Battlestar Galactica Online - Development Blog 21 - Behind the Scenes
17 October 2014
It’s been a while since the last blog and we’re sorry for keeping you waiting. Today, we’d like to give you some insight about recent changes and what we’re currently working on.
Here’s a rundown of today’s big topics:
- Update 46
- Ship Balancing
- Server Merges
The forum was upgraded to a new version on October 6th. Some users have raised concerns that we’ve been focusing on the wrong issues, so I’d like to mention that this change was handled by a separate department at Bigpoint. All BP game forums will be updated to this new standardized version, which offers some new and/or optimized functionality. Additionally, the BSGO forum has been re-branded in a new color scheme to match the recent in-game changes. The turquoise font was exchanged for a more neutral color.
Our aim behind Update 46 has been similar to previous updates. It focuses on many smaller improvements and additions that will improve the overall gameplay experience.
We’ve started on the graphical level – including cut scenes and tooltips based on the new UI style. This will be upgraded across the entire game from update to update. Individual cut scenes for the various ship tiers can be watched by docking to Galactica and the Basestar.
Tooltips have been redesigned for better readability by combining values like min and max damage as well as removing values set to “0”. Aside from the new visualization, we wanted to offer a functionality to compare current stats with maximum stats so that it’s easier to decide on the right items from scratch.
Additionally, sectors have been adjusted based on a request from the English forum >LINK<. All players had and still have the opportunity to report objects in space that are out of place or acting in a weird manner on a regular basis.
Many elements have been shifted to achieve more balanced sectors in terms of factions. Containers have been relocated to their debris fields and many platforms should no longer be attacked NPCs.
We evaluated the feedback we received and came to the conclusion to reposition all dynamic missions to 4,000m below and above the sector center. This way they won’t interrupt the natural flow of other elements in the sector.
Things calmed down a bit, after the reception of our first dynamic mission. With this update, we want to offer you some more flexibility in this system with the existing missions. This means that, from now on, the current FIDs can be triggered in both directions to be either friendly or applied to the opposite faction, regardless of the player who activates them. The Drone Incursion – known from the Awakening event early this year – has been added as standard event and will show up in some of the sectors now and then. All re-spawn timers have been reviewed and are should be more random from now on.
Last but not least, this update focused on some preliminary balancing changes for outposts and some player ships. Due to the new offensive capabilities of the new and redesigned ships, some static space objects needed a slight bump in defensive capabilities. Based on feedback, we’ll work on the component of adjusting their HP based on sector control (the underdog faction will have outposts with more HP; the dominating faction will have outposts with less HP). This will be one of the first steps in achieving a better faction balance in future.
Command ships and escorts have been intermediately adjusted until we achieve a full balanced state for them. In the long run, rebalancing should give a distinct purpose to every ship. However, since this is a huge step involving a lot of development time, we needed to push these changes upfront.
Where we now and where are we going? Good question! Overall ship balancing has always been a tough question in BSGO. From ammunition types to multi-roles spanning all the way to the recently added stealth fighter and new carriers, balance had always slightly struggled.
We need to change this. Starting with the bits and pieces from Update 46, we will go on with smaller and larger updates to bring the ships into balance as well as give each individual ship a purpose to be used for playing.
This doesn’t mean that new ships will be nerfed; furthermore, “old” ships will be bumped up to a competitive state. In the long run, small tweaks on specific ships can happen, but only if it’s really necessary for the balance.
Since there are many other open issues in BSGO, we want to finish the ship balancing topic as soon as possible, in order to move on other topics. At the same time, we won’t rush through this topic, but make it right. In this regard, we’d like to ask for your continued patience.
Finally, I want to talk about the topic consuming most of the team’s capacities right now: the server merge evaluation.
As a PvP content-related game, BSGO needs critical mass on each server. Some servers have not reached this critical mass for some time now. This is related to some game issues, but also because of pretty natural reasons in a browser game environment. Competition is high and it’s easy to try out other games.
While we are working on fixing the issues under our control, we also want to shorten the waiting time and offer a better experience to those players which have been left on the affected servers.
Because server merges were never planned for BSGO, the evaluation (and implementation) will take some time. So this is just an advanced notice about the planned server merges. It’s not possible to lay out the final design at this time.
But I can give you some short impressions based on the new game entry we’re designing along with this feature. Reducing the amount of servers also means that we need to offer an interface that is capable of having multiple characters on one server.
Similar to other MMOs, you will enter a character selection screen after you select a server. Below, you can see the current draft (details are not final) for the character selection. We’re planning to have several ways to modifying your character’s functionality in this view.
This is also where you’ll be able to enter the game.
Characters will stay as they are and you won’t lose anything due to the server merges.
However, critical mass isn’t the only reason for evaluating server merges. It will also shorten maintenance times and reduce the reaction time for population imbalances.
To allow for a smoother transition, we’ll do a clean-up of unused characters soon. In detail, this means characters that haven’t been played for a pretty long time – along with different match criteria – will be removed from the database. This will speed up the transition phase and, additionally, free up some previously taken usernames.
We’ll make sure to inform you of further information regarding server merges and clean-up in advance.
I hope you enjoyed our blog update and hope to chat with you again soon. Thanks for your patience and continued support for BSGO.