The week of 25th of July is almost over and you still can’t close your outposts. Hey you devs, what’s up with that?
Well, a change of plans. After the previous devblog about being able to block other corporations from entering your own outposts, there have been discussions about it both on our forums and ingame. The initial reactions were welcoming, but quite a few concerns emerged soon.
We have conducted our own internal discussions about this matter as well, and came to the decision that we’d bring forward an Intrusion revamp planned for later, rather than build upon a broken mechanic and create more issues. So outpost closing will still happen, but in a hopefully much more sensible Intrusion system.
While the other promised feature, the “elite” NPC spawns is pretty much finished, it still needs some testing & tweaking, so this will be delayed to next week. Though there will be a patch tomorrow (07.29.), it will contain fixes for the new storyline assignments and some other minor changes.
So, let’s continue with the important part of this devblog, the Intrusion system.
What’s wrong with the current system?
The random nature of the times neither benefits defender, nor attacker - one’s ability to hold an outpost is largely luck, combined with the number of players one can bring to bear in a specific time zone. This encourages superalliances, and overconcentration of players (a.k.a. blobs) in order to ensure the safety of these locations. While we have no soy sauce with people banding together as they see fit, we don’t want that banding together to be the “one correct option” - and the current system encourages this.
Furthermore, the intrusion system is in no way a reflection of who actually controls a location. It is instead a reflection of who can bring the most power to bear at a random time, once a week. This is soy sauceatic because a) it discourages exploration and utilization of betas in general, b) it does not reflect the “truth” of who is in a particular area, and c) by encouraging superalliances, we’re essentially excluding small parties from taking and using remote locations successfully - cutting off part of the playerbase.
So after much consideration, we bring you the new Outpost Capture system, coming “soon.”
The simplest way to understand the new mechanic, when you boil it down to an essence, is this:
“If you reside in an area and control that area, you will eventually come to control the outpost. If you raid-and-retreat from an area, it will become very hard to hold the outpost.”
Here’s the mechanics of the system:
Every outpost, as you know, has 3 SAPs. This will not change. What changes is that instead of an Outpost having all 3 SAPs becoming accessible once a week, two SAPs will become accessible every 24 hours. Exactly when and which SAP becomes available is completely random and unknown - just that you can count on two sometime during every 24 hour period. Every Outpost operates independently - the SAPs at Brightstone are on a completely different timer than the SAPs at South Isietsu, and so on. The effect of capturing a SAP would be changed as well.
When a SAP is captured, this lowers or raises the Outpost’s stability level, depending on whether the SAP was captured by the Outpost’s current owner or some other party.
Stability, in effect, is a measure of the Outpost owner’s ability to maintain control over the areas around the Outpost. Captures by the owner indicate the area is in hand and therefore stable - captures by outside parties indicate the area is troubled, and therefore unstable. If the owner of the Outpost captures the SAP, they have demonstrated control and dominance over the area - the stability value of the outpost grows. If another party captures the SAP, they have demonstrated that the owners of the outpost are NOT in full control of the area: the stability value of the Outpost decreases. After the SAP capture is complete or 2 hours pass, the SAP disappears and reverts to its neutral, passive state. The stability level of an outpost changes by roughly 6.66% per SAP capture.
Capturing an Outpost - When Destabilization Occurs
In order to fully destabilize an Outpost - take it from 100% to 0% - you need to capture 15 SAPs in a row. (Essentially, one full week plus one more SAP.) This shows absolute domination and control of a location.
Because we recognize it is possible for someone to capture an Outpost through blind luck - they had one person wander by at 3am when the two parties battling for the Outpost were asleep, and the critical SAP just appeared - we have also incorporated a “Snowball Effect.”
The first and second time in a row that you capture a SAP, you get credit for one capture. The third time, you get credit for two captures. The fourth, three captures, and so on. Essentially allowing for a 1+1+2+3+4+5 situation - three days with absolutely no response from the defender and 100% domination by the attacker leads to a capture on the start of the fourth day. You would be able to dock again much sooner than that, obviously. Note that a “no capture” SAP (nobody captures it and it expires in 2 hours) resets the Snowball Effect. Among other reasons, this was instituted so that if someone is utterly unable to hold a location - they got very lucky with the initial capture, for example - the dominant party in the area can flex a little muscle and take the outpost down again right away.
When An Outpost is Captured the stability of the Outpost instantly reverts to 50% in the hands of the new owner: they have the ability to lock the Outpost, but only barely. The new owners of the Outpost, though, can demonstrate financial might along with their military acumen by bidding NIC in order to prove their commitment to the area. Doing so will immediately raise the starting value of the Outpost Stability. This can only be done immediately after the Outpost is captured. No one is impressed with you throwing cash around after you’re supposed to be in control!
The probable values for “demonstrating financial might” are as follows:
Pay 100m NIC: Outpost starts at 60% stability.
250m NIC: 70% stability.
450m NIC: 80% stability
700m NIC: 90% stability.
1 billion NIC: You start with absolute 100% stability on the outpost. (You go with your bad NIC-holding self.)
The outpost stability level is also a measure of the benefits you receive. Outpost ownership is no longer going to be an absolute: the greater the stability of the outpost, the more benefit the owner receives. The values below are subject to tweaking, but here’s a general idea of what we’re thinking:
0% stability - The Outpost has been destabilized and is open for capture. The next SAP capture could change ownership of the Outpost.
25% stability - No benefits other than getting paid when other groups use the outpost; you’re barely holding on to control.
50% stability - Minimum threshold for outpost locking controls (to block other corporations from entering), moderate relation bonuses for industrial facilities. Minor price reductions.
75% stability - Reduced prices for service in the outpost, high relation bonuses for industrial facilities, Outpost locking controls.
90% Stability - Owners receive high discounts for services and enjoy maximum relation benefits, may also lock the Outpost.
100% Stability - Owners not charged for any service and enjoy maximum relation benefits; may also lock the Outpost docking mechanism.
A few questions that people might have
Q. Won’t my corp just lose SAPs when they come up in the middle of the night and none of us are on?
A: Absolutely. If you don’t have a presence on the island 24/7, there exists the possibility that your stability level will - over the long term - tend to hover right around the percentage of the time you’re on the island. If you’ve got a presence the 80% of the time, you’ll probably hold right around 80% stability if someone starts challenging you for it. If no one challenges you, the SAPs you miss will despawn in 2 hours, and eventually you’ll raise the stability to 100%. If you lose one overnight, no big deal: your presence on the island will allow you to push it back to 100% soon enough.
Q. What if more than one party is pounding on my outpost at a time? How does that work?
A: You’ll have a hard road. It doesn’t matter which corp takes your SAPs - the Outpost Stability goes down all the same. To use a historical metaphor, it didn’t matter to a Roman citizen which nation was pillaging and sacking them before Rome fell - just that they were being pillaged and sacked.
Q. So when a Outpost reaches 0% stability and becomes open for capture, more than one party could show up and fight for it? What happens if the original owner captures it again?
A: Yes, we expect that the areas around an Outpost at 0% stability will become wild melees as multiple parties all move to be the one to capture an outpost. These could turn into pretty impressive endurance matches, since you can never be sure when the critical SAP will appear. (Imagine the King-of-the-Hill match if the next SAP to open was the Passive one!) If the original owner manages to capture the SAP, they also get the 50% value and the chance to pay to increase it, but if they’ve been ground down to 0% once, they’ll be ground down again. (Or not, if they can prove they deserve to keep it now.)
Q. What if my corp gets a string of bad luck with their SAPs, or has to go AFK for a day or two because of (insert reason here?)
A. Remember that the system is gradual: you’ll be able to tell if you’re in trouble, and if your entire corp disappears for a day or two, you’re still in control. It’s by the end of the third or fourth day (depending on how quickly and how hard you were under attack) you’ll have a soy sauce. You can interrupt a Snowball Effect with one capture, and if you honestly can’t field enough force at your Outpost to prevent even one enemy capture, you probably shouldn’t hold it right now. When everyone’s back and ready to fight, you can always take it back the same way you took it to begin with.
Q. What happens when this system goes active?
A. All current owners will be given 50% stability at all of their Outposts, with no possibility of paying to increase the value. We’ll give you basic docking control - whether you can hang on to it after that is entirely up to you.
Q. Will we be able to tell the Outpost’s stability level?
A. Yes. We’re still working on where the information will be known, but it will be publicly available.
Q. Can a corp that has strong relations with mine capture a SAP for me?
A. We have no plans to allow this at the present time. If you’re leaning on another corp for safety, they’ll need to either defend the SAP until it disappears... or maybe they should be the ones owning the Outpost?
Q. Could a corporation just watch two other groups battle it out, and then swoop in for the last capture when it really matters?
A. Someone might be able to pull that off once, but they’ll just lose control right away themselves if they’re not exerting enough force to hold the place - and if they are, then they’re the rightful owners to begin with. It’s unlikely that a group could repeatedly “snipe” the last SAP for the capture when its time of arrival is unknown. If you’re trying to take an Outpost and you’re being repeatedly “sniped” by different parties, you may not have the force to hold on to it yourself!
In Summary (TL;DR)
Outpost Ownership will now naturally reflect who lives on an island.
Outpost Ownership is going to become organic, and not absolute, in a tug-of-war fashion.
This allows us to implement Outpost locking without creating the nightmare situation of “You wake up and can’t get to your stuff.” It will be very clear in advance when you’re in danger of losing control.
We feel this system encourages small groups to “take their shot” since few groups will have the ability to maintain multiple locations at the same time.
We feel this system will encourage PvP on the beta islands: it’s a very safe bet that somewhere on some island at some outpost at least one SAP is vulnerable at all times, and people will need to be on their islands in order to keep their outposts safe. More beta traffic offers more opportunities for raiding and for defending. More PvP for everyone!
We want the system to reward people who live on the betas, not just those that raid them.
Is This All?
No! We’re anticipating a great deal of improvement to your Beta experience. Possibilities on the horizon include Aura-type bonuses for Outpost ownership which also scale with your ability to demonstrate stability.
We’re very excited to implement this new system and see the dramatic and positive effects this will have on PvP. We’re committed to making living on the outer islands more interesting for everyone, and more rewarding as well. Demonstrate that you can hold an Outpost this way, and when other changes to improve Beta life come in the future, you’ll be glad you did!
We look forward to your feedback and opinions on this proposal. We’re excited to see how this changes your Perpetuum experience, and see how you feel about it!