today's topic is perhaps the most discussed request on our forums - of course, it is about Co-Op Void Crusades!
First things first, I'll save you some guessing time, as I can confirm that indeed, Co-Op Void Crusades will definitely happen in the future, and we are already past a number of testing phases.
Let's talk about when and how exactly will we accomplish this. Originally, Void Crusades were designed as a completely solo adventure for players, but later on as we were analyzing mission statistics, we realized that the Crusades become a major, integral part of not only the leveling experience, but of the endgame as well. Consequently, the first posts about taking four-man Inquisitorial parties on Void Crusades emerged on our forums not long after the initial release of the Ivory Crusade.
We knew that this is what our players wanted, and in many ways, we wanted to do this, too - but we had a tough time to decide where to even start, as the core elements of the Void Crusade were pretty restrictive when it came to cooperative gameplay.
The dilemmas started as early as launching a Void Crusade. Who should pay for it? Everyone or only the leader? There were numerous reasons (investment, user experience, ease of use) for both sides, but eventually we have decided that only the leader should invest Void Shards.
This decision was made as the content update that will bring us the cooperative Void Crusade experience will contain many more additional features related to Crusades. One of these will be the Shard Exchange feature which will allow players to swap their Void Shards for different colors to make an easier launch available.
These compromises allowed us to further design the Co-Op system for Void Crusades to allow drop-in/drop-out gameplay, e.g. new members will be able to join an ongoing Crusade and will receive rewards according to their own individual progress. This means that the loot bonuses are tracked individually for each party member and stored on the backend, so players who join only for the final mission of a fully cleared Crusade will receive significantly less loot from the final chest as opposed to those who did the Crusade all the way from the beginning.
We decided to keep it simple for the Life system as well. As long as there is someone is alive in the party, they will be able to resurrect dead party members and the Life penalty for dying will be reverted at a cost of a whopping 10% reduction in Loot Quality. This is arguably less challenging than having a permanent -1 Life penalty for each death, but we figured that a harsh mechanic like that would sacrifice a lot of fun and fluidity, not to mention it would be an opportunity for griefers. Additionally, there will be an increasing timer on the self-resurrect button to further incentivize players to help their teammates and resurrect them instead.
Void Crusades contain a ton of unique scripts and game modes as well, so all of them had to be adapted for Co-Op gameplay, but our coders handled this challenge with ease (so far… ;). Such were the Wandering Servoskull, or the Encrypted Dataslate along with its Decryptor Terminal - of course, no matter who picks up the Dataslate or interacts with the terminal, the secret unlock mechanics will work as long as both elements are interacted with properly.
All the unique gamemodes such as Forcefield, Sabotage, Sporocyst Assault, and so on had to be transformed into Co-Op friendly missions as well, but a larger hurdle was to make sure that all the secret unlocks will work no matter which party member (or what combination of them) finds a Secret or Covert mission. These two hidden mission types are an integral part of Crusades as not only they are needed for full completion, but they also give players the most significant loot bonuses. Not to mention it's fun finding them ;)
Info-fragments will work in a similar way as well, so no matter who interacts with them, the chests at the end will show information for everyone if there were Info-fragments collected. However, only the party leader will be able to open up the 9 Void Chests at the end, because each chest contains specific rewards, as this is one of the main quirks of the Void Crusade. The main chest containing generic loot can be opened by anyone of course, as it does not consume a Key, and it contains generic loot. Needless to say, no matter who opens which chest, every party member will get their rewards according to their class and individual loot bonuses - but the choice of the reward types will be the leader's.
So far we have been testing Co-Op Crusades for a couple weeks now, and even though it's only testing, the benefits and the fun factor of being able to tackle the challenges of the Void with a party are apparent.
And for the most important question - we feel that it would be fitting for the upcoming PC season to contain all these new features (along with some other ones I've yet to talk about), so when Season 3 hits, Inquisitors will no longer be alone in the Void.
The Emperor Protects.