In Da Starbase - A Warfare Revamp
Today I'm about to tell a fairly pretty tale of what we have planned for the revamp of Starbase Warfare since it can be tested on our public test server to some degree.
Since it was first released in Exodus we have had one expansion that had the biggest impact on the mechanic; Cold Wars and the Dreadnoughts. However, that does not come close to what is coming out in Revelations, part dos.
It has been no secret that:
Starbase combat is not fun..
Since Cold Wars, sieging starbases has always been about bringing the big ships to aim for quick and flawless victory, often meaning 20+ dreads melting a tower in few minutes while mastering your thumb twiddling.
Trying to siege starbases with anything smaller than a capital ship has way too much risk involved and time required to be worth it.
The revamp you are about to see has been in the improvement factory at our office since early January and we are now foreseeing the results in getting improved starbase combat out in our upcoming expansion.
We want to give the smaller groups of pilots not flying capital ships during an assault some meaning in starbase warfare. Not to allow them to deal as much damage or to tank the structures, but ... something.
This will be happening in two major steps;
Bring out them guns!
All sentries that are focused on offensive combat will be forced outside the force field and will not be anchorable inside the field from the day this goes live.
Smaller ships will now have something they can shoot at, the guns, but it's still not as simple as that.
- We want smaller ships to be capable of shooting down them guns.
- We don't want the 20+ capital fleet to liquidate the guns in 5 seconds.
In order to achieve that we have made the following change to starbase structures; once these structures receive 0.1% damage to hull they come incapacitated, or simply go offline.
Balancing hit-points will make sure that smaller ships can take down the shield, armor and 0.1% hull, but for a fleet of capitals it will take quite a while to destroy the structures, making this effort not worth the time - but rather incapacitating the structures and then destroying the tower - as it will be the tower that gives the massive hull boost to the structures.
Of course we will have been doing balancing to the combat of the structures, and it will cover a bigger area than purely damage and hit-points.
Tracking Speed: we will be reducing the tracking a bit on the structures to give smaller ships a better chance to survive.
Scan Resolution: it's unknown to some but the starbase structures have always had a pre-set targeting timer, ignoring the size of the target. They will now get different targeting timers that depend both on the structure size and the size of the target.
CPU Need: we will remove CPU need from some structures, I'll keep from posting the list for now but missile launchers are on the list.
Damage: with tracking and scan resolution reduced we will give smaller ships higher survivability, but yes ... we also want to give the bigger ships a little bit of the so called "harder time", as capital ships have almost become a requirment and become more common than we predicted (nope.. we don't want a single capital ship tanking a big death star without sweating).
Optimal & Fall Off: ranges will be adjusted for the starbase weapon arrays, or let's just say reduced - this is to support the idea of moving the structures outside the force field thus needing to cover less range. Reduced range will also support the smaller ships changes, as they won't get hammered as badly by small, close range, damage dealing structures on the other side of the field.
So far we have made two adjustments to capital ships that will be further looked into early next week.
One: the maximum number a dreadnought can target is reduced to two - this is to prevent avoiding the long locking time of smaller sentries by locking 10 at a time.
Two: carriers/motherships will no longer be able to deploy fighters at starbase to kill the sentries and warp away - fighters will now follow the owner if he warps.
A bonus feature: Structure Control
This is not related to the changes allowing smaller groups to fight against starbases, but I still need to mention it in this blog and this is the only place it 'fits'.
The change involves starbase owners being able to take control of offense-based structures outside the force field and shoot at things.
A new skill and corporation role will be added as requirements before you can try this out, once the new role has been given and the skill trained (1 structure/level), you will have a new starbase management tab that allows you to select structures, take control and start fighting. The Starbase Manager role can also do this.
We will add a new UI to operate starbase structures in a fight as they require the player to use new game-play elements; the structures will not be part of the player targeting mechanism, the player who's controlling them will be required to be inside the force field.
Each structure has its own targeting mechanic so they will be displayed individually and their current target will be shown above the structure. And then ships will go boom.
How can I test this?
On the testing server you can start testing all of these changes. Current status is testing the functionality and finding the feel - the balancing of the above mentioned structure aspects and the UI are still to be completed but both are well on their way.
We've also opened this forum thread for organizing testing efforts and getting feedback from angry and happy people alike. We will be updating the thread as soon as when more changes come in.
Now it's time to git 'er done!
Bye for now,