Developer's Blog 5/29/2012
by, 05-29-2012 at 09:42 AM (23863 Views)
The Oncoming Storm
Ladies and gentleman of the Face of Mankind Community, I come before you this evening with a Developerís Blog that will quite probably shake the very foundations of this game. The changes that I am about the discuss are much needed revisions, but will certainly be something that a lot of players are apprehensive about. These changes are primarily about balance and transparency, while also adding several layers of customization and depth. I'd like to first thank duplex, the original developer, for his help with this patch, it would not have been done this quickly or efficiently without him.
-- World Takeover Changes --
- World Takeover Contract -
As per a previous Developer's Blog, Mercenary departments will now be getting a contract type that allows them to participate in world takeover goals. This contract type, only available to the Rank 7 of a faction, allows them to build military activity and contribute to the population counter of the contracting faction. This will pay directly from faction funds and be logged to the Faction Event log. The contract will be paid as soon as the goal on the world is deleted, regardless of whether that be due to a failure or a success.
- Siphon Income Faction Goal -
Now available to the Guardians of Mankind and Brotherhood of Shadows is a special goal that allows them to siphon some income from the world owner. This goal is based upon the world takeover system, utilizing the same mechanics for building activity. However, there are some very core differences, in that object ownership is never transferred and battle phases are never triggered. What will happen though, is the income split for world ownership at 50% MA and 75% MA.
There are also two special "perks" per faction that are activated at 50% and 75% respectively. For the Guardians of Mankind, all players will be charged neutral taxes at 50% MA, and at 75% the Dominion Sales Tax will be cut in half for sales on the world. For the Brotherhood of Shadows, all players will be able to transfer illegal items from the world at 50%, and penalty points will be disabled at 75%.
This goal will be subject to the same rules as world takeover goals, but not cost anything to place. Consecutive goals in the universe will also result in the static decrease rate increasing on all of the worlds that the faction is siphoning from.
- Balancing -
To prevent the timezone wars and colony swapping from becoming too problematic, I have re-implemented a delay between world takeovers, but set it at 18 hours rather than 48. This will give the faction that has won the battle a little time to recover, and also allow the previous owner to mount a counterattack. If the faction fails to conquer the world, there is no delay other than the 12 hour delay that the faction must wait to place a goal on that world again.
The Economic Activity system will so be fixed in this patch, correctly tracking a factions royalty ownership, but resetting their activity points every in-game week. This means that world takeovers will no longer interfere with economic activity.
The last thing that will be changing in regards to the system is the length of battle phases. The first phase will be reduced to 45 minutes of holding time, the second to 30, and the last to 20.
-- Player Education --
- Hint System -
New player education is a well known problem, and to address this, I am adding a system of educational hints that will display when new players perform new actions. They will only show once, and are easily disabled/reset. These hints will mostly be reactive, educating them on things that may not instantly be clear. Thing like terminal usage, interfaces, prison, cloning, and being arrested.
-- Combat System Revisions --
- Removal of all Quality Levels -
One thing that has been in this game for far too long is quality levels. They were always meant to add a level of depth that they just never succeeded in doing, creating a large disconnect between rich players and poor players in terms of combat effectiveness. In this next patch, they are being completely removed from the game, all items will be defaulted to their high quality values.
- Removal of the Weight System -
The weight system has always been a difficult beast. Balancing it is possible, but doing so requires making the game much slower paced, as the entire principle of the system is that items slow you down. Healing items are of such an importance that this system just cannot exist. When I get to the biggest change, you'll understand why.
- Non-exclusive clothing and armor -
Universal armor and clothes has been requested since the moment it was removed. Players have repeatedly asked for diversity and now they will get it. The issues created by this cannot be ignored either though.
With there being no points of identification other than a small, buggy badge, we need a way for players to identify each others factions. Players will now be able to see a faction icon above their names, unless they are in the government, in which case you will just see that logo. To help streamline this in world takeovers, when a goal is placed on the world, all factions will see small arrow icons above other players heads.
This icon will be green when they are an ally, red when they are an enemy, and yellow when they are any other stance. Your own faction will not have an icon above their head, and mercenaries under a contract will see the relations of their employer. This icon is affected by shadows and does not glow or becomes larger at a distance. There is also an option to disable this from even being visible.
- Armor Revisions -
With the implementation of universal armor, hundreds of new items are now available for everyone to play with, but it raises an interesting problem. For the longest time, all other types of protection have been made inferior due to the sacrificed protection from ballistics and energy weapons.
The solution to this is to change the way armor protection values are calculated, looking at the set as a whole, rather than the individual piece hit. For example, if you were to fight the Law Enforcement Department's stuns, you could use two pieces of Locans, one piece of Infensus, and One piece of Pythica. This combination would give you reasonable protection against ballistics and energy, but also give you the protection you want from stuns.
By doing this, we give reason to different armor and item builds, allowing players to choose an armor set that suits them. To help prevent different combinations from looking too ridiculous, the previously factional coloring will now be associated with different types of protection, or a different purpose. This will allow players to easily identify the general purpose of an opponent's armor build, without having to memorize every type of armor and their values.
With this, all of the armor, boosters, food, and medical supplies are going to be changed. Every item as you know it will change.
- Attribute System -
Every single game on the face of the planet has statistics and attributes in some form or another. Typically in a shooter, these are all hidden behind easy to understand bars and players just get a "feel" for their loadout. With the above changes though, we believe some additional attributes are necessary, along with a level of transparency that allows you to better understand your character and their strengths/weaknesses.
Most of the attributes are ones that you are used to playing with, while a few new ones are being added to help balance out the unpredictable element of player skill. This element of skill is, and always will be the central point of the combat system, but what we hope to do with some of these mechanics is to balance out that skill in a way that allows some players to compensate for their abilities. I would ideally ask that you play it before judging it, but as I know that will not happen, I ask that you at least read through this section and contemplate it for some time before commenting.
As an overview, the new statistics are:
Agility: Your current movement speed, affected by your armor and weapons.
Weapon Failure Chance: The chance that your weapon may not do any damage.
Protection Failure Chance: The chance that your armor may not protect the damage at all.
Defense Rating: The chance that you will take less damage from the attack.
Block Rating: The chance that you will block the shot entirely.
Critical Offense Rating: The chance that your attack will do more damage.
Addiction: The level of your addiction. The more addicted you are, the shorter the duration of boosters will be. With this, you can get addicted to the point that you could use a booster and it will instantly vanish.
Addiction Treatment Rating: The level of addiction removal. This factor will remove addiction, and is increased by medical armor, anti-addiction armor, and water.
Aura: This one is only here as a mention. It is not actually a new stat, itís just Consciousness renamed. This word brings up a lot of images to some players, but it is actually your state of perception.
Now, I know what you are thinking. Chance is something that has always been frowned upon in this game, and it is not something that is added lightly. The balance will mostly be a dynamic between skill and chance, allowing players to sacrifice protection for chance, based on how comfortable they are with their skill. It will be a tightly balanced dynamic, and we will not rest until it is perfect.
I understand that this is all very different, but I ask all of you to soak it all in and consider all of the possibilities. Consider a set of armor that has very little protection value, but a high chance of blocking shots. Consider a set of armor that actually heals you in battle in return for less protection, or one that lets you move faster and have less recoil. Then, I ask you to imagine all of the combinations and possibilities that arise from this.
-- Final Notes --
For the last year and a half we have worked very hard to bring you all a very fun and exciting game. It has been a long road, but we are now at a turning point. This is the moment that will either make or break our game. Not my game, not neXeon's game, but OUR game. The game that all of us have worked hard to grow and keep alive. The game that all of us have played and loved for what seems like an eternity.
The largest advertisement campaign in FoM history is current planned for next month, and without all of us putting in as much as we can, this will not work. I ask that you place in me the same trust that I am placing in all of you. I ask that you wait for these changes and experience them before judging them, and that you approach this as open-minded as you can. It has been a long road my friends, but today, is a new day.
For all of us,
"They had mocked him through his misery and remorse, mocked him with how hideous a note of cynical derision! Fiendishly laughing, they had insisted on the low squalor, the nauseous ugliness of the nightmare. Now, suddenly, they trumpeted a call to arms. 'O brave new world!' They were proclaiming the possibility of loveliness, the possibility of transforming even the nightmare into something fine and noble. 'O brave new world!' It was a challenge, a command."
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World