When we added automated tournaments to the game, we published a blog dedicated to the new feature.
Soon we are about to open automated seasons in testing mode, which we are calling Star Conflict Leagues. Today we would like to talk more about the development process, planned gameplay and our plans for the future.
Why we’re adding Leagues
We first tried our hand at building Leagues with automated tournaments that were favourably received by the players. We decided to continue work on further automation of the competitive process among teams using some aspects of the tournaments and championships held ‘manually’ and the old version of Sector Conquest. In addition, we want to continue working on the competitive branch of our game. League will serve as a basis for further additions. The players will get to enjoy team battles, and get trophies according to results of the encounters.
In November, we will launch the Leagues in testing mode. Within a relatively short period of time (about five weeks) we will be able to determine areas for further improvements and get to work on them. The final version of the season will be held for about 12 weeks followed by a playoff grid.
Tournaments and SecCon as an example
During work on the tournaments we tried to pay attention to all the contests that we held in our gaming universe.
The first and the most important aspect is the matchmaking system. If automatic tournaments introduce a high probability of playing every tournament with the same rivals which gets boring after a certain period of time, the same should not happen in Leagues - it’s all going to depend on the teams currently in queue. As for training corporation members, automated tournaments are the perfect tool which remains in the game.
The second aspect is game time and format. We used a similar system of the old Sector Conquest version as an example, where battles were active for a specific number of hours at regular time intervals. The number of battles is only limited by access time.
In addition, it is necessary to emphasize the difference between automated tournaments on weekends and League seasons. In League seasons team rank is going to be an important part that does not depend on individual performance of the team’s pilots. The ranking is going to be used to determine the team’s place in the standings, making it easy to select the top teams for the playoffs.
Large-scale championship and regular games
We decided that a League ladder — automated competitive season of team battles — will be able to combine all the traits listed above. They can involve small teams, consisting of a small number of pilots. For now there is no separation of skill level, ie any teams will be able to battle each other during the season, raising or lowering the rating of the team. In test version of the League, opponent selection uses the following principles: the team that waited in the queue longer than the others, gets the closest-rated opponent and both teams get into battle.
League table is going to have visual separation into divisions, which will determine each team’s skill level, and occupying a place in the first division, which holds the top 16 teams allows participation in the playoffs. This will allow to distinguish team levels.
Joining the fight for access to the first division will be possible throughout the season. In test version for public access you will only be able to see the team rating and its place in the standings, while the pilots within the team will be able to see the number of games played and the number of battles won.
Star Conflict League format and warm-up season
The first League version is a test. You can participate, express your opinions and offer suggestions. When it ends, we will make adjustments and launch the first real season. Therefore, after the warm-up season we may change team size, wing size, and the available tech ranks.
In order to participate in the League, you have to create a team. A team is a stable group of pilots. In the test version, the team can have up to 6 players and should always have a commander, the team’s creator. Team commander can be reassigned. During the ladder battles a wing, consisting of 4 pilots has to be selected from the team roster. Thus, the team is not tied to the same roster and the commander has the ability to intelligently distribute the substitutes. In addition, throughout the season the commander can replace half of the members (but not more), allowing him to make important personnel changes during the season, and replace inactive players.
Choosing the battle format, we settled on the ‘old’ Sector Conquest format, ie Capture the Beacons for ranks 13-15. The test will be held in this format and the final format depends on testing results. Access to games opens at certain time intervals every couple of hours. A match consists of one round and the match’s results change the team rank value and in the standings. When the match ends the team will have to queue again and wait for the next opponent. Thus, the team can play any number of battles and determine the duration of the break.
We chose 4х4 as the starting format, that allows us to test League rating mechanics. We’re planning to add other formats later when proper seasons begin.
The main event — finale
The first stage — is the season when the teams define their positions in the standings and are broken down by division.
The second stage — is the playoffs among the top 16 teams of the League — its First Division. Participation in an event must be confirmed by all the teams of a division. If someone does not confirm participation, his place is taken by the team closest to top-16.
Playoffs will be covered in detail: we are going to have match broadcasts, interviews with team representatives and much more. It is going to be held in ‘manual’ mode with the grid formed based on two principles:
Teams ranked 1st to 8th get to the top part of the grid and in case of losing a battle fall to the bottom part;
Teams ranked 9th to 16th start at the bottom of the grid and can’t lose a battle without being eliminated.
Thus, the team that actively participate in the entire season and occupy the top of the table get a well-deserved opportunity to play at the top of the grid. Reaching places from 9th to 16th is going to be much easier and even the teams that register towards the end of the season will have their chance: it’s important not to lose and win as many battles as possible. But, as they played far fewer matches, yet still reached the playoffs, they have no right to lose without being eliminated.
And now we come to the most important and enjoyable part — rewards that matter as much as the format and overall structure of the season. Of course, there is going to be a deep achievement system for the participants, but it is not the most important thing. We are not going to show our cards for the final version of the League, but we can say that team members will earn unique badges for success in battle, which can be spent at the end of the season on unique in-game items that will be available only in exchange for those badges. For example, a sufficient number of badges can buy you a colouring scheme, special stickers and other customization elements. Some of them are going to be temporary, that is, last until the end of the next season, and some will remain on your game account forever. Waiting for the first season!
Also, there is a certain probability of having ‘offline’ prizes: souvenirs and other mementos, but of course, only for the winners of the Main Event.
By taking part in the test version of the League and winning a certain number of battles, you also get a special unique achievement .
How to participate
When the SC League is released, you can join the testing by clicking on ‘SC Leagues’ in the game mode selection screen. You will need to assemble and register a team and join your first match. This way your team appears in the standings.
While you wait for a battle, you can check if you have the right ships in your slots, visit the store or communicate in game chat.
We are listening to our pilots’ feedback and we are going to discuss any further tweaks with you. We still have to work hard and add additional features to our Leagues in the future.
Good luck in battle!