Ships 2.0 – An Introduction to Reinforcements

We’ve been talking about it for awhile, but Ships 2.0 is almost upon us! As a studio we’re incredibly excited to bring you an updated Ships experience that includes the new Reinforcement Abilities. We thought it would be useful to take you on the journey we went through in what brought about the changes to Ships. We’d also like to tell you about what the scheduled roll out of Ships 2.0 will look like over the next month so you will be prepared to see those changes. If you want to get straight to that, then skip to the bottom.

The Backstory

About a year ago, we embarked on what we thought would be the relatively easy task of making a ship PvE table. This was intended to go with the “Coming Soon” Hardware Abilities. Our engineers put in the appropriate connections and code, and our designers sat down to begin the process of making Ship PvE content. But as we worked through creating the content, we realized more and more that we were simply just not satisfied with the experience. Ships over multiple encounters basically just resulted in everyone charging up the Capital Ships ultimate and then destroying the enemy fleet in one or two volleys. Furthermore, we saw the sentiment in the forums and we observed through data that players were not really engaging with Ships.

And so we asked ourselves a tough question – could Ships be better? And to make Ships better, should we hold off on making PvE content? The answer we came to was yes on both accounts. So we thought about what could accomplish the goals we were hoping to achieve with ships, and decided to introduce – Reinforcement On Enter Battle Effects.

Reinforcement On Enter Battle Effects means that all ships, when brought in to battle from Reinforcements, now do something new to the battlefield. The allure of the mechanic is that similar to games like Hearthstone or Magic the Gathering, your ability to change the battlefield is somewhat obscured by what’s in your “hand”, in this case the Reinforcements bar. And the more we poked at this idea we realized that this could have a transformative impact on the way ships played and created a more tactical and dynamic feel. A flavor of Reinforcement On Enter Battle Effects were originally supposed to be the Hardware Abilities that were “Coming Soon”. As stated above, from what we saw in the wild, along with our intuition, we knew we needed to refactor them significantly.

So, with the move to the “new” Reinforcement On Enter Battle Effects, it meant that we needed more space on the battlefield so that bringing Reinforcements in felt meaningful. So we moved from 5v5 starting lineups to 3v3 starting lineups (don’t worry, you can still have five ships on the battlefield, you just start with three). And in moving to 3v3 starting lineups, it meant that ships needed to have their stats (including health, protection, damage, etc) and abilities updated to accommodate the experience. Why? Because ships were balanced for a 5v5 experience where there were no On Enter effects. And in doing all this, we fundamentally changed the overall experience. Ultimately, we think the experience has shifted from where 5v5 felt like a Naval Battle Simulation to 3v3 feeling like an intense aerial dogfight. And so Hardware Abilities became Reinforcement Abilities.

Why are we telling all of this to you? As you look through the update and start playing with the new version of ships, you can get some insight into why things are different. Fundamentally, it was driven by us having made something, Ships, that you didn’t play with or like as much as we had hoped. In an effort to make it better, we meaningfully changed the Feature. Our hope is that you find the experience as interesting and compelling as we do.

The Ship 2.0 Roll Out

Finally, we want to talk about what the ships roll out looks like. Starting with the release of our next client, Title Update 12, Ships 2.0 combat will be live in Fleet Arena, Territory Battles, Territory Wars, Challenges, and the initial Capital Ship (not Fleet Mastery) events. All of the new Ship ability kits and stats will be live as well. In order to get you started quickly with the new ship content, we are providing some materials via the inbox as outlined in the patch notes. The materials we are gifting you should be enough for you to take at least two ships to level two of their Reinforcement Abilities. Additionally, we are going to be taking a Cantina Table node and adding Ship Reinforcement Material to it, so that players can start farming to power up their ships. We will be also releasing two bundles, so that players can bolster their fleets to engage in the new mode.

In this update, you will see a Ship PvE table called Fleet Battles, but it is currently locked. We’re very close to finalizing the content, but changing the core experience required a tremendous amount of work and we still need some time to finish Fleet Battles. We are currently targeting a late June release of Fleet Battles. Fleet Battles will have its own energy and will be one of the locations where players can get Ship Omegas, Reinforcement Materials, and grindable locations for other ships/characters and gear. When Fleet Battles go live we will retire the Cantina Table node that supplies Reinforcement Materials.

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