The October status report brought a general preview about an incoming balance package that affects almost all robots in the game.

After some public testing, forum feedback, collecting tears, and more number juggling, we now present you the final details.

The main goals of this balancing package are:

  • Boost light and assault robots considerably.
  • More diverse robot bonuses, but they generally provide less value increase. This also lessens the gap between high-level veteran players and less fortunate newbies.
  • Push robots more towards their intended roles.

Colorful spreadsheets coming up.

We're also introducing 3 new extensions under the Robot control category:

  • Combat robot specialist - Required extension for all combat robots, and controls the combat role bonuses.
  • Industrial robot specialist - Required extension for all industrial robots, and controls the industrial role bonuses.
  • Hi-tech robot specialist - Required extension for all Mk2 robots, and controls the special Mk2 bonuses.

The combat and industrial robot specialist extensions are becoming starter extensions, thus every existing character will receive these two on level 1 during the patch.

Additional notes

  • The effect of the mass gain of light robots may not be clear for everyone: increased base mass for robots lessens the speed reduction effect of equipped modules.
  • We cleaned up some parameters of prototype robots, this means either slight increases or reductions. Compared to normal robots, light/assault prototypes now have +5 CPU/reactor and +10 sensor strength, while mechs/heavy mechs have +10 CPU/reactor/sensor strength.
  • Mk2 robots retain their special extra bonuses (so they still have one additional bonus compared to standard bots), but these are now controlled by a new extension.
  • The Baphomet loses its lone missile slot, as a consequence we'll remove all modules and ammo from this slot in all existing Baphomets and place them back into the same storage during the patch.
  • Although the Waspish gains a second small/medium mixed missile slot to bring it in line with the other two assaults, to make it look badass these have to be on its sides. So instead the top/back slot will lose the medium fitting and as such we'll also remove any equipped module from this slot during the patch.
  • Do note that assaults received a considerable reactor boost to make room for those medium modules.

The patch itself will be deployed to the live server today at 14:00 CET/server time. We'll be also performing some server and database maintenance, so the estimated downtime will be about 2 hours.

ps. This isn't the monthly report, that's still coming.

So, Intrusion 2.0 has been out for a little more than a week now and we’re happy to see the pew-pew it generates on the beta islands. Like every complex system it’s not perfect, so we’re performing small modifications based on your feedback over the coming weeks. We also intend to give both attackers and defenders a few additional strategic tools and features - more on this in a separate blog post soon.

Meanwhile, we’re working on the foundations of the player-built structures system, but we don’t want to leave you without new features and content for the rest of the year, so let’s have a look what we have in store for you in December.

The Scarab

I know most of you are waiting for this, so I won’t tease you any longer. As announced in our last newsletter, a new freighter-type robot is about to make its entry into the world of Nia. Its name is Scarab, and it’s the first member of a new robot class we call gliders.

The common feature of gliders is that they are hovering above the ground, which means they have excellent slope capabilities, and resistance against demobilization. They are also relatively big, which in turn means they make excellent targets too... We have plans for heavy and light glider classes, both in combat and industrial roles as well.

Scarab concept art
Scarab - work in progress model

The Scarab specifically is a heavy industrial glider, designed to transport huge amounts of cargo, a whopping 720 units. The bad news is that in order to keep it levitating, it has to have a pretty thin framework and light armoring, so it will be quite vulnerable. It does have 2 universal chassis slots that you can fill with medium weapons too, but heavy escorts are recommended. For support modules you’ll have 4 head slots and 1 leg slot to play with.

As for required extensions, you will need some higher levels in Advanced robot control and Industrial robot control, as well as the new Glider control extension, specific to the new class.

While we plan to have an Mk2 version of it, like for all robots in the game, that one will be only introduced a bit later.

Syndicate Supplies

Have you ever wanted to do a suitable assignment but got turned off by the reward bullets that you don’t use anyway? I know I did.

At first we wanted to give you an option to select your reward items before you accept the assignment, but that felt kinda limiting as well. So we decided to give you complete freedom by adding some universal faction tokens as assignment rewards, which you can exchange for things you really need.

The place where you can do the exchange will be a new base facility called Syndicate Supplies (formerly known as EC-shop). At the start it will offer the well-known advanced ammo types (which have become a bit of a rarity by now) for assignment tokens, but later on we will also include many more items purchasable for Energy Credits (yeah it’s coming a long way), or a combination of currencies. Just to be absolutely clear, this is not a microtransaction store, it uses new ingame currencies which you can gather by various activities.

New robot animations

You saw what we did to the Arkhe, now our animators are close to wrapping up the next bigger package. The 3 light combat robots and the 3 light EW-robots will get the same treatment soon, and will be sporting much better looking walking and running animations.

Beginner assignment improvements

During the past months we have replaced all level 1-2-3 assignments with better and more interesting ones, but before we move on to level 4 and up, we have to take a step back and have a look at the start of the game.

While the general feedback on the 10-part tutorial assignment line has been mostly positive, it is starting to get a bit outdated. The plan is to split it into two branches, one combat and one industrial-oriented, and include some newly introduced objectives, like artifact scanning, distress beacons and manufacturing. Players will be able to complete both branches, one with a combat light bot reward at the end, and the other with an industrial one. Our intention is to give everyone the opportunity to decide which path they want to take (it can be both too!), and to show them all the activities they can do in the game.

We’re also revamping the level 0 assignments; we know they are a pretty bad grind between the end of the tutorial and the start of the level 1 assignments. They will also make sure that you have some more interesting objectives to do than killing drones over and over, if you accidentally lose your first tutorial light bot and have only an Arkhe available.

DEV Alf is also brewing some NPC spawn balancing changes and some new modules and new weapon ammo types using cycle time modification, but the details still a bit hazy, so more on those a bit later :)

Christmas is coming too, so we plan to have some smaller PvE events, and we're starting to pick up some strange artifact signals again, too. Nothing fancy though, we know most of you have better things to do at that time than sitting in front of a computer. Or do you?

Anyways, questions and comments are more than welcome, as always!

One of the most frequent complaints we get from new players regarding the graphics is the quality of robot animations. This has posed a big problem for a long time as creating a more complex animation system would require a lot of time, resources and client processing power we don't have. We finally came up with a workable solution for the issue and will gradually be rolling out new walk animations for the smaller robots, starting with the very first bot players encounter: the Arkhe.

Once we're done with the small robots we'll be looking at the big ones of course, which will need to be rolled out in a single, big patch - but that's still some time away.

And how does it compare? Let's have a look:

The roaming NPCs we introduced in the last patch became an instant hit with most of the player base. They are quite rare to find, can be in a lot of varied places, and have a very low respawn rate, making the sighting of an Observer on any island a rare moment. They also pack quite a punch, taking down a single one of them often needing the cooperation of several players, but the loot they drop is well worth the effort for everyone involved. Due to the very positive feedback on these high end enemies, we're currently working on some upgrades to the roaming NPC system that will allow them to move in a much more coordinated fashion. Observers will in many cases be accompanied by other enemies, and they will move as a group, which was impossible in the previous system.

How do you like the Observers so far, and what do you think of this update? Share your thoughts in the comments!

We’re going to deploy the first patch of the year tomorrow, and it brings a number of changes to the client and the gameplay.

We’re very happy to announce that the client will be available in two new languages, French and Slovenian after the patch. We’re delighted to see the French community grow so rapidly and hope to see more of you guys online after this update.

Now for the stuff more interesting to most players, the gameplay changes:

One for the money

Be prepared to activate your prototype facilities, as with the patch we’re introducing a new heavy mech class robot, called the Lithus. This robot can be thought of as the big brother of the Sequer, and will satisfy all your hauling needs.

Two for the show

Due to popular demand we’re also introducing a trophies and losses section in the character screen that will show your kills and deaths, and the parties involved in the fights.

Three to get ready

Since the launch of the game the number of people involved in Intrusion events and PvP fights has been constantly growing. We really like this trend, however as the number of players reaches a critical mass in a single fight, tactics seem to go out the window and the fight turns into a simple numbers game.

Our aim has always been to create a PvP environment where tactics, smart maneuvering and coordinated teamwork get you superior results, so we’ve discussed the issue in length over the holidays. We traced the core of the problem back to a simple fact, and that is that for a variety of reasons Perpetuum employs a limited simulation of the real world. The main factors at play are that we don’t have robot collisions or friendly fire, and these two factors allow for large numbers of players to move as a single, small unit and one-shot-kill anyone they see. Fixing this issue is quite a tough challenge, as robot collisions and friendly fire are missing from the game for good reasons. Introducing robot collisions would severely limit the movement of players and give rise to a whole lot of possible exploits with people standing in each others way just for the laughs. We’ve explored the possibility of friendly fire, but all the solutions we looked at would have had a huge performance impact on the server, so this side of the issue can’t be fixed either.

We decided to look at the problem from an other angle and discourage the kind of behaviour we’ve seen. There will be several changes coming in the future, all of which combined will make big fights a lot more tactical than they are today. We’ll be introducing area of effect weapons, and robot explosion area of effect damage/debuffs, but tomorrow's patch only brings the very first of the systems designed to combat the problem: Interference.

The Interference system simulates the effects safely fighting in a close group would have on the combat effectiveness of the group in the real world. Basically members of the group would have to be more careful not to shoot any of their comrades, and thus be slower to fire and would have to devote a lot of their attention to working together with their unit. The Interference system simulates this with locking time and sensor strength debuffs on large groups of robots moving in close proximity. Each robot in the game has an interference range and strength, and emits an interference level which affects each other robot within this range. The interference accumulates and as it reaches critical levels (different for different robot types) it manifests in the mentioned debuffs. This mechanic, coupled with later area of effect mechanics will discourage the one-shot-kill setup that has mostly taken away from the gameplay experience above a certain number of people involved in a fight.

Comments on the patch and the above mentioned issues are welcome!

Now go, cat, go.