Hello everyone! On June 8th, Thrawn's Revenge will hit its 12th anniversary, so we're doing an update series to mark the occasion for all of our current projects. We'll be starting with Ascendancy today (Thursday), then Friday will be Fall of the Republic, and on Saturday we'll cover Imperial Civil War. These will all have a video and a written component, though unlike usual, these will cover different things. You can follow the links below to get between all three updates when they're released:
Star Wars: Ascendancy - Hapan Preview & Balance Patch Overview
Fall of the Republic - Preview Video & We Could Be Heroes: CIS Edition
Imperial Civil War - 2.2.5 Projections & Dev Stream
Last year, we also released a historical inforgraphic, so if you wanna check that out, you can see it here: Moddb.com
As we've previously announced, the Hapan faction will be the next faction added to Ascendancy, which will be the main focus for 1.2. The next version we release, however, will still be focused on balance changes for the original four factions before piling more content in. Myself, Bane and Caesar's Legion have been busy testing and tweaking things to smooth out the rough edges, something Ascendancy has needed for a long time, while we've been finishing ICW2.2, working on the planning stages for the Hapan faction and getting their enitities set up. We'll be getting into the balance changes in a moment, but first, I've done a quick (very, very) early preview playthrough video as part of my 12 hour livestream on Corey Loses, which you can watch here:
...Balance Change Overview...
The changes here won't be exhaustive since that's impossible without a huge wall of text (we'll try to do a full changelog including bugfixeswhen the actual patch releases), but hopefully will give a general idea of where we're headed, so please keep that in mind. There are a few major areas we're hitting for each section, so we'll address them by faction.
The Pentastar Alignment has stood head and shoulders above the other factions in 'competitive' play, so there are several nerfs and adjustments coming to them. First off, the Venator- it's meant to be a carrier with some combat ability, but for a few reasons, it's basically both a really good carrier, and a really good everything else. To address this, first off there has been a mod-wide reduction of laser damage against frigates and capital ships. The Venator had multiple point-defense lasers, which in the mod were giving most of its anti-capital damage as well. This has been significantly reduced, without reducing their intended function (being actual point defense), and as a result, the Venator now loses to the Procursator in direct 1-on-1 combat, as it should, while still being a strong option for providing fighters. Its also had some increases to its population cost, and resource costs. The second major change with the PA is with their supply lines tech- the goal with that tech was to have a small passive regen for fighter supply, but the result was a huge passive resupply regen instead, to the point that it was next to impossible to keep their fighters down. Now, the regen should be enough that it helps strategically, but not enough that it's a tactical problem. For that, PA players will have to invest in fleet tenders.
The Empire and the PA, while they're supposed to be quantity over quality factions, had that accounted for both in ship pop costs, as well as their available supply, giving them undue advantages on both counts. While they'll still get bonus pop cap out of research (where the EotH and NR get other quality improvements) their baseline fleet supply research has been standardized with all factions, so each faction starts with the same core and then gets modified from their according to their strengths and weaknesses. This should also help a little bit with late game performance and fleet management. Another tech that gave them a huge advantage over the other factions was the bank increase tech, Spread Fire- this could basically double their damage output beyond what the EotH and NR could keep up with, so this tech has been removed (it doesn't work with the Hand for technical reasons, and in general it's too powerful a tech to be worth keeping around).
The changes directly related to the Empire have more to do with the subfactions. Generally, Daala was quite strong while the others lagged behind. Daala will remain more or less unchanged, aside from what's already been mentioned and some other smaller tweaks. With Palpatine, we're generally happy with the playstyle of the faction, but there needed to be more adjustments within that. Primarily, the drawbacks for his faction make sense, but the numbers for them were too high and came all at once. The culture suppression he has is strong, and he shouldn't spread as fast as others, but it was often too hard to expand at all if you took him too early. We'll be reducing the culture penalties he has fairly significantly, and spreading them across more tech so he has more time to adapt to it. We'll also be reducing the capital ship experience gain penalty a small bit. Shield mitigation on the non-Eclipse SSDs has also been increased a bit for all factions, which should help out all the Imperials a bit more than other factions. One area we're looking at with Palpatine particularly is making the initial investment in World Devastators worth it, or at least increasing their chances of being able to scale to the mini-titan point intended if given enough time (we don't want to front-load that too much, however).
Thrawn and Pellaeon are the subfaction which requires the most work. A lot of their numbers have been increased for this patch, including fleet supply numbers since their focus is on smaller ships however they lack the same clear 'hook' of Palpatine and Daala. With them, making them more interesting is as high a priority of making them more usable competitively so they will likely get a bit better with this patch, and get more fleshed out with the 1.2 release and the Hapans.
A lot of the New Republic's issues are generally solved by the nerfs to the Imperial factions- a big reason they were not really able to compete as much was because they were generally being outnumbered, as well as the target bank tech increase the PA and IR received. Most NR changes have revolved around small changes to pop cap allocation, like making the Dauntless and BAC's slot count lower, but generally alongside the other changes we've found them to be in a decent spot in our testing so far. They've also received a new tech to increase their max trainable capital ship level, further emphasizing their quality over quantity focus.
Empire of the Hand
Aside from some of the toning down with the PA and IR we've talked about already, some of the biggest problems with the Empire of the Hand were how micro-intensive they can be. A lot of their strengths involved how quickly they could move around the map, and while we want to keep some of that micro-focus, ultimately a faction that relies on speed isn't able to compete as well in the late game and relies a lot on spreading heavily in the early game. Generally, our focus here will be to strength the abilities of Empire of the Hand capital ships, giving them better access to higher levels (as we did with the NR) and increasing ship power by buffing the abilities rather than going for raw stats, leaving their ships generally more vulnerable between cooldowns but having more tools to work with when used properly if they can maintain those levels.
We hope you're looking forward to these changes and the others coming with the update- we're doing our best to make the mod a fun competitive experience, and we appreciate your patience as we try to sort through everything. It's always an ongoing process, so anything we overlook in this release, we'll keep addressing as we need to in future patches. This one in particular should be hitting ModDB on Thursday, June 28th.
That's going to cover it for this update. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to leave them on the comments of this news post, or visit our forums or the Corey Loses & Gul Survives Discord server, which has channels for all the Thrawn's Revenge mods. Next up will be Fall of the Republic tomorrow!