For the brand new players around and those who are not quite familiar with the inner workings of character advancement in Perpetuum, attributes are what determine the extension point (EP) cost of extensions. The higher an attribute, the less are the costs of a connected extension, hence the less time is spent on achieving the next level.
The problem with attributes has always been that you have to make important choices at the very beginning of the game. However, at that point you usually don’t have the slightest idea what they will mean for the future, and you don’t even have any chance to make adjustments later on. Obviously this can be a very frustrating experience for our new players. The account reset system has been created to alleviate this frustration, but it has many drawbacks and it affects the persistence of the game in a negative way.
We’ve been internally debating the issue for a long time now and we have finally come to the conclusion that attributes are not necessary. They are pretty much an unneeded annoyance, and while they seem to make the game more complex and deeper, they do not contribute to it in an entertaining or useful way. We have realized that while we’re advocating that you can be anything within the game, we’re in fact penalizing it if you decide to do so.
So we’re removing attributes from the game. Those who fear that this will reduce the diversity of the characters should take a look at the number of extensions one can install: currently there are more than 160 different extensions in the game and their numbers will grow in the future. We’re confident that they alone are more than enough to create specialized characters, where no single one is like another. (Not to mention that currently the trend is to blindly specialize your attributes towards either of the three career types, mostly combat or industry - not much diversity if you ask me.)
The removal of attributes will mean that we’re simply omitting them from the formula that we use to calculate the EP cost of extensions, and the cost will simply depend on the level and complexity of them.
To compensate the loss of the attribute bonuses, we're reducing the base cost of extensions from the current 100 EP to 60 EP. (This is the cost of a complexity1 / level1 extension, and all extensions are built up from this base amount.) In the name of fair play, this change means that we have to recalculate the available EP of every account, since the cost of every extension will be different. A side effect of this is that everyone will end up with a varying amount of extra EP (woohoo!), and that maxing out all extensions will only require around 16 years instead of 20 (or something like that...). Just to add another interesting bit here, getting all current extensions to level 5 only requires 393 days, so you see the level 5 barrier is really notable!
If this is all too complex for you, it’s enough to know that after this change you’ll end up with the same extensions and a bunch of extra EP, and some of the extensions will be cheaper than before.
Changes to character creation
Since our current character creation process is mostly based on selecting your starting attributes, obviously removing those will make its mark here as well.
In the future, creating your character will simply decide your starting point, your initial extensions, and your first spark (more on this below). You will no longer have to suffer the drastic consequences of your choices, since all of these can be changed or improved during the game.
Due to the removal of attributes and the recent reorganization of Syndicate corporations, we’ll take out the step of selecting your starting corporation. Instead, it will be simply determined by the school of your choice. (Existing characters will be unaffected by this.)
The attribute system isn’t the only thing that makes the life of new players hard. The plethora of available extensions can be quite daunting as well, or trick you into spending all your starting EP on Convergent Electrostatics level 10, just because it sounds cool.
Our plan is to give new players an option to downgrade their extensions, and get back the spent EP and NIC. This option will only be available for 30 days after the first character has been created on the account, and with a few limitations, like not being able to downgrade below your initial extensions, heeding prerequisites and a freeze level for extensions which is yet to be determined. (The freeze level means if you upgrade to a certain level you won’t be able to downgrade anymore.) Lastly there will be a rolling limit which will only allow you to downgrade a sum of 5 levels of any extension in the last 10 hours.
We don’t want our veteran players feel they are left out of the party, so after the patch everyone will get a 30 day grace period, during which they also will be able to downgrade considering the limitations mentioned above.
Removal of the account reset
Together with these changes we will remove the account reset feature, as it won’t be necessary anymore for the purpose we originally intended it for. We have decided to return all EP gathered in penalty pools due to the resets, so everyone will start with a clean sheet regarding accumulated EP.
As mentioned earlier, the changes will not affect anyone negatively. However, you can of course still do an account reset until that patch, for whatever reasons you might have. We wouldn’t recommend it though, as you will still lose all the faction relations and knowledge you’ve gathered.
It’s full of sparks!
For those not familiar with the lore, a spark is basically the tiny nanobot that the Agents are using to infiltrate the “minds” of the native Nian robotic lifeforms and remote-control them. When you’re upgrading your extensions, you’re upgrading your spark’s abilities.
So far sparks have not had much of a role in the game, you simply chose one during character creation, it gave you some attribute points, and you’ve been stuck with it ever since.
Now that attributes are being scraped, we see an opportunity to give them a function they deserve: sparks will provide small permanent bonuses (pretty much like extensions), and they will be interchangeable.
The initial 9 sparks that are currently selectable when creating an Agent will become the standard basic types, but later on you will be able to unlock and buy more advanced models, for example by reaching a certain relation with the Syndicate corporations.
- Attributes will be removed from the game, character diversity will purely depend on extensions
- Character creation will only determine your starting traits, you will not be forced to chose a specific path
- New players will be able to downgrade extensions for 30 days
- Sparks will give small bonuses and will be interchangeable
- Account reset will cease to exist
- Surprise EP for everyone \o/
If we could somehow separate the sparks from the rest of the system, we could deploy the rest of it already next week, but unfortunately it’s not possible. So while all this won’t be part of the next patch, we’re still anticipating it to be in the next after, probably within a month from now.
We’re of course quite curious what you think all of this, so you may now express your happiness or dismay here or on the forums as usual!