Good lord, this one is full of win. There's so many various bugfixes and balance tweaks that again we'll just hit the highlights here, so be sure to read the release notes if you're wanting details.
The three current weakest bonus ship classes in the game should now be pretty exciting to use: Autocannon Minipods, Zenith Chameleons, and Tachyon Microfighters have been majorly buffed.
The most destructively-unbalanced type of unit has now seen a large number of changes: that would be parasites and leech starships. The reclamation ability is now shiplevel-limited, and reclamators have to do a certain damage threshold on a target ship before a reclamation event will take place. And all mark V ships are blanket non-reclaimable now, which had always been the intent but was spottily implemented in the past. On the plus side, their shots have become more focused and a lot higher-DPS, and they now are much more intelligent about actually targeting ships they can reclaim. The end result we're shooting for is something that's fun and powerful, but not able to bypass advanced factories or large portions of the economic.
This one's huge: Advanced Research Stations should now be at the top of everyone's wishlist even more so than before. Now when you capture an ARS, you not only get a new bonus ship type, you also get the mark II of that bonus ship type unlocked for no knowledge. When you run across a new bonus ship type late in a campaign, we were realizing that just having the mark I of that bonus ship type made the ship type look lame in comparison to the mark II/III ships (or greater) you'd likely be fighting against. This lets players experiment a bit more freely, and get a better sense for the things they might want to unlock III/IV from.
Speaking of unlocking mark III/IV fleet ships, those now cost an additional 1000 knowledge compared to before. Partly this is in counterbalance to the above change, but also it's in response to the fact that III/IV are unlocked together.
And speaking of mark IV ships, those and mark V ships are now a lot cheaper in terms of metal/crystal. They are now only 6x and 10x that of a mark I ship in their line, rather than 8x and 16x. This also means that mercenaries are now only 60x a mark I ship's cost, rather than 80x.
Another pair of huge changes is to the engineers and Mobile Repair Station. Engineers now take quadruple damage while in enemy territory, which makes them fine for use in protected beachheads, but very poor for use in the middle of battlefields where shots are flying. Similarly, Mobile Repair Stations now have to spend 60 seconds recharging after moving before they can do any repairs. So you can't just scoot them along with your fleet, constantly repairing anything that gets hit. Instead, take it to a safe place on the AI planet, deploy it, and then retreat your damaged ships as desired. These changes help to avoid some of the more exploitative uses of these two ships on offense.
Core Shield Generators, after much heated (and partially unfortunate) debate, have been made an optional feature that is default-on, but which won't be in existing saves. Any existing saves that already have them will have them removed. But there is now a new maintenance command (see the release notes) for turning them back on if you like them. CSGs turned out to be more about player guidance and intermediate goals as far as why we kept them.
As for the deepstriking nerf we'd originally been aiming for with CSGs, there's a major new mechanic the AI now has. Essentially, when it notices your military ships straying more than four planets away from your (or neutral/ally) territory, this causes the AI to really freak out for a while and start churning out ships to attack you. Think of it like having four or five stars in Grand Theft Auto or one of those sorts of games. Once you finish your deep raid, things go back to normal -- if you survive. Note that most players only raid about four planets out anyhow, since that's the effective limit where transports can make a round trip, so it's just on one-way transport trips or long-range starship raiding where this would even be a thing. It just makes that sort of ultra-deepstriking a lot more balanced and interesting, without removing it as a valid tactic.
We also fixed a number of targeting bugs, and made it so that ships with regen/vampirism can actually be properly killed by autotargeting (which needs to overkill them to make up for their abilities, and now does). Attritioners are more awesome, wasps and spire blades are no longer stats-destroying or annoyingly explodey, and ships with zero engine health are still allowed to hobble along at an achingly slow pace, rather than being entirely stalled -- thus circumventing some trouble with certain AI ships "pinning" player ships in a can't-move-and-can't-be-repaired paradox.
And... other various stuff. Those were the highlights, amazingly. Enjoy!
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.