Tag Archives: CCP

Never Enough Jump Clones

This past weekend I finished up Advanced Infomorph Psychology, a good 20 day skill that got me my 10th jump clone in EVE Online.

I love me some jump clones, that is for sure.

That means I can be flying around in space in one clone and then, upon docking up, “jump” to and occupy any of those 10 clones I have sitting around in other stations.  It is a handy way to get around New Eden.

Yes, there is that 19 hour wait between jumps. (Of course I trained up that skill as well!  A 24 hour wait was too much, but 19, or even 20 hours, is just about right.)  But that means I can jump at the end of the evening and have the timer set for another jump by the start of the next.

And what do I do with all of those jump clones?

Well, I keep one at the coalition staging system so I can jump there to join fleets.

I keep another one at our alliance staging system in case I want to join a TNT fleet operation.  That would require me to log into TNT Jabber, something I have been very lax about lately, but I could if I wanted.  I just tend to be deployed out with Reavers, so what goes on at the alliance level is generally pretty far away.

I have a clone in the system I now rat in down in Tribute, about a dozen jumps from the alliance staging system.

There is one in Jita, so I can jump there, buy things, and have them shipped out to null sec, or partake in the many great opportunities being tastefully advertised in local.

I have another one tucked up in Amarr space in one of the university stations that sells skills, in case I need to buy yet another skill. (Current count: 307)  That clone also has a set of +4 attribute implants, since attributes are still a thing for the moment.  So even if I don’t need a new skill, I often just jump to that clone if I won’t be on for a couple days to boost skill training speed.

I have another one in the Amarr Navy Logistics station one jump from Amarr, which happens to be a station where I can install jump clones, having worked my way up to an 8+ standing with both the Amarr and Caldari Navies back in the day.

Then there is one down in Delve, with a ship, that was pre-positioned back during a Reaver deployment in case we got called upon to go assist Pizza with something.  Not sure I need that one any more.  Pizza still holds NOL-M9 down there, where the clone is, but not a lot else.

I have a clone in Fountain, in 4-EP12, along with a Caracal and a pile of ammunition.  I’d fly the Caracal out on a whim, but there is too much stuff in the station for it to carry.  So I keep the clone there to keep the ammo listed on the market.  Anybody need 200K rounds of Antimatter Charge L (from the Baltec fleet era) or 184K rounds of Scourge torpedoes (same era, but siege bomber fleet doctrine)?

And, finally, I have a jump clone in B-R5RB that has been sitting in that station, along with Dominix I was flying, since the great battle down there about a year and a half back.

N3 titans scattered about

I was one of those little dots chasing that Avatar titan

I keep that one for sentimental reasons.  I nearly collected the ship back when The Initiative held the system and we deployed down there to help them back in January, but never quite got around to it.  Now the system is in hostile hands and it seems unlikely that we’ll ever own that station again.  But stranger things have happened.

So those were my nine clones, sitting around in stations all over New Eden, plus the clone I am currently using.

Now I have one more clone I can place.  Of course, I don’t HAVE to go put it anywhere, I could hold it aside for a rainy day or some sudden need.  But there happens to be a window of opportunity with the alignment of a couple of events.

The first is that the Reavers happen to be down in Curse to play Entosis Link games with the locals just to see what we can get away with.  The other is an “accidental” change to how jump clones work, announced by CCP yesterday.

Apparently they broke the standings requirement for jump clones.  Previously, in order to install a jump clone in an NPC controlled station, you had to have a standing of 8.0 or greater with that corporation.  As I mentioned above, I worked for quite a while on Amarr and Caldari Navy missions way back in the day in order to be able to install jump clones at need in high sec.

Now though, according to CCP:

Before the release, minimum standings of +8.0 were required with an NPC corporation in order for a pilot to be able to install a jump clone in their stations. This is no longer the case, and capsuleers can freely create jump clones in whichever NPC station they choose to do so.

So jump clones installation for everybody.  Go use it quick before CCP makes up its collective mind about whether or not to “fix” this.  They seem to content to let it stand, but it is also summer and the vacation mindset might be influencing their view.  They might sober up or the cold might set in again and put them in a more stern state of mind.

I might have been angry about having ground all those missions if I had just finished them last week, but I did that seven years ago and can barely remember how long it took.  It does seem to put paid to organizations that were allowing people to make jump clones, and there is the remaining question about what use are standings now.

Anyway, that means I ought to be able to install that tenth clone down in Curse in one of the NPC stations with cloning services.  And then, at some future date, late on a week night, I can fly out, one by one, the ships I left behind from that deployment to Curse we had nearly two years ago.  Not that there is anything of great value there.  Just a couple of Harpies, a Burst, and a Ferox along with some ammo and fittings.

I think I will do the same with that jump clone down in Delve.  I’ve always been the good soldier and pre-deployed ships and clones where told.  The problem is that I appear to be in the minority on that front, and so every operation needs to start out of the coalition staging system in Deklein.  And since the destination is always a secret when we set out, we end up flying for an hour and wind up five jumps from my jump clone and doctrine ship, which continue to gather dust.

Learning to do the Fozzie Sov Shuffle

After the false start of Wednesday, when downtime was extended well into the Icelandic evening and jokes about Fozzie Sov killing EVE Online were starting to feel uncomfortably close to real, it looks like people really dove into the whole new sovereignty mechanic with a vengeance.

If you look at the Timer Board web site that somebody put together to use the updated API’s ability to tell you what systems are in play, you will see… as of when I am writing this… more than 200 things are being assaulted.  Obviously, not all of them are going to get taken.  A lot of timers look to be past their mark.  But clearly Entosis Link trolling is a thing, if nothing else.

Meanwhile Wollari over at DOTLAN EVE Maps has integrated some of the new data available into the map options on the site.  In addition to the usual sovereignty view of a region, you can also now choose views that show systems that are vulnerable, which systems have which of the three key structures (TCU, ihub, station), and what the active defense multiplier is for systems.

That last one is important for both attackers and defenders.  For attackers it determines how long the Entosis Link module has to run to capture something, a range of 10 to 60 minutes depending on the multiplier.  And for defenders, it essentially lets you know what your response time has to be for given systems and where you might want to focus some effort in order to boot that number.  (I am waiting for somebody to put that ADM data together into a chart to show how many sovereign null sec systems people actually use regularly.  If the ADM is 5 or greater, people live there.  3-4 shows some life.  But if it is less than that, not so much.)

This has lead to some changes of behavior, at least in The Imperium.  Before now, the carebears amongst us were, at a minimum, kidded about spending their days ratting, mining, building, or otherwise whiling away the hours in space not shooting people.

Now though, with their behavior influencing the ADM, the call goes out for shock workers to perform hero ratting in low multiplier systems.  Strategic mining ops are called and participation links given out for burning rocks.  Industrialists are now hailed as heroes of the coalition.  I am not making this up.  Well, maybe I made up that last one, but the first two are real.

It is a good time to be a carebear in The Imperium.  And it isn’t a bad time for combat operations as well.  Mordus Angels and Pandemic Horde have been making runs at systems in Pure Blind and Fade in small, easily destroyed fleets.  I managed to get into a homeland defense fleet that caught MASSADEATH himself and a small Cerberus fleet trying to finish off a vulnerable node in Pure Blind.  We got some kills, drove them off, and made the save.

Making the save

Saving the ihub

The theory seems to be that if they get in quick with a small fleet, they can get away with it.  But small gangs and squishy Entosis Link ships just feed the Feroxes of the Homeland Defense fleets.

Feroxes for Freedom

Feroxes for Freedom

The Timer Board site only shows a few systems of The Imperium under attack out of that list of 200+, and mostly on the periphery where hostiles have easy access.  It is a little early to make much of a claim, but it feels like having the coalition contract into a smaller perimeter that consisted of space that was mostly occupied and in use on a regular basis was a good plan.  Attacks are only really getting any traction where we are thin on the ground.

And the ihub upgrades for rats seem to be having an effect.  A system I ratted in pre-Aegis used to generate a single Guristas Forsaken Hub, the best generally available ISK/effort anomaly.  After that system got the upgrade, it was generating three Guristas Forsaken Hubs and a Haven.

I also had an opportunity to go out and be part of the offensive side of the Fozzie Sov equation.  Last night Asher Elias and the patron saint of welps, Dabigredboat, ran a joint Reavers/Bomberwaffe operation down to the Reavers’ home away from home, Querious.

A test run, we went down in Caracals and interceptors via a convenient (if more rare) null-to-null wormhole to  see if Darkness would defend some of their space.  Ideally it would have happened in ED-9LT, the former Reaver outpost in the region.  That was not an option.  Instead we were headed to UYU-VV in the 8BO-IH constellation.  (This is going to mean learning system AND constellations now, isn’t it?)

We faced no opposition on the first Entosis Link attack and pushed the event into the “scatter round” when additional command nodes appear throughout the constellation… in this case six systems… forcing us to break up into smaller groups.

The group that stayed in UYU-VV actually faced a bit of opposition.  The group I was in, sent off to W6V-VM, was not bothered.  We flew off to the Territorial Claim Unit Command Node that spawned in the system.

TCU Command Node

TCU Command Node

That appears to be the overview marker for the actual target, the Structure Command Node.

Timer on the command node

Timer on the structure command node

Of course, in the grand CCP tradition, the option in the overview to actually SEE these nodes is unchecked by default, harkening back to the battle cruiser split when one of them… attack battle cruisers I think… didn’t show up on overviews by default.

You need to check the right box...

You need to check the right box…

Upon finishing off the node inW6V-VM , two more nodes spawned.  Our Entosis Link fit interceptor went after one while we flew cover and, upon finishing that one, we were called back to UYU-VV.  Enough other modules were running that we did not need the additional one in our system.  And while Darkness appeared in small numbers, they did not seem interested in hitting any of the Structure Command Nodes to contest or operation.

The results bar tipping heavily in our direction

The results bar tipping heavily in our direction

And so the system was rolled.  Later, Plaid Rabbit ran out, grabbed a TCU, and planted it in UYU-VV, thus taking sovereignty for Reavers in Querious yet again.

Our constellation

Our constellation

It would have been nicer if it had a station, but I am not sure we’re going to spend ISK upgrading a system we grabbed on a whim at the other end of New Eden.

After that we had the option of starting the process on another system or going 20 jumps on the off chance we might get into the middle of a fight.  The killers won the poll, clearly betraying out Reaver philosophy, and off we went.

We did catch a blockade runner along the way just idle near a gate.  I am going to guess the pilot went AFK cloaked and then got decloaked by somebody passing too close.  That was a quick kill.  And while I understand that eventually some of us got on a dreadnought kill or two, I ended up getting popped when we crossed paths with a Northern Coalition fleet headed for the same fight, and so missed out.  Life in a combat zone.

So that has been my experience with Fozzie Sov and the Entosis Link module dynamics so far.

CCP has put out a video detailing how the mechanics of the new system work.

How the new system will actually play out over time though, that is a horse of a different color.

Introducing Carnyx the Magnificent

Answer: The New Eden Store, a Panther, and the EVE Online Launcher.

Envelope reveals: Name a shop, a blop, and a flop.

Come on old people, laugh at the ancient, late night TV reference!

Nothing?  May Mister Vee call you as primary just as you go for a bio break!

Anyway, today is the day for the Carnyx release, a carnyx being some sort of ancient Celtic wind instrument, leaving open the option to claim that this expansion blows I guess.

The big thing for me this time around will likely be the ongoing null sec sovereignty updates.

Five weeks back, with the Mosaic expansion, CCP put the Entosis Link module into the game, the key item in CCP’s planned “Summer of Sov” changes.  Now that we’ve all had time to make the modules, their first use is becoming available with Carnyx, the ability to assail station services.

  • Station services for outposts and conquerable stations are now enabled/disabled using the Entosis Link module. They have become immune to regular damage.
  • The structures have been moved away from the center of station to more appropriate locations on the station model. Each type of station/outpost has a different layout of service locations.
  • Services will take 5 minutes of uncontested Entosis Link activation (after completing a warm-up cycle) to enable/disable. To provide a defensive bonus, the time take to disable a service is increased according to the solar system’s occupancy multiplier (more details in the dev blogs linked here)

That means no more sitting on stations expending ammunition, a current favorite pastime for both sides in the Querious war.

Missile exhaust trails

Shoot the big thing… no, you don’t get a kill  mail

Instead the attacking side will have to hold the station grid and keep the defenders from killing any ships running the Entosis Link module which, as was announced in a previous post, will be unable to cloak, warp, dock, jump, or receive remote assistance.  No reps, no running, no hiding, the Entosis Link ship has to survive on its own.  I will be interested to see what fits end up becoming common for link ships.

It also means that the activity defense multiplier will be in effect.

Activity Defense Multiplier

Activity Defense Multiplier

This gives a bonus to your defense, in the form of increasing the amount of time an attacking Entosis Link module must run in order to complete its conquest, based on how much mining and ratting has been done in the system as well as how old the currently active infrastructure hub is.  This should lead to some comedy in Querious, where nobody is ratting or mining and nobody has held any of their current systems long enough to have built up much age on their ihubs.

So I have that to look forward to.

Otherwise, the updates page has some additional goodies.

We get another new ship today, the Caldari tech III destroyer, the Jackdaw.

Enjoy me before I am nerfed

Enjoy me before I am nerfed

There is the next round of Pabst Blue Ribbon physically based rendering graphics updates and changes to lighting.  More screen shots required.

Also on the list:

  • New overview icons, so everybody will be confused for a while
  • The next round of module rebalancing, with shield extenders and armor plates getting a pass along with a rework of propulsion modules. (MWDs will now be 5/50/500NM and Afterburners will be 1/10/100MN, or something like that, to make them more distinguishable.)
  • Sentry drone nerf, because the game is still Ishtars Online most nights.
  • New ship SKINS for marauders, and SKINS for the Astero, Stratios, and Nestor coming soon.
  • New Angel Cartel burner missions
  • Updated graphics for the Caldari Naga battlecruiser.
Hail to the new Naga... pretty close to the old Naga to me...

Hail to the new Naga… pretty close to the old Naga to me…

And then there are the full patch notes, where CCP tends to bury a few interesting nuggets.  I like these line items:

  • Drifter presence has reportedly been increased throughout Amarr space.

No doubt something will come of this.

  • New systems are available that can be accessed via the Unidentified wormholes. (Unidentified wormholes can be found in systems that contain the Jove Observatory)

Makes me want to figure out scanning again.  I don’t think I have done that since the Apocrypha expansion was fresh and new.

  • Ships in high-sec space piloted by a character with a Criminal Flag will now be unable to use in-space re-fitting facilities.

I have seen this mentioned a few times, and I am sure it is meaningful, but I haven’t seen the impact fully explained.  Some aspect of suicide ganking will no doubt have to change with this.

Then there was the announcement that players would no longer be allowed to start the game from the exefile.exe, but would have to use the still flawed and somewhat annoying launcher to access the game.

With Carnyx coming to Tranquility it will no longer be possible to launch EVE Online using the exefile.exe file from EVE/bin/ folder. If you are using this method due to the issue with your launcher where “PLAY” button remains gray after downloading an update, please pay close attention to the information provided in this article.

If you still have other issues launching the game, please contact our Customer Support team.

This caused much groaning in the bit of the community that actually pays attention to these announcements, as well as prompting my little attempt at a joke at the top of this post.

But that announcement was contradicted the same day by an announcement regarding the repair tool, which included this addendum:

Please note that contrary to the earlier news article, launching the EVE Online client using exefile.exe will continue to work after the deployment of the Carnyx release.

The original announcement was tossed down the memory hole, never to be seen on the official site again.  But the RSS archive remembers!

So that is what has gone live today.

Addendum: Also, a new model for the Caracal, which I know was talked about, but which didn’t quite make it to the patch notes.  Rixx Javix has a picture of it in his post about the new PBR rendering.

Meanwhile the next expansion, Aegis, which will deliver the balance of the null sec sovereignty updates, has been pushed back one week and is now slated to launch on July 14.  Happy Bastille Day I guess.  I do not know if that will push out all of the subsequent expansions by an additional week.  There was already a six week gap planned after Aegis (vacations, no doubt), so if nothing else changes the launch dates should look like this…

Edit: The Fozzie Sov stuff will be going live July 14, the Aegis expansion appears to still be on track for July 7 otherwise, so I misunderstood what was being said… again.  So the dates look like this for expansions still:

  • July 7th
  • August 25th
  • September 29th
  • November 3rd
  • December 8th

No word on the whole “features between releases” idea that was floated with the Mosaic expansion.  I don’t think adding stuff to the New Eden Store counts.

And, finally, there is the Carnyx launch music, which is kind of moody and foreboding in its own electronica way.

 

To PLEX or not to PLEX, That is the Question

I have something of a philosophical question.

I mentioned more than a year back at this point that my other blog, EVE Online Pictures, had been accepted as an official fan site by CCP.  It is listed over on community page for the game.

Somewhere between Japan and Poland now...

Somewhere between Japan and Poland now…

Aside from that listing, one of the benefits of running an official fan site is that you get a free account.  So long as I remain in this program I will never unsubscribe from EVE Online because I am playing for free!  FREE!

Well, “free” as in not having to pay any money.  I still have to keep my site up and active.  But that isn’t such a big task.  I tell people I literally pay for my account by taking screen shots.  A pretty sweet deal, no?

Anyway, as I said a year back, you can consider me bought and paid for by CCP, though I doubt you could detect any difference in my posts since I got the whole fan site thing.

But there has been a change.  Fan sites were recently sent an update regarding the program that included this offer:

We are currently planning to change the rewards that we are currently offering to Fansites. Firstly, we are adding the option that will allow you to get PLEX rather than gametime. Anyone taking up this offer will be granted three PLEX per quarter (for a total of 12 PLEX per year). If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please email me or file a support ticket.

On the surface, this seems like a bad deal.  I would be trading an option where my account is free 365 days a year (366 on leap years!) for an option that gives me only 360 free days every 12 months.  I might have to pay for those extra 5 (or 6) days eventually!  Oh noes!

The thing is, as a human, I am not always a fully logical being.  Far from it.

For me, a subscription to a game I play actively is no big deal.  I just pay it, or put a credit card on auto-repeat and it gets paid automatically, and think no more about it until I stop playing.

Basically, in my world, subscriptions are easy, which makes them about the polar opposite of cash shop items.  Leaving aside immersion issues and not having anything worthwhile to buy, the biggest problem I have with free to play… or perhaps it is the biggest problem free to play games have with me… is simply getting me to buy the special in-game RMT currency, be it Station Cash, Turbine Points, or Aurum.

I think World of Tanks might be one of the few exceptions to that, and I didn’t buy much from them.

The only time I tend to accumulate and use an MMO’s RMT currency is when I opt-in for their subscription plan, and that plan includes a currency stipend.  This is how I ended up with a pile of Station Cash… which I think is now Daybreak Cash… and Turbine Points.  And while I have noted the problem I have with a lack of offerings in some games, I have ended up spending my Turbine Points in Lord of the Rings Online fairly freely.

So my theory is that if I went with the PLEX route, I would be more likely to do things I have considered from time to time, like buy ship skins or activate another account for a short time at need or consolidate characters from a couple of accounts onto a single account or enable multiple skill training queues, which might make the game more fun or interesting, because I can use the PLEX I have been given.  Or I can sell it on the market if I need some ISK, or I can just use the PLEX and cover 30 days of account time.  (See How to Use PLEX on the official site.)

I get more flexibility, and it will take a while for those five (or six) days to catch up to me anyway.

Like I said, this isn’t logical.  I could do these things by just putting up the cash, but my history says I will not do that.  But paying for a subscription?  I won’t think twice on that.

So, as I said above, to PLEX or not to PLEX?

Ship Skin Revamp Coming with the Mosiac Expansion Next Week

I am pretty sure that EVE Online players have been talking about their desire to customize their ships for as long as the game has been around.  Probably the most visible icon of this… dare we call it a movement… is the Hello Kitty Kestrel.

You would fly this, I know it

You would fly this, I know it

That, of course, is an extreme example to make a point, something you would never expect to see in-game or in real life.

Hello Kitty Nissan Silvia S15

Hello Kitty Nissan Silvia S15… love that tail pipe

(photo from the Deviant Art portfolio of no5master)

There is always some desire to stand out from the group.

Long range beams

Red beams because I want to be different! Also I was bored.

Of course, the specifics as to how any individual wants to stand out is all over the map, so I am not sure CCP has had an easy time getting to where they are now, nor do I believe it will please a very large percentage of the population of New Eden.

But at least we’ve got something.  And that something is ship skins.

CCP launched that plan a little over a year ago with skins for a few ships and what felt like a convoluted… and somewhat expensive… process to get them into the game.  It was about $2.00 to get a skin on a frigate through the manufacturing process, at which point the skin was expended and now a permanent part of the ship.  If the ship blew up… and frigates blow up with alarming regularity… the skin was gone.

Due to the price as much as anything else I would guess, the skins did not see a lot of use.  Well, I didn’t see many of them, though that might be as much because of another issue I’ll get to later.  In the end it seemed to become more of a PLEX alternative, a way for some to turn real world cash, used to purchase Aurum which in turn could be used to purchase the skins, into ISK by selling skinned ships for a premium in Jita.  Not a bad thing, but not much mass appeal in that either.

CCP has tinkered with the system a bit and added some new skins.  The dread skins that came in with Rhea are probably the ones I see the most.

How could any Goon pass up a Fat Bee Moros?

How could any Goon pass up a Fat Bee Moros?

But CCP announced a big change to the whole ship skin thing this week with a detailed Dev Blog on the topic.  The essence of of the change is that skins will now be bound to your character rather than a ship.

Skins tab in the character sheet

Skins tab in the character sheet

So if you have a permanent skin (and all previously purchased skins will be permanent) you will be able to apply it over and over to ships as you lose them or swap.  Also, there will be temporary skins that will have a 30 day duration.  And you will be able to swap skins in space, barring a few activities like when you have a cyno running.

This is in conjunction with a slight change up to Aurum packages and the list of current and new skins that will be available with next week’s Mosaic expansion (it should have been called Charybdis to go with the last expansion, Scylla) led at least one player to tally up how much all these skins might cost the avid collector.

Nearly $1,600 in skins if you straight up buy your Aurum for real world money at the best possible rate.  More than I would want to spend.  But then I have the problem that, even with more than 100 skins lined up for release, there are very few that apply to ships I fly.

Some ships have just been ignored.  In what reality would you have somebody work on a skin for the Ferox, but leave the ever present Drake on the sidelines? (Okay, they had a Guristas skin to work with already, but still.)  And the Tech 3 cruisers like the Tengu, with their different modules, are probably a pain in the ass to skin due to the variety of layouts you can create, so I might expect them to never get skins.

And then there is the Tech 2 problem.  Among the ships I fly regularly there is the Harpy, the Hawk, the Ishtar, and the Basilisk.  The first two share the same hull as the Merlin, while the latter two share hulls with the Vexor and the Osprey respectively, all three of which have custom skins available.  However, those skins only apply to the specific models rather than generically to the hull, so I have no real options for my daily rides.  I suspect that will change over time, but on day one I will have no real reason to run out and buy a skin, unless I want to drop about $20 to paint my hangar queen Archon blue with the Archon Kador skin.  It looks cool, but maybe not $20 cool.  If I had an Avatar though, I would totally buy the Kador skin.

The blue Avatar

The blue Avatar

So skins will be great for some and no doubt a disappointment to others.  Some people will want to paint their hulls themselves or have corp or alliance logos present, while others will want different ways to stand out in the crowd.  This month’s Blog Banter was all about such things.  And then there is the question to which I rather vaguely alluded to above, which is who will see these skins in any case?  You’ll see your own and maybe those in your fleet if you look around.

A Quafe skinned Domi!

A Quafe skinned Domi in our fleet

But space is big, something modeled well enough in EVE Online, so your foes are often just entries on your overview and maybe some brackets on your main screen.  You have to go out of your way to see their ships and they yours.  Ah well.

Anyway, I’ll probably be in for a couple, once they become available for ships I actually fly.

What do you think of this update to ship customization?  What ships are missing?  What would you buy if it was available?

Rhea Ushers in a New Era of Clones, Wormholes, and Graphics to EVE Online

CCP is launching Rhea today, the next expansion on the EVE Online hit parade, and for the first time ever, nobody had to remind players to start training a long skill just in case there were issues with the update.  That is because, after Phoebe, everybody should have a long training queue at all times.  Why wouldn’t you?

My own queue stands at 320 days going into the expansion.  That should be plenty of buffer.

But back to Rhea.

I have to admit that I was skeptical that CCP could deliver exciting, game changing, quality of life improving content on a regular basis with their “every six weeks”  expansion plan.   After all, there were expansions during the “twice a year” era that barely spark a memory for me.  I would say that the Quantum Rise expansion springs to mind, only it doesn’t  I had to go look at a list of expansions, and I couldn’t recall a single feature from that release.

But since the summer started, almost every one of these small expansions has had something meaningful to me in it.  With each one the features seem to be getting bigger and better, and Rhea seems to be continuing this trend.

The Rhea expansion page is bursting with new and updated items.

There is new space, in the form of Thera and the shattered wormholes (Also the name of a Jon Hallur tribute band), adding up to 101 new star systems, with new and interesting characteristics.  This is the first time CCP has expanded the number of systems in New Eden in quite a while, and it will be a race to see who reaches Thera, the new mega wormhole system.

There are two new ships.  There is the Amarr Confessor, the first of the tech 3 destroyers.

Still looks like a Cayman to me...

Still looks more like a Cayman to me…

And then there is the Bowhead freighter, which is meant to transport assembled ships.

Bowhead... how soon until the first gank?

Bowhead… how soon until the first gank?

Probably the biggest change for me will be the update to clones.  CCP is removing the whole clone upgrade and skill point loss aspect of clones.  No longer will I face a 30 million ISK toll for being podded and Dabigredboat should now be safe from losing Fleet Command V going forward.  No more of this. (From this thread celebrating what might be the last skill loss pod death in the game.)

I realize that this has caused some moaning amongst those hardest of the hard core, this softening of the death penalty in EVE, but the skill loss thing has always seemed like a “Gotcha! Didn’t say ‘Simon Says!'” sort of deal.  And you are already losing your ship and dropping back in a medical clone that could many jumps from where you want to be at the moment.  Basically, how much death penalty is enough?

Then there are graphical updates to, some ships, and the introduction of Physically Based Rendering that will change the look of all the models to some degree.

Can I bring my PBR Drake?

Can I bring my PBR Drake? (New vs. Old)

There is also whole new version of  the star map in progress, which you will be able to opt-in to try with Rhea.  I have said in the past that the star map in EVE Online is one of the most impressive yet least useful features in the game.  CCP is aiming to make the map even more impressive while trying to make it useful as well.

Also, there will be manual controls.  You will be able to steer your ship about using keyboard controls as opposed to the current “click in space” or “align to a thing” methods currently available.  I am actually looking forward to this, being one of those people who occasionally just likes to undock in a fast ship and fly around the station just for the sheer hell of it.

Rhea also includes Sleeper cache sites and polarized weapons, Sleeper drones in known space, pirate faction jackets and dreadnought skins in the store, a bunch of smaller items, and a new song for the expansion. along with a video.

The release notes for Rhea are dense with changes.

All in all, a lot of stuff for what will be the final titan themed release.  The word has come down that the 2015 expansions will have a different naming theme, though that has yet to be announced.

There are a lot of things in this release I am really looking forward to seeing or trying out.  And, of course, with various updated models, skins, and the PBR graphics update, there will be a lot of new screen shots to be taken for my other blog.