Ten Surprises In The Incursion Expansion For EVE Online
Though we have already covered the major aspects of the Incursion expansion in some detail, there is yet more discussion to be done. The patch notes for this expansion were delayed until just before the server turned off for updating. There aren't any huge surprises, but there are several interesting changes that should improve the game for many people.
1. Contract Templates
"You can now "copy" a contract that you have created from the contract details context menu. This will open up the "Create Contract" wizard with parameters from the copied contract prefilled in."
This is amazing for industrialists, especially lab rats that spend a lot of time researching and copying blueprints. Normally, setting up a blueprint for each copy quickly become prohibitively monotonous. Many blueprint merchants prefer to sell via the forums, rather than spend time making the same contracts over and over. With easily copied templates, blueprint-based business models are suddenly viable again.
2. Sleeper NPCs Neutralize
In addition to the Sansha attacks, CCP has taken the time to make many, many fixes to gameplay and usability.
This is good and bad. First, it means that the already dangerous sleepers are much more dangerous to fight, and making ISK in wormhole space suddenly became a lot more difficult. On the other hand, the people currently doing all right in "w-space" are much better trained in fighting sleepers, and the less competent people will be hedged out. This is good because it means there will be less sleeper goods pouring in from w-space, and the prices of them will increase. Generally when an industry starts to require more experience to be profitable, it is a boon for the people already established in that industry. On the other hand, just jumping into a wormhole and trying to crack a sleeper site is suddenly a lot less appealing.
3. Three-Part Names
"We are adding support for an optional third name during the new character creation process. This is being done in order to expand the amount of available names in the EVE database and avoid having to purge older names. When you create a new character, you will put in your first two names in one box with a space between the names, and then use the second box for your third name."
This is great because after existing on one server for so long, the pool of names has steadily shrunk. All the good names are taken, and even decently obscure name ideas are often already taken. It was always kind of silly to limit us to two names, anyway.
4. Planet-Based Competition
"Overlapping extractor heads from different ECU's will cause a reduction in extraction amount from each extractor head."
Those of us that pay attention to EVE Online developments already knew about the extractor control units (ECU) and how they will be what is used to gather materials on a planet. The surprise here is that multiple people trying to mine the same area will hurt everybody's outputs. Supposedly this was already happening to some extent, but in practice it does not seem like multiple parties mining the same planet really causes any real reduction in productivity. Depending on how severe this change is, though, people may start trying to fight over access to planets a bit more. Certainly, some of the empire systems will enjoy a bit of a planet product drought. It's not orbital bombardment, but it's a start.
5. Probe-able Jump Bridges
"Jump bridges can now be successfully probed down."
As things stand, it can be pretty darn tough to find people to fight, while they are on their home turf. A part of that is that jump bridges are the primary venue for travel in null-sec. Since jump bridges are anchored at a POS, it is really tricky to fight on them without being blown up by the POS, let alone any attempt at defense. Not for casual PvPers, certainly. And if you don't know where the bridges are, good luck finding them before defenders find you. Probing them out will make things much faster for wandering fleets that don't have the luxury of a spy or map.
6. Widow ECM Burst
"The Widow Black Ops bonus will now correctly affect ECM burst modules."
This is pretty minor, but entertaining nonetheless. The strength of a widow ECM burst is so absurdly high that jamming targets within its radius is suddenly very likely. I don't know that it really makes the widow any more appealing, but it is an entertaining exercise to try and devise ways to use this bonus.
7. Hilarious Loot Error Fixed
There's something for everyone in this expansion.
Looting a Bhaalgorn battleship (rather than a blueprint to make it) from an NPC wreck would require a Rorqual or freighter, and be totally impractical for most NPC-killers. I can't imagine how upset this must have made the people that discovered it.
8. War Standings Improved
"The overview now updates correctly when a war deceleration [sic] becomes active or goes inactive."
For those unfamiliar with war game mechanics, there can be problems that occur if a player is logged into EVE and undocked right when a war becomes active. War targets will not necessarily appear as hostile on your overview. Only re-logging seemed to fix things. I am quite sure that there are pirate corporations out there that sought to time their wars in order to take advantage of this bug.
9. Neutralizer Range Fix
"Energy Neutralizer range now shows up on the Tactical Overview."
This is right off my personal wish list. Any ship with a bonus to energy neutralizer range (the sentinel and, more importantly, the curse) would previously not have the ranges displayed properly. I hate not being able to see how far my neutralizers work. Looking it up and doing the math works, sure, but seeing how ranges fit together on the tactical overview is so much better. Thanks, CCP!
10. Low-Sec POS Thaw
"You can now anchor a POS in a 0.4 system without faction standing."
Until this expansion, high corporate standings were required to anchor a POS (player-owned starbase) in .4 security status systems (in low-security space). Getting high corporate standings is a huge pain, and requires running hundreds of missions on the part of anybody in a corporation. Notably, there are some workarounds, like only having one person in the corporation as the CEO, anchoring the POS, then letting other people join. That's how it works in high-security space. But still, it's a bit silly to extend that rule to .4 systems, that don't have any real thing going for them. Unfortunately, we have no indication that moon mining or reactions can be done there, so this just means that pilots can more easily live there, if not perform some of the really lucrative POS activity. Still, it is a bit exciting.