EVE Online continues its renaissance with further additions to its latest free expansion, Retribution, which is fast becoming one of the most successful in its history.
Peak Concurrent User levels are returning to record highs and there is a positive buzz in the build up to the ten-year celebration in Iceland this April.
CCP Games‘ ongoing revision of many of EVE Online‘s aging game mechanics and user interface elements continues in the Retribution 1.1 patch, which will be deployed on 19th February during daily downtime.
The ongoing “tiericide” ship rebalancing programme, masterminded by CCP Ytterbium, CCP Fozzie and Team Game of Drones, has seen a significant portion of EVE’s 200+ pilotable ships re-specced and re-purposed for a variety of military roles. Frigates, destroyers and cruisers have all been through the “Fozzification” process and now it it the turn of the larger battle cruiser class. The reign of the Caldari Drake and the Minmatar Hurricane may finally be coming to an end.
In CCP Optimal‘s recent devblog, details were given of further streamlining to the user interface, wherein a number of separate pop-up windows are to be integrated into the new, slicker system of collapsible info panels. The panels are versatile and customisable, allowing the display or suppression of information relating to navigation, autopiloting, Factional Warfare, Incursions, Planetary Interaction and Agent Missions
Also being introduced, courtesy of CCP Mannapi, is an in-space stargate route indicator which makes use of the recently introduced accurate starfield and stargate orientation to accurately display planned routes contextually across the pilot’s field of view. This is a cosmetic enhancement which isn’t done justice by a screenshot, but really gives New Eden’s a sense of distance and wonder.
In times past, the complexities of EVE’s star system security ratings confounded many new players and Retribution’s simplification of this Crimewatch system was gratefully received by most. But it came at a price; the new system heralded an end to the emergent game play process of consensual cargo container looting which would allow duelling without being exterminated by NPC police forces. This has been rectified with the ability of players to be able to “flag themselves to each other in a Limited Engagement”
Armor Modules and Skills
The armor-tanking combat pilots of New Eden no longer need look enviably at the recently introduced shield module, as the Ancillary Armor Repairer is being introduced. It will not work in exactly the same way as its shield counterpart, instead it will use the same resources as the standard armour repair device, but will only provide 75% of the effectiveness, unless loaded with Nanite Repair Paste, whereupon it will be 2.25x as effective until the paste is depleted and must face a one minute reload time.
A new skill, Armor Honeycombing, will be introduced, enabling the reduction of the mass penalty for armor plates. A weight-loss programme for spaceships. Rig penalties on active armor rigs have been changed to affect power grid rather than velocity. These two changes combine to make close-range armour-tanking vessels all the more viable.
Other Miscellany of Note
Amongst the raft of other fixes, changes and improvements are the following gems:
In the continuing effort to reduce the reliance on frustrating nested right-click menu layers, drag-and-drop functionality has been introduced to the fleet management window, much to the relief of many Fleet Commanders, no doubt. CCP Karkur provides details in this devblog.
The new salvage drones, whilst still suffering from the woeful drone interface, will now be slightly more useful and have been given an “engage” command which will see them proceed to automatically loot the field rather than demand hand-holding like a bed-wetting robot child as they did before.
“Shooting a wormhole will no longer display the “Proceed with this dangerous act?” dialog.” – Presumably firing assorted WMDs into unstable singularities no longer warrants a safety warning in the future. Marty, where we’re going, we don’t need health and safety.
“The Sansha battle station model will no longer remind you of a spikey banana as it’s texture packing has been corrected.” – Is having fewer spiky bananas in space a good thing?
Not mentioned in the patch notes, but noticed by astute visitors to the Singularity test server is the inclusion of a number of new pilotable ship hulls formerly only seen in-game as NPC ships. This includes the Immolator (formerly the Styx) and the Echo – both apparently pirate rookie ships, as well as the Jovian Gnosis battleship. How these will be acquired in-game is not apparent.
PCU Table Image Source: EVE Offline