Retribution Preview: The Meh and the Bad

As I mentioned in the first article, “The Good“, I am mostly excited for Retribution. This post will hit on the things I am neutral on or not thrilled with, but not rant-level irritated about.

The Meh

There are a number of things in Retribution that are important, but for one reason or another either aren’t that important to me or are things I am “on the fence” about.

  • Bounty Hunting. I put this in “the meh” only because I expect to never use the system. I don’t do suicide ganks, and don’t care enough to pod in lowsec (sec hit is too high). I don’t wardec (nor will I spend loads of time hunting only in low- and null-sec). I do however commend CCP, and the CSM, for taking on a system known to be badly broken. I think they have done well in a first attempt at improving it. Some of the new tweaks like placing them on corps and alliances and having in-game leaderboards is great. Personally, my inclination would have been to go farther, by making some sorts of bounties “weapons free” – meaning they could be shot in highsec without CONCORD action. I admit I’m not sure how that might work, or how best to do it, because I am not a bounty hunter. But even as far as it has gone, it is a clear improvement.
  • Blockade Runners now Non-Scannable. The wannabe-smuggler in me loves this idea. One of the few things I agree with CCP Greyscale (and presumably Fozzie) on is that BRs are the right ships – role wise – to be non-scannable. However, I am concerned (as is Ripard Teg in the post linked above) that BRs are too fragile for this mission given the massive super-sebo’d Goon fleets. I also agree with other community voices that it is somewhat redundant, for a well-piloted BR should never be locked, much less scanned (clutter around Jita undock excepted). For the record, if you see me in Jita, I am there to sell. Don’t bother ganking me leaving the station, I never buy anything there except new combat ships, which I fit there as well and fly out.
  • Some of the Ship Rebalances – the ones that make sense but make me sad.
    • The Hurricane Powergrid Nerf. I love the Hurricane. I wrote an ode to it. Yes, I understand it was probably necessary. But I will badly miss my favorite ships, fit like they are in that old post.
    • Vigil Loses its Speed Bonus. I have long hated the Vigil model, but yet it was always one of my favorite T1 Frigates to fly as a noob. I used it heavily before I got skilled for Interceptors and exploded gloriously. It truly never made sense for this ship to have a speed bonus, but it’s like seeing a building I loved in childhood bulldozed.
  • Faction War and Highsec Wardec Changes. No idea if these are good or bad, so I’ll defer to others. I don’t do Faction War and haven’t been wardec’d in many months. LP bulk buying only makes sense, it sounds like it must be a nightmare now.
  • Limited Engagements. Honestly, I’m not sure I truly understand how this is going to work. It sounds wonky. So I’m withholding judgment for now.
  • T1 Logi Frigates & Cruisers. I hope these are cool. I want them to be cool. I fear they will be overpowered and render the actual T2 Logi ships unnecessary. I am cautiously optimistic but concerned.
  • Micro Jump Drive. I don’t fly battleships. I’m sure someone is excited about this, but it’s not me. I don’t really get it. I am, however, interested in hearing how they get used by those who think they’ll be cool.
  • Rorqual and Orca Changes. I don’t fly these ships, so don’t have an opinion. Ripard Teg is pissed. I think most who fly the Orca today probably are.
  • Missile Nerf. My weapons are projectiles, hybrids and drones. I understand the concern with Tengus and Drakes, but I’ll leave it to Caldari pilots to rage about it.
  • E-War Changes. I’m not sure what to make of this yet, either. I sympathize with those who hate ECM, but I honestly don’t hate it myself – to me it’s just part of the deal, a mechanic that everyone knows. I would sooner see the other ECM types buffed, personally (and at some level they will be in Retribution), but I know I’m probably in the minority there. I’m taking a “wait and see” view on these but will be training the new skills pronto.
  • Market Category Reorganization. I use EFT, corpmate advice, and the search box. I won’t even notice this.
  • Megathron Model. I don’t fly it. I haven’t looked at it much. I’d have to spend more time than I care to in order to know if it was a change I liked.
  • Ancillary Shield Booster and Reactive Armor Hardener changes. I didn’t use either of these modules, so am not qualified to comment.
  • Corp Management UI Changes. Don’t do it, don’t care.

The Bad

There are a few things I’m disappointed by. Not bad enough to be mad, but bad enough that if it was my product, I might send them back for rework.

  • Salvage Drone Implementation. CCP made a specific decision to only release Tech 1 Salvage Drones. I presume that this is to ensure that if they turn out to be OP and ubiquitous, they can nerf them with fewer consequences. Still, I had one purpose for which to use these – salvaging C5 Sleeper Battleship wrecks. The new T1 Salvage Drones are incapable of doing this. So … these things I have wanted for years are still of no use to me. This makes me very sad.
  • Overkilling Ninja Salvage/Orca Swapping. While at some level I understand the frustration with Orca-swapping, I’ve never actually experienced being on the bad end of this one (my bet: happens to CCP Grayscale weekly). This one would have gone in the “meh” category but for the fact that it essentially crushes a gameplay style and reduces player choice, which I believe are bad game design choices. More on that in “The Ugly”. Retribution utterly destroys this play style. To boot, they go so far overboard that they cause other problems with other playstyles and ships (foreshadowing: this will be one of my two rants in the next post), and invalidate perfectly sensible mechanics just to prevent this. Someone at CCP was in a frothing rage to get rid of Orcas no matter what they destroyed (Greyscale: U Mad?).
  • Application of Sec Status Penalties. It used to apply when someone blew up. Now it applies when you shoot at someone. If you have never had a sec status below -1.9 with only one account, rest assured, negative sec means your life sucks until it’s back up or until you have a nice stack of alts. And the ratting sucks so hard it might make you leave Lowsec all together (it did me – and my corp). Basically, now you get screwed for trying rather than screwed for succeeding. This is what is called a disincentive to play (more bad game design).
  • Need for Safe Logoff. As I said in the previous post, I like most of the timers, which ensure a logoffski cannot occur. However, I am not at all impressed that you can’t log off  safely if you have no timers and are cloaked. Or in a POS safely within the shield with all timers expired. This is just dumb, and a good example of reduced functionality (more bad design). The only thing that keeps this one in “the bad” rather than “the ugly” is that it will only be 30 seconds.
  • Removal of 1/10 and 2/10 DED Plexes. I had left lowsec before I learned of these and their value, so I don’t have a big stake in this myself, but I list it here for two reasons. Number one, credible lowsec players are pretty concerned about it – Miura Bull and Sugar Kyle have already written posts in the less than 24 hours since its stealth announcement. This is a boon to lowsec PVP play, and thus represent another nerf to sandbox play.  Number two, the DED plexes have long been considered orphans, but have a lot of storyline value. My hope would be that CCP would find ways to enhance the storyline value here rather than getting rid of content. At minimum, I’d like them to come up with more viable ways to tell the DED story if they are going to start removing plexes.
  • New Vagabond Skin. I thought the Vaga was horrible on the test server, and called it out for its cow-like look. Thankfully, the final skin is much better, but it is still a white-based camouflage that has no place on a spaceship and takes the awesome, menacing, reptilian model (which I praised in the previous post) and cartoonizes it. I generally love what the art department does (the entry of EVE Online to the MOMA just backs up this team’s quality) but everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and this is one.
  • Minmatar Talwar Model. I may well change my mind on this, but in the pre-release art, especially next to the awesomeness of its three companions, the Talwar looks severely under-loved, and last-minute. Yes, the Minmatar are In Rust We Trust, but dude, look at how awesome the new Stabber is. And the Corax bucks the ugly Caldari trend too. And yet the Talwar is the ship CCP chose to be in the MOMA picture!
  • Caldari Corax Name. Many people have remarked on how close “Corax” is to “Thorax” and how messy this is going to make comms in a fight. In addition, Corax is yet another black bird, as I mentioned, to go along with the Blackbird, Raven, Cormorant, etc. To top it off, it’s a Greek name, which is generally a Gallente trait!

We’ll talk about my top two pet peeves with Retribution in the final preview installment, “The Ugly”. Both are clear examples of bad design, a lack of comprehension of play outside of highsec, a reduction in the flexibility of the sandbox, and a reduction of functionality as a means to an unnecessary end with massive overkill. Or as Ripard Teg would put it, “A desire to go “all or nothing” when it comes to making changes, a true irony in someone whose CCP name is… you know… Greyscale.”

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4 Responses to Retribution Preview: The Meh and the Bad

  1. Pingback: Retribution Preview: The Good | Interstellar Privateer

  2. Pingback: Retribution Preview: An Open Letter to CCP | Interstellar Privateer

  3. Pingback: Retribution Review, Part 1: The Measure of a Company (also an Update on Safety and T3 Eject) | Interstellar Privateer

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