Dancing in the Guardian’s GalaAshterothi
I want to start this by apologizing to you. Chances are that by the time you read this the Guardian Gala will be over or almost over. Normally I try to breakdown the events as they come out so that you can take the information and dive into the event for yourself. Problem is, I couldn’t stop running them long enough to write an article about them. The only consolation that I have is that the Gala itself seems to be widely popular. Not to say the event isn’t without its detractors, overall it seems that people agree that this is one of the most solid offerings to date.
Without further ado, let’s go to the Gala.
The event site itself features a simple complex including a square, a round ring, and struts between them. There is only one room, meaning there is no acceleration gate or early warning for those inside the site. The event rats however are different than previous events, and seem to be based off of the AI used in Resource Wars, which itself is a modification to the dimond rat/Drifter AI. Instead of pre-scripted waves with triggers, additional reinforcements warp in semi-randomly.
In total there are two “trash” rats and 2 “boss” rats, with an additional boss rat that can spawn in the VIP sites, which we will specify later. The frigate is fast moving Dramiel, and wants to get in on its target and web it down. Many found dealing with these frigates a nuisance, and thanks to their low DPS, many ignored them outright. The cruisers are Cynabals that want to hang around over 25km off and target paint you while hitting you with their rail guns. The combined effect of these two is that you are particularly vulnerable to any incoming players who come to do you harm, though the webbing may help you escape.
The final boss arrives at some point after fighting the defense forces. It is unclear exactly what the requirements are, though many agree that at least a frigate and a cruiser must be killed. Either way, in normal sites the boss will be either a battlecruiser or a Machariel battleship. Both of these bosses are much stronger than previous event bosses, and proper explosive tanking is required to survive the artillery fire. Upon destroying the “guest of honor” the remaining defense forces disengage, allowing you to collect your SKINs, Accelerators, Fireworks, and Agency drugs.
However, the real challenge of the event can only be found in lowsec and null. There you can find the VIP sites, which can spawn a carrier to fight. This fight is no joke, and likely will require a small team to take down. Risking these dangers, and besting the carrier can get you one of the new ‘Eros’ hardwiring which increase webification range by 3, 5, or 7 percent. Thanks to the name of the implant, and this event being the “Valentine’s Day” event, it seems likely this will be the only way to get these implants, but they will likely return next year. It will be interesting to watch how these items fluctuate in value throughout the year.
To go along with these sites, the Agency is also offering up two rather simple tasks: Kill the trash, and kill the bosses. Each task has five stages to complete, and each stage is worth ten points. So to get the first stage you only have to kill ten rats, but completing stage five takes 100. Completing all five stages initiates a three hour reset timer. If you do not complete all of the tasks, they will reset on their own at downtime. The two tasks are clearly lopsided, and you will complete the 100 rats often long before even making it through stage four of the boss task. In practice I found it most efficient to run event sites until you completed the rat task, then come back in a few hours and keep going to finish up the boss task. In this way you can make well over 100 points a day.
The rewards themselves are:
100 – 1x Angels Arisen Firework
300 – ‘Advanced’ Cerebral Accelerator.
500 – Inquest ‘Eros’ Stasis Webifier MR-805
700 – ‘Dripfeed’ Extended life Cerebral Accelerator
While the event UI does track points above 700, they do nothing additional for the event.
What went right?
The new rat behavior really brings life to the events. In addition to the more interesting encounter, the event itself does tend to tell a story. If you fail to destroy the final boss, it will eventually warp away to safety. Additionally, the difficulty struck a great balance between being able to be run by Alpha characters, and proving interesting challenges for everyone. The challenge itself was simple enough to be understood quickly, but complex enough to allow for experimentation and discovery for how to best handle it. Until we all got Gilas, of course.
The flow of loot also seemed nice. Previous events either seemed to drop all the time, or far too rarely. While you will always get something interesting, you are not guaranteed to get any given thing. Additionally, having three levels of bosses allows for different distribution of chance and better rewards.
Higher point rewards seemed worth getting, while not feeling so valuable the task needed to be demanding. The hardwiring at this time is selling for 50 million ISK, and that number will only go up as the year rolls on. Additionally the ‘Dripified’ accelerators are the rarest of the three, and consequently worth the most. All told, the rewards for completing all 700 points is at least 150 million, depending on how savvy you are in selling the items. This is pretty good as a bonus, but it in no way compares to the value of the items gained in the collection of those points.
What went wrong
At this point I just hope the single firework for a days work is a bug, or a mistake of some kind. The purpose of the initial reward in a system like this is it is designed to attract attention and draw the user in. However, at the same time it cannot be something that has large value like the larger rewards, because then people would use infinite accounts to simply harvest them. It could be something as simple as a cosmetic item tied to the event that shows that you participated, such as a SKIN or background. This would make a great replacement for the one firework, as people will want to get it for its own sake, but hoarding it isn’t really valuable.
Many players also complained that the rats would spend too much time in warp, and it was very noticeable. This seems to be a combination of two issues. First, there seems to be something wrong with how long rats are able to hold their immunity in warp. It was very obvious that the frigates were landing, then beelining to me, and for several seconds would still be counted as “in warp”. However, this issue should also be obvious in Resource Wars. It is possible this wasn’t noticed because Resource Wars are generally done by inexperienced players, and most of the focus isn’t on killing the rats as fast as you can. In these sites it is obvious. Moreover, it is compounded by the fact that the UI gives no indication of ships in warp on the overview. It would be nice if there was a subtle indication that a ship is not lockable yet, perhaps a small circle, or shield, around the ship icon.
Failing to win the race in a site still really sucks. The points are just not enough of a consolation prize if your being picked on by some higher powered player. The previous event, Arms Race, focused the point rewards on what Alphas might be looking for, thus allowing people to feel like they are accomplishing their goals, in spite of being outmatched. Additionally, since half the tasks are to actually kill the boss, and only the winner of the loot gets credit for the kill, weaker players relying on the points for a reward are hamstrung even further. Having tasks unrelated to the sites can also suggest a wider breadth to the event, and could allow players to be pulled into the event from other careers.
The next offering will be the Hunt, a Guristas-themed event for Easter (Yes, we really are finally getting the Gureaster Bunny!). It looks like a lot of the improvements we saw in Gala will be brought over here. Most interesting is the introduction of the Hunter Ballistic Control Unit I and II. These powerful modules are a combination of a Ballistic Control Unit and Drone Control Unit. These mods will become the dream lowslots for any Guristas equipment. While it is unknown how these will be obtained, there also seem to be the possibility of lowsec hacking sites that can be encountered. We will know more soon.
After that comes Capsuleer Day, which celebrates the anniversary of EVE Online. CCP has indicated they want two additional events before we round the year back into the Crimson Harvest.
Beyond that is where things can get really exciting. CCP Dragon seems to only be getting started and from this simple beginning you can begin to see a more lively EVE, where there is always something happening, or about to happen. Where riches come from trawling the spacelanes, and where the players can exercise their agency.
Did you enjoy this article? Please consider helping CZ fund our wonderful writers via Patreon.