Choose Your Own Misadventure

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.

There's some kind of crazy map there too, but don't worry about that just yet.

There’s some kind of mysterious map there too, but don’t worry about that just yet.

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!)

Life can be rough on the Frontier! Be sure to bring appropriate supplies.

Life can be rough on the Frontier! Be sure to bring appropriate supplies.

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!

Stalwart Supply

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?

Nature’s Bounty

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.

Current patch status.

Current patch status.

Posted in Clockwork Empires | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 Responses to “Choose Your Own Misadventure”

  1. Bradley says:

    Dauntless dare should start with nothing but alcohol 🙂

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  2. Bruno says:

    How about “shipwreck”?

    Anything goes, in any quantity and combination, up to and including a overfriendly fishperson.

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    • Merneith says:

      Hah! I was thinking of a Shipwrecked! loadout, too!

      “You don’t know what hit it you, but it was big. It was big; It was white; and it swallowed Pvt Ishmael whole. Start in a random biome, with a random selection of stuff, and a random assortment of people.

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  3. Incoherencel says:

    Are there any plans or discussions about custom-loadouts, or fine-tuning loadouts with a points system a la Dwarf Fortress? Or do you intend to keep the player restricted to predefined loadouts?

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    • AdminChris Triolo says:

      This is something we’ve discussed, but at least at the moment it’s not in the plans. There are two major obstacles to putting something like this in, basically;
      1. We’d need to assign values to all the items/etc in the game and try to keep that reasonably balanced – a tricky task at the moment because the economy is still in a lot of flux.
      2. We’d need new UI to make it vaguely intuitive (this may not sound like much, but we only have so many programmers and time spent on this is time not spent on new features/content)
      While I’m not saying we’ll never do it, it’s a bunch of work for something that, at least right now, isn’t a priority. XD

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  4. MailersMate says:

    what happened in that gif?

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  5. geeoharee says:

    Implying the non-existence of Lord Palmerstoke indicates highly disordered thinking, citizen. Report for colonial re-education.

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  6. Wootah says:

    I think this is great.
    It would also be interesting for multiplayer to have two colonies side by side with different starting conditions.

    Also, I think it would be cool for players to have challenges on certain randomly generated maps (there are seeds, right?) where you have to use a certain load out that is counter intuitive to that map.

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