1/25/2021

Y5S4.3 DESIGNER'S NOTES

In this latest edition of Designer’s Notes, we'll go into more detail about the balancing changes that’ll come with the 4.3 patch and give you an insight into the reasons behind these changes.

BALANCING MATRIX AND TOP OPERATOR BANS

WIN DELTA VS. PRESENCE

Y5S4 Matrix Attacker

Y5S4 Matrix Defender

Please note that we are using presence to gauge the popularity of an Operator. This notion had to be introduced to reflect the implementation of the pick & ban.

Presence definition: pick rate of an Operator when not banned. Win Delta: The Win Delta is aggregated from Operator’s Win Deltas per Bomb Site.

OPERATOR BAN RATE

Y5S4 AttackBan

Y5S4 DefendBanv2

Due to a continued tracking issue, we are unable to provide the ""No Ban"" details for this edition of Designer’s Notes. We hope to have this fixed for the next one.

OPERATOR BALANCING

ASH

  • Reduced Breaching Round explosive damage range to 2m (from 3.5m)

Population targeted by this change: Casual, Top Ranked and Pros.

According to the Balancing Matrix, Ash continues to be the Attacker with the highest presence, owing to her strong versatility.

Specifically, the explosion range on her Breaching Round has made her an effective utility denier from below, destroying gadgets in the top floor ceiling, like Kaid's Electroclaws. By reducing this range, this will bring her versatility more in line with other Attackers.

BUCK

  • Increased shotgun's total ammo to 30+1 (from 26)
  • Added Hard Breach Charge (Removed Claymore)

Population targeted by this change: Pros.

Further differentiating Buck from Sledge and highlighting his unique strategies as a master of destruction, we are increasing his utility with a Hard Breach Charge and additional shotgun ammo.

Combined with his Stun Grenades, we expect the Hard Breach Charge to offer additional versatility and increase his presence in matches.

As his shotgun is less reliable than Sledge's trusty hammer, the extra ammo will ensure Buck brings value to team compositions while accounting for the additional shots required (i.e. two shots required to destroy both layers of the floor).

ECHO

  • Reduced Yokai drone jump cooldown to 2s (from 3s)
  • Reduced animation time when Yokai fails to stick to the ceiling to 0.5s (from 2s)
  • Reduced Sonic Burst cooldown to 16s (from 20s)

Population targeted by this change: Casual, Top Ranked and Pros.

With this patch, we wanted to improve the way Echo's Yokai drone feels to use, focusing on quality of life changes.

Compensating for the removal of invisibility, players will find that the Yokai is more reactive to their commands and has a snappier feel. This empowers Echo to be more aggressive with his drone use.

ELA

  • Removed resistance to Concussion effects
  • Removed the ""extra"" mine while in DBNO

Population targeted by this change: Casual, Top Ranked and Pros.

With this patch, we intend to remove some of the ""hidden"" mechanics that are not explicitly explained and are based on the character's lore, rather than their balance.

During the Tachanka tests on the TS, the community was very vocal about these kinds of mechanics. The work we did removing these exceptions on Echo last year (i.e. vulnerable to Dokkaebi's Logic Bomb and hacking, allowing IQ to detect his cellphone with the scanner) was mentioned as a step in a positive direction.

We have decided to approach Ela in a similar manner, removing her Concussion resistance and ""extra"" mine. We do not believe these changes will affect her current viability and presence.

Additionally, we feel that removing these ""hidden"" mechanics helps make the game easier to understand and learn for new players while retaining the qualities players pick Ela for.

KALI

  • CSRX 300 base damage set to 122
  • 100% damage until 25 meters and linearly falls to 80% (97.6) at 35 meters

Population targeted by this change: Casual, Top Ranked and Pros.

Looking at our Balancing Matrix, Kali's low presence is due in part to a weapon that is considered underperforming.

We have noticed that the 1-shot-DBNO mechanic has been mentioned several times in balancing surveys as a frustration for players. We understand that the exceptions to this rule (i.e. headshot, limb hit, the target is extremely far away) can cause confusion.

With this in mind, we will remove this rule and turn her sniper into a normal weapon, increasing its base damage in the process. This means that damage will function the same as any other weapon against the armor and health of the target (good news for Rook, as his armor is now useful against her):

  • 1 body shot will kill a 3-speed operator
  • 1 body shot will down a 2-speed operator
  • 1 body shot will damage a 1-speed operator

It is worth noting that we will keep one of the exceptions noted above—the damage to limbs—as we do not want to reward inaccurate shots now that the base damage is higher. We feel this fits with the logic of the weapon and is unlikely to generate the same confusion.

LESION

  • Removed 1.5x scope from the T-5

Population targeted by this change: Top Ranked.

Looking at his place on the Balancing Matrix, Lesion brings a lot to teams, making him one of the top roamers.

From a primary gadget that offers strong map control by slowing Attackers and providing intel, to an effective weapon, he has a great deal of utility without factoring in his scope. Since this was already the case before giving him the 1.5x, we have decided to remove this scope from his kit.

Reducing his killing potential slightly, we want to make space for other Operators to find their footing in the roamer role, while also encouraging interesting roaming pairings to emerge.

LION

  • Added Claymore (Removed Hard Breach Charge)

Population targeted by this change: Casual and Top Ranked.

Trading part of his gadget loadout with Buck, Lion is now the proud owner a Claymore. Given his role a roamer focused on control, this shift better fits with his playstyle.

Given the option, players were less likely to choose the Hard Breach Charge. We feel this change will be a more appealing option to Lion players.

MELUSI

  • Removed Angled Grip from the MP5

Population targeted by this change: Ranked.

Melusi continues to have a high presence in matches per the Balancing Matrix, combined with a strong win-delta.

By removing the Angled Grip, her presence is expected to see a reduction back to previous values. She is a valuable asset to teams, but the effectiveness of her MP5 made it possible to outpace roamers at their own game.

We also intend to make adjustments to Melusi's gadget in the future. As gadget changes require more iteration and testing, this will come later on. This Angled Grip change is more immediate, however, as we do want to have something in the short term to address Melusi's current performance.

MIRA

  • Removed 1.5x scope from the Vector.45 ACP

Population targeted by this change: Top Ranked.

As a result of her perceived ability to hold longer angles with the 1.5x sight, Mira's ban rates have become disproportionately high.

Removing this sight will reduce her killing potential back to previous values, while still maintaining her strong utility in matches. We hope to see a decrease in bans, giving her more chances to see active play.

ZOFIA

  • Removed resistance to Concussion effects
  • Removed Withstand
  • Reduced impact grenade explosive damage range to 2m (was 3m)

Population targeted by this change: Casual, Top Ranked and Pros.

Zofia is considered a strong pick with the second highest Attacker presence, as you can see in the Balancing Matrix above.

Similar to Ela, we are removing some of the ""hidden"" mechanics that are not explicitly explained in the game and instead stem from the character's lore. For Zofia, this means removing her Concussion resistance and Withstand effect, which we do not see affecting her power or presence. We have also observed Zofia's ability to destroy gadgets placed in the top floor ceiling with impact grenades. To balance her currently high presence, we are decreasing their explosive range, slightly reducing her versatility as a utility denier from below.

WEAPON & GADGET BALANCING

BALLISTIC SHIELDS

  • Removed (set to 0) the camera penalization during the Guard Break animation

Population targeted by this change: Top Ranked and Pros.

We introduced this mechanic to counter shield Operators' quick rotation during the Guard Break animation. We initially viewed this quick rotation as a source of frustration and sought to reduce the feeling of putting yourself in danger to engage a shield Operator and not getting anything from it. We've all had that one run-in with a skilled Clash…

But over time observing our community's evolving strategies, this interaction feels more in line with how a skilled shield player uses them.

As a result, we have removed this aspect of ballistic shields, as it wasn't our intention to remove a key component of shield play which created frustration for the player using the shield. Shields should now feel more comfortable to play.

HARD BREACH CHARGES

  • Reduced deployment time to 2s (from 3s)
  • Reduced activation time to 5s (from 6s)

Population targeted by this change: Top Ranked and Pros.

Since the introduction of Hard Breach Charges as a secondary gadget, they have been a useful part of Attackers' kits, albeit not quite as reliable as we had intended.

By reducing deployment and activation time, they will become an even more viable option for Attackers, leaving them less exposed and giving Defenders less time to react to their tactics.

RECOIL

  • Improved recoil for: ARX, C8, M1014, TCSG12

Population targeted by this change: Console.

As part of our continued efforts to improve controller game feel on console, specifically while aiming down sight, you will notice tighter recoil on a number of guns, making them more viable options when using a controller.

You will notice that successive shots for both the M1014 and C8 will land closer to one another. Similarly, it should be easier to chain shots with the TCSG12 now. As for the ARX, we have reworked the recoil pattern to keep shots more centered instead of spiking to the side.

Since this is an ongoing topic of discussion and experimentation, these changes reflect a part of the bigger picture. We are continuing to look into the console controller experience and how we can further improve the feel of your loadout.

WORLD BALANCING

PRE-REINFORCED HATCHES

Following experimentation on the TS, we've made the decision to set aside the idea of pre-reinforcing roof hatches.

Our initial objective with this idea was to make these hatches more interesting points of contention between Attackers and Defenders. We hoped to make it less trivial for Attackers to open these hatches and make it possible for Defenders to try to defend these hatches (with a Kaid, for instance).

We knew this could be problematic in a meta-game where Attackers' resources are already spread thin when it comes to dealing with Defenders' setups, but we hoped the addition of the Hard Breach Charge and Hibana rework would solve that issue.

After several tests on TS, here's what we observed:

  • On many maps, our objective seemed to be achieved based on what we could observe, although this has been difficult to evaluate for several reasons. First, our current TS player population and behaviors don't always represent our Live player population. Second, we don't always have enough TS activity for our telemetry results to be reliable.
  • On some maps where opening roof hatches is particularly crucial (like Kafe Dostoyevski), it made an Operator like Hibana almost a mandatory pick.
  • We did not manage to convince. Most feedback we gathered was negative, and we saw few players perceiving upsides to the change.

Our conclusion is that the cons seem to outweigh the pros, which has led us to the decision set this issue aside.

Thank you to everyone who played this feature on TS and took the time to send us constructive feedback. This is always incredibly useful!

This was a very valuable experience for us, so you can expect more like this one in the near future… we have lots of wild ideas that we want to test with your help!


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