EVE Evolved: First impressions of Odyssey

EVE Evolved First impressions of Odyssey
The Odyssey expansion has been live for a couple of days now, but it's already starting to have a massive impact on EVE Online. Traffic through low-security space has increased significantly for the first time in years thanks to explorers hunting data and relic sites, and some players are even hunting asteroid belt NPCs in lowsec for the new security tags. New wars have erupted in nullsec following the redistribution of moon wealth, mining has become a more valuable profession, and the rebalanced battleships feel powerful again.

Unfortunately, Odyssey has seen its fair share of problems too. The new jump effect looks spectacular the first few times you see it, but long-term play is reportedly causing motion sickness in some players. Some players have also been objecting to the ice mining changes, and the revamped radial UI menu hasn't done much to fix the game's usability problems. Explorers in low-security space and nullsec are reporting incomes in the billions of ISK per day range thanks to the scan probe changes and new hacking minigame, but not everyone is happy with the new loot-scattering mechanic.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at the early impact of Odyssey on the EVE Online universe and discover the secrets behind collecting all the valuable loot when hacking.

EVE Evolved First impressions of OdysseyHow to get all the loot when hacking

The new hacking minigame has been a big hit with most explorers, adding an interesting challenge to what was previously a very lifeless profession, but there has been a significant deal of rage over the loot-scattering mechanic. When you successfully hack an object, loot containers are ejected in all directions and the player only has enough time to pick up a few of them before they all disappear. This was initially thought to be an incentive for players to group up with friends, but it turns out that you can do everything solo.

Rapidly clicking on ejected loot containers to suck in as many as possible feels cumbersome, and you'll always miss a few containers no matter how fast you are. Most containers will drop near-worthless loot like carbon and hydrogen batteries, and it's always tempting to think that the containers you missed must have held something valuable. Fortunately, there's a trick you can use to get around all of these problems and get 100% of the valuable loot from a container: Just bring a cargo scanner.

EVE Evolved First impressions of OdysseyCargo scanning and loot distribution

It turns out that all of the valuable loot distributed among the ejected containers is already present in the hackable object before the hack, and you can find out what's up for grabs using a cargo-scanner. On a successful hack, each of the items in the object's cargo is placed into one of the ejected loot containers and any empty containers have a piece of worthless loot added. The trick is in knowing which containers will contain the valuable loot and which ones you can safely ignore. After some testing, players quickly discovered that each type of item you can find in a data or relic site will be found only in a particular type of container.

In a data site, data containers will contain blueprints for faction starbase structures, tech 2 rigs, data interfaces, and modules like the micro jump drive. Datacores and decryptors will be ejected only in parts containers, and you can safely ignore the other containers without losing any significant ISK. If you bring a cargo scanner, you can see exactly what items are due to drop and can make sure you get all of them before moving on. Relic sites have been reported to drop blueprints in data containers and salvage components in both parts and materials containers, but these sites are of questionable value outside wormhole space. For updates on the distribution of loot from data and relic sites, keep an eye on fansite Neural Boost.

EVE Evolved First impressions of OdysseyNew graphical effects

Players at EVE Fanfest 2013 absolutely lost their minds when shown the new ship jumping effect, but since Odyssey's launch, a few have also lost their stomachs. The jump effect's camera shake and rapid acceleration and deceleration have reportedly caused motion sickness in a several players, and developers have confirmed that it won't be possible to provide an option to disable it. Developers are instead looking into what exactly about the effect is producing motion sickness and how it can be resolved. I haven't experienced any ill-effects personally, but after several days of jumping around EVE, I think it's starting to look irritating and overdramatic.

I was initially skeptical of the Discovery Scanner when it turned out to be just a graphical effect that swipes across your screen every time you jump into a new system, but I will concede that it makes exploration opportunities a lot more visible. This seems like a feature aimed at newer players and those who haven't really considered exploration yet, but even veteran players benefit from knowing roughly where signatures are in the system. Explorers are now spending less time cloaked and looking for sites to run and more time actually running the sites, which is good for both explorers and the pirates hunting them. It's actually kind of awesome to see how such a small change in the presentation of information to the player can have such far-reaching consequences.

EVE Evolved First impressions of Odyssey
It'd be hard to argue that Odyssey hasn't been a huge success. Low-security space is packed with explorers hoping to strike it rich and pirates hunting them down. The fact that data and relic sites can be completed in a covert ops frigate has even attracted people who normally play exclusively in highsec into more dangerous areas. The redistribution of moon mineral wealth has also done exactly what developers hoped it would in sparking new conflict in nullsec; GoonSwarm is even invading Fountain to take all the good moons from former ally TEST Alliance.

My main gripes with Odyssey are little things like the new jump and scan effects glitching out, and the lack of feedback on the Undock button (I swear, I've accidentally aborted the undock procedure about 50 times so far). The new hacking system has also broken some of the archaeology containers in COSMOS constellations, and I'm a little disappointed that the only major UI change is a new radial menu when most of the UI is still a convoluted mess. But I'm having a ton of fun hacking containers in deep space, dodging pirates, and figuring out how to fit all of the newly buffed battleships. Odyssey isn't quite the blockbuster expansion I think EVE deserves for its tenth anniversary, but it's pretty damn good in my books.

Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at Massively. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you have an idea for a column or guide, or you just want to message him, send an email to brendan@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.