Thursday, May 26, 2022

Hades' Star: DARK NEBULA now in Early Access

Today, we're releasing Hades' Star: DARK NEBULA in Early Access on the Google Play store. You can download it here and start playing: 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ParallelSpace.Cerberus2

In the first stage of Early Access, you will be able to access Blue Stars and Red Stars (and if you reach all the way to RS5, Dark Red Stars). Later stages of Early Access will focus on other star types.

As you'll see in the build, DARK NEBULA update will bring significant changes to Hades' Star. The reason for the significant changes is simple: I want the game to survive for decades into the future. During the first 5 years, we have received feedback and evaluated in game activity from a very large number of players. It's become clear some early design decisions have greatly limited the game's ability to scale - both for the people who design it (it's very hard to add new features without breaking or negatively affecting old features), and for the people who play it (the experience at all levels can be greatly improved to improve retention, which is the lifeblood of long term games). 

Major change in a game that has been live for this long is disruptive and risky. We have also made a conscious change to bring most structural, major changes in a single update, instead of disrupting the experience for many years in the future. I believe the risk and disruption at this stage is worth it, and that it increases the chance that the game will be thriving 20 years from now. 

Even though some of the changes may seem radical, none of them are meant to disrupt the *spirit* of existing activities in the game:


  • Yellow stars will remain a personal space to expand, progress and build. They will now also offer opportunities to more meaningfully connect with other players, show off the star system, and participate in galaxy wide trade, for players who actively choose to participate.

  • Red Stars will remain the daily PvE activity that helps progress critical Module technology. They will also add more diversity to match varying playing styles - from conservative players who value consistent and predictable progression rate above all else, to adventurous players who are willing to risk minor progress setbacks in exchange for higher potential rewards and more exciting combat.

  • Blue Stars will remain an intense PvP space, with new and modified Modules that aim to bring more fun - both when you have them equipped, and when you have to counter them on other players. They will also become a more central part of your daily economy, by removing the risky elements of tying rewards to absolute wins, which are difficult to achieve by many players and make even minor mismatches in matchmaking very bad to the overall experience.

  • White Stars will take a step back towards their original vision of a strategic, asynchronous team PvP experience that doesn't require someone to be glued to their screen all day. They will remain the central team PvP experience for a Corporation, and offer numerous improvements both in and out of the White Star match that address crippling Corporation progress issues present in the current version of the game.

  • And most importantly, many of the changes will attempt to make all the different star types work well together, in the context of the daily routine of a player who wants to experience everything Hades' Star has to offer and to progress at a reasonable pace without spending an unreasonable amount of daily play time. 

The more detailed changes that will be described in upcoming blog posts are not set in stone, as DARK NEBULA will be under active development for many more months. The best way to offer feedback and affect change is by downloading the Early Access build, and joining our Discord server. Having the background of WHY those changes are coming will enable you to offer better feedback on whether the changes effectively address the problem, or maybe you can even think of better ways to address the same problem. 

We are especially looking for long term feedback that can only be offered by long term testing. During the next few months, we'll be introducing additional Early Access stages that focus on testing specific star types with higher level modules. If you are able to participate in the Early Access in the long run - thank you. Your time will be appreciated and it will help make the game better. 


Andreas