SBA is launching on August 22nd!

You read that correctly: we’ll be formally ending the open beta and launching Steambirds Alliance on Steam in 10 days from now! If you haven’t already done it, please wishlist SBA on Steam so that you get notified when the game launches.

To celebrate the end of the open beta and show our love and gratitude for all of you who have been playing, giving feedback, and just generally being the best community we could ever ask for, we’ve added a new trail to the game that drops from enemies in the Imperial area. This rare tradeable trail will stop dropping from the game on the 21st, so hunt it down now!

Show a little love to all our open beta players

And hey, we’ve also updated the game today with a bunch of big changes! (You can expect this update to go live around 5pm PST.)

Pilot Skill Redesign

The pilot skill system has been overhauled. Nearly every skill in the game has at very least had its values adjusted and many skills have been completely redesigned. The goals of this overhaul:

  • Unlock skills faster, so that people feel a stronger sense of progression in their first month of play. If you’ve been playing for even just a few days, check it out — you should notice that you have access to significantly more skills than you used to.
  • Make skill levels meaningful. Previously, for most skills, all that mattered was the first point you put into the skill — the benefit from the next 2 to 5 points invested was nearly meaningless. This is no longer the case. While the first skill point still often has a big impact, the subsequent levels will have an impact too.
  • Give players interesting choices. Previously, it took a very long time to unlock any skills you could use, and by the time you unlocked them you had more skill points that you needed to simply insta-max the skill. But now, some skills cost more, and you unlock them sooner, so you’ll actually have to make choices about which skills you’re going to max.
  • Make all skills interesting to at least a niche population of players (i.e. hopefully eliminating skills that “no one” would ever pick.)

Since nearly all skills have been modified at least slightly, it’s not worth listing all the changes here; you’re going to want to just go check ’em out yourself in game! But there are a few particularly notable overhauls worth calling out:

  • Many Blaster and Laser skills have been seriously overhauled; they bear little resemblance to their former selves. The skills that feature instant guns, in particular, are no longer worthless… they can have serious impact when used correctly.
  • Paladin and sword skills have been moderately nerfed in many ways. They are still good skills and the Paladin will likely remain a popular class, but it will hopefully no longer dominate other classes.
  • Again, every other class has gotten significant revisions as well. Check them out!

And since now is a particularly good time to be doing it, we’ve enabled you to reset all your skills with a single click of a button anytime you like in the skills UI.

We have no doubt that we will need to do further tuning of these skills based on your feedback and what we observe via analytics, but we are excited about these changes and can’t wait to hear what you think!

Boss Revisions

We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from players that some bosses have invulnerability phases that are too long / too annoying, so we’ve been doing some work to address that:

  • Lobbyist: more health, less shielding, more wandering during clone phase
  • Jinn (and Golden Jinn): Quicker move transitions, pattern on vulnerable state begins earlier
  • Poison God: more health, shorter transitions between phases, snake body shielded for 7s after spawn
  • Cyclopus: more health, shorter shield phases, quicker attacks in final phase
  • Ra Generator: Faster shifts between phases

New Saturday group bounty target

Keep an eye out for the “Sentinel,” our new group bounty target for Saturdays. (Marksmen & Duelists, who used to be the Saturday target, have been moved to Tuesdays.)

The Sentinel has a chance to drop damage upgrades at the same rate that the Grand Lion drops armor upgrades.

Other changes:

  • M2 loot qualification radius has been increased
  • Kai: hitbox fixes, nerfed very strong minion attack, buffed circular shot at the end of ricochet phase
  • The 3 Brothers in the M2 encounter now have a very low chance of dropping the “Quantum Reach” Blaster piercing SPEC.
  • M2 now has her own portrait
  • It is no longer possible to mouse click the inventory to open it. Too many people were doing that accidentally.
  • Mods are now properly applied to The Dig and to Cathulhu.
  • The anti-rushing and content variety we inadvertently released prematurely last week has been tested and optimized to help reduce problems with client performance. Please let us know if more optimization is needed.
  • SBA now has a custom mouse cursor 🙂
  • Yet more server work in preparation for launch