The wait is finally over! On September 25th the Starhawk 1.04 Update will be available for download! 1.04 is a huge update with a ton of brand new free content including 5 new maps and 3 new modes, balance changes, bug fixes and DLC purchasable from the PlayStation Store. This is by far our most ambitious Update to date and one that has been in the works for quite awhile. So without further ado here are the new features you’ll get to experience with the Update!
Five New Maps:
We’ve always said all of the new maps we make for Starhawk will be free and 1.04 makes good on that promise. We know you wanted some smaller maps and we’ve delivered. These small maps are great when you have less players and really shine in the new Deathmatch mode too. Add them to your CTF, Zones, DM or TDM game lists. We also included two new Hawk only maps to liven up your aerial combat.
In 1.03 we introduced the lush, green (and swampy!) environment of Cypress and included two brand new maps for this new planet. Now with the addition of small maps we’ve got one more for you, the tiny islands of Glade. This small map incorporates the gnarly tree roots and expanded pickup locations of the previous maps that were a big hit with players in 1.03 with a more compact layout for intese battles!
The second small map in this update takes the fight to the tiny Relay station above the planet Dust. There are a lot of tiered walkways on this map: perfect places to get the advantage on the players below you while they are distracted and shooting at someone else.
Our final small map, Scourge Junction, is a derelict extraction site full of Crumbling bridges connecting the islands. Vehicles with vertical mobility are key to victory here, just don’t run out of fuel and fall into the acid below!
This new map for Gatekeeper and Dogfight takes you back to a previously unseen area on Scourge where you can riddle your target with fire from your Hawk.
Ships and asteroids orbit Dust in high concentrations here. Use the asteroids for cover and fly through the ship cargo bays to grab pickups in this new map for Gatekeeper and Dogfight modes!
Three New Game Modes:
We’re always thinking about how we can take the core Starhawk gameplay experience and build upon it. These three new game modes are a direct result of extensive internal gameplay sessions and discussions combined with player requests.
In this territory control mode the teams are split up into attacker and defender. The attacking team starts at one end of the map with a single drop zone and must capture each of the defending teams control points in order. At the end of the first round the teams switch and the defenders become the attackers. When both rounds are complete the team with the most points wins! Assault is available on all of the original maps, Origin and Collider.
This is our second hawk-only gameplay mode and adds a bit of order to the chaos of Dogfight. Playing like a sports game in space or in the sky players will pick up a ball and attempt to fly it through several rings. Each ring the ball carrier flies through increases his potential score by one. Once he has flown through all of the rings he must then fly through the central gate to score the points, all while the opposing team is trying to shoot him down. Gatekeeper is available on all of the original maps, Origin, Collider, and the new Dogfight/Gatekeeper maps Breaker and Flotilla.
Many in the community called for Deathmatch on foot and this new mode is a direct answer to them. Arena matches are fast paced free for all battles where the gear is dropped in from above automatically so all you have to worry about is killing the other players. Since the respawn and drop pod speeds have been significantly increased there is little downtime when you die. This, combined with the generally smaller maps and unpredictable placement of buildings makes for a frantic gameplay experience! Deathmatch Arena is available on Glade, Origin, Relay, Orbital, Junction, Conduit, Outlands, Basin, and Narrows.
Three New Build & Battle Loadouts:
"Trooper" is a loadout that is designed specifically to focus on troop vs. troop combat!
"Light-Weight" is a well balanced loadout that does NOT include larger vehiclels like the Hawk and Ox Tank!
And the "Speeder" loadout focuses on fast vehicle combat and does NOT the Vulture Jetpack!
Ground Pounder, Heavyweight and and Lone Wolf are all seeing slight revisions too!
This may seem like a simple convenience change, but one we think is an important improvement. To help players navigate the uplink we’ve added tooltips to the icons on the menu, and to most of the sub-menu options. One of the most notable features of this change is that now you can see exactly what Build and Battle parts are in a loadout before you start a game.
Recommended Player Counts:
Recommended player counts are a handy way of deciding what maps will play best with the number of players you have. Or you can throw caution to the wind and stuff 32 players into the small maps. It’s your choice, and now we’ve made it easier.
New National Clan Banners:
There was a request on the forums for some banners for countries in the Middle East, so we included Kuwait, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Rock them if you live there, or you just want to represent your heritage.
More Pickups & Rift Barrels:
We got some really great feedback that the extra pickups and barrels in the new Cypress maps were a hit, so our designers have gone back through all of the old maps and added lots of new pickups. This was a huge fan request and we’re glad we could make it happen.
M.A.W. Rocket Launcher:
Previously troops didn’t really have a lot of options for dealing with the zippy Sidewinder, it was basically ‘don’t stand in the open’, and ‘hope they dismount’. Or maybe you were lucky and had a few proximity mines on hand. Now the M.A.W. locks onto the heat signature of the Sidewinder giving troops on foot a way to deal with the jetbike. This adds a new layer of utility to the M.A.W. and a new layer of complexity for the Sidewinder driver. With no method to scrub the incoming missile, the driver is going to need to use his wits and the terrain to avoid destruction. This change has a dramatic impact on ‘Sidewinder Races’ in the new CTF.
The Bruiser skill has been replaced with the Grinder skill, allowing you to start the match with a grinder. We’ve also made it spin up a bit faster and given it a slight range extension.
The pistol has had a slight boost to headshot damage, both in and out of OTS!
More Score & Time Options:
With the changes to the capture rules in CTF in 1.03 we wanted to allow for higher scoring games. Now you can go as high as 15. We also heard that you wanted more flexibility with the Zones score limit options so we’ve added 2500, 5000 and 25000(!) limits. In addition there are several new game length options so you can dial in your perfect game length and these are totally adjustable on our servers. This gives us the power to make these changes based on player feedback without the need for an update!
In-game scoreboard in Deathmatch and Dogfight:
Checking the score in the modes where you were forced to spawn in used to be a drag. The only way you could see it was to open the uplink while everyone else in the game was climbing over each other to be the first one to kill you. Now the scores are displayed in the game without having to take your fingers off the trigger.
XP Payouts for Tier 2 and 3 in Zones:
Previously there wasn’t much personal reward for sticking around to get your zones up to rank 2 or 3; XP was only paid out on the initial capture. Now you’ll get XP for each rank you help secure. So stick around and help your team hold the zone while you collect XP!
Only Clan Leaders & Officers can Initiate a Clan Match:
There was some concern from clan leaders that rogue members were able to create unauthorized clan matches which could have a negative impact on the clans W/L ratio. Now the clan tag options are unavailable to anyone but a clan officer or leader.
Cake and Fist Icons removed:
We removed the cake and fist icons from the game list leaving only the skull icon. Putting a cake icon on a game was a big neon sign that basically said 'fresh meat'. Now new players will know when a game is probably too rough for them, and veterans (all you blue 50+ players) will be able to join the widest number of games possible.
PlayStation Store Button:
A PlayStation Store button has been added to the uplink to make it easy to find new DLC content!
More Rift Energy in Homeworlds:
We’ve heard the request for more Rift Energy while in each of the multiplayer Homeworlds. Now you will start with quite a bit more! This should help speed up the rate that you can build stuff!
Starhawk Specific Network Scanner:
To help aid players in debuging their home networks, the Starhawk 1.04 Update includes a new network connection scanner that will trigger automatically in the event of a failed network connection. Certainly disconnects from the internet can happen for a wide variety of reasons, but based on all of the data we have collected, the vast majority of them are related to port blockage on a player's home network. The new network scanner will inform you of any ports that maybe blocked that are negatively impacting your Starhawk connection.
Prospector Tuning & Create Game Changes:
We’ve modified how damage is scaled with 2-4 player games. No, four player games are still challenging, but much more manageable. In addition we fixed an issue that was causing certain tough enemies to spawn less than the desired amount in games with less than 4 players. To put the icing on these changes we’ve also increased the XP payout in co-op mode. And to make Prospector games easier to start and join we’ve given you the ability to set a game name, difficulty and make the game public or private. Public games will now show up on the game list.
We've added all three new game modes as well as Prospector mode to the Quickmatch menu to make finding them a snap!
Rage Quit Penalty:
Nobody likes a sore loser (unless it’s in a hilarious youtube video) so players who rage quit the game while it is in progress will now post a loss. We know that there are times and circumstances where players should be allowed to quit out and we have allowed for that in this new system. Players will not take the quit penalty if they leave in the first 5 minutes of joining a game, if they have very low skill score, or have earned 0XP so far in the match. In addtion we have made this all tuneable on the server so that we can make adustments to the system to ensure that its accomplishing our goal of enforcing good sportsmanship.
Up Next Display:
And because we recognized that the only way you could tell what map was next was to load into it AND we recognized that maybe you didn’t want to play that one AND we recognized that the only way out was to take a quit penalty we added the next round details to the intermission screen. Between rounds the map, loadout and mode will be displayed in the upper right hand corner. No more surprises when the CTF game you joined turns into TDM!
Whew... That's a ton of new stuff!
The 1.04 Update drops on September 25th!