Playtest 180 - Balance Changes

starfighterstarfighter Member, Administrator
edited January 14 in Patch Notes

Balance Changes!

Tonight's playtest features a host of new balance changes and more pathing changes.


Units now tend to maintain formation while moving.

Wind Squad

  • Warp squad has been renamed Wind Squad!
  • The hero has a new ultimate, Warp Pad. Warp Pad places a teleporter pad at target location. A second teleporter pad is automatically created a fixed distance away, along the line between the hero and initial pad. Allied units that enter the entrance pad are immediately teleported to the exit pad.
  • The T1 unit has been substantially buffed, with increases to its HP, attack damage, and magic resist.
  • The T2 unit's zephyr ability now has a longer cast range.
  • The T2 unit's gust ability now blows a more forceful wind.
  • The T3 unit's chain lightning attack does substantially more damage.

The Hive

  • The hero has a new basic ability, Burrow Rush. Upon cast, the hero will quickly burrow toward target location. Upon reaching the target, the hero will erupt from the ground, briefly stunning nearby units and spawning a pair of controllable beetles.
  • The Hero's ultimate has been adjusted - spawned swarm beetles now only last 6 seconds and have reduced HP.
  • Hornet egg (created by the T1 ability Lay Egg) behavior has been adjusted. Hornet eggs can now be aquired by enemy attack-move commands when they are initially laid, before becoming active. This makes this substantially weaker when used in the middle of a fight.
  • The T2 unit has been substantially buffed, with increases to its HP and damage.


  • The Scuttleguard ability Guard has been removed by default and is now available as a T2 upgrade.
  • The Aquadillo ability Vindication has been removed by default and is now available as a T3 upgrade.


  • All unit's in this squad now move slower while in combat. They regain their normal move speed after being out of combat for five seconds.


  • Corrected an issue where the Sandstinger were mislabeled as a frontline unit.


  • How did pathing feel? Did formations feel more meaningful?
  • How did the squad changes feel?
  • How does Wind Squad’s new ultimate feel?
  • Tell us lots about your squad battling experience!

    • Early, Mid, Late?
  • Any other comments or questions?


  • PursuitPursuit Member
    edited January 14

    Played a lot of Wind Squad today, overall I feel like-

    • Sprites are useful for a longer period of time than they were in Playtest 179, but you still hit that point in late game where they just feel useless. Die too easily and dont add much damage. I tried to pull some stuff like using them to go around and kill bases / towers, but it didn't really seem to do much (iirc they die in 1 shot to towers?). They also didn't feel like they do a lot of damage, maybe this changes after the tier 3 upgrade but by then enough AoE is out to kill them so quickly it feels like it doesn't matter.
    • Of Wind's tier 2 abilities, the AoE slow / buff felt good but not very fun to use and the gust ability felt fun to use but only a few niche uses and encouraged defensive play. The problem is that it didn't synergize well at all with Sprites which needed surrounds.
    • Conduits felt great. High damage, super strong, but not without counterplay. They were maybe a bit too strong when rushing for them and able to pick off units very easily in the early game, and it felt like there wasn't a whole lot of counterplay. You'd have to ask the people I played against though because for me it felt fun.
    • Wind Squad's Ultimate felt really weak. I haven't been able to find any use for it, especially since units had a tendency to get stuck slumped up and die to AoE even more easily than usual. It had a few niche uses, but compared to other heroes ults that always felt game changing the current iteration of Warp's ult just felt too weak.
    • Wind Squad has no way to engage Celesta that I could think of. I tried using the ultimate to jump in quickly (which worked against me because units would clump and die to Purifiers super easily), my hero was never able to Cyclone more than 1-2 Purifiers at a time and even then the duration wasn't long enough to do anything meaningful, and speed / concaves didn't seem to make a difference when Purifiers wrecked sprites.
    • Really I feel like wind squad is lacking an ability to engage. It needs either a reworking of the Ultimate that adds defensive capability / a more spread out composition or adds extra defensive capabilities or something to make Sprites not instantly die, or a bigger tankier unit.
    • Wind Squad's basic Hero ability is super powerful, Cyclone just feels fun to use. It might be the strongest Hero ability atm in my opinion.
    • The respawn time on Sprites in late game is painful. They die so easily, and take so long to respawn in late game, that I feel like I just never have them, and even when I do they dont feel like they add a whole lot.

    • Also played a really fun Celesta vs Hive on bottom, Hive's Ultimate felt super powerful. Without it though I think the matchup might have favored Celesta a bit too much. I'm not sure how well the tier 2 of Hive did at tanking Celesta's shots, but it didn't feel like enough to really give Hive a way to engage 4 Purifiers.

    • It was probably the most fun / exciting matchup of the day for me though, egg mines felt great to play against where they could be really powerful but I always had the ability to dodge it.
    • As a side note, the Hive tier 1 not having a model made it really difficult for me to understand what was going on. I missed a lot of opportunities to deny recalls / engage favorably because I didn't notice the units immediately.

    Just as a general note, I feel like most low HP units just feel generally useless in late game when lots of AoE is being thrown around. I'm not really sure what a good work around is to this, but the low HP units feel like the most fun to play in early game but fall off too much in late game.

  • Pathing and Formations

    (1.1) I got to play one game tonight, as Hydros, and while I didn't know what to attribute it to (I didn't think about it because I didn't remember to look for it), during the game, I did have a feel of movement feeling better (relative to the last time I could test, which was maybe 176 or 174 on Hydros). On the other hand, this has always been a tough thing to try to evaluate, as pathing that you have to micro, like to get units past each other, or into optimal position for defense or attack, feels fine. "Back in the day" it was just something you had to learn about the game and how to play it. It feels less like something that might be broken, and more a slider in how you, the designers, want the game to play. Certainly not like when units would get stuck circling expansions, or knocked out of bounds.

    (1.2) Hydros is definitely the squad that made me want formations the most. I've written about it before, but even just from how the ability lore plays with Hydros and his units, healing and marshalling from behind the battle line, formations feel great. Would love to see an impact, for example, from Grath's Trooper charge when in a wedge formation. More below, but formations made the late game a blast.

    Squad Changes

    (2.1) I like Hydros' change to upgrade structure. I don't remember what was displaced in the tech tree by the move, but it can be nice to increase that feel of building to something that changes the nature of how the units play. 'Guards before and after the upgrade are very different units. It's like why I like having the defensive tower upgrades. Planning for, making a decision, and then pushing a button that executes that decision, with a tangible change to the unit, is rewarding.

    (2.2) However, one thing, it looked like the upgrades didn't have text to accompany them on the button panel that says how much they cost. Don't know if that is intentional. I mean, they have a cost now, right?

    Wind Squad

    (3.1) Didn't get a chance to see the ultimate in action, that I'm aware of.

    Squad Battling

    (4.1) Playing against (I think) Wind and Hive in the top lane, noticed a couple of things. First, with Wind squad, the only thing that read clearly in battles was chain lightning. Engagements with T1 and T2 didn't really communicate much. They were just enemy things on the map that you attacked or moved away from. If I knew what I was looking for (perhaps simply from familiarity, which I didn't have the benefit of tonight), then maybe battles would tell me more, but as is, I couldn't really catch the theme. Probably just a matter of polish.

    (4.2) The notes for this test say that Hive's Hornet egg can "be acquired by enemy attack-move commands." Does this mean you can mind control your opponent's eggs, or just that they can be attacked like the small creep bombs? I don't think I got to see the ultimate in play, will look later.


    (5.1) So, yeah, I dig formations. Late game was my favorite part of the (limited) testing tonight. I walked a wall of 'Guards up the ramp to block an incoming flank, and a 'Dillo was actually still behind the wall in a position to then leap into the middle and fracture the incoming units. I don't know if it was damage-type optimal, but it felt awesome.

  • Pathing and Formations

    Didn't notice so much in the way of pathing changes (still getting caught on allies a lot), but it did feel like my units were staying roughly in formation/spread out a lot more strongly, rather than clumping up as easily.

    Squad Changes

    Can only really comment on Eris' changes. Sandstingers were now getting appropriately thrashed by frontline units, Terrapin Troopers in particular. They felt much harder to deal with.

    It did feel like Dervish aura was helpful for my Vela ally in one game though, to counteract the nerf, but having never tried that before I can't comment on the relative helpfulness of this compared to before Vela being slowed down.

    Wind Squad's Ultimate

    In a word, it feels incomplete. Its current range doesn't really allow for any sort of surprise engagements with it, and the clumping of units around the exit makes them extremely vulnerable to aoe abilities. It also felt like it was too easy to accidentally have your units warp repeatedly/start looping during a disengagement unless you carefully micro around the entrance.

    Early Game

    I played one game as Wind Squad and several as Eris. Wind Squad game was on bottom side vs Vex. Early game, this felt like a surprisingly strong matchup for Wind, being able to surround and simply out-dps Vex's limited numbers by just swarming.

    Eris, as always, felt very strong early, and none of the changes seemed to affect things that much, apart from the aforementioned Terrapin Troopers tearing my poor Sandstingers apart.

    Mid Game

    Wind mid game, I built a number of T2s instead of rushing T3 like I've seen others do since. Rushing T3s feels like a much stronger play, and while Zephyr is really fun, it didn't feel like I had the damage to keep up with Vex at this point in the game. Playing against midgame Wind who rushed T3 felt very fun from my against-Wind side of things. Conduits hit very hard compared to Sprites, but are also large targets, and the ensuing position-based fight in order to focus down Conduits felt great.

    Vs Hive, this seems to be when they start getting those ridiculous mine upgrades and every step needs to be careful and calculated. Mines slow armies down 100% of the time.

    Late Game

    I didn't get a proper chance to play Wind lategame, as my opponent lagged out, replacing him with a bot and ending the game early. Against Wind, the Sprites fell down to aoe pretty easily, and Warp Pad didn't seem strong enough to make up for the limited damage the squad could output at this point.

    It felt like Eris has no recourse against lategame Celesta, though after the fact I considered that ability power upgrades might be the ticket to victory there. Otherwise, to echo Pursuit, low-hp units all seem to fall off rather hard lategame.

    Other Comments

    Mines are super strong, and while they slow things down, I think they're fun. The upgrades are probably a little on the strong side. Warp Pad needs something, but I love the idea of it. The new Hero ability for Hive feels like a way better ability than just spamming beetles on cooldown, and also gives the Hero some much-needed way to get into melee range.

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