The Prestige system has been a hotly discussed topic in Boundless for a while, both internally as a team, and by the player base since its introduction. The game has changed in many ways with each update, and while the first version of the prestige system served its function. It has become apparent to us it needs some changes to help players who have been failed by it and to discourage “Prestige Bombing” behaviours in settlements. We have worked internally on a new prestige system which should be a lot fairer for most players and would like to give you a run down of what we are thinking so you can give us your thoughts before we go live with it.
- The rebalance the prestige value of a block properly reflects the effort to collect/create the block. Bringing it up to date with changes to the rarity of blocks since the prestige system was added to the game.
- Make the system more rewarding to players who actively add variety to builds and create something visually appealing. Likewise, make the system harder to abuse to rapidly gain prestige (for example gleam bombing). Note: not impossible to game, but making it require as much effort to “cheese” as it would to progress prestige as a normal player.
- Fix issues with the old system for calculating factors, such as chiseling and block colour, on prestige.
New Proposed System:
Our new proposed system seeks to tackle the system from two angles; rebalancing the prestige value for blocks and entities and looking at the actual final prestige formula.
New prestige balance on blocks
Many things have changed since the Prestige system was first added to the game during early access, and many materials which were once scarce, are now a lot more common place; many of these are owing to changes in spawn rates in the world regeneration and some others are down to player progression making some raw materials much easier to gather. Due to these changes we have had a look at rebalancing all the blocks.
Internally, the design team has moved towards using a calculated “Crafting” value to each item in game; this has greatly helped with the balancing of blocks. All blocks should now have their balanced around the level of effort it takes for a player to harvest or craft that item.
We have also readdressed our stance on natural blocks. We are seeing more builds take advantage of Foliage and Grass to make grand parks and vine covered castles. These builds should be encouraged to some degree, so we are making sure natural blocks (Grass, Foliage, Clay, etc.) will now reward a tiny amount of prestige. Not enough to start prestige wars in the major cities, but enough that our green fingered builders should get a small bonus sense of accomplishment.
New formula for calculating Prestige
The old formula was very basically and mostly considered total prestige from all the blocks and entities and then looked at the variety of the blocks and chiselling in the build and rewarded prestige accordingly. While it worked initially, it rarely worked in the favour of people putting in time and effort into eye-catching builds.
To create a system that is fairer to elaborate builders, and requires more effort to “cheese”, the formula now considers more factors when assigning a prestige score to a beacon.
- Histogram of Prestige Buckets: Each prestige value of a block/prop falls into a bucket value of prestige (i.e. 10 prestige items 12 prestige items and so on). The game will now look at the histogram of spread of blocks/props across the beacon area. If the beacon is considered to have a good spread of prestige items in each bucket, the final score will not be changed. If the spread is very uneven (so for example, then thousand 50-prestige items but barely anything else), the game will begin to penalise the total prestige on a curve of how uneven the spread is.
- Prestige Weighting: This works in tandem with the above Prestige buckets. Since realistically a build will tend to use a lot of lower value blocks (woods & stone etc.) rather than a castle of Diamond, we have made sure the ideal “spread” of prestige buckets will act more favourably to larger lower value buckets.
- Buildable Space: Buildable space is a ratio of space containing built blocks against empty “air” blocks. The new logic will penalise any beacon which has a lot of blocks filled in the plot space with very little “air” gaps.
- Colour Prestige: A ratio of tinted blocks which match the world colour against blocks with tints from other planets. More prestige will be rewarded for a good mix of native and “alien” blocks.
- Chisel Prestige Histogram: Like the Prestige value buckets, this buckets the blocks into each type of chisel shape. More prestige will be rewarded for a good variation of chiselling.
Note: this system will never “reduce” prestige of a beacon whenever a new block is placed or chiseled etc., the system never even considers the ‘total prestige of the blocks’ in the first place for there to be a penalisation involved. People should never feel like they are being penalised, only ever rewarded.
To make sure the prestige changes were fair, I have been using a recent snapshot (taken on the 7th of January) from the world of Finata, which hosts the largest current City in the game along with many smaller builds dotted around the planet. I have ran many different prestige balance simulations across the planet to come up with the planned balance changes. To best highlight how the changes will affect current beacons I have found a few select examples the planet:
With natural blocks (such as Foliage) now giving prestige, the mix of prestige buckets, colour variation and free space. This Build has been a major winner on the new system, increasing its prestige by a whopping 50%.
This build is one of the unfortunate casualties. It contains a lot of Gleam (which received a large reduction in prestige due to its availability in the current game) and lacks variety in its prestige buckets. It has lost just over 30% of its prestige. But with a few choice material swaps and a bit of chisel work, it would easily be back to the same level of prestige.
This style of build is eye catching and lovely to stumble across in the wilds. While it lacks a vast variety of block types, colours and chisel work. It has benefited from not trying to “prestige bomb” with densely packed refined gleam and machines. This build has had a 5% increase, and many similar builds have also had increases of 5-20% prestige.
From the outside, this tower looks relatively inconspicuous, covered with decorative blocks, subtle Gleam use and a breath-taking Glass penthouse. However, its internals are tightly packed full of Refined Gleam, which you can just about make out at the bottom of the screenshot where the gleam blocks are being rendered at the distance. With the changes to Gleam prestige and Buildable space ratio, this build has heavily lost prestige (as have many gleam towers), down to 50% of where it used to sit.
With a good mix of prestige buckets, natural blocks and open space, castles like this one have benefited. This one has increased by 19%
This section of wall is part of a larger build as its own independent beacon. It consists of tightly compacted gleam and stone with very little variety. It has lost around 30% of its prestige due to this.
Many shops have benefited from the new rules, since they consist of open spaces and large diversity
of block types. This example has increased by almost 20%.
Overall, most builds will find themselves around 10% above or below where they were previously in terms of prestige. With a vast majority of visually appealing builds at higher levels then they were previously. Please let us know of your thoughts of these changes before we move ahead with implementing them!