Today during a global server maintenance window at 3pm Central time, we deployed a small 1.04.003 Update to Starhawk which was almost entirely inspired by your feedback and we really hope you enjoy the update!
As some of you may know, in mid-October, we parted ways with Sony Computer Entertainment and it's Santa Monica Studio. Nevertheless, we have maintained a great relationship and we've worked together to release a small update for our Starhawk community. The release of this 1.04.003 update was something that everyone here at LightBox Interactive felt was the right thing to do for you, our fans. Our former colleagues at Santa Monica Studio agreed completely and graciously offered to have their QA team provide all the testing support needed for the 1.04.003 update even though it really wasn't an "on-the-books" project for them.
Now of course we were limited in what we could develop for this small update since it is not a full patch with a funded development cycle. However, we were still able to make a few really positive changes:
- Added new Arena load-out for small maps.
- Reduced Grinder damage in singleplayer.
- Added Grizzly to Lone Wolf [Blitz] load-out.
- Replaced Cloak & Shield in Gatekeeper game mode.
- Removed Outposts from small maps.
- Cluster Bomb game balance.
- Fixed spawn-in bug for Assault game mode.
- Changed Skill Score Leaderboard.
New Arena Load-Out:
There had been a request by the fans for awhile now for a simple non-vehicle load-out that could be used in our small maps and for modes other than DeathMatch. To help give players this option, we have added an Arena Load-Out to the small maps Junction, Relay and Glade, and it includes the Shield Generator, Pod Cannon, Supply Bunker, Watchtower, Auto-Turret, and Wall. This new load-out is available for CTF, TDM, Zones, DM and Assault.
Reduce Grinder Damage in Singleplayer:
Sure, most of our updates have to do with Multiplayer but we never lose sight of the solo experience! And for that reason, we felt we needed to make a change to the Grinder only in the campaign. For those of you who played the SP campaign in Starhawk, you may have noticed that when you got the Grinder, it was CRAZY easy to cut through enemy units under a stream of molten sparks. In fact, it was too easy. To help balance this weapon and maintain the right level of difficulty for the later missions in the campaign, we have reduced the Grinder damage by 33%.
Added Grizzly to LoneWolf [Blitz] Load-Out:
This change is very straight-forward and is simply a bug fix so LoneWolf and LoneWolf [Blitz] load-outs use the same Build & Battle units.
Replaced Cloak & Shield in GateKeeper Game Mode:
GateKeeper mode is very fun however some players had found that when using the Cloak and Shield in this flight-focused mode, a player could essentially be unstoppable. And the fans were right it was exploit-tastic. We looked at a variety of solutions and the one we settled on for the 1.04.003 Update was to replace the Cloak and Shield pick-ups with the Homing Missile and Flak Cannon pick-ups respectively. This change is isolated to just this gameplay mode and makes a huge improvement to the balance of GateKeeper!
Removed Outposts from Small Maps:
The small maps we added in the 1.04 Update were a great addition to the over-all set of maps in Starhawk! However, the fact that you could use Outpost Build & Battle structures in these intentionally very small maps was really not yielding the proper game experience. To resolve this, now Outposts are removed from the load-out if you choose one of the small maps like Glade, Junction or Relay. This change helps make these maps feel much better and the removal of the Outposts really helps drive more tactical gameplay rather than just the Outpost spam we were seeing.
A point of clarification: You can still choose the Trooper load-out on a small map like Glade, for example. It will show you that the Outpost is contained in that load-out however when you get into the game, the Outpost will be selectively pruned from the Build & Battle wheel. And again, this change is only for the small maps.
Cluster Bomb Game Balance:
Due to the way the Cluster Bomb was being used there were a couple of changes that we felt needed to be made. We still want to preserve the weapon's power on the battlefield but the sheer volume of Cluster Bomb kills relative to the other weapons needed to be adjusted. To resolve this we have made the pick-up take a bit longer to respawn. It was previously 60 seconds and now it is 75 seconds. While this may seem like a subtle change, 15 seconds does make a difference!
The second change we did to the Cluster Bomb was to combat the degenerate behavior of using the weapon at nearly point-blank range. In this situation, a player flying a Hawk could just jam a Cluster Bomb down the throat of a player or more often a group of players at such a close range that there was no real counter defense. To help resolve this, we have fixed the Cluster Bomb so that its explosive area of effect can damage the player who launched the Cluster Bomb. This means that a player STILL can do a point-blank Cluster Bomb attack however there is now some significant risk to do so.
Fixed Spawn-in Bug for Assault Game Mode:
When we released the new gameplay mode Assault in the Starhawk 1.04 Update, players were able to find a bug that allowed a player to spawn into the enemy team's base during certain rounds. This, as you can imagine, resulted in an erosion of the gameplay experience were were looking for! The 1.04.003 Update simply fixes the bug so you can no longer spawn into the enemy base.
Changed Skill Score Leaderboard:
We had received many comments about our Skill Score and Skill Score Leaderboard. Some players were seeing odd behavior like their Skill Score going down after a game they just won or other such seemingly odd changes. This definitely needed to get fixed. So we spent some time investigating and found that while the underlying math for the Skill Score is actually working quite well, the issue seemed to arise from server delays when a player's Skill Score was updated. This would result in you never really seeing the proper Skill Score when you looked at the Leaderboard.
We really wanted the Skill Score Leaderboard to be a very real-time leaderboard with high-frequency updates but the practical fact is that it never worked exactly the way players expected because it simply WASN'T as real-time as we needed. So, to improve this, we have made a change to how Skill Scores are processed.
Now in the 1.04.003 Update, all Skill Scores are collected for 24 hours and then processed all at the same time (at 4am Central time) in a much more complete and global fashion. This results in a Skill Score that reflects your overall game performance for the past 24 hours and greatly reduces the odd behavior of Skill Score changes that just didn't make any sense.
We're incredibly fortunate to have such a passionate fanbase and we are truly thankful for all of your ongoing involvement in the Starhawk online community!
Hope you enjoy the update & have a very Happy Holidays!
Stay tuned for an update on our new mobile game!