There’s been a lot of great discussion on the October patch, and I wanted to chime in with some more details. First off – the patch will be releasing on Thursday, October 19th and will include the content that we’ve been showing off: new Elites, new multiplayer maps, and some surprise skins. Additionally, there will be a balance update that we’re really excited about, so I wanted to focus in on that and give you a heads up on what’s in store.
This patch will introduce a 30% health increase for non-heavy infantry, making early game time to kill more forgiving. Some T1 units have had their damage tuned to compensate for the overall boost – and a full list of changes will be released alongside the patch on the 19th.
These changes make units healthier, and early game fights last longer as a result. To ensure that these units don’t over-scale in the late game, health upgrades have been tuned in parallel. Fights over resource points and open-field skirmishes now have a slightly different feel, but the key takeaway is that we’ve shifted slightly in favour of tactical decision-making, and away from “whoever lands their Plasma Grenade first.”
To dig a little deeper – it felt like a game’s outcome was decided early in the match, causing a snowball effect, and victory often hinged on a single Elite ability, or a well-timed line unit ability. In short: the early game was just a little too decisive, and made early Elites a necessity – closing the door on other strategies, such as waiting for a 7-point Elite to take over mid-game. We still want Elite units to feel powerful, and a well-executed combo should still decide a fight – but players didn’t have enough time to react with their line units, and these changes make it not only easier to get out of the way, but also give you enough time to counterattack.
From my experience playing with the changes, although it sounds like a straightforward change – the effects are far-reaching. You can now look away from your troops almost as much as you can look away from your economy without everything going haywire – and players don’t often end up in a situation where they’d ignored their economy, and couldn’t transition effectively into T2. Or the opposite. At least from my perspective, it was easy to fall into the trap of focusing too much on one over the other, and end up with nothing. In both cases, these games were more likely to result in a loss.
In the games I’ve played, this doesn’t mean you can leave your troops unattended for too long, or forgo economy choices until way later. Early game fights still feel frantic, but you have that much more time to think about when to cast your abilities, and when to back off and reinforce. Striking a balance between economy and war is still your number one early game priority. But finding the right pace – for your army, for your doctrine choices and your early Elites – feels quicker and more intuitive than before. And it’s easier now that early game Elites aren’t as dominating of a force. Games don’t feel over before they are – and this does wonders for your mental game, too.
I’ll stick around with one of our core designers – Brock – in this thread to answer your questions as they come. Cheers!
TL;DR – Addressing early game domination meant balancing low-cost Elite effectiveness, without taking away from what makes them special. Through testing, a 30% health increase hit the sweet spot for keeping early game skirmishes fun, but allowing for more tactical gameplay. We’re excited to bring those changes to you later this week!