It’s been a while now since we’ve put out an update and considering all that is transpiring both in and out of game it seems a favourable time that we let you know where we are with various aspects. (we’ve got to do our bit to keep you from venturing outside!) For some time now our collective effort has been focused on rebuilding the ISW of old, improving and rebalancing where possible, filling in the blanks where our memories have failed us and overcoming the various challenges we’ve had along the way. This has been no small or easy task for any of us and I believe we’ve all had a whole range of emotions from staring at our screens in frustration through to literally laughing out loud at different situations and conversations. Throughout this time, we have rarely had time to stop and think about how far we’ve come and how far we are yet to go and what that might mean for the game and everyone involved. To put things into context a little, players new and old (over a decade ago ) have come together to help us and each other in refining and testing the game. We’ve iterating through several versions of the tick, gone from 9 to 2 to 5 factions, seen the return of the arena, the systems, the ships, the planets, the starbases, the buildings, the npcs, the councils and minerals of old that we all loved and remembered. However, despite reaching a near parity with the old game it became apparent we couldn’t just leave it there, it wasn’t enough to reach a similar footing… things have changed in ten years and we had to go further, so naturally you’ve all joined us in testing several rounds of ship adjustments, NPC invasions, a new building system and even the tutorial.
But that’s not all you’ve been helping us with your feedback, game time, ideas, comments and even the occasional dispute have all helped shape the direction of the game! So please take a moment to pat yourselves on the back and bask in our thanks… we couldn’t do this without you! Soo… please keep your feedback and comments coming! – You have my express permission to pester Dr Who of day with your thoughts and comments (that is his job… he is “Community Manager”). Post in the chat, in game feedback or grab one of us to have a chat… we will always make time where possible or answer you when we can. I appreciate we might not react as quickly as everyone would like, but we will endeavour to do our best. So now let’s move onto what you’re here for… What’s next, and let us first start with an apology, unfortunately we have been slower than we would like because of other commitments, but we are thankfully back on the case and preparing for some big changes so without further ado..
Skills – In an upcoming update your skills will have a much more noticeable and consistent effect on your ships, both how they perform and their attributes. Each level you gain will increase one of the ship stats by a fixed percent per level, unlike the current system which on balance has a much less meaningful impact. This won’t stop a new player schooling your super shiny R4 in their R4 hunter killer, but it will aid your survivability or help more noticeably in a direct R* vs R* show down.
Combat – how damage is calculated within the current game has helped us introduce some new desirable mechanics such as smaller interceptors vs larger battleships, but also some less desirable with ships that are near impossible to hit or where damage fluctuates far more than we would like. We’ve already introduced Handling to help us balance the need for agility vs speed, but this still didn’t go far enough so we feel further they need adjustments. Therefore, we will introduce a tracking attribute, this will allow us to tweak the accuracy of ships directly and independently from their speed, handling and other attributes (so look out for that soon)
Ships vs Modules – So far, we have been reinventing through feedback, gut feel and testing how ships interact and feel. This has culminated in finding a purpose, meaning and impact for each of the original ship stats and working these into our core mechanics. In doing so it’s easy to see ships have become “as a result of their modules” rather than being bolstered by them. We will therefore be adjusting (lowering) all modules stats and instead adding stats to ship hulls for speed, handling, shield, tracking and range. Modules will then have ether a negative or positive effect on the ship (or a combination). This we feel is an important and far reaching change and is leading us to a level of ship customisation that ISW hasn’t ever seen… soon..
Minerals – across the game will soon be renamed and redistributed. Ultimately building an industry system off the back off 44+ elements poses a very significant and insurmountable challenge. Therefore we’ve opted to reduce the minerals in game to 8 Ores (each with numerous versions) that can be refined to 8 minerals. Each ore will contain different amounts when refined of the base 8 minerals. Also note asteroid belts will start to make an appearance, these will appear semi randomly with higher value ores throughout the known systems. These will have a fixed amount (tn) of minerals and will expire once mined. Higher value ores will no longer be found on planets after this point. As part of a transition to this system we will likely sell all minerals held as these are currently used just for Cr . This will aid in transitioning and not disadvantage anyone.
Crafting Once the mineral changes are in place ship building will follow, you will be able to build existing ships with different combinations of the base minerals. This may be slow at first as we add ships or items (yes items) slowly but it will continue to develop
Logistics – has been on hold for two reasons, firstly fleet mechanics and secondly the ability to build logistics vessels… so when time allows you should hopefully see these in a shipyard near you soon.
Planets, Starbases, NPCs – Due to combat being where it is we’ve held off in adjusting these areas of the game just yet, with the new combat we will more readily and reliably be able to determine DPT (damage per tick) and other important metrics to adjust up/or down stats of varying levels mobs, bases, guns, hp’s etc so we will be looking for feedback soon so please don’t think we’re ignoring it.
Wreckages The addition of salvage has been a subtle one and the start of some of our planned passive content, wreckages have the ability to drop items. We are not using this yet but these will soon drop scrap, parts and other useful titbits used to upgrade ships or craft items… these will trickle in and we aren’t likely to announce them (we’ve got to let you have fun working it out?)
Casual Content – Once the above is done you will likely see we are working towards adding items, modules, crafting and a touch of exploration into day to day life… but we will be looking to do more. There have been calls for us to up the interaction with NPC factions and Missions… all of these changes are leading in that direction and to provide you rewards for your endeavours but we’re always keen to hear your ideas, and happy to change things up and try a more scheduled/direct invasions/expansions if you’d like to give that a spin.. (let us know). Again, as with wreckages, I’m not going to give away all of the casual content or confirm them, but we’ve got a few lurking that should be interesting… you’ll just have to keep an eye out or get Who drunk! Anyhow that’s it for now… We better get back to work if you want to see this in the coming weeks.
Yours, Dr. Strange