Operation Frostline: New Ships, Improved Graphics, Giant Grids, and More

Patch day/expansion day comes to EVE Online again.  There was a question, as Noizy noted, as to whether or not these small expansions would continue to have names and simply become patches.  After more than a year of single word names we knew in advance, today’s didn’t seem to have one.  Was that a signal that monthly expansion madness might have passed?

Then CCP declared the expansion name to be Operation Frostline, which is also the name of their winter holiday event, and isn’t a single word name with some reference to ancient Greece or the like.  I suspect that this was a bit of a last minute thing, as a number of the pages about the expansion just say, “December Release” as opposed to the name. The patch notes for past releases have always had the name in the title. (See, for example, the Parallax patch notes and update page.)

Operation Frostline is go

Operation Frostline is go

A bit odd, but what is in a name?  You can read more about the Operation Frostline event here.  More SKINs, more fun, as New Eden gets another holiday event with objectives in the game.  I might have to get that Catalyst SKIN, as I have all the Catalyst SKINs so far… despite the fact that I almost never fly a Catalyst.

On to the expansion updates.  The key items for me are:

Bigger Grids

For the uninitiated, the “grid” in EVE Online is the section of space where you have visual contact with other entities, ships, stations, whatever.  You can see them, highlight them with brackets, and track them on your overview (if you have it set right).  Things off your grid have to be tracked down via scan probes, things on your grid are right there for you.

Yesterday the size of a grid was 250km across.  Going forward they will be 8,000km across.  This was introduced as part of the groundwork for the Citadel expansion, as the coming XL citadel would simply be too big for the old 250km grid.

What will that mean?  A lot more crap on your overview, some people finding out their “safe” spots are no longer safe, and probably a good deal of grid comedy.

There is a dev blog on the grid size change.

Graphics Updates

There are all sorts of bits and pieces to this, from PvP kill marks on the side of you ship, to your ship getting dingier over time, to new propulsion effects, to new module effects, to brighter nebulae, to improve anti-aliasing, to a visual damage system that will show when your shield are taking damage, with localized damage effects when hostiles break through.  And it will all be processed on that new, larger grid.  We’ll see if anybody reports a video card meltdown from all of this new stuff. (The visual damage system will be limited to your ship, ships you have targeted, and ships on your watch list.)

Modules with new effects include:

  • Ship & Drone engine boosters
  • Cynosural Field Beacon
  • Cynosural Jump Portal
  • Cynosural Jump Portal Black Ops
  • Warp Entry
  • Wormhole Jump
  • ECCM
  • ECM Burst
  • Sensor Booster
  • Stasis Web
  • Survey Scanner
  • Tracking Booster
  • Smart Bombs (EMP, Graviton, Photon, Plasma)

I look forward to more better screen shots. (Dirt and kill marks dev blog)

More Wee Ships in Space

We are getting the following new ships this time around:

  • Four Electronic Warfare Navy Frigates (details)
  • Four Tech II Logistics Frigates (details)
  • Four Command Destroyers (details)
  • The Endurance ice mining expedition frigate (details)
The Endurance (formerly Discovery)

The Endurance (formerly Discovery)

I like all of these ships, even the Endurance, despite not mining for ages. I am sure will get a lot of use.

But the most interesting of the batch for me has to be the command destroyers.  Their ability to mount a bonus link is cool, but their area effect micro jump drive capability is going to be crazy.  It can light off its MJD and it will take all ships within 6km of it for a 100km ride.  I am sure a lot of FCs out there are working on creative plans for these ships.  Reavers have a standing order to train up the new command destroyers skill.  I should be training level IV by the time I get home from work tonight.  I expect hilarity to ensue.

(Also, go check your overview settings to make sure these all appear correctly. Been bit by that before!)

Falloff for Remote Reps

Something to break up the stability of logistic support, remote repair systems will now suffer from falloff and changes to cycle times.  This is all part of the module tiericide going in with this expansion, and is covered in detail here.

The essence is that switching reps to new targets will take longer and logi support will have to stay closer to the main fleet… and thus more likely to be within the engagement envelope of any hostiles… for full remote repair effectiveness to be available.  On the extreme end of things, shield logi will be able to deliver a trickle of reps as far out as 100km if I read things right.

I am not sure this is exactly a war on logi, as Kirith Kodachi put it, but it is clearly an stab at changing the current remote repair meta, where if you bring enough logi you are invincible.  As somebody who often flies logi, I will be interested to see how this changes things.

Other items

For me, those are the big items.

  • Some minor ship rebalancing (details)
  • Warp disruption field generator tiericide (details)
  • Shield Module tiericide (details)
  • Energy neutralizers and Nosferatu tiericide (details)
  • Missile guidance disruptors show up along with tweaks to missile guidance modules (details)
  • Meta level Entosis link module (Yay?)
    • Affirmative. Modified Entosis Link – Reduced Capacitor Use
    • Noir. Modified Entosis Link – Higher Max Velocity
    • Pandemic SPHERE Modified Entosis Link – Longer Range
    • Spectre Fleet’s Modified Entosis Link – Lower Powergrid Requirements
  • A bunch of new SKINs (Yay! I like SKINs!) (details for some of them)
  • Changes to how pilot data is stored when you dock up
  • Updates to make the Mac client suck less
  • Lots of other small fixes and tweaks and stuff that probably didn’t get mentioned by CCP because they like to do that

The updates page for Operation Frostline is available here and the full patch notes are here.

And, of course, the real test as to whether or not this is a patch or an expansion, the music.  Expansions get a sound track, as we have one for Operation Frostline, so I guess that settles that.

Another new day in EVE Online.

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