6/3/21 1:59 PM
We're getting closer and closer to one of our largest updates this year, one that drew a lot of community excitement during the announcement back in November. Today we'll take a moment to talk about what's on the way for the Nanite Systems Operative faction.
Quick stats for what's gone into the revisited NSO faction so far.
2 New Vehicles
4 New Weapon HUD Overlays
4+ New Vehicle Weapon Reticles
6+ UI Screen Updates
11 New Directive Trees
15 New Vehicle Weapons
35 New Infantry Weapons
40+ New Particle Effects
130+ New Sound Effects
Suffice to say, the team has been hard at work.
In this article we won't be going into too many specifics about the actual equipment (as you'll see articles dedicated to the new vehicles/weapons in the future,) but I did want to run through some of the major mechanics in play for the revisited faction.
Free to Play
The NSO faction was released in 2019 as a members-only benefit, and this continues to be the case today. When the new update goes Live, however, the NSO faction will become free to play. Any account that already has at least one BR20 ranked character will receive a mission to learn more about the faction from a representative on Sanctuary. Doing so will unlock the new faction for you.
A free to play NSO character is considered to be in a "Freelance" state. Freelance operatives function similarly to how they do now on Live. Each time you deploy onto a continent, you'll be assigned to the lowest populated faction to help balance out player counts.
Freelance characters will not be able to join Outfits, and NSO characters will no longer be able to create Outfits themselves. All NSO Outfits will also be dissolved once this updates hits Live. We weighed our options here, and setting up free-to-play characters in this way gave us the cleanest distinction between what it means to be aligned to a faction, and fighting as a freelancer. This decision wasn't made lightly, and I'll understand if it feels bittersweet for the handful of NSO outfits that have found some success.
Selecting a Home Faction
All Access Members on NSO characters will now be able to align themselves with either VS, NC, or TR factions on a semi-permanent basis and be able to join an outfit in that faction. One of the main complaints surrounding NSO as a faction, aside from its limited arsenal, is that players wanted to be able to play with friends and outfitmates. This goes a long way toward addressing that complaint. Players aligned with factions can still opt into Freelance mode (for example, if you just want faster queue times or none of your friends are online,) on a temporary basis, while retaining allegiance to your Outfit. Additionally, you can also switch home factions by acquiring a new enlistment contract on Sanctuary. You'll need to leave your current Outfit in order to switch factions, however.
With the update, NSO will receive directives that bring it in line with the way each other faction operates, so players will see new Assault Rifle, SMG, MAX, Javelin, etc directives. This did leave the original Auraxium directive weapons in a bit of a weird spot, however. We've decided to allow these Auraxium weapons to become a legacy gift for the players who were able to grind them out before the update. Non-Auraxium variants of these weapons may end up in the Black Market at some point as well. I imagine this announcement might cause a rush to grind out these directives, but I want to stress that folks should do so legitimately (no stat padding, please) or risk losing their characters. You've got some time.
Bug Fixes and Testing Cycle
We've been addressing various bugs related to NSO since the start of the year, and while that list has gotten a fair bit shorter than it was, there's still plenty more left to do. When this update releases, we should have most of (hopefully all of?) the NSO-related bugs reported by the community resolved.
As with the Containment Site update, we'll be reaching out to form another closed testing group before opening it up to the public. This helps us find any show-stoppers before the community-at-large is forced to deal with them, and allows us to more easily target specific areas for testing and feedback gathering.
New and Improved Arsenal
Gone are the days of only having access to common pool weapons. With the NSOverhaul, an arsenal of infantry weapons will be added with visuals and traits unique to NSO as a faction. Two new vehicles will also make their way into the NSO lineup, the Chimera Battle Tank, and the Dervish Heavy Fighter. You'll hear more about these in later articles.
We'll also be revisiting the Javelin and allowing it to equip weapons, as well as changing the silhouette of the Defector and expanding its arsenal a bit.
While we still have loads of work ahead of us, we'll be entering the testing cycle (likely) within the next two weeks. From there we'll have a better read on how much longer it'll be before the NSOverhaul hits Live.
-Wrel, Lead Designer
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