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DEVBLOG: INSIDE ARES, PART ONE


NQ-Deckard
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We recently announced that an additional update, Ares, was added to our public roadmap. Many of the features and changes for Ares will be available on our public test server (PTS), when it is updated and back online tomorrow, September 15th, at 10.00 UTC. (See the roadmap here.)

 

In that announcement, we promised a devblog that would talk about the big-ticket items we plan to deliver with Ares: the new Core Combat Stress victory condition, more functionality for shields, and PVP-related fixes. (Inside Ares, Part Two will cover warp improvements as well as boarding and docking changes. Watch for it on Thursday.) 

 

Without further ado, let’s dive in! 


CORE COMBAT STRESS 
In a nutshell, core combat stress represents a core's ability to keep functioning under prolonged weapons fire. A core unit that takes too much stress will be destroyed and will be considered a PvP destruction.

 

Core combat stress will be used as a second loss condition on constructs during PvP, working in tandem with generic core unit destruction. It does not matter which one happens first, only that one happens eventually. This will allow us to support larger fights and ensure that everyone's weapons are doing damage, even if it is only against core stress.

 

Stress will be accumulated as the construct takes non-shield weapons hits, taking the form of a gauge that starts at 0% and goes up to 100%. Non-shield hits on a construct will make the gauge go up. The core stress gauge is affected by a weapon's raw damage and is unaffected by the resistances of the element or material the attack hit.

 

Example: A weapon hit does 1,000 thermic damage. It hits an element with 50% thermic resistance doing 500 damage to the element; however, the core stress gauge will count 1,000 damage for that hit.

 

When the core stress gauge hits 100%, the core unit will be destroyed and will be considered a PvP destruction (as if it was destroyed by a weapons hit) and everything that implies.

 

The value of the stress gauge will be defined by the following:

  • The base of the core stress gauge value will be the health sum of honeycomb materials on your construct.
  • The quality of the material used will provide multipliers to the value. Higher honeycomb tiers will provide better multipliers.
  • The type of material used will provide a different multiplier, with products having a better multiplier than pure materials. 

 

Finally, the stress gauge will gain health linearly with honeycomb until a cap, at which point additional honeycomb will have diminishing returns.


SHIELDS v2

The fundamentals for shields were unveiled in this devblog and made their initial debut with the Apollo update in August. The time has come to increase their potency and value with some new features. 

 

Shields v2 brings adjustable resistances and venting. 

 

  • Adjustable resistances
    • Shields have a base resistance value of 10/10/10/10 with an additional resistance pool of 60% that players can assign in 5% increments to any of the four resistances. (Examples: 10/10/10/70 or 25/25/25/25)
    • Once players have locked in their resistance selections, those choices will be active and cannot be changed until the cooldown time of 60 seconds has expired, at which time the resistances will remain as set unless they are recalibrated.
    • Shields UI will display which resistances are taking the most damage on the shield, allowing pilots to make an informed decision regarding the settings.
  • Venting
    • Pilots may vent their shields at any point, the exception being when the venting cooldown is active. Cooldown duration varies per size, with smaller shield variants having lower cooldowns.
    • Venting shields will do two things:
      • Turn off the shields, bearing in mind that they can’t be active during venting. 
      • Begin shield regeneration of a certain percentage per second. 
    • Venting may be deactivated at any time. Deactivation will occur automatically when shields have reached maximum capacity. 

 

We highly encourage pilots to explore the use of shields and venting while it’s available on PTS. Since there’s a bit of a learning curve involved, the test environment is the perfect place to experiment freely without any real cost to your ship on the Live server. 

 

PVP FIXES

We’re closing the loop on some “unintended” uses of these game mechanics. 

  • Speed Resume deactivated on construct death: When a core is destroyed, that construct will be incapable of benefitting from speed resume in any way. This will avoid and fix various exploits in regards to “ghost-riding” destroyed ships into safe zones.
  • Offline player deaths on construct death: Offline players on constructs will now be killed on core destruction. This will avoid logging off characters that can then log back in, repair the core unit, and attempt to flee. 

 

Originally, the plans also included a change that would cause ownership loss on core unit crash destruction. Thanks to our intrepid PTS players who tried it out and promptly let us know the problems such a change could cause, we pulled it from the Ares update. (Read the related post from the Game Design team’s NQ-Entropy.) 

 

This is exactly why we have a test server and why we value those who do reconnaissance there before the updates are released on the Live server. We offer sincere thanks to the players who took the time to give us candid, constructive feedback. 

 

SEE YA THURSDAY

Inside Ares, Part Two will be published on Thursday. While you’re waiting, why not head over to the forum and share your thoughts about Part One
 

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