The gameplay balance and the Clans

Surely you're aware of the information explosion that has been happening since Friday. Just above a week shy from the Clan Pack release, PGI is revealing more and more details about the package. If you haven't read them yet, click that link, grab a coffee and read them all. Though, we need to talk about something else first.

Over the last year, 40+ pinpoint alpha mechs have all been eliminated. Thanks to the unpopular Ghost Heat implementation, Hexa-quad PPC Stalkers are now extinct and so are the impenetrable 3xPPC+1xGauss Highlanders who obliterated everything they gazed upon. We weathered several LRMpocalypses but they led to better missile balance afterwards. Poptarts were hit by PPC heat, mobility, jumpjet and AC nerfs which made using these mechs harder and less effective at range. Poptarts are going to be hit again when JJ fall damage and heat is implemented. There are still kind of viable gimmicky builds like AC40 and dual-Gauss, but they are only possible on weak and squishy mechs so they can't show their true potential. SRMs are getting fixed next week along with the release of Clan mechs.

So, we've solved pretty much all our balance problems and SRM hit registration fix will be the last milestone. Snipers are in a good spot, poptarts are under control and brawlers are getting their glory back next week. This is the most balanced MWO has ever been.

. . . until the Clan pack drops. Mechs with completely new equipment, weapons and mechanics. New loadout possibilities with more flexible mech hardpoint layouts. Mechs capable of unleashing unbearable alphas while being much tougher and running cooler than their IS counterparts. The ability to change the hardpoint distribution for better min-maxing. Targeting computers giving ridiculous bonuses.

If I learned anything from playing this intensively for the past 19 months, let me tell you, there are tough times ahead. It will be a nightmare to balance all of these new weapons and by the looks of it, they are barely going to implement these weapons let alone test them until the release. It will be a nightmare again to endure the min-maxed builds competitive teams come up with. Time to kill will go down significantly, perhaps back to the times where we had quad Stalkers and 45 pinpoint alpha Highlanders.

If you read this blog, then you know I'm not one of those doom and gloom people. Yet, I can't look at these changes and not feel worried. We know Paul likes to take things slowly when it comes to balance, and it may be a while before all of these new weapons and systems are balanced.

Enjoy your last week of pure IS warfare while you still can. We'll be driving downhill for a while.

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About Rak

I'm an engineer who likes to write extremely long articles about games that border simulation and mainstream.
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