The Fight Team is here with exciting announcements for Year 5 Season 3!
In this update, we’ll be talking about the following topics coming in the live game this season through Patch Changes:
- Orochi Improvements
- Raider Improvements
- Option Selects Improvements
- Rally Call/Vital Leech Improvements
- “Sticky Dodge” Improvements
- Crashing Charge nerfs
After we are done covering all the good stuff entering the live game, we will go over what will be entering Testing Grounds from September 16th to the 30th:
- Shinobi Rework
- Dominion Improvements
This is a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started!
For the full list of changes, including more details, read our Patch Notes! We’ll go through the overview of these changes below.
As usual, we’ll be monitoring the performance of the various changes and are keeping an eye on social media for additional feedback!
Y5S3: Patch Changes
We received a lot of feedback over Orochi’s changes; while the changes were mostly well-received, the one negative that stood out was the timing of Orochi’s Recovery Dodge Cancels starting a bit too late. We also noticed feedback on other aspects of the hero, such as damage being too high and concerns with Zone Attack being still stranded.
Orochi’s Dodge Cancels were well-appreciated – they gave Orochi good mobility in team fights and opened new attack venues in 1v1s. Their timing, however, meant that in team fights specifically they weren’t as strong as we had hoped due to their late timing. We’re adjusting their timing so that they can now be performed at 200ms in recoveries instead of 333ms; this should give Orochi a stronger defensive option in team fights and let them Deflect opposing attacks more easily. We’ve also noted feedback about Orochi’s Dodge Attack recoveries not being able to be Dodge Cancelled – while we initially made this choice to restrict the hero a bit, after the Testing Grounds we have decided to give them the ability to be Dodge Cancelled as well, at the same timing as the other attacks (Storm Rush recoveries on Hit cancel a bit later, however, due to how the attack recoveries function).
We also received feedback about Orochi’s damage output, particularly with their Combo Light attacks coming after their Opener attacks. As such, we’ve slightly lowered the damage of these Opener attacks so that Orochi’s damage output is more in-line with other heroes.
We also made improvements to Orochi’s Zone Attack; many expressed frustration over the fact that it did not count as an Opener, and thus could not lead to Combo Lights, or even just start Orochi’s chains. We’ve adjusted the Zone Attack to act as a Chain Starter, and so can now be used to open up Orochi’s offense.
Other changes we’ve made based on the feedback we received were Lightning Strike, Zephyr Slash and Riptide Strike are still Enhanced but no longer grant Heavy Parry reaction when parried – they now grant Light Parry reactions. Wind Gust now also beats attacks with Uninterruptible Stance – while this wasn’t possible in the Testing Grounds, the intent was for the move to do so, and we’ve addressed the issue.
Our goals with these improvements were to make the hero more fun to play as well as more viable while reducing the frustration that many players experience facing Orochi, and we hope that you, our players, will love playing Orochi even more than you did before!
Raider’s changes were also generally well-appreciated; many note the lower Stamina costs of his Zone Attacks, as well as the changes to Storming Tap as positive aspects of the hero. Raider was still lacking in certain areas, however; the Uninterruptible timing on the Chained attacks was too late to be useful in outnumbered situations, the hero was still lacking certain chains to round out the fight kit, the speed of some of the attacks meant they were too easy to interrupt, most importantly the recovery of many of the attacks was too slow, making Raider clunky to use in some situations.
We had previously changed the timing of Raider’s Uninterruptible Stance chained Heavy attacks to match their feint timings; this was done to ensure that players could not absorb a hit, Feint, then Guardbreak opponents very quickly and get a strong punish. While this had the intended effect, a side effect of this change was that Raider become more susceptible to being interrupted while outnumbered and was not able to properly take advantage of his large weapon trajectories to defend in these situations. We’ve therefore rolled back the change and returned the Uninterruptible Stance timings to 100ms at the start of every chained Heavy attack to ensure Raider can deal with these situations accordingly.
Raider’s Storm now being a Chain Starter was very appreciated by players, but the hero’s chains still needed more improvements as the hero was too predictable when going deeper into chains. As such, we’ve added a few new chains to the kit – Raider can now chain from Raider’s Storm to Raider’s Fury and can now chain to Light Finishers after chained Heavy attacks. In addition, Storming Tap now acts as a chain starter, and now chains to Raider’s 2nd attacks in chains instead of Finishers. These changes should help make Raider less predictable in chains and add variety in what the hero can perform.
The speed of certain attacks in the kit were also problematic – Raider’s Opener Heavies’ speed made the hero too vulnerable to bash-based offense as Feinting then Dodging was too difficult. To help with this issue, we’ve adjusted the speed of Raider’s Opener Heavy attacks: Top Heavy Openers are now 900ms (down from 1000ms) and Side Heavy Openers are now 800ms (down from 900ms). Not only should these changes help Raider defend against Bash-based offense, but also give the hero new punish tools from Guardbreak and Light Parries. We’ve also adjusted the speed of Raider’s Fury to 966ms (down from 1000ms) to ensure it no longer trades with Light attacks when fully buffered after a Storming Tap.
The last major piece of feedback we’ve received is the long duration of Raider’s attack recoveries all over the hero’s kit. We’ve thus adjusted Raider’s attack recoveries on Hit/Block/Miss so that no attack has more than 800ms of recovery. This impacts some attacks more than others, including Raider’s Fury, which received a significant buff with this change and should make it safer to use.
These changes should help Raider perform better and address most of the outstanding issues the hero was facing. We’ll be on the lookout for further feedback and analyzing the data to see how the hero performs in the future.
Option Select Improvements
The changes to Option Selects were also well-received; there remains concerns with Zone Attacks no longer being able to be used as Option Selects making defense when outnumbered.
We’ll be moving forward with these changes and integrating them into Year 5 Season 3 as they were in the Testing Grounds with no further changes at this time. It is important to note that this is an iterative process, and we will be monitoring data from both casual play and tournament play to assess if any further changes are needed to damage values, stamina costs, etc. We want the dust to settle and give time for players to adjust before we make further changes related to Option Selects.
This improvement has the potential to drastically change how the game is played, making non-Bash Unblockable offense much more potent and leveling the playing field for all players.
Rally Call/Vital Leech Improvements
Rally Call improvements are one of the most requested features by the community, as there was an issue that was preventing the feat from properly applying its effect on allies.
We’ve fixed the issue, as well as changed how the Feat works – it now applies a 15% damage increase to any allies within range when Tiandi’s HP is below 50. This should make the Feat easier to use and understand; it previously applied different values depending on Tiandi’s HP. The Feat now works as intended and should correctly apply the buff.
Vital Leech also was improved – while the Feat did not suffer from the issue that was plaguing Rally Call, it was also triggering its effect at various breakpoints for Tiandi’s HP. and as such we’ve improved it to provide a 35% Life Leech effect when Tiandi’s HP is below 50 and removed the second breakpoint that occurred when below 25HP. This is a buff to Tiandi’s effect when below 50HP, but a slight nerf to when under 25HP; Tiandi rarely was at below 25HP for long, and as such this change should not have a large impact on Tiandi’s Feat viability.
“Sticky Dodge” Improvements
There is an issue present in the game where heroes can dodge in relation to their previous target under specific conditions (often after switching targets during an attack). This caused issues with players inputting a dodge in a direction and their hero dodging in a different direction.
We have fixed this issue – heroes should now always dodge in the direction entered by players.
There might still be some cases, especially with Dodge Attacks, where this bug is still present; if you do come across any of these situations, please do not hesitate to enter a bug in our bug reporter so we can fix these issues as they come up.
Crashing Charge Nerfs
Warlord’s Crashing Charge is a strong tool, but partially for the wrong reasons. We like that it can ledge and can be used as a tool to disrupt fights, but as it stands right now the move has issues where it can be infinitely comboed into walls and force a ledge, having Super Armor on both players for the duration of the move and unbalancing opponents when they are out of stamina.
We’ve made some adjustments to Crashing Charge to prevent these situations from happening. The full details are in our Patch Notes, but overall we’re making sure that players can no longer almost infinitely chain Crashing Charge into itself to guarantee ledging and we’re also removing the Super Armor on both the Warlord and its target for the duration of the move so it can be interrupted.
We’re expecting a drop in the potency of the move but it should still remain a strong tool for Warlord.
Year 5 Season 3 Testing Grounds
On the Hero side for this season’s Testing Grounds, we’re focusing on a second iteration of Shinobi. The response from the previous iteration was generally positive, but we felt from your feedback that we needed a second Testing Grounds for Shinobi, both to fix issues as well as improve on some aspects of the hero to make sure Shinobi is both competitive and less frustrating to fight against.
We’re focusing our efforts on the following aspects of Shinobi:
- Overall strength of the hero (including bug fixes)
- Lack of viable openers
- Input leniency issues
It is important to note that unless noted here, the changes from the last Testing Grounds still apply to Shinobi – if you wish to learn more about these changes, please visit our Year 5, Season 2 Testing Grounds blog post!
The following moves no longer apply bleed:
- Sickle Rain Stabs
- Shadow Strike
We’ve removed Bleed from Shinobi’s kit entirely. While Bleeding is an interesting mechanic, we feel it is best used sparingly for specific synergies, like the ones we see on Nobushi, Peacekeeper and Shaman. After careful consideration, we found that Shinobi did not need Bleed-specific synergies outside of fringe benefits of playing with the other Bleed heroes. Removing Bleed also lets us balance the moves more easily, and also removes the Revenge issue that was present on the hero.
Each of these attacks now deals direct damage –
- Each Sickle Rain Stab deals 3 damage
- Shadow Strike deals 18 damage
- Teleport deals 24 damage
These values should better reflect the damage Shinobi should deal in these situations.
Sickle Rain was too strong in the previous Testing Grounds – it dealt too much damage and fed too little Revenge, while also ignoring Pinning rules, draining Stamina and was accessible from Guard Break. We’ve made the following changes to Sickle Rain:
- No longer accessible directly after a Guard Break
- Now deals 20 damage, plus 3 per Stab (for a total of 29 damage)
- No longer ignores Pinning rules
- No longer drains Stamina
The move retains the properties from the previous Testing Grounds – the Top version is still Unblockable for pressure in various situations while the Side versions are still Undodgeable for use in various mixups. With these changes, we feel like Sickle Rain will be in a better situation – it should both be less frustrating to face as well as still being a strong ganking tool without being overly strong.
Ranged Heavy Attack
Shinobi’s Ranged Heavy Attack was changed to a guaranteed Kick followup and a group fight tool in the previous Testing Grounds; while it being a guaranteed Kick followup works and makes for a more interesting and diverse hero, the fact that it could wallsplat and was target-swappable made for some frustrating moments. The wallsplat created situations where Sickle Rain was guaranteed, and the target-swappable property made it frustrating to fight against since Shinobi could tag other heroes from off-screen with a ranged Bash attack that could come quite frequently.
We’ve made the following changes to Ranged Heavy Attack:
- No longer wallsplats
- No longer target-swappable
- No longer accessible after Back Flip
With these changes, Shinobi’s Ranged Heavy Attack becomes a strict dedicated followup to Kicks – it is still a strong followup that leads to deeper mixups, but it should now be less frustrating to face. We’ve also removed the link from Back Flip as the primary intended usage of it was to be target-swapped; since it no longer can, it made no sense to keep the attack there as it provides no pressure.
*Input Leniency *
We received feedback from many of you concerning Shinobi’s input leniency on some moves; namely that the followups to Front Roll as well as Shadow Strike were too difficult to perform and needed a large amount of buffering to properly execute. We hear you!
We’ve made the following changes:
• Front Roll followups, namely Sickle Rain and Flip Kick, now have a larger input window in which they can be performed, and they can be performed later after the Front Roll • Shadow Strike can now be performed later after a Parry
These changes should help make these moves easier and more comfortable to perform. It is important to note, however, that delaying the Front Roll followups will make them easier to dodge early.
Front Roll and Back Flip
Front Roll and Back Flip were in an interesting position – while they are performed using the Dodge button, they did not behave like Dodges; they were Guard Break immune, but did not have iframes. As such, they were difficult to use in multiple situations, as players frequently got hit out of them.
The following changes were applied to Front Roll and Back Flip
- Front Roll and Back Flip now have i-frames for 300ms
- Front Roll and Back Flip no longer have Guard Break invulnerability
- Back Flip can be accessed after most attacks on Hit/Block/Miss
- Front Roll now has extra forward movement
With these changes, these moves should behave more like actual Dodges, and more importantly like Dodge Cancels – players should be able to use them to avoid attacks from opponents and use them to escape tricky situations.
We’ve also re-enabled Shinobi’s option of performing a Back Flip after most attacks on Block and Miss; while in the previous Testing Grounds we restricted the functionality to being accessible after a Hit only, this felt overly restrictive and hindered Shinobi’s mobility in group fights.
We’ve also made some other changes to Shinobi’s options when Dodging; Shinobi lacked a good opener in the previous Testing Grounds due to lacking options when Dodging forward, and as such the Kick was too easy to dodge. We also received feedback that Shinobi was still too slippery when using Double Dodges, and that access to neutral attacks from Double Dodge was lacking as players needed the various options to keep themselves safe.
We’ve applied the following changes to Dodges:
- Double Dodge can no longer dodge Backwards
- Double Dodge can now access Shinobi’s Openers
- Double Dodge now costs 6 stamina
- Front Dodge Kick is now accessible at 200ms during the front dodge and can be delayed until 500ms (down from 300ms to 500ms)
These changes to Shinobi’s Dodges both should address the issues where Shinobi was too difficult to catch as well as give the hero a better opener from Front Dodge.
Last but not least, here is the lowdown on the Dominion Improvement entering the Testing Grounds this season, where we will finally start tackling the beast that is Dominion’s Scoring system.
We’re aiming to address some of the long-standing issues that have bogged down the game mode and take a long, hard look at where we want its future to go.
Internal Playsessions are great and all, but now we really need you, the players, to get in here and duke it out so we can find our bearings and see what needs to change!
Dominion Changes Renown:
All hero classes now gain the same amount of renown from all sources.
*Developer's Comment: While we do want Heroes to excel in some areas more than others, we do not want to force players into a playstyle depending on their chosen Hero. With this Testing Grounds, all Heroes gain the same Renown from all activities that give Renown. We're expecting this to be a major boon to the Assassin class whose Renown gains were either feast or famine, the TG should put them on the map when it comes to unlocking their 4th Feats more consistently.
*You’ll notice we’re putting a bigger emphasis on Contesting Zones and a lesser one on Boosting. We want to reward players who go out there and take risks rather than sit on their home Zone.
*Also, by removing the Zone Defense bonus, we're also aiming to make it more attractive to try and capture the enemy's Zone without feeling like defeat would grant the opposing team a large amount of renown.
Purging of Special Renown Sources
Developer's Comment: Renown gains have always been very confusing to understand, with semi-hidden bonuses given for actions that were often unknown to even the player that performed them. By removing a large amount of renown sources, we're aiming to keep the ones that feel most impactful and the ones that can help the losing team stage a comeback.
Furthermore, it was hard to balance Renown with so many ways the players could gain bonuses for various activities, by removing a lot of them and keeping the essence, we're hoping to have a tighter grasp on the balance of these rewards while also making Renown gains easier to comprehend.
Feat Unlock Thresholds:
Here are the thresholds at which you will now unlock your feats:
Developer's Comment: The gap between Feat 3 and Feat 4 was so small it could often be cleared in a single kill, which made the late game Feat progression oddly fast. By spreading out their unlocks in a more logical fashion and making them progressively harder to unlock, we want to make reaching Feat 4 feel like more of an achievement.
Static Zone Capture Speeds:
No matter how many players of the same team are capturing a Zone, the capture speed will always be 5.5 seconds.
Developer's Comment: With this, we aim to make capturing a Zone require more commitment and allow more counterplay by the opposing team. This should also make it less efficient for groups of 3-4 players to roam the map and capture Zones incredibly fast.
Points (a.k.a Hard Points):
*Developer's Comment: With the Minion Lane already being a substantial source of Renown, we wanted to bring down its position as the best source of Hard Points as well by lowering its value when captured. *
Widget showing Points gained from killing players and attaining kill streaks are now called "Points" to clearly separate them from Renown.
Scoreboard's "Score" column is now titled "Renown" in all Game Modes where this value is actually the player's Renown tally.
We look forward to your feedback, as usual, through multiple channels; we’ll monitor social media and will send a survey to formally gather your feedback. Be sure to leave feedback if you want to be heard!
See you on the battlefield!