Wow – three patches last week and a dev diary at the start of the week – what’s going on?
Last week’s patches saw many annoying bugs fixed, but there were also changes to gameplay and other additions e.g. the first round of planet management improvements and notifications are a lot less intrusive now. Check out the release notes for each of last week’s patches here: 0.935, 0.936 and 0.937.
There’s still a focus on improving usability and making the game easier to understand, but we’re also trying to address gameplay issues affecting players (thanks to all of you that posted your top 5 issues on the forum for us). Let’s look at one such issue now.
Conquered while you sleep
We’ve heard from players that moves to defend a planet can be too easily bypassed by an attacking player. Even building an orbit defense system or laying a minefield provides little defense. A planet could have:
- A large population/home guard
- Many defensive troops (through military bases)
- Orbit defense system installed
- A minefield encircling it
Yet still be captured in less than two hours? Why – and what can we do about it?
Level 2 minesweepers clear minefields too quickly
Minefields can be deployed to deter another player from approaching or crossing your territory.
But as a level 2 minesweeper can clear a freshly laid minefield in an hour, it certainly limits a minefield’s usefulness as a defensive barrier.
Players have suggested that we should decrease the time it takes to sweep a minefield. We agree and propose the following changes:
- Level 1 minesweeper should take 8-10 hours to sweep a minefield (5 hours currently)
- Level 2 minesweeper should take 3-5 hours to sweep a minefield (1 hour currently)
The duration a minesweeper can sweep for once activated will also need to be increased so that one activation would be long enough to sweep an entire minefield.
Let us know what you think on the forum. We need to find a good balance that enables players to use minefields to defend themselves, without going so far that minesweeping isn’t effective. Maybe there’s something else we should consider?
Orbit defense systems are too easily dodgedOrbit defense systems are great at shooting down assault troops on their way to the surface – depending on the level installed, 25%, 50%, or 75% of them will be annihilated before they arrive – but not so great at attacking fleets in orbit:
- A single fleet entering orbit triggers ALL orbit defense systems installed to fire their collective firepower at it – even if the firepower of one orbit defense system would have been enough to destroy it
- They then can’t fire at another fleet for 20 minutes while they recharge
Which means a player can buy a risk-free 20 minutes in orbit for a dangerous fleet if they send a sacrificial scout in first. More than enough time to launch an invasion and get out again without even a scratch.
Changing how orbit defense systems work
We’ve had a few suggestions from players how to improve orbit defense systems and we think something along the following lines could work:
- Orbit defense systems should fire smaller payloads than they do now but take less time to recharge
- If additional orbit defense systems are installed, they should shoot only if necessary
So instead of firing 1 shot of 1,000 damage and need 20 minutes to recharge, a level 1 orbit defense system would fire 1 shot of 150 damage and need 3 minutes to recharge (both achieve 3,000 damage per hour). And if multiple orbit defense systems are installed, each of them would fire one after the other if necessary.
For example, if a scout with 150 HP enters orbit and there are 5 orbital defense systems installed, only the first shot of 150 damage is fired. The other 4 shots of 150 damage remain available for the next fleet, and in 3 minutes time there will be 5 shots of 150 damage available again.
We’re yet to finalize the changes for orbit defense systems, so if you do have any feedback then please let us know 🙂
Until recently it was possible to invade and capture a planet in only 36 minutes! A bug meant that if no military bases were installed the invasion would take around 12 hours, if they were installed – which is often the case – it would take only 36 minutes!
This bug was fixed in a recent patch, so the length of an invasion should now be correctly relative to the sizes of the forces involved – and a well defended planet will take longer to capture.
Military bases and defensive troops
Players have also been telling us that constructing military bases doesn’t add enough defense to the planet.
There are two technologies that can be researched that will increase the strength of defensive troops: Military Codex and Tactical Coordination (constructing military bases provides defensive troops to the colony). In the recent 0.937 patch, we increased the strength boost they give to defensive troops from 10% to 100% each.
So if the strength of defensive troops is 1, researching the first technology will increase it to 2, and then researching the second technology will increase it to 4! With these technologies researched, military bases and the defensive troops they provide become much more valuable assets for defending a colony.
It’s frustrating not to be able to influence the outcome of an invasion while it’s in progress, but more gameplay mechanics will be added to invasions in the future. Improving the existing mechanics is all we have time for right now.
Syntis and happiness of organic populations
Another change we’re planning to make shortly is to give the Syntis the ability to research and construct a type of building that increases the happiness of organic populations on their colonies. It’s something players have been asking for, especially since more minor factions have been added to the game.
They will work like entertainment centers but will give a smaller boost to happiness. They could be ready for the next patch…
Speaking of the next patch, we’re not sure yet when it will be, but will update you when we know more.
If you have any feedback or comments on anything discussed above, please let us know on the forum.
See you again soon 🙂
– The Outscape dev team