I came away from Tuesday impressed by the apparent strength of the Sentry Gunners Union. I admit I haven't paid much attention to these tireless guardians and their lonely vigil before, but we can't ignore them any longer. The recent strike and negotiations have spread fundamental and game-changing alterations throughout New Eden.
How so? Well, if you haven't noticed yet, you can now attack someone on a Gate or Station - warp off and then warp back - and the sentry guns won't shoot you anymore. They forget you.
This is an incredible strategic and tactical change to "the way things are" and will have a tremendous impact on how, when and where fights happen in Low-Sec. I honestly didn't believe it was all that big of a deal until the Tuskers went out on a roam the other night. Already, you can feel the changes having an impact in how we plan, engage and re-engage enemy gangs. Ships can now warp away and warp back to re-engage.
Added to this potentially game-altering change is yet another one. Sentry guns no longer shoot Drones. Apparently the SGU and the drone manufacturers are in bed together, because this was always one way to mitigate the amount of damage you could bring to bear on hard points. The lack of drones on Stations and Gates meant an entire generation grew up with tactics developed to overcome that issue... an issue that no longer exists.
These two changes alone are game-changing for us Pirate types and I haven't even mentioned Crimewatch or Bounties yet, or the selling of Kill Rights.
The addition of easy to see and easy to understand "criminal" icons to the game screen is a welcome and much needed addition. No more general timing guessing games, with a single glance we can now tell exactly what our status is and isn't. This is taking some getting used to, but it is amazing how quickly it has become second nature.
And while I still worry a bit about the long-term viability of the Bounty system, I must admit that it has introduced something to the game that I didn't anticipate - fun. Who knew the Bounty system would be so much fun! That people would be talking about it so much, trading bounties, making gifts of bounties and generally acting like bounties are the new "like" of Facebook in Space! I know I didn't see it coming and I don't believe anyone else could have anticipated it either.
As for Kill Rights I'm not sure yet. A bunch of people have been selling the kill rights they have on me this week, but so far that hasn't resulted in more fights. ( Of course, my play time this week has been somewhat limited, so we'll have to wait and see ).
On top of this add the new ships, new FW mechanics, new rat AI and other balancing changes and you've got yourself an extremely robust patch that - I believe - primarily benefits low-security space. It doesn't address the fundamental flaws in the system sadly, but at least it might make us forget that we don't have very many targets. At least for awhile.
Whew. I haven't even mentioned ship balancing, or the new sounds, or some of the other stuff. I'm waiting a bit longer on the re-balancing - you really shouldn't judge those changes until you have a chance to properly use them - at least that is my opinion. So I'm sure I will be posting more about those in the coming weeks.
All in all Retribution is turning out to be an extremely fun Pirate Patch.
PS: Good Grief!! I forgot one of the most important things!! The "Tracking Camera"!! Good grief baby, where have you been all my life? ( And yes, I am aware that many of these features existed in the advanced camera functionality, but that doesn't count imo because they weren't intuitive and easy to use ) The tracking camera is an amazing thing, but it adds a level of functionality that may have been unintended. Lock that thing to the middle of your ship and you have an immediate and automagically aligned d-scan point to anything you want. No more swinging around trying to find that hard to find object, just click and presto, you are aligned for d-scan. We have a Bingo!!