June 2017 - Status update

As we are headed into global launch later this summer, I wanted to take the opportunity to write about the current status of the game and what we see as priorities for future updates going forward.

Hades' Star has been available in a small amount of countries since March, and during that time we've had a growing number of passionate players who have helped us a lot to refine and improve the game. We are now at a stage where we cannot reply individually to each piece of feedback, but will use other means (such as this blog post) to discuss some commonly mentioned ideas. We do appreciate all feedback and ideas, please keep sending them!

Here are some thoughts on the future, based on your feedback, our own experiences, and our future plans of where we want to take the game.

Devastating fleet losses

Our original goal with Red Stars was to create daily missions that feel exciting and offer the potential for rewards that help players advance faster. Risk is an important part of the recipe: If there's no risk of ever losing anything, these missions quickly become boring. Risk works well with the persistent nature of the game: Without the ability to load an earlier savegame or take back your move, tactical choices gain more weight and feel impactful.

Along the way however, it's clear that the risk in Red Stars increases much faster than potential rewards, creating many issues:
- A single mistake (or worse, a lost mobile connection) that wipes out an entire fleet can set back someone for a week or longer.
- Players have no incentive at all to upgrade ships to higher levels - a few extra slots and some slightly better stats are not enough to justify the large cost, given the high risk the ship may be destroyed
- Experimenting with different modules is also discouraged because of the cost to replace the modules themselves (and the higher risk of losing the ships while getting familiar with the new modules)

It is very high priority for us to address the above issues. Our goal is to have people who have been playing for a month or more be able to recover from the worst Red Star setback in 1-2 days (and much sooner in all other cases). We will soon be reducing install prices for the higher level modules. In addition, July's update (near the global launch) will bring significant changes to ship costs and upgrade mechanism.

These changes are not a reaction to people quitting the game after losses. Red Star missions (and possibly other future mission types) will always have risk and potential for setback.  Some players will quit after loss, just like some people will become more determined and find the game more interesting *because* of the loss. Hades' Star will always be a game about impactful decisions, and some of those decisions will cause loss. It's just that at the current form, the risk is completely out of balance with the rewards.

I apologize we got this wrong the first time, and thank you for your patience and help while we fix it.

New Star Types

We will keep polishing red stars and working towards our goal to make every new Red Star level feel different and make players adjust strategies and work together more efficiently. New Cerberus ships, more modules, rebalancing existing modules, and better layouts are the primary tools we'll use to do that.

What about other star types?

From the beginning, our vision of Hades' Star was a large galaxy with different star types that offer unique challenges over different time frames. Our two initial star types are extreme cases in terms of time frames: The yellow star lasts basically forever, while the Red stars offer a quick 10-15 minute mission. We want to experiment with more game modes over different time frames. We have received all kinds of feedback on this, and everyone has their own ideas on what the new stars should be like: player vs player, Corporation vs Corporation, expanding and colonizing planets in new stars, directly or indirectly competing with other players for planets or resources, and more.

Our goal is to look into many of these potential ideas, and combine them with our own ones to find something that works well with the daily routine of playing the game. What the new star types will be depends a lot on our internal testing, and how the community evolves (i.e. a 10 minute Corporation vs Corporation mode would be frustrating unless there's *a lot* of Corporations to fill matchmaking requests). It's possible you may see "temporary" stars while we are testing a new feature - those may or may not become permanent depending on how they actually work in the real game, with multiple players. We won't hesitate to go back to the drawing board if needed to ensure permanent new star types are fun and make sense in the daily routine.

All this will take time. New star types will come with major updates that will happen after global launch, and I expect each star type will take more than a year to implement and polish. We are a small team with an emphasis on quality, which means things will take more time. We hope you will be patient with us during this journey.

Why can't I restart my game?

Many players have asked how they can restart from the beginning, so they can make better choices with their initial resources.

While it would be a cool feature to start over, I feel like such a feature would be just hiding other problems with the first few hours of the game - I'd much rather fix those problems themselves. If you or someone else feels an uncontrollable urge to restart, please get in touch so we can understand what's wrong and improve it for you and the next player.

Another point to keep in mind is that we want this game to be a long term experience. If you expect to find something you can beat in a few hours and then restart for a fresh experience, then Hades' Star is not the game for you. Players who play for 2+ weeks rarely remember (or much less are affected by) choices made in the first few hours of play.

Tactical features we will never be doing

Sometimes, feedback comes in that we know we'll never implement. In those cases I think it's better to be upfront and give the reasons why, rather than let any hope linger on. Two quite common suggestions fall into this category:

- Moving ships anywhere in open space: All current and future stars are being specifically designed so you have to make tactical decisions of where to send your ships from limited, predefined choices. In addition, we are putting weight on commitment: Once you have departed for a destination, you cannot take that back. (Commitment will likely become even more important on future star types). Allowing free movement might make a cool game (except maybe not as suitable for mobile devices), but that's a completely different game than the one we are making.

- Being able to select a target for your ships: Having ships pick targets automatically based on simple proximity rules is by design, and gives movement more tactical weight. It is cool to select what to target in some cases, which is what activated Modules are for. But micromanaging every ship's target all the time would invalidate all of the game's current design.

- Andreas

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