Last week, before the Onslaught expansion hit EVE Online, I was all “big changes” in my summary of what we were getting. Now, more than a week later, I am a bit more reserved.
Dirk MacGirk pinged me at one point to ask if I felt there was really an expansion’s worth of content landing, if it was really worth a name and a new splash screen. And I had to admit that, after the fact, I wasn’t feeling it.
As I said to him, it can be tough to bring something to the table that feels like real change, like a big change, when CCP is already putting out a healthy update almost every month. That monthly cycle means we don’t need to wait for a special named vehicle to bring us fixes, balance changes, and updates, so I wouldn’t want CCP to stop. But, as I warned way back when CCP started down that path… back when monthly updates were getting names like Phoebe… that expansions were going to have to drop huge new features in order to differentiate themselves.
Into the Abyss manage that. Abyssal deadspace became huge almost immediately.
Onslaught though? We got the first iteration on Abyssal deadspace, two new ships, new structures that replaced the functionality of structures we already had, some balancing of faxes and ECM, and some pretty new graphics on jump gates throughout the game.
The only really new thing we got was the Activity Tracker. Announced at EVE Fanfest, I had some hopes for that, but the reality doesn’t quite live up to my hopes and dreams.
It isn’t that I don’t want CCP to track my in-game data in a way in which I can see. I love that sort of thing. But I feel underwhelmed by what we got.
In part that is because Activity Tracker started with a clean slate. I knew that was going to be a the way of things. They were storing data in a new way for a new interface. But after more than a dozen years of playing it felt more than a little disappointing to get a notification for my first gate jump. I mean, when I first logged in and looked, everything was set to zero.
It was essentially a fresh start.
And my feeling wasn’t helped by the fact that CCP has the data on my travel somewhere. I only have to open up the map… the old map, not the new map, but let’s not get into that oozing sore… to see all the systems which I have visited.
And the map doesn’t just know where I have been, but how many times and when I last visited.
Yes, I do still have the map so I can see that whenever I want, and I know that combining the map data into the Activity Tracker might not have been an easy task. But, in the end, the Activity Tracker won’t ever be close to the reality of my time in New Eden. And I cannot imagine how it might feel for somebody like Katia Sae, who has navigated through all of the star systems in known space and is now working through all of wormhole space. What does it feel like, after all of that, to log in and find that the Activity Tracker says you have visited no systems?
I guess there is a task out there for somebody, visit all the systems again, this time with Activity Tracker keeping count. And it certainly didn’t take me long to start upping my system count. That op to Geminate last weekend took care of that.
That also included 10 regions and put me into tier three for systems entered.
That five levels of achievement looks to have come straight from the certificates feature, which was something akin to achievements for skill training. (The current form of certificates are from the Rubicon expansion, which launched five years ago yesterday. The original version of those were really odd.) I’m not sure how passing through 101 systems adds up to 477 points. There isn’t a tool tip to clarify that.
That op to Geminate did not, however, yield me any tracking for combat activity. I guess I will have to stick to zkillboard for that. You have to get the kill mail and the kill mark for that to count it seems. I do like how some of the support activities are counted though. Since I usually fly logi, I’ll be logging numbers on that front.
Mining should also be fun though, again, I am a bit irked at the timing. With the Crimson Harvest event I probably did about all the mining I will end up doing this year. But nothing before November 13, 2018 gets counted, so all of my stats remain at zero.
Meanwhile, I would be surprised if there were not already some Rorqual pilots out there with max’d out tracker levels for ore. I suspect that any number CCP chose for the top of that scale would be too low.
Others I support on general principles. Having some accounting visible for incursions or faction warfare can only help. Faction warfare deserves every scrap it can get.
Likewise I was happy to see some scanning related items in there as well as a nice mission running tally broken out by mission levels, though that was bitter sweet as well. I ran a lot of missions back in the day. For Abyssal deadspace, I was amused to see that it counts the pockets you have entered and the ones you have successfully exited as two different numbers.
And for those who think null sec gets all the attention, I want to point out that there is pretty much nothing related to sovereignty on the tracker. Entosis ops get you nothing there. Clearly the null sec dominated CSM isn’t doing their job right. It is almost like that corrupt developer theory was complete nonsense.
So we now have something… or something else… akin to achievements in New Eden. They feel somewhat robust in certain areas… I am glad mission runners and faction warfare players are getting something in that… but still a little light over all. And there isn’t anything on the list I am going to start chasing down. I suppose this reflects, in its way, the problem of achievements in a sandbox-ish game. Achievements in World of Warcraft often guide you to content, or give you special ways to run it. That isn’t so easy in EVE Online.