It’s time to introduce more of the features that the next update will add. This one has proven to be somewhat contentious, so let’s sneak peek carefully: what does the rumored shrinking map actually mean?
Onwards and downwards
In a nutshell, our next big move in the ongoing campaign development is discouraging players from lingering in the early levels and farming for cheap EXP and upgrades, because that can easily chip away at the intended difficulty curve of a campaign. You may have heard that radiation has something to do with it, and you’re right; let’s revisit our basic premise to get started!
Europa’s surface is so irradiated that the ocean underneath started to seem like a good idea by comparison when humans were looking to settle the place. Thus, we find ourselves in underwater outposts, pretty close to the thick layer of ice that encases the whole moon. However, the ice only does so much to stave off the death rays, and as such, we need to go deeper – and each new biome is situated a little further down than the last, as you can see here.
This encroaching radiation has so far only figured into the game as an idea in the background, but starting with the next update, it will actually be a red death zone on your map. Get out while you still can.
And that’s enough hype – it’s not actually all that scary. For one thing, it doesn’t move very fast, and if you’re generally more intent on progressing through the map than poking holes at it, the radiation shouldn’t bother you. (If it does, please let us know. It’s not meant to be a game of chase.) Secondly, it’s optional, so if it ends up bothering you a great deal, you can simply choose not to be irradiated. For those who want it, though, we think it’s a pretty nice way of bringing some extra lore to the table and hopefully getting rid of a few campaign balance issues while we’re at it!
What else is new: reputation and respawning
There are two other notable additions that we’re making with regard to the campaign game mode. One should make you take care not to evade the radiation too hastily, and the other is simply long overdue.
As stated above, progressing from one biome to the next is the key to continued survival. However, the Europa Coalition rules with an iron hand and doesn’t allow just any kind of through traffic along strategically important routes.
So, you are definitely encouraged to take your time and complete some missions for the powers that be – failing that, you may need to oil a few hinges with your hard-earned marks to be allowed to pass. Also of note: yes, for the time being, it’s only Coalition rep that counts here, but who knows what kinds of power shifts we may witness in the Europan political climate in the future!
Last but not least, there will be no more waiting for what feels like forever to (re)join a game, because after the next update, you can finally respawn during a campaign round. It will be similar to respawning as we know it in other game modes, in that you’ll appear in a respawn shuttle not too far away from the sub… with a penalty to your stats, because without it, we’d be making you effectively immortal, and we don’t want that. To overcome this slight hindrance, you just need to make it to an outpost and see a doctor.
If the cost to your stats or the trip to the outpost doctor are too much to bear, you can also choose not to respawn mid-round and wait to be reborn next time your crew docks at a station, the same way campaign respawning currently works.
We’re hopeful you’ll find a more meaningful sense of progression in your campaigns following these changes. Let us know how they play!