Blue Star changes in DARK NEBULA

The DARK NEBULA update will bring significant changes to how Blue Stars are played. These changes are designed to address the following problems: 

Problem 1. Highly inconsistent rewards

Currently, Blue Star Credit rewards are based on the value of the ship being jumped in. The reward is only given on the first win of the day, while players still pay a cost every time they lose a match until then. This system is extremely confusing, unfair and puts a huge barrier for new players that may otherwise be interested in Blue Stars. It makes no sense to have people who have an unlucky first match against stronger opponents to receive less credits as a reward. It makes no sense to incentivize certain modules over others, because they cost more to install (and therefore contribute more to final reward).

Problem 2. Most of the Blue Star match is boring 

The way the Blue Star map and Modules are currently designed, the vast majority of the match is a boring "move and avoid other ships" minigame. Experienced players avoid any early combat with other players because they know that even if they survive, they'll have a huge disadvantage later against the remaining players. This is a wasted opportunity to make the map more tactical, by allowing and encouraging players to strategically pick off enemies before the final stage. Having all combat happen in the last minute means only a few Modules are meaningful in Blue Stars, further leading to matches that are repetitive and uninteresting.

Problem 3. Overall engagement in Blue Stars is low, leading to low numbers of active players and matchmaking problems

The number of players searching for a Blue Star at any given moment is the main factor that affects matchmaking quality. The current version of the game makes this problem way worse by creating all kinds of obstacles for people who want to play a lot of Blue Stars daily just for fun, after they've gotten all their rewards. The current Blue Star reward system also makes matchmaking mismatches far more frustrating than they need to be, by reducing rewards for players who happen to match against someone much stronger.

DARK NEBULA changes for Blue Stars

To address the above problems, we're making the following changes to Blue Stars: 

- Daily rewards will be fixed and guaranteed to be achieved by anyone participating in Blue Stars, even if they do not win a single match during the day. Winning a match will mean daily rewards will be achieved in less matches overall, but we will still ensure all the rewards can be achieved in a reasonable number of matches. Winning matches will now only matter for people who want to place high on the monthly leaderboard.

- In line with the SANCTUARY removal, losing Battleships in Blue Stars will safely return them to the home star for repairs. There is no way to lose a Battleship in a Blue Star in Dark Nebula. This removes the current element of gambling with your ships.

- In line with the Hydrogen rebalance, Battleships will not use any Hydrogen in Blue Stars. Combined with other changes, this means that anyone will be able to play Blue Stars all day if they want, just for fun, even after they've gotten all their daily rewards.

- Overall match duration will be reduced to under 4 minutes.

- All modules are being tweaked separately for Blue Stars. The numbers many modules were using were based on Red Star gameplay, which has almost nothing in common with Blue Stars. The idea will be for all Modules to be powerful in Blue Stars, and/or serve as powerful counters. The long term goal will be to have the right number of powerful attack modules and the right number of counters that make the task of choosing modules for Blue Stars interesting in itself. Achieving this goal fully means that emerging metas will not last forever (i.e. if too many people start equipping module X, smart players will start equipping module Y that completely counters X, tipping the meta balance). Implementing this goal will take years, and the DARK NEBULA update will only be the first step towards getting there. Future updates after DARK NEBULA will further refine existing Modules and introduce new Modules toward that goal. 

- Module cooldowns will be reduced so that most Modules can be used more than once in the Blue Star, and further encourage early combat. In the current Hades' Star version, the broken Time Warp module shows a glimpse (comically unbalanced as it may be) of what additional strategies could be enabled if Modules were reusable more than once in a Blue Star. By removing Time Warp and baking its systemic benefits into the core game, Dark Nebula will make Blue Star matches far more fair and tactical.

- Pacing will be tweaked constantly during Early Access, with the goal being for all stages of the match (early game, final ring, final sector) to have the potential for meaningful combat and excitement. Module loadouts will be balanced to encourage players to consider picking off the right enemy players earlier in the match. The act of attacking players early will be highly strategic and depending on full knowledge of each player's loadouts. We will design some Modules to be more useful and relevant in the beginning than the end of the match, and vice versa. The goal is that players who choose i.e. to only equip Modules useful for the final stage should be very vulnerable to early attacks. 

Blue Star Early Access in progress now

The current version of the Hades' Star: DARK NEBULA Early Access build has a special mode that allows you to equip almost all Dark Nebula modules and test them on Blue Stars (if you are starting from a brand new account, you will need to follow the tutorial for 20 minutes until you unlock Blue Stars). This is a great opportunity to get involved and offer feedback on all Blue Star changes, while everything is still under development and subject to change.

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