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Hey all, here's an update to let you know some of the exciting things that are coming up in this week's Alpha play session. We have a lot of changes that we're excited to share with you as we move to Alpha, including updates to combat, equipment and how factions play their part in your actions. But don't just take my word for it, we have our very own Tobias back again to talk about some of these changes for you below.

So, let's break some of those changes down for you and provide you with a little more detail, starting with why now is the time to move from Pre-Alpha to Alpha. Put very simply, we have all of what we view as the core features of the game in place now. The gunplay, The Capital, the drop-in experience, extractions, objectives, looting and everything that makes up our unique game style.

Factions

With this update, you'll soon be able to please the factions by completing contracts on their behalf. These will be tasks for you to perform on the Isle of Dern - from performing certain types of kills, capturing objectives, extracting certain items for your faction to make use of. In exchange, your faction will reward you with items. You'll also earn additional reputation and experience from working closely with your faction in this way, leading to better rewards for yourself down the line.

However, this is just the first stage of how your factions will play an important role in your time in the Proving Grounds. You'll notice their influence and power playing a more integral role in your struggle for supremacy on the Dern in the coming months. They won't play a role in your loadout or provide you with a "class", but they will provide you with rewards as you undertake Contracts and play more closely to their vision of supremacy.

Eventually, these Contracts and the favour you attract from completing them will count towards your position on a global leaderboard, refreshed every season and on display in The Capital for all to see. It's never too soon to start building the appreciation of your Factions, so start proving your devotion to the cause today.

Taking Equipment To The Proving Grounds

We know that taking your favourite gun into the Proving Grounds can sometimes be the difference between life and death. The only problem with that is well... if you don't make it back out, neither does your inventory which can really deter you from taking in your best gear. To combat this, The Capital will refund you a percentage of the value of the gear you lose if you don't make it out in one piece. The competition is much more fun if everyone takes their biggest and best toys into the fray, this refund program should help with that.

However, we understand that not everyone has 300 rifles stockpiled for a rainy day to take with them. To better balance this, The Capital has approved the supply of some basic survival gear, namely a pistol and a few rounds to ensure you don't dive in completely helpless. But you'd better bag yourself something better quickly, that pistol won't carry you all the way to the final circle, we're sure.

Additionally, The Capital feels too many people are staying a little too safe in the Proving Grounds. Due to this, all bandages, first aid kits and other medicinal goods can no longer be taken into the Proving Grounds. The same goes for extracting these consumables back out from the Proving Grounds. From now on, you'll be forced to work with what you can find and salvage after you've dived in. This way, no-one can come armed with a stack of bandages and hide in a corner of the last circle to get to victory.

Extractions

Extractions are really useful for when you find that piece of loot you want to save for later, to build a stockpile of goods to sell on the market or maybe you've just had your fill of the action for the day. They're super useful and your drone is definitely your best friend on the Dern. Previously though, an extraction always meant "game over". You were out, you were done, see you later Proving Grounds.

Not any more.

Your drones have been upgraded to be able to navigate back to your bank with your looted goods without having to take you with them. Now you are free to dive in, search for the best loot and extract it without having to head back to The Capital yourself. Also, remember that basic survival gear we spoke about earlier? You won't be able to extract that, so you'll keep your trusty pistol with you no matter what, giving you some basic defence ability... no matter how overzealous you are with your extraction.

Finally, the area of the Dern you can explore is expanding. You'll be granted access to a larger area than you have previously been able to explore. This will also come with changes to looting, ensuring you discover more guns and fewer attachments for them in our pursuit to ensure everyone has something to fire or extract for later.

Gameplay

Your drone isn't the only thing to have received an upgrade, your HUD is getting some improvements too. Now, when you get shot, you'll see where it came from the first time they hit you. This will show up in the form of a hit indicator, but act fast as they fade quickly and they'll be the only notice you get of where the next shot will be coming from.

You will also notice that you are awarded for being the aggressor in combat. Each of your shots should throw off your opponent's aim a little as you would expect it to. Make those shots count, as it's only temporary and they'll be back to having you square in their sights if you don't finish the job fast enough.

That's everything for this update. We hope you'll agree that this will add a lot of extra strategy to Mavericks as well as making it feel more like the unique experience we've been talking about. Naturally, this isn't the full list of changes and you'll be able to see the full list of incoming updates in the Patch Notes.

For the latest information on upcoming updates to The Forge or to discuss Mavericks: Proving Grounds with the studio and other members of the community, check out our Discord or Forums.
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