A large new update, “Save Earth” has been released! This update marks a tipping point in the new Affinity point economy and adds new quests in the early and mid game that provide insight into the colony’s struggles during the early years and the trails of Earth after the Seedships left.
New Affinity Point Economy
In the base game the Affinity point economy was dominated by Technologies and the “choice” and “investment” Affinity Quests. A long term goal of Echoes of Earth has been to move the Affinity point economy to something else. Previous updates have taken steps in new directions but this update takes a leap. Multiple new quests and quest webs provide enough new sources of Affinity points that I feel comfortable removing the base game’s Affinity Quests completely.
The Affinity Quests have long been problematic in my eyes. Echoes of Earth changes so many of the buildings that certain Affinity Quests became utterly unreasonable to complete. If your random Affinity Quest came up as something that required CEL Cradles (which are now an end game Supremacy building) there was nothing you could do about it. And since the quests provided a large amount of your overall Affinity points missing out on the ability to complete multiple Affinity Quests could put you two (or more) levels behind on Affinity.
Redoing all the objectives for the Affinity quests is theoretically possible but practically infeasible. It would require two or three times as much work as this update and there are some fundamental problems with the design. The biggest problem is that the AI doesn’t get Affinity Quests. Given how much Affinity these quests provide, the AI never having a shot at them means the can easily fall behind a diligent player in Affinity points. This is one problem that is solved by the new quests, the AI can benefit from them just like a human player.
What is next for the Affinity point economy?
This isn’t the final step in the transition to a new Affinity point economy. There are three significant changes that are ahead:
(1) Virtue Affinity
The next update will focus on Virtues. One of the big changes is that each Virtue will provide Affinity points (in the range of 3-5) when adopted. Three of the four Virtue trees will be associated with each Affinity, Harmony, Purity and Supremacy. The forth tree will be associated with the Signal and provide a mix of the three Affinities. The catch with the Signal tree is that you only get the Affinity points if you adopt the Virtue while the Signal is active or if you’ve previously launched a LaserComm Satellite.
(2) Diplomatic Trait Affinity
While Diplomatic Traits were already changed in the New World Diplomacy update, I want to try doing something else with them. Getting a new version of Virtues complete has been a higher priority than redoing the Diplomatic Traits, but once Virtues are done the Traits will be my focus.
The big change I want to make to the Traits is for every 2nd level to provide a source of Affinity points. This will make the choices to go from level 1 to level 2 different from the choice to go from level 2 to level 3. Players looking to generate as much Affinity points as possible could forego the level 3 bonus in their Domestic Trait to avoid delaying acquiring a second level Military Trait.
The Affinity type provided by the second level of each Trait is likely to be fixed to a specific type. This will make your Affinity choice shape what Diplomatic Traits you use. For example, if your Domestic Trait is at level 1 and its level 2 provides Harmony points but you are going Supremacy, the level 3 bonus probably isn’t worth purchasing a level 2 trait that will do very little for you. So you may decide to get an Agreement or Political Trait instead.
(3) Expedition Affinity
The Affinity gained from Expeditions needs to be reduced and the player needs to be given a way to have some control over what type of Affinity it is. Currently players can get a dozen or more points from a random Affinity if the expedition bonus rolls their way. This is too much in the context of what other sources of Affinity points provide in the early game. While Expeditions will quickly dry up, they currently skew up the early game Affinity point economy too much.