The Crucible expansion is one of the best EVE Online expansions for new players, ever. Which is all well and good, but what about the long-lost veteran players that left during EVE Online's four-expansions-long dark age? This is a guide outlining why those players should consider coming back to EVE Online. Like all EVE Online expansions, Crucible is free.
10. Goodbye Supercapital Dominance
It's the saddest story in EVE Online: a player decides to finally take the plunge and try PvP. He has heard all the horror stories about the learning cliff, the minimum skills for entry being only slightly less than the maximum skills possible, and the profundity of gate camps clogging up low- and null-security space. He has heard of how thrilling PvP with for-keep stakes is, and how the only way to learn is by doing it. Undaunted by naysayers and ghost stories, he fits out a drake and bravely ventures forth into the uncharted vastness of space beyond CONCORD's protective grasp... only to die ten minutes as the first thing he sees opens a cynosural field that teleports a fleet of supercarriers right on top of him.
No more, I say! More importantly, CCP is saying the same thing. Supercarriers have had their survivability nerfed to an incredible degree, in that they have had a hit point cut and, more importantly, they can no longer log out to disappear before a fleet can assemble to kill them. If supercarriers drop on lone ships in low-sec after Crucible, they will eventually find themselves on a PvP corporation killboard. Even more importantly, the effectiveness of supercarriers against sub-capital vessels (like battlecruisers) will be pretty much ruined. After Crucible, Nyx supercarriers and their ilk will be for killing starbase structures and capital ships, not little guys trying to find careless travelers to kill.
When the ramifications of these changes seize hold of the consciousness of EVE Online players at large, the supercarrier hot drops will slow to a trickle. That means more fun for pretty much everybody, since it will once again become possible to PvP in low-sec without a death wish. Well, without such a strong death wish. Veteran players that quit EVE Online because of a lack of accessible, symettrical PvP will rejoice. I know I am.
9. Capital Modules
Though supercarriers have been nerfed in their general applicability, the dreadnought and carrier classes of ships have received pleasing improvements that especially favor veteran players. There are now tech II versions of the all-important siege module and triage module. If you haven't been around since they introduced the triage module, it is essentially lets carriers enter a siege mode in which they can remote repair extraordinarily well, but at the cost of committing to the battle for set periods of time. The new modules make these ships extraordinarily effective.
But what to do with dreadnoughts? I mean aside from shoot endless amounts of sovereignty structures so that some alliance fat cat can buy an extra titan. Simple: grind some customs offices for yourself. As we have documented in other guides, the new player-owned customs offices can be killed and replaced by enterprising players. It should take a decently skilled dreadnought less than an hour to kill an NPC-owned Interbus customs office, or to put a player-owned office into reinforced mode. That's a long while to stick your neck out in a dread by yourself, but not so bad if you have even a few friends backing you up.
Capital ships and warfare are one of the few areas in EVE Online that are really veteran-centric, and having more stuff to accomplish with them that does not necessarily involve staying up until 4AM on a weeknight should excite every EVE veteran that misses the epic thrill of capital ships wailing on things.
8. New Prizes To Fight Over
Speaking of player-owned customs offices, they are incredible. One of the things that makes EVE Online a good game is that you can compete against other players to control valuable territory. This is something that World Of Tanks did right, too. Let players fight it out over resources, and thrill as they create their own end-game content.
Customs offices produce value for their owners without work, beyond the work of defending them and setting them up. In that way, they are essentially like the valuable moons so sought after by null-sec alliance. The main difference here is that their value increases with use. You can try all kinds of tricks to increase the value of a customs office, including setting low taxes, destroying the customs offices of other planets nearby so that inhabitants have no alternative, or just coordinate using that planet with your friends and allies. It scales up so well, and is not on the big alliances' radar in the slightest.
Although unrelated, another neat thing in the "reasons to fight" category is that implants now show up on player loss mails. This has been something I've wanted since I started playing, and now I have it. It's enough to warm any veteran EVE player's heart.
7. New Ships
Ships like the Echelon or Zephyr are cute, but nobody actually flies them for long. They are gimmick ships that do not affect the game. Contrast that with when CCP introduced the Drake battlecruiser: suddenly everybody was flying the things. Well, CCP has done it again: the Tornado, Naga, Oracle, and Talos are already catching on like wildfire, and show promising signs of being the new small-scale PvP ships du jour.
Whether you are a veteran looking for affordable PvP or want to help coordinate a bunch of friends on a gate camp, these new ships will give you way more gank than their cost, at least once the market settles. If nothing else, the popularity of these new ships will give you something to fight that is not a Drake!
6. New Untapped Fields Of Industry
So: the mineral market is pretty hopeless, and nobody is going to corner the market on capital component blueprint copies. But everybody is on equal footing when a new area of industry is made available, and it is entirely possible for even relatively poor players to control the market, or at least make a tidy profit buying and reselling important commodities.
New markets include the new tech two modules, especially the siege and triage modules, though also extending to tractor beams, probe launchers, bomb launchers, and auxiliary power cores. These will need blueprint copies for invention, tech II components as ingredients, and players to build and sell the finished products.
The new battlecruisers is also a very fresh market area, whether you are interested in researching blueprints for sale, making blueprint copies, or building a fleet of vessels for the Jita market. The hulls will be especially in demand, as they are fragile by design, and will have a very high attrition rate in both PvE and PvP. I mean, if players can lose hundreds of Drakes to mission NPCs every month, imagine how many Nagas are going to get waxed.
Finally, the new limitations on planetary interaction almost re-create the activity from the ground up. Players that can bypass the high-sec taxes or access the greater amounts of materials in low- and null-sec will be very well off, indeed. Almost enough for a professional industrialist to come out of EVE retirement, isn't it?
5. Improved Graphics
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: EVE Online is the best-looking MMO on the market. The graphics are polished, cool looking, and not even a little bit cartoony. Ships are badass-looking chunks of metal that soar through space against a backdrop of intricately detailed nebulae. The ships themselves are constantly undergoing tweaks and makeovers to ensure that EVE looks like a game made in 2011, not 2001. It will likely continue to lead the pack art-wise, at least until Guild Wars 2 comes out.
Returning veterans will no-doubt enjoy the graphical re-design of ships that are old favorites, the introduction of the incredibly cool-looking new battlecruisers, and the new space backgrounds that have fields of stars and creepy-looking nebulae. I cannot over-emphasize how cool the new nebulae look, especially to an older EVE player expecting the previous space backgrounds. This game is damn pretty.
4. Improved User Interface
The list of user interface fixes is humongous, and not necessarily well showcased. One finds lots of little things working better, all the time. For every "click and drag to select multiple hangar items" showcased by CCP Soundwave, there is a "opening multiple giant secure containers will now happen the same window instead of smack dab in the middle of your screen".
Since the user interface is one of the main reasons people eventually get frustrated with EVE Online, the overall effect of these improvements might just be enough to help ex-players regain faith in CCP.
3. More ISK In Null-Sec
Between the newly lucrative planets and most especially the rebalancing of cosmic anomalies, it is a very good time to be a skilled, veteran player able to endure the rigors of living in null-security space. This goes for both alliance players and those living in NPC-run pirate space, where these factors are just as important for making ISK.
Here's the short of it:
First, planets in high-sec are suddenly less profitable as of Crucible, while planets elsewhere unreliable both in profitability and accessibility. The only really steady, profitable sources for planetary goods are planets in null-sec alliance territory, or well-controlled wormhole systems. This means that planets in these areas will churn out more ISK than anywhere else in EVE, without the fuss of fluctuating taxes and hopefully without gate camps.
Second, cosmic anomalies have been made much more lucrative to run. The ISK per hour has been adjusted upwards. Supposedly it has been done to an extent that makes level four missions look bad, at least with havens (the most profitable anomalies). When CCP nerfed these, a lot of players left null-sec and/or EVE Online in disgust. Now, CCP has rectified the issue.
2. Lag Dies The Good Death
EVE has always been a game with grand ambitions. Those ambitions have included a lot of things that are generally exceptional in the MMO industry, including being based on a single server, having no pre-determined character or story progression, and having a more laissez-faire economy than nearly any other game in the industry. The downside of all this ambition is that CCP sometimes bites off more than they can chew, especially when it comes to server performance.
Well, now lag won't determine the outcome of large fleet battles. Instead, the server will slow down so that it does not accidentally miss any information or drop any players, and laboriously chew threw every incoming command. The nature of alliance war will definitely change, and nearly every person that has ever played EVE should be breathing a sigh of relief that lag is effectively gone as the overriding, determining factor of warfare.
1. Best Expansion In Since Apocrypha
It is frequently said of Crucible that it is the best expansion since Apocrypha, the expansion that introduced wormhole space and in the process gave a huge segment of EVE players a refreshing alternative endgame to the mega-alliance play-style. It also gave us the skill queue, sleeper AI, and tech three cruisers. For newbies, it gave attribute re-spending that allowed them to more effectively reach skill point parity with veteran EVE players. A good patch, or great patch if you were tired of both alliance war and high-sec space.
This patch directly revitalizes several fan-favorite aspects of the game, like faction war and planetary interaction. It indirectly helps address problems with long-neglected areas of the game like (gasp) solo PvP and small-gang warfare. It offers new opportunities to old players while simultaneously presenting lucrative ground-floor opportunities to new players. It is, in short, a really great time to come back to EVE Online. Burned-out veterans, I welcome you with open arms.