A new Eve patch rolled out yesterday with a number of interesting developments.
There's a new salvage ship called the Noctis. Production of this rather superb if niche vessel is up to the players.
The first stage of the process was the procurement of blueprints. Fittingly for a ship made by Outer Rim Exploration (ORE) the blueprints spawn deep in nullsec. So a race occurred where players rushed to buy the BPO, fly it through nullsec and sell it for a fat profit in high security space.
Next was a matter of churning out the new ships to an impatient waiting market yesterday. At first the prices were insane with buy orders for hundreds of millions of isk. Those may have been manipulations (someone puts a stupidly high order up for a short while at the beginning then takes it down before there's any danger of someone actually selling him a ship). Then prices settled to about 140 million isk and have been steadily dropping since. They are now down to 56 million isk. (For reference my industrialist with PE 3, ie not very good skills, can make one for 49 million isk worth of mats). These are Jita prices, some people may have had better results in more obscure locations.
I got involved in the excitement but frankly I'd have done better to run missions in terms of money made. I bought a BPO for 600m isk, made half a dozen ships which I was able to sell at inflated prices but I hadn't prepared. I should have had the minerals at an industrial facility ready to roll. Instead I spent most of my play time yesterday buying and hauling minerals when I really ought to have been ready to milk the inflated prices by producing immediately. Still, we live and learn and I enjoyed it. I'll also get to fly a ship I made which is cool.
As for the ship itself it is likely to have several interesting effects on the game.
First it changes the balance between blitzing and looting. There is a point in a mission runners life when it becomes better to chain missions and get them done super fast rather than methodically loot and salvage everything you kill. This is known as blitzing.
As you progress as a mission runner you get quicker at beating missions but you don't get much quicker at looting. This means that at some point between being a newbie who takes 2 hours to beat a mission and a pro who beats them in about 10 minutes it stops being worth spending 10 minutes looting for about 10 million isk worth of loot.
The introduction of a ship that's super efficient at salvaging means it's now much better to loot rather than blitz. Those 10 minutes have become 3 minutes. For all but the most elite it will make sense to loot, even though the sudden glut of salvage from all the people doing this will depress the market.
Another interesting aspect is the murky profession of ninja salvaging. Up till now it's been possible for a bold ninja salvager to cherry pick people's wrecks, even if there's a friendly salvager on grid because they use fast ships. The Noctis has about 56 km range on its tractor beams and faster salvage cycle so it's very likely to beat the traditional fast frigate used by ninjas. In other words a battleship + noctis team can operate without worrying too much about a ninja on grid, the Noctis will collect loot so fast the ninja will get very little. The ninjas may resort to using Noctis themselves but that would lose them the advantages of their nippy little frigates which are very good at provoking, then escaping.
CCP are finally getting rid of the much reviled learning skills. I suspect the release of Perpetuum, a game that copied 90% of Eve but omitted this horrible mechanic, may have influenced their decision.
For the time being it's a good idea to switch to a learning skill if you possibly can. This is because you can learn at a very fast rate if you're optimised for the learning skill and then re-assign those points into something you would learn slowly.
For example one of my characters is mapped for PER/WIL. I've got him learning Clarity 5, a PER/WIL skill. He won't actually finish learning the skill, I'm just doing it to rack up points to re-assign. When the learning skill is removed I'll dump these points in something he won't learn optimally. As he's PER/WIL and will go INT/MEM next remap some CHA based skills would be a good place to spend my points. So I'm getting 2475 skill points per hour learning Clarity which I will spend on Social skills. If I learned the Social skills now I'd get 1650 skill points per hour.
For reference Learning skills are based on the following stats:
Learning, Eidetic Memory and all low level learning skills - MEM/INT
Logic - INT/MEM
Clarity - PER/WIL
Focus - WIL/CHA
Presence - CHA/PER