2013 is shaping up to be a pretty big year for Star Sonata. We just concluded a nearly 4 hour long meeting where we addressed player concerns and issues common to the player base. We’ve planned out a lot of really cool features that you guys get to vote on for what we work on first (or if you even like them at all). There are a few things we discussed that will be automatically implemented without player voting, though I think you’ll like those automatic implementations anyways. So to begin I’ll talk about our new voting system.
The Request & Voting System
We’ve been in discussion about better ways to facilitate feedback from the players. We currently have a smattering of different forum boards for bugs, suggestions, and general feedback as well as general questions often coming into the ticket system. Only when you guys scream loudly, can we see that something is a major issue and address it. And the suggestions forum becomes clogged and we have a hard time effectively gauging the better suggestions. This causes unnecessary stress on you, the players, and us, the dev team. There is no single place for feedback.
Aimed to be launched in limited beta over the next few weeks, the Voting system allows everyone to post a request whether it is a suggestion, common bug, or content enhancement for the dev team to view. Other players will then be able to vote on these items for increased visibility. Each month or universe you will be granted a certain amount of vote tokens. You can use these vote tokens to submit a suggestion for player voting, or vote on a suggestion. If you really like someone’s suggestion you can give a maximum of 3 votes to encourage it to appear higher in the suggestions list. We still have not determined the vote token totals per account, and the frequency as to when you get more vote tokens. Once a suggestion has been submitted the dev team can take it and change the status of the suggestion. Statuses will be Will Implement, In Development, Finished, and Rejected (usually for reports of bugs that are not bugs and suggestions like giving adum’s Blockers to every player).
The downside to this system for the players is that it will limit the amount of suggestions an individual can make. It will also limit how many times you can vote. Essentially the system forces you to pick what you most care about and vote accordingly. We can then see what is the most pressing concern, or the most kickass suggestion that the players like and then act on it. So while it does limit you, it helps us, help you!
The voting system will launch with the proposed solutions from our meeting. After a short time of player voting we will enable player submitted suggestions.
The really long yet majorly successful meeting of awesome!
So what goodies did we discuss? We took the entire game and broke it down into 3 key parts. The brand new player experience, the low-mid level player experience, and the end game experience. When the new system goes into beta, you will have the opportunity to vote on these items to help us prioritize our time. The solutions will also be described in further detail at that time.
Out of all the major concerns the only thing we did not explicitly find a solution to was the player concerns about graphics. We did come up with some UI fixes, and even a new camera proposition. After these have been implemented for a universe, we will reevaluate this issue and see what can be done.
So now that we got the bad news out of the way, let’s get to the goodies! :D The detailed description of these features will come during the voting system beta.
So here’s the list of the new features we’re going to have available for player voting.
Forced, restrictive, interactive tutorial,
Improved Greeter System
Visual Equipment Screen option to add into nearly unused ship window.
Item Tiers for Rarity
Item Compare on Mouse Over
Station Tab connected to the Market Check database
Wiki enhancement competition
Build Selector following faction select at game start
Edit Missions to Display objectives at top of mission.
Add & Rebalance existing mid-low level content
Create tools for player submitted content and personal, editable instances on test server.
Make central missions that drive character progression
Mission Bulletin Board that alerts you when new missions are available.
Alternate forms of Experience: Exploration, DG Completion, Trading, etc.
Rework existing squad experience formulas so low level characters do not get penalized for high level characters in their squads.
Mini bosses drop loot
Mini boss kills reward a shard dust.
Mini bosses would give their own lockout
Bosses would give their own lockout.
Intro galaxy will be decreased in size, and Hermes moved in.
Simplified Graphical User Interface (Offset center, UI docks for Map and Inventory on the left of screen, similar to C1).
Replace Existing 3D Map with C1 Map
What’s going in ASAP?
We discussed a few things that are immediately going in at the new universe on February 16th.
The first is the Skill Point costs. This has long been an issue for new and old players alike. The skill points were designed so every tech would be used, but unfortunately did not come with content additions like was originally promised. So we’ve re-ran the formulas a few times and came up with a solution to decrease the skill point costs to level up your skills. In Star Sonata 1, it took 322 levels to completely max your basic skills. People would effectively skip huge tech levels and fail to utilize content at their level. When the skill point change came in, it took 590 levels to max your basic skills, and additional content did not come with it to make that transition easier. The solution we’re implementing in February will decrease skills to where basic skills acquisition will take 428 levels, In addition to this many missions across the board will see a dramatic increase in experience rewards.
The second option was a dream turned into reality. In Star Sonata 2, many players were not happy with the 3D perspective camera view, and the speed bump. Jey has been hard at work over the past week creating a camera option in the client. Players will be able to select between a perspective camera (the current camera in C2), and an orthographic camera. The simplest way to describe an orthographic camera is by taking a look at what we already have. Star Sonata 2 has a perspective camera, when I fly around a galaxy and circle around a base, my perspective on that base will change, more specifically it will look different if I am north of the base and right up next to it versus being east of the base and far away from it. In Star Sonata 1 when you flew around the base, that base would look the same no matter where you were at in the galaxy; you never saw it at a different angle and never had a speed bump. We can replicate that C1 effect in 3D by enabling an Orthographic Camera Option in the client. This feature will either be available with the standard client, or as a beta client to download.
What are our plans for the future?
We know, and you know that churning out content is one of SS's major weak points. While we originally had a goal to make new tech levels every 6 months, that naturally didn't happen. We also see that the game as a whole is not where we want it to be and we're going to aim to make it better. We originally planned to launch T22 with the February 16th universe reset, however due to player concerns about T21 we have decided to push it's launch back and fix what we can in existing content.
I'm excited for the improvements to come and I hope you are too. To our existing players, we thank you for sticking with us. Star Sonata is moving forward and we've got some exciting times ahead!