22
May
14

Hotfix Alpha: The one we needed

CCP Rattati has struck while the iron is hot, announcing Hotfix Alpha, the next patch for Dust 514.

Dear players,

The contents of Hotfix Alpha are responses to issues that have been identified by the use of behavioral data, and/or raised and verified by the forums and CPM. These proposals have taken into account the feedback from the community in the Feedback threads and are primarily based on tweaks to existing balance rather than radical reworks.

We will therefore be locking the current feedback stickies and storing them. Thank you all for contributing in a positive manner, and we‘re hoping you‘ll be back for round two soon.

There are multiple changes that did not make it into this pass because we want to spend a little more time on them. We will open up new feedback stickies on these as soon as we have finished with preparing Hotfix Alpha.

The proposal for Hotfix Alpha will now be open for final review while we finalize the numbers. Once Hotfix Alpha is released, we‘ll be holding off further tweaks to anything in it for a little while to see the impact in gameplay. Based on the trend analysis from 1.8 it takes a few weeks to stabilize, and taking into account that 1.8 had a limited respec, changes in some cases were instantaneous. With some of these tweaks, players will have to collect SP first, and then spec into different playstyles, so it may take a little longer to stabilize.

Finally, to be as transparent and forthcoming with information as possible, we are pushing this high level vision out as early as we can. That also means we have less confidence that these changes will all go in as planned, so please remember that some items may be pushed back to a later date if they‘re not ready.

Tanking Modules
Armor
• We want to reduce the stacking of plates by normalizing pg and cpu a little bit, and also increasing the speed penalty a bit.
• We also want to make repair modules a little more useful so we‘re increasing repair rates by a small amount.
• We also want to make reactive and ferroscale plates more attractive by reducing the PG /CPU requirements so people will use them instead of basic armor plates when they want to maintain some speed.

Shields
• The CPM and community has been vocal on not changing multiple ehp modules at a time. As such we will not be making any changes to shield tanking until the next hotfix. This also gives us a chance to examine new data from rebalanced armor modules.

Weapons
• We will be increasing the damage of the Plasma Assault Rifle and reducing the Combat Rifle‘s damage a little, nothing dramatic. Rail Rifles and Scrambler Rifles will not be changed in this hotfix, but we‘ll keep an eye on them. We‘re not making massive changes here as we expect the armor changes will have an impact on rifle usage due to the damage profiles.
• We are increasing the damage of the PLC against vehicles, to help provide more options for anti-vehicle work using light weapons but we are also looking at adding Plasma Cannon variants at a later stage. The Forge Gun will remain as the strongest infantry AV weapon in each tier.
• We are reducing locus damage and normalizing damage progression to make grenade specialization more worthwhile.

Vehicles
• We believe, based on data, that Tank v Tank is in a good place. However, with the grenade number being reduced, we believe that AV grenades need to do more damage overall to become a viable threat to vehicles again.
• However, we propose that they replenish less at hives so we want to increase nanite cost of grenades. We‘re also examining the option of removing their ability to restock at nanohives, but we want to see how increased nanite cost plays out first.
• We‘re slightly increasing HMG damage against vehicles to make them a little more threatening to LAVs. They should still get laughed off by tanks.

Dropsuits
• We will do a normalizing pass on PG/CPU on a few dropsuits; Sentinels in general have a lot of PG/CPU and Basic Heavies are a little out of sync. However, this likely won‘t make it into Hotfix Alpha because it warrants a deeper dive.

Commandos
• Commandos play a big role by being flexible; you can throw on your rifle of choice and favorite secondary weapon, a suppression weapon, some long range support or AV.
• Tweaking the CR will bring the Minmatar Commando closer to his brethren but he will still be the favored by mass driver/swarm players, but his speed is somewhat overlapping Assault so we‘re reducing speed a little bit. He will still be the fastest Commando though.
• Introducing the PLC as a viable AV will encourage Gallente Commandos to come out and play, as well as some tweaking of the plasma rifle. Because of this, we‘re not making any changes to it this pass but we‘ll keep an eye on it.
• If players migrate from armor to shield tanking, the Amarr Commando will become more useful as well as shielded targets become more plentiful. We‘ll likely hold off major changes to it until we‘ve gotten shield tanking in a spot we‘re happy with, but we are aware it‘s lacking in bonused AV power.

Sentinels
• We‘re hoping changes to plates will help encourage other playstyles than Gallente Sentinels, as well as the eventual CPU/PG changes to make Sentinels actually have to pick what they want to fit, rather than throwing it all on without worrying.
Scouts
• We know that Amarr scouts are underused, but want to wait and see what the module changes bring. We are still looking at smart bonus changes, mainly a biotic efficacy
• We want to reward specalizing so we are lowering the base duration of the cloak. This should hopefully make the higher tier cloaks more useful.
• We are removing the dampening effect of the cloak. If you want to to be truly invisible, both to the eye and scanners, you must specialize and sacrifice slots to do so.
• We‘re also looking to increase the delay between decloaking and being able to shoot. This is pending some playtest results.

Assault
• At this stage we want to see what impact the rifle tweaks and the armor module changes bring before making any changes to the Assault suits. It is however definitely on our list for later hotfixes.

Turrets
• We want to boost efficiency for Small Rails against vehicles so there is a stronger purpose for them. A tank with a small railgun co-pilot should have an advantage in tank vs tank combat. This shouldn‘t mess with their effectiveness against infantry, but we‘ll certainly be keeping an eye on it.
• We want to increase Small Blaster ROF, keep damage, reduce overheat, and improve hit detection so as to make it a viable anti-infantry weapon. We‘re also considering a range increase, but we would like to see the impact the other three changes make first.
• The Large Blaster dispersion will be increased a little bit to make it less reliable against infantry, without majorly impacting it‘s power against vehicles at closer ranges. Reducing its range a little is on the table, but we‘re looking to see if the dispersion impact brings it back far enough on its own due to reduced accuracy.

Planetary Conquest
Overall, these are our objectives to reduce district locking and risk free ISK accumulation
• Decrease/remove passive ISK generation
• Increase ISK payouts from battles
• Increase Clone Pack Prices and number of clones in a Clone Pack

The idea here should be that if you want to make ISK, you should fight and consume clones. We also want clone packs to be a viable method of breaking into Planetary Conquest, but not useful for launching every attack you make; using clones you own should be the better option.

Please post your feedback in this thread, and keep it civil and constructive. Please also refrain from discussing things that are not planned for Hotfix Alpha; there will another time and thread to discuss those ideas soon after Hotfix Alpha is deployed.

Yours,
CCP Rattati

Of all the changes, the removal of profile dampening from cloaks is the most contentious. The idea is that by removing the damp bonus, it forces scout suits to use more low slots if they want to escape scanning (I support this concept)

On the other hand, it’s extraordinarily difficult to escape a Scout CK.0 with three scan precision modules (by all accounts, it takes either three or four damps to avoid it, given that the CK.0 has a free precision amp as part of the skill bonus). In fact, for AK.0 and MK.0, it’s impossible due to not having enough low slots.

This further exacerbates the Caldari-vs-Gallente scout war that has been brewing ever since the scout suits were rebalanced. Note, however, that avoiding scanning still takes three low slots now, leaving the GK.0 very vulnerable, and the CK.0 remains paper thin due to the number of EWAR modules on it. Perhaps the AK.0 and MK.0 can live with the occasional scan, since they actually have hit points now. I guess we’ll see. (more discussion in this thread)

All in all, I rate this change set a 9/10.

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