Last week I posted a fairly negative review of Dominion, as I felt that it was not fully ready for release, particularly with respect to its nullsec changes (sovereignty and capital/supercapital issues). Despite this, Dominion was still released yesterday. Here are my thoughts thus far.
The Fleet Finder
The Fleet Finder has dramatically improved fleet functionality. Broadcasts work better, there are new abilities such as loot logging, automatic re-joining of a fleet after getting disconnected works, and locating members is much easier. The new fleet interface also allows you to see your fleet mates’ ships, locations, and leadership skills:
As you may know, the fleet finder now allows you to place an “advertisement” for your fleet to allow others to find it. This worked a bit..differently from what I had expected. Attempting to make my fleet available to an out-of-corp buddy, I set it open to all people with standings above 5.0 with me (I had him set blue). However, since my corp had blued Proviblock (to make it easier to distinguish NRDS guys in nullsec from, say, U’K), my fleet ended up open to all of Proviblock. I did not even realize this until I was told by several bloggers in-game that they could see my fleet. So if you are using the fleet tool, be very careful when setting who your fleet is open to.
The new planets, moons, and stars do look very nice, but after about thirty minutes, I had already forgotten about the changes. The other new Dominion changes seem more important to me than the graphics. The new mega pulse laser graphics do look better than the old one, however.
The new mail interface is far better than the old Evemail. However, because of the fact that you no longer have corp and mailing list mails in a separate tab, you must use labels, or you will be overwhelmed by the jumble of mails in your inbox. I only wish that Evemail threaded conversations like Gmail does; currently you need to manually label your replies.
Personally I do not care at all about the ability to import playlists (right click on the Jukebox in the Neocom to do so), as I would rather just use iTunes (where my music is already sorted, rated, etc). The filepaths do not work properly on the Mac, so a fix is here. A word of caution (from a corp mate) concerning the jukebox: Do not attempt to import 10k mp3 files at once.
Although the browser is now actually usable, I still use my out-of-game browser (Firefox), as the in-game browser does not sync bookmarks, does not support extensions, and does not work with bookmarklets. Of course, many others do use the in-game browser now; this may bring about an increase in the number of fap kills.
I have not gotten the opportunity to fly any of the new/tweaked faction ships yet, but some mates have told me that certain ones (e.g. Cynabal) are really epic now. There have been some complaints about empire faction battleships being worse than pirate faction battleships, but that is not an issue because empire faction battleships are far cheaper than pirate faction battleships (less than half the price) and thus should not be as good. Of course, some faction ships still need rebalancing (for example, the majority of empire faction cruisers are absolutely useless (Navy Osprey, Navy Augorer, Navy Scythe, etc).
Self-destruction still needs a change: if a ship is under attack and self-destructs, the attackers should get some sort of killmail. Or at the very least, the self-destruction notification message should be more visible (e.g. a red countdown timer under the ship’s bracket). Several times I have not even realized that a ship was self-destructing because my combat notifications hid the destruction countdown notification.
Alliance creation/disbanding mechanisms should have been changed in Dominion; I cannot understand why CCP would not make it an ultra high priority issue. For example, while playing with the alliance creation controls, fellow blogger Escoce accidentally created an alliance (and thereby lost a billion ISK) due to a lack of confirmation dialogs. This could have been easily prevented using a method similar to my KOS space warning message proposal. And the alliance closing controls still have not been changed, even after the CVA fiasco.
Motherships have not received any buffs in Dominion, and are thus essentially useless. However, the new Titans seem fairly effective for driveby shootings, as they can instapop any ship in the game. Stationcamping Chimera kill. Rorqual kill. Naglfar kill (the fitting seems to indicate the pilot’s dislike of the Naglfar’s new bonuses :P). Phoenix kill.
This topic was one of the main reasons I wanted Dominion to be delayed, and it still needs significant tweaking. For example, infrastructure hubs are enormous and only fit inside T1 freighters (not jump freighters). This makes it very, very difficult for any alliance without direct highsec access to make upgrades to their systems (like this battle). The full effect of the sovereignty changes will not be seen until the seven-day transition period expires, but Razor and Wildly Inappropriate have already lost a large number of systems (freighter train slaughter).
The new map options are pretty though:
Overall, I feel that Dominion did introduce some very nice features, but high-priority ones have been either neglected or poorly implemented. Motherships are useless, dreadnoughts are terribly imbalanced, and sovereignty is problematic.