This guide in a condensed version
(As originally posted in 2005)
This guide has been updated with the changes in Publish 15 (CU).
First some words about the terminology. A lot of people use the term day for the interval between shifts since it is close to a day. I'll use the term shift instead and shifts refer to multiple intervals. Also the term shift is often used by people instead of spawn or despawn. So if someone says that a specific resource shifted, it means it spawned and/or despawned. I'll try to use the words spawn and despawn here to avoid confusion.
Edit Nov 20th: Oops, forgot Known Radioactive in the 8 planet list.
Edit Dec 16th: Updated with the stealth changes in Patch 11.3 (Nov 29th).
Edit Feb 18th: Major revamp with changes from Publish 12 and some new information.
Edit Feb 24th: Patch 13.1 changes have been added.
Edit May 4th: Updated with Publish 15 changes.
'The Resource Shift' is a period where resources are removed (despawns) and new ones are added (spawns). Prior to Publish 10 this period lasted less than an hour and each shift happened in intervals of 24 to 26 hours with an average around 25 hours. After publish 10 the shift period was extended by several hours. This has made it very hard to tell when it starts and when it stops. Which means it's even harder to figure out if the intervals have changed. So far I have the impression the intervals are closer to 24 hours.
The current status is that we have rolling changes which continue throughout most of the day. A lot of the rules are related to which shift the changes belong to. So if something doesn't add up, it may be that you are in the middle of a shift period or you are assuming two adjacent shift periods are a single one. Detecting the transfer from one shift to another is almost impossible now.
Everything related to one single spawn or despawn will happen simultaneously on all planets. The delay seems to be between the various spawns and despawns. Even between a spawn and it's replacement.
EDIT: In the EMU, resources are set to spawn a randomly selected number of hours (within the guidelines listed here). This duration is in "real time", the counter continues whether the server is up or not. New (replacement) resources can only be spawned while the server is up and running (OK, that should be obvious).
The Resource Pools
Each server has a set of resources which are divided into 4 pools like this:
1) Minimum Pool (15 resources)
- 1 Steel not including Hardened and Crystallized from JTL
1 Copper not including Conductive from JTL
1 Aluminium not including Perovskitic from JTL
1 Extrusive Ore
1 Intrusive Ore
0 Siliclastic Ore not including Fermionic from JTL
1 Carbonate Ore
1 Crystalline Gemstone
1 Armophous Gemstone
1 Known Radioactive not including High Grade from JTL
1 Known Solid Petrochemicals
1 Known Liquid Petrochemicals
2 Lubricating Oil
0 Known Inert Gas
0 Known Reactive Gas not including Unstable from JTL Gas
- Any Mineral except Iron and JTL resources.
Any Gas except JTL Gas.
Any Chemical except Fiberplast
Extra Water (Bonus Water in addition to the one in the Native Pool)
- 8 JTL Resources (Added just before Publish 11)
- One Fiberplast for each planet
One Water for each planet
One Wind Energy and One Solar Energy for each planet
All 38 Organic types for each planet
Despawning old resources
Once a shared resource despawns, it will despawn from all planets at the same time. Prior to Publish 10 they would disappear individually. This change was probably to save database space when they revamped the resource shift.
Once a resource has despawned no more of it will ever be created in the galaxy, except by using the Veteran reward or by CSR intervention.
Pool Despawn Rules:
- 1) Minimum Pool: If one of the same type is in pool 2, it is moved to pool 1 and it continues as if it despawned from pool 2. If there is nothing to grab in pool 2, a new one is spawned to replace it. The subtype is drawn randomly. (For example if a Steel is despawned it is replaced by any of the 10 subtypes at random but probably weighted a bit.)
2) Random Pool: A new random resource is selected from a weighted table. For example Radioactive has a low weight, while Polymer, Lube and Known Gas has a rather high weight. It seems that there may be a difference in weight between subtypes, making some of them more rare than others. Iron, JTL resources and all native resources except bonus water can't be spawned in the random pool.
3) Fixed Pool: If a JTL resource despawns, a new one of the same type is spawned. And if an Iron despawns a new random Iron will replace it.
4) Native Pool: A new one of the same type will replace the old one. If a Water despawns and there's one on the same planet in the random pool, that one is grabbed instead just like in the minimum pool.
There can be an interval between a despawn and its replacement. Prior to Publish 10 the interval was just a few minutes. Now it can drag out over a few hours due to the stretched out shift. You can even catch native resources missing since the new one hasn't spawned yet. Don't worry, it will show up eventually.
A new shared resource will spawn on all its target planets on the same shift. This should happen almost instantaneously.
The resource name and the stats are selected at random. Some stats have lower and/or upper caps depending on the combination of resource type and resource stat. See this link for a list of all the caps.
There are maximums for resource types which mirrors the ones the minimum pool. But they are so high that it's extremely rare to reach them. And with the current size of the random pool it's a non-issue.
Statistically there doesn't seem to be any preferences for any planets. Statements like 'Rare resources spawn mostly on adventure planets' are more psychological than factual.
- - The following spawn on 1 pre-selected planet: All Native resources except bonus Water.
- The following spawn on 1 random planet: All JTL resources and bonus Water.
- The following spawn on 1 to 3 random planets: Iron, Intrusive Ore, Extrusive Ore, Solid Petro, Liquid Petro and all Unknown types.
- The following spawn on 8 random planets: Non-JTL Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Carbonate Ore, Siliclastic Ore, Crystalline Gemstone, Armophous Gemstone, Known Radioactive, Polymer, Lubricating Oil, Known Inert Gas and Known Reactive Gas.
The resource concentrations can roughly be grouped into these categories:
- - High and Plentiful: JTL resources, Chemicals and Inert Gas (Up to 99% and can easily find spots in the 90s)
- Medium: Non-JTL Minerals except Ore, Non-JTL Reactive Gas and Flora. (Up to the 90s as well, but normally have to settle for the 80s or even the high 70s)
- Low and Rare: Non-JTL Ore, Water, Wind Energy and Solar Energy (Up to the 70s, but often have to settle for the 60s or even the 50s)
- Creature: Creature resources (They have a lower limit to the concentration in contrast to the other categories which may go down to 0)
- - High and Plentiful: 90 Minimum, 94+ Good, 97+ Excellent, 99 Perfect.
- Medium: 75 Minimum, 85+ Good, 90+ Excellent, 95+ Perfect.
- Low and Rare: 50 Minimum, 60+ Good, 65+ Excellent, 70+ Perfect.
- - A survey tool will only show the concentrations at 10% or higher.
- When you are sampling your survey skill will be used to calculate a limit for how high concentration you need to sample. The limit starts high and goes down to 10% (cap) at 100 skill. The amount you sample is based upon the actual concentration minus this limit.
- Concentrations have fractions even though they are not shown in your survey tool. This the reason for varying rates reported from harvesters. The harvester's original BER rates do not have fractions. BER 13 is always 13.0.
Non-JTL Inorganics last 7 to 10 shifts. At least they did prior to publish 10. I'm pretty sure that this is still the case. However the spread out shift may make a 7 shift spawn appear late in it's shift and despawn early making the duration closer to 6 days. So a more correct statement now would be 6 to 11 days. Organics still seem to last 7 to 21 shifts and I'm pretty sure JTL resources last 14 to 21 shifts.
- Non-JTL Inorganics: 6 to 11 days.
Organics: 6 to 22 days.
JTL resources: 13 to 22 days.
I suspect the algorithm picks out the duration when it spawns and stores it internally as a counter. Each shift the counter is decreased by one and it is removed when it reaches zero.
The resource shift treats all resources the same, even creature resources.
For example no creatures drop Avian Meat on Endor and you can't milk Domesticated Milk on Corellia. But the shift doesn't care about this and continue to spawn and despawn those resources.
And creature resources spawn with concentrations as well. The harvest message of Fat, Normal and Skinny signifies which range the concentration is in. That's the reason for the paradox when the same creature is skinny when you get bone, but fat when you get hide. Unfortunately there's no way to tell the actual concentration without trying to calculate from the number of resources you harvest. See this link for more information. For Egg and Milk it may be that their respective harvest algorithms don't look at the concentration. The high random factor makes it almost impossible to find out if concentrations are used.
After a resource has despawned it may now take an hour or more to get a replacement. During that time you get a message that the creature has no harvestable resources of that type. After you get that message the creature will be considered harvested so you can't pick something else. If you send a harvesting droid you will get no error message and no harvest message either.
Indoor concentrations were finally fixed in Publish 15. Harvesting now return normal amounts and no longer only 1 unit. (The reason was that all concetrations indoors used to be zero.)
History of changes
A lot of things has happened since Publish 10, so here is a summary of all the changes. The Native pool hasn't changed at all so they are not included here. But extra water will be taken from the random pool, so the chance to spawn those have been affected.
From Launch to Publish 10:
- - Total: 55 in average, Minimum pool: 23, Random pool: Between 27 and 37 with an average of 32, Fixed pool: 0.
- Possible spawns for rare non-Iron resources: 51 in average. (Subtracting 4 Iron)
- The total number of resources in the random pool varied between 27 and 37. It did so in an interesting way. No replacements would spawn if the total was above 27. So we kept losing resources until we got below 27. Then it picked a new random total somewhere between 27 and 37 and spawned in enough resources to fill that up. This is why the resource shift seemed to be cyclic back then with dry spells over a few days.
- - Total: 53, Minimum pool: 21 (2 Iron was removed), Random pool: 17, Fixed pool: 15 (15 Iron was added).
- Possible spawns for rare non-Iron resources: 38.
- The rules for varying the random pool was kicked out and it was set to a fixed total.
- The duration of the shift was increased from a few minutes to take almost a day.
- Shared resources were changed to despawn on the same shift on all planets. Previously a Radioactive could last 7 shifts on one planet and 10 on another.
- The sorting order in the survey tool was changed to a fixed orded. Previously it was sorted by age. Survey droid lists already had this fixed order long before this publish.
- - Total: 60, Minimum pool: 21, Random pool: 16, Fixed pool: 23 (8 JTL was added)
- Possible spawns for rare non-Iron resources: 37.
- - Total: 60. Minimum pool: 23 (2 Iron was back), Random pool: 29, Fixed pool: 8 JTL (15 Iron was removed).
- Possible spawns for rare non-Iron resources: 48 in average. (Subtracting 4 Iron)
- - Total: 45, Minimum pool: 15 (8 removed), Random pool: 8, Fixed pool: 22 (14 Iron was put back again).
- Possible spawns for rare non-Iron resources: 23.
- Two Iron and one each of Steel, Copper, Aluminium, Siliclastic Ore, Inert Gas and Reactive Gas were removed from the minimum pool. Probably because of matching JTL resources. Removing Inert Gas may not have been intentional.
- The shortage of Gas was mainly because the only way to spawn them now is from the random pool. Gas spawns have traditionally been around 1 in 7 or so from the random pool. With only 8 left in the random pool it meant an average of slightly more than one Gas. Since it's random some galaxies were bound be to without Gas for a week or two.
- - Total: 64, Minimum pool: 15, Random pool: 27 (19 added), Fixed pool: 22.
- Possible spawns for rare non-Iron resources: 42.
- It looks like Gas is still only spawning from the random pool, but we should have an average of 4 now.
- - Total: 61, Minimum pool: 15, Random pool: 24 (3 was removed), Fixed pool: 22.
- Possible spawns for rare non-Iron resources: 39.
- Indoor concentrations were fixed for creature harvesting.