The team over at Lightbox Interactive have been hard at work long after the final build and release date of their latest project STARHAWK. With multi-player now in full swing the they have been diligently reading, listening, and responding to player feedback trying to create a balance between vehicles, weapons strength, from every possible angle. While a fraction of the populous does not agree with with some of the changes that are being made you have to understand what exactly they are looking at and seeing to be able to form an opinion on whats getting adjusted.
On the surface it looks like they are just appealing the wolf cries by lowering weapons power on the hawks and raising the power on hawk defense as well as completely nerfing the tanks. But there is a method to their madness. The team doesn’t just change things that people are complaining about simply because they don’t like it. Dylan and his team are painstakingly going over every single statistic that is produced during game-play from how long it takes to gather enough energy to build a station and get to another base to how many bullets it takes to take out an enemy.
If you have played since the first day of release then some of the changes seem to hurt the game more then help in their defense we have all seen what happens when one team gets to the middle base and gets a tank station up first on a ground pounder map. It just is not fun to be on the opposing team in that situation. Once everyone gets used to the changes as the game gets finely tuned most will forget the changes even took place.
Instead of all the complaining that really only hinders your personal experience get involved with the process. Get on the computer and hit up any of these open sources of communication and let your concerns be heard! http://community.us.playstation.com/community/games/shooter/starhawk?view=blog site http://www.lightboxinteractive.com/blog/ , site or you can even speak to the man Dylan Jobe himself at https://twitter.com/#!/DylanJobe
Just because you don’t get a response doesn’t mean they are not hearing what you said you have consider the amount of posts and messages they are getting from fans and players but rest assured they are reading them all.
Everyone should be happy that this much work is going into a single game to make your hard earned money worth every penny spent. If you played WARHAWK you know what I am talking about. That game is still going strong after six years, how many games do you have that can boast that. It’s hard enough to keep peoples attention with a single title while other gamer are releasing every month. But you can bet that this game will still be around six years from now with the constant adding of free DLC and events like battle tournaments with prizes.
Here is what has happened in the last two updates as far as changes go:
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B&B OutPost cost reduced from 8 to 4 Rift
Field Mechanic Skill now auto-repairs Hawks far more slowly
OX Tank HE Shell direct-hit damage reduced by 33%
OX Tank HE Shell blast damage reduced by 33%
OX Tank HE Shell now has slower rate of fire
OX Tank HE Shell accuracy has been reduced a small amount
OX Tank vehicle construction cost increased from 2 to 4 Rift
Hawk Cluster Bomb blast damage reduced 40% per bomb
Hawk Cluster Bomb blast damage area reduced from 30′ to 20′
Hawk Cluster Bomb blast damage fall-off increased
Hawk Shield damage absorption-capacity has been reduced by 50%
Hawk Cloak time has been reduced by 33%
Hawk Homing missile Max speed has been increased by 25%
Hawk Homing Missile target acquisition speed has been increased by 70%
Hawk Homing Missile thrust-delay reduced by 50%
Player Complaint System is enabled
SkillScore now factored-in for Matchmaking
Updated “Player-Danger” icons & logic for server-list
Auto-Turret dismantle now twice as fast
Build & Battle Outposts:
In the release version of Starhawk, the Outposts cost 8 Rift and we’ve reduced that to 4. This significant reduction will greatly help teams increase their team’s controlled regions on the map and even this one change should reduce base-ravaging by providing teams with more options for spawning locations.
Field Mechanic Skill:
There were some very savvy pilots who were using Cloak, Shield and the Field Mechanic Skill in such a way as to be almost unstoppable on the battlefield. While we applaud that kind of tactical use, it nevertheless resulted in very lop-sided engagements and we had to take action. Now, if you equip the Field Mechanic Skill, your Hawk will not auto-repair as quickly which results, in concert with the Shield adjustments, in a significant reduction in “invincible” pilots.
OX Tank & High-Energy Shell:
The OX Tank was very powerful, and rightly so… its a TANK! That said, it was a bit too powerful. Even our Tank-Divas here in the studio agreed. To help get the OX in better balance with the Starhawk’s overall combat economy, we are making a number of changes. Firstly, it now costs more to build the vehicle at the Depot. The Depot itself still costs the same. But now the OX costs 4 Rift when you build it from the control panel.
We have also made a number of changes to the High-Energy Shell. This is the fast, almost rail-gun like shell the OX can fire. We’ve reduced the damage of a direct-hit as well as the area of effect damage. Previously it not only had super-high direct impact damage, but it’s AoE was potent enough to make it simply brutal against troops — when the real role of the OX needs to be more about anti-vehicle and anti-structure. We also slightly reduced the accuracy and increased the time between the first and second shot so that it couldn’t be used as such an effective long-range-anti-troop-rail-gun.
We have not included any changes to the OX Tank’s Artillery shell at this time.
Hawk Cluster Bomb:
The Cluster Bomb was OP. There is no doubt about that. Sure it feels fun to rain death on group of enemies… but let’s be honest, we all felt a bit dirty doing it! We have decided to reduce the damage per-bomb *AND* shrink the area of effect of each bomb by 40% and 33% respectively. We have also added softer damage attenuation to the Cluster Bomb’s AoE to help make them still effective against Vehicles and Structures and not so focused on troop ravaging.
Hawk Cloak & Shield:
These two weapons really spice up the Hawk’s use on the battlefield but as we noted with the changes to the Field Mechanic Skill, there were also some changes that needed to be made to bring these weapons — and the Hawk in general — into better balance.
The amount of time a pilot can stay cloaked now has been reduced by 33%. This is still enough time for it to be used to get out of a sticky situation, but not too long such that a nefarious Hawk pilot can engage in perpetual *AND* invisible base-ravaging.
The Shield also got nerf’d and no longer can absorb as much damage before breaking. The reduction was pretty significant here and now the Shield only absorbs 50% of what it could previously. Again, much like in the Cloak situation, it’s enough damage absorption to give you a “out” if you’re in trouble but not long enough for it to yield degenerate bombing runs or dogfights when used in combination with some skills or other tactics.
Hawk Homing Missile:
This game balance update includes some dramatic changes to the Hawk’s Homing Missile and these changes were focused on one key goal — get the Homing Missile tracking its target faster and get it to impact its target faster. Now of course we need to make sure it’s balanced so we’re obviously not making the Homing Missile an instantaneous 1-shot kill!
So we’ve increased the thrust on the missile so that it has a higher top-end speed and the target has less time to scrub the missile. This thrust increase also includes a faster thrust activation time so when you do deploy a Homing Missile, the thruster kicks in far quicker and this gives it a “snappier” feel in combat. Lastly, we greatly reduced the amount of time the Homing Missile takes to maneuver towards it’s locked target. This isn’t the amount of time it takes to get a lock, but rather, the amount of time it takes the Homing Missile to steer and acquire its target while in-flight.
Player Complaint System:
We’ve also enabled a system that allows players to anonymously flag other players for moderator review. Our Moderator Team has a special Starhawk system that displays a list of all players around the globe, how many complaints have been filed for each player and what kind of complaint.
This allows players to help “police” the games and get our Moderators into their games to render judgements more quickly. Moderators can watch individual players and can join games even when the game is technically “full” or password protected.
To file a Player Complaint, simply select a player’s name from the Scoreboard and you will see a new “Player Complaint” item in the pop-up menu. Select it and you will be presented with a few options for the kind of complaint you want to file: Cheating, Harassment, Vulgarity and Bad Builder.
QuickMatch, Server-List & SkillScore:
When we launched Starhawk, we intentionally had SkillScore matching disabled for QuickMatch. This update re-enables this feature. If you select to join a game through Quick Match, the server will do its best to put you into a game that more closely matches your SkillScore — or more accurately a +/- range around your SkillScore.
We have also changed the way “Player-Danger” icons are displayed in the Server-List. Preivously, you would see servers in the list have 1 of 3 icons displayed next to the connection strength of the server: Pink Cake, Yellow Fist or Red Skull. These indicated the average SkillScore of the server. So you knew a server with a Red Skull was dangerous to you. However due to another issue, high-SkillScore players were still allowed to join “Cake” games. This resulted in lots of newbie players getting worked-over by the best of the best. Until this issue is resolved, we have disabled both Cake and Fist icons.
So now, you will only see Red Skulls in the Server-List to warn you that game is filled with players that are “better” than you. Although you should note that playing in a Red Skull server can yeild faster SkillScore growth due to you battling with players that have higher SkillScores — so the choice is yours!
Faster Auto-Turret Dismantle:
The auto-turret animation we shipped with was too long and resulted in players just getting ravaged by other turrets or players. The new dismantle animations is *WAY* faster and feels a lot better in the heat of combat.
Fixed for the prominent Crashes & Locks
Added automated network disconnect error-reporting
Fixed missing sound FX for when missiles are dodged
Fixed XP display for players already at the first-tier level cap of 50
Fixed Server-List so it can scroll properly and display the full-set of global games
Fixed texture paging bug that sometimes caused a blank Uplink
Fixed the Sweet-Tooth’s awesome butcher’s blade accessory
Fixed the bug causing only 4 players to be allowed into your Homeworld
Fixed bug that caused the Clan Leader board to scroll incorrectly
Fixed Server-List filter on full games to work properly
Hawk Homing Missile now harder to dodge
LR3 Sniper Rifle no-longer damages the OX Tank
Bruiser Skill damage to buildings reduced
Home-Base spawn regions have been increase on ALL maps
Re-Enabled kick player feature for game hosts
Reduced Flak Cannon rate of fire
Significantly Reduced Flak Cannon damage vs Hawks
Increased Flak Cannon pick-up respawn delay
Increased Grenade pick-up respawn delay
Reduced Grenade pick-up ammo from 3 grenades to 1 grenade
FIXED team roster imbalance for Rifter team in ZONES
Rift Barrels now only respawn once per round in Co-Op
Hawk Homing Missile:
In the last game balance update we made a significant improvement to the combat effectiveness of the homing missile which was something that our player community was really wanting — but we feel we didn’t go far enough! So this update makes the Homing Missile approximately 50% harder to dodge.
What this really means to our hard-core Hawk pilots is that you’re now filling up your evasion bar at a slower rate when you’re dodging. You still need a full evasion bar to dodge a Homing Missile but it will be harder to achieve a full evasion bar. This also resulted in us scaling the evasion required for the Swarm Laser accordingly so that it still requires the same amount of evasion “effort” to dodge as it did prior to this update.
Home-Base Spawn Region:
We have been aggressively tracking “base-ravaging” as an issue that we’ll always continue to try and reduce. To help achieve this goal, we have increased the amount of “spawn-able” area for your home-base in both Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch.The reason for doing this is to help provide players that are respawning into their home base with more options and distance between any attacking enemy players. This now makes it more difficult for an attacking force to keep a team pinned in their home-base due to the increased surface area the attackers need to cover to induce”base-ravaging”.
When players had the Bruiser Skill activated, they were simply tearing down the structures way too quickly. To help fix this we have reduced the amount of damage the melee attack does versus structures when the Bruiser Skill is equipped. For example, previous it required only 3 strikes to destroy a structure and now it requires 5. Please note that the small auto-turrets still only take a single strike to destroy. A further adjustment was made so that with Large Turrets (Beam & Flak) now require 3 strikes when the Bruiser Skill is equipped.
Hawk Flak Cannon:
This weapon was very over-powered and our fans agreed. This update includes a significant set of changes to the weapon’s attributes. It rate-of-fire was reduced by 250ms and the damage it deals against Hawks has been cut more than in half. The respawn delay for the Flak Cannon pick-up was also increased from 30 seconds to 60 seconds.
These are some pretty massive changes but based on player feedback, our own internal review and play-testing *AND* our combat analytics, a massive change was warranted.
There were some really degenerate situations occurring where players could essentially be come “grenade-turret” by staying in a bunker and continually throwing grenades — never running out of them because the pick-up respawned so quickly. This drove us to change the number of grenades you get per ammo pick-up from 3 down to 1 as well as increase the respawn delay of the pick-up from 1 second to 5 seconds.