Patch Notes - Open Beta 3.1.5

20/06/2018

Patch 3.1.5 sees the introduction of our new Barbarian ranged commander, Ambiorix. We've been waiting for this moment for a while, and we're all excited to see what synergies you're able to discover. Many thanks to everyone who tested Ambiorix on the PTS! With the introduction of Ambiorix, it became necessary to rework Boudica's abilities. You'll find all the details of this below, along with the details of the new cosmetics and Premium units we've added. Until next time, Commanders, we'll see you on the battlefield!

New - Barbarian Commander: Ambiorix

Ambiorix

Ambiorix's Abilities

Haste
Haste

Attributes
— Buff, Affects Self


Description
— Move at a heightened pace with increased Mobility and reduced Reload Time.


Usage (Base)
— Affects Self
— 60s Cooldown
— 10s Duration


Effects (Base)

— +12% Movement Speed
— -20% Reload Time
— +20% Acceleration
Crippling Shot
Crippling Shot

Attributes

— Launch Projectile, Ground Target, Resets Reload Timers, Knockback, Knockdown


Description

— Fire a volley of debilitating missiles that can Knock Back enemies.


Usage (Base)

— Available to Missile Infantry
— Targets Ground
— 30s Cooldown
— 5s Duration
— AoE 6m
— 75m Targeting Range


Effects (Base)

— -15% Missile Weapon Damage
From the Shadows
From the Shadows

Attributes

— Buff, Toggle, Affects Self


Description

— Enter a stance that increases Missile Range and Accuracy and reduces Negative Terrain Penalties, but greatly reduces Speed. Applies a High Trajectory to all projectiles.


Usage (Base)

— Available to Archers
— Affects Self
— 12s Cooldown
— Toggle Duration


Effects (Base)

— +20% Missile Weapon Range
— -80% Movement Speed
— -30% Missile Dispersion
— -20% Negative Ground Modifier

Who is Ambiorix?


Ambiorix's story starts with an ambush. He and his men attack a nearby foraging Roman force and drive them back to their camp. Here, the Romans launch a counter-attack and defeat Ambiorix who, as joint leader of the Eburones, takes responsibility for the attack, claims he was forced to attack the Romans and lies about a huge Germanic horde heading their way. The Romans panic and prepare to leave, but on their way to a nearby fort, Ambiorix ambushes them again, attacking both sides of the marching column. He orders his men to skirmish, to hit the Romans without getting hit themselves and to use every projectile they have. After hitting a Roman lieutenant in the face with a rock, their forces surrender. 

Ambiorix promises them safe passage out of his lands and starts a long-winded speech about how he guarantees their safety. During this speech, his men encircle the Romans, who are too focused on what Ambiorix is saying to notice the rustling of bushes. Then, the trap is sprung. The entire 14th Legion is massacred. Caesar hears about this and brings 10 legions to find and kill Ambiorix. They ambush him and slaughter the Eburones, but Ambiorix manages to escape their clutches with some of his men and they cross the Rhine, never to be heard of again.

New - Cosmetic Items


In celebration of Carthage's most feared warrior, we've added a new cosmetic item set modelled on Hannibal's own armour. This set consists of five pieces:

  • Hannibal's Elite Falcata: Available to all Carthaginian Sword units above Tier III.
  • Hannibal's Elite Armour: Available to all non-Barbarian Carthaginian units above Tier III.
  • Hannibal's Elite Greaves: Available to all non-Barbarian Carthaginian units above Tier III.
  • Hannibal's Elite Hoplon: Available to all shielded Carthaginian units above Tier III.
  • Hannibal's Elite Thracian: Available to all Carthaginian units above Tier III.

Improved - Boudica Rework


Based on our metrics and your feedback on Boudica's Ambush ability, and considering the introduction of Ambiorix as a dedicated ranged commander, changes to Boudica's playstyle have been made. These changes make her more focused on War Dogs instead of being split between them and archers. Overall, we have shifted her playstyle towards a more Charge setup style, with the ability to increase the survivability and Charge Impact of War Dogs if you are willing to keep the handlers disengaged.

Fury:

  • Minor changes to fit better with the new Ambush stats
  • Base Speed increased from 20% to 30%
  • The total Impact Damage bonus from the last associated talent reduced from 15% to 10%
Ambush:

In reviewing this ability, there were 3 aspects which needed consideration:
    1. Overall usefulness on the battlefield
    2. Lack of availability on Melee Infantry
    3. War Dogs’ unique synergy
A multitude of changes have been implemented to tackle the above mentioned issues:
  • Base Speed penalty reduced from -55% to -15%
  • Removed Missile Weapon Range from the base ability
  • Added base Impact Damage of 10%
  • Added base Charge Impact of 5%
  • Replaced all Speed-related talents with Impact Damage
  • Replaced all Weapon Range-related talents with Charge Impact
  • New special ability behaviour: War Dogs ignore strikes
    — As long as the handlers are not engaged in melee, the dog entities are immune to strikes while under the effect of Ambush.
  • Expanded the use scenarios: now available to all Melee Infantry as well
  • Increased the autodeactivation timer from 0.1s to 1s
Rebellion:

  • Through the use of strikes the "can't use when enemy is too close" flag could be bypassed and allow activation of Rebellion while in melee combat.
  • Changed invalidation flag from "Can't use when enemy is too close" to "Can't use when engaged in combat".

New - Premium Units


This patch brings four new Premium units, available soon in the Premium Shop:

Belgae Archers (Tier V Barbarian Archer)

Belgae Archers

The Belgae were famed for their bravery - Caesar thought them the bravest of all the tribes he encountered in Gaul. These archers come with the Tales of the Belgae ability, which can buff your allies.

Abilities:

  • Focus Fire - instantly launch a volley of powerful flaming projectiles at a targeted area.
  • Tales of the Belgae - Boast of the deeds of the Belgae, increasing the Melee Attack and Morale of allied units.  

Eburones Marksmen (Tier VIII Barbarian Archer)

Eburones Marksmen

Ambiorix's closest brothers-in-arms, these archers are capable all-rounders. Like the Belgae, they have access to the new Tales of the Belgae ability.

Abilities:

  • Focus Fire - Instantly launch a volley of powerful flaming projectiles at a targeted area.
  • Dash - Break into a sprint, increasing Mobility but preventing the unit from using any other abilities.
  • Tales of the Belgae - Boast of the deeds of the Belgae, increasing the Melee Attack and Morale of allied units.

Thureos Swords (Tier VI Greek Swords)

Thureos Swords

Back from a long absence, the Thureos Swords reintroduce Sword Infantry to the Greek faction. These fast swordsmen are excellent flankers, and come armed with several deadly javelins. Their Pathfinding ability allows them to navigate difficult terrain with ease, and even forge a path for heavier allies.

Abilities:

  • Stab - Order the unit to strike the nearest enemy with a powerful stab, dealing Damage and Knock Back on successful attacks, but reducing the striking unit's Speed for a short time.
  • Light Pila - Throw a light javelin at a targeted enemy, dealing Damage and reducing their Speed with every hit.
  • Pathfinding - Forge a path, greatly reducing Negative Terrain Penalties for this unit and nearby allies.

Cimbri Spear Warriors (Tier VII Barbarian Spears)

Cimbri Spear Warriors

The Cimbri Spear Warriors are skilled combatants with excellent support potential. Portents of Victory is a potent support ability, buffing all allies in a substantial radius at the cost of the Cimbri's own Speed.

  • Barbaric Phalanx - Enter a Phalanx Formation. While in a Phalanx, the unit will Knock Back and Damage anyone who approaches them from the front. Fighting in a Phalanx generates Fatigue, making it less effective.
  • Heavy Thrust - Order the unit to Strike heavily at the nearest enemy, causing Damage and Knock Back on successful attacks.
  • Portents of Victory - Stiffen resolve with portents of victory, increasing the Morale and Melee Damage of nearby allies.

Other Changes/Additions

Improved Missile Firing & Reaction Animations


We've performed a pass on firing animations, to help tighten up the visuals, and increase the sense of feedback when using projectiles. This includes a number of improvements:

  • If not performing another action, soldiers hit (damaged) by small projectiles (stones, arrows, javelins), will react by flinching!
  • Numerous tweaks to improve the synchronisation of firing animations, missile weapons and projectiles being launched when issuing attack orders, or using Focus Fire abilities
  • Units will now aim toward the sky when firing in a high trajectory
  • Improved throwing animation for Scorched Earth!

Terrain Optimisation


We've been working on optimising our terrain to help increase performance. This reduces the graphical complexity of the terrain meshes, whilst retaining visual fidelity. This should result in an increased FPS on low and recommended spec machines.

There should be no gameplay effects associated with these improvements.

UI Improvements

  • Improved the communication of Premium Account time remaining so that you're aware when Premium time is going to run out.
  • Minor improvements to 'Purchase with Gold' buttons, they will now allow you to preview the purchase even if you don't have the required amount.
  • All commander portraits have been updated to be rendered from their in-game models automatically, rather than being hand-drawn (which will be useful when skins arrive).

Matchmaking Improvements


This patch also features three separate matchmaking improvements we'd like to test, the first focused on improving matchmaking from a technical standpoint, the others on improving the gameplay experience of battles.

1. Per match region selection:

Previously players were grouped by their ping to the various relay servers and then matchmade. We have made significant back-end changes to prioritise grouping together players who have good pings on the same servers as part of matchmaking and then put them on the server that they collectively ping the best to.
  • What this means is that we can add relay servers around the world with no restrictions on queue size and create a match on the server closest to those players.
  • There will be fewer cases where you join a group with people from other regions and end up on a high ping server.

2. New system for keeping the player tier divergence closer within a match:

  • Whereas before we relied heavily on the concept of “tier bands” to keep players’ tiers close within a match, we have now added a new coefficient to the MM algorithm which tries to optimise matches in a manner which keeps the players’ tiers close.
  • This new implementation will work in tandem with the tier bands.
    — The tier bands implementation is a hard line which separates player tiers without any optimisation, meaning that during off-peak hours, where player numbers are the lowest, the matchmaking queue times suffer.
  • Specifically, in the future we want to test relaxing the very narrow tier bands, while keeping the tier difference quality high.

3. Optimised unit types in matchmaking

Improved distribution of unit types in matches

  • Achieved by optimising the unit variance weighting in the generic algorithm

Other Balance Changes

Consumables:

  • Spar
    — When used with units not equipped with a shield, like falxmen, the Shield Armour bonus was not being used.
    — Replaced the Shield Armour bonus stat with Charge Deflect.

Premium Unit Ability Updates


This patch also brings updates to the ability loadouts of several existing Premium units. We felt that certain Premium units had been left a bit behind as a result of changes to abilities elsewhere, so we've updated them to keep them in line with standard units and ensure that they offer a distinct and interesting alternative to units in the tree.

UnitChangesDev notes
Mercenary ScutariiDefensive Testudo -> Shield ScreenWith the recent updates to Shield Screen, Defensive Testudo felt a bit underwhelming. We've swapped it out for Shield Screen to bring the Mercenary Scutarii back in line with other Carthaginian infantry. They're now a perfect option for Tier VI Carthage players who want a tankier alternative to the speedy Iberian Rebels.
BloodswornThrown Javelins -> Vicious StrikesThe Bloodsworn felt a little bit too similar to the other Barbarian infantry at their tier. Swapping Throw Javelins for Vicious Strikes should help them feel a little bit more distinct.
DruidsPresence -> Portents of VictoryThe Cimbri Spear Warriors, released in this patch, bring with them the flavourful and powerful Portents of Victory ability. We felt that this ability was equally fitting for the Druids.
BerserkersReckless Charge:
— Duration 2 -> 4
— Now causes Unorderable instead of Silenced
— Impact Damage 1.05 -> 1.1
— Charge Impact 1 -> 1.1
— Acceleration 1.1 -> 1.4
(NB: also affects the Samnite Warriors and the Insubres Swordsmen)
The Berserkers were unique for having two unit charges. However, we felt that both charges were a little bit too similar in theme and function.
We've altered Reckless Charge to make it feel a bit different: its boosted Impact and Impact Damage will give it a potent punch, but the addition of Unorderable means that players will have to be careful not to over-extend.
Heavy HorseDash -> Vicious Strikes
Unite -> Presence
The Heavy Horse was designed to be a tougher, brawlier alternative to the fast Shock Cavalry that characterises the Barbarian tree. But without a Strike ability, they struggled to fill this role. We've taken away Dash and replaced it with Vicious Strikes.
We've also swapped the morale-boosting Unite for the combat buff Presence, further boosting their combat potential.
TriariiRaise Shields -> Roma Invicta

Spear Phalanx:
— Speed 0.25 -> 0.4
— Melee Attack 0.85 -> 0.95
— +5% Melee Damage
Raise Shields felt somewhat redundant on the Triarii; their high Armour, high Missile Block and easy access to Testudo meant that it was often a wasted ability slot. We've swapped it for Roma Invicta, an AoE combat buff that represents the discipline and experience the Triarii bring to the field.

We also felt that the Speed penalty on the Spear Phalanx was too severe given the unit's low base speed and lack of access to speed-boosting equipment and consumables. We've decreased the speed penalty of Spear Phalanx and slightly boosted the combat stats it offers.
MyrmidonsThrust -> Spear of AresThe Myrmidons are a popular choice, but their ability loadout felt a bit bland for such a legendary unit. The Spear of Ares strike, with its distinctive animation and extra little punch, should make them feel a bit more unique.
Spear BrothersBarbarian Phalanx:
— Speed 0.3 -> 0.5
— Turn Speed 0.25 -> 0.4
— Fatigue added per attack 2 -> 5
— Fatigue when retreating: 12 -> 8
— Remove Melee Attack Penalty
— +15% Melee Damage
The Spear Brothers have often felt a bit underwhelming: going into Phalanx meant giving up the core Barbarian advantages of speed and aggression.
The addition of a new Barbarian spear unit, the Cimbri Spear Warriors, gave us the perfect opportunity to revisit them. The new Barbarian Phalanx is much faster and more damaging than its previous iteration, but will build Fatigue more rapidly.
Auxilia PalatinaSpear Phalanx:
— Speed 0.25 -> 0.4
— Melee Attack 0.85 -> 0.95
— +5% Melee Damage
As with the Triarii, the low base speed of the Auxilia Palatina and their lack of access to speed-boosting equipment and consumables meant that the speed penalties from Spear Phalanx felt particularly punishing. We've decreased the speed penalty of Spear Phalanx and slightly boosted the combat stats it offers.
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