One of CCP's teams that never seems to do any wrong is the art department, and holy balls did they come through this year. First and foremost on my list is the new Moa concept. I'd hate to think of myself as an overly vain person, but when it comes down to it one of the main reasons I don't fly the Moa is because it looks dumb. I prefer the Thorax as a cruiser gunboat in our zone due to tracking bonuses, but those shield resists would come in handy in some situations. I predict I'll actually have a few Moas in my hangar by the time that new ship model is rolled out. CCP's focus on adding warp animations to ships, like what they did with the Tristan recently, really adds to the visuals, and it looks like the Moa will be getting a good one as well.
The new Dominix concept is also of interest. The ship is on it's 3rd iteration right now (the launch brown potato, the Trinity Redesign, and a later reworking to fix some of the textures) and I still don't know where the drones get launched from. On it's 4th pass, it looks to be getting sleeker, and it'll now have a visible flight deck.
The Condor family of frigates wasn't particularly bad looking before, but the new model brings it from decent to bad ass.
A new typhoon was also unveiled. I have to say, I like where the art department is going with glowing Minmatar engines. It looks great on the Stabber line, and I think it will add a nice look to the Typhoon line as well.
Outside of art, I'm becoming more confident that CCP is thinking about lowsec in the upcoming industry changes. The mention of bringing in a lowsec only POS module to construct capital ship components at an especially high ME will be most welcome if it significantly closes the refinery gap we're seeing between null outposts and POS modules available to lowsec industry.
No one out here is too worried about the tech 1 ship market getting taken over by nullsec blocs with an 11% advantage on compressed ore yields. With the nerfs to jump fuel consumption, and a low volume market when compared to highsec, I don't see null blocs invading our markets with a flood of goods being sold for less than we can produce them for. As I mentioned before, that 11% margin on capital hulls will be a huge deal if not dealt with. The POS module will increase the risk of building those components, and if done right, could close the gap on manufacturing dreads and carriers enough to keep lowsec competitive with null in that market segment. I am very much looking forward to details and numbers to how that will work out.
Next up, I was quite pleased to see that high value ore anomalies will be coming to low sec instead of just being a null phenomenon. Paired with the announcement of a new t2 black ops capable mining frigate with twice the ore hold of the venture, this could be an excellent start to bringing some miners, and by proxy other industrialists to lowsec. I see this as being a healthy start, but it's just that: a start. More love is going to be needed to fully flesh this out, but CCP is making steps in the right direction at this point, and I'm happy with where we're going.
Lastly, the move to a 10 point release development cycle is something I see as an overall positive. The last 4 "expansions" we've had haven't been much more than content patches really. If Eve development is going to get away from expansions that deliver significant new game play elements in favor of releases that feature a small amount of new content mixed in with a large amount of balancing and fixes, point releases at 6 week intervals will deliver that experience better. This may also give CCP Masterplan and his team the time they need to finally revamp the POS code. Good luck with that buddy, you'll need it.
The GreatThe 3 announced Mordu's Legion ships planned for release may end up becoming HUGE for lowsec PVE. I'm not sure at this point how we will be going about getting our hands on the blueprints, but the announcement that they will only be attainable in lowsec is a big big deal for us. These ships should give lowsec PVEers one more thing outside of Tags4Sec for a lowsec only export. I expect we'll see an influx, especially early on, of people seeking out these ships, and you can bet there will also be a surge of people hunting the people hunting for these BPCs. It could be glorious if done right.
Also on my great list was the new Eve Prophesy trailer. Amarr empire vs a capsuleer alliance building the first capsuleer built stargate in New Eden makes for an interesting story. Of course, this has nothing to do with reality in eve (the TiDi is conspicuously missing for one) but it's a badass trailer none the less, and shows us some of where CCP is going with the overarching story of Eve. Capsuleers are becoming more and more independent of the empires. As far as such 3-way battles are concerned between Eve, Dust/Legion, and Valkyrie, make no mistake that we are likely YEARS away from anything this epic, if it's ever realized at all.
The Mixed BagSome small changes were announced specific to FW.
First, Large complexes spawning as a regular part of the rotation, not just as rare and random spawns I see as a good thing. A portion of the community has asked for FW fighting to branch out beyond cruiser and down gameplay, and they'll be getting their wish. If you want to assault a home system, you're still going to need lots of frigs and dessies as large plexes will only account for 25% of the capturable assets, but this will give people who want to bring out the big guns a chance to do so. Of special note here is that even though you cannot light a cyno in the vicinity of a FW plex, you can light them elsewhere in system and warp caps into a large conventionally. I personally would not mind seeing a large plex fight escalate all the way to a cap fight, and that will now be a possibility.
The inability to cloak in a 30k proximity to a plex button is a bit of a mixed bag here. It sort of takes care of the the cloaky frig problem, but cloaks are a better defense for pilots paying attention to short scans, whereas stabs are the primary defense of pilots that are plexing AFK. The cloak nerf also kills one of the more successful tactics to hunt stabbed farmers, which is using a stealth bomber with multiple scrams to sneak up on, and snag a cloaky stabbed plex farmer. It also kills the bait and decloak recons gank method.
|Stolen from Drakarn.|
Last up, and this one has me a bit worried, is respawns inside plexes. 2 years ago, we used to have huge NPC spawns and respawns inside FW plexes and they were a huge deterrent to engaging in any sort of PVP inside said plexes. Part of the reason for having the single spawn is so that the NPC can be dispatched, and then PVP can happen without the interference of NPCs.
WCS have a place for people traveling and moving ships or goods from one place to another in hostile territory, but they have no place as a means to enable AFK farming in an environment designed around PVP interactions. I am disappointed this part of the issue was not addressed at all, nor were timer rollbacks brought to the fore, which is something FW players have been asking for for years now.
The UglyA lot of dick moves have happened in Eve over the years, but rarely has one been done by CCP itself in such a direct way as what happened with the Dust players at their keynote this year. here you have a number of people who likely paid thousands of dollars (or Euros, or whatever their currency is) to come to Iceland to celebrate your game with CCP and other fans, and are then (quite publicly I might add) punched in the dick while the successor to their game dominates the Dust514 keynote.
If I was a Dust player I'd be beyond bullshit. There is a time and a place to announce the sunsetting of a CCP game in favor of the next big thing, but in Iceland, during Fanfest, at the keynote for that game that people have paid thousands to attend is not that time or place. The worst part of it is that CCP doesn't seem to have seen this reaction coming. Surely, even if Dust's devs are too dense to see how this would play out, they at least ran this plan by their CPM and got feedback about this possible scenario happening before going ahead and doing it anyway... right?
I'm not a Dust player myself, but I know quite a few people who are. The goodwill CCP burned this week by pulling this stunt at fanfest, and then not being ready to answer the most obvious questions that came as a result of this announcement, is huge. There apparently aren't a ton of Dust players as it stands now, but how many of those did CCP lose as a result of this? How many of the Dust players spending all that money to attend fanfest, or pay to watch the HD stream, are also their biggest whales in their cash shop and won't be spending quite so much money moving forward?
There have been a lot of dick moves done by game developers over the years, but this one might make the top 10 all time list. It's a certain kind of special.