On Balance: 2.600 brings balance to the Force

June 12, 2009

relic_logo2As promised, I’ve given some thought to Relic’s patch 2.600 after a few games and some perusing of GR.org‘s balance forums. Overall, this is finally a return to form for Relic. Almost all of the balance changes reflect issues that were raised by the community based on high-level games and, in the case of bugs, repeatable evidence. The feedback on GR.org has mainly been positive, albeit with some sarcasm (see certificate I reposted from one GR.org forumer below). To me, the big issues in 2.502 were the Pak bug, the T17 being silly, Schimmwagen’s Scorch ability being absurd and the Infantry Halftrack’s wholly unnecessary suppression boost. All of these were fixed in 2.600.

This alone merits this certificate, which conveys pretty exactly my general feeling to Relic:

Competence is good.

Competence is good.

That being said, here’s a more detailed breakdown of my reflections. As usual, I’ve listed only the most significant changes (in my opinion). Please visit www.gamereplays.org for a full list of patch notes.

Patch 2.600
Bug Fixes

  • Cool-downs are now working properly for all weapons.

Always a good thing. I’m not 100% on which exact weapons weren’t cooling down properly, but I’d say the T17’s bizarre rate of fire is a good example.

  • HMGs in buildings will now switch targets as intended; there is a 3.5 second delay before the hmg will fire at another target.

In my experience this is somewhat similar to how MGs worked before, they would suppress one squad, then target a second new squad and suppress it as well. However, this behavior was limited to squads within the same cone o fire, now this applies to squads moving to flank from another direction. The 3.5 second forces you to be tighter but I’m agnostic on whether this was needed. At least it works.

  • Fixed an issue where Pak38s could stack their first-strike modifiers.

An outrageous, game-breaking bug that should never have happened. It better be fixed.

  • Raised Panzerschreck squads preference to target Light Vehicles while garrisoned in buildings.

Makes sense in theory. I never noticed shrecks not targeting light vehicles; in any case you could tell the garrisoned squad what to target before 2.600 anyway.

Gameplay

  • Improved the reliability and effectiveness of the American’s Strafing Run.

It feels pretty much the same to me, to be honest. I haven’t seen any incident where the P-47 would fully strike a squad but do no damage. Some amount of damage and suppression has always been inflicted in 2.600. But I’ve only had occasion to Strafe a few times so far. Need more time to wait and see.

  • The T17 armored car’s damage output has been reduced.

It was silly before. Good job listening and watching the replays, Relic.

  • Penetration of the T17 armored car has been reduced.

Unnecessary in my opinion. It still misses light vehicles more often than the M8, and against armored units like Ostwinds and Wirblewinds, a penetration nerf was unnecessary.

  • The Panzer Elite’s Schwimmwagen Scorched Earth ability has been replaced with an “Incendiary Trap” ability.

Thanks be to God. As demonstrated in the most recent Battle Report, this is nigh-unstoppable. Malivos just got lazy and CharlesDarwin got focused.

  • Infantry sections with Bren upgrades can now use ‘Button Enemy Vehicle’ when garrisoned inside a building.

I’m all in favor of consistency.

  • Panzer Elite Infantry Halftrack suppression lowered.

This was the result of a bug, in my understanding. Not sure why it was placed under “Gameplay” issues by Relic. But it’s a good change.