Implants, again, and for (probably) the last time.

Below is the script that I was writing up regarding the Implant System currently on Test Server. Since this update is actually getting released tomorrow, making a video on it wouldn't be prudent.

Keep in mind that the punctuation and stresses and such are more indicators for me when I'm recording the audio, and less about the grammar of the script itself. Soooooo, not to let this hard (?) work fall into the dark recesses of the "finished videos" folder, here it is for your viewing delight. Or whatever.

Hey there folks, Wrel here.

Today we’re going to be talking about Implants, again, and likely for the last time before the feature goes live. There was an interview with the developer who is working on the implants system during  the last Friday Night Ops, but I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to see it, and there’s no replay up on the Twitch channel, so if anything I say is a bit off, from something planned later down the line, that’ll be the reason.

But for those who don’t know, the test server has the newest iteration of the implant system available for testing. Implants are basically consumable items, much like boosters, that alter your class loadouts in some way. There’s a handful of them at the moment, ranging from automatic detection of enemies, increased breath holding duration, or safe fall, health regeneration, all sorts of things. But I’m not going to talk about the implants themselves in this video, because I’ve pretty much said my peace on that in the last video we did.

So instead, we’re going to talk about the current delivery system for implants, and why there are some rough spots that warrant a second look.

If you already know what implants are, how they work, and how you get them, then you can click on the video annotation to skip to the part of the video where I start providing suggestions for changes and the reasoning behind them.

Currently, implant types are dropped randomly. So you get them from earning experience, you get them from killing enemies, and the whole system is supposedly weighted based on how big the battle is, or if you’re capturing a base, or winning an alert. So, the bigger the battle, the better the rewards, in theory. It’s difficult to actually test out how the system works, given how many people frequent the test server. So I’m just going off of the impression that I got from dev posts and such.

In addition to being dropped randomly, you can also purchase packs of random implants with certs and station cash. For your awareness, the packs only cost 1 cert on the test server, they’re going to cost much more on live, but I don’t think any numbers have come out just yet.

When you get an implant, they go into their own implant tab, which is on the interface right next to the cash shop.

Each implant type has three tiers of effectiveness. Tier 1 implants are less powerful than Tier two or tier three implants, but they also drain more energy.

Your energy is the fuel that keeps your implants active.

So for each second that you are running a loadout with an implant equipped, you’ll drain energy.

And just like implants, energy rechargers can be purchased with certs or station cash, as well as crafted using the system.

The last thing that I need to talk about to really frame the rest of the discussion, is the crafting system itself.

Currently, if you combine five implants of the same tier, you get the same implant of the next tier up. So 5 Tier 1 Safe Fall means you get one Tier 2 Safe Fall. If you combine only three implants of the same tier, regardless of what they are, you get a random implant of the same tier. And you can do the same thing with 5 random implants of the same tier turning into one implant of the next tier up.

In addition, you can craft a small battery, or charger by combining two different tiers of implants, so, a tier 1 and a tier 2, for example.

There’s also a tutorial and some UI indications to help you figure everything out, and at the end of it all. It works.

You could ship the system to live, people will complain about it for a bit, they’ll be confused for a while, and then they’ll learn to suck it up, and ultimately, it’ll add some new depth to the game that we may or may not want.

But… the current system also does a few things that just don’t make sense. Well they make sense, but they’re really unnecessary.

To sum things up quickly…

·         Crafting/recycling is overly random.

·         The system favors failure over progression.

·         And the progression you do make is by way of micromanaging your inventory, instead of actually playing the game.

So to break those points down…

When I say that things are overly random, I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be some randomness involved at all.

Random means that players spend more time seeking out specific items to complete their builds, which means more time spent progressing through the implants system before you cap out.

But, the way that the randomization is done with the current system is just excessive.

If I don’t like any of my tier 1s, I can scrap three and roll a new tier 1. This is fine.

If I scrap five, I can roll a random tier 2. Okay, neat.

If I don’t like that random tier 2, then I can scrap 10 more tier 1s, scrap my three tier 2s, and end up with a new tier 2. It’s kind of silly when you think about it like that.

Not just because of the methodology, but because of the time spent doing it. Being able to recycle implants that you don’t want, for a chance to make the ones you do want… that makes sense. But I also think it’s unnecessarily tedious.

The system is good because it increases the amount of time spent on the system, but it’s bad because it increases the time you spend not getting what you want. This is what I mean by favoring failure over progression. Give away stuff you don’t necessarily want, and likely receive stuff you also don’t want, that’s frustrating. And the point shouldn’t be to frustrate, the point should be to motivate, to unlock, and earn, and progress.

What’s probably more important though, is that the randomization comes from playing with the crafting interface, not from actually playing the game. So, to get the results I want, I have to spend time instead of invest time. Investing time is what a player does when they’re participating in a battle, earning certs, and eventually getting something that they want. Spending time is running in circles at the warp gate, waiting for your resources to come back so that you can pull another ESF.

It’s the same thing with the implant system.

That said, there’s a better way to do what they’re trying to do with this system.

Some adjustments can be made to drastically reduce the amount of time I spend looking at the interface to get what I want, reduce the amount of clicks it takes me to accomplish something, and just create less convoluted experience as a whole.

The three steps to fix the implants system would be as follows.

1: Add a new tab to the interface.

2: Let us craft tier 1 implants.

3: Let us burn implants for energy.

That’s it, just those three things.

The new tab would be the Crafting or Blueprints tab, doesn’t matter what you call it.

But this tab is open by default, as soon as I click on the implants button.

What it does is show all of the available implants in the game, and how many of them you can craft.

If you hover over an implant, the tooltip shows what is needed to craft it.

So, if the player has the resources, he just clicks on the button, and it automatically loads up the implants, and you click “Create.” Boom, new implant. No need to click on each thing individually, no confusion as to how to make one thing or the other, it’s just this, streamlined.

That sounds like a small change, but it ties in with the other two points.

The important one being… Let us craft Tier 1 implants.

The randomness of the implants system should start and stop with tier 1s.

The most ideal solution would just be to click on the implant you want in the crafting menu, it automatically picks 5 implants from your inventory that you don’t currently have equipped, and poof, out comes the tier 1.

I’m well aware that this reduces the complexity and randomness of the system overall. But I also feel that it does so in a way that makes sense.

Players are still sacrificing 5 implants of a tier to make the next tier, and they’d still need 5 of the same implants to rank those tier 1s into tier twos.

The system currently on the test server… is like taking a jar full of coins to the casino and sitting in front of a slot machine until they’re gone. You get a win here and there, but ultimately, you end up losing as much or more than you walked in with. You rationalize to yourself that all of that money was going to be wasted anyway, so who really cares, right?

Teaching people that, ultimately, you’re going to lose more than you win. That just doesn’t make sense in a game that is built on unlock progression.

Allowing us to craft tier 1 implants means that the luck comes in when you’re first getting the drops, the luck comes from actually playing the game, instead of playing the mini-game inside your inventory. Crafting tier 1s means that the drops themselves can now be treated like valuable resources, opposed to coins that we throw haphazardly at the slot machine.

Once you know that you can, without a doubt, make the tier 1 you want… then you can also make the tier 2 you want, and the tier 3 you want. You spend less time in the mini-game, and more time on the battlefield.

To build on that… we also need to be able to burn implants for energy.

Not craft chargers. Crafting chargers is just an extra step that doesn’t need to exist. Chargers could still be sold, by way of Station Cash and certs, but allowing them to be crafted really just overcomplicates the process.

The easiest way to do this would be to just be to put a little button on the crafting screen that shows us how much energy we’d get from salvaging the selected implants. This way, you can assign a specific energy amount to each implant tier, or even each particular implant, if you end up having different rarities later on…  Then players can just destroy what they don’t want at the time, instead of waiting to save up a handful of implants that need to be converted into a charger, which is then also destroyed to provide energy.

This is an important change, not just from the perspective of streamlining the interface, but it also allows you to add more value to cert-bought or station cash-bought chargers. As a charger could stand alone as a bigger boost to your energy than burning individual implants would.

Likewise, with this change, it’d be really easy to tune how much energy each implant gives you when it’s burnt.

So, at the end of it…

You lose out a bit in that you can no longer recycle implants for new, random ones… but the intention of changing the system in this way is that it’ll make the experience more consistent, less convoluted, more driven toward progress in the direction the player wants to go, and most importantly, it’ll make the implant system feel like it’s an actual part of the game, instead of a tacked-on minigame that isn’t worth the time you’re putting into it.

If this video has been interesting, helpful, or entertaining, please feel free to like, subscribe, and tell your friends about the channel. And if you’ve been on the test server and have thoughts on implants as a whole, particularly about how the whole process feels to you, let me know in the comments section down below.

Thanks very much folks, Wrel signing off.

Visit me on Google+