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EVE Online General Article: There Will Be Bugs...

By Andrew Wallace on June 16, 2009

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Change is quite possibly one of the best things about the MMO genre. Through patches and expansions, they are continually expanded and refined; to the point that you might not be playing the same game you started subscribing to six months ago. EVE Online is no exception, and every new expansion ushers in a new age that the players must adapt to; whether it's a change to existing modules, or the opening of a new frontier to explore, in the form of wormhole space. Change is good, except when it's not.

Frequent updates are always welcome, but more patches inevitably means more chances for bugs to slip in; and if you've been paying attention to EVE for the past couple of weeks, you'll see that some particularly nasty ones made it through with the 1.2 patch. This new patch also brought with it some changes to the Naglfar, as well as ship agility (amongst other things), but I'll get to that in a bit; first, let's look at the minor calamity that hit Tranquillity recently.

Two issues quickly became apparent after 1.2 went live. Any modules that were active when a cloaking device was turned on were immediately shut down in mid-cycle. By turning on a microwarpdrive and then activating their cloaking module, players were able to get a full cycle out of the MWD before the cloak shut it down, giving them a significant, if brief, speed boost. This was a key tactic for cloaking ships that wanted to escape the warp disruption bubbles used in gate camps out in 0.0, as they we're able to burn out of the bubble as they disappeared from view, and this sudden change rendered them very vulnerable; even getting a covert ops frigate through a bubbled gate to gather intelligence on the other side was now a difficult task.

The other problem was a bug that stopped players activating any modules as they de-cloaked after jumping through a gate, for more than a few seconds. This compounded the first issue and made traveling in dangerous areas of space very frustrating for a lot of players. CCP, however, were quick to put out a hot fix to deal with the first issue, and the activation delay bug was fixed in Apocrypha 1.2.2 less than a week later. However, just as those two were dealt with, another challenger arose.

A seemingly random bug appeared; this one was a nasty piece of work that locked up the client when a ship jumped into a system. Anyone who was trying to move around EVE, including those using cynos, were affected; effectively making long distance travel a game of roulette, as players were forced to re-log as they ran into the bug. The randomness of the bug clearly made reproducing it, and determining the cause, a bit of a challenge for the QA department, but, eventually, it was announced that a new patch was in testing. Clearly, CCP wanted to take a bit more care with this one (to prevent anything else slipping through the cracks) but, unfortunately, this testing period clashed with a long weekend, which caused no end of complaints on the forums. As for myself, rather than risk losing any ships, I just didn't log in until the patch went live and sorted it all out.

So, anyway, panic over; but what did Apocrypha 1.2 do for us, aside from introducing some delightful bugs? Well, the vertical behemoth that is the Naglfar dreadnought saw its citadel torpedo bonus dropped, in favor of a damage increase to capital turrets. Previously, its damage was split between turrets and citadel torps, and as capital missiles take an ice age to reach their target, the Naglfar's effective DPS was lower than every other ship in its class, despite the extra training involved to use both weapon systems. This bonus, along with an extra mid slot (and an increase to the velocity for citadel torps), goes a long way toward bringing it alongside its sibling ships, but, from what we've been told by CCP, this is just a "quick fix", with there being some kind of grand master plan to revisit the entire class at some point in the future (most likely when they release the new 0.0 sovereignty system that is supposedly being work on right now).

Having just missed the window for Apocrypha 1.1, the new ship agility stats are now on Tranquillity. Since initial changes to agility during Quantum Rise, there was a constant problem with ships not being able to lock onto, and therefore warp scramble, a target of equal class. So, in order to redress the balance and give players a better chance of catching targets, the agility for most ships has been taken down a bit. In some cases this will only make aligning to warp a second or two longer (and it barely makes any difference to nimble ships, like interceptors), but trying to slip past an enemy gang is going to be a bit more troublesome now.

With the possibility of another patch in the next month, including more alterations to citadel torps, it's good to see that CCP aren't letting up with the pace of updates; we can just hope that nothing nasty creeps in. I'm looking forward to what changes may come; the crippling bugs, not so much.

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