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Interviews: Apocrypha 1.1

By Andrew Wallace on May 11, 2009

Apocrypha 1.1
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Apocrypha 1.1 was more than just a minor patch; it brought with it some rather radical changes to certain ships, as well as providing enhancements to the content released in Apocrypha, just a month before. There's a bit to get through, so let's dive straight into it.

The Falcon has been a shadow over PVP combat in EVE for more than a year now- one of the main issues with the Falcon wasn't just that it fielded powerful Electronic Counter Measures, but the fact that it made every other ECM ship redundant, and most of the other recons pitiful in comparison (although this has just as much to do with the state of other forms of Electronic Warfare than it does with the Falcon itself). Just like with the "nano-nerf" of Quantum Rise, it's not that the ships are massively overpowered, but that they infringed on other classes, and when people started making dedicated falcon alts, it was clear that something was wrong- changes came with Apocrypha 1.1.

The effective range of ECM was cut down by switching the optimal and falloff ranges and all of the ECM ships had their ship abilities altered. The Scorpion battleship is now the long-ranged ECM "sniper" that the Falcon used to be, the Rook can throw out some serious firepower with its missiles while it jams, and the Falcon has been given a bonus to hybrid weapons. With the two recon ships in particular they appear to have been brought more into line with the recons of other races- that share both EW and firepower- and it'll be interesting to see how pilots adapt to using them at the new, shorter, distances.

ECM ships weren't alone in their overhaul, with stealth bombers, the sneaky, cruise missile spamming frigates, being altered into even sneakier, torpedo spamming frigates. The new ability to fit covert ops cloaks allows them to warp while cloaked, which is going to be a big help for moving into position without the target knowing- using the basic cloaking devices meant you had to rely on the target coming to you, which sometimes left you sitting out in space like a dejected jack-in-the-box.

While their cruise missiles used to be effective against most targets, the emphasis now is on the stealth bomber being a torpedo platform designed to crack open battleship sized targets. Frigate pilots can also relax a bit now, as torpedoes are much less effective against small targets than cruise- they will also become a Stealth Bomber's natural enemy, as anything that can lock and start doing damage quickly is a serious threat. Bombs have also been made substantially cheaper, which will hopefully mean that we'll see more of them in use out in 0.0 systems.

The bombers weren't the only stealth ships to get some loving from 1.1, the Black Ops Battle ships also got a bit of a boost- including the ability to jump certain ships into the cyno-jammed systems that are owned by the bigger alliances out in 0.0. Unfortunately, it didn't receive the fuel bay that would give it even more flexibility in its ability to move around, but we have been told by CCP that one is in the works, with the possibility of introducing code that will allow ships to have specialised bays for ammo, ore, etc- which is something to watch out for. Breaking into cyno-jammed systems is a very interesting ability, especially as the repertoire of ships that can use a covert jump bridge has just blossomed with the inclusion of a covert ops subsystem for the new strategic cruisers.

Each of the four strategic cruisers has been given five new subsystems, which includes: an electronic subsystem that improve the strength of probes, a warfare link subsystem that allows it to act like a mini-command ship, a heat damage reduction subsystem that will allow for even longer period of over heating, a covert ops subsystem that allows them to move around unseen, and a propulsion subsystem that makes them immune to warp disruption bubbles, or interdiction spheres. These new subsystems will make them absolutely brilliant for spearheading expeditions out into wormhole space, as soon as people can afford to. Although they are starting to appear on the various kill boards, the strategic cruisers have yet to see general use in EVE, and still cost stupid amounts of money- leaving them, for the moment at least, as abandoned, frankenstein contraptions that few players want to play with.

The twenty new subsystems will, however, give them much more diversity, especially when you are looking at them through the new ship preview window. Creeping in amongst the bigger updates, this little gem of a feature allows you to view any ship in the game, whether it's a titan, or a rare faction ship.

There were also some wonderful additions to the new scanning system that was introduced in Apocrypha. One of the major problems that arose was the difficulty of sifting through large numbers of cosmic signatures, or the ability to ignore results for unwanted sites. Well, that's exactly what we got- each signature result now has its own unique ID code that allows you to easily identify it in a crowded system, or filter it from your scan results entirely, it's absolutely marvellous and makes scanning much less of a chore, but there's more. Wormhole systems were awash with gravimetric sites that contained average ores and generally just cluttered up the scanning interface, but no longer. As well as being drastically reduced in number, each site is more bountiful, and the quality of the ores has been substantially improved.

Just before I started writing this article there was an update on the official forums suggesting that there were more changes being made for another update, including more tweaks to the stealth bombers. It's too early to say with any certainty that we are going to see updates every month from now on, but with proposals for new changes already on the board, it leads me to suspect that we may see another patch sometime in May.