Just like a certain farmboy looking wistfully up at twin suns and thinking of his future, Star Wars: The Old Republic
fans are looking ahead to next month’s Update 5.9 and the changes that it will bring. Among those will be the continuing effort to balance and adjust the game’s many class builds.
So what, exactly, is on the docket for class changes with 5.9? Tanks need to brace themselves for a nerf “across the board,” as BioWare says that they are doing too much damage. On the upside, tanks will get more threat generation to help in their role. Many non-tank builds are due for some utility changes to improve their survivability in combat encounters.
The team also called out Marauders and Sentinels for special changes, as they are “overperforming” according to the devs. While they’ll be getting a nerf to two of their combat skills, two other skills are being tweaked to reduce damage in a crowd control situation.
The EVE Online
community came down pretty hard on CCP Games at the start of the year, with podcasts, blogs, and the Council of Stellar Management all highlighting a recent lack of balance changes and iterations
. CCP responded with a renewed wave of updates, and it’s safe to say that the studio is absolutely knocking it out of the park. The upcoming March patch will include surprise buffs for the Muninn and Eagle, damage increases for the Cyclone and Drake Navy Issue, and an unexpected change to Attack Battlecruisers that could turn the fleet PvP meta completely on its head. The Orthrus is also finally getting its long-awaited nerf, and some careful tweaks will end the dominance of Ferox and Machariel fleets.
As if that wasn’t enough good news for one month, developers also plan to release a completely new class of ship designed exclusively for fleet commanders, are finally adding blueprint-locking to citadels and engineering complexes, and have some big territorial warfare improvements in the pipeline. The horrible but often necessary Jump Fatigue mechanic is finally being re-evaluated, and players will no longer be able to use citadel tethering mechanics to easily move capital ships in absolute safety. The territorial capture gameplay and the Entosis Link module used in nullsec sovereignty warfare are also being improved based on player feedback. The community hasn’t been this positive about upcoming changes for quite some time!
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I lay out the details of the upcoming ship balance overhaul, the new Monitor fleet command ship, and other changes coming in the March update.
Mercy just can’t catch a break.
The Overwatch healer is due for another round of brutal nerfs, the latest in a long, long line of downward adjustments to the character by Blizzard. This time, her resurrect has been changed from an instant cast and no longer gives a bonus charge, in addition to a nerf to the speed boost from her Guardian Angel ability.
Blizzard explained this latest Mercy nerf, saying, “Mercy’s recent Resurrect changes have helped in allowing enemies to have more counter play in dealing with her, but she was able to use Resurrect through Valkyrie enough to largely mitigate the impact of the previous changes. Additionally, we’re toning back the amount of mobility Valkyrie provides through Guardian Angel and reducing its duration to overall reduce the power of this ability.”
Sometimes you have to hurt the cards you love in order to save them from a premature death.
This is the logic behind the nerf of several staple Hearthstone cards. Blizzard’s development team explained that a handful of basic cards were being played too much, crowding out the use of newer expansion cards. Because daddy’s got to make sales, after all.
“Cards in the basic set serve several purposes in the game, so we would rather make balance adjustments to them instead of moving them to the Hall of Fame, like we have done for cards in the classic set,” the studio wrote.
Among those who are getting smacked around by an epic nerfhammer are Innervate, Hex, Fiery War Axe, and Murloc Warleader. Each of those either saw an increase in the cost of its mana requirement or had its benefits reduced.
EVE Online players have been up in arms this week over sweeping nerfs that are about to hit to high-end farming gameplay styles in the player-owned nullsec territories. It started when CCP Games announced that the Excavator drones used by Rorqual capital industrial ships would be getting a sizeable mining yield reduction and that a respawn delay would be added to ore sites in nullsec. As players were still reeling from that unexpected news, developers then announced a surprise general nerf to fighter damage with the goal of making carriers and supercarriers less effective in PvE and PvP. This significant balance change was just announced on Friday 9th June and goes live on Tuesday 13th, prompting outcry from the community over the lack of feedback-gathering on such a significant change to capital ship balance.
These nerfs both seem to be reactions to the latest few Monthly Economic Reports, which showed that the total money supply in the game economy is over a quadrillion ISK and rising rapidly. The detailed breakdowns of economic activity in the reports tell a more complex story, with ISK supply from bounty prizes roughly doubling over the past year and mining in the Delve region shooting off the scale in the past few months. It seems that a large number of nullsec players are spending more time farming and building up resources, and it’s the scale and efficiency of the top-tier farming setups that has CCP worried.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss the upcoming Rorqual and fighter nerfs, look at the economics of farming, and explain why this trend could be a more serious indicator than CCP realises.
The latest Heroes of the Storm balance patch isn’t going to give anyone a bunch of satisfying new tricks. It’s actually taking a lot of existing tricks away from various characters. Tychus, for example, has proven to be too darn good at not just tank-busting but assassin-busting as well, therefore making him too dominant against too wide a spread of heroes. Murky is clearly dominating, Malfurion is too good as support, and Varian isn’t unbalanced but did have a few abilities that were just not fun to play against.
As such, all four characters have received some major adjustments. Tychus has had his attack range dropped and several abilities tinkered with, keeping his power at his intended role but tuning him down elsewhere. Murky received a wide-reaching nerf to his control and reliability, while Malfurion loses much of the power on his Entangling Roots and associated talents. Last but not least, Varian’s Warbringer has been changed to a Slow effect, as the ranged stun was proving too easy to abuse and led to unenjoyable game states. There are a few other heroes with adjustments on a smaller scale as well; you may want to check out the full patch notes before diving in.
The new galactic command endgame system that arrived in last week’s SWTOR: Knights of the Eternal Throne
has been steeped in controversy
ever since its announcement. The system is taking another such hit this week as BioWare
scrambled to close a path that allowed players to advance faster than devs anticipated.
So what apparently happened is that some players realized that they could grind, grind, grind out the command XP to the weekly cap by continually farming gold mobs. The studio’s response to this was to nerf the XP for these mobs from 10 per kill down to (wait for it) one.
Needed or not, the nerf certainly rubbed many players the wrong way according to several forum and Reddit posts on the subject. “[Mobs] were actually rewarding to kill and I found myself looking for new ways of getting around areas I could navigate in my sleep,” one player posted. “Doing bonus missions I would have never considered otherwise. It opened up a completely new way to play for me, and now I feel like I’ve just had a door slammed in my face.”
As part of its upcoming Cybernetic Alliance update, Skyforge’s dev team is taking on the daunting task of rebalancing all of its classes, with the goal of creating “a much more diverse range of classes within a single group and, at the same time, make all DPS classes completely viable for PvE encounters.” Piece o’ cake, for sure.
A new dev blog today discusses a few of the ways some of the more underpowered or unloved characters are getting oblique buffs. For example, the Strength of Unity DPS buff is intended to encourage people to bring different damage classes (rather than just clumps of Gunners and Cryomancers). Archers and Witches are getting more direct ability buffs. And sorry Gunners — you’re due for a big ol’ nerf to bring you “slightly more in line with other classes.”
Expect to hear gamers in the future shout “MORGANA!” in frustrated anger with fists raised to the sky. This will be thanks to Albion Online taking this witchy woman and making her faction a true terror in the game.
A rework of Morgana’s faction has begun, although the team said that it has a ways to go in getting the balance of this high-end faction just right. The long and the short of it is that while monsters in the overworld have been nerfed somewhat, mobs like Morgana’s forces are going to hit a lot harder in dungeons.
“Morgana’s followers will start posing a serious threat,” the devs promised, “especially those lurking in the dungeons. Thanks to the new death mechanic, the difficulty of PvE group-play can be raised significantly. The goal is to make parties think carefully about their composition and strategy, otherwise they will face certain death. Make a mistake, no matter how small, and you will be punished for it. In short, fights will be more engaging, active and reactive.”
Nobody loves to be on the receiving end of the mighty nerf-bat, which is probably why Cryptic
is trying to cushion the blow by giving the Neverwinter
community a heads-up that several “fairly major power reductions
” are incoming with a future patch.
The nerfs will be impacting the Lostmauth’s Vengeance artifact as well as several overpowered abilities in the Oathbound Paladin and Devoted Cleric arsenal. It’s not all bad news: Guardian Fighters are scheduled to receive some nice buffs to help the class with its tanking role. Cryptic went into depth on each of the nerfs and its reasoning behind making them.
“We make changes like these with the best of intent: to make the game we all love into a better experience for everyone,” Cryptic said “While there are big changes to these powers, and will create a large shift in the way top-end players do end-game content, we feel like these changes do make the game an overall better experience — leading to a healthier and more enjoyable, challenging experience for all.”
If you’ve been playing Star Wars: Battlefront since the series was rebooted back in November, you’ve probably noticed that a few of the weapons and characters are ridiculously overpowered in online play. The iconic DL-44 heavy blaster pistol turned out to be far too deadly and has had its fire rate slashed and its overheat tweaked, and Han Solo’s unique DL-44 now has a reduced effectiveness at long range. If you’ve ever been cut down by a stray Wookie Bowcaster shot, you’ll also be pleased to know that the weapon’s damage has been heavily nerfed, reduced from 50 damage to 10-15 per bolt.
Players will notice that scan pings will now spot players a lot faster and only take 2 seconds to complete, down from 7 seconds. Other changes appear to have been made in the name of keeping the game more skill-based, such as reducing the lock-on range of smart rockets and the ion torpedo. The Homing Shot star card has been similarly nerfed into the ground with increased lock-on delay, decreased lock-on range, and decreased projectile speed.
EA announced its long-term plans for upcoming DLC for Star Wars: Battlefront in a new devblog yesterday, with four major expansions planned throughout this year. The first expansion is expected to land in March this year and will introduce content on the Outer Rim worlds such as Jabba The Hutt’s palace on Tatooine. This summer will continue with content in the cloud city of Bespin, and the Fall 2016 expansion will include content on board the Death Star itself. Plans for the fourth expansion have yet to be revealed.
It’s only been a few days since the tamed dinos in ARK: Survival Evolved were beaten nearly senseless with the nerf bat; stats were dropped significantly, swinging the power pendulum from uber hulks to weak little kittens. Devs have been addressing this balance issue, and the latest digest asks for feedback on the most recent patches that have increased the stats again.
Also noted in the digest are the winners of the Naughty or Nice competition video contest (folks can watch the survival competition’s highlight reels or a replay of the full three-hour event itself) as well as the winner of the XBox Hunt for Bionic Rex contest. But perhaps the juiciest part of the digest is the Q&A section, where devs reveal upcoming tidbits like the development of a grappling hook/zipline, a desert biome, SWAT-level armor, and the chemistry table (which acts as an industrial-size mortar and pestle). Additionally, the Dragon and Megapithecus arenas are being finished up, day/night behaviors for dinos will someday be a real thing, and the Survival of the Fittest mode will definitely be coming to the XBox. Catch these details and more in the official discussion.
Online gaming and e-sports are getting bigger by the day, and there are literally hundreds of popular online games out there that don’t really fit into the MMO category. Join me each week for Not So Massively, where I gather together the top stories from the biggest MOBAs, competitive card games, first person shooters, and other popular online games in one place.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive frustrated its community this week with the release of a ridiculous one-hit-kill pistol and serious nerfs to the game’s most popular weapons. Star Citizen hit $100,000,000 in crowdfunding and another equally impressive development milestone this week. Diablo III revealed more details of its upcoming patch, Path of Exile made some major game balance changes, and Elite: Dangerous revealed the launch date for its Horizons expansion. In MOBA news, League of Legends released impressive viewership numbers for the 2015 world championship and a pro player has quit the scene due to ongoing depression and anxiety. Heroes of Newerth also has a new hero, and Heroes of the Storm has annoyed its community with the release of new refer-a-friend rewards.
If there’s a game or story you’d like to see covered in next week’s Not So Massively, please drop us a tip and let us know.