Contracts step 2: Make it usable
Revelations 1.4 is slated for release next month and we're making some improvements to the Contract System.
We will not see any big new features in the system or a change in the fundamental way it works. What we will have, however, are some much needed improvements to the interface and usability (And no, we're not changing the region-scheme for Revelations 1.4).
Here are some of the highlights in no particular order.
Available Contracts List restructuring
We're making some changes to the (Verbose) Available Contracts list. Each entry has been shrunk down in height by 30% and if the contract contains a single item type the type will be displayed as an icon rather than the generic contract type icon giving this view type a definite advantage over the simple one.
We are also making use of tooltips for information that doesn't make it in the list.
Changes to Filtering Options
The default view of the Available Contracts filtering options will now include the most used options while the extended view has all the other filtering options that people don't use that much.
We are removing "Affordable" as a filtering option and moving "Not issued by" into a more generic "ignored list" function. This should de-clutter the interface a bit.
Filtering by Category and Group
There have been a lot of requests for a more generic item search than having to search by a specific item-type which is the only criteria available today.
In 1.4 you will be able to filter by category (module, ship, etc) or group (battleship, hybrid weapon, etc) in addition to being able to filter by the exact item type as before.
This will make it much easier to browse through available items in search of a good deal.
There will be a massive cleanup of the item type grouping to make it fit for public consumption and this should also make it so that there should no longer be any missing item types for you to search by.
We're also grouping Auction and Item Exchange together as a filtering parameter to further ease the browsing experience.
Here you can see an example of a filtered search for battleships:
We're adding a new Start Page which will enable you to quickly jump to areas of interest. This will be especially useful for new players who have difficulty finding their way around the system, but it's also a nice addition for anyone who's using the Contracts System on a regular basis.
You can see at a glance how your contract status is at any one time. This will prove quite useful for finding those elusive private contracts. :-$
The fine art of Spamming & Scamming
We're making a couple of changes to fight contract scamming which will hopefully reduce the volume of scams (and petitions) considerably.
Freeform contracts have become rather problematic since they're used to scam our n00b's. We're putting some more barriers in place between the scammer and the intended victim to fight this.
Auctions can no longer be issued to corporations outside your own alliance. That means you can still auction items to your own corporation or other corporations within your alliance, letting everyone in that corp. fight over your prize but you can no longer post an auction to just any ol' corp.
Edit: Public Auctions are still possible. This only refers to Private Auctions
If someone is scamming people in his or her own alliance we're sure that the alliance administration will take care of the problem swiftly and harshly ;-)
Ignored Issuers list
Who would have guessed, but apparently spamming has become a problem in contracts. shrug
Because of this we're extending the "Not Issued By" functionality a bit so that you can right click on a contract to add the issuer to your ignore list instead of having to manage the list as a part of your filtering options. Spammers beware! :-p
Bug... Err.. Features
We are fixing a bunch of features in contracts which will make it more usable as well. We'd like to thank our dedicated team of bughunters for constantly notifying (read: pestering) us with issues.
All in all these changes, smallish as they may be in the large scheme of things, will help to smooth some of the edges and make this a lean mean contracting machine.
When Revelations 2.0 rolls in we'll start to see some more crucial changes to the Contracts System including (hopefully) new contract types which will blow your socks off (if that's the sort of thing you're in to).