With just under a month to go until the expansion, CCP has gotten Odyssey up onto SiSi. On top of this, several devs have made new posts across a handful of devblogs with important updates as well, so we're bringing it all together for you. If you want to get on SiSi yourself to see the new changes and need to know how to connect, the info post is here. There's also a recap of what's up here, and that's the order we'll take a look at things in.
This was demoed at fanfest, and now we get to play around with it ourselves. In short, a nifty little radar-screen like effect sweeps the system, leaving behind the exact location of anomalies, as well as rough locations of Unknown sites as a means of guiding probes. It looks pretty good, and more importantly, it's a hook. Players now know that there are things to find out there, which might just prompt them to go looking. From a PvP perspective it's nice, as the locations are presented nearly instantly, and the ability to visualize the location of anomalies in space is handy as well.
Scanner making a sweep. It's found me two sites, both unknown signatures. Anomalies appear as teal.
That's not to say that it's perfect, though. As you can see above, the only information presented up front is the type of signature (by way of the color) and the ID. Mousing over the anomaly presents the name and range, as well as a few other functions (warp to, bookmark and a button to bring up the scanner window). While the extra time to mouse over each anomaly will only be a minor annoyance for a pilot seeking his next PvE target, it represents a significant amount of extra time required for a pilot seeking his next PvP target. However, with a few small tweaks to what info is presented up front and perhaps the ability to lock the camera on (to facilitate narrow angle directional scanning), it'll be a great new system to use.
Tags for Sec
Tags for sec, for those unaware, involves new NPCs in lowsec which drop tags that pilots can redeem for security status bumps. The tags offset - or more than make up for, the degree hasn't been determined - the nerf to security status gain through ratting. There are four types of NPC. Each has a 100% chance to drop its own tag that corresponds to a specific security status band, has a bounty in the 1.5-2m isk range, and either warp scrambles or webs. As far as combat capabilities go, they're fairly unremarkable outside of the tackling, essentially on the level of elite cruiser spawns.
There are two things everyone has really been wanting to know, but I can only answer one. The first is how much it costs to redeem these things. Currently it starts at three million isk for the Trainer tags, up to six million isk for the Negotiator tags. If you recall the image from the devblog, that means the tags used when closer to a 0 sec status are more expensive than those further away. No doubt that's intentional, though, as those will be the tags in highest demand from suicide gankers.
The question I can't really answer is what the NPC spawn rate is. When I started hunting, I bagged five Negotiators in a row in an 11 belt 0.1 sec level system. However, I then only saw one over the next 44 belts visited in four systems. Suffice it to say, I cannot draw a conclusion from that.
The big bit of new information on this front are numbers for the ice belts, which CCP Fozzie has posted here. Krystallos also got buffed to bring its value up out of the gutter.
Out in space, the nullsec belts are stretched out like a rod, spread across roughly 50 kilometers for the belts in weak truesec, around 70km in the strong truesec belts. I may be hallucinating things, too, but the ice seems clustered a bit more away from the warpin point as well. Unfortunately, I forgot an asteroid scanner on this trip, but the belt below features five rocks each of Gelidus, Dark Glitter and Krystallos, nine Glare Crust and 19 Pristine White Glaze. That places asteroid size at anywhere from 50 to 200 blocks on average, depending on the variety of ice.
A "strong truesec" ice belt
POS "Little Things"
Last up from Team Five-O is a progress report on the POS upgrades. Most of the planned features are ready to go and available for testing (aside from the CSMA change, but it'll be "coming soon"). However, Tier 3 subsystem swapping may not be finished in time for Odyssey, and private SMAs will certainly have to come later.
Lumping this all together, all of Team Game of Drones' balancing changes are now available for your enjoyment. This includes the battleship tiericide tweaks (and build requirement changes), weapon system changes (cruise missile buffs and large laser weapon tweaks), Navy Battlecruisers and Attack Battlecruiser tweaks. Skill changes are also in and modify the requirements for destroyers, battlecruisers, capital ships, freighters and more. Something that may be news to many is the opportunity for skill reimbursement as a result of the changes, but only in specific scenarios; if your character has Battlecruisers or Destroyers trained up but no cruiser or frigate skills (respectively) you'll receive the skillpoints back instead of gaining the new racial skills.
Glorious Eye Candy
If you have only seen the videos from fanfest for the new gate effect, or worse yet haven't seen the new gate effect at all, get on SiSi and go check that out, if nothing else. I've made dozens of jumps by now running around to check things out and it still makes me grin.
The other major change here is a new UI feature, radial menus. One thing worth noting right away is that these do not replace the left-click dropdown menus; you bring them up with a right-click hold. Hopefully I just saved you the 15 minutes it took me to figure that out. They're accessible on items in space, items on the overview and your targets. The scanner button also brings up a radial menu allowing you to select which window you'd like to open. They're pretty nifty, though the muscle memory is going to be a real issue. Especially handy are the gestures attached to range based commands. Select "warp to", "keep at range" or "orbit" and then drag outward to set the range. This is unlike the existing drop-down range in that it can be set in 250 meter increments up to 10 kilometers, and 1 kilometer increments above that, so once you get used to it the radial wins on speed and fine-grained control. Until that time, though, I do expect more than a few pilots will explain PvP losses by claiming that they accidentally dove into a 500 meter orbit.
A couple of other minor and undocumented graphical tweaks that I've noticed are that targets flash before fading out of existence upon destruction, instead of simply vanishing from your target list. System names flash in much the same way when you jump in.
Scanning and Exploration Changes
This is one that CCP has talked about, and courtesy of Team Superfriends, now we can get our hands on it and actually play around. Details can be found in the thread here, and it's the place for feedback as well. I honestly don't interact with the probing system very much, but it's a mixed bag of contentious changes. While some of the complaints are laughable things like "how dare you make probing easier for everyone!", I've seen players point out reasonable downsides to nearly every upside, and many pure downsides as well. I barely use the probing system, but the overall attitude I'm getting out of the thread is that it's got potential but needs work. If you are an active prober, hop onto SiSi, try it out, and then give feedback. And remember - constructive, civil explanations of what the problem is and why it's a problem get you further than angry rants. CCP is out of the office on holiday, but will be back Friday to respond.
The other side of the Superfriends changes are the targets for the probing, the exploration sites. Pure salvaging sites are gone, but their loot shifted to Archaeology sites, and the number of both Archaeology and Hacking site increased to compensate. As far as new loot goes, you can find capital rig BPCs in Archaeology sites and new decryptors in Hacking sites. Another player on SiSi also showed me a brand new item that appeared to be meant as a material for building the new probing midslot modules, so that might be part of the loot for Archaeology sites as well. I haven't had the chance to try out the minigame or check out the new sites, but I certainly look forward to it. From the demo at Fanfest, it looks quite entertaining.
That's all for now! Expect more SiSi updates and CCP feedback in the next couple of weeks. Notably, both Team Trilambda and Team Prototyping Rocks have no content up yet, but the general info thread suggests they will. Stay tuned!