Tag Archives: EVE Updates

The October EVE Update Claims to Bring Balance

But as we know, one person’s balance is another person’s horrific nerf.

Probably the biggest change coming with the October release is an update to electronic counter measures, of ECM.

Backbirds jamming in the dead of night

ECM effects, target jamming and other debuffs, are frustrating when you’re the target.  You just sit there watching the  indicator cycle down, unable to do anything about it, hoping that the RNG goes in your favor for the next cycle.

In an effort to alleviate this, CCP has made a change so that the ship being jammed can always target the ship jamming it.

I guess if you are in a fleet fight this might give you something to do.  As a logi pilot the jamming ships are often outside of my drone range, so about the best I can do is yellow box the jammer and hope they get nervous.

But if you’re in a small gang this simply makes ECM ships more vulnerable, and if you were using ECM to escape one on one encounters previously, that plan is now pretty much a bust.

There is talk of CCP boosting the survivability of ECM ships in the future, but for now they are more vulnerable.

The next item up is interdiction nullification.  This is a null sec thing.  About five years ago CCP made a change to interceptors that basically allows them to ignore warp disruption bubbles.

Fear no bubbles!

This has been controversial since it went in.  It made travel ‘ceptors a thing.  If you fit your interceptor so it can align in under two seconds you can move pretty safely through null sec space. (Just watch out for Asher in that smart bombing titan on a gate.)

The problem is that it also makes interceptor-only fleets pretty much impossible to pin down.  It is one thing to have some strategic cruisers with the interdiction nullification subsystem, like the Slippery Pete Tengus of past glory, zipping about playing hit and run.  They at least have to sacrifice some capability to get that and they cost a lot of ISK.   But when you have a fleet of arty fit Claw interceptors zipping in and out, quick to align, quick to shoot, and quick to warp off, blapping ships in your fleet one by one without much skin in the game, that gets on your nerves.

So, in the grand CCP tradition of half measures and compromises that make nobody happy, CCP removed interdiction nullification from some interceptors.

The combat interceptors (Claw, Crusader, Raptor, Taranis) will no longer have that null sec super power.  The reign of the Fozzie Claw may be coming to an end.

However, the fleet interceptors (Stiletto, Malediction, Crow, Ares) will keep interdiction nullification.  We shall see if this changes anything or if there will just be a new interceptor doctrine based on one of these hulls.

The Crow also had its agility number dropped as part of this.  Is a 2 second aligning Crow even possible?

The best part of this however will be the people who don’t read the patch notes and who end up getting stuck in a bubble and blown up wondering what just happened.  It is a good thing that I opted for the Ares as my default travel ‘ceptor I guess.

Exoplant SKIN Ares on the move still

Next up was a change meant to fix a mechanics exploit with heavy interdictors that looked to screw over wormhole space.  CCP used the phrase “unwilling collateral damage” right up front.  Not being a hictor pilot nor a wormholer, I didn’t quite get what was going on with this, just that wormholers were getting the short end of the stick.  In the end, however, CCP created a new module… the zero point mass entangler… to address this and the wormholer’s ability to roll holes in high mass hictors will go unchanged.  I think.  There is a forum thread about it.

Also on the “fixes for null sec” list were two changes to titans.

The first was discovered in the recent war.  It turned out that if a group of titans used their doomsday weapon on a capital and killed it in a single volley, those titans could then re-tether on a citadel in a minute rather than facing the five minute post-doomsday restrictions in place for other actions such as jumping or cloaking.  That has now been changed and a titan that fires its doomsday will now be unable to tether up again until the five minute timer has passed.

In addition, the minor splash damage effect that exploding titans had was removed.  CCP had said in the past that they didn’t think that this was causing any performance problems in large null sec fleet battles, but everybody involved has been harping on this for so long that I get the feeling CCP just said, “Sure, fine, whatever, we’ll take it out. Are you happy now?” so they could get on to other performance related issues without having to hear about exploding titan splash damage over and over.  Sometimes you just have to do this sort of thing.

More generally there was also a change to the slot layout of the Triglavian Damavik frigate.

A damaged Damavik

It loses a low slot but gains a mid, giving the hull three of each.  People said a frigate with only two mid slots wouldn’t be viable, and they were right.

Otherwise there were the usual round of small fixes, many focused on graphical fidelity, with an item thrown in there designed to make me grind my teeth:

  • Additional dungeon assets have been upgraded to the latest shaders.

It isn’t that I don’t want various mission assets upgraded to the latest shaders, it is that I hate when CCP refers to mission spaces as “dungeons.”  This is a long standing gripe and no I won’t ever get over it.  This isn’t Space WoW.

So that is it for October.  The update is already live. (That page has the links to the feedback and known issues threads.)  You can find the original ideas for the October balance pass in this dev blog.  They didn’t get to the Force Auxiliaries this time.

To see what did get changed there are the patch notes and the updates page to guide you.

Between now and November we have EVE Vegas.  That falls on October 19-21 and I expect it will be there that we’ll hear about the “next big thing” for EVE Online.  There is generally a big, named expansion at this end of the year.  Optimists hope for the next great feature that will revive the game while pessimists expect a Pearl Abyss enforced cash shop nightmare.  Reality will probably be somewhere in between.

The EVE September Update Strikes Another Blow for Symmetry

The September update for EVE Online doesn’t have much in the way of cornerstone features.  The changes were largely drawn from the “little things” thread, which are small improvements to our daily life in New Eden.

A few changes in the patch notes worth noting.  For example:

It is no longer possible to add items to a mobile depot, while it is reinforced. It is still possible to remove items from a reinforced mobile depot or scoop the mobile depot itself.

This will likely lead to more dead excavator drones as it is the general practice of Rorqual pilots, when caught by attackers, to drop a mobile depot and dump their expensive excavator drones in it.  That saves them for another day as killing a mobile depot requires you to reinforce it, then come back later to kill it.  Now however the Rorqual pilot needs to be quick as the attackers will likely reinforce any depot they drop right away.

Then there is another key item:

Upwell Cargo Deposit is now available at all Upwell Structures. This feature allows players flying outside an Upwell Structure to place items from their ship cargo directly into their personal hangar in the structure.

This should close off the courier scam where pilots get sent to a citadel only to find that they have no access.  They can’t deliver so lose the usually inflated collateral.  There was a thread about this change in the forums.

And there were also a series of changes to how ship fittings are managed.  One big item is that you can save cargo items as part of the fit.  This will be a boon for Reavers, as Asher does like us to haul around a pile of refits.

If we could strap things to our ships, we would

There is a long list of minor updates, enough that there is likely something there to make you happy.

But the big change in the September releases is the graphical update to the line of ships based on the Caldari Osprey.  It was one of the few remaining asymmetrical designs.

The Osprey in its final form

Once the Caldari cruiser with mining bonuses, it eventually got fully focused on the logistics (space healer) role once CCP was done revamping the mining ship lineup.

Space was different back in 2007

There was a joke about Caldari ships back when I started playing EVE Online.  It was said that when it came to Caldari ship design, there was a designer for the left half of ships and a designer for the right half of ships, and that these two people had never met.

Over the years since CCP has been regularly changing the sometimes wildly asymmetrical designs with ships that have bilateral symmetry.  Some of these have been good.  I think the Scorpion and Moa ship lines look better for the change.  Others I have been less enthusiastic about.  The Cormorant got an odd treatment, while the Griffin went from a sleek lined frigate to a space pig.  All a matter of opinion I suppose.

This time the came from the Osprey, which now has matching appendages on either side.

The new Osprey

These side bits also now fold back while the ship is in warp.

Side thingies down!

The central body remains similar to the old model, with a frilled snout and the long, tapering engine housing in the back.

The Osprey Navy Issue got its own new set of wings with the change.

Osprey Navy Issue

And the tech II variation, the Basilisk, got wings that are somewhat reminiscent of Dumbo.

Flying with both doors open?

Those doors fold down a bit when the Basi is in warp.

Folded down a bit

I am not particularly enamored with the change.  As with the Oneiros, I think they managed to remove all the grace from the design with this change.  But I have been told that symmetry makes SKIN development easier, and SKINs sell.

Anyway, that is what we are getting for September.  The patch notes are available to read through, if you want to see all the little changes, while the updates page only mentions the Osprey changes.  The update has been declared live, so everything mentioned is now a thing.

Coincident with this update CCP also announced a special SKIN release as a fundraising effort for the family of a member of the team, CCP Mankiller, who passed away in July at the age of 44.

Cordite Blossom Sabre

These SKINs, called Cordite Blossom, will be available from the New Eden store for a limited time and, once removed, will be retired and never sold again.  Proceeds from the sales will go to help the family of the late CCP Mankiller.

The SKINs are available for the following hulls:

  • 60 PLEX – Punisher
  • 60 PLEX – Slasher
  • 60 PLEX – Sabre
  • 60 PLEX – Zealot
  • 60 PLEX – Eagle
  • 60 PLEX – Ferox
  • 60 PLEX – Brutix
  • 60 PLEX – Hurricane

Buy a SKIN or two if you can.

Addendum: The fundraising goal was reached and the Cordite Blossom SKINs are now off the market.

The August Update Brings New Badgers and More to EVE Online

Given the “everybody on vacation” reputation that CCP has for the summer months, I always wonder if there will be an update in August.  It looks like there will be one this time around, even if it was delayed by a week.

The first thing on the list for the update is the launch of the Secrets of the Abyss event.

Coming to The Agency and an abyssal pocket near you…

When Abyssal Deadspace was introduced as part of the Into the Abyss expansion back in late May, they were all the rage.  CCP even gave us some stats as part of their presentation at EVE Down Under, including the fact that more than 11K ships were destroyed running them during the first week.

That was May and this is August.  Whether there has been a slackening of the pace of people running these site or they just want to get more people interested, today sees the launch of an event through The Agency interface encouraging people to run them.

The event is set to run from today through September 4th and, as things go with events run through The Agency, there will be a series of daily challenges encouraging players to run the sites to accrue points that add up to prize rewards.  In addition, the suspect timer that flags players who run level 4 and 5 sites, opening them up to being targets in high sec, has been turned off for the duration of the event so players won’t have to worry about that aspect of them.

The update also has some changes as to how events and rewards are displayed in The Agency as well as new Neocom icons for the filiment and mutaplasmid windows.  The New Player Experience will also now display its objectives via The Agency.

On the graphical front two groups of ships are getting updates.  The first are the Caldari industrials, the Crane, Bustard, Tayra, and sturdy old Badger, are getting a complete re-do.

I am not enthusiastic about this as I think the current models for them are just fine.  Granted, they haven’t changed at all in a decade, but they still pretty much define what a Caldari hauler looks like in my mind’s eye.

Badger back in 2008

The Crane especially has been my hauler of choice for ages, unchanged and looking good.

Crane from 2008

Now when I log in my hauler will have a whole new look.

The new Crane look

Right now that looks like the case for a pocket grooming kit, or maybe a Munnin that let itself go.  I am sure I will get used to it, but it is one of those passings that reminds me just how long I have been playing this game.  And this is the second badger change I’ve seen, since it used to look like this back in 2006.

Also getting a graphical redo are the Gallente Navitas and Thalia logistics frigates.

The new Navitas

Unlike the Caldari haulers, this change has no impact on me.  I do not think I have ever flown either ship.  Still, I am sure this will mess with somebody’s memories a bit.

Also on the list of updates is improved performance for laser effects which should improve client performance in big battle where lots of lasers are being fired.  Also in this area is a change that should help with the problem seen under heavy load in the X47 fight with people logging back in and finding that their skills had not loaded leading to ships being recorded as kill which later turned out should have… and did… survived.

Then there is the usual list of smaller fixes and changes that one expected with any update.

The August update has been deployed as of this post going live.  For more details there are the patch notes and the updates page for your review.

In addition to all of that, this is also apparently GM Week for CCP, a new event which includes the chance of finding and blowing up the GMs… or, it seems, GMs teleporting botters to the Yulai system in high sec and flagging them as suspects so they can be blown up.  There is a hint that there could be more of that today in Yulai starting at 19:00.

The EVE Online July Update Brings Performance Updates, a New Event, and More

We are in the midst of Summer now, which is generally a slow time for CCP as they crew goes off on Holiday, leaving space to mind itself for a while.

But before people clocked out and headed for their various destinations they put in some work to give us something to chew on for a while.

The Agency

First of all there is a new live event launching today, the Minmatar Dawn of Liberation.

Dawn of Liberation Event

This will feature sites in The Agency interface where you can fight slavers and free the subjugated.  The event will run until July 24, 2018 and will feature rewards including fireworks, SKINs, and cerebral accelerators.

Missile Redux

On the actual code change front, probably the biggest technical item in the patch was the update to missiles to improve client performance.  The current missile graphics went in with the Inferno expansion back in May 2012.  Missiles went from colored blobs of light to projectiles with launch animations, smoke trails, and explosions on contact.

Missile exhaust trails

This made missiles very pretty to watch, but also put a performance demand on the client which had to render all of that pretty launches and trails.  It clearly wasn’t the biggest demand on the client… after all, it took CCP six years to get around to working on them again… but it eventually came up as something to address.  And so there is a Dev Blog on missiles and the work that went into making them perform better.  We are, however, back to missiles being blinky lights in the night again.

Abyssal Updates

Also in today’s update are the changes mentioned at EVE Down Under regarding Abyssal pockets.

All in the update

More POS News

There was also another step on the path to the end of player owned starbases.  Blueprint copies for faction starbase towers will no longer drop.  In addition, the amount of minerals you get for reprocessing starbase towers and modules has been increased.  CCP is no doubt hoping that you will take care of removing some of those yourself via that route.

Wager No More

Also facing removal from the game, though more immediately, is wagering on duels.  This feature went in with the Lifeblood expansion last year.  I’m still not sure who wanted this feature, I do not know anybody who used it, and now I don’t know why they’re taking it away.  Business as usual I suppose.

Fozzie Claws and Zealots

On this ship front, the Amarr Zealot heavy assault cruiser got a drone bay in the hope of making it viable for Abyssal pockets as I understand it, while the Minmatar Claw interceptor got a bonus change from a damage boost to a rate of fire boost, meaning that roaming Claw fleets will be less able to alpha bigger ships off the field.

Notification Reduction

There has also been a change so that corps and alliances will only get notifications that somebody is shooting one of their structures if the shield hit points drop below 95%.  Pinging towers has long been a way to annoy your foes.  I have been out to hit structures in order to provoke a response only to cloak up and warp off when the defenders arrived.  Now you have to be more serious about that.

In addition to the above there are the usual list of small fixes and adjustments that went into the update.  You can find most of the information in the patch notes.  The Updates page seems to have fallen behind and does not have an entry for this patch.

Addendum: The updates page got its update as well.

The March Update Brings Big Things, Little Things, and More Guristas to New Eden

The March update for EVE Online is upon us today, and with it comes a pretty long list of updates and changes.

Where do I even start?  The list this month is so long!

For openers, there is a new event in The Agency called The Hunt.

Fatal and The Rabbit’s turn to be loot pinatas

This seems to fall into the now standard pattern of events from The Agency; find a site, warp in, kill NPCs, collect loot, earn points.  The twist here is that you need to harden up against and shoot kinetic and thermal ammo.

For those using capitals, jump bridges, and back ops bridges, there has been a reduction in jump fatigue.

Having both jump fatigue and range restrictions dropped on us with the Phoebe release about three and a half years back felt like a bit of a double whammy.  From my personal perspective I went from being able to do a series of 12ly jumps in my Archon to just a 5ly jump and an accompanying wait which increased with each subsequent jump.  It had to be done.  Capital travel was too easy.  But that doesn’t mean it didn’t feel like a hit, and doubly so when I had to make my way from Saranen down to Delve.

That has been dialed back some in the past and is being dialed back even more with the current update, as detailed in this dev blog.   Jump fatigue will now be capped at 4 hours, down from five days, with the jump timer being similarly brought down from a maximum of 9.6 hours to just 30 minutes.  No longer will this be seen:

The old jump fatigue maximum

We will see what that means for capitals and jump bridges and the like.  People will hopefully feel more free to go on ops as the participation requirement of “no jump fatigue!” fades away.

There is also a change to tethering.  When you jump in to a cyno on a citadel you won’t tether immediately.  There will be a cool down during which you will be vulnerable.

That dev blog also includes changes to entosis operations related to sovereignty warfare.  We shall see if that makes trying to take space more common or not.  Right now you can sit back and build up ISK and material in a single region if you’re willing to care bear it, so grabbing more space or trying to upgrade your own space isn’t much of a motivator anymore.  It isn’t like the old days where the CFC took Fountain because of moons.

There has also been a balance pass for ships.  Tech I battleships get a boost to lock range and cargo space, the Oracle, Naga, Talos, and Tornado can now fit MJDs, and the Ferox and the Machariel have been nerfed a bit while a few ships got buffs.  We’ll see if this leads to Munin fleets or not.

Also part of that is the new FC ship, the Monitor.

The Monitor Flag Cruiser concept

Since it was brought up by CCP last month it has had the ability to fit a target painter and a probe launcher added (along with the ability to hold some probes) so FCs can scan down enemies and get on kill mails.  We shall see if anybody ends up using this thing.

In addition today’s update spells the end for EVE Voice as well as a revamped chat system that features a back end on its own server.

And, finally, there is the Little Things update, where CCP has updated or improved a bunch of small items that should make capsuleers happy.  There are quite a few on there that make me happy, especially being able to see the ship type of people broadcasting for reps.

Who is asking for reps?

It isn’t that logi doesn’t like you frigate pilots, but spending time locking you up to find you’re already dead or have zipped out of range is annoying.  Logi has bigger ships to protect.

So that is what I have to report.  The update has gone live and further details can be found in the Patch Notes and on the Updates page.

Addendum: The game is down while they look into issues that may have come from the new chat system.  The whole thing was troublesome enough during the first mass test that I am surprised that they didn’t push it off to a future release.  This may be a rocky launch.  It is a good thing we all have a skill queue now.

Addendum 2: According to the forum thread the game is up as of 19:00 UTC, but there are still issues:

CRITICAL ISSUES:

CHAT SYSTEM:

  • THERE IS CURRENTLY A DELAY OF UP TO 10 MINUTES FOR UPDATES TO LOCAL CHAT
  • OTHER CHAT CHANNELS ARE ALSO AFFECTED BY SUBSTANTIAL LATENCY
  • WE ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON A SOLUTION TO THIS WHILE TQ REMAINS ONLINE

BOUNTY SYSTEM:

  • WE ARE AWARE THAT BOUNTY TICKS ARE CURRENTLY NOT BEING PAID OUT
  • ALL NPCS THAT ARE BEING KILLED ARE BEING LOGGED
  • A FIX FOR THIS IS CURRENTLY BEING WORKED ON
  • MISSED WALLET TICKS WILL BE REIMBURSED IN THE COMING DAYS WHEN A FIX IS IN PLACE

Addendum 3 – The bounty system has been fixed and now pays out correctly.  Those who did not get paid today should see a payout in the coming days.  Chat, however, is still not working as expected.  When I logged in earlier, Jita was silent.

Addendum 4 – A final summing up of events by CCP Falcon.

The Coming March Update in New Eden

CCP is pretty good about telegraphing what they are going to do with their expansions and updates.  They have a long history of dev blogs and forum posts about proposed features and have shown themselves to be responsive to feedback.  Of course, the latter is always a hazard, because if CCP bows to somebody’s logic then somebody else with a different view of things will start crying “foul!” or “favoritism” or “fake news!” or whatever the term du jour is.

I tend to believe CCP operates in good faith, in part because changing your mind in front of a live studio audience tends to be a painful experience and, as noted, makes people mad.  It would be much easier to do this in a smoke filled back room and announce the results as edicts not up for discussion. It works for Blizzard.

Anyway, in the grand scheme of things now, CCP has month updates which tend to tune a few things and maybe add a feature, and expansions, which are the vehicle for big changes and spanking new features.  Citadels and Alpha accounts go with expansions, ship re-balancing and in-game events and changes to how you blow up a citadel go with updates.

But now I am looking at the mounting number of things planned for the March update and it seems like a lot.  There isn’t any single item that seems out of scope for the above rules.  Rather, there are so many things with such impact that it is starting to feel like more than an update.

First there was a dev blog about ship balance changes that opened with these two points that came out of the recent CSM summit:

  1. More change is better, even if it’s small
  2. The meta is feeling stagnant, particularly around Feroxes and the Marchariel

So, yes, both the Mach and the Ferox are taking a hit.  I always feel a bit sad for the Ferox when it gets knocked down as it was, for a long stretch, completely nonviable in the fleet meta where Drakes and Hurricanes ruled back in the day.  But now it is on the decline.

Meanwhile CCP has been trying to beat down the Mach for a while now, reducing the blueprint copy drops and boosting the cost to make them.  But the Russians have been farming those blueprints for so long that the supply is effectively endless.  As for raising the cost to make… do you even read the monthly economic report bro?  So CCP is now set to clip its wings a bit hoping to push this faction battleship back towards being a rare bling-mobile rather than its current status as a ship of the line for nearly every major coalition.

There were other ships getting specific tweaks while tech 1 battleships got an across the board boost:

  • +25% to cargo capacity
  • +20% to maximum lock range

Because why not I guess.

The dev blog also introduced the Flag cruiser concept, a hardened FC ship, in response to the ongoing drone about FC headshotting. (A topic covered for Blog Banter 76 a couple years back.)

The Monitor Flag Cruiser concept

You can see the proposed stats, as well as the community response, in this forum thread.   The debate is heated and one common item that keeps coming up is the lack of a way for an FC on this ship to get on kill mails.  We shall see where this ends up.  Right now it seems like a niche ship for very specific circumstances.

While that was still in the air another note came from CCP about removing the built-in voice chat from EVE Online.  This is apparently another item in the way of a 64-bit client.  Built-in voice chat was very much the thing a decade back and CCP, like SOE and a few others, went to Vivox for an integration. (I found out at GDC that the Vivox people came from the same speech/voice corner of tech I have dwelt in for most of my career.)  EVE Voice came in with the Revelations expansion back in November 2006 (high level list of features on the EVE Uni Wiki, but the actual Revelations 1.0 patch notes for the release went missing with the update to the community site) and has been lightly used ever since, with CCP declaring that only 0.4% of the players giving it a shot.  Of course, we’re finding out now who depends on it, but for the most part you were more likely to use the captain’s quarters than EVE Voice.

Then there was word of a new chat back end coming with the March update.  CCP will move to a centralized independent chat service that should make things better for somebody.  Currently one of the ways to improve your client performance in a big fleet fight is to close Local, even when TEST isn’t involved.  Maybe this will help with that, though it sounds like it won’t change anything you dislike about the in-game part of the chat system.

Then a huge dev blog dropped… huge if you’re in null sec at least… about changes to entosis, tethering, and a 95% reduction in jump fatigue.  This was greeted with both cheers and speculation as to whether or not all of CCP had been replaced by pod people or something, this being a heady and unexpected change.

The jump fatigue change, a game mechanic introduced with the Phoebe update in late 2014 because null sec was stagnant and needed a change, will drop the cap for overall fatigue (blue timer) from 4 days to 5 hours and the jump clock (orange timer) from a maximum of 9.6 hours to 30 minutes… because, no doubt, null sec is stagnant and needs a change.

Will 30 minutes be enough of a roadblock to keep titan fleets from ranging across the map, moving from citadel to citadel in great packs?  Or will the jump range limitations that came in with jump fatigue be enough?  As I tend to say, we shall see.

Finally, in what I suspect is the final package of things for the March release, there was also a forum post of “little things” to be addressed.  The list, as it stands right now:

  • Color coding in Fleet watchlist window
  • Targeting bracket on Fleet mates is purple (the fleet color) rather than yellow
  • Text for broadcasts for reps now include what ship type the broadcast came from
  • Fleet tags are now displayed on the targets in the target bar
  • It’s now possible to remove a Fleet tags (from whatever was tagged before)
  • The results from ship scans are now organized by slots
  • The Show Info window for a solar system now has a special tab for structures in the system. Please note that like before, it only lists those structures you have docking access at.
  • The HQ listed in Show Info windows for corporation will now be a link
  • A tooltip has been added to the standing icon in the show info window to show what that icon is based on (player to player, player to corp, alliance to corp etc).
  • If your security status is -2 or lower, the tooltip on your security status in the Character sheet will tell you in which systems the faction police will attack
  • There’s now an option to have the Compare tool only list those attributes that differ for the items currently being compared
  • The height of the “Duration” drop down in market orders have been increased, so all entries fit without scrolling
  • The Salvage option for salvage drones has been moved to the top of the right click menu
  • Volume information has been added to the “material input” and “output” tooltips in the Industry window
  • The right click options that have been categorized as potentially especially destructive will now have a red ! in front of them. Among other things, we hope this helps to make it easier to differentiate between “Reprocess” and “Repackage”.

My favorite on the list is the ability to see the ship type that broadcasts for reps.  It isn’t that I don’t love you support frigates in the fleet, but I really need to keep DPS, my fellow logi, and the FC alive, after which I might have time to spare a couple of rep cycles for you.

Color coding the watch list will be good as well.  Currently I have a stack order for FC, main anchor, snowflakes, logi anchor, and cap chain partners that can get a little mixed up when things go sideways.

Anyway, as I was getting at a thousand words or so back, this seems like a lot for a monthly update.  It lacks a big anchor feature to make it an expansion, but for an update it has a lot of chewy goodness packed in.

Finally, I suspect that these updates coming now, after the winter CSM summit, are not a coincidence.  Good job CSM12!  I suspect that this update will feature in a few re-election campaigns.  But my real question is, does this mean having Sort Dragon speak up constantly during meetings is a good thing?  His name comes up a lot in the minutes.

Citadel Changes Feature in February EVE Online Update

The February update for EVE Online has been deployed and it brings a host of changes.

Love is in the air… or space… or whatever

As noted in the headline, the biggest changes are probably to citadels, which got the
“Upwell 2.0” firmware update.  Or so they say.  This is covered in detail in a Dev Blog, including changes that were made after it was initially published, so I won’t repeat all of that.  Instead, a few highlights.

Low Power Mode – This is a new state for citadels that have no service modules active which, one would assume, means that they aren’t being used for much besides docking and tethering.  When in low power mode any attack will get to skip the second round of assaulting the citadel, skipping the armor cycle and having to just do the shield and structure rounds.  Shield hit points for structures in low power mode are also reduced by 33%.  This should make clearing unused or abandoned structures, something of an issue in high sec currently, easier.

Updated Vulnerability and Reinforcement Cycle – The timing of attacks have been changed.  Probably the biggest aspect of that is now one can attack a citadel and finish the shield cycle at any time rather than having to wait until a specific weekly vulnerability window.  After that attackers have to come back during a time chosen by the defenders.

  • An initial attack that can occur at any date and any time chosen by the attackers
  • A second attack that occurs in the timezone of the defenders, on the day chosen by the attackers
  • A final battle that occurs in the timezone and day chosen by the defenders to allow them a last stand

CCP posted a news item suggesting that owners of citadels set these new timers before the update.

The flow of attacking an Upwell structure now follows this flow chart.

How to explode a citadel

There has also been an overhaul of citadel weapon systems that includes the removal of void bombs, which were restricting the composition of attacking forces to doctrines that could hold up while being neuted out.

Moon mining is now available in wormhole space and in 0.5 high sec systems, two items promised since last year.

Again, there is a huge list of changes covered in the dev blog (and clarified in some cases in the patch notes) for those interested.

On to other items, Assault Frigates got a balance pass to make them more attractive, so they are all now a bit faster, a bit lighter, and have 30% more capacitor.  In addition the Ishkur, Retribution, and Jaguar got some extra attention, which is covered in this thread and the patch notes.

There is also a new series of Assault Damage Control modules that may be fit only to Assault Frigates or Heavy Assault Cruisers.  The new modules give less passive resistance, but can be activated for a short period (13-17 seconds depending on the type) to provide a 75% boost to resists, after which it takes 150 seconds for the module to recycle.  We shall see if this makes Assault Frigates or HACs more useful in a universe where battlecruisers, strategic cruisers, or T3 destroyers are usually a better or cheaper option.

Then there is the Guardians Gala Event, which kicks off today and runs through to the 27th of the month,

Guardians Gala Comes Again

The event consists of sites that will pop up on your overview all over New Eden which you can attack for loot.  They will show up in The Agency interface.  The sites come in two flavors this year, normal and VIP.  The VIP sites are alleged to require more than one ship according to CCP, but I’m sure somebody will come up with a fit to solo them.  There is a scouting report for the event over at The Nosy Gamer.

Among the prizes this year are slot 8 stasis webifier enhancing implants and Eros Blossom SKINs, which are pink… and you know how we all love pink SKINs.  In addition some Eros Blossom SKINs (and pink fireworks as well) will be available in the New Eden Store for PLEX.

On NPC structures, Bloodraiders and Guristas shipyards will now no longer be locked into a select set of regions but will now spawn all over low and null sec.  I do not see a mention of whether or not there will be more spawns, but I assume that at least the Bloodraiders, which used to be limited to a single spawn, will be increased in numbers.

And both the shipyards and the forward operating bases will have a cap put on the size of their defense fleets.

Objects seen on missions (which CCP still calls “dungeons” in the patch notes because they hate me and want to give me an aneurysm) have been updated for the V5 shader so are probably a lot shinier than they were before.  They might even look better too.

Finally, there is a line item in the patch notes that indicates that CCP has updated the Wwise audio engine in order to improve audio stability and performance, which I am sure will get any number of readers to respond with, “EVE has sound?”  Audio has long had performance issues in the game and people who end up in fleet fights generally turn sound off just to eke out some additional performance from the client. (Closing Local helps too.)  I’ve run this way so long that I’ve become used to fight in space being silent affairs aside from voices on comms.   But silence is probably right for battles in a vacuum.

Anyway, the update is now live.  You can read up on it in the Patch Notes or on the Updates Page.