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[Locked] Halo Wars - Balance Update (July 25)

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Halo Wars 2 Balance Update - July 25 - Part 1 of 3
A new game update is being readied for release alongside the Serina/Operation Spearbreaker DLC this week that includes a number of balance adjustments to multiple units and Leaders.

The current ETA for this balance update is Tuesday, July 25th pending final testing. As always, these changes will roll out behind-the-scenes once the game patch and DLC have been fully deployed. Thank you for your continued support and feedback!

UNSC
Condor
    • HP increased by 18%.
    • Condor special ability damage multipliers reworked. Most notably: Condor Y damage vs buildings is 30% less, thus no longer able to instantly kill attached buildings.
Hornet
    • HP increased by 18%.
    • Base DPS increased by 11%.
    • Wingmen DPS increased by 50%. Damage multipliers reworked.
    • Chain Guns now deal 20% less damage against Infantry.
Standard Spartans Jerome(Cutter)/Douglas/Alice:
    • HP and DPS increased by 10%
Restoration Drones:
    • Cooldown reduction at all tiers from 190s to 160s.
    • Cost at Level 2 reduced from 400/150 to 350/125, cost at Level 3 reduced from 500/200 to 400/150
Hellbringer:
    • HP increased by 36%.
    • DPS increased vs non-building targets by 33% for the basic version, and 44% for the upgraded version.
Cannister Shells:
    • No longer miss randomly.
    • Damage reduced from by 22% to compensate for the “missing fix”.
    • AoE reduced, including Isabel’s the Best Offense version to compensate for the “missing fix”.
Ultimate units have been most viable within a small timing window due to their lower strength versus fully upgraded units. To address this we have improved the weakest aspects of the Condor, Scarab, and Retriever allowing them to be more efficient into the late game. Additionally, Condors will now have to shoot an extra salvo or two in order to take out slot buildings increasing the risk vs reward of sieging bases with them.

To combat the scenario of massed air beating infantry and anti-air vehicles, especially in team games, we are slightly reducing the damage output of both the Hornet and the Banshee against Infantry. We are also increasing the Hornet’s base HP and DPS to make them more competitive overall.

Restoration Drones has not been fully utilized in the early game and the implemented changes should help improve this. Its faster cooldown will help it impact more fights, and reduced costs at higher levels make it a more attractive quick heal option throughout the match.
Hellbringer’s anti-infantry ability has been less reliable than we would like and their early game impact has been fairly weak. These improvements should help improve their use in both cases.

Cannister Shells have often missed when the targeted unit died due to another source of damage. These changes reduce the randomness greatly, and also compensate by downscaling the damages to stay in line with that improvement.

Core, base-built Spartans have been underperforming in terms of pure combat strength and this improvement to their base DPS and HP brings them much closer to other heroes.
ANDERS
Research and Development:
    • Now has 2 levels instead of 3. Discounts changed to 30% at lvl1, and 50% at Level 2.
  • Anders now has access to Turret Drop II.
Sentinel Network:
    • Cost reduced from 900/900 to 500/350.
    • Cooldown reduced from 360s to 260s.
Ark Defence:
    • Cooldown reduced from 180s to 150s
    • Cost reduced at all levels from 360/225, 450/385, 550/450 to 300/200, 400/300, 500/400
Retriever’s special ability:
    • Now tracks targets like the Condor's and can't target empty ground.
    • Damage multipliers reworked to be good vs any ground target, rather than be anti-vehicle focused.
    • Damage tripled.
Protector Sentinel:
    • Population cost reduced from 4 to 3.
    • Damage increased by 10%.
    • Weapon multipliers on attached sentinels (granted by the unit’s first upgrade) now match the main weapon. This helps them against vehicles.
    • Added AoE to the special ability’s stun.
Anders has been in need of a balancing adjustment and we’re improving her situation with this patch. With R&D being only 2 points, it’s quite easy to open with a great variety of builds, as well as mixing multiple tech paths earlier than other leaders can.

Both the Sentinel Network and Ark Defense powers were very expensive and had a long cooldown considering how positioning-focused they are rather than damage-focused. These changes should make them more attractive and frequently used options.

Finally, the Retriever’s ‘Y’ ability was underwhelming against a large variety of targets. We’ve addressed that, and added tracking, which makes the Retriever deliver the punch expected from an Ultimate Unit.

The Protector Sentinels have been used less frequently recently and these adjustments should make them both a formidable core air unit again as well as a capable support unit with their stun ability. We are also improving their population efficiency, allowing Anders players to create an overall much stronger army of them if they can support the production.

SGT. JOHNSON
Bunker Drop:
    • Cooldown reduced from 120s to 90s.
    • Population cost reduced from 3 to 2.
    • HP increased by 8% at both levels. SP increased by 75% at lvl 2.
    • Bunker shows selection decals.
  • Siege Drop Turret lifespan increased at both levels from 60/80s to 90/120s.
  • Digging In also reduces cooldown of Turret and Bunker drops (Siege Turret drop 20s per level, Bunker drop 10s per level).
Pelican Transport:
    • Cost reduced from 200 to 100.
    • cooldown reduced from 150 to 100.
    • Max distance increased for both levels by 22% and 16% respectively.
  • Colossus weapon range increased by 20%.
Johnson has not been performing as strongly as he should be and these adjustments boost his core benefits and playstyle. Since the buffs to his mechs in the Icons of War update, we have wanted to give more time for players to explore him and discover his strength and weaknesses before adjusting him further. After that period it was clear that some of the powers weren’t being utilised fully and could be improved without upsetting his overall balance. These changes should open new tactical possibilities for him.

The Bunker Drop change should synergize well with the now-buffed Hellbringers, particularly when coupled with the Johnson Hero and Med Drones.

Pelican Transport has been given a larger buff so that it is more comparable to Teleport in terms of transportation, and will help the relatively slower mech armies to deploy and shift more quickly.
Improvements to Colossus range make it more dangerous as a siege unit and helps it to intercept other units. Although slow, the Colossus now boasts the longest range of any Tier 3 vehicle and it’s mobility will be boosted by the improvements to Pelican Transport.
CONTINUED IN NEXT POST...
Halo Wars 2 Balance Update - July 25 - Part 2 of 3

Forge
Pelican Transport:
    • Cost reduced from 200 to 100.
    • Cooldown reduced from 150 to 100.
    • Max distance increased for both levels by 22% and 16% respectively.
Scatter Bomb:
    • Projectiles arrive much faster (as the telegraph finishes, rather than delaying), and AoE display is more accurate.
    • Cooldown reduced from 200s to 185s.
    • Supply cost reduced at both levels from 450 to 350, and from 525 to 450.
    • Lvl1 and 2 damage increased by 10%.
  • Vehicle Drop level 2 cost reduced from 1800 to 1700, Warthog veterancy reduced from 3 to 1, Kodiak veterancy reduced from 3 to 2.
Forgehog:
    • HP increased by 16%.
    • Special ability damage increased by 300%. Targeting icon no longer shows up when targeting air.
    • Forgehog's upgraded aura now provides improved bonuses (including a 10% speed buff).
Grizzly:
    • Population cost reduced from 11 to 10.
    • Special ability AoE increased by 60%, damage increased by 30%. Building multiplier reduced to compensate.
As with Johnson and Anders, Forge has also been on the side-lines but the changes to Pelican Transport changes apply to him and improve Grizzly mobility.

The delay between Scatter Bomb’s telegraph and power deployment has made it very easy to avoid. This has been adjusted and increases to its damage, reduction in cooldown, and a lower cost will make it a quicker, more effective, and dangerous power.

Veterancy levels of most drops have been reduced, including Forge’s Vehicle Drop Level 2. This change requires players to earn the top levels of veterancy through good unit control and management but also allows drop powers to be reduced in cost increasing their availability slightly.

The Forgehog has been given a boost to its survivability as well as a significantly more punchy ‘Y’ ability. The Forgehog will be improved at kiting most units and boosting nearby friendly units.

The Grizzly’s strength has not been adequate when compared with the Scorpion’s strength and cost. Grizzlies should now be able to hold their own while building up their count, but also remain effective once large armies are trained. Improvements to their ‘Y’ ability strength and a reduction in population cost make them deadlier and more cost effective.
KINSANO
  • Flamehog Drop veterancy reduced from 2 to 1.
  • Helldrop level 1 veterancy reduced from 2 to 1.
Kinsano’s Cyclops:
    • Basic weapon DPS increased by 11%.
    • Flame Wall DPS increased by 33%, upgraded version DPS increased by 32%.
As covered above, initial veterancy has been reduced on dropped units. This adjustment to Flamehog Drop is particularly significant as the cost effectiveness of this drop is the highest of all unit drop powers.

Kinsano’s Cyclops didn’t emerge from the previous adjustments as strongly as expected and so these increases to DPS on both basic attacks and her Flame Wall special will help push her aggressive play style further.

JEROME
Mastodon:
    • HP increased by 10%.
    • Speed increased by 9%.
    • Cost reduced from 400/100 to 300/75.
  • All Inspire effects reduced from 15% damage mitigation and 15% damage buff to 12% each.
Boosts to the Mastodon in key areas will help its performance on the field, as well as reduce its strain on the economy making it more accessible as an Infantry support unit.

Jerome in general has been a very strong leader even after the previous adjustments. In order to insure that his Inspire effect isn't giving too strong an advantage to his overall army, it has been reduced slightly to compensate for its bonus to both damage and armor. This should help other leaders keep up with Jerome in every phase of the game.

CUTTER
  • Cutter's Raid speed bonuses reduced at both levels from 15%/25% to 12%/20%.
  • Cyclops in Cyclops Drop and Orbital Battle Group veterancy reduced from 3 to 2.
  • ODST demolition charge damage vs buildings reduced by 40%.
Cutter has been the most dominant UNSC leader in recent seasons. The bonus he gains from Raid has been significant and allowed him to dominate his UNSC counterparts in the early game, as well as keep map control against the Banished. The reduction to its speed bonus will bring this leader power more in line with the other early passive abilities.

Before these changes, ODST charges were able to destroy 2-3 attached buildings in some cases, particularly in UNSC mirrors, where Shield Generators aren’t a strong counter to this. These adjustments increase the hit-and-run gameplay of this tactic, and with the changes players will need to bring some extra units to help take out base buildings.

Additionally, reducing veterancy levels for the Cyclops Drop and Orbital Battle Group will help bring Cutter’s ability to reinforce his armies more in line with other UNSC leaders. We will continue to monitor performance between Cutter and the other leaders closely.

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST...
Halo Wars 2 Balance Update - July 25 - Part 3 of 3

BANISHED
Banshee:
    • Fuel Rods deal 30% less damage vs AA Vehicles, and 30% less vs Infantry.
    • Plasma Cannons now deal 20% less damage to infantry.
Teleport:
    • Level 1 cost increased from 150 to 200.
    • Cooldown increased from 90s to 130s
    • Level 1 max distance reduced by 30%, shortened minimum distance to make it easier to cast.
  • Scarab Beam DPS increased by 21%.
As mentioned previously, changes to Banshees are helping address the Air vs Anti-Air balance issues, and will make them more vulnerable to counter units.

Teleport has been adjusted for two main reasons: using it to drop Suicide Grunts into grouped units is highly cost-efficient tactic, and Locust base snipes also are too cost-effective in certain cases (particularly with Shipmaster’s Extraction and Displacement). As a result of these strengths Teleport is a very popular pick and while these changes maintain the versatility of the power, they should also make the decision to pick Teleport over other powers more considered.

SHIPMASTER
  • Speed boost from Shipmaster Raid III reduced to 25% to non-Ghosts, and 6% for Ghosts (from 30%)
Teleport:
    • Level 2cost reduced from 400 to 350.
    • Level 2 max distance reduced by 20%, shortened minimum distance to make it easier to cast.
Shipmaster’s speed bonus for Raid III on vehicles has been reduced for usability reasons and players should no longer be losing control units due to its effects. Community feedback on Shipmaster’s Displacement power has been valuable and we are currently investigating options to adjust this.

COLONY
  • Hunter's Brand’s slowing effect reduced from 60% to 40%.
  • Devastating Host Hunters veterancy reduced from 3 to 2, Wraith veterancies reduced from 2 to 1.
Goliath:
    • Cost reduced from 230/130 to 150/80.
    • Population cost reduced from 5 to 4.
    • Training time reduced from 30s to 20s.
Colony Drop:
    • Supply cost reduced from 500 to 400.
    • Goliath veterancy reduced from 2 to 1.
Living Barrier:
    • Lifespan increased for both levels from 180s/240s to 240s/300s, cooldown reduced from 120s to 90s.
    • HP increased at both levels by 25% and SP increased by 37.5% at Level 2.
    • Living Barriers appear on minimap and show selection decals.
Hunter Captain:
    • HP increased by 25%.
    • DPS increased by 11%. Now does 10% more damage to vehicles.
Hunter’s Brand has proven too difficult to avoid and the reduction to its slowing effect will now make it a bit easier to dodge.

The Devastating Host unit drop has been very cost effective due to its unit veterancy levels and the triggering of Vehicle Symbiotes upon deployment. The reduction of unit veterancies brings it on par with other similar powers.

Goliath cost, population, and training time has been reduce in order to bring their economic impact more in line with their strength. This change should make them easier and quicker to field and reduce the reliance on Colony Drop to deploy them.

Living Barrier received a small buff as well to promote its usage throughout the game.

Hunter Captain has not been as effective after the Icons of War update and these updates help boost his tactics as a heavy unit. Increases to HP, DPS, and a further focus on Anti-Vehicle should make him a more potent Hunter.

ATRIOX
Atriox’s Bulwark:
    • Cooldown increased from 180s to 200s.
    • Cost increased at all tiers: from 250/75, 300/125, 350/150 to 350/125, 450/175, 550/225.
Atriox’s Bulwark has been used largely as a means of negating enemy powers and while timing this counter correctly is impressive play it also has been a very cost-effective tactic. The changes to this make the power slightly more costly and reduce its frequency requiring players to be more careful in choosing when to use it.

ARBITER
  • HP increased by 8%.
    • Upgrade damage multipliers changed from 1.2/1.25/1.25 to 1.3/1.3/1.3.
Phantom:
    • Cost reduced from 300/125 to 275/90.
    • HP increased by 11%.

The Arbiter hero unit has proven to be slightly underpowered against other melee heroes, and we are adjusting him to be more in line with the rest. He is The Arbiter.

The with adjustments to the Mastodon, the improvements to the Phantom’s cost and survivability will keep it on a level playing field.