A Week of War

As preparations continue to launch EiF’s unique Galactic Civil War system, the team is proud to announce one final round of testing: the week of war.

The GCW system, as written, has plenty of moving parts, and the team simply cannot test everything to the extent necessary before rolling the system out in its entirety. Of major concern are the planetary invasions, which are the heart of the system – epic battles in which factions can seize control of enemy-held planets.

These planetary invasions are built from the same core, but each planet has its own customizations. As such, they need to be individually tested to ensure everything works as expected. To facilitate this final testing, the EiF team is hosting a week of war.

Starting April 23rd and continuing through April 29th, the live server will have a planetary invasion every day. The Monday through Friday invasions will take place at 9 PM EST, which is currently the planned time for events in the final system. The Saturday and Sunday invasions will take place at 3 PM EST to allow European players to participate at a friendlier time.

(Also, a big thank you to the New Zeltros crew for willingly suspending their events for the test week!)

Participating in the GCW system this time around will net players War Fame, which will be used to purchase reward items once the entire system is live. GCW live system rewards include armor, weapon, house, and speeder schematics, as well as a few new surprises.

The rewards won’t be available yet – the awarded War Fame will be banked for future use.

The planets that require testing under the final system:

  • Corellia
  • Talus
  • Dathomir
  • Endor
  • Naboo
  • Rori
  • Taanab

Yavin 4 and Dantooine are considered adequately tested at this point due to external and internal testing; Taanab, on the other hand, has gone through multiple iterations since the first event and needs to be retested with the new code.

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This week of war testing will be a final check of the code as well as one more look at balance issues before the system goes live. (Of major concern is whether it’s too easy to defend as currently stands; the week of war should give us more data on that subject so we can make any needed tweaks before launch.)

Join us for the week of war, April 23rd – April 29th!

GCW Live Invasion Test – 4/8/18

We will be conducting a third, and with any luck last, live server test of a GCW invasion on Sunday, April 8th at 3 PM EST. Location will be announced shortly before kick-off. Come armed and ready for both offense and defense!

Assuming a successful test, we will shortly after begin rolling out the GCW to the live server, starting with the Senate and Council election system.

Patch Notes – 3/19/18

Due to unexpected circumstances, we patched early this morning, and as a result a few things haven’t made it in. We’ll have a follow-up patch later this week.

Armorsmithing
*Armor can now accept armor attachments. These need to be crafted into the armor at final assembly (e.g. when a fully-crafted armor core is inserted into the final armor appearance piece).
*Armor can accept one attachment per piece.

Attachments
*Armor and clothing attachments now display their stat modifier in the name of the attachment itself. This change is retroactive, but attachments listed on vendors must be pulled into inventory before they will update with the new name.

Bioengineer
*Bioengineered pets have gotten a substantial boost. Talk to your local BE and see what she can do for you!

Bounty Hunter
*High-end bounty hunting missions can now drop schematics for bounty hunter armor pieces.
*High-end bounty missions now have a smaller chance of dropping junk.

Cloning
*Cloning no longer requires a load screen. (Note that this function is in testing and may be reverted if problems arise.)
*Factional cloning implemented for invasions. Defenders will be able to clone at a city’s cloners. Attackers can only clone at base camps.
*City cloners will revert to neutral status after invasions end.
*Cloning at a factional cloner always incurs wounds.
*Neutral players may clone at a factional cloner, but will incur wounds.
*Triple-incap death from a player no longer incurs decay.
*Death from a factional NPC while overt no longer incurs decay.

Combat Walkers
*Combat walkers can now only be controlled by correctly factioned players.
*Combat walkers now protect their pilots from incoming damage.
*Combat walkers can now only target enemies in front of them.
*Combat walkers no longer move or shoot without a pilot.
*Combat walkers now automatically dismount the pilot upon destruction.
*Combat walkers no longer use the rifleman speed modifier to calculate time between shots.

GCW
*Players can now use /requestLeave to set their factional status back to “On Leave” without talking to a recruiter. The time necessary to go to on leave status is dependent upon the player’s factional rank, with higher ranks taking longer to go on leave.

Items
*Rotate left/right commands now work as before (in addition to the improved yaw/pitch/roll commands).
*Rotate left/right on the radial menu is again functional.
*Picking up an object now resets its rotation. (No more dropping items under the floor!)
*Added lootable items and schematics for previously unattainable decorative items.
(Note: lootable items are not yet in the loot tables, but will be very soon.)
*Flash speeders and flash speeder deeds are again no-trade.
*New flash speeders can be claimed with the /flashspeeder command, for the cost of 20,000 credits. (Republic credits will be fine.)
*Weapon decay has been increased. Decay for carbines and rifles has been rebalanced.

NPCs
*NPC resists rebalance is approximately 50% complete. Please provide feedback on new resists to Anishor.

Pets
*Players can now use the /rattle command to speak on behalf of their pets! By targeting a pet and using /rattle followed by text, a player can make their pets speak whatever they’d like. This function is currently restricted to droids and NPC followers.
*Admin characters can now use the /rattle command to cause any creature object in the game to speak.

Smuggler
*Armor effectiveness slice has been adjusted to allow a slightly higher cap.

Travel
*On-planet travel no longer requires a load screen. (Note that this function is in testing and may be reverted if problems arise.)
*Newsnet terminals in starports now have additional functionality. The information on the terminals is updated realtime from the website. Check the terminals for patch notes, GCW headlines, and information on upcoming events!

Friday Feature 12/29/2017 – The Anatomy of an Invasion

As promised, our Friday Feature today is about an element of the upcoming GCW system: planetary invasions.

Standard disclaimer: all information below is subject to change during the development and adjustment process. While we believe this will remain accurate, unforeseen circumstances are always a possibility.

In a previous Friday Feature, Political Power, we discussed how players could be elected to their chosen faction’s ruling body, which manages the war effort by selecting enemy planets for invasion, engaging in a sort of dejarik game against the opposing faction’s ruling body.

Today’s feature is about the boots on the ground – how planetary invasions work!

Stage 1: Forces MarshalIt may be a bit of a misnomer to call this a “stage”. As an invasion kicks off, initial defense forces rally around the defending starports. Defenses generally consist of mid-sized squads of troopers, as well as multiple defense turrets. Large-city starports deploy autoturrets both in normal defensive positions and inside the landing ring to prevent attacking troops from bypassing the defenses by using civilian transport.

Attacking forces spawn at a nearby beachhead camp and prepare to march on the target starport. These forces usually have large squads of troops and, depending on the size and value of the target, combat walkers ranging from small AT-RTs all the way up to massive AT-ATs. The walkers are reserved strictly for players; unlike the troops, they will not act without a living commander.

During the “forces marshal” step, PvP zones will be established. Any player entering the invasion zone will be vulnerable to attack from other players.

Finally (though it may not be available for the NYE live server event), players will be able to use factional trooper coordinators to travel directly to a starport (if a member of the defending faction) or to a beachhead camp (if a member of the invading forces) of the world being attacked.

 

Phase 2: Forces Engage

Offensive forces marching on the target will inevitably clash with the static defenders. NPC armies will engage, and without player involvement the defenders will have a small advantage given their autoturrets. Attacking forces, however, can use their assault walkers to crack through the defenses and make their way into the target starport.

Both offensive and defensive forces will regularly respawn and maintain a running battle throughout the invasion time. However, defensive autoturrets and invading walkers will not respawn, and once knocked out of the fight are out for the duration of the invasion.

 

Phase 3: Hostile Takeover

Attacking players need to force their way into the starport and take control! To seize control requires five players – a bounty hunter, a smuggler, a doctor, a commando, and a squad leader.

The bounty hunter will initiate the takeover by jamming the uplink terminal. (This requires the Investigation II box and grants a healthy chunk of investigation XP!) The minigame for an uplink jam is a simple higher/lower guessing game.

The smuggler then slices into the security terminal. (This requires the Slicing I: Terminals box.) This process follows the standard slicing minigame; it is highly recommend the smuggler be prepared with a molecular clamp so he does not screw up the slicing process!

The doctor then uses the override terminal and provides a DNA sequence. It uses a gene letter matching minigame with A-T and C-G DNA sequencing.

The commando switches alignment on the power regulator next. The minigame requires the player to switch all the switches to either “on” or “off”, with the catch that flipping one switch will affect other switches as well.

Finally, the squad leader uses the HQ terminal to seize control of the starport!

 

Invasion Success?

A successful invasion requires the attacking faction to seize all the target planet’s starports inside the time limit.

All the starports must be seized.

The invasion system is programmed so that we can adjust the time limit on a per-planet basis (as well as adjust attacking and defending forces). For initial purposes of the GCW, all planets will have a 60 minute time limit to successfully complete an invasion.

When the GCW is fully released, we will be monitoring the GCW closely and adjusting as necessary to ensure both factions have a chance at seizing planets. We have no illusions that it will be perfect right out of the box; monitoring and adjusting is an important and necessary step.

The dev team is proud of the invasion system, though we ask that players understand the limitations of the SWGEmu code. Elements we are using to pull this off are as-of-yet unfinished, particularly in regards to the NPCs, and some wonky behavior results. We’re waiting in part for the SWGEmu team to finish their AI revamp to smooth out some rough edges.

Remember:

Good luck, have fun, and may the Force be with you!

Friday Feature 12/1/2017: Political Power

Disclaimer: All systems described here are subject to change during development and testing.

“Chancellor, is this really the time to call for new elections? The very people that may lose office are those who have risked everything for the Rebel Alliance!”

Mon Mothma, Chancellor of the New Republic and longtime figurehead of the Rebel Alliance, rubbed her eyes wearily. Night had long since fallen on Chandrila, but the government never really slept. “I understand your military sensibilities, Crix, but this is the realm of politics.”

“We dealt the Empire a crippling blow at Endor, and they are on the back foot as their forces have splintered. But changing leadership now could still cost us the war. The Imperial military is just as capable of crushing us now as they were a year ago, should we wage war poorly. This is still a military issue.”

Mon Mothma offered a small smile. “We must be a Republic in fact as well as name. To call for elections now is to show the galaxy that we are not just another domineering force in the galaxy. These actions may persuade more worlds to our cause than Admiral Ackbar’s navy could liberate in a decade!”

The Galactic Civil War is a core design for Empire in Flames – it is one of the earliest systems the team designed, though development of it was pushed back to post-launch due to the scope of changes the EiF team has wrought.

Especially of concern was ensuring combat was in a better place than SWGEmu – and, given the most recent balance pass, it definitely is. While we will continue to make tweaks going forward, we have a stable foundation to build upon, with relatively balanced combat skills, a fully-functioning core crafting system covering all weapons and armor, and a housing system encouraging player cities.

The design elements for the GCW included, in broad strokes, three major goals:

  1. A system that encouraged large events, rather than a system that discouraged engagement.
  2. A system that encouraged PvP.
  3. A system run by the players.

This Friday Feature is focusing on point #3 – player control.

“You cannot be serious, Admiral Sloane.”

“Grand Admiral Sloane, Moff Maksim. And I am very serious.”

The Moff raised an eyebrow at her. “Return control of the military to the Imperial Senate? The same Senate that the Emperor saw fit to disband nearly five years ago?”

The Admiral shook her head. “Hardly the same Senate – not a Senate at all, in fact.”

“You’re talking about holding elections!”

“Yes, I am. Look around you, Moff. The Imperial navy is shattering. The admiralty has no loyalty to anyone who has tried to claim power in the Empire. The civil service will not pledge fealty to the military High Command. If we do not change course, in another year there will be no Empire.”

“So why aren’t you on Coruscant, making your case there?”

“I will make my way there soon, but without Kuat, there will be no Empire. The shipyards here are critical to the war effort. If I do not have your support – if this proposal loses Kuat to the hands of a warlord or to the so-called New Republic – the Empire is just as doomed.”

The Moff leaned forward, a smile spreading for the first time since Sloane had begun the conversation. “You aren’t entirely foolish, Grand Admiral. Let us discuss your proposal.”

To recap, the Galactic Civil War is based around planetary control. Planetary control is determined by planetary invasions. The big missing chunk is obvious, then: who determines what planet a faction targets?

Ultimately, we wanted control to be in the hands of the players – the best systems in SWG always involve the players as deeply as possible. But what is the best route to take to get to that point?

We could give only high-ranked players a voice – Imperial and New Republic colonels, perhaps? But every player in the game can reach that rank, and it’s not a particularly time-consuming investment to do so.

Guild leaders, then? No, because any player could form a guild just with his own characters to get a voice on military matters.

City mayors, perhaps? Now we’re getting warmer – after all, mayorship requires support from the citizenship…sort of. Two players can found and maintain an outpost with just a little work. But we’re on the right track.

Ultimately, we decided to tie it to the Politician profession. It doesn’t require skillpoints, but it does require support or a lot of time to level. It almost certainly requires support and interaction with the community to do anything with.

With that in mind, we knew the server had to have established itself, with player cities, elections, and citizens before we could roll it out. And now Empire in Flames is established as such.

But what about the nuts and bolts of such a system?

The Chancellor’s voice rang with the clarity of a bell in the New Republic Senate on Chandrila. Her words echoed her discussion with Crix Madine days earlier, and were underpinned with conviction. “The transition from Rebel Alliance to New Republic has not been an easy path. We are no longer concerned only with overthrow of an illegitimate, despotic government, but with governing the worlds within our sphere of influence in a just manner.

“While the Emperor ruled with an iron fist, issuing decrees as he saw fit, we must represent the will of the people. And I believe we have during the years of our government-in-exile. Even while we conducted war, we planned for peace. We offered aid where we could, enforced law when we were capable, and protected the citizens whenever possible.

“But times have changed, and we must change with it. I call on all those who are faithful to the New Republic to prepare for elections. Select statesmen from each world to join this august body as it not only oversees the war effort, but works to build a lasting peace so that our children need not fight again the war we have sacrificed so much to win.”

As with city elections, New Republic Senate and Imperial Council elections will be held regularly via in-game voting to select the leadership for their governments. These elections will soon be available at city voting terminals, and will be rolled out shortly before the GCW hits the live server.

To register to run for high political office, a character must be of the appropriate faction (New Republic or Imperial) and a citizen of the planet where he seeks to run. The character will register at his local city hall, but the character’s name will subsequently show up on all voting terminals on the planet.

To vote, a player must be a citizen of a city. Players who have, for various reasons, citizenship outside city limits will not be able to run for high office, nor will they be able to vote for candidates.

Only politicians are able to run for the Senate or Council.

The New Republic Senate requires the Statesman title – 0040 politician.

The Imperial Council requires the Warmaster title – 0400 politician.

Characters do not have to be a mayor to run for high office.

High office elections are scheduled monthly. Once in office, officials will have votes once per week to determine their faction’s next GCW target. In the event of a tie vote, the body is considered “deadlocked” and the faction will forgo their turn at an offensive assault.

Moff Maksim’s voice was rich and calm, hiding any discomfort so deeply that Rae Sloane couldn’t find trace of it.

“Ashamedly, our great Galactic Empire has fractured with the death of our beloved Emperor. Too many of our military leaders have chosen the path of conquest, turning their guns on fellow soldiers and citizens and declaring themselves rulers of territory.

“Those few members of the Emperor’s court who have chosen to attempt governing have proven inept, losing further support of the both military and citizenship – even driving some worlds into the hands of the Rebels!

“Now is the time to turn this tide of treachery and defection. I call upon the loyal sons and daughters of the Empire to select leaders among yourselves – those who have known both war and peace – to step forward and take up the reins of government of the Empire.

“This new body, this Imperial Council, shall act upon the will of both citizens and soldiers, and will lead the Empire to a final victory over the treacherous dissidents that have caused so much death and pain in the galaxy!”