In this latest developer blog, Gavin Simon, Lead Balance Designer of the upcoming Patch 1.09 explains the strategic reasoning behind the hottest upcoming balance changes in the patch. You've debated the change-list on the message boards, now hear what our Lead Balance Designer has to say about the changes, and why Patch 1.09 will really decrease the economy on the battlefield and increase more unit diversity strategies.
Patch 1.09 Balance Change Explanations
Harvesters: Carrying capacity reduced by 42% to 1400 credits of green crystals and 2800 credits of blue crystals. Gathering cycle sped up by 8 seconds. Overall rate of income reduced by approximately 35%. Reasoning: We want to accomplish three things by slowing the economy down:
1. Make economy harassment more viable by increasing the relative risk of expanding one’s economy
2. Increase the importance of micromanagement and tactics by reducing the number of units in play
3. Slowing the speed of teching to allow more room for tactical and strategic options at each stage of the game
Additionally, the economy should be smoother now so you won’t have as many times where you’re sitting at 0 cash waiting for a Harvester to return and also less extreme cash-floating if several return at once.
The Swarm: Support Power can no longer be used directly on top of infantry and vehicles. Cooldown time increased by 66% to 150. Now spawns 5 Buzzers instead of 7.
Reasoning: Increase the viability of the other faction’s ability to use infantry against the Scrin throughout the game.
Devastator Warship: Rate of fire reduced by 200%. Attack power increased by 100%. Scatter radius reduced.
Reasoning: Increase the viability of using infantry against Scrin in the late game.
Phase Field: Support Power no longer affects infantry. Cooldown time reduced by 50% to 180. Reasoning: Phase Fielded Mastermind was deemed too powerful. However, it should now give more opportunities for creative use with vehicles.
Seeker: Health reduced by 13%.
Disintegrators: When crushed by enemy vehicles, attack power of explosive revenge attack increased by 30%.
Reasoning: Slight retuning of Scrin's early game power. Force them to rely more on Disintegrators to counter enemy tanks rather than pure Seekers.
Avatar: Health increased by 25%. Pre-attack delay reduced by 33%. Main weapon's attack power increased by 25%.
Reasoning: Give Nod a viable tier 3 unit that can go head to head with Mammoths and Tripods as well as act as a meat-shield for the rest of Nod’s more hit-and-run style units. We chose not to allow it to fire on the move to keep the asymmetry between the three faction’s tier 3 land units. However, the reduction in pre-attack delay will make it fire its first shot quicker as well as increase its overall rate of fire a small amount.
Stealth Tank: Attack power increased by 66%.
Reasoning: Do you really need one?
Attack Bike: Range increased by 16%.
Reasoning: The added range should give players more room to maneuver, allowing easier escapes and especially making it easier to stay away from the GDI Harvester’s gun. Its range is still shorter than Predators and Rocket Soldiers however, so it should still be easy to counter with the correct positioning.
Fanatics: Cost/Build time reduced by 13% to 700/7. Reasoning: Although this unit has always been effective, it was difficult to actually recover the Fanatic’s cost. This should alleviate that a bit.
Juggernaut: Range increased by 25%.
Beam Cannon: Range increased by 25%. This does not affect the Avatar's extra weapon gained from commandeering a Beam Cannon.
Devastator Warship: Range increased by 20%
Reasoning: Artillery should now be a viable counter to tier 3 base defenses or any form of turtling. It should also make tactical positioning more important by allowing players to shell enemy forces from afar and force action.
Commando: Suppression time reduced by 70%. This means the Commandos can use their C4 Charges to demolish multiple structures more quickly.
Reasoning: Make the GDI and Nod Commandos more deadly and closer to the Scrin Mastermind in relative usefulness. Don’t let one in your base.
Mammoth Tank: Turret turn rate reduced by 66%. This makes the vehicle slightly less effective at quickly changing targets. Reasoning: I’ve read a lot of discussion about this change on the forums. Please rest assured this does not have nearly the impact on balance that it appears to have. The turn-rate is still very fast, it was just near-instantaneous before. This is more of a visual bug fix than anything. It is now SLIGHTLY easier to maneuver quick units such as Attack Bikes and Stealth Tanks around the Mammoth Tank with good micro but I still don’t recommend it. Its combat effectiveness is completely unchanged against tanks, Avatars, and Tripods. In general, GDI’s late game against Scrin has been improved through the use of Rocket Soldiers and Zone Troopers that don’t get instantly chewed up by Buzzer Swarms and Devastators anymore.
Sonic Emitter: Attack power reduced by 25%. This means the Sonic Emitter can no longer one-shot-kill certain vehicles.
Reasoning: Sonic Emitters are now less deadly against masses of enemy units but are still very powerful. The new Avatars and range-boosted Beam Cannons should have a much easier time countering these.
Grenadier Squad: Range increased by 20%. Reasoning: A slight boost to help GDI deal with masses of enemy infantry and clear garrisons more reliably before getting killed.
Tiberium Vapor Bomb: Support Power cooldown time increased by 25% to 300. Attack power increased by 140%.
Catalyst Missile: Support Power cost increased by 33% to 2000. Reasoning: The Vapor Bomb should now be a viable base-cracking option for Nod and more worth its price. It will destroy War Factories and other mid-sized structures as well as do significantly more damage to vehicles. The Catalyst Missile has been nerfed slightly to compensate.
Confessor: Upgrade no longer provides a rate-of-fire bonus to affected infantry squads.
Tiberium Infusion: Upgrade bonus to infantry squads' health reduced by 60%. Reasoning: These upgrades should now be more in line with their intended usefulness. I definitely wouldn’t worry about them being over-nerfed though. You still get the following effects from the upgrades:
1. Effectively a 50% health buff for Rocket Squads due to having an extra squad member
2. Less vulnerable to suppression effects
3. Halluceniogenic Grenades
1. 10% health buff
2. Immunity from Tiberium damage
3. 25% speed increase
Outposts: Health increased by 5%. This prevents them from being destroyed by one use of the Nod Shadow Team's Explosive Charges. Reasoning: With all the buffs Nod is getting to their late game, this makes it require a slightly higher investment to cripple an opponent's expansion attempts early.
GDI MCV, Nod MCV, Scrin Drone Platform: Cost/Build time increased by 40% to 3500/35, health and speed normalized.
Nod Crane: Health increased by 50%, normalizing its health with that of the GDI Crane and Scrin Foundry. Reasoning: Make MCVs a more valuable central target. They are now slightly more difficult to replace if destroyed and it costs more to invest in a second defensive structure queue.
A bug where Devastators will sometimes not obey attack commands and have trouble firing over structures has been fixed although it was mistakenly left off the official patch notes.
A bug fix stating that the Turtle AI will once again build base defenses also applies to the Balanced and Guerilla personalities. Rusher and Steamroller do not build base defenses by design.