Today Master of Orion developers WG Labs announced a short recap of things that they have done so far, in the past month since the game has been released for early access. Phase 2 of early Access for Master of Orion is beginning tomorrow, 25th March 2016. and it is bringing the players three new races and some nice changes, additions to the game as well as balances – fixes asked from the community itself. Apparently, developers are listening.
I am personally really happy that there will be these changes, even though this means that I will have to revisit my Master of Orion preview and check out the new balance of the game. Sweet pains.
Master of Orion’s Early Access started about a month ago, and we’ve been thrilled with your response. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re staying focused on the two areas that matter: getting the remaining features implemented and making changes based on your feedback.
First, let’s get the exciting news out of the way: Early Access phase 2 begins tomorrow, March 25th. The update will go live at approximately 10am PDT and may download automatically depending on your update settings.
With that out of the way let’s cover what we’ve done, where we’re at now and where we’re going. ”The Past
Here’s a timeline covering some of the bigger Early Access moments:
- Feb. 18th: We revealed the voice cast for Master of Orion and the official start date for Early Access
- Feb. 23rd: Streamers began broadcasting their play sessions on Twitch, and YouTubers started releasing “Let’s Play” and impressions videos
- Feb. 25th: We soft launched on Steam and immediately saw a spike in activity
- Feb. 26th: Early Access officially kicked off, with tens of thousands of you purchasing the Collector’s Edition and launching your campaigns to conquer the stars
- Feb. 29th: We sent the first round of feedback you had to the development team, covering more than 100 topics ranging from pacing, combat controls, race balance and the dreaded turn limit
- Mar. 4th: The first update for Master of Orion, 40.13, went live and included the option to disable the turn limit by turning off Excellence, or setting the turn limit yourself if you left it on
- Mar. 8th: We compiled and sent another round of feedback to the development team, identifying another 30+ topics
- Mar. 11th: We published our “response to feedback” post to let you know we’re listening and will be making changes
But here comes the part that is most interesting to those who have been with Master of Orion for the past month:
Here we are: our first major patch of Early Access, what we’re calling “phase 2.” This patch introduces some new features and races that we had already planned, as well as a number of changes you’ve requested. Here’s what was already planned and will be going live with the patch:
- Three new races: Klackon, Meklar and Terran Khanate
- New victory condition: Technological
- New feature: Custom Races
- New operating system: Mac OS X
- New language support for text localization: German, French, Polish, Czech, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese
That would be a pretty awesome patch on its own, but it doesn’t address most of the core concerns you’ve had. We’re also making a lot of changes that are entirely driven by your feedback. Here are some of the highlights; we’ll have the full patch notes available tomorrow along with the release: Game Setup
- Difficulty settings have been expanded from Average to: Easy, Normal, Hard and Very Hard
- Galaxy generation has been altered so that biomes, richness and gravity are more consistent with the star systems they are found in (i.e. Red, Orange, Yellow stars, etc.)
- Initial pass on race traits to improve diversity; this will be on-going for the remainder of Early Access
- Tech tree progression has been adjusted, particularly for technologies in the mid and late game; on average it should take longer to progress through the tech tree
- Significant improvements to AI behavior, particularly when it comes to diplomacy, colony management and expansion
- AI now does a better job utilizing ship upgrades—not just hulls, but systems and weapons as well
- Blueprint upgrade logic has been improve and will receive further improvements in future patches
- Ships will no longer be scrapped if you decide to scrap a blueprint
- A structures list has been introduced that includes by-type filters (i.e. Food, Research, Production, etc.); this list can be accessed by clicking the “View” button to the right of Manage Structures
- Auto-build logic has been improved
- An option to start battles paused has been added to the Gameplay section of Options
- An option to disable AI by default has been added to the Gameplay section of Options
- An option to start battles in the Cinematic camera mode has been added to the Gameplay section of Options
- We’ve improved the design of the pre-combat UI
- We’ve changed the names of the combat buttons in pre-combat to:
- Tactical -> Take Command
- Simulate -> Auto-Resolve
- A ship speed slider has been added, allowing you to adjust the speeds (in percentage) for ships
- A “match speed” button has been added that when selected will match the speeds of all of your ships
- A range-to-target slider has been added that will allow you to specify minimum and maximum ranges for your ships’ weapons; no more in-your-face combat unless you want that
- A retreat button has been added; ships must reach the edge of the map and then spend a few seconds warping out before they can retreat successfully
- Formation bonuses have been introduced that provide unique bonuses based on the formation(s) your ships are flying in
- We’ve added a visual display for marines in the pre-invasion UI
- It is now possible to specify the number of troop transports you want to commit to an invasionThe Future
We still have a lot of changes planned; not everything you’ve requested will show up in this phase of Early Access. Many of the changes will be ongoing as we continue development. We appreciate the time you’ve spent with Master of Orion so far, and look forward to hearing what you think of this new phase. We’re especially interested in the changes we’ve made based on your feedback; let us know if they’re working well, if you think more could be done, or if we’ve missed the mark entirely.
Still expecting and hoping more aggressive war AI, espionage, custom ship designing and the mod support (would love to see the new Master of Orion in Star Trek or Star Wars edition!).
The Early Access of Master of Orion is now entering phase 2 and I must admit that I have a pretty damn good feeling about it.