Sword of the Stars: Born in Blood Interview (con't)
FiringSquad: What are some of the new ships like in the expansion?
Martin Cirulis: Well as you know, SotS ships are made up of 3 sections so it really comes down to new section work…and there are a ton of them. First of the Zuul have a full racial suite of 80 or so sections spread across the 3 ships size classes. The Zuul also get a few special class ships like the 3 classes of Tunneling Ships and their secretive slave raiders assault ships. The overall look of the Zuul fleet reflects their origins and behavior. Their ships are chaotic, fast and heavily armed but as a result, not particularly durable. They will come at you in packs and try to overwhelm before you can bring concentrated fire to bear on them.
Of course the other races gave not been forgotten in the jump jump forward in the SotS universe that this expansion represents. The original four get new sections to represent their reaction to this new menace. War mission sections specializing in heavier turrets than the standard Armor section. Projector sections specially dedicated to the new devastating Energy Projector weapons. Torpedo armed defense sats. And of course there is the addition of merchant freighters to design and build to take advantage of the new trade route system in BoB.
FiringSquad: What new weapons and technology can be researched and used in the game?
Martin Cirulis: New technology comes in the guise of new information gathering techs, techs that allow you to put more people on planets and better protect them and techs that will allow you to build merchant fleets and organize the convoys needed to protect them or the stealth squadrons needed to raid other peoples shipping.
When it comes to new weaponry, once again we tried to create a coherent set of techs that reflected a stepping up to meet a new menace from the dark. From low tech answer of throwing a lot of explosives all at once in the form of dumbfire missiles to exotic weapons like the devastating and aforementioned Energy Projectors or the subtle leach rounds, BoB will flesh out the weapons techs as well as adding more tactical options for combat. Corrosive missiles allow players to use area denial tactics or break up static enemy formations while armor piercing rounds allow a ballistics fans the ability to pound in the damage with more accuracy and less kinetic chaos than standard driver rounds. Boarding pods also change the face of tactical combat but since there are more than 15 new weapons in Bob but we should probably leave a few surprises for release!
FiringSquad: What other new and improved features will be put into Born of Blood?
Martin Cirulis: Apart from a whole host of fan requested tweaks and gui features and a new layer of intelligence information, there are 2 large new systems added to SotS gameplay. The first is a new diplomatic communication layer that uses a quick and easy icon system to send messages, demands and negotiations to other players and get quick responses regardless of whether that other player is human or AI controlled. Another exciting aspect of the system is it will allow you to mark the star map in ways that are visible to other players instantly. So choreographing invasions or defense missions involving multiple players is now a few easy clicks away. Also going hand in hand with increased diplomatic data is a map level that shows the 3-D universe in terms of player colored areas of influence. This allows you to instantly get a handle on what empires are where on your borders and what the joined power of allied empires could mean for you.
The second large addition is the Trade Route system. Players will now have to decide how much of their constructive ability if going to support trade routes as without goods, those routes will wither and die. The new trade lanes will run automatically but the player will have to design and build freighter to ply them. This adds a whole other layer of “guns or butter” choices. And because this is still SotS, trade routes will bring with them a new layer of combat as players can assign raiders and escorts to trade zones to automatically harass or aid freighters when enemy shipping comes together. Small fleet actions will take on a whole new layer of importance as raiders try and run silent and run deep in the dark between worlds looking for easy prey. Even more amusing is the fact that raiders will be unmarked by flag or player color so that you may know which race is working over your shipping but you will not know for sure which faction it is.