Last night before I went to bed I made sure I had a nice long skill set. A reminder came out over Jabber as I was checking, suggesting that people have at least a 4 day long skill training session queued up.
I also jumped myself to a clone in empire space… just to limit any potential surprises. Plus, that is where my implants are, all the better to hasten training during the expected down time.
The Retribution expansion was set to hit EVE Online, and the old hands can all recall a time where that could mean a long stretch offline. While “what goes up must come down” might be a truism, there is abundant evidence in the IT world that what goes down may never come up again.
But I woke up this morning to find the expansion deployed and the game back up again.
Way to go CCP! Look at you, an expansion deployed in just a few hours!
And so we have Retribution, the 18th “free” expansion for EVE Online.
I also like that CCP has to call out “free” every time them mention an expansion, as though there was a set of circumstances where they could charge for their expansions. By charging, they would have to ensure that people could play without them, which doesn’t really seem viable in a sandbox where the players must drive the content. Sure, CCP could cordon off things like factional warfare or wormhole space with a price tag, but why would they ever want to? They are not really analogous to theme park “new zones” style expansions. They are tools for the players to make fun.
So expansions in EVE are there to keep us subscribed by adding or enhancing those tools, not to try and wrench a little extra money out of us. And Retribution is a prime example of the type. Retribution features:
- Bounty Hunting Updates
- More Ship Rebalancing
- New Destroyers
- A New ORE Mining Frigate
- UI Upgrades for combat, inventory, and corp hangers
- Application of the Sleeper AI to Other NPCs
- Sound Updates
- The grand Heavy Missile Nerf
Not all of that is listed on the expansion page. Oddly enough, CCP doesn’t like bragging about nerfs, so those are relegated to the patch notes.
There is a little bit in there for everybody, both good and bad.
The agony of defeat.
I am interested in the UI changes, since I contend that the original AI was conceived by somebody who wanted to punish players for daring to play their game. Of course, those used to the old ways will grumble. But there is some absolute good on the list. As I mentioned before, visible timers for things like aggression are a win all around.
I like some of the Crimewatch changes. High sec space still won’t be safe, but it will be unsafe in new and interesting ways over time I bet, as players figure out the “never intended” aspects of the update. In something of an irony, the Retribution trailer plays up the bounty hunting aspect of the expansion.
Yet bounty hunting has never really been effective in the game so far as I can tell. It has always been too easy to just have a friend or an alt blow you up in a cheap ship, collect the bounty, and laugh at the system. I am not sure how that has changed, but I also don’t pay much attention to that part of the game. All in all, I think I preferred the silly Retribution ‘In Development” video which featured, among other things, what may be the only 1979 Mazda 929L in Iceland. (I used to pride myself on my ability to identify cars, a skill which peaked for me right around 1979.)
The ship rebalancing, new destroyers, and the new ORE frigate do not really touch me. The only sub-battle cruiser ship I fly regularly is the Tengu, and I only rat in that. And even the AI change won’t touch me, since I tend to do that solo or with Gaff, who flies an even better fit Tengu than my own, so AI switching targets doesn’t really mean anything.
The heavy missile nerf may sting.
- Base flight time reduced by 35% (to 6.5 seconds) for tech1 variants
- Base velocity increased by 14.6% (to 4300m/s)
- Damage has been decreased by 10% (rounded to closest digit)
- Explosion radius increased by 12%
I can launch heavy missiles from my Drake at ranges beyond my ability to target, so I can get people running away. And my Tengu can put them out to 113km from my ship. Or it could. Damage is getting chopped, ability to harm smaller targets is taking a hit (explosion radius), and range is down 25%. Jester went through all of the changes a while back, so you can read about this in more depth if you like.
On the plus side, the penalties for tech II missiles have been removed, so those are more viable in fleets.
Still, I am glad I just finished up my training plan to fly a tech II fit CFC fleet Rokh, which represented a large investment in gunnery skill points. I don’t know that the day of the Drake is over. It still has a mighty shield tank. But how to use them as a fleet doctrine sounds like it will have to change again.
Anyway, I am sure by this weekend there will be a lot more opinions about what the changes really mean to players. But first, we have to patch. 1.5GB? Okay, maybe there was a good reason to put a long skill into the training queue after all. I live in the land of slow DSL.
What do you think is good… or bad… about Retribution?