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Countdown to BETA – 4 Days To Go

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COUNTDOWN TO BETA – 4 DAYS TO GO

NORMAL MODE IS ROBOCRAFT AND IT IS ALL CHANGING!

Normal Mode (formerly known as Battle Arena) has always been the game mode that Freejam regards as representative of ‘proper full rules Robocraft’. For weeks we have been working on polishing it, upgrading it and overhauling it; the result is just 4 days away now and we could not be more excited about its release.

It’s a massive change, and whilst many elements will still feel familiar to you, the whole experience should feel tighter, cleaner, more strategic, more team-driven, more exciting, more competitive, and more fun.


BIG CHANGE #1: 5 vs. 5

The team sizes in Normal Mode will become 5 vs. 5 along with a whole suite of changes to maps and game mechanics to ensure that this improves the overall gameplay and makes it more engaging than the current 8 vs 8. Changing to 5 vs 5 facilitates a number of great things to happen:

  • It allows us to match-make games better with players and teams having closer MMR scores for tighter more fair games
  • It allows us to reduce the queue times for Normal Mode battles
  • It allows for players to create full Normal Mode teams of 5 for the first time
  • Allows for the ultimate full team strategic plays and team comp combos
  • Clan vs. Clan can be 5 vs. 5, full teams, no randoms, no other Parties in battle, just Clan vs Clan for the ultimate test of who is best
  • One of the final foundations for Clan Leagues which will mark our exit out of Early Access later this year

BIG CHANGE #2: ALL MAPS COMPLETELY REWORKED

We didn’t just scale the maps; we decided to go all out and overhaul them completely to work perfectly with 5 vs 5 and improve them tenfold using all the stuff we’ve learned since we launched Robocraft. I won’t go into details as our art director Ric’s post tomorrow will give you all the details you need with pictures and everything so make sure you read it.


BIG CHANGE #3: TOWERS BECOME CAPTURE POINTS

The Crystal Towers are changing to Capture Points. This change is fundamental and after prototyping it and playing it as a company for many hours we felt passionately that it was so much more fun and competitive that we wanted to make the change.

A few key features of the new Capture Points:

  • They are on the ground, circular in shape, with a radius similar to the cap points in Elimination
  • They have hemispherical capture areas, so can be capped from the air a small height above the point, this shape is indicated by glowing curved rays that emanate from the base
  • They are colored to show which team currently owns the point and are purple at the beginning of the game
  • Sitting on a Capture Point owned by the enemy team begins the capture, which takes a total of 20 seconds if you are soloing the point. Having more allies on the Capture Point together speeds up the Capture progress
  • If an enemy is on the Capture Point when you are trying to capture it the Point is ‘Contested’ and the capturing is paused
  • The Capture Points have three ‘segments’. If you capture one segment and are then killed, you do not lose that segment (as with the 4 segments in Elimination)
  • Unlike in Elimination, taking damage on the Capture Point does not pause the capture
  • Each Capture Point has its own HUD hovering above the point that can be seen no matter where you are in the environment (i.e. through walls) so you can always see the state and location of each Capture Point
  • Additionally a larger progress bar HUD appears when you are capturing or defending a Capture Point so that you get greater feedback for the status of the point
  • The new Capture Points are named ‘Near’, ‘Far’ and ‘Middle’ based on their position relative to your base. This will also make more sense when you see the map redesigns in Ric’s post tomorrow. We’ve also added new voice over dialogue reflect these new references
  • The Capture Points represent mining stations in the lore that are gathering Protonium for the main reactors at each base

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Click the image to take a closer look…


BIG CHANGE #4: THE ANNIHILATOR

The aim of the game has changed. Your aim as a team is to gather enough energy to power a massive weapon on your orbiting Mothership (think The Vanguard) known as The Annihilator. The charge for this weapon is reflected in the new HUD (show below) and also reflected in new Voice Over.

When one team’s Annihilator is fully charged the end of the battle is triggered and the enemy base is obliterated in an almighty final cutscene and one team is award Victory, the other Defeat.

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Click the image to take a closer look…

Since capturing and owning the Capture Points charges the Annihilator then the end of the game will always come within 15 minutes. This new mechanic ensures a better overall control of the battle length which prevents ‘XP farming of enemies teams’ or ‘forced surrender’ and other exploits like this from being possible.


BIG CHANGE #5: THE PROTONIUM REACTOR

The Protonium Reactor remains as before, except it starts off with zero Crystals on it. As the battle progresses, Protonium Crystals form on the Reactor central pillar showing the amount of ‘refined Protonium’ you have gathered by owning the Capture Points during the battle.

The Fusion Shield has changed too. Enemies can no longer fire when inside an active Fusion Shield and they will take damage over time (equal to the heal effects of allies) while inside. Capturing all three Capture Points will still bring down the enemy Fusion Shield and this presents a chance to ‘Steal’.

‘Stealing’ Protonium is when you access the enemy Reactor and destroy the crystals on the central pillar which then removes them from the enemy’s Reactor and adds them to your own. This can quickly tip the balance by removing charge from your opponent’s Annihilator and charging up your own can bring about the end of the game.


BIG CHANGE #6: NEW MECHANIC – THE PROTONITE CORE

This is a completely new feature existing in every Normal Mode map. This is a huge new Normal Mode game mechanic and has been designed to provide losing teams a means of getting back into the battle. It is affectionately known in Freejam as ‘The Equaliser’ and I’ll explain it in detail when we get to 2 Days To Go portion of the Countdown to Beta (Tuesday).


BIG CHANGE #7: MORE IMPROVEMENTS

  • No more Overclocker. All Weapons, movement types, etc. have been balanced to Overclocker level 5 as with Basic Mode
  • No more ‘Respawn Escalator’. Your respawn times are always 15 seconds long and you auto-respawn so no need to click to spawn
  • No more ‘Protonivity Escalator’. With the new Capture Points we were able to set Protonivity at a perfect balance level for the new ‘Stealing’ gameplay
  • Fusion Shield healing is still active for allies even when their base shield is down, this is shown by a ‘low level’ shield effect visible even when it’s down
  • Many improvements to feedback offered to the player about the state of the Capture Points, Protonium Reactors, and end game, with new music, sound effects, new HUD elements and animations. All of these new sound and visual elements are designed to make it clearer what is going on in battle so you can react more quickly and play more strategically

We’ll have more for you tomorrow when Ric explains all the amazing work he and his team have done for you on the maps for Normal Mode. I know you’re gonna love that stuff.

Thanks for reading,

Mark, Freejam CEO and Robocraft Game Director