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Stardock Game News

A sneak preview of Galactic Civilizations III v2.5 Part 2

Published on Sunday, September 3, 2017 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

For part 1 go here.

Version 2.5 is easily the biggest update to the base game of GalCiv III since its first release back in 2015.  What makes these updates possible is the continuing sales of DLC and expansions like Crusade.

The much beloved Galactic Civilizations II never got an update like this one.  That is because back then, games were sold at retail and so there was no realistic way to keep updating the base game like we can today for budgetary reasons.  Hence, GalCiv II came out in 2006. Dark Avatar came out in 2007. And Twilight of the Arnor in 2008 each being its own stand-alone game with the version before it being retired.

I don't know about you guys but I much prefer today's model where the base game keeps getting updated.  However, developers often don't communicate the importance of expansions and DLC that make these updates possible.

Also, if you want to help us you can make a huge difference: REVIEW GALCIV III ON STEAM. If you've already reviewed it, feel free to write a new review. It helps reflect a more accurate recent review score. Steam uses the review score in their discoverability algorithm.  Anything below 70% is basically invisible. Below 80% is mostly invisible (i.e. won't offer it on the search the store suggestions).

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Juggernaut Unit Profiles

Published on Saturday, September 2, 2017 By GGTheMachine In Ashes Dev Journals

Juggernaut Unit Profiles 

While Juggernauts are late game killing machines, we want them to maintain strengths and weaknesses so they aren't unstoppable and that investing in specific Juggernauts is a deliberate strategic consideration. Here's some info about the new Juggernauts and how they will fit in with our existing ones. 

Substrate Nest of the Queen

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A sneak preview of Galactic Civilizations III v2.5 Part 1

Published on Thursday, August 31, 2017 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

  I'm so excited!

We live in magical times, my friends.

I've talked about the challenge of building a 4th generation game engine over at IGN.  Stardock's first attempt at building a 3rd generation engine failed pretty spectacularly (Elemental). Galactic Civilizations II was arguably a 2nd generation (upgraded) engine.  Its code base could be traced back to 1997.  So by the time it was released, it was almost 10 years old. 

For GalCiv III, we decided to go directly to 4th generation (which meant 64-bit, core neutral).  The good news is that this future proofed GalCiv III.  The bad news is that we had to throw out 100% of our GalCiv II code.  Even our libraries. Everything. 

For programmers out there who want to know the difference between a 3rd gen and 4th gen engine just by looking at the engine code: 4th gen engines don't use pointers or addresses.  You use handles.  So think about all that code you have where you're passing around pointers and imagine if you had to throw it all out.

For our customers in 2015, this really sucked because GalCiv III, when it shipped, didn't have as many features as GalCiv II: Ultimate Edition.

GalCiv II: Ultimate Edition was actually GalCiv II: Dread Lords + Dark Avatar + Twilight of the Arnor expansions combined. 

September 2017

This brings us the upcoming release of GalCiv III v2.5.  So far, we've had one small expansion pack (Mercenaries) and one big expansion pack (Crusade).   Our goal with GalCiv III v2.5 (the base game) is to bring our code improvements from Crusade without transforming the base game into Crusade.  That is, we want people to still buy Crusade of course but we also want to make sure that the base game gets a big improvement.  So let's take a look at what's new.

Updated UI


The base game gets all the new UI improvements from Crusade.  This includes the new check system for better info at a glance.


Something old and something new


In Crusade, you don't get to start with a shipyard or a bunch of ships.  In the base game, you get a shipyard and ships.  I don't really like that myself.  I suspect we'll be creating a "fast start" option for Crusade players though at some point.

Those with Crusade will recognize the UI.  You now get the Summary tab on the right from Crusade.  But you don't get citizens.

Tech Tree


The tech tree is the GalCiv III tech tree but the UI is updated to the Cruade UI.



Planets get the Crusade UI but since there are no citizens, there's no bonuses from them.  Players do get the word on the street feature. 



The govern screen gets the Crusade UI but again, no citizens.  Instead, you have the Production Wheel which magnifies what planets are focusing on.  In a future Crusade update, we're going to make one of the player abilities be to be able to govern with the production wheel but lose the benefit of citizens (i.e. looking at you robot people!)



Cosmetically, the ships get the Crusade upgrade but there are no missions (a Crusade feature) available.  But it's a pretty huge update for the base game.


What you can't see in a screenshot is the performance.  GalCiv III: Crusade moves the AI system to the core-neutral engine.  Now, the base game inherits that.



The Diplomacy UI from Crusade moves over along with the underlying AI for it.   This includes the barter bar (the boring looking bar in the middle) that makes trading so easy and fun.


The AI improvements from Crusade also make it over.


The economics of the base game remains mostly the same with one huge difference: Galactic resources now accumulate.  Before, if you controlled 1 anti-matter resource you could have 1 anti-matter using component.  We have decided to adopt the accumulation system from Crusade here.

Crusade vs. base game

Inevitably, someone is going to say "You're basically giving away Crusade!" but Crusade was practically a sequel to the base game rather than just an expansion.  And we really don't want to get into the business of charging money for AI/engine upgrades. 

Crusade is about these things:

  1. Galactic Citizens (and all the things that entails)
  2. Interactive Invasions
  3. Espionage
  4. Civ Builder with Fleets
  5. New Races

DLC unity

One nice thing about a single code base is that we can make it so that when you run a given DLC, we can have it inherit the base game's balance.  That has been one of the frustrating things for Crusade players.

Next up

What we want to be able to do is make sure the base game is incredibly compelling on its own.  And that Crusade offers a very easy to understand improvement to the game (namely the 5 features I mention above but particularly a citizen based economy). 

I'll be around this weekend on Discord doing a lot of balance work.

GalCiv III: Labor Day Coding Extravaganza!

Published on Thursday, August 31, 2017 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals


This weekend I will be working on the big update to GalCiv III and GalCiv III Crusade.  My work focuses heavily on balance so if you have any particular exploits or balance issues you'd like me to look into...

1. Post here.

2. Share a save game for me to look at.

You can also join me this weekend on Discord:

Take to the Stars Episode Four: Paulo Rubini

Published on Monday, August 28, 2017 By Tatiora In Offworld Dev Journals

Paulo Rubini

They underestimated me. They always underestimate me.

I didn’t have one of the most successful real estate businesses in the state of California for nothing, you know. Coming to Mars was an easy choice - the colonies here would absolutely need someone with an eye for development, an eye for the long term goal - and that’s me.

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Save up to 50% on Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation and all DLC during the Steam Weekend Sale!

Published on Thursday, August 24, 2017 By Island Dog In Ashes of the Singularity News


Wage a Massive War in Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation!

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation is a massive-scale RTS where you can conquer alien worlds,
build enormous and diverse armies, and engage in epic battles against up to a dozen other players on huge maps.




Engage in Massive Sized Games
Huge maps can hold over a dozen players at once. 

Manage Your Armies Globally
The global view feature shows the entire battlefield.

Expansive Strategy with Advanced Units
Unique, diverse units for both PHC and Substrate.

Story-Driven Campaign
Experience the Ashes adventure in campaign mode.


Battle Across Unique Worlds
Wage war across volcanoes and more.

Choose Your Gameplay Dynamics
Variety and challenge in every game.

Bolster your Defenses
Utilize unique buildings and turrets.

Devastating Orbital Abilities
Lay waste to your enemy from above.

The Steam Sale runs from 8/24 - 8/28 at 1pm ET. 
For more information on Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, visit

v2.4 update, Vulkan Support, and Free Co-Op Map Pack DLC for Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Releases Today

Published on Thursday, August 24, 2017 By Island Dog In Ashes of the Singularity News

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation v2.4 is Packed with Awesome Improvements and Vulkan Support
Plus, grab the FREE Co-Op Map Pack DLC and check out the
Ashes Steam weekend sale today to save up to 50%


What's new in v2.4:

  • Vulkan Support: Vulkan is a graphics-rendering API that offers enhanced OS compatibility and performance. Some of the benefits include reduced CPU load time and the ability to work on other tasks, plus CPU scaling that takes advantage of multiple cores. Vulkan also runs on different OSes (Windows 7, 8, 10), and still receives all of the advantages as if it were running on the latest OS. 
  • UI Improvements: A full menu reworking makes the game more accessible with new orbital ability icons, improved chat displays, and more.
  • Campaign and Scenarios: Several scenarios and all 3 campaigns have been updated to refine difficulty levels, adjust to the changes of previous updates, and improve the user experience.
  • Modding: Modders have access to more parts of the game and will benefit from several changes that makes modding more intuitive. 
  • Balance: Changes to air units, anti-air, drones, and dreadnoughts will improve strategic diversity. The Substrate also received some additional changes in order to differentiate themselves from the PHC.

v2.4 is now available. If you don't own Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation or its DLCs yet,
make sure to grab them for up to 50% off before the sale ends on August 28th


FREE Co-Op Map Pack DLC

Grab a friend (or two or three!) for some epic battles on 9 brand new maps designed specifically for cooperative play.
Spawn points are placed to keep teammates close together to allow for combined attacks and strategies. Clearly defined
resources for each player prevents any fighting over spawn locations or expansion opportunities and keeps the maps fair and
balanced for everyone.

New Map Info Below:

  • Delta Serpentis: Step into complete chaos in this medium-sized 4v4 arena. Navigate carefully around terrain, but be careful - defenses could be waiting to ambush you at every turn.
  • Gamma Draconis: If you like fast-paced and aggressive, this 2v2 desert map is for you. Combine efforts with your teammate for a deadly push through the map’s center, or favor a more devious approach by focusing your enemy's flanks.
  • Leporis: Build up an economy and grow your army before facing down your opponents. Built for 4 players (2v2) and to give plenty of breathing room, the battles on this map will be large and epic.
  • Mirach: Choose your paths carefully on this medium-sized 2v2 desert map. Large mountains and a wide basin limits movement, so you’ll have to plan ahead in order to get the drop on your enemy before they get the drop on you.
  • Merga: This long and narrow 3v3 map is surrounded by lava. Strategize carefully about whether or not you want to duel with your lane opponent, or combine attacks with your teammates for a decisive push.
  • Rigel: A turtler’s dream, this medium 2v2 map has only a single pathway through its center. You’ll need to concentrate all of your efforts onto the central killing field in order to be successful.
  • Ross 128: Narrow choke points and multiple pathways across this small 2v2 map make for different strategies and attack paths. If you’re quick, you can lock down sections of the map and create some serious roadblocks for your opponents.
  • Talitha: For players who like huge, long battles with two team mates, Talitha features a wide open battlefield on the desert lowground and is the biggest 3v3 map to date.
  • Trappist: Designed for 3v3, but playable in many other game modes, the center of this medium-sized map contains a massive stockpile of resources. You’ll have to move quickly to prevent it from falling into your enemy's hands.


More info on the FREE Co-op Map Pack DLC can be found here.


Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation and its DLC are currently
up to 50% off on Steam through August 28th, 2017.

For more information, visit


v2.4 Changelog:

  • Quality of Life
    • Game lobbies no longer default back to private. When a match is exited, it will revert to whatever match type it was before that.
    • Players can now select no team in a game lobby. Previously every player would have to manually select a separate team to play a Free for All match.
    • Buildings no longer suffer from Attrition damage when in enemy territory.
    • Spawn locations have been standardized on all team and team free for all maps, making it easier to group team mates together and to suggest how a map is intended to be played. (In a 3v3 map, spawns 1,2 and 3 will be placed together)
    • AI removed from Automatch (Players would only match up against AI when they are new, but this was especially a problem for unranked as player didn't rank up.)
    • Updated several Dreadnought upgrade tooltips to specify the exact value they provide.
    • Many weapon tooltips have been updated to reflect changes in 2.25 and 2.3
    • Dreadnought and Juggernaut formation changed to be at the front of the units in its army. Previously units in a Dreadnoughts army would be in front, which was rarely desirable as they would get quickly focused down. Players often had to micromanage the positioning of their low tier units to keep them safe behind, especially in the case of PHC Medics. Dreadnoughts & Juggernauts now act as a spearhead when leading  armies, which incentivises using Dreadnoughts in synergy with armies and the buffs they can provide. Cronus retains old formation due to being an artillery dreadnought.
    • Interface Improvements
      • Most Orbital Upgrades have received a new and improved icon. 
      • In-game chat now displays whether a message was sent to Team or All.
      • Shift + Enter now always opens All chat, Enter always opens Team chat, unless not on a team.
      • Lobby chat now displays the player's name in gold, so it is easy to distinguish from the blue text of the chat messages.
      • The percentage character, “%” now display properly when typed in lobby or game chat.
      • Host of a lobby can now set team and spawn for other players who have joined.
      • The countdown text in a lobby now displays "Cancel" in front of the numbers to indicate players can cancel the countdown.
      • Tech buildings now display what units and defenses they unlock on the tooltip. (Apart from Air Eliminator and Shredder Turret upgrades)
      • If minimized, the Ashes of the Singularity icon now blinks when an automatch game has been found.
    • Menu rework
      • All Sub-menus have had left to right ordering reexamined to put the primary button such as “Load Game” before “Back.” People read left to right, so it is more intuitive to put the most commonly used button to the left. This is standard amongst most RTS game menus, we want to make the menus and interface for Ashes as intuitive and familiar as possible for new players coming in from previous RTS games. 
    • In-Game Menu
      • Save Replay replaced with Load Game
      • Quit Game removed
      • Surrender renamed to Quit Game (Surrender has the post-game graphs)
    • Main Menu
      • Mods renamed to Modding
      • Modding is now on the main menu in place of the tutorial
      • Map Editor moved under the modding sub-menu (But still needs to be revealed by applying -modding under the Steam Launch settings
      • Credits and Troubleshooting moved to the top right corner under News and Community
      • New Button: Join Discord. Now links to the official Ashes Discord channel.
    • Multiplayer Menu
      • Ranked Match renamed to Ranked 1v1 Match
      • Unranked Match renamed to Unranked 1v1 Match
      • Rankings renamed to Metaverse
    • Campaign Difficulty Settings
      • Much easier renamed to Beginner
      • Easier renamed to Easy
      • Harder renamed to Hard
      • Much harder renamed to Expert
    • Metaverse
      • Summary renamed to Player Summary
      • Ascendancy Wars renamed to Campaign Scores
      • Benchmark Renamed to Benchmark Scores
      • Added box outline around buttons
      • Ladders renamed to Leaderboards 
    • Miscellaneous
      • Vast map size renamed to Enormous
    • Modding Improvements
      • Any player can now be controlled in the modding debug tools, instead of only being able to toggle between player 1 and  2.
      • Mods are now able to assign a Quanta cost to buildings, using the BuildingTemplates.csv file.
      • Mods are now able to modify Physics, using the RigidBodyTemplates.csv file.
      • Mods are now able to modify unit movement, using the FlockerTemplates.csv file.
      • Mods are now able to modify Formations, using the FormationTemplates.csv file.
      • Several variables that were previously references as Integers are now referenced as Strings, to make it more intuitive for modders to change.
      • Separated and tidied up the way Drones are configured to make changing them more intuitive for modders.
      • Configuration files in mod directories now add to the base configuration instead of replace. This means modders won't have to go back and update their mod as we continue to update the base game, depending on what the mod is changing.
      • Multiplayer is no longer disabled when mods are enabled.  However, mods themselves will be disabled when multiplayer modes are selected. (There is a prompt to notify players of this) Therefore it is still not possible to play multiplayer with mods with the public build.  We are planning on supporting this in the future and this is our first step, but for the time being, the "modding" Steam beta will continue to be required to play multiplayer with mods. 
      • Note: In order to make modding more user friendly, some of these changes break compatibility with mods created for previous versions. To update previous mods, a few changes are required. Refer to this thread to find out how.
  • Maps
    • Atwater added to automatch map pool
    • Pyn removed from automatch map pool
    • New Map - Talitha. An enormous 6 player Desert map
    • Proving Grounds removed
    • Eltanin
      • Eltanin suffered from having a scarcity of resources, limiting the amount of units and strategies players could field. It also had an unfair resource distribution, where some players were getting access to more resources than their teammates. We are increasing the total amount of resources for each player and evening it out, so each player has the same amount. We don't want players to feel victimised for having a disadvantaged spawn, or players rush to fight over resources against their own team mates.
    • Adjustments
      • Fixed an issue where one of the spawns had a Metal Deposit blocked
      • Added an additional Radioactives Deposit on the base Radioactives Generator
      • Evened the resource layout so every player has equal access to resources
      • Added additional Turinium Generators in the middle of the map
    • Lair of the Turtle
      • Lair of the Turtle had a tiny amount of Radioactivies compared to Metal, which limited high tier units. It was also slightly unfair for the top left spawn. We are increasing the amount of Radioactives the player has access to, mostly in their base to stay consistent with the design of the map.
    • Adjustments
      • Added additional Radioactives deposits near the base
      •  Added additional Radioactives deposits in the corners of the map
      •  Centered the middle Radioactives generator and deposits
  • Bug Fixes
    • Fixed a bug where Claim Region from AI team mates was not working
    • Changing the build speed map option no longer affects resource costs.
    • Fixed a bug where the in-game attack range display on the weapon tooltips used data from max tracking distance and not max attack range. As a result, the attack ranges listed on the weapon tooltips will be lower than before.
    • Fixed a bug where revealed Emergency, Sapper and Serpentine Turrets weren’t leaving a targetable icon  through Fog of War after being revealed.
    • Fixed a bug where player names were being displayed as [Unknown] when replays were opened by a different user.
    • Fixed a bug where the drop down choices for “Capture Speed” was not properly ordered.
    • Fixed a bug where pathing was obscured on the top left of Regulus. 
    • Fixed a bug where the camera panning was behaving differently after a camera manipulation took place in a scripted mission. 
    • Fixed a bug where the the voice over at the post game screen was excessively loud. 
  • Balance
    • Miscellaneous
      • The Assembly will no longer cost Radioactives, so the starting resources is no longer necessary.
      • PHC and Substrate no longer start with 100 Radioactives.
      • Neutral Generators spawning anti-air creeps was frustrating as it made maneuvering around the map with air units too punishing. Players were forced to micro-manage their air units to avoid the AA creeps which is something we don’t want to force on players, especially as it was hard to avoid with the wide flying patterns of air units.
      • Generators no longer spawn anti-air creeps.
    • Assembly
      • In 2.3 we gave the Assembly a Radioactives cost to balance it against the Armory. This was a noob trap where new players, and the AI on certain settings, could get stuck running out of Radioactives and unable to progress. We are reverting this Radioactives cost and applying a different approach to balance the Assembly. This is more thematic with the lore and the asymmetric design of PHC and Substrate.
      • The Assembly is getting its durability lowered so it is much weaker compared to the PHC Factory and Armory. Now there will be a direct tradeoff; Substrate get more flexibility on the cheaper Assembly, while the PHC Production is much more durable. Many other Substrate buildings are having their durability lowered below that of the PHC equivalents to further refine the theme of PHC toughness vs Substrate Flexibility. We want to try and make the factions feel more unique and asymmetric, but in a way that is balanced and fair.
      • Radioactives cost removed
      • Total health/shields reduced from 1750 to 1200
    • Quantum Archive
      • The Quantum Archive had 200 more health over the PHC Quantum Relay which was especially unfair considering it has shields. We are reducing the durability of the Quantum Archive below that of PHC Quantum Relay to compensate for the fact that Substrate do not have storage limits and will not be investing Quanta in Storage upgrades.
      • Total Health/Shields reduced from 1700 to 1300
    • Advanced Assembly
      • The lack of resource storage limitations makes producing Dreadnoughts and Heavy Air units much easier for Substrate, as players can then bank up a large amount of resources. We are lowering the health of these structures to compensate for bonus of not having storage limitations, as well as to compensate for the fact the Substrate structures have regenerating Shields. 
      • Total Health/Shields reduced from 10000 to 8000
    • Aviary
      • Total Health/Shields reduced from 4000 to 3500
    • Tech Buildings
      • There is a huge disparity between the health of PHC and Substrate Tech Structures, where Substrate equivalents are far more durable. This was especially unfair given the shield regeneration and other bonuses Substrate have over PHC. We are making the health more consistent between tech buildings, but giving PHC a slight edge in building health. 
    • Quantum Upgrades
      • Radar and Building upgrades were rarely invested in as they were a much weaker investment compared to damage and unit health upgrades. We want to encourage more strategic diversity with Quantum Upgrades, and to incentivise the building health upgrade to compensate for the health reduction some of the Substrate buildings are suffering.
      • Radar Range Quanta cost lowered from 100 to 75
      • Building Health Quanta cost lowered from 100 to 75
    • Air & Anti-Air Adjustments
      • Air units had more health than ground units, which was quite misleading as they are not durable due to how powerful anti-air weaponry is. As part of our ongoing goal to make Ashes more intuitive and welcoming for new players, we are making the following adjustments.
      • All dedicated anti-air weaponry damage halved.
      • All air units have their health halved 
      • Most Drones have their health halved
      • Aside from the primary benefit of making air unit survivability more intuitive, there are a number of other side benefits.
      • Air Units will now be more vulnerable to Orbital Abilities, Drones and Dreadnought Autocannons
      • Support Orbitals will be more beneficial, such as Nano-mesh Barrier or Intensive Care.
      • Repairing damage air units will be faster
      • Air Units grant less experience to Dreadnoughts
    • Harvester
      • The Harvester is the only air unit not getting its health reduced. This is to make it more survivable as they were too easily picked off by enemy interceptors. The survivability of the harvester was less than the health suggested,as being stationary meant enemy interceptors were able to focus it down much quicker to other air units which are fast and evade attacks.
      • Health has not been reduced alongside other air units, effectively making it twice as durable.
    • Air Rampager
      • The gunships were flying far too slowly, which didn’t make them feel like air units. We are increasing their movement speed but increasing cost to compensate. They are also losing the ability to target drones, and the Rampager is receiving a slight damage reduction.
      • Movement speed increased from 300 to 500.
      • Metal cost increased from 400 to 450
      • Radioactives cost increased from 300 to 350
      • Main gun damage reduced from 300 to 250
      • Can no longer target drones
    • Air Marauder
      • The Marauder had a very basic and boring movement pattern, where it would sit above its target without moving. It didn’t feel like a gunship, it felt more like a floating tank. We are increasing its flying height and changing its movement profile to make it more active and maneuver around its target to make it look more engaging. Since it is moving around a lot more, it is firing less regularly than before and has a lower effective DPS. To compensate, it is getting a small health increase to differentiate it from the Rampager which is faster and has more damage, but is less durable.
      • Movement profile changed
      • Flying height increased
      • Movement speed increased from 300 to 450.
      • Metal cost increased from 430 to 450
      • Radioactives cost increased from 330 to 350
      • Health increased from 1250 to 1400
      • Can no longer target drones
      • Weapon audio updated
    • Air Harbinger
      • The Air Harbinger was too fast for a heavy gunship with so much health and damage.
      • Movement speed reduced from 500 to 300.
    • Strategic Bomber
      • The Strategic bomber was a little too durable
      • Armor reduced from 70% to 60%.
    • Martyr
      • The Martyr and Reaper were overperforming compared to PHC Frigates. They were balanced cost for cost in a vacuum, which did not hold up to an accurate representation of a real match, due to the Shield regeneration making Substrate have a much stronger ability to capture regions in the early game, and being able to out produce the PHC due to being able to heavily invest in Assemblies which also then transitioned into Cruiser or air production. 
      • Shield regeneration lowered from 0.5 to 0.25
      • Shields reduced from 35 to 30
    • Reaper
      • Shield regeneration lowered from 0.5 to 0.25
      • Shields reduced from 50 to 45
    • Sky Cleanser
      • The Sky Cleanser was underperforming, it also had too much durability for a Frigate. It is receiving damage and armor-piercing in exchange for losing survivability to make it more consistent with the health of other frigates. This exchange is especially beneficial against the Strategic Bomber as they previously were one-shot by it. 
      • Now has 20% armor piercing
      • Damage increased from 5 to 10
      • Shields reduced from 200 to 100
    • Drone Hive
      • Since air units are having their health reduced, the Drone Hive will become a much more effective anti-air unit. To compensate, it is having its damage reduced to be less powerful against other units. The Drone hive also had a dispropriate amount of shields to  health compared to other Cruisers. We are exchanging some of its health for more shields to make it more benefitted by Caregivers and Regenerators, and more vulnerable to EMP Pulse.
      • Drone damage reduced from 5 to 4
      • Health reduced from 400 to 200
      • Shields increased from 400 to 600
    • Mauler
      • In contrast to the Drone Hive, the Mauler had too little shields compared to health. This made it especially vulnerable to the EMP Pulse Orbital. The Mauler is getting less shields in exchange for more health to be consistent with other Substrate Cruisers. However, it is overall losing 100 shields in order to make it slightly weaker than the Athena. Previously the Athena and Mauler were equally balanced, which benefits Substrate given the advantage of having cheaper, more flexible Assemblies with no resource storage, making it much easier to outproduce PHC opponents. Like many other aspects of Substrate, the Mauler will now be slightly weaker than the PHC equivalent.
      • Health increased from 80 to 280
      • Shields reduced from 1000 to 700
      • Energy increased from 80 to 100
      • Energy drain per shot increased from 10 to 15
    • Artemis
      • Increasing the range of the artemis will lower the amount of micro required to use the Artemis to outrange base defenses, while removing its area of effect tones down its damage output.
      • Attack range increased from 1250 to 1400.
      • Area of effect removed from anti-building attack.
    • Mobile Nullifier (Substrate and PHC)
      • The Mobile Nullifiers were jamming too much for a mobile and durable unit. They now jam less than the Orbital Jammer structures.
      • Jamming range reduced from 1500 to 1000
    • Emergency and Serpentine Turrets
      • We want to give players more means of countering the Emergency and Serpentine Turrets by disallowing them to target air.
      • Can no longer target air units and drones.
      • Call Serpentine Turret cooldown increased from 1 to 5 seconds.
    • Sapper
      • Now has Engineer Heal Ray
      • Sapper Turret can no longer target air units and drones
      • Sapper Turret Build time increased from 5 seconds to 10
    • Carving Turret
      • The Carving Turret was slightly over performing, and will no longer be targeting air units.
      • Damage reduced from 500 to 450.
      • Can no longer target air units.
    • Refinery
      • The build time of the Refinery was extremely high, which was unintuitive given the relative cheap cost and size of the structure. Given the health buff the Harvester is receiving, the Refinery is getting its build speed lowered to make them easier to produce.
      • Build time reduced from 140 to 90
    • Repair Bay
      • On top of health reduction alongside the anti-air damage reduction, the Repair Bay Drones are getting a further health reduction to make disrupting their healing more viable. Previously they were more than triple as durable as other drones, now they are about double. 
      • Drone health reduced from 50 to 30
    • Boost
      • Due to how Boost needed to be applied three times, it was ramping up in cost far too rapidly, especially compared to PHC Optimize. We are lowering the Quanta ramp up per cast so it ramps up more consistently with other Orbitals.
      • Additional Quanta per cast reduced from 0.25 to 0.075
    • Drone Swarm
      • The long lifetime of the Drone Swarm was over performing due to the Drones ability to chase down units. The inability to escape this ability, compared to Plasma Storm, often lead to wiping entire armies at a crucial time and consequently ending the game.
      • Lifetime reduced from 60 to 30 seconds. 
  • Dreadnoughts
    • The level requirements for Dreadnoughts was very low for the first couple of levels, then was extremely high for the high levels. This made it so Dreadnoughts were generally reaching level 3 in the first engagement, granting access to double instant repair which could be quite frustrating. Then it was practically impossible to get a level 5 dreadnought, which was unnecessary given that the higher upgrades are not any stronger than low upgrades, and in many cases are weaker. We are adjusting the level requirements to make leveling up Dreadnoughts more consistent and make the higher level upgrades more accessible. Many of the higher level upgrades are being buffed as they are currently very weak.
    • Dreadnought experience requirements changed from 4,000/12,000/48,000/192,000 to 8,000/1,8000/32,000/50,000
    • Juggernaut experience requirements changed from 8,000/24,000/96,000/384,000 to 16,000/36,000/64,000/100,000
    • (Every time a Juggernaut levels up past level 5, it requires 36,000 experience.) 
    • The build time of Dreadnoughts and Juggernauts was extremely disproportionate for their cost compared to other classes of units. This resulted in a massive drain which was only sustainable after considerable economic investment, where players would have to cut all other spending in order to produce them. When players were able to afford Dreadnoughts, they were able to churn them out far too quickly. This made producing Frigates and Cruisers in the late game even less viable than they should otherwise be, and were rarely mixed in with higher tier units due to needing to have their production paused. We are significantly increasing the build time of Dreadnoughts, they will still be more time efficient to produce than Cruisers, but to a much lesser extent. 
    • Players will now able to sustain production of lower tier units while a Dreadnought is being produced, which supports the intended design of Dreadnoughts to “lead” armies with their bonuses. If a player wishes to focus entirely on Dreadnoughts late game, they are now encouraged to use Engineers to assist their Dreadnought production to cut down build time or produce two at a time.
    • Build time of Dreadnoughts and Juggernauts doubled
    • Build time of Substrate Dreadnoughts slightly increased to be consistent with PHC build times.
    • The Prometheus and Savager now take 10% longer to build than other Dreadnoughts to reflect their higher costs.
    • Hyperion
      • The Hyperion was too difficulty to destroy when upgraded with the Self Healing Hull upgrade, especially when combined with the healing drones. The movement speed from the Overload Engines upgrade was also far too little for it to be viable compared to the other powerful upgrades.
      • Overload Engines Upgrade Movement speed bonus increased from 10% to 20%
      • Self Healing Hull regeneration speed halved.
    • Cronus
      • The Radar on the Cronus was far too little. For comparison, a Sensor Tower provides 2500 radar range.
      • Radar Module Radar ranged increased from 1050 to 2100
    • Prometheus
      • While the Prometheus is incredibly strong, the Precision upgrade was far too weak.
      • Precision Upgrade bonus damage versus Dreadnoughts and Juggernauts increased from 10% to 20%
    • Retributor
      • Substrate Dreadnoughts are getting their energy cost for special abilities removed. This was inconsistent, unintuitive and unnecessary given the abilities are balanced around their long cooldowns. Instead, the Retributor and Savager will drain energy every time they fire their main weapon. They will retain a large storage of energy, so mixing in Capacitors will only be necessary for extended engagements. This makes energy consumption and Capacitors more of a consistent theme between different classes of units.
      • Overload Engines Upgrade Movement speed bonuses increased from 15% to 20%
      • Main weapon now drains 20 energy per attack
      • Havok energy cost removed
    • Overmind
      • The Power Plant upgrade was obsolete due to the Overmind not having a rapid consumption of energy. We are changing this to increase Shield regeneration, like the Savager Shield Regeneration upgrade to make it a viable upgrade choice. 
      • Power Plant upgrade now doubles shield regeneration instead of energy regeneration
      • The Overmind and Nest of the Queen Drones are not getting their health reduced, effectively making them twice as durable.
      • Energy removed
      • Static charge no longer costs energy
    • Savager
      • While the Savager and Prometheus were equally balanced at level 1, the Prometheus quickly outscaled and could destroy the Savager with ease due to getting access to both Overload and Draining Beam at level 2. The Savager, on the other hand, only got access to a speed boost and an armor increase which both had no impact on the Savager vs Prometheus interaction due to the full armor-piercing capabilities. We are exchanging the requirements for the Shield Regeneration bonus with the armor increase to give the Savager earlier access to an upgrade which will help it trade better against the Prometheus. In future we may rework and standardize the progression of Dreadnought upgrades to be consistent among different Dreadnought classes and factions, but for now, this will help balance the two Dreadnought destroyers.
      • Maneuvering Thrusters now also increases Savager movement speed and acceleration by 20% (On top of doubling rotation speed)
      • Shield Regeneration bonus now only requires level 2
      • Armor upgrade now requires level 3
      • Main weapon energy drain per attack increased from 10 to 15
    • Leonidas
      • The Leonidas was underperforming given its enormous cost requirements. We want to incentivise players to invest in the Leonidas at the very late game, instead of just massing Dreadnoughts.
      • Health increased from 50,000 to 60,000 
  • Campaign Adjustments
    • Imminent Crisis
      • Fixed a bug preventing players from building Barrager turrets on Noctus and Drengi.
      • Mission #6: Calethaon
        • The early Nemesis Cruisers was quite frustrating as they would snipe Engineers and new players would not know how or why their Engineers died. The Zeus will be weaker against Engineers and more visually identifiable when they snipe a player's Engineers. We are also adding additional boss waves that spawn after the initial wave boss wave, so that if a player is late to capture their Turinium Generator at the start of the mission, they will have a challenge at the end of the mission instead of the waves stopping and the player sitting around waiting for the Turinium win with nothing to do defend against.
        • When this mission was originally designed before Escalation, the Falcon was the basic anti-air defense in place of the Constable. Being suggested to build three Falcons is now completely overkill, so we are changing it to three Constables. 
        • Nemesis cruisers in wave 3 replaced with Zeus.
        • Optional objective to build 3 Falcons replaced with 3 Constables.
        • Additional boss waves are sent every two minutes after the initial boss wave. 
      • Mission #7: Roceda
        • Roceda was too challenging on lower difficulties as beginner players could often not act fast enough to prevent a Turinium defeat. We are increasing the Turinium limit to give more time for the player to stop the timer, but increasing the resources on the enemy’s Nexus regions to allow the AI produce more units.
        • Turinium requirements on Roceda increased from 1000 to 1500.
        • Added an additional Radioactives and Metal deposit nearby the enemy AI.
      • Mission #9: Noctus
        • We want to give Noctus some strategic diversity by making a Turinium victory viable. There is only a single obscure Turinium Generator, and it took take far too long to accumulate victory off that.
        • Turinium requirements lowered from 1500 to 500.
      • Mission #11: Silgul
        • We wanted to avoid new players from being confused when Mac tells you to use Amplify, which was renamed to Optimize.
        • Objective and dialogue text has been updated for renaming Amplify to Optimize.
    • Escalation
      • Can now build Mobile Nullifier on all missions past mission 3.
      • Player color has been standardised to green every mission
      • Some missions were set to hide terrain, which we have changed to terrain revealed to be consistent amongst all missions in Escalation.
    • Mission #2: Betelguese
      • The patrolling Furies were incredibly frustrating and made the mission too challenging on higher difficulties as they would snipe the players Harvesters and had lots of upgrades making them much stronger than the players Dominators.
      • Removed patrolling fury spawns on higher difficulties.
    • Mission #4: Leo
      • Since Smarties no longer target air units and the Air Harbinger has been heavily buffed since Escalation launched, the Smarties needed to be replaced with Constables to restore the intended difficulty.
      • Now has a proper map preview.
      • Most of the Smarty systems have been replaced with Constables.
      • Dreadnoughts no longer disabled.
    • Mission #5: Logoan
      • Logoan and a few of the following missions are easy to cheese by Rushing the AI opponents with Air Rampagers which have been heavily buffed since Escalation launched and the campaigns were designed. We are adding a Constable to each AI player to make Air rushing a little more difficult.
      • Each AI player now starts with a Constable to make air rushing more difficult.
      • Removed a dialogue line that didn’t have any voice over.
    • Mission #7: Alnitak
      • Starting with a free Aviary meant that players were able to rush out a Rampager as soon as the game started and shut down some of the AI opponents before they even had a chance to get their base established. The Aviary is a high tier structure for building advanced air units, giving the player a free Aviary at the start makes these missions too easy to cheese.
      • Player no longer starts with a free Aviary.
    • Mission #8: Alnilam
      • Player no longer starts with a free Aviary.
    • Mission #9: Altaria
      • Player no longer starts with a free Aviary.
      • Mac now gets a wave of free Cruisers every 8 minutes on Expert difficulty.
      • Mac now has an Air Eliminator next to his Nexus instead of a Falcon.
    • Genesis
      • We have been gathering player feedback about the difficulty levels of the Genesis campaign missions and are making them more consistent across by adjusting some of too easy or too difficult missions.
      • AI difficulty lowered on Atwater and Bauhaus when playing on Beginner, Easy and Normal difficulty settings.
      • Reinforcements from holding the central in Griffinclaw no longer pull the player's camera.
      • Difficulty increased on Griffinclaw when playing from Normal to Expert
      • Fixed a bug preventing players from building Mobile Nullifiers in Bauhaus and Auctor
      • Fixed a bug on Glarus where Artemis Cruisers would not spawn if the Reinforcements player captured the regions.
  • Scenarios
    • King of the Hill
      • Some players were not aware that King of the Hill is an endless mission, so we are making it extra clear.
      • Scenario description and in-game dialogue updated to explain that this mission is endless and players can not win.
    •  Assault
      • Assault and Overlord are some of our oldest scenarios, and as a result they had dialogue text displaying in a way which is no longer necessary, as well as having terrain hidden. We are standardising them to be consistent with the style of other scenarios. Assault  was also far too easy for elite players due to starting with the Hyperion.
      • Removed Hide Terrain
      • Removed outdated dialogue convention (removed “Mac:” before the body of text as there is now a portrait of Mac.)
      • Camera manipulations removed from scripting
      • Starting Hyperion replaced with a Zeus when playing on Expert difficulty
      • Increased health of Guardians Nexus from 500 to 2500
      • Guardians Nexus now has two nearby Constables
      • Tidied up map to improve creep behaviour, appearance and pathing through tight choke points.
    • Eruption
      • Eruption was far too easy for elite players due to starting with the Hyperion. Players were also unable to make use of upgraded defenses.
      • Starting Hyperion replaced with Zeus when playing on Expert difficulty
      • Can now build Pan
      • Can now build Orbital Nullifier
      • Can now use Orbital Upgrades
      • Can now access all Orbital Abilities
      • Player now starts with an armory in order to unlock upgraded defenses.
      • Better aligned the revealed area for the generator
      • Enemy AI now gets a free weapon and health upgrade every 15 minutes.
    • Implosion
      • This mission was too easy on higher difficulties. There was also a couple of buildings  that were placed on top of each other.
      • Removed outdated dialogue convention
      • Fixed the spawn locations of some of the AI’s buildings to avoid stacking with other buildings or resources
      • Increased AI difficulty when playing on Hard
      • Increased AI difficulty when playing on Expert
    • Gauntlet
      • It was possible to cheese this mission by using the air scouts to fly over to the Turinium Generator. When this mission was designed before Escalation, there was no Air units available from the Nexus.
      • Can no longer build Pan or Instigator. 
      • AI difficulty increased from Tough to Painful when playing on Expert difficulty. 
    • Turtle Wars
      • Turtle wars was too easy for elite players.
      • AI difficulty increased from Challenging to Tough when playing on Hard
      • AI difficulty increased from Tough to Painful when playing on Expert
      • Friendly creep waves spawn delay increased from 20 seconds to 40
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