It has been a couple of weeks since Retribution dropped. I think this is the best expansion yet. I won't say patch, because this is more like a whole-of-body transplant. I haven't had time to blog, literally because of paying too much EVE.
For a start, the raw numbers of people signed on, resubbing (even Teh Onion & alts, and Khanr'rhh & alts are back) or just regulaarly signing in to do stuff is up. I know that raw numbers of people signing in always goes up around an expansion, but when you top 40K users logged on to the cluster, double a month ago, and everyone's having piles of fun? That's got to be good for the game.
Next, the game is fun. By balancing the various red-headed stepchild ships of EVE, CCP Fozzie has provided the metagame with a huge variety of new toys to play with, fleet concepts to toy with, and exciting ways to get yourself blapped.
Logi frigates, despite my fears about their difficulty in use, are proving to be invaluable, at least in faction warfare. I won't speak of w-space and nullsec, because I haven't played in those realms since the patch, but certainly the logi frigates are finding their niche. With Tengu boosts, a FC with a Siege mindlink, and enough of them, Fweddit is certainly showing that you can make them effective when you deploy large numbers in big blobs.
The T1 logi cruisers are also proving a decisive thing to own. I bought up big, and haven't lost many myself, but certainly the numbers of Augorors seen in EVE must surely be 1,000% more than pre-patch. They are the core of any cruiser gang nowadays in k-space.
On that note, cruisers in general are resurgent. This is awesome, because it takes only a couple of weeks to skill into a cruiser and do it effectively, and be valuable in-game to a corporation in PVE or PVP. I am still disappointed in the Stabber, and the Bellicose seems a rare beast, suffering from atrocious lock-range for a nano cruiser (ie; you are in scram range by the time you lock when they start at 56km). Moas are rare if only because the Thorax does the blaster gank job better, and the Arbitrator is pretty much extinct whereas before it was fearsome (although, famously, apparently you can heroically ruin a BLOPs drop with on).
The frigates are awesome. I have, in the fights around Aset, whored onto so many kills in the Maulus it should be illegal. The Crucifier is now a respectable solo boat, the Breacher a loltanky microcyclone.
There are a few flat spots. As said before, the Stabber is a bit of a fizzer. It isn't really all that. It has in fact, perhaps got worse simply because everything else is better. Well, except at going really fast. The Kestrel isn't so awesome. The new destroyers are a mixed lot. Rocket Talwars are OK, but still anaemic DPS. Coraxes suffer from fitting issues, badly, and are even more pathetic. The Dragoon is cripplingly slow, but otherwise OK. The Algos seems the FOTM halfway through the month.
There are a few issues outstanding for the next expansion or patch. Offgrid boosting, for one. The T3/CS imbalance in links and the whole hand-of-god bullshit OGB mechanism is worth addressing.
Similarly, there needs to be some thought put to the economy. I am sure the price of ships is a stimulus to mining insofar as high mineral prices driven by ship consumption is a driver of mining (and certainly mining barges seem more survivable) and this may be a short-lived burst of consumption driven by mass welping of ships in lowsec (eg, Aset) but prices have been rising solidly for a long while now. I will be interested to see the results of this playing out soon.