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Producer Letter: The Reaper Update

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#1 PabloPwnage

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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:06 PM

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ONE MONTH OF MECH ON MECH ACTION

It seems like only yesterday our indie shooter took its first steps into Open Beta. To mark HAWKEN's first month of being open to the public, we are proud to unveil its first new mech and a whole lot more in The Reaper Update. Coming January 24, this major patch not only adds the titular light mech assassin, but also introduces important balance tweaks and bug fixes.

In anticipation of The Reaper Update, we'd like to touch on recent and upcoming changes to the game and share the strategy and mechanics behind them.

A BALANCING ACT

The Reaper Update also introduces a pair of game balance adjustments that have been at top-of-mind for us since the start of Open Beta: the EMP item and the "stunlock" effect of explosive weapon damage. We believe you'll be pleased to hear both of these are being brought in line with other items and tactics.

The EMP effect duration will be reduced by 20 percent to 5.5 seconds and its area of effect is being reduced to the size of the visual effect. This may not be as drastic a change as some pilots would like and we will continue to evaluate its use after the update. Regarding the knockback effect of explosive damage, it was never intended to immobilize mechs, only to jostle them around a bit. The effect has been significantly reduced for all explosive weapons.

As always, community feedback is what drives change in HAWKEN. If you have an opinion on a gameplay feature, stating it clearly and constructively on the forums is the best way to foster support from your fellow pilots.

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MATCHMAKING EVOLVES

We wanted to take a moment to talk about what Matchmaking is and how it will work in HAWKEN. Matchmaking for our purposes is essentially a math formula that looks at different players' skill levels and does its best to create a match where the players all have a 50/50 chance at winning in the case of free-for-all modes like Deathmatch.  In team-based modes like Team Deathmatch, Missile Attack, and Siege, the matchmaker does its best to match two teams in such a way that there's an even probability that each team will win or lose.  The idea is that either team would have to play better than their usual skill level to win.  

Ten days ago, we introduced the first of a series of updates to the Matchmaking system in HAWKEN. This change adjusted how we weighed player skill in order to place players into groups that should give them the best experience possible.

So how are things working right now versus before?  From the beginning of Open Beta until our last patch, we had only enabled what would be considered "Quick Match". This system was designed to simply find the nearest open game for you to join and gives much less regard to your skill. We did this because we weren't sure what our concurrency would be in the beginning and we didn't want anyone to have to wait to get into a match.
As of our latest patch, when you initiate Matchmaking, the system looks at the selected region and game mode, and then polls all active servers that match those criteria, assessing your skill level against the server's average player skill level. It then prioritizes servers that are closer to capacity and adds you to the best overall fit.

What does that mean for you? The bad news is you'll have to wait a little longer to get into a match; up to 30 seconds in the worst case. Hopefully it will happen much faster (5-10 seconds). The good news is that you should be put into matches that will feel much more competitive for your skill level.  New players will be matched with new players and experienced players with experienced players.

This means that even if you're taking your brand-new level 1 Reaper out for a stroll next week, you may be pitted against pilots in higher-level mechs as mech level isn't a complete measure of player skill. There are a number of variables that go into calculating player skill, but we won't go into those because we don't want players chasing after numbers to the detriment of their team.  Additionally, Matchmaking will continue to evolve and improve as we evaluate gameplay data and harvest your feedback on the forums.

SUPPLY DROPS EN ROUTE

This week's patch marks the start of our content release schedule, which encompasses mechs, maps, and everything in between. We aim to have two patches every month, one introducing a new mech and the other addressing balance and follow-up tweaks. While all new mechs will have a unique chassis, some will also introduce new weapons, items, or internals. New cosmetics such as camouflage and drones will be also be added in each new mech patch. Two mechs will be available to test drive at any time, rotating out every one or two weeks. Newly released mechs will be part of this rotation, usually a few weeks after being first introduced.

Maps, taking longer to develop and polish, will be introduced on a three to four month schedule. As you might imagine, new game modes will take the longest amount of development time. We'll be sure to keep you updated on what we have planned for HAWKEN and how things are coming along.

REAP THE WHIRLWIND

It's a very exciting time to be part of the grassroots HAWKEN community! We've packed a lot into The Reaper Update and are eager to take it out of the garage and send it into the wild. The Reaper and a lot more are coming at you this Thursday, January 24. Be sure to check out the patch notes.

We'll see you on the battlefield, pilots!

Click here to view the article
Paul Loynd
Senior Producer/Enforcer, Meteor Entertainment

#2 nonsiccus

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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:09 PM

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Next week's patch marks the start of our content release schedule, which encompasses mechs, maps, and everything in between. We aim to have two patches every month, one introducing a new mech and the other addressing balance and follow-up tweaks.

Very excited for increased feedback/release schedule and hoping for further disclosure.

Thanks for the post.
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#3 marshalade

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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:10 PM

:) Much appreciated information.

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A tidal wave of marshalade...


#4 G4M5T3R

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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:22 PM

Sweet :DThanks
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#5 Kronguard

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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:23 PM

I am confused about one thing tho.

When you lot say ''introduce a new mech'' you mean as in story,lore,few concept art pictures and some update on the work,or you mean an actual playable mech?
Because i am confused,when the patch hits the servers,will the new mech be available or will we just get updates on the work of it?


Also regarding the matchmaking.
The way i see it,right now the main bases that are taken into consideration is an averedge level of your mechs?!
If that's the case,you have a problem,because even a blind person can get all mechs to max level,it does not mean they will actually be able to play if level equals skill (in matchmaking case)

Edited by Kronguard, January 22 2013 - 05:26 PM.

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   I dreamed a thousand new paths...I woke and walked my old one.

#6 h0B0

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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:26 PM

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Click me! I dare you.

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View Post[HWK]HUGHES, on March 15 2013 - 08:35 PM, said:

Oh don't always listen to h0B0. Lol.


#7 Raygin

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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:30 PM

More carnage!
So I will stand here with my shoulders square and tall,                                     Oh god...
and when the whistle blows, I'll falter,                                                                Oh god!
but when the crash comes I will fall.                                                                   Here comes the arm.
With so much steam and steel behind it,
I won't slow it down at all.

#8 Krellus

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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:38 PM

Wooot!

#9 FenixStryk

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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:39 PM

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Regarding the knockback effect of explosive damage, it was never intended to immobilize mechs, only to jostle them around a bit. The effect has been significantly reduced for all explosive weapons.
Hopefully "jostle them around a bit" doesn't end up still eating side-dashes. It's a huge bummer to get hit by Heat splash mid-dash only to eat a GL because your animation was interrupted.

See you after the patch.
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#10 G4M5T3R

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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:50 PM

View PostKronguard, on January 22 2013 - 05:23 PM, said:

I am confused about one thing tho.

When you lot say ''introduce a new mech'' you mean as in story,lore,few concept art pictures and some update on the work,or you mean an actual playable mech?

A new Playable mech.

Edited by G4M5T3R, January 22 2013 - 05:50 PM.

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#11 R33F3R

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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:52 PM

View Post[HWK]PabloPwnage, on January 22 2013 - 05:06 PM, said:

We aim to have two patches every month, one introducing a new mech and the other addressing balance and follow-up tweaks.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOhooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Im so stoked I think I just pooped my pants.
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#12 Guiotine

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Posted January 22 2013 - 06:36 PM

R33F3R, on January 22 2013 - 05:52 PM, said:

Posted Image[HWK]PabloPwnage, on , said:

We aim to have two patches every month, one introducing a new mech and the other addressing balance and follow-up tweaks.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOhooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Im so stoked I think I just pooped my pants.

No, you're so stoked you broke the damn chat lol.

edit: from this page at least. http://community.pla...e-reaper-update

Edited by Guiotine, January 22 2013 - 06:42 PM.

View PostReachH, on April 01 2013 - 04:29 PM, said:

I dub thee, Guiotine, 'Coloxxen, the mech pokemon

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#13 Ollie

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Posted January 22 2013 - 06:39 PM

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We aim to have two patches every month, one introducing a new mech and the other addressing balance and follow-up tweaks.
Whoa, whoa, whoa.  So any imbalances not already addressed by this patch have a bare minimum of 30 days to be addressed in future?  Including emergent imbalance introduced by new patches?  On top of what was already gathered during three alpha/beta phases?

But new stuff to "buy" comes at the same rate?

This bodes not well, Bodhi.  If you're going to ride the perpetual beta/agile train, the whole responsiveness thing is a pretty key factor.  30 day turn-around on critical factors (adjustable by hex edit) makes me a sad panda.
errything is pink chex, errything is pink chex

#14 cheshirejak

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Posted January 22 2013 - 06:51 PM

Can't wait until we get a Party update, be nice to be able to stick with my clan instead of fighting to find a server with room and then fighting to get on the same team. Look forward to the fixes and the mixes!

--Jak

#15 [HWK]Deuy

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Posted January 22 2013 - 07:28 PM

View PostOllie, on January 22 2013 - 06:39 PM, said:

Quote

We aim to have two patches every month, one introducing a new mech and the other addressing balance and follow-up tweaks.
Whoa, whoa, whoa.  So any imbalances not already addressed by this patch have a bare minimum of 30 days to be addressed in future?  Including emergent imbalance introduced by new patches?  On top of what was already gathered during three alpha/beta phases?

But new stuff to "buy" comes at the same rate?

This bodes not well, Bodhi.  If you're going to ride the perpetual beta/agile train, the whole responsiveness thing is a pretty key factor.  30 day turn-around on critical factors (adjustable by hex edit) makes me a sad panda.


Twice a month implies roughly every two weeks.  So imbalances can be fixed within two weeks if deemed appropriate, or much faster if it's a serious issue.  That was just a guideline for what we're aiming for regarding updates.

#16 Krighton

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Posted January 22 2013 - 07:40 PM

Awesome news. *cough* Nvidia Surround *cough*
Hoping for true Nvidia Surround support at release. Infractions and warnings are for children, therefore I'm not afraid.

#17 Saer

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Posted January 22 2013 - 07:50 PM

My body is ready :wub:

#18 EMEUTIER

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Posted January 22 2013 - 09:39 PM

This is the sort of thing i have been waiting for!

Regular updated and fixed! yay!
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#19 Ollie

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Posted January 22 2013 - 09:48 PM

View Post[HWK]Deuy, on January 22 2013 - 07:28 PM, said:

Twice a month implies roughly every two weeks.  So imbalances can be fixed within two weeks if deemed appropriate, or much faster if it's a serious issue.  That was just a guideline for what we're aiming for regarding updates.
Hey, this was what was given:

Quote

We aim to have two patches every month, one introducing a new mech and the other addressing balance and follow-up tweaks.
What you said and what was said by the official announcement are two different things.  I'm not entirely sure this is a "RTFM" issue here, so to speak.  The message was read. I hope your clarification is the more accurate of the two -- I much prefer it.  But recent history hasn't exactly born this out -- I'm honestly afraid of a Tribes-style burnout, and the recent patch doesn't give me much to which to aspire.  Don't get me wrong, I understand meeting milestones and all that...but I'm looking at LoL's patch record in the early months, and hoping for similar.

Stuff like this goes unanswered: http://community.pla...-the-devs-know/

But I can still buy Christmas wrapping paper skins.  And I'm not one to judge -- I bought $15 pink chex ffs.  I'm down with pretty-pretty-princess-mech.  But I feel like I'm still getting mixed messages on the gameplay stuff, without a whole lot of understanding of what's planned in the future.

I don't understand the f2p business model though, I guess.  But hell, Super Monday Night Combat went through more balance adjustment in the first two months, knowwhatImean?

Maybe I expect too much.  Maybe I've been over-hyped, maybe I've been waiting for a successor to SB:LoC for too long.  But I feel like there's a *lot* of ish since CBA/CBE1 that seems to just now be getting addressed.  Maybe I'm still sore over Diablo 2.  Maybe I've put too much responsibility on this game for pulling me out of a morass of gaming mediocrity.  Maybe I'm ranting unfairly, and you've got all of this sorted on whiteboards going off into the next three months.

But it's awfully opaque on this side of the desk, y'know?

Anyhow, kudos for an awesome game.  I don't mean to be a completely negative Nelly, and there's a lot you've got going on here that's positive.  But it lacks the simplicity -> depth model that TF2 and LoL have been so successful at leveraging.  And I think it's going to be difficult to keep pulling fresh player base without it, and without strong matchmaking to support fresh base.

edit: and apologies if you've got updates for balance for the next month and a half at two week intervals.  I'm happy to apologize again (and profusely) when that occurs.  Maybe the next mega-patch makes a pass at sorting all of this, and this is the quick fix.  These are all things I want desperately to believe, and to apologize for.  I guess that's how much I like the game, problems aside.

Edited by Ollie, January 22 2013 - 09:51 PM.

errything is pink chex, errything is pink chex

#20 LunaticCalm

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Posted January 22 2013 - 09:51 PM

Good to hear we'll be moving to a more regular update schedule.





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