CCP released the Road to Fanfest Dev Blog this week after an informative livestream. A good dump of info across a range of topics that players have been vocal about recently. Some significant changes to battleships and resistance modules are on the way, but I will leave commentary to those that know what they are talking about like Ashy on Bolstered Bulkheads.
And no, I have no idea about why combat around Customs Offices is a focus. IDGI
A couple days later a forum post on the details around the new compression mechanics was posted and the test server updated the next day.
I have now spent some time on the test server with the new mechanics and did my best to grok the Masterplan. This is a brief discussion of what I saw and my thoughts.
- The new compression mechanic is good and a welcome change.
- Previous complexity is reduced, but still some weirdness around Mercoxit for unknown reasons.
- Compressed ore quantity change (from 100:1 to 1:1) will take time to become familiar.
- The UI and bugs in the new system need more work before release.
How compression works
The addition of Compressor high slot modules creates the equivalent of compression Command Boosts. Unlike other Command Burst modules, they do not use interchangeable charges and are entire modules that must be swapped out to change functionality.
There are five types of compressors: Asteroid, Ice, Gas, Moon Ore, and Mercoxit. The first four make sense, but I don’t understand why Mercoxit requires it’s own module, other than creating some extra headache. Perhaps, long ago when Tech 2 industry was released, a clear separation of Mercoxit mining was needed, but we are way past this. Kinda feels like some weird stalker behavior, obsessed with an old celebrity that is no longer a real celebrity anymore.
To start compression, you need to activate the Industrial Core module. There are Indy Core modules of various sizes for the Rorqual, Orca, and Porpoise. Once the Indy Core is running, you can activate the compressor modules. The compressor cycle is one minute, during which any ship in range and in fleet can compress ore while in space.
The ship compressing cannot be on tether. I just locked the Rorqual/Orca/Porpoise during testing. Compressing while mining makes this a non-issue.
The UI is a bit clunky. A window pops up, you click confirm, and then is sits there until you close it. It’s kinda like the reprocessing window, but like a bizzarro world version, as it offers no additional information or usefulness.
But it works! The stuff gets compressed and that makes life just a little easier for moving materials to markets and industrial use. Kudos for this improvement.
Part of the change is to the ratios of compression and the idea that compressed materials will be 1:1 with uncompressed materials.
Asteroid and Moon Ore will be compressed across the board 100:1 in volume. Ice and Gas will be compressed across the board 10:1 in volume. Simple and understandable.
A little more complicated is the change to how compressed materials are represented in game.
In the past, if you had 100 units of something like Veldspar is would be compressed into 1 unit of Compressed Veldspar. Going forward, it will be 1:1, meaning 100 units of Veldspar becomes 100 units of Compressed Veldspar.
This is a wee bit confusing and complicated enough that CCP is literally deprecating all previously compressed ore as “Obsolete” and making a whole new typeid for nu-compressed ore. You can hear the wailing of spreadsheets and online tools in the distance.
Remember with the units of compressed materials not being a ratio anymore, the math is a bit more complicated when you compare old versus new. It requires division, multiplication’s tricky friend.
A few examples:
100 units of Veldspar (10 m3) = 1 unit of Obsolete Compressed Veldspar (0.15 m3) = 100 units of nu-Compressed Veldspar (0.1 m3)
In this case, the compressed volume in now smaller than before. (This is a good thing)
100 units of Mercoxit (4000 m3) = 1 unit of Obsolete Compressed Mercoxit (0.1 m3) = 100 units of nu-Compressed Mercoxit (40 m3)
100 units of Jaspet (200 m3) = 1 unit of Obsolete Compressed Jaspet (0.2 m3) = 100 units of nu-Compressed Jaspet (15 m3)
But for these and a few other items, the compressed volume is now larger.
I don’t believe this is game breaking, but there will be some noise about this. In some uses, the nu-compression will make logistics harder with some compressed ores being larger than previously.
Once the gas has been compressed, it must be decompressed back into usable gas. There is loss in this step. Players are used to a similar loss when all types of ore and ice are reprocessed into materials, but gases are used directly in their gathered state.
Players have the choice to haul gas uncompressed and avoid loss, or compress and then take some loss when decompressing. This lines up with other resources, but there is likely to be some gnashing of teeth over this.
The decompression UI is still in an Alpha state (I hope!), but will likely be improved to match the usefulness of the reprocessing window.
I did see a little strangeness when trying to compress multiple types. Using a ship with all the Compressor modules running, a ship in fleet was unable to compress all the materials. I tested several times, and there appears to be some bug when running multiple compressors
Seems likely that people will only fit the needed compressor modules for the specific op they are running, but worth understanding if this is intentional
What might improve the changes
As stated previously, changes to Rorquals have moved them from a mining role to a support role. This leaves a lot of Rorquals in hangars and some frustrated pilots with a lot of ISK and skill points invested.
The rationale for the compression change is to get more mothballed Rorquals into space. Give pilots more reasons to fly them and put them at risk for a rewarding activity. The simplest change to get them moving around again is to let them dock in Athanors.
Athanors are by far the dominant structure for moon mining and with limited defensive capability, hostile fleets can fight around them without huge issues.
When the Rorqual is at work with the Industrial Core running, it’s as vulnerable as ever to hunters and other ne’er-do-wells.
Allowing them to dock would enable things like moving ships & ore to locations, refitting for different tasks, and allowing the Rorqual pilot to not be forced to spend their playtime sitting in a space ship with nothing to do but float on tether. Giving the Rorqual pilot the choice to switch into other industrial ships, like their own exhumer or cargo ship opens the game play options for the player.
Despite the current clunky UI, the compression boost effect should act like other fleet boost effects. Players in fleet who can compress should see an icon similar to mining or combat boosts that inform them that the capability exists.
Personally, I’d love to see a neat effect in space when the Compressors cycle, similar to command bursts.
I’m not sure what photos of Hilmar the Big Mercoxit industry is using for blackmail or if Mercoxit means something funny in Icelandic, but separating out this one ore from the other larger resource groups is quite strange.
At one time, Mercoxit mining may have been some exotic task, but today, trying to draw some distinction is not really adding anything to the gameplay and is just adding some burden to the task with no differentiating benefit.
Just wrap Mercoxit compression into asteroid ore compression and be done with it.
CCP took the time to listen to feedback from the first compression concept and was willing to revisit their idea at the fundamental level and come up with a good, workable plan. Kudos on this step forward.
Hopefully they won’t rush this and will spend the time to work out bugs and improve the UI to make for great launch of a new industrial era.
Also excited to test the Industrial Jump Portal Generator and how it will change mining fleets once it’s on the test server. This got a little mention, but should be a real improvement to group mining fleets including the opportunity for some emergent gameplay.
P.S. I was blown up several times on the undock in M-0EE8 testing compression by the local denizens for lulz. Perhaps guidance that the undock is not for fighting would help get more testing done.
P.P.S. Reinforced Carbon Fiber and Pressurized Oxidizers are Composite Materials not Intermediate Materials and deserve their own unique artwork.