Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Apocrypha: Probing

There is so much new stuff in Apocrypha that my original plan of providing cohesive explanations of new mechanics for all the new features seems impossible without it becoming a full time job, so I decided to concentrate on one thing and let others work on the rest.

Finding wormholes is big on my radar for things I want to do in Eve so I figured exploring the new probing mechanic (heh, see what I did there?) would be a good start. So last night I downloaded the patch and got on the test server to check out the probing changes.

First off, bonus image: the new fitting screen.

(Click for Massive Awesomeness... really, its a big image.)

As you can see, on a large screen it looks pretty good. Smaller screens might have trouble fitting the bigger size on there. The side "panels" can be minimized into the ring and you have the option of fitting items from your personal modules and personal charges as opposed to having to go to your items. However, those of us with items sorted into cans appear to be out of luck. Boo hiss! I was also disappointed that I could not move the window around. What the hell? I guess it makes sense if you wanted it centred on the ship but man, I really think this is a step backwards in many respects, trading some utility for flashiness. They probably did the ship-in-the-centre thing for the tech III ships that change appearance as sub-systems are added.

Ok, on to the probes. All my exploration and ship scanning probes were turned into thee types while moon scanning probes were untouched:

(Click to read attributes of the probes)

Basically the Core Scanner Probe has the lowest range but highest strength, Combat Scanner Probes have medium strength but move a faster, and Deep Space Scanner Probes have lowest strength but longest range. The requirements were all Astrometrics I.

Now there are two launchers:

(Clickiness Ensued)

The Core Probe Launcher can only fit the Core Scanner probes as its capacity is 0.8 m3 while the Expanded Probe Launcher can fit all of them with 10 m3 capacity. They have the same base scan duration of 10 seconds (down from 600 seconds base on current models!!!) and the fitting requirements were 15 tf CPU and 1 MW powergrid for the Core, 220 tf CPU and 2 MW for the Expanded. The Sisters Probe Launcher is a variation of the Expanded and has only 210 tf CPU fitting difference and nothing else. Again, the skill required was only Astrometrics I.

Its worth noting that no On-Board Scanner was seen during my tests. Take that as you will.

In space the operation of the probes was either not clear or plainly bugged. I suspect the latter in this early test release. Regardless, what I was able to do (and I apologize for not taking screenshots, next time perhaps) was launch probes, see them warp to points (but I'm not sure if they did so of their own volition or it some weird spell from mouse movements and clicks caused them to do so), and set their ranges to various values. The max range for the Core probes was 8 AU I think, for the Combat probes I think it was 32 AU, and the Deep Space probe went up to 1024 AU.

No skills seem to impact the available ranges for the probes that I could find. In fact, all the probing skills appeared to be the same, i.e. Signal Acquisition still reduces scan time. However its impact is far less noticable. With the base scan time of 10 seconds, the savings from the skills and implant I have barely mattered. If the devs don't change the bonuses for the implant and the stats for the Sisters Probe Launchers, there are going to be a lot of pissed explorers out there come March 10th.

I did some scans of various items, but while I got hits I was completely prevented from warping to anything. I don't know why. If its a feature I'll need the dev blog to explain it to me. If its a bug, later patches will address it.

* * * * *

So there you have it, my inital foray into Apocrypha scanning. I won't go too much into my impressions until the bugs have been worked out and I have a chance to do some serious scanning.

UPDATE: Hugely useful thread on Eve Online Forums on how to scan. I'll try it out tonight.


  1. Thanks for this early analysis and report, K. Man, I hope all the time I spent getting my alt to perfect skills wasn't wasted. On the other hand, if the playing field time-wise is leveled somewhat, it means that *I* can scan as well as she and she can become a very alty alt that will be able to serve some less active but very useful roles in W-space.

  2. Anonymous3:15 pm

    Onboard scanner will be returning shortly. This appears to be more of an alpha build than a beta, honestly, and that actually makes me very happy because it shows how intent they are on tweaking based on our feedback. Several responses from the devs indicate that they have some major bugs with the scanning system in this build and also are seeking lots of feedback on the UI bits.

  3. Ewww... my probe blueprints, my funny mid-warp bookmarks, my nice launcher... my skills. Bye-bye old exploring.

    Hello new exploring :) I'll bet the 10-second thing is just for testing. Let's see what the new skills do. There is still room to be a smart explorer...

  4. I have to assume that the 10 second scan time is set for testing purposes, and that it will be increased in future revisions. Previous dev comments indicated that they wanted the current skill set to still be applicable and useful in the new system.

  5. Anonymous5:45 pm

    I liked better the old fitting screen, with the new one, the words "lows", "mediums" and "highs" lose a little bit of their meaning.

  6. To all things. But I am just glad I didn't waste time training those long ass exploration skills for minimal results.

  7. This is really great, thanks! I've not been able to download the patch yet but this certainly answers pretty much the first 10 questions I was gonna look at!

    I assume that the larger the range you set the probes to, the lower the signal strength/higher scan deviation, so there will probably still some some elements of 'zeroing' in on a target, only you get to remotely command your probes. I have to say, I really love this idea.

    The effect of skills (or lack thereof) is a little irksome, I'm going to assume that this is just for testing as it allows people who don't have the skills to grab them and train them quickly on test centre; the devs have said in a few places that current exploration skills *will* still be useful.

    Can't wait to get in there and have a go myself now!