A colorful pop-up shop tent on a beach with blue skies.
Shulamit’s pop-up beach vendor tent

Starmourn, let’s get trendy.

In today’s devblog we’ll be talking all about Design Trends as well as changes coming to physical shops, NPC shop sales, ‘Help Wanted’ Posters, and related bits! These changes are set to hit the Starmourn Sector on Monday, February 13th! Read on, and at the end of the blog we also have a status update to share on the state of the conflict rework in general!

Now we’re trending

Craftpedia Entry for 'rosefruit'

Keywords:      'rosefruit'
Skills:        Cuisine and Mixology

The Rosefruit is an export of Prosabel II, in particular the colony of Thait - the Elgan colonists successfully cultivated the wild rosefruits into a larger, more consumer-friendly variety. The outside of the rosefruit has a fuzzy texture and a blushing pink hue, while the bright orange flesh within is sweet and citrusy.
Players will have access to an in-game database of lore materials

We’re happy to introduce a new system coming to the design skills, Trends. The Starmourn Sector is constantly brimming with life, and just like in real life, trends in fashion, jewelry, cuisine, furnishing, art, and mixology are constantly shifting. Every two weeks, a random pattern for each tradeskill will start to Trend, along with a random in-lore material. In one trending period, the Sector’s tastebuds might be all about limfruit parfaits; in the next, the Sector might just be absolutely craving Oldtown Mold truffles. In Art, the Sector could be really into atlases made from disheet, for some reason; the next, calludite parasols are all the rage.

Within the two week period of a trend, designers can submit a design of the trending pattern where the design fields contain one of the “keywords” of the in-lore material. Once submitted, the Trending flag of the design is locked in, so even if it takes us admin longer than the trend period to approve the design, your item will still be considered Trending once approved. Your design will retain its trending status for 120 RL days after Approval.

Along with the formation of a database of in-lore materials and their keywords, we will also be creating a new, in-game CRAFTPEDIA, where in-lore materials will be fully explorable with writeups, to help you write your trending designs without needing to access the Starmourn Wiki to learn about them. But hey, you should still go check out the wiki!

The age of Commerce

The interior of a shop, a human male at the counter, colorful lamps hanging from the ceiling and the counter stuffed full of colorful ceramics and bands.
A helpful human shop assistant. Not pictured: Spacer in the back room working on a new trending line of isomorphic florinite nipple rings.

So, what’s the point in designing trends? In short, they make your shop extremely attractive to the denizens of the Sector.

Denizen shop sales are being reworked somewhat. We LOVE that the denizen sale system has provided a powerful source of revenue for designers, and they will continue to be a strong source of marks revenue, but re-emphasizing the rewards for those actively engaged in design.

The gap between the rich and the poor in Starmourn has been growing and growing, with the majority of new marks added to the game coming from denizen sales, and marks inflation figures reaching startling new heights. As such, if you’re making more than 250,000 marks per RL day off of denizen sales, you can definitely expect those numbers to be brought down to a more responsible figure which the game’s economy can handle. If, on the other hand, you’re an active designer who’s lucky to make 10,000 marks a day off their one poster, you can definitely expect to be making more.

And if you don’t own a physical shop to begin with, but a have a trade terminal stocked with fresh designs… The denizen sale system will now also extend to trade terminals. Trade terminal denizen sales will not yield as many marks as physical shops, but they will definitely provide a solid source of revenue for designers who have not yet been with us long enough to afford a physical shop.

An attractive proposal

A woman walking on a Kyoto street at night, neon reflecting off the damp street surface.
This Starmourn denizen just scored a calludite parasol. Where to next?

Every so often, the game will check the shops of online players, pick the most attractive shop for that player, build a list of such shops for each player, and make a weighted pick of one of them, with more attractive shops having a higher likelihood of getting picked. Having up to 5 trending designs in your shop is enough to maximize your attractiveness boost from trends, and having up to 10 designs in general will maximize your attractiveness boost per-item. With these figures, we’re hoping to strike a balance between not needing to design too much, so that you can focus on writing the designs of your dreams, but also not designing too little, so that active designers are rewarded the most.

Physical shops gain some boosts to their attractiveness, as well. If a shop is physical to begin with, it gets a boost. If it has an assistant, it gets another boost. If it has an extension, yet another boost. And if it has an assistant in the extension — you guessed it — another boost! Each of these improvements also comes with a sizeable increase to the marks the shop generates.

If, however, a physical shop came from auction, it will receive the maximum boost out of the gate, and posters will be refunded to those players with auction shops who later used posters on them. The shop assistants will stay, and assistants will just be baked into auction shops from here on out. This allows auction shops to remain unique spaces, sometimes without extensions or extra rooms, but still achieve the maximum attractiveness. This includes the pop-up style auction shops, such as those inside tents.

Finally, denizen sales will also include a mercy mechanic to account for bad variance and somewhat less active designers, so that everyone can still share in the wealth generated in this new system.

Learn me a thing or two!

Two young boys painting and sketching with reference manuals while sitting on tree stumps in a lush, green park.
Newbies, striking upon design inspiration for the very first time!

As part of this update, we are also opening up the design quest found on shop assistants to the general playerbase. As the only source of XP for players who exclusively design, we found it wholly unreasonable to gate this quest behind physical shop ownership. The quest will still be available from shop assistants for ease of access, but it will also be going on EIGHTEEN new design tutors which you’ll see popping up around the factional areas soon! Argus and Marra have been hard at work making each of these tutors a truly unique personality, and quite frankly the amount of creativity and ingenuity coming from this duo continues to astound me.

Along the way, we’re also making a few improvements to the quest, fixing some bugs, and the patterns they ask for will also happen to be trending ones. The interaction will also include a bit of information about trending materials and how they work, providing direction for submitting the design so that it will be marked as trending!

The bigger picture

Three stacks of coins, each stack higher than the previous.
A graphic visualization of this season’s Commerce Scores

Over the course of a conflict season, each denizen sale will contribute Commerce Score towards a player’s faction, Commerce being one of the three pillars which make up a faction’s Culture Score. The changes described above will make it so that terminal shops can compete with physical shops, but physical shops will take the proverbial cherifruit cake when it comes to marks generation, in addition to already being one of the most heavily customizable modifications to the game’s public environs available.

The state of the conflict rework: An update

A woman inside a clock trying to climb up its numbers.
“Time?! What time do you think we have?” – Anonymous evil space wizard

You made it to the end of the devblog! Time for one last tidbit.

In our original post spoiling a good chunk of the rework, we mentioned that Archaeology was slated for March. Well, all those specimens and fossils lying in the ground across the Starmourn Sector need just a bit more time to age before they’re ready to be unveiled. Thus, we’re pushing Archaeology to April and pulling changes to Cosmpiercers up to March! We look forward to sharing more details about our total overhaul of Cosmpiercer capture mechanics, our Mercenary system, and the thrilling and unique PvE experience that is Ishvana Cosmpiercers. If we’re lucky, we may also get to changes to Caches, Vouchers, Energy, and Crystals in March, but we’ll see!

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you in the Starmourn Sector!

1 Comment

  1. […] of work to do implementing the third pillar of Cultural Score, the other two being Achaeology and Commerce, and gluing everything together before we are ready to start the first conflict season proper. We […]

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