Looking back at February we saw the release of our third Classic IS ‘Mech, the Rifleman, and I think it’s fair to say that beyond being beautiful and nostalgic additions to the game, these ‘Mechs are also proving very effective and fun ‘Mechs to pilot. We’re hoping to go four-for-four with the upcoming release of the Archer on March 15th.
As with January and February, March will be another single-patch month. Internally we’re happy with how the new cycle is influencing development so far, but obviously we do have some clear room for improvement, as we saw the need for two post-patch hot fixes for some issues that should have been avoidable.
We’ll continue to evaluate how this new cycle plays out, and make determinations about its efficacy as we go.
Without further delay let's discuss the March 15th patch:
Release of the Archer
As mentioned in the introduction, we’re very pleased with the quality and reception of these Classic ‘Mechs so far and we’re confident that the Archer will continue that trend. We recently released some teaser images, including a video on our Instagram, and it is a beautiful ‘Mech. I can't wait to see it in our game.
New Map for Quick Play and Private Matches
This map is roughly the size of Tourmaline Desert and uses the Grim Portico art setting. With a nice mix of long and short range combat it will likely settle into a play style similar to Tourmaline.
Change to ‘Mech Movement Code
We’ll be introducing a pretty important change to the movement code to give ‘Mechs better and more consistent mobility over small objects and obstructions. This should allow the maps to have more visual complexity to improve their overall visual design, without affecting the ability for ‘Mechs to navigate simple obstacles. There have been some minor changes to certain areas of maps to compensate for this increased mobility, mostly to ensure that you can’t get out of bounds or otherwise outside of the intended combat zone.
New Quick Play and Private Match Game Mode: Domination
As we promised when the new Map and Game Mode Voting screen was implemented, we can now add new game modes without fear of splitting the queue and adversely affecting the Matchmaker. I will leave full details on what this new mode is all about for the patch notes, but I think it will serve as something new and unique compared to the game modes we’ve had for so long now.
Conquest Game Mode Changes
Conquest is getting some changes to encourage a greater focus on playing the objective.
The main aspect of this is that destroying the other team will no longer end the match; the only way to end the match is to acquire the maximum Conquest points. This means that even if you are successful in your singular goal to simply destroy the enemy team, you may come out of that fight with only a couple of badly injured or otherwise slow ‘Mechs. If you have no chance of making it to the various capture points in time you’ll have essentially won the battle, but you will have lost the war. The enemy will have succeeded in the goal of Conquest.
As a result of this change, if your team is completely destroyed by the enemy you will be able to continue spectating from the perspective of the various cap points.
Another change is that all capture points will be neutral by default.
Base capping changes
With the addition of the new Domination game mode and the above changes to Conquest we’ve also made a global change to base capping behavior to try and further promote deeper strategies. If you shoot a ‘Mech that is capping a base or resource point it will momentarily stop the capture process for the entire capture point for 3 seconds, regardless of whether there are more enemies in the process of capping it. This new behavior is now used in all game modes that have a capture mechanic. Skirmish of course is unaffected by this change.
As mentioned in the last Town Hall the Assault game mode is currently undergoing a massive update that we hope will be ready before Summer.
Game Mode Voting Screen changes
As discussed in the previous Town Hall we are making some changes to the Map and Game Mode Voting. With the new system you will not see the vote percentages until you cast a vote yourself, and once you have cast a vote you cannot change it.
New Pilot Model
Pretty self-explanatory, an update to the old pilot model has been on the agenda for some time now. You can check out an early look at the new model on our Instagram. This first model will be male, but we’re intending to follow up with a female model in a future patch. Further plans are to eventually provide a distinct uniform for Clan and IS, and to allow for color changes.
2k Textures for all ‘Mechs
All ‘Mechs and all Patterns with texture resolutions that were previously lower than 2048x2048 (2k) have been normalized to a texture resolution of 2k. There will be some huge winners here in the visuals department, particularly for the older ‘Mechs.
New Team Kill / Team Damage automatic moderation
An automated penalty system is being implemented to address Team Kills and Team Damage, which will work in much the same way as the existing Disconnect penalty. Like the Disconnect penalty we’re careful to realize that once in a while an accident happens; doing a bit of Team Damage here and there is generally not going to trigger the penalty, and if it does, the initial penalty is minor (only 10 seconds). The system is designed to snare more egregious instances of Team Kills/Damage.
This system does not apply to Private Matches.
Negative C-Bill penalties for Team Damage
While we have always had a -10,000 C-Bill penalty for a Team Kill, we have now added a -21 C-Bill penalty for each point of Team Damage. This is the opposite of the reward for every point of damage against an enemy player, which is +21 C-Bill per every point.
More Spectator tool improvements
Another pass on spectator improvements with the upcoming official tournament in mind. Full details will be in the patch notes.
Aside from everything above there are also quite a few other cool and miscellaneous items coming in this patch, but I think we will leave those for the patch notes.
As for the improvements to the Direction Arrow mentioned in the last two Roadmaps, those improvements have been pushed indefinitely for the time being as we work out some of the remaining issues.
On the subject of some of the more important topics that have been discussed recently, such as the ‘Mech rescale project and Faction Play Phase 3, you can look forward to more information on those items in upcoming Town Halls and Roadmaps.