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Planting a Flag this Anniversary

Hey there. In the last dev letter, we covered some of the graphical improvements on the way in the 10th Anniversary Update. This time we'll look at the gameplay side of things.

Capture the Conduit

This anniversary, we'll be shaking up the battlefields of Auraxis with a new way to capture bases. Enter: Capture the Conduit, a CTF-style capture mechanic that focuses on movement and multiple objectives.

When attacking a Conduit Outpost, attackers will need to grab control of a "Repo" (kind of like a generator) that they can deposit the flag into. At that point, attackers try to bring as many Conduits (flags) back to their Repo as they can. Each flag capture here scores a "strike" against the base. Each base has different numbers of flags, repos, and strike counts, depending on their design. The faction to score the last strike against the defender's base will capture the base for themselves. Alternatively, defenders can quickly defend a base if they can re-secure all of their Repos.

Unlike the Control-based gameplay of the last 10 years, Capture the Conduit encourages movement throughout a base by giving multiple objectives to attackers and defenders. Attackers need to keep control of their Repo while also clearing the way for flag runners, and defenders can not only keep a lock on their flagstands, but also push to re-secure the Repos to fend off an advance. Some class compositions will shine more with this capture mechanic than Control, as well. For example: Light Assaults now have a solid role as the most mobile flag runners, and long-range Infiltrators now add value to a fight by being able to snipe VIP targets that might otherwise escape.

Many bases have been retrofitted with CTF-style gameplay, but we wanted to make sure it made sense for the base layouts, so certain continents will see less CTF locations than others. This new capture mechanic will make its debut during this weekend's PTS event, and we'll be offering a more in-depth review of the system later on down the line.


Conduits are pulled from these podiums, and regenerate after being captured.


The Bastion Fleet Carrier's Role

With the Anniversary Update, we'd like to shift the Bastion Fleet Carrier's role from the one-person point-and-click farming chariot it eventually became, to one that heavily influences the map meta and encourages teamwork. In order to achieve those goals, we've removed the Mauler Cannons and the Attack command entirely, and have implemented three new commands that the captain will have access to: Lockdown, Assault, and Anchor.

  • Issuing the Lockdown command over an allied facility area that is being captured will cause the Fleet Carrier to fly over and pause the capture timer.
  • Issuing the Assault command over an enemy facility area will accelerate the capture timer of a facility that's currently being captured, as if it had one additional capture point already controlled in your favor.
  • Issuing the Anchor command will turn the Bastion into a spawn point for the entire faction.

Each of these commands last until the Fleet Carrier issues a new command or is destroyed. The changes here ensure that a Fleet Carrier, when present, can alter the course of the map, and act as a high-value target during Alerts.

Bastion Fleet Carrier against an updated Esamir sky.


Shotguns, and other Balance Adjustments

With the first 1v1 season of Outfit Wars ending earlier this month, a topic that gained some traction within the community was the strength of shotguns in the meta, as well as certain New Conglomerate weaponry and the CB-ARX Newton carbine. Tuning has been done to bring some of the standouts in line with other weapons and factions, and we've touched upon other areas that have been needing revision as well. These adjustments will be made clear in the PTS patch notes for this weekend's event.


Aegis Shield's recovery rate and total health will be reeled in a bit as well.


Return of the Spawn Priority System

Originally implemented back in 2019, the Spawn Priority System suggested spawn options that were intended to be relevant to the player, as well as "create good fights" and balance populations around the map. For the most part, it achieved that. However, it was very expensive (anywhere from 1.5x to 3x as expensive as the less-popular legacy spawn system we're currently using) in terms of server performance, which caused its share of issues. We've recently made optimizations to the Spawn Priority System, and intend to bring it back for the anniversary. The Spawn Priority System will use a queuing mechanism to distribute the load of spawn requests over multiple frames, so the server (hopefully) doesn't get bogged down. We'll want to test just how effective this technique is during the PTS event this weekend.

Unrelated to the priority system above, we've also disabled the remote-deployment of vehicles at the moment, with the goals of slowing down the pace of deployment around the map, bringing us back to earlier times where terminals had more value as sub-objectives, and vehicles could more easily find gunners willing to hop in. This change is non-destructive, however, and we can return it with relative ease if the design goals aren't being met.


Breaking Our Own Record

Wouldn't it be cool if we could test all of the cool content in this update and casually break a world record at the same time? Well, you can! This Saturday (Nov. 05) at 2pm PT (10pm CET) join us on the Public Test Server to unofficially break the world record for the most players in an online FPS battle. Back in 2015, we achieved this Guinness World Record by hitting 1158 players. For this event, we're aiming a bit higher. So jump online, see the new sights, test the new content, and we'll even reward you a special title for the participation.

You can download the Public Test Server client here.


Chaos, utter, glorious chaos.


More still...

Between this article and the last, we cover most of the main beats of our anniversary update. However, we do still have some odds and ends on the way. We can talk about these as we get a bit closer to the day, and share EVEN MORE surprises and events landing this November.


Thanks all. Looking forward to sharing the PTS patch notes this Friday.

-Wrel, Lead Designer