We’re four days from the release of Retribution as I write this. There are a couple of features I’ve been carping about, and some people – maybe some at CCP – may have gotten a lopsided impression of my opinion.
So … I will start my Retribution preview with what I’m excited about. What I hope – and believe – will be awesome about the upcoming expansion. Next comes “The Bad“, which lists things that are important but not my playstyle, the things I have misgivings about, and the things I think need reworking. Finally, for “The Ugly” I will indulge myself in a couple of tirades for your entertainment. A few weeks after release, I hope to come back and revisit to determine if I was overly optimistic – or pessimistic.
Some of the things I am most excited for are not, in fact, gameplay, but are atmosphere.
- New Stabber-Class Hulls. The new Stabber model looks awesome. I’m going to buy a new SFI and a Vaga just to have them to look at. The models are awesome. I’ll be talking about the skins, however, in a different section.
- New Tempest-Class Hulls. Yes, I know a lot of people love the old look. I loathed it. I still don’t totally love the design, but to me this is far better – especially the Vargur. It looks badass.
- New Destroyers. While I may not love all the names, I am excited for new choices. I call this “atmospheric” because what I like most is (most of) the models. I may fly them too, but I just love the looks. The Corax is a beautiful ship, a swan among the many ugly ducks of the Caldari Navy. The Algos is well-made too, right down to the dronebays. The Dragoon is intricate and awesome. We’ll talk about the Talwar in another post… 🙂
- V3 Skins. I’m looking forward to seeing the reskinned CONCORD, ORE, Sansha and Sleeper ships.
- New Explosion Art. I had no idea this was there until I read the patch notes. Yay!
- Follow Camera. This is both really cool from a visual perspective and will be an amazing fleet combat tool. I can’t wait.
- New Situational Music. Team Klang really is delivering awesomeness in this release in my view. The old jukebox has been tossed in favor of music-by-location. I would love to see this evolve to two more places. First, differentiate wormholes from nullsec. They are very different places despite similar sec status. Second, go Full-On Left4Dead, and make music situational to your specific activity. One of the greatest things about L4D is its choices in atmospheric music. It changes when you are in danger. When you are in a fight. When you are injured. How amazing would this theatrical trick be in EVE? Different, more urgent music in fights, while under Suspect timer, while in a system full of pirates, when in Jita… could be so awesome.
- New Turret Sounds. More awesome from Team Klang. Johnny Pew did a preview of these, and they sound spectacular. I’ve always hated how autocannons sound. They sound tinny and squeaky. The new ones sound like machine guns! I am so excited for this – it’s little, but important.
- User Interface Improvements. There are many, and they are great.
- Inventory Neocom Buttons. These look like they will allow me to clean up my current Neocom. A nice touch.
- New Crimewatch Timers. These are nice. I’m looking forward to having them replace the cryptic text lines.
- Module Tooltip Mouseovers. More info, more awesome.
- Restyled Targeting and Damage Brackets. These look great. Can’t wait to use them in action.
- New Damage Notification Stream. It’s really hard to tell in the complex world of turret combat – especially when you are a Minmatar or Gallente pilot (these are the two races I fly) – how well you’re doing. Today I have the full-blown action log up in a standing window. I am really hopeful this will put an end to my “sounds good, looks good, why isn’t he dying?” tendency. I love PVP, but am still bad at it. Very much looking forward to it.
- Enemy Attacker Highlight. More nice helpful combat features.
- CCP Karkur’s Miscellaneous Awesomeness. Read this devblog, it makes me smile.
Other things I’m excited about are more mechanical.
- Ship Rebalancing. I don’t love all of it, but here is what I do love – how comprehensive and quick CCP Fozzie has been about it. There are so many changes, I have no idea how it will all turn out, but I give Fozzie credit for moving the ball – a lot – and making a lot of formerly worthless ships potentially useful. There are a handful of things that make me sad (more on that in the next post), but on the whole this is good. Here are a few I particularly like:
- Breacher. This ship has always been useless for anything other than building Hounds. I’m happy to see it get a role.
- Explo Frigate Buff. The Probe is one of my favorite T1 frigates for both scanning and cargo. I would have flown it a lot longer if it had been like it will be now, with Codebreaker, Analyzer and Salvage bonuses. I might pick one up to play with now that it’s not totally redundant to my Cheetah.
- Stabber. Looks great, now flies great too.
- Most of Crimewatch. One of the biggest gripes I’ve had since I first entered Lowsec for PVP was the dreaded GCC.
- DING DONG GCC IS DEAD. If nothing else, I have Retribution to thank for getting rid of this horrible mechanic. For giving a way to de-aggro sentry guns in Lowsec. This will increase PVP, which to me cannot be a bad thing in Lowsec. It will increase interaction and options. That’s how you make the sandbox work!
- PVE Timer. Anyone who has spent time trying to catch ships ratting will love this change. No more logoffski escapes when we catch you.
- PVP Timer. No more logoffski when you’re almost dead. Now, you will be all dead. My wish for a point release: No more self destruct of anything but a pod. You leave your ship, it’s there for someone to take. Fight or flee, and to the victor go the spoils. There is no gameplay value to self-destruct except to escape from being lost in a wormhole.
- Transferrable Aggro. Now those neutral logis can get blapped too. About time!
- Criminal vs. Suspect Distinctions. This is a brilliant change. Now killing a ship in Lowsec is different from killing a pod. This will make little change at all in who shoots what but will reduce the level of resistance to engaging in PVP in lowsec. Great move and in keeping with Hans Jagerblitzen’s campaign promises.
- Suspect in Highsec and Transferrable Kill-Rights. Highsec suspect? Anyone can shoot you. I have a killright but can’t use it? Transfer to a local wardeccer corp. These may be the most chaos-inducing, fun change of the release. I can’t wait for the cascade-battle side effects. Should be spectacular.
- Unified Inventory Improvements. Some of these almost literally brought a tear of joy to my eye. Some key highlights for my playstyle:
- Cargohold Expander Ship Hold Windows Now Work. I fly a lot of Industrials. Today they all lie about the hold size if you are not sitting in them. They are going to stop lying and this makes me very happy.
- Ship Hold Window Persistence. “Inventories of active ship will persist between sessions of undocking and docking.” OH MY GOD THANK YOU. I haul all the time and this has been pissing me off. There are lots of other new things that will persist properly now too (except the Safety, which will be discussed in “The Ugly”).
- Intelligent Stack Movement. “Moving multiple items between containers (or pressing the “Loot” button) moves item stacks with a small volume first to increase the number of moved stacks before running out of cargo space.” Smart design right here! Great stuff.
- Inventory Performance. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’m reading it right. But if I am understanding correctly, the POS inventory management system has had its code streamlined, and now I won’t have horrific, painful, brutal lag every time I open an SMA or CHA in our corporate POS. This would be an incredible quality of life boost.
- Dragging Items to CHA Containers. “It is now possible to drop items into containers, which are located in a corporate hangar array.” That is one of the most beautiful sentences I have ever read. “It is still not possible to open containers in corporate hangar arrays.” That one next please!
- New “Venture” Mining Frigate. I’m not a miner. I hate mining. But sometimes in a wormhole, the corp gets bored and goes a-mining for gas. On those days, I am sad to not be participating. This will give me a rock-bottom way to do so with minimum investment. Plus, it’s a cool-looking ship, and CCP gave it a better name (than the awful “Dasher” it started as)!
- NPCs get Sleeper AI. This is great. Overdue even.
- The Idea of Salvage Drones and Noctis Drones. This was brilliant. I love the idea. I’ve thought we should have them for years. Unfortunately, I’m not as excited about how CCP chose to execute this idea. I am hopeful they’ll fix the problem.
- New Destroyers. Apart from the art, it’s awesome to have new toys. Props to CCP for bringing them out.
- New Gates. Three new gates in the Amarr/Minmatar warzones. I think travel over long distances in EVE is a bitch. I’m all for new shortcuts. PS, Wollari rules (he’s already figuring out how to incorporate them in Dotlan).
- Stored POS Forcefield Passwords. I don’t have to deal with this yet, but will soon. I hear my corpmates bitching about it all the time, so this can only be good.
- Medium Pulse Lasers Renamed. To Small Pulse Lasers. Because :duh: they are small. Accurate naming is good.
Curiouser and Curiouser
To wrap up “the good”, I want to highlight two things.
- I am really pleased with the return of Live Events. That said, Live Events are just noise without a story behind them. I’ve been wondering if this was going to be a noise party until today – when Tibus Heth got shot. I am really happy to see the core story affected and moving now.
The weirdest patch note I found says: “Fixed an incorrect attribute on the “Hybrid Slaver Hound”, that was causing incorrect information to be displayed in the Show Info for this item.” My bet is because they don’t launch missiles. Maybe in Dust 514.