June 4, 2014

Below the Asteroids - is that where smarter NPCs are hiding?

A quick one.  I managed to log in briefly and roamed the local belts looking for either tags, mordu, or someone else who is already looking for one of the above.  (Obligatory Below the Asteroids link.  Eve has sound)

Riches in them thar belts

I saw someone else belting, but couldn't get on top of them and they hopped out of system.  On the plus side, I also found two Recruiter rats which made for a nice little bonus.   With Barghest dropping into the "mere" 2.6B range I suppose the rat tags aren't much (Orthus 800M, Garmur 250M).  But what I ran into next was actually made the more interesting impression on me.

Slaughter of rats denied

Since I try to keep my sec status under control when I saw an Angel General I decided to take it down.  The usual routine - keep drones on him, keep an eye on D-scan.  Hey wait, why did my guns stop cycling?  My client tells me that I cannot lock the Angel General - do they have ECM now or something?  No, I don't show the ECM icon.  And then the Angel General warps away.  Huh.

Now I'd heard before that some NPC rats in combat exploration sites had to be pointed or they would bug out.  I had never seen a belt rat do that though, so I never point them even though I only ever rat in a fully PVP capable ship.

Is this part of the new smarter NPC?  This particular behavior is not mentioned in the Kronos patch notes.

I for one welcome our new belt rat overlords

I hope this actually is something new and that we'll see more widespread.  Forcing PVE ships to be fit with a point for high value targets is a great first step towards eliminating the difference between PVP and PVE fittings.  And if there is no difference in the fitting, that eliminates the excuse for why people can't get out in space and take the fight that comes to them.

Sure, when you take your Navy Raven in to run Level 4s you'll be one-shoting most of the hapless NPC enemies that come your way.  But when completing your objectives requires you to put a long-point down on a critical named NPC then PVE will change.  That also will undermine the Dominix / Rattlesnake / Ishtar / Gila hanging out 100km away from the fight while running sentries as well - which I'm all for putting an end to.

Bring on the smarter rats!