Waves² Early Access – Alpha 02 Devblog

It’s update day! Woooo!

The Alpha 2 update for Waves² should be live by the time you read this complete with new gameplay, a new game mode and lots of balance changes and bug fixes.

For those of you who prefer my rambling videos check it out below.


Hyperactive

Hyperactive is a new game mode in both GRID and the Arcade. This mode is the spiritual successor to Bombing Run from the original Waves where the emphasis is not on shooting but exploding.

When playing Hyperactive your main weapon is disabled and cannot be used at all. The only way you can kill anything is by using your Burst Attack.

“But Squid! How do we use our Burst attack if we have no gun to build Adrenaline?!” I hear you cry. Adrenaline Triggers spawn every 10 seconds (They also disappear after 10 seconds) and these triggers will give you enough Adrenaline to use your Burst attack once. Unlike Bombing Run which forced you to detonate your bomb at specific randomly determined locations Hyperactive lets you choose where is best to explode, the limitation though is that Adrenaline starts Decaying almost straight away so if you don’t use it quickly you won’t be able to use it at all.

Loadouts

Hyperactive is specifically designed to show off the other major feature of this update – Loadouts.

On the main menu (and within the GRID menu) you will find a button that takes you to the Loadout Editor. This is where you can customise how your Avatar levels up and increases in power during a game.

Every Loadout consists of 6 Items (Weapon, Burst, Defence, Buffer, Cache and Chassis) all of which start at Level 1 and can be increased up to Level 6 by investing Upgrade Points into them. It is within the Loadout Editor that you define which order those Items are upgraded, with only 18 points to spend and 30 slots that can be filled you have to make some decisions about how you want to play and what will benefit you the most for a specific game mode; as an example in Hyperactive there is no reason to upgrade your Weapon as it spends the entire game mode disabled.

The general rule of thumb is that when upgrading an Item the first point you spend is the most efficient giving a 50% improvement then each point spent after that first point suffers from diminishing returns until you get to the last point; the “Overdrive”. Overdriving an Item makes it 3x as effective as it was at level 1 but you can only ever overdrive 3 of your Items at most.

In Alpha 2 there are only 6 Items (one for each slot) but in Alpha 3 I plan to add at least 2 more Items to each slot and will keep adding Items until there are 6 items for each slot. These items will be purchased using in-game currency earned  by playing in Arcade and GRID modes.

Enemy Balance

With increases in Player Power there needed to be a counter-point to stop things getting out of hand on the leaderboards. The answer to this was to allow the enemies to level up as you play increasing the challenge and distinguishing the enemies more from each other as the game progresses.

Starting at Player Level 6 enemies will start to level up their threat rating, by Player Level 8 thy will reach Threat Level 2 and will reach their maximum Threat Level of 6 by Player Level 24. Alternatively the Threat Level will increase after 2 minutes of playing and then every 2 minutes after that. The reason for this is that after Level 6 almost all of the enemies that are going to spawn in a Game Mode will have already started spawning so the only way left to make the game harder without just spawning more enemies (which I found in Waves didn’t actually work instead it just fed you more points and more bombs) was to make the individual enemies tougher.

All of the Enemy types now gain more EHP (Effective Hit Points) as they level up however some gain more than others (typically if it’s fast it gains less than if it’s slow). Enemies also get faster and do more damage when they hit you (again enemies that were already fast get faster than those that start off slow). Even the basic wandering enemies from Level 1 are now a threat when they reach their maximum level taking much more damage to kill and dealing more damage when they hit you. Some enemies now can’t be killed with just one Smartbomb blast instead taking multiple hits to drop and even the non-moving Virus enemies gain a lot of durability very quickly making it harder to create Combos the longer the game goes on.

As a final note you can’t kite enemies as easily anymore. Any Enemy who chased you before now accelerates up to a higher maximum speed the longer they are left alive. Gone are the days of kiting huge clouds of enemies behind you.

The GRID

The GRID has been really well received which ‘m really happy about. With this update it’s gotten a new game mode with Hyperactive making an appearance and 3 new objectives that will show up. There has also been some more strategy added as the way Nodes unlock has changed.

Nodes now unlock only on the filled in sides of the Cubes. This means that to gain access to some nodes you now have to get a Gold rank in a Node you might have previously only gotten a Bronze in. Generally speaking the Nodes on the Bottom-Right are easier to unlock than those on the Top-Left of the GRID.

There are 3 new objectives in all of the Game Modes in The GRID:

  • Pacifist – Don’t Kill Anything during the first x seconds of the game.
  • Survivalist – Don’t Die for the first x seconds of the game.
  • Adrenaline Challenge – Gain x Adrenaline during the game.

There should also be more restrictions on how often a game mode appears in The GRID and as a result of these changes your Save data will be invalidated when you launch the game and a new GRID will be generated.

Leaderboards

With major balance changes to the game and a general increase in difficulty the Leaderboards will be wiped for this update. I’ll be working on adding seasonal/update specific leaderboards in the future so your scores will be retained forever but I’ve not had the time to do that just yet. Apologies for having to take these steps but it is an Alpha and I can’t balance the game without accurate data on scores.

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