Agents Made Easy
Some of you will have noticed that a change to agents went out recently on Singularity. We talked a bit about these upcoming changes during Fanfest, but it's high time we explained them in a bit more detail, now that they're just about ready to be deployed on Tranquility.
In fact, there are two separate changes we've made. The first is to agent divisions, the second to agent quality.
Agent Division Changes
Up till now, each corporation in the game had up to 21 divisions within it - Legal, Security, Distribution, etc. - each with its own agents. The missions given out by the various divisions were similar, coming from the same pool of missions available to that corporation; the difference between divisions was the relative amount of encounter, mining, trade, and courier missions given out. Yet the chance of getting one of those types of missions, by division, was quite arbitrary each time you visited an agent: For example, an Administration agent had a 75% chance of giving out encounter missions, while a Personnel agent had a 64% chance of doing the same. No rhyme, some reason.
In general, these divisions and values did little other than adding complexity to an already complex game.
So now, we've taken these divisions and amalgamated them into four simple divisions, each of which now gives out only one type of mission, meaning you won't have to decline that occasional mining or courier mission when all you want to do is blow up some Angels.
The four new divisions are as follows, along with the former divisions that have now been folded up within each:
Old Divisions (Amalgamated)
Distribution (100% courier)
Accounting, Advisory, Archives, Distribution, Financial, Marketing, Personnel, Production, Public Relations, Storage
Mining (100% mining)
Astrosurveying, Manufacturing, Mining
Security (100% encounter)
Administration, Command, Intelligence, Internal Security, Legal, Security, Surveillance
Research (100% research)
R&D (no change)
Old Connection Skills
High Tech Connections
Be warned that we'll be monitoring this change closely, along with the player activity it produces, and we will very likely move or retire a number of redundant agents as time goes on: There will now be many stations with multiple agents of the same level and division.
Agent Quality Changes
In addition to the division changes, we've also implemented a pretty huge change to how agent quality works. Previously, an agent's quality, ranging from -20 to +20, factored into both how difficult it was to gain access to that agent and how much that agent paid out for missions. Yet the system by which these values affected agent access and rewards was pretty opaque, even to most devs, and the effects were not particularly meaningful.
Now, all agents in the game will have an effective quality of both -20 and +20: That is, in terms of calculating access to an agent based on your standings with his or her corporation, the system will assume that all agents are quality -20, making them (in some cases, considerably) easier to access; and at the same time, every agent will pay out rewards as if he or she had a quality of +20, meaning all agents of the same level within the same system security level (e.g., 0.6) will pay out the same amount for similar missions - and in most cases, they will pay out somewhat more than they used to.
Just be aware that these two changes, to divisions and to quality, may have some unforeseeable ramifications, and we're going to be watching carefully to see how they impact the game. Expect further tweaking, and as always, please voice your concerns and observations on our forums so we can benefit from your opinions.
Cheers - fly smart,
CCP Molock and CCP Tallest