Skip navigation

npcs2

I was going to take a week off from EVE, before the gravity of the new expansion pulled me onto the test server, and I have; aside from logging in a couple of times to change skills and hanging out on the corp vent server I’ve been clean for almost seven days now, but the sudden appearance of two dev blogs has me thinking about nothing else.

Which means more pondering on the new NPCs and AI changes that were announced in yesterday’s dev blog.

Obviously, we’re just getting AI introduced to a limited number of NPCs, because suddenly unsettling the balance of all the set missions, as well as ratting, is quite insane; as any problems that arise would cripple an entire profession and money making method for a good chunk of the player base. So either this is all we’re getting, or this is the beginning of a carefully staggered release of new AI into the game.

The general idea behind a PVE mission running setup is to stack armour/shield resists that match the damage done by the particular npcs and, if you have the luxury of being able to pick weapon damage types, load the appropriate ammo to exploit their natural weaknesses. After that, it’s just a case of warping to the mission destination and opening fire.

This is of course an exaggeration, as there is a certain level of tactics involved, in terms of controlling aggro, using light drones to hit ships that your guns have trouble with, etc. It’s still very much regarded as a “passive” activity, though, and is used as a safe, steady form of income for, and this is an educated guess, the majority of players.

At the opposite end of the scale, we get PVP setups which, although they can vary wildly, are usually geared towards firepower over tank and fit a warp scrambler of some kind to keep the enemy pinned down. They are also less concerned with being able to run their setups for long periods, as PVP fights are brutally short in comparison to missions, and being able to sustain a tank and weapons for a few minutes is long enough, in most cases.

Needing PVE setups to fight NPCs is one of the things that scares most people away from low-sec, 0.0, and even the new w-space. Being fitted to deal effectively with NPCs instantly puts you at a disadvantage if you encounter other players in a situation where they can freely attack you. This is why the new NPC AI is so interesting; as it would appear (emphasis on appear) to be the beginning of an attempt by CCP to eventually unify PVE and PVP setups to the point that you won’t find yourself gimped when attempting, or forced into, both.

I could go further into how the new AI might work, but it is very difficult with the dev blogs being quite so unspecific, so let’s ignore that for the time being.

This is not the first time they’ve tried to lure players out of high sec with missions that are built around using PVP setups; they arrived in summer of last year, with the Empyrean Age expansion. I’m talking about the FW missions which, aside from painting a massive target for all opposing factions and pirates to descend upon you, had objectives that were short, could be completed in PVP fittings, and are now, from what I’ve been told, profitable enough to justify the time and risk.

Using FW missions as a reference point, we can assume a few things about Sleeper encounters:

Sleepers can be killed in relatively cheap, PVP setups, although, it has been pointed out that they will be difficult to take down without an organised group.

If players can use conventional PVP setups to fight Sleepers then that means they should have universal damage types and resistances, in order to remove the need to stack against them on your own weapons and armour.

They might be few in number to make encounters “quicker” and less of a load on the client/server. Another problem with PVE fights in unsafe space is time; once you take into account the time to loot and salvage the area afterwards, you can spend a long time in oneplace, and the longer you stay there, the more chance there is of someone finding you. Fewer NPCs to kill means not only faster fights, but faster looting and salvaging.

Right, it’s 3am and I really should stop this.

And maybe take another week off EVE.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: