PvP Refactor & More!
Captains, two items have likely come to your attention recently that warrant an explanation. First, the monthly event has been rescheduled. Second, we’re suddenly very interested in feedback on PvP and Bounty. The reasoning for both has the same source:
PvP is on the bad side of broken right now.
The first step to implementing a solution to this is to fully understand the problem. So what are the problems?
PvP requires that you can adjust to your enemy, and you can’t currently do that. In Tier 7, we set out to create a system of 6 Conqueror Hulls, 3 Defender Hulls, and Turrets to match that cover a complete set of damage types, in order to provide a comprehensive level of choice for both attackers and defenders. However, we then proceeded to roll that content out slowly over time, meaning the picture has been up to this point (and is still!) incomplete and choices are overly limited.
PvP is overly convoluted, which makes it hard to adapt even if you do have all the pieces at your disposal. Some stats are overly complicated or interact with each other in convoluted ways. We all understand that Battle Pirates is a game of complexity and stat-crunching, that’s a major part of its appeal, but there are more elegant ways to make a strategic game than by confusing and overwhelming everyone.
New ships are heavy, and those who don’t have their Dock at the appropriate level are locked out of Tier 7 PvP. Again, we want to incentivize players to level up and get involved in more advanced levels of gameplay, but locking players out entirely is not be the correct solution.
Steamrolling lower level players is not a fun or satisfying experience. It’s not fun for the people being steamrolled, and it’s honestly not much fun for the people doing the steamrolling (most of the time).
There is no value in the baseline PvP experience. Outside of Bounty, what’s the point in doing PvP? There’s not much of one.
Alright, that was cathartic, glad we got that out of our system. Let’s talk solutions.
Design has come up with a three month plan to get PvP back on track, which can be broken up into three-part plan:
Complete the PvP picture.
Bring the picture into focus.
Give the picture meaning.
Completing the picture means we need to get the remainder of Tier 7 PvP content into player hands, because as long as that content is not in the game we are dealing with an incomplete PvP experience. So, the first remaining Conqueror hull is being deployed as the top prize of the August Raid; the second remaining Conqueror hull is being deployed as the top prize in August Bounty; the final Defender hull is being deployed as the top prize in the September Bounty. With that, we are all caught up on Tier 7 PvP (outside of Flagships, but those are less critical).
In order to get that content ready, and to ensure we have the rest of our ducks in a row on prizing, we delayed the August Raid by one week to now start on the 16th (gasp! A callback to the first paragraph). The Raid will be a continuation of the current Assault cycle, and there will be no new PvE content in this Raid nor in the entire month of August. It’s not that we don’t love you, PvE, but that’s more than enough content for one month, thank you very much. Besides, this gives many players who are behind a chance to catch up before the upcoming Skirmish cycle!
Early access for the Skirmish cycle will start in September, and more details on September and beyond for PvE will follow in our “What’s All This About a Skirmish Cycle?” post on August 21st.
So you’ve played through August and September and claimed all of this remaining PvP content. Now what? Now we remove the murk from the bog.
All Tier 7 PvP content, along with a few other items, will be going through a content refactor (yes, even the newest stuff that’s coming out in August). This refactor does NOT mean we are fundamentally changing the way a hull works. If a hull was designed to work well in a particular situation, it will still work well in that situation following the content refactor.
The purpose of the refactor, instead, is to remove the unnecessary stats and convoluted tunings from this latest batch of PvP tech. This should allow design to provide a clear sense of choice to players for what you’re bringing to combat, how your choice will fit, how it will be strong, and how it can be countered. Will some stats change? Yes, they will change, but don’t let that startle you. You have all the pieces of the puzzle, the refactor simply ensures all the pieces fit together. Now you’ll be able to engage in fun, strategic combat with your fellow captains with all the pieces and a clear picture of how to use them.
In October and beyond, once the content delivery of Tier 7 and subsequent refactor is complete, we turn our attention to giving baseline PvP actual value. There’s currently not a compelling reason to do non-Bounty PvP other than for the heck of it, which is not a good enough reason for most people. Yet, when surveyed, a vast majority of our population said they want to play PvP and feel they simply don’t have a good enough reason, a good enough understanding, or a good enough point of entry.
While we are still finalizing the details of our new baseline PvP system, those conversations are well and truly underway, and they should inform the way we go about correcting Bounty as well (gasp! Another callback). For those who haven’t found reason to care about PvP in the last few years, we strongly believe that this refactor and our new baseline PvP experience will inject fun and compelling reasons to get back into the mix once again.
Long term and philosophical changes are so...long term. And philosophical. “What can you do for me right now, Battle Pirates team?” I hear you ask. Well, there’s a few other changes that happen independently of this balance tuning that we believe are going to meaningfully move the needle towards a healthier PvP landscape. They are:
PvP free-for-all gating is increasing to level 80 in the 8.32 deploy (Tuesday, August 7th). This is a temporary fix for our level banding issues, with a more permanent fix slated for October.
Fleet Weight limits in the Dock are being increased to allow players to build heavier fleets at all levels, opening up the ability to make use of modern content to even more players, even if your base is not completely maxed out. This is also happening in the 8.32 deploy.
We’re adding World Chat into the game!
Good luck out there, Pirates!