Yes, March.  March!  It’s March already!  How did that happen?

We just wanted to take a bit of time to chat about the state of the game and keep you up to date on what’s happening at our end.   Beta was always going to be about balancing and optimisation and there are a couple of key areas that have been raised by players over the past week or so and that’s what this blog post is about.

The Loot System

Here are some of the key points that have been raised about the loot system:

  • Repairs / Supplies are hard to come by.
  • Mission rewards aren’t on par with the risk involved in some missions.
  • Mission rewards weapons / upgrades that can’t be used.
  • Shops don’t appear often enough.
  • Can’t find somewhere to buy a new ship.

Not all the attachments and weapon upgrades are currently in the game – this means that some rewards will inevitably be duplicates, but this will improve over time (we expect to have the attachments and upgrades added sometime in March).

Our procedural generation lacked some fine grained control for the availability of shops as well as specific shop types.  This has a knock-on effect of repairs and supplies being rarer than they should be.

What we’re doing to resolve these issues:

  • Tweaked the values of the currency system – things will cost more but you’ll get more as rewards.
  • Ensuring shops appear and are clearly marked in all sectors.
  • Ensuring ships, supplies and repairs are more readily available (esp. via shops).
  • Removing the chance that a mission will result in no reward.
  • Adding more attachments and upgrades to the game.

While we don’t want these things to be super-rare, we also don’t want to simply hand them over to players (where’s the fun in that?), so there is a balance that still needs to be struck, but we think that changes we have planned will get us pretty close to where we need to be.

The Combat System

Orthani Fleet Attacking

Bug, not a feature…

Throughout alpha we made a lot of changes to how this works (the addition of Tactical Mode for example) and although it was pretty brutal for a while (lots of people being insta-killed!), we toned back some of the combat numbers in recent patches and buffed player ships.  While these changes laid the foundation for what we have to do now, there are still a number of issues being raised:

  • Missions are too long.
  • Too many spawns.
  • Enemy fleets spawn on top of the player.
  • More than one enemy fleet spawns.
  • Difficulty scales too hard after a couple of sectors.

Many of the issues raised on this topic relate to how the enemy fleets spawn, which is something we’re focusing on just now.  Some of the changes that are coming:

  • Reduction in the number of trigger spawns in missions (this should improve pacing with periods of non-combat).
  • More random chance of trigger spawns (you won’t always get a spawn in a certain location).
  • You will be a lot less likely to trigger more spawns while in combat.
  • Addition of patrols and lurkers to maps.
  • Improvements to the spawn formations (where / how they spawn).

These changes and more that are coming in March will go some way to address the issues that have been raised and also help improve the replayability of the game.

The changes will also coincide with more weapons and attachments being added which will also help vary up the combat a bit, but also give you more upgrade options to push through the tougher sectors later in the game.  You’ll find as more are added, you’ll have more options in combat and customising your ships but also enemy fleets will use a wider range of abilities.

Known Bugs

These are things we know about and are working on:

  • Rogue weapon missing its target while moving.
  • Some weapons not causing damage.
  • Enemy spawning in terrain.
  • Player ships not targeting ship that it has been ordered to.
  • Enemy spawning near Escort targets (after they are at station).
  • Settings not being saved properly.
  • Issues with shield regen skills.
  • Some screen resolutions causing UI to squash.
  • Some enemy ships becoming invincible.

And a bunch more (although these are the main ones players are raising just now).

We have a couple of updates planned for March so you should see noticeable improvement on these issues this month.  If you have any questions about what we’re doing then please feel free to leave a comment.

We’d also like to thank everyone for their contributions so far – it has been really useful for the team here and helped shape the direction of the game so far.

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