The Starmourn Blog

Hey beaches. Time for an event!

By Argus | June 6, 2023 |

From the desk of Jonti Yaghah

Stockpile that sunscreen, spacers – It’s time for a Beach Party!

Come on down to Glittering Shores Pleasure Beach to celebrate with style in the warm waves and shimmering sands of the hottest spot in Litharge. The festival theme this year is Love Your Neighbor, so we’re celebrating all things lovely and neighborly amidst the fun. Check in with me and Iffha in our tropical bar, Fronds In Low Places, for a fresh drink and snack to kick things off!

Never been to the Glittering Shores before? Head to the Glisal seaway just past the memorial area in the northeastern area of Litharge, then scramble down the cliff face and through the Dregend Beach until you get to our beautiful vacation destination. It’s worth the trip!

See you on the shores! Just mind your toes in the water as we’ve gotten reports of a new breed of selakki roaming the waves…

Jonti Yaghah, Development Aide for the Celestine Office of Cultural Affairs

A foam of white ocean water cresting a wave overtakes a bright beach, carrying clear blue water up onto the shore.
Photo by Herman. io:

From the desk of a tiny space kitten –

To celebrate the start of summer, we are hosting a month-long event on the Glittering Shores of Litharge!

Simply WALK TO JONTI in game before July 1st at 00:00 GMT to greet this hardworking beach manager and learn more about how you can help the beachgoers this season to earn rewards from Jonti herself.

We’ve created a plethora of new NPCs to interact with, six new quests that you can complete each day to earn points and build that beach cred, AND a brand new game – TASERBALL – which you can play with other players!

June promo is also out and about, but we’ll share the love for all of that in another post. For now, head to the beach! We hope you have a wonderful time kicking off the summer with us.

Argus, the tiniest feracht

You don’t want to miss this.

By Argus | May 3, 2023 |

The Ishvana threat looms overhead, ominously plotting amongst the stars…

Log in tomorrow, May 4th, at 23:00 GMT to tag in on the adventure and fight to save some of the sector’s greatest resources!

An ominous red cloud swirls in the distant galaxy, surrounded by the black skies of space and dotted with bright stars.

Join our Discord server to learn more about the event and connect with the Starmourn community!

You’re Invited:

Caches, Crystals, Energy, oh my!

By Neritus | April 20, 2023 |
Ta-Deth crystals under a microscope.

Welcome back to another devblog! Today, we will discuss changes coming to Caches, Crystals, and Cosmpiercer Energy. These changes will hit the Starmourn Sector on Thursday, May 4th, with a recommended play time at 23:00 UTC. We’ll be kicking things off with a dramatic event that you’re not going to want to miss! You might consider dusting off and stocking up your ships, too…

For now, keep reading for more information about the incoming Cosmpiercer reset and other Conflict Rework updates!

The Vision

Butting heads over a Rich Cache

The overarching goal of the Conflict Rework is to create meaningful pathways for all player archetypes to contribute in their own way to their faction. We want everyone to have content they can call home, and for that content to matter, mechanically. In the past devblogs and releases, we’ve talked quite a lot about what we are doing to bridge the prior gaps for many different play styles. This time around, we will discuss our attempts to stimulate the healthy competition for limited resources!

The Funnel

All hail the Content Mailstrom

One of our key goals in this round of development was reducing the available Cosmpiercers and crystal sources to encourage healthy competition for those resources. Basically, the following changes should funnel players into smaller numbers of more dramatic flashpoints via a Swiss army knife of changes to all interrelated systems.


Let’s talk about what is happening to Cosmpiercers themselves. In case you haven’t been keeping up, we’ve already launched a major overhaul to Cosmpiercers, which you can read about here.

Firstly, we want Cosmpiercer assaults to be truly momentous, so we are reducing the number of Cosmpiercers in the Starmourn Sector. Come to the recommended playtime noted above to be among the first to find out exactly how.

The energy generation formula has also been completely rewritten and there are no longer any diminishing returns punishing factions from owning too many Cosmpiercers. Thanks to the Mercenary system, even factions who find themselves shorthanded on the battlefield can get their slice of the energy pie.

The process of how energy is generated and how abilities are unlocked with it is also changing, and vouchers will no longer exist. There is quite a bit going on here, so we’ll discuss it below!

Caches, Crystals, and Crystalline Facilities

Ta-Deth crystals are currently collected from Caches and used each day at Sync to maintain a faction’s collection of held Cosmpiercers. We’ve received plenty of feedback that this process has felt like a chore and is not engaging players with the PvP component expected of open PK zones such as Caches.

We want Ta-Deth crystals to truly feel valuable with this update. Thus:

  1. We are introducing tighter algorithmic controls on the number of Ta-deth crystals seeded into the game compared to the number of crystals removed from the game via Cosmpiercer maintenance. The game will no longer shower factions with way more crystals than they will ever need.
  2. To allow for finer control, crystals will also now come with “charge,” indicated by adjectives like “faintly glowing,” “shimmering,” or “radiant.” This allows us to ensure a healthy count of crystal deposits to fight over in a cache, but we can fine-tune the actual amount of “charge” they hold. Factions will not spend crystals, but rather “crystal charge”. The storage limit for a faction is no longer counted in the number of physical crystals, but rather is a “crystal charge limit.”
  3. Caches will appear 3 times per day and a new command, COSMPIERCER CACHES, will provide 7 RL days of advance notice about the precise time at which a cache will open. Scheduled cache times will be slotted into three out of the four possible 6-hour time slots in the 24-hour day, ensuring caches will reliably be available for you to engage with no matter your IRL time zone.
  4. We are also introducing a new variety of cache, the Rich Cache. Rich Caches are scheduled to appear every 4 RL days and contain a much greater wealth of crystals. If normal caches aren’t able to inject life into the PvP scene on a daily basis, it’s our hope that at least Rich Caches will provide factions an opportunity to achieve glory on the battlefield and take home some hefty winnings as a reward.
  5. Lastly, a portion of crystals seeded to the game will be made available from a purely PvE source, Crystalline Facilities. FACILITY REPORTS will now include an extra line which hints at how many crystals there are available to be found in crystalline facilities, which will constantly build up day after day! In turn, the Crystalline mutation will now require the No Cloning mutation.
  6. You’ll at last be able to COSMPIERCER STORE ALL. If it would put you over the crystal charge deposited limit, it will store as many as it can. The future is now.

More on energy, vouchers, and unlocks

A voucher, now extinct, a curio in a museum

One of the goals of the rework was to make it so that factions could decide for themselves who gets access to Cosmpiercer abilities, rather than it requiring participation in Open PK content. After all, Cosmpiercer abilities come in a wide range of varieties and offer a lot of quality of life improvements to everyday Spacer living!

As stated previously, vouchers, the currency used to access Cosmpiercer powers currently, will cease to exist. Instead, Cosmpiercers will now store energy locally, and factions will gain a powerful new FACTION ENERGY syntax. This allows faction leaders to allocate how much energy per Sync the faction’s positions, ranks, or individuals can withdraw, as well as the energy accessible for everyone by default.

At Sync, Cosmpiercers will consume Ta-deth crystals in order to be maintained. If one cannot be maintained, it will not generate energy, and any energy stored at the Cosmpiercer will be made unavailable for purchasing powers (but will stay in reserve). Factions will be able to set a percentage (between 0 and 100%), indicating how much newly generated energy should go towards their Unlock Queue (see below), and how much should go to local storage on the Cosmpiercer. If it’s set to 50% and a Cosmpiercer generates 300 energy at Sync, 150 energy will go towards the next unlock, and 150 will go to storage on the Cosmpiercer.

We have also expanded the COSMPIERCER UNLOCK syntax. Factions will now be able to set up a queue, unlocking abilities in a predetermined order. Set it and forget it. Also, abilities no longer expire or require maintenance. Once you’ve unlocked an ability, you will have it until the next conflict Cycle starts.

Once an ability is unlocked, COSMPIERCER PURCHASE will withdraw energy from Cosmpiercers to create the relevant item directly. This means there is no voucher-in-the-middle required, provided the purchase would not exceed the player’s daily energy.

Lastly, energy stored at a Cosmpiercer will not be wiped after a faction claims it from another faction. It will remain. Any energy withdrawals also pull equally from all Cosmpiercers with available energy, making it very difficult to deliberately withdraw energy from a specific Cosmpiercer your faction believes is under threat, unless of course you’re willing to withdraw ALL the energy from all your Cosmpiercers. You will also not be able to withdraw energy from Cosmpiercers in Lockdown or under Siege. We hope this setup provides incentive to contest especially the high level Cosmpiercers, which are very likely to have quite a lot of energy banked up.

The last thing to mention is that there will be a new trade-in shop on Omni Station which allows players to trade crystals in directly for Cosmpiercer abilities, albeit at a steeper crystal cost than if the abilities were unlocked with Cosmpiercer energy. Factionless? Faction didn’t unlock what you want yet? Now you’ll have an avenue to get just what you need!

Invasion Day approaches…

Oh… it’s… big…

With this release, we will have everything in place to tie the Conflict Rework up into a bow and launch the very first of our cyclical seasons, which we have decided to call Cycles, and will come with epic rewards and unique opportunities for all players. As for May 4th: since we are reducing the number of Cosmpiercers, fairness dictates that we must also wipe all Cosmpiercer ownership. We also need to wipe Ta-deth Crystal Storage for technical reasons. One thing we will not wipe on May 4th is your faction’s Cosmpiercer ability unlocks. These will be wiped at the start of each Cycle, just not now.

That’s it, that’s all! Thanks for reading and we hope to see you on May 4th!

A Starmourner’s Guide to Archaeology

By Neritus | March 28, 2023 |
What hidden secrets lie buried in this ancient rock formation on Nadru?

Welcome back to another devblog, Starmourn! Today, we’ll be covering Archaeology. This system’s been cooking for awhile now, and we’re excited to announce that it will, at last, be available April 1st (not even an April Fool’s Joke)!

So let’s get our hands dirty and dig deep. Here’s everything you can expect from Archaeology.

Dig sites

A hard-working dig site intern

All archaeological work begins in the field. To get started, you will interact with an NPC at a museum, select a celestial body to target your investigation, and assemble a team. Archaeological teams will be made up of various NPCs with a Trait and a Profession. You then travel to the wilderness entrance for the chosen celestial body, enter the separate dig site instance (having no effect on your normal wilderness instance or its cooldown), and your team will get to work unearthing fossils and fragments over the next 1-2 RL weeks.

Every so often (not more than once per RL day), a new complication will arise. The traits of your team members will determine the sort of complications that might arise over the course of the dig that your team members will want you to resolve to proceed with the dig at maximum speed and effectiveness. Skittish team members may ask that you clear the zone of mobs before they’re prepared to continue working. Posh team members may ask for a particular Furnishing or Art pattern to continue working. Design patterns which plug into archaeology this way are pulled from a list of approved designs of your own OR designs that are currently available in shop autocrafters, providing a new mechanical incentive for non-designer players to seek out the wares of designers. Since you will be able to pick and choose the traits of your team, you’ll have control over your dig site experience. Not interested in PvE? Avoid the ‘Skittish’ trait! Not interested in Cuisine or Mixology? Avoid the ‘Foodie’ trait!

Completing complications will make the dig progress more quickly overall, and will also activate the team member’s Profession bonus. At launch we have 4 professions: Intern, Supervisor, Palaeontologist, and Anthropologist. Interns are careful and cautious, providing a boost to the quality of your finds. Supervisors keep everyone on task, making the dig take less time overall. Palaeontologists specialize in fossils, improving the likelihood that your finds will be fossils, and improving your chances of finding rarer fossils. Anthropologists specialize in material culture, and thus receive bonuses like Palaeontologists, but for fragments.


A museum exhibition somewhere in Starmourn

Each faction has their own Museum where players can deposit the finds from their personal dig sites. At a museum, factions will be able to browse their collection and conduct Research (see below). Players with the new Curator power can exhibit items in display cases, exhibit DNA reconstructions in hardlight projections, and write informational blurbs about their exhibit.

We want factions to have full control over their museums and for them to also be persistent, mapped buildings. Curators will be able to redesign the museum’s physical space, rewriting museum room descriptions, and factions will be able, via Requests, to expand the museum if they wish to at a commodity cost.

We currently have no plans for a factionless museum, but factionless players will certainly be able to sell their finds to a faction or keep them for their own private collections.

Research and Discoveries

A collection of samples, in a museum backroom somewhere

Archaeology will feature a free-form Research RP system. In the back rooms of Museums, players will be able to conduct research sessions on particular fossils or antiquities either alone or with others. These research sessions are completely free-form. All in-room communication commands (like emotes and says) from participants in the session are logged and, after the session ends, posted to a public Research Board.

From the Research Board, you can view the research sessions of other players in the last 30 days and upvote them for good RP or downvote sessions done in bad faith. This allows us to let players provide some first line of defense moderation if players aren’t using the system in good faith (such as starting the session, writing some gibberish, and ending it, just to get research progress for their faction’s museum). Note that we’ll be watching downvoting in particular. Downvoting is strictly to help us identify players using the mechanic in bad faith, and not to be used if you simply don’t like someone or don’t like their brand of RP. Whenever you make any vote, up or down, you will also gain a bit of extra bonus progress to your next research session, providing incentive for players to keep tabs on the research boards and vote.

Every 20 upvotes you receive, you will also gain a Kudos. A Kudos is a super powerful upvote and can only be granted to players in factions not your own. When you grant a Kudos to someone, both you and the recipient gain a powerful bonus to the discovery progress made for your next research sessions.

After enough research progress on an item within a faction, the faction will unlock a Discovery on the item, revealing more lore for this particular tidbit of a celestial body’s ancient ecology or material culture.

Note that anyone with access to the backroom of a museum will be able to conduct research for the museum, including the factionless and members of other factions. Curators will be able to control who has access to the room via Permissions.

Tying it all together

Everyone gather ’round

Once the conflict rework is fully assembled, Museums will comprise 1 of the 3 main pillars of a faction’s Cultural Score. “Museum Score” will be a measure of progress towards completionism in the breadth and quality of the museum’s collection, exhibition, and research.

And now, a disclaimer. We have been hard at work preparing fascinating fossils and antiquities for you to unearth across the Sector. We do intend for every celestial body with a wilderness in the game to have archaeological objects eventually, but in the interest of ensuring a high quality standard here — doubly so for racial homeworlds — we will be gradually releasing new archaeological objects into the game more piecemeal over the next year or so. Thus, at launch we will only have so many wildernesses available to target as Dig Sites.

We are also paying close attention to the number of current wildernesses in each faction’s subsector. For now, we will ensure factional wildernesses are released in equal proportions (i.e. we would not release Archaeology for the 3rd Scatterhome wilderness until we are done the Archaeology for Song and CA’s 3rd, too). But eventually, we want each factional subsector to have the same number of wildernesses overall. Archaeology for neutral celestial bodies, on the other hand, may be released at any time whenever it is ready.

That’s it, that’s all! We are terribly excited to bring this massive new system online starting April 1st. See you in the field!

Cosmpiercer Overhaul: Everything you wanted to know

By Neritus | February 26, 2023 |
Provisional map of Starmourn Sector.
Space. The final front…

Hello again Starmourn and welcome back to another devblog! Today, we’ll be talking about our plans to overhaul Cosmpiercers and our new Mercenary system. We’ll also touch on Caches, Energy, Crystals, and Vouchers, and end off with a general progress update on the Conflict Rework as a whole. These changes will arrive in multiple phases, with the first release covering Cosmpiercers and Mercenaries coming very soon, March 1st. Lots to cover today, so let’s get started!

Locking it down

COSMPIERCER LIST, revised to include better precision.

First up, the life cycle of Cosmpiercers has been reworked somewhat. Cosmpiercers now have 5 “states”: Immune, Vulnerable, Lockdown, Besieged, and Rebooting. Immunity and Vulnerability work the same as before, on the same 4 hour window. We may in the future explore giving factions some control over vulnerability window, but nothing set in stone.

When you kill the generators on a factional Cosmpiercer, the siege no longer begins immediately. Instead, the Cosmpiercer enters Lockdown for around 24 hours. Kill the generators at 17:30 on Sunday, and the siege will begin on the hour, 17:00 on Monday. This allows defending factions to plan ahead, gather their forces, and show up to defend their hard-won Cosmpiercers. We want Cosmpiercers to be the major conflict flashpoints they are intended to be.

Ishvana Cosmpiercers do not enter Lockdown, but are besieged immediately after destroying the generators. More on that later!

After a siege ends, the Cosmpiercer now enters a 10 minute Rebooting phase. Anyone still on the Cosmpiercer after 10 minutes will be killed as the Cosmpiercer reactivates its defense routines. Ships with players on them will be launched into space, and ships without players on them will be safely towed back to their home station. No more need to rescue your ships from Cosmpiercers.

May I capture your attention, please?

New COSMPIERCER INFO, including Control Points and Victory Points

Once the Cosmpiercer is besieged, we now have overhauled mechanics for capturing it.

Cosmpiercers still have 3 control points, but they come in 3 different types:

  • Hacking Control Point: As before, successfully hack a terminal to gain control.
  • Ground Control Point: When there’s only one faction in the room, the control point will start capturing for that faction. Once it reaches 100%, the faction is locked in as its controller. If the controlling faction is not in room but other factions are, the control is gradually lost until it becomes de-captured again.
  • Space Control Point: Spawns 30-50su away from the Cosmpiercer when the siege begins. Ships must enter a 5su radius around it to start capturing it. Otherwise, it works the same as Ground Control Points.

On launch, Cosmpiercers will spawn 1 of each of these 3 types. However, code support is there to spawn any odd number of control points in any distribution. To spice things up as we progress season to season, we can modify particular Cosmpiercers to spawn, for instance, 2 space control points and 1 hack control point, making space supremacy key for this particular Cosmpiercer.

Victory Points

Bust out your best bluelily wine.

The old Influence capture system is also gone. If you’re unaware, Cosmpiercers currently use a “tug of war for points”-style capture system. So long as a faction has more control points than others, it starts gaining influence, or removing the influence from the current winning faction. The problem with this system is that it demands you show up to the fight very quickly to have a chance of winning the Cosmpiercer. You could very well show up, wipe the opposing faction, capture all the points, but still fail to drain the faction’s Influence and lose.

Instead, all factions now start with 500 Victory Points (VP) and lose 1 VP per second for each Control Point other factions have more than them. If Scatterhome has 2 Control Points and CA has 1, CA would lose 1 VP, Song would lose 3, and Scatterhome would lose none. If all 3 factions have 1 Control Point, then each faction would lose 1 VP. If no one has any Control Points, then no VP are lost. The winning faction is a) the faction with VP remaining after others have drained, b) the faction with the most VP after 40 minutes, or c) in a case of a tie, the defending faction, else a random one if the tied factions are not the defenders. This new setup allows factions to show up late to a Cosmpiercer and, even if they only have 1 VP remaining, still pull off a victory.

Ishvana Cosmpiercers

A nefarious purpose

Ishvana Cosmpiercers have received a huge upgrade. They are now a PvE experience, where Open PK is disallowed. If you’ve been following our devblogs, you’ll know already know that our motivation is to create a place where factions can onboard their factionmates to Cosmpiercer mechanics, and we feel like this will not take space away from PvP content, but rather will invigorate it.

These come in two varieties: Ishvana Defenses and Ishvana Assaults. The “blitz invasions” used to reset Cosmpiercer ownership are now defensible. Factions receive a warning 24 hours in advance that the Ishvana is preparing an assault on their Cosmpiercer. Within that 24 hour period, they can muster their forces, fly to the Cosmpiercer zone, and those with the power can then COSMPIERCER TRIGGER to start the Ishvana invasion. If no invasion is triggered after 24 hours, the Ishvana will simply swoop in and conduct one of their “blitz invasions” as before.

During Ishvana assaults and defenses, the Ishvana will show up in force, with the strength of the Ishvana forces dependent on the rank of the Cosmpiercer. They will bring ships familiar from Ishvana Fleet Incursions. They will also bring Troop Carriers which can show up as nimble Interceptors, armored Freighters, or heavily-armored Superhaulers, again depending on the Cosmpiercer’s rank. Troop Carriers will attempt to dock and, if successful, will unleash a crew of Ishvana Operatives into the Cosmpiercer. Similar to Overseers, Operatives use class abilities, but also fight and move together. Successive docked Troop Carriers will deposit Vihana and top up the numbers of any Operatives that have died.

With this setup, it is possible via space supremacy to prevent the Ishvana from docking at all, assuming you have talented enough pilots who can pull it off.

Ishvana ships attempt to capture any Space Control points. Operatives, on the other hand, will attempt to capture any Control Points inside the Cosmpiercer. They even hack the terminals, leaving behind hacking bodies you can attack!

Mercenaries for Hire

A mutually beneficial transaction

IRE games are no stranger to the woes of factional population imbalances. There is no silver bullet solution to this, but it is a problem that affects everyone. Starmourn is blessed with what is, to me, the perfect number of factions. Having exactly 3 factions means that 2 factions are able to gang up on 1, when necessary to maintain the integrity of competitive content and ensure everyone gets to have fun on more-or-less equal terms. And since the overall theme of the conflict rework has factions pitted against one another for the greater good, there is hopefully some in-character motivation for factions to balance the scales.

To support this, we are introducing a Mercenary system. Individuals can post themselves as mercenaries for hire, with an hourly fee in Marks. Faction members with the Mercenary power are then able to hire mercenaries on behalf of their faction. If the mercenary agrees, they will be treated as part of the hiring faction for the purposes of capturing Control Points on Cosmpiercers for a set period of time agreed upon when the contract is initiated. This allows for a free-form approach to factional allegiance for the purposes of conflict systems, opening the door for new character archetypes such as freelancing privateers or entire mercenary companies.

We’ve made sure to include a reputation system. After a contract concludes, contractors can rate and review the mercenary’s services. Space Yelp, but for people who kill.

Also note that while the Mercenary system was designed with Conflict systems in mind, the system is totally free-form and can be used for whatever purpose players wish. Individuals, not just factions, are also able to hire mercenaries, should they want to hire someone to take them hunting, go exploring with them, hack terminals for them, anything at all! Mercenaries in their postings are able to describe the nature of their services, which need not be combat-related at all.

And now, the laundry

Totally accurate depiction of COSMPIERCER WARP

And now, a list of other miscellaneous changes going in:

  • COSMPIERCER BLOCKADE added. In a short range around a Cosmpiercer, you can prevent ships of other factions from docking. Ishvana Troop Carriers are able to blockade run, but their docking takes longer. We’re going to experiment with this a bit and see how it plays out. We may need to dial it down some, or else create some method for player blockade runner ships.
  • COSMPIERCER WARP is no longer an unlockable ability, but returned to a default power. Anyone is able to warp their ship to a besieged Cosmpiercer.
  • WARP has been replaced with CREWWARP. This powerful ability works just like the ability it is replacing, but allows you to warp all ships in your crew nearby you to the destination besieged Cosmpiercer zone. You’ll also land closely clustered together, preventing the need to form up after normal WARP scatters you and your faction mates randomly.
  • Items on ships remain completely in tact if your ship dies and is insured.
  • If your ship is insured, the bulk of your commodities will now carry over after ship destruction. Part of them will be destroyed, and the rest will drop.
  • Interdiction webs no longer deployable right next to Cosmpiercers. Also not deployable near Space Control Points.
  • Overload now has a max of 60su, down from 120su; its cooldown is reduced from 60s to 30s. This allows you to overload the same distance as before when cruising, but should improve space combat a bit where ships just disappear straight off of beacon.
  • COSMPIERCER LOCKDOWN as we knew it is now gone.
  • Cosmpiercers now have cloning rooms. When you die on a Cosmpiercer, you will respawn in an unmapped cloning room with 3 one-way exits into the Cosmpiercer. If you wish to leave the fray, you can simply RECLONE. The cloning room is peaced, preventing all forms of aggression. You will not be able to move by any means for 2 minutes (with the exception of RECLONE), allowing all classes plenty of time to get their defenses up. As with facilities, you can also repair your gear or even change your class in this room, should you wish to switch up your approach.
  • Cosmpiercer participant tracking is more reliable. So long as you’re in any ship in the Cosmpiercer zone, or ever set foot on the Cosmpiercer, you will be marked as a participant.
  • Vouchers will be changing, but in the interim, vouchers are awarded for simply participating, no longer requiring victory. The same is the case for faction Influence for Song and SH.
  • Terminal lockout timers for Cosmpiercers have been reduced to the minimum.
  • Cleared out all the legacy Cosmpiercer bugs. Definitely didn’t add any new ones, either…
  • Currently, PvP ship combat is over way too fast given the stakes. While we’ve lessened the stakes of losing your ship, we want there to be more room for skill expression in ship PvP. These changes will not go live immediately with the initial release, but will be an iterative, ongoing process. The goals of these changes are as follows: Make player ships take longer to kill, opening up more opportunity for play and counterplay; Scale PvE space combat appropriately so it remains mostly unaffected; Make interdiction and electronic warfare more powerful, while making counter-interdiction and electronic countermeasures more meaningful.

Vouchers, Crystals, Energy, and Caches

Definitely not what a Ta-deth crystal looks like

Everything above is coming March 1st, but things will remain in an interim state until we reach the next phase of changes covering Vouchers, Crystals, Energy, and Caches. We hope to have these changes done in March, but it is still unclear whether we’ll reach that goal. In any case, we will have another devblog coming which will describe these changes in greater detail.

In brief, the major changes coming in the later phase are as follows:

  • An overall reduction in the number of Cosmpiercers.
  • Energy generation formula reworked in accordance with above.
  • Excess energy after unlocks is now stored in reserves.
  • Vouchers reworked. Vouchers are no longer granted for crystal deposits or Cosmpiercer participation. Instead, faction leaders set daily voucher allowances to positions, faction ranks, and/or individuals. Each voucher represents an entitlement to withdraw Energy from the faction’s energy reserves, consumed to power Cosmpiercer Abilities.
  • No more ability maintenance. After unlocking a power, factions have it until the conflict season concludes. Seasonal resets wipe all energy reserves, unlocks, crystal deposits, and owned Cosmpiercers.
  • Caches can no longer be triangulated. Instead, the time of the next cache will be fully visible.
  • Rich caches once or twice a week, containing a great abundance of crystals.
  • Tighter algorithmic controls on the number of crystals seeded to the game, compared to the number of crystals consumed. Crystals will overall be scarcer to help funnel combatant groups into conflict with one another in caches.
  • A trade-in shop allowing players to trade Cosmpiercer Abilities directly for crystals at a steeper rate.
  • A limited pool of crystals available via Crystalline Mutated Facilities and Crystalline Xeno Mobs; Crystalline affix buffed overall; Crystalline affix added to Facility bosses and boss adds when using Crystalline Mutation; Crystalline Xeno Mobs no longer appear randomly, through collectible sets, metamorphic crystals, or the metamorphic affix. Rather, Crystalline spawns are tightly controlled.

Ever forward

Onward. together

Let’s conclude the post with a brief status update on the conflict rework as a whole:

We are still aiming to have Archaeology prepared for April, though we still reserve the right to push it further to ensure the strength of the release. Once released, the greater majority of pieces of the full Conflict Rework will be assembled. Afterwards, we still have a bit 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 are still unsure exactly how this will be deployed, but we’re considering conducting a shorter “Season 0” intended as a test run of the full system.

Whether that happens May, June, or even later is still uncertain, as our phase-based release plan can always turn up surprises where we need to refocus our efforts on something unexpected! In any case, we’ll be continuing to keep you abreast of our progress!

That’s it, that’s all! Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you in the Starmourn Sector.


By Neritus | February 3, 2023 |
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!

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