EVE Apocrypha Preview
- New introduction video
The first thing you'll see upon logging into the Apocrypha client is the new introduction video. There are some nice snippets of footage and another of EVE's signature inspirational voiceovers. I'm not much of a fan of those after all these years but I can imagine new players will love it.
After a lot of searching using the new scanning system, our crew eventually got a tip from a player named Maximus Black that led us to this wormhole. It was in a high security system and linked to an unknown sleeper system.
The graphical effects for these wormholes are phenomenal, they are a very real fluid distortion in space and the destination system can be seen clearly through the central eye. All sleeper systems reached through a wormhole will be security rating 0.0 and will be completely unexplored and un-named. This means anyone that finds their way into the same system as you can attack you. It might be worth guarding the wormhole you came in at.
- Sleeper station
This station is one of the many breathtaking new structures you'll find in Sleeper combat encounters. Its systems have degraded from milennia of disuse but the structure remains eerily in tact.
Its architecture is almost reminiscint of some Amarr constructions, which isn't surprising since the Sleepers are the ancient race which preceeded the Amarr and they may be distantly related.
The Tengu is the base hull for the Caldari Strategic Cruiser. These cruisers are the first tech 3 modular ships that will be available and will be released with the Apocrypha expansion. The ship's looks change depending on what subsystems are used to construct it, allowing you to build a ship that's almost unique in both form and function. This screenshot is of one possible combination of subsystems.
The Legion is the Amarr Tech 3 Strategic Cruiser and I think you'll agree that this thing is a beauty.
The subsystems used to assemble a tech 3 ship are selected from your hanger when the ship is assembled. In addition to the change of looks, each section gives your ship attributes and module slots. The defensive systems of this Legion provide it with armour that has very high resistances.
The Loki is the Minmatar tech 3 cruiser and possibly their first ship that doesn't look like an explosion in a girder factory.
Each subsystem of a tech 3 ship also gives the ship special role bonuses. The Minmatar bonuses will likely be geared toward speed and damage. Caldari ships could get bonuses to ECM jammer strength and the Amarr Legion can be given energy neutraliser or laser bonuses. And it doesn't end there, the bonuses are still being balanced and a total of five variations of each subsystem may be in-game at release.
The Proteus is the Gallente strategic cruiser and my personal favourite of the lot. The ship has an almost organic feel to it, I could almost believe it had been grown rather than constructed.
The variations of subsystems that strategic cruisers support allows for some impressive setups that otherwise wouldn't be possible. This proteus, for example, has eight low slots and plenty of mid slots for capacitor rechargers. This allows it to fit an incredibly impressive active armour tank. The cherry on the cake is that it can launch four heavy drones and run two energy neutralisers permanantly. A strange setup but one that seemed to work.
- Proteus V2
To demonstrate the versatility of the subsystem designs, I constructed this awesome looking version using the same Proteus hull as the previous screenshot.
Don't be fooled, this ship isn't a Drake. Coincidentally, when configued to have a good slot layout for fitting a massive passive shield tank, this Tengu came out looking like its passive tanking tech 1 battlecruiser counterpart, the Drake.
However, the way each subsystem looks may be changed before release, as is the case with many of the current details on the test server.
- Proteus Vs Nighthawk
I tracked down an enounter site while testing out the new scanning system, only to find that someone in a Nighthawk command ship (tech 2 battlecruiser) had beaten me to it. Since I was on the test server, I threw caution to the wind and engaged what should have been a superior ship.
This screenshot shows the new energy neutraliser effect as I destroy the Nighthawk's capacitor and collapse his tank. My four heavy drones managed to wear him down but I had to escape when the clever chap destroyed my drones and thus all of my damage dealing potential.
- New fitting screen
One of the most heavily discussed changes with the expansion is the new fitting screen. Love it or hate it, this is the way you'll be fitting out your ships from now on. The central circle shows what your ship will look like in space, which is very handy for modular tech 3 ships if you want to make it look awesome. The module slots are arranged around the circle, with the new tech 3 subsystems for strategic cruisers being the five new slots on the lower-left.
The screen has several improvements over the previous one, most notably the addition of a save feature for your setups. Now you can save a setup for a particular ship and providing the modules are in your hanger, you can load that setup into your ship later at any time.
- New Scanning System
The new scanning system is a welcome and excellent addition to the game. All of the previous probes with their different ranges and sensor strengths have been eliminated and replaced with a single Core probe. This new probe fits in a new core probe launcher that can fit to virtually any ship. The range of your probes can now be scaled manually from 0.25 AU to 32 AU and its sensor strength will decrease as its range is increased.
The most impressive part of the new scanning system is that probes can be placed in 3D in the map and they will actually warp to the selected locations before beginning analysis. The controls feel very intuitive and while the new system may be complicated at first, I quickly figured it out. Expect people to post guides on the forums once the expansion is released.
- Optimum positioning
When hunting down a signature, I found the best way to place probes was to surround the target on four sides so that they've got a generous overlap in the centre. A fifth probe placed vertically above the target is required to get a full lock.
A lot of the old content and effects are being overhauled with the Apocrypha expansion. These new asteroid models are a nice update to the old models that, at six years old, are beginning to show their age.
- New warp tunnel
The warp tunnel effect gets a nice update with the expansion. The exact effect we'll have isn't exactly finalised yet and may be changed before release but what I saw on the test server looks fantastic.
- New stasis web effect
Like a mini-wormhole, the stasis web now produces an actual spatial distortion around the ship. This replaces the six year old sprite effect and looks incredibly impressive.
Other effects that have been showing their age are also recieving complete overhauls with the expansion. The energy neutraliser, nosferatu and warp disruptor effects are just a few of the ones I saw, as well as a completely new shield hardener and shield booster graphic. Armour hardeners are also finally getting a graphical effect, which shimmers across the hull of the ship.
These new effects are the second major step CCP has taken toward updating EVE's aging graphics, the first being the premium ship models with the trinity expansion. The next step may be the replacement of the current planet graphics with something equally impressive but that hasn't been implemented on the test server and is not likely to be part of the Apocrypha expansion.
- New system backgrounds
Before you jump up and down with glee, you should know that on the test server the new backgrounds shown here are only for wormhole systems. Perhaps they show what the future might hold for the main EVE system backgrounds. I can only hope they do because what I saw inside the wormhole systems was very impressive.
This was the first wormhole I discovered on my own. When I found this in my home system of Thelan, the screams of "WORMHOLE!" could be heard all throughout my house. If I can get that excited over finding a wormhole on the test server, just wait and see what happens when the expansion actually comes out.
- Proteus entering wormhole
The Proteus turned out to be an excellent ship for wormhole exploration due to its impressive tank when fitted defensively. This wormhole unfortunately was broken and I had to find another. Bughunters are working hard to rid the expansion of any bugs they can find before launch and the best thing you can do to help them is to get onto the test server and start bug reporting any errors you find.
- Wormhole activation
Upon a ship passing through it, a wormhole glows briefly.
- Decaying wormhole
Wormholes of course won't last forever. They will decay over time and also decay as each ship passes through it. Once a certain amount of mass has gone through the wormhole, it will collapse.
- Collapsed wormhole
After using the wormhole for some time, my corpmate ToG decided he'd be clever and try to fit a massive battleship through it. The battleship made it through in-tact but it collapsed the wormhole and cut the entire gang off from normal space. Thanks a lot, ToG >:|
- Sleeper battleship
The sleepers are a terrifying ancient race with incredibly powerful ships. Wormholes lead to sleeper systems where the remnants of their ancient society remains - fleets of their powerful ships controlled by advanced AI.
- Sleeper battleship closeup
In this picture, you can see their corroded hull, discoloured after milennia of floating aimlessly in space. These battleships have the ability to remote repair each other to resist damage. Interestingly though, the sleeper ships have no shields as the race historically never invented them. They also have no repair ability of their own and rely on other battleships remote repairing them.
- New laser turret effect
This isn't the sleeper ship firing, it's actually one of us shooting it. The picture captures the new laser turret effect, which is another of the effects overhauled with the expansion.
- Sleeper weapon
When the sleepers start shooting at you, you know you're in trouble. This is a picture of the awesome powerful beam weapons that sleeper ships fire. They can deal an incredible amount of damage but the battleships track poorly and can be avoided by pulling in close and orbitting. But don't think the sleepers havent got a counter-attack for that, they're designed with an impressive new AI to be as close to a PvP scenario as possible.
- Sleeper cruiser
The sleeper cruisers may be weaker than the battleships but they're almost as deadly. They pack a serious punch and fire what look like smaller versions of the beam weapons that the battleships use. In this picture, I'm neutralising their capacitor, a trick I'm assured debilitates them somehow. Coming up with tactics to fight the sleepers is going to be a difficult task but one well worth the rewards.
- Sleeper station 2
Another sleeper station found within an encounter site. These sites are littered throughout the wormhole systems and contain sleeper NPCs to kill. But don't think they'll be easy, they can use advanced tactics and call in reinforcements during the battle.
One of the other big allures of wormhole systems will be the abundance of good quality ore distributed among hidden asteroid belts. They're found using scanner probes and can sometimes contain even the rarest ores.
- Sleeper web
The sleeper NPCS may not use electronic warfare but they can warp scramble and web your ships. In this awesome screenshot, ToG's Abaddon was webbed by one of the sleeper frigates and pounded on by the remaining ships. Although his tank lasted a long time, the sleeper AI recognised that he was going down and kept attacking him until he died. Fighting the sleepers is eerily like PvP sometimes.
- Sleeper vampires
In addition to their stasis webs, the sleepers also have a speciality in nosferatu (energy vampires). They can drain the capacitor from your ship and reportedly some ships had their capacitor completely neutralised by some of the tougher sleeper encounters.
- Focus fire
Perhaps the most deadly aspect of the sleepers is their ability to focus fire and switch targets. They will focus their attacks on one pilot for a few minutes and if he isn't going down, they switch to another. They even make a habit of shooting down any drones pilots launch, which could be troublesome for pilots that rely on them for their primary damage source.
Sleeper encounters will contain a lot of new graphics and models. This impressive-looking shot was captured within a sleeper encounter.
Each sleeper ship has a special role it fulfills in the fleet. The frigates will tackle your ships to prevent them warping and slow them down, for example. Some of the battleships are snipers, able to hit at extreme ranges. Could a few tracking disruptors neutralise their firepower? I don't know but I'd sure love to try it out.
- Sleeper salvage
Sleeper wrecks salvage into components. These components will be used at some stage in the tech 3 production process.
- Sleeper loot
Unlike normal NPCs, sleepers don't drop modules as loot. Instead, they'll drop curious artifacts and data remnants. The artifacts can be reverse engineered into useful components as part of the tech 3 production process.
- Neural remapping
Neural remapping is a new feature that allows pilots to alter their attributes. This will affect skill-training times by allowing pilots to focus their attributes. Gunnery and ship skills, for example, make heavy use of perception. A high intelligence attribute will similarly increase the speed with which industrial skills train.
This was initially brought in to prevent new players from ruining their characters permanantly by picking bad attributes at character creation. As a happy side effect, it's being offered to all current players too. Which is great because I screwed up at character creation five years ago and gave myself low perception, then trained mostly skills that need it. To prevent abuse, neural remapping will be able to be performed only once per year on each character.