Playtest 237: Armor and Damage Type Unification; Windows Performance, Balance

TreiskTreisk Member, Administrator
edited August 20 in Patch Notes

Playtest 237: Armor and Damage Type Unification; Windows Performance, Balance

General Gameplay

  • Titan

    • The Titan's Smash ability now fires in a cone rather than a line, and has a more clear animation.
    • Titans now Smash less frequently.
    • The Titan Smash has received new VFX!
    • Size increased by ~10%.
    • Added events for Titans where they.... Well, maybe it's better to just show you rather than explain.

      • image
      • image
  • Archive

    • Health: 4500 ⇒ 5000
    • Shield: 4500 ⇒ 5000
    • Damage: 80 ⇒ 90
  • Archive Tower

    • Reward: 540 BioShards ⇒ 300 BioShards
    • Range: 10 ⇒ 13
  • Tower

    • Reward: 90 BioShards ⇒ 75 BioShards
  • Warp Spire

    • Reward: 180 BioShards ⇒ 150 BioShards
  • Critter Regions

    • Spawn interval: 30 seconds ⇒ 40 seconds
    • Initial spawn: 30 seconds ⇒ Game Start
    • Critter health: 1100 ⇒ 800
    • Critter armor type: Normal ⇒ Heavy
    • Critter Barrier Capacity: 400 health ⇒ 300
  • Added minimap textures
  • The Deckbuilding screen should now show correct build times for all units


  • Significant performance improvements have been made for Windows users.

    • As such, we would encourage users that require lower minimum specs to try out this build and let us know what performance increases you may or may not have experienced!


  • An interface (in the place of the command card) has been added to aide replay viewers in following along.

    • Clicking a player's name on this interface will follow their viewpoint.
    • Clicking a player's hero will stick the camera to that hero.
  • Added the ability to see a player's production when following them
  • Fixed several bugs and crash causes in replay viewing mode


  • Hero rewards: 2 BioShards + 1 per 2 levels ⇒ 4 BioShards + 1 at levels 5, 10, 15, and 20

Armor Type Simplification Update

We've finally gotten coverage on our damage and armor type pass. In the unit changelogs, you'll see a handful of changes in which a unit's armor type was changed; these changes are accompanied by according health changes. Several units have also had their damage types changed to fit this clearer rationalization.

This can be best described very simply --
- All melee units now have Heavy armor.
- Most melee units have Normal damage, which deals full damage to both Normal and Heavy armors.
- Most ranged units deal Projectile damage, which deals full damage to Normal armor but reduced damage to Heavy armor.*
- Finally, some units have Piercing damage, which does full damage to Heavy armor, but reduced damage to Normal armor.

* (This will be the intent; currently, Projectile is actually only doing 75% of its full damage, and 50% to Heavy, so is technically not doing 100% damage to anything. This has been compensated for for the time being)

We'll be doing work later on to make this explanation even simpler in the game, but for now, having a system that is clear to anyone that looks into it at all is the most important thing. Eventually, we want this system to be a bit more visible.


  • Caterpillar (Easy camp minion; Medium camp minion)

    • Health: 1300 ⇒ 1100
    • Armor type: Normal ⇒ Heavy
  • Mantis Flower (Medium camp captain)

    • Health: 1500 ⇒ 1200
    • Armor type: Normal ⇒ Heavy
  • Pitcher Plant (Hard camp captain)

    • Health: 3000 ⇒ 2250
    • Armor type: **Normal ⇒ Heavy


  • Hydros

    • Turn the Tide (Ultimate) no longer affects Titans.
  • Scuttleguard

    • Retracting Roll no longer collides with Wards, but still affects them if they're in the area of effect.
  • Frostcaller

    • Health: 230 ⇒ 325
    • Armor type: Heavy ⇒ Normal
    • Damage: 22 ⇒ 30
    • Damage type: Normal ⇒ Projectile
  • Quadrapus

    • Health: 145 ⇒ 210
    • Armor type: Heavy ⇒ Normal
    • Damage: 20 ⇒ 30
    • Damage type: Normal ⇒ Projectile
  • Shadow

    • Health: 175 ⇒ 120
    • Armor type: Normal ⇒ Heavy
  • Ancient Ice Frog

    • Health: 1300 ⇒ 925
    • Armor type: Normal ⇒ Heavy
  • Aquadillo

    • Health: 1650 ⇒ 1200
    • Armor type: Normal ⇒ Heavy


  • Grath

    • Fixed a bug that prevented some effects from being correctly removed from units under the effects of Stone Form
  • Seedbot

    • Damage: 12 ⇒ 13
    • Attack cooldown: 1.4 seconds ⇒ 1.3 seconds
  • Terrapin Trooper

    • Rocket Rush no longer affects Wards
  • Toxin Mystic

    • NEW UPGRADE: Bad Medicine - Reduces the Toxin Mystic's attack cooldown by 50%; increases its attack range by 2
  • Grove Tender

    • Damage: 22 ⇒ 34
    • Damage type: Normal ⇒ Projectile
  • Abominable Sludge

    • Health: 3600 ⇒ 2500
    • Armor type: Normal ⇒ Heavy
  • Batterhorn

    • Health: 1850 ⇒ 1200
    • Armor type: Normal ⇒ Heavy
  • Bramblethorn

    • Health: 1525 ⇒ 1050
    • Armor type: Normal ⇒ Heavy
  • Trebuchet

    • Health: 520 ⇒ 600
    • Armor type: Heavy ⇒ Normal


  • Eris

    • Fixed a bug that caused Dis-Array to not travel the full distance on occasions where the target was a unit (friendly or enemy).
  • Sandstinger

    • Stinging Surge should now be much more responsive when colliding with other units.
  • Spitfire

    • Damage: 10 ⇒ 11
  • Cinder Beetle

    • Ability name: Spawn Beetles ⇒ Spawn Cinderlings
    • Upgrade name: Beetle Revenge ⇒ Vengeful Progenies
    • Upgrade now correctly states that the Cinder Beetle casts Spawn Cinderlings on death
  • Devilkin Dervish

    • Damage: 60 ⇒ 90
    • Damage type: Normal ⇒ Projectile
  • Exofiend

    • Health: 635 ⇒ 550
    • Armor type: Normal ⇒ Heavy
    • Energy cost: 8 ⇒ 7
    • Unit Cap: 8 ⇒ 4
    • Burrow/Unburrow

      • Burrow time: 0.2 seconds ⇒ 1.4 seconds
      • Now erupts from the ground when unburrowing, slowing enemy units' movement speeds by 60% for 2.5 seconds.
  • Lancer

    • Fixed a bug that sometimes caused the Lancer's burrowed attack to not travel the full distance if the user targeted a unit directly.
  • Apocalyte

    • Damage type: Piercing ⇒ Projectile
  • Pyrosaur

    • Health: 575 ⇒ 425
    • Armor type: Normal ⇒ Heavy


  • Celesta

    • Fixed a bug that caused Illuminate's VFX to sometimes not appear
  • Raptor

    • Health: 55 ⇒ 60
    • Damage: 14 ⇒ 16
  • Deadeye

    • Movement speed: 4.0 ⇒ 4.3
  • Zephyr

    • Damage type: Piercing ⇒ Projectile
  • Conduit

    • Damage type: Projectile ⇒ Piercing
    • Drill Laser Damage type: Projectile ⇒ Piercing
    • Upgrade name: Lightning Rod ⇒ Flux Engine
  • Precognitor

    • Damage: 25 ⇒ 33
    • Damage type: Normal ⇒ Projectile


  • Snerp Herder

    • Production time: 120 seconds ⇒ 60 seconds
    • Damage: 20 ⇒ 30
    • Damage type: Normal ⇒ Projectile
  • Engineer

    • The Engineer is no longer invulnerable and untargetable while constructing an Ion Cannon
    • If an Engineer is killed while building the Ion Cannon, the Cannon will self-destruct
    • Engineers are no longer stuck trying to build dead Ion Cannons
  • Juggernaut

    • Health: 3000 ⇒ 2000
    • Armor type: Normal ⇒ Heavy
    • Size increased by ~20%
    • Juggernauts once again have unit-walking!
    • Reinforced Juggernaut (Upgrade)

      • Size increase: 20% ⇒ 12%
  • Vespid Carrier

    • Health: 135 ⇒ 250
    • Movement speed: 3.9 ⇒ 4.1
  • Cryowalker

    • Damage: 28 ⇒ 36
    • Damage type: Normal ⇒ Projectile
  • Warp Drone

    • No longer has an attack
    • Ability name: Recall ⇒ Matter Transposition


  • @Treisk said:

    This can be best described very simply --
    - All melee units now have heavy armor. They also deal full damage to all units.
    - Most ranged units deal Projectile damage, which deals full damage to ranged units but reduced damage to heavy units.
    - Finally, some units have Piercing damage, which does full damage to heavy units.

    But what does Piercing do to ranged units? Half?

    If it does full, then it's the same as melee units but with range?

  • Vespid Carrier

    Health: 135 ⇒ 250
    Movement speed: 3.9 ⇒ 4.1

    Also what is unit-walking?

  • MilleaMillea Member


    Unit walking means that they can walk through other units now.

  • Click anywhere to exit still seems to be click the bottom to exit.

    Maybe I just need to master multiple groups, but I often have issues with order of battle. Especially in the early game, I want the hero tanking for more fragile units, and this takes some shuffling. Healers also like to rush to the front, or even go hug the enemy.

  • Progression: I and a few other people noticed that some matches were not rewarding currency.

    As discussed during the playtest, Frostfall is wrecking the more fragile T1 units. Treisk mentioned that the plan was to halve the damage done to these units by switching the ability's damage type to Piercing. That sounds like a good change, though I think the damage could be even a little lower (~40%). It also might be worth looking at the damage available from the ugrade.

    Besides that the game feels pretty good right now. Switching to a binary Normal/Heavy scheme preserves the intent of the system while making it a lot easier to grok (still needs a name update to Light/Heavy or Unarmored/Armored).

    I've always thought that the physical/magical damage system was a bit of an uncomfortable fit for the game. My impression (which may be incorrect) is that even a "caster squad" like Vex does the greater percentage of its damage through physical auto-attack damage. Some of the high-damage abilities that are technically most affected by percentage adjustments do so much damage that magical damage and magical resist upgrades don't significantly change the functional impact of the ability. These are the natural niches for auto-attacks and abilities in an RTS, but because of this I don't think they lend themselves to the same kind of upgrade system.

    I also used to get confused about whether some abilities did physical or magical damage. The documentation has gotten a lot better, and this isn't as much of an issue now. Still, it could be helpful to tie damage bonuses and resistance to more tangible qualities, like splash damage or damage over time. Perhaps different factions could have different upgrades; for example blue gets splash damage buffs while red gets increased/extended burn damage.

  • General Comments

    (1.1) - Didn't get to play too many games tonight, but the fights in the center are still feeling pretty good. I love the new FX, particularly the cone slam and the roar. Artura or what ever the planet is called is a more mysterious place, now with vindictive dimensional portals.

    (2.1) - This was the first time in a while that I'd looked at a replay, so I'm not sure how much just went in. Overall, I like the feel of it, though the interface takes up a bit more space than I expected. Overall, feel of working with it was smooth.

    Damage and Armor Types
    (3.1) - Early on, damage systems changed a fair amount, such that I didn't really learn to pay too much attention to them (would just bookmark it to come back to later). If you guys wanted to make the system more explicit, maybe could reflect the damage reduction in the floating numbers. That would maybe be easier than post-processing damage done, but would still help illustrate what is mitigating your damage. Who knows, maybe change the color of the text based on if it is damage type or target upgrades that are reducing damage? While at it, could also change color based on magic or physical damage.

  • tedstertedster Member
    edited August 22

    I'll be having nightmares about Frostcallers for years (otherwise I really really like this patch)

  • Wait... AlphaGo knows how to play Atlas?! The AI is taking over!

  • TokOwaTokOwa Member
    edited August 23

    Hey, I would like to give some thoughts and feelings on two of the T1.5 units.


    These seem way too squishy for being a 'sturdy, well-rounded' unit. They have good dps, but doesn't seem to have the sturdiness to actually get into situations and deal it out properly, Compared to the powerlevel of Howling Commando's, whom many agree are in a good spot. Suggestions include various means of making them 'sturdier'. The biggest issue is that their 'identifying' ability happens way too infrequently to actually feel like a significant part of their kit. Increasing the uptime and spammability of the ability would make their 'identity' more noticeable.

    Suggested Changes:
    Armor Type: Normal => Heavy
    Health Points: 140 => 220
    Cooldown on Ice Shield: 12 sec => 8 sec
    Health Points 140 => 180
    Cooldown on Ice Shield: 12 sec => 6 sec

    Note: I also contemplated whether Unit Cap: 8 => 6 would be necessary with these kinds of changes, but I generally wanted to avoid that. I don't think it is necessary.

    Cinder Beetles

    These units have the identity of strong melee units with a 'positional element' in that when they spawn the Cinderlings, they gain a temporary advantage. It is very similar to Seedbots' saplings, but have a slight different form. This is an interesting unit, and is very cool. One big issue is with controlling the ability. It would be better to be able to click a certain area where the Cinderlings are getting sent at. We've discussed this already and I'm only including for completeness.

    The other issue that I personally have with their ability is the upgrade. The upgrade allows the Cinder Beetle to cast their baby beetles a last time when they die. I think the suicidal nature of the unit post-upgrade makes it very off-putting. While I agree that sometimes the spawned Cinderlings can assist in an even fight, however, most of the time, losing your Cinder Beetles will happen in situations where the Cinderlings will have almost no impact, like in a stupid mistake or poke wars where there is no intention of actually engaging and closing the gap with the enemy. So my suggested change aims at giving the Cinder Beetle's ability more Oomph. I think it is in line with Red's explosive nature, and will amplify the Cinderbeetle's positional power as the game goes on.

    Suggested Change:
    Ability Name: Vengeful Progenies => Advanced Cinderfacturing
    Ability: Spawn Cinderlings now spawns 3 additional Cinderlings.

    Unrelated Change Suggestion:
    Energy Cost: 7 => 6
    Damage: 21 => 19

    Note: For the unrelated change suggestion, I just felt that the 7 energy cost was out of place, especially compared to other T1.5's. If there is any specific reason for the 7 energy cost, I would be curious to know.

  • tedstertedster Member
    edited August 23

    I agree with Tokowa's observations to a large degree, especially on the suicidal nature of the Cinder Beetle upgrade. An upgrade designed to trigger only when you are "losing" is going to feel bad the majority of the time, even if it's good, which i don't think it is.

    I do, however, think Aquanauts could use a damage buff to help differentiate them from other units and give blue some powerful sustained DPS at tier 1.5. It's possible that a buff to survivability might help enough already, but I would expect them to still feel relatively low-impact even if they were a bit harder to pick off.

  • TokOwaTokOwa Member
    edited August 23

    While I do agree that your change (increased DPS) would make the unit better and more useful, the goal of my suggestion was more to push the unit towards its identity, which is more like an 'immortal-esque' unit. I think keeping the thematic uniqueness of the factions is a good thing, and a high-impact ranged dps doesn't really fit into the high-utility\high defensiveness theme of blue.

    To clarify, I'm not saying that high-dps doesn't belong in blue, but in the current form it kinda comes in at a later stage in more situational ways, which is good, as it provides this kind of ramping feel. I just don't think a high-dps option fits thematically as a T1.5 from the get-go.

  • TokOwaTokOwa Member

    Feeling particularly inspired today, so I'm going to give my comments on the Nautilusks as well.


    These guys. The frontline and pride of the Empire of Ometa. They are equipped with the latest protective technology and sent to fight the most menacing and largest beasts of the ocean realms (whom are thought to be the largest beasts in the world). With their bare hands. This makes no sense at all. Give the guys a spear. Or a trident.

    The Nautilusks are very tanky. But they often do not pose any threat or have any clear role within the Blue Army. People will just kite, and if they don't kite, as in the case of many melee unit, Nautilusks don't deal enough dmg to pose a great threat. They deserve a trident.

    Suggested Changes:
    Damage: 22 => 40
    Damage Type: Normal => Piercing
    Attack Range: Melee => 2
    Movement Speed: 4.7 => 4.3

    Changes aims at making them a soft-counter to heavy armored melee units, while giving them a slight nerf to Normal armored units. Attack range gives them 'First strike' against many melee units, but the lowered movement speed makes it hard to do any kiting shenanigans. Some people might think that the movement speed debuff is too harsh, but I think it is necessarily to keep them at a 15/20 shard level rather than at 30 shards. It doesn't undermine their identity, which another nerf might do. Unit Cap could possibly go from 6 back to 8.

  • I would agree that right now Nautilusks feel a bit too easy to kite without having clear roles, especially due to the released reliance of Blue on Quadrapi. On the other hand, I feel like Slugs should be the counterpick to heavy tanks rather than putting that on the all-purpose tanky T1.5, so I'm not sure these would be the changes I'd personally make. Further nerfing the movespeed on Nautilusks also seems tough.

  • excalexcal Member, Administrator

    Definitely agreed that the Nautilusk and Aquanaut are not in a healthy place right now. And TokOwa, that's a super interesting direction to take the Nautilusk - definitely not an approach we'd considered. I'm interested in re-shaping its identity a bit, but we might just go with a simple buff for now.

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