Zone Rework [NEXT MAJOR UPDATES] - Roadmap

cogg - 324 days ago - Edited 100 days agoLink

In order to avoid a half-year wait for the next update, I'm going to try splitting the next big update into several smaller parts. Here are the tentative plans:

Phase 1: Safe Zone Consolidation & Navigation Units [COMPLETE]

All safe zones have been unified into a single public safe zone. Having multiple safe zones sounds interesting in theory, but overall I think it has been detrimental.

A 1x1 block navigation unit device has been added. It is claimable as a starter item, and will have several functions. It's main purpose is to select the zone to travel to. New zones might need to be unlocked, and some zones may have a cost to visit. New zones might include some restrictions on entry, but the old "combat rating" mechanic will largely be scrapped.

The navigation unit also functions as a primitive always-on shield projector, so new players can build passively-filled shield systems more easily.

Phase 2: Larger Zones, Portal Rework, and PvE/PvP Split [COMPLETE]

Introduced much larger zones.

Zone were split back into Lawful (PvE) and Anarchic (PvP) variants. PvP damage is completely removed in Lawful zones. It is currently possible to obtain all resources in both Lawful and Anarchic zones, but Anarchic zones have a 2x drop multiplier.

As for entering and leaving these zones, I've brought back the old behavior with some adjustments. Ships will spawn in to zones around the outside perimeter. Several exit portals spawn throughout the zone. These portals are dormant until shot at, at which point they will start pulling ships in. Once a portal has been active for 60 seconds, it will die and another dormant portal will spawn somewhere else.

This update makes a lot of changes to bots: Bot factories were removed, and bots will once-again spawn throughout zones, with some slightly smarter spawning logic. Each zone spawns several boss bots, which are visible on the mini-map. These bosses have more unique mechanics and larger drops. They also spawn minions that can be farmed.

Phase 3: PvP Events, Leaderboards, and Time-Based Emergency Teleports [COMPLETE]

This set of changes will hopefully land in a series of smaller, quicker updates.

PvP events will occur at least once and possibly several times per day, in a single server. They will occur in one of the Anarchic zones, most likely Falcon. The schedule will be posted in advance. During these events, the PvP loot multiplier may be increased further, and more loot may be available throughout the zone (flux tiles in mining areas? better boss drops?). The exact format of the events is unknown, but we will probably start with something battle royale-esque. This seems straightforward and hard to abuse.

I'd like to introduce some seasonal leaderboards. These will likely run for three months at a time, then be archived and reset. This should be long enough to encourage competition, but not so long that older players gain an insurmountable advantage. Initially, these leaderboards will track:

You will have the option to group leaderboard points by ship, by individual user, or by clan. Users will have an option to select which clan they want their points to count toward. There are no plans to build a more comprehensive clan system at this time. The initial leaderboards will run though the end of March 2024. We MIGHT grant some additional rewards to high ranking players at the end. I am not sure whether this is a good idea yet.

We'll return to something similar to the old crit mechanics. Emergency or "crit" teleports will be initiated on a timer, instead of by tracking damage. This timer can be initiated or cancelled at any time using the navigation unit, but it will return to the initial value if restarted. The timer can be initiated automatically upon taking substantial damage, or upon an owner leaving, both of which will probably be the default behavior. Activating the timer may have some drawbacks, such as slower ship movement speed. The time it takes to use the emergency teleport will vary by zone.

Finally, the r/place helper rewards will be granted during this phase.

Phase ?: Integrated Storages & Private Safe Zones

Integrate storages as a first-class mechanic. Players shouldn't need to worry about loading a storage and moving it around. Instead, you can designate a ship as your storage, and it will always load in a stationary location in a private safe zone. It might be possible to upgrade the maximum size beyond the normal limits.

Phase ?: Mapping Utilities

Possibly introduce machines to add more information to the mini-map. Could display blocks on the map, icons for points of interest, or even ships. I don't have super detailed plans for this yet.

Phase ?: An actual tutorial???

A lot of this work should enable me to build a real tutorial as it's own private zone. A tutorial will never explain every aspect of the game -- even the new shield and RC mechanics will probably be omitted -- but it should explain most basic aspects.

Phase ?: Zone Generation Revamp

Zones will be built primarily out of pre-designed chunks, instead of the sketchy random generation. Could involve more interesting events like the pits being placed directly inside zones. Might also involve a complete rework for bots with nicer designs and more varied behavior.

This is probably shelved, sorry. I'd still like to try placing big set pieces in the enlarged zones, but exclusively using pre-built chunks isn't happening. Might be re-introduced with dungeon zones some day.

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