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Development Update - June 2024

June 2024 

Welcome back Auraxians! 

As May was coming to a close, we wanted to take more time to craft this letter and address a recent patch issue. Today’s topics include information on what happened with the recent release of the Sunderer Rework to the live client, what we are doing going forward to address future issues in a promptly manner, and details on our work on a new Alert and Warzone capture system.  

The Sunderer Rework update is in a much more polished state and can be tested on the PTS server. Learn about the new additions and changes to the Sunderer here

Regarding The Unintentional Release of Sunderer Rework 

Last month, parts of the Sunderer Rework were unintentionally released to the live client. We reverted this patch the following week, but it should have been addressed sooner. This resulted in a major disturbance for many Auraxians that weekend, and we are terribly sorry for the frustrations this caused.  

There are many moving parts when it comes to multi-client updates, and we missed disabling parts of the update to the live client. We learned quite a bit where the flaws in our release process lie and are doing our best to adjust them to avoid a repeat of that weekend. We have also revisited the process of rolling back a previous live build should such a major issue happen again. 

Double XP For All 

We are scheduling a Double XP For All event starting from 6/11 through 6/16. Thank you for your patience and continued support. 

Looking Ahead: On Alerts & Capturing Warzones 

One of the ways we feel the game has room to grow is with the Alert and Warzone capture system. Ideally this system is there to represent a snapshot of the "campaign" where players must cooperate and anticipate their opponents' actions, making decisions about what objectives to prioritize and how much to commit to them. 

The alert system and the way warzones are captured have several key issues: 

  • The system is rigid, with only a single alert able to be active at once.
  • Only a single alert outcome can lead to the capture of a warzone.
  • Much of the diversity of the system has been removed with, other than some special events, only meltdown alerts remain.
  • There is a lack of interesting decision-making on a map wide scale, currently which base to attack or defend is the only decision of consequence. 

What would a rework achieve?

Ultimately, the alert system should give purpose to the smaller, tactical actions players take; such as capturing a base. Having a more diverse set of goals, something other than "paint the map." has several benefits. 

  • It creates **dilemmas** that present interesting choices to players on a group and individual level.
  • It encourages coordination between faction members.
  • It gives players more immediate purpose and direction.
  • It prevents losing factions from despairing by opening up avenues for catch-up mechanics.

How will the new system work? 

Currently, a warzone is captured directly through the alert system. There is a single alert, and the winning faction captures the warzone. Only this alert has any meaning when it comes to determining who owns the currently open continent. The experience has been further degraded by the removal of nearly all alerts other than a meltdown due to the way they interrupted the basic flow of the game. 

With the new system, capturing a warzone will no longer be totally contingent on the winner of a single alert, but instead the winner will conquer it via a more flexible system that can account for combinations of objectives. 

Alerts will be divided into two categories; Strategic and Tactical. 

Strategic alerts are longer-running and relevant throughout the entire warzone. They give players their primary purpose and an overarching objective. Only one strategic alert can be active at a time, and it provides the primary amount of capture weight towards winning a warzone. Meltdown would be an example of a strategic alert and will likely be the first one the rework has to maintain familiarity and continuity. 

The real change comes with the introduction of tactical alerts. These are less restrictive and more flexible. They can be longer, or shorter, or even one-shot objectives up for grabs to whichever faction completes them first. Importantly, they also contribute towards conquering the warzone, and thus are meaningfully worth considering appending time and effort on. One example of a tactical alert could be the appearance of the Ghost Bastion, which in addition to its ownership erasing properties could also grant a large lump sum of capture weight to the faction that manages to destroy it. 

We think this combination of multiple potential objectives, some of great potential value, will create faction-wide dilemmas on which objectives are deemed the most important and how much to commit (if anything) to them. Hopefully, this will encourage communication and Outfit scale interactive decision-making. 

We do not have a specific date yet, but the general system design phase is complete, and the rework is in active development. 

Initial implementation of the rework will only have a reworked Meltdown as the strategic objective, as well as some tactical alerts that may or may not appear during any given campaign. Concentrating on a few things early will help us get the rework out more quickly and provide valuable feedback for future additions. Over time we plan to add more strategic and tactical alerts to create a much more dynamic and interesting experience to the PlanetSide 2 strategic layer. The system is open-ended enough to consider many suggestions, and our team is continuously trying new things.

- PlanetSide 2 Team