Adding Value to the Map

Welcome Commanders to another delicious Dev Blog for Starborne: Sovereign Space. With our Dissidence Update fast approaching on the 1st of October, we are dedicating this blog to a new feature we are very excited about: new hex effects!

One of the teething problems we are tackling from previous Starborne maps was the lack of valuable spots to fight over. Very often players compete for territory and tussle over the better locations – whether it’s a juicy Mining Colony or a choice Habitation Dome tapping into a rich icebelt. But these areas were often far too numerous with not much difference in yield – when comparing a great spot to one that was just average. The Dissidence Update looks to change this.

Introducing Special Hexes. Hexes – directly on the map – that contain a variety of unique effects which propagate themselves over your entire empire or whole alliance and sector! While not being an entirely new idea (they first debuted in our prototype-turned-game-mode of Dead Zone) they are sure to shake things up nicely in Sovereign Space.

First up, let’s take a quick look at the big ones. These hexes are few and far between but share their effect to your entire alliance as well as a stacking bonus to your sector mates. Another way of thinking about them: they grant a bonus to the whole sector and the owning Alliance gets that bonus x2!

Grabbing and holding on to these hexes will be a significant challenge. Both in terms of organising the fleets required and also highly dependent on your diplomatic skills, negotiating the resultant ownership. Guarded by strong NPC stations, it will take a concerted effort to knock them down and stake claim on these hexes for yourself.

We have a healthy selection of nice buffs here that will make it imperative for a good, cohesive sector to work together in unlocking them as early as possible. And then the fun part: holding on to them to ensure you maintain the edge they afford you!

Next up we have the Empire Wide effects. These are randomised across each sector within certain guidelines. There will be roughly sixty in each starting area up for grabs – twenty of each sub-category – aimed towards reinforcing the players’ choice in specialization; military, domain or industrial. We decided to double up each of the effects into meaningful pair combinations. Due to the randomisation we are introducing into map generation, pairing the effects like this ensures they are always valuable – containing the synergy you really want!

Note: These effects are still a work in progress to what the final values are in game (but they are pretty close!).

As you can see there are plenty of desireable effects up for grabs. How you approach them; either through military force, or with a softer diplomatic approach is up to you! The core design goal here was to ensure there is something for everyone. Whether you are a militaristic “hammer”, slogging your fleets through as many frontline engagements as you can… Or a backline factory support player, keeping your shipyards churning out material to ensure the wars go your way… The choice is truly up to you.

We hope you found this an enlightening read into what the Special Hexes are bringing to the table, and how to utilize them in your strategy come October 1st. The stories they will generate along with the value added to the map is immense. As always, signing off with how critically important player engagement (and feedback!) is for us here at Solid Clouds. Be sure to drop into our Official Discord where you can hang out with the devs and fellow Starborne players.