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Into September

Oh, hello. Didn't see you there.


Public Testing Next Week

Toward the end of next week we'll be updating the Public Test Server with the new release for all to play with. We're still in the polish phase for some elements, but the majority of the update is about wrapped up. Below are some additional changes (mostly unrelated to the New Player Experience portion of the update,) that will be coming along as well. I want to emphasize that these are just some of the bigger beats; there are plenty of quality of life improvements and bug fixes going into this update as well.


Koltyr as an Off-Hours Continent

When populations are low enough (about 350 people or less,) Koltyr will now unlock as a part of the normal continent rotation. If populations are quite low, it'll be the only continent that is open. This should be a rare case for most servers.

Koltyr also appears in the continent dropdown menu, and is recognized as a normal combat space. Koltyr has its own alert, and if it's the only continent set to open, Koltyr will simply open again after the 30-minute alert is finished. 

Additionally, when a new, large-scale continent unlocks, we'll check server populations during the Unstable Warpgates process. If the population is too low when Warpgates are stabilized, we'll spin down that continent and unlock Koltyr instead. 

This change is mainly to support off-peak hours, and being able to fight on Koltyr properly should be a nice change of pace as well.


High-Pop Alerts

When populations are high enough on a particular continent (around the 800-player mark,) we'll immediately fire off an alert, instead of leaving it up to the Empire Strength process. This will give communities of players a more tangible goal to work toward during ops night, instead of having to potentially wait multiple hours for an alert to fire off.

There's a risk that continents may start rotating too quickly once this change goes Live, as we've seen with some previous alert setups, but we'll see how it plays out and make adjustments as necessary.


Implant Adjustments

Wouldn't it be nice if Cold Heart was useful? Well, now it's a distinct possibility! There will be a battery of new changes and revisions to implants coming with this update that increases the general usefulness of some, and reels it in for others.

Symbiote will be getting a rework that moves away from the small arms resistance; Cold Heart and Experimental Stims are both getting reworks; and a variety of adjustments to lesser used implants are planned as well, Ocular Shield, Assassin, Nanomesh Specialist, Paratrooper, and Avoidance, to name a few. Everything here is still being finalized, but more information will be available once we're ready for PTS.


Suit Adjustments

Similar to the Implant adjustments, lesser-used suit slots like Ammunition Belt and Munitions Pouch are receiving some buffs on top of their current benefits. Ammo Belt will now increase reload speeds for primary and secondary weapons, while Munitions Pouch will slowly auto-reload your Rocket Launchers and Rocklet Rifles in the background. Additionally, Nanoweave will receive a movement speed penalty, and no longer stack the small arms resistance on top of Heavy Assault shields.

The intention here is to make the suit slot a bit less desirable on the upper end of the skill curve where movement speed (and all the tricks that come along with it) drastically extends time to kill, while leaving the value intact for the average player who doesn't participate in that meta. These Nanoweave changes already exist on PS4 after the recent _Integration update.


Colorblind Filters Update

We've continued work on the colorblind filters that'll be landing with (or potentially to follow,) this update. Some of you pointed out that we were simulating colorblindness opposed to correcting for it, and we've done a lot of learning in a short amount of time to make sure we're on the right path. We now adjust for the main three forms of color blindness, and offer sliders to increase or decrease the intensity of the filter, though this is still a work in progress.


Lighting Updates

In the next update we'll be swapping over from a quadratic light falloff to a linear one. Quadratic light falloff has caused us a number of issues with lighting throughout the game's development. In order to full light a space, it typically required us to make many small lights with higher intensities in order to fill the volume of the space. This process created harsh light spots at the center of the volume, and we'd typically try to keep them out of reach of players so you don't notice it quite as much.

This is a sweeping change across all our lights, and ultimately it gives us better control for the future, allowing the intensity to work on our terms, instead of us having to work around it. Below you'll see a couple of gifs of how the changes will impact the game when this update goes out. The hot spots will mostly go away, and lighting will be a bit more level across the board.

Despite being mainly focused around revisiting the New Player Experience (check out the last article if you want to learn more: here), this update has a little of something for everyone. Just in time for the holiday season.

-Wrel, Lead Designer

Drop us a comment on our forums and let us know what you think about this latest update!