Meanwhile, back in the Exploration bunker...
My secret objective for the Trinity expansion has been to add as many new features as possible, including some nifty Exploration-related mechanics, then write one huge dev blog about all of it and take credit for everyone else's work. So far, so good... (cue evil laugh track)
Here's a nice easy place to start us off – some of the Content guys have found the huge gaps in the list of DED complexes are disturbing their Feng Shui. Our goal with the Trinity release is to have all five pirate factions own a 6/10 complex, most will have a 9/10 complex. Some of these will also use the Escalating Paths mechanic to spread the action out across two or more systems. The distribution is through exploration, so into my blog it goes and with almost no work on my part – it's a win-win situation!
Drone Hacking Sites
One of the unresolved problems with the Drone Regions is the lack of miniprofession sites, driven in no small part by the fact that most of the miniprofession content is tied to one of the four Empires, none of which have any business in the Drone Regions. Given this, there has always been a big question mark over what exactly we could add as miniprofession rewards.
This question has now been solved by NPC Mastermind LeMousse – the man who brought you Rogue Drone Commanders. You will soon be able to scavange through the remains of said commanders and recover functional chunks of Rogue Drone technology, which will make a lovely conversation piece or paperweight.
Of course, if that was all they were good for this would be an exceptionally dull section of the blog. But they're not! You'll also be able to locate new Rogue Drone sites via the Exploration system, where obtaining access to their data cores may allow you to gather enough data to reconstruct some of their basic assembly techniques. Your ship's computer will then be able to fuse the recovered information with data on existing player-controlled drones, giving you access to limited-run blueprints enabling the manufacturing of hybrid drones. Most such drones will likely fall in between existing T1 and T2 drones, but there are rumours of top-secred data-caches containing rather more valuable data...
Designed by LeMousse, exploration sites by Content, blogged about exclusively by yours truly. Excellent...
Synth Boosters are, at the simplest level, disposable hardwirings. They share many attributes with their higher-quality cousins, but with much smaller bonuses and zero drawbacks or legality issues. Further, the materials to produce them will be concentrated in various Low Sec hotspots, with smaller gas clouds seeded throughout Low Sec across the entire region.
I could write paragraphs and paragraphs about this, but these two images should tell you pretty much everything you need to know.
Exhibit A: How to make a Synth Booster
Exhibit B: Where to go for all your Synth Booster-related needs
Unfortunately, I had to do a lot of this myself; luckily I had Bettik around to do all the hard bits. Of course, the relevant Gas Cloud and Hacking sites are done through Exploration, so they get to go in my blog too. Epic win!
General Exploration Improvements
We're also making a couple of general changes to Exploration mechanics to make things run a little smoother.
Firstly, Multispectral Probes are being readjusted to provide more useful data. There's been a somewhat sticky problem since Revelations II whereby it wasn't at all easy to work out whether that "Unknown" result you found was a 10/10 complex or a five-minute Encounter site, which has caused some irritation. In Trinity, Multispecs will only show results from the Scan Group(s) you have selected. Encounters will still show up as "Unknown" on your scans, but only if you have the "Cosmic Anomaly" group selected. If you just select "Cosmic Signature", Encounter sites will be filtered out of your results.
Secondly, we've revised the despawn mechanics so that all sites despawn three days after their initial discovery. This will ensure that lingering "stuck" sites will be banished.
I can't code for toffee, so there's no point pretending that this isn't entirely due to the hard work of the guys and girls in Software. Still, it's Exploration-related, so I'm appropriating it for this blog anyway.
Bonus Round: LP Store Stuff
This bit a) has nothing to do with Exploration and b) is pretty much entirely my fault if anything in it breaks, but I thought I'd mention it while I'm on a roll.
Two things of note here. The first is that tag offers are being adjusted a little. We've revised the pricing mechanisms slightly, swapping some numbers around, making cruiser-sized modules more even in terms of tags requested, and reducing the overall requirements on frigate-sized modules. The general expectation is that, in tag base cost terms, battleship-sized offers will go up slightly, cruiser-sized offers will remain around the same but will ask for the two tag types in more evenly matched quantities, and frigate-sized offers will go down slightly. In terms of actual tag count, most offers are dropping a little.
Secondly, and possibly more interestingly, we're adding a decent spread of offers for the "minor" factions – ORE, Mordu's Legion, Servant Sisters of EVE, Syndicate and Thukker Tribe. Each of these will be getting a small range of modules unavailable in other stores and suited to their temperment: Mordu's Legion will be getting ECM, while ORE get extended-range mining lasers and Sisters get exploration-related kit.
We'll also be giving each its own low-grade implant set, again focusing on their particular areas of expertize. Expect these to be expensive, as these smaller groups are fairly cash-strapped, but with unique effects. The Centurion set (Mordu's Legion) will increase the range of ECMs, Remote Sensor Dampeners, Tracking Disruptors and Target Painters; the Edge set (Syndicate) will reduce the chance of getting side-effects from combat boosters; the Harvest set (ORE) will increase the range of all mining lasers; the Nomad set (Thukkers) will increase the agility of your ship; and the Virtue set (Sisters) will increase the scan strength of all your probes.
This one's particularly special – it's nothing to do with exploration OR me, but Chronotis noticed I was writing another blog and suggested I mention his latest project too. I think he's just worked out that while I'm writing multi-page blogs I'm not writing multi-page emails explaining exactly what I'm feeling emo about today....
The short story is that mining missions are making a comeback – they'll be utilizing special, non-refinable ore so people can't cheat their way to success by buying common ore off the market, so you'll be able to generate LPs as a miner once again. The long story is, well... it's mining, and where I come from that's a dirty word, so I didn't enquire further. I'm sure Chronotis will be around in the feedback thread to answer your questions!
There Used To Be A Portal Joke Here But I'm Worried It'll Be Too Clichéd Now, So I Removed It
That should be enough to keep you going for a while, I hope. I'm going into hiding now until the "CCP hates miners" banners go away.