State of the Game: Fall 2016 Edition

CM DOOMROOSTER
CM DOOMROOSTER
KIXEYE Community Manager
Joined Jan 2014 Posts: 4,939
edited 7 Sep 2016, 4:22AM

Greetings Captains!

We wanted to share our perspective on the initiatives started this year and give insight into those still on the horizon. Like last time, we encourage you to voice your feedback regarding the state of the game and our plans for the future.


-- Event Arc: We learned a lot from the Civil War arc and have already applied many of those lessons to the upcoming Reaver arc. Check out the Skirmish Foundry line and targets to get needed tech and practice against the upcoming raid targets!

-- PvP: The PvP/PvE separation was necessary for us to create a more balanced and dynamic experience. We want to continue making PvP more meaningful, so we are looking to improve the Medals system before the end of the year.

-- Mega Ships: Initial player feedback met expectations, but this is only the tip of the Mega iceberg. Hiving, Reaver Mega Ships, and more improvements are coming soon.

-- ‘Chores’: We are planning on improving the experience while still staying true to the fundamentals of Battle Pirates. We are also looking to change Sector Threat since it is such an uneven experience for players.

-- Communicating Change: We found that players adapt to change better when it is clearly telegraphed and gradually released. We will continue to strive for transparency, but we will always change our plans late in the game if it results in a better experience.


Let's take a look!

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Next Event arc - Return of the Reavers

With the death of Borbas, the Reavers are without central leadership. Wild bands of roaming Reavers have coalesced into loosely organized warbands and clans, led by brutal and cunning warlords. With a newfound fury, the Reavers return to lay waste to anyone they encounter - Legion or Forsaken.


Earlier this year we shifted our Design master plan and moved towards a 4-month event cycle. We just wrapped up the first full series in August, and we’re taking some learnings with us into the next arc - Return of the Reavers.


As you may have noticed, there is now a designated hull that is most efficient in each event arc. During Civil War, this was the Apollo. For the new arc you’ll want the Hellwraith, the only Tier 5 Skirmish hull designed specifically to take on Reaver Armadas. Players got early access at a premium during the August event, but it will be available each month from September - December at the normal cost of 15M points.


If you don’t have a Hellwraith yet, fear not! Use your Tiger Sharks, Nighthawks, Spectres or Barracudas to work through the event sets. After December, Reaver Armadas will replace current Armadas on the world map, so your investment in the Skirmish line will continue to pay off.


There will be some minor updates to the event sets compared to previous months. Most noticeably, we are getting rid of the A, B, C set designation and instead switching to Tiers so you can better gauge the tech requirement. Completing sets will still pay out bonus points. Here is the new structure:


September: (all brand new Reaver Armadas)

Tier 5 - 1 target

Tier 4 - 3 targets

Tier 3 - 4 targets

Tier 2 - 3 targets


October:

Tier 5 - 1 new target, 1 old target (from September)

Tier 4 - 3 old targets

Tier 3 - 4 old targets

Tier 2 - 3 old targets


November:

Tier 5 - 1 new target, 1 old target (from October)

Tier 4 - 3 old targets

Tier 3 - 4 old targets

Tier 2 - 3 old targets


December:

Tier 5 - 1 new target, 1 old target (from November)

Tier 4 - 3 old targets

Tier 3 - 4 old targets

Tier 2 - 3 old targets


Our goal is to keep most of the targets similar from month to month, while also providing a new challenge for the most skilled players.


PvP Separation

  • The PvP/PvE separation transition was tough for both us and the community; we learned a lot in the process!

  • The PvP separation is trending towards a deeper and more strategic PvP meta as a result of PvP power stabilization and new PvP design plan. This is a large improvement compared to the data we were seeing before the split.

  • We’re actively working to continue to add more Conqueror hulls to diversify the meta further.

  • The average win ratio across level bands are looking generally healthy. However, at the very top end, the win ratios look a little low. We’ll be looking to address that over the next several months.

  • Will improve “low level” base defense tech as needed to account for any power escalation in order to retain existing or similiar win ratios in other brackets.

Making PvP More Meaningful

  • Team initiative to bring PvP back more into the fold and make it a major part of the game again. We’ve executed some of this with various PvP updates (PvE vs. PvP, OP8, Mega Ships, etc.), but want to continue to expand and build on that foundation.


  • In the short term, we are going to be reviewing older PvP systems (such as Medals) and seeing what needs to be updated, removed, or if additional PvP systems are required in order to enhance the PvP experience.


  • Longer term, one of our goals is to try to provide alternatives to PvE activities by providing new PvP content, resources, etc. through doing PvP activities instead of strictly PvE. This is going to require some additional time and investigation on our end, but is something we are exploring at this time.

Mega Ships

  • A sizable amount of players are either beginning to get Mega Ships onto the world map or are in the process of building the Hyperion.


  • We’re going to be extending the beta period for Mega Ships for the next few months so that we can gather more data and receive a wider range of feedback. We will be carefully changing Mega Ship systems and content as needed during this time.


  • The Hiving feature is next on the list when it comes to Mega Ships. It will become a core part of the Mega Ship experience and provide interesting map strategy along with integrating combat and non-combat benefits for the hived alliance.


  • The first module set to interact with Hiving will be a Drone Module and Drone Bridge. This will help Mega Ship owners defend themselves against attacking fleets and also allow for the drones to aid linked Mega Ships when they become under attack.

  • We’ll be introducing additional levels of Modules as well as Mega Specials that will greatly improve the strength and strategy depth to Mega Ships. This will occur over the next several months.


‘Chores’

  • With the introduction of Sector Threat, our goal was to enable players to play on their own time table and be able to acquire the resources they needed to progress in the game.


  • With the “KIXEYE time” restriction being lifted, we saw a dramatic increase in players participating in non-PvP activities. As a result, players told us they felt compelled to constantly do these activities for their entire play session.


  • While we want players to have some freedom on when to do these activities, we’re looking to provide a more structured pacing so that players have some relief to enjoy other aspects of the game.


  • We’re going to be re-evaluating Sector Threat as the first step towards reducing “chore time”. We believe part of the issue stems from the constant need to maintain a specific threat level (Yellow, Orange) in order to optimize the payouts.


  • We’re also investigating Rogue Crews to see where these can fit in to help improve payout rates and/or reduce “chore time”.



Telegraphing And Communicating Change

As always, we will continue to announce whatever changes we are planning as early as possible. However, this statement comes with the caveat that all information presented may be subject to change. While we are committed to sharing what information is available on our roadmap to provide transparency and to give our players as much lead time as possible, last minute adjustments to our schedule or features may occur. We need this flexibility to provide the best possible Battle Pirates experience for you the players. We will continue to post monthly Works In Progress posts, Weekly Release Notes, Feature Briefings and Event Briefings in an attempt to bring you all the news that’s fit to print. Whether it’s to announce a transition between targets in the Forsaken Mission or telegraphing the arc of an event (both in regards to target composition and format) we are dedicated to improving the level of communication we provide for you both via our forums and in-game.


For example, with the FM, we are seeking ways to create targets that are fun, fair, and serve a wide range of players. Rather than doing sudden and wholesale changes that can feel sometimes feel jarring, unbalanced and frustrating, we’re shifting to both testing and introducing new targets very gradually in Forsaken Missions. There are a few steps we’re trying:


  1. Start with a test target, available for a limited time (i.e. 1 week). This test target may have inflated point payouts or even a VXP multiplier, to incentivize trying them out during the test period.

  2. Once the test period is over, remove the target for further iteration.

  3. Re-introduce the target the next month, for further “in-game testing,” or possibly make it permanent.  

  4. We will always run older targets until the test targets are ready for permanent release.


By taking this iterative and gradual approach, we hope players will see and feel the change being telegraphed and have a smoother time preparing for an eventual permanent change.  For us, the benefit is ensuring the targets are balanced, so all of our players will be challenged but also effectively progress.


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