One of the major new features to EVE Online's forthcoming Apocrypha expansion is the introduction of an ancient race of NPCs called the Sleepers. They're a breed apart from any NPCs ever seen in EVE, largely because of their AI. They react intelligently to threats, focusing fire on primary targets but diverting their attacks to counter whatever else they're faced with. They can 'spider tank' or protect and even repair one another as combat ensues. Added to their tactics is evasive maneuvering, making the Sleepers even deadlier.
We recently showed you video footage of the Sleepers in action and while taking them on will, in some cases, be a daunting experience, this is not to say that they can't be defeated. EVE developer CCP Incognito wrote on the forums, "If you try to use the same-old, same-old tactics against Sleepers then you will have problems. Think out of the box and you will win." CCP Incognito's comments were in the context of his dev blog on the new AI, which discusses the challenges that the Sleepers will pose for players seeking fragments of their advanced technology. More than anything, the AI revamp is designed to make PvE more like PvP. Anyone planning to venture through EVE's wormholes should abandon their mission-centric ship setups and be prepared for PvP; that's what fighting the Sleeper NPCs will be like -- fighting other players.
If you're looking for more information about how the game will change on March 10th with the Apocrypha expansion launch, you'll want to read CCP Incognito's AI dev blog "How the AI pew pews the player" and jump into the discussion on the official forums, where Incognito is answering some questions from the playerbase.