Alpha 9 Dev Log #2 - Grow and Expand
Fri Mar 08 2019 (Updated: Mon Dec 14 2020) - 4 min read
Welcome to the second entry into the Dev Log for the Alpha 9 release. We’re going to take a closer look at the Grow and Expand improvements that are coming in Alpha 9. These will include changes that encourage players to increase the amount of hexes they claim and ensure that tightly clustered stations are not the only viable option.
The exact values on these improvements are not finalized, as we are continuing internal testing to ensure that they are properly balanced. That said, we’re excited to start sharing some of the cool features coming in Alpha 9!
New and Improved Alliance Stations
Alliance Stations will no longer be tethered to the Dyson Sphere. This means that they can be placed on any open hex- ideally in a location central to the majority of alliance members. Alliance stations should serve as a hub for the alliance instead of being a jumping off point for the Dyson Sphere.
Alliance Stations will contain buildings that provide alliance wide bonuses. These buildings will grant passive bonuses to all members of the alliance. They must be upgraded like the current buildings in the alliance station and will increase in cost – significantly- at higher levels. We are balancing this so it is relatively cheap to get a few levels of each bonus, but expensive to “max out” every bonus. The exact bonuses are being balanced, so we aren’t publishing their values, but there will at least be bonuses to ship speed, resource generation, and ship building speed.
Nerfed Navy Bases
Navy Bases will be changed to a Unique Structure. Players will only be able to construct one Navy Base each. They will be obtained similarly to the existing HSA/CSA – a task reward upon reaching a specific level. This brings us to the next change:
Navy Bases will only be introduced at the end game, as the last unique building earned through tasks. The intent of the Navy Base is to provide the option for players to contest distant enemies in the race towards victory. By delaying the Navy Base until the end game, players can grow and expand their empire without having to worry about long range conflicts in the early and mid game.
Over-Population: Habitation Dome Clusters
Habitation Domes will no longer provide bonuses to other stations within its radius of influence. Currently, the most significant cause of station clusters is to reap the benefits of multiple Habitation Domes on each station. Players should not feel penalized for expanding instead of clustering – this change will remove the need for such clusters for players to remain competitive.
Habitation Domes will grant labor to the owning station based on the number of resource fields in its radius of influence. This mechanic will function similar to the current Commerce Hub. Looking for prime space-estate will be part of the expansion process, and this will make many more locations viable to place a station.
To make up for the net loss of labor, Habitation Domes are receiving a significant buff to their labor output. We want empires to expand and retain their current combat capabilities. With proper empire planning and outpost placement, labor output should match or surpass what is available in Alpha 8.
Hey, Nice Station. I’ll Take It!
A new unit will be introduced in Alpha 9- the Troop Carrier. This unit will be able to capture a defenseless station and bring it into your empire. As players continually expand and claim more territory, they’ll eventually run into less-than-friendly players that are obstructing their path of galactic domination. A Troop Carrier can capture a station if that station does not have any defending ships. This means that any defenses at the station will need to be eliminated prior to assimilating it into your empire.
The Troop Carrier will cost 10 Infrastructure Points to construct, in addition to its base mineral cost. Players will be able to take stations instead of building them, but they will not be able to own more stations than permitted by their Infrastructure Points. If a Troop Carrier is destroyed – like if it assaults a station with a full defense fleet (whoops!) – then the Infrastructure Points are refunded after the standard 24 hour wait period.
All-Natural Claim Enhancement
All stations will start with one additional claim radius. You can spread your alliance colors faster with this change to station claim radius. It will be easier to place outposts on growing stations, so there is less need to quickly level a station to claim the juiciest hexes. Also, it’ll help secure any hexes adjacent to the station immediately so there is a lower chance of someone else stealing that planet you’re eyeballing.
New and improved claim techniques have enabled stations to control larger areas of space. A max-level station will claim up to a 5 hex radius – as if you had Manipulation III equipped in the current system. This will also help reduce the voids of empty, unclaimed, space between stations as empires expand. It will also allow you to play aggressive with your claims no matter what your main style of play is. Fear not – all coalition members will share overlapping hexes just as alliance members do. Please note that we cannot guarantee that unfriendly neighbors will share their claimed hexes.
Stations will harvest all nodes within its claim radius. This will speed up the early and mid game and reduce reliance on shipping resources between stations. With a focus on growth and expansion, forward bases will need to be self sufficient – at least to get it up and running. Several cards, buildings and outposts will be balanced to ensure that each has a viable role in any given station.
Alpha 9 launches on Monday, April 15th, 2019
There are plenty more changes not yet mentioned- keep an eye out for Dev Log #3, “Make Space Great Again”, coming next week! Spoiler: may contain significant changes to Supply Range Penalties. Join us on the Official Starborne Discord to share in the building anticipation for the launch of Alpha 9.
As always, fly safe, Commanders!
-Starborne Dev Team