Thursday, January 26, 2023

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.


15 comments:

  1. thx for your work, seems interesting to be able to test all the modules in BLS

    I don't know how others are doing, but i find it kind of hard to tap on moons when there are ships beside them, seems like ships are now rendered bigger than before the update - I really got problems with shipments and shipment computer now

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  2. Stop messing with the modules

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  3. Awesome to have the effect of TW baked in so you can use mods twice

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  4. All sounds good. No complaints about these changes :) thanks

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  5. I feel like I made these suggestions years ago! lol I’m happy for these changes. 🚁

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  6. Where the hell am I going to find 2,000 blueprints for my cargo bay ext.?

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  7. Good changes to BLS.

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  8. Still need to not matchmake very mismatched players. And then have the cheek to label it "ranked". There is no fun in a game where you can see from the start your only hope is the opponent being incompetent. I don't mind losing, I object to being *unable* to win.

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  9. Nice changes overall, but I cannot help but keep voicing my concern: do something about BLS in HS in the meantime. Ban the use of TW. That change alone would remove so much frustration. Enable Lone BS only matchmaking if someone loses 3 times in a row. Make it so BS6 cannot meet BS4, and so on. Ban players with 2 or more BS level difference seeing each other. Anything!

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  10. Long time player from 2017... I'm playing more casually these days. Since BLS rewards are getting an over-haul, I think it would be good to overhaul the whole daily reward system, so that casual players can still progress at a decent pace.

    As a simple example, weekly WS rewards, BLS rewards, RS croid rewards, and daily shipping all stack together linearly, and have roughly equal weighting towards total income (that's overly simplistic I know).

    But point is, players are incentivized to try and do EVERYTHING each day... I'd really like it if the game incentivized me not to do EVERYTHING, but instead incentivized me to do what I ENJOY the most.

    I really wish the game was a bit more laid-back and gave diminishing returns on each activity, so 50% of the "daily reward" came from doing one small thing, then another 25% from another small thing, then 12.5%, then 6% etc, etc...

    I'd really love to just hang with my buddies and play WS all week in small chunks. But every day, I feel pressured to do croid, and do BLS, and farm artifacts, and do shipments. Otherwise I don't feel like I progress. So I get too burnt out chasing all the rewards each day :-(

    Honestly, I really don't enjoy BLS, but the reward kind of incentivises me to do it, and because the reward is better than a WS reward, I don't actually get rewarded as much for doing the thing I enjoy... Hope this makes sense!

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    1. Oh! you explain that you are working on this in your December blog post! Thank you AP!! <3

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  11. What will happen to the original hades star? Will it be merged with Dark Nebula?

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  12. Been thinking about this a bit more... I think everyone was originally attracted to HS because Red Stars and White Stars were such unique and social gaming modes, that no other games could really offer (at least in the F2P and mobile platforms).

    Blue stars were an okay addition. But to me, they kind of feel like a "chore" that I need to complete every day before I can play with my friends in Red Star and White Star - like when you were a kid, and your mum said you needed to clean your room before you could go out an play...

    Yellow star has the same problem I suppose, but at least there is no "gambling" or "randomness" with shipments, in the sense that you spend 20 minutes doing them, and then you get a big reward. BLS obviously struggles because the gambling could take you 5 minutes, or it could take 30 minutes to get your reward.

    Honestly, the best thing you could do for BLS would be to add a 2v2 or 3v3 mode to it... The 2v2 mode in Battleship Apollo was actually really fun.

    If BLS was a social game mode too where you could play with your corp-mates, then that would make BLS in Dark Nebula a lot more exciting for me.

    Anyway, just some ideas and feedback, love your work AP <3

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  13. Yo, Andreas. How do I get my data deleted off your servers?

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