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Scotch & Tea: Operation Stay Afloat™ (2021 Edition)


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With Demeter landed and a roadmap for 2022 being put together, we thought it would be a good idea to combine our feedback from the past year and some change of playing the game. One of the things NQ talked about was needing quanta sinks. PvP is the ultimate sink with ammo, fuel, and lost honeycomb plus elements. There are a TON of people out there who would play this game if PvP was a more content-rich pillar of the game (please note, we want PVP to be an equal pillar – and love our industrial and trader communities). 


Here's our opinion on how to motivate PvP-minded individuals to be attracted in this game.


There are several pillars of the game we feel need some serious TLC from NQ:


  1. Ship building - Give us interesting choices (not just PVP centric this one)
  2. Core Sizes - Everyone need reason to diversify
  3. PvP Diversity - Give us a real reason to PvP




The THEME of this section is:


  • Give us a reason to pick X over Y
  • But give us a reason to pick Y over Z
  • And give us a reason to pick Z over X


As ship builders, for every decision we make, there needs to be another decision someone else can make to counter our design plans. This currently isn't in the game, which is why every patch there is a PvP "meta". And while that meta might have evolved over time, there is always one option that is objectively better than the others.


The much-discussed solution to the issue needs to again be brought up - we *have* to talk about an energy system. We need some kind of battery/energy generator on dynamic constructs that will power all of our components. This would give us the ability to do two things:


  1. Limit component usage and stacks of engines/brakes
  2. Gives players interesting choices in ship building


Consider the first point - we have ships right now that hit 20G accel or braking. That is the benchmark for PvP ships. It's a bit silly isn’t it? With an energy system, for every X engine we want to add, we have to add Y battery / capacitor, which come with a certain amount of weight.  We can put 20 XL engines on a construct, but it will come with significant added weight. This could effectively give us an acceleration “G max”, because we shouldn’t expect our avatars to take sustained 20G to the face and be ok with it (maybe modifiable with skills or *gasp* avatar equipment).


To the second point - this is where PvP gets the most interesting. Right now, everything is done at long range, with lasers. Take the follow example setup:


  • Laser and Rails require lots of energy to function, so the added batteries make the construct heavy, and therefore slower.
  • Cannons and Missiles don't require any additional energy, so they can be more lightweight, faster constructs to get in close range.


(Sidenote the ammunition would have to be reworked but that’s a later technical discussion)


With this example, the “Laserboat” has a counter (current meta). Someone coming in full speed with a bay of cannons or missiles, gets in close to the slower ship. The sniper might be able to take out the brawler on approach, but if it doesn't, it's in big trouble – at least that is the theory we are crafting. 


Now, as PvP players, we have meaningful decisions to make. Do we make a dedicated sniper? Do we make a brawler? Do we go for multi-role and add different weapon sets? Does the added weight of multi-weapon sets benefit our setups?


We can come up with similar decision making for brakes, wings, and all other component types. Right now, the only decision to make is whether or not we add MOAR brakes to our constructs – and the answer is always yes. There's no drawback. With an energy system, a construct could hit 20G braking for a bit, but that would just drain the batteries completely and start disabling components.  Sidenote – this is also why you have crappy looking ships everywhere with 200 brakes on them.  Can’t have cool screenshots if you encourage your player base to basically min/max everything.




When we think about building a new ship for PvP, there are exactly 0 seconds spent thinking about what core size to make. It's Large or nothing for two obvious reasons:


  1. We need a Large Radar to lock up a construct at 2 SU and stop them from warping by taking a random shot.
  2. Large weapons are better than everything else. There isn't enough drawback to consider smaller ranged and damage producing platforms.


By addressing this, you could attract some more combat orgs (and all of the gaming press that generates) – consider some options:


  1. Give us an additional tool to prevent warp that we can put on different core sizes that can target up to 2 SU.  Give it some sort of skill-based chance to hit even.
  2. Implement different types of bonuses for core sizes – these could be different advanced cores within the same size range.  For example, and Advanced XS Core might have a range bonus to whatever E-War you implement.  An Uncommon M core might get a fuel use bonus.  Just give us interesting choices.
  3. Implement different speed limits (max speed) per core size with generally smaller cores hitting a higher top speed.  An XS core could hit 29,999m/s and maybe a Large core only hits 19,999k/m with the others in the middle.                


Additionally (although not related per say to core size) - the cockpit needs a huge buff – no PVP players will really use this other than to screw around on their stream or making “art projects” (hey – PVP players can be artists as well – come check out some of our ships).  There needs to be a tangible reason to fly a cockpit ship into combat.  It could be that cockpit ships get huge radar range bonuses (thus instantly making a viable recon).  They could have an ewar bonus to reduce the top speed of ships down in combination with core size (see above).  The community could give you a hundred ideas – but cockpits need real uses in PVP.


We need some motivation for core diversity in a fleet. With some of the above suggestions, we can get in a scenario where an XS core chases the target to max speed, then applies the slow debuff so that an M/L core can catch up and do the actual damage. If the target can destroy the XS core before the DPS ship arrives, it can still get away. Otherwise, it will be in big trouble if the M/L core ship gets in range.


Large cores, capital-type ships, should never be viable in PvP by a single player. Pretty much all PvP is that, because it's the meta and the current tools like remote controls and LUA scripting allow it. How do we motivate players to multi-crew? Right now, if we build a Dreadnought-type of ship (capital class with lots of gunners and lots of guns), it isn't viable because it's going to be slow and everything will get away. The gunners will be supremely bored on the mission as the interface is generally unpleasant.  Yes, the gunner’s seat needs to be a bit of a “mini-game” or give us more responsibilities in that seat. For example, let us focus fire on a specific portion of the ship (“Take out the engines!” said the Captain...).




The “old days” of sitting at the edge of the PvP zone, waiting for a non-warp target to show up, or using questionable half-exploit LUA auto-flying type shenanigans to catch people slow-boating between planets is supremely lame.  In this regard, Asteroids were a real blessing to the PVP community.  We hope they receive many iterations from the design team to make players “risk it for the biscuit”.  Industrialists are some of the smartest gamers in any community because they will engineer the safest gameplay.


One small improvement we would consider for asteroids - chasing discovered asteroids has been a huge commitment.  It's an hour travel time on average (roughly) for us to check one discovered asteroid and return back to base. NQ should consider spawning the asteroids *closer* to the anchored planet, but adding a 30 minute delay to appear in the Discovered section. This will give miners the same amount of time (roughly) to mine in safety but make it less painful for us to patrol broadcasted asteroids.  Patrolling broadcasting asteroids is such a commitment with low probability of getting content. Let us patrol multiple a night to “go fishing”




Today we discussed giving people some more tools above (such as energy systems, ewar, asteroid iterations, etc.) but we clearly need to talk about Atmospheric PvP and (duh-duh-dunnnn) Territory Warfare. But before we can talk about that… we have to talk about the elephant in the room: client-side control of construct authority.


A long while ago JC (RIP) had talked about the plan to have server-side control of the movement of dynamic constructs. Since then, it's been radio silence from NQ.  Now that we have optimized servers and recouped some COGS with Demeter - let's get back on the road to implementation - it's the right thing to do.  In fact, it is our humble opinion that Dual Universe will never be a serious hit until this is addressed – unless you truly just want your game to be “Space Truckers Simulator Online”.


Client-side authority on construct behavior is what causes ships to teleport all over the place planet-side (You also see this behavior at extreme short range in space during combat). Client-side authority opens your game to rampant cheating as well (regardless of your anti-cheat apps you run).


Once server-side authority is implemented we can talk about territory warfare and atmospheric PvP outside the safe zone planets.  All of our atmospheric equipment will need to follow the engine element model – if we make multirole ships that work in both Space and Atmosphere, there should be real consequences for running that Swiss army knife type of ship.


Once we get all that implemented then we can begin to talk about atmospheric PvP. Give us some tools to scan hexes (we want to know what our organization is getting into before invading). Let us build hover tank carriers to AGG drop them on that T5 hex we want to control.  Let us fly our Top Gun dream ships on patrol over the outer hexes for recon ships.  There is plenty to do inside the safe circle for industrialists – it would be time to open up the outer planets like this before people grow significant roots in more dangerous places.  While this community is primarily industrialists right now, it will never be commercially viable given NQ’s direction with all these guns and weapons in their game unless a solid PVP roadmap is committed to.  Emergent gameplay (NQ’s core design document concern) will never be achieved by simply building hauling ships in safe space and moving rocks around the map.


Thanks for coming to our TED talk.

The Esteemed Members of Scotch & Tea™
Purveyors of the finest whiskeys and other luxury goods this side of Helios.

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