As announced in the previous blog, we are developing 11 new robots belonging to the Syndicate faction. The first wave of these robots is just around the corner, so today we’ll take an in-depth look at them.

General traits

In terms of offense, the most notable attribute of the hybrid Nian-Earth tech Syndicate robots is of course their specialization for firearms. These types of guns are famous for their almost negligible energy usage, their damage and versatility coming from the available ammo types, but also for their inaccuracy and short optimal range. Syndicate robots were built with this in mind, and they are also trying to compensate for the shortcomings of these weapons.

Defense-wise their main strategy is basically to not get hit. Their armor is the weakest of all the factions, and armor resistances are universal but not very high. However, this is more than made up by their low hit size, either from the get-go or via bonuses, which can be further reduced by using an evasive module.

Looking at their base speed, they are rather on the slower end, but their relatively high mass means that they won’t lose that much of that speed when you equip them.

Last but not least, their signal detection and masking values are the best in their class, making them exceptionally useful in scouting and covert operations.

TL;DR Syndicate robots are hard to hit bulletstorm glass-ninjas.

These are mostly true for the combat-type robots, but we’ll also have 5 industrial types within the Syndicate faction. They are generally intended to fill some missing roles and industrial classes, and their traits will be a mix of the Syndicate flavor and the robots of the Nian Industrial Trust.

Let’s take a look at the first 3 robots in detail. Note that the parameters can still change and we’ll revisit them once they’ve been in use for a while.

Vektor

Vektor

Class: Light robot specialized in firearms

"The smallest member of our hybrid-technology fleet of robots. Its armor is weaker than the average, but its small size makes up for it, resulting in a hard to hit target. Coupled with excellent detection and masking systems, the Vektor makes not only a good scout, but a tough opponent in combat as well."

Slots

  • Head slots: 3
  • Leg slots: 2
  • Chassis slots: 4 (2x light turret/misc, 2x light/medium turret/misc/industrial)

Bonuses (per extension level)

  • 1% reduction to the hit dispersion of guns
  • 3% to light firearms damage
  • 1% to firearms cycle time
  • -0.10 to surface hit size
  • +2 to signal detection
Vektor

Notable stats

  • Accumulator: 200 AP @ 120sec recharge
  • CPU: 155 TF
  • Reactor: 150 RP
  • Armor: 650 HP
  • Passive resistances: 45 points universally (31%)
  • Surface hit size: 3 m
  • Locking range: 150 m
  • Sensor strength: 130 Hw³
  • Signal detection: 125 rF
  • Signal masking: 105 rF
  • Cargo capacity: 3.75 U
  • Mass: 7850 kg
  • Base speed: 104.4 kph

Syndicate Supplies cost

  • 20 TM tokens
  • 20 ICS tokens
  • 20 ASI tokens
  • 150,000 NIC

Locust

Locust

Class: Assault robot specialized in firearms

"The gist of our firearm-wielding force. A swarm of Locusts can quickly shred enemy groups, but their specialized framework increases their survivability in solo engagements too."

Slots

  • Head slots: 4
  • Leg slots: 3
  • Chassis slots: 5 (3x light turret, 2x light/medium turret/misc/industrial)

Bonuses (per extension level)

  • 1% reduction to the hit dispersion of guns
  • 3% to firearms damage
  • 1% to firearms cycle time
  • -0.10 to surface hit size
  • 2% to firearms optimal range
Locust

Notable stats

  • Accumulator: 400 AP @ 180sec recharge
  • CPU: 230 TF
  • Reactor: 280 RP
  • Armor: 975 HP
  • Passive resistances: 45 points universally (31%)
  • Surface hit size: 4 m
  • Locking range: 200 m
  • Sensor strength: 110 Hw³
  • Signal detection: 110 rF
  • Signal masking: 110 rF
  • Cargo capacity: 6 U
  • Mass: 11800 kg
  • Base speed: 106.2 kph

Syndicate Supplies cost

  • 50 TM tokens
  • 50 ICS tokens
  • 50 ASI tokens
  • 500,000 NIC

Ikarus

Ikarus

Class: Light robot specialized in transportation

"The Ikarus is a snappy answer to the Perpetuum Project's long-standing need for a fast and light transport. Its main element is a repurposed Argano-chassis, stripped of anything disposable to make room for the relatively large cargo hold. Aided by the agile undercarriage of the Laird, this is the most efficient robot to get fair-sized packages from A to B quickly. Speed comes at a price though, as the construction is very fragile."

Slots

  • Head slots: 1
  • Leg slots: 1
  • Chassis slots: 1 (light/medium turret/missile/misc/industrial)

Bonuses (per extension level)

  • +2 to signal detection
  • +2 to signal masking
  • 3% to demobilizer resistance
  • 1% to armor hit points
  • +3 to passive armor resistances

Notable stats

  • Accumulator: 150 AP @ 240sec recharge
  • CPU: 100 TF
  • Reactor: 100 RP
  • Armor: 500 HP
  • Passive resistances: 45 points to kinetic/seismic/thermal (31%), 30 points to chemical (23%)
  • Surface hit size: 2.50 m
Ikarus
  • Locking range: 120 m
  • Sensor strength: 90 Hw³
  • Signal detection: 110 rF
  • Signal masking: 100 rF
  • Cargo capacity: 20 U
  • Mass: 8950 kg
  • Base speed: 120.6 kph

Syndicate Supplies cost

  • 10 TM tokens
  • 10 ICS tokens
  • 10 ASI tokens
  • 100,000 NIC

Balancing and new extensions

We’re introducing two new extensions that will be required to control these robots: Syndicate combat robot control and Syndicate industrial robot control. It’s not hard to guess that these are the equivalents of the Pelistal/Nuimqol/Thelodica robot control extensions (with the same complexity of 9), but since here the combat and industrial types are part of the same faction we felt the need to split it up into two extensions. The rest of the requirements are designed to be on par with the other factions and are using the same extensions, depending on the robot’s class.

Of course the introduction of a whole new faction can’t go without some adjustments to the existing factions and robots. With each patch we’ll take a look at the balance within the actual class of robots and make changes if necessary. This not only means that we’ll balance regarding the newly added robots to try to fit them in, but we’ll also revisit the balance between the existing old factions. Finally, during or after the last waves we’ll check up on the global balance between robot classes and try to fix some long-standing issues e.g. with speeds.

Deployment

This first wave of Syndicate robots is planned to be deployed in patch 3.8, around the middle of next week, along with some fixes as usual. The exact time and date of the patch will be announced soon.

The rest of the robots will be introduced in a similar way over the next few months: a detailed writeup of the actual wave of 2 or maybe 3 robots will precede their deployment, and the waves are currently planned to be 3-5 weeks apart, depending on any additional features or fixes that may come with the patch.

Over the years we have spent on Nia, we have learnt to hijack Nian technology, turn it against themselves, and even managed to reprogram their bases and facilities to produce more weapons and hardware needed for our cause.

Now, by salvaging and disassembling Nian robots and combining them with good old Earth technology, the Syndicate hopes to surprise the enemy by fielding something they haven’t seen so far.

Syndicate robots

Soon, the Syndicate will become a full-fledged 4th faction (or 5th if we count the Nian Industrial Trust as one) with its own line of specialized robots that you can use.

Currently 11 new robots are planned, which are assembled from existing Nian robot parts, but each of them will have their own unique stats and bonuses. As you might have already guessed, a common trait, being their faction specialization, are machine guns.

Beyond mirroring the standard line of combat bots of other factions, we’re also trying to fill some roles that we didn’t have robots for thus far, like a light transport or a robot specialized for artifact exploration.

Here is a general list of what you can expect:

  • Vektor: light combat robot
  • Helix: light robot specialized for electronic warfare
  • Locust: assault-class combat robot
  • Echelon: combat mech
  • Callisto: mech specialized for electronic warfare
  • Legatus: heavy combat mech
  • Ikarus: fast light transport
  • Cronus: assault-class industrial robot suitable for both mining and harvesting
  • Hermes: assault-class robot specialized for artifact exploration
  • Daidalos: mech-class transport, aimed to fill the gap between the Sequer and the Lithus
  • Metis: heavy mech specialized for remote support modules

Introducing these robots into the game will happen through the Syndicate Supplies shop. First and foremost we’re planning a direct purchase for a combination of Pelistal, Nuimqol, and Thelodica faction tokens, plus a NIC fee. These robots are not indended to be rare, so the cost will be more or less in line with the other faction’s robots, and the triple-token requirement should liven up the market a bit.

Over the next few blogs we will take a detailed look at each of the robots, dive into their stats and bonuses, strengths and weaknesses, and everything you'd want to know about your new best friends.

Many patch notes, forum wars, and misplaced croissants ago, Perpetuum’s time-based skill progression system was created with the premise that it should create equal opportunity for everyone to progress their characters, regardless of playtime.

Be that as it may, an often recurring fear that potential new players have is that they can never be competitive enough to take on old players who have gathered hundreds of thousands or even millions of Extension Points over the years.

Both us devs and a lot of our players try to convince these newcomers that they can quickly become as skilled as old Agents in a specific field, and that veterans only have the advantage of being more versatile, and of course this is true to some extent. But as the years passed by, this argument started to become more and more weak, up to the point where even we didn’t believe in it, as the differences started to become really apparent.

Thus, we recently made it a priority to provide a solution that would try to address these concerns. We have come up with an upgrade to the EP system that has two main components.

EP rewards

The idea to give players EP as a reward for ingame activities isn’t new, it’s been popping up on the forums for as long as I can remember. From a financial viewpoint, the idea wasn’t really feasible as long as the game was subscription-based, but since we dropped that, it slowly started to turn from “why not” into “this might be even good”.

Nowadays a lot of our players quickly log in and out of the game every few days with the only intention of getting their daily EP packs, probably in the hopes that they’ll be useful one day, when they have time to play, or it’s worth to play. Naturally, if a lot of players do this, the game becomes a ghost town of secret agents on standby, which is less than ideal for an MMO.

EP is probably still the most valued “currency” of Perpetuum, so ultimately it makes sense to incentivize it with the hopes of getting these standby players to actually play, and be rewarded with Extension Points by doing so.

Long story short, the activities that we currently intend to be part of the new EP reward system are:

  • Assignments: EP is given per objective, modified by the assignment level. Every assignment participant is rewarded equally, regardless of their contribution.
  • NPC kills: EP is given based on the rank of the destroyed NPC. Everyone on the aggro list of the NPC at the time of its destruction is rewarded equally.
  • Mining/harvesting: similar to how rare minerals work, mining and harvesting modules have a small chance of rewarding you EP with every actively working cycle. The chance is divided by the number of working modules, so it doesn’t matter how many you use.
  • Artifacts: finding an artifact rewards you with a fixed amount of EP straight up, regardless of level.
  • Production: factory, prototyping, and reverse engineering processes will reward you based on how long the process lasts without time bonuses.
  • Intrusions: everyone contributing to an intrusion event will receive a fixed amount of EP. Participants on the winning side receive multiple times more than the others.

Note that EP rewards will be doubled on Beta islands.

Of course we are open to ideas on what other mechanics we could use, but let me say up front that we gave some thoughts to including PvP, Gammas, or the market into the system in some way, but ultimately we decided against it because they would be too easy to exploit.

EP handicapping

While the EP reward system works equally for old and new players, the other mechanic that we’ll introduce is specifically aimed to favor newcomers.

EP handicapping is built upon the EP reward system, and as the name suggests, it will help those with low EP.

The way it works is that we designate an EP value that is deemed to be a “desired amount” that every player should have. To give you an idea, this will be probably somewhat less than the total EP that could have been accumulated since the launch of the game, and since this changes by the day, it will be a rolling amount.

Then, we compare this target EP amount to your account’s total accumulated EP. The less EP you have (ie. the further away you are from the target), the higher bonuses you will get for activities that reward you EP. This means that when you start the game, you’ll receive a lot of EP coming from rewards. But as time passes and you gather more and more EP, the amounts you get from killing NPCs or mining ore will slowly start to decrease towards a minimum amount.

EP handicapping

It’s important to note that the existing method of accumulating EP by either daily packs or EP boosters won’t change in any way, but those amounts will not be modified by the handicap mechanic.

TL;DR

  • You’ll get extra EP for certain ingame activities, on top of the daily packages.
  • The less EP you have on your account, the more EP you will receive from these activities.

All of this will be in our next patch, but we still have to work out some details, so it will hit the server probably around early June. Until then, feedback is welcome, as always.

Steam Trading Cards and emoticons

Steam Trading Cards for Perpetuum are now available!

If you are a Steam-dweller you probably know what these are, but here is a quick recap:

Playing Perpetuum on Steam will give you trading cards from time to time (every 30 minutes of gameplay to be exact). A set consists of 5 cards, and you can get half of this (rounded up, so 3) by simply playing.

The other half (and more) can be acquired by in-game purchases (Perpetuum Credits) or via the Steam community market. (I'll quote the Steam Trading Card FAQ here: "For every $9 USD spent (approximate) (...), you will earn one card drop. This card will drop at some point as you play.")

Completing a card set will earn you a badge, a random emoticon and profile background, and other stuff.

Summary:

  • 5 trading cards
  • 5 badge levels (plus 1 foil badge)
  • 5 profile backgrounds (3 common, 1 uncommon, and 1 rare)
  • 10 emoticons (6 common, 3 uncommon, 1 rare)

Happy card hunting!

The random assignment system seems to be working great so far, but the items that you can get with the token rewards are currently a bit lacking. Our newest patch brings the long-awaited upgrades to the token shop, otherwise known as Syndicate Supplies.

We supply the love

New additions to the token shop

So first things first, T2+ and T4+ modules will be directly available in the shop for a relatively high combined token and NIC cost. The NIC cost is a new addition to the shop, just like the minimum relation limit you must have to purchase an item.

Balancing the prices is not easy, since we still need to keep the normal way of acquiring these modules through looting a viable option, but still not make them so high that it would feel like an endless assignment grind to get them. We’re of course open to feedback here.

Oh, black bots you say? Yep, those are in as well. Don’t expect them to be cheap though.

As previously announced, in order to minimize the impact of the current stocks of faction tokens in the game (which were sometimes acquired using certain shortcuts in the past...), we’ll apply a one-time 10x inflation of both the token shop prices and the assignment token rewards. So you still have a little time until the patch tomorrow to buy some ammo or TAPs for the current prices.

I’m feeling lucky

Another new and hopefully interesting addition to the token shop will be the requisition slips. To quote their ingame description:

"From time to time the Syndicate does a sweep of its vast storages and hands out excess items to their hard-working Agents.

By purchasing and activating a requisition slip you can claim one of those items. The catch is that they don't really have an exact listing of their inventory, so what you get in the end can be a bit... random."

Requisition slips

We have requisition slips representing each faction’s technology: Pelistal, Nuimqol, Thelodica, Industrial, and Common. These correspond to the technology pages in the research facility, so you can refer to those if you would like to know what modules you can get from a slip.

Furthermore, each faction has 3 quality levels, making up a total of 15 different slips:

  • Bronze: includes T1, T2, and T3 modules
  • Silver: includes T2, T2+, and T3 modules
  • Gold: includes T3, T4, and T4+ modules

Bug me not

Last but not least, the patch will also include quite a few fixes: corrected token reward amounts for assignments, the missing notification about new assignments, various bug fixes when equipping your robot at a field terminal, some robots not occupying any space in containers, the item not found errors when reverse engineering from a container, the broken public chat channel blocking... just to name a few.

We're also fixing various gamma issues with emergency timers, energy levels, etc. being screwed up during a server restart, which basically had a common cause. Since the fix will be only applied after the server shuts down, do note that these issues might happen again, but hopefully for the last time.

Patch 3.7.3 will be deployed on Monday, February 1st, starting at 15:00 CET/server time (14:00 UTC).