Experience System Changes
The experience system rewards players for facility captures, facility resecures, and eliminating opponents (whether in vehicles or on foot). None of that is changing.
However, the rewards (the amount of Battle Experience that you gain for each of those activities) are changing. Now that Facility Link Benefits are in the game and providing reasons for facility capture, the need for Battle Experience to be the "hook" to attract players to a facility is no longer as necessary. Therefore, the facility capture/resecure awards are being cut down to slightly less than half what they were previously. This deemphasizes facility capture for purposes of farming Battle Experience, but still rewards the effort.
To compensate for this lesser amount of experience, and to properly focus the game's experience system on the elimination of opponents, the Battle Experience for combat is being increased by almost three times. (The sole exception is that the rewards for eliminating MAX units are only slightly higher than before...which compensates for the fact that they were "overpriced" before.)
Since Command Experience (CEP) can only be gained via facility captures, a new multiplier was added to the experience system algorithms so that Commanders that lead squads to capture facilities will garner the same amount of experience as they got previous to this change. This allows them to continue to advance normally.
The end result of this change is that the average player (not individual players...but the average of all players on-line at one time) should see almost exactly the same amount of Battle Experience gained in a day, but that the bulk of the experience will be gained through direct combat, rather than facility captures.
In theory, this opens up the possibilities to players on how they want to achieve that Battle Experience. Combat in areas other than facilities will be more attractive to those focusing on Battle Experience as their sole goal and we hope to see combat spread out across the globe more easily now.
(NOTE: This is not the final adjustment to the experience system. However, it is a change that could occur immediately in order to loosen up combat decisions for players. Other changes are much more complex and need more time to implement. We're looking into other concepts (like directly rewarding support players with Battle Experience for their actions) in the future.)
"Defender Incentive" for Combat in Friendly SOIs
All rewards for combat experience are increased by 25% if you make those kills in a friendly SOI. In otherwords, you get more experience for defending a facility held by your Empire.
The Hotspot algorithms have been changed. You should now see many, many more hotspots in the world than you saw previously.
However, you will now only see hotspots if a significant number of soldiers from YOUR Empire are involved in that battle. If no one from your Empire is there, then no hotspot occurs.
Additionally, there are no longer variable sizes of hotspots. Each hotspot indicates a battle between around 10 or so people. The more hotspots are in an area, the bigger the battle you'll see there. Very large battles are represented as a collection of small hotspots.
Combat Balance Changes
NOTE: Most of these changes are increases in power to match up better with other weapons/vehicles already in the game. There are a few instances where, through oversight or simple bugs, a weapon or vehicle was simply overpowered. In those instances, the changes are marked with a "(design reduction)" or "(bug fix)" tag after that explanation so you can easily identify those areas. All other changes are changes that strengthen the item in question.
Some weapons are classified as "aggravated" damage. This means that the projectiles hit or explode on the target and then do damage-over-time to that target.
Originally, any aggravated projectile that hits an already-burning target would essentially quench the original shot and replace it with its own shot. That meant that potential damage from previous shots was being erased by each successive incoming aggravated shot.
This resulted in aggravated damage being weaker than intended.
Aggravated damage now properly "stacks" so that each shot does its full damage, regardless of how many other aggravated projectiles hit that same target.
This makes aggravated damage weapons potentially more powerful than originally implemented, especially in the case of high rate-of-fire weapons.
Anti-Aircraft Weaponry (Skyguard, AA MAX units, shoulder-mounted AA weapons)
The balance of the weapons is changed so that Skyguard flak cannons are the most effective anti-air weapons, the MAX AA units are the second-best, and the shoulder-mounted anti-air weapons are the last in the pecking order.
These changes generally increase the strength of the AA MAX units and the Skyguard rather than limiting the power of the shoulder-mounted weaponry, however there were several bugs with the Striker that made it far too powerful. Those bugs have been fixed and this may make the Striker feel comparatively weak. However, it is balanced against the other empire AA-weapons now and is still a strong weapon.
* Improved turret speed (tracks air targets more easily now)
* Added up to 8X zoom (to identify incoming targets more easily)
* ROF for the Flak Cannon has been increased.
* Increased range of projectiles to 500m (Since these projectiles have no guidance, they have a slightly longer range than the Sparrow and Starfire to compensate, in addition to the high rate of fire for this weapon.)
* Increase the force shield damage protection significantly.
* Aggravated damage now "stacks". (see above)
* You must acquire a laze target lock BEFORE you shoot if you wish your projectiles to be guided. Any shot released while unguided will STAY unguided, even if you acquire a laze after the fact. (bug fix)
* Remove constraint on jumping that requires 20% of jump capacitor to be filled before this MAX can jump again.
* The turning speed has been increased slightly to accentuate the improved mobility of this Empire's MAX.
* Changed projectile range to 250m (design reduction)
* Increased clip size to 5 (from 3)
* Decreased the damage to armored targets (design reduction)
* Decreased damage to air targets (design reduction)
* Decreased damage to soft targets (design reduction)
* Increased the rate of fire on the weapon (to be able to take advantage of the increased clip size before the target moves away)
* You must acquire a laze target lock BEFORE you shoot if you wish your projectiles to be guided. If you are fring in laze mode (Primary firing mode) then you can no longer fire AT ALL unless such a lazed lock is acquired before you pull the trigger. (bug fix)
* If you reload while guided missiles are in flight, then those missiles will immediately change to non-guided. Therefore, wait until your target is impacted before reloading. (bug fix)
* Increase range to 250m
* Reduced reload time slightly
* Added a dumbfire secondary firing mode. This mode can be fired without the user being forced into missile-cam view, but it is non-guided.
* Reduce damage vs. infantry (design reduction)
* Range on shots upped significantly to allow Turrets to defend themselves against air attackers flying at range.
* Damage to armor increased
* Damage to air increased
Main Battle Tanks
These were always intended to have characteristics specific to their Empire. The Terran Republic vehicles are supposed to be "highest rate of fire", the New Conglomerate items are "armor and big hits", and the Vanu Sovereignty are "light...but FAST".
The end result of the changes (listed below) creates the following characteristics:
* TR Prowler has the highest damage output, but the slowest maximum speed and only average armor.
* NC Vanguard has the highest armor, average maximum speed, and average damage output (the 150mm shots are still the most power individually, but the Prowler does more damage over time).
* VS Magrider has the highest speed and maneuverability, but the least damage and armor.
Tank versus tank analyses were made and the "time to kill" (for one tank to kill another tank of a differing empire) is approximately the same, regardless of Empire. (For instance, The Magrider takes slightly longer to kill other tanks, but it's direct-line attacks typically are much more useful in tank-to-tank battles and this makes up for that lack.)
Overall, the main battle tank top speeds and accelerations were slowed down significantly. This does two things: a) it makes the tanks "feel" more like tanks because they seem to have more momentum, and b) it reduces the ease with which the tanks can mow over infantry targets (they take more time to ramp up to speed now and infantry can move around them more easily). This slower movement rate also reduces lag between server updates, which means you'll see the tanks moving more accurately now as well.
This decrease in maneuverability was partially compensated for by dramatically increasing the amount of armor these tanks have. (In otherwords, they're easier to hit now, so they can take the damage more easily.)