On Tuesday, November 15, the landscape of EVE Online changes forever with the introduction of the Ascension patch. From changes to boosting, thrusting the Rorqual into the forefront of mining power, Engineering Complexes, and of course Clone States, this promises to be a defining update to EVE worthy of the title expansion. The patch notes in their entirety can be found here.
With Clone States, CCP is making perhaps the boldest move in the history of EVE. No longer will new players be bound by limited time trials before being asked to subscribe. Accounts in EVE will now exist in one of two states, Alpha and Omega. Omegas will work just like any subscribed account does now and all accounts with an active subscription will be in the Omega state when the patch is applied. Alphas will be much more limited. The skills Alphas are allowed to use are limited by the race of the character. This has the practical effect of limiting all Alpha accounts to flying Cruisers and below of the race they started with. Alphas also have several other limitations such as not being able to have more than one active at a time, or being unable to extract skills from the Alpha skillset. CCP has details in the initial announcement post and a follow up post in addition to the patch notes. Come November 15 if all goes well New Eden will see a surge in population that would lead to a more active universe for all.
Representing the second of the Upwell structure classes, Engineering Complexes bring the industrial might of capsuleers out of the POS and Outpost era with style. There are three classes of Engineering Complexes; the Raitaru, the Azbel and the Sotiyo. These share size classes with their Citadel counterparts, ranging from Medium to Extra Large. With Rigs that allow for bonuses to everything from blueprint research to supercapital construction, industrialists all over New Eden will find their needs for constructing the starships of tomorrow well attended to. Details can be found in this Dev Blog. The industrialists that I have spoken to are quite excited about what these complexes mean for their enterprises.
How boosting works is changing dramatically in Ascension. Gone are the days where boosting ships sit safely off grid, almost never to be found. Replacing the old system is Command Bursts. These are area of effect systems that pass boosting effects onto your fleet mates for a limited period of time. This also comes with changes to boosting ships themselves, including a revision of the requirements for Command Ships and the conversion of Command Processors into rigs. Titans are also having their boosting effect replaced with Phenomena Generators which affect all ships in a given area. It’s a major shakeup of how the system works, everyone from solo pilots to fleet commanders are going to be greatly effected by this change. As such CCP has a Dev blog with all the details here.
Mining Booster and Boosting Ship Changes
The changes to boosters have impacted mining as well and CCP did not stop at just adjusting the boosting mechanics. First is the introduction of the Porpoise as the first mining booster that aspiring miners will have access to. The venerable Orca is getting an overhaul as well, turning it into a great mining support ship that can also gather resources quite well. The Rorqual is breaking free of its role as just a booster and becoming a mining behemoth in its own right. Sporting Excavator drones that can outstrip smaller mining ships, a tank rivaling that of a Force Auxiliary, and the new PANIC module to shield itself and smaller mining ships from attack for a period of time. Full details about both the changes to boosts and the above ships available here. While I personally gave up mining some time ago, corpmates who do mine had a strong reaction when the changes were announced.
Ascension introduces some major visual improvements to both the client and UI. First up is a new skill sheet, details are available here. The new sheet allows for clearer viewing of what skills are trained and training. For Alpha Clones, items which they are locked out of will be bordered in gold and provide a link to upgrade options. All ships will now have the option to buy any missing skill books necessary to sit in the ship, making it easy to get the queue rolling on a new ship. CCP is also introducing Ghost Fitting, which functions much like EFT and PYFA but inside the client. This will allow you to play with the fittings for a new ship in-game just like you would with an out-of-game tool. I’m very excited about this one.
In addition to the usual litany of bug fixes, CCP is also introducing new explosions. I will let the video speak for itself here.
Also, we are getting the first of a new SKIN series dubbed the Star Captain. With similar styling to someone known as The First Avenger’s costume, this is a very good looking skin and a nice departure from the color pallet swaps that have been available so far.
It will debut on the Confessor with the Ascension update, tho we can expect more soon. For more information about where CCP is going with SKINS as well as how these pattern ones are created, I highly recommend the Art and Visual Effect presentation from EVE Vegas. It also contains more details about how the new explosions are made.
Ascension also brings lots of adjustments across the game. First up is a rebalance of the Tech Three Destroyers, details and discussion of which can be found here. The new Sunesis Destroyer, a smaller relative of the Society of Conscious Thought’s Gnossis Battlecruiser is being introduced in this update. Stats and discussion can be found here. The jump range for capital ships is also increasing. At max skills, normal capitals (Carriers, Dreadnaughts, Force Auxiliaries) will be able to jump 7 Light Years while Supercarriers and Titans will be able to jump 6 Light Years. Details can be found here. NPC Mining operations will also be present in various systems around New Eden, you can find them in belts and try to kill them if you want. Just beware they might fight back. Additionally, there are lots of small bug fixes.
We are getting an update choked full of lots of really cool stuff, but my favorite line in the patch notes is below.
The skill queue will now pause and restart without intervention after a Clone Jump.
Awesome stuff! Last but not least, we’ve got a trailer for the new, free-to-play EVE.