GU13 Reflections (part 2)

So over the weekend I started blogging away about GU13, and ended up saying a fair bit about the new weapons.  I could have kept going, but even I have a hard time reading that much text, especially when I could be out there shooting people in the head!  So here’s the rest of my GU13 breakdown, focused on things that affect infiltrators.

IFF reticule: Does not activate over cloaked infiltrators.  Phew!  This may cause you to get spotted when sniping from a bush… but it will be near impossible to prove as I often get found sniping from bushes after a few shots, regardless of this reticule change.  I don’t generally like the direction SOE is taking with the IFF mechanics (cloak, and now the reticule).  I hope the stop soon, but this particular change is rather benign.

Pistol adjustments:  Most of the sidearms were buffed slightly for range, reload speed.  They made some nice improvements to my TX2 Emperor, and I can’t wait to start using it again, once I auraxium the Inquisitor.  Sidearms remain a very personal choice and I think the selection currently is quite balanced and diverse.

Cloak shader changes: “The low graphic settings cloak is now less grey and more transparent.”  This has caused some tears from low graphics users on the forums.  I feel SOE is stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one.  For months now, we have had very good players with excellent computers running low graphics just to counter infiltrators, due to how easy it is to see the casper cloak.  I found this change to be very welcome, as it directly harms our ability to infiltrate and makes us easy prey.  On the other hand, I feel for the players who need to run this game on low settings, and feel that they cannot see infiltrators at all.  I haven’t turned my game settings down to test this yet, I really should.  But I have heard from a few players that they really can’t see us.  I personally think that if SOE had to chose between two evils, they made the right call with making us harder to see.  We still have to decloak to fire, and we show up on the minimap now with prox and scout radar, as well as recon darts (will discuss soon!).  But I admit to having a pretty strong bias and I won’t be making any bold statements to the community about this subject because of that.

Advance Shield Capacitor suit:  Buffed nicely, so at max level, your shield now recharges after 6 seconds, instead of 7.5s.  It also happens to be fairly cheap, cert-wise, so I maxed it out and started thinking about how to use it.  I will probably consider writing a separate post about this suit slot, but based on my own theorycrafting as well as some gameplay with the suit, I think this is a good choice for the SMG/CQC style of infiltrator.  You do become vulnerable to mines again (I used to run flak for this role), but the benefit is that we can play much more aggressively, and get back into the fight sooner.  With a 4 second advantage over the enemy, you can trade fire, recharge, and go back in to finish them well before they will be back up.  I really like this because when I take damage, my usual response is to cloak up and run, staying cloaked until 10s has passed so I can decloak and immediately start recharging.  You can really feel the difference using a maxed out ASC.

Mines:  Interesting balance choices here, of which I mostly agree with.  Mines should now kill nanoweave users.  This is a welcome balance, as I felt NW was just too good, protecting from headshots, increasing survivability in small arms fire, and able to survive a mine.  No more!  They also added a sound and animation for detonation, which appear to give you just a fraction of a second warning to move away – but every time I have hit a mine, I end up going down (without flak).  So the warning sound doesn’t really make it easier to avoid them.  The claymore was buffed to have a higher minimum damage at 6m of 350, over the prox/BB damage of 200 at 6m.  I still find the design of these mines completely imbalanced, but I stopped using claymores in a serious capacity a long time ago.  They are spotted and disabled about 60-70% of the time, no matter how sneaky my placement is.  Overall, a good chance to mines though.

One change not in the patch notes, but I’m pretty sure had been mentioned before and definitely has made it to live is that it is easier to spot through the scope now.  This is nice because I often would unscope just to spot a target so the rest of the squad could focus fire.  Glad that got tweaked.

Radar Changes (BIG): Scout radar requires you to be in the vehicle (aka, flash or ESF).  It now shows cloaked infiltrators.  Prox radar updates every 1/2 second, requires you to be in vehicle, but shows cloaked infiltrators.  It also now shows this information to everyone in your faction, not just the users of the vehicle.

This is a large change and one that is bittersweet.  Overall, it benefits the infiltrator because of the following: No more scout flashes!  Or better put – they are not drop and forget wall hack EZmode.  I can’t tell you how many times these flashes created problems for me during base assaults.  People would pull them just to find me, and there was nothing I could do to stop them.  The other way this benefits the infiltrator is by making us more needed on the battlefield to provide intel for our allies.  So max out those darts!

The downside is that we are now visible to all radar, even when cloaked.  I personally find this to be STUPID.  We are supposed to be a stealth class, yet we have literally ZERO ways to counter radar.  Even against other infiltrators, we cannot use our cloak to reliably evade a smart enemy.  I have abused this quite a bit to hunt down other very good infiltrators, knowing that it doesn’t matter what they do with their cloak, I just follow the red dot on my minimap.  I know SOE had scheduled implants to go live with these changes, just another frustration for me since I feel we really need a suit slot to provide the “sensor shield”.  Currently we are in a bad place with regards to radar, that has increased power against us while we do not have the counter that was supposed to go live with implants (albeit I thought they made some bad calls with implants, as you may recall from my post in ImplantGate).  Overall though, while bitersweet, we came out on top of the radar changes.

Last but not least… Esamir.  So much has already been said about Esamir, I don’t really feel the need to rehash it completely.  I do think the walls are excessive, and they limit infantry just as much as they protect from tanks.  Being in a gerbil maze, corralled from one area to another, just allows for players to spam their weapons and farm choke points.  The walls also can limit sniper gameplay, depending on the base.  However, I found plenty of bases with nice elevation features that allow for plenty of sniping.  The terrain variety also make it safer to snipe, compared to standing in the middle of a vast white snow field with not a rock in sight.  I have had some great fights here over the past week, and overall think that they made a great redesign – the place essentially is a new continent.  I would like to see some tweaks to the wall design, and I hope that they don’t go to EVERY continent and slap walls around it.  For example, I’d rather that Amerish stay relatively unchanged but just get lattice’d.  It’s already hostile for vehicles, and I don’t think players need any more protection than they already do.

As I said before, GU13 is one of the best updates to the game that I have seen.  A ton of work went into it, and it is evident that SOE is committed to keeping this product going for the long haul.  The danger with making so many changes is that you can hurt or take away gameplay that players currently enjoy.  We saw this with the air game, which became so hostile after early game updates that only the best pilots in the game were able to survive up there – this lasted for over 6 months.  It is only now becoming more balanced, to the point where medicore pilots can get in the air and have fun without just lolpodding.  I encourage SOE to keep working on the game, but I also hope that they are careful in minimizing the collateral damage such changes can have.  The reason I like this GU so much is that I think it was minimal in its harm to the players, while giving us new weapons, new content and fresh features.  The same could not be said of the max update (ZOE cough cough) for example.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading and see you on the battlefield!

Mustarde

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