One of the great gameplay innovations in Sins of a Solar Empire, a grand sci-fi RTS, is space pirates. These dudes have their own starbase off to one side while you and the other players are trying to conquer the galaxy. But every so often, they’ll take bids to determine which player they’ll raid. This leads to a great war-by-proxy auction. But it can actually backfire. A prepared player can farm pirate attacks for experience, leveling up his capital ships. Furthermore, some games can be decided by pirates, who get more powerful as more money is funneled into their coffers.
In a beta patch just released, Sins developer Ironclad is taking a new approach to pirates.
The Pirates system has been completely overhauled with this update. Rather than relying on random upgrades which could result in a huge power curve, the Pirates will now scale gradually in abilities, fleet size and power as a game progresses.
Among the changes, pirate attacks will vary based on the amount of money you pay them, which is now based on specific sums of money instead of the guesswork and gradual increments that used to drive pirate auctions.
The beta patch also includes some balance and interface changes. Read the full notes here. To get the beta patch, enable “pre-release versions” in Impulse via the options button in the upper left of the screen.