After teasing about the traitor overhaul in a number of posts now, it’s finally time to take a closer look at what we’ve been doing with this system.
Our goal has been to make traitor gameplay more engaging, offer more variety, and importantly, make it work with the campaign game mode. Campaign being the most popular game mode by a wide margin, and traitors being incompatible with it as well as generally a little outdated, it’s not surprising traitors haven’t been a very enticing feature in recent times.
The human component and all the associated uncertainty is, however, one of the cornerstones of Barotrauma for us, so we’ve been eager to give this system the facelift it needs. So, starting with the next update, you can enable traitors in the campaign mode. (Traitors will be off in campaigns by default so you don’t get saboteurs on board by accident.)
Traitors also progress in the course of a campaign: if a traitor completes their event successfully, they’re likely to receive another, more dangerous traitor event next round. This way, traitor events aren’t one-off things in the campaign, but have some continuity between rounds.
With the campaign mode in mind, we’ve added a danger level setting, which controls the severity of damage the traitor’s work is likely to cause during a round. This should make it less of a headache to have traitors in the campaign mode, as you can pre-empt the worst damage they’re likely to do to the long-term viability of your playthrough – or you can of course use the danger level setting to add an extra challenge to your campaign. The danger level setting is also available for traitor events in all the other MP game modes.
Another new setting is traitor probability. Where traitors have previously been an on/off/maybe setting, the host can now fine-tune how likely it is that a traitor will be on board, from 0% to 100%.
The real meat of the update, you could say, is traitor event variety. Where the traitor system has until now consisted of only seven different events, after the update there will be a total of twenty-seven events that traitors may be assigned. Besides being greater in number, the new traitor events vary in their purpose and scope much more than the old set of events, so look forward to many new kinds of treasonous tasks.
Some of these new traitor events involve not one but multiple traitors. This is a feature that some players who have been following us since before we launched on Steam may remember, because we had multi-traitor events in the early days. Unfortunately we had to drop them at the time, but now they’re back! Multi-traitor events require the use of codewords, also a previously-seen feature; these are seemingly innocuous words that traitors use to communicate with each other, hidden in plain sight.
What’s in it for the traitors? Besides the joy of being trouble, traitors get a reward for completing their objective successfully. In most cases, the reward is that they “steal” a percentage of the XP others gained during the event, but sometimes it may also be a flat XP/money reward. There are also a number of new traitor items: a radio jammer, which will come in handy during multi-traitor events, different kinds of time bombs, the deep diver duck (a duck made of lead which you can throw at unfunny people’s heads), and the husk caller, an item that summons husks.
And how can the rest of the crew fight these interlopers? Keep an eye out for suspicious behavior and report your findings: The crew votes who they think is the traitor, and if more than half of the crew suspect the same player, that player gets accused of being a traitor. If the accusation is correct, the traitor’s objective fails and they get no reward. If an innocent player is accused, however, the crew has to pay a fine (and the traitor gets off the hook and can get follow-up events on future rounds for a job exceptionally well done).
Modders note: Traitor events now use our scripted events system, the same that we use with all outpost and faction events, for instance. This means modders can easily add new traitor events using the in-game event editor – and the scripted events system is much more flexible than the old traitor system, which means you can mod in a much greater variety of events, too.
Unfortunately, as we moved to an entirely different way of handling traitor events, old custom traitor missions will no longer work. To our understanding, content like this has not been very common in mods, so this setback should hopefully not affect very many mods at all, and the loss of support will only affect the traitor missions in existing mods, not the entire mods that contain these custom missions.
We’re still sorry for the negative impact on old mods; now that we’re no longer in Early Access, we want to avoid breaking mods with updates, but maintaining two separate systems for traitors would have been cumbersome, especially when there are not a lot of mods that make use of the old system. We hope modders will enjoy the flexibility of the new traitor system as much as we have!
The traitor system overhaul will be released in the next update, coming in just a few weeks. Stay tuned until then, or get a head start in the Unstable version!