Three days ago, the Citizen Council met with the Tau Station team. Here’s a summary of the meeting for everyone, including status updates about what your representatives suggested or requested in the prior meeting. Do feel free to get in touch with your Council representatives as well as they might have additional comments to share with you too.
The video call on Tuesday lasted more than two hours and for the European attendees it was close to midnight when we concluded the meeting. Thanks to all participants for your time and contributions, it really means a lot to the entire Tau Station team! Let’s have a closer look into what happened.
The Meeting in a nut shell
This summary consists of several parts that reflect what we discussed during the video conference. First, we follow-up on the previous meeting: Leila gave status updates on topics raised by the Council last time.
The second part contains insights about the content and huge scope of the next update(s) . Among other things, Pete gave a live presentation of the new storage management system.
As usual, there was also time for asking questions as well as discussing suggestions and issues.
Last, but not least, we realized that time is running (too) fast: your Citizen Council has already been working for the Community for six months which means we have to organize the next elections soon.
1. Status updates on the previous Meeting
Combat Changes / Using more Stats in Combat
Combat is a core feature and therefore it has been discussed a lot. We already implemented some changes and improvements, like making combat way faster, because you reported problems, especially during Syndicate campaigns. Occasions of campaigns getting stuck were sorted by Pete manually, but this should be resolved entirely with the next update.
More changes are in progress. Using only physical stats doesn’t make sense. If you’re heavy in brawn but lacking in brains, we want to see an effect. Therefore, we’ve been preparing to use all stats in fights, which implies various UI changes. Second, combat will be re-balanced regarding the impact of skills and items, and the team will also review aspects like hit chances.
The great thing is that now we can tweak it far easier than before, thanks to several improvements the team applied on the back-end. Once first combat changes are live, we’ll need your feedback to optimize it further for you.
Adding Syndicate to the Archive
AndreaEntangle suggested in the previous meeting to add a section to the Archive for new players to better understand syndicates, campaigns and such. This task is completed and will be visible with the next update.
Another topic your Citizen Council brought up in the previous meeting was storage management, making it more practical and resolving several pain points for everyone who loves trading or just gathering a lot of stuff. A big part of the next update is an entirely new storage management system in your CORETECHS (see Sneak Peeks for more details).
A lot of work has been invested to give you a very responsive system. Pete explained that on a quite old system he uses for testing, the feature starts getting slightly slower when you use around 40,000 – 50,000 items slots (single items or stacks). It should take a lot of time until you get somewhat close to this. Additional comfort features are already planned for later as well.
Discreet Work Reputation
The forum discussion about The Course of International Relations initiated the discussion about improving the balancing of the reputation system. Leila mentioned last time that the system is a bigger beast and that we will touch it, but there was no time for it yet due to all the other topics.
Syndicate Storage in Campaigns
A highly supported idea, but we need to finish the storage management system rework first. Therefore we haven’t touched it yet.
Option to transfer Credits
A solution for your request is in progress. Private trades will be part of the update after the next one. You’ll be able to make a private offer to another Citizen with items carrying in your inventory. For now, you won’t be able to gift items from storage, because there are many variables and conditions we’d need to consider. Therefore, the fast 1:1 trade will be available for inventory items.
The topic was raised later again in our discussion. Leila underlined that we cannot implement a simple feature for sending credits as the risk of abuse is too high. It’s also a matter of protecting fair play for everyone.
Mass Mail option for Council members
This feature was requested to help the Council team with their internal communication and organization. The option to send mails to all members has been implemented.
2. Next Update(s): Some Sneak Peeks
Right now you’re playing plenty of missions in which you learn a lot about a local station. Many missions present little snippets of the background story about what happened. This will change with the implementation of new core story missions. You’ll get a journal in the CORETECHS that will store a summary of all core story missions you completed.
For now, we’ll provide one core story per station. This is the reason why you did not get new missions for some time. The Narrative team worked a lot on the creation of the new core story missions, but also on cleaning up and improving missions, also side jobs etc. We expect that the Sol system will be done by the end of October. Thus, the new core story feature won’t be part of the next update.
Improving Message System
A lot of changes like the new pop-ups are already in place. In general, cleaning up the message system is still in progress. Next month, messages will have a new design.
A further change will be the implementation of a Personal Assistant. It will be one place where you can look after all time-limited information like duration of VISA, well-fed time, etc. The goal is to further reduce the amount of information shown at the top.
As announced in the prior meeting, Tau Station has a more dynamic economy system, reacting to the activities on every station. Some aspects are already implemented (e.g. prices for hiring bodyguards), some more will follow.
An important change in terms of re-balancing was the reduction of fuel costs for private ships.
Brand New Storage System
It took a lot of time to develop. Soon you will be able to deal in a comfy way with every type of item, having sorting and filtering options, being able to manage it from every station and so on. This big new CORETECHS feature is the main reason why we didn’t have any update in between, because it is connected with a lot of mechanics and various new interfaces are needed.
Pete shared his screen and presented the current status of the upcoming new storage management system to the Council members. There will be more after the first stage; one thing we haven’t implemented yet is the ability to send many items at the same time due to stacking that needs to be improved.
With the new filters, you can select by star, stations, rarity, item types, and tier. Every time you change the filter, there’s a new request to the back end.
We’ve also been reworking the item detail view. Later, a price range will be shown instead of the value, because the value will depend of various aspects like the station; changing on a daily basis. The option to search by name is another addition for one of the updates afterwards.
The CORETECHS storage is very fast; a big improvement to the current loading situation for all Citizens with a lot of items. Besides the ability to organize items, you’ll be able to manage and extend every storage on all stations, too. Some of you might want to have a dedicated storage for weapons or armor only. No problem! You will be able to send from storage to storage without the need to go to the Port. Just enough storage space is needed.
The team was happy to hear that 95% of the pain points should be resolved with this feature. The most important question was raised by moritz: “When do we get it?” – With the next game update!
Planned: Fighting Back!
Leila revealed a planned feature that will lead to more interactions with other Citizens: the ability to fight back when you’re under attack while being online! We’re not making any promises on when it will happen, but we plan to give it to you by the end of this year. Part of future combat update is also using your social skills. We’re going to release it step by step.
In short: More additions with the next update(s)
- Discreet Work will get combat. And you must be careful, because sometimes it might be needed to just hurt, but not kill someone!
- Missions will get animations and the UI will be improved as well.
- Genotypes will have more impacts on gameplay.
- Stim prices will go up, and ship fuel prices will drop. Prices like transportation will change based on station economics.
- Fast Shuttles will be replaced by instant Telepheresis with the next update.
- Emoji parsing will be added to the chat with the next update.
- The income curve will be changed to get faster improvements for new players while slowing down the growth a bit for experienced Citizens as you’ll have more options to get money in late game play.
- The UI changes continue: the blogs and forums will be part of the resource hub in CORETECHS mode. The storage will come with full-screen design. Later it will be only one link for CORECHTS to reduce scrolling further.
Feature plans until 2020 – The Big picture
Leila shared the rough plan about 2019 and 2020:
During the next month there won’t be much functionality added (like new systems; ice mining feature etc), the biggest part is the clean-up. In 2019 the focus is making Tau Station pleasant to play, making sense, making it more sexy, adding plenty of quality of life changes.
Bigger new features are for 2020. We’re moving from the prototype to a proper game. We really need you for the next months, play testing the missions, going through the early stations, checking, looking at missions, checking.
3. Open Discussion
During the call, we also discussed issues brought up by your Council, like having some issues with career tasks. Since the last update that modified the career feature, most of you earn more. One of the ambitions when we made the change was succeeding more often. The results of performing tasks are now depending on the individual situation of the local station. Moritz mentioned issues about task fails and we agreed to have a deeper look into it again.
Selling items / Lack of demand
Dotsent said that there is not much demand for items offered in the market. Moritz suggested to use a consumable approach. Leila explained that the reason for the (many) item rewards was to give you something motivating for campaigns, but it needs to be balanced. Most Citizens don’t need to buy much; this is an issue also for the economy. Therefore, consumables will be the next thing for items. Later we also need to re-balance what we give in campaigns.
Pool of tier 4 items
Picking up the item topic, moritz mentioned issues of the tier 4 item pool that there are very little of non-epics and many of the epics are not very useful. The reason is the tendency in syndicate combat to use items with high damage in one type. Non epics are sometimes better for this as epics are better for defense if you don’t know how you get attacked by others. Curtis explained that this will be part of the combat balancing: making sure that your equipment is useful. There are definitely more consumables coming as well. For example, like buffing weapons.
High tier item usage in campaigns
Concluding item topics, moritz stated that syndicate campaigns in tier 5 are hard to win for new syndicates as all opponents use epic items. The reason is the current item pool. Leila stated that we’re currently working on items; it’s the best moment to take care for it. But we want to focus on tier and level in general, not only about syndicate campaigns. We will provide new items especially for tier 4 and tier 5.
The new Pop-Ups
In general, the pop-up feedback messages are appreciated, but moritz mentioned he repairs items around 200 times when playing a campaign which makes the message annoying sometimes. Thanks for sharing this detail! Leila suggested that we might change this window to a regular feedback message eventually.
Shadow asked for individual player settings to decide which messages should be shown or to add a button “don’t show this message again”. Leila agrees in general, but it’s not possible for now. We still need to finish all tasks about breaking down all the feedback you get.
4. We bow to the awesome Council work
The idea of installing the Citizen Council for working even closer with the Community has been a thrilling experience and is very beneficial for the (further) development of Tau Station. The way your team organized everything, how you helped us with prioritizing features and improvements, sharing good summaries, etc. – just GREAT!
The Council is already part of the game with the dedicated page, but we want to immortalize your great work: with one of the next updates, a new section will be added to the Archive page, referring to the history of all Councils. Thank you very much for your work and support again!
5. Upcoming Council Elections
Next week, we will share with you details and the roadmap for the next Citizen Council elections. We learned a lot with the first Council period and therefore will apply some changes like extending the duration to benefit longer from your awesome organization and support.
We hope you enjoyed this detailed summary, because we really want everyone to be on the same page. Don’t forget to get in touch with your (current) Council team to get more insights and hear their personal impressions about the meeting as well.
Have a nice day everyone!