Playtest 192: Items & Charms, Squad Reworks, UI tweaks, Merc Adjustments

TreiskTreisk Member, Administrator
edited February 25 in Patch Notes

Playtest 192: Items & Charms, Squad Reworks, UI tweaks, Merc Adjustments

Atlas 2.0 iteration continues! This week, we've added a few extra systems and reworked some of our squads (as usual!) First, we're introducing charms, a simple way for you to buy cool items & abilities for your hero. These charms are purchased from the Charm Shrine, a building that you can build just like any other. We're hoping this will expand the feeling of "mix and match variety" we're trying to squeeze out of Atlas 2.0.

In addition, we've reworked some of the squads to stretch for more skillful, high-variance outcomes in battles. Battles are more exciting the more you can influence the outcome!

General Changes

Everyone's hotkeys have been reset!

Map Changes

  • Several expansion and titan locations have been changed.


  • Starting coin: 500 ⇒ 300

User Interface

  • Has received myriad changes! Please let us know what you thought of the new UI elements!

Mercenary Changes


All Mercenary structures have received more proper names than "A-1" and "B-2." A cheat sheet (including the new names and the mercenaries that can be built from it) has been posted to General Discussion.

  • Ion Cannon

    • Now built by Engineers
    • Cost: 20 ⇒ 16 Gems
    • Health: 3000 ⇒ 1600
    • Can no longer shoot Gem Collectors.


Players no longer begin with the ability to cast Wards or Healing Totems at the cost of Gems. Instead, they are now purchased at....

New Structure: Charm Shrine
- Construct a Charm Shrine for one gem.
- Charm Shrines sell various items for your hero, including Wards, Healing Totems, and Charms.

New Item Type: Charms

  • Replace your fourth item slot with a one-time-choice item that gives your army a major temporary effect.
  • The current Charm pool includes:

    • Regeneration Token (20% of max health over 4 seconds)
    • Arcane Servo (300 Magical Resist for a few seconds)
    • Soul Shard (30% lifesteal for a few seconds)
    • Rabbit's Foot (50% movement speed for 3 seconds)

Misc item changes

  • Removed Detection Wards
  • Removed Cloaked Wards
  • New Item: Air Ward - Place an airborne ward at the location that provides vision of an area that ignores terrain. Purchased at the Charm Shrine.
  • New Item: Ground Ward - Place a ground ward that provides vision of a location. Purchased at the Charm Shrine.

Assault Corps

  • Priest

    • Heal Recharge: 4 ⇒ 10 seconds
    • Heal max charge count: 8 ⇒ 5
  • Martyr

    • Health 300 ⇒ 200
  • Motivator

    • Bravery Recharge: 6 ⇒ 10 seconds
    • Bravery max charge count: 8 ⇒ 5
  • Phantom

    • Curse Recharge: 6 ⇒ 10 seconds
    • Curse max charge count: 8 ⇒ 5


  • Spotter has been removed Removed from the Aid Station.
  • Sentinel has been added to the Aid Station.
  • TimeLord

    • Haste Recharge: 6 ⇒ 10 seconds
    • Haste max charge count: 8 ⇒ 5
  • ChillerMan

    • Chill Recharge: 6 ⇒ 10 seconds
    • Movement speed reduction: 60 ⇒ 30%
    • Attack speed reduction: 25 ⇒ 20%
  • Blinderman

    • Delay: 0 ⇒ 4 seconds
    • Cooldown: 35 ⇒ 70, seconds
    • Radius: 10 ⇒ 8

Hero leveling changes

We've adjusted the hero leveling curve so that heroes should hit level 6 around 30% faster.



  • DEV_Hive, DEV_Poison, DEV_Wind, and DEV_Trickster have been disabled until after our next Test Weekend!


  • Grath

    • Harden (D) has been renamed to Stone Form
    • New Ultimate: Bestial Rage - Grath becomes enormous for 10 seconds, gaining massive physical and magical resistance. While enraged, Grath's autoattack stuns enemy units for 1.25s.
  • Terrapin Trooper

    • Damage: 20⇒ 25
    • Attack cooldown: 1.5 ⇒ 1.4
    • Rocket Rush
    • Range: 14 ⇒ 20
    • Cooldown: 14 ⇒ 16
    • Windup: 0 ⇒ 0.75 seconds
    • Now travels the full distance.
  • Howling Commando

    • Earthquake (W) has been removed


  • Hydros

    • Healing Waters (D)

      • Cooldown: 20 ⇒ 12 seconds
    • Turn the Tide (F)

      • Duration: 4 ⇒ 6 seconds
      • Radius: 8 ⇒ 12
  • Quadrapus

    • Plated Shell (W)

      • Plate granted: 15 ⇒ 20
    • Intervention (E)

      • Casting range: 12 ⇒ 16
      • Radius: 4 ⇒ 5


  • Ryme

    • Freeze duration: 4 ⇒ 3.5 seconds
    • Frostbolt (D)
    • Cooldown: 20 ⇒ 10 seconds.
    • New Ultimate: Frostfall (F) - Brings down 4 waves of ice in 1.5-second intervals, dealing damage to enemies and slowing them.
  • Glacial Ranger

    • Damage type: Anti-frontline ⇒ Back-line
    • Max Health: 235 ⇒ 170
    • Range: 5.5 ⇒ 7
    • Damage: 20 ⇒ 28
    • Attack cooldown: 1.3 ⇒ 1.8
  • Frostcaller

    • Unit Cap: 3 ⇒ 4
    • Frostfall (W) has been removed from the Frostcaller.
    • Added ability: Cryostasis (W) - Place a friendly unit in cryostasis. While in stasis, the unit cannot attack or use abilities. It also takes no damage and heals for a considerable amount of health
    • Added ability: Shatter (E) - Shatter target frozen enemy unit, dealing a massive burst of damage, and replacing the Freeze effect with a slowing effect.
  • Ancient Ice Frog

    • Attack range: 4.5 ⇒ 3.2
    • Icy Breath (R)
    • Now targets a direction and channels in that direction for the duration
    • Duration: 4 2 seconds.


  • Vex

    • New Basic Ability: Scorch Grenade (D) - Fires a quick detonation grenade that ignites enemy targets.
  • Sparkbot

    • Max health: 155 ⇒ 135
    • Backdraft damage: 4 ⇒ 10
    • Backdraft damage type: Back-line Full
  • Pyrosaur

    • Attacks no longer ignite
    • Attack cone range: 5.0 ⇒ 3.0
    • Flamethrower (E) - Reworked. Now blasts fire in a target direction for 2 seconds, dealing 40 damage per second to enemies contained within and igniting them.


  1. What region did you play? Did you feel more variance in your battle outcomes?
  2. What build orders are you trying w/ your squad/mercs/charms? What do you like/dislike about mercs/charms?
  3. Please give us feedback about the new UI elements!


  • This is some sorta unorthodox feedback, but I'm reporting in to say why I sat this week out. With poison removed and the zone control elements I liked so much gone from Ryme, I really didn't know who to play... And after missing two whole weeks due to life issues (though I've kept up with Atlas 2.0 through bot games) I couldn't see myself actually having fun floundering around in both a new PvP environment and on a (relatively) new squad... So, I'll be back on Sunday, with a few extra bot games under my belt so that I hopefully feel more comfortable hopping back into the PvP!

  • ShrikeGamesShrikeGames Member
    edited February 25
    General Thoughts

    When I originally read the patch notes I was pretyt put off and bitter about it. It sounded terrible... (charms? tedious and annoying, nerfs everywhere, etc) but I was wrong. Best build yet.
    The loading screen is snappy and responsive! Woo
    The new UI is great, far more natural to me coming from Starcraft (rather than mobas).
    Takes some getting used to having the resources in the top left but I can adjust.
    I love seeing what units I have selected, having respawn information up with the resources, the ability/building grid has far more sane hotkeys and positoning, etc.
    I had way more squad units than mercs and it felt great. To have my squad, my troops, doing the bulk of the work with some tech aid of the mercs.
    At first I thought charms thing would be really bothersome but it turned out to not really be a big deal at all. It's kind of nice to know that you can't just plop down healing/sensors/etc without previous thought and action.
    Ion cannons are way too expensive now. 8 gems for engineer, then another 24 gems for the cannon and you lose the engineer.
    Juggernauts are really strong, they have a ton of health. Maybe make them cost more soup, 500 seems easily affordable.
    Eris feels great overall. I don't really fear any particular matchup anymore.
    Is it weird that with less gold I felt that upgrades were more affordable? Maybe because I would invest more into one tier of units.

    What region did you play? Did you feel more variance in your battle outcomes?

    I only played in the 2v2 region (if that's what you mean). I'm fairly happy with the variations in encounters and their outcomes, although I didn't feel I needed to change my strategy much.

    What build orders are you trying w/ your squad/mercs/charms? What do you like/dislike about mercs/charms?

    As Eris getting a lot of T1, then T2 a little later, then finally T3. Not uncommon to go 15/1/1 or something. Taking the soup expansion closest, then the pure gem titans, followed by soup expansion up top. Build toward a wooden cube, then straight into Juggernauts as you go up the tech tree. For Charms I get them more mid-late game but only for wards and healing (to put down with the juggernauts).

    Please give us feedback about the new UI elements!

    Stunning, amazing. Informative, slick, familiar.

  • bycebyce Member

    I missed Sunday's test, and because of this, I was completely lost in the beginning after not playing Atlas for a week. Shoutout to @Pursuit for helping me along.

    I don't think it was totally my fault that I was lost, though. I think the early game could use some streamlining. It feels very odd pulling a worker off mining to build your T1 building. Until you do this, you can't build units. I wonder how long it would take me to figure that out if I wasn't told. I also don't think the map does a very good job of helping you figure out which way to go. There aren't any nice paths showing you the way. Your base is just kind of crammed in at the side of the map with an easy camp right next to it, and there you go.

    Creeping is challenging and fun. I'm looking forward to lots of different creep types in the future.

    Soup. You get a crapload of soup and I still don't really know what to spend it on besides charms. I haven't come close to exploring all the different mercs, either. I think I need to sit down one day and try them all in a bot game.

    What region did you play? Did you feel more variance in your battle outcomes?

    The first game I played in the top region. I didn't know what I was doing, so I got dunked on. The second game I played in the bottom region. I did know what I was doing, and I did the dunking!

    I remember saying that the old map felt really claustrophobic. While I still think it did, I do miss some of the obstacles in the middle of the map. What I've noticed is, without these, one team can just bully the other team into staying at their towers. On the old map, they had to be careful not to be in a bad position in relation to the obstacles on the map, so that the other team couldn't push back at an opportune time and have an advantage. I hope that makes sense.

    What build orders are you trying w/ your squad/mercs/charms? What do you like/dislike about mercs/charms?

    As Ryme I just kept building T1 units and buying charms. The merc tree seems incredibly daunting and I just haven't dove into that yet. I get the feeling nobody else really has, either, because I've never seen anyone do anything super cool with certain mercs and think, "wow! I want to try that! What merc is that?" If the game lasts a long time and I have way too much soup I'll just buy a bunch of whatever flying unit I see and try to harass with them.

    Please give us feedback about the new UI elements!

    The new UI is super sick. The only issue I noticed is the lack of feedback when you buy charms.

    I want to see Atlas pioneer a better hotkey system than the traditional RTS way. The only thing cool about the standard hotkeying is that the code is simple. As it is now, I'd rather mercs just not start in the army hotkey so I can just grab them and CTRL+1 or whatever. But, I know you old RTS nerds are set in your ways. :) Maybe an option for a different style of hotkeys?

    I find myself missing the old global unit building hotkeys more and more. There was elegance in the simplicity there. The new system with the separate buildings just feels unnatural to me.

    Anyways, once you get the hang of it all, it's a blast. I get the feeling that a close game could take a very, very long time, though!

  • Region and Engagement Outcome

    Bottom Lane
    (1.1) - Played mostly bottom lane tonight. Alder tended to be standoff engagements, but there were definitely a few engagements where my opponent was able to collapse in a bit, which made the engagements more dependent on micro. Vex bottom felt tough/one-sided in most engagements in the game bottom lane tonight. Level discrepancy backs this up, though I'm not sure if matchup or play is the major factor there.

    Top Lane
    (1.2) - Top lane, up until the crash, felt low on engagements. I think all four tended to be tied up in expansions and titan camps, and not necessarily in-sync, so we tended to run into each other in weird places, and didn't really get to leverage very many fights.

    Build Orders

    (2.1) - On Alder I still tend to go heavy Grove Tender with up:Thorn Propulsion and up:Greater Shamanism and rely on Needleferns and Trees of Life when fern is on cooldown. Bramblethorn feels underwhelming with the large forces (now with extra mercs!) that tend to be in late game engagements, so I tend to just use it as money becomes available, but it's not a critical part of my build. Base Seedbots > 3x Grove Tender > Backfill Seedbots. I think I went square and Soul Shard here. Mercs didn't figure heavily into this game, and Soul Shard didn't have much impact.

    (2.2) - Two games on Vex tonight (both crashed, sadly). I think I was starting down two main routes during these games. First was a mercenary-heavy build. This didn't have a lot of impact, but in part this was due to difficulty removing mercs from the army programmed hotkey (I rebind army to ~, instead of army+hero) which made it much more difficult to keep them out of fire (lost an engineer this way). In this game I started Rabbit's Foot. Proved very useful for disengage (though I only used it to get the hero out, after everything died).

    (2.3) - My second approach was Sparkbot heavy, but I usually like to get one Pyrosaur after getting up the T2, charm and merc buildings. The Pyrosaur was somewhat ineffective in engagements in this game, and it crashed shortly after getting the first Ignitor (which I usually depend on late-game to work more as a support squad/marksman squad). In 1.x, the attribute upgrades sometimes made it feel like doing a broad build wasn't as efficient, but it feels like this isn't the case now in 2.x. Built Soul Shard this game. It became my Zonya's Hourglass, kept on forgetting to use it. The places where I did remember to use it, it was welcome (like clearing camps, man these were tough with Vex), but I definitely want to play around with this a bit more.

    (2.4) - However, one issue I ran into twice with Vex on this second game was having a lot of difficulty clearing the starting base gem expansion, even late when I had T2s and stuff. The annoying thing is I'd wipe, and then the titans would kill off all the workers, including those on the other side of the wall, and then heal up. Arggs. This definitely made this game feel even slower, especially combined with severe level deficit.

    (2.5) - I find that I really like Charms. Whereas the mercenaries feel like pawns that you buy and put on the field, Charms definitely feel like the reactive, strategic boost decision that they are. I like that it is an active decision that adds an ability. In the same way, I like the buying of wards, as opposed to spending to place a ward.

    New UI Elements

    (3.1) - Unit respawn timers and unit cards (top left) look nice, but for some reason, maybe tied to this change or not, there were a couple times where I missed respawn timers being up. Before, they were closer to the build buttons (right? Amazing how quickly things are forgotten), which puts them more easily in the field of view. Training will get the eyes going up-left, though, so it's not a big thing. Now, separate from the mechanics, I like the more concise view, makes it feel more command-center-ish.

    (3.2) - Bottom center unit cards: While these feel familiar to me, evoking a bit of Starcraft UI, I find that I don't really use them as much anymore. The main time when I did was when I needed to hotkey groups that were spread around the map (this was heavily mitigated by rebinding the programmed hotkeys). However, it definitely feels like I need some UI element at the bottom center edge, otherwise the corners tend to make the playing field feel very round.

  • NibNib Member
    edited February 25

    The Obvious

    Orions were strong
    Ryme T2 keeping Martyr's alive for invincible army was strong
    Ryme one second frostbolt cooldown was silly.

    What region did you play? Did you feel more variance in your battle outcomes?

    The first five of my six games were top as Ryme and I went for T2 and martyrs rather fast. As previously stated cryostasis did really well with the martyrs until I misplayed it and couldn't get them back but in most of my games I was able to take a reasonable advantage during this time. I didn't really encounter any unfavourable matchups with Ryme and in most of my games I felt like I was ahead at the 10-15 minute mark but there were a lot of hard fights (most noticeably against Alder) when trying to push in and especially when attempting to end. This was enjoyable but none of these fights really felt like I risked throwing a game and just made it very slow to end.

    The new Ryme ulti rarely accomplished a lot for me as the radius is quite small and it doesn't do the first wave instantly.

    I played my last game as Vex on the bot lane in a mirror matchup.This game was a bit of a stomp as this was my second game trying out orions and after watching the replay I learnt that I had taken a lot more in the early game. From there orions snowballed the game and I was able to kill a meganode 1v3 and have a large force left to end the game all before 20 minutes.

    What build orders are you trying w/ your squad/mercs/charms? What do you like/dislike about mercs/charms?

    With Ryme I started off going 4-5 T1s into mass T2 and trying to get to martyrs but as I played more games i found the T1s to be much more useful as the Shatter never really felt too strong, this is perhaps because I never went for the T3 units and didn't have enough setup until Ryme went fully automatic. Another reason I delayed this is losing early martyrs and not being able to get them back due to having only 1 T2 unit in multiple games. The stoneform cryostasis was pretty good and really good with martyrs as previously stated.
    The glacial rangers felt like they were in a really good spot.

    With Vex I went mass T1 units and mass orions.

    The only time I didn't go for the Rabbit's Foot was when I misclicked. It was rather powerful though I would potentially go the MR one depending on the matchup.

    Please give us feedback about the new UI elements!

    Overall it looks great; however, I really dislike having the resources and death timers up at the top left. It seems like there would be room for it under the production tabs just above all the spells and I would love for it to be there.

  • LefLef Member

    What region did you play? Did you feel more variance in your battle outcomes?

    I played 3 games top and 1 game bot. The difference between top and bottom is night and day right now. If you are playing bottom you have to pick a squad capable of pve. The gem wave just doesn't give you enough income to be effective. I was playing Vex and I had to be incredibly inefficient with clearing titans just to get enough income. As such, I didn't feel like I could do anything useful until really late in the game. Luckily, the game went to 42 minutes, so I did get to contribute to victory. Top lane felt pretty good though. There's still a bit too much emphasis on PvE for me. In the first game with Pursuit we were Vex Hydros and spent the first 5-8 minutes clearing camps and expanding and ignored the center of the map. I think we could have gotten punished for this though, so I'm not sure if its as dominate as it seems.

    Fights still felt about the same overall. I didn't notice more variance than usual, outside of Vex's Scorch being significantly more awkward to cast.

    What build orders are you trying w/ your squad/mercs/charms? What do you like/dislike about mercs/charms?

    For the most part stacking Priests/Orions. Some of the Observers toward the mid-late game. Eventually getting a Siege Titan to tank turrets and push. I like that mercs have additional utility beyond being more bodies. I think things like the Observer are the direction of mercs that I enjoy the most. I dislike how much they take over for squad units right now. Charms were interesting. I tried the Rabbit's Foot and the lifesteal charm a bit and they certainly help fill in for Summoner Spells. What I dislike is that three of them are similar in purpose. Life regen and life steal are "Survive a fight" and magic resist is "Survive a fight against magic damage." Its early days with them though, so adding in some offensive charms would easily give us more options about what we want out of our Charm choice.

    The shop is feels awkward right now. Having to hotkey it so that I can buy wards to then use them from the Hero feels stiff and doesn't flow well. It certainly breaks up the vision game that we've had in a good way. Wards feel more realistic now and the shop is probably fine for anyone just joining, and it only feels weird to me since I was used to the old system.

    I enjoyed playing the game tonight. It felt like I could have a strategy and execute it. The one game I didn't enjoy as much was the bottom lane game. That game was drawn out and there just wasn't a lot going on until much later in the game. Bot lane feels like it did a few months ago where only a few squads can comfortably go bottom due to the heavy pve requirement.

  • What region did you play? Did you feel more variance in your battle outcomes?

    I played three games in the top side and zero in the bottom. Two Vela games and one Ryme game. First game was a wash because all battle outcomes were "Ryme and Hydros have an invincible Martyr that made killing anything impossible" which led to the least fun experience I've ever had in Atlas.

    Otherwise, battles seemed pretty cool. I love the smattering of mercenaries (rather than swarms of extra dps in the form of cubes) in with squads; seems to add cool extra utility.

    What build orders are you trying w/ your squad/mercs/charms? What do you like/dislike about mercs/charms?

    "Build order" is too strong and deliberate a term for what my play was. Mostly it was "get all the buildings I can at the start of the game and then upgrade to T3 and Juggernauts when resources permit". Additionally I was prioritizing gem expos FAR above soup expos. This seemed to help both with the soup glut as well as with getting more mercs out (or at least it meant I had effectively infinity gems because I overdid and actually had a soup shortage).

    Charms are super cool, but with the charm station building place automatically dumping wards into your hero's inventory no matter where they were, it felt the same as warding before, just with two additional keypresses added to obfuscate the process. That said, vision being ground/air wards instead of invisible/vision felt wayyyy nicer. Vision game felt way more complex and rewarding. That said, it seems like there are several locations where the air wards can clip into terrain and be extremely difficult to see.

    Please give us feedback about the new UI elements!

    New UI feels vastly improved, though super confusing at first because lots of important information was shifted around. Got mostly used to it by the end of the night though, so yay!

    Related note, double-tapping tilde seemed to occasionally just throw my camera to a random location which generally caused me to die horribly. Does rebinding the tilde control group also bind a camera location?

  • I had time for just one game this time, so all I have are first impressions. I was bot playing Grath into Ryme. Since his rework Ryme was already a "do-or-die" matchup for melee-heavy squads, and I did not notice a further uptick in battle outcome variance. In fact, Once I got the hang of the jetpack and built enough terrapin troopers, I was able to close from outside the range of my opponent's CC abilities, and I felt that gave me a consistent advantage in the matchup (which seems fair to me, since I have the damage type advantage). I don't remember my opponent building into ice frogs, and this probably made my job easier.

    I'm still getting used to the new UI. I should mention that the placement of the mini-map has been tripping me up for weeks. Because the map is built along a diagonal axis, it's common for me to be retreating or chasing towards the bottom left corner, and frequently accidentally click on the corner of the map and cause my units to completely switch direction for a brief but often disastrous moment. Just something funny but frustrating that happens to me. The map might be better in the top left corner. Really, the best solution is probably allow players to customize their UI by swapping panels between corners (but that is something to worry about later).

    Wards and Charms

    Buying wards from a shop is only intuitive games like LoL where your hero needs to be in proximity to the shop to make the purchase. Since this isn't the case in Atlas, it hasn't actually changed the functionality of ward placement besides making it more tedious. I guess I need to stockpile a healing ward if I want to use it in a fight, or perhaps there is a sequence of keyboard shortcuts that can let me get around this.

    Right now the charm system seems like a really small part of the game. It doesn't help that the four abilities available in this game all kinda do the same thing. Granted, the correct choice is situational, which makes me think that charms could be an interesting way to create some of the counter-play previously handled by the generic upgrade system.

    I think it might be interesting if, instead of buying wards, I could buy a charm that let me place a type of ward. The cooldown, duration, and/or max number of wards would be such that I could only have one, two, or maybe three wards at once, so I would have to really think about where I wanted to place them. Implementing this would probably involve expanding the number of charm slots to two, which would solve the problem I see with the smallness of the charm system.

  • What region did you play? Did you feel more variance in your battle outcomes?

    I played Vex for all games during the last playtest.

    I played two games on the bottom and the remainder on the top portion. Between the two, I liked playing the bottom portion more. When I play bottom, I feel that the enormous size of the map protects me from enemy allies and that if I can push down my opponent I have the safety to grind out a fairly large lead in terms of leveling and base count. I do not have feedback for being massively behind from the bottom because games were either in my favor or roughly even. Bottom = loved the feeling of independence.

    The top portion feels strongly centered on the top-left double base. With one exception, games that I played in the top featured heavy harassment or greed centered around that base... I believe it has the Lvl 3 Titans? However, I felt very powerful in the top portion of the map as Vex. With Sparkbots I was easily able to attack over the wall to a Soup expansion (held by the Lvl 2 melee Titans) while getting extra value from abusing the leash range for the melee Titans.

    The change to Vex's D ability, while similar-feeling to the T3 Vex unit's R (Ignitor?) was also more efficient in the top portion of the lane. I felt I was able to contribute solidly to team fighting and playing with the squad's strengths in the top portion of the map. Top = felt more "fluid" and attuned to Vex's early-game strengths.

    On a slight tangent, the Pyrosaur changes made the unit feel much more dangerous on the front line. I remember playing a Vex mirror and didn't worry too much about a Pyrosaur getting close to 4 of my Sparkbots... and then they disappeared in a cone of continuous fire damage! Even though I was on the losing side, it was a cool feeling and made me respect the unit a lot more.

    What build orders are you trying w/ your squad/mercs/charms? What do you like/dislike about mercs/charms?

    As Vex, I've been going
    - 8 Sparkbots
    - Tech to T3 and obtain "Seething" Z upgrade (200 Gold, Sparkbots's Backdraft is improved)
    - Seething + Soul Shard (Seething finishes research right as I get the 400 Soup for Soul Shard)
    - Pyrosaur x2
    - T3 Vex (need to find that unit name)

    And complementing the comparatively high range with Chillerman to slow engaging / retreating units. The 8 Sparkbots and early ChillerMan(s?) allow me to pick engage and punish disengages, letting me pick Titans up and pressure the map for gems and bases. The later Pyrosaurs bolster my army in case my opponents are emphasizing more T1 and is a natural addition due to its tankiness. I usually find that this path lets me help dictate the battlefield while my allies are free to stockpile towards taking out objectives and landing the killing blow.

    The changes to mercenary values means that my money is closer to zero far more often than in the previous playtest, so it's comparatively rare for me to float 1000 soup and have no gems to back it up. Charms are especially useful for this. Having played with Soul Shard and Regeneration Token and against Rabbit's Foot, I feel that I have more options and can dictate how I like to play the game more. I am also surprised that I don't dislike not knowing what Charm my opponent is holding.

    On a related note, I do not like the feeling of air wards. While twice the cost of ground wards, Air wards have the useful quality of being able to be put over unwalkable terrain and being... well, in the air. Although as Vex I don't feel one way or the other about taking them down since everything I make early-game hits air, I feel frustrated when I know my opponent has vision over potentially two of my allies and there is nothing they can do about it initially. Perhaps reducing the number of air wards purchased would fix the feeling and enhance risk? To bring it back to a positive, I think the new warding system is an improvement overall when compared to the previous playtest.

    Please give us feedback about the new UI elements!

    The command card in the bottom-right is an improvement to the existing system. However, it took a while for me to find the status of my dead units and army size in the top-left of the screen. I enjoyed seeing my army size and composition more prominently in the middle of the screen, however the tradeoff of being able to see more of the battle is well worth it.

    The difference that impacted me the most was not being able to see how many of my dead / recalled units were available to "v" out. In the previous playtest I could see that my army consisted of:

    9 Sparkbots total - 4 Alive (1 on the field, 3 to be deployed) and five respawning
    2 Pyrosaurs total - 0 Alive and 2 respawning
    1 Vex - 1 Alive (and kicking ass and chewing bubblegum)

    Right now while I can see that I need to deploy units, I can't see how much of my total army strength I can bring to bear. What's dead and what's not?

  • CycleCycle Member, Moderator

    I may have had the least fun of my Atlas career during the two games I played on Wednesday's playtest. All about Alder v Ryme, and why the matchup wasn't fun for me (in the shortest way I can say it):

    Alder Feels

    • I played top lane in both games.
    • new starting gold cut makes Alder's units waaaay expensive by comparison. I start with 2 units. I don't get more than 5 units if I want to tech up and get upgrades. Having an incredibly small army is not a good feeling. Having no way of getting more income to make a large army (of the Seed Squad, which I love) feels sad.
    • my army is slow. Against Ryme, I feel like I cannot engage. In the 2v2 that means I am completely dependent on my ally in order to get favorable fights, and I'm supposed to be the tanky squad. Additionally, Ryme's new units are backline, which are even more effective against Alder. This plus the invicible martyrs made it feel like I was completely ineffective during combat, save for stalling with my hero basic and ultimate.
    • feeling helpless in combat (esp pre-level 6) means I can't defend my bases or assault enemy bases. losing the "base war" means I have a smaller merc army than my opponent, and their army slowly builds to the point where I can't catch up with my own mercs.
    • building off the last point, in both games I felt the game was lost after ~7-10 minutes, about when I lose my first base (or when I realized I couldn't actually win any fights)
    • Needlefern and the hero basic + ult feel really great. Seedbots actually feel great too. Cost of units is really prohibitive. Constantly feel constrained, like I can never get anywhere near enough stuff to be at an advantage.
    • Goliath is really unweidly. Larger map did not help his effectiveness. There are times when he will be behind my seedbots, and awkwardly walk around trying to get out front. At the end of this replay (sorry I don't have timestamp), there are several moments when my team is defending the nexus where my goliath is really not fighting well. G1a7cb73c72ae4a3483f2606262a4ca93


    • I remapped tilde to 1. Double tapping 1 would very occasionally center my camera on some other area on the map, usually on the second-from-the-top tower location. This happened while I had army on the map, and had no charms or items or anything in the location that I got centered on.
    • at the end of the game that I posted above, I had workers "building" with 700-odd seconds remaining

    UI Elements

    • oh god this is all amazing
    • Steve, thank you for making deckpicker the best thing ever
    • I wish I could still see progress on my hero's level
    • everything else is really great. Center-bottom pane could stand to be much smaller imo.
    • i really like the resources in the top-left
    • I REALLY REALLY like the new command card wow it's amazing


    • income in the game is still all about soup+gems. I feel really detached from making my squad awesome.
    • i played Assault only, trying to make use of priests. They are no longer opopop.
    • invincible martyrs are not fun
    • the charm system seems super cool. it's essentially exactly like it was before, but just needs a building first as far as I understand it.
    • Request for a feature: pls add sound for charm purchases in the next build. I kept clicking to buy a charm and didn't know it went through, and spent all my gems on a ton of air wards lololol
    • Alder is still my favorite. the act of physically controlling his units and using his abilities feels just so great. I feel like he's one of the weaker squads now, mostly due to his very very high cost units and no way to get more income.
  • SpideyCUSpideyCU Member
    edited February 28


    1. What region did you play? Did you feel more variance in your battle outcomes?

    I ended up bottom all times - I felt there was a little more variance because the "natural" expansion, as it were, was not hidden behind a tower. In the old map, that center area was just for the gem titans and I didn't feel I could ever harass. This was definitely a step in the right direction.

    1. What build orders are you trying w/ your squad/mercs/charms? What do you like/dislike about mercs/charms?

    I tried Ryme, getting ground vision wards and using them defensively. I went heavy on T1, and even though I got multiple T2's, I think in the future I would focus more on T1s and get a single T2 to Cryostatis my hero in cast something went badly (reasons for fewer T2's in Misc Thoughts below).

    I like the charms, like mentioned above some sort of confirmation of purchase is definitely required. I wasn't sure I did anything until I went back to check my hero. It's nice to give me a sink for soup early on when I'm otherwise conflicted and unable to do much with mercs.

    My biggest issue is that there are so many options for mercs and I don't have all the costs memorized, so despite having played quite a few games now I still spend time mousing over the units and pre-req buildings to figure out both how to get a particular merc and whether it makes sense to purchase 'em.

    I enjoyed using the Sentinel to spot, though it made me want for a Patrol command in the game. Can anything detect it though?

    1. Please give us feedback about the new UI elements!

    In short, it'll take some time for me to adjust but overall I really like it. Looks sharp, well organized!

    Misc Thoughts

    Army anti-blobs

    I know that Artillery has stated that they dislike big army blobs. BlinderMan is a great, GREAT tool for mitigating that. In the game we were losing, it let me greatly mess with their positioning and force them into disadvantageous locations. It's so wonderful and made me feel like I was contributing something awesome to our defense - it made me feel so good that I'm afraid it's going to be nerfed, heh!

    On the flipside, Ryme's old T2 punished army blobs. Now, his T2 helps snipe high value targets. I can see potential uses - Frostbolting a Purifier and then Shattering it which will nearly kill it off. The problem with this, in my experience, is that higher value targets are usually safely behind other units, making a clear line shot for Frostbolt very difficult. It's even less likely to happen with Icy Breath and Ryme's squad is not fast enough to pull positioning shenanigans.

    I feel like I'm less enabled to do something impactful vs army blobs given that Ryme's ult is the only AoE I have - this is a feeling I had on Hydros previously too, regarding his heal. In short, I feel happier when I have multiple, slightly less powerful options (either by having multiple units cast a weaker ability, or having the ability be weaker but on a much shorter cooldown) as I feel I can be more reactive. Now, yes, Ryme traded that in for some survivability and single-target burst, but with armies getting larger and larger since Atlas 1.0 I've been wanting to counteract that. That's one of the reasons I previously enjoyed playing him, whereas now I'm more fearful of deathballs. BlinderMan is my best response to that, so I'll probably be sticking with him for most of my games.

    Game length

    There were questions in Discord on the desired average match length - specifically, @JCvfx heard comments after a 40 minute game that it was too long. A half hour game is fine, IMO, so if a 40 minute game is an outlier and not the norm, that's OK. My biggest problem has been that I've felt like the games are determined within the first 10 minutes, then (if we're winning), being unable to make significant enough gains to close out in a timely fashion. If we're losing, then it's just a slow, inevitable tumble to death. It doesn't matter how many battles you win as hero levels only do so much for you when the armies get HUGE. Resources matter more, and while you can hold off defensively for a long time, it doesn't matter if you're not ahead on expansions (which don't run out of resources IIRC?).

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