Well, that was a refreshingly smooth expansion release! I was at work during the release itself, but my twitter feed seems to indicate that the servers were actually back up an hour early, despite some solo wormhold fixes by CCP Tuxford we seem to be up and running without any issues. Well… at least any release related issues. There is of course the subject of CapArmRepGate in which CCP put a tiny line in a patch notes to document a massive change (in effect a 25% drop in armour carrier remote rep). Just to add some spice to the mix, this change was only implemented because CCP believed that the nerf already existed for capital shield remote reps, which it did not. However this CCP Fozzie stepped up and apologised, promising a change roll-back in the next content patch. But still in comparison to past releases, and indeed release by other companies, this has been a very smooth ride.
Moving on from the release itself, I want to talk about my first impressions. First and foremost, the targeting UI. Wow, just wow. I wasn’t really that excited by this when it was announced (well a little excited, but not much), but I really was amazed by just how much such a relatively small UI change makes to the freshness of the game. It really makes the game feel that little bit more modern. That said I have one minor complaint; the bouncy new target lock. Specificity when you lock a new target and its details are added to your targeting bar, the targets you have already locked below it, bounce slightly like a stack of marshmallows having a pebble dropped on it. Now I don’t know about you, but when I describe the eve UI, and especially the parts of it concerned with killing people. I don’t want to have to use the words “Bouncy” or “Marshmellow” to describe it. I just don’t feel that soft spongy (more bad Kiling-UI words) feel it gives represents the hard ruthless feel of the eve universe. Also if your trying to sort targets into the wonderful new columns while the targets are bouncing up and down like a fricking set of double d’s in an earthquake, its very annoying.
Seriously thou that’s a nitpick, the UI changes are wonderful, new life into the old UI of eve. Esspecialy the new columns I breifly mentioned in the last paragraph, as a logistics, its great to be able to sort rep targets into columns by priority (and keep the enemy your trying to sneak a shot onto away from the friendly It makes me wonder what effect it might have if CCP spent some time fixing the Windows 1.1 style windows in eve to something new. Who-knows maybe next patch?
Next up for me was the new NPC AI (I’m still working on some Epic Arc blog posts, but you’ll get more on this later). Again, for me, this was another breath of fresh-air into the game. I really don’t enjoy mission running that much these days, because its easy mode. Therefore anything which makes it a bit harder, or more interesting, is great news to me.
Unfortunately, I really haven’t had a look at the new cruisers as the moment (My RvB char couldn’t skill up in time to try the before cruisers out (nor the after ones for the matter), but given the excellent work that’s been going on so far in the re-balancing department, I have no doubt these will be great. Right now I’m just getting ready for the Battleship changes to land, and the resulting 0.0 doctrine changes which might follow. As a side note, I love it when we get to fly something different in 0.0, especially if its something different from Armour carriers (because I cant fly them yet :p).
There are loads of other changes which are more subtle, and will come to light as game play continues (like the null-sec music), and things which will take a while to be seen (like the new modules and ships). Next blog I intend to look at what I hope will come in Summer 2013.