Echoes of Earth Milestone: New World Virtues

A new update for Echoes of Earth has been released! This update completely overhauls the Virtue system. Virtues now reflect how your colony’s society evolves as it progresses down your chosen Affinity path.

This update also marks a milestone in the development of the mod itself. Every core system I wanted to replace has been replaced. Each interconnected system can now be fully experienced. This does not mean development is over, there are still more updates in Echoes of Earth’s future.

The New Virtues

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The Virtue trees have been replaced with four new ones: Signal, Harmony, Purity and Supremacy. Each branch provides three choices at the start so there are different ways to proceed down the same tree. Virtues provides two benefits, one is a permanent bonus that benefits your entire colony, the other is a one time lump sum of Affinity points. Generating Culture is now a way to get Affinity points. This will be most relevant in the early game when Virtues are cheap but as the game progresses you will need to incorporate other sources of Affinity points into your plan.

These Affinity points also encourage, without requiring, players to stay in their Affinity lane. A Harmony player is able to take Purity Virtues, but since the Affinity points are half the reason to pick a Virtue, they have a much higher opportunity cost compared to sticking within the Harmony tree. The bonuses the new Virtues provide are another way the Affinities create distinct strategies and play styles.

The Signal Virtue Tree

The Signal Tree has some unique properties. Unlike the other trees its Virtues provide a mix of all three Affinities. Every Virtue in the left column provides Harmony, the center column provides Supremacy and the right column provides Purity. This is the same left-to-right order as the mini-Affinity icons in the opener Virtue.

To make up for the fact that not all the Virtues you pick within the Signal tree will belong to your desired Affinity you get more Affinity points from each Virtue. However, you only get these points if the Signal is active or you have successfully launched a LaserComm Satellite.

Normally once the Signal ends selecting Virtues in this tree becomes unattractive (since you are not getting Affinity points). But if you previously managed to launch a LaserComm Satellite than you can continue taking Virtues in this tree without falling behind on Affinity points. Given how useful some of the deeper Virtues on this tree are this can be a challenging but effective gambit.

The Missing Link

When I started working on Echoes of Earth nearly 10 months ago there was a daunting list of major systems I wanted to change:

  1. Buildings & Building Quests
  2. Technology Web
  3. Terrain, Resource and Improvement yields
  4. Diplomatic Traits & Agreements
  5. Sponsor Traits, Colonist, Spacecraft & Cargo
  6. Wonders
  7. Orbital Units
  8. Virtues

With this update the last major missing piece has been put in place. Folks will be able to experience each piece working together instead of just promises and potential.

In design there is the sentiment that you discover the game you built by playing it (or releasing it). It is hard to fully understand a game until you play it. This is why iteration, prototyping and refinement is critical. After 10 months of work I am excited to discover with you what Echoes of Earth truly is.

The Future of Echoes of Earth

This is not the last step for Echoes of Earth. The next big update will focus on a re-design of the Diplomatic Traits. I want to make every level 2 Trait provide a source of Affinity points. This will give people even more options for setting up their Affinity point economy and help make Diplomatic Capital as useful as Culture currently is.

There are also a plethora of smaller changes I want to make. Changing all the bonuses from Expeditions and Resource Pods is a big one. As is re-designing how Spies work and altering Victory Conditions.

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