Friday Feature – Creature Handler Revamp

Creature Handler is one of the most unique and popular aspects of Star Wars Galaxies. Unfortunately, Creature Handler is seldom seen as “competitive” – its creatures are relatively low in damage and can’t take punishment like a properly defensively-stacked player can.

The Empire in Flames team has been well aware of the problems with Creature Handler for some time, but because of other development priorities (the Galactic Civil War, new content, Jedi), the team chose to wait and hash out a proper revamp to bring creature handlers back into their own in such a way to make the experience rewarding without nerfing anyone or anything…and leaving open the possibility of further adjustments that don’t include a “pre-nerf” situation.

Design Dilemnas

Fixing creature handler requires solving several problems. The foremost is that EiF’s combat has been vastly overhauled; simply buffing individual pets either means invalidating “normal” pets, or completely throwing out PvE balance.

Another problem is with pet levels – creature handler by design allows a player to have multiple low-level pets or one big pet. Actual combat experience shows players tend to go with big pets because they find anything lower than level 50 isn’t worth it.

Finally, we need to ensure that we can adjust balance going forward; if we can’t, we have the potential to completely break EiF’s combat system.

An Old Take on Creature Handler with a New Twist

At SWG launch, Creature Handler included two skill modifiers that were unrelated: “Additional Pets” and “Max Level of Pets”. The “Additional Pets” modifier was used to determine how many pets a creature handler could have active; “Max Level of Pets” determined how powerful their pets could be.

Early pre-CU made Creature Handler a must-have – players could run around with three full-grown rancors (at the time, extremely powerful compared to players) and dominate virtually everything. SOE promptly nerfed the system, making “Max Level of Pets” cumulative – instead of each pet out having to be under the max level cap, the total levels had to be under the level cap.

The EiF team looked at changing the system back to the pre-nerf situation – after all, three pet rancors under the EiF system would hardly be overpowered. However, it created its own issue – the only pets players would want to use were the most powerful. Other pets, which may be fun, would be ignored.

A Full Solution

Creature Handlers are still restricted by the “Max Level of Pets” modifier. (A master creature handler, post-revamp, will have a rating of 75; Singing Mountain Clan players get an additional +5.) That “max level” is calculated against a creature’s base level.

The pet, when summoned and if full-grown, will scale in level to the player’s “Max Level of Pets”. For example, a Narglatch Guardian is CL25. When summoned by a master Creature Handler, he will enter the world at CL75, with roughly appropriate damage and HAM.

Naturally lower-level pets, when summoned at high levels, have a higher damage rating and more HAM than a pet that’s naturally at that higher level. However, naturally higher-level pets have better accuracy and better armor resists, making them more likely to hit and easier to keep healed.

And with “Additional Pets” no longer checking against the sum of “Max Level of Pets”, triple pets of various types is now a potentially powerful solution.

Not Just the Creatures, but the Handlers, Too

Even with the changes, we wanted to add more choice – and improvement options – for creature handlers.

To that end, we did a quick revamp on embolden and enrage.

Embolden now provides a taken-damage reduction to a handler’s pets, along with a small increase in pet accuracy.

Enrage provides a done-damage boost to a handler’s pets, along with a large increase in pet accuracy.

Embolden and enrage are mutually-exclusive; only one can be active at a time. Will your pets do more damage or take less?

Finally, we added a new SEA type – “Max Level of Pets”. This SEA is not used for control calculations; a player with no CH can’t use it to call a CL35 pet, for example, but it is used to calculate a pet’s adjusted level.

What Will You Do?

 

 

Friday Feature 3/30/2018: A look behind the scenes.

Staff just sitting around, shooting the sh… breeze early Monday morning before I left for my weekly client trip…

Halyn: Kelta and I won’t be around from Thursday through Monday. It’s the Easter weekend and we want to take the kids to the farm.

Sandi: *in a panic* So can you help me plan something for Sunday?

Abi: *instantly pipes up* Do an ‘easter egg’ hunt

Sandi: What would the Easter Eggs be?

Abi: Storyteller containers outside of cities.

Sandi: Those only last 8 hours…

Abi and Sandi go back and forth attempting to work out how to implement it. What can the community get, how many, how do we prevent people from exploiting? How do we make it fair for everyone?

Anishor pipes up with rewards suggestions, his first comment on the event:  Lightsabers…

Abi works up a proposed list of rewards, over which Sandi drools.

Halyn in the meantime continues to do his own thing, like putting in announcements when a new character is created and extending storyteller items to last for 48 hours.

Abi: Wait, why are we doing an Easter egg hunt? We’re going to have April Fools stuff, iirc.

Halyn: I don’t know what we’re going to have atm.

Sandi heads to the airport. She reviews the conversations in the various Discords, notes the incredibly boring topics the staff has been talking about, which includes the backpacks she doesn’t care about in the least. As her eyes glaze over and she skims the text about the new housing, a few other things, she throws in that she wants a stuffed tauntaun, for which she is teased repeatedly.

Sandi and Abi talk more about how to implement an Easter Egg Event, which she’s now calling the E3. Halyn keeps working on content, tossing up occasional screenshots.

Tuesday morning: Sandi goes off to a client and returns to…

Halyn:    soooo
               I decided to run with your egg hunt thing
               but I’m putting together a screenplay
               screenshots shortly
               the big thing will be getting waypoints to put egg containers at

Sandi holds her breath, looking through the text on breaks and finds a screenshot of an NPC announcing the Great Galactic Egg Hunt!

She notices it’s a bit like the Junk Dealers; you’ll be able to trade the found eggs for stuff. She literally squees loudly, hoping the people in the room next to hers at the hotel don’t call the Front Desk to complain.


The Arcon Multinode Agricorp is sponsoring their first Easter Egg Hunt!

Sunday, April 1st (after the patch in the morning Central time

The event will last 72 hours from when it launches.

The representative for the Arcon Multinode Agricorp can be found in Pandath on Taanab, who will provide instructions on how to find the Easter Eggs.


There are 102 Easter egg containers available, 6 in each of the targeted cities.

Taanab – Pandath
Corellia – Coronet, Doaba Guerful, Kor Vella, Tyrena
Talus – Dearic, Nashal
Naboo – Moenia, Kaadara, Keren, Theed
Rori – Narmle, Restuss
Tatooine – Bestine, Mos Eisely, Mos Entha, Mos Espa

You can hunt eggs on each of your characters.

What would a Friday Feature be without a teaser of a few items which will be available?

NOTE: this is the first time these items are being made available. They will all be available in the future with upcoming content.

 

 

Friday Feature 11/3/2017: The Friday Feature Archives!

Empire in Flames turns six months old tomorrow! Since we launched EiF a Friday Feature has been put together nearly every week! (except one, oops.) The staff and community has found over the past months that we’ve referred to these posts over and over and over! So now you have an archive of them to easily reference for personal use or to direct a new player to the information!

Sandarie, Community Manager

Friday Features: The Archives!
Anniversary Memories 4/27/2018 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=947
A look behind the scenes 3/30/2018 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=893
Emotions in EiF 3/9/2018 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=842
Searching on the Bazaar Terminal 2/23/2018 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=814
THE Road Map for EiF 2/9/2018 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=807
Food and Drinks 2/2/2018 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=802
Base Busting EiF Style! 1/26/2018 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=795
A Chat with Sandarie 1/12/2018 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=771
Commands in SWG 1/5/2018 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=763
The Anatomy of an Invasion 12/29/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p756
Welcome to Empire In Flames 11/10/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=714
The Staff of an Empire in Flames 12/15/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=732
Political Power 12/1/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=708
Combat in Empire in Flames, or How I Spent My Summer Vacation 11/24/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=698
A Chat with Wefi 11/17/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=680
A Chat with BluePyros 11/10/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=667
The Friday Feature Archives! 11/3/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=659
EiF Combat 10/27/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=647
A Chat with Kelta 10/20/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=638
A Chat with Abi/Gail 10/13/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=628
RP on EiF 10/06/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=623
Invasion 9/29/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=609
A Chat with Anishor 9/22/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=599
Loot Kits/Recyclers 9/15/17 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=595
A Chat with Halyn 9/8/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=586
Heavy Weapons Y’all! 9/1/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=560
oops… 8/25/2017
Teaser! 8/18/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=541
Old Content – Racetracks 8/11/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=535
Badges 8/4/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=527
Macros 7/28/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=514
Creature Resources 7/21/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=505
Player Events 7/14/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=492
Port Jato 7/7/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=474
Player Goods and Services 6/30/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=461
Server Hardware 6/23/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=456
Player Cities 6/16/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=433
EiF Character Builder Beta Testing! 6/9/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=424
Enter the Cats! 6/2/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=415
Decorating in Empire in Flames 5/26/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=391
Planetary Factional Alignment in EiF 5/19/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=376
Pauleh Plays! 5/12/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=361
By the Numbers 5/5/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=330
Bonus Posts!
Question and Answer Time with the Devs! 5/2/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=291
Racial Bonuses 5/1/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=282
Professions and Skills 5/1/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=271
Housing in EiF 4/27/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=245
Empire in Flames Contact and Social Media Information 4/22/2017 http://www.empireinflames.com/?p=216

Grand Opening of the Gnorton Zoo and Sanctuary!

The city of Gnorton is hosting a celebration for the grand opening of the Gnorton Zoo and Sanctuary. Many events are planned for the evening. Bring a loved pet or come out to find a new pet to love!

Adoption drive (dirt cheap pets)

Raffle

Lottery

Pet Show

Pet Contest (with a Master Creature Handler Prize)!

Date: Saturday, September 9th
Time: 8 pm EST.

Location: Outside of Keren, Naboo 196 1331. A shuttle beacon will be placed the day of the event.

The event will be conducted in character, but everyone who loves pets will want to be sure to attend (even if you’re not exactly a CH!)

For more information contact: Doreen in-game and SquirrelGirl in Discord/Forums

Patch Notes: Client Patch 8/30/2017

The much anticipated CLIENT PATCH arrives tomorrow! Patch notes follow down below. The brand spanking new EiF Launcher will be available to load up the patch, as well! Instructions will be available. I’m sure you will all be grateful  I didn’t add my *squees* and *happy dances* throughout these notes, you’ll just have to guess at which ones are my favorites!

  • 4 new player races:
    • Devaronian Females
    • IG-100
    • Mirialans
    • Zeltron
  • New creature mounts have been introduced! Note that not all variants of a creature can necessarily be mounted – only the largest, toughest versions of some of these animals can carry a rider.
    • Narglatches
    • Gurrecks
    • Greater Sludge Panthers
    • Tusk Cats
    • Gualamas
    • Bordoks
    • Blurrgs
  • Entertainer Missions have been reworked using the new Fame system, which replaces the old Image Designer line in the Entertainer Profession. Entertainers with more fame can command higher payouts, particularly for gigs that require travel.
    • Fame-enhancing clothing and attachments will be coming at a future time.
    • Fame is not retroactive for already-established entertainers. The SWGEmu code that should force an update does not work, and we are investigating and will patch as soon as we have a solution.
    • Only a single entertainer mission can be taken at a time.
  • Munitions crafting has been re-added to the game. See the next Friday Feature to learn more about the Heavy Weapons revamp.
    • Weaponsmiths now have a number of new cores and components to craft to create heavy weapons.
    • Grenades, mines, and rocket launchers use explosive cores.
    • Flamethrowers and acid rifles use tanks.
    • Heavy beam weapons use capacitors.
    • Light lightning cannons use static cores.
  • Armor slicing has been re-added to the game.
  • Races that previously lacked customization now have basic morphs and palettes available, including:
    • Abyssin
    • Cerean
    • Duros
    • Gungan
    • Iktotchi
    • Kel Dor
    • Kubaz
    • Togruta
  • The first stage of the GCW has been implemented. All planets participating in the GCW now have factional troops present. (See this Friday Feature!) Planetary control scripting is still in process and has not yet been enabled, but is coming soon.
  • Port Jato, an underworld-themed player hub, can now be visited via friendly smugglers who take cash in advance. These smugglers generally don’t like being found anywhere near law enforcement, but can likely be found at the watering hole of criminal-infested hives of scum and villainy.
  • Devaronians and Kel Dor no longer appear headless when wearing hats or hoods.
  • Paintings now have backs.
  • Cats can now swim.
  • Ubese armor jackets now correctly offer chest protection.
  • Two-strap bandoleers now use the correct color palette.
  • Up to six missions can be taken from a standard mission terminal.
  • BER rates on harvesters have been changed from pre-CU BER calculations to NGE BER calculations.

Sandarie
Community Manager

One Happy Twi’lek!