Monday, December 6, 2010

Pink Cryonite

So Draconis is unlocked, and the ultimate pirates have poured into the latest playground of battle, blasters and frustration. It all seems very quiet in the backwaters of Gemini now the big boys and girls have somewhere new to play. I’m a country mile away from Draconis, but have heard that it’s tougher than tough. My clan Admiral, Chaosrising, is getting intimately reacquainted with the interior of his pod. The new system had to be difficult otherwise the top pilots would complete it in 24 hours and be complaining that it was too easy. If it challenges them and keeps them playing then Splipstream SplitScreen has done a good job. I’ll probably be able to pass an opinion in about two years time.

More important to me and many other players are the game changes and additions that came along with Draconis. Most of them I like or haven’t even noticed, but there was one I did not appreciate at all. The increase in the amount of Cryonite I lost when podded. At first I didn’t notice, not really paying much attention to my crystal total at the time. I’d get podded in the story mission I was wrestling with, but as usual not get stressed about collecting the crystals I’d left behind. It was only ever a small amount and hardly worth the diversion. However the next time I got blasted I noticed that I hadn’t dropped any crystals at all, because I hadn’t got any left. Now I started paying attention and realised that I was losing 300 crystals per podding. 300? WTF? That’s almost half the reward for completing a story mission, and far more than any of the white missions paid. At that rate I’d be spending half my career harvesting Interceptors, certainly not chancing my arm on a tough mission if I had a reasonable chance of being destroyed.

The change that created my impoverished state was the fact that your Cryonite drop is now dependant on pilot level rather than ship level. The thinking behind it was to discourage higher level players taking part in low system conquests and avoid exploitation of the new pirate mode 2.0. However this penalises those of us who like to take their time and enjoy the journey, rather than race through the story as quickly as possible. If you like to complete all white missions, collect all Blue Prints, and attempt story missions solo again and again rather than rely on others to fast track you, then you will be high level compared to the system and your ship. Why should you be penalised for a completist style of play?

Luckily Slipstream SplitScreen has listened to the anguished cries of potless pirates and has modified their formula. I’ve gone from losing 300 cryonite to just 150. That’s still a hit to the pocket but I can work with it. I suppose if I was not bothering to fly back and pick up half of what I’d dropped then you could argue it probably wasn’t enough.

The new system penalises you for gaining a level and encourages you to race through the game rather than explore and persevere on your own. Slipsteam’s SplitScreen's concerns over the old system could be addressed by implementing the new pilot level method when you are in pirate mode only. If you’re not red then you should lose Cryonite based upon the ship level.

I’m all for change and improvement, game balancing and keeping things fresh. Overall the Draconis release has made the game better and given me even more to get my teeth into. However the Cryonite drop by pilot level is a mistake and I hope Slipstream SplitScreen think again.


  1. Love your blog... Let me correct a point however, the game developer name is SplitScreen.
    I play on the Askone server under pilot name Lool. Look me up in game if I can assist..

  2. Oh Blimey, you're right SplitScreen. How embarrasing. I prefer Slipstream but I doubt if they'll change it just for me. I'll correct my posts and thanks for pointing that out.

    I'm glad you like the blog Lool. I enjoy writing it and I'm still enjoying the game so I'll be posting for a while yet. Keep coming back and I'll try and keep it worth reading.