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.

Comments for this post

1 Chemist

Epic Fail update...

2 Leary

Jita's fault

3 Leary

Anyway it's always nice to read a new blog post, still waiting (not really) for the small but regular updates.

4 Nako

Are you going to reward EP based on Available EP, or EP spend on this Agent?

5 DEV Zoom

Nako: it's based on total accumulated EP on the account, which includes spent EP for all characters and available EP.

6 Annihilator

bah, zoom, that sucks
I was hoping to boe able to use the other two agent slots on my account for twinks,

please stop sharing EP between agents on same account starting with this system.

7 Line

But that's not all the changes in this patch incoming huh?

8 DeathPaw

I like the idea of being able to grind EP, but I have 2 concerns.
1. The EP handicapping may be too severe. Can't tell without numbers on the graph. If a new player ground for 2 hrs per day, started with 300,000 EP, and boosted his account, how long would it take him to get to 2,000,000 EP; under the present and proposed systems?

2. BOT programs and macros have NOT been a problem so far, but that will change now! Being able mine limitless epriton is one thing, nut unlimited EP farming???

9 Baglodush Kemory

I see a problem with Intrusions, how do you say who is on the winning side? Intrusions are moste time a Mutli Corp thing.

10 Feldog

Finally! This gives me a reason to log on and fart around with assignments again. I foresee many more intrusions into beta now.

11 DEV Zoom

DeathPaw: the numbers are still being worked on, but as the blog states, the EP booster doesn't affect EP rewards.

Baglodush Kemory: there is always one specific corporation that wins, regardless whether they had help from others or not.

12 JetNexus

Well, obviously, time to say "Goodbye". Amateurs.

Too bad there's no refund for boosters...

13 Rynikwiz

For crying out loud, this is the best update you can come up with. How about new modules, bots and randoms npc events that give people a reason to stay logged in.

14 Rynikwiz

Oh and how about the long overdue change to the Dogs breakfast of the balance patch that sent a lot of players out of the game.

15 shockedfrog

I'm currently one of those players who has hardly even played the game and just logs in every few days just in case it'll be useful in the future. Perpetuum's EP system is an odd attempt at EVE's, which was never a particularly good one anyway. EVE only gets away with it because it's a well managed and promoted game with a scope nothing else can compete with. As such, it's nice to see that the devs are willing to make changes in this area, and this is potentially a good way to go. However, it needs a lot more work. At the moment, it feels like it's being rushed into and handled poorly, and I'm not convinced that just adding some earnable EP will address the bigger problems with the EP system.

Also, though I've never bought a booster myself, players who have used them will basically have had what they purchased changed drastically. They were previously buying EP which they could not otherwise have obtained - now what they've bought is just a time saving convenience, which is something they may not have wanted to purchase. As such, this change - which is supposed to encourage new and existing players and create a better game environment for everyone - is being introduced in a way that screws a number of existing players. That's not a good way to encourage them to play and promote the game, is it? Consider offering some kind of compensation to players who have bought a substantial amount of boosted time - perhaps giving them some free keys for the game, which they could use to invite new players (or make additional accounts, though I'd prefer to see that discouraged), would help turn a bad situation into some good promotion.

16 Baglodush Kemory

Sorry but if I help an Intrusion and I am not in the Crop who did it, I get nothing, right?

17 DEV Zoom

Baglodush: no, you get the same EP that every non-winning participant gets.

18 Blocker

Shockedfrog: I'm one of those players who purchase boosters. I don't do it for the EP, there's not a lot left to spend EP on anyway, I do it to support the game. I'm not the only one that does it, and we view it like a defacto subscription. I can't speak for anyone else but I don't want any compensation.

19 shockedfrog

Blocker: That's fair enough, and I expect many others would say the same, especially those who have been playing from when the game was subscription based. However, it's not so much about compensation for the existing players as it is about confidence for new players. If players are concerned that future changes will have similar effects to this, they're less likely to want to play/promote/support the game. Improvements to the game are needed and welcomed, but they'll be for nothing if they're not supported with good marketing/PR.

20 Inda

I think this is a valid attempt to change something.

21 Kallen Dracco

Zoom 8 hours ago
Strategy Player: You can log in on our website via Steam Connect (the big green "log in with Steam" button") and you should be able to comment then.

1) No cap.
2) The EP rewards are aimed at everyone. The EP handicap mechanic however is aimed at new players and its effect will boost EP rewards everywhere, there is no need to have it higher on Alphas. And as a matter of fact if they were higher on Alphas, all the veterans would be grinding there, which is quite the opposite of what we want.
3) If that's their idea of great gameplay then let them do that. EP is confined to individual accounts so it's not like they will mess up the economy or something. But the mineral market will surely get a healthy boost :)

Strategy Player 9 hours ago
I read the blog Zoom but since I am a steam player could not comment there, sigh so sad.

Anyways couple of quick questions comes to mind.
1) Will there be a daily cap to the EP people can earn doing activites?
2) Since this is aimed at newer players should the reward be higher on Alpha islands instead??
I get the risk reward thing but most new players avoid the beta islands like the plague especially starting out.
3) What about the AFK miners, the players that park their scarabs on a liquiditz field for 12 hours a day? Will they still get EP for doing that??

I think that earning EP for doing stuff in game is great, almost like every other MMO out there.
My only concern is with the handicap mechanic.

22 Smokeyii

I don't much like the sound of adding EP to intrusions at all. Seems like it'd just encourage people to randomly flip stations constantly just for the EP.

Overall seems like a descent idea if you can iron out all the details, but I really agree with Rynikwiz that there would be plenty of better ideas with which to spend your time on, like NEW BOTS AND MODULES and RANDOM PVE EVENTS like so many have explained to you so many times.

Once this is out I think I'll make a new pvp toon and EP him up with nothing but alpha island mining :D

23 Smokeyii

Oh, and another thing on the intrusion part, have you considered all the people who're there on a support role? Like the combat bots standing around to protect the lithus at a sap, the lithus is the only one who really touches the sap. What about the scouts who aren't even close, watching teleports? Does everyone on the island get a EP bonus when a sap completes? What about passive saps, you don't want 10 people standing around in the sap. The only one that I can think of it even kind of working on is destruction, and even then it doesn't get everyone involved cause scouts and stuff.

24 Kallen Dracco

Strategy Player 9 hours ago
Sorry post was too long had to make 2.
To me this is a huge turn off and a point of frustration for most players. It is too long to wait to improve your agent in any MMO.

The irony is if I even want to try and improve further, to advance my character into the heavy mechs, the Scarab and Gropho for my race it will take about 90 more days of EP if I do nothing else but train in either of those.

I have to point out my current level of frustration here.
Been here for 6 months, every single patch or fix has helped the PVP crowd only.
The recent hot fix where you guys nerfed the NIC rewards for running missions chased away half of the PVE crowd that was still playing the game. If you do not do PVP you are already missing half the content.

Strategy Player 9 hours ago Delete
I am in favor of this. Just finished reading both here and main game post to catch up.
I am still opposed to having double EP gain on the Beta and Gamma islands for the same actions. If you have ever read anything on this game here on Steam you know I have been here for 6 months and done everything I can to help out new players.
I still do not have that magic 300k EP number, just bought the basic game and no DLC or EP boosters. I think the total after I logged in today was 254K.
Here is the current problem, as I see it.
I have 0 skills available to me to train in for 1, 2, 3, 4 days logging in.

That is right, the next skill I need to train up one level for everything that I do is over 6000 EP. That is the amount I need for every skill that I use. So 5 days to raise anything and the wait will only get worse.
So even if I play non stop it will still take me almost a week to improve in anything.
I am the odd, rare guy who does everything with one agent.
Mine, Harvest, Ratt, Run Missions and Recycle, Refine, Repair and Manufacture all my own ammo and T2 gear.

25 Kallen Dracco

Strategy Player 9 hours ago
Sorry post was too long had to make 2.
To me this is a huge turn off and a point of frustration for most players. It is too long to wait to improve your agent in any MMO.

The irony is if I even want to try and improve further, to advance my character into the heavy mechs, the Scarab and Gropho for my race it will take about 90 more days of EP if I do nothing else but train in either of those.

I have to point out my current level of frustration here.
Been here for 6 months, every single patch or fix has helped the PVP crowd only.
The recent hot fix where you guys nerfed the NIC rewards for running missions chased away half of the PVE crowd that was still playing the game. If you do not do PVP you are already missing half the content.

26 Kallen Dracco

Strategy Player Just now Delete
Sorry, again post too long so need 2.
I do not blame the developers for the actions of a few players.
However, I do blame the developers because they have known about this from reading the main page forums for months and months and done nothing to fix it.
So right now there is 100% risk and 0% reward to go try to go to a Beta or a Gamma.
So yes, I do miss out on 50% of the content.

I like the idea that we get EP from playing the game, like every other MMO out there except for you know EVE.
I do not like this handicap idea, seems wrong to me.
The whole point is to get a brand new person to go to the Beta islands where they are ganked and griefed 10 feet out of the teleports gates??

Strategy Player Just now
Lestat, here is my sore spot.
Sorry i did not explain it better, my fault.
We have what 30 islands, 9 of them Alpha no PVP.
The rest, 21 are Beta and Gamma PVP.
The problem is to get from an Alpha to a beta you need to teleport there.
There are only 2 gates per faction to go from PVE to PVP.
These gates are always camped, by as little as 3 or 4 "Veterans" PVPers who idea of a fun game is to kill someone in an unarmed sequer trying to grab an artificat or a termis trying to get the epitron.

27 Goffer

I think the idea itself is not as worse, when proper set into game, as today we only know the idea, not how it is implemented in detail.
But please ensure, that the numbers are not in a way, that renders time progress meaningless

28 Gekko

TL;DR
Everyone is approximately equal.

If you tired of the game - no need to login in or get a booster for EP, just forget about it. If there will be something new and and cool in game such as engine overhaul, dungeons and 100+ ppl working on it in the next 5 years, you'll catch up with vets in a few months when you have time. Just like in other normal grinding MMOs, except for the "weird EVE".

29 Sardnehk

Very, very interesting system...., so it is very importat that has been correctly balanced.

Regards !

30 FireAxis

"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."

Happy I wasn't holding my breath. It is now late June, and still no patch to release this. What is the holdup? Can't complain too much about it as the game is free to play, but everyone has given money and time in this game. Either it needs implemented or an update needs to be posted about the release.

31 Gekko

FireAxis, Don't rush the apocalypse :D

32 Chemist

6.9 average ppl now... Waiting 10 after update...

33 Tsukinosuke

i cant udnerstand whose weeping about it, dont you want more players online in this game? i like it because it will help new players' early life in the game.. daily cap would save balance also..

34 Mroq

This is a great change.
It lets activity increase progression rate.
Activity is good.
It gives bonuses to newcomers.
Newcomers are good.
A proper parabolic incrimental bonus EP system can easily be adjusted and more importantly - controlled.
This gives opportinity for events!
Events are good.
Time barriers lifted.
Barriers are bad.

I am definitelly coming back for this. More people should get aware of this.

35 RUJOKER

Yes! Thanks for the work!

36 Gunner

black rooster

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