CCP Games released the Gatecrash update for EVE: Valkyrie last week. This release features a new map, character customization options, and a balance pass for fighters and heavies. The new map centers on a stargate that is under construction and located in an ice belt. The aptly named Gateway map provides stunning visuals and challenging piloting opportunities. The balance pass nerfs heavy hitpoints and fighter damage while increasing the damage output of heavies.
The Gateway map is gorgeous. The scene is set in an ice belt with an ice planet in the background. Ice asteroids and the massive stargate give you ample obstacles—for breaking line of sight. The core of the stargate acts as a microwarp tube that gives a large speed boost while you are inside it. Flying around this map is difficult to do well. The random map selection for multiplayer matches makes it hard to find a match on Gateway. Using Scout mode to practice traversing Gateway is highly recommended.
The character customization options are limited and only allow you to choose a flight suit and a helmet. Since you rarely see your physique in game this new feature is rather uninteresting. The ship skins are a better purchase as you see player’s ships all the time. If you have excess Silver or real life cash, this feature gives you more opportunities to spend it at least.
Also hidden in this release are optimizations for the PlayStation Pro, which is a PlayStation 4 with improved hardware. In addition to better loading times, PlayStation Pro users will notice improved resolution, dynamic shadows, more particle effects with improved details, and dynamic shadows.
The ship balance pass aims to make heavy game play more dynamic. The heavy class is getting a substantial decrease in their hitpoints but a huge increase in their damage output. In addition, their microwarp drive will spool up faster but take longer to cool down. To offset for the hitpoint reduction to heavies the fighters now do less damage. Overall heavies are easier to kill if you are smart about applying your damage and staying out the aim of their guns. If you go head to head with a heavy, you will quickly realize that was a bad idea.
Gatecrash marked the third major update since Valkyrie released nine months ago. Since its initial release, Valkyrie has been made available on all PC and console VR platforms. CCP can take a break from chasing hardware platforms to focus on maps and game play in 2017. If they can maintain the update cadence, Valkyrie will stay fresh and keep its well-earned spot as one of the best VR games.
The full list of balance changes and bug fixes are available here.