Over a dozen new ships, the next iteration of Module Tiericide alongside a medley of balance changes, and graphical and audio renovations are just a few of changes scheduled for the December Release releasing December 8th. The patch notes were released on Saturday, December 5th for the perusal of interested players. Most of the big changes have had their own dev blogs or dev posts in the Features & Ideas Discussion section of the official forum, but many changes are only being introduced to the player base through the patch notes. Still, there are some big changes worth discussing individually.
Gallente Thalia T2 Logistics Frigate
Some of the biggest changes coming into the game with the December Release are centered around remote repairs. There are big changes coming to the way remote repairs work with current ships as well as adding T2 versions of the current frigate logistics ships. No longer will reps be a simple go/no-go system but instead adding a function of distance and type. Remote reps will now have an optimal and falloff range added to them like most other remote modules in the game.
The addition of optimal and falloff ranges to remote repairs are an asymmetric change heavily affecting the way current armor and shield logistics will be flown. While this is more of a nerf for current logistics ships, it is adding greater viability to tinker and spider tank setups thanks to better range. And while armor and shield reps have always had some distinction thanks to the timing of reps landing, the addition of disparity between longer falloff vs longer optimal offers another variable to the table when choosing a fleet doctrine. The added range within falloff for shield reps conceivably gives dictors and interceptors a small opportunity to receive reps even when tackling an enemy fleet at greater distances. Compare that to the powerful armor reps that stay strong until they quickly fade into uselessness. Fleet dynamics are certainly going to change.
The Amarr Deacon in all its Gold on Red glory
The four new logistics frigates are the Amarr Deacon, Caldari Kirin, Gallente Thalia, and the Minmatar Scalpel. Launched alongside the new ships will be the new skill used for flying them, Logistics Frigates, and the renaming of the old Logistics skill to Logistics Cruisers to prevent confusion. These new ships pack a lot of repairing power in a small, fast, and surprisingly resilient package that is sure to make an impact. Though they won’t replace T2 logistics in AHAC fleets and larger, they will certainly augment and replace their relatively squishy T1 counterparts in frigate fleets like those popular in Faction Warfare, EWAR frigate fleets, or with T3 Destroyers. As one would expect, the racial characteristics are present to give a bit of distinction between them. The Amarr and Caldari versions get a notable perk to their EHP, while the Gallente and Minmatar go for damage mitigation through speed and signature.
In addition to the logistics frigates, CCP is bringing Command Destroyers, Faction EWAR Frigates, and a new Expedition Frigate. The Expedition Frigate, Endurance, is a new T2 mining ship from the ORE conglomerate that was originally known by the name Discovery when first announced. The Expedition focuses on ice mining and non-covert ops cloaking unlike its stablemate, the Prospect. Along with the Expedition are a series of frigate-sized ice mining lasers, aimed to let players use more agile, less expensive frigates at the cost of mining speed over the current ice mining barges. Vos talks more about the idea here, but it’s important to note that these frigate sized mining lasers are only for the Expedition frigate for now.
Love it or hate it, Electronic Warfare is a big part of the game right now and CCP Fozzie wants to make it a bit more accessible to solo and small gangs. Set to be more powerful than the T1 frigates but less that the T2 Electronic Attack Frigates, the new Navy Issue Frigates get bonuses to damage and racial EWAR effectiveness. While this combination is set to make them strong ships that have great utility in smaller fights, the particular bonuses for these ships are a little odd.
The Maulus Navy Issue with camo accents
The Amarr Crucifier Navy Issue and Caldari Griffin Navy Issue get bonuses to their primary racial EWAR, Weapon Disruption and ECM respectively, but with a huge penalty to range. Meanwhile Minmatar Vigil Fleet Issue and Gallente Maulus Navy Issue are given bonuses to their secondary EWAR’s range, stasis webifier and warp scrambling. Damage is equally a little off: the faction Crucifier is given a bonus to small lasers along with the inclusion of a 20m3 drone bay, the faction Griffin is given a bonus to Hybrid turret damage, the faction Maulus is given a damage bonus to its full flight of light drones, and the Vigil is given a rocket bonus. This is particularly odd because their T1 counterparts don’t use these weapons systems, except the Gallente Maulus which sort of uses both hybrid and drones. Still, this does seem to give players who enjoyed the T1 counterparts a bit more training to get into rather than just jumping into a better version of the same ship.
Caldari Stork Command Destroyer
Last on the docket for new ships is the T2 Command Destroyers. Much like the other T2 destroyers, interdictors, the new Command Destroyers are set to be more utility oriented than their glass cannon T1 counterparts. As you might expect with a name like Command Destroyer, these new destroyers are given bonuses to links. To make sure they aren’t quite as easy to alpha the bonuses off the field to weaken the group, they were also given bonuses to passive tanks and Micro Warp Drive signature bloom.
Much like their fellow T2 destroyers, Command Destroyers sport a totally unique module that sets them apart: the new Micro Jump Field Generator. When activated, it will jump just about anything mobile in a 6km radius 100km. And it would seem that CCP means for this to be very versatile: bombs in flight, dictor bubbles, or other Command Destroyers chained together to fly hundreds of kilometers quickly were given as examples.
MODULE TIERICIDE AND BALANCE PASSES
There were a number of new modules listed in the patch notes to be added in addition to a few more modules getting the illustrious Tiericide treatment. Missile Disruptors, meta Entosis Links named after the test server victors, and the ice mining lasers and Micro Jump Field Generators mentioned above were among the new modules described. Started back in September of 2014, Module Tiericide has been slowly working its way through many of the ship modules of Eve Online.
The December Release’s Module Tiericide focuses on energy warfare, passive shield modules, and the aforementioned remote repairs. The passive shield modules are the most straightforward of the reworked modules. Shield Rechargers, Shield Power Relays, and Shield Flux Coils all had their named meta modules reduced to two options: ‘compact’ for lower fitting requirements or ‘restrained’ for lower penalties. A few new faction variations were sprinkled in while the storyline modules were reworked to be more relevant. Straightforward enough.
The cold colors of the Ore Frostline Expedition
Compare that to the changes Energy Neutralizers and Nosferatu received. It isn’t something that’s unprecedented: they are being reworked much like the remote repairs with the addition of falloff. The falloff is modeled off of the current gun falloff as well, so it’s nothing too out of the ordinary. For ships that have bonuses to Energy Neutralizers and Nosferatu optimals will also be given bonuses to falloff. The Sentinel was given as an example in CCP Larkin’s dev post. Energy Neutralizers were also given deadspace variants with stats that rival some of the current officer modules in the larger sizes.
Unlike many other modules in the tiericide, the Warp Disruption Field Generator had versions of the item added to it rather than taken away. There are now seven variations from tech one up to faction instead of only tech one or tech two. According to CCP Larkin, this is to give players more meaningful options within the modules. These new modules will drop from NPCs just like any other module or, in the case of the faction items, be purchasable in the LP store as well. Warp Disruption Field Generators also now act like Warp Scramblers when they are loaded with a Focused Warp Disruption script, disabling Micro Warp Drives and Micro Jump Drives. Rather large changes for a module only used on heavy interdictors.
Modules weren’t the only ones getting balance passes in this update: CCP Fozzie is also including some changes that range from small to rather large on a variety of different ships. Starting with the nerfs to the ships that were winning a bit too hard: Worm and Gila lose a low slot and 20 CPU fitting space, Orthrus loses some of its damage bonus, and the Tristan is getting reduction in speed and hull points. On the other side of the coin, there were a number of ships that needed just a few nudges in the right direction like the Barghest who gains a second utility high and a small buff to damage. The Navy Osprey gets the same treatment as the Barghest as well as some more fitting room. The Rifter and Slasher are getting some love in the form of CPU and powergrid while the Firetail and Hookbill get buffs to tracking and damage respectively. The Tormentor is getting a little bit of drone bay space. Last to receive a small buff, the Breacher is getting a little bit more mobility.
The Amarrian Punisher is not getting a slight buff, but instead a strong reimagining. It was in an awkward place where it couldn’t really be as utilitarian as some of the other races thanks to the two mid slot setup, nor could it compete with the Tormentor with the same damage bonus. To help it along, the Punisher is now being given an extra low slot and another turret hardpoint. The Punisher is also being given a sizable boost to powergrid and CPU to make use of these new fitting options and a change in bonus, replacing the 5% damage bonus with a -10% cap usage bonus. It is still very gimped in the mid slot area, but should prove to be a tough frigate with some teeth.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO
While they don’t affect the gameplay much, graphics and audio are a very important part of Eve Online; it would certainly be for the worse if it weren’t such a stunningly beautiful game. To that end, this new patch will update the game with a few new visual effects. One of the most prominent is the addition of shield and armor damage to ships. When taking damage to a ships shield, a small shield bubble will appear. When the shield is gone and it’s the armor’s turn to absorb the damage, the damage will start to appear on the hull of the ship.
Shields and armor aren’t the only ones getting new visuals. Ships engines are being given a rework very reminiscent to rocket engines or afterburners. Here’s the complete list of things getting a graphical makeover that weren’t special enough to get their own video:
- Cynosural Field Beacon
- Cynosural Jump Portal
- Cynosural Jump Portal Black Ops
- Warp Entry
- Wormhole Jump
- ECM Burst
- Sensor Booster
- Stasis Web
- Survey Scanner
- Tracking Booster
- Smart Bombs
- Background star field
Players that successfully punch through the shield, armor, and hull of the enemy’s ship will be awarded a hull mark as seen in the above video. At the present moment, the hull marks will keep count up to 999 kills. This new feature, along with a change that makes a ship’s hull dirtier over time, seem aimed to make players feel a greater sense of attachment to their individual ships.
Audio is also getting a some attention as well. New music is being added in the release with more scheduled to be released. As ships approach and depart, a new feature based on the Doppler Shift will make it more immersive. According to CCP, this is CPU intensive requiring a more robust PC to enable. No word on why there would be sound in space, but it does seem to be a cool feature.
QUICK FIRE UPDATES
There are many more parts of this update that are significant, but require little explanation. Here are some of the highlights:
- Grids have been expanded to 7800km
- Omber Ore was rebalanced
- Data and Relic sites saw heavy rebalancing to even out the sites
- Ghost Sites are now Cosmic Signatures instead of Cosmic Anomalies
- T3 Destroyers are now prohibited from Small Faction Warfare sites
- Drifters had a minor balance pass
- Drifter Incursion rewards received small buff
- 36 new SKINs
The still unimaginatively named December Release is the first return to the big updates of Eve Online instead of solely the six week development cycle, and it shows. Even if they don’t have the cohesive theme like the upcoming Citadel expansion, there are a dizzying number of changes and fixes being implemented. While a thorough reading of the patch notes is always recommended, you should feel pretty confident in the upcoming changes after reading.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Set’s Chaos.