EI March 2010

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No Fridays without updates

Published March 26th, 2010

Dear citizens,

Today we are having a special guest. Travelling all the way from Serbia and after visiting most of Romania because he took the wrong train, he finally arrived at our office, this legendary Olympus Mountain of the New World. Who's he? Well, he's Blackeye Sev Vuk, one of the guys from our beloved moderator's team. He was surprised to find out that eGods are made from flesh and bones, but quickly got used to this and even dared to challenge them to a foosball match. He lost, of course. :D

Let's see some pictures:

First thing to do: worship the mighty chicken :P

Vuk searching for hidden plans for military and economy migrations /:)

Now, let's see some updates. You should know that we added a security measure which aims to protect eRepublik Organizations. That's why when you are logging on your Organization you are asked to confirm the e-mail address associated with it. This confirmation must be done only once.

Remember that we promised you a new forum platform, a much better one? There will be a small price for this: starting with day 860 of eRepublik, the current forum will be taken off-line for about 24 hours, in order to import all the current stuff we have in there and avoid the creation of new topics and posts while we migrate to the new forum. So, get ready everybody! In just a couple of days, we will all enjoy a very cool communication channel.

Speaking of the forum, we would like to remind you that we are no longer supporting any new contracts signed on the forum. We are working on finding a better contracts module, and we could use your help. Thanks for your suggestions.

That's all for today.

The eRepublik team

[New Military Module] Skills, specializations and maps

Published March 24, 2010

Dear citizens,

In this Insider, we'll dive into some details which you need to know in order to understand the future Insiders explaining how the fights will actually take place.

We said that the new military module will feature battlefield maps, new weapon skill specializations and different unit/terrain advantages.

We decided to let battles take place on maps because we are committed to offering you a truly remarkable experience. Great strategies and tactical warfare can only really emerge on a map that features different terrain types like plains, hills, forests, rivers, lakes, bridges, mountains, and cities, because some terrains are only accessible for certain unit types. Tanks cannot cross mountains for example.

You already know that some units have advantages over others: infantry over anti-aircraft artillery, tanks over infantry, helicopters over tanks and finally anti-aircraft artillery over helicopters. On the other hand, each unit advantage (or disadvantage, depending on how you look at them) can be compensated by moving your unit on a tile with a certain type of terrain. Infantry unit (rifles) are harder to hit when located in a forest. The unit and terrain bonuses can make a difference in the heat of battle but they will not give you a guaranteed win against a unit you have an advantage over. Terrain and unit advantages increase the chance to hit your opponent or decrease the chance for you getting hit a little bit.

A much stronger role plays the customization of a weapon. As we explained in the economic module Insiders, weapons have four variable values: Attack, Defense, Damage, and Durability. Out of those, the comparison of the Attack and Defense values between you and your opponent during a PvP fight determines the “hit chance”. A weapon customized to deal very high damage might have a lower hit chance because fewer customization points were left to spend on the Attack or Defense values. Conclusion: there is no “one ring to rule them all” story with weapons and advantages.

Battles take place on maps with a size of 20x20 tiles, no matter how big or small the actual region of a specific country is, because a map reflects only a limited area around the capital city of the region. Each tile can host one building, be that a hospital or a defense system. We might see very long-lasting buildings covering just a small area around strategic points, like bridges. Or we can have buildings that cover the whole map with their Area of Effect, for the price of, for example, having a shorter lifetime. Again, it depends all on customization. Since your enemies will capture your region tile by tile, they can also capture your buildings! So make sure you protect or re-capture them.

In the beginning, all regions of all countries will fight their battles on a small number of generic maps. Providing every single region with a unique map is a huge project in itself given the hundreds of regions that make the New World.

By now you know that the current generic strength is going to turn into four types of weapon skills: Tanks, Rifles, Anti-Aircraft Artillery, and Helicopters. Like in the other professions your weapon skill levels will have their own names. The higher your weapon skill level, the higher the damage your weapon will deal to an opponent during a PvP fight. Do you remember the Time Management feature? There you can train whatever weapon skill you like!

The military ranks remain the same, but we are re-balancing them a bit and adding stars to Icon rank Field Marshal.png Field Marshal. This means that your military career doesn't end with the rank of a Field Marshal. The higher your military rank, the higher your chance to deal critical damage to your opponent. You'll get promoted to the next military rank when by gaining a certain number of rank points. You'll get rank points for defeating opponents in PvP fights. If the rank of your opponent is higher than your own and you defeat him, you will receive more rank points as you would when defeating a lower-ranked opponent. A Icon rank General.png General will not become a Field Marshal too quickly by only hunting down Icon rank Private.png Privates!

More about how the actual battles and PvP fights will work in the next Insiders.

The eRepublik team

Languages, contracts and Wiki

Published March 18, 2010

Dear citizens,

We are starting this short Insider by welcoming the latest wave of languages implemented in eRepublik. The citizens able to enjoy the New World in their native language are Croatians, Serbians, Turkish, Bulgarian and Greeks. We are aware of a couple of issues and we are working on them. If you have any suggestions or if you wish to report a problem regarding languages, please let us know by submitting a ticket to the Feedback department. We are already looking forward to the next wave of languages, but can't offer more details right now. We'll keep you updated on this subject in future Insiders.

Let's move to another topic: the forum contracts. We have decided to back off of our official support for them. Overall, these contracts bring more problems to the citizens than they solve. In many cases, citizens (especially younger ones) relied on a contract for buying, for example, a house, but to their big surprise, the contract was actually invalid, so they were left with no house and no GOLD. Until we'll be able to offer an automated and much more reliable Contracts module, we recommend the usage of the safe in-game Marketplace for buying houses and other products. Only there you can be sure that you get what you pay for. Any suggestions or ideas regarding contracts would be highly appreciated, so please let us know about them. As for lending money, you could ask for the helping hands of your trustworthy friends. Just like in real life, you should ask for recommendations before accepting “gentleman's agreements” with strangers. Either way, the “Donate” button officially does what it says: it donates something. We'll still judge the eventual trials based upon the current contracts and those that will be signed before 25th March.

Several weeks ago we postponed a couple of updates regarding the new hospital rule (where you recover only the wellness lost in battles) and the new experience tunnel for newly born citizens (they start with 100 wellness, fight at level 3). These updates are live on site, as announced on the forum.

We would like to end this Insider with giving a huge “Thank you” to all our Wiki contributors, as eRepublik Wiki has reached 10.000+ pages. That's very impressive! Our Wiki is a truly vast encyclopedia where you can find many interesting articles related to the eRepublik world, from economic formulas to epic battles coverages, from breath-taking tutorials to personal pages of our citizens. Once again, thanks guys (and girls :p )!

The eRepublik team

New military module – overview and screenshots.

Published March 16, 2010

Dear citizens,

Your patience will now finally be rewarded as we start our series of Insiders about the upcoming Military module.

So let's jump right into it: the new military module will be a turn-based massively multiplayer strategy game, in which each region is represented by a map. The map is the theatre on which the epic battles will take place. And epic they will be! Hundreds, even thousands of players can deploy their citizens on a region's map as infantry, tank, artillery or helicopter units.

A map consists of hundreds of hexagonal fields (hex fields). Each field represents a certain terrain type like mountains, rivers, cities, and others. The topographic features of a map will be the basis for strategies, which unfold, for example, around capturing choke points like bridges and mountain passes. Each hexagonal field can also contain a hospital or a defense system, which cover a certain radius of hex fields around them, depending on their Area of Effect customization.

The heart of each map is the region's capital city. Who controls it holds the key for capturing or securing the region. But let's take one step after the other by answering some basic questions:

How can you attack a region?

Almost the same way as it is at the moment. The president decides which region to attack. Starting a resistance war also works the same as at the moment. One difference though is the Battle Queue: only one country can attack a region at any given time. If another country wants to attack the same region, it has to wait until the current battle has ended.

How can a country capture or secure a region?

The initial battle runs for 24 hours. If the attacking side managed to capture a certain percentage of all hex fields, including the region's capital city, the attackers will have captured the region; and vice versa for the defenders in securing the region. If both victory conditions have not been achieved by one side, the battle continues in sudden-death mode: whichever side fulfils the victory conditions first, will win the battle and capture or secure the region.

How can I take part in a battle?

Just buy any kind of weapon from the market place, make sure your health is above the fighting limit, select the battle you want (and can) fight in, and press the "Join Battle" button on the battlefield page. You can then select the hex field where you want to enter the battle. Of course, you see all the other players on the map. It's also a good idea to use the eRepublik chat to meet with your friends at a certain location on the map. Once you deployed your citizen you can move about and engage in Player versus Player (PvP) fights. Of course, you can also fight unarmed if you think you stand a chance.

How does the PvP fight work?

In a nutshell: if there are enemy citizens located in an adjacent hex field, and if it is your turn, then you can attack that field and select one enemy out of five. You can also select a so called Booster, for example, a hand grenade, to increase your chances of winning the upcoming fight. Once the current turn has ended, the PvP fight will take place. You and your enemy will shoot at each other until one of you gets seriously injured and have to leave the battlefield; it's always a last-man-standing situation. There are more details to consider, which we will cover in one of the next Insiders.

What does turn-based mean?

The attacking and defending sides in a battle take the turn in moving and fighting against each other. If it is your country's or ally's turn you can move around the map and pick enemies on adjacent hex fields. When the turn countdown has come to an end, the PvP fights will take place and you will see their result's. Then the next turn starts. Now it is the turn of your enemies. This means you cannot move or actively attack. But you can prepare for possible attacks of your enemies by increasing your health or by equipping with a defensive Booster.

What are unit-versus-unit and terrain advantages?

We used two rock-paper-scissor methods to add tactical momentum to battles: infantry units have an advantage against artillery unit; artillery units have an advantage against helicopters; while helicopters are strong against tanks, which are strong against infantry. You can still compensate advantages of your enemies by moving in certain terrains.

What happens to your military ranks?

You will keep your ranks but they will have a different effect, because you are not fighting against a wall anymore but against other players.

What happens to your strength skill?

Instead of one strength, you will have four military skills: Infantry, tank, helicopter, and artillery. The choice will be yours how to distribute your existing strength skill points to the new military skills. You could, for example, transfer 100% on just one military skill or distribute the strength skill points in other proportions. It is up to you.

More about changes in a dedicated Insider, in which we will explain the details on how to transfer your citizen values and possessions into the new system.

How does it look?

Here are some actual screenshots from within the game. Please keep in mind that the screenshots are taken from the current alpha version, so not all graphics are final.

Screen shot 2010-03-16 at 15.48.45.JPG

Screen shot 2010-03-16 at 15.49.36.JPG

Stay tuned and don't miss the upcoming Insiders in which we will focus on details of the military module.

The eRepublik team

(New Economic Module) Closing overview. Sreenshots included

Published March 12, 2010

Dear citizens,

So what is the new economic module all about? Well, it is about time management, product customization, new industries and new professions. Each of these main concepts enriches the eRepublik gameplay with several innovations.

Time Management offers you a virtual 24-hours e-life, and it's up to you how to spend the day. Apart from the Company (working) and the Training Grounds, two new places will emerge:

  • Library for learning
  • Entertainment District for having fun.

The distribution of available hours for working-training-learning-entertaining-sleeping brings the strategy dimension to your character development:

  • You want more money?
  • You want more happiness?
  • You need more health?
  • You want to grow a particularly skill faster?

Just allocate the available hours according to your needs! And remember, even though you're managing 24 "e-hours", it only takes a few minutes a day!

Product customization greatly increases the variety of products you'll be able to buy. The trick is that products will be made of products components and each component influences a different attribute. As food has two components, it influences two attributes: health and happiness. Specialization is the key but products customization goes further by introducing: durability for products like houses, an area of effect for hospitals and defense systems, moving distance for tickets, attack/defense and other values for guns.

There will be eleven new professions. The idea is that we'll have a much greater diversity of jobs. The actual skills also get a name: like “junior carpenter” instead of “1.15 skilled carpenter”,

No business will be lost. If your company profile is no longer valid in the new module, it will be migrated into a new company. As a manager, you receive Customization Points according to the company quality, and from there on it's up to you how do you customize it.

As for the regions, current regions' importance will not decrease. The current Wood regions will still supply the constructions sector with raw materials, but instead of Wood with Stone. The Iron resource in the game will be kept, and will provide raw materials for Rifle and Artillery companies. The current diamonds get converted into Titanium, which will be used as raw material for Tanks and Helicopters.

Facebook Connect

Published March 4, 2010

Dear citizens,

Many of you might have observed a new button in several places, including the home page (when you're not logged in). Despite the fact that it's not a red one, we know that some of you still wondered: “Uuhh, what does this Connect button do?” This is what we are going to explain in this Insider.

The new “Connect” feature is related to Facebook, one of the biggest social networks in the world. A hugely successful one, we might say. We, as a game based upon social interactions, couldn't have missed this great social tool. Our Facebook page has over 23.000 fans but most likely even more of our citizens have a Facebook account. They are the ones who will be interested in this new feature.

Quick question: what does the “Connect” button do?

Quick answer: it synchronizes your eRepublik and Facebook accounts.

Quick question: and how does this help me?

Quick answer: you can invite your Facebook friends into eRepublik (thus earning GOLD) and also let the world know what are you doing in the New World.

If you choose to synchronize your accounts, don't forget to keep your feeds active, as this is a requirement in order to have your Facebook wall automatically updated. The word "automatically" may trigger some fears, but don't worry: your wall will not be spammed! Only the most important events in your e-life are posted there. What are the most important events? Well, being rewarded with a new achievement is surely an example! As well as buying a new house and voting. All of these are pretty rare events, but interesting enough to be announced. Journalists might particularly love this: articles published in eRepublik are also linked on your Facebook wall. Free advertising! :D

Aside from being proud of your achievements, we said that you can also gain GOLD. Well, this is fast and easy: in addition to sending invitations to your Facebook friends, all eRepublik-related wall updates include your referral link. Any FB user landing for some reason on your page and registering through your referral link might bring you Icon-gold.gif 5 GOLD (by reaching level 6). But maybe an even greater reward would be to have in a morning this message on your wall: “I got elected President of x Country!”; or to be honoured as the battle hero of a truly epic battle. Admit it, this would make you so proud! :D Then what are you waiting for? Synchronize your accounts!

We must say that right now we have only three achievements out of the existing eight implemented in the application: hard-worker, super-soldier, and country president. In the following period (a short one) we will add the rest of them.

At the end of our article, a quick update: we announced some changes for the newly born citizens (starting with 100 wellness) as well for the hospital rule (healing only wellness lost in battles). Those updates will have to wait a little longer in order to make sure that we cover all the indirect implications and issues that might appear. We'll keep you posted about this subject.

The eRepublik Team

[New Economic Module] Customization Points

Published March 2, 2010

Dear citizens,

You have in front of your eyes the 5th and last “technical” Insider dedicated to the new economic module. In a few days, we'll provide a final article regarding the new economy module that will summarize all previous Insiders. After that, we'll move on to the military Insiders. The economic module has been rewritten up to 70% and we can still recognize some products, ideas, and places. On the other hand, the military module will be 100% new and redesigned! The Military Overview article will be published soon.

Here is what you need to know about Customization Points. In the rest of the article, we'll use the abbreviation “CP”. In one of our previous articles, we said that CPs will push the product qualities concept one step forward. This doesn't mean that CPs will completely replace the qualities. For example, you will still work in a company of a certain quality level, or rather customization level, and hence lose wellness according to that level. Instead of having five quality levels, companies will have five customization levels.

Since company owners use the CP to customize their products, players will no longer search for just “Q3 food” but for food that will restore a certain minimum amount of health or happiness.

Here are some rules:

  1. A new company starts at Customization Level 1 with 30, 40, or 50 CP to spend, depending on the kind of product produced.
  2. In order to complete product customization, company owners have to spend all CP.
  3. Company owners have to upgrade or downgrade the customization level to be able to change product customization.

The cost of creating and upgrading companies is the same regardless of the industry but the available CPs differ, because we also need to take into consideration the number of product components:

  • for products like food consisting of 2 components, the company starts with 30 CPs and receives 30 CPs for each upgrade. On these products, company owners can spend a maximum of 150 CPs.
  • for products like houses made from 3 components, the company starts with 40 CPs and receives 40 CPs for each upgrade. On these products, company owners can spend a maximum of 200 CPs.
  • for products like tanks consisting of 4 components, the company starts with 50 CPs and receives 50 CPs for each upgrade. On these products, company owners can spend a maximum of 250 CPs.

But how many Customization Points can you spend on a single component? The answer is 100. This means that you can never have a product that has all its attributes maxed out. On the other hand, some attributes require a minimum amount of CPs; like durability, for example, you can't leave this at zero CP.

You'll not be able to create a new company with just Icon-gold.gif 20 GOLD. You'll need another Icon-gold.gif 20 GOLD at your disposal, which is automatically transferred into the account of your new company. This assures that your business has a good start, with enough money for raw materials, salaries and other expenses.

One more addition: the “dissolve company” button is due to come into play soon. This button will completely delete your company and refund half of the money you invested in the company. This way we want to prevent high numbers of Q1 “ghost” companies, because a General manager can decide to completely "delete" his company, not just downgrading it until Q1, as it is now.

If you wanted to upgrade but had lots of stock in the company you'd need to either upgrade (and lose all the existing stock) or put the products on sale and wait. With the update, you will be able to put the current stock on sale and still upgrade your company. If you remove old products from the market place your company would just lose them, just like as if you would have tried to upgrade the company while the products were in stock. So, when you'll want to upgrade, put on sale your old products (you can adjust their price anytime) and start doing business with the new ones!

OK, that's it for today,