Daily Archives: November 24, 2020

The Explosive Velocity Update Lands in EVE Online

Here in the shadow of the Shadowlands launch CCP dropped an update of their own.  The Explosive Velocity update takes aim at torpedoes and a few neglected hulls.

Is this the work of Team Talos?

Torpedoes will see the following changes that will make them more effective.

  • All XL Torpedoes:
    • Explosion Velocity increased by 20%
    • Missile Velocity increased by 20%
    • Damage increased by 10%
  • All Torpedoes:
    • Explosion Radius reduced by 10%
    • Explosion Velocity increased by 10%
    • Missile Velocity increased by 20%
    • Maximum Flight Time increased by 20%
  • Torpedo Launcher:
    • CPU usage and Powergrid usage reduced by 7%

That will make ships that can use torpedoes a little more effective and give them a little more power grid to play with when launchers are mounted.

One set of torpedo using hulls did get a bit of a nerf.  Stealth bombers were already pretty powerful out in the wild and remain quite popular, so they took a hit to keep them from being too OP.

  • Bonus to Torpedo Maximum Velocity lowered from 20% to 15% per level
  • Racial Frigate Bonus to Explosion Velocity / Explosion Radius was removed

That offsets some of the torpedo buffs, but still leaves them better post-patch.

Two dreadnoughts also got changes today to help them be more competitive.

  • Phoenix:
    • CPU increased from 965 to 990
    • Power Grid increased from 500000 to 550000
  • Moros:
    • Low slots increased from 7 to 8
    • Mid slots decreased from 5 to 4

The Phoenix, the platform for XL torpedoes, also benefits from the above changes, which might help break it out of its very specialized applications.  We shall see if the slot changes helps the currently unloved Moros.

Then there is the Griffin Navy Issue, which is neither a dread nor a torpedo platform.  It just needed some help in its role as a short range ECM drone boat it seems, as CCP made the following changes:

  • Caldari Frigate bonuses (per skill level):
    • 10% bonus to ECM Drone jam duration
    • 20% bonus to Small Hybrid Turret damage
  • Misc. Bonus:
    • 85% penalty to drone damage
    • 50% penalty to drone hitpoints and drone control range
  • Attribute changes:
    • Drone Bandwidth increased from 5 to 25
    • Drone Capacity increased from 5 to 35

It got a bigger drone bay and the ability to launch more drones, but that 85% nerf to drone damage clearly means CCP doesn’t want people running it with combat drones.  ECM only please.  We’ll see if anybody ends up using the hull now.

And, finally, today’s patch slips in what I will call the “YZ9-F6 boson fix.”  Back in October the Imperium set a trap to slaughter PAPI caps and supers, and executed it correctly… only to have CCP’s code fail to deliver the damage it should have.  CCP acknowledged the issue, though there was little they could do after the fact.  But this line in the patch notes seems to indicate they have tried to remedy the issue for future fights.

Improved the stability of damage-over-time superweapons to make them more reliable at applying their full damage under heavy server loads.

Of course, somebody will have to trust CCP enough to try it before we’ll know if the fix was effective.  Who is going to gamble some titans on that?

Anyway, the patch notes are available and the update has been deployed.

A Smooth Slide into Shadowlands

I expressed some concern about the launch of the Shadowlands expansion in my post on Sunday, wondering if the server problems I had been seeing might impact the new experience.

But when it came down to it, at least on the Eldre’Thalas server, things seemed to go pretty smoothly.  (Though there were problems elsewhere I hear.)

I had read that the starting hook for the expansion hook would be out in front of the fountain before Stormwind Keep, so set myself up there early in the day.

The fountain, with some people beginning to gather

A little before 3pm local time, the hour of the launch for me, I logged in to gather with the other early birds to get right into things.  Ula had some free time as well, so we grouped up and waited around the fountain, which by that point was quite crowded.

The early crowd is ready

Moments after 3pm hit there was an announcement in the area by Highlord Darion Mograine.

Hear ye!

And then a death gate opened up before the fountain and people started piling in.

If all your friends jumped into a death gate, would you do it too?

It was through there to Icecrown and Bolvar Fordragon who had a few feats of strength for people to go through before he sent them off into the Maw to go find the people scooped up by Sylvanas in the pre-invasion.

So why am I dragging your little bits around the ceremony again?

And then it was into the Maw, the so-called crucible of the damned.

Welcome to The Maw

And it was a grim, dark hellscape with some of the tormented to fight and some of the regulars to find.  You end up with Jaina Proudmoore and Thrall to start with and end up on an exciting run through the place.  You find Anduin Wrynn and have to work to free him, and then Warchief Baine Bloodhoof.  The place is a torment and everybody wants to get out, and has been struggling to do so since they were taken.

Together you work your way to what my be a way out of the place, a portal that seems to respond only to your presence.  So they cover you while you escape.

Jaina, Baine, Anduin, and Thrall while you fiddle with the thing

And then, hey presto, you’re teleported to Orbios and your first achievement.

I fought the Maw and the Maw won…

There you meet the locals, talk about what is going on, get a tour of the place, and generally take your time, heedless of the fact that your recent pals are still being tormented.  But they have a way of doing things.  There is apparently enormous red tape in the after life.

From there you get sent off to Bastion to ingratiate yourself with the locals and run through their bright and shiny lands, the polar opposite of the Maw when it comes to style, and help them deal with their personal issues.

Seriously, Jaina, Thrall, Baine, and Anduin got themselves recaptured covering your escape, and were clearly unhappy about it.

Anduin is not at all happy

And now you’re farting around with really some of the most annoyingly chirpy mobs in the game who all sound like they’re in a cult if you start paying close attention to what they’re saying.  It is like being in the 70s.

Still, when in Rome… so you go along with the initiation, fight your personal demons manifested, relive past events in brief, and haul around their anima, the precious resource that drives things around there.

At first I thought they said “anime”

You get some armor, spar with some initiates, dust, tidy up, and attend some more lectures on the whole thing.

Ula and Vikund at another seminar

Doing all the fetch and carry and introspection gets you a level pretty quickly.  I was level 52 before the evening was out, and well on my way to 53.  The first person made it to 60, the new level cap, in just three hours.

But I gather that the level grind is not the big deal in Shadowlands.  Once you get to the level cap you have to pick a covenant and start earning your way into that as an alternate advancement method.  Something beyond just a rep grind so far as I have seen, though I haven’t looked too closely yet.

You get some new gear naturally, though I was surprised that it took a while for the first pieces to show up.  They were not in a hurry to replace everything you had in the first half dozen quests.  And some of it wasn’t good enough to replace what I had.  While I didn’t work very hard on the Heart of Azeroth in Battle for Azeroth, the first neck slot quest reward wasn’t cutting it as a replacement.

Heart of Azeroth wins today, even if it is cut off from its life force

Likewise, the big sword I got from Nathanos Blightcaller was better than the first weapons that came my way as drops or rewards.

My blade remains viable

And while the server seemed solid and I did not see any queues later in the evening when I logged back in, things were still a bit off.  I tried to group up with Ula again later on and we got stuck in different phases even though we were on the same quest.  We tried the dreaded “party sync” option, and while it did indeed get us onto the same quest again, we remained in different phases.

And perhaps some of the quests are meant to be solo, but it would be nice to have some indication of that.  Later, when we tried to add Skronk to the group, we had similar issues.  He couldn’t join the group at first, then he was in a different phase, and even after the part sync put us onto his quests, we still couldn’t all get into the same phase and visible to each other.

And that was on top of the usual factional annoyances.  This is one of the expansions where the Alliance and the Horde have identical experiences, so we’re all out there mixed together in Bastion.  But if a fellow Alliance member tags a mob, I can still join in and get credit, but if somebody from the Horde tags it, it is now gray to me and gets me no credit.  If we’re essentially fighting on the same side this round, maybe adjust that?  I don’t know.

But the advancement is going quickly enough that hopefully Bastion will be in the rear view mirror before too long.  It the sort of environment that brings up thoughts like, “I’m not saying Sylvanas is right, but looking at this place, I am not saying she is completely wrong either.”  Hell, one event involves a bunch of the locals sick of the routine and rising up against the status quo.  I had to go help put that down despite my sympathies.

Vikund ready to enforce conformity

But it is just a zone, and some zones you like and others you don’t, though the narrative in it feels like an extended intro that I kind of want to wrap up but never quite gets there.  Will I want to go through this with alts?

I will admit that the place looks pretty good.  A lot of work went into things.  I just have to get through Bastion and get back to rescuing people from the Maw, right?

Other first night posts: