This post should have been already published a few days ago, but unfortunately we had to put out some fires - and I’m not talking about toasters here. Now that the smoke has settled a bit, it’s high time to take a look at the near future of Perpetuum again.

Most of the stuff that we promised in our candyshop post at the end of March is already in the game: global storage listing, the kernel change, geoscanning folders, the new market rates graph, the event notification system, CT trading, market order modification, trophy details and explosion damage. Only two things are still waiting to be done from that list: performance-based assignment rewards and the spark teleport. So in this two-part post I will not only talk about these, but I’ll show you much more of what will hit the world of Perpetuum during this summer.

A quick note before we begin: while most of these concepts are complete for the most part, there can be still a few changes or refinements until they get into the game in their final form.

Assignment love

Probably the most frequent criticism we get about the game is the lack of PvE content. The development of this type of content is the most resource and time consuming of all, but we are of course committed to progress in these parts as well. While our sandbox storyline assignments may not turn out as grandiose as those in other dedicated themepark-MMOs, they will still be a nice breeze of fresh air for those interested in the lore and the ones looking for non-standard objectives.

A Nuimqol refinery complex, one of the storyline assignment locations.

Geoscanning assignments will be converted into artifact scanning assignments, which will send you out to pinpoint special artifacts within a relatively large radius. We won’t banish geoscanning from assignments though, they will get their new - and much more logical - place as initial objectives in mining assignments. No more complaining that there is no imentium right under objective point A.

For a few days now some of us have been analyzing existing assignments with the goal to bring their difficulty and rewards into the right balance. A lot has changed since these assignments were introduced, and even then they weren’t necessarily balanced regarding walking time or risk versus reward, but better late than never I guess. This is only the first step, in the future we intend to raise the quality of most assignments by adding more objectives and generally making them more interesting.

We’re also planning the introduction of dynamic reward bonuses, based on the average completion time of assignments.

Career tips

Admittedly, this feature is a bit late since we already intended it to be in the Terra Incognita expansion. Since this is such an important feature for newcomers, we didn’t want to release it half-done and possibly confusing, but it will now surely be a part of our next patch. For those who don’t remember, this will be an extension of our help system, an “I want to do this in the game, give me some short tips” sort of thing.

Friend approval

Don’t worry, we don’t want to turn the game into facebook any more than necessary, but with the addition of event notifications it became just too easy to spy on your enemies. A simple extension of the system by request/approve mechanics should solve this issue. Unfortunately we will have to wipe your friend-lists for this to work, but we hope this will only mean a slight inconvenience for a greater good.

NPC balancing

Electronic warfare NPCs are annoying little bastards. We play our game too (srsly), and the feeling that they are a bit too much for the newbies has been growing in us for some time now too. They are usually easy to kill, but when they get together with their damage dealing friends, they can easily overwhelm an inexperienced player. If you get in trouble near one of these spawns, it’s already too late to run.

With the introduction of the new islands we’ve got some more playroom for balancing, so we’ll lighten up the old starter alpha islands a bit by either removing EW NPCs from spawns, or reduce them to one. We’ll also remove or replace high ranked NPCs that are too close to the alpha terminals, so new Agents who are not so familiar with NPC names won’t get slaughtered after a few steps on Nia.

Changes in outpost ownership

The recent political events have been very eye-opening for us and brought up the necessity of a system which would be able to prevent one corporation to gain total dominance in the ownership of outposts. (While we know now that there have been other factors in play, the possibility still remains.)

To this end we’ll introduce outpost maintenance fees. The first outpost will be free for every corporation, with no upkeep necessary, but every additionally owned outpost will have exponentially higher maintenance fees. Corporation leaders will be able to set a priority list for their owned outposts, which will control which outpost ownership will be lost first, in case the corporation is not able to pay the upkeep for all of them. This system will hopefully make corporations appreciate more what they own, and prevent them from expanding lightheadedly.

Furthermore, corporations in possession of outposts will be able to designate one of them as headquarters. A HQ-outpost will have multiple advantages, bringing more incentives to both own and to keep them: for one, corporations will be able to control access of others to the outpost, based on their relation settings towards them. And it will be also possible to purchase various upgrades for it, which brings us to...

The energy credit system

I have already talked about the EC system in The future of Perpetuum, and I’m happy to report that the concept has been steadily growing more and more solid since February, to the point where we’re close to finishing it.

Allow me to not repeat the basic premise here again, for the lazy ones it should be enough that you will be able to collect energy for credit points, which you can use to buy shiny stuff.

Collecting energy will be possible on both Agent and corporation levels:

Agents will be able to collect energy from natural fields found on Nia. These fields will work quite similar to normal mineral fields, but they will be only visible at night, and you can’t use scanners to find them. To collect energy, you will have to deploy rare energy crystals found via artifact scanning, and if necessary, defend them until they are fully charged. The charged crystals can then be brought back to a terminal and sold to the Syndicate for credit points.

The current list of things you will be able to purchase with EC includes mission ammo, Niani modules, possibly some prototypes, and *drumroll* ...robot paint. (And sorry to burst your bubble right away, but the sooner you know the better: paintjobs will be tied into microtransactions for a small fee, because we're greedy capitalist pigdogs - details about paintjobs will come in part 2 of this post.)

Corporations owning outposts will be able to collect EC on a corporate level. This is the only part of the concept that’s still missing some puzzle pieces, but our intention is to make them actively work for those points and not just sit on their outposts which simply generate it for them.

We have decided to separate the Agent and corporation “EC-shops” in order to keep a healthy balance, so corporations won’t be able to purchase things from the Agent EC-shop and vice versa. However, Agents will be able to donate their points into the corporate EC-pool.

The things corporations will be able to buy using EC will hopefully give a nice boost to the incentives of owning an outpost:

  • Outpost upgrades: these can be temporary manufacturing boosts, higher level facilities, or even outpost auras, which will pretty much be the outpost-class version of NEXUS modules, affecting either the corporation’s robots on the island in some way or possibly accelerate plant or mineral growth within a certain range around the outpost.
  • Special assignments which can be activated for a fixed time, for corporation member use, or even better: for the public, so they can lure more taxpayers to their outpost.

So that’s it for now, in the second part I’ll talk about the spark teleport, changes to waypoints and a new addition called waypoint routes, artillery and second generation weaponry, and we’ll also have a look at paintjobs. Promised.

Comments for this post

1 GLiMPSE

Looks great. Good to see what's on the horizon.

2 Annihilator

wow, nice preview.

only nitpic about Agent-level EC gathering: only at night? how long was a niani day? depending on the answer to this question i could see an issue here.

3 DEV Zoom

They will be visible only at night, but this doesn't mean you won't be able to exploit them "blind" at any time of the day.

4 MoBIoS

Looking forward to it. This is going to be exiting. Thanks for sharing.

5 Syndic

Microtransactions for paintjobs?! I KIEEL JOO!

6 Mara Kaid

looks fun, the outpost enhancements remind me of city-bonuses in darkfall.

I think your concept of having people pay for additions is good, it will give you guys some money ( I hope ), and I note that a lot of games are doing it now to gain more profit.

good luck.

7 Twiz

Artillery and second generation weaponry, me likes !

8 Arga

I have no issues with micro-transactions for "Cosmetic" features, but please take time to make the 'store' something that will support all the features you'll eventually want to provide.

9 Xini Nemesis

When is part 2 ?

10 Guns nButter

Seeing as how I already guard my industrial alts while they're mining in hostile zones, I guess dropping a few energy crystals along the way wouldn't be too bad :D

11 Kalsius Dakalsai

Great news on all fronts, better new player experience, a reason to hold outposts and finally relation based access to your HQ, am i dreaming??? :D

12 Phi Dunar

If I might mention something else to look at (Weapon grouping) both for miners, and shooters.

Im lookng forward to many of the new shiny things :)

ThePhi

13 Triglav

Awesome!!!! nice to see fast and quality progress in the game:)

14 Annihilator

can't wait to read about the second generation of weapons. If i remember correctly, Plasmaguns and Ion-cannons have been mentioned in earlier DEV posts.

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