DARK NEBULA Early Access adding White Star testing soon
Last month, we launched the Hades' Star: DARK NEBULA Early Access build.
Later this week, this build will be moving to Stage 2, with support for testing 6vs6 White Stars. You'll still be able to play your existing game, while also testing White Stars. There's no progress requirement to join White Stars. After creating a new game, you'll be able to build a White Star scanner and join a Corporation after completing the very early tutorial (about 1 minute).
This stage of Early Access will test the new White Star rules described below, without testing the experience when different strength Corporations are playing against each other. To participate, each player must create separate White Star ships from the White Star scanner, after the star is found. These ships will have the same level for all players, and can be equipped with any module deemed ready for Early Access. More modules will be added in the future.
WHITE STAR CHANGES
If you've recently played White Stars in Hades' Star, these are the major changes in Dark Nebula so far. Obviously any of these may change as Early Access progresses in the months ahead.
- The old White Star tiers of 5vs5, 10vs10 and 15vs15 have been removed. We plan to only have 2 tiers going forward after Dark Nebula launches. Initially these tiers will be 6vs6 and 12vs12, which seems like a good compromise given the old tier sizes. Having only two tiers allows us to better optimize and balance the experience for all tiers (simply allowing more players to join in doesn't automatically make the experience better), and will improve matchmaking in the years ahead.
- White Star duration is initially set to 7 days. All actions have been made accordingly slower to allow for more reaction time. With multiple module changes, including the removal of Time Warp and changes to Leap rules, White Stars in Dark Nebula will feel very different and much slower. See the design goals below to see what additional changes we'll be looking to make during Early Access, and how to focus your feedback towards those goals.
- The amount of Relics a Corporation has collected is now converted to Corporation XP. The actual amount of Relics collected in a White Star match no longer matters for Corporation progression - the only thing that matters is whether you won the match (i.e. got more Relics than the enemy Corporation), and the efficiency of your Economic activities (depositing Hydrogen and collecting Relics). Damage dealt in Combat is no longer calculated or displayed in the activity bar. The actual amount of Corporation XP awarded at the end of the match will be tweaked later in Early Access - for now all participating Corporations will get a very large XP amount at the end of the match, so we can test Corporation and Flagship progression during Early Access.
- White Star planets no longer generate Relics over time. Depositing Hydrogen is the only way to generate Relics. In addition, every planet has efficiency stages where the first few relics require much less Hydrogen than subsequent Relics. The Level 10 planets that are farthest from the jumpgates are still the most efficient sources of Relics, but it will be easier to get a few Relics from the planets closer to your Corporation's jumpgate. For very competitive and close matches, this change makes it less important to hold on to the same planet for the entire duration of the game and encourages a proper tactical plan to identify and control the most important parts of the map as they change over time.
- Cerberus ships now spawn in all White Star matches, in a mirrored fashion that ensures both Corporations have to face identical Cerberus ships to move to the middle of the map. More Cerberus ship types can spawn, in a more random fashion. Cerberus ships can be destroyed or used against the enemy Corporation.
The major goal in Dark Nebula is to make White Stars asynchronous. In the existing Hades' Star game, we gradually and unintentionally drifted away from this goal over time. As a result, White Stars have ended up being a game only for hardcore players who are willing to check on the game an unreasonable amount of times during the day, and often during the night as well.
To truly make the game asynchronous, we need to ensure that ANY action from the enemy Corporation allows for sufficient time for your Corporation to respond (Response Time). Examples of such actions:
- Moving any ship to a new location. The Response Time is equal to the max amount of time you have to plan your own move or module activations as a response to the enemy moving, without feeling you left out a good strategic choice because you checked the game too late.
- Activating any module that will need to be countered in the near future. The Response Time is the amount of time where the enemy activated module can be successfully countered by one of your modules or a ship move. Different modules will have different Response times. For Teleport, the Response Time will at best be equal to the teleport preparation time, or in most cases less depending on the tactical situation at the teleporting location.
The ideal Response Time is 12 hours for any move, but that will not be possible everywhere. 8 hours is also acceptable, with 4 hours being the absolute minimum that should only happen rarely. In general, any time you see any move in a White Star that has less than 8 hours Response Time, you should bring it up. In some special cases, the Response time will be too low for some Modules (think Rocket activation targeting a very close asteroid field). In those cases, it should be possible to predict and prepare for the activation ahead of time (i.e. in this example, seeing an enemy ship approach an important position with a Rocket equipped, you need to have the information and time available to prepare for the Rocket being launched even before the actual Rocket launch time).
Other design goals:
- White Star leaderboards should be a better indication of frequent and helpful participation in White Stars, but without having thousands of players with the exact same score at the end of a season. The removal of Damage dealt to enemy ships will help, but more changes will be needed to reach this goal during Early Access.
- Corporation progression should be consistent when actual effort is made. Especially when effort is made against much stronger Corporations, the progression should not be affected significantly by the likely loss of the match. At the same time, we should not encourage fake Corporations that are trying to get rewards for pretend effort.
Thank you for participating in this stage of White Stars testing - your feedback will make the game better. As always, send us your thoughts on the Discord server.