Quality of Life
The majority of these Quality of Life changes are aimed at removing frustrating unintended behavior for new players.
Previously Using Shift + left click would queue up production of 5 units but shift + right click would not. We are fixing this inconsistency to make it easier for players to change their production.
Previously the default button for rotate camera was middle mouse button which was frequently hit by accident, resulting in unintended camera angles which players would then have to try and revert revert. The was especially frustrating for new players who might not even know how they rotated the camera in the first place. We are changing the default hotkey for rotate camera to something more obscure so players don’t accidentally hit it. Players can change back via the options if they wish to.
Players were accidentally locking the camera onto a specific unit and being stuck not knowing how to remove it. We are making the hotkey more obscure so players do not accidentally turn it on. Additionally, scrolling the camera manually removes unit camera lock.
Units would form into an army if a player right clicks a unit when another is already selected. This was very frustrating as this often happened unintentionally, especially with Engineer units. New players not familiar with the army mechanic and the controls often will be stuck not knowing how to split up their army. If players want to form armies, they can use the V key. In the future, we may create a menu option to create army forming with mouse clicks.
Enabling Smart Binding allows the mouse cursor to freely roam between Ashes and a second monitor while in menus as if it was running windowed mode, but then when Ashes is launched into a game the cursor is automatically locked as if it was running full screen. Useful for players queuing for a game.
The replay interface is much better than the old observer interface.
Metaverse button added into the top left corner of the main menu
Frosthaven is a nice map but it had a number of issues and being so dense made it look messy. It had far too many relays for a tiny 2 player map which made capturing the territory require too much effort, especially with how creeps spawns would overlap and defend nearby relays. The map was also completely open, with the hills being traversable, so there was absolutely no choke points. The layout of resources was also not symmetrical and thus not properly balanced.
Crater suffered from an incredibly low amount of Radioactives deposits and positioned them too close together which limited strategic flexibility. The central crater and resource layout was not symmetrical which looked messy and caused balanced issues, where spawns had access to different amounts of resources.
Eridon is a great 3v3 map but it had a number of issues. The proximity of the two starting relays meant it was possible to double cap, it was not properly centered vertically and the layout of relays looked messy. Eridon also had a very low amount of resources which limited player options.
Kralon was a messy map to play on because all the pathways around the map so narrow, and the abundance of resources meant players were rapidly gathering large armies but having difficulty navigating them around the map. The changes to Kralon are aimed at easing congestion of units to improve pathing as well as improving strategic diversity by making the middle of the map less valuable compared to the sides. Kralon also had a disproportionately low amount of Radioactives compared to metal.
Thanks to community member, Luxlupus, we have some more improvements to Regulus. Regulus is gaining an additional pathway throughout the map to make it more interesting. If players want a separate 3 lane layout, they can play Maurn.
Espana had not only too many Radioactives Deposits, it also placed them very close to the player’s spawns, so it was too common for players to float up Radioactives and struggle to spend it. It’s fine maps to have different amounts and ratios of resources, but Espana was taking it a little too far.
The massive balance changes in 2.2 were primarily aimed at addressing overperforming or underperforming outliers. For this patch we are doing some more fundamental reworks of the systems in order to allow for more viable strategies and unit compositions. We are shaking up the meta of spamming Athenas and Maulers to give the game more depth and complexity. The majority of the balance changes stem from the following intentions.
Frigates were made stronger in 2.2, but those changes were still quite conservative. We want to continue to make Frigates more of a factor in the counter system and resource investments, instead of being neglected after the first few minutes. Brute and Martyr now serve as counters to other Frigates, while Archer and Reaper are counters to Cruisers, but are still weak against dedicated anti-frigate units such as Zeus and Avenger.
This is to make Archers and Reapers properly counter Cruisers. Some Cruisers have more or less health exchanged for balance reasons.
This opens up Frigates for use later in the game if players are running short on Radioactives. Currently Cruisers cost negligible Radioactives so it’s not enough to make players think pausing cruiser production.
There aren’t many ways to easily spend excess radioactives, which players would often find themselves accumulating. This goes against the intended design where Radioactives are supposed to be more valuable as they are much rarer than metal. Certain units such as air and specific Dreadnoughts were not as much a deliberate strategic investment as they were an eventuality due to needing a way to dump excess radioactives, which was problematic when air units were not wanted due to lots of anti-air on the field.
We want to make Radioactives more valuable by revamping the cost ratios of Cruisers, Air Units, Dreadnoughts and some structures, making more room for deliberate strategic investments instead of being forced into specific units as a means to spend excess of a particular resource type. Overall, the cost ratios rework will make spending one's resources require more management and consideration.
Resource Change Summary:
Substrate and PHC Dreadnaughts have hugely different health and armor ratios. This interferes with the counter system and makes units perform too inconsistently against different Dreadnoughts. We are Standardising the survivability of Dreadnoughts, better defining the role of each dreadnought and making them overall more balanced.
The Substrate energy mechanic was not very well fleshed out and was extremely inconsistent. Previously Energy drain was completely negligible for every unit other than the Reaper which immediately drained through its low storage. We want to make energy more of a consideration amongst other units types while it’s less crucial for Reapers so Capacitors have a consistent role to play amongst different unit compositions.
We are also standardizing the energy storage and energy drain amongst different unit so Capacitors recharge all units at the same rate. While Capacitors will not be essential for all affected units, it would be advised to mix in a few especially as they function as a fantastic meat shield for their low price.
Base defenses were far too strong against armies, but then were very easy to clear with artillery units. We want to mitigate this discrepancy by removing armor so big enough armies can force their way through base defenses much easier while increasing health on low tier defenses so it takes a bit longer for artillery units to clear.
High tier base defenses will not be receiving any more health as they already have large amounts. Instead, high tier base defense have their upgrade time reduced which is their main barrier to entry.
Both factions are getting radioactives at the start of the game to allow for Substrate Assemblies to cost Radioactives.
Since the launch of Ashes there has been a modifier where units in combat have their movement speed heavily reduced. This speed penalty made it practically impossible for units to retreat from a bad engagement because they were slowed and unable to break away from the chasing enemy units. This penalty feels contrived and it slowed down the flow of the game because it made engagements too risky and limited options if units were caught out of position. It was especially frustrating and punishing for new players who were not aware of this penalty.
We are removing this combat slow penalty so that players will now be able to preserve parts of their army if they decide to retreat from a bad engagement. This is a very significant change which we will be monitoring to see how it effects gameplay, but overall it will help make units feel much more responsive.
Turinium Generators were often neglected as almost all games are decided by economy and armies instead of Turinium. Turinium Generators shouldn’t be so well defended when they are often less desirable than a regular resource point. Previously, in order to clear Turinium generators, players required specific units to counter the Drove Hives which limited player flexibility and stagnated the game, especially when Turinium generators were connecting important resource points.
The Brute is gaining more DPS in the form of accuracy while losing its armor in exchange for more health to make it effectively counter Archer and Reapers. It also is about consistency and intuitiveness, no Frigate should have armor.
The archer is gaining accuracy in exchange for a damage reduction to make using the Archer less RNG based as well as giving it an overall buff.
The slow projectile speed of the Martyr made it overshoot and waste shells on frigates. It is gaining projectile speed to give it more consistent damage output against Frigates. It also looks cooler.
With the buffs to Archer and Brute, we wanted to give the Reaper some love too. It’s getting an increase to its energy storage and decrease to energy drain so it won’t be as reliant on Capacitors. They still run out of energy and benefit from having capacitors mixed in, especially when used as meat shield, but now the ratio is not as demanding as 1 Reaper to 1 Capacitor. The completely reliance on Reapers to have capacitors mixed in was an unintuitive trap for new players to fall into.
In order to make the Capacitor feel like less of a necessary burden, we are giving it more utility in the form of mobile radar, something Substrate currently lacks compared to PHC with the Hermes. To offset the advantage of now gaining radar, it costs more metal. The main difference between the Hermes and the Capacitor is the Hermes has more movement speed, a weak weapon and slightly better detection while the Capacitor has far more health.
As part of our cost ratios rework, we are globally increasing the Radioactives cost of Cruisers and equalising their pricing. In order to make Archer and Reaper more potent, we are decreasing cruiser health but giving them armor. There is a lot of individual changes listed here, but they are almost all just health/armor conversions and the resource adjustments.
The Zeus needed to lose some armor in exchange for heath as heals from the medic were were far too effective compared to other cruisers, given that Medics heal the same flat amount regardless of armor values. It also no longer gets one-shot by the Sentinel and Nemesis.
More than anything else in the game, the Nemesis will greatly benefit from the change to combat slow penalty.
The health and armor reworks of Cruisers will be a direct buff to the Hera as it has a small amount of armor-piercing. While this is welcome as a means to make the Hera more desirable, we are increasing its Radioactives cost to compensate
PHC Mobile Nullifier
On top of the cost changes and the health and armor rework, the Mauler, Avenger, Eradicator and Destructor are getting energy changes to make energy consumption and mixing in capacitors more of a consideration.
The Avenger was not able to target buildings which was inconsistent with other cruisers. We are allowing the Avenger’s secondary weapon to target buildings, like most other cruisers.
The Masochist was overlapping with the Avenger and being out-shadowed by the Drove Hive against frigates. We want to differentiate the Masochist and make it fill a unique role as a heavy anti-frigate unit, especially now as Frigates are being buffed and will be more prominent on the battlefield. PHC don't need a direct equivalent to the Masochist, as they have the Hades and Strategic Bomber for heavy anti-frigate.
The high energy pool of the Eradicator meant that the Capacitor was replenishing it far too slowly compared to other units. The energy changes to Eradicator see it drain energy at the same rate, but it now regenerates energy back more rapidly.
Substrate Mobile Nullifier
Substrate and PHC Dreadnoughts suffered from different survivability ratios. PHC Dreadnoughts had 90% armor but about 10,000 health, while Substrate Dreadnoughts had 40% health with about 14,000 health. While it can be nice for factions be asymmetric, this threw out the counter system and made countering different Dreadnoughts inconsistent and unintuitive.
With only 40% armor, massing Athenas or Maulers was the optimal way to counter Substrate Dreadnoughts more so than dedicated anti-Dreadnought units. Meanwhile, with 90% armor on PHC Dreadnoughts, they were practically unkillable with anything other than specific armor piercing units such as Nemesis and Eradicator. The Health and armor disparity also made abilities such as Nanite Assassination and Dreadnought Killers perform to completely varying degrees between Substrate and PHC.
Standardising health and armor values has the following benefits:
Global Dreadnought changes:
Substrate will still retain lower armor to compensate for their regenerating shields.
Dreadnought leveling was very unfair for PHC as experience was only granted by the amount of health destroyed, without factoring in Substrate shields. We also found Dreadnoughts were leveling up far too quickly, as they were able to accumulate multiple levels in a single engagement.
Since the Hyperion is losing its armor, it needs a large bonus to damage output to maintain a similar level of performance.
The Cronus was slightly overpriced for what it offered.
There was a huge discrepancy between the Draining Beam and the Overloaded upgrades which we are adjusting. We are also equalising the pricing for the Prometheus and Savager
The Retributor was underperforming against Cruisers as it was overshooting them with a long cooldown, but it was able to duel very well against other Dreadnoughts. We are heavily reducing its damage but also lowering cooldown to give it better performance against Cruisers while lowering damage output against other Dreadnoughts.
The Overmind was a bit too cheap and is receiving a cost increase to compensate.
With the health increase to PHC Dreadnoughts, the Savager needed a boost to its damage output. It’s anti-air defense upgrade was also rather lacklustre.
As part of our resource cost rework to make investing in certain units more of a deliberate decision, we are lowing the radioactives cost of Air units while increasing their cost. Air Units will still have a much higher proportion of Radioactives compared to land units, but now the disparity is not so huge.
Since the The Fury and Dominator lost their ground target they have felt a bit lacklustre. They are getting an increase to damage output and additional sight range so they are better able to stick on enemy air targets.
With the armor changes to cruiser, the air Marauder would be too potent if it kept its armor-piercing.
Despite the cost increase in 2.21, the Air Rampager was still a bit too powerful.
Like the Refinery, we want to make the harvester more Radioactives heavy compared to Metal.
Strategic Bomber & Air Harbinger
The Heavy Bombers have been in a weird place because of how limited their role has been due to only being able to target buildings. We want to give players more options and flexibility with how they use the heavy bombers so they are more desirable to be mixed in, instead of being neglected. We are giving them the ability to target all ground units, and to compensate, they are getting a price increase to alongside the damage buffs to the Interceptors.
We wanted to make base sniping more difficult as it could be quite frustrating in team games.
The Assembly is a massive advantage over PHC’s production as it shares production of Frigates, Cruisers and Air units. The Assembly being free of any Radioactives cost while the Armory costing 50 Radioactives was unfair and unnecessary.
Quantum Relay & Quantum Archive
With the cost ratio rework to air units, we want Quantum Relays to be an easy way for players to spend their excess radioactives. We are lowering the metal cost to allow investing in Quanta to be a reliable radioactives sink.
We want to make Amplifiers more radioactives intensive compared to metal.
Advanced Air Factory
There was a huge health and price discrepancy between the Advanced Air Factory and the Aviary, we are equalising their health and prices.
There was a health discrepancy between the Dread Launch and Advanced Assembly. We are equalising their health values.
We are increasing the Radioactives cost of the low tier Tech Buildings as part of our cost ratios rework as well as delaying harassment from the summoning Orbital Abilities.
Power Regulator & Energy Modulator
Orbital Fabricator & Gateway
Orbital Nullifiers and far too fragile and it was trivial to snipe them with air units, even when covered by anti-air defenses. We want to make Orbital Nullifiers more dependable
Base defenses were far too strong against armies, but then were very easy to clear with artillery units. We want to mitigate this discrepancy by removing armor so big armies can force their way through base defenses much easier while increasing health on low tier defenses so it takes a bit longer for artillery units to clear them out. Artemis and Destructor have 100% armor piercing, so removing armor will not make base defenses weaker against artillery units.
High tier base defenses will not be receiving any more health as they already have heaps. Instead we will be lowering build time on upgrading the high tier defenses which is the main barrier to entry for them.
All Base Defenses:
Despite the buffs in 2.2, the Smarty still had underwhelming damage output.
The damage output of the barrager was still a bit low so we are increasing its accuracy.
We are reducing the range on the Disruptor so it doesn’t overshadow the Exterminator.
With the armor rework to Cruisers, the Sentinel was able to one-shot athenas. To prevent this, and to remove the the small chance to miss, we are lowering its damage.
The artillery post suffered from too long of a build time. It’s build time is being reduced in exchange for increasing its metal cost. It’s also receiving some armor piercing as it was underperforming since its harsh nerfs in 2.2. It is worth noting that since Frigates will become a much bigger part of the game, the Artillery Post will have more of a role.
The Pulverizer was incredibly lacklustre compared to the Sentinel or Annihilators. It is receiving a large damage buff on top of the bonuses it will get due to Cruiser armor rework. To compensate it is losing some range so it can no longer out range the Artemis.
Like the Pulverizer, the Exterminator was overshadowed other defenses and was weak compared to the Oblivion. To compensate we wanted to lower its range so it’s easier to outrange with artillery units.
Like the standard base defenses, all air defenses are losing armor, most in exchange for more health and/or less build time.
The blossom launcher has too much range for a low tier base defense.
Boost was incredibly inefficient compared to the PHC equivalent, Optimize. We are removing the diminishing returns to give Boost better value. Boost will now provide a higher bonus at three stacks and can be used when there is not an amplifier built, but it remains considerably more expensive that Optimize.
Regenerate was able to rapidly regenerate the entire shield pool of Dreadnoughts. We are adjusting its shield regeneration to better balance it, especially compared to PHC Intensive Care.
In 2.2 we equalised the damage between Antimatter Detonation and Orbital Strike. This was a large oversight as Antimatter Detonation has a much shorter delay. We are adjusting their damage values back to compensate. We are also removing the ability to cancel Antimatter Detonation and Orbital Strike once they have been cast, which was very frustrating and punishing for new players.
Nano-Mesh Armor could be quite exploitative when used on certain units as the armor values could stack up very highly. For example, putting Nano-Mesh Armor on a Strategic Bomber or Dreadnought would give it 95% damage reduction. We are reworking the ability to make it more consistent amongst units which do or do not have any existing armor. To compensate for the change in functionality, its name is being adjusted.
The Carving Turret had inconsistent survivability due to 95% armor with such little health making it impervious to regular attacks but destroyed instantaneously against artillery units. We are adjusting health and armor to address this.
The Orbital Turrets are underwhelming and see little to no use. We are increasing the potency of the Emergency Turret and Serpentine Turret so they are a viable solution to defend against Orbital summons like Sentries and Saboteurs. The Emergency turret is getting its low lethality adjusted so it has less survivability but more damage.
The Serpentine turret is getting additional survivability.
The Saboteur was very limited as it could only target buildings. This felt contrived, was unintuitive for new players and meant the Saboteurs were far too effective against production structures. We are adjusting the Saboteur so it can target all units in exchange for less damage so it’s a general purpose harassment unit.
The Avatar was too good at harassment considering it was also an engineer unit which could build defenses. We are lowering its combat potential while also putting its armor consistent with other cruisers.
Range reduced from 700 to 500 Armor reduced from 40% to 20% Total health/shields increased from 500 to 600
The following change was implemented in 2.2 but it was not documented.