Wednesday, June 14, 2017

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

9 comments:

  1. Guess the serve issue should be fixed before the global launch, otherwise that will be a really pain for many players

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  2. Sooooo...do we get a refund on the price differnce if we paid the higher prices within 30 days? :-)

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    Replies
    1. I second that motion! Having loss 6+ lvl 2 BS fully loaded with expensive mods. But still saving those pennies to make a grand rebuilding of H.M.S fleet. Loving every moment of it! (no sarcasm intended)

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  3. Bug? Glitch? I Got my 10th dual laser piece and it only ever shows that I have 9. This is the second time its happened. Thanks for the quick reply in advance.

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  4. I think it would be great if there were a new station type. Commerce HQ Hubs. You can only have one.

    It is a Trade and Diplomacy Station upgradeable to allow up to 5 partner connections at once plus it adds abilities for coding routine behavior.

    Transport one does this route every 2 hours.

    It also allows cargo computers to set up alias zones. Pick up shipments for X from planet Z and leave them at Y if planet Y is en route.

    Some meta is also allowed. If I have ships at a red star and lose connection, all ships ready and return before star goes supernova.

    If I haven't logged in and credits are overflowing, priority autobuy, upgrade unlock tech, improve planets, search new sectors.

    I also think that after a week, a month , and four months of membership, you should get free station for traveling to your corporation and free techs. The techs allow you to use the diplomacy stations of your corporation members, and their red star bases.

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  5. A couple issues that could use resolving...

    (A) equal out bp drop rates for higher levels. I still get 100 week battery on level 5 artifacts but only 6-15 mass battery......right now I have 3200 weak battery but 400 mass....way too unbalanced for late levels in game...same with higher level shields.

    (B) make an auto jump toggle when hitting a jump point...I've lost 2 ships because the timing is hard to hit with the confirmation screen and jump.

    (C) when 5 people are in a star it is hard to select your own ship in a large group of battleships on one point,....make a button to select your own ships from the group or don't make other people's available to select.

    Awesome game!

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  6. Please just let people comment without being on google....just typed this all out and it was lost because of a google problem...gotta type it all out again...

    Couple of suggestions.
    A) put an auto-jump button as an option when you reach a jump point. This would allow people to just have their ships jump to wherever they need to go, as soon as they reach it. Having to be at jump and then hit a confirmation screen can cost a player ships. Players focus on the timed aspect of the game but two screen confirmations can be a problem. This has happened already twice before with the cost being upgraded transports. It would seem to be a simple addition that would help a lot.

    B) balance out the drop rates of blueprints. Right now when I hit a level five planet and artifact, I still get over 100 blueprints for low level blueprints like weak battery. Right now I currently have 3200 blueprints for weak battery but only 425 for mass battery. The same happens for shields....this seems to punish high level players.

    C) allow players to only select their own battleships within a fight in a red star. When you have five people all camped out on 1 point to battle a large enemy, it is almost impossible to grab your ship from the group. This hurts the strategy of the play. Since this game is based on fighting from set locations in the game that players will focus around, there needs to be a way to select your own ships from the group.

    Awesome game!

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  7. what i think they should do is make a story mode, the game already has the base for making one because there is a mysterious indegenous race that is as sophisticated as us that is trying to eliminate our fleets and conquer all the planets, maybe they could add boss fights where you stumble on their home star system and they start a war with you.

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