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MMORPG | Setting:Sci-Fi | Status:Final  (rel 05/06/03)  | Pub:CCP Games
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Rubicon Certainly Feels Compelling

By Gareth Harmer on November 25, 2013 | General Articles | Comments

Rubicon Certainly Feels Compelling

Boarding the Interbus

Besides new ships and tools to play with, CCPs expansions also bring enhancements to the core EVE Online Experience. Rubicon is no different, attempting to tackle the maze of skills and ship types with the Interbus Ship identification System.


When I first started EVE, there were two ways I’d use to decide what skills to train. Sometimes I’d see a cool looking ship flying around, then hassle some corpmates for advice on how to get it. Other times, I’d dig through EVE University’s wiki to find something that interested me and what skills they recommended. That eventually led to character focus, career planning, and drawing up lists of skills to learn.

ISIS is designed to make that process easier for new players by presenting ships in a progression hierarchy, along with the various skills that are needed to fly them. Importantly though, it also shows what additional skills are needed to truly master it, by listing a number of skill certificates. Five levels of mastery are shown, differentiating between those ships you can barely fly to those that you’re very versatile in.

Want to get better at piloting a Vexor? It’s now possible to look beyond ship prerequisites, and actually find skills that would make you better at using your chosen ship. Each mastery level has a list of certificates needed to unlock it, with each of those breaking down further into its constituent skills. Planning a skill queue and deciding what to train next is now much easier for new players. And thankfully, we don’t even need to claim certificates any more.

Hanging in the Balance

Each new expansion brings in some form of ship rebalancing. Some classes get a surge of new life, while others become less popular. In Rubicon there’s one further change that affects every single vessel – an update to the warp speed calculations. Essentially, smaller and nimbler ships will now reach their warp speed much faster, and drop back down to cruising speed much sooner than before. It means that there’s a much more tangible feel as you switch from one vessel to another.

There’s also a side-benefit. Newcomers to New Eden generally start out in smaller ships. With the warp changes, it’s possible that they could play a greater role in helping to scout and snare escaping behemoths.

That’s part of the recurring theme for Rubicon, and indeed for CCP’s mission lately. There’s no desire to make EVE Online any easier – part of the beauty of New Eden is that harsh, unforgiving brutality. These latest changes certainly help to make the sandbox more accessible though, helping to provide a little guidance and purpose to those just starting out.

The cosmetic improvements are also incredibly welcome, and I’m hoping that they’ll continue throughout the rest of the interface in time. The clean new character screen, with the angry red background and expansion music has already won me over.

As for the new direction, it’s too early to call. After the success of Retribution and Odyssey, I’m inclined to give CCP the benefit of the doubt. That destination – undiscovered space, capsuleer control – certainly feels compelling. But there’s a fear of the unknown that comes with it; not that we’ll never get there, but that we won’t like it when we do. Personally, I’m happy enough for now, flying in my Astero and sneaking into sites. The future, and the rest of the story, will come soon enough.

Gareth Harmer / When he's not blasting or fireballing his way through a virtual world, Gareth "Gazimoff" Harmer can be found dissecting the mechanics of online games. Chua at heart, he's also our resident columnist for all things WildStar.
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