Happy 2011 to all the Sins players out there! It's been quiet on the Sins' front for a while now due to other business, but as I promised late last year, we're working on a new Diplomacy update for everyone. The update will be released in beta first due to a number of changes we're making in the game, probably in the next two weeks. Once we're happy that everything is working as expected, we'll release a final version for everyone.
So what's going to be in the update?
- Balance changes: We're making a number of gameplay balance tweaks based on player feedback. These will include changes to both ships and tech tree items.
- Various bug fixes from reported issues.
- New Pirate System: This is a pretty big one, so I'll detail it a bit more below.
- Memory optimizations: This is one of the key reasons for starting this update as a beta. We'll be tweaking the game's memory use for greater performance.
Currently the Pirates can either be non-factors or incredibly nasty early on given how their upgrade system works and how their fleets are composed. If you get a streak of bad luck, you end up with Pirates that have an insane power curve that makes the game very unfun, very quickly. To fix this, we're switching the Pirates to a series of fixed fleet compositions and upgrade paths. What this means is that early on, if you get tagged with a Pirate raid from bounty, you'll find them annoying but easy to deal with. As the game progresses, the Pirates abilities and toughness will scale over time based on the amount of credits they collect from missions, bounty, their planet, etc. The Pirates will no longer simply scale in power, either! We're giving them unlockable special abilities that will give them an edge in late game situations. On the flip side, we don't want situations where in the late game, a player can send a massive Pirate fleet at another player by simply dropping 100 total credits on bounty. So we're adding in a new system that will scale back Pirate raids levels if the bounty isn't high enough to warrant a big deployment.
Basically, the Pirate bounty system will be a bludgeon, whereas giving the Pirates missions via Diplomacy will be a scalpel.