New update: Unity 2019, M2 improvements, permadeath adjustments!

Hello, brave pilots! Got a new “minor” update for you (it’s not really so minor, but it’s nothing compared to the Flocks update that we’re working on for the end of October, so I’ll call it minor. Heh.) This update will appear in production sometime in the next few hours.

Unity 2019 upgrade

More of a pain than you might think; this cost us a week of dev time. HOWEVER, we have already confirmed that both server and client performance have improved as a result of this upgrade. šŸ™‚ Additionally, there is a chance that this upgrade will fix some of the mystery crashes and freezes that ya’ll have been reporting but that we’ve had no luck reproducing ourselves. Fingers crossed.

M2 battle adjustments

  • M2 will now silence all players at two different moments during her battle. Abilities and maneuvers are unusable during that time.
  • A small amount of steam is automatically restored after M2 silences you. Additionally, weak Steam pickups are briefly available as well.
  • Increased the drop chance for Void Prism by 3x (still a very low chance overall, to be clear.)
  • Fix for M2 not dropping her trail crafting gem. Should drop at a rate of 1/9 now.
  • Phase 3 “safe spot” is no longer entirely safe.
  • Nukes always fire from the center of the battlefield
  • Slightly longer delay between phases to reduce the likelihood that they might overlap
  • Hallway turrets no longer drop loot
  • Minor alteration to the M2 battle which hopefully prevents phase-skipping. Basically, M2 will shield herself once her health has dropped to a key threshold, finish the loop she’s in, and then start the next phase unshielded as always. She will still spend the vast majority of the battle unshielded.

Permadeath adjustments

This game is designed in every way to be a permadeath game. That’s central to the game’s identity and would be extraordinarily difficult to change at this point. At the same time, we can’t bury our heads in the sand and ignore the fact that one of the most common reasons given by new players as to why they are quitting is the permadeath. And it’s important to remember that the primary goal of this game is to encourage friendship; everything else must be secondary. So we’ve been trying to figure out how to soften permadeath, especially for new users, without fundamentally changing the underlying premise of the game. We think we’ve come up with a few good ideas, one of which is ready in this update:

“Salvaged items” – Right now, when you die, you lose not only your aircraft and all its upgrades, but also your equipped items and your cargo. For the majority of new players, that’s just too much pain too soon. SBA would still be harsher than 99% of games on the market if we eliminated your aircraft, your upgrades, and your cargo, but let you keep at least some of your equipped items as “salvage.” So that’s what we’re going to test. New players (below rank 25) will randomly recover 3 of their 5 equipped items as salvage. More experienced players (ranks 25 to 50) will randomly salvage two equipped items. Rank 51 to 65 will salvage 1 equipped item. After that, it goes to zero.

Hopefully, this gives newer players a more gentle ramp into the game. We’re very open to changing these rank thresholds and/or salvage quantities in the future. Also very open to trying other, similar experiments. Just need to give all of you a chance to live with this change for a couple weeks, get some feedback, and observe how this impacts new players!

Balance changes

  • Engineer 1A: replaced +5% turret damage with +30% turret range and upped turret health a bit more
  • Engineer turrets can last up to +2s longer than before now
  • Effectiveness of Repair Juice has been doubled, and the upgrade max has been (at most) halved for all classes. Which means you get the same bonus regen for half the upgrades.
  • Tripled duration of the XP booster and reduced its price in gold as well
  • Arc weapons (T0-T10) normalized. Lower tier Arcs also start with higher DPS now.
  • Reduced Grand Lion DPS by 25%
  • Reworked MG Skill 1A to increase gun damage instead of decrease cooldown
  • Modest adjustments to MG Skill 1B
  • Quad Skill 4A now greatly decreases maneuver cost when Steam < 50%
  • Reworked Medic Skill 2A to reduce secondary cooldown
  • Modest buff to Medic Skill 2B
  • Bandit EMP projectile moves faster, especially at T10
  • If high enough rank, in addition to other mods you get in HFSC, you’ll also get -30% gun damage
  • Default threshold to qualify for loot reduced from 0.5% to 0.3%
  • Raptor mines have been updated! They do less damage (since nobody seemed to care about their damage) but also trigger faster and inflict a heavy ice/slow effect on enemies. T10 for a good long freeze, my friends.

Other changes

  • Sniper shows the same aiming line as shotgun weapons.
  • Improved account link handling to reduce likelihood of people not being able to play.
  • The Nexus list now shows the correct player numbers including the ones from the overworlds. This was actually deployed a few days ago.
  • Items will move through walls if they spawn inside them
  • Flak no longer causes sparks when it hits players
  • “Broken Axis” has been redefined as a Lethal dungeon mod
  • Friends list is now sorted: On current server -> On other servers -> Offline or unsure
  • Fix some issues where you could get stuck in a state with no active quest
  • You won’t auto-join quests that have less than 2 minutes remaining
  • Siege Tank flak now has sound
  • The carrier leading to 3bros is now very special-looking
  • Fixed bug that caused Chinese text to be missing in places like the Workshop
  • Permanently decreased the store prices for dungeon keys
  • Dungeon Key Bundle in the store has been updated to include Elder Arena instead of Arena1
  • Attempted fix for the “my aircraft unexpectedly backpedals when at high speed” bug. Seems much better in testing!