Posted Mon, Jul 02, 2012 by The Mittani
New Modules: The first entirely new modules in years have been implemented, and even though there are only a handful of them - drone damage mods, injected shield boosters, lockbreakers, and adaptive armor hardeners - players are perhaps more excited about these mods than anything else added in Inferno. They work, they haven’t overwhelmed the balance of the game, and they make EFT more of an exercise in creativity than rote repetition.
Frigate Rebalance: CCP Ytterbium continues the ‘tiericide’ reforms by granting a host of previously useless or suboptimal frigates, such as the Tormentor, Punisher, Incursus, and Merlin significantly greater stats and new slot layouts. As frigates are a new player’s first encounter with EVE, I can’t say enough nice things about these changes. Along with the new modules, ship rebalancing is one of the best aspects of Inferno, with more in the pipeline according to a new dev blog.
New Missiles/Turrets, Bombers, v3 Ships: CCP’s Art Department carries the company when QA and design stumble. The new stealth bomber redesigns and shader models are absolutely amazing, and they illustrate the look of the new missile launchers and their effects perfectly. EVE remains one of the best looking games on the market. With the v3 process almost finished and every new turret now implement, hopefully we can look forward to more excellent ship redesigns in the next expansion (fix the Bellicose hulls).
Inferno in Context
Inferno had a hard act to follow after Crucible, considered by players to be one of the best expansions in EVE history. But even taking regression to the mean into account, Inferno was lackluster in a needless, preventable way. Companies don’t like to miss release dates because a missed release is a failure on the career record of the producers in charge of the product, yet Inferno desperately needed more work and more QA. Compared to the objectively bad EVE expansions - Tyrannis and Incarna - the feature spread of Inferno was solid and interesting, assuming they worked.
To succeed as an expansion, a release must actually grow the Eve Online playerbase; the blowback from broken features in Inferno appears to have removed any ‘Expansion Boost’ from the usual ‘spike/plateau/slow decline’ pattern of a successful launch - and no, that’s not because of Diablo III. CCP should be applauded for selecting solid spaceship features to work on in Inferno (there is very little irrelevant crap in Inferno, besides new skin shaders in the character creator) as they did in Crucible, but the lack of testing, polish, and the intestinal fortitude necessary to man up and delay a release that clearly isn’t ready is galling.