Captains, after an all-too-long drought, word is finally filtering down through the spice halls that Update #138 has arrived! The extended delay has resulted in an over-sized update, which we will get into detail below. We've improved the ship combat UI, added new animations, sped up play by adding new keybindings and tuning the orbital ops play loop, made balance changes to Rep from ship encounters with Smugglers and Explorers, tweaked 3 RP torps and the Dart Jammer ship, and made a host of small improvements and bug fixes to boot.
We also want to share an important change to the dev roadmap. The 14+ day delay between updates here was in preparation for a big move -- the upcoming release of fighters and carriers. For a number of reasons, we've decided to swap the 6th Era and the launch of Fighters from Carriers. So, while this update does not yet contain the major milestone, it is a huge prep step, especially in the changes to the ship combat UI. When are carriers coming? Soon :D
Once we get past the newly updated v2.4.x, we'll hit v2.5.x and there will be an extended period of adding Eras and vignette story arcs to the game.
But for now, on to the update!
Ship Combat Improvements
With Update #138, missiles finally go boom as they deserve! The new animation helps them stand out from the other types of weapons and helps give that split second warning so your officer can shout "missiles incoming!"
Also with Update #138, the ship combat UI is starting to get the needed stream of improvements that will prepare it for carriers and fighters release. In this update, we've made some changes to the main control scheme, added animation and improved player cues.
The biggest change is the shifting of the move and range change orders out of the center lists. These have now been promoted to a constantly available set of buttons on the left side of the combat HUD, giving the option to escape, retreat, advance or board. Their tooltips have been improved to be more dynamic and list RP cost as well as target range.
You can now get to these with fewer clicks as well as using the newly added keyboard shortcuts (default to Q for retreat / escape and A for advance / board). And of course, setup your own customization for the fastest play.
Finally, to match the weapon counter in the HUD tabs, we've added a checkmark to the Talents tab. If you've selected a Talent to run for the turn, the checkmark appears, so that if you return to your weapons Tab
Ship Builder AI Update
In the last update, the enemy ship builder AI got a little carried away with itself. In the early game, it was gaining accessing to some components that were out of band. We've made another round of improvements to the AI, both softening up its access to more powerful components earlier but also helping it to be more focused in its ship upgrade strategy in the later game. Early game captains will probably see a bit of a reprieve from last update, while late game captains may find their enemies have upped their design game once again.
This update also ties the intelligence of the ship builder to game difficulty more closely which is a trend we'll keep pushing as we continue to make improvements.
Orbital Play Loop
In the endless quest to smooth out pace of play and reduce clicks, we've made an important change to how the orbital ops card games play. If you end up in a ship combat due to a card draw, after the encounter and or combat is resolved you now return directly to the orbital ops screen you were on, instead of the system orbit screen. It is a small change, but for those captains who rely on these operations in their career, it is a big one. Combined with the fast speed option, orbital ops now fly!
Medium Torps and Dart Jammer
After a great discussion on the Steam boards, we've improved medium slot Torpedos. These heavier torps are still best at softening up and crippling the enemy, but for their 3 RP cost they have gained additional points of Accuracy and more Void Damage.
The Dart Jammer comes out of the starport with one additional Officer Cabin and one less Mass Dampener, making it more ready to fly immediately.
As it seems to be a steady point of confusion, we have removed the languag "Boost Ship Skills" from components that increase ship Skill Pools. We've also fixed the install time on Defense Pattern Matrix 4.
Talents Oh Talents
With almost 500 Talents in the game, its a constant drum beat of fixes, rebalances and improvements. With this update, we've improved the rules for Diplomat's "Legal Pressure" Talent which now grants 20% + Intimidate extra when ransoming an enemy ship. The Talent description also warns of the chance to have a small Rep loss for using it.
To avoid too much use of the word "Scavenger" except for the job, we've renamed Mechanic's "Expert Scavenger" Talent to "Orchestrated Salvage". Bounty Hunter's "Red Badge" no longer incorrectly reports affect on xeno rep.
We've fixed a host of issues with Xeno Hunter Talents. "Puncture Points" no longer removes enemy debuffs. "Macabre Harvest" is now correctly counted toward boarding victory Talents. In addition, the Combat Medic "Toxin Terror" no longer remove the buffs from the character using it (what a weird little bug).
v2.4.91 - 3/14/2019
- Added new ship combat animation for firing missiles
- Improved Ship Combat UI: promoted Move Orders to their own space outside of the Talents/Weapons list to reduce clicks to complete orders
- Added new keybinding for Escape/Retreat or Advance/Board in ship combat (Q / A)
- Improved Ship Combat UI: weapons now display their damage inline where you can select them to fire
- Improved Ship Combat UI: checkmark added to the Talent's tab when a Talent has been selected for the Turn
- Added "Map Mode: Limited" option which prevents clicking from starting navigation
- Further adjusted enemy ship builder AI -- better balanced access to powerful components in early game, more focused component upgrades in late game
- Improved Accuracy and Void Damage for Medium Slot, 3 RP Torpedoes
- Improved ship encounter rules for Smugglers (will always take bribes but may cause Rep loss if not bribed) and Explorers (never force a fight)
- Improved repetition of all orbital ops after combat -- immediate return to card game
- Any trade, any quantity, always takes 1 Turn
- New Hyperwarp Trait Mutations - Negative Trait Chance on Fail
- Improved Dart Jammer ship configuration, replaced Mass Dampener I with Officer Cabin
- Improved "Major Setback" card in Orbital Salvage to be more clear affected faction
- Swapped starting Contact recruit types -- Spice Traders now recruit Merchants, Smugglers recruit Smugglers
- Improved rules for Diplomat "Legal Pressure" Talent which now grants 20%+Intimidate extra when ransoming with a chance to lose 0-2 extra Rep
- Renamed Mechanic's "Expert Scavenger" Talent to "Orchestrated Salvage"
- Fixed bug causing Combat Medics "Toxin Terror" to remove user's buffs
- Fixed bugs with Xeno Hunter Talent "Macabre Harvest" not correctly being counted toward boarding Talents
- Fixed bugs with Xeno Hunter Talent "Puncture Points" incorrectly removing enemy buffs
- Fixed bugs with Bounty Hunter Talent "Red Badge" incorrectly interacting with xeno missions
- Fixed overlapping hovers and UI elements in the HUD, hover for Docking on orbital zone
- Removed "Boost Ship Skills" description from Ship Components to reduce confusion
- Fixed install time for Defense Pattern Matrix 4
- Fixed bug in quad map causing indicator that crew need to level to stay present incorrectly