The Ancient Rifts Update Is Out!
Endgame Activities | Legendary Items | Overhauled Level Scaling | New Activities, Enemy Types, Weapons, Ships, Devices
Northern Fall is here, and, as promised, we’re dropping our final major update during Early Access, featuring a sliver of endgame content, legendary items, new missions, and much more. Furthermore, your valuable feedback aided in a significant overhaul of our level-scaling approach. This will hopefully make more pilots happy about feeling powerful by leveling up while keeping beginner and intermediate areas relevant later through meaningful game world state changes.
Now, before anyone rage quits because level-scaling is here to stay, let’s hear from our top pilot and Community Ambassador, Erik Schrader, as he explains the major changes and additions:
Overhauled Level Scaling
Let’s address the elephant in the hangar first! We’ve noticed a subset of pilots not being happy with level scaling, especially at the beginning of the game. While others appreciate having a challenge wherever they go and would find fighting underwhelming opponents that drop no meaningful loot just flat-out boring, some pilots just love to obliterate space baddies after they have advanced a few levels and are frustrated if enemies level with them; we get that.
It’s tough trying to make two opposite kinds of player types happy, but we hope we found a fair solution that works for both sides: Instead of having enemies level with you constantly within a given level range per star system — there’s a lot more to the mechanic, but I’ll leave it at that — pilots can now over-level up to a certain point. These are events like reaching a specific player level, a major plot point in the campaign, or entering a new system. If a combination of conditions is met, previous game areas will level up, and you’ll get a message that is even woven into the game’s lore.
Meaning, within the first few hours of the game, there is no level-scaling in missions or while exploring locations anymore. However, after you have made some progress in the second star system, Union, you will be notified that enemies become stronger in Ceto, the beginner area, so you won’t be able to one-shot’em. In fact, if you’re lazy, you’ll be turned into stardust in no time. Enemies won’t chicken out on you or just idle in space without aggro. They’ll put up a fight, thus dropping meaningful loot when defeated. On the other hand, if you’re feeling lucky and rush into higher-level systems, enemies will no longer level down, so you might wanna do a few side missions, distress calls, jobs, or location challenges first to really earn going and find some high-level gear.
It’s a massive change under the hood, so we encourage everyone to start a new game and let us know what they think about the new system, but don’t forget to use all tools available to your disposal: ship devices, consumables, ULTs, crafting, shopping, exploiting weaknesses, dodging enemy fire, and using the environment to your advantage.
New Stuff To Do, Fly & Kill
While the team is still working on the remaining missions of the campaign, including two more boss fights and the final encounter, the fall update offers a slew of new activities. Of course, the most significant addition is introducing Ancient Rifts, which we’ll cover further below.
Now, most looter-shooters are all about the endgame, but, since space exploration is also dear to us, we added even more things to do in the systems currently in the game. So, even if you don’t want to start a new game now, there are plenty of new puzzles, jobs, distress signals, and three new side missions, one in Union, one in the Khaït Nebula, and one involving overhauled racing events.
New job types can be found on the new job board at Kato Palace in Prescott Starbase as part of a new side mission. Introduced via a new side mission, featuring an old and beloved friend from the predecessor, all racing events in the game received a massive overhaul to make them more appealing. For starters, pun intended, you can jump right back to the beginning anytime you fail the course somewhere in between, like missing a ring or crashing into an asteroid. Furthermore, racing events now offer incentives, and the benchmarks have been altered accordingly. You’ll also notice some graphical touch-ups here and there.
With the fall update, we also added a new wing set for the Bomber, aka the Titan, when equipped with this new wing type, as well as two new Outlaw units, the Raider and the Tormentor.
To give pilots a broader choice of tools to work with when fighting against enemies that dish out a ton of damage, we added the Front Shield Generator with this update. It’s an extremely powerful passive device that you can tweak to your liking: In Avenger mode, the FSG reflects blocked shots back to attackers; set to All Day, blocked damage is converted into weapon energy, and when using On Your Left, the shield is 25% smaller but will automatically turn towards the closest enemy facing you.
In our Kickstarter from 2019 (time really flies!), the Ancient Rifts stretch goal was unlocked by some eight-thousand awesome backers. Back then, we only had a vague vision of how these would look like and how they work, but we’ve always envisioned Ancient Rifts to bring back some of the crazy mechanics and challenges and that “one-more-run-feeling” of the first EVERSPACE.
In EVERSPACE 2, you can now have a similar experience by opening multi-staged rifts that become increasingly stronger with a chance of a legendary item dropping after you defeat the boss in the final stage. Much like in the predecessor, where you could increase the difficulty for each run and pick handicaps between sectors in Hardcore mode, you can now ramp up Lunacy before opening a rift and picking a portal with different modifiers leading to the next stage to define your individual challenge. Of course, bigger risks will yield greater rewards, like a higher legendary drop chance and better loot overall.
As the endgame activity of a fast-paced space shooter, we want you to dive right into the battle with an optimized build and unleash mayhem on your enemies rather than camping behind an asteroid and picking one target after the other from a safe distance. So, to avoid been thrown out of the rift, you must maintain your Resolve score by defeating opponents rapidly and keeping your hull integrity above zero. Sounds intimidating, but don’t you worry! You’ll get all your health and your consumables back no matter if you succeed or fail in a rift. Of course, failing means no rewards, so you better enter fully geared up because your equipment while in a rift is locked.
That said, to prevent pilots from farming rifts like there’s no tomorrow, we’ll implement a system where you have to earn a particular resource to open rifts by completing other activities, beforehand. It won’t be too much of a grind, though, just enough against the inevitable rift cheese.
Before we move on to legendaries, bear in mind that this is just the first implementation of Ancient Rifts while we have a few more endgame aces up our sleeves for the v1.0 release.
Finally, legendaries made it into the game! We know, many of you have been waiting for this since the tease of a legendary beam laser, the Agent of Redemption, from the EVERSPACE 2 prototype back in 2019. Well, now is the time to go hunting for some legendaries in the all-new Ancients Rifts. If you have watched Erik in the most recent gamedev streams, you already saw some crazy legendary weapons like Eye Of The Storm, Thundercore, Wrath of the Fallen, Bob, Pango’s Pride, or The Final Reckoning. We haven’t decided how many legendaries there’ll be in the final game, but expect to be able to find at least one per main item category.
Then, there are also legendaries designed/inspired by our backers with some cool ideas. To make sure at least some of those are a guaranteed find, we decided to have those as side mission rewards in the v1.0 release, which will also help introduce legendaries to pilots unfamiliar with the looter genre.
Now, while Erik was able to equip several legendaries in his dev build, there are limitations in the official version. Since legendaries are intended to have a significant impact on your build and the playstyle they’re suited for, you’ll be able to equip only one legendary at a time, with a second coming in higher ship tiers or even another slot to be unlocked via a companion perk, maybe. For the time being, players are able to equip two legendaries until we implement the T4 ships with the full release.
The team, in particular Andi, Sven, and Ingmar have also been hard at work to streamline game saving significantly. It’s a rather extensive topic and has great impact on the overall experience, as save games are automatically created when reaching mission checkpoints, docking, and entering locations. We’ve specifically addressed lags becoming more prominent with increased total play time and save file size due to the number of LocationStates growing over time. Ingmar, our Technical Engineer, provided a two-page-long tech document of what has been done so far, basically saying: “we’re not done here!” I’m saving the details for an upcoming deep dive into game performance in EVERSPACE 2. Bottom line: game saving is now twice as fast!
Per community request, the Reflecting Panel also received an overhaul for better handling as the puzzle was a bit fiddly, indeed. The panel itself now has a nice unfold animation, too, both thanks to Toni, our Lead Level Designer.
Changelog – 0.10.30110
- Removed most of the dynamic enemy level scaling and added a few specific, system-wide leveling events
- Added the first version of Ancient Rifts
- Added new side quests
- Added Legendary items
- Added new Outlaw units: Outlaw Raider and Outlaw Tormentor
- Added new secondary weapon: Cruise Missiles
- Added new device: Front Shield Generator
- Added new Bomber: Titan
- Added new Gunship: Dominator
- Device Mastery modes can now be previewed
- Added new job types (and job board for Kato)
- Added new unknown signal/distress call types
- Added option to keep audio playing when game is unfocused
- Added new data sub-tab “The Story So Far” to rewatch cinematics and recap the latest story development (mainly placeholder content)
- Added AMD FidelityFX™ v2.1.1 to the AI-Upscaling methods
- Overhauled racing activity
- Overhauled ship dealer
- UI: Overhauled ship selector
- UI: Stats tab rework – Added racing stats overview
- Reworked Sentinel special: now increases primary weapon fire rate by up to 20%, depending on shield charge percentage
- Zurilia Bombers will now briefly disable their front shield when firing missiles
- Striker ULT will now automatically deactivate if no further enemies are in range
- Reduced drop chance for signal decoders as High-Risk Area boss loot
- Some structures like tanks will now also sometimes drop scrap metal when destroyed
- Improved speed of save game creation to reduce lag during saving
- Saving during Enemy Wave Challenge is now no longer possible due to exploitative behavior
- Missiles fired by the “auto-fire at critical hit” attribute now have a 60% reduced damage/effect
- Changed look of Service Drone
- Changed look of Elek’s ship
- Improved boss fight in Ghost Fleet: Better flight behavior that makes it easier to hit the boss
- Improved boss fight in Ceto before entering Union: More health and better weapons
- Increased loot quality bonuses of High-Risk Area mutators
- Improved Fusion Hook “Kunai” behavior to prevent targets from overshooting
- Completing certain unknown signal or distress call events will now grant a small amount of renown
- Improved Reflecting Panel behavior for better handling
- Item indicators for outleveled equipment now take rarity into account as well
- Weapons are aligned straight forward in sequences now
- Crafting – Removed general restriction that crafted items cannot be modified
- Crafting – Added restriction that items above player level cannot be adapted if gap is higher than 2
- Balancing: Buffed Retaliator units
- Balancing: Reduced “Downtime Warrior” perk effect from 25% to 15%
- Balancing: Increased Thermo Gun projectile homing agility
- Balancing: Reduced Zurilia Drone damage
- Balancing: Brought damage and hitpoints scaling to equal levels, i.e. reduced both enemy health and player damage potential
- Balancing: Slightly increased “Very Hard” difficulty
- Balancing: Increased some NPC armor/shield hitpoints
- Balancing: Increased Sentinel Expertise scaling
- Balancing: Increased “Percussive Maintenance” perk proc chance but reduced effect
- Balancing: Increased Vindicator Expertise scaling for drone HP and damage
- Balancing: Reduced Executioner damage and increased spread
- Balancing: Increased Bomber base HP and shield/armor bonuses
- Balancing: Reduced Bomber secondary energy consumption
- Balancing: Reduced Gunship Expertise scaling
- Balancing: Reduced Gunship boost speed passive bonus
- Balancing: Increased Structure scaling
- Balancing: Slightly increased Corrosion Injector damage
- Balancing: Improved aiming precision of Vindicator drones
- Balancing: Increased credits earned from jobs but decreased XP
- Balancing: Increased Utility damage scaling
- Balancing: Increased Bloodstar Repeater kinetic damage
- Balancing: Increased Cave Crawler corrosion damage
- Balancing: The primary attributes, Firepower, Precision and Structure, can now roll simultaneously on items
- Balancing: Increased Umbra DPS
- Balancing: Increased Homing Missile damage but reduced their fire rate
- Balancing: Increased missile ammo across the board
- Balancing: Increased Ceto Ghost Hunt boss hull and armor hitpoints
- Balancing: Slightly reduced mine ammo across the board
- Balancing: Reduced mine fire rates across the board
- Balancing: Slightly reduced Rail Gun charge duration
- Balancing: Adjusted some device cooldown values depending on device level
- Balancing: Increased Energy Shield consumable hitpoints fraction
- Performance: Fixed performance lag when a random travel map encounter is popping up
- UI: High-Risk areas now display with proper HUD marker in supralight even if not hovered or targeted
- UI: Secondary weapons with low fire rates now display a cooldown in HUD to indicate when they can be fired again
- UI: Overhauled Game Over screen design
- UI: Added message banner for harmless/underleveled signal decoders on activation
- UI: Added message banner for harmless/underleveled high-risk areas when trying to set waypoint
- UI: Added indicators to missions and renown screens for rewards that can be claimed
- UX: The Crafting tab is now hidden until the first crafting inventory item was added
- UX: Crafting parts of the respective rarity will now be hidden until the first item was dismantled
- UX: Crafting tab now stays on selected category until ingame menu was closed
- UX: Made refinements to Crafting inventory when using gamepad and keyboard to navigate to new items
- UX: Reworked Perks tab navigation and selection priority logic (e.g. implicit selection of investable perks after companion was changed)
- Added missing location map image for “Drake Passage”
- Fixed item grades not correctly applied when claiming job renown rewards
- Fixed Daredevil master challenge achievable in lower rarity high-risk areas
- Fixed Renegade Plating not showing correct blueprint progress
- Fixed doing shenanigans via an exploit by not allowing to access photo mode while the ingame menu is opened
- Fixed that after a long playtime it was possible that no valid positions for new job offer locations, unknown signals or high-risk-areas could be found anymore
- Fixed that some Tier 3 ships that don’t have Tier 3 wings, yet showed Tier 1 wings as fallback instead of Tier 2, even if that was available (only fixed for newly generated ships on offer)
- Fixed that secondary weapons received 0 energy when installed, even if not flying Bomber, and thus could briefly not be fired
- Fixed weapons not tracking the crosshair correctly in first-person mode
- Fixed that the final fight of the mission “The Convert” could happen in different locations
- Fixed that vindicator drones left the location after a “Battle Support”-mission was done
- Fixed unlimited boss invulnerability in gas harvester boss fight if weak points are destroyed too quickly
- Fixed that there was a regular jump-in instead of a “arrive via bypass”-animation when fast-traveling between Union locations “Torn Station” and “Prescott Starbase”
- Fixed infinite range on Fusion Hook “Kunai” mode
- Fixed Magnetic Repulsor “Swing Together” mode affecting invalid target types
- Fixed Stinger passive incorrectly restoring 100% of shield hitpoint instead of 25% on device use
- Fixed soft-lock during “The Eye” if dying with a drone right after having hacked a server before gaining control of player ship again
- Fixed Teleporter “Parting Gift” mode damage scaling
- Fixed an issue in “Gang Wars 3” and “Battle Support” type missions that could lead to having no NPCs.
- Fixed hero attributes of items having wrong appearance after replacing them with an item from the shop
- Fixed Scout Expertise not increasing range of secondary weapons
- Fixed discovery percentage on map locations not immediately updating after discovering a secret
- Fixed Anti-Missile Drone shooting beyond its weapon range in High-Risk Areas
- Fixed that Vindicator drones were still fighting Okkar after wanted state wore off
- Fixed Sentinel ULT “Static Overload” draining weapon energy
- Fixed Bomber ULT “ARC-9000” continuing to drain ULT energy after exploding
- Fixed Striker ULT “Quantum Tether” jumping to invalid targets after original target is destroyed
- Fixed Bomber ULT “ARC-9000” memory leak
- Fixed that for some users the game would show a black screen at start for a couple of minutes when having a VR headset connected by removing some default OpenXR plugins Unreal Engine ships with
- Fixed that player would jump away during “turn around” sequence if jump was being charged when sequence started
- Fixed skybox artifacts occurring on AMD GPUs
- Fixed that two Tareens were visible during one of the “Emissary” mission sequences
- Fixed minor issues in several sequences
- Added Drake system Spatial Bypass location to “Rips In Space” task locations when Drake is unlocked and Bypass is not yet built.
- Fixed wrong calculation of weapon damage modifiers at higher levels
- Fixed Level 25 player perk “Preparation” not removing stacks when deselected
- Fixed Bomber passive “Target lock-on duration reduced by 50%” not working
- Fixed that tutorial box for supralight auto-pilot showed “ok” action binding instead of “interact” binding
- Fixed that player drones could destroy targets during a sequence
- Fixed that friendly mines could also be included in the “Destroy all mines” task during “Back to Work”, which lead to a mission blocker
- Fixed detonators without timers not being correctly reset after leaving the area
- Fixed Freelancer Freighter containers not exploding
- Clamp job item rewards to max stack size (if there is one)
- Fixed that invasion enemies could spawn above max player level
- Fixed that consumables became more valuable with higher player levels
- Fixed DLSS mode being set to off when changing game maps
- UI: Fixed that side-by-side compare item icons were missing in some cases
- UI: Added missing scrollbar to map location and ship stats info widget
- UI: Fixed that when unlocking a blueprint the category and/or rarity was not changed in some cases
- UI: Fixed that wrong device mode indicator could be shown after a device reset
- UI: Fixed that player attribute buttons could be unresponsive in some cases
- UI: Fixed that tab buttons stayed highlighted in some cases even though they were not hovered with mouse anymore
- UI: Crafting consumables – Fixed that filling up equipped stacks could lead to multiple half-stacked slots in cargo
- UI: Crafting consumables – Fixed that equip action was sometimes rendered inactive but was still executable
- UI: Fixed that zoom in and out actions on map were still possible when resource selection widget was shown (gamepad only)
- UI: Fixed action button captions overlaps in English and German localization
- UI: Fixed perks details for locked player perks which could show a lock icon instead of the unlock level in some cases
- UI: Fixed that the craft action button on empty slots was sometimes rendered inactive even though it was active
- UX: The ship selector is now usable again on the inventory screen when using a gamepad
- UX: Multiple fixes regarding the crafting screen navigation and input logic
- UI: Fixed that loot container screen wasn’t implicitly closed in some cases after the last item was removed
- UI: Fixed that perk container label could show a wrong text in one situation
- UI: Fixed that perk slot invest hint icon could have a wrong state in some cases
- UI: Fixed that Dax’s temporary reactor repair perk could stay after upgrading until a location was left
- UI: Fixed that the perk slot action buttons could be temporarily hidden in some cases
Tweaks (Only relevant when having played on the experimental branch before)
- Increased drop chance of “Tears of the Mad” in Rifts
- The hologram flag on a racing gate is now faded out when getting close for better readability
- Mounted turrets are no longer affected by Thundercore
- Updated Rift visuals
- UI: Story so far – The completion ratio is now hidden (community suggestion)
- UI: Story so far – Updated description texts and preview thumbnails
- UI: Story so far – Gallery action buttons are now only shown in case more than one image is available
Bugfixes (Only relevant when having played on the experimental branch before)
- Fixed that when having cargo unit BOB installed, a new BOB was spawned whenever a drone was possessed
- Fixed potential freeze when reviving NPCs with “Wrath of the Fallen” while using High-Pressure mode from Energized Boost
- Fixed that the job list was not showing correct jobs for a station when two job boards were available in the same location and having viewed the other station’s job board previously
- Fixed that NPCs revived via “Wrath of the Fallen” were respawned after reentering the location
- Fixed that Ancient Wardens were not destroyed after 10s when being revived via “Wrath of the Fallen”
- Fixed that distress calls of type “Faction Battle” could spawn with invalid friendly faction
- Fixed that cloaked containers at unknown signal locations of type “Hidden Stash” always had the same loot
- Fixed that some damage sources were not scaled correctly in Rifts
- Fixed corrosion mines and missiles not increasing damage with Final Reckoning buff
- Fixed Bomber Titan wing collision mesh and added missing exhaust effect for Tier 2
- Fixed that Distress Call of type “Items Needed” could succeed even though ship in need was destroyed
- Fixed that Maddocks could be killed by his own mines in Sato Orbit
- Fixed that rarity colors of ships in ship dealer screen were incorrect
- Fixed interact marker on Spatial Bypass when constructing
- Fixed Primesense Observer giving too much expertise
- Fixed legendary weapon Devotion not consuming ULT energy when not placed in first weapon slot
- Fixed that for “Volatile Goods” job an explosion could still be triggered even though goods had already been unloaded
- Fixed that drone in “Volatile Goods” job could accidentally be destroyed by AI
- Fixed that secrets being incorrectly counted for the location completion due to the newly placed Mainframe Components in Zharkov, Khaït Nebula and Drake
- Fixed that Ramen Delivery Drones could carry objects
- Fixed “Omni Manus” sometimes causing the Missile Defense System not to trigger at all
- Fixed crafting inventory not being cleared after tutorial which led to the crystal gathering task already having some progress
Alright, so much for the fall update. It’s not as meaty as the previous one because overhauling level scaling took us quite some time, while the remaining star system and the rest of the campaign are reserved for the v1.0 release. However, we think there’s still plenty of new stuff to check out, and we look forward to your esteemed feedback, as always.
And with that, I’ll leave you to it, hoping to see many pilots in our first official Ancient Rifts live stream on Twitch and YouTube, this Friday from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm CET / 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET / 11:00 am to 1:00 pm PT. 🚀💥🙌
Don’t stop being awesome, and see you in the Ancient Rifts!
Michael and your dedicated ROCKFISH Games Team
PS: As usual, we timed another sale with the release of the Ancient Rifts update. At 25% off, this is the best deal you can get — unless you’re on Game Pass for PC — before we’ll raise the price a few weeks before the v1.0 release when we’ll also follow Steam’s latest regional pricing recommendation.