CREDITS changes in DARK NEBULA
As explained in a previous blog post about Hydrogen, the DARK NEBULA update will rework many aspects of the currency economy to address fundamental core problems in the game. While not as far reaching as the Hydrogen changes, the Credit changes will also affect many systems and will be quite visible in daily play.
These are the key problems that mandate a rebalancing (and in some cases, redesign) of Credit sources and consumers in Hades' Star:
- Income is not properly balanced across all available activities. In the early Hades' Star game, doing Shipments was the *only* way to earn Credits. Things have changed a lot since then, and there was never an effort to properly balance income so that all activities are incentivized properly. New players are given a ultimatum pretty quickly: Do your shipments or leave the game. In Dark Nebula, we will be changing the early game to make it obvious there is more to the game than Shipments.
- Progressing through Red Star levels over time is very inconsistent and frustrating. There was never a proper balance of planet upgrade prices vs total Empire credit cap. As a result, most Red Star levels are very slow to reach, and some are inconsistent with how long it took to reach the previous Red Star level. This chaotic, uncontrollable progress is seriously hurting the player experience, causing many more players to quit early. Dark Nebula will focus on making the process of reaching a new Red Star level more predictable and more rewarding. This includes significantly speeding up the progress at least for the first 6-7 red stars.
- Module upgrade prices are inconsistent as they try to control two very different things. They try to control regular module progress, and also trying to prevent unlocking modules too early from trading higher level Artifacts. So regular players are being punished with prices that should be much lower i.e. to upgrade an RS7 module to level 2.
- Consuming Credits is not properly balanced. In an ideal world, players would have interesting choices every day into whether to put their daily income towards planet upgrades, module upgrades, ship upgrades, or whether to risk any Credits in dangerous star types. This does not currently happen in the live version of Hades' Star, because the values were never properly balanced with this in mind over years of gameplay. An example is many players who never get into any form of routine with planet upgrades, because they don't have the Credits to upgrade planets all the time, or when they do have the Credits, all available planets are already upgrading. With Dark Nebula, we will be taking the time to balance the daily experience properly. The effect will be seen not only in things like Credit and Module prices, but also the time it takes for planets and modules to upgrade.
Over the next months in Early Access, we will be moving to address the problems above via targeted and carefully monitored changes. Here's what some of these changes may look like. As always, keep in mind that while the problems above are not changing, the proposed solutions below will be tweaked and may change significantly or be abandoned based on how they work out in actual playtesting.
- Proper participation in Blue Stars will become crucial for maximizing daily income. Proper participation does not mean winning, and it also does not mean showing up without trying. If you completely ignore Blue stars, your daily income will be hurt. This is a very intentional design decision, and is supported by other changes such as giving guaranteed daily rewards in Blue Stars, removing the previous feeling of gambling with your daily income. Combined with other upcoming changes such as rebalanced and much more meaningful combat modules, Blue Stars will become far more exciting to play, even for casual players who never expect to win.
- Shipments will stay vital to maximizing daily income, but perhaps slightly toned down compared to the other sources. The base Credit values stored in shipments will be reduced, especially at higher levels. The potential for generating very high Bonus values on the shipments via Modules will be increased, especially at higher levels. This way, keeping all Transport modules upgraded will become much more important for getting the maximum daily rewards from shipments.
- White Stars will no longer offer any Credit income. Credits is not the right incentive for people to participate in White Stars, especially because White Stars is by far the least accessible mode in the game and clearly not for everyone. Removing Credits from White Stars allows us to properly and fairly rebalance Credit income for everyone, whether they play White Stars or not. The new White Star rewards we are designing separately will allow everyone in the Corporation to get some benefit when the Corporation is doing well in White Stars, without at the same time requiring everyone to participate in White Stars.
- All planets will now be upgradeable to the same maximum level. The system where most planets are arbitrarily capped to low maximum levels does not really serve any gameplay reason, and is creating bottlenecks that make it more likely for players to have frustrating dead periods where nothing is upgrading.
- Installing Modules on ships will no longer cost Credits. Instead, the base value of constructing a ship in the first place will increase, greatly so for higher ship levels. With the changes in ship destruction rules, this will allow players to optionally risk Credits in the new Dark Red Stars for higher rewards, without having to worry and compare about the cost of individual loadouts. Creating loadouts should be 100% focused on functionality, not cost.