er some teething issues and delays on On February 4, 2021 Star Citizen had it’s first Dynamic, Limited Time Event… The XenoThreat Missions. Cloud Imperium have given us a bit of a Review, lesions learned and feedback on the event that I think is worth sumamrizing and talking about:
XenoThreat came in a few phases that lasted a number of days each… Phase one was just an announcement it was happening soon.
Phase 2 had players both defending a Military Outpost and the Javelin that was docked there from a Idris and XenoThreat force BUT also having to grab cargo from a nearby Gas Cloud POI that had destroyed Starfarers laden with 3 types of cargo…
One Explosive, that would go boom IF it got bump around or damaged too much.
One Time Sensitive that would just be useless if the time ran out.
And one that was quantum sensitive that would again EXPLODE if you went into Quantum… so this one took a bit of time to move to the Jericho Military outpost.
There were XenoThreat Ships here and Enemy NPCs on the Starfarers too that required to be cleared out… you’d have to move a couple of hundred boxes total and it’s something that a group or large part of the server would want to get involved with.
Once you got all the cargo needed, the phase ended and you got paid a load of aUEC!
Phase 3 started a few days later, which had players engaging with the XenoThreat Fleet and an Idris… once that was done 2 more Idris would spawn but also a Navy Javelin would come and assist the players. This mission was very quick to complete for the most part… and was a great fleet battle HOWEVER Phase 2 had been a lot longer as a mission AND that part of the event was on for around a week, where as phase 3 was only on for a few days… when that would over that was basically the end of the event… it was a bit of shame as it was sooo quick…
XenoThreat was made with a load what they could do in the game at the time they started building it and was an important part of them making more limited time OR dynamic events in the future.
Some of the aspects of the event we found successful were large in-game income opportunities for players (all phases), FPS pirates populating the wreck sites (Phase 2), and team-oriented payout style (Phase 2). Many players appreciated the bonus of getting paid very well for doing the event in all phases – this further incentivized continued play and added replayability.
Some players apparently wanted more payout for each cargo box sold at Jericho personally rather than the more group styled payout. I am much more in favor of the group style payouts with a few extra bits given for individual performance on top of that.
There were issues with voice lines and time getting them in game and working properly, so we had bugs and a bit of a bodge job of that.
They would of preferred more time prototyping and testing especially with the Starfarer wrecks, which would of worked and flowed better. They wanted a entirely Zero G starfarer in there as well but couldn’t get it done in time.
Combat there needed more work too.
Players should of been made aware of the extremely short length of Phase 3.
Performance was a severe limiting factor and therefore the spawning enough enemies was going to be a challenge… poor frame rates and times loading in ships or wrecks ALSO some players found taking out the Idris’ extremely easy in Phase 3. Retaliators with Typhoon Torps could destory the Idris Shields easily.
As you could complete phase 3 so quickly and there was a long cooldown before the mission respawned, this caused some annoyance.
Torp Spam dominated this phase as a quick easy meta. In the future Idris and Capital Ships will be able to more easily be able to counter some of these torps.
They do say as well though that the ability to have loads of ships, players, capital ships and combats all going on at once is pretty impressive still and would not of been possible at this scale until recently… it’s a big step in the right direction.
“We know that server performance needs to be better, as that will help improve things like the response times of AI.“
Hostility and CrimeStat determination are still too simplistic, with no modifier for shared mission participants whether the ship hit is targeted or any link to targeting at all. With so many ships in close proximity in a complex scenario, friendly fire was frequent and often resulted in players accidentally getting a CrimeStat, being dumped from the mission, and sent to prison upon death. They want to put some significant work into the law and hostility system.
They wanted to allow players complete freedom to choose which side to support, there was insufficient time to have a proper implementation here. This caused problems when, inevitably, many PVP-oriented players took it upon themselves to attack players attempting the event. This was most prevalent in Phase 2. Since the event didn’t support this, however, there were few ways for mission participants to prevent or counter this, resulting in some strong opinions on either side. Most players just left those servers to find one without PVP. On our end, we’re thinking about how we can support both play-styles. They want a better Friend of Foe ID system both on the ground and in ship.
AI became overloaded at times, Some AI fighters wiggled, warped, teleported, flew erratically, and generally offered no threat, with players frequently calling them cannon fodder. In addition, players frequently mentioned how low their numbers seemed, limiting the sense of danger. AI fighters also seemed to lack aggressive behaviors, such as targeting cargo ships or bombers, and sometimes ignored incoming damage in the process. The Idris and it’s Railgun although were functional (and powerful) they do want better targeting for it’s weapons.
EVA and physics-grids still cause some issues and need refinement.
Cloud Imperium went onto say:
“Whilst it may be a little early to bear much fruit for Alpha 3.13, it should be a big help for us in the long run. There is also a mandate this year for all teams to assign more time to optimizations that will help in this effort. And with server meshing on the horizon along with several other longer-term planned optimizations, we potentially have some much more significant gains we can make when those come online. “
BOOM, that was the XenoThreat Postmortem Review… and I liked the fact CI are very aware of what worked and what didn’t… it should make future events like the Nine Tails Lockdown all the better and hopefully avoid the super short runs of parts of the mission! But what do you think? Did you play in the XenoThreat Missions? What did you like or dislike about them? What would you like to see in the future for Dynamic Missions? What do you think we will see from the Nine Tails Lockdown? Whatever your thoughts I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.