This is part 2 (of 2) of the change notes for our February 2016 balance patch. Part 1 is here.
The patch will go live in the next day or two, no sooner than the end of Will’s constructed tourney (which you should all check out!)
In this article, I will discuss the following three additional changes not mentioned in the previous article.
- Three new units!
- Deadeye Operative being replaced by two different units.
- A few lingering balance changes.
Deadeye Operative is a unit with a great deal of history. The oldest version of Deadeye was priced at 7BB and had the ability to snipe an unlimited number of enemy Drones. It led to a lot of drawish and uninteresting games, so a number of changes were made in an effort to limit the unit’s ability to completely destroy the opponent’s economy. With several iterations on the unit’s design failing to yield improvement, we reluctantly decided to add a Stamina limit to the unit, feeling it was necessary to prevent the overly degenerate endgames that other versions of the unit were inducing. The results were excellent, but left us feeling that Deadeye Operative had become overly complicated. Reflecting in hindsight, we felt that Stamina had simply been the correct decision all along, and the other changes to the unit were mostly unnecessary. Deadeye was originally intended to be a simple Drone sniper, and we now felt that Stamina offered us a way to revert to a clean, simple design for the unit while keeping its power level in check. Thus, we’ve redesigned Deadeye Operative as follows:
Still, we like many of the gameplay options that the previous Deadeye Operative affords players, so we’ve decided to create an experimental new unit named Manticore that borrows all of the current Deadeye Operative’s traits, but cannot snipe Drones. If the unit turns out to be liked by players, we’ll permanently add it to Prismata!
Changes to Zemora and Xeno Guardian
We’ll also be including the following two balance changes, which were not mentioned in the last article (mostly because we were still play-testing them at the time!)
Zemora Voidbringer: Cost increased from 5GG to 5GGG. Ability changed from GGGGGGG for 7 gold + 7 attack to GGGGGGGG for 8 gold + 8 attack. Zemora is still quite a player-2-favouring unit, even after our last round of changes. Additionally, our survey revealed that the shift from an “8/8/8” Zemora to the smaller “7/7/7” Zemora was not well-liked (in fact, it was the most disliked change in our previous balance patch). With this change, we’re hoping to address both issues.
Xeno Guardian: Buildtime decreased from 2 to 1. Cost increased from 5BG to 5BBG. The previous change from a 7BG buildtime-1 Xeno Guardian to a 5BG buildtime-2 Xeno Guardian slightly improved upon the unit’s statistical player 2 advantage, but unfortunately, the improvements were not as strong as we had hoped. Xeno Guardian continues to be one of the most player 2-favouring units across all skill levels, mainly due to the raw efficiency of the player 2 DD/DDC/DDB opening. Imposing a double-Blastforge tech requirement on Xeno Guardian is not something we take lightly, but we feel that it’s necessary to help balance the unit. On the plus side, we found in test games that the 5BBG cost resulted in multiple Xeno Guardians being purchased more often, as the unit can be used as a way of efficiently spending excess blue.
Three new units!
Finally, here are the three new units that will be added in the upcoming patch!
Arms Race is a bit of a “reverse Blood Pact”. You get a few attackers at a massively reduced price, and your opponent receives a few defenders. Watch out, as the unit can lead to an incredibly massive army size in a ridiculously small number of turns.
Colossus can be thought of as either a big non-prompt Feral Warden, or a big Chieftain without limited lifespan. Either way, you’ll have some interesting decisions when it comes to deciding when to hold one back on defense.
Many years ago, we had a unit in Prismata that attacked purely by constructing Pixies instead of doing damage. The unit led to some pretty degenerate games as players often amassed dozens of Pixies before ever dealing a point of damage. Oxide Mixer is an attempt to recreate some of the same gameplay, while limited supply and low lifespan keep the unit in check.
And that’s it!
Together with the changes discussed in part 1, these changes complete the patch. It will go live in the next day or two!