Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thoughts On Crucible Patch Notes

The rollout of Crucible expansion is underway now so I thought I'd review some of the more interesting (to me at least) items we will soon see on Tranquility.  I keep hearing how Crucible may be the best Eve Online expansion ever.  I realize I was not around for Red Moon Rising, but I was around for Apocrypha and I do not think Crucible will surpass that.  So here is my look at the patch notes.

Critical:  CCP is rolling out a new localization technology called Cerberus.  Unfortunately, all the German and Russian translations were not complete so those using German and Russian clients will see some text in English.  Also, it sounds like CCP isn't too confident in the performance of the overview settings under extreme load (like massive fleet fights) so that is something to watch out for.  And if you have your windows customized, you'll have to set those up again.

Time Dilation:  While time dilation will make the large fleet fights Eve is famous for more playable, those looking to experience the feature right away will be disappointed.  The feature will not be turned on at launch.

Worldshaping:  Eve Online is a beautiful game and CCP has from all reports improved the scenery immensely.  I'm looking forward to seeing the new nebula, enhanced starfields and new background for the in-game map.

Captain's Quarters:  I'm looking forward to seeing the new Caldari, Gallente and yes, even Amarr quarters.  I also want to see just how the quarters change in appearance depending on the system's security status.  Just a warning to all those who like to spin their ships.  That feature in only available if you turn the "Load Station Environments" option to "ON".  If you leave it off, you just get a static screen.  I have the feeling some people are not going to be happy with that.

Ships:  All Caldari and Gallente ships as well as the Apocalypse and Impairor have had their shaders upgraded to the V3 shader set.  But the big news is the 4 new tier 3 battlecruisers.  I'm not a big fan of glass cannons, so I'll probably only pick up the Tornado to say I own one.  I like by battlecruisers mounting warfare links and able to take a tremendous pounding.  That said, I won't go into the stats, just the lore descriptions.

Naga (Caldari) - The Naga was designed in YC 109 by the Corporate Police Force as an anti-Guristas ship, sacrificing the usual robust Caldari Navy standards in favor of supporting battleship-class weaponry. It was rejected by Hyasyoda management for being overspecialized. The Naga design remained in the Hyasyoda archives, forgotten (save for a cameo in the Gallente holo-series CPF Blue). In YC 113 the Caldari Navy entertained contracts for a new tier of gunboat battlecruiser. Hyasyoda quickly submitted and won with the Naga, underbidding both Kaalakiota and Ishukone.

Oracle (Amarr) - In YC 113 Empress Jamyl Sarum I challenged Amarr ship manufacturers to build a new battlecruiser that would break the stalemate of the Empyrean War. Deviating from the doctrine of brute-force and heavy armor, the engineers at Viziam took inspiration from Caldari history. During the Gallente-Caldari War, the Caldari developed light, maneuverable ships to counter the slow ships of the Gallente Federation. This philosophy, along with a cutting-edge powertrain and ultra-light alloy armor plating, led to the Oracle. The Empire immediately ordered the ship into production. The Empress personally congratulated Viziam Chief Researcher Parud Vakirokiki, calling the ship ‘a work of Divine Grace for the Empire, and retribution to our enemies.’

Talos (Gallente) - The Talos began in YC 110 as a R&D concept by ORE. Conceived as a patrol craft for mining operations in lawless space, the Talos would have been abandoned completely were it not adopted by the Black Eagles, a black-ops branch of the Gallente government. The Black Eagles stripped the Talos of non-essential systems and bolted on battleship-class weapons, creating a quick-strike craft ideal for guerilla action. The Talos remained a military secret until YC 113, when it was introduced into wider circulation as a third tier battlecruiser. Today the Talos is manufactured by Duvolle Labs, who modified the original ORE designs to bring it in line with Gallente standards.

Tornado (Minmatar) - In YC 113 Republic Security Services learned the Amarr Empire was building a new battlecruiser capable of supporting battleship-class weapons. Determined to not lose their technological edge to their adversaries, Republic Fleet commissioned Boundless Creation to construct a gunboat to match. What they designed was the Tornado. Developed in record time and total secrecy, the Tornado is a testament to Minmatar engineering. Modeled loosely off of flying-wing designs of ancient planetary bombers, the Tornado supports multiple large projectile turrets, dealing massive damage while maintaining a small signature radius.

New Tech 2 modules:  I'm excited about the new tech 2 modules.  I'm really looking forward to the warfare and mining links as well as the Micro auxiliary power core II and Small Tractor Beam II.

Customs Office:  This feature I hate.  One of my goals for my third year was to get more active in low sec.  This change is a disincentive to do that.  For me, low sec planetary interaction just became unprofitable, if doable at all.  I'll have to find some other motivation to risk my ships out there.

User Interface:  For me, the change is meh.  I'm used to the current UI and I don't mind it.  And a "loot all" button?  Big deal.

Combat:  The big change is in killmails.  Implants now show up as well as the difference between blueprint originals and blueprint copies.  Good for stroking the epeen of PvPers, but not really exciting for me.

Exploration and deadspace:  I guess I should be excited about the addition of more 3/10 and 4/10 DED complexes.  But I don't run DED complexes, so no big deal for me.  I am looking forward to seeing Site One in Eram, though.

Graphics:  The graphics updates look interesting, with the reintroduction of engine trails, seeing shots miss your ship, new warp tunnel effects and seeing the full body avatars of other players.

Changes:  I just can't get excited about the changes that everyone is raving about.  I guess my style of play just doesn't lend itself to being affected by too much.  About the only thing I see that really affects me is that destroyer buff that will make getting ganked in high-sec so much easier.  I might have to keep the Orca docked now, at least for the first few weeks until the novelty of having gank ships like the new tier 3 battlecruisers and the buffed destroyers wears off.  Unfortunately I forgot to move my Orca and it is stuck on the wrong side of Hek.

Null sec players are interested in the supercap nerfs and changes in capitals and lots of players are interested in the POS fuel changes.  But for me, I have a big case of the blahs about the changes.  Maybe I just need to take more time to read them.

Conclusion:  I now regret writing this post.  After reading the patch notes and thinking about them, I'm not excited about Crucible anymore.  Fortunately, Eve Online is a game driven by the players.  If the general player base is excited, that will bleed over into the general feeling about the game I have.  But in my opinion, the only thing that makes this expansion exciting is just how bad Incarna was.

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