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Escalation 2.5 Update

Published on Friday, September 8, 2017 By GGTheMachine In Ashes Support

Escalation 2.5 Update

**Released**

To access the 2.5 opt-in, right click on Ashes of the Singularity Escalation on your Steam Library, select properties, then select the 2.5 opt-in under the betas tab. Note: When playing the opt-in, loading save games or replays created from 2.4 will cause a crash.

Interface 

  • Updated "Controls" image from the in-game menu to reflect changes in previous updates and include hotkeys that weren't listed.

 

Maps 

  • Mizar Turinium requirements increased from 500 to 750
  • Seginus update: Additional pathways created out of the base to make the forward cutoffs less punishing.
  • New Map Size - Arena: Arena is a much smaller size than the Tiny maps. There are currently no Arena maps, but the option is now there for modders. 

 

Modding

We have addressed one of the biggest barriers to entry and frustration for modders. The internal reference names of many units, buildings, weapons, modules and other listings have been updated to display their current names. Previously many things were listed as old, outdated names that were incredibly confusing to navigate. For example, the Brute was listed internally as "PHC_T1_Skirmish" and the Radioactives Extractor was "PHC_DataCenter", but now their names are accurate such as "PHC_1_Brute." This affected not only modding, but also creating scenarios and spawning units in the unit spawner modding tool.

It's common for games to have outdated internal reference names such as these, as things get embedded within code and become time consuming to fix, but we didn't want to turn off potential first time modders because of little frustrations like these. We also tidied up some of our internal files by deleting unused items that didn't have any unique art assets, this will make it a bit easier for modders to find what they want.

  • Updated obsolete internal reference names to reflect their display names
  • Deleted unused units, buildings and modules that didn't have unique art assets


Gameplay


Sight Range & Radar Rework

Units and buildings in Ashes had very short sight range relative to their attack range and size, especially when compared to other RTS games. This created a number of problems:

  1. Units would often be targeted by enemies outside of their sight range. This looked very strange.
  2. It was too difficult to see incoming armies and disengagement before they were already within attack range, which was frustrating as players felt helpless to avoid getting their army wiped.
  3. Air units frequently fly outside the vision range of anti-air and other air units, which also looked odd and made anti-air less effective than it should be.
  4. It was too difficult to scout enemy tech, production or unit composition. 

As a result, we are making some changes to sight range and radar. Most units have their sight range doubled, some units increased more than others in order to adhere to a new standardised template:

  • Frigates: 400 - 800
  • Cruisers: 500/600 - 1000
  • Dreadnoughts: 700 -1400
  • Juggernauts: 1000 - 2000
  • Air Units: 500 - 1000
  • Recon Units: [Unit Type] + 200
  • Buildings: 150 - 1000
  • Extractors: 150 - 500
  • Every weapon can now target radar contacts

Since radar would be less important with more sight range, we are making every weapon capable of targeting radar contacts. Previously, only select weapons could, which was inconsistent and felt arbitrary. 

These are some pretty huge changes that will have many consequences, but we want to make the game more interactive and responsive between players and this is a crucial step in achieving that. One predictable result, is that air units will have an easier time looking for harassment opportunities such as undefended Engineers or buildings. As a result, we are making several changes to make air harassment weaker. We will be monitoring how the sight changes perform and making adjustments if necessary.

 

Engineer and Constructor 

Engineers were very expensive at 300 Metal. This created a number of problems:

  1. Losing Engineers was overly punishing and frustrating, which made air harassment too dominant.
  2. Difficulty to spend excess Radioactives on Quantum Relays or Amplifiers when you first need to build a Metal expensive Engineer.
  3. Using Engineers to boost production was inefficient due to the cost of Engineers, which is required with the Dread/Juggernaut build time increase.

To address this, we are lowering the Metal cost of Engineers and Constructors. This extra Metal at the players disposal will create more room in the early game for a diversity of openers. We are aware this makes the Call Engineer & Avatar Orbitals less valuable, we are looking into ways of reworking these abilities.

  • Metal cost reduced from 300 to 200


Extractors
Extractors were too fragile at only 350 health. This allowed air units to snipe Extractors even when defended by anti-air, making air control too important. We Extractors to be easier to protect and to encourage players to also look for harassment opportunities on different types of infrastructure such as tech buildings, Quantum Relays and production structures.

  • Extractor health increased from 350 to 500.

 
Balance

Hermes

The Hermes lacked a purpose given the Pan scout plane was available from the Nexus. Given the sight changes which would make the Hermes even less useful relative to other units, we are adjusting the Hermes to fill another role to fill. It's getting a damage output increase and slight attack range bonus in exchange for a health reduction to be useful for scouting out the enemies positions and attacking undefeated assets. It was also odd that it almost had the same amount of health as the tough Brute.

Substrate have the fast Martyr for harassment, so it was unfair that PHC had no equivalent. However, the Hermes will still be weak in an upfront fight due to little health and lower DPS than combat units; the Hermes should use its fast mobility and sight range to avoid encounters.

  • Accuracy increased from 50 to 100
  • Attack range increased from 350 to 400
  • Health reduced from 120 to 100

 

Brute 

The PHC frigates were much slower than the Substrate counter part and almost the same speed as the cruisers. We want to further solidify frigates as a class of units faster than cruisers, to allow for outmanoeuvring the tougher cruiser armies and harassing weakly defended areas. We want to give more flexibility for players to field different types of unit compositions that enable different strategies and play styles.Substrate frigates still retain a slight speed advantage, apart from the Hermes, to compensate for being slightly weaker in a direct fight. 

  • Movement speed increased from 100 to 110

 

Archer 

The slow projectile speed of the Archer often results in overkill when using them in large numbers. We are increasing the projectile speed to reduce overkill and to better convey the Archer's high damage output.

  • Movement speed increased from 90 to 100
  • Projectile speed increased from 220 to 320

 

Artemis

The anti-building and anti-unit attacks previously had different ranges, this meant the rockets were often not firing when the Artemis was positioned at its preferred attack range.

 

  • Rocket Barrage attack range increased from 1000 to 1400

 

Assembly

Despite the changes in 2.4, Substrate still have an edge over PHC in the early game map control and capping due to the effectiveness and speed of the Martyr, shields, and the ability to invest in multiple Assemblies for frigate armies but then still be able to easily transition into Cruiser. Due to the Constructor cost decrease, Substrate can now afford to pay more for the Assembly, putting its Metal cost in line with the Armory. Increasing the cost of the Assembly now gives PHC the option to invest in more Factories without falling behind when transitioning to cruisers.

  • Metal cost increased from 160 to 240

 Sensor Tower & Listening Post

Since radar is going to be less useful with the sight range increases, we are increasing the radar range provided by the Sensor Tower & Listening Post.

  • Radar range increased from 1800 to 3000

 

Sky Cleanser

The SkyCleanser was too slow for a frigate, especially when compared to the Drone Hive which also provides a mobile AA role for Substrate. Increasing its mobility will give it an easier time chasing down air units.

  • Movement speed increased from 95 to 110

 

Falcon & Starburst

In order to make air control less important, we are improving the health of some of the air defense. Previously multiple gunships were able to overwhelm the Falcon and Starburst a little too easily.

  • Total health/shields increased from 3500 to 4000

 

Air Eliminator

The Air Eliminator unintentionally had less health than the Sky Ender. We want to make it more durable so it is more resilient to heavy air units. Removing its Weapons Lab requirements makes it more accessible to field against air harassment.

  • Health increased from 5000 to 7000
  • No longer requires Weapons Lab

 

Base Defense Build Time Increase 

Previously it was too easy to rush an Engineer out to build early defenses on a critical cutoff through the map before players would have the opportunity to scout and prevent it, slowing down and staging the game. Especially now as Engineers cost less, we want to make it more difficult to aggressively rush defenses out on chokepoints, as opposed to using them to secure territory and infrastructure. 

  • Annihilator build time increased from 30 to 35
  • Heavy Annihilator build time increased from 40 to 45
  • Pulverizer build time increased from 65 to 70
  • Smarty build time increased from 25 to 28
  • Sentinel build time increased from 60 to 65

 

Smarty System

The Smarty was under performing against frigates because its slow projectile speed would often result in firing a second volley at a target before the first one had connected, resulting in huge overkill from every second volley being wasted. For comparison, the Substrate Annihilator has instant projectile speed, making it far more efficient against frigates, especially in groups. We are increasing the projectile speed of the Smarty and the Barrager to prevent overkill, also because the faster projectile speed looks cooler.

  • Projectile speed increased from 200 to 300

 

Barrager

The Barrager is getting more projectile speed than the Smarty to convey it is more powerful and because the attack range is longer so the projectile has to travel further. 

  • Projectile speed increased from 200 to 400

 

Air Rampager

The Rampager was over performing for harassment.

  • Total health/shields reduced from 2000 to 1800

 

Strategic Bomber & Air Harbinger

The heavy air units are getting a cost increase to compensate for the extra strength they will have with the extended sight range. 

  • Metal cost increased from 1000 to 1200
  • Radioactives cost increased from 1200 to 1400

Juggernauts Logistics Costs

The Juggernauts are incredibly logistics efficient compared to dreadnoughts. This was deliberate, as they also cost lots of Quanta, but being so logistics efficient felt weird. We are increasing logistics cost of juggernauts, though they will still be very logistics cheap due to their Quanta cost. 

  • Agamemnon and Queen cost 250 Logistics
  • Leonidas costs 275 Logistics
  • Eye costs 300 Logistics



Leonidas

The massive 60,000 health pool on the Leonidas meant restoring a damaged Leonidas took an incredibly long time, having to build Medics, get them in position and then slowly heal. The Leonidas, Agamemnon and Eye Of Darkness will all receive regenerating health. The rate of regeneration will be much slower than the shield regeneration on the SS Juggernauts, especially the Queen which has the Shield Regenerator and Repair Drones. The Leonidas will also be more useful since it is a counter to both the Queen and Eye of Darkness, where as the Queen is now countered by both PHC Juggs. As a result, the Leonidas is receiving a small cost increase.

  • Now regenerates 10 health per second.
  • Cost increased from 18000/6000/1000 to 20000/6500/1050

 

Nano Transport

Previously the PHC Charon was allowing units to be reinforced when orbital jamming was present, but not Substrate's Nano-Transport. This was often mistaken for a bug. 

  • Nano-transport reinforcements will no longer be blocked by orbital jamming. Only the initial cast can be blocked.

 

Orbital Strike 

The "Nuke" abilities were in a weird place; they were undodgeable making them incredibly powerful against armies without orbital jamming, yet they ramped up in price so quickly that only a small number of casts were used before the price was too high and no longer viable to use in favour of Quantum Upgrades or other orbitals. Antimatter Detonation suffered from the anti-climatic dissonance of the gorgeous effect and animation which then only did 2500 damage, to compensate for its near instant cast time. 

To make these abilities have a more consistent performance, we are reducing the rate of which they ramp up in cost in exchange for a delay increase. The additional delay grants opponents more time to escape from the blast radius, which then creates the need for more consideration with the placement of the ability. 15 seconds may sound like a lot, but the in-game timer is faster and it's generally only enough time for frigates to escape unless units are near the edges of the blast radius. 

  • Delay increased from 10 seconds to 15
  • Additional Quanta per cast reduced from +0.5x to 0.25


Antimatter Detonation

Detonation is receiving 1000 more damage over Orbital Strike to compensate for its smaller AOE. 

  • Delay increased from 3 seconds to 15
  • Damage increased from 2500 to 6000
  • Additional Quanta per cast reduced from +0.5x to 0.25

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a formatting error on one of the Savager upgrades
  • Fixed an inconsistent button layout in the Save Game menu and when exiting from an on observer/replay.
  • Fixed an issue where Escalation Alnilam and Assault Scenario were not ending when the players Nexus was destroyed.
  • Fixed flickering Radioactives Deposits on Assault Scenario
  • Fixed a bug where the UI would suggest the Nexus is selected, but nothing will be build able from it. Units can now be built from the Nexus when "nothing" is selected.
  • Orbital Jam no longer leaves its effect for longer than the duration of the ability.
  • Fixed a bug with the Athena's targeting priorities
  • Fixed bug when loading observer match, Save/load observed games now re-enabled. 
  • Allowed all texture quality options when running DX11
  • Fixed a bug where AI and all players were showing the Legendary badge

Please leave your feedback and report any issues you may have!
Cheers.