Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Quick Look At Incarna's Patch Notes

The long wait is finally over.  Once the servers come back up we can walk around in Eve Online.  Okay, a lot of players don't want anything to do with "space Barbie".  But believe it or not, Incarna includes more than walking in stations.  I'm not going to go through all of the patch notes, but I did find a couple of things I wanted to comment on.

Aurum:  Here are the details I've been waiting for.
  • Players can now convert PLEX into Aurum via the Noble Exchange.
  • 1 PLEX can be converted into 3500 Aurum at a fixed rate through the Noble Exchange interface. (Multiple PLEX can be converted at the same time).
  • Aurum transactions are logged in the wallet journal.
  • We are temporarily prohibiting the transfer of Aurum between characters. This is done for the sake of a slower, more secure implementation of the feature while the initial economic impact is being analyzed.
First, the conversion rate is rather interesting.  Two PLEX run $34.99, so 200 Aurum = $1.  I don't know what the conversion for euros is.  But I do know that the going rate for a PLEX on the market is approximately 373 million isk, so that will equate to a starting price of 106,500 isk per Aurum.  So you may want to keep that in mind as you purchase Noble Exchange items on the market.

I will say I like the delay in allowing transfers of Aurum between characters.  A lot of people could lose a lot of real life money real fast otherwise.  Of course, it is going to happen anyway, but at least they can give some of the suckers a better chance to avoid a blowout that will lead to a rage quit.

Captain's Quarters:  Just a couple of the more interesting points.
  • The Captain's Quarters have tools that will make life for the capsuleer much easier, including the agent finder, corporation recruitment, planetary interaction, character re-customization and ship fitting.
Is the agent finder a replacement for Chribba's Eve Agents or a replacement for the in-game map?  Something better than the map would be most useful.
  • The main screen provides information about things happening in the EVE universe, including sovereignty changes, the Interstellar Correspondents News Feed, incursions and more - stay tuned.

I wonder what this means for bloggers and podcasters?
  • A new camera system was built from the ground up to support avatar movement and various state transitions.
  • An extensive avatar movement scheme using Natural Motion's Morpheme has been developed to control your character. This includes an eight directional movement scheme accessible via keyboard controls, click-to-move and mouse movement.
  • Separate keyboard shortcuts for Captain's Quarters and flying-in–space, as well as a number of options for customizing the walking-in-station camera, have been added to the ESC menu.
Although I have heard that the latest build on the Singularity test server had an option to not render the station, I wonder what this will mean for botters.  If a player really can disable showing Captain's Quarters, will CCP use that as an indication that a player could be running bots?  And if the feature is mandatory, will the bot writers be able to adjust without a few days of downtime?

The New Player Experience:  This sounds like fun.
  • Initial missions and tutorials have been re-designed significantly, both to encompass Incarna gameplay and to make the first few hours in the EVE universe more accessible and instructive.
  • Aura has returned! Tutorials include new Aura voice overs and images (in all supported languages) to help pilots get familiar with the basic of EVE gameplay and the EVE Online interface.
  • The main screen in one's Captain's Quarters provides relevant information for new and experienced players. You will be able to learn about on career agents, epic arcs, skill training and clones, all while sitting on your Internet space sofa.
  • Aura is now an agent, and will be in charge of the new player experience and early tutorials. The previous agents who gave players their first crash course missions have been...retired.
  • Various optimizations have been made to the categorization and presentation of tutorials, making it easier for you to find specific lessons.
  • Partially completed tutorials can be restarted by accessing the tutorials tab of the help menu (F12).
Aura's back!!!

As experienced capsuleers, can Rosewalker and Wandering Rose run through the tutorials?  Or do I have to create new characters?

Previewing appearance:  As an old EQ2 player, I really enjoy being able to look at what I buy before actually purchasing it, so these items are important to me.
  • Turrets can be previewed in 3-D by clicking on its icon.
  • All clothing in the Noble Exchange can be previewed on a 3-D mannequin model via Show Info.
NVIDIA Favortism?:  I know that CCP, like SOE in the past, has partnered with NVIDIA.  So do the following changes favor NIVDIA?  I don't know very much, so I'd be interested in someone telling me yes or no.
  • SSAO is disabled on all video cards except NVIDIA cards.
  • ILR is disabled on Windows XP machines that use ATI GPU’s.
  • Depth effects on Macs with ATI cards are disabled.
Of course, SOE sometimes forgot about their partnership, much to the dismay of those who went out and purchased NVIDIA cards because they thought it was guaranteed to be compatible with EQ2.  But I'm not bitter.

Scanning:  One thing on my list of things to do is to get back into exploration.  The scanning changes might make things interesting.
  • It is no longer possible to set up a ship to be impervious to scanning while uncloaked.
  • All probes can now contribute to a scan result, as opposed to the previous limit of four.
Of course, I wonder how these changes will impact the search for mission bots in low and null sec?  I bet a lot more start dying.  Is this CCP helping out their player allies in the War on Bots™?  Anyway you look at it, the isk faucet from ratting and missioning is going to slow down a bit.

I wrote that I would only take a quick look at a few items, so I am going to skip the fixes as well as some other subjects that null sec residents are passionate about like jump bridges.  But I do want to mention one last item.

Client update #1 for Incarna 1.0, released June 21, 2011
  • This client addresses several important issues with Incarna and we strongly urge players to install this update. This will be presented immediately after you install Incarna 1.0
Why not put this into the same install?  I'm not really sure, but I do know one that that CCP always does with patches.  They do some code tweaks that mess with bots.  If you figure that the bot devs have had quite a bit of time with Incarna on Singularity, then throwing this at them will delay the bot users making money for a few hours if not a day or two.

That's all I have.  If you missed the link to the full patch notes, go ahead and click here.  And don't get too frustrated until CCP gets all the bugs out of this first Incarna release.

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