The directives governing my contributions to XR 1.3 were:
-adding new content that offers new, more diverse strategic choices, especially in late game phases;
-keeping players more on the field, playing, with less remote mining or going to/from base and the front line;
-finding a way to implement gameplay changes based on community suggestions and rebalance requests;
-and all that while maintaining the game core untouched - all that makes Savage the unique RTSS that it is.
SHAMANS AND CHAPLAINS
-For this patch, we focused on Shamans' Shield and on Chaplains' Potions, working towards improving their efficiency as support skills.
-Shamans using Shield ray skill are now informed about a target lock (successful hitting their target) by a specific sound effect and a state icon at the right side. Please report if sound is too loud, and notice that there's a delay between losing lock and the sound/icon disappearing because the state lasts 400ms after last hit - during which the target is still shielded.
-Shamans' Shield ray icon has been changed to a properly magic looking one that matches the other skills (not... wooden!)
-Shamans' Shield ray skill, when successfully locked on a target, was one of the very few weapons/skills/items that did not offer any visual feedback to either team. Taking advantage of the new Auras feature, units being shielded now display a 2D aura graphic.
-Fixed a bug that, although invisible up until now because of the changes above, permitted scripts to place Shaman Shield on world objects too and caused useless, redundant checks.
-Chaplains' upgraded Blessing Potions get new, 3 stage bonuses, whose effectiveness is based on how many team mates are caught in its blast. If only one target is caught in the area of effect, the potions acts just like before - thus preventing the Chaplain for buffing himself with the new perks and motivating humans to group up. If 2 humans get touched, they both receive an extra 5% Speed increase and 10% Energy Armor; 10% Speed and 20% Energy Armor for 3 humans, and 15% Speed and 30% Energy damage reduction for 4 or more humans caught in range. These new effects are visible through the use of new stage icons and new Auras, colored yellow, orange and red, for 2, 3 and 4+ units they're on.
MOBILE SPAWN UNITS:
-2 Mobile Sawnpoints have been added, one per race: the Beast Conflux and the Human Heavy Transport. They are worker-type NPC, large, slow and vulnerable, requiring additional attention from comms when maneuvering through tight spaces. They cost 250 Stone and 10.000 Gold and require Tier 2 bases, thus being targeted at late games and stalls, when Stone is scarce.
-Although a dozen scenarios have been considered, their current functionality is that of a Spawn Flag (players that respawn or those that entered elsewhere can only use them as exit points) mixed with an Outpost-like Shop functionality (when entered, players can only spawn back out, not at any other spawn point). That said, it totally makes hitching a ride possible! We even call the human unit "the bus".
-Mobile Spawnpoints are cross-bread between units and buildings, and taking advantage of the new unit repair function, they can be repaired by foot units that can repair buildings (workers, figthers). They have 3800 hitpoints (just enough to be left with 1% after a behe hit - giving them another chance), and have a speed of 2, (whereas standard Workers' speed is 4).
-Spawning Siege Units from such new Mobile Spawnpoint units is impossible: neither after entering another Spawnpoint, nor after having boarded them directly. Actually, they prevent the acquisition of Siege Units (too large to ride in those!) and they do not even allow Siege Units to enter them from the field. You wouldn't want a dozen Ballis spawning your lair's backyard now, would you? Well, would you?
-Added 'forbidden' icon for Mobile Spawnpoints that siege units are trying to spawn from. It changes back to 'allowed' when ejecting (humans) or using a foot unit (both).
-Both units can drop single-tech rearming stations, using comm buttons: Summon Altar and Deploy Cache. (more on the section below)
SHOPS & SPAWN POINTS
-Each race has been given a set of 3 new field rearming stations: Fire/Entroy/Strata Altars, and Magnetic/Chemical/Electric Caches. They can be deployed by the 2 new Mobile Spawnpoints, and each of them provides ONLY one single line of technology. They act like shops (players may only spawn in and out) and they do not allow siege units inside.
-Each of the 6 rearming stations requires their own respective tech building to be constructed, and they cost 50 energy from their particular energy (buff) pool, to construct. They have 1500 hitpoints and when destroyed, players caught inside are forcefully spawned. Each of them increases it's tech line max energy pool by 25 (entropy by 100).
-Added a new, claimable all-in-1 shop/spawnpoint/flag called Terminus (buildable_flag.object), to be used as a map object. The way to capture it is by destroying it (unlike tapping it like a flag). After being destroyed, it is instantly and automatically replaced with an unbuilt/under construction instance of itself, only fully functioning after being built like any regular building. The lore is that in order to capture and hold for your team a naturally occurring portal found at the site and on the trunk of an ancient tree stump, you want to build a cage to keep it away from intruders and make your team its sole user. The Terminus acts as a regular garrison or sublair: it offers full loadout, a classic spawnpoint, and dropoff point, for whoever controls it, and has 10.000 hitpoints.
-The 2 new shops that have been introduced in XR 1.2, the Outpost and the Burrow, are now partial resources Dropoff points. Since they are cheap buildings you can quickly construct far away from teams' supply routes, being cut off from the networks (no spawning to and from anywhere else), they cannot deliver the mined resources unless one of 2 possible steps is taken by Comms: either by selling or upgrading them.
-Because now, both of them are upgradeable to full-fledged Garrison/Sublair type buildings. But besides the 500 Stone they initially cost to build, the upgrade costs an additional 1000 Stone and 1000 Gold. For this kind of money, each of them gets a worthy bonus function:
-The human Outpost upgrades to Magnetic Outpost (requiring Magnetic Factorium and level 1 Stronghold). Besides turning into a Garrison-like building with full functionality, it also gets a Shield generator that has half the range and half the efficiency of Shield Towers: 150 range and 40% damage reduction as opposed to 300 range and 80% shielding. Magnetic Outpost and Shield Tower can't shield one another or themselves. Among the possibilities it opens, like quickly set up frontline bases, it may prove to be a viable alternative to counter early Sacrifice waves.
-Beast Burrow's upgraded version is Enchanted Burrow, which is like an expensive sublair with halved Healing Spire effect: 180 range and 67 hp regen. Requires Lair level 1 and Entropy Shrine to upgrade and the Research time (for both) is 15s. It cannot heal or be healed by a Healing Spire. An upgraded burrow can be used to take quick and good care of Spires around it, especially since it's harder to kill than a Healing Spire, but has no weapon and heals buildings slower.
AMMO, MANA and DROPS
-Unlike Beasts who always refill their Mana with a fixed percentage each time they pick up a Mana_Stone drop, the human pickable Ammo_Box (that drops when killing enemy units or NPC) was previously reloading the current weapon with manually set Ammo amounts per individual weapon (requiring arbitrary numbers of Ammo_Boxes, ranging from 4 to 22, to reload the default weapon). This has been changed to a % based refill, like for Beasts.
-Both beast Mana_Stone and Human Ammo_Box drops now refill 20% of the total Ammo amount. In case the humans equip an Ammo Pack item that doubles the max carried Ammo, then they need double the amount of Ammo_Boxes to fully reload.
-Humans Ammo bar widget was previously only half-full when the Ammo Pack item was missing from inventory. That has been changed, and now it's full even without Ammo Pack, offering precise feedback on how much you can reload your weapon with dropped Ammo_Boxes.
-Beast Mana bar, which was always on, now only shows when the player has equipped any skills or weapons that use Mana.
-The Beast Mana and Stamina Stones 3D models have been replaced with new ones (i dare say better looking too!).
-The rather unimpressive values of the Health_Potion drop and Stamina_Stone, which, since their introduction as a non-game breaking feature, had refill percentages of 10% and respectively 20%, have now been doubled.
-2 new extra rare but quite desirable Goodie Drops per team have been introduced: Ammo_Crate (refills 40% Ammo), Health_Pack (50% Health), Stamina_Crystal (refills 80% Stamina), Mana_Crystal (50% Mana). The Extra Drops are placed through a parallel drop system, they do NOT influence the original drop algorithm (for Gold+Ammo or Gold+Mana).
-The default settings for Extra Drops spawn chances are one in 4 kills (25%). Of these, whenever one is to be spawned, there's a 3/5 chances it would be a small Heath_Vial or a Stamina_Stone, 1/5 for Health_Pack and Stamina_Crystal, and 1/5 for Ammo_Crate and Mana_Crystal. That's 1/20 chances for a new, large, Extra Drop to spawn.
-We've removed the useless 30 Gold bags that spawned when destroying a building. 25% of the Gold and 25% of the Redstone paid for constructing a building is now dropped as pickable piles for the team that destroys a building. The max pile amount is 50 per resource. Example: a destroyed Garrison drops 250 Stone, in 5 piles of 50 Stone each (and the Gold equivalent). These resources can be deposited at Dropoff points just like mined resouces. If not picked in time, they vanish like any good Goodiebag should do.
GUARDIAN & TRANSPORT
-The Guardian a.k.a as Treant and the Transport a.k.a. Balloon are both now a.k.a. Helpers, and there's a new Minimap icon for them in the shape of an H.
-The Balloon is now a Cart. Players and workers can use it to drop the resources they mined. It can hold up to 2000 Stone and 10000 Gold. Whenever the Comm wants to retrieve those resources obtained from remote mines, they can bring the Cart to any Dropoff point (like the Garrison or Stronghold) and the resources will be transfered to team pool.
-The Guardian, while not a Cart like his Human counterpart, has been given the ability to mine, and it too can hold up to 2000 stone and 10000 gold. It returns to the nearest dropoff point on its own when full, so pay attention not to lose 2K stone because it got intercepted by Humans on its way back.
-Guardian's Health Regeneration rate has been reduced by one third.
-The Balloon has been renamed to Light Transport, in "light" of the introduction of the new, "heavier", "heavy transport"
. It now drops the new Heal Pack and Ammo Crate goodies when tapped by players or ordered by the comm.
-Guardian and Balloon max numbers has been changed to 3, and stone cost has decreased to 50.
-Beasts should have their share of Behe flying fun, so i've added a small explosion that occurs when the Baloon is killed (as opposed to when its Worker is ejected by Comm). It deals very low damage but sends beast up flying. I'm totally up for removing it if this turns out to be yet another crap idea.
OTHER FIXES AND UPDATES:
-Following the fix of flurryTime (which was broken since the dawn of time), all Standard mod's units' objects have been updated.
-Adjusted .objects of all Items, Weapons and Units to match the new acquisition possibilities (various Shops with various merchandise).
-Because of the Goodie drop system recode, all Goodie dropping events and skills scripts have been updated.
-The current, gray-ish, bleached, unsaturated Beast armor texture that somehow, somewhere, replaced the old yellow-ish one, was reverted back to the old one. Whoever changed it in the first place thought armors can have team skins but they don't, which is why we're going another route for better team visibility in 3T/4T games (coloring team armor in similar fashion with the current level-up armor colors, but from the start of the game - not in yet but soon).
-Fixed Beast leggings' texture wrapping, which looked bad since forever but even worse now that the new-old beast armor texture has more saturated colors.
-Fixed shoulder pads model of chaplain lvl9 armor.
-All Human armor pieces were cleaned of the vertex paint that was somehow embedded, and which causes certain armor pieces not to be colored by level-up armor colors. On that note, shortly after XR 1.3 is released, we'll set up the system that colors armors for easy/instant team recognition in 3T/4T games.
GUI & VISUAL FEEDBACK
-There's a new HUD element showing how much mined Stone and Gold the player carries. For Hi-Res HUD it's only shown when actually carrying some, and it's hidden when not. For the other HUDs, it's always on.
-There are 2 new fields in Options/Player settings panel for defining keys for Donate Gold To Team and Drop Gold Bag functions. Also, the Gold coins stack icon, next to the current Gold amount in loadout, is now a button for donating 500 gold to team per click, while inside Spawnpoints.
-The team resources + base hit points panel is now hidden for specs when free roaming (not spectating any unit).
-Level-up messages now include a short description of the actual values they improve (example: 30% more Stamina).
-New Minimap icons definitions: Shops (like Outpost or the new Terminus or the Human Caches and Beast Altars), Carts (mobile resources drop-off points), Helpers (more sophisticated worker-type NPCs, like Guardian and Light Transport).
-While Chemical Factorium was green enough for easy notice, like all Beast tech buildings, Magnetic Factorium and Electric Factorium lacked instant recognition, so they have been given a little color (mag) and some effects (elec) for that exact purpose.
-Following the good tradition of making everything pink, like Summoner's ranged weapon icon introduced in XR 1.0, and given all the green stuff on the field (Gates, Conflux, Entropy Altars, Healing Spires, Enchanted Burrows), not to mention Summs having nothing to do with Entropy and that the swarm-slash-projectile of angry flies they throw at their targets is pink, Summoner's weapon green glow effect has been replaced with a higher quality, pink one!
-There's a new feature that can be used in conjunction with states (.state files), called Auras. They place a 2D image on the ground, much like the commander selection icon, and if a white colored image is used, it can be manually be given any color, and they can be animated.
-When placing Burrow of Outpost, they now display shield Tower-like wavy lines effect designating the range of their Healing/Shielding effects range (Area of Effect links), for the later possibility of upgrading them to their state-dispensing versions.
-The AoE links are now hidden for ineligible buildings (like same-type buildings or buildings using the new Reject State feature, like an upgraded Outpost not being shielded by the Tower Shield and viceversa).
-Last preset now correctly works in Outposts/Burrows, but presets are completely disabled in single-tech shops (Caches and Altars).
-Draw Votes now pass when either 2/3 of voters agree (F1s) or when 1/2 Field Players and all Comms agree.
OTHER GAMEPLAY CHANGES:
-Please bear in mind that no gamplay change made in this patch or before is safe from being revisited! Even if they were suggested by the Community, discussed and voted by the Newerth Council in a massively exhausting testing session resulting in a 34 pages discussion, and although further changing them would require building a proper case by whoever wants to, they can be further tweaked and even removed!
-As the Incinerator seems to be heading for removal/replacement due to being a poor excuse for a weapon, we've made a last attempt to offer some logical perks, in line with his tech line and the gaps that he could fill, while not making it yet another Flux or turning chem into a Sac counter. We got Elec for that.
-Thus, Incinerator gets significant damage improvement vs. Buildings, making it preferable to using melee as nomad due to its range. 2 nomads carefully maneuvering may attempt to take out a spire with Incinerators. Also, hitting a Building places on it the 'Barbequed' state, a DoT venomous-like effect with similar stats (damage, duration).
-Incinerators get some more targeted enhancements: 50% more damage to Siege Units. Also, the flames don't inherit unit velocity anymore and every unit they hit gets an Energy Armor debuff that lasts 1/10s (100ms), during which time, any subsequent Energy Weapon hit inflicts double damage. It promotes both team work and precise hitting.
-6th Sense now displays Enemies in range of the owner on the Radar, much like Sensors do. A good item for Phoe (yeah, that'd be the day!).
-Last time around when the Newerth Council discussed the suggested and requested gameplay changes, the Ballista got Sprint. Following suit, the Behemoth and Summoners get it too. Just like Ballis, it's a 'half-sprint', according to the 2500 Stamina they received, half of the 5000 the foot units have.
-Benefiting from the new feature that allows vehicles to be repaired by foot units, the Human Heavy Transport and the Beast Conflux are now repairable. The human Siege Units are still NOT repairable, although we might experiment with that in the future.
-The carried Resources amounts have been improved the higher the player Level. If before it would be 25/lvl1, 50/lvl2, further stages have been added: 100/lvl8 and 150/lvl10. Although the level-up messages don't say anything about turning players into mules!
-Flux's so called "stamina drain" bug was fixed. Both Pulse and Groen's servers fixed this one way or the other so it shouldn't change much as it is, but at least we've done it right - and there's even a server setting for it. What caused it was that each time you're getting a knockback, you're push up in the air, according to a formula based on the sustained damage. That's why Behes send people up flying. Flux' knockback value is 3, Coil's is 34, Savage's melee is 58 etc. So each frame Flux hits, its target becomes AIRBORNE. Then it's immediately flagged as GROUNDED because of the low flux power that actually does not lift the target at all. The problem resided exactly with the "falling down". Becoming GROUNDED after being AIRBORNE, triggers a 200ms delay in stamina regeneration after touchdown, no matter what you did to get there (fall from someplace, leap, jump etc). So this, in conjunction with getting up and down each frame, ends up with the 200ms delay being perpetual, continuous, for as long as the target unit is getting hit by flux. Flux nets made this even worse.
-Ejecting from a damaged siege unit, although not making Nomads inherit their vehicles' health percentage, does drop half the gold that killing the siege unit would trigger.
-Other suggestions were dismissed on various grounds. I'd only name one: Behemoths, largely due to technical limitations and general feeling of uselessness, did not have their turning speed limited, Balli-style.