So what are we up to when we are not out deleting NIC from your accounts and playing Insurance Fraud Online? Well, for one, we make plans. And since we got a lot of complaints from you that we don’t publish too much information about the upcoming features in the game (not unjustly, I might add), it’s high time to sit down and share.

The features below are listed more or less in the order we currently plan to introduce them, with the first ones being only a few weeks away and the last ones planned more towards the second half of the year.

Artifacts and discovery

When we recently hinted that we are working on new PvE content, most of you probably thought “Ohnoez, more Buttkicker Observers and boring missions...”. But nah, we are perfectly aware that it would be just more of the same. Instances probably crossed your mind too, but we don’t want to separate PvE and PvP and we definitely want to keep the game world open and persistent.

So we came up with something that is easy to get into, is available to everyone, from solo carebears on Alpha islands to the proud cowboys of Beta islands, and is something that can reward you with shiny new stuffz.

Artifact scanning (as we call it) is basically an extension to your current geoscanner modules. Every island will have an ever-changing collection of hidden spots that players will be able to search for with their scanners and reap their rewards when they find them. There will be several types of artifacts ranging from simple salvage containers, through hidden stashes guarded by angry NPCs, science vessel wreckages holding calibration templates of new Mk2 robots or even alien data storages with precious intel that will get you on special missions. Since this is a very easily expandable system, you can expect more artifact types every now and then.

The energy must flow

Those who are familiar with the backstory of Perpetuum are probably well aware that we are here to exploit the energy of the planet and send it back to hungry Earth via that same wormhole, which we used to get our tiny “sparks” to Nia. You were probably also wondering “where in the game do we do that?”. Well, currently nowhere since we are still at the early stage of “setting foot”, but this is soon going to change.

We’ll be intruducing a new energy-credit system which will work a bit like a second currency. These energy-credits (let’s call it EC for the time being) will be awarded to those who contribute to the energy-packages that will be periodically sent back to Earth by the Syndicate.

You’ll be able to achieve this via two ways, one PvE and one PvP option:

  • Using fragments of a rare kind of crystalline material, which can be charged with energy and can be found through artifact scanning mentioned above, you have to go out to shiny energy fields, deploy the crystal and wait until it’s fully charged, then return it to a terminal. Of course indigenous Nians also like to be around these energy-rich areas, so you won’t have an easy time doing this.
  • Own an outpost with a corporation which is producing the energy for you.

So what will EC be good for? New modules, rare components used in Mk2 robot production, CTs available only here... you know, stuff™. The details are still being worked on but we’re confident that this system coupled with artifact scanning will give a nice boost to what you can do in the game.

Assignment improvements

Yes, were aware that the current assignment system rather follows the bad concept of “quantity over quality”. We have plans to make current assignments more interesting, include new types of objectives or combine current ones, revisit their rewards and introduce payout bonuses for those who complete them within a certain time.

Corporation recruitment

There are basically two games in the world of Perpetuum. One is the initial “run around, complete missions, collect stuff” side of it, and we’ll be the first to admit that it lacks content to be truly enjoyable. And then there is the second layer of the game, the player corporations.

We fear that some players do not get to the point where they actually join a player-run corporation, and leave the game without ever realizing what is going on behind the scenes in this little world of ours.

Therefore we would like to implement some features that will guide players towards finding and joining a corporation that is suitable for them. The tutorial will also have a chapter on this and we’ll introduce a “yellow pages” type of directory, where players will be able to filter corporations based on their of size, language, timezone and profile, which CEOs and officers will be able to set in the extended corporation information panels.

Artillery and area-of-effect explosions

Continuing our efforts to “fight the blob”, we’ll be introducing area-of-effect explosions, which will hurt everyone within a certain radius. On one hand this damage will be done by the explosions of robots when they are destroyed, but we’ll also bring in new weapons of mass destruction: artillery modules. You’ll see both standard Earth-technology built by the Syndicate and also different types of modules for all 4 factions (yes, even industrial ones) and they will certainly stir up the crowd.

Even more types of weapons

We’re not stopping there, new factional weapon types have been already in the works for a while. These new modules will be of course rather high-end, with high extension requirements and energy usage and while they probably won’t have the highest DPS around, all of them will have secondary effects: Ion cannons will jam enemy sensors much like ECM modules, energy torpedoes neutralize a hefty amount of energy on hit and plasma guns will reduce the armor-resistances of the target.

Hybrid robots

I suppose some of you have already encountered the funny misfits certain DEVs like to run around in. The system where we can freely build robots by combining any head, chassis and leg components has been in the game from the very beginnings. The only problem: it’s nearly impossible to balance it properly. We haven’t given up yet though, so you’ll most likely see a system like this in one form or another.

New lands to explore

This doesn’t need much explanation - having such a limited area available makes territory control too easy for large corps, makes it impossible for smaller ventures to hide and build, and generally limits exploration and exploitation of game mechanics. Even with our procedural terrain generation system, creating whole new islands which actually have some content as well is one of the most time-consuming tasks, but it is also a part of the game that can be expanded indefinitely (in theory). So this will be an ever-ongoing venture, but the plan is to have six new fully featured zones in our first package.

Terraforming and player-built structures

New lands hold new possibilities, and terraforming is an old promise that we intend to keep. While it’s not feasible to allow players to dig up the soil under dumbfounded newbies sitting on the alpha islands, certain newly introduced zones will provide this strategically very engaging option.

Terraforming can be interesting in itself as well, but in the end it’ll be mostly a tool to make room for structures built by the players. This will be our biggest expansion of the game (of what we have solid plans for anyway) and as you might guess this is the feature that I can provide the least details about currently. I think it’s suffice to say that we want to make it very modular, expandable and complex, so you can create something that you call “home”.

Closing words

Well, I think that’s about it for now. These are only the bigger incoming features, but we’re of course continuously working on fixing those bugs and re-thinking current features like the waypoint and the geoscan result system or the event messaging system.

As you can see we are determined to make the game better and more interesting and hopefully this post provides new hope for those who fear for the future of the game. Fear is the path to the dark side and we don’t have pathfinding yet.

Once upon a time, there was insurance...

And for a while it was good. Citizens were happy because they could ease their pain after that evil, evil pirate made them go up in flames while they were peacefully digging the ground - a common event on our beloved Nia. But then came along two monsters, Greed and Hax. And the DEVs of the kingdom saw the gathering of dark clouds.

Insurance frauds? In my MMO?

Robot insurance payouts are based on the global moving average market prices of two weeks. This only means completed transactions so it does not take active orders into account. A system where we take the global average of all markets means that it's much more difficult to manipulate market averages. This, however, is also it's biggest flaw - when certain types of robots are only traded at a few terminals, the local prices go down due to the market wars, up to a point when they can be bought cheaper than the global market average. Due to some additional flaws in the mechanism, with good skills and good facilities it became very profitable to manufacture robots with the sole purpose of insuring them and blowing them up as soon as they roll out of the factory. The insurance fraud is born.

Healing the wounds of economy

We considered many options on how we should go about this, but in the end we opted for counting the robots that were used in these operations, checked the actual insurance payouts they received for blowing them up, and then calculated the real average market prices that the payouts should have been in the first place. The difference of these two values is the falsely gained money, their "profit". This is what we had to take away.

We have systematically inspected the transaction logs of all accounts that we could connect to the frauds. The vast majority of these frauds originate from the corporations Menace to Society, X-23, Mahtisoturit, BattleAxe, Not Amused and E=Mk2 but there are many more (the frauds were not necessarily executed by the corporations but by their members without the corps' general knowledge). During the server downtime today we have removed a sum of close to 1 billion NIC from numerous private and corporate wallets.

Now, this isn’t such a large amount considering the whole economy, but it’s certainly large enough to have an unnatural and unwanted impact on it, especially so early after the launch of the game. One of the most important factors in this game, the even playing field has been jeopardized. Counteraction needed to be done.

And they ganked forth happily ever after?

We certainly hope so. I know this is something that a company doesn’t do too often to its clients (which is sad), but I’ll try to be honest with you: Doing this hurts us just as much as it hurts those who just lost millions of NIC. But you all have to understand we’re in the same boat here. We could have started swinging the banhammer around but we feel it would have done more harm than good, so we didn't take disciplinary actions this time. Both you, the players, and us developers have the same goal - to have an ever-improving and expanding game, which stands the test of time. And if this goal becomes endangered, we have to act, whether we like it or not. I hope everyone agrees and this won’t have an impact on our good relationship with you.

Meanwhile, we are of course working hard to be able to activate the modified insurance feature again, and we hope to roll it out in a patch some time in the next few days.

ps. The next blogpost will really talk about the incoming updates and new features. Promised.

In the last patch, Noralgis appeared in Perpetuum, making the T4 industry a lot more complex and expensive. The pivotal point of this chain is the placement of the incubators. We feel that the community doesn't have sufficient information on the topic, so let me sum up the rules in a few lines:

  • Noralgis likes the soil where Prismocitae and Oryovia grows, so in general these two plants are the main indicators of the areas where it's worth trying to plant the incubators.
  • Contrary to other plants Noralgis has no altitude limitation, so there are a lot of places on the map - for example on the shore - where it can grow, though it's very hard/expensive to find such spots.
  • Within 8 hours Noralgis will turn into its first state, indicating whether the tile where you placed the seed is fertile or not. This applies to all islands.
  • From the second growing state - when it starts to block movement - the incubator will produce material. This will be half of its full capacity which is more on beta and less on alpha islands.
  • During consecutive cycles - which can be 8 hours or less - it either grows back some material, steps into the next growing state, or both. These events are random, so it could happen that your plant is not growing or not producing new material at all, when a field next to it is flourishing. Try working with as big numbers as you can!
  • After a random number of cycles the plant reaches its last phase, and starts to have a chance to die. This will only happen at the last phase.
  • On Alpha islands, this death-chance is higher, and the plant has a shorter life-cycle than on beta islands.
  • If Noralgis is able to grow in a place, it means that the tile is fertile and it will stay fertile forever. Planting there will always be successful and this fertility condition never changes.
  • Noralgis incubators can't be placed next to each other directly. Always leave one tile distance between each of them, otherwise they can kill each other. This also means you can kill a complete field by planting a lot of seeds among them; technically it can "reset" the field. Rather inefficient, but it's possible.
  • When you empty a plant by harvesting all the material out of it, it will immediately kill the plant. So it's wise to leave some in, at least one.
  • Each time when a plant steps into the next state, it produces a boost of minerals. Half of its physical capacity will be produced, but at the same time the plant is stepping closer to the state when it will die out.
  • The freakiest one: do not leave your robot standing on a tile where you planted Noralgis - it will die. Practically speaking: plant it and do not let anyone close to it until it starts to block. Hiding it is a good practice. This mechanic has been removed since.

Hopefully this helped to shed some light on the plant system in Perpetuum. The ultimate practice is to kill a Prismocitae or Oryovia and place your incubator there, leaving one tile between each.

Have fun!

ps.: This text will also be included in the ingame help in some form.