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  1. #11
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    Weapons are at the core of Ghost Recon Phantoms’ experience. Based on community feedback, weapons have been a key focus for the team since we entered the Road to Launch, a few months ago.

    Following the rebalance shipped with 14.5, our 3 objectives for launch were:

    1. Simplify the selection for new players – you have highlighted this as a key area of improvement since last Summer
    2. Make weapons more accessible – especially easing the grind for new players (another key feedback you have stressed since last Summer)
    3. Add customization depth for experienced users – you have been asking for this as long as we can remember
    4. A surprise for our veterans

    To achieve this, we took the following measures:

    1. Reduced the number of Tiers
    2. Reduced prices globally
    3. Added a new, fully customizable variant: The ModMaster

    1. Quicker access to competitive weapons with 7 Tiers instead of 9

    Weapons in the current Tiers 1 and 2 will disappear from the store (but stay in the inventory of their current owners). The “new” Tier 1 will be composed of weapons currently in Tier 3, “new” Tier 2 with weapons of current T4, etc… up to Tier 7 which is made up of the current Tier 9 weapons.

    Benefits:
    • A tighter Tier structure with less stat differences between the highest and lowest Tiers, which will improve the overall fairness of the game, especially for new users
    • 2 steps less to grind through from the lowest to the highest Tier, which will immediately result in huge RP savings

    New players will start with the current GI gear, but their first purchasable weapon will be:

    Assault
    • Assault Rifle: Mk 16
    • Shotgun: PM5

    Recon
    • Submachine gun: PP2000
    • Sniper Rifle: Sentinel SR-1

    Support
    • Light Machine Gun: Mk46
    • Shotgun: PM5

    With such weapons, the new user experience should be much better than today in terms of match performances, but also in terms of the time it takes to unlock the highest Tier.

    Please note that the Tier 7 weapon cap will also cap the maximum proficiency level to 7; however, on the day of launch we will save all character data (specifically the number of kills per weapon class up to proficiency level 9). If we decide to introduce new tiers again (Tier 8 & 9), we will use the stored information to restore the proficiency of veterans up to Tier 9.

    2. Global price reduction for all weapons

    The price of all weapons will decrease 21–85% in both ATHENA Credits (former-RP) and GC.
    E.g.: The Mk46 LMG will be 65% cheaper (Tier 1) while the Mk17 will be 23% cheaper (Tier 6)

    All information in the chart below:

    Primary weapon



    Secondary weapon



    Benefits:
    • More accessible weapons for everyone – the most efficient weapons cost significantly less in GRP than in GRO
    • Combined with change #1, grinding through the Tiers will become even faster.

    E.g. For one family of weapons, the total cost of grinding from the lowest to highest tier:
    • In Ghost Recon Online: 261,000 ATHENA Credits (ex-RP) or 13,050 Ghost Coins
    • In Ghost Recon Phantoms: 168,000 ATHENA Credits or 8,400 Ghost Coins – aka 36% less than Ghost Recon Online

    3. New, fully customizable variant: The ModMaster

    The ModMaster will be available for every model of primary weapon and is a fully functional weapon variant that comes with standard options: Medium barrel, default stock, etc.

    Like today, you can change the scope, bottom attachment (if available), magazine (if available, etc…).

    But the ModMaster variant has 2 more open slots: stock and barrel.

    Stock
    • Each weapon can be equipped with up to 4 models of stock beyond the default one (except for certain models)
    • The stock impacts the weapon ready time and control
    • Stock price is set to 3,000 ATHENA Credits (ex-RP) or 150 Ghost Coins for all tiers




    Barrel
    • Each weapon can be equipped with a short or a long barrel to replace the default medium barrel
    • Short barrels improve the rate of fire and ready time, but reduce damage, control and accuracy
    • Long barrels improve damage, control and accuracy, but reduce the rate of fire and increase ready time
    • Short and long barrel prices are set to 6,000 ATHENA Credits (ex-RP) or 300 Ghost Coins each for all Tiers




    The stat modifiers from stocks and barrels have been calculated to ensure that the ModMaster variant’s benefit over existing variants is uniquely flexibility - not power.

    Like any attachments, stocks and barrels are attached to one weapon, but are always available whenever you want to change the setup of your weapon between matches.

    These new attachments allow players to create their own CQC, SV or other variants without creating imbalances as each advantage comes with a trade-off.



    Starting from launch, ModMaster variants will become the only standard variants available in store.

    Benefits:
    • A simplified offer that allows more room for trial and error:
      • New users will not have to choose between too many variants
      • If a new user picks an attachment that does not fit their needs – despite the Firing Range – they can change their setup without having to buy a whole new weapon

    • An economically effective system:
      • When you progress through the Tiers, you can recycle the weapons of the previous Tier to fit to your secondary play style for a minimized investment
      • Less inventory space taken

    • More customization:
      • Experienced users will be more able to create the variant that fits their specific play style as the system provides more granularity


    4. A special promotion for our veterans
    Existing standard variants will stay in players’ inventories and, in certain specific cases, their stats will be fine-tuned to avoid discrepancies with the ModMaster variants – Full details coming soon.

    Following a long discussion and passionate within the ATHENA Council, we also decided to put the new Tier 6 and 7 standard primary weapons (previously Tier 8 and 9) on a –unique, limited-time sale to facilitate veterans’ access to the ModMaster variants of their favorite tools.

    This exceptional promotion will be valid from launch to the first maintenance – 6 days, from April 10th to April 15th includedSpread the word!.

    During this period, the ModMaster variants of Tier 6 and 7 will be 50% cheaper in ATHENA Credits (ex-RP) and Ghost Coins – with an extra 10% off in the AAA store.

    Here are the promotion prices:
    • Tier 6: Mk17, Spas 12, Mk48, Nemesis 50 and CBJ-MS – 18,000 ATHENA Credits or 900 Ghost Coins
      • Vs. 36,000 AC/1,800 GC without the promotion or 47,000 RP/2350 GC today in GRO

    • Tier 7: AK12, M3A1, PKM, M14 and M960 – 21,000 ATHENA Credits or 1050 Ghost Coins
      • Vs. 42,000 AC/2,100 GC without the promotion or 41,000 RP/2050 GC today in GRO (also remember that Tier 9 standards have been on sale since their launch)


    Another way to look at it is that for the first 6 days of Ghost Recon Phantoms, veterans will be able to get 2 high-Tier ModMaster variants for the price of one – a unique opportunity to fill their weapon racks!

  2. #12
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    Get the full details on ALL GRP weapons!

    After our recent post on the ModMaster system and the subsequent FAQ interview with Pgase90, we’re back again with a full list of stats for EVERY weapon in GRP; including: All GRO legacy tiers, special editions, standard variants, new GRP ModMasters and even potential ModMaster CQC and SV configurations. This staggering list also includes a few balancing tweaks to ease the ModMaster’s introduction.







    If you want to see the stats in a larger font, all you need to do is save the images to your computer or open them in their own tab .

    Stay tuned for more on the Road to Launch!

    Let us know what you think of this info, discuss this update with the rest of the community here.

  3. #13

    Road to Launch – More Green-Ping Enabled Countries at Launch

    Road to Launch – More Green-Ping Enabled Countries at Launch
    Find out more about green ping for more countries at launch!

    Ping quality (aka network latency) is a key ingredient for any shooter and Ghost Recon Phantoms is no different. Bad quality ping damages the game experience and can even be confused with frame rate or hacking/cheating in certain cases (teleporting or shooting through walls for example).

    In GRP, ping quality is defined as:

    • Green ping: Less than 100ms
    • Yellow ping: Between 100-200ms
    • Red ping: Over 200ms

    Ping is impacted by a number of external factors:

    • The route your ISP (Internet Service Provider) uses to communicate to the game server (how direct it is)
    • The physical distance from your location to the game server
    • The amount of Internet traffic you are using (streaming music or TV shows, downloading torrents, etc.)

    During the Ghost Recon Online Open Beta, the server infrastructure we used enabled green ping for a certain number of territories, but a large portion of the player base was “red ping”. Not only was the experience for “red pingers” suboptimal, it also impacted the experience of “green pingers” who met red pingers in the green ping bucket – through matchmaking rules, fireteams or VPNs.

    We have heard your requests and for the launch of Ghost Recon Phantoms we are investing in providing a better-quality experience by opening new servers to expand our “green ping enabled” coverage. In other words, if your Internet connection allows it, you should be able to get good quality ping in the following geographical zones starting April 10th:

    NCSA

    • Green
      • USA
      • NEW! Central and South America (incl. Mexico, Brazil and Caribbean islands)
    • Yellow/Green
      • NEW! South East Asia (incl. Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, etc.)
      • NEW! Australia and New Zealand

    EMEA

    • Green
      • Western Europe
      • Northern Europe
      • Southern Europe
      • Eastern Europe
      • Turkey
    • Yellow/Green
      • Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldavia, Latvia and Lithuania

    Users should select their own shard accordingly to their location to get the best ping quality.

    Additionally, we are tweaking the matchmaking settings to reduce the number of “red ping” players in “green ping” matches within the new countries. We are currently working on these changes, which may generate some unusual matchmaking behavior for the regions tagged as "New" from now until launch on April 10th.

    We will continue to add more regions and support more countries in the upcoming weeks and months.

    Stay tuned for more updates on the Road to Launch!


    Let us know what you think of this info, discuss this update with the rest of the community here.
    Last edited by Blargmonster; 04-03-2014 at 04:54 PM.

  4. #14

    Road to Launch – CHEATS, EXPLOITS, SECURITY UPDATE

    Road to Launch – CHEATS, EXPLOITS, SECURITY UPDATE
    Get the latest update on important security measures

    With launch coming in a few days, this is a perfect opportunity to talk about a few very sensitive topics: Hacks, cheats and exploits.

    Many of you complained about a lack of communication from us on these subjects; and yes, that’s right, we have not been communicating regularly about these issues in the past months.

    Whether we like it or not, there are reasons for that: When it comes to cheat/hacks/exploits, communication is a double-edged sword – for you as much as for us.

    Communication might reassure you that we are taking the right steps to fight those issues if, and only if, we share details about the steps we take.

    This is usually quite complicated as the requests from honest players to get more info are legitimate, but satisfying them is likely – in many cases – to provide intel to those damaging the honest players’ experience. Satisfying this request might be counter-productive – A Catch22!

    In the meantime, judging us on results is also challenging. There is no such thing as “no cheats” in online games and as soon as one (real or supposed) cheat is reported, fear starts to spread and players tend to believe that the phenomenon is everywhere.

    However, now seems to be the right time to introduce our Senior Game Security Engineer (Anti-Cheat Engineer) leading the Anti-Cheat team of GRO, nicknamed: SINE. Having joined GRO last year, SINE is a security and game industry veteran, whose skills and expertise have proven to be of great value in the process of protecting the integrity of other successful MMOG titles in the past. Though we have not communicated this, since his arrival the team has focused on addressing cheating and hacking in GRO from the ground up differently.

    • SINE, can you share more about the Anti-Cheat team’s approach and vision of addressing cheating and hacking in GRO?

    In order to combat cheating and hacking more effectively, over the past six months we’ve built a multi-disciplinary team with the expertise required to add security to the development process. It was a paradigm shift, from a reactive to a more proactive mind-set in defining the most-effective solutions to prevent future exploitations. We have started by re-evaluating and improving the existing security-related processes and procedures as well as continued reassessing and refactoring all vulnerable game systems including our own Anti-Cheat system – all on an ongoing basis. This has been a lengthy process, but we have managed to reach a point where the result of our efforts will soon become visible to everyone.

    • The community has been complaining about cheats/hacks/exploits – could you explain why it was best to keep a low profile?

    From past experience, I’ve come to believe that one’s most valuable ability to influence the outcome of any battle is to first understand one’s opponents and the battlefield. In order to establish and implement an effective approach to protect the integrity of GRO, we’ve chosen to remain silent until the moment when we can make a strong statement.

    • Can you give us more details on the cheats/hacks/exploits of GRO?

    To start with, up to a certain degree, every game has its own type of vulnerabilities; some may be related to subtle flaws in the design of the game, while others may be related to subtle flaws in the implementation of the game systems, or a combination of both. Unfortunately these inadequacies tend to become more obvious once an online game is released, as soon as a certain type of individual begins to take it apart with the interest of identifying design and/or implementation inadequacies/vulnerabilities that can be exploited to give themselves various types of advantages. To some, this process itself is a game that they enjoy playing more than any other game.

    It’s a “game of chess” between the game developers and game exploiters over the confidence and support of the community and the integrity of the game.

    Having said that, the cheats, hacks and exploits of GRO are typical first person shooter (FPS) exploits, ranging from moving and firing at abnormal rates, seeing and going through walls, traversing vast distances instantly, knowing the positions of the enemy players at all times, aiming and hitting targets with extreme speed and precision, etc.; basically, exploits meant to provide an unfair tactical advantage over one’s opponents in an tactical game.

    However, we have been able to devise detection methods for major cheats and hacks and we have been able to apply sanctions to the offending players on a regular basis.

    As a side note, I would like to increase the awareness of the risks of using different types of cheats and hacks provided by various individuals around the internet. We have seen GRO cheats and hacks being advertised around, which didn’t turn out to be cheats and hacks for GRO, not at all, but rather malicious code meant, for example, to open a backdoor to the computers they run on.

    • What are the steps the team took to address cheats that exploit the timing and synchronization vulnerabilities?

    We have seen various discussions on the forum regarding this topic and I believe that further clarification is required. It is expected that a certain type of people are optimizing their hardware settings in order to get better performance. Depending on the type of hardware, there are multiple hardware attributes/properties that can be modified in order to boost the performance of the system.

    For example: higher performance can be achieved by adjusting the Front-Side-Bus (FSB) on older hardware, Base Clock Rate (BCLK) on newer hardware and/or the CPU multipliers. This can be achieved either by changing these attributes before the operating system starts in BIOS, or after the operating system starts using specialized applications dedicated to overclocking. However, we’ve discovered that certain components of our engine, more precisely the core timing system, are susceptible to the discrepancies caused by adjusting the FSB or BCLK while the operating system is running.

    The side effects of this type of overclocking impacted the ability of the engine to compute time lapses and frames as expected, resulting in an increase of game specific actions providing a player with an advantage over his peers he was otherwise not supposed to have. We’ve deployed a system called the Abnormal Frame Rate Monitoring System also known as AFRMS. Without getting into more details about how this system really works, as the name suggests it monitors, among others, the frame rate of the game client. This is not achieved in the traditional sense expected by the definition of frame rates, nor being achieved by the means of using one single method to define and/or determine rates, but by a combination of several different methods meant to determine specific anomalies in a constraint based system. In the pictures below you can see the reports being generated by AFRMS ever since we have deployed it late November last year.




    We’ve used the information collected by AFRMS to understand how this specific type of vulnerability is exploited, to apply the required sanctions to offending players and we began immediately to refactor (change) the core timing systems and all other systems of the engine in order to prevent further exploitation. This was a fundamental change, affecting more than just one system and we were required to find the right solution to meet all expectations in the process of improving these systems. This proved to be a big change and as such, extensive testing was required in order to ensure that all systems are operating as expected in various conditions.

    • Where do we stand today on those steps?

    We are very close – in the late stages of the validation process. We plan to release these changes soon after the Steam launch.

    • We talked about timing and synchronization issues, but there are other hacks/cheats – what is the strategy for those?

    Each cheat and hack exploits a vulnerability of one or more game systems of GRO and as such we have decided to address each one using the following process (steps):
    • Identify the vulnerability exploited and the systems affected
    • Collect information and extract meaningful patterns
    • Detect and report abuse as well as apply the appropriate sanctions
    • Refactor vulnerable systems enable automated systems to prevent further abuse

    This is and will remain an ongoing process, but so far we have identified which systems have been exploited and we have deployed various monitoring systems to detect abuse and apply sanctions, while at the same time; we proceeded with the refactoring and hardening process of these systems. We aim to reach a point where further abuse will no longer be tolerated, resulting in immediate actions taken against every abusing player automatically. What this means is that instead of allowing a player to continue playing despite the fact that he has been abusing the system, and by doing so affect the experience of all other players in a match, an offending player will be immediately disconnected and temporarily banned as soon as an offense has been detected. Users caught twice will face more severe sanctions. We consider this to be vital to reducing the impact of cheating in GRO and improving the overall experience of honest players.

    • From a player standpoint, when can I expect to see progress? When do you plan to communicate next?

    You can expect to see progress soon after the official launch of the game. Moving forward, we intend to communicate our progress on a regular basis, approximately each month, if nothing outstanding needs to be communicated in the meantime. However, we request that you as our community understand that some information cannot and will not be shared in order to ensure the effectives our Anti-Cheat efforts.

    • What can the community do to help you fight cheats/hacks/exploits?

    Continue to report suspicious players. We value your efforts; your reports play an important role in identifying offending players and offending methods. It may not be obvious to everyone, but the reports that we receive from you trigger various manual and automatic investigations, which most of the time yields conclusive evidence and leads to banning. Everyone plays an important role and we want everyone to know that their contribution is appreciated.

    At the same time, we have seen many bright minds discussing various interesting aspects of this topic on the forum and, as long as the discussion remains constructive, we intend to start engaging our community further and give everyone interested the opportunity to contribute to our efforts, more than ever before.

    Let us know what you think of this info, discuss this update with the rest of the community here.
    Last edited by Blargmonster; 04-03-2014 at 04:56 PM.

  5. #15

    Road to launch – New Matchmaking Details

    Learn more about these important changes to matchmaking

    In a recent video, Simon Davis, Design Manager on Ghost Recon Phantoms, mentioned how – from launch – the matchmaking system would take into account both the user’s skill and the gear they have access to, in order to get a better, fairer matchmaking experience.
    In the Q&A below, Simon gives us more details about this major change.

    A. How does the “old” Ghost Recon Online matchmaking system work?
    The Ghost Recon Online match making system, from pre-OB until now, has been entirely based on “Ghost Rank”.

    To calculate Ghost Rank, the system performs the following calculations:
    • All players on both teams are ranked at the end of round based on their in-game score (excluding the bonus points that the winning team gets at the end)
    • Your Ghost Rank increases if you play well and decreases if you perform poorly
    • The Ghost Rank of other players in the match is also taken into account
      • Performing better than a higher-ranked player increases your Ghost Rank further
      • Performing poorer than a higher ranked player decreases your Ghost Rank proportionately less

    While Ghost Rank is a good system for matchmaking players of similar skill levels under ideal conditions (a large number of players in the search pool), it has the distinct drawback of not taking gear into account. The net result being that players of similar skill level could be matched up despite not be balanced in terms of the gear they have access to. This can lead to situations where players perform poorly against players who have access to much better equipment than they have, which does not feel like a fair experience.

    B. What about the new system? How does it work and what are its benefits?
    The new system is no longer solely based on Ghost Rank, but on ATHENA Rank – a change that we had in mind since last summer.
    ATHENA Rank is a combination of roughly a 50/50 split between the highest Tier of weapons, devices and armor you own, and Ghost Rank (outlined above).
    Every user will have values for the gear they have access which is combined with a value for their performance to determine the ATHENA Rank currently used in the leaderboards.

    The important thing to remember is that the ATHENA Rank has been designed as a matchmaking feature. It is a living value that moves up and down depending on your performance.

    So even if you don't buy gear, if you perform very well over a period then you will gradually begin to face tougher opposition (by virtue of your Ghost Rank going up and thus increasing your overall ATHENA Rank).

    Conversely, if you have high-level gear then the gear score component of the ATHENA Rank means there's effectively a limit to how far your ATHENA Rank can fall.
    As the system is comprised of both performance and gear, it's always in your interest to try and use the most effective weapon you have available. The team balancer will still use Ghost Rank, so players will be distributed between teams based on their likely performance; so again, it pays to equip the best gear you have. We were keen to balance the system so that players who save for good gear are never penalized for it under the new system.

    In addition to this we have also changed the way the search algorithm works.

    Before, it worked based on pre-set values we had set for search speed and how broad the matchmaking criteria is (“broader” means easier to find opponents, but match quality may be lower; “narrower” means higher match quality, but search time may be slower). Going forward the system will react to the number of players online, rather than a set value.
    • High player activity = slower expansion, stricter match-search criteria
    • Low player activity = faster expansion, more lenient match-search criteria

    We hope that with changes to the matchmaking, players of all abilities will experience well-balanced matches against players with comparable gear within reasonable search times.

    Stay tuned for more updates on the Road to Launch!

    Discuss the upcoming changes here.
    Last edited by Blargmonster; 04-04-2014 at 08:23 PM.

  6. #16
    Community Manager

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    Economy at launch update: cheaper GC, extended ModMaster variants, promotion for Tier 7

    A quick additional update about the economy from launch on:


    • The ModMaster promotion for Tier 7 weapon will be extended by one week so that veterans can use their rewards to get the ModMaster variants of their favourite T7 weapons (with up to 5,000 GC they should be able to get almost 5 of those weapons as each of them will cost 1050 GC only). To clarify, this unique, one-time promotion for Tier 7 ModMaster weapons will last until Tuesday April 22nd while Tier 6 weapons promotion will stop as planned on the 15th.



    • Another big news is that we are – once again - increasing the quantity of GC players get for a specific amount – in other words, GC gets 14 to 24% cheaper. This is another key step to make sure that the gear gets more accessible.


    NCSA
    Price
    4.99
    9.99
    14.99
    29.99
    49.99
    99.99
    GC
    800
    1,700
    2,700
    5,600
    10,100
    23,000
    GC/$
    160.3
    170.2
    180.1
    186.7
    202.0
    230.0
    Additional GC in GRP vs. GRO
    +14%
    +17%
    +22%
    +19%
    +20%
    +24%
    Last edited by [UBI]ChemZero[CM]; 04-08-2014 at 12:43 AM.

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