This one contains over a dozen significant balance changes and bug fixes. Not as dramatic as some previous releases but combined these have a fairly big impact.
The “Deflector Drone” bonus fleet ship has been renamed to “Attractor Drone” along with a number of buffs to bring it back from the realm of infamy. The name change is due to our replacing its “reduce all laser damage to nearby allies by 75%” mechanic with “all laser shots fired at nearby allies target the drone instead”, not very unlike the special mechanic of the Youngling Weasel (or Decoy Drone).
The capturable Advanced Factory, Advanced Starship Constructor, and Fabricator structures have been buffed in two important ways: mapgen will now put them in more defensible positions, and they now work much better with human intra-galactic warp gates. Now the MkIV ships produced from the Advanced Factory and Advanced Starship Constructor (and the Mercenary Space Dock, while we were at it) only get 4 or 8 seconds of paralysis instead of 1 or 2 minutes (the longer time being used on non-friendly planets). And the ships produced from the Fabs experience no post-warp paralysis at all. Our hope is that this will help these structures be more attractive to the player due to the reduced logistical difficulties. There are still issues with defending these on games with exo-sources, but that’s a trickier problem (even in determining whether it _is_ a problem) and can be addressed later.
If you’ve been bashing your head on the desk over the recent buffs to the normal AI guard posts, don’t despair, we’ve fixed a balance oversight where they were countering their triangle-counters. So now when you bring in the countering triangle type you won’t take nearly so many casualties. Of course you don’t always have the luxury of having the right type on hand or leaving everything else behind, but that problem is left as an exercise for the reader. In addition, we fixed a longstanding issue with mapgen that was preventing the internal planet-strength-differentiation logic from really having any impact on guard post count. Not that it mattered much before the buffs, but now that guard posts can actually hurt you it’s nice when normal AI planets don’t all have the same number of guard posts. For that matter, if you want to just path through the lower-post-count planets on your way through, that’s now possible in many cases.
Speaking of pathing, we’ve added a long-requested option to the per-planet controls: “Avoid Pathing Through This Planet”. We hope this will save much frustration from galaxy map movement orders sending entire fleets through the wrong (but quickest) wormhole only to be swallowed by a small dog (or a not-so-small superfort).
If you’re curious about the rest of the changes, have a look at the release notes :)
This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater itself, if you already have 4.000 or later. When you launch the game, you’ll see the notice of the update having been found if you’re connected to the Internet at the time. If you don’t have 4.000 or later, you can download that here.