One of the most common pieces of feedback we’ve had from players throughout alpha is that the combat in Distant Star: Revenant Fleet is on the tough side. It was inevitable that this would be the case because of the way we’re adding features to the game – it’s difficult to balance a complex system until all the variables are introduced. But fortunately, this is just a temporary issue as we’re getting closer to being “feature complete”, the gameplay is becoming normalised and we’re more able to balance things.
Some of the comments we’ve had so far:
- Enemies are too hard.
- There are too many abilities to use effectively.
- Combat is too fast to react to.
- Kiting is the only strategy.
- Some ships die too quickly.
These are all fair points, but we hope to have gone some way to addressing them with the introduction of the Tactical Mode in the most recent patch. This feature allows players to:
- Pause combat – this gives you a bit of breathing space to decide what to do next.
- Issue basic commands – move units or order them to attack.
- Activate abilities – trigger your special abilities.
You can activate / deactivate Tactical Mode by pressing SPACEBAR at any time.
This article will give you a brief overview of the Tactical Mode system, how it currently affects gameplay and also talks a little about how combat will continue to evolve with upcoming patches.
Position your fleet more efficiently
In the screenshot above, Tactical Mode has been activated and all three ships in the fleet have been given the order to move (the dotted white lines). When you exit Tactical Mode, these orders will instantly be carried out.
This will give you a bit of flexibility on how you position your fleet – perhaps you want to move your weaker ships away from danger or simply disperse your fleet to avoid it taking AE damage.
To give a movement command, simply select the ship(s) you want to move and right click on the map – the same as you would out of Tactical Mode.
Decide who attacks and who moves
In this example, the Pulsar and Lancer have been given the command to move away from where the enemy ship is firing towards, but the Assault has been given the attack commend (red line). As movement and attack are basic commands your ships can only carry out one at a time. Here, the Assault will attack the enemy ship but not move.
You can give attack commands in the same way as you do outside of Tactical Mode – right click on an enemy ship.
Combine basic commands with special abilities
Special abilities can be activated in addition to movement or attack commands. In the example above, there’s a lot going on:
- The Assault ship has been ordered to attack (red line) but also trigger its Tactical Advantage ability (which increases its damage and is represented by the yellow icon).
- The Tech ship has been ordered to move (dotted white line) but also fire off its Ion Storm ability (a targeted AE which is represented by the Yellow line and icon near the enemy fleet).
- The Pulsar ship has only been ordered to move (dotted white line) but if needed, it could also have used its Mending Pulse ability (a targeted AE heal).
You can activate abilities the same way you do out of Tactical Mode and also cancel them before exiting Tactical Mode by clicking on the icon again.
Tactical Mode – Limitations
All commands issued during Tactical Mode will instantly be executed. However, there are a number of limitations to Tactical Mode;
- Units can only execute one basic command – Attack, Move or Defend.
- Units can only execute one targeted ability at a time – for example, the Carrier can’t deploy both a Turret and a Mine at the same time.
- Non-targeted abilities can be executed at the same time – for example, the Assault can use both Tactical Advantage and Divert Power at the same time.
- Units must have enough energy to execute the command.
The idea behind Tactical Mode is to give players an edge and some breathing space but not to go as far as to fully automate the gameplay. We’re all pretty happy in the studio that the feature is a good addition to the game and we’d love to hear your feedback on it.
Have a look at Tactical Mode in action:
Upcoming changes to combat
You’ll notice (as of version 0.0.3.3) some ships have less available abilities than others. This is something that will change with upcoming patches – the team are working on a range of upgrades and attachments and these should be ready pretty soon.
In addition, we’re looking at the overall combat system and in particular, the feedback we’ve had from players so far. If you have any thoughts on this or feedback for the team then drop by our forums for a chat.