Playing Catch Up

So, just for the sake of argument, let's say you've been on a break from Eve for awhile. This happens.

Now, either because you've been reminded of the kind of destructive drama Eve generates, or you want to fly spaceships again, or you want your character's name carved on a rock in Iceland, you're back, and you're getting ready to undock.
I mean, it's Eve, right? How much could have changed?
Hang on, cowboy. I've got some explaining to do.

The Wayback

Because I'm lazy, I'm not going to go too far back. Let's say the last three expansions: Inferno, Retribution, and Odyssey.

Here we go...

1. Everything looks better.
Space is prettier, autopilot routes paint a lovely path in space (on your HUD), warping is cooler, gate jumps are way cooler, pretty much all the ships in the game have got a "v3" sexification, as have the stations. Hell, even super capitol wrecks look better. On top of that, missile animations are better, as are misses... when stuff is shooting at your ship.

2. There aren't any bad ships anymore.
Okay, that's not exactly true - the Caldari dreadnought and the capital-weapon-sized missile weapons are still terrible, and no one really seems to know what to do with the thanatos carrier's bonuses, but besides that? No, everything else is pretty much great.

All that stuff you remember where each ship class is broken into different tiers of effectiveness? That's all gone now.

Instead, there are now fairly well defined roles for ships, and many of the ship sizes have representatives of each type.
  • Combat
  • Ewar/Disruption
  • Support
  • Exploration
  • Mining
Combat ships have, additionally, been broken into two different types:
  • Heavy tanked, heavy hitting, slower. (Combat ships)
  • Lighter tanked, lower damage, faster. (Attack ships)
And, especially with Combat, Disruption, and Support ships, since they're all supposed to be equally useful, they are all pretty much comparable (assuming you're not doing something stupid with them). 

This means that a lot of ships you'd have probably never seen in space before (Navitas, Augoror, Burst, Stabber, Atron, kestrel, Bellicose, and dozens more) are now all over the place, and some of the ships you're familiar with are different, but still good in new ways (Dominix has gotten very tough and tanky, Armageddon is a neut+drone boat, thorax isn't as tough, but got much faster and kitey, Vexor got much tougher, Maller is useful, Minmatar and Amarr discovered they like missile systems way more than we thought).

It's also expanded gameplay that was once only really seen in tech2 and large null-sec fleets - logistic-support in even quite small frigate gangs is a thing, for example, and logistics support for cruiser gangs is (in general) normal, because it's so damned good.

Oh, and there are new ships, like four new destroyers focused on the 'other weapon system' for each race, which means a couple missile and a couple drone-based destroyers. So much fun.
It's easy to get excited.
In short, the ships that used to be go-to options in each class are still there (rifters, thrashers, ruptures, et cetera) and they're still good, but they aren't the only option in their class - they're one option out of forty.

And that's just the tech1 stuff. Interceptors are now immune to warp bubbles, making them great for getting around null-sec. Blockade runners can't have their cargo scanned anymore (though orcas can, now) and move almost as fast as interceptors. Interdictors got a nice overhaul. Marauders got the ability to basically go into siege mode, which makes them great mission runner and pretty scary PvP ships, if you don't care about ISK at all.

3. There Aren't Any Bad Weapon Systems, Either.
A new executioner frigate prepares to undock.
Well, except capital-sized-missiles. Otherwise, no: none of them are really bad anymore, if used correctly. This is a combination of tweaks to the systems themselves and adjustments to the ships using them so that they aren't working directly against the way a weapon system needs to be used (blaster ships need to be fast enough to close range - who knew?!?).

4. Warp Speeds Matter.
In short, small fast ships are WAY faster than other ship types, and anything bigger than a cruiser got slower than you're used to. Interceptors (really, any frigates, not to mention some of the faster haulers like blockade runners) can give a Battleship a 20 second head start and still beat them through warp to the next gate.

5. All this stuff changed the definition of "what works."
Before Inferno, battlecruisers ruled most small PvP conflicts, whether in known space or wormholes. Hell, for that matter they were pretty great at PvE in a lot of cases.

Between cruisers getting a buff, frigates getting much faster, battleships getting tougher, and many weapons systems getting a balance pass, and their relative cost, the dominance of battlecruisers is a fading memory. You still see them, but no more than you'd expect for the cost, and in PvP they tend to be the first target called, because it's a quick way to weaken your opponent. Instead of "null-ammo blaster talos", you see rail thorax (which you can fit 5 of for the cost of one talos); instead of drakes, you see caracals, and no one laughs.

Ironically, this happened about the same time that the Empires released brand-new navy-faction battlecruisers for the first time. They're nice, but... yeah. Bad timing, really.

6. New interfaces, new activities, and stuff got easier to do and train
Scanning with probes - the whole interface - is so much easier than it used to be. You can manage the whole thing with your mouse and never touching the keyboard at all. 

Exploration sites (relic and data sites) have little mini-games built in that make things a bit more interesting (and also make it kind of difficult to notice when someone's sneaking up on you).

Lots of skills got easier to get into (thermodynamics, carriers, orcas).

7. Lots of industry stuff changed
I dunno much about this, but ores got tweaked, ice got rarer in high-sec, better grade in low-sec, more valuable in general, and harvestable in way less time. There are guys who make all their money living in lowsec as industrial/research/exploration guys with zero PvP - that's a thing that works now.

Are you ready, pilot?

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