Battlestar Galactica Online - Developer Blog 14 - Annihilation

14 February 2014

Hello pilots,

Javery_BP here. After updating the DRADIS loot table, the number of nuclear weapons being fired had gotten to an intolerable level. You have been asking us to fix this issue. Additionally, we have a couple of new mechanics that you’ve been asking for, but we weren’t comfortable with releasing it in the current state of the nuclear war.

To release these mechanics and continue to update the game, we had to find a solution to the abundance of nukes, but also expand gameplay opportunities. With next update, you’re going to see a whole bunch of new things in the game and in this blog post I’ll discuss:

  • New game mechanics: Area of Effect and Energy Drain
  • New items: Nuclear Weapon Launchers
  • Updated items: Decoy Launchers
  • Changes to the sources of nukes.
  • New Skills
  • What’s Next?

New Game MechanicsEdit

With Update 33, you’ll see two new game mechanics: Area of Effect and Energy Drain.

Area of Effect damage allows us to create weapons that can damage multiple enemies at once. These weapons work on a basic idea of a primary effect radius and a secondary effect radius. If you’re caught in the primary effect radius of an area of effect weapon, you will take the full damage rolled by the attack. Anyone in the secondary effect radius will take reduced damage based on the range from the explosion.

As an example, let’s assume that a weapon has a 75 meter primary radius and a 125 meter secondary radius (200 meters total). If the weapon does 400 points of damage, then anyone in the primary effect radius takes 400 points of damage. Anyone in the secondary radius has the damage reduced depending on the distance from the point of impact. By the time the damage reaches the 200 meter edge of the effect, it is negligible. Now, when I say “anyone” in the blast radius is affected by the weapon, I literally mean anyone. Area of effect weapons effect both enemy and friendly targets (including yourself), so you’ll want to be careful when using them.

The other effect we’re introducing is Energy Drain. Energy Drain works just like damage, but instead of damaging your ship it reduces your energy. If you are hit with 40 points of energy drain, then you lose 40 points of energy from your reserve.

The great thing is we are able to combine these two mechanics together, so now we can create area of effect energy drain weapons. We can also give weapons both damage and energy drain.

New Items: Nuclear Weapon LaunchersEdit

When trying to address the issues with the number of nuclear weapons, we realized that we could fix the number of nukes in the game, while at the same time not destroy the existing nuke gameplay. The solution was to create dedicated weapons that fired nuclear weapons. These new weapons have both area of effect damage and energy drain. So when you are hit by these weapons you’ll take both damage and energy loss.

The idea behind these weapons is they are a weapon you lead into battle with. They’re more like artillery weapons than traditional missile launchers. These weapons are designed to create choices about how you will equip your ship. They have cooldown times that range from two to four minutes. Additionally, their minimum ranges range between 500 to 1200 meters. So while these weapons are powerful, they also have severe limitations that force you to make some hard choices about your ship’s loadout.

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Additionally, these weapons don’t fire regular missiles. We’ve developed a new ammo type called Torpedoes. Torpedoes are used only with the nuclear launchers. This new ammo type costs merits, just like regular merit nukes, but they can only be fired by a nuclear torpedo launcher.

The other thing to keep in mind is that these nuke launchers are designed to attack larger ships. Strike launchers are designed to attack escorts and lines ships, as are escort launchers. Line launchers are designed to attack other line ships.

You’ll also see some new artwork to help you know what’s going on. The torpedo actually looks different from standard missile, and makes it a bit easier to identify. Also, the area of effect FX will be different from the traditional nuke effect, allowing you to identify what kind of weapon is exploding.

While we’re introducing new nuclear weapons, the old ones aren’t changing. They’ll still be in the game, but they will be found through different sources. I’ll go into that later.

Finally, the new launchers required some updates to the Nova/Ruiner to keep it a viable weapon. The updated Nova/Ruiner will do considerably more damage and have higher armor piercing with slight tweaks to cooldowns and power costs.

Updated Decoy LaunchersEdit

Back when we first took over this game, we tried to update the decoy launchers but the changes we made weren’t really effective. Technical limitations prevented us from doing the kind of decoys needed for the game, but we’ve overcome those limitations.

Decoy launchers will now affect multiple missiles at a time. When you fire of your decoys, there will be a test made against every missile locked onto you. If the decoy successfully spoofs the missile, then it loses its target and continues on its last path. Each decoy launcher has a range that determines effectiveness of a decoy. The closer the missile is to you, the more likely you are to spoof it. Since the missile isn’t destroyed, if it’s too close it might still hit you. To properly avoid a missile you have to also change course. Along with the new decoy mechanics, we also have a new effect so you can tell when someone fires off a decoys.

These new decoy launchers will only be available for strikes and escorts. Line ships will need to rely on flak and point defense to deal with missiles. Finally, for balancing purposes you are limited to a single decoy launcher per ship.

Changes to the Source of NukesEdit

You asked us to curb the number of nukes in the game, and that’s going to be achieved by changing the source of nuclear warheads. From now on, the traditional mini-nukes will no longer be available in DRADIS Contact. Those have been replaced with ammo for the new torpedo launchers, and the mini-nukes have been moved to lower level rewards for the Interdiction Duties. Also, the x20 Merit Nukes will be removed from the shop and only available through Interdiction Duties. Finally, the new torpedo ammo will be added to the shop for merits.

New SkillsEdit

There’s more in this update though. You’ve been asking for more skills for a while, so we decided to introduce six new skills into the game with this update. The nuclear weapon launchers will get a new set of skills:

  • Nuclear Warfare Specials: Improves Energy Drain effect by 1% per level
  • Nuclear Payload Training: Decreases the power cost of nuclear weapon launchers by 1% per level
  • Nuclear Launch Optimization: Decreases the cooldown of nuclear weapon launchers by 0.5% per level.

We’ve also broken out the decoy launchers into their own separate skill set. Munition Launchers, Guidance Theory, and Munition Efficiency have become dedicated skills for mine launchers, and we’ve created three new decoy launcher skills:

  • Missile Evasion Training: Increase decoy effectiveness by 1% per level.
  • Decoy Power Management: Reduces power cost by 1% per level.
  • Decoy Release Training: Reduces cooldown by 1% per level.

What’s Next?Edit

There’s a lot in this update, but there’s a whole lot more coming. I wanted to give you some hints about what’s coming up in some of the next blog posts:

  • Carrier Update: One of our teams is hard at work updating the carrier and making it more rewarding to play. It will truly become a solid support role with a collection of new abilities, and you’ll have a ton more customization options including the first alternate paint schemes for both carriers.
  • Sector Fortifications: Another team is updating the sector control mechanics to make the battlefield more dynamic and less predictable. As you take control of a sector, defensive systems will spawn to protect the outpost and make it more difficult to destroy.

We’re really excited about this update, and the things we’re currently working on. We hope you’re excited too, and we look forward feedback and thoughts.

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