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Release notes: August 4, 2020

Spotlight

Mini-Map v1.0

Our initial implementation of a mini-map is in! The mini-map lives in the upper left corner of your heads-up display (HUD) and gives players critical gameplay information. You can, of course, still use the larger map to ping locations and see the state of things in more detail. This first version of the mini-map shows:

  • Your location and facing direction

  • Ally locations

  • The location of enemies detected by you or your teammates

  • Hives, hive telegraphs, and hive hearts

  • Incoming objectives

  • Active objectives

  • Pings

Developer's note: As part of this change and because much of the information in the compass was duplicated by the mini-map, we've removed the compass from the HUD. We’re going to continue to examine how we can best use the space in the HUD to convey critical information, and we’ll keep an eye on feedback to changes like this.

Quick Comms Update

  • Contextual pings: Various game objects will produce a specific set of ping options on the Quick Comms wheel when you hold down the ping command [Middle Mouse Wheel]. Many of these pings have specific voice-over (VO) lines that relate to the object pinged. For example, harvester letter names are included in several of the new ping VO lines.

    • Objectives (amplifiers and harvesters)

    • Harmful plants

    • Helpful plants

    • Player-placed objects like Bugg’s plants and Ajonah’s Jamming Shroud

    • Allies (try saying "hello" to your teammates!)

    • Enemy players (use "Focus Target" to call out the enemy you want your allies to shoot at)

    • Creatures

  • Added roughly 2,000 new voice lines (across all characters) to support contextual pings.

  • Added new automatic voice lines for common situations:

    • When a player first attempts to use a med kit without having any

Scenarios & Objectives

  • Made significant changes to the planetary event system. Please see Map & Matches for full notes.

Hunters & Gameplay

General

Changes:

  • Unified how reticle drop shadows look so they will stand out in bright environments on all hunters. 

  • Adjusted the voice line timings for all Quick Melee attacks.

Ajonah

Changes:

  • Added visual effects (VFX) for Ajonah’s reload.

  • Improved accuracy of Ajonah’s grapple indicator with and without the Tidal Reach upgrade.

Bugg

Changes:

  • Added a water droplet indicator to plant seeds that haven’t yet been watered to improve visual clarity and help teach the watering mechanic.

Captain Mendoza

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed a bug that prevented Mendoza’s bunker [Q] from showing hit markers if the bunker struck an enemy while being summoned.

Drakahl

Bug Fixes:

  • Enraged Claw [Left Mouse Button while under the effects of Enraged Roar [Q]]: Fixed a bug that caused to heal 160 health from plants. He now heals the appropriate 80 health when attacking plants.

Earl

Changes:

  • Updated Earl's HUD to indicate his turbofire level better.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed an issue that caused Earl to sometimes be unable to heal after reloading.

Rahi & Brother

Changes:

  • VFX improvements:

    • Laz Beam [Left Mouse Button]: Updated the visual effect to clearly communicate impact location.

    • Laz Beam [Left Mouse Button]: Added new ignition effect for beam to make the startup punchier.

    • Scouting Ahead [Shift]: Added a teleport effect for sending Brother out.

    • Heroic Bound [Spacebar]: Added a visual effect.

Sazan

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed a bug that prevented Sazan’s Inertia Gun [Q] from animating while firing.

Shakirri

Changes:

  • Updated Shakirri’s sword stance reticle to be less obtrusive.

  • Shakirri’s low ammo and ammo recharge counter now show properly in both sword and pistol stance.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed a bug that allowed Shakirri to attack more quickly than intended by interrupting her primary sword attack [Left Mouse Button] with an interact.

Tosca

Developer's Note: Made VFX and animation changes that should help communicate when Tosca is using skills and make them feel more impactful. 

Changes:

  • VFX improvements

    • Updated primary projectile [Left Mouse Button] with flashier muzzle fire, more impact, and a grey smoke trail.

    • Made Blink [Shift] simpler and more glowy.

    • Gave Electro-Cloud color variation and faster opening.

  • Animation improvements

    • Updated reload animation to be clearer and punchier.

    • Updated recoil animation to be punchier.

Map & Matches

Planetary Events

Developer’s note: This patch has our first draft of the new Scenarios & Objectives event system.

 

We want each match to be easier to understand. We heard feedback that having multiple planetary events messaged at pre-match sequence and occurring at different times throughout the match didn’t actually help players prepare a strategy. As a result, we’ll be breaking planetary events out into two groups: scenarios and objectives.

 

Each match will have one scenario, which lasts the whole match and is messaged during the pre-match screen, as well as multiple objectives that come up one at a time throughout the course of a match. This distinction should help players understand what’s going on in a given match. By knowing the scenario beforehand and starting to adapt to it right from the beginning, players should be better able to focus their strategy, including how they’ll be approaching things like hives and amplifiers. Objectives are more predictable: as a player, you’ll always know when and where the next objectives will be.

 

We wanted to get this change  to you as soon as possible, so some content has been removed until it can be updated to fit the new design.

 

Scenarios

Every match now has a scenario active at the start, which will last through the entirety of the match. The game’s scenario is displayed prominently during the pre-match sequence. Knowing the scenario before you enter the match and having it consistent over the course of the match should help players know what to expect at all points in the game. The current scenarios are:

  • Cloak Plant Growth: There are 25 new cloak plants spread across the map. This often adds new texture to otherwise known combat spaces and sometimes creates new strategies around hive heart captures. It also encourages players to be more aggressive, since there are more opportunities for escapes.

  • Healthboost Pods: Every 30 seconds, 15 healthboost pods spawn, distributed across the map, with a max cap of 80 total pods.

  • Damageboost Pods: Every 30 seconds, 15 damageboost pods spawn, distributed across the map, with a max cap of 50.

     

    Developer’s note:

     

    Both ‘pods’ events are generally well-regarded internally because everyone likes collecting prizes. We’re interested to see how these scenarios might influence team strategies, as they are the only mechanic in the game that allows for power to be focused into particular players.

  • Essence Canisters: The two unlock stations spawn 180 seconds into the game, along with 10 canisters. Every minute, we refill the amount of canisters back up to 10.

     

    Developer’s note:

     

    We want to keep this event feeling largely like it always has, but without having it dominate the game’s pacing. By having fewer up at a time than we used to, the event should feel more like an intentional treasure hunt.

  • Power Surge: This event is now a permanent 20% damage boost for all players at all times, and the global visual treatment has been removed. Given feedback from some players on wanting a faster time-to-kill (TTK), we’re curious to see how these games will play out.

  • Global Scanner: Every 160-200s, all players are revealed for 10 seconds.

     

    Developer’s note:

     

    This version provides regular moments where you can get a glimpse into what your opponents are doing, but the brief duration of each scan means we won’t see some of the less desirable impacts that happened when the reveal lasted longer.

  • Metamorphosis: Creatures are now more powerful as soon as the game starts, and they drop 10% more Essence.

     

    Developer’s note:

     

    This used to be +50% Essence when the event turned on later in a match, but keeping that bonus with the new design wildly warped progression in the early game. We have plans to try a scaling version where creatures grow in strength and rewards every time a new hive spawns, but for now this is constant throughout the match. We also wanted to make the impact of the event a bit more predictable and less punishing for newer players, so we’ve taken out the specific buffs (like spitters blinding) and replaced them with +20% health and +20% damage across the board, along with a small speed and turn speed bonus for hive wasps.

  • Mini Harvesters: 10 mini harvesters are spawned at the start of each match and persist throughout the entire match. Each mini harvester grants half the essence of a normal harvester.

 

Objectives

  • In this new system, objectives are not messaged to players at the start of a match. 90 seconds into each game, we start the 4-minute timer for the first objective event. Ten seconds after an objective event concludes (i.e., all objectives for a given event have been claimed), a new objective event will be chosen and its 4-minute timer will begin. The following events fall into this bucket, and none of them have been altered in this update:

    • Upgrade Amplifier

    • Med kit Amplifier

    • Interaction Shields

    • Harvester Control

    • Regeneration Amplifiers (x2)

    • Damage Amplifiers (x2)

    • Health Amplifiers (x2)

    • Temporarily removed events: The following events are not in this build, but we’re working to find ways to adapt them into scenarios for the future:

      • Essence Eruption

        • Developer’s note:

           

          This is taking some work to adapt into a scenario without making it something you have to pay attention to 100% of the time. Fundamentally, we’re looking into whether the best version of this event is “Prizes! But with some danger,” or “These are danger zones you want to stay away from.”

    • Portable E-Siphon

      • Developer’s note:

         

        Siphon has always been one of our most polarizing events and making it a scenario in its current form would amplify that. We know we want to change it before implementing it as a scenario. Some options include making two fairly low-power siphons worth a harvester or two apiece and giving one to each team at the start, or making this an objective with a certain amount of Essence in it before it’s used up.

    • Stomper Gathering and Creature groups

      • Developer’s note:

         

        Stomper Gathering creates some cool moments, but won’t play well with the creature camps we’re developing. We’ll be iterating on this event in connection to camps to find a version that doesn’t break player expectations.

    • Biotic Converter

      • Developer’s note:

         

        We don’t feel like this event is a good match for Heart of the Hives. Making a new version of it isn’t our highest priority, but we’ll be looking into adapted designs in case there’s something awesome there.

    • Scanning Station

      • Developer’s note:

         

        With Global Scanner becoming a scenario, the current implementation of Scanning Station feels redundant. As with Biotic Converter, we’ll experiment with ways to adapt this objective.

Technology/Performance

Changes: 

  • Reduced instances of client and server getting out of sync for a few seconds by more than half. This should be a noticeable improvement for most players in the feel of combat situations.

  • Reduced system memory usage by about 10%. That percentage is higher on min spec machines.

  • Slightly decreased the number of times players will encounter frames that linger too long, hitch, or stutter.

  • Significant improvement in long frames on min spec machines, specifically as a result of reduced video memory (VRAM).

Bug fixes: 

  • Fixed a bug that caused audio hit feedback effects to play multiple times for a single hit.

  • Fixed character lighting in the main menu.

  • Fixed a rare client crash involving visual effects

UI

Changes: 

  • Did a full art pass for active events, event notifications, and event floaters

  • The health bar of a spectated character will now be visible.

  • Nameplates now show while spectating.

  • Improved performance of map elements and showing/hiding full screen UI.

Bug fixes: 

  • Fixed an issue that prevented the scoreboard from being visible for some players.

  • Fixed a bug related to the display of unavailable store bundles.

  • Fixed a bug that caused the surrender vote to update before a player had confirmed their vote.

Known Issues

  • Reconnecting to a match after disconnecting or leaving while dead will result in the player getting stuck on the respawn screen and unable to play normally.

  • While waiting to respawn, player icons on the mini-map may disappear or move erratically.




Update notes: August 5, 2020

  • Fixed a bug that caused Rahi & Brother's Force Punch [Right Mouse Button] to always deal maximum damage.




Update notes: August 6, 2020

  • Fixed a server crash.


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