Mining Lasers, which increases their scan boost. If you mine frequently, investing in a few mining lasers until you get an output boost on one can possibly unlock new ores. Alternately, because Mining Lasers require so much power, it may be more advantageous to get an energy reduction.
Output enhanced weapons and shields are perfect for a combat pilot.