So three days into the Beta of 1.3 what’s it like? Well, lots of stuff had been tweaked. The sum of which means the game feels subtly different on many levels.
When in super-cruise, your shields now charge at the normal rate and the power management switches now function, so you can switch power around the systems. The audio is, well, enhanced. Travelling in hyperspace there’s a sub-sound like a tunnel echo and in super-cruise your ship makes an electric motor undertone, something like a tube train pulling away or breaking.
The new ships are very cool, but not top of the range examples. These ships fit nicely into the lower-mid range, between a Lakon-6 and an Asp, but are much smaller than I originally expected. More Cobra-sized. The Diamondback carries around 20T of cargo, so NOT a trade-ship.
The Imperial Courier is at least as sexy as the Imperial Clipper, in looks and sound. The cockpit is reminiscent of a Hawker hunter aircraft (The Red Arrow’s plane). It maxes out at Class 4, so the ships isn’t expensive to upgrade and while set to D rated internals, gets a jump range around 28Lyr with shields, which makes it a fair explorer. Where it really excels is as a fighter craft. Fast and agile, with three medium hard-points, it feels like an Eagle but hits like a Cobra. It doesn’t use much power for systems, so even with 15MW I can put three rail guns on it and make a flying sniper-rifle! Three shot kills are a hoot!
The Diamondback has four hard-points, two medium and two small, and is a little less agile than the Courier, but with a slightly greater jump range. Even A rated with weapons, it got 23Lyr range, which to my thinking makes it a very good bounty-hunter’s ship.
Navigation now includes the system maps, so you no longer have to fly to every planet to find that one water-world. You can now click on a planet in the system map and navigate straight there. You can even select the system map of a distant star system and plot a route to a planet within the system! You still jump to the star, but your compass is pointing to the right planet when you arrive.
Mine, Mine, Mine! Limpets (not the greatest name) now allow for prospecting and collecting. Mining is therefore a seriously easier process. Zap away at an asteroid and your deployed collector-limpets fly to the debris, and fly it back to your waiting cargo hatch! Limpets are bought as cargo from the munitions menu and you need a “controller” for collecting and another for prospecting.
I will go over the political stuff of Powerplay when I have had a chance to work out what the heck it all means.