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Vendetta Online 1.8.505, Content Testing.

The last two weeks have actually had some major changes in basic game functionality. Firstly, last week (Feb 7th) we released this:

VO 1.8.505 includes:
- Added new "Streaming Mode" to game network protocol, drastically reducing the loading time of complex sectors.

To help test this, this past Friday the 14th we released:

- Bractus P1 high-density asteroid test sector now includes Guardians, who drop items and grant XP, and will start out non-hostile, but then react based on proximity to direct aggression, in a way that is new to NPCs in the game. Expect these NPCs to be dangerous, if attacked.

First of all, the "Streaming Mode" release has been a long time coming, having been planned for years. Going all the way back to the early days of Deneb, we've run into challenges with high-complexity sectors taking too long to load for players. This was further exacerbated when we launched on mobile (higher average latency), and then further still when we added the "movable debris" testing sectors, like Latos F12, or the Unaligned Pirate sectors.

The new Streaming Mode goes a long way to alleviate this, and opens the door to much higher-complexity sectors becoming the norm, which has always been the goal for the Universe Redux. If you're used to annoyingly long load-times for certain sectors (like Latos F12, for example), we suggest you try things now.

People on high latency connections, like on mobile devices in Asia, have seen improvements on the level of 21-times faster load times, in sectors that have very high complexity. All players will see improvements, however, they're even apparent to us on "local" server connections.

The AI changes build on the AI navigation/pathfinding improvements we made in much of January, and open the door to a lot more interesting gameplay, like stealthy situations where one may need to avoid detection, while "stealing" valuable goods from core Hive sectors, or blockade running and smuggling on Nation borders, and other cases where barriers should be challenging to overcome, but with rewards that make those challenges worthwhile.

We delayed this announcement a little bit to make sure everything was working smoothly, but if you run into any issues, please report them on Bugs or (if exploitable) via a Support Ticket. Note that we already addressed the lightning-mine aggro issue on the new NPCs, yesterday.

Thanks much everyone!