- Towing a ship into a nebula will now decloak it immediately.
- Game difficulty modifier has been updated and now factors into achievement earned - in progress games will be affected
- Ally victories vs single player victory - Ally = 4X for winner, now 2X for allies (instead of 3), Single victory now = 6X achievement earned (instead of 5)
Changes in Detail
We continue to work hard to improve performance of the game on lower end devices and touch screens. Mobile and tablet usage continues to expand and to reach larger audiences we need to work on this area of the game. With this latest release we are one step closer to releasing a full Tablet app with our current user interface. The new map renders faster on almost all devices. It is much smoother for zooming in and out and performing various actions. If you had a fast computer already then you won't notice this change and the old rendering model will be used.
The Evil Empire
A few months ago a thread was started discussing which races were the most fun to play. The Evil Empire was rated by far the least fun race to play overall. In addition to the low fun, they are among the 3 least winning races (probably part of the problem) in the standard config. With that in mind we have thought long and hard about campaign advantages that would make playing the Evil Empire more fun and balance the race in a way suitable to their style.
This release features 4 changes to the campaign mode that we hope will improve the EE and make them more fun in the process. Remember that all campaign games are capped by the 500 advantage point rule. So no player is likely to have all of the advantages below in the same game.
1) Fighter Transfer - Evil Empire Starbases and Gorbies may now set the Send Fighters or Receive Fighters missions. This mission will transfer fighters up to 200ly just before ship movement. This feature should truly activate the EE free fighters economic advantage by not requiring ships for pickup. It will also alleviate logistical problems of getting fighters to the front lines and will allow Gorbies to truly act as bases without having to land on "risky" planets where tow ships might be waiting for them.
2) Aries Alchemy Ship - Recently there was a thread discussing the useless Aries in the Colonial ship list with the suggestion of giving it to the Rebels. This was a foreshadowing thread as we had already decided to give the Aries to the Evil Empire. No race needs fuel worse than the Evil Empire. The Aries is one of the least built ships in the game but will allow the EE to use any mineral to fuel and move their big fleets. This will certainly increase the "fun" factor and connects well with the Sci-Fi background. The Republic ships were fast moving and wide ranging through hyperspace with few (but some) logistical bottlenecks.
3) Dark Detection - An extension to Dark Sense. Ship captains using the dark sense will detect whether there are hidden enemy ships within 10ly. This does not provide any information other than the # of ships present. It will not decloak a ship or allow an intercept or tow. But it will tell you if there are ships nearby or not.
4) Destroy Planet (Now an economic weapon) - The true power of the Death Star was it's ability to instill fear in the galaxy. This powerful force is now reflected in the Destroy Planet mission. Blowing up a planet will now affect the happiness levels of the entire empire of the race losing the planet. This affect is increased by destroying planets with many colonists on them. The affect is calculated as:
Colonist happiness on all planets - (10 + % of total empire colonist population destroyed).
If you blow up a remote outpost all planets will lost 10 happy points (not a huge affect). But if you blow up a homeworld and destroy 70% of their total population all other planets will have a -80 happy point hit and will be rioting.
This affect is magnified on advanced native populations who fear they will be wiped out based on their government level.
Native happiness on all planets - (10 + % of total empire colonist population destroyed) * (government value / 100)
So Unity = colonist happy drop * 1.8 down to Anarchy which is colonist happy drop * 0.2.
Three or four key planets blown up in succession could destroy an entire empire.
I believe the Evil Empire was given the Gorbie to be considered a race to be feared. Hopefully the above advantages will make that true.
Fascist Double Beams
Despite all the changes above this is perhaps the most significant change in this release. We are setting a precedent by including a campaign feature into the default config. This means that Fascist double beam weapons will now become part of all standard games unless they are explicitly labeled "classic". Fascist players will not need to research double beams. They are becoming part of the Base config for the Fascist. Fascists competing in future Championship matches will have this feature.
Some of you are nodding your heads and some of you are screaming now so I will justify this decision. After running many statistics (View Race Ratings
) it is a proven fact that the Fascist empire has by far the fewest wins among all races. This is on Nu and on previous stats obtained before Nu.
Beside being a lot of fun, Campaign Mode was designed as a way to test out new features for the game and determine their affect in live games. The Fascist are a beam-first race, the Illwind with 10 beam, the D19 with 7 beams, the Saber with 10. Of all the advantages given to them in Campaign mode double beams aligns with the race better than any other. After several dozen games with this advantage active it is quite clear that while it is a lot of fun and certainly helps it is by no means a game-breaker. It still takes 3 Vics to destroy a heavy carrier unless they run out of fighters. The expected affect of this change is to lead to a slightly stronger fascist empire, particularly against the fighter races and a much stronger end game for the fascists when dealing with starbases. Having a stronger fascist will be a negative to privateer players with the result being the Fascists steal a few wins from the privateers. We will see over several years the true affect of this change. Fascist double beams are a combat advantage much like the Fed or Lizard crew bonus.
Does this mean many other campaign features are going to make it into the default config? NO. There may be one or two more added over the coming years but not until the right advantage is found and it's effect is well understood. I hope one of the upgrades above will eventually make it onto the EE default config but it will take us some time to know for sure.
This change will not affect games in progress.
A difficulty modifier will now be applied to all games to determine the achievement earned. This simple formula uses the best ranks (regardless of race) of the players who join a game to determine a relative difficulty for a game. Because there are a minimum of 11 players in a game this can not be easily skewed by one very high ranked player or one very low ranked player so we opted to keep the formula simple and consistent for all players in the game. Therefore your own rank vs the difficulty will not affect the achievement earned. The value is calculated at game start based on the players and their ranks at that time.
The difficulty rating is a value between 0.5 and 3 and will be multiplied by the normal achievements earned. Higher ranks are rated exponentially more difficult. For example a Lieutenant is weighted at rank 3 * 3 = 9 a captain is valued at 25 and an emperor at 121 in their affect on this multiplier. A game of all Emperors would have a rating of 3 and be worth 6X more achievement than an all beginner game at 0.5 difficulty. Campaign awards are not adjusted by difficulty.
In progress games have been updated based on current standings. The difficulty can be viewed on the game page. Consider this when joining a game.
Lastly to put a little more diplomatic challenge into Diplomatic victory games the value of a single player victory has been increased to 6X from 5X bonus and Ally victories are 4X for first place and 2X for allies. Consider this when deciding on your allies.
Fight or Fail
This game option was proposed by first Emperor DungeonMaster as a way to help move games toward completion. The benefits of having a minimum Empire size are many:
- It clearly defines a way to defeat an opponent
- Defeated players do not need to "linger on" in games they are no longer interested in
- "Vassal" situations come at a greater cost
- Ship slots are freed up to players who are actively trying to win
- Games will be shorter
In games where the Fight or Fail option is enabled players who are defeated (less than 15 planets) will not incur a tenacity hit. The Fight or Fail minimum planet count default is 15 but may vary in some games.
Still no Skyfire's being built as even the Skyfire Heavy Cruiser doesn't sit well in the Privateer and Birdman fleets so the Skyfire is being refitted as a heavy transport ship making it a very unique proposition for campaign play. Birdman or Privateer players could consider using this as their primary heavy freighter and give up the LDSF to gain 15 adv points. It is now also the largest torpedo holding cargo space in the game. This change will affect games in progress but since there aren't any Skyfire Heavy Cruisers out there it won't matter.