It's that time once again. GD Aruspex, Lead Designer of Battle Pirates, is back with another missive regarding the State of the Game as we head into the new year!
Let's take a look!
The end of the year is upon us and it’s time to cover the State of the Game for Battle Pirates!
Return of the Four Month Cycle!
In 2017 we took our 4 target types (Siege, Garrison, Assault, and Skirmish) and gave them their own 3 month raid cycle. As we progressed through each cycle, we learned that some target types are easier to transition into than others. Further, instead of creating another three month cycle where you did nothing but Garrison combat, we are moving Garrison into its own Forsaken Mission cycle. This means Garrison is now officially outside of the raid structure (more on this below). Finally, we’re expanding the length of each of the three remaining raid cycles to 4 months, similar to the pace we had in 2016.
Siege now runs from January to April, Assault now runs from May to August, and Skirmish is September on. The new Garrison cycle begins in March, and runs offset from the regular raid cycle to ease pressure on shipyards, every four months as well.
The basic structure remains the same: The hull, weapon, and special are earnable, then the flagship. After the flagship we then offer some optional escalations. Along the way we are re-introducing the concept of refittable TacMods, in the form of a specialized “battle bridge” structure on your hull called a “CIC” (Combat Information Center).
Each CIC promotes the styles of gameplay the hull is best at and allows you to create specialized fleets. Examples include the Forsaken (Auto) hull getting a series of defensive bonuses from its matched CIC (Impact CIC), whereas the Draconian (Skill) hull will get a series of utility bonuses from their matched CICs (Mercy and Capacitor CICs). CICs have limited ability to be used on other hulls, and there will be multiple CICs for each cycle hull. CICs are tuned for refitting, allowing you to shift your fleet specializations around as needed.
This is all made possible with our expanded cycle time of 4 months. We will be posting a hull lifecycle plan shortly as well as a longer explanation of CIC TacMods.
Garrison Becomes the FM Cycle
There was a lot of feedback that a dedicated Garrison event cycle at the same time as weekly FM play was not fun (“Three months of nothing but mortars” as one player put it). We will remove the Garrison from the raid cycle and place Garrison on it’s own “FM cycle.” Garrison hulls and gear will remain available in the Event as prizes.
Garrison can be some of the most fun targets in Battle Pirates. The “mostly buildings, sometimes ships” gameplay works at most range and weapon types. But Garrison also suffers the most when the targets don’t change for months on end. So our solution is to spice up Garrison every four months and offer specialist hulls for new top targets.
The Garrison/FM cycle begins in March and updates every three months (March, July, October), offset from the regular Event cycle to reduce pressure on the shipyards. Just like with the regular raid cycle, we will be phasing out top targets and bringing in new ones throughout each cycle. During this new cycle we will offer one new T7 hull, weapon, special, and CIC battle bridge that is optimized toward these new top targets.
The goal is to promote more variety of Garrison gameplay and provide a set of T7 tools to attack them. Because of this, we’re committed to maintaining all three hulls (codenamed “Xavier, Ygritte, and Zaphod”) as viable throughout the year.
If you choose to invest in each new hull that comes through, you will find your ships optimized for the newest targets. The FM is about efficiency when you do it week after week, so our goal with Garrison in 2018 is to provide higher efficiency as the goal in the newest targets. In most targets the newest hulls will play the fastest. Your older T7 Garrison hulls will work as well, just not as efficiently.
Thanks to CICs, we expect smart players to find a way to mix and match their battle bridges to create surprising Garrison hybrid fleets. Since we are committed to all Garrison T7 hulls being viable throughout the year, this is an expected outcome of this new cycle!
Expeditions Embarking Soon!
When we sat down to look at reducing the amount of time you spend gaining advanced resources (Uranium, Titanium, and Base Parts), we realized that the best way to reward expert players was not to ask them to do the same combat many times, but to give many results from the same single combat. We also wanted to remove repair from being a limiting factor on resource gain. Basically, we wanted to find a way to create “Resource Blitz” without requiring coin.
Enter Expeditions. Select one of the three resources. Then select a fleet to go get that resource. Then fight a single battle for that resource. Based on how well you do, a cycle time will be set for you to get that resource. Without any further action, your fleet will automatically go back and forth, collecting that resource (off map) and returning it on schedule.
Your Expedition fleet will continue to do this automatically: leaving for a set amount of time based on your combat performance in the target and then returning with the resource. The fleet will continue gathering that resource until you recall the fleet or an overall resource timer ends.
When the fleet is recalled or the overall timer ends it is available immediately and fully repaired for your use.
Players may choose to unlock more than one slot for each Expedition resource, embarking multiple fleets to gather resources. However, there is a catch -- each time a fleet drops off resources, the total amount of resource per trip decreases.
The goal is to give all players a basic, easy-to-understand system for automatically gaining resources, and also to give those of you who want a little more strategy and complexity the option of managing multiple fleets at once.
Look for a video and write-up on the forums explaining Expeditions and the strategies behind automated resource gathering.
Lower Weapon Build Times
Earlier this year we established a new set of rules for weapon build times to bring back down total fleet build time. After watching how it performed, we’re reducing all pre-T6 and a few remaining T6 weapons to this new formula, resulting in many times being cut by half or more. This should shave many hours off most hull builds.
To promote newer players, we also cut build times to the bone for Research weapons, giving players in that area of the game a considerable leg-up to get to the mid-game quicker. Early game blueprints will use the new formula but not be so dramatically reduced.
Good luck, Captains!