EVE Online State of Game – Retribution is at hand
Retribution is coming.
The newest EVE Online expansion is set for this winter and is bringing a lot of changes to the game world of EVE. Of course, as always, these changes are not game-breaking, no new continents/classes/races and whatnot are being introduced, because EVE is doing fine as it is. People sometimes complain that nothing ever changes in EVE, but they are missing the point. EVE Online works as it is, and needs no monumental alterations, just an occasional tweak, fix and some streamlining.
Retribution is the 18th expansion of EVE Online and is bringing some changes to the table, but once again, nothing ground shattering.
First, there is a fix that should make a poor pirate’s life easier (well, at least in low-sec). So far, when you would attack another player, you would be globally flagged and the sentry guns would love you “long time”, or well, for the duration of the 15 minutes flag. Jump into high sec space, and CONCORD will blow you up. Now, that mechanism is being removed and replaced by new 15 minute PvP flags, Suspect and Criminal. Whereas it should be clear that Criminal amounts to what we got in-game at the moment, Suspect “state” is new and pretty different.
Shoot someone in low-sec makes you Suspect, but there are differences now. Kill a miner in an asteroid belt in low-sec, you won’t get attacked by sentry guns around the gate when you warp there, nor get CONCORDed once you jump into high-sec. If you attack someone around the gate, sentry guns will fire at you, but simply warping away and back to the gate will make them stop. Once a player becomes a Suspect, though, any other player can attack him/her without any repercussions. Someone who steals from another player (either from the wreck or can) will be flagged as Suspect and is attackable by anyone in the game, not just the owner of the loot. The problem here (if one should perceive this as a problem, IMHO, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time!) is that the attacked player couldn’t defend himself, so CCP is introducing the simple rule; whenever someone attacks you, under any condition, you are free to defend yourself.
Personally, I welcome these changes, since the system so far was both utterly complicated and prone to abuse. Oh, and say goodbye to those neutral reps, as well.
Bounty hunters! We don’t need that scum!
One of the changes coming with Retribution that could literally swing either way are changes to the currently utterly useless bounty system. So far, not only that it never really worked, it was a complete broken mess! Setting a bounty on someone effectively meant that you could just simply give that player the money, since the pirate could blow himself up and collect the reward. How that will be changed in retribution, we are not yet certain, but CCP assures us that the changes are in the pipe. One of the pillars of the new system is that one can trade off the Kill Rights to others, and you get those by getting suicide ganked in high-security or pod-killed in low-security space.
There is no denial that this specific feature in EVE is broken beyond repair, so a new system needs to be introduced. If EVE players are good at anything, that one thing would be circumventing the rules, and there have been a number of ways to bypass all the restrictions CCP has put up. How will they deal with alternate/recyclable characters that are being used for the sole purpose of ganking? We are really curious to see how CCP is going to handle all of these problems. Personally, I am not against pirates, gankers or any other particular group of EVE players, but we all know that there is a number of systems and implemented features in EVE that have been broken beyond all hope of repair for years. CCP is cleaning house, setting the ground rules for all and discarding useless systems, replacing them with functional ones. However, how exactly they intend to pull of the new system, that remains to be seen after Retribution hits the shelves.
Walking in stations
Ned Coker stated recently that they haven’t given up on their “walking in stations” features. By now, many people have forgotten what the player protest were really about, and somehow, through an odd act of collective failure to remember the facts from the time when fans stood up and protested loud about the direction CCP was going and the lack of substantial, gameplay related improvements in EVE Online. Few people actually hated the feature itself. What most disliked was the cash shop, the fear of “golden ammo”, the “greed is good” CCP stance from the leaked internal document, as well as the fact that, in the end, the “walking in station” or Incarna feature didn’t bring anything substantial to the game, while at the same time CCP ignored the main pillar of the game – the intrawebz spaceshipz! And of course, we all know that internet spaceships are a serious business. Once CCP re-enabled the possibility not to go in captain’s quarter’s each time you dock, most players were happy to ignore that unfinished part of the game and write it off as a developer’s fluke, a misguided displacement of resources that are much better spent on developing the core features of EVE online gameplay.
However, the Incarna project has a lot of potential. I am not talking about strolling around with a golden monocle and fancy clothes, emulating Second Life, no,I’m talking about all the possible additions to the game that can enrich EVE in ways we didn’t think possible so far. For instance, as some have mentioned, organizing corporation’s combat or mining operations, having a mutual briefing room for all sorts of gathering. But one idea that was never going out of my head was the possibility of expanding the EVE Online universe by introducing social games aspect to this game feature. Imagine docking to a station, strolling out to the main deck and hitting one of the casinos, for instance. Playing Texas HoldEm with other players for ISK, spinning the roulette wheel, now, those could be very fun pastimes for the moments where one would like to enter EVE and relax without having necessarily to deal with them spaceships. One can also see a lot of similar possibilities of this nature that can be introduced to the game, and I see myself logging in for a ISK poker game here and there, just for the fun of it. Some would probably start making a living that way in a second! Do you recall Land Calrissian having gambled away Millenium Falcon to Solo Han over a game of cards? Right, I guess you got the picture.
Times, they are a-changing
Retribution is bringing a lot of changes to the table, yes, but it remains to be seen how much of them are going to be effective, and to what degree. We are truly curious how CCP will fix the bounty hunter system, for one, and are looking forward to the many new, fancy ships that are out there. But one thing is certain, their attempts to replace broken, complicated systems with new, simple features is certainly something to be appreciative for.