One of the most important aspects of commanding a fleet is using Special Weapons. Central to our goals for next version is that each faction maintain certain unique characteristics, which are manifested in not just the units and techtree, but the Special Technologies. Thus, each faction specializes in particular styles for these abilities. The Federation, for instance, emphasizes technologies that have persistent positive effects on friendly units and long-lasting negative effects on enemy units, while other factions might excel in direct damage abilities. Consequently, most Federation abilities affect an area, rather than a single target, and synergize with multiple friendly units. A faction like the Romulans on the other hand relies more heavily on abilities which have negative effects on enemy units and disabling effects, to pick apart enemy fleets and turn the tide of battle.
In a similar vein, abilities no longer are unclear in who their intended recipients may be. If, for instance, you have used the Remodulate ability of the Peripheral Scout Cube, you’ll know that many players are under the incorrect assumption that it only affects your own vessels. In fact it affects allies as well. In our next version, all abilities affect friendly units - your own ships and those of your allies.
As a consequence you should expect to find players structuring their teams based on the playstyles that you want to see in action. While this can be seen in 3.2.6 and previous versions - most players want a cloaking faction on their team for instance - the next version emphasizes these tendencies much more and opens up many new strategies. No longer does each faction get an even spread of several positive or negative area weapons, several direct damage technologies, and several direct disable specials. Consequently, you should feel encouraged to experiment with faction combinations and discuss them with your allies. A few examples follow:
Want to support your Romulan friends by giving them the ability to disable enemy weapon subsystems? Build a Defiant and research Attack Patterns. Attack Patterns gives up to two nearby Defensive vessels a high chance to disable their target’s weapons with the next volley. The Defiant will also fire weapon disabling Quantum Torpedoes of its own for half a minute. The Romulan D’deridex is a fearsome warbird and just so happens to be a Defensive vessel.
How about making a nasty Freighter killer? Let’s build a few Avalons and use their inherent Fighter Transfer ability. Fighter Transfer allows you to target an allied vessel - either one equipped with a hangar or one that is an Allround unit - and give it one Fighter. This Fighter will obey the host vessel’s commands, just as Fighters normally obey a carrier’s commands. So let’s give those Allround Generix Specter a Pulse Phaser armed Peregrine escort and tear those Civil ships to shreds!
As a result of these allied effects, we hope to encourage players to learn which factions and units work well together and how abilities can be combined to create new and strategic effects on the battlefield.
On a technical side note, buffs now stack. While this might seem unimportant or confusing at first (wait, persistent positive effects don’t stack!?), let’s consider a 3.2.6 ability: Fleet Supply. If you are not familiar with this ability, it grants the Nova and 4 nearby torpedo armed units an additional torpedo weapon for its duration. However, if multiple Novas triggered their abilities, there was a chance that the same unit might get targeted twice or more by the ability. Instead of giving an additional torpedo launcher, instead this would merely reset the ability to its full length. In all future versions, special technologies like these will instead add time to the original ability. If you use 4 Novas on nearby units, these units will gain 4x the length of Fleet Supply. This allows you to more precisely determine how special technologies can be used and not fear using abilities that originally required much more micromanagement to be used efficiently. Likewise, since battles often last far longer than 5, 10, or 15 seconds in Fleet Operations, this allows you to efficiently improve your fleet without wasting ability energy.
The possibilities are endless - discover which unique opportunities unfold with each type of alliance! ‘Till next time!