I joked a bit about December 6th being the big day (even though Retribution was released on December 4th), because of bugs and the potential for old bugs to reappear. (CCP does have a track record in that regard.) December 6th would be the day that the second emergency patch, 1.0.2, would be released. As it turns out, I really didn't notice the effect of the 1.0.1 and 1.0.2 patches. Whatever they fixed didn't seem all that urgent, or noticeable, at least in the areas that I play the game. So from my perspective, Retribution was an exceptionally solid release. Inferno and Crucible had bigger problems, and things to actually solve with their first two or three point-point releases. Retribution has been the most solid zero-day release by CCP, ever.
BountiesThis is really a fluff mechanic. Unless someone has a particularly large bounty, and is flying a particularly expensive ship, I'm not sure it's really going to change how any player approaches their highsec PvP. It might result in a few extra ganks, some added effort hunting down that deadspace-fit, Rattlesnake-flying mission runner. But I think, mostly, if you're prone to gank missioners flying blingy ships, you were going to do it with or without a functional bounty system.
It's a great and exceptionally fun piece of fluff, though. There was great doubt that a bounty system could be devised that would eliminate exploitation and general uselessness. So far, this has been a really solid piece of code. People are going gangbusters with it.
It's been nice to receive a steady-flow of small amounts of ISK after every big fight I've been involved with.
CCP is to be congratulated. Maybe their first piece of code in a long while that isn't going to need iterations to fix bad design or exploits. Any iterations will be to extend the feature, not fix it.
CrimewatchI live in lowsec, so the suspect and criminal aspects of this new system have had little to no effect on me. I still disagree with certain aspects of the new system, the elimination of certain highsec PvP past-times, but it doesn't look like it is going to be particularly detrimental to the game. My hope is that Crimewatch stops here, and this is not simply the first few degrees towards boiling that frog.
The goddamned safety. That has had the largest and most annoying effect on my play. We attack neutrals from time to time, and I often forget to turn the safety off at login. So, I've been unable to fire my weapons a few times, instead frantically turning the damned thing off so that I can get into the fray. This needs persistence ASAP. If I turn the damned thing off, it should remain turned off across play sessions.
Gate guns. Lately most of our fights have been happening in plexes, but gate fights will not become a thing of the past. When fighting neutrals, that one can warp away and then return, that gate guns reset when you leave the grid, is a great thing. No more waiting out the 15 minute timer at a POCO, safe spot, or a gate tactical. An excellent change, thanks to player outrage, otherwise the CSM would have let pass CCP Greyscale's first idea with nary a word of objection.
New and Improved ShipsCCP Fozzie won CCP Employee of the Year for all his good and hard work in this area. Granted, he didn't do it all on his lonesome, he had colleagues CCP Tallest and CCP Ytterbium all working as a team. Working in CCP Fozzie's favour was the fact that he's been the most visible member of the ship iteration crew.
That said, there was an explosion of ship iterations, introductions and revamps this expansion. Far more than Crucible and Inferno combined. I'd never fired a laser before Retribution. Never flown an Amarr ship. Eighteen months of playing and skilling, and never done either. Now, I'm flying Mallers and Omens regularly.
I'm flying mining frigates too!
A lot of good work done here, and it's opened my eyes beyond Gallente and Minmatar ship types.
UI ChangesChanges to the inventory system. The targeting systems. Camera work. It's all been very excellent. The game now looks fresh and a tad more consistent.
The new auto-targeting camera is my favourite. It gives better context to your place in space during large battles. And it has d-scan uses too.
Solid work here updating the interface. It doesn't seem quite so antiquated. (Something has to be done for the overview, though. That thing is a hot mess.)
Faction Warfare IterationsTime will tell, but so far so good.
Lots of fights currently. But we can chalk that up to Retribution's release. We'll see how things are shaking out in Jaunary.
Plex changes have been positive. Most fights have been happening in plexes since December 4th, and I'd say that's because of the limit to rats, moving the warp-in to 10km of the button, and every button having a 30km radius. (Let's not forget there being four plex sizes now.) These changes have made setting up inside plexes tactically more useful, as well as there no longer being the haves and have-nots concerning who got LP and who didn't during plex fights (there's little reason to be set-up outside the button radius now.)
The new jump gates are great. I'm glad Fozzie, with help from Pinky Feldman, got that change in sooner rather than later. Opens up more space (especially in Metropolis) to more conflict.
I was expecting not much to change tactically with the winter iterations. They seemed a tad underwhelming on the surface. Call me pleasantly surprised. There's still a PvE focus to gaining LP, but the iterations moved in the right direction overall. Faction warfare is certainly in a far healthier state now than it was during the summer.
Hans can certainly end his CSM7 term knowing he finished it with a goal achieved. A solid factional warfare system in place. He's probably the only member of CSM7 who can claim a major accomplishment during their term.
Retribution has been a very solid effort by CCP.
We still need more iterations come Summer 2013, but CCP now needs to start looking at major revamps. Small and little wins are great, but some large-scale changes need to start happening. Ring mining and POS revamp are two issues that players are clamouring for.