Greetings, MechWarriors, and welcome to a new edition of our development blog!
After some harsh internal discussions, and no small amount of nerd rage, we've finally come to a decision about our next development priority for MechWarrior: Living Legends!
It's clear that we need to grow the player base in order to sustain the game. To do this, we need to attract and retain new players. We've identified two main areas we can improve to help new players choose to stay with our game.
The first is match quality, and the second is server quality.
We hope you'll work with us to test and refine these changes, and to talk through their necessity with players who may not at first see why they're so good.
Too often, new players still struggling to buy a 'Mech or earn an asset bigger than a Chimera have to face teams of veterans with pre-selected favorites and pooled C-Bills. We've studied our options and think MWLLTracker, our Qtracker replacement, gives us the answer.
All players will now receive a "behind-the-scenes" battle value, assigned to a hardware ID and persistent across servers. The better you play, the higher your battle value. We don't want to make this algorithm totally transparent, but your battle value is based on your score per minute and your performance vs. players of lower and higher BV.
All servers will now have a battle value cap. Each team's summed battle value can't exceed this cap. If you try to join a server, and your battle value won't fit on either team, you'll need to seed a new server. This is not an optional setting except for Chaos March games, which will receive a special server.
The goal of this system is to populate matches with a few veterans and many new players.
Asset and Weapon Economy
The need for constant balance patches is a major drain on the development team's resources, and we need all our resources for a planned Dark Age update. To help with this issue, we are implementing a system we call the Free Market to auto-balance the performance of assets and weapons.
The more often assets are picked, the more they will cost. Cost adjustments will be implemented every 24 hours based on aggregated play data from the past day's matches. There is a ceiling 200% price, and a floor 50% price, to prevent massive swings.
Weapons that commonly appear on favorite assets will subtly lose damage and netcode priority as they are picked. Weapons that are not commonly chosen will subtly gain damage and netcode priority.
We are exploring a future system in which players will be able to buy assets when they are low cost and 'sit on' them in an inventory, then unload them when the asset is costly for a gain in C-Bills.
With only two options for servers, both of them limited by severe technical challenges, MWLL simply can't provide the network experience modern gamers expect. Worse yet, we can't improve the game's tick rate without straining servers further.
We are renting an Amazon server to support our new HPGNet. In order to fund HPGNet, we'll be introducing a voluntary, player-supported, not-for-profit tip system. These aren't microtransactions! They are voluntary individual payments to support game quality.
The lowest tier 'tips' will earn you custom camouflages, HPGNet voice-overs for your in-game performance (such as 'Manlet Massacre!' for multiple BA kills, 'Chemo Regimen' for shooting down 5 planes in a match, or 'Stuck In The Middle With You' for getting a kill while trapped in geometry.) Our veteran player Rask has kindly volunteered to voice these HPGNet lines, which will be played in-game and on our official Discord.
At higher tiers, you'll be able to permanently unlock certain premium assets, making them purchasable no matter how many C-Bills you've earned. (For balance reasons, some of these assets will be time-gated in the match so you can't buy them right away.)
Our initial premium offers are:
Ydalir — an Uller sporting six torso-mounted LBX2s and empty arms
Lord of Silence — an unarmored Osiris with stealth armor, an iNARC. and multiple eLRM launchers.
Mechlegs Day — a Black Lanner with no weapons, many heatsinks, and enhanced collision damage.
Changeling — a Chimera that alters its camo scheme every time you fire.
Thor Ragnarok — a MechAssault tribute by one of our modelers, the Ragnarok has special homing PPCs and a 'weapon' which plays royalty-free metal when fired.
Airbender Avatar — an Avatar which can impart physics impulses to VTOLs and ASFs by zooming in on them.
Warhawk Pure — a Warhawk Prime whose PPCs gain velocity as you score kills. In order to keep this asset balanced, the LRM10 has been removed and downgraded into heat sinks.
Fafnir Dragon — a Dark Age mixed techbase variant of the Fafnir that uses twin HAG40s purchased from Clan Diamond Shark, and a BattleMech HarJel system to regenerate armor.
Additional, similar designs for other asset types are planned for future implementation, too.
At the highest tiers of commitment, we offer two special 'Word of Blake' services on HPGNet. These represent illicit interference in the HPG grid to favor certain warriors. For $69.99 we will allow players to wipe their Battle Value and start over from zero. And through an auction system, we will allow players to bid for higher priority netcode, granting an edge in trade kills and hit detection. If you are outbid, you'll drop to a lower rank — so keep those pledges coming!
We can't wait to hear your reactions to these new plans. Tell your friends and family. The time has never been better to become a Living Legend.