First, a note from the Management: The monthly patch has been delayed due to some last-minute stability concerns but we’re working on it and will update you when we’ve got it sorted out. In the meantime we’ve asked Chris to hold the fort with a blog post about some cool stuff he’s been working on over the last month. Over to you Chris!
It’s time for another game balance post! Last time I wrote about immigration, but that’s not the only big game progression change in this month’s patch: we’ve also added Loadouts.
For a rather long time we were extremely generous with the materials given to players when they launched a new colony; this was useful for testing hard-to-get-to midgame stuff, and hadn’t been given a serious balance pass since we implemented the idea of starting materials in the first place. However, just as with immigration, we’ve reached a point where it’s necessary to make players have to work for stuff so they can experience more actual gameplay. And that means not giving loads of high-quality materials at start.
With balance comes opportunity, and this was a real fun opportunity; We’ve always wanted players to be able to bring different stuff to their colony depending on their needs, and being that we were in the middle of balancing your starting materials anyway, what better opportunity to try out a bunch of different settings and see what people like? Thus, we set up a system that allows for different starting loadouts that can change values like:
- The number, type, and skills of starting colonists
- The number and type of starting materials
- Prestige, and possibly other fun things later on!
There’s a lot of room for flexibility in this system, and we’re definitely going to iterate on these loadouts as the game develops and we receive more feedback. Just for fun, let’s go over the loadouts currently implemented in the experimental build and some of the logic behind them. (These will go live in the public version 41 patch, by the way, so take note!)
My First Colony Starter Pack
More or less the “default”, this is a comfy start for new players that provides plenty of food leeway, useful starting building materials, and a few “just in case” ingots. A very solid pick!
Advanced Colony Starter Pack
Another comfy default-style choice, this shares a lot with the My First Colony Pack but trades some basic materials, an ingot, and spare food for some higher-quality construction materials, allowing you to advance into the 2nd tier of building construction much sooner than you might otherwise. This is one I’m very keen on seeing how people like, as having a solid “everyday” loadout for veteran players who want to advance more quickly to the early mid-game is important!
Our Best and Brightest
This is a fun one; it starts all overseers with level 1 in a random skill in exchange for removing a bunch of the starting supplies. How well this helps you probably depends on whether you’re the type to assign your characters carefully to appropriate jobs while making sure to keep everyone alive.
The Metalworker’s Trove
Metalworking is a huge part of the mid-game right now so it only seemed right to let players try jumping straight there in exchange for most of their other supplies. You’ll need to supply the stone for the smelting and kiln modules in the Metalworks yourself, though!
Full admission: This was designed specifically for players who like to start in the jungle biome and wall-in. You get tons of logs, landmines, and a bonus soldier. What more could you want for defensive play? It’s lacking in other stuff, like… any food, though. Perhaps you could feast on the bodies of your fallen enemies?
A full seven days of food for all of your colonists! Wowza! If you’re starting in the grasslands biome and just want to take your time without worrying about food pressure (which will be increased slightly in version 41, by the way), this is pretty ideal for a slow-paced start. I’d like to think that appeals to some people.
Lord Palmerstoke’s Choice
This loadout allows you to advance directly into building a Laboratory or Naturalist’s Office immediately, but you miss out on most starting supplies and get no NCO. Science & exploration are fairly early in development right now so this is more of a “just for fun” option than a balanced choice, but some people truly believe in the power of Science! to overcome all challenges.
The Dauntless Dare
Are you a bad enough dude(tte) to start with no supplies at all? This loadout gives you nothing, like a PROPER frontiersperson! Every game’s gotta have a challenge option, right?
Twenty-One’s a Crowd (Experimental)
Just for funzies; start with 21 people and no supplies. I’ve learned some -interesting- lessons from this one, which I’ll go into shortly.
Friends in High Places (Experimental)
Start with some aristocrats and bonus prestige! Not much of a change from the norm, but if you like people bossing you around.. 😀 Aristocrats don’t have a huge role in the game yet, but this should become interesting once desires and aristocratic rewards are more fleshed out.
That’s a lot of options!
So, where does the loadout feature stand now? We put these loadouts into the experimental build earlier this month, and we’ve already been getting very useful feedback from our players on the forums. In particular, a lot of people are trying out the 21-person start (and finding success a little too easy); a sign, I think, that it’s about time to start balancing food more aggressively. There’ll be some minor changes to that in this month’s patch, version 41, with more to come.
As always, if you’re interested in being Experimented Upon, you can opt into the Experimental branch yourself via Steam.