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[Developer Blog] Agents Made Easy

Discussion in 'EVE News' started by EVE News, May 16, 2011.

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    Some of you will have noticed that a change to agents went out recently on Singularity. We talked a bit about these upcoming changes during Fanfest, but it's high time we explained them in a bit more detail, now that they're just about ready to be deployed on Tranquility.

    In fact, there are two separate changes we've made. The first is to agent divisions, the second to agent quality.

    Agent Division Changes

    Up till now, each corporation in the game had up to 21 divisions within it - Legal, Security, Distribution, etc. - each with its own agents. The missions given out by the various divisions were similar, coming from the same pool of missions available to that corporation; the difference between divisions was the relative amount of encounter, mining, trade, and courier missions given out. Yet the chance of getting one of those types of missions, by division, was quite arbitrary each time you visited an agent: For example, an Administration agent had a 75% chance of giving out encounter missions, while a Personnel agent had a 64% chance of doing the same. No rhyme, some reason.

    In general, these divisions and values did little other than adding complexity to an already complex game.

    So now, we've taken these divisions and amalgamated them into four simple divisions, each of which now gives out only one type of mission, meaning you won't have to decline that occasional mining or courier mission when all you want to do is blow up some Angels.

    The four new divisions are as follows, along with the former divisions that have now been folded up within each:

    New Division*

    Old Divisions (Amalgamated)

    Distribution (100% courier)

    Accounting, Advisory, Archives, Distribution, Financial, Marketing, Personnel, Production, Public Relations, Storage

    Mining (100% mining)

    Astrosurveying, Manufacturing, Mining

    Security (100% encounter)

    Administration, Command, Intelligence, Internal Security, Legal, Security, Surveillance

    Research (100% research)

    R&D (no change)

    * As a result of the division changes, a few newly made Distribution agents didn't have a destination station for courier missions within the range parameters authored for their missions, so we were forced to make those agents Security agents instead.

    Connections Skills

    We had to change a few other things to suit the division overhaul, all having to do with the seven "Connections" skills from the Social skill set (i.e., Financial Connections, Political Connections, etc.). These skills each granted a +5% yield per skill level to Loyalty Point payout for each of 5 or 6 divisions; in total, it was possible, with all seven skills maxed out, to gain a 10% LP boost for every division.

    We have removed those seven skills from the game and will refund those skill points to you, just as we did with the old Learning skills a little while back.

    So now we have three new skills in place of the former seven, these ones aptly named "Distribution Connections," "Mining Connections," and "Security Connections"; each grants a 10% bonus to LP gain per level for its namesake division. These new skills are all rank 2, as opposed to the old rank 1 skills (meaning these new ones take twice as long to train), since there are roughly half as many to train now.

    Finally, if you had any of the old Connections skills or skillbooks, then they will be replaced with new skillbooks, as shown on the following table:

    Old Connection Skills

    Skillbook Given

    Distribution Connections

    Mining Connections

    Security Connections

    Bureaucratic Connections

    X



    Financial Connections

    X



    High Tech Connections



    X

    Labor Connections


    X


    Military Connections



    X

    Political Connections



    X

    Trade Connections


    X


    Agent Locations

    Be warned that we'll be monitoring this change closely, along with the player activity it produces, and we will very likely move or retire a number of redundant agents as time goes on: There will now be many stations with multiple agents of the same level and division.



    Agent Quality Changes

    In addition to the division changes, we've also implemented a pretty huge change to how agent quality works. Previously, an agent's quality, ranging from -20 to +20, factored into both how difficult it was to gain access to that agent and how much that agent paid out for missions. Yet the system by which these values affected agent access and rewards was pretty opaque, even to most devs, and the effects were not particularly meaningful.

    Now, all agents in the game will have an effective quality of both -20 and +20: That is, in terms of calculating access to an agent based on your standings with his or her corporation, the system will assume that all agents are quality -20, making them (in some cases, considerably) easier to access; and at the same time, every agent will pay out rewards as if he or she had a quality of +20, meaning all agents of the same level within the same system security level (e.g., 0.6) will pay out the same amount for similar missions - and in most cases, they will pay out somewhat more than they used to.



    Just be aware that these two changes, to divisions and to quality, may have some unforeseeable ramifications, and we're going to be watching carefully to see how they impact the game. Expect further tweaking, and as always, please voice your concerns and observations on our forums so we can benefit from your opinions.

    Cheers - fly smart,

    CCP Molock and CCP Tallest



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