Proposed Balance Changes

Posted by 11 years ago

Natural Selection 2 balance is constantly evolving (Geddit?!). Around February this year, Flayra passed the balance torch to Sewlek (Andi). Ever since, Andi has been consulting, experimenting and tinkering with balance. Consulting widely and becoming utterly engrossed in his task, he is now the oracle of Natural Selection balance. The result of his hard work is Balance Test Mod. Over the coming weeks, Balance Test Mod will become vanilla Natural Selection 2 – and the way you play will change.

Never fear – The sky will not come crashing in! You will have to re-learn the way some systems work, but it is NS through-and-through. Watch the game below and you will see that for the most part, game-play flows in similar ways to the NS you have been playing since launch:


You can see more Balance Test games from TWaT v Potam here.

Andi has made wide consultation an absolute priority. Competitive players, public players, casters, team captains… He has sat and watched countless games, read mountains of feedback, and spent long hours pondering what makes for good play. His objective has been to both increase the depth of NS2 play: Variety of build orders, viability of alternate strategies; and to make gameplay more fun: Removing abusable mechanisms, creating more enjoyable scenarios.

His investigations have gone beyond tech-trees and damage values. For example, in the case of marine projectile weapons:

“Bullets have now a physical size (instead of being a line)…¬†On some models the hit-box was very tight (not wrong!) which gave the impression of engine related hit reg errors. The addition of a ¬†bullet size compensates a bit for those unforgiving hit hit-boxes. It also eliminates hit-registration situations where a line trace would fail, but should not have in the eyes of a player.”

Andi has applied similar rigour to analysing and improving the way aliens move. Entirely re-written movement code, with a focus on giving lifeforms a feeling of ‘momentum.’ Momentum can be built up through skilled play, and removed by sharp turns and other erratic movements.

Playing Balance Test Mod is easy. Simply start Natural Selection 2, open the server browser, and then filter by ‘NS2 BT’ in the mod bar. Join a server, and voila! Even if you are not currently subscribed to Balance Test Mod on Steam Workshop, the mod will download during the loading process. If you encounter a ‘Missing Required Mod’ error, try closing NS2, closing Steam, and restarting both.

Select 'NS2 BT' from the mod bar to filter for Balance Test games

Select ‘NS2 BT’ from the mod bar to filter for Balance Test games

The full list of changes is quite large. They are all still open to debate, very much in testing, and everyone at UWE wants you to speak up on where you think NS should go next. Here is the list, as of Friday June 14:

Recent (As @ 14 June):
– drifters can now clear marine ghost structures
– removed medpack CD from marine commander UI (marines have now a pickup delay)
– removed vision obscuring effect of gorge spit
-? reduced harvester cost to 8
– insight update
– fixed GL not dealing full damage on direct hit
– reduced exo armor to 280, down from 400
– increased exo armor upgrade to 45, up from 40

Resource System:
– changed more extractor health to armor to be easier to weld up
– minimum team resources when no RT active (counts as 0.5 active RTs)
– removed "no res while dead" rule
– reduced personal resource income per RT from 0.125 to 0.1

– disabled gradual melee attacks
– added concept of "soft targets" which let bullets and melee attacks go through (affects Drifters, MACs, Hallucinations)
– added additional 6 second respawn time when rejoining a team, suiciding or when killed by a death trigger
– movement code rewritten

Anti Spam:
– MACs and Drifters are no longer able to attack
– resource towers and command structures will now block re-creation for 5 seconds after destruction
– added supply limit for specific units, 100 supply per captured tech point
– MACs can no longer weld each other
– multiple MACs are no longer able to weld the same target
– crags no longer stack their healing with each other and can heal a maximum of 3 targets at once
– shift energize no longer stacks

Marine Tech Tree:
– JP and single gun Exos are now available at 1 command station (dual gun still require 2)
– mines tech research cost has been decreased to 10 resources (down from 15)
– reduced robotics factory to 10 resources (was 15)
– reduced upgrade to ARC robotics factory costs to 5 (was 10)
– nano shield is now a research at command station
– arms lab no longer requires an armory
– welders no longer require a research
– added small self weld when welding a structure or player
– Grenade Launcher and Flamethrower are now unlocked with ‘Advanced Weaponry’, available once an armory is upgraded

– reduced exo cost to 40 (60 for dual minigun)
– exos can now be nano shielded
– exosuits can now use their thruster horizontal (use shift)
– reduced exo thruster cool down to 2.5 seconds (was 4)
– increased exo base speed to 6, up from 5
– reduced claw damage to 30
– miniguns now profit from weapon upgrades
– toned down dual minigun damage to 70%
– reduced vision obscurring effect from bilebomb on exo HUD

Flame Thrower:
-? increased base damage but wont profit from weapon upgrades
-? added flamethrower range tech which increased range to 11 meters (default 8)
– increase flame thrower clip size to 50 (was 30)
– removed flame thrower damage ramp up
– reduced flamethrower weight
– flamethrower can now burn up bile/whip bombs and disables enemy structure functions
– flamethrower can now burn up drifter clouds

Grenade Launcher:
-? increased base damage but wont profit from weapon upgrades
-? added detonation time tech which reduces detonation timer by 0.5 seconds (down to 1.5)
– reduced grenade launcher cost to 15 (was 25)
– increased grenade launcher reserve ammo to 28
– whips no longer whack grenades

-? increased shotgun fire rate by 18%
-? reduced shotgun damage against structures by 25%
– reduced base damage to 170
– adjusted shotgun spread

– reduced ARC build time from 10 to 7
– reduced robotics factory upgrade time from 40 to 20
– reduced ARC movement speed by 33%
– reduced ARC movement speed by 70% when in combat or on infestation
– ARCs are now properly affected by shades ink cloud
– reduced ARC splash radius to 7, down from 10

Marine General:
– marines can now build on infestation but all structures take damage to armor
– reduced health/armor of Phase Gates to 2500/300 (down from 2700/450)
– marines can now always sprint (no more fatigue)
– marine structures build 25% slower on infestation
– added ability for marine commander to temporary power individual structures
– amories no longer heal armor
– increased jetpack cost to 15 (was 10)
– removed MAC EMP
– extractors and command stations can now be parasited
– increased spawn time to 9 seconds (was 7)

Alien Spawn:
– each alien has individual spawn timer (8 seconds)
– an egg is generated every 16 seconds (6 seconds for 12 player)
– each hive can have max of 3 eggs (6 for 12 players)
– hives have now the hatch ability (2 eggs for 5 t.res)

– increased whip bomb splash radius to 6 meters (was 3) and reduced damage by 50% (down to 600)
– whips can automatically bombard once they are matured
– reduced whip cost to 10 (was 15)
– whips will now root and unroot automatically

Alien Tech Tree:
– personal upgrades scale now cost depending on life form (0 for skulk, 2 gorge, 3 lerk, 5 fade, 8 onos)
– reduced life form cost to compensate with new upgrade cost (5 gorge, 25 lerk, 40 fade, 60 onos)
– add bio mass: every structure grants bio mass which increases the health of life forms
– scaleable upgrades (for example build a maximum of 3 shells to get maximum efficiency for carapace, regeneration), 20 res per structure
– celerity works now in combat and increases max speed by 1.5 m/s
– regeneration works now in combat
– adrenaline increases max energy and regeneration rate by 10% per level
– added new shade upgrade which shows enemies and their health (Aura)
– merged silence and camouflage (Phantom)

– swipe damage down by 16%
– fades are a bit easier to see during blink
– blink is now always researched
– shadowstep does not add any momentum anymore
– increased range of fade vortex ability
– disabled fade double jump

– spores are now tier 3 and bigger / cheaper to use.
– umbra is now tier 2 and blocks 1 out of 3 bullets (was 1 out of 2)-
– fixed weapon switch delays (umbra to bite and spores to bite)

– changed stomp to affect marines in a radius rather than being a shockwave
– onos movement won’t be blocked by skulks, gorges and lerks anymore
– reduced gore range
– reduced gore damage to 100

– hydras are now flamable
– increased gorge build rate

– skulk moves now faster on walls
– xenocide cant be cancelled anymore
– when dying by xenocide, skulk respawn time is reduce by 6 seconds

– cysts will block recreation in the area when destroyed for 4 seconds
– cysts will autobuild once their parent is contructed
– increased cyst build time to 4 seconds, removed cool down
– increased cyst range and infestation radius
– infestation receding is now twice as fast than growing
– gorge tunnel entrances create now infestation when the other side is infested

– Drifters can now be created during the hive is researching
– reduced drifter cloud costs to 1 (was 2)
– drifters unlock triggered abilities (shade hive: hallucinate, shift hive: storm cloud/movement speed, crag hive: mucous membrane/heals armor)
– moved hallucinations from shade to drifters: every alien in effect range generates a hallucination, controllable by the alien commander

Alien General:
-? crag, shift and shade can now always be build
-? increase crag, shift, shade cost to 15 (was 10) and scaled up their health / effectiveness accordingly
-? chamber triggered abilities require now the correct hive type
-? allow aliens to change upgrades (min gestation time 5 seconds)
– alien structures auto build rate is reduced by 70%, drifters speed up build time to normal rate
– cloaked players are always slightly visible
– increased regeneration upgrade to 7% health per tick, up from 6%
– rupture can now be cast directly on infestation, like bonewall
– added echo harvester to shift
– added echo gorge tunnel to shift (only on infestation)
– enemies are outlined with parasite only (damage will no longer trigger it)
– the normal gestation time is applied when using a pre-evolved egg instead of just 2 seconds
– shift echo ability no longer requires maturity
– adjusted shade ink ability duration and cool down to allow arcs to fire once between successive use of ink clouds


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