Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Sweet Smell of Apocrypha

I started the download for Apocrypha expansion before I left for work yesterday so it was all done and ready to go when I got home last night. After the house had quieted down for the evening I settled in and started to check out what CCP hath wrought.

First thing I did was play with the skill queues, setting up my characters with skills for the next 24 hours so that Derranna can finally finish High Speed Manoeuvring IV today and then start Remote Repair Drone Operation IV while I'm at work. Sheer brilliance.

Then I played with the graphics settings. Allow me to explain my conundrum.

Back when I first got my latest PC it came with a decent NVidia 7600 graphics card that ran the new premium client quiet well on my 19 inch monitor. I could even run two clients with a bit of extra lag.

Then this past Christmas I saved up my pennies and purchased a 24 inch widescreen monitor to enhance my Eve experience. But although Eve looked gorgeous in the 24 inches of screen space I found the video card chugging to keep up. My frame rate dropped such that running one client was choppier than running two clients on the smaller screen. I tried reducing graphics so that it was running bare bones and it was definitely playable, but not ideal. A new video card has gone on my wish list but with only one paycheque coming into the house its not high on the priority list.

So I decided to see how premium light would work on the current setup. I turned all the graphic settings off or to low and reboot. I have to admit that looking at ships up close in this setting looks like ass... but everything does run very smoothly. I even was able to have two clients running without noticable degradation on the active client. I didn't take any screenshots last night but I'll try to get a couple to compare for you.

With the graphic settings settled for now, and no war targets buzzing about, I decided to try out probing with Derranna. She had a Cheetah covert ops in Ordat equipped with a new Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher and a couple probing rigs, and in her head is the implant for 6% improved strength strength (if I read the patch notes correctly) so she is prepared to find stuff.

I started in Ordat and my inital probe got a hit on a Cosmic Signature. Off to work we go!

The time I spent on the test server learning the new system helped speed this up immensely. In less than 15 minutes I knew it was an Unknown type and due to Derranna's ship/module/rig/implant bonus she had it at 100% with the probes at 2AU: it a wormhole.

I warp in and saw a Buzzard sittig on the wormhole, and I check the info to see it leads to low sec space. "Okies," I said to myself, "let's check it out!" I jump and materialize in the Huola system, Bleak Lands region. I notice red flashing hostiles sitting on the gate in a Bhaalgorn faction battleship and an Onyx heavy interdictor. My Covert Ops easily evades them and I watch them for a while to see if they'll go through. But no, they sit there and camp the wormhole.

That's when I realized the Eve has irrevocably changed.

You see, living in Sukanan constellation has meant that bad guys had one way of entry through teshkat and that required going through high sec. It gave a kind of early warning system to rally the defenders and hide the women and children (most of the time).

However, now wormholes means that it is possible to circumvent the normal routes and sneak into someone's backyard without them even knowing you are nearby. Send an alt through to probe down a mission runner while the big and nasty ships are waiting on the other side of the wormhole. Or have an escape route from a chasing gang. Or a secret trade route. And so on.

I knew this intellectually a long time ago but last night it viscerally hit me: Eve has changed.

Brace yourselves.


  1. I would hope to never run into a hole-camp!

  2. "However, now wormholes means that it is possible to circumvent the normal routes and sneak into someone's backyard without them even knowing you are nearby."

    Twilight Imperium interlude:

    Remember the game we played with too many wormholes, and how their existence completely changed how we deployed and protected our resources, and launched attacks? Sounds similar.....

  3. I do remember. However there are some crucial differences:
    1) Eve is big. 5000+ known systems and 2500 wormhole systems, compared to the small TI map.

    2) The wormholes are hidden, and temporary.

    3) Its much harder to blockade a route in Eve than it is in TI.

    However, all that being said I'm sure myself and others and the devs will be keeping a close eye on how this mechanic changes the game.

  4. Do you see this as a positive, negative or lateral change, Kirith?

  5. @Adam: good question.

    On one hand, a certain amount of tactical certainty about the game has been lost. Pockets and dead ends are no longer guaranteed to remain so, thus defending small areas of space becomes more difficult.

    On the other hand, it brings a large degree of dynamism to the map that was missing before, it might encourage more nomadic movement and fewer permament camps and bases.

    Or maybe wormholes will lose their shiny factor in a month or two and be ignored by all but those looking for sleepers.

    Regardless, they bring something very new and fresh to the game and I think overall its a positive change.

  6. Another nice exploration video has hit the net:

    10 minutes to a wormhole.

    Just FYI.


  7. Anonymous7:28 pm

    There's some crazy people looking at wormholes right now. This morning I met what looked like an AFK Brutix that I killed from sixty kilometers away with a Sleeper-ratting Caracal. Who goes AFK at a wormhole, powering off into space in a random direction at sub-200 m/sec?

    From other evidence I suspect it was somebody who was dual-boxing with a cloaker alt, but still.