Shipment changes in DARK NEBULA
We previously covered overall Credit changes coming to Dark Nebula, including potential changes to shipments.
This post goes into more detail for high level changes around Shipments.
Shipments was the first gameplay system to be implemented in Hades' Star. When the game first launched 6 years ago, Shipments made up at least 50% of all gameplay the game had to offer. Today, things are very different. There are many more game modes and activities that appeal to different kinds of players, yet the game still presents Shipments as the first and most important activity. The attempts made over the years to automate shipments have been inefficient and awkward at best. The Shipment Relay currently requires an unrelated activity (Blue Stars) to even work. The fact that manual shipping gives significant bonuses makes the Relay completely irrelevant for serious players.
In Dark Nebula, we recognize and design around two conflicting facts:
1) Excluding a tiny minority that actively searches for the answer "can shipments be automated later in the game", virtually every new player who finds the game these days is turned away when they see the Shipments tutorial.
2) Manual shipping can be a fun activity for part of the player base, especially it is balanced properly around maximizing Credits and minimizing Hydrogen. Some existing players have made significant progress with their Transport technology and don't want to see that progress wiped out. Shipping or a similar activity needs to exist in the game, otherwise Transport ships, almost their entire Tech tree, and the Hydrogen economy would have to be deleted as well.
The Dark Nebula update will focus on addressing these two conflicting needs in the following ways:
- Shipments stored on Planets remain a key source of daily Credit income. As players progress, more of that daily income will shift to *bonuses* from shipments, to encourage upgrading structures and technology.
- Shipment Relay will become a viable, full alternative to manual shipments. It will have competitive bonuses, it will deliver the shipments instantly, it will not require playing other game modes, but it will also consume the most Hydrogen. The Relay will be built at the tutorial's prompt during the first 15 minutes in the game.
- Manual shipments will remain an option. Many of the existing modules that help with manual Shipments will stay in the game. These modules will no longer compete with each other (i.e. people who want to focus on manual shipping will have to upgrade *both* Shipment Computer and Shipment Drone).
In this system, players who want to completely opt out of manual shipments will need to focus on upgrading their Relay (instead of certain shipment modules) and solidify their Hydrogen economy. Players who choose to always micromanage shipments and upgrade their Transport technology will do so because they already find the process fun and/or want full control over bonuses and costs. Many players will fall somewhere in between, mixing the two methods while optimizing their Hydrogen use and daily Credit bonuses.
As mentioned previously, Credit and Hydrogen economy is work in progress in Dark Nebula. Expect major changes during Early Access in daily income, upgrade prices for Planets and Stations, and other Credit and Hydrogen costs. The main thing we will try to keep constant from Hades' Star (where possible) is existing storage capacity for Credits (not Hydrogen).