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Endless Space Expansion Pack Announced

By on August 22nd, 2012 12:49 pm

Endless Space | Expansion Pack announced

Amplitude Studios announced today that they are going to start working on an expansion pack for Endless Space soon.

Battles seem to be the expansions’ big focus – “We know that we have definitely one focus for that Pack: Battles! We want to add more strategic choices, more feedback, fighters / Bombers / interceptors, more weapons, defenses, modules, formations, aiming strategies, boarding parties etc…”~Amplitude Studios.

But, there are many areas where the community wishes more enhancements and improvements. Amplitude listed the following so far:

– New faction and traits (focusing on new battle techniques?)
– Finding artifacts on moons or planets could be equipped on ships or heroes
– More different weapons types, more hybrids and new types.
– Visual impact of weapons on ships (I doubt we can go there…)
– Space stations to defend systems
– Options to make planets more unique by building special unique buildings. […]
– Ground Battles to accelerate the sieging if the invasion is successful. […]
– Huge Ships
– Planet defenses that damages sieging fleets
– Razing planets / Systems
– Destroying entire star systems (will disappear after being destroyed)
– Espionage and sabotage (also resulting in sabotage during battles). […]
– Heroes exploring artifacts unlock technologies on the tech tree
– Construction queue sorting options ( I guess this was meant more […]
– Boarding ships can capture enemy ships and keep them to use them […]

They are taking further notes on their forums on what people want to see in the game’s expansion.

As of me personally, seeing that battles will get overhauled, and besides wanting to see many balancing enhancements in the game, like structures costing more to make you think more, I would love to have more elements in the game that make the ES Universe feel more alive. The diplomacy system for instance should contain animations and possibly voice overs to help us relate more with the different factions. Having little cinematic cut-scenes (or simply text with some suggestive images) would also help boost aliveness in my opinion (e.g. colonization, new tech breakthrough, invasion, random events, …).

We also need more to look for during exploration. Right now exploration doesn’t feel rewarding enough. There are little to no surprises. Nothing is happening in the galaxy besides our fleets moving around, and the ones of our rivals. You know, perhaps we could see some trade freighters moving around, or space monsters or anomalies popping up (why not). There could also be super planets to look for, inhabited (or not) by ancient powerful civilizations with interestingly unique technologies (or booby traps!). Surprises! The game has a solid base alright but clearly we need more surprises, more feedback and more to look for. Right now things feel too static, and frankly quite dead.

The expansion work has apparently not started yet, and the devs are just taking notes still on what people would like to have on it – “It is important to understand that we decided to start discussions early on the content before to start working on the expansion, to make sure that packs answers your wishes”.

This means this expansion will be paid but the devs stated that they are “still supporting the game via [free] updates”. In those updates the devs’ intention is to keep “adding balance, tweaks and other additions”, decided through their Games2Gether system, where players are invited to vote on what the support team should focus next.

There is no time frame established for the expansion’s release yet. What was announced today was that work on the expansion “will start soon”. Basically, what Amplitude started today was a “call for ideas”, for what people want to see in the expansion. You can use this link to leave your feedback to the devs over their forums.

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  1. SQW says:

    It’s disingenuous for Amplitude to even think about expansion when ES’s AI is still at an appalling state. Forum users have been holding out the hope that Amplitude will implement much-requested features as free patch update but now we know where majority of the developers energy will be focused on.

    I’m sorry but the vanilla ES is simply not good enough for me to wanting to fork out for an expansion – especially when half of the intended features should have been included in any self respecting 4X game in the first place.

    • Marc says:

      The AI is actually surprisingly good. There have been significant post-release changes that have upped the difficulty level substantially. Since they didn’t make the mistake of tactical battles, which AIs are uniformly terrible at, there is also the prospect of having a real challenge in the current abstracted battle system. People in this genre seem to love incredibly complicated systems (like, say, Distant Worlds) which are also extremely easy to defeat.

      I can see how it’s possible for Amplitude to modify this game to make it both challenging and strategically deep. And I love having a game that can be completed in one or two sessions, not the endless tedium typical in the genre. I have a long background in games of this type, and I simply don’t understand the contempt that many veterans apparently have. This is a breath of fresh air in a stale genre.

  2. t1it says:

    Let’s see how this’ll turn out. There’s allot things needed for me to pick this up. Battles for one but also more economic/resource management like Adam pointed out, exploration and immersiveness, diplomacy and of course, AI. Basically more, MUCH more depth.

  3. Evil Azrael says:

    Another game that needs some kind of AI smartener or antagonizer. Being a fan of open programming interface i would like to see an open interface for writing computer players so everybody may try.

  4. Ashbery76 says:

    Hopefully it willl bring a hugely overrated 5/10 4X game to a real 8/10 with this added depth.

  5. Kurrick says:

    I will have to see what is added in the “free support” before I will make my mind up on spending any more for this title or not. The ideas I have read here in the article and comments pretty much hit everything I would add. Manly Im leery of another SoSE Rebellion. I like the game but if you played the 1st SoSE and its expansions Rebellion was really nothing more than a patch with some new factions….. As in it felt like Been her done this already….

    I wish someone would do a remake of Starflight…. that game was a kick in the butt not really a 4x but a great space opera type. The sense of actually exploring the universe has never been equaled in my mind. There was a great story and sense of tension in that game as well.

  6. Smoking Robot says:

    Reminds me of 2K selling DLC for CiV when that game was still sorely needing patches.

  7. dayrinni says:

    Wow, mean, yet another surprise. I didn’t expect this at all. I thought there would be a bunch of free patches at least for 3 months.

    Maybe they are having hard times with money? Didn’t they admit they made no money during pre orders? Anyone know how the sales went?

  8. Keith Turner says:

    It’s a wait and see for me. I enjoyed my time with the game, but I’ve put it behind me at this point. With a lot of other interesting titles to play, it’s going to be difficult to pull me back in. If the content looks good and they fix up the things I didn’t like though, I’ll be on board for it.

  9. Ray says:

    Hmmm, just soured on these guys. Way to quick an “cost” upgrade IMO. Stuff mentioned here should have been in the intial release. Smacks of marketing strategies
    They should learn from Distant worlds.
    Think I’ll leave it aside and look to other 4x games coming up

  10. RandomBlue says:

    I’m pretty much done with the game until they add either turn-based or real-time combat. The card system is horribly boring and repetitive. Stacking more on top of it is not going to help.

    Of course bringing that up in the forums will either get your thread closed or you’ll be mauled by fanboys who think the card battle system is the best thing since sliced bread.

  11. Alex Ryden says:

    I am looking toward to the expansion. They are actually working on ai patches for diplomacy right now, and the last update helped a bit. I also really like the openness and responsiveness of the team. I have high hopes for the game’s future.

  12. dori says:

    why all the crying?? they are doing more for their game then most companys, and its one of the best 4x games out there,, maybe not the best but still good. and the battles in civ are just battles without any graphics and me and many of you have been playing those for many years, and i have to admit i have never quite gotten into Total War even though i have tried many times. and what do you people today expect?? you get everything for free???? i know its good to be able to download games for free and you play games you maybe wouldn’t play and some of them are very good, but if this keeps up all we are gonna get are some shitty games. But still there are always few games that will always sell and games like fifa and football manager, but stillwe want more then just the typical games, we wont get any 4x games if noones gonna buy them, wich is very sad because 4x games are great if they are done right, and hopefully Endless Space will get even better.

    • dayrinni says:

      I just think the players expected a few months of patching (based on community feedback) before the expansion announcement. The players identified some things that need improvements/fixed and now there is a risk that the only way to get some of these would be by paying for an expansion. A case can be made that some of these fixes should have been in at release.

      It’s sorta like the issue with SW:TOR. Imagine if they charged the players for their dungeon finder. I bet there would have been a raging storm on the forums.

      Anyways…that is how I see the situation.

      • SQW says:

        Exactly. Strip away the fancy graphics and ES actually took a few steps backwards in terms of game features – AI, race variety, diplomacy, combat, tech randomisation, espionage just to name a few are all inferior to many 4X games I’ve played over the decade.

        The only reason why the community supported Amplitude so far IS the unspoken promise that all the standard features one would expect from a 4X game in 2012 will be patched in for free after launch. As far as I can see from their announcement, only an over-hauled battle mechanic could possibly justify an expansion.

        So Dori, we aren’t expecting something for nothing. But if a dev actively encourages speculation amongst the community that it’s going to support its game for free and suddenly announce an expansion is in the pipeline, I will certainly call them out. For the record, I don’t buy the ‘nothing’s been decided’ BS – how many companies, indie or otherwise, makes a public announcement about a random thought they have no intention of pursuing?

  13. sly says:

    While announcing an expansion pack so early in its development is one way to get noticed in the crowded gaming software market, they really need to focus on cleaning up what they have first. There are PLENTY of small problems, but when you add them all up and stack each small problem on top of each other, playing the game can become tedious and a headache. My position has been, and will remain such until real improvement has been made, that this game is not worth the $40 price tag for a retail box version (BTW, the retail box version doesn’t exist in the USA. If you are living in the USA and hoping to pop into your local retailer to buy this, forget it…you won’t find it. And be careful about ordering it online from their Netherlands distributor – you will get charged more because of money conversion rates, taxes, fees, tariffs, import duties, international shipping & handling). This is not a fully finished and polised game, in my opinion. And people are a little stingier when it comes to spending money on entertainment/games nowadays. Likewise, I don’t buy games that are 80% done with the tagline from developers of…”We’re working on the problems, be patient with us, fixes are coming.” If your game is not done and ready for prime-time usage, don’t release it yet. It’s that simple.

    Interestingly, a disturbing trend has been developing in the game-authoring world as of late – studios and gaming houses are churning out unfinished games and expecting people to pay full price. Absolutely ridiculous!! Would you buy a car only for the dealership to tell you that…”our developers are still working on a parking brake, turn signals and headlights”? Of course you wouldn’t. A previous poster mentioned the ‘money grab’ theory; and I, for one, believe this is exactly what big publishers and some indie houses are doing. Case in point, Civ V – horrible failure, especially with them trying to milk customers by having them buy DLC that should’ve been part of the game from the start, in my opinion. Just look at Civ IV, it took 2 or 3 expansion packs to make it fully funtional and fun to play. The sad thing about this trend is you have this younger age group of gamers that have never been taught to expect more for their money. They think that a 75% completed game is the norm now and that the other 25% will come eventually – and at an added price to them.

    But back to ES. They need to focus on fixing the problems with this game first before allocating massive manpower to authoring an expansion pack. Fix the language problems. Many of the descriptions of things don’t make a whole lot of sense, especially to the casual gamer – and lets be honest, if you want to reach the largest audience possible to buy your product, it has to be relatively easy to understand for every level of gamer. There are many game mechanics missing, and I don’t have the time to list them all here right now.

    My recommendation, if you absolutely must have this game, buddy up with some friends to share the purchase cost and share the game that way. If you don’t like to share and just need to have the game all to yourself, wait for the developers to get this thing finished and polished before you plunk down your hard-earned money to buy it.

    • Evil Azrael says:

      Nice resume. It summarizes the current state of the game industry very precise.

      “Game sharing” is a good recommendation, but sadly Endless Space is bound to a Steam account, so you cannot lend or sell it away, even the European Retail Version is steam-dongled. Another reason not to buy this game. I canceled mmediately my preorder when Amazon update the game description and added the Steam dependency.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Interesting that I commented about this same subject on another post, and without reading your comment, and I also used the car industry analogy myself :) This really proves the current state of mind regarding the gaming industry.

      There are several levels of “unfinished” you may consider here. It all comes to the maturity of the game product at hand when it gets released and the gamer’s expectations.

      As I wrote in the other comment GalCiv games were substantially improved after release with many patches and a few expansions 1 to 2 years apart. I felt that Stardock was really listening and were being generous by providing extensive support to an already mature and polished game. Then they did the same with GalCiv2.

      I also wrote in the other post that Civ games are always far from perfect at release time. The Civ example is even paradigmatic here. If Stardock’s GalCiv games are mature products that get improved, Civ vanilla games are already fully playable and polished games but which require a greater dose of balancing and tweaking to get it right. Civ4 (good) -> Civ 4 BTS (perfect); Civ5 (not so good) -> Civ5 Gods & Kings (very good).

      Then you have Endless Space, that I think is probably in the same league as Civ vanilla games, in terms of state of release.

      Then you have the cases of SotS2 and LoP. Again considering at release time.

      These are all very different cases in my opinion. And that’s where reviews come in. GalCiv, GalCiv2, Civ III, IV, V and even Endless Space had good to very good review scores. SotS2 and LoP didn’t. So, I make an appeal to people. The only way not to get burned with unfinished games is to wait for your favorite reviewers opinions. Take 2 or 3 opinions and judge for yourself, chances are that you will not get disappointed. But if people insist in “blind” pre-ordering, then god helps us all.

      • sly says:

        @Evil – Yeah, it is unfortunate that they’ve decided to hitch their wagon to Steam because Steam receives lousy consumer ratings in the USA. There are oodles of complaints against them. For every person that loves Steam, I can show you a person that actively avoids Steam. And, as you probably know, people find workarounds for the Steam authentication issue. A quick google search shows that those workarounds are already floating around on the net.

        @Adam – I didn’t know you made a comparable simile reference to the Civ debacle – great minds must think alike, eh? ;-) A recent visit to Amplitude’s forums shows that people are still being vocal about issues that need fixed and there is no feedback or evidence from Amplitude that they are focusing on those issues. They seem more focused on adding niceties and ‘glitz and glamour’ to the game than addressing game mechanics. This concerns me. I fear that this very new and very young gaming studio is already starting to go down the wrong path – the path of chasing MONEY instead of fixing oversights and poorly executed gaming ideas in their first release.

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