Developer Update - April 26th

– Rocksteady

Greetings people of Metropolis!

In this week’s Developer Update we are going to show some of the gameplay changes we have planned for Episode 2. From looking at both our own internal data, and from listening to community sentiment we’ve worked on a series of improvements that we believe will make for a better experience in terms of hunting for new gear, fighting Brainiac’s forces, and overall quality-of-life.

Below is a list of several changes that we plan to implement when Episode 2 releases next month.

Infamy Tier Rework

Let’s talk Infamy Sets, Notorious items and loot rollout. Our intent with the distributing the Infamy Set tiers and the Notorious items across our Mastery Levels was to have a more gentle onboarding to the increasing complexity of the Infamy sets and build configurations. The intent was basically that as you progress through the Mastery Levels, the content would get harder but you would get Infamy Sets to counter that and, as long as you play into your build, you wouldn’t really struggle until you hit the higher Mastery Levels. Having the most build permutations happen at the later Mastery Levels meant that we didn’t really get the build meta going until very late in our End Game, which left many players wondering where all that juicy build construction was hiding.

With Episode 2, we’re turning that completely on its head. ALL Infamy Set tiers and Notorious items will be possible to acquire starting from Mastery Level 1. You can still rely on the Episode Rank rewards to predictably and reliably give you all the loot the Episode has to offer, but now you have a chance to get a Tier 3 Infamy Set item drop from Mastery 1. 

In addition to this, we’re changing our philosophy when it comes to the Infamy Set tiers. Our original intent was that Tier 1 was the easiest to play, but also the lowest power potential and Tier 3 was the hardest to play but had the highest damage potential. Of course, the way our Mastery Levels are balanced, at higher Mastery Levels that meant that Tier 3 was pretty much the only viable Infamy Set.

Our new philosophy is essentially to flatten the power difference between the Tiers, and create space between the tiers in how much freedom they offer. In Episode 2, each Tier 1 Infamy Set will be designed around a few specific playstyles. You’ll see that one or two core mechanics are buffed, and keeping uptime on those buffs won’t be a challenge. That means optimal Tier 1 play will encourage you to master those specific core mechanics, and if you can handle that you’ll be able to reach damage outputs that were previously only possible with a Tier 3 set. On the other end of the spectrum, Tier 3 gear will be the most flexible in terms of core mechanics – our goal is that you can leverage pretty much any playstyle using a Tier 3 set. However, it will be the most complex Infamy Set when it comes to uptime. You’ll have to use all your skills to keep the buffs going, but the payoff will be that you have more freedom in which core mechanics to use. Tier 2 sits somewhere in the middle.

When Episode 2 launches, we’ll be watching closely to see how this new approach to Infamy Sets is working, so stay tuned for more tweaks in future updates!

Introducing New Grades of Master Items

With the flattening of the Infamy Set tiers, we want to make sure there’s still something to chase in the later Mastery Levels. That’s why we’re introducing an additional four Master grades (for a total of 5) that Infamy and Notorious items can drop with. Each grade will be more powerful than the last, and you can expect the highest (Master 5) to only drop from very high Mastery Levels.

Corrupted Items

One piece of feedback we’ve heard since launch is that players didn’t have enough reasons to play the Mayhem missions after beating them for the first time. We think we have just the right reward for you to fight for. Introducing Corrupted Notorious items. These twisted pieces of gear have been subjected to the Elseworld’s corruption, changing their unique Augment to provide a warped and seriously powerful version of the weapon. Being able to build around these Corrupted effects is a path to some of the highest power in the game, so Corrupted Notorious items will be very rare drops from the Episode 2 Mayhem mission. But trust us, their power will be worth it.

To give an example, we’ll have to give you a peek at one of the upcoming Notorious items in Episode 2: Firefly’s Firestorm. The standard version of this red-hot Grenade sets all enemies hit on fire, and increases the radius of your next Grenade by 50% for each enemy you Burn, up to a maximum of 200%!

The Corrupted version turns up the heat even more: it Burns every enemy hit, but instead of increasing the blast radius, instead the damage of your next Grenade is buffed by 200% for each enemy you Burn, up to a maximum of 1000%!!

This is just a taste of the power you’ll be able to harness with Corrupted items, if you’re brave enough to face Brainiac to find them!

You can expect more of these items too in future Episodes.

Breaking Down Items from Mission Complete

We’re really happy to announce that with the launch of Episode 2, you’ll be able to break down items straight from the Batpod drop in the mission reward screen. This is the first of several quality-of-life changes that we have planned for our inventory system, so watch out for more info here in future Developer Updates.  

Mutators Rework

First off, let’s talk Mutators. Our intent with these was to give just enough friction in the mastery level journey that you would want to reconsider your builds and push you into changing your tactics as you progress through the Mastery levels. Some Mutators were supposed to be less critical things, and some Mutators – like the Venom Frenzy Immunity – was supposed to really push you into experimenting with new builds once you reach a certain Mastery level. Essentially, we wanted to promote a more direct change in the meta to provoke new loadout configurations. It was more of a stick approach, and less of a carrot. 

With Episode 2, we’re fundamentally changing our approach to these Mutators. Rather than introducing friction to encourage build diversity, we’re changing these to instead be gameplay bonuses! Each Mutator in Episode 2 will give you a window of opportunity to take advantage of its effect. And the gameplay benefit is something we want you to be able to build around. We don’t expect you to be able to build around all 6 Mutators, realistically we want you to find the 2-3 you really like and that you can leverage with a build you like. These mutators are build enhancers. Our intent isn’t that these will define your build, but rather that some of them fit the build you want to run to make it even more powerful. 

A couple of new Mutators to illustrate this new approach are ‘Desperation’ and ‘Extra Fries’. Desperation boosts your damage by 75% for every 10% of your Shield missing, incentivising a high-risk high-reward playstyle that works great with Bizarro’s Undeath Ray and Hot Potato. Extra Fries grants players 1 Combo for every Critical Hit on a Burning enemy, allowing fire builds to get off to a blazing start.

While these new builds offer a variety of buffs, you’ll still have to build and play creatively to get their full benefit!

New Incursion Mission Mechanics

Let’s move on to our Incursion missions. Our original intent with these mission types was to give you all a known foundation (i.e. activity mechanics) and that the enemy types, infusion types, your character’s traversal mechanics, and your build (weapon types, gear, afflictions, etc.) would provide the variety in terms of how you approach the encounter. That variety was then supposed to change up as you progress through the Mastery level. With the introduction of Mutators, your build would change, and that would be different for each Incursion mission as you progress through the mastery levels. Again, we were using more of a stick approach and less of a carrot, with friction into the system to encourage changing of builds and tactics.

With the launch of Episode 2, Lex-2 has done an analysis of the enemies in each of the Incursion encounters and will provide an aptly named Lex-2 Enemy Analysis bonus to help the Squad out. Each new Incursion mission will each have its own analysis that identifies weaknesses on the enemies, and these weaknesses make different builds really shine.

During his analysis of the mission ‘Funny Pages’, Lex-2 has discovered that Burning enemies will take double damage from all sources! Time for The Joker to get out there and turn up the heat.

And in ‘Seaside Amusements’ it seems the Squad’s Critical Hits will deal 150% more damage. If they build accordingly, they might actually stand a chance…

See how you can use Lex-2’s Enemy Analysis to your advantage in Episode 2!

Crafting Recipes from previous Episodes

In another quality-of-life feature for Episode 2, we’ll be adding crafting recipes for most of the Legendary items you can find in Finite Crisis and Episode 1. Now you can straight up craft them, even if you haven’t received them as a loot drop. That only applies to gear from previous Episodes, so the latest and greatest loot is exactly where you’d expect it: in mission rewards.

Crafting Master items

One additional thing we’re adding to Crafting in Episode 2 is that there’s now a chance for items to be crafted as Master versions. That means that there’s a chance you’ll get a Master version of an item each time you craft it, which of course is true for all crafting recipes regardless of the Episode they were introduced in. For the higher grade versions of items (Master 2-5), you’ll still have to venture into the Elseworlds to score them, however!

Lower Promethium cost for missions

In Episode 2 we’ll be doing a pretty big balancing change to all Promethium costs across Incursion missions, Mayhem missions and Killing Time missions. This is the first step in a deeper review into our different currencies and their use, but is intended to cut down the time you spend gathering Promethium before your Squad can take on the more serious missions. 

The main source of Promethium is still Raising Hell. You get a whopping 3,000 Promethium from completing the first Tier, and an increasing amount for each Tier. You also get Promethium from playing the Metropolis missions, taking out Cargonauts, from your Care Packages and from Contracts. Don’t forget you get a +50% XP boost for 45 minutes from the first Metropolis mission you complete. Each subsequent mission refreshes this timer, but to be efficient you only really need to play a Metropolis mission every 45 minutes.

Additional Invasion Levels

With Episode 2 we’ll be adding an additional three Invasion difficulty levels for Metropolis, each with unique rewards and XP & Resource bonuses, to address the feedback from you all that Metropolis content is too easy when you’re fully kitted out with a proper build.

All these changes will be made in the patch shortly before the launch of Episode 2. This will be the next patch for the game.

We’re eagerly looking forward to implementing these changes and hope you enjoy your time in the Elseworlds until then!
Darroch & the Rocksteady Team.