Hey! Remember the "Winter Update Preview" thread? Mind-blowing, right? Yeah? Now forget that! That's the past! Shut it off, Zhu Li!
A lot has changed since I created that other topic and I'd like to start fresh. Some screenshots will be re-posted, some will be new. All will attempt to be more relevant to the current state of things. So let's get started, shall we?
Starforce. (Or is it Star Force?) What an... interesting mechanic. So complicated, so overpowered, so controversial, so difficult to balance... and yet I insist on keeping it in the game . Why? Because, deep down, I know it has the potential to be a great thing. Hunting them all down in and of itself is both a joy and a challenge, and the god-like powers they grant are well worth the effort. Sure, tracking down all (currently) 1024 stars can be a grind, sometimes a bore, but when you finally get there it's incredibly rewarding. At such high power levels your character is able to mow-down enemies like it's nobody's business and with relatively little resistance! It's pretty great... unless you're talking about player battles.
As the defending team in a player battle, you (currently) have no defense against the opponent's starforce. This combined with the fact that your opponent is able to see your entire team before selecting theirs puts you at a huge disadvantage. This lead many players in the top spots to greatly dislike the player battle system, and others to hate the starforce system and suggest its removal. Both of these needed to be fixed, of course, but axing either them was not an option. Too many users have put forth massive amounts of time and effort into collecting their stars and the idea of axing them or removing their primary function does not seem like the fair or correct choice.
Because of these things, I've spent the last several months (almost a year now...) revising and tweaking the starforce mechanic and how it interacts with the game based on both my own ideas and feedback from the community in chats. I've also been revising other parts of the game, of course, and many of them coincide with fixing these issues. Some mechanics, like "coreguard" were conceived and quickly abandoned, while others like the Dark Elements have grown and evolved into something new and different. I believe that what we have now will be for the best, but as always I'm open to more changes as time goes on and as I get feedback from the community.
Now, before I go on, I want to apologize to those who have been following this thread since the beginning and trying to make heads or tails of the whole process. I know it's been hard to keep track of what will be and wont be included in the update, but that's one of the pitfalls of open development. I could easily have kept my mouth quiet for a year and let everyone go stir crazy, but I wanted to share my thought process with everyone and build this thing together. So yeah, I'm both sorry and very thankful to all who have helped me sort through the messy details of this gigantic Winter Summer(?) Update.
I have no idea. I'm hoping sometime before the end of the year but I'm making no promises. I initially thought it would be done by the end of Winter but that never happened so we all have to adjust our expectations. Know that I have not stopped working on it and I'll let you guys know when it's close to being ready. Otherwise, please stop asking. :)
Is the stat thing still happening? "No more 9999"?
Yes, stats are still getting capped as per previous screenshots suggested. The max amount will be 10x their otherwise unboosted max values. Mega Man has an unboosted max life energy of 595, for example, so his max life energy including stat bonuses would be 5950. Any overflow from robots who have already gained more stats then will be technically allowed will automatically be converted into Zenny. That Zenny can be used to buy anything you want in the shop so I think this is fair.
Yes, absolutely. The alts for all unlockable robot masters are already complete, coded into the game, and the mechanics for unlocking them are already in place. Alternate colours/costumes for your robots masters will be unlocked based on how many times you have summoned them into battle, and this unlocking is retroactive. Most users will already have most of the alts unlocked when the update comes out, because any summons you used before the update still count toward the unlock requirements.
It was suggested that I put them in a shop instead (which lead to the concept of a robot named Tron who would run said shop) but in the end I decided against it. Alts will be unlocked automatically based on summon count. Maybe passwords in the future. But no shop. Sorry. Too much extra work for a purely aesthetic feature, and the alts people will want most are likely already the robots they use the most frequently in battle so it's not as bad as a few have suggested. If you like a given robot master and have used them in battle, you likely already have one of their alts. Maybe all of them.
It should be noted that alts have no effect in battle but can be used in story battles, player battles, and even on the leaderboard for a bit of extra flare. Alternately colours robot masters will also appear in-game as enemies for robot masters that have already been unlocked by the player, with the normal-coloured versions being replaced by alpha/beta versions of them in applicable missions. These colours are only there to represent the upgraded power of the robot and the alts themselves have no special properties. Just making that clear.
Standard robot masters each have two new alts (currently) and unlock them after 100 and 200 summons respectively. The support robots each have five new alts (currently) and unlock them after 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 summons respectively. Copy core robots do not have alts simply because they already change colour frequently in battle. Maybe someday we'll make an exception, but not for this update.
What about the shop then? Will anything be new there?
Yes, there are several new items being added to Auto's Shop. Most are pretty straight-forward, but I believe they'll add a bit more strategy and flexibility to battles.
The first set of new items are the pellets and capsules for the other stats. Just like Life Energy and Weapon Energy, there will now be items to restore/boost Attack, Defense, and Speed. There are even Super Pellets and Capsules that boosts all three at once! The Attack Capsule, Defense Pellet, Super Capsule, and the other stat pellets aren't available initially, but appear soon after progressing a bit in the story.
The next set of new items are the score balls. These items grant additional bonus points at the end of a battle, either as a flat amount or as a percentage of the base reward value. A score ball is used mid-battle like any other item but it's effects are not seen until the very end, and even then it's only if you win. Score balls can only be purchased after completing the main game and acquiring the "prototype complete" marker on your save file.
Okay, so Auto is getting new items. What about Reggae?
When Reggae starts off, he'll have a small collection of Neutral type abilities for purchase. These are your Energy Boost, Attack Support, Defense Break, Experience Booster, and other similar support abilities. While these abilities are helpful, they are not Reggae's speciality.
As his dialogue implies, Reggae loves collecting robot cores and will trade the player a respectable amount of zenny for them... but why? Well, it turns out Reggae uses the elemental power of those cores to create new abilities. Collect and sell enough cores of a certain type and Reggae will begin stocking abilities of a matching element. Give enough Flame Cores to Reggae and his shop will begin to carry abilities like Flame Buster, Flame Overdive, Attack Burn and Defense Blaze in the rotation. The same goes for almost every other core type - sell them to Reggae some sweet Zenny and then come back later to see what new moves he has on offer. The only cores that has no additional effect when sold are Neutral Cores (because those abilities are already available). Even the elusive Copy Core might unlock some new abilities in the shop...
Many of the elemental Shot, Buster, and Overdrive abilities as well as the elemental Boost and Break ones can only be obtained in Reggae's shop using the above method, so it's well worth the effort to collect and trade them in. It should be noted that Reggae's exchange rate for any given core will still be heavily influenced by the player's starforce, though the exact strength of that influence may be tweaked.
About those robot cores... Didn't you say something about "Core Guard"?
I did and I take it back. I was trying to give the cores a more meaningful place in the game while simultaneously balancing out the overpowered starforce mechanic. That was a mistake and the idea was killed off as soon as I came to my senses. Coreguard would have given the player boosted elemental defenses based on the number of cores collected, but a fair and sensible formula for that boost could not be agreed upon and the concept fell out of favour. Instead, cores will have other uses unrelated to the starforce mechanic. Starforce can balance itself out (we'll get to that later).
No Core Guard, huh? Will there be any changes to the Robot Cores?
Robot cores will continue to be dropped by robot masters when defeated with a super effective weapons, but they will have different effects when used in battle. Cores used to raise the field multiplier and potentially shift Copy Core robots into other types, but that mechanic turned out to be relatively boring and has been replaced with a new one. When used in battle, robot cores will now be thrown at the target to inflict elemental damage . The amount will be respectable, likely percent-based, but will have no other effect. Clean, simple, and useful - especially given the rarity of certain types in the game. Speaking of which...
Okay, and what about those Mecha Shards I heard about? How do they play into this?
Support mechas drop elemental items now too. Mecha shards are dropped when you defeat support mechas with super effective abilities, just like cores from robot masters. The difference here is that while mecha shards are initially useless, collecting four will trigger a fusion effect and a new robot core will be born (much like Pieces of Heart / Heart Containers in the Zelda series). In this way, it will be possible to collect robot cores of otherwise unobtainable types.
Laser type, for example, currently has no robot masters to collect cores from but the Beak support mecha can easily be farmed for Laser Shards. The shards will eventually fuse into a new core, and boom - new Laser Core. Same with Shield type being dropped by the new Sniper Joe mecha - all robot core types will be obtainable.
"So that's it? Robot cores just deal damage now?" you might ask and the answer is yes, robot cores only deal damage now when used in battle, but as mentioned before they're also pretty valuable when traded in at Reggae's shop and there's one more mechanic that lets the robot cores shine in a brand new way - the ability for a robot master to hold an item.
Wait, what? Robots can hold items now? Like in Pokémon?
Yes, finally. As expected, robot masters will only be able to hold onto one item at a time and they will each have varying degrees of usefulness. Pellets, capsules, tanks, shards, cores, extra lives, yashichis, and even small and large screws can be held, though it should be noted that only a few have effects worth exploring. Stars cannot be held even though they appear in the item database. Their power is too strong and the are too precious to risk loosing in battle so the doctors refuse to do it.
Posted on March 21st, 2015 at 6:36pm#10( Edited : 2015/03/23 at 10:50pm )
So what are the effects then? What will items do when held?
-- Consumable Items -- These item are consumed after one use, and new ones will have to be equipped before the next battle.
Energy Pellet When held by a robot master, the Energy Pellet grants +20% max LE at the start of battle.
Energy Capsule Acts just like the Energy Pellet, but grants +50% max LE at the start of battle.
Energy Tank Acts just like the Energy Pellet and Capsule, but grants +100% max LE at the start of battle.
Weapon Pellet/Capsule/Tank These items function just like the Energy items but with WE instead of LE.
Attack/Defense/Speed/Super Pellet/Capsule Same as above but with Attack/Defense/Speed or all three for the super items.
(I considered having these items function like Berries instead, acting like they normally do but being automatically consumed when necessary... but that felt a little too boring and predictable when you can already use an item during your turn without repercussions).
Extra Life When held by a robot master, an Extra Life will automatically revive the user with 50% of their max LE and WE if defeated in battle (similar to the Auto Phoenix / Phoenix Down in Final Fantasy games). Obviously one of the most useful of the consumable items.
Yashichi When held by a robot master, the Yashichi grants +100% max LE +100% max WE at the start of battle. Obviously another very useful consumable item.
-- Persistent Items -- These items are not consumed after one use and instead stay with your robot until removed by the player or by the effects of an attack in battle (such as switching or dropping items).
Robot Cores When held by a robot master, a robot core allows the user to equip any ability of the same type - even if it does not match their internal core type. Secondary cores do not grant any reduction in WE nor boost damage/recovery like primary cores, however, so plan accordingly. Additionally, just like internal cores, held ones increase the power and decrease the weapon energy requirements of like-typed abilities - just by 25% instead of 50%.
-- No Effect --
Mecha Shards Unlike their eventual forms, mecha shards have no effect when held by a robot in battle.
Small and Large Screw These items unfortunately also have no effect when held by a robot in battle.
Score Balls These items also have no effect when held by a robot in battle. Don't bother.
Aren't some of these new mechanics a little overpowered?
I do not think so. Players on both sides have access to the new mechanics and it's up to the members of the community to decide which items and strategies they find the most useful and equip to their robots accordingly. I think these changes makes the starforce feature self-balancing and the new core mechanics allow for much more flexibility in team strategies and ability sets. Because each robot can only hold one item at a time, it forces the player to choose between boosted stats versus a greatly expanded move pool.
Are you going to give your Roll a Flame Core and grant her access to Flame type elemental abilities like the Flame Buster, or are you going to give her a Yashichi to double her life and weapon energy stats? Maybe you want your robot to start off with much stronger Attack/Defense/Speed stats instead and opt to go for the Super Capsule. It's really a matter of which strategy you want for that particular robot, and it allows two players with the exact same team to still have completely different strategies.
It should be noted that consumable items function differently in player battles. Their effects are still the same, but the items are not actually consumed at the end of battle. Because of the asynchronous nature of player battles it would be unfair if one side permanently lost items while the other did not, so consumable items are only "used up" in the single-player campaign. With this in mind, it should be clear that the larger, more expensive items like the Yashichi are obviously the best choice for player battles but might be overkill and wasteful for many of the single-player missions. Equip with care.
Yes! Star Force is broken! What are you doing to fix it?!
I know a lot of other ideas and tweaks and mechanics were proposed to "fix" starforce but most of them were (in my opinion) bad and I think the new system will be much less convoluted and broken. When we start changing other mechanics to balance the flaws of another we need to really think if it's worth it and in these cases it was not.
In the new update, starforce will continue to boost elemental abilities but in a different way. Previously, starforce boosted the damage output of all abilities by a set percentage. A single star granted +10% power to all abilities of the same type, and because they could be stacked players were eventually able to boost certain types by almost 2000% damage. While the added power was incredibly fun, battles quickly became too easy and unfair opponents had no defense against the effects of starforce. This was especially painful in player battles where your characters were completely unable to defend themselves against OHKO attacks. This entire system needed to be changes. Some suggested that I remove it all together, but I believed there was a better way.
The new update will have starforce boosting Attack and Defense values by hard-coded amounts instead of percentages, and because it applies to both sides of the field its use in player battles will be much balanced. Collecting a single field star grants the user +10 Attack towards and +10 Defense against all abilities of the same type.
This means that a player who has collected all 1024 stars, for example, would benefit from +1890 Attack toward and +1890 Defense against all Flame type damage (rather than +1890%) and if they were facing another member of the 1024 club the effects on both sides would automatically balance each other (based on how Attack/Defense are used to calculate damage). Your Flame type ability would benefit from +1890 Attack (making it do more damage) but your opponent would also be benefiting from +1890 Defense (making it do less damage) so the boosts/breaks would cancel each other out. Starfoce in player battles is no longer a one-sided thing.
It should also be noted that your robots on your opponent's team in a player battle are now hidden until the battle actually starts, preventing challengers from simply picking the robots that are super effective against the targets. This adds a lot more strategy to team selection and prevents player battles from feeling too unfair for the target.
It may be hard to wrap your head around this idea, but the in-battle HUD makes it a little easier to visualize. When you target an opponent with an ability, your current Attack stat and the target's current Defense stat appear side-by-side in a vs. display so you can compare them yourself. These values are naturally affected by starforce boosts, and if you pause or slow down the action you can review see that starforce boosted values have a little star next to their digits. This makes it easy to see what you're up against in player battles and other situations where the target benefits from starforce too.
Posted on March 21st, 2015 at 6:37pm#13( Edited : 2015/03/21 at 9:59pm )
And what about those Dark Elements? Are they still a thing?
Yes, they are, though there have naturally been a lot of changes.
Dark Frags, Dark Spires, and Dark Towers are three new enemy types that will appear in the game. The first two can actually be targeted and attacked in battle, while the latter appears as a background object that cannot be destroyed. Regardless of how they appear, the presence of any Dark Elements on the field completely suppress the effects of starforce on both sides. As long as at least one Dark Element remains on the field, neither player will have boosted elemental abilities.
It should also be noted that Dark Elements are classified as "empty" types and absorb all elemental energy, with Dark Frags having an immunity to every elemental type while Dark Spires have an affinity to every elemental type. In addition to absorbing elements differently, the Dark Frags and Spires also use different abilities in battle. Dark Frags are weaker and will continuously raise their own stats with the Dark Boost ability, while Dark Spires are more powerful and use the Dark Break ability to lower the target's stats. These two enemies can only be damaged with Neutral type attacks, throwing a pretty big wrench into most sweeping strategies. Once all Dark Elements have been destroyed, however, starforce comes back into effect and the sweeping can begin again. Because Dark Towers appear in the background and cannot be targeted, their suppressing effects unfortunately last for the entire mission.
Dark Elements appear in various places throughout the story, often near alien targets or in areas where elemental energy is high. Trill and Slur, for example, are able to summon Dark Elements to the field and prevent players from using non-Neutral abilities, while other instances of the Dark Frags and Dark Spires appear more organically on the robot master fields of Chapters Two and Four. Their appearance rates are much higher when a field or fusion star is in the mission, but they may still show up in cleared missions to feast on remnant energy signatures.
Will the Mecha Support ability be any less useless?
This mechanic is not programmed yet and still open to changes, but I plan to split the Mecha Support ability into three separate ones - Mecha Support, Mecha Support II, and Mecha Support III.
The first tier Mecha Support ability will require 4 WE and summon the robot master's first generation support mecha. The summoned mecha will be 1/3 the level of its owner and also benefit from 1/3 of its owner's bonus stats. The mecha will also have one randomly generated support ability in addition to their signature move. Abilities available to first generation mechas include Energy Boost, Attack Boost, Defense Boost, and Speed Boost.
The second tier Mecha Support II ability will require 6 WE and summon the robot master's second generation support mecha (where applicable). The summoned mecha will be 2/3 the level of its owner and also benefit from 1/3 of its owner's bonus stats. The mecha will also have two randomly generated support abilities in addition to their signature move. Abilities available to the second generation include all those mentioned above, but with the addition of Energy Break, Attack Break, Defense Break, and Speed Break.
The third and final tier Mecha Support III ability will require 8 WE and summon the robot master's third generation mecha (where applicable). The summoned mecha will be the same level as its owner and benefit from all of its owner's bonus stats. The mecha will also have three randomly generated support abilities in addition to their signature move. Abilities available to the third generation include all those mentioned above, but with the addition of Energy Swap, Attack Swap, Defense Swap, and Speed Swap.
I know these abilities and the mecha support changes will be controversial as several people have spent time grinding to level up their characters, but I believe this is the best way forward and I'm sorry to anyone who feels cheated by the new update. Please understand where I'm coming from with this.
Field Support will likely change as well, though the details have not been decided on yet. It will likely be split into three separate moves like Mecha Support with each being slightly more powerful than the other. This will also coincide with a big change to the default Field Multipliers for all robot master stages.
No longer will fields start out with x2.0 multipliers for the stage boss and unfairly low multipliers for others - instead the values will be much more conservative in their boosts/breaks and work within an range of x0.8 to x1.2 for any given element. This will allow for more reasonable battles in the earlier parts of the game, but it will also allow the above Field Support abilities to exist without being overly broken.
You will still be able to get field multipliers to insanely low levels like x9.9 and x0.1 like before, it just might take a bit more effort than last time.
Are experience points or the leveling system being changed in any way?
First and foremost, overkill bonuses will be capped. The maximum overkill possible on any robot/mecha/boss will be equal to the max LE and no more. A Mega Man with 100 LE, for example, would have a max overkill value of 100 damage, meaning you'd have to deal 200+ damage to him in order to get the full reward. This will prevent most instances of 9999 experience points simply for hitting a level 1 Met with a level 100 Buster Shot.
Additionally, the experience required for the next level will no longer be equally 1000 indefinitely. At level 1 you'll need exactly 1000 experience to get to level 2, but from level 2 to 3 it will require exponentially more until you get to level 99 where the required amount to reach the level 100 will be insanely high. This will definitely prevent players from easily reaching level 100 in just a few battles, but I believe it will also allow users to build up more bonus stats before the next reward cycle and make the process feel more impactful.
What about the other robot master fields? I see ones for Crystal Man and Jewel Man, but what about the others?
Eventually all unlockable robot masters should have fields, but there are no plans for any more in this update. The two crystal fields were only created as placeholders now because I wanted to carefully plan out my use of crystalline nouns and adjectives. The other types are important too, but Crystal is so rare I wanted to give it special attention. Mega Man 5+ fields will be a thing, but I think it would be best to save the straight-forward content updates like those until I have a better development pipeline worked out with more people. Thank you for your patience.
About the Boss Database? Will any of the robots in it be unlockable?
No, they will not. Most if not all of these targets will reward you with their special weapons, but I do not believe any of them will be unlockable. The killers were a very tough decision me, but in the end I decided to lean in the direction of making them more interesting and challenging rather than more balanced and compatible with the other characters. Maybe in the year 20XX I'll add some special code to allow unlocking bosses but with some kind of limit, but not for this update and not anytime in the near future. Sorry everyone.