Agents, if you missed State of the Game this week, you missed buffs, nerfs, and lots of vanity items. No worries though, here's your After Action Report featuring a detailed summary of what went on:
Today’s SoTG was hosted by Chris Gansler, Community Developer and Fredrik Thylander, Lead 3C Designer, focusing on game changes incoming with the “Invasion” update which arrives this Friday. The timing for the maintenance to implement this update as follows:
3:30am EDT (US), 8:30am BST (UK), and 6:30pm AEDT (Australia) – sorry, Australia.
There was no new PVP information, and there will not be any direct changes to PVP implemented in Friday’s update. However, it goes without saying that the changes to weapons and gear will impact the way PVP plays by default.
Once again the team would like you to know that all feedback is appreciated, and while you may not get a personalized reply on whichever social media platform you choose to use, everything is read and taken into consideration. Some significant balancing changes were announced today (with more listed in the patch notes which are incoming), so we’ll get those out of the way first even though I’m probably more excited about the Apparel Event that starts Friday too (more on that further down).
NERFS & BUFFS
The community has had a lot of opinions about weapons and gear balancing, which is putting it mildly, and so congratulations to the community because thanks to your feedback, build videos, and general demands (along with a ton of telemetry data from the game) we have received our first changes. These are initial balancing passes, because let’s not forget that the game is still super early in its life and with the addition of WT5 and new gear sets, things will change again anyways.
o Both the M700 and MK17 are getting the damage reduction treatment as of Friday, so you've got less than 48 hours to enjoy them in their original form. These guns have been over-performing and they’ve made other guns irrelevant; the goal here is to create a an experience where as many weapons as possible are viable and fun to grind for.
o Value reductions to new gear as well as gear already owned: Crit Damage & Headshot damage will be adjusted downwards - per Thylander, the delta between average builds and really good builds was too high based purely on those values and it was necessary and best to do it prior to WT5 and the addition of new gear in order to make the impact less painful.
o Cool-downs added to some talents:
Safeguard talent will now have internal cool down so it can’t be active all the time / continuously magnify self-heal effects. Will still give big heal.
Crisis Response, part of the demolitionist talent tree, (when armor breaks ammo replenishes) will now have internal cool down. When it procs over and over again it’s a little too generous and negates intended weapon deficiencies.
We hear a lot about “skill gap” and the balance between respecting / highlighting actual player skill while also risking alienating the “casual user”. Additionally this week, as some of the major content creators for the game were releasing showcase build videos, players were discussing what makes a “good build”, well, “good”. Is it because of the combination of gear pieces? Is it because the player is simply more talented and knows how to run the build correctly way beyond the simple math of CHC and CHD?
Well, for better or for worse, I think we’re going to see some really interesting developments in the world of theorycrafting in week ahead now that CHD and HSD have been nerfed. I’ve seen a fair amount of build videos that have been relying purely on stacking those two values, which has less to do with a mastery of how gear pieces work in synergy and more to do with just adding numbers together. So for theorycrafters who are focused on perfecting how multiple gear talents interact I think this opens up the field quite a bit, making investing in CHD and HSD less important, and for those build creators who rely purely on these values it may be time to branch out a bit.
There will be salt next week, which may not be listed in the patch notes.
- The LVOA-C, LWM4, AA-12 and MG5 will all receive damage buffs
- Scopes will have slider adjustment added as well as expanded field of view. Not exactly a “buff” but more QOL
- Signature weapons: Sniper Rifle accuracy has been improved
- Sniper turret revamped – once placed, will automatically track targets now and can also precision aim for headshots. More intuitive to use now.
- Chem launcher: when equipped it works as weapon now / handles like a regular weapon instead of more automated activation sequence.
- Firefly handling / aiming improved
- Skills will be continuously looked at and adjusted to keep them viable.
New QOL features:
Two big things:
All Skill Mods have been revamped
- Bonuses now correlate neatly with the amount of skill power required
- Amount of skill power adjusted
- The re-balance opens up the amount of mods that can be equipped and should make skill-heavy builds more viable.
- Users may notice a decrease in skill power upon first log-in on Friday so revisit your skill mods.
All Weapon Mods have been revamped
The team took to heart the community feedback regarding the somewhat extreme negative and positive attributes of weapons mods, which often felt punishing and/or seemed to cancel out the benefits or work placed in the rest of your build.
Lower positive attributes now but no negative attributes.
When there are multiple types of same mod, for example extended mags, there will be some negative attributes but a variety of combinations and for every type of mod there will be at least one that has no negatives.
Work bench – fixed an issue where when moving from one world tier to a higher one, the work bench would be stuck at the previous world tier.
The first Apparel Event starts Friday and will run for four weeks, and feature new special event caches. Everyone player gets one free the first week if they log-in and claim it before next Friday. Season 1 pass owners get 3 additional caches. Includes new weapon skins.
New emotes include what can best be described as “Glitter Bomb” and “High-Five”.
New masks will also be available, and the green one is see through so you can still see the agent’s face – honestly this is a nice touch. New “Apparel Projects” will be available as well, providing a chance to grab additional vanity items.
Aside from how aggressively the dev team is working to begin implementing gameplay changes, the equally important takeaway here is the amount of transparency being shown from the beginning. Additionally, it should be comforting to know that the team is looking at more than just metrics (which can sometimes not accurately reflect the true player experience), and are tempering that data with review of actual gameplay.
What this means is that showcase builds which rely on slightly out of balance gear and weapon values will no longer have as much power over the meta, especially if the dev team continues to be this responsive with changes post Invasion-update. It also says a lot about the team’s ability to track player data accurately that they would be able to make these significant decisions so soon after the game’s release. I’m also hoping that PVP players will continue to report feedback to the dev team regarding how these changes impact that experience rather than just assume that because no PVP-specific changes were made, it’s not worth playing.