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30Nov/11Off

First night in the heat of the Crucible

The waiting is over, Crucible has been deployed, one emergency reboot already took place and it seems everyone is happy. It was a very exciting time for all of us to wait for the 15th expansion, and the amount of work whoch CCP has put into it is enormous. Before the Crucible was deployed I tried to stick to the facts, rather than make opinions, but I think now is the right time for the latter.

On a side note, my blog kept on beating its daily visits count record, which now stands at 574 unique visits on November 29th. Thank you all!

New nebulae & warp tunnels

Are simply amazing. I like this feature of phenomena being closer or further away depending on where you are, since I saw it for the first time on SiSi. This adds a sense of global direction in EVE, which could never be experienced before; it is possible to tell where in New Eden you are just by looking at the sky (Gallente space - this way, Caldari space - that way). Stargates pointing at nearby stars add even more immersion in this area. The warp tunnel effect is simply awesome and can even make you dizzy if you keep staring at it for too long! It looks good even with shaders set to low. Passing through planets never looked so good. The EVE lore claims that ships in warp are outside of normal space, so they can pass through other solid objects. And now it looks that way (it always felt unfinished to me). Graphically this is EVE 3.0.

New shaders and ship models

Raven Navy Issue shader in CrucibleI already mentioned the new Raven and the other Caldari ships in my blog posts. Unfortunately, Minmatar and Amarr... didn't make it for Crucible. Very good job @ art departament for the Caldari and Gallente though, new skins are beautiful. All ships are more detailed and the light interacts with them in a more natural way. Also the Navy variants look more realistic (hey, who would paint starships in camo? Wouldn't plain black be better than that?). And the Raven model looks even more bad-ass now. Perhaps CCP should delay the deployment until mid-December, but with more V3 ship skins? Almost forgotten: the new engine trails look neat, I was missing them a lot.

Jump on contact

Jump on contactOne of the most useful features when travelling around high sec and low sec. I like it very much, and many others already love it, too.

Tier 3 BCs

I didn't have much time to play with new EVE yesterday, but I managed to buy the Talos BPO (715 mill ISK?! You're kidding me. That's more than a Dominix BPO!) and already made 3 of them by the morning (currently they sell for about 150 mill isk apiece). So just 4 more and my initial investment will be covered.

Of course, the mineral prices have jumped, mainly due to speculation, so it was a good idea to prepare supplies before Crucible deployment.

And I've noticed some people already flying the new glass cannons. So far the most popular one I saw is the Oracle.

Of course the Tier-3 battlecruisers BPOs are sold by the empire Navies.

Destroyers vs Interdictors

Difference between Interdictors and Destroyers in CrucibleDestroyers got a serious buff, and they will be new nemesis for Assault Frigates in Factional Warfare complexes, which have a frigate size limit.

Wait, what about the Interdictors?

No love. They only got nerfed: previously, when you have deployed the Warp Disruption Probe, you only got agression, when your web actually caught some flies. Now, you get agression timer just for deploying the probe, and cannot dock or jump for 60 seconds. Moreover, Interdictors signature radius is still 80-90m and they have less HP and Capacitor than their tech I coutnerpart. Did you deliberately overlooked this, CCP? Make love, not nerfs!

More Incarna than in Incarna

In Incarna we have received one CQ (Minmatar), in Crucible we got 3 more. And more than just that: high sec CQs look clean, low sec ones are a little bit dirty, and null-sec quarters haven't seen a janitor for ages. But I don't really think people are going to spend much time in them, and not because players hate them. The usability of CQ has been improved, but still the hangar view loads faster, is more useful, and players got used to it. Spinning counter is one more reason not to enter the CQ at all (spinning counter starts to be visible after 10 full spins).

War for PI

I haven't seen any player built Customs Offices so far, but thats because Interbus ones need to be destroyed first. According to the dev-blog, it is possible to entirely shut off access to anyone but your corp and your blues. This is a potential source of conflicts in low sec and maybe in null sec as well. If Customs Offices would change ownership along with sovereignty, this mechanic would be even better.

Is this EVE 3.0?

I know there is more changes than the ones above (this post contains all of them). But this is my first impression, it's what shows the most after launching the new game client. The Crucible brings back the freshness, new opportunities and new combat styles to EVE, not to mention the graphical overhaul. Even though there were some silent nerfs to Interdictors and EVE API (which were not mentioned until final patchnotes), from my point of view Crucible makes up for both the Monoclegate and Incarna. Good job CCP!

EDIT: Fuel blocks BPOs have been seeded today and are sold for 11 mill ISK by Thukker Mix corp in Minmatar space.

Comments about what you like or dislike about the Winter Expansion are welcome!

7Nov/11Off

EVE Online: Crucible Status Update

EDIT: For winter 2012 expansion, visit this post.

It seems that the words of the CEO of CCP are slowly taking shape in the form of the new Winter Expansion. Dev blogs and video dev blogs are being released almost every day, and so are the updates on Singularity. Let's sum up what was said and what is already there:

CCP promises

Current Status

dev blogs/video dev blogs/sisi

Hybrid weapons balancing
Less CPU, less PG, less cap, 20% tracking to blasters, 10% damage to railguns, 5 seconds reload instead of 10 seconds. See dev blog here, feedback thread here
Factional warfare
LP can be used to buy Customs Office Gantry BPC, There is a discussion in the playerbase about removing Faction NPCs from high sec.
Assault ships
re-scheduled until after Crucible
Capital ship balancing
See dev blog here, feedback thread here
New T2 modules
Siege Module IISiege module II, Triage module II, Bomb Launcher II, Warp Disruption Field Generator II, Warfare links II, Expanded/Core Probe Launcher II, MAPC II, Drone upgrades II - see screenshot and a feedback thread here
Starbase logistics management

  • Fuel Blocks - four racial type of Fuel pellets instead of the current model. See dev-blog here.
  • Decreased anchor/unanchor and online/offline times for most structures.
  • Removed the need to enter password when using Jump Bridges.
New EWAR-Drones
no info yet
T2 Rigs manufacturing
Magnetometric sites value incresed, will now spawn T2 rig BPCs and more rig components
Ship spinning
New font
already on Singularity. See my post here and dev blog here.
More captains quarters
already on Singularity. See dev blog here.
Time dilation
See dev blogs here and here.
CCP_Soundwave video dev blog
  • Logistic ships (Oneiros +200 PG, -1 med +1 low)
  • Destroyers (10% to HP/25% to cap, signature reduced by 25%, RoF penalty removed)
  • Dramiel nerf - reduced scan resolution, velocity, CPU and powergrid output, gaining mass.
    "and if you fly Dramiel... train something else"
  • Bumped up value of exploration sites (but not their distribution)
  • Corp bookmarks (and possible alliance bookmarks in future)
"This is not a final list"
  • New tier-3 battlecruisers: Talos, Tornado, Naga, Oracle
  • Updated ship shaders (V3): faction/t2 corp logos
  • Updated ship models: Raven & Phobos see more Raven and Navy Raven screens in this post
     New Phobos model
  • New nebulae - my post, dev blog
  • Better shadows shader - see this dev blog
  • Crash logs auto upload
  • New Cyno effect - screenshot and video
  • New Jump Drive effect - screenshot and new video
     
  • Player-owned Customs Offices in low and null sec (including WH)
    • High sec CO will be owned by CONCORD,
    • low sec and null sec CO will be owned by Interbus and will be destructible (no standing loss against InterBus)

    BPC prices:

    • Faction Warfare LP store: 3000 LP + 10.000.000 ISK
    • CONCORD LP store: 6000 LP + 20.000.000 ISK
  • Implants will be listed on killmails
  • "Loot all" button
  • Missed hits now really miss - video
  • Remote "jump" and "dock": you can now click jump or dock at any distance. Your ship will warp to 0 and do as ordered.
  • New UI for autopilot. Autopilot will warp to stations as well. - screenshot
  • SiSi launcher evolved into EVE Launcher - see this dev-blog
  • It is now possible to drag fitting from Fiting Browser window to market Quickbar
  • New map view - smoother, more readable, anti-aliased:
     
  • Drones will now attempt to return to drone bay automatically if EVE client gets disconnected. See feedback thread here.
  • New DED 3/10 and 4/10 complexes
  • Exploration sites will despawn automatically even if still occupied by players
  • Magnetometric sites value increased - will now spawn t2 rigs BPCs
  • Anomaly value increased: more rats, more bosses, more deadspace mods
  • Dungeon pop-ups can now be minimized for later reading
  • Session change timer shaved from 30 to 20 seconds
  • Engine trails - they made it in the winter expansion after all
  •  
  • New warp tunnel effect - cinematic grade sci-fi effect!
    "full screen procedural chromatic and geometric distortion"
     
  • Tier 3 ships now have shaders (Tornado is still not ready yet)
  • Nearby stars are visible on the sky now + jump gates have been aligned so they face the destination star.
  • Naga has lost its Siege Launchers - it has become a Rokh-like gunboat

NEW:

  • Booster Changes Slightly weaker than before, but without the side effects.
  • Increased Player Ship Salvage 
  • More Bandwidth for PI links
  • Log Off Timer Change - logoffski is not a valid survival tactic anymore
  • Per-Ship Orbit - Orbit distances will now be stored based on ship types. Game will remember your default orbit range for each ship type!
  • Autopan on Hover Removed - Accidentally hovering over a target no longer causes the camera to automatically pan over to it.
  • Remote Unrent Office - No need to fly to a station to close a corp office.
  • Fitting List Limit Raised - Store up to 100 personal/200 corporation ship fittings
  • Blueprint type in Killmails - killmails now contain information if the destroyed blueprint was original or not.
  • Click and drag to select multiple items in inventory containers.
  • Neocom Blink Toggle - You can now disable the blinking NeoCom icons
  • Corp Chat MotD - Corp, Alliance and Fleet channels can now have a Message of the Day.
  • Scan Signature Filter - Cosmic signatures can now be filtered by type, allowing players to easily sort cosmic signatures in the scanner results.
  • Skill Training Highlight - The skill currently in training will be highlighted light blue in the Skill Queue
  • Re-arranging targets - it is now possible to rearrange the targeted items

The new ship shaders remind me of the Trinity expansion back in 2007. As long as the poly models haven't been touched (except for Raven and Phobos), the texture quality has been improved greatly. In one of the video dev blogs, CCP Basement Ben said that ships are now being "vee-threed", which I understand as another iteration upon Trinity (which would be the V2) and original artwork (V1 in this example). First visible difference is the detail level (thanks to new PGS shaders - textures are the same size, but their map composition is different - see my post about PGS shaders and Scorpion model evolution here). Additional effect of the new shader is the ability to place custom decals on ships - most Gallente and Caldari models now bear either a faction logo (for T1) or R&D corporation logo (T2). Screenshots say it all:

Gila with Guristas logo Arazu with Duvolle Labs logo Navy Mega with Gallente Federation badge Rattlesnake with Guristas logo Helios with CreoDron logo Ishtar with CreoDron logo Worm with Guristas badge Ares with Roden Shipyards logo Taranis with Duvolle Labs logo

The new nebulae look really cool and much more detailed, but some regions still need some work: for example Essence looks unfinished - there is only one cloud taking a quarter of the sky, and the rest is basically empty (black). Genesis is much better though:

Beautiful nebulae in Genesis region 1 Beautiful nebulae in Genesis region 2 Half-empty sky in Essence region   

New Phobos modelThere is some cosmetic changes as well: turret icons have been reverted to the custom drawn ones, which are much easier to distinguish (and take less time to load). Another change has been done to the Phobos, which now has visible large Warp Disruption Field Generators (they spin!). When we talk about HIC's, it's worth to mention, that WDFG has received a Tech II counterpart, which has 36km range.

I have almost forgotten about the BPOs for the new tier-3 battlecruisers: these are already available on SiSi, so all industry moguls can already start planning their mineral supply chains.

Overall impression of the development is rather good. CCP is doing lots of necessary improvements, but in a very tight timeframe (most of these changes should have been done during the past two years, not months). I am a bit afraid that pushing so many things at once will most likely result in a higher amount of bugs. Also the balance changes will surely cause a lot of discussion, especially the Supercarrier nerf.

PS. I think CCP_Soundwave summed it all up perfectly: Winter Expansion "is gonna be exciting for spaceships... If you like spaceships. If you don't like spaceships, you're gonna be a little disappointed"

Blueprints for the Tier 3 BCsEDIT: I have calculated the tier-3 battlecruisers build price at ME 0 (for researched BPOs it will be about 10% less). Clearly, the Talos is out of line, being almost as expensive to build as the Dominix.

BPO Build Price
Talos (ME 0) 52 747 405,11
Tornado (ME 0) 41 597 934,74
Naga (ME 0) 47 949 742,59
Oracle (ME 0) 47 386 315,47

EDIT 2: The Winter Expansion name is "Crucible" source: evenews24.com