Alpha 9 Dev Blog #4 – Get Your War On

Get Your War On

Greetings, Commanders! Welcome to the fourth entry of the Alpha 9 Dev Log series. Space warfare and combat are the lifeblood of Starborne; most interactions in Starborne require ships, and as such, the focus of this log will be on the radical changes coming to a shipyard near you. Lock and load!

As with the previous Dev Logs, specific numbers listed in this log are subject to change as we continue to balance Alpha 9.

Penalties Overturned

Attack and Defense penalties based on ship types are being removed from the game. Attack with patrol ships and defend with corvettes to your heart’s content! These penalties are being removed and replaced with policy-based bonuses instead. The bonuses will be in the +20% range instead of the -50% seen in Alpha 8. Some ship types will be more effective at certain activities (such as Scouts for finding missions), but FP and HP levels will not be penalized if those ships are used outside of their specialty.

Futuristic Fleet Changes

Players no longer start with a 40 fleet cap. Players start with a five (5) fleet capacity, and that capacity grows as empires claim additional hexes. The maximum fleet capacity available, ignoring policies, is 51. Fleet capacity will grow rapidly to start and tapers off towards the end game. Also, fleet capacity changes are permanent, meaning players don’t lose fleet capacity if they drop under the last hex threshold.

Fleets always have maximum available ship capacity, even at level 1. The XAOC corporation is tired of having their stations repeatedly sabotaged, so they have gifted players with technology to make fleet experience levels independent from fleet ship capacity. Thank you, XAOC! Now, where are those bombers…

Fleet experience levels now provide a passive bonus to the fleet. Each fleet level will provide a flat bonus to the fleet’s combat capability, scaling upwards until you reach fleet level 4. Cards and policies that provide extra levels to newly created fleets are being removed from the game. Fleet levels will represent the experience of the fleet gained from actions in space.

Fleets can have their ship type changed. To accommodate for a lower initial fleet cap, this feature is being added so players can quickly change their empty fleet types to fit their immediate needs. Changing a fleet ship type will have a cost- players can either sacrifice some ship experience or spend one Command Overhaul card with no XP penalty. Tired of scouting for missions? Change that level 4 scout fleet to a level 3 corvette fleet and assault a XAOC base as a way to thank them for their technology contribution. All cards will be removed from a fleet when their ship type is changed.

Streamlined Ship Building

All ship build times are being significantly reduced. Ever wonder how those pesky XAOC replenish their fleets so quickly? Well, Willy Gamish did, and he set to work on reverse engineering their shipyard technology. He created a new and innovative technique called “Assembly Lines”, which have reduced base build times of non-gunships by a large margin. Gunship build times will also be reduced significantly to allow for more gunships to be built over the course of a round.

Heavy Ship Assembly (HSA) outposts are no longer unique and do not require a unique card to build. HSAs will be taking the place of the existing Navy Base in the building tech tree – meaning any station that has all 9 military buildings can construct a Heavy Ship Assembly Outpost. The commodity card costs to build HSAs are being reduced to accommodate this change. Resource generation will be important for all players to make sure they can keep their HSAs churning!

Smarter Dumbfire Missiles

Missile Battery outposts will now deal damage instead of suppression fire. With ships being built much more quickly in Alpha 9, suppression fire is simply not as impactful as direct damage. Missile batteries should be a reliable tool to defend against smaller attacks. The new direct damage will aid in securing forward bases that are encroaching upon hostile territory.

Capital and Heavy ships can deal bombing damage with the use of a new card set. These cards will occupy a fleet card slot, so players will have the option to add bombing damage at the cost of other offensive capabilities. While not as effective at bombing as an equivalently sized gunship fleet, proper coordination will enable alliances to destroy many stations without gunships.

Coalition Target: Acquired

Coalitions are now created manually. Once an alliance controls a Dyson Sphere, that alliance can create a coalition with an appropriate name of their choosing.

Alliances gain control of a Dyson Sphere by controlling a majority of Grand Terrestrials in that sector. Dev Log #3 talked about the importance of Grand Terrestrials and the Forward Operating Base; this change follows the theme of making space terrain important. No longer will alliances have to own a specific number of corporations to claim a Dyson Sphere.

Control of Dyson Spheres is not permanent. Coalitions can lose control of a Dyson Sphere if they lose control of the majority of Grand Terrestrials in their sector. Upgrades on the Dyson are not lost, but any active production will be placed on hold and the coalition must regain control of the sector to continue repairing their Dyson Sphere.

Coalitions can control multiple Dyson Spheres. The above changes allow for coalitions to stake claim to a majority of Grand Terrestrials in any sector and claim that sector’s Dyson Sphere. Each Dyson Sphere can be upgraded and provides bonus victory points to the Grand Terrestrials in that sector; bringing a whole new meaning to the term “Solar Power”.

Resource and time costs of Dyson Sphere buildings are being reduced. This change is to accommodate the shorter rounds in Alpha 9, as well as the opportunity to capture multiple Dyson Spheres. The last several levels of the Outer Casing will still take a significant investment to complete.

As mentioned in previous Dev Logs, the focus of Alpha 9 is providing ample opportunity to grow and expand as a player, alliance and coalition. Ideally, players should always be able to have a stockpile of ships ready to take on challenges that come with running a space empire

With only two weeks to go until the launch of Alpha 9, our development team is hard at work polishing and balancing these changes to bring the best possible experience to our community. We’ll be releasing two Dev Logs next week – “Empire Policies – À La Carte” and “Accounts With Benefits”. Join us on the Official Starborne Discord at http://discord.gg/starborne to start drawing up plans for galactic domination in Alpha 9!

Alpha 9 launches on Monday, April 15th, 2019

Fly Safe, Commanders!

-Starborne Dev Team