Community Team here! We know that you folks have been waiting to dive into the full patch notes for Season 3 for quite a while now, especially with all that we've been teasing the past couple of months. Well, that wait is finally over, as the new season for The Cycle: Frontier begins today, along with a bunch of new features and changes.
Before we jump in, we'd like to take a moment to thank the people who played during Season 2. 182 days is admittedly a pretty long season, but we're super grateful for all of your support, positive messages and, most importantly, your constructive feedback. While this patch will include a large variety of updates and adjustments, this is only the first of many patches that we hope to put out throughout this new season. Let's dive into these notes, we've got a lot to unpack here!
NO MORE WIPES
You heard it here first, the final wipe is here! Players will start Season 3 completely fresh and on an even playing field. Kiss your Brute stash goodbye and put Season 2 behind you, because Season 3 will be taking you back to the start of the campaign where your prospecting journey began - except you now have all the knowledge of a seasoned, hardened Prospector to carry you. This, however, will be the last of these so-called mandatory wipes we have planned. Our game has been completely overhauled for a permanent progression system, and we will (after this wipe) no longer be forcing you to reset your progress within the game. You will of course keep any Aurum and earned cosmetics associated with your account. Welcome Packs that were previously purchased will also be regranted to you upon logging in for the first time after this last wipe. As a result of this new era, we've updated our in-game texts and descriptions to reflect this change. We could talk about what happened to the Storm Divers, why all of those flyers have mysteriously disappeared, or why the storm has suddenly gone back to normal. But the work of a Prospector is never done and that's a conversation for when you're older. Now get out there, veteran greenhorn, and earn your K-Marks!
FREE LOADOUT RUNS
Free Loadout Runs are coming! If you've found yourself low on K-Marks or maybe you're just starting out and learning the ways of Prospecting, consider grabbing a Free Loadout Run provided by the various factions. On the Deploy menu screens, players will now be met with an option to select your Prospector's Loadout of gear equipped from your stash or select a free randomized loadout put together by one of the factions. If a player has no gear equipped from their own stash, the free loadout option will be selected by default. If you have a loadout already selected from your stash, your prospector loadout will be selected by default. Note that if you choose to take the free gear, any previously equipped gear will be transferred to your stash, assuming there is room for everything. There is a cooldown on how often you can use a free loadout since it takes some time for the factions to put together what they're willing to give you. A timer will be visible on the loadout selection screen to let you know how long you'll have to wait before another loadout becomes up for grabs. Once selected, these loadouts will function the same as the normal loadouts you're used to. Take the gear down to Fortuna III and, if you survive, it's yours to keep. If you don't make it back without needing to be defoamed, that gear belongs to whomever is able to bring it back to the station.
Each faction should provide Prospectors with at least a weapon, armor, backpack, ammo, and health consumables with a chance for extra goodies to be thrown in by way of a 2nd weapon, weapon attachments, additional consumables, crafting mats, keycards, or helmets. Those greedy factions won't be too eager to give away anything too useful however, so these loadouts will more often than not contain white gear with much smaller chances of getting green or blue items for free. These loadouts may not turn your trips to Fortuna III into a walk in the park, but they should give you an extra boost if you're down bad or don't want to risk losing your hard-earned gear while learning the basics.
This is a long requested feature and we are happy to finally give players a way to equip everything they need for their planet-side ventures with one click. You can customize your preset loadouts with your favorite or most-used gear in the stash section of your inventory. When selecting a preset loadout to equip, any weapons, armor, helmets, ammo or other consumable items will be equipped directly from your stash. Any items that are not your stash will be purchased from the appropriate faction HQ automatically, with a popup asking you to confirm said purchase. New descriptions and UI sections have been added to properly teach you how to assemble and equip a preset loadout. When viewing a preset loadout before equipping, icons will display which items are currently available from a player's inventory, which items need to be purchased, and which items are unavailable. Use this feature to quickly get back into the action between runs and spend less time running between the faction shops to pickup the gear you need to achieve prospecting glory.
A NEW THREAT: THE HOWLER
The Howler is a flying insect-like monster that has emerged on the surface. This large and in-charge addition to the game aims to generate new drama and new player stories by overlapping with other events and happenings in the game. As part of our direction to create a game that is as suspenseful as it is fun, we hope that the Howler will add a new layer to the game in a variety of ways. The Howler is our first roaming creature, traveling through the skies from place to place. When it's idle, you can try to sneak past it or remain motionless, in the hopes that it won't hear you. However, once it's ready for fisticuffs, you'll experience a new type of PvE challenge that we'd like to say is somewhere between the Marauder and the Crusher in terms of difficulty. But we wouldn't quite call it a boss encounter either. One thing we know for sure, is that you won't have a hard time finding it, as you should see and hear it coming with relative ease.
In addition to the Howler, a new in-match activity has made its way to you: the Howler Nests. These nests contain Howler eggs that react to sound by simply exploding and expelling a toxic fume into the air that you'll want to steer clear from. However, if you're quiet and patient, there might just be something worth bragging about inside some of those eggs, assuming you can get your hands in there and survive to tell the tale. We hope that this new organic and reactive element will offer new ways to traverse areas of all three maps that were once free of... whatever those things are made of.
To top it off, both the Howler and Howler eggs will drop unique items that can be used to complete new quest missions, upgrade your player quarters, and craft new items. As a result, you'll be able to create your own Howler Grenades, new throwing weapons aiming to recreate the Howler's signature move: its disorienting shriek. They affect both Prospectors and wild creatures, and we can't wait to see how you put them to use. Sure, we could have just introduced basic flashbangs into the game, but where's the fun in that eh?
The Howler will also come with it's own brand new questline that you will be able to complete with Osiris, are you sure you'll know how to use that?
Consider rallying other Prospectors on the surface if you're trying to take down a Howler in the early stages of the game. If you can put your hunger for gear aside, you and your new teammates might be able to take it down before anyone else. Although considering the usual human greed, we can't promise everyone will remain friendly after the Howler loot has dropped.
THE WAR ON CHEATING
As with every update, Season 3 comes with plenty of backend improvements to our anti-cheat detections and preventions, some big and some small, to help make cheating even more difficult than it already is. For the sake of security we can't go into exact details here, but these changes include better methods of automatically detecting cheats, better tracking tools for our support team to investigate suspicious players, and more obfuscation measures to make the actual development of cheats more difficult. We have also worked closely with our friends at BattlEye to make sure that the game is in top-top shape for the release of the new season.
Since we know Season 3 will also have many players returning to the game, we will give a quick recap on some of the major improvements we've made to our anti-cheat systems since Season 1:
Shielded Matchmaking: Helps give our Trusted players an added layer of security, and makes the creation of alt-accounts much more difficult for cheaters.
Cheating Victim Compensation: Automatically compensates players who fell victim to a cheater once that cheater is banned.
Data Obfuscation: Makes the creation and development of cheats more difficult and time consuming.
A Dedicated Anti-Cheat Team: Closely monitors and quickly reacts to any new threats the game might face.
Third Party Tools: We have worked closely with anti-cheat specialists like BattlEye to add additional layers of security to the game.
Revamped in-game reports: Makes the process of sending reports much smoother, and gives our team more data to investigate cheaters.
And many more backend improvements to our anti-cheat systems...
If you'd like a more detailed look at how we're actively fighting cheaters in The Cycle: Frontier, please take a look at our blog post we made for The War on Cheats:
And finally here is a quick message from Toast, the Anti-Cheat Community Manager for The Cycle: Frontier:
Anti-cheat is a constant back and forth battle, one that we are committed to continue fighting in our game. Even though our anti-cheat is in a better state now than it's ever been, we aren't done yet. We are already hard at work on more improvements to the anti-cheat that we will be releasing in 3.1, 3.2, and beyond. The team has already made great strides in fighting cheaters since Season 1, and I truly believe that Season 3 will be the best state the game has ever been in. I am super excited for you all to experience a much more fair and competitive version of the game, and I can't wait to see you all on Fortuna III. Until next time, Prospectors.
A NEW HOME: PROSPECT STATION UPDATES
Construction crews have been hard at work lately, giving our refuge floating above Fortuna III a facelift. On your next visit to Prospect Station, you will notice all the familiar hotspots have a brand new, if shadier, look. It's pretty likely that a hub for adventurous Prospectors more focused on surviving than sanitation won't be the cleanest place, but that doesn't mean we can't have some nice things. Take a stroll around the new storefronts and investigate all the new activity that will help give more life to the place we all call home. You will find new NPCs roaming about the station along with plenty of neat additions. Try not to get too distracted though, your main job is still Prospecting and surviving.
ECONOMY TUNING FOR NON-WIPING GAME
Removing mandatory wipes means we'll operate on an economy focused on the long term. Making adjustments to how the economy used to function was imperative. As a result, finding and obtaining exotic and legendary items will be much harder than before and early game can be adjusted to feel far less punishing to new players who are just finding their bearings on Fortuna III. We've overhauled many early game quests to feel less overwhelming (but still challenging), in addition to making late-game accomplishments feel much more rewarding. Players will have a chance, albeit a very small one, to find gear with a tier above the area they're in. Leave no stone unturned on the surface, as opening a weapon crate to find a Voltaic Brute, or checking a jacket to find a rare keycard should now feel like a true jackpot moment and get your heart pumping as you make your way to the evac ship. We do not want late-game players to have infinite access to the best gear in the game. Sure, unlocking something great should be a big milestone, but upkeeping high-level loadouts should be difficult, and bringing a full end-game loadout into a match should be a truly special occasion - this is what makes the infinite gear chase more thrilling. This required us to re-think how easily players can re-purchase gear that they have unlocked, and how often, as well as how deep our money sinks are running.
We've added additional ammo variants for different weapons that will increase in cost as you progress to higher tiers of weapons, which means you will have to be much more conscious of the risk versus reward of constantly running that Voltaic Brute if your goal is just to kill creatures at Greens Prospect. The new challenge for end-game players will be to maintain the ability to run the highest level gear when it makes the most sense to do so. Purchasing weapons from the factions will now also cost faction scrips in addition to their usual K-Mark costs, so completing jobs and quests for each faction will be more important than ever. The loot pool of items that can be found has been updated to encourage players to be more diligent when searching for goodies at various POIs to have that jackpot moment when finding a rare item.
NEW WEAPONS/AMMO: MKI & MKII VARIANTS
The arsenal of weapons available at your disposal will be expanded to accomplish a few different goals. First and foremost, the new versions of the weapons will help cover some of the gaps we previously had in the weapon lineup with LMGs, launchers, SMGs, snipers, and shotguns. This means you will find more rarities of different weapon types to offer more choices of what you can use on your journeys to Fortuna III. This change also gives players an opportunity to use their favorite weapon skins more frequently on more weapons that sometimes became obsolete as you progressed to higher levels.
You will see two different variants of some guns in the form of MkI and MkII weapons. MkI weapons will be lower tier versions of current versions, while MkII weapons will be higher tier versions of their original counterparts. There will be some differences between MkI/MkII and their current versions in the form of damage or penetration values, types of attachments you can use on each weapon, and types of ammo that will be needed for different tiers.
This will also allow us to make the higher tier guns rarer without diluting the weapon pool too heavily, and still give players the 'jackpot' moment if/when you find a rarer gun from a weapon crate.
Along with the aforementioned economy tuning, some balance changes needed to be made to accommodate the non-wiping systems. The biggest change you might notice is how quickly armor durability will decrease when attacked by other players and/or creatures during fights. This will make prospectors think twice about engaging potential enemies while affecting decisions about what armor is worth the risk for their goals for each match. Don't forget to repair your armor between matches if you want to stay fully protected during runs. We've also tuned some weapons following the addition of the new MkI and MkII weapons, but there will be more details on that in a later section of the patch notes.
Meanwhile, Prospectors will now have more choices for their methods of destruction (or protection) while exploring Fortuna III. Starting capacity of each prospector's safe pocket has been increased from 5 to 9 to help with progression through some earlier questlines and player quarter upgrades have been adjusted to account for those changes. Creature behavior and health have received some tuning to make them a bit less of a pain to deal with in some cases. Standard variants of Striders and Rattlers had their total health reduced and shouldn't be as spongy to damage as previous iterations. The range at which creatures are able to see and hear prospectors has been adjusted slightly along with the amount of time it takes to de-aggro from a target. Be more aware of your surroundings as stealth and sneakiness will be much more important than it previously was if you want to stay undetected.
We have also made some other smaller balance changes as well. Mid-air accuracy has been reduced for most weapons to help make the combat feel a bit more grounded, many key crafting components have had their crafting timers reduced, and there have been changes across the board to loot drops and rewards to help facilitate the new economy. It's more changes than we can realistically list here, so we encourage you to drop down to Fortuna III and discover them all for yourself.
Matchmaking is a topic that is often discussed in Discord, Reddit, and Steam forums. More importantly, it's one that we are not oblivious to. During Season 2, we switched things up from using average evac value to using K/D ratio as the main factor for determining the MMR rating used to place players in different buckets. We found that while this was certainly a step in the right direction towards making matches fairer, there is still room for improvement to avoid brand new players who have a good run from being unfairly matched with more veteran players getting blasted by gear far beyond what they have access to. While matches in TC:F are meant to be somewhat uncertain, we definitely understand how frustrating it can be to constantly die due to an total imbalance of weaponry before you have a chance to react. To combat this, but still maintain some sense of tension and uncertainty about what you might encounter during any given drop to Fortuna III, we will be implementing a form of gear score in combination with K/D when determining a player's MMR calculations. This doesn't mean that you will only see players wearing the same gear as you in a match, as that limits the ability to have score big 'come ups', but it will help keep players more fairly matched and make it less likely that new players will be constantly overpowered while they are learning the ropes.
Another big topic of feedback we received regarding matchmaking is how difficult it is to regularly survive when outnumbered during encounters with other players on Fortuna III. With Season 3, you will now find the separation of buckets based on squad size that was originally implemented for Bright Sands during Season 2, now spread across all three maps. This means that no matter what your skill set or what map you choose you should only see other solos as a solo, duos as a duo, or trios as a trio in trusted matchmaking buckets.
EARLY GAME EXPERIENCE UPDATES
We've made another pass on early missions in order to give new players a better overview of what to expect and the basics of life as a Prospector. This includes more detailed explanations of certain tasks and additional tips for features that should become useful when staying alive after gaining the trust of the factions and becoming a full blown prospector.
Returning players will no longer be required to complete the tutorial missions once they've been completed once. They will only appear when launching the game for the first time on a new account
During the first drop and tutorial, Prospectors will now hear gunshot sounds to get them accustomed to more of the sounds they should expect to hear during their time on Fortuna III
Popups and voiceover lines for early tasks should better inform users of what their goals should be
The flow of the early game has been finetuned to make the process run more smoothly as players progress through each task
Early game matchmaking has been significantly tuned to better ease new players into the game
LOCKED KEYCARD ROOM IMPROVEMENTS
Keycard rooms have been reworked across the board to give much juicier loot, but to compensate, keycards are now much rarer and have less uses. Now they will truly be "loot rooms", instead of "a few white stims and an AR-55" rooms. Keycard rooms should also feel more "themed," containing items that are more relative to the location of the rooms. We're very excited to see what you discover!
SEASON 3 FORTUNA PASS
New Season, new Fortuna Pass! We've got 100 new tiers to grind through, complete with Prospector Archetypes, Banners, Weapon Skins, Sprays, Aurum, Resource Crates, and more! Fortuna pass is chock full of vanity like the last season. We still wanted to give you as many weapon skins as possible in addition to:
2 main characters with 1 extra variation each
Harvester and his twin BloodFreak - they never get along well
Bloodhound and Rebel Reporter - both willing to take any risk to bring you the latest news!
2 new emotes for color Fortuna even more
Three new Melee Weapons
14 weapon skins
Various sprays, charms, banners, and a drop pod
But that's not all!
Crates have been revised, we added some of the MK2 weapons and new ammo for you to test it out
XP rewards and bonuses were slightly tweaked
XP curve is now non-linear and later levels of the pass need a bit more XP than in season 2, but first 15 levels of the pass are not affected at all with this change
NEW PROSPECTOR ARCHETYPES
All prospectors will have a new customizable default base suit, chest piece, gloves, and boots that can be equipped from the character customization screen. Different from the previous seasons; you can now purchase/acquire single outfit pieces like base suits, chests, boots, and gloves. We will still have some of the outfit bundles available next to these new single (ready to mingle) pieces.
This season, we tried to be a little wilder to explore some different effects for almost all the cosmetic types. You'll see some see-through bellies running around with Unbound Synth, wicked melee, charms and weapons that look like they are taken right out of a Howler's gastric - or rather fun and progressive charms, melee weapons etc. We still would like to expand and improve on this! (you know what? if you press U - you can inspect those kick ass weapons, charms, and melee in match. All of our items have their rarity assigned! Get ready for some epic and exotics!
Unbound Synth: A prospector which is perfect for you! Our first less human, more android prospector with a few emotions (maybe none at all) and the strongest dedication
The Artillery: She will be joining the team very soon - after dealing with her internal reckoning
The Jungle Bandit: A sneaky one that thinks adding a couple of bushes makes him look visible - but in reality it just looks dashing! He'll be with us later in the season - still collecting some bushes to perfect it's outfit
Authority Operative: Without any communication with HQ, and without pay, even the Authority's commandos need to earn a living. Where better to put their skills to use than the planet's hellish surface?
FREE DLC PACK AVAILABLE MARCH 30
The Fresh Fortunes Pack DLC will be available for free download starting at 7pm CEST on Thursday March 30, 2023 (10:00am PST / 1:00pm EST / 2:00pm GMT). Keep an eye out for dedicated publication with all details on the pack and how you can grab it!
SEASON 3 SHOP BUNDLES
Like last season, we have 3 special season bundles, each one complete with a collection of clean cosmetics up for grabs!
Are you a fierce Howler Tamer, or patrolling through Fortuna with your buddies to keep the planet in order? Or rather - you just want to shine, be the most colorful out there to show you have no fear that forces you to be subtle? You will be able to get these beauties through Steam and Epic store - as well as through in game Shop under the Bundles tab. We tried to give you the best selections for you to decide your statements in this season. As per usual, there are many new items specifically made for the new season, you cannot believe how much fun we had preparing all those sprays and banners for you! Also do not miss out from all the new melees, charms and emotes! Some of them will make you spit your drink out!
DLSS 3 has been implemented and will be available for those with compatible graphics processors
To make them a more exciting end-game challenge, Laser Drills will now be exclusive to Crescent Falls. They may return to Bright Sands again in the future with some balancing tweaks
The Crusher Caverns have had a massive overhaul, the caves will now be a significantly more difficult end game activity that will take team coordination and top end gear to survive
Prospectors will now take a short ride on the evac ship before fully extracting. Enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of Fortuna III before returning to the Station, but don't get shot
New grenade with the Howler shriek contained inside will be craft-able using Howler loot drops
Added a new weapon inspection feature with new animations to let prospectors check out their cool skins on weapons and melee sets
Players will now have a chance to find weapons with pre-loaded attachments while looting different areas. The rarity of these attachments will determine its chances of spawning
Attachments, consumables, and items all have clear numerical values about how they affect different mechanics
New and updated questlines
Prospectors will now have the ability to redeem promotion codes and coupons directly from the game to receive promotional items without going to their store launcher
Names and descriptions of armor and helmets are now more descriptive of their functions to better fit with the lore
Weapon description texts have been updated to include distances at which the gunshot sounds are audible
Some crafting recipes have been updated to require Howler loot drops
Tharis Island will not be accessible or unlockable by way of campaign missions immediately at the start of the season. As a result, crafting or player upgrades that require items only obtained on Tharis will be temporarily inaccessible until April 19th when the Island will be globally unlocked
A new keycard has been added to the lineup of keycards available
Possibly related to the new keycard, a new way to enter and exit the Forge has been added to Tharis Island. The door can be dangerous so proceed with caution
Keycard availability and durability received an update
Keycards cost has been updated to include a script cost when purchasable from the factions
Player Quarter upgrades received an update to include higher K-mark investment and new recipes for upgrade costs
Gear durability and repair costs have been changed to work better with a long-term economy in mind
New ammo varieties have been added to the loot pool with unique icon for each variety
Fortuna Pass rewards and icons have been updated for Season 3
Badum's First Drop and Welcome Packages have received an overhaul to make the experience as good as possible
A hard limit of 10 million K-marks have been added to cap the amount of K-marks a player can own at any given time
Our favorite barkeep, Badum, will now give Prospectors a unique questline with rewards after completing the FTUE missions which will be available on April 19th
Improved the prevention of players spawning next to each other to give Prospectors more breathing room when they drop onto Fortuna III
Fixed a bug where the speed penalty would persist after switching items from a charged heavy melee attack without performing the heavy melee attack
Removed an invisible collision barrier that prevented players from interacting with Osiris faction leader
Items will no longer visually duplicate themselves when sorting inventory or moving items from backpack to stash
Removed unintended access methods for areas above East Caverns on Bright Sands
Invisible post will not stop you from approaching the Fortuna Pass booth on the station
Adjusted the UI display to prevent overlapping of contract screens when multiple contracts are claimable
A very specific tree in Jungle had some faulty animations that have been resolved by our in-house horticulturist
Weapons, tools, and consumables will no longer vanish from your hands when swapping between grenades and other consumables
Players will now be able to successfully leave a party after removing a friend from friends list while in an active squad
Map updates and removal of several exploit spots across all 3 maps
Many, many more bug fixes but too many to list for the sake of saving space
In-game notification system has been revamped to better notify players of the most important events and actions while playing the game
Players can now sign up for our TCF email newsletter without leaving the game and see rewards before signing up
New key art has been added to the loading screen
New icons and UI images have been added for new in-game items
Discrepancies in vanity descriptions for various items in Windfall's Shop and Fortuna Pass have been unified
Mission images have been updated
Visibility of tool tip information has been improved
Weight and stack sizes for some items have been adjusted
New Emotes, sprays, character cosmetics and weapon skins will be available from the Fortuna Shop and Fortuna Pass rewards throughout the season
End of season widget has been updated in accordance with no longer having wipes each season
UI Tooltips have been adjusted
New icons have been added to the Feedback section of the menus
Added a UI element to clarify that player's are able to return to a map at any time once it has been unlocked
We are currently investigating an issue that causes some crashes when using NIVIDIA 40 series cards on the Epic Games Launcher. A fix will be pushed as soon as it is ready
Sometimes the Crusher Caverns can have issues spawning mobs (or spawn too many mobs), if you encounter this issue please reach out to a community manager with your prospect.log files
There are some cases where a player can get stuck on a Badum FTUE task. A simple restart of the game should resolve that but our team is working on a more permanent fix
Some of the emotes are not previewed correctly in various screens like Fortuna Pass, Special Offers etc. You can still fully see all the amazing moves and our little Leafling, Marauder etc in the station and in match but we will look into how to best preview them
Some of the new items with additional effects are missing an indicator on the icons to imply so. Once you go to the preview or see them in game - you'll be amazed (and we'll be fixing that little marker issue)
That's all for now, prospectors! Thank you all for your support and feedback over the previous 2 seasons, we hope that Season 3 will be fun, exciting, tense, and we cannot wait to see the stories you and your fellow Prospectors create when you drop back down to the surface.
Additionally, we're having a 48 hour livestream to celebrate the launch of Season 3. Stop by our Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/yager_development) and say hello!
Also don't forget to join us on Discord (https://discord.com/invite/thecycle) and our Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/TheCycleFrontier/) and make sure to follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/TheCycleGame)
As always, don't forget - Fortuna Favors the bold!
Any feedback? Please share it with us in our discord server