The January Update and the Death of the Agent Finder

In place of the Agent Finder we will set up The Agency. And it shall not be tiny and dark, but as beautiful and terrible as the the star maps both new and old!  Fair as the sea and the sun and the snow upon the mountain as seen from orbit! Dreadful as a sudden hot drop! Stronger than the tanking modules of any faction. All shall love it and despair!

-January 2018 Patch Notes, early draft

Into the cold reality of the new year… unless you’re in Sydney, in which case you’ve recently been the hottest place on the planet… as YC120 comes with new changes.

The first update of the year for EVE Online is upon us and it touches a sore spot with me.  I’ve been over this already, so I won’t rehash history.  The short version is that the old Agent Finder, which I still think of as “new,” is going away.  The replacement is in the iron framework of The Agency.

You shall put nothing before The Agency

There is a reasonable logic to this change.  CCP wants to put all things PvE into The Agency framework.  The filters for finding an agent in The Agency are even a little bit better than they were in the Agent Finder.  The problem is that The Agency only has room in its soul for a dozen results.  Maybe that is all that people need.  I just rebel at the thought of replacing something that shows all the agents that meet your criteria with something that only shows the nearest twelve.

Anyway, I’ve probably given that change to the game all the weight it deserves and then some.  There is a Dev Blog about changes to The Agency which will now also serve as a way to locate:

  • Factional Warfare Sites
  • Incursions
  • Expeditions

In addition the Journal window will see some changes, with The Agency taking over a number of its roles.  I suspect that this will annoy some people merely due to having to change long instilled habit, but for me the Journal isn’t that big of a deal.  My primary use for it is to check on how may Loyalty Points I have earned but never spent over the years.

Also, NPC Forward Operating Bases… which are also becoming more numerous with this update… will be visible via The Agency interface as “Pirate Strongholds.”

Anyway, the reach of The Agency continues to grow.  If you’re a fan of the interface you’re probably happy, and if you’re not… well… you’d better get used to it all the same.

Also in this update, NPC coloration in the overview is now supposed to follow a consistent pattern:

  • Blue – Friendly NPCs
  • White – Neutral NPCs
  • Red – NPCs that mean you harm and are probably trying to shoot you even now

I’m pretty sure it was always supposed to be that way, but seem to recall some neutral, or at least non-hostile, NPCs getting colored red in the past.  Maybe that is all good now.

On other fronts CCP has applied their current shader technology to more objects and structures found in deadspace and missions areas.  I expect asteroid mining stations to be at least 30% more “shiny.”

CCP has also reworked the occasionally problematic reload cycle in an attempt to fix issues that occur when you’re reloading and do a state transition.  While the work was done in the background it does have some user end changes which include:

  • It is no longer possible to group or ungroup weapons while the weapons are reloading.
  • Cloaking, docking, and jumping after reloading will no longer interfere with reloading (but a cloaked ship can still not start a reload).
  • After the inventory operations have completed the reloading will no longer be interrupted by anything (but other things can be blocked until the timer has finished).
  • All inventory operations connected to a reload command are now done at the beginning of reloading and the reload timer is behaving like a reactivation timer on the module.
  • Several other minor bugs and inconsistencies around loading and unloading ammunition have been fixed.
  • Fixed a bug, which could lead to loss of ammunition when grouping the weapons of an Upwell Structure.

Hopefully this will resolve the issues intended and only introduce a few minor new issues.

In addition there is the usual long list of smaller issues addressed.  Information about the release can be found on the Updates page and in the Patch Notes.  As of this writing the update has been deployed successfully and is the current reality in New Eden.  There is a known issue when it comes to expeditions in The Agency already, so that functionality has been returned to the old Journal for now.

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