Musket Smoke 1.7 will shake things up!
I’ve been busy this last year with non-game iOS development (regular app building) and Musket Smoke was overdue an update. Being an older app from way back in the iOS 6 days, the game had some archaic chunks of code that iOS 9 rightly clobbered. I swapped my iPhone 6 for my wife’s 5s (as she is a heavy social media user) and so I didn’t notice that the larger iPhone layouts were broke by iOS 9. (Before 1.7 I hardly ever played on iPhone). In-app purchasing also got clobbered and so people with new devices couldn’t restore, worse yet – new campaign buyers couldn’t even get what they paid for!
Check out this recent classy 5 star review by Starkip. He downloads Musket Smoke 1.62 and pays for the campaign and after several attempts to get the campaign going he finaly gives up in frustration and writes a review to let me know. But still amazingly gives the game 5 stars! May all his mortar-strikes land true!!
I’m glad that 1.7 balances the campaign and makes it better for new players. A small consolation for the trouble that this new player has endured. Most of us would have sworn and deleted the app! (I’ll talk more about the Campaign changes in a bit.)
So this issue was hitting me on all fronts. First my customers were suffering, and second my reputation as a developer was getting slandered as potential new opportunities were no doubt checking out my apps and seeing a right disaster on the iPhone 6.
But before the (1.62, iOS 9 issues) – iPhone support in Musket Smoke was always a secondary thing that I never took serious. It was more just so we could continue playing when we are out on the go and also to reach more mobile eyes (so they could download on their iPads).
Not so any more. I put a quality few days into shaping up the experience on the little screens. Mind you, the I am on a budget here and can’t redo the manual or anything that heavy in content but I did spend time and make the play experience a lot better on the iPhone.
The in-app purchases are now back online as well. If you bought the Campaign then just hit the restore button after you update to 1.7.
So what was the shakeup then?
A couple potentially controversial changes to the Naarden Campaign.
- Balanced SF Artillery re-enforcements.
- Changes to the first and last battles.
The Campaign design is supposed to be a fair contest between two players with a rich array of interesting conflicts along the way.
- Win the minor battle objectives along the way – gives points, bragging rights. Minor battle defeats also grant an SF re-enforcement.
- Protect your SF units and try to eliminate your opponent SF units (as they affect the final battle).
- Try to take out the enemy Commander while protecting your own. A complicated task because the Commander is a powerful unit that we like to keep (somewhat) close to the font lines.
- Not to mention the regular troops who form the backbone of whatever strategy you are pursuing.
However what I didn’t expect was that rewarding artillery to only ‘one side’ made it overly difficult for the other side to stay in the fight (even with the SF Pikemen runner up reward for losing). For example I have never lost the Siege Cannon battle when armed with a mortar (even vs the top ranked Grand Dukes).
To fix this I replaced the SF Pikeman reward for the defeated Commanders with the same SF Artillery re-enforcement that the winner gets. The 1 3 5 maps still reward the same (Leader / SF Pikeman) – but now maps 2,4,6 reward (SF Mortar, SF Mortar), (SF Siege Cannon, SF Siege Cannon) and (SF Howitzer, SF howitzer).
Now I believe my vision of Musket Smoke is complete. This was always the intended direction and now the game is more interesting for both – new players and Grand Dukes alike.
Plus who doesn’t like more artillery?
So now strategy will be less about ‘winning a reward’ and more about destroying your opponents artillery re-enforcements (while protecting your own) – as it always should have been. It’s a more realistic gritty tone and focus moves back to where it should be in war – taking out key resources and leaders.
The changes to the first and last maps are:
Winter Keep (first map), removed the middle tree (opens up a path between the trees) and changed the starting unit positions of both armies to remove the Dutch first move advantage and also make each side look a bit more distinctive. Plus just to shake things up a little as this is map gets the most action and change is good.
Naarden, however only has terrain changes. It’s pretty dramatic however. Instead of suddenly DOWN TOWN in the middle of streets and buildings, we fight on the outskirts with just a military compound and a church. The rest is just light trees and streets. Technically the same map with all the little buildings converted to light trees. I’ve heard from few players that it seems too defensive like a ‘knife fight’ and so this should open things up a lot – tactically. Not to-mention both sides will likely have a howitzer to help keep the chill off the enemy backsides.
The Naarden campaign is now a more comprehensive skill test of skill across the entire war, and no longer hinges on a couple early key battles (that new players have no idea about). Now ‘every battle’ counts and you have the artillery to back you up!
I can hardly wait to rack up some 1.7 campaign battles. The 3 extra pieces of artillery for the other side will make a world of difference across every battle.
- Winter Keep: New starting positions and a terrain change. A fresh battle with the new gap in the trees playing a surprisingly large roll in tactics.
- Howitzer Bridge: focus more on taking out the Commander or the Leader unit. Try new tactics.
- The Wheat Fields: 2 mortars +2 howitzers will make a very smokey field. I will be hunting for the opponents mortar in all the smokey chaos. The ammo hut being a secondary goal.
- Cannon Showdown: Finally a fair fight! It will be interesting as an extra mortar will partially de-tooth the golden cannons and open up more opportunities for troop movement and cavalry assaults.
- The Breach: A LOT of smoke and extra holes in the wall means decent opportunities for tactical SF unit killing. The artillery presence here will be intense!
- Artillery Transport: A strong focus on SF unit killing. This is your last chance before the siege battle.
- The Big Siege: Enjoy this map while you can. In a couple months (update 1.71) will replace it with a new more balanced map. Extra artillery should make it interesting in the meantime.
- Naarden: Just open roads and light trees now. It’s a whole new battle. Likely both sides will have a howitzer so it’s best to not stand around. You have a city capture or defend and war ready to give out a Victory.
If the extra artillery turns out to be a bit too much, then next update I might reduce 1 piece of standard artillery from some of the maps. So enjoy the extra heavy artillery while it lasts!
Happy hunting, and beware the wet musket!