PU02 – The rundown for infiltrators

PU02 dropped this past week, with much anticipated changes to Auraxis.  We had major balance passes on vehicles, infantry weapons, and various suit and equipment options.  Essentially the entire game was tuned, in a single major swoop.  We also had further optimizations, some new items for the holidays, and a few special holiday features to make Auraxis special this time of year.  Seeing how this is an infiltrator blog, I will focus mostly on changes related to our class, and briefly touch on other notable subjects.  For full patch notes, you can go here:

Nanoweave:  As they previewed earlier, SOE changed nanoweave from flat health bonus to resist against small arms, and does not protect headshots.  Here’s the exact language.

Nanoweave no longer increases the player’s health pool. It now adds a resistance against infantry small arms and rapid fire vehicle weapons only

  • This change means that Nanoweave will no longer add survivability against damage types that it wasn’t intended to counter, like blast damage
  • The strength of Nanoweave against the valid damage types remains the same as before
  • Headshots will now always bypass the Nanoweave resist and do full damage
  • Nanoweave no longer stacks with the Heavy Assault’s Resist Shield ability. This was not intentional and it was granting the Heavy Assault too much survivability when compared to all other classes
  • All Nanoweave certs have been refunded

The consequence of this change for infiltrators is that by definition, we can OHK at any range.  It also means you can be countersniped even if you are far away and used to rock nanoweave 5.  I’ve long had a problem with how nanoweave functioned, especially regarding sniper rifles – this change isn’t exactly how I would have addressed it but it gets the job done.  I personally don’t think they needed to make headshots for small arms unprotected, as there is already a damage bonus for headshots on a target.  But perhaps that is the most elegant way SOE could alter nanoweave while allowing sniper rifles to OHK through it.  This ties right into the sniper rifles…

Sniper rifle changes:

  • All sniper rifles have been adjusted to have better defined 1-shot headshot kill ranges. Reload speeds, damage, and other stats have been adjusted to match.
  • NC14 Bolt Driver, TR M77-B, and VS XM98
    • Max damage reduced from 750 to 650
    • Min damage changed from 550 at 750 meters to 400 at 350 meters
    • Long reload improved from 5.0 to 4.6 seconds
    • Short reload improved from 3.5 to 3.0 seconds
    • 1-shot headshot until 250 meters
  • NC SAS-R, TR TSAR-42, and VS Ghost
    • Long reload improved from 4.5 to 4.0 seconds
    • Short reload improved from 3.15 to 2.8 seconds
    • Max damage reduced from 750 to 700
    • Min damage changed from 550 at 750 meters to 400 at 265 meters
    • 1-shot headshot until 200 meters
    • Removed sway when using low powered optics
  • NC LA80, TR SR-7, and VS V10
    • Long reload improved from 5.0 to 4.7 seconds
    • Short reload improved from 3.75 to 3.1 seconds
    • Max damage reduced from 750 to 650
    • Min damage changed from 550 at 75 meters to 400 at 350 meters
    • Bolt time increased from 1.3 to 1.395 seconds
    • 1-shot headshot until 250 meters
  • NC EM4 Longshot, TR RAMS .50M, and VS Parallax
    • Long reload improved from 6.0 to 5.575 seconds
    • Short reload improved 5.0 to 4.72 seconds
    • Max damage changed from 800 to 700
    • Min damage changed to from 550 at 100 meters to 400 at 400 meters
    • 1-shot headshot until 300 meters

The SASR’s all had their reload time buffed, and the auto scout rifles got a buff to hipfire and reload!  Buffs all around!!!

Most of these numbers were tweaked to achieve the following result: OHK range cap at 200m for the close range BASR’s, 250m for tier 1 & 2 BASR’s and 300m for tier 3 BASR’s.  Now, notice that the minimum damage for our sniper rifles fell from 550 to 400, albeit it takes a long time to get there.  The maximum damage was decreased across the board as well.  What this does is preserve the OHK but punishes body shots, as you will find at longer ranges that the rifles can take 3, sometimes 4 body shots to bring a target down.  Within 100m however,  you will generally preserve the 2 hit kill depending on nanoweave.

Much has already been said about range caps.  Even I predicted that the dominance of certain rifles would change based on the proposed 150m cap, as there are a great many valid targets one would want to engage at that distance.  However, what SOE has done by increasing that range and adding different ranges based on the rifle is create a choice for the infiltrator.  Furthermore, I think 250-300m is enough range that you will rarely find yourself stuck and unable to engage targets (as opposed to 150m which would have been very frustrating).  SOE may have seen this as a compromise after they floated the 150m number out there but from my standpoint, they caved to the infiltrator community on this issue, and kept the range cap in almost as lip service to those players who felt we should have some sort of limitation on our OHK cannons.  I’ve yet to hit someone in the head and come up against the range cap since this patch hit.

I was a little surprised to see our reload speeds buffed across the board.  You can definitely feel the difference, especially with the SR-7 (tier 2 line), which is now within 0.1s of the tier 1 reload times.  To compensate, they increased the rechamber speed slightly, which confuses me a bit – why not leave the rechamber speed and just not buff the reload as heavily?  Oh well, the end result is that you can still put more bullets down range, however I really value rechamber time to land follow up shots on moving targets.  After playing around with all the rifles after the patch, I think I will remain a fan of the tier 2 lineup, reserving the tier 3 rifles for long range work.

A big surprise that came about was removing the scope sway on our close range SASR and BASR variants.  This was the one thing really holding back the semi-auto’s, as they would often hit the scope sway before you could fire that last round or two into your target.  I’m enjoying the KSR-35 now, although I still find it suffers the same limitations of all SASR’s, which I won’t go into here.  The close range BASR’s can now be used to make tricky long range shots due to the lack of sway, and are great for farming large numbers of targets if you get a good flank on them.  I don’t think it was too much of a buff though, because most snipers only stood still and scoped up long enough to fire a single round anyways.  I said back in my sniper rifle review in March that both of these weapons needed their sway removed and I’m glad to see it finally go through.

Now, something that wasn’t in the patch notes… an animation delay was added to scoping for sniper rifles.  This delay makes it take longer to scope up, presumably to prevent “quick scoping”, something that I almost never saw anyone do to any great effect in this game.  But what this delay has done is mess with scoped and unscoped mouse sensitivities during the transition.  It has thrown off the inherent feel of these weapons, and is worse when tracking moving targets or using high powered optics.  I have been very frustrated with this change, as I had so much to look forward to with this patch and quickly realized that I was having a damn hard time killing targets that would otherwise have been easy at 20-50m.  I’ve tried to make a lot of noise to let the devs know we want this addressed.  We’ll see if they can take a look at it after the holidays.  Here’s a link to my bug report (30 likes so far!), if you haven’t checked it out, please do so and help me get SOE’s attention on the matter!

What else is there to say about PU02?  From an infiltrator perspective, not much.  The vehicle weapons were tuned heavily, which does have a slight impact on the flash – if you use a wraith flash, you might find the fury a little different now.   I’m glad they gave our ammo pool a bump.

M40 Fury-H & F

  • Direct damage increased from 300 to 365
  • Blast damage reduced from 550 to 334
  • Blast damage inner radius reduced from 2 meters to 1 meter
  • Blast damage outer radius reduced from 4 meters to 3 meters
  • Magazine size increased from 5 to 8
  • Ammo Capacity for Flash increased from 30 to 48
    • Certifications increased to 8 per rank up from 5

I played around with all of the flash weapons a bit, and didn’t find any change big enough to make me start using different weapons on the flash.  The biggest impact of these changes is that harassers are less prominent, which let us have a bit more wiggle room on the battlefield.

Some final notes on PU02 – ZOE was nerfed hard, and rightfully so (in my opinion).  The harasser was nerfed very hard too, from several angles (repair speed, armor, and weapons), which make me wonder if it was the wisest approach to game balance.  The fact that we had 11000 words for a patch notes makes me wonder if too much was done to the game at once.  I prefer incremental changes to aspects of the game in order to prevent unintended consequences and over-correcting things into uselessness (such as the flash, HE rounds, etc).  Hip fire was nerfed for LMG’s, and advance laser sights were also nerfed a bit, which I think is a bit of a boon for SMG infiltrators, who will retain highly accurate hipfire against enemies who will not be as well equipped at that range anymore.

Right after the patch dropped, we had huge bugs with the hitbox and animations, making the game and infantry play almost unbearable.  SOE dropped a hotfix a few days later which largely resolves many of those problems.  Outside of the scoping issues I mentioned already, the game feels like the same old planetside we have been enjoying for the last year, at least in terms of infantry combat.

In other news, I have started doing more public things with PS2 lately.  I was a guest on an infiltrator panel for Attack on Auraxis with KidRiot, Torokokill and sPWNish – a very good discussion on infiltrators and competitive PS2.  Just 5 days later ItzMudra sent me a message over twitter asking me if I wanted to guest on the FNO panel that night.  Hell yeah!!!!  Here’s the recap from FNO, it peaked at 2000 viewers on twitch and was a great discussion.  I was honored to be asked to join in and I hope to find time for more community events when my schedule allows.

If you’ve been living under a rock lately and haven’t checked in with PS2, a lot is happening.  Double XP this weekend ending today, crazy christmas sales on items, and snowmen to shoot for XP and other cosmetics.  Log in, check things out, I think you’ll be mostly pleased with what you see.

Until next time, stay Frosty!

Mustarde

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