New Modes & Characters in Transformers Universe Game Update
With almost eight weeks of open BETA under their belts Jagex, the makers behind the Transformers Universe MOTA game have come out with several updates, modifications, and new characters. Check out their official announcement on these updates and enhancements after the jump.
It’s been almost eight weeks since we entered Open BETA. Alongside running the live game service, we’ve been spending a lot of time listening to your feedback in game and on the forums, analysing the abundant telemetry we’re getting from the tens of thousands of game sessions, and discussing the improvements that we should make next.
Hopefully, many of you will have already experienced the positive results of the team’s hard work in the background, with multiple improvements, tweaks and updates released over the past few months. These updates underpin our continued focus on making the game more fun, growing our community, and keeping the game fresh for players at all levels.
With that in mind, I want to share with you more on the update that we’ve recently pushed live, and also outline some of what’s coming in the next four weeks through the lens of enhancing the game further, growing the community and keeping it fresh and interesting.
One of the biggest areas of focus recently has been ensuring PVP players consistently have fun competitive games, which in my opinion means seeing the vast majority of Elimination games concluding with a score difference of four points or less, and Meteor Storm games having less than 200 points between them.
Unfortunately, only 24% of all games currently conclude within our target range; we’ve obviously also seen similar validation echoed in player feedback around matchmaking, and the varied balance and quality of matches between opponents. From a technical standpoint the current matchmaking system is robust and performing as designed, matching players against their respective commander levels, with the search criteria widening every few minutes to ensure games always start in the event of low concurrency.
The root cause for the disparity of ‘perfectly balanced’ matches stems from a function of a few areas. Firstly there’s an asymmetry between the factions, not just in terms of the total number of players per faction (60/40 split in favour of Autobots) but also the age range between the two factions and the level banding. Generally our older players seem to gravitate towards the Decepticon side and, given the relative complexity and cognitive challenge PVP presents, they tend to score better as a faction even though there is less of them. Additionally, the fact there are less Decepticons overall means they play on average more games and therefore level up faster per hour played. This results in more Decepticons with a higher Commander level, which further widens the gap between factions.
Interestingly, we are seeing some players switch sides to even out the experience and mix up the balance of the factions, but only around 17% of all players have ever switched sides, so it won’t adequately address the problem long-term.
We want to continue to increase the current 24% of awesome nail-bitingly close games. However, sadly, we also see a high percentage of games being steamrolled – and we know the frustration that brings for both new players and established players alike.
Our data clearly shows that the vast majority of new players that get steamrolled almost always immediately quit afterwards. So while it would be smart for the community to be more thoughtful to noobs and take them under your wing (since they are essential for the growth of the game) we also take responsibility for developing a scalable system that will adequately resolve this challenge, despite all the inherent complexity outlined before.
So, the answer… Coming in the next two weeks we are changing the way the current matchmaking system works, from Commander Level matchmaking to Skill Score matchmaking. This is guaranteed to create matches balanced on equal skill, and therefore consistently more challenging matches overall, since your skill score changes dynamically based on how you are performing over your last ten matches – however your five most recent matches count as double. The system is being built in such a way that the team can quickly react to data and tweak the matchmaking criteria in order to iron out any finer tuning as needed.
This change means that matchmaking will be able to rapidly adapt to players who haven’t played in a while, or perhaps those wanting to master a new bot. Looking at the skill scores across the game, it’s also clear that the likelihood of finding an equally skilled player to yourself online at the same time is also far more likely.
This change naturally poses new challenges, key amongst which is ensuring that matched players are similarly powerful, as its very likely a level 10 Commander could have the same skill level as a level 25 Commander who’s just played the game a lot.
We will achieve this by boosting the levels of the lower levelled player to be within close range of the higher level player. It’s possible for us to compensate for a level difference between players, but we obviously can’t artificially give players skill they don’t yet have!
Q) “So what’s the point in me levelling my Commander then?’ A) Players that have levelled their Commander choose what tuning points to allocate against respective tuning attributes, as well as which power cores they wish to equip. An ‘up-levelled player’ doesn’t; they will automatically be assigned a varied set of tuning point increases in line with their bot class. As such, it will still always be optimal for players to level their Commander in order to have the choice of where their points go, and of course, let’s not forget about the prestige and your ranking on the global high scores.
I firmly believe this will deliver a fairer, and therefore, better play experience for everyone, and will ensure that players are placed into games where they are able to challenge for victory on a regular basis and truly test the mastery of their warriors.
That’s not all though. As veterans of the game you can help too by creating warrior guides and tips for players to improve their skills at all levels. Be sure to share them with us in our warrior specific forums also if you’re streaming or creating great video content let us know about it either via the forums or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll feature the best content across our channels.
The update we released on Wednesday marked a range of structural changes to the game that were vital in order to enable the upcoming game updates mentioned above. We hoped all the changes would have been entirely transparent to you, but unfortunately some of you have been experiencing some challenges with the game for which I sincerely apologise. I can tell you that the team has been working very hard to address those issues; we believe these have now been resolved in the build that goes live @ 8pm GMT tonight.
However if you are still encountering problems, I strongly recommend unistalling and reinstalling the client to ensure that you’re playing the most up-to-date version of the game. If not please also clear your Unity cache, if you’re not sure how to do this our CM team have created a post with instructions.
Game stability and great performance is front of mind for me, and whilst both areas have continually improved from where we first started in closed beta, we know there is still a lot more we can do. So on the 24th September, the update should benefit everyone with a major upgrade that will include well over 400 bug fixes to the current Unity game engine we are using!
Increasing performance and stability will be an ongoing focus for a dedicated Ninja team within the studio now. They will shortly also have the ability to capture crashes and exception logs from players, rather than relying exclusively on community to report problems, which means we can be sure we are getting to any and all bugs eventually – even those that you probably didn’t know you had!
We are aware some players have had problems patching their client with the new update, if so please simply uninstall and reinstall the client from the website.
As experienced players of Transformers Universe, you know mastery of combat is challenging and that you have to be pretty smart to perfect all the countermeasures against every opponent. We all want the game to be successful. The more players we have in game, the more great matches, the greater the competition and the better it is for everyone. In order to continue to grow the community we need to ensure that we’re providing a gentler/more accessible introduction in to the game so that players come in and stay.
In two weeks’ time we will be introducing a new tutorial for players. This tutorial should better introduce the game’s core mechanics and lead in to the more complex systems associated with combat. After this we will also be introducing a VR training room within the inner base. This will be the place in which all combatants will be able to train their warriors. It will provide a less intense environment than PVE for players to understand how to use warrior’s weapons and systems optimally.
We’re also taking steps to move new players more gradually into PVP as well – including a steer towards Meteor Storm initially as their first game mode. In addition we are also currently working on an entirely new signature game mode for release later this year, which will be even more accessible than Meteor Storm and provide some interesting new dynamics to gameplay. Meteor Storm is still a challenging game mode, but one that’s less brutal than the high-end elimination mode for low level players. As I said before, players that experience steamrollering in their first few matches tend to just quit the game. This combination of improvements should ensure that new players, eventually arrive at PVP better prepared and with a greater understanding of the game and therefore make more competitive opponents for you, our established players.
These are just some of the rapid changes we’re working on in the next few weeks to ensure we continually improve the game and help grow the community.
So what about our established community?
On Wednesday you should also have seen the introduction of the new Challenge System. We’re hoping to see some great grudge matches develop, and we’ve opened up a new forum thread so that players can lay down challenges to other players from around the world. This is just V1 of this system though, we have lots planned to provide you more choice over the maps, modes and match rules ultimately including same faction duelling! So you really can prove who is best after fighting alongside each other for so long, we are also looking at introducing some XP rewards into the Challenge System.
On the 17th of September we’ll be testing Drummond Gorge in the Elimination game mode map rotation. The map offers a whole different set of tactics and challenges that you guys will need to figure out in order to gain the upper hand. This is a test of the map and we’ll be keeping close tabs on the data as well as your feedback to see if it should remain in the main map rotation. There is also a sizeable visual upgrade to the current outer base maps due to be released as part of that.
On the 24th of September Santa Vega TDM is being upgraded which is aimed at addressing some of the spawn camping issues that map has experienced, the central built up area has also been made more vehicle friendly. September also marks the arrival of two new bots in game Outsider and Pandemic.
On the 1st of October we’re going to be introducing a brand new game mode – Recon! Recon is a game mode that we’ll be initially launching on 1 map, a new map that will be unique to this game mode, but will be rolling out to other maps over time. Recon is a capture the flag mechanic and we look forward to seeing how players adapt to the challenges of this new mode and utilise the range of warriors available to come up with some compelling tactics. But before you ask, no you can’t transform when you have the flag! 🙂
Looking a little further into October you will see the landmark arrival of the first Transformers lore based bots Chromia and Flamewar!
There’s a host of other new updates and improvements coming soon too that I’ll continue to provide you with updates on as they progress. We’ll also be launching a player poll next week to get your feedback on some key features and plans that we’ve got lined up for your game. As I’ve said before, your opinion is incredibly important to the continued evolution of Transformers Universe and I want to thank you for all for your continued support, participation and suggestions as we continue to make Transformers Universe a fun and truly genre defining game.
See you in game and have fun!
Jagex CEO & Head of Transformers Universe
You can see this letter and more on the Transformers Universe Game on the Transformers Universe Official Website.
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