Sept. 15, 2021 - A New Player Experience

Discussion in 'Game Update Notes' started by RPG_Wrel, Sep 14, 2021.

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  1. RPG_Wrel Lead Designer

    All PC servers will come down for the following update on Wednesday, September 15, at 6:00am PT (3:00pm CEST). Downtime for this update is expected to last up to 4 hours.

    Back to Basics
    This update contains a massive push toward a better starting experience for new players. Everything from character creation, to the tutorial, to default loadouts, to the player's first "real" combat, to quality of life has been revisited.

    Character Create
    We've completely overhauled the character create and character selection screens. New UI, audio, faction introductions, FX and lighting all combine to enrich a player's introduction to our world.

    New Tutorial
    When looking at learning curve (or cliff?) of PlanetSide 2, we tried to isolate the lessons that could not only introduce players to the gameplay basics, but also help them understand and reinforce behaviors they'd be engaging in often. Capturing and defending bases, switching classes to adapt to situations, checking the map, and learning how to identify fights were among them. The new tutorial attempts to take all of these lessons and create a walkthrough that feels cohesive, and helps connect the player to the feeling of our game using mock battles with squads of NPCs fighting each other.

    We've added new "faction embassies" to the Sanctuary neutral zone. After completing the tutorial, the player lands here first to unlock some equipment, and head down to the planet's surface where they'll be able to speak to new "Field Commander" NPCs located in the upstairs room of each faction's Warpgate. We use this as a bridge to the game world, and help the player transition to their first major battle. The mission system guides much of this experience, creating short, achievable goals within the sandbox.


    Default Equipment
    We've made some tweaks to which equipment new players get at the start of the game. A couple of the areas we wanted to address were the lack of infantry anti-air in the earlier stages of the game, the unwieldy nature of certain starter weapons, and the lack of default vehicle equipment. Those changes will be listed further down in the Infantry and Vehicles sections of these notes.

    Various QoL and NPE Improvements
    • Classes each have a "coversheet" that conveys the class's intended functions, specialties, and abilities.
    • Terminals in Sanctuary now have visible names above them.
    • Waypoints in 3d space have been redone and reach much higher into the sky.
    • Basic Training directive has been removed, and the helmet reward is now a part of the new player mission.
    • Shield bars will appear above targets that have shields while spotted. The ranges at which you can see health/shields still adhere to how it is on Live.
    • Made minor adjustments to the sky at night to increase visibility during the darkest hours.
    • Voice overs have been removed from "First Time Events"... was a lot of yelling at you when you're trying to focus on other things.
    • All the FTEs that appear now have a new audio signifier when they slide in.
    • When your loadout changes outside of an equipment or vehicle terminal, you'll receive a prompt telling you that your loadout can't be updated until you resupply or pull a new vehicle.
    • Vehicle and Equipment terminals now show the time until you next receive Nanites.
    • Main Nav menu now displays the tooltips for those buttons on hover-over.
    • You can now see who is speaking in voice chat while on the map screen.
    • Using Join Combat will place you in a Drop Pod.
    Colorblind Accessibility
    In an effort to improve our accessibility to colorblind gamers, we've added some new options under the graphics setting. Enabling colorblind filters will modify the colors of the 3d world to help account for Protanopia, Deuteranopia, Tritanopia, and Achromatopsia. You can adjust the "amount" and "strength" of the color adjustments to find what works best for you.

    There are also some existing features worth bringing up while we're here. Faction-specific map and HUD indicators can be defined in the interface settings for better readability. Squad indicator colors can also be customized from the squad tab, and orbital strike and Sunderer no-deploy volumes can also be recolored.

    Zones and Alerts
    High-Pop (Conquest) Alerts
    When a continent has more than 800 players on it, a "Conquest" Alert will immediately fire off that uses the same rules of a typical Meltdown.
    For the third-party scripters out there, these are the alert IDs used for those events.
    • Amerish Conquest: 211
    • Esamir Conquest: 212
    • Hossin Conquest: 213
    • Indar Conquest: 214
    TI Alloys
    Indar's best/worst base is now available for play again.

    System Changes
    • Non-Members can now accept up to 5 missions per day.
    • Members can now accept up to 9 missions per day.
    • Rarities have also been restructured, and you will no longer see the same mission of varying rarities.
    • Uncommon and Rare missions may now only be accepted by members, while common missions may be accepted by members and non-members.
    • Member missions are now noted with a special icon on the Mission list.
    Contractor Rewards
    Missions now have consistent rewards based on contractors.
    • Black Market will always provide A7.
    • Nanite Systems will always provide ISO-4.
    • Faction missions will always provide Certs.
    Dev Note: We've restructured missions to allow for more control over your rewards, and provide more options to free players. All currencies can be found in the non-member missions, so regardless of what you're looking for, be it more A7, Certs, or ISO, you'll be able to earn it daily. Members-only missions tend to have higher currency payouts overall. The "extra" rewards from missions, the weapons and boosts, were removed from the dailies, though it's possible these sorts of things return as rewards for holidays or in another fashion.

    Graphics Improvements
    Lighting Falloff
    We've updated our lighting volumes to use a different kind of falloff. Moving from our previous quadratic light falloff to a (mostly) linear falloff model softens how "hot" the center of the lighting volume is, and reduces how sharply the light diminishes over range. The quadratic falloff we were using prior to this update made it more difficult (and expensive) to light interior spaces, as we needed to use more, smaller lights with higher intensities to fill the volume of space. The new falloff technique provides us with more control over lighting environments in the future, and softens the current lighting in-game to balance out the harsh extremes.

    New Lighting in Menus
    We've started using new lighting in the character select, character create, infantry, and vehicle loadout screens that provides more depth to our character models (and looks better all around.)

    Shadow Quality
    This is more of a fix than an update. We identified a change from a few years ago that essentially knocked every shadow quality level down by one. "Ultra" shadows, as an example, weren't really the intended Ultra shadows, and it was never reachable in the in-game settings menu, but was still possible to set in the UserOptions.ini. With this update, players' shadows will be bumped up a level, so you may need to adjust your shadow quality settings again once you are in-game.

    Additionally, we've made some improvements to shadows to reduce the amount of artifacting that takes place on sheer edges during certain times of day. Current on Live, versus the Updated version (don't mind the bullet holes.) Both are at the same spot on Esamir, at the same time of day.

    Default Utility and Defense
    • Standard vehicles have received rank 1 Fire Suppression as the default utility item.
    • Standard vehicles have received rank 1 Nanite Auto-Repair as their default defense item, except for the Sunderer, which has received rank 1 Deployment Shield.
    Bastion Fleet Carrier
    • The Bastion now has temporary invulnerability for up to 90 seconds after it is called. If the Bastion is ordered to move or attack, the invulnerability will be dispelled early.
    • Mauler Cannons no longer have knockback.
    • The L100 Python HEAT has replaced the C75 Viper as the default main cannon.
    • L100 Python HEAT direct damage from 525 to 575.
    • L100 Python HEAT reload speed from 2 sec. to 2.5 sec.
    • L100 Python AP gravity from 4 to 5, to fall in line with other tank cannons.
    Heavy Machine Gun Resistance
    • Resist type 4 reduced from 87 to 80 for the ANT, Chimera, Lightning, Vanguard, Prowler, Magrider, and Sunderer.
    • Resist type 4 reduced from 87 to 80 for the Colossus.
    • Resist type 4 reduced from 75 to 70 for Scythe, Reaver, and Mosquito.
    Dev Note: These resistance adjustments are a significant improvement to overall damage output of HMG weapons, and will likely need fine tuning following this update.

    Default Sniper Rifles
    • The V10 has replaced the VA39 Spectre as the default sniper rifle for the Vanu Sovereignty Infiltrator.
    • The M77-B has replaced the 99SV as the default sniper rifle for the Terran Republic Infiltrator.
    Default Rocket Launchers
    • The Nemesis VSH9 has replaced the S1 as the default rocket launcher for the Vanu Sovereignty Heavy Assault.
    • The Hawk GD-68 has replaced the Shrike as the default rocket launcher for the New Conglomerate Heavy Assault.
    • The ASP-30 Grounder has replaced the ML-7 as the default rocket launcher of the Terran Republic Heavy Assault.
    GD-22S (NC LMG)
    • The GD-22S has replaced the NC6 Gauss SAW as the default LMG for the New Conglomerate Heavy Assault.
    • GD-22S' default color is now blue, instead of black.
    T9A "Butcher" (TR Directive LMG)
    • Projectile velocity from hipfire is now in line with its projectile velocity while aiming at 570.
    Defector (NSO MAX)
    • Speculative fix for lockons with the Hummingbird lasting long after the projectiles have died.
    Cortium Bomb (Tactical Slot)
    • Reduced maximum damage of Cortium Bomb against completed construction objects from 9000 to 5500.
    Nanoweave Armor (Suit Slot)
    • Equipping Nanoweave now reduces base movement speed by 10%, and Heavy Assault Shields are no longer affected by Nanoweave's resistance reductions.
    Dev Note: We're aware that this change has been discussed a fair deal in the community recently, and are open to making modifications in the future as needed.

    Ammunition Belt (Suit Slot)
    • Ammunition Belt now increases the reload speed of primary and secondary weapon slots by 15%, on top of its existing benefits.
    Flash Grenade
    • Base blind duration from 8.5sec to 6.5sec.
    • Made the fade-out quicker after the effect expires.
    Quick-Det Flash
    • Base blind duration from 4.5sec to 4 sec.
    • Made the fade-out quicker after the effect expires.
    Cold Heart
    • This implant has been overhauled.
    • Crouching momentarily will now douse your suit in coolant (you can move around after.)
    • While in this state, burning damage is reduced by 90%, you no longer appear map-based recon detection, and your movement speed is reduced by 10%.
    • Firing a weapon will immediately end this effect.
    Experimental Stims
    • This implant has been heavily revised.
    • Using a Stim (Medical Kit, Restoration Kit, Infradine) will now temporarily provide you with the benefits of either Rank 5 Safe Fall, Vampire, Battle Hardened, Heavyweight, or Response Jacket, chosen randomly from the list.
    • A HUD notification will appear, displaying which implant is currently active.
    • Only one benefit may be active at a time.
    • This implant has been overhauled.
    • When you receive small arms damage while your personal shield is active, you will now heal for 50 health. This effect triggers once every 8/7.5/6/4/4 seconds.
    • Rank 5: Receiving common explosive damage will now restore 50 health immediately, and has an independent 4 second cooldown.
    Ocular Shield
    • Reduces duration of Flash/Concussion/EMP grenade effects by 45/50/60/75/75% (up from the original 15/18/23/30/30%)
    • Rank 5: You can no longer be blinded or concussed by your own grenades, instead of making you immune of these effects for a short duration after using a Stim.
    • No longer reduces the effectiveness of Concussion Grenade's slow, EMP grenade's shield damage, or Flash Grenade's CoF penalty, only the duration of the applicable affects.
    • Spitfires no longer target you at all, instead of only reducing the range at which they target you.
    • Fixed an issue where the knockback protection would only trigger if you had an active personal shield.
    • This implant now marks targets you damage at all ranks.
    Nanomesh Specialist
    • Rank 5: No longer pauses personal shield regen while your overshield is active, instead of reducing overshield recharge delay.
    • Rank 5: Passively grants rank 1 Safefall, instead of providing temporary fall damage resistance on Rocklet Rifle reload.
    • Rank 5: You now backpedal 35% faster, instead of being hidden from Thermal Optics.
    New in the Depot
    Sky-cutter Drop Pod - 499 DBC
    Slice through the skies in this hi-tech drop pod, complete with new engine FX.

    Security Assault & Security Inspector Helmets (NSO only) - 699 DBC
    These new NSO-bot helmets are ready to keep you safe.

    Player Studio
    Fortress (TR MAX) armor by Fuzzbuket is now available in the Depot.

    Spartan (NC MAX) armor by Fuzzbuket is now available in the Depot.

    Misc. Changes, Fixes, and Additions
    • Vehicles should no longer take damage from invisible vehicle debris.
    • VR Training now harbors lanes of Nanoweave and Flak Armor equipped targets, and Heavy Assault will occasionally be spawned with active overshields.
    • Models displayed in loadout screens now always use the highest quality graphics settings.
    • The female UI idle animation no longer periodically freezes.
    • The Outfit Map resources are now filtered off by default.
    • Fixed an issue where construction objects being built would have invisible pieces.
    • Updated Sergeant Lumifiber Trim icons.
    • A7 nodes will now be granted the moment it's decrypted, instead of requiring a second interact.
    • Destroying enemy Chimeras with primary or secondary weapons no longer award Magrider kills.
    • Javelins now have a 30 second cooldown when pulled from a terminal or ANVIL, in line with other vehicles.
    • Fixed broken filters for NSO-related items in the Depot.
    • Magriders/Harassers with the PPA equipped will no longer see the Sunderer's ammo dispenser FX on their vehicle.
    • Dervish and Javelin can now make use of the Cert Explosion Horn.
    • Added a Drop Pod filter category to the Depot.
    Looking Forward
    There's a lot going behind the scenes in this update, especially in terms of tech. Things that you'd expect we'd be able to do, like get multiple GUI models to display on the character create screen at the same time, or have actual particle effects in the background were entirely new functionality and exploration for us. (And no, the old-old character create screen did not have particle effects, that was a flash-based animation that faked it pretty well.)

    Doing the new tutorial required loads of scripting on top of new code hooks (you'll still find some quirkiness we need to clean up,) and even things like the "glass" that overlooks the void of space in the starting room is a new kind of shader that culls objects behind it so that all you see is the sky file.

    The work for this update had both fun and frustration as we explored uncharted territory. All of which will be beneficial in the future.

    So what are we looking at next? There's definitely some more cleanup and stretch goals we'd like to work through for the NPE portion of this update, and some of the features that were in development (Munitions Pouch background reload, Koltyr as a low-pop continent, and large continents spinning down when populations can't support them,) were cut from this initial launch so that we can finalize them. The ones mentioned above will likely be in the next hotfix.

    After that, we'll be moving right along into October. Halloween should be pretty fun, if relatively low-key. This will give us time to work on our 9th anniversary release. Feels like it's just around the corner.

    Anywho. Exciting times.
    -Wrel, Lead Designer
    • Up x 5
  2. RPG_Wrel Lead Designer

    Some changes that were missed in the notes above, but are Live with this update.

    (More) Misc. Changes, Fixes, and Additions
    • Steel Rain should no longer suspend drop pods in the air.
    • Fixed an issue preventing squads from recruiting after they've converted into a platoon.
    • Battlefield Superiority mission should no create an invisible objective.
    • Skyfall on Auraxis mission should no longer create an invisible objective.
    • Bolt-action rifles should no longer detach from the body during third person rechamber animations.
    • Chimera has been given unique vehicle audio.
    • Chimera no longer uses a higher criteria for earning vehicle damage experience.
    • Cleaned up various geometry bugs related to the Containment Site.
    • If a player's last quick spawn was destroyed, you're now required to go to the map to select a new spawn point.
    • Ikanam Biolab no longer attempts to hide spotted indicators depending on if you're above or below ground.
    • Spotting a Dervish or Flash XS-1 now plays voice callouts.
    • Updated the outdated Spawn Beacon tutorial string.
    • AR-N203 and CB-X75 hand and magazine animations are now synced during the reload.
    • Typing in Mentor Chat when you don't have access to it will now show an error.
    • Defector's Time Bomb ability now rapidly disperses heat while active.
    • NSO Liberator's Contrail customization slot is now properly named Contrail.
    • Nanite deposit timers no longer go into the negative in certain zones.
    • Fixed projectile sizes that were smaller than the standard on the following weapons:
      • JVN-X3 Hydra (Javelin Primary)
      • The Executive (NC Auraxium Pistol)
      • The Kraken (NS Auraxium Rocket Launcher)
      • Skorpios (VS Auraxium SMG)
      • Shuriken (TR Auraxium SMG)
      • Tempest (NC Auraxium SMG)
      • Eclipse VE3A (VS Auraxium Carbine)
      • TRAC-Shot (TR Auraxium Carbine)
      • 19A Fortuna (NC Auraxium Carbine)
      • Darkstar (VS Auraxium Assault Rifle)
      • T1A Unity (TR Auraxium Assault Rifle)
      • Gauss Prime (NC Auraxium Assault Rifle)
      • MANA Anti-Vehicle Turret (Engineer Deployable)
    • Up x 1
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