News

July-August 2017 Season Updates

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Welcome to the July-August 2017 Season!

In addition to the start of a new Arena Season, we've got a few new Arena updates releasing today as well. From improved matchmaking to playlist updates in Free-For-All and Doubles, to the return of Snipers, this season is packed with newness. In this write-up, we'll shed some light on our thought process and provide a list of the exact changes made to matchmaking to get you ready for your placement matches. Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Fireteam Size Searching (party matching)

As many of you know, Josh Menke, our Lead Engagement Designer, has been working with the team here to make sure matchmaking is as fair and as enjoyable as possible. Today we implemented a change that will ensure that we try matching teams against other teams, which means that solo players will become less likely to run into full squads while searching in matchmaking. Here is what he had to say about the new search parameters: 

Starting this new season, full Fireteams will only try and find other full Fireteams at first while matchmaking. As discussed in prior updates, this is a stopgap solution while we complete work on much better improvement coming down the road later. This will result in full Fireteams having more challenging matches when other Fireteams are available, and those not in full Fireteams seeing a few less uneven matches.

Free-For-All

We're always keeping an eye on all of our playlists, and thought that Free-For-All and Doubles could use a little extra love and attention, so we set out to improve both experiences. As a note, these are not any sort of "final" updates for a set period of time, but rather iterative changes that will continue to be made based on your feedback. To provide design insight on these improvements, we asked Multiplayer Designer Sara Stern to give us some insight into each playlist in our most recent Community Update. For convenience, here's what she said about the changes to Free-For-All

Each map in the Free-For-All playlist now has custom initial starting spawns and reduced ammo and weapon count. In some cases, we've moved the map's power weapons to a central point to ensure each player has a good chance at securing them off starting spawn. To increase the opportunities for kills and respond to community feedback, the player respawn time has been decreased to 6 seconds. The Active Camo power up has been removed from all FFA maps with the exception of Truth HCS FFA.

In addition, we've trimmed maps from the FFA rotation to provide a more focused and polished experience. The HCS variants of FFA maps – Truth, Regret, and Mercy – will continue to have their HCS tournament weapon layouts.

For you eager Lone Wolves, here's a list of all of the details!

Game Mode Changes

Respawn Time

  • Reduced to 6 Seconds from 8 Seconds

Map changes

Coliseum

    • Custom initial spawns
    • Removed SPNKr Rocket Launcher from Yellow Tower
    • Removed Splinter Grenade from Grass
    • Removed Battle Rifle from Grass
    • Replaced DMRs with Battle Rifles on Red/Blue Wing
    • Moved Sniper Rifle to Bottom Mid
    • Reduced Sniper Rifle spare clip size by one
    • Moved Silenced Assault Rifle slightly towards the bottom of Yellow Tower
    • Moved Brute Plasma Rifle from Top Mid to Grass
    • Balanced initial spawn point positioning

Eden

    • Custom Initial Spawns
    • Removed Brute Plasma Rifle from Red Nest
    • Replaced SPNKr Rocket Launcher with Brute Plasma Rifle on Turbine
    • Moved Sniper Rifle from Blue Nest to Pit Box
    • Reduced Sniper Rifle spare clip size by one
    • Reduced Hydra Launcher spare clip size by one
    • Balanced initial spawn point positioning

Empire

    • Custom initial spawns
    • Removed Active Camouflage power-up from Tower Two
    • Removed Plasma Pistol from Mid
    • Moved Overshield power-up from Outside to Pit
    • Replaced Battle Rifle with Plasma Pistol on Tower Two
    • Replaced DMRs with Battle Rifles at Red and Blue Platforms
    • Balanced initial spawn point positioning

Fathom

    • Custom initial spawns
    • Removed Battle Rifle from Red and Blue Yard
    • Replaced Active Camouflage power-up with Storm Rifle on Top Mid
    • Replaced Boltshots with Battle Rifles at Red and Blue Vat
    • Reduced Railgun spare clip size by two
    • Balanced initial spawn point positioning

Plaza

    • Custom Initial Spawns
    • Removed Sniper Rifle from Nest
    • Removed SMG from Yard
    • Replaced Boltshot at Eastgate with SMG
    • Replaced Overshield with Sniper Rifle on Top Mid
    • Balanced initial spawn point positioning

Stasis

    • Custom initial spawns
    • Replaced Rocket Launcher with Reach Grenade Launcher on Top Mid
    • Replaced Brute Plasma Rifles with single Splinter Grenades on Red and Blue Catwalk
    • Replaced Recon DMRs with Battle Rifles on Red and Blue Base
    • Reduced Hydra Launcher spare clip size by one
    • Swapped SMGs with the three Frag Grenades at Red and Blue Base
    • Added Brute Plasma Rifles to Red and Blue Yard
    • Balanced initial spawn point positioning

The Rig

    • Custom initial spawns
    • Removed Active Camouflage power-up from Hatch
    • Replaced Sniper Rifle with two Plasma Grenades on Nest
    • Moved Scattershot from Yellow Corner to Drill Platform
    • Reduced Scattershot spare clip size by one
    • Added Sniper Rifle to Pit Door
    • Reduced Sniper Rifle spare clip size by one
    • Balanced initial spawn point positioning

Torque

    • Custom initial spawns
    • Removed one Splinter Grenade each from Red and Blue Closet
    • Removed Halo 2 Battle Rifles from Red and Blue Yard
    • Replaced Sniper Rifles with Battle Rifles on Red and Blue Nest
    • Replaced Active Camouflage power-up with Sniper Rifle in Bottom Mid
    • Reduced Sniper Rifle spare clip size by one
    • Balanced initial spawn point positioning

 

Doubles

As mentioned above, Sara discussed the Doubles changes that would be rolling into the playlist with the July-August 2017 Season in our last Community Update:

After the refresh in February, high-level players reported that the quicker respawn time increased the pace of the game to the point that a team of two could not collapse successfully before the enemy team respawned. To help alleviate these issues, player respawn time has been increased to 6 seconds. We’ve also swapped power weapons on several maps to bring Doubles closer to the layout you’ll find in other Ranked playlists. Some REQ variants of weapons have been removed or had their spawn time adjusted to better match their effectiveness.

Here's the breakdown for Doubles:

Game Mode Changes

Respawn Timer

  • Increased from 5 Seconds to 6 Seconds

Map changes

Empire

    • Replaced COG DMR at Tower Three with standard DMR

Coliseum

    • Replaced COG DMR at Yellow Tower with standard DMR

Regret

    • Replaced Railgun at Nest with Grenade Launcher (3 shots total)

Tyrant

    • Replaced Plasma Caster at Moon Deck with Sniper Rifle (1 spare clip)
    • Replaced Camo at Basement with Overshield

Plaza

    • Replaced Binary Rifle at Cinema with Sniper Rifle (1 spare clip)

Eden

    • Replaced COG DMR at Red Nest with standard DMR

  

Snipers

Your favorite sharpshooting playlist has made it's return to ranked matchmaking! It will be live for the entire duration of the July-August 2017 Season, and will only feature Arena maps.

Map Changes

  • Added Stasis to map rotation
  • Removed Boulevard and Guillotine (to make Snipers exclusive to Arena maps)

Before wrapping up this post, we wanted to include one final note from Sara:

We appreciate the feedback we’ve received about these playlists. We read your comments, even if we don’t respond right away. Special thanks goes to Vetoed, who distilled a lot of community concerns and great suggestions into a thoughtful document, and the players who continued to give constructive feedback in Doubles and FFA feedback threads on Waypoint. We’re keeping an eye on both of these playlists going forward, so keep leaving us feedback on the latest changes.   

Thanks for reading up on all of the exciting changes this Season, and as Sara said, please continue to leave feedback in the Matchmaking Feedback & Discussion Forum here on Waypoint.

See you in the Arena!

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