Space Clouds

Incoming Changes to Fueled Energies

I spent a bit of time last week thinking about the role that fueled energies play in Star Sonata, and as a result, I decided to make some changes to a lot of the fueled energies.  I think fueled energies don’t work as a resource sink, and they don’t particularly work as interesting game play, but they do provide interesting flavor for several energies, so I want to keep a lot of the fuels, but make the relative bonus smaller and make the consumption rates slower so they aren’t as annoying.

In the previous iteration of the energy balance sheet, energies with simple fuels like Nuclear Waste got a 15% power bonus, while more difficult fuels like Promethium gave a 25% power bonus and Enriched Nuclear Waste gave a power bonus of 30%.  I wanted to reduce the difference in the strength between fueled and non-fueled energies, so I increased the baseline power of all non-fueled energies by 15%, while increasing the power of simple fuels from 15% to 20%, leaving Prom and ENukes where they are.  So the power progression will now go 1.15 -> 1.20 -> 1.25 -> 1.30 instead of 1.00 -> 1.15 -> 1.25 -> 1.30.

A large number of energies that were using fuel will no longer use fuel.  In the case of energies that were using simple fuels like Nukes, nothing about them will change except the lack of fuel.  The energies with their fuel requirement removed are:

  • Oversized, Gigantic, and Gargantuan Obsidian Ionizer.  Visibility now 0 for all.
  • Vazaha Cluster energies
  • Mzungu Clash, Clang, Burst, Whack, Slam, and Strike energies
  • Rhino Endurance, Primal Rhino Endurance
  • Zebra Life, Primal Zebra Life
  • Lion Heart, Primal Lion heart
  • Berserker Core, Prototype Berserker Core, Advanced Berserker Core
  • Multi Mythos Energizer
  • Oversized Yallow, Gargantuan Yallow
  • Kidd’s Energy Grid
  • Paxian Bloodstained Reserve and Bloodstone
  • Emerald’s Energy
  • Bear Strength, Primal Bear Strength
  • Sivar’s Purpose
  • Hermes and Mercury energies
  • Speed Demon Bank energies
  • Tiger Blood, Primal Tiger Blood
  • Lunarian Bank, Selenite Bank
  • Venusian Vitality, Mercurian Zeal, Solarian Vigor

In addition, I noticed that there were several fuel types giving large bonuses that weren’t really deserved.  The power bonus of energies generating Face Hugger’s Acid, Jelly’s Blood, Pyritic Radiation, and Eridium Fragments were reduced.  The power of the energy using Vis was slightly reduced.

Those energies that still use fuel have had their consumption rate drastically reduced to between 1 per 300 and 1 per 600 seconds depending on the fuel and energy tech level.

Dhatri Jivikadeva and Antu Vrkkasamvita will now consume 1 Aveksaka Plasma per 5 min instead of producing Nila Rakta.  Cara Hrday’ara and Ayudhin Balakrura will now consume 1 Alien Husk Fragments per 3 min instead of producing Nila Rakta.  Nila Rakta parasite health will be increased for those energies still generating it.

Several energies, including the Paxian Bloodstone energies, that were mistakenly categorized and thus overpowered have been brought closer to where they should be.

Lastly, I’ve added 8 new rare DG drop energies from tech 19 to 22 that use various new and weird things as fuel.

Weekly Dev Blog – 19th June

blog

Jeff

As part of the continuing work on Junkyard tweaks, Jeff has worked up a plan to deprecate Junkyard Tokens and make everything work based on credits. Part of the plan would open up the ability to sell any item to AI bases, even those that are currently listed as “too expensive to sell.”

Concerning low level bases in Wild Space, the team agreed that there should be no PvP ranges in Wild Space, but we do want to figure out a way for the UI to indicate this to players. There is no ETA on this change yet.

ClxS

ClxS has created code support for alternate currencies in AI bases. Content devs will be gradually transfering over to this system, which means in the long run you won’t have to fiddle around with turn-in missions in the future.

Pax

Work is ongoing on a new T22-23 content zone centered around Stella AI.

Urza

Introductory Kalthi ships will now be obtained via blueprint (roughly the same cost as before) so you don’t need to buy the actual ship at Paxian Stronghold.

Quality Assurance Improvements

Developer Blog

Hi everyone! I’m pretty excited about some improvements we have been making to our testing and quality assurance protocols. What this means for players is that we’ll have more frequent patches, better oversight on what goes live, and better balance testing of upcoming changes to the game.

These improvements have been made possible by several volunteers from the community. My colleague NCCIntrepid has taken the lead on Quality Assurance, assembling a team from the Press Corps to identify and fix bugs before they go live. His team has already covered the two most recent patches. Once a bug is discovered, they have worked out a rapid reporting system so that Developers and Contributors can resolve the issues and provide you with a smooth gameplay experience.

Some of our Press Corps volunteers have also been doing great work testing new content for balance before it’s finalized. I’d like to recognize the hard work of Joshua, Tornado, and Newman (Kanga) in particular.

If you would like to try your hand at testing or quality assurance, please drop me a line and we’ll go from there!

Ring Station

Developer Meeting – 1st May

Developer Blog

Hi everyone, here’s a report from press corps member DJ on this week’s meeting.

Jeff

*Patch Worked with Jey to replicate and fix the last client bug that was holding up the patch, so now he says there’s nothing stopping him and he’s planning for the patch on Wednesday.

*Fixed a bug that had broken lasers when nothing targeted or target out of range.

*Tested and fixed SOBID Attack Pattern targets

*Added Diseased Larvae with attack patterns to Mutara Gardens

*Changed the bonus thrust and turning on all Zebucarts from +100% to +50%

*Greatly buffed the rof mod on Earthforce Supply Ship from 0.07 to 0.50

*Changed loadout on Gatekeeper Supply Ship to have Nano Heavy Tracking laser so he can’t crit the player with rad just before he dies and cause confusing warp interdiction effect

*Add pop up error message when trying to jump through a blocked wormhole to make it more obvious to the player

*Moved the asteroid belt in Mutara Scrapyard so that none of the wreckage can ever happen to block the wormhole.  Removed all the wreckage that looks like scoopable debris or ships to be less confusing, just leaving asteroids and bulk trader parts.

*Gave Rat Carapace and a couple other low level AI shields some regen when they previously had zero regen.  AI will not initiate an attack unless they are at full shields, and it’s kind of weird when an AI fights another AI, loses a little shields, and then will just never again attack anything.

urza

*Noticed some Dampeners where not the same tech level as their counterparts and the decision was made to make corresponding base dampeners same tech level as each other. (Adamantiumized Dampeners+ will all be tech level 16, Laconia Dampeners+ will be tech level 14)

Faranight

*Drone meta: Anni defenders will not grem any longer. (Was not intended to) Drones in a BVB attack for defenders are to be used as a delay tactic, as in one drone is supposed to take place of one active player during the PvP of the fight. They may be a little stronger than we want them, but we will hold off on a full rebalance of permanent drones so that there’s time for proper testing.

*Working with the Testing team for the Base Construction vulnerability aura. Upon the testing results this will be decided about going live.

Additional Notes

*Forcefield Generator drone rework is done.

*Unforge balance completed.

*Golden Base resistances buffed to be between Lac kits and Dem kits of their respected tech levels

 

Ring Station

Galaxy Assault Revamp

BvB Revamp

BvB Revamp

Hello everyone! In this post, I will fill you in on the final details of the galaxy assault revamp that will go live for the upcoming universe. Until that time, the changes detailed in this post will be up on the test server for everyone to experiment with.

Summary of changes

Issue

Resolution

Players tanking pulses

Base mining vulnerability removed, base projectile damage increased, and base resistance increased to match.

Sun tanking

Unattached bases and permanent drones will receive serious vulnerability auras when near a sun.

Players spectating in spirits

Base and permanent drone target prioritization is revamped. Players won’t be shot by bases if they have anything better to do.

Base healing meta

Base transference resistance is increased somewhat to reduce the effectiveness of cross-healing between bases. However, base shield transference weapons are buffed to keep healing output constant.

Players having no combat role

Testing has confirmed that Unidyne Core Dumps are very effective at turning the tide of BvB.  Players are no longer priority targets of enemy bases, so it will be possible to actively participate in this way.

Buffer gal use

Active war and adjacent ownership instantly allows 1 BvB kit. Full 24 hours of adjacent ownership still required for 5 kits.

Junkyard kit spam

Junkyard kits now have the full 10 minute construction timer, but come with more junkyard hydros for convenience. Also, ALL kits that are under construction now receive a substantial vulnerability aura.

Developer Meeting Blog – 24th April

Ring Station

Hi everyone, here’s a report from press corps member DJ on this week’s meeting.

Jeff

-Fixed bugs with missions in Nexus

-New Tutorial speech for certain missions in Nexus

-Attack/idle patterns introduced into Nexus and early level areas, still in development.

-Replaced older missions with more updated one in Nexus layer involving Volcom Outpost.

-Debugged mission indicators

Markoz

-Station Expansion part one will be introduced at Uni Reset, part two under development

-Specialized Olympus fighters, bps requires Olympus gear.

-Possible DG rework(multiple AIs per lvl) -DGs one off with Hives and Delquads

Additional Notes

-Add soaks for Unforge in regards to base tanking

-Forcefield Generator Drones reworked and moved to testing for base tank/spamming

-Galaxy assault testing ongoing, minor changes coming and full list of changes coming this Saturday. Base healing weapons to be tweaked in regards to successful testing by our tester group

-Termite revamp

 

Balance Talks P1: Ships

Balancing the Books

We have had many discussions about “Balance” on our Discord server these last few months. In this blog post I’d like to explain how we determine if something is “balanced”, the issues we are currently dealing with and generally talk a whole lot of math. If you are not interested in heavily theoretical discussions, feel free to ignore this blog post in its entirety. For everyone else: Welcome to my world. Let me show you around.

During the years I’ve worked on Star Sonata, one question has come up often: “Is this thing balanced?”. Initially, it seemed like a very easy question to answer: If the balance sheets say it’s balanced, it’s balanced. End of discussion. Assuming that the balance sheets are perfect, however, is dangerous. Star Sonata has evolved massively over time, do the basic principles used in the balance sheets still hold?

Star Sonata is a game of synergies. Any change in a ship’s equipment has a cascading, multiplicative effect. And most importantly: The resulting changes are usually very, very significant. It’s not a matter of doing 5% or 10% more damage, it’s more often a matter of hundreds of percentages of difference.

It is due to this fact that even just a few items being ever so slightly too strong can make the entire balance feel off. It would of course be disingenuous to say that no items currently existing in the game are more than just “slightly” too strong, but more on that later.

In Star Sonata, a ship’s strength is the product of its parts. To put it into very simplified, but mathematical terms, it would be something like this:

Player strength = Weapon * Energy * Shield * Ship * Augmenters * Skills

This means that if Player B had gear that was just 10% better than Player A, he would in fact be 10%^5 =61% stronger!

While this is a simplified way of looking at player strength (Would an energy bank that is 10% better really increase the entire player’s strength by 10%? Probably not), it does highlight the main challenge: If items increase in power over tech, this increase has to be handled very carefully to keep the gap between techs reasonable.

Armed with this knowledge, let’s look at how Star Sonata’s balance sheets work exactly.

Balance Sheets

All balance sheets have a set of parameters that they use to approximate how powerful an item should be. These parameters are:

  • Cost (Very, very cheap -> Insane)

  • Acquire Method (Common -> Hard Build)

  • Weight (Ultralight -> Extremely Heavy)

  • Size (MicroMicro -> Gargantuan)

Each sheet combines these modifiers into a “balance power”, a rough representation of the item’s allowed power, which is then translated into actual stats, which is roughly:

Balance Power = Base Item Power * Tech Modifier * Cost Modifier * Acq. Method Modifier * Weight Modifier * Size Modifier

Since the Base Item Power is constant for each type of item and Tech Modifier is constant per tech, it is only Cost, Acquire Method, Weight and Size that make up the difference in power between items at a specific tech.

 


 Tangent: Examples

To show how much of a difference these can make:

A normal cost, common, normal weight, normal size item would result in being exactly Base Item Power * Tech Modifier.

An expensive (x1.25 price), hard to build, normal weight, normal size item would be Base Item Power * Tech Modifier * 1.02 * 1.3, so 32.6% stronger than the base item!

And the extreme end:

An insanely expensive (x100 price), hard to build, extremely heavy (x10 weight), gargantuan (x10 size) item

1.2 * 1.3 * (1/0.9) * (1/0.6) = 2.89 , that’s +189% stronger than the “normal” power of an item at this tech!


The individual balance sheets have additional parameters that need to be entered, for example:

  • Lasers: Range, Firing arc and Damage type

  • Ships: Hull, Speed, Weapon Slots, Augmenter Slots, Visibility, Diameter, Resistances

In the case of lasers, the balance sheet is able to calculate a DPS and DPE from the item’s Balance Power and damage type. More “useful” damage types, such as mining and surgical have lower overall power. Mining has the lowest DPE, Radiation has slightly higher DPE, and Physical has the highest DPE. Size class has an additional effect on a weapon’s DPE: big weapons have a lower DPE (=more DPS), small weapons have a higher DPE (=less DPS).

The lasers size is calculated from its range, firing arc and size class.

Ships

The balance sheet for ships is a different matter. Calculating a Balance Power, which is then translated into actual stats is not feasible. Ships are simply too complicated for that. They have a myriad of stats that matter significantly. In order to automatically calculate stats of a ship of a specific strengths, the balance sheet would have to have a lot of restrictions. In essence we would be sacrificing variety for theoretical balance.

What the balance sheet for ships does instead is the following:

Assign a value (i.e. X Weapon slots are worth Y) and a scaling (i.e. hull space is valued exponentially, sort of) to every stat of a ship. These values are added together and then compared to a guideline, which is the value a generic ship of this tech and rarity should have. If the ship’s value is approximately near (+/- 30%) this guideline, it is considered balanced by the balance sheet. It’s a relatively big range, but that’s quite intentional: With so many variables in play, there needs to be room for common sense.

 


 Tangent: Example: What’s the worth of a zebu?

Hullspace (75) is worth 18,8

Speed (100) is worth 33,97

Aug Slots (3) are worth 1,64

Weapon Slots (3) are worth 1,05

Vis (12) is worth 1,374

Diameter (=Reflectivity) (33) is worth 0,391

Taking the product of all of those results in a combat value of ~591.

The average combat value for a normal price, common, but heavier tech 0 ship is considered to be:

570 * (1/0,98) = 581,63

591 / 581,63 = 1,02 Great, it’s balanced!

…but there’s also some inbuilt aug stats in the zebucart that have to be considered, bumping this value up to 1.22. That means it’s 22% above where it should be. Still okay!


 Is this a good approach? Does this result in balanced ships?

Maybe. Nobody knows. Here’s why:

 

 

While the 1.0 +/- 30% holds for low-tech ships, newer additions over every tech have mostly ignored the guidelines the sheet offers.

It is also noteworthy just how much these numbers vary from each other. Something clearly isn’t working well.

So if we assume that these ships are in fact okay, a fair assumption to make as most of them are used (perhaps with the exception of the Wrathful Deployer and the Samgrahak’ayu), then it would be great to figure out a way to confirm that. If we can confirm it, ideally through some sort of math, we can definitively answer our initial question of “Is this thing balanced?” for every ship!

The root of the problem.

The initial approach of assigning a value to each stat is sound, but how valuable is each stat? For most stats, it simply boils down to “How much of this stat do we expect people to have” and “How big should the spread be”. If speed was a very cheap stat, everyone would have very fast ships. If more speed was more expensive (i.e. the exponent of its value was higher), then faster ships would have to sacrifice more from other stat. The same line of argumentation applies to most other stats, except…

Resistances

The value of resistances is calculated as follows (Note however that we don’t use the resistance here (i.e. 0.9 for 90% resistance), but rather the multiplier (i.e. 0.1 for 90%) resistance.

So in short: A HIGH resistance will cause the number at the bottom of the fraction to be LOW, which in turn makes the entire value HIGH.

But… Laser resistance is valued triple. That means Laser resistance has a higher effect on the resistance value than other damage types, but in a good way. In other words: It is easier to get away with having high laser resist than other types.

This is an artifact from ancient times, when lasers (i.e. weapons that hit their targets instantly) were nearly always laser damage. Getting killed instantly is no fun, so laser resistance was intentionally more common and higher. Nowadays, that assumption no longer holds. While Laser damage is a damage type with inherently higher power, so is energy. And energy lasers exist…

The lowest resistance is valued 4 times as much (or 6 if it happens to be laser). That means a high weakness would… wait a minute! We’re dealing with MODIFIERS (i.e. 0% resistance is 1.0, 100% resistance is 0.0). But in that last bit, we take the highest modifier OR 1.0, which will always be 1.0!

So a value that should scale like this (and therefore make a ship that is super resistant to everything nearly impossible):

instead scales like THIS (and therefore actually allows fully invulnerable ships without issue!):

Ooops.

Augmenter Slots

The other very interesting topic is Augmenter Slots, or the question: “How much strength does each augmenter slot add to a ship”?

The value of an aug slot probably depends on the value of an augmenter, which get stronger over techs (so an aug slot on a high tech ship is worth more than one on a low-tech ship). It probably also has diminishing returns due to the additive nature of augmods, but…


 Tangent: Augmod value

The value of Augmods is determined through relations between the different stats and assumptions about the general meta and educated guesses.

Damage is considered the standard, i.e. +100% damage is a value of 1, every other stat is derived from there. Rate of Fire is much cheaper, since it affects DPS just like Damage, but does not affect DPE. Multifire is slightly more expensive due to the high alpha strike damage potential, but the same principle applies.

An Augmenter is considered balanced if the sum of the value of its bonuses is exactly the value of the augmenter power progression curve for its tech. In short: Add all the bonuses together, compare to the expected value, done.

 


…what about synergies? An individual augmenter CANNOT be balanced around the synergies it provides, nor can it be balanced around every combination with every other aug possible. A single aug with +100% Damage and a single aug with +100% RoF provide the same bonus to DPS individually. In a 1 aug setup, you can use either aug and get the same DPS. In a 2 aug setup, you could use any combination and get the same DPS. In a 3 aug setup however, using either 3 +Damage augs or 3 +RoF augs would suddenly be worse than using a combination.

The issue quickly escalates with more stats. Certain numbers of aug slots open up nicer possibilities for augmenter synergies. Going from 1 aug to 2 augs is MORE than 100% stronger since you no longer need to rely on the synergies provided by a single aug. Going from 7 to 8 augs however is nearly irrelevant.

No matter what, to find out (more or less) exactly how much an aug slot is worth, there is no way around making some calculations with augs that are actually in the game.

Unfortunately, explaining the exact math behind the calculations is too difficult for the scope of this blog, but the gist is simple: Augmods are additive. If I have lots of +Damage from augmods already, more +Damage will not do much. In fact, the more +Damage I have, the more effective +RoF becomes. If I have tons of +Damage and +RoF, then +Critical Strike Chance and Strength becomes very valuable.

The same is true for Shield Recharge and Resistance. And Shield and Resistance. And so on.

After taking the brute force approach and generating millions of augmenter setups using high tech augs, these are the results:

Each row shows the average value of a setup above a certain percentile. The columns containing percentages show the percentage increase in power per increased augmenter slot.

The values for 1 aug make a lot of sense: Augmenters generally hover around ~2.0 in the augmenter balance sheets. Even the very best aug is not THAT far off, even with synergies included.

Going from 1 to 2 aug slots increases the effective stats provided by over a hundred percent. Even going from 3 to 4 is not +33%, but significantly higher!

So lets plug in these values into our current assumptions:

 

Oh my. Worth noting that the calculation to estimate the value of an augmenter slot was severely changed after the Hephaestus Machine and the Prawn. It is also worth considering that the value of an augmenter slot is only needed to compare different hull types (since ~all ships of the same hull type have the same number of augmenter slots), but there are of course some exceptions that would benefit from having proper calculations here (PBF, BS) and getting something accurate would open up interesting possibilities in the future.

… TO BE CONTINUED

 

Developer Blog – 1st February

Hi everyone, here’s an update on what we have done lately. As always, some of these changes may be finished but awaiting patch, so just ask if you aren’t sure if they’re live.

Star Sonata 2012-07-12 15-35-33-59

DarkSteel

We have put together some plans to iron out the cost of Tractoring skill levels 15 through 19.  The provisional idea is to make these skills obtained by turning in various DG-dropped tractor beams.  Alternatively, you will be able to use Adamantium Traction Modules to skip directly from 14 to 19.

NCC

I need a lot of help from the player testing for Red Photon, please pm me on discord for any squads you might have that you would like to attempt my Turret fight with. Possible changes coming in about a 25 man squad but will need to rebalance for that possibility. I have the ability to fix the Lion V2 if I can figure out what is causing it to be tiny!!!

enkelin (me!)

I am project manager for a design pass on the Gunner class.  My role is to supervise Contributors who are putting together the specifics of this project, and to make sure that any changes are fully vetted by the dev team and Jeff himself.  Here’s what Contributor Hober Mallow would like to report about the project.

We all know that Gunners have, for quite some time, suffered from feast or famine gameplay. Anyone who has played a Gunner knows this scenario well: You warp into a galaxy, lets say the first level of a DG, and there are 8 targets. You start firing on them, with your Deathblossom equipped of course, and decimate them quite quickly. You destroy them even faster if you have splash or chain weaponry. But as soon as there is only a single target left, your damage drops off like a rock. The current iteration of Gunner is not fun for a variety of reasons, and we hope to address them in the upcoming months. Gunner skills are going to be adjusted as neccessary, in the interest of making sure Gunner is fun for both single target and multiple target situations.

Here’s what you can expect. Splash weapons will no longer do less DPS than a comparable non splashing weapon, instead they will have worse DPE and have better DPE than a comparable weapon when you are hitting enough targets. The Deathblossom will now use extra energy for each extra shot. The Adv Class Subskill that gives +100% Splash Range will be removed. Missile Mastery will be removed, and Missile Launchers will gain bonuses to give their missiles more damage so that players can scale their missiles up via better launchers. This will be accompanied by an adjustment to missiles at various tech levels, transferring their power into the missile launchers. Finally, the Gunner Analyzer (Shield Remodulation Scanner) will no longer increase the energy used by your weapons for increased resistances. Instead, it will take a portion of your incoming damage and apply it to your energy bank!

The details of these changes will be made available later, stay tuned for further updates!

 

Developer Blog – 16th January

Hi everyone, here’s an update on what we have done lately. As always, some of these changes may be finished but awaiting patch, so just ask if you aren’t sure if they’re live.

Faranight

I have been working on two primary projects.
The first is a Kalthi manufacturing themed item line to invite more interaction with the Kalthi Depths and make Perilium more reliable to farm.

There will likely be wider applications of these assemblies as the technology is explored.

The second is a low tech Paxian Travel ship to use through the mission chains, and serve as a suitable replacement for the Aether Scout’s bugged inbuilt now that it is fixed.
Introducing the Pax Felicitas.

Equipped with dedicated navigation avionics, the Pax Felicitas is ideal for long adventures into the unknown.

Good luck, and safe travels.

NCC

The balance test pass on the Red Photon Turret Challenge Boss went well. Thank you all who attended! We will be adding additional features and hosting another test run in a short while. Afterward just need to come up with some loot numbers and get it good to go.

urza

I have recently reworked the Paxian exploration missions. It was discovered that in the last third of the chain that missions would switch between ones that f2p can complete and only p2p can complete. Changed so that all of the p2p only missions are in a block at the end. Also found and fixed some issues with missions not rewarding enough credits to pay for items purchased. Added 2 new travel ships and a micro warp device. As well as linking missions between all 4 ai stations so players will know the chain continues at the next station.

enkelin (me!)

Based on conversations with the dev team and the press corps, I have made some revisions to the planned revamp to galaxy assault.  Here’s a short summary of the changes that are remaining in the project:

Base mining vulnerability is removed, base projectiles impart vulnerability aura to players and temporary assets, unattached permanent assets receive vulnerability aura near planets and wormholes (in addition to suns), base and permanent drone targeting code is revamped, and PvB nanites are worked over.

Galaxy Assault Revamp Announcement

Hello everyone! In this post, I will fill you in on the work the dev team has been doing to make galaxy assault more enjoyable. I would like to emphasize that we are more than open to discussing the particulars and making changes to the proposal. Let’s view this as a first official communication between the dev team and the community and build from there.

attached_kit

Introduction

In the current galaxy assault mechanics, most of the action takes place between two lines of bases, while players are relegated to tractor ship battles, blocking pulses, and spectating as spirits.  None of these behaviors is aligned with what players actually enjoy doing in the game, i.e. using their ships to deal and mitigate damage.  This represents a gap between the types of game activity that are rewarded in PvE and PvP environments, and the types of gameplay that are necessitated during BvB.  It should come as no surprise, therefore, that many players feel powerless and out of the loop during BvB, which is not how we want the game to feel!

However, there are certain positive aspects of the current galaxy assault system which should not be abandoned without cause.  The conditions on deploying BvB kits (active war, 24 hours owned adjacency, presence of amps if more than five kits) are in place to prevent large-scale surprise attacks, instead giving players some time to anticipate an assault on their space.  The flattening of the power progression of base gear both in terms of tech and tier, and the introduction of inbuilt X gear, have also created opportunities for players (especially newer players) to build respectable defenses without incurring unreasonably high sunk costs.  Lastly, while the preeminence of bases in galaxy assault pushes players to the margins, it does also gesture toward an important consideration of limiting the effect of player activity on the outcome of war.  The reason for this objective is that the game cannot effectively cater to casual players if galaxy assault depends strongly on the ability to play the game at all hours of the day and night.  While we do want to reward player activity, it cannot be allowed to be the single most important factor in galaxy assault.  It’s important to note, however, that this objective is not currently being achieved in the first place: use of ships to block pulses, tractor bases behind obstacles, and create excessive server lag have proven to be decisive strategies even in the face of numerically superior enemies.

Summary of changes

 

Issue

Resolution

Players tanking pulses

Base mining vulnerability removed, base projectile damage increased, and base resistance increased to match.

Tractor ships and sun tanking

Unattached bases and permanent drones will be rooted when they take damage, and will receive serious vulnerability auras when near a sun.

Players spectating in spirits

Base and permanent drone target prioritization is revamped and new mobile permanent drones are created for base assault to help players take cover.

Base healing meta

Base resistance is buffed further, but base healing weapons are nerfed. Each base will be a lot tankier now, and there is less incentive to have so many healing-oriented bases.

Players having no combat role

A design pass is made for player-delivered base nanites that have various debuffing properties.

 

Details

Mining damage

The following changes are being made to match base resistance profiles better with player ships. This is a necessary measure before player blocking of base pulses can be addressed. The changes are also helping to create a greater variety of effective base weapons for galaxy assault, instead of limiting players to Achilles Pulse Gun.

  • Base mining vulnerability will be removed. On a typical base kit, all resistances will be the same.

  • Base weapons will have their damage adjusted to reflect the change to base resistances. All damage types will be comparably effective against bases after this change.

Base damage and tanking

The following changes are being made to prevent players from blocking shots that are intended for a base. They are also helping to disrupt the current defensive meta that relies mostly on healing-oriented bases.

  • Base projectile weapons will do a lot more damage, especially those with short range. It will no longer be feasible to block pulses with player ships or drones.

  • Base resistances will be increased to compensate for the increased damage of base weapons.  Base healing will be reduced.  The upshot is that bases will individually be a lot tankier versus bases than before, but base healing will be less useful.

Target prioritization and player cover

The following changes are being made to help players stay alive during galaxy assault. They will effectively be able to hide under the cover of their bases and permanent drones.

  • Base target prioritization will be changed in the following way. If enemy bases are in range, shoot one of them.  If no enemy bases are in range, look for an enemy permanent drone and shoot that if possible.  If no enemy bases or permanent drones are in range, shoot an enemy player (or player asset).

  • Permanent drone target prioritization will be changed in the following way. If enemy players are in range, shoot one of them. If no enemy players are in range, look for an enemy permanent drone and shoot that if possible. If no enemy players or permanent drones are in range, shoot an enemy base (if any).

  • Players will be afforded a small number of “assault slots” for permanent drones, and new mobile permanent drones will be made available that are designed with a view toward this use.

Player debuffing of bases

The following changes are being made to give players the ability to actively undermine the bases of their opponents.

  • Nanite-injecting weapons that affect base shield regen, energy regen, damage, and rate of fire will be introduced and current weapons of this type will be revised for balance.

  • Base exterminators will be revised for balance.

Design principles

In this section, I set forth a few general principles that we are aiming for in this project. Some of these aren’t possible to achieve precisely, but they will still be helpful in guiding our work.

  • Current popular configurations have ⅔ to ¾ HPS bases. After the change, it will be better to have around ⅓ HPS bases. We will approach this goal by increasing base effective shield regeneration and reducing base healing output.

  • With no players in support, and no sun tanking or other unintended mitigation, it currently takes the attackers 1-1.5x more bases than the defenders to prevail.  After the change, this figure should be somewhere around 3-5x (assuming comparable levels of tech and tier).  Player support should be able to reduce this figure to 1-1.5x, if the defending players and permanent drones are overwhelmed.  In short, an overwhelming player force makes bases 2-3x as powerful.

  • The marginal benefit of additional supporting players drops off substantially, so that a small group of active players is only somewhat less effective than a large group, assuming both are unhindered.

  • BvB amplifier mechanics are revised. Instead of building multiple amplifiers in a single galaxy, players will upgrade a single built amplifier to higher and higher tiers.  Each successive tier is rather more expensive than the previous one, and the expense hinges not only on credits but also substantially on ICs such as Sub-Shield Buffers and Reactors.