9 days ago - /u/thearcan - Direct link

Hello everyone,

Welcome to another Dev News Thursday.

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  • General News
  • Topic for Discussion: A Deep-dive into Moaning Winds
  • Patch News
  • Ongoing list of currently tracked issues:

General News

We are unfortunately in a similar position to last week, whereby our latest patch-content is pretty much complete, but is still being held up by a submissions process.

I would like to take the opportunity that this delay presents to talk a bit more about Outriders in general.

Quite often we see players asking "what's the point?" and "why are you running Outriders in such a live service way?" (also usually in combination with a really spicy hot take along the lines of "dead gaem").

When each patch or change is viewed at in isolation, it is somewhat understandable where these feelings come from.

However, everything we have been doing and will do in future, will contribute in its own way to creating the Outriders experience that you all have been asking for.

All the patch and rebalancing work that we have undertaken to date are part of a much bigger plan and end-goal. An end-goal that does very much include Stadia as well. Everything we are currently doing and have done in the past is essentially laying the foundation of what is still to come for Outriders, while also letting you be part of this journey. This is also why it is so important for us to get these patches right and also to bring the players, the meta and the overall state of the game into the best place it possibly can be before we introduce what's next.

Topic for Discussion: A Deep-dive into Moaning Winds

As part of today's news, and to continue last week's discussion, we wanted to spend a bit of time going into the case study of Moaning Winds.

Before we get into it, it's worth stating that we primarily balanced Outriders towards a 3 Player Co-op experience. This means that mods should be the most balanced when played in co-op, but that for some mods, their behaviour and unique mechanics can lead them to being more or less powerful in Single Player.

Prior to launch, Moaning Winds was balanced to be a niche mod. Initially, its (at the time) super low damage value (97k-ish at level 50), origin point (player) and trigger (reload) were making this mod obsolete. This judgement was made based on many hours of playtests and comparing throughput of different builds and skill levels, all in heavy tempo meta.

In a 3 player co-op session, there were very few enemies approaching a single player at once, let alone being in that player's direct Area of Influence (close distance to player). This made the mod quite niche, especially within a multiplayer session.

Since changing the trigger (on reload) or origin point (player) was not an option, we chose to turn a bland, non-competing mod into a powerful niche tool that could serve one specific purpose: To clear trash mobs that attempt to overwhelm the player through sheer numbers.

We achieved this through upping damage and cooldown, both 4 times. Damage was increased to make the mod be able to serve the desired niche, while a cooldown change was made to safeguard the mod from abusive play patterns, such as triggering the mod every 1 or 2 shots.

This solution held true for 3 player co-op. Testers with Moaning Winds equipped could obliterate swarming melee enemies and chunk Elite opponents. This mod, when played proactively, achieved viability competing with other S-tier mods such as Legendary Minefield, Ultimate Bone Shrapnel, Wrath of Moloch, Ravenous Locust, Sandstorm and a few others.

However, in an environment where the health of enemies is greatly reduced (e.g. Single Player), the damage Moaning Winds brought was overpowering. Not only trash enemies, but also Elites were nearly or fully killed thanks to the mod, when used with a series of combat damage amplifiers buffing Anomaly Damage. However, it's 8 second cooldown still prevented this mod from being entirely abuseable.

With that in mind, this single player MW experience wasn't considered a huge problem. If a player invested the time into farming, understanding the game and how different stats and mods can be complemented in order to create an incredibly OP build, they could naturally create a MW build that was viable in some, but not all situations.

However, what we did not account for was the dominance of single player experience combined with the nature of cooldown resetting on mods. The problem of cooldown resetting being that the same mod on different weapons might not share a single global cooldown, making it possible for such mods to be triple spammed.

Cooldown resetting is something we looked at and addressed on a number of mods prior to launch, including status-applying Bullet mods (Vulnerable/Freezing etc.). Before this, testers could otherwise proc the 8 second cooldown mod, swap to a new weapon and apply the same mod again. The net gain of such play was estimated as generally taking 5 seconds off of a mod’s effective cooldown.

It is worth noting that we only became aware of the risk that cooldown resetting presented a short while before launch. The time constraint here meant that we had to respond on a mod-by-mod level, rather than overhauling the entire cooldown system.

The Cooldown resetting fix specifically for those status-applying mods was implemented prior to release, however, the potential for abuse remained as a sleeper issue in a few other mods, the most prevalent of all being Moaning Winds.

And that's how we've arrived at today. Where do we go from here?

It would be good to remind ourselves of a few things:

  • We do not plan to address the issue of Moaning Winds (or Fortress), before we have resolved the challenges that drove the creation of this meta and that continue to require it's viability.
  • Moaning Winds core issue is not the base damage of the mod itself, so we want to avoid "fixing" an issue that is not present on playstyles that do not involve quick-cycling or shuffling weapons.
  • We have always had the option of simple "numbers nerfing" in this case, but we have not done so.
  • We are most interested in giving players a choice of using the greatest possible amount of different mods in combination with one another, which in turn will lead to much more compelling gameplay loops.
    • For example, we feel it would be healthier for players to be able to have 6 mods on 3 weapons, rather than the same 2 mods on all 3 weapons.

This was a likely overly long deepdive into the history of Moaning Winds and how we are approaching the problem it presents. Having spent some time observing and participating in community chat following last weeks topic for discussion, it's great to see that a number of players are already thinking in the same direction that we are too, with regards to how the issue could be resolved.

I will probably do a similar deepdive on Fortress in the coming weeks if you're interested, as part of which I will hopefully also be able to share the exact steps we're planning to take to resolve the Fortress dilemma in future.

Patch News:

Our latest patch is currently undergoing the usual test-cycle, but we wanted to share some highlights of the upcoming fixes and changes with you already today.

Please do bear in mind that our current testing is still validating the below fixes so some of them may not be 100% guaranteed for this patch. Also note that this is not an exhaustive list and is still subject to change as we pass through the testing phase. The final patch will include more fixes and improvements.

  • Further improved the visibility of the Brood Mothers Surge AOE skill limits.
  • Fixed a bug that was preventing players from reviving themselves and other players after using the Trickster's Borrowed Time skill.
  • Resolved an issue that could cause the game to stutter when engaging Crawlers in battle during Expeditions.
  • Resolved an issue that could cause players to stutter when entering the drained lake during the third enemy encounter in the Scorched Lands expedition.
  • Resolved an issue that prevented secondary characters from picking up Journal Entries if they had already been collected on a different character.
  • Resolved an issue that would force matchmaking privacy setting to default to "Open". The privacy setting should now remain "Closed" when set. This should help further reduce AFK matchmaking.
  • Added an AFK status for players on friends lists.
  • Changed the behaviour of the Devastator's Impale, so that the game will detect impaled enemies as dead even before they disappear.
  • The Devastator's "Reflect Bullets" skill will now protect from Sciathan projectile attacks.
  • Fixed a bug that could prevent Devastators from being able to consistently dodge if they had the Auto Reflect mod active.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause client shots to sometimes deal no actual damage to enemies.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause the Technomancer's Plague Sower set bonus to not proc consistently.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause the Plague Sower and the Cannonball Legendary Sets to not retain their set bonus after a transition.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause certain mods like "Grand Opening" to not proc if the player was on their last magazine.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause certain ammo related mods to retain their effects, even after having been replaced. This issue would previously resolve itself when returning to the lobby. Affected mods included Brain Eater, Clip of Amalthea, Perpetuum Mobile, Vampiric Mag, Toxic Lead, Reforging Bullets.
  • Crash Fixes
  • Other minor bug Fixes

Ongoing list of currently tracked issues:

Note 1: This is not an exhaustive list of things being worked upon. This is also not a list of patch notes for the next patch. Upcoming patches will address issues that may not be listed here.

Note 2: “Investigated” means that we have been able to successfully reproduce an issue on our dev environment and are currently looking at the root causes of said issue. If we have not yet been able to reproduce a specific issue, it may not be listed here, but that doesn’t mean we’re unaware of it.

  • State of Stadia
    • Today's General News update also covers Stadia as a platform we are continuing to work on.
    • Stadia still needs to be brought in line with other platforms with regards to fixes, bug resolutions and crossplay support.
    • We are continuing to do this work on aligning all platforms, but do not yet have a definite date for when this will be possible.
    • We appreciate that this work is taking longer than expected and do apologize for this.
  • Xbox problems related to signing in
    • A previous patch significantly increased Xbox sign in times for the vast majority of players. However, a small number of players appear to be affected by a secondary issue, which can cause them to do "alternative account sign in" workarounds.
    • We are investigating this matter and are in touch with a few affected users to investigate their accounts in order to identify the issue
  • Mods and Resources may be lost
    • This issue appears to be quite rare, making it very hard for us to reproduce it and identify it's cause.
    • For anyone affected by this, we recommend getting in touch with our Square Enix Support Team (sqex.to/support), who now have appropriate tools to be able to grant you specific mods and resources that you may have lost. Our support team will also be able to gather the appropriate information to aid us in our investigation.
  • The Moaning Winds Mod does inconsistent damage when a Player is either a Host or a Client
    • Issue being investigated and aimed to be resolved in a future patch. The resolution should ensure that Moaning Winds does the same damage as it would in a solo player session.
  • Enemies within the Endless Mass skill have an inconsistent Hitbox
    • Issue being investigated and aimed to be resolved in a future patch
  • Sprinting with your Sprint option set to Hold (instead of Toggle) may cause the player character to drift to the side
    • Issue being investigated and aimed to be resolved in a future patch
  • Certain enemies, especially Alphas, may break out of Frozen CC as soon as they are damaged
    • Issue being investigated and will be resolved in a future patch
  • Certain Mods not working (properly or consistently), in particular when you’re the client during multiplayer sessions
    • Issue under review following multiplayer improvements
  • Using the Tier 3 Armor Mod "Pain Transfer" with either the Tier 2 or the Tier 3 "Damage Link" mod drastically reduces framerate.
    • Issue being investigated and aimed to be resolved in a future patch
  • Technomancer Turrets may fall through the ground
    • Issue being investigated
    • There are a few different causes for this, including map specific areas (Mountain Outpost) as well as circumstance specific (such as aiming too closely at your own feet).
  • “Damage Blocked” Stat on Expeditions results screen occasionally appears inconsistently or abnormally low
    • Issue being investigated and aimed to be resolved in a future patch
  • A cutscene during the "The Mentor" Questline may not trigger, meaning players cannot progress past this point
    • Issue currently being investigated
    • Temporary Workaround: In your lobby, change your story checkpoint to an earlier one, then re-attempt this quest.

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