The newest patch for EVE Online has dropped, with fresh changes to some of our favorite friends and the newest addition to the game, Pochven. This patch comes alongside the announcement of the Foundation quadrant, the new quarter of balance updates and mechanics changes from CCP to help make EVE Online more (or less) robust depending on your perspective.
First, let’s talk about some of the highlights. You can read the entire patch notes for yourself here.
Pochven’s Love Triangle
For starters, we’ve got a hot new update to the Pochven region that removes standing requirements from Pochven loop gates. For those unfamiliar, the loop gates are the gates within Pochven that allow players to traverse the region. Previously, various standing requirements were needed to get into these auxiliary systems with the home systems requiring the highest standings. Now, only the home systems of Niarja, Archee, and Kino require standings to access their stargates. This should make it easier for players to access more of Pochven with lower standings while still locking the most important systems behind the larger standings gate.
Pochven has been a point of contention since its release where capsuleers from both sides were frustrated by its restrictive mechanics. Pilots loyal to EDENCOM were angry because they received very little in the way of rewards for their participation in the events that led up to Pochven’s extraction from K-space. Those loyal to the Triglavian collective that hadn’t increased their standings to the highest levels found themselves unable to access the systems in the region. And last, those with no involvement in either side of the lore events were upset that they couldn’t access the content without going through a pretty deep standings grind with CCP removing the easiest method of gaining standings (now deemed an exploit). Hopefully this change will allow more capsuleers to interact with Pochven and with each other inside the region, potentially creating a bustling triangle of content that we can all enjoy.
Aura in 3 Dimensions, New Jita Hangar
Another big update is to the artificial intelligence companion for all capsuleers, Aura. Aura is a big part of every new player’s experience as she is the guide that teaches them how to “Approach, lock, and orbit” and take their first steps as the little fish of New Eden. Aura’s new three-dimensional form complete with synced movements for her quips makes this a welcome change. A preview of Aura’s new look is below:
In addition to a new look for Aura, the Jita 4-4 station has received an update to its looks as well. It sports new hangar geometry, lighting and effects as well as the same kind of background activities that you see in Citadels with ships flying through the hangar on their way in and out of the docking ports. It’s also said that engineers will celebrate with fireworks inside the hangar very similarly to how they do on the outside on certain special dates. Make sure you head over to Jita and check out the new looks, they’re really, really, really good.
These two updates join a host of others including new stargate animations and new cosmic phenomena in New Eden and cement a fact that all of us know: the EVE Online art team is literally killing it right now. Maybe they’ll see fit to bring back walking in stations.
Combatting Botting & RMT, One Step at a Time
Another seemingly small change comes as another brick in the wall between EVE Online and cheaters. One common practice for CCP is to perform what’s called a “negwallet” on an alliance or corporation when they are found to be guilty of cheating. Negwalleting happens when CCP takes dirty money away from the infringing group, resulting in their ISK wallet dipping into the negative. One of the most dramatic examples of this in recent times was when the holding corp of the Fraternity alliance found themselves at a staggering negative one trillion ISK in their wallet. Any taxes received from the use of structures held by that group would have gone straight into that negative ISK instead of going to fund their future endeavors. The solution? Transfer the structures to another corporation without a negative wallet. Seeing as this transfer costs nothing, it made it a very easy method to avoid facing some of the consequences incurred by cheating in EVE Online.
With today’s patch, that is no longer an option. Any corporation with a negative wallet can no longer transfer structures. This means that, if a corporation is punished by having their ISK removed and ending up with a negative wallet balance, they’ll need to bring that balance current before a structure can be transferred. Or just unanchor the structure and drop it in a new corporation instead. Will this add to the complexity of avoiding punishment? Yes. Will this eradicate it? No. But it will make it that much easier for CCP to connect the dots between guilty parties.
Foundation Quadrant Expectations
This patch is the first in likely many in the newest quadrant for EVE Online, Foundation. In the announcement for the new quadrant, CCP indicates that it aims to celebrate the identity of the four Empires of New Eden, as well as the 18th anniversary of EVE Online. This renewed focus on the Empires of the Amarr, Gallente, Caldari, and Minimatar seem to lead into some sort of catalyst for a new war among the Empires and possibly even a revamp to faction warfare systems. It is also possible that this could lead to some new incentives for capsuleers to participate in the current faction warfare system that has been begging for a rewrite for ages.
There have been several recent events carried out by CCP on behalf of the Empires that indicate that a full-scale war may be coming soon. It started with Minmatar dreadnoughts assaulting the planet of Tanoo II and quickly being dispatched thanks to effort from both capsuleer and Empire forces. Next, Gallente dreadnoughts attacked the planet of Girani Fa III and, again, were quickly disposed of. Reports continued coming in through the EVE World News channel telling us of a fragile peace being held in place despite high tensions from these attacks. In the most recent events, bombings and more orbital bombardments from every Empire have taken place and we highly doubt that the Empires will let this stand for much longer. More on the topic of this potential war will come later and then again after CCP reveals their plans for this continuing storyline.
My thought is that we will see some sort of change to faction warfare that will allow players to be more connected to the Empires in EVE and give more incentive to join each Empire. This could be in the form of different mineral compositions in different regions of space, forcing diplomacy or war to either barter or shed blood for the necessary resources to conduct space business. Either way, any time we see the Empires of EVE (for lack of better phrasing) attacking each other, we know there’s something big coming. Hopefully by the end of this month we will see the fruits of CCP’s current labour and learn a lot more about what all this means and how it affects us as capsuleers.
In addition to the hope of renewed faction warfare, the Foundation Quadrant also promises the release of the ESS reserve bank keys. The reserve banks have been filling up in every system where ratting activity has taken place since the new ESS system was launched and there’s likely billions of ISK on the table. The update specifically mentions that the “Bonnie and Clydes of New Eden can rejoice” but says nothing of the corporations and alliances the ISK in the reserve banks rightfully belong to. This leads me to believe we may see a slightly complex method of acquisition for these keys. Here’s hoping it gets executed properly.
With the recent industry update finally going live (as of last week) it’s unlikely in my mind that we see any more massive changes to the system of levers and pulleys put in place for mineral cost and complexity of building however, you never really know with EVE Online until you know. It’s likely that we will be set on “observe” mode for at least a few months to see how the market shakes out once all the speculation dies down and builders discover the best new ways to build the spaceships we all like to blow each other up with.
Overall, today’s patch and the announcement of the Foundation Quadrant gives many reasons to be excited. The only question in my mind is whether or not the excitement and the expectation will be met when the reality of changes surface. It’s been an intriguing year in New Eden so far and I imagine it’s going to get a lot more interesting before the year ends.