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Mech Armada update for 4 February 2022

Update 0.10: Improved Economy

Share · View all patches · Build 8135771 · Last edited by Wendy

Patchnotes via Steam Community

Hi Everyone,

We've had some pretty hefty updates, but 0.10 is indeed our biggest one yet.
TL;DR:

  • Parts can only be spawned a limited number of times at the same time
  • Energy cost no longer goes up when you spawn parts
  • Energy cap removed
  • Added upgrade level 3.0 to all parts
  • Energy costs rebalanced across the board
  • Energy is auto-collected at the end of battle if a Mech stands on an Energy Pod
  • Dual wielding weapons is now supported
  • Many other fixes, additions and quality of life improvements

If you just want some details on what's new, skip to the New Energy Economy section below. For some backstory, read on...

Listening to the Community

It all started with a Discord message.

Back in late September, user agmk mentioned that, after reading the Design Principles Post, he felt that the game was not flexible enough. It was causing him analysis paralysis, which goes against our fundamental ideas. By God, was he right. Back in those days, after you built a Mech you couldn't change anything and your only option was to scrap it at a heavy loss; needless to say, the decision to build any Mech was not to be taken lightly.

Thus the original incarnation of Transform was born in 0.4, back in October. And it completely changed how the game is played. Transforming became the main way to build your Mech team over time, so much so that I had to make the interface more flexible in 0.8 in December so that you could do any transformation at any point.

That's when I started hearing about how some players were beating the game at the highest challenge...

Very early on, in my playtests during the prototyping phase, I quickly learned that the optimal strategy for the game was to slowly build up to a team where each and every Mech had the absolute best parts you had available. This was bad because it it created a single dominant strategy and it made many of the parts useless in most contexts. I solved the problem by having increasing energy costs to spawn parts - the more you spawn, the higher the cost, so you're incentivized to have a balanced team. And for a while, this worked as intended, as with a relatively low energy cap it was impossible for full teams to use the same parts over and over.

And then, Transform happened. Now it was possible to build Mechs incrementally, so it was also possible to build very homogeneous teams even if the cost was high, if you had enough energy, as you could bypass the cap. Suddenly everyone had Triple-slot bodies with Gatlin and Damage guns, and not much more.

Something had to change.

New Energy Economy and More Upgrades

The first change you'll notice in 0.10 is that now parts have a maximum number of uses. You can only have a limited number of them spawned in the field. Some parts are really limited and others less so, but you can't use the same part in every Mech anymore. Because of this, we no longer need to increase the spawn energy cost with every part you spawn, so energy costs are always the same.

This introduced a problem in the energy economy, and the costs in general had to be rebalanced.

But that wasn't all. Often, building a team with just the strongest parts (even if it was more costly) resulted in an overall stronger team. Without being able to do that anymore I worried that the game would become too hard. So, to compensate I added a second upgrade level to each and every part. You can now bring them up to level 3.0 and they are stronger than ever. I'll let you discover what they do for yourself - the easiest way is to look at them in the Part List in the MACC, as the tooltips now show the final upgrade.

With these changes, the game feels better:

  • Increasing energy costs was confusing, especially for new players. Simple costs are easily understood.
  • Instead of the main strategy being pouring energy into a small set of parts, the game makes you think about which upgrades to invest in, as well as synergies between parts.
  • Progression is more tangible with the stronger 3.0 parts - you can literally see your team improving after every battle.
  • Transforming your mechs feels natural, with no hidden costs after using parts.

Playtesting revealed that players were ok with the maximum uses. But there was still a problem. In order to rebalance the economy, the basic costs for some parts had increased. In practice, this was offset by the cost not going up after spawning, but left the problem of certain Mech Blueprints being too expensive to build outright, because of the energy cap.

Originally intended to limit how much upside there is in a mission (to prevent trivializing the rest of the run), it wasn't doing its job anymore as you can Transform anytime, so you can always sink your extra energy before you hit the cap. But extensively using Transform wasn't intuitive to new players, so they were at a disadvantage. Long story short, the energy cap is gone. If you had invested in the Energy Capacity Improvement, 0.10 will automatically refund your meta-energy.

Quality of Life

The changes in these section came as a result of my playing the game and trying to smooth out some of the rough edges. I called them Quality of Life but in reality they add flexibility so you can play the game however you want.

Edit Blueprints

The first one actually falls out of Transform becoming integral to the game. The emphasis was no longer on building the best set of Blueprints to spawn, as you could change existing Mechs at any point. So people would create "seed" Blueprints, with just legs and a body, and flesh them out after spawning. To make this easier, now you can edit your Blueprints or add new ones at any point, even in the middle of a battle.

Undo Improvement Selection

Another area that required more flexibility is Improvements (meta-upgrades). In 0.10 you can undo your Improvement selection at any point if you change your mind, with no penalty.

Energy Auto-collect

Lastly, I hope to banish the ghost of energy farming once and for all. Up until now, if you wanted to drain an Energy Pod you had to stall the Swarm while you collected the energy. In 0.10 Mechs will auto-collect energy at the end of a battle if they're standing on an Energy Pod. How much energy is auto-collected is controlled by an Improvement - eventually you'll be able to drain the entire Pod this way.

To make things interesting though, the Swarm will also drain Energy Pods when they stand on them. Make sure to not let them!

Part Adjustments

Besides the aforementioned upgrade level 3.0, there have been many other changes to parts.

The first one is that you can now dual-wield weapons. A lot of people have asked for this feature and I was struggling to figure out the proper UI flow - and I finally solved it. It was actually quite straightforward in hindsight, and I hope you find it intuitive.
Note that dual wielding still abides by the maximum usage limits - you spawn two Gatlin guns in one Mech, it counts as two. I still plan to add an Expansion that will allow you to clone a part and have two copies so you can spawn it even more.

A lot of balance tweaks have been applied, intended to strengthen 1-slot bodies. One change that's notable is that the Off-roader body has been removed and replaced with Echo, a body that will let you use a weapon twice in a turn.

Other balance changes include:

  • Turbo acquires move capabilities (that used to be in Off-roader)
  • Ranger gains weapon slots when upgraded (up to 3 slots at 3.0)
  • Increased health on all the big transports
  • Adjusted Buggy and Trike buff at 2.0 so it triggers with basic parts
  • Impervious loses the -1 move penalty at 2.0
  • Lower Reflector's health
  • Missile Head gained health and lost armor
  • Remove armor from Trooper

And Some Fixes

  • Fix camera issues when a Survival mission ends with drones or by killing all Swarm
  • Smooth music transition entering and exiting the Transform screen
  • Tooltips added to Mission Complete screen rewards
  • AI prediction is now updated immediately when the Swarm receives damage-over-time
  • Fix Zapper visual element being in the wrong spot for the Sandworm Larva
  • Don't show End Turn warning if Mechs have actions with no consequences (e.g. attacking an armored enemy)
  • Updated icons to represent area-of-effect on tooltips
  • Minimum attack ranges are displayed using the correct number (it was off-by-one)

I'm very excited about these changes. They are a testament to the power of Early Access and how the community (that's you!) can influence the direction of a game in a very positive way.
If you want to be a part of the next batch of changes join our Discord, where you also have the opportunity to try bleeding edge builds with all the updates before they get released to the public.

/Sergio

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1389360/Mech_Armada/

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