Navy mindlinks: I love these. What a terrific idea! One of the big reasons I wanted the Advanced Infomorph Psychology skill is because if you're heavily Leadership-trained like I am, you pretty much automatically have a Armor Mindlink clone, a Shield Mindlink clone, and a Skirmish Mindlink clone. That's three of your six clones right off, and frequently it's useful to have more than one mindlink clone (if you want one in high-sec and one in null, say). With these combination mind-links, common combinations (notably armor-skirmish and shield-skirmish) become possible and should reduce the amount of jump-cloning needed by link pilots a bit.
NOSes: previously, NOSes checked your cap percentage against your enemy's cap percentage. If yours was lower, you drew cap from the target. Easy to remember, but a bit silly; it rendered NOSes all but useless except for small tacklers and PvE. The new mechanic now checks the capacitor amount: if you have less cap, you draw from the target. I'm assured that their function in PvE remains unchanged. The change will make NOSes somewhat more useful, particularly in more PvP tackling applications, heavy cruiser-sized tacklers against battleships and capitals most of all. It should also introduce some interesting Geddon and Bhaalgorn variants. Downside? CCP removing utility highs from the ships that could have taken advantage of the change, notably the Eagle and Deimos. Sigh. CCP giveth with one hand, taketh away with the other...
Medium long-range weapon changes: generally, a thumbs up from me. I'm a bit concerned about reduction in medium railgun tracking, but am only just starting to play around with it. CCP Fozzie would no doubt remind me here that I know nothing about tracking.
No more warfare links inside a force field? Warfare link grid reduced by 100? Both excellent changes, thumbs up!
Buffs to local shield and armor reppers: also all getting a big thumbs up from me. This will be particularly valuable to newer players of the game, including early career missioners. It also does a bit to help stave off the increasing pressure ultra-small gang and solo PvPers are under.
Custom probe formations and the other scanning changes: huge thumbs up from me. If you want to yell at me about the game being further dumbed down, go ahead. One interesting caution, though: I wonder how long it will take people to design a series of custom probe formations that allow them to scan down "safed" ships very very quickly? I'd be surprised if this hasn't happened already to some extent so practice your skills at bouncing safes. You may only get one glimpse of that probe formation around you before the tacklers start to land...
Command ship balancing, HAC balancing, industrial balancing: I have a few quibbles that I'll talk about as I cover each group in FOTW posts over the next couple of months. In particular, I remain unconvinced about the Eagle, Nighthawk, and Absolution, in that order (the Abso is generally pretty darn nifty but I wish it had longer combat range as a BC). The Eos, Ishtar, and Sacrilege come away as winners, in that order, with a few others close behind. I covered the industrial balancing live as it was happening. I'm reasonably happy with the results but will start part two of that argument when it comes time to balance T2 industrials.
Advanced Infomorph Psychology: I asked for this, players asked for this, I love it. I've already trained it a collective seven or eight levels across Ripard and my alts with more levels sure to come in the coming months.
Skill renaming: I'm a big fan of this. Yes, it'll take a little getting used to where things are (I spent three or four minutes the other night looking for the Cynosural Field Theory skill on one of my alts before reasoning that it must be under Navigation). But yes, it'll be nice once we all learn where the skills are.
User Interface: there are a number of these, but the one I have my eye on right now is the Assist and Guard mechanics now have "Watchlist" as an option. I feel like sentry drone assist tactics are already wildly over-used in this game and anything that makes this easier is -- in general -- a bad thing. Assisted sentry drones reduce the typical line fleet member from an "F1 pusher" to not even doing that. You could fight whole fleet battles by simply assisting your sentries to your FC and then walking away from the keyboard to make a sandwich. This is not how we're supposed to be playing EVE Online...
Best bug fix of the expansion:
An issue where other players' weapon effects would originate from your ship has been fixed.Heavens, that was annoying.
Most amusing change of the expansion: renaming energy transfers to capacitor transmitters. I have this mental picture of a little pile of capacitors appearing in the ship's transporter room...
And I think that's it! All in all, a quite satisfying little point release!