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Critical Mass Update Patch Notes

Continent Locking Revamp

With the Critical Mass update comes a major revision of the way continents are fought over and conquered. When one faction has refined enough cortium and taken control of enough territory, that faction triggers an alert which signifies the impending domination of a continent. If the triggering faction wins the alert, they will conquer the continent and call in an armada of Bastion Fleet Carriers to rain destruction upon their enemies.

 

The Goal

One of the driving motivators of revitalizing the continent locking system is to encourage more strategy and competitive spirit in PlanetSide 2. Prior to this update, locking a continent was not only confusing for many players, but also happened abruptly, and often times without direct influence from the players fighting on the front lines. The new system intends to create a climactic end-of-continent encounter that challenges players not only as individuals, but as squads, platoons, and outfits. We want players to feel the rush of a hard fought victory, and reward them for partaking in it.

 

Rewards

The new alert type brings with it a range of possible unlocks that would normally be found in the depot, as well as some unique items that can only be earned from continent locking. Rewards are earned based on how well a faction performed during the alert, and how long a player has participated in that alert.

Successfully locked continents will reward players of the dominating faction a large helping of ISO-4 (the implant currency) and a random cosmetic or boost. The two opposing factions will receive varying amounts of ISO-4 based on which of them held the most territory during the alert. This ISO-4 reward also scales based on the player’s time spent participating in the alert. The more time in the alert, the more ISO-4 received. Becoming eligible for an item reward requires players to have spent a certain amount of time in the alert. For most item rewards, a player is required to have participated in at least half of the alert, and certain rare items require even more time participated to become eligible for them.

 

Feedback

We will be continuing to revise this system and the alert it generates based on community feedback, so please share your thoughts and in-game experiences with us on the PlanetSide2 Forums, the PlanetSide subreddit, or on Twitter.

 

New Armaments

NSX Daimyo

The new NSX Daimyo sniper rifle (seen above) carries the headshot kill potential of a bolt-action sniper rifle, with the flexibility of a semi-automatic sniper rifle. Its three round magazine and semi-auto fire allow it to quickly drop multiple targets before reloading. This sniper rifle requires precise aim to make use of, and can be fitted with optics from 4x to 12x, as well as an infrared 6x optic.

 Ambusher Jump Jets

Ambusher Jump Jets

Ambusher Jump Jets have been added to the Light Assault class.

These jump jets propel the player forward quickly, with limited vertical height.

Unlike other jump jet types, these are on a cooldown, instead of being more readily available.

Aerial Combatant's rank 5 benefit now resets the cooldown on Ambusher Jump Jets upon a kill.

 Nano-Repair Grenade

Nano-Repair Grenade

The Nano-Repair Grenade has been added to the Engineer class.

This grenade creates a field which repairs 50 health per second in an area for 12 seconds.

The grenade sticks to vehicles, the player can only have one active at any time.

 

Vehicle/Infantry Relationship

Vehicles, infantry, and the way they interact with one another has received a massive rework with the intention of creating a more enjoyable experience both on foot and in a vehicle, and to smooth out the learning curve required for vehicle play.

 

Resistances and Armor Simplification

Through some housekeeping, we’ve reduced the amount of resistance types in the game, eliminating roughly half of them. Part of this change includes zeroing vehicle armor values, and tuning weapon damage (and resistance) values around them. Prior to this update, many weapons had resistance types unique to themselves, and armor values varied wildly from vehicle to vehicle. In many cases, this meant the damage displayed in the loadout screen could not be accurately compared to other weapons that would seemingly fall in the same category. What this means for you is a more accurate loadout screen representation of the capabilities of the weapons that you use and unlock.

 

MBT and Lightning Armor

Main Battle Tanks and Lightnings now receive the same amount of damage from all sides, except from the bottom or behind. This means that remaining mobile is less punishing, as getting shot in the side no longer penalizes you with extra damage. At the same time, successful flanks and sneak attacks on targets from behind will now yield double damage against that target.

 

Liberator Armor

Like the Valkyrie, the Liberator now has a 50% armor boost when taking damage from below. This buff works in conjunction with a more clear focus on sustained damage over time instead of burst. 

 

Vehicle Handling Improvements

Most of the vehicle handling adjustments have already hit live servers, but additional adjustments have been made to Racer and Rival chassis for Lightning, Vanguard, and Prowler. These changes reduce some of the slipperiness that comes from these chassis types, and reduces penalties related to stopping power and brake use.

 

Rumble Seat Repairs

If there are multiple players in rumble seats, the vehicle will only be able to be repaired by one player at a time. This change only impacts the Valkyrie, since it’s currently the only vehicle with multiple rumble seats. The Valkyrie’s repair rate from the rumble seat has also been doubled to accommodate the change. This allows us to comfortably increase the strength of the Valkyrie’s weapons; it is still first and foremost a transport vehicle, but its newfound bite should make using the Valkyrie a bit more desirable overall.

 

Refreshed Archetype Interactions

Infantry versus Vehicle

For the most part, infantry’s long range influence on vehicles has been reduced, while damage output up close and general survivability has been increased.

We identified that infantry could easily destroy entire armor columns at ranges too far for vehicles to retaliate from due to the precision and damage output of AV weaponry, and the ability to use them beyond infantry render distances. This created a frustrating experience for vehicle players who wouldn’t be able to respond to threats until it was too late.

At the same time, vehicles, especially in groups, were able to exert too much influence on areas they should feel disadvantaged in, namely brushing up next to infantry-occupied bases. Recent buffs like the reduced shield recharge rates as well as an overall lengthening of time to kill on many anti-infantry weapons will help reduce the control vehicles can have over domains more aligned with infantry play.

 

Vehicle versus Vehicle

For most ground vehicles, the time to kill has been lengthened when fighting other ground vehicles. This allows players to risk being more mobile, and worry less about peeking in and out of cover to repair chip damage. 

In addition, the power of each vehicle is now much more reliant on having occupied gunner seats. Lightnings and ESF are more of a threat against vehicles without filled gunner seats, by comparison. When possible we want players to pull the right vehicle for the right situation, instead of pulling a more powerful single-man vehicle because there are excess nanites to get rid of.

Empire Specific Fighters (Scythe, Reaver, and Mosquito) share a similar relationship with one another they did on Live prior to this update. Of all vehicles, ESF vs ESF combat has remained the most similar in terms of time to kill. ESF have gained renewed anti-Liberator and anti-Galaxy potential, enabling them to take on a more predatory role versus these heavier vehicles, especially those without secondary gunners or escorts.

 

Weapon Adjustments

Many weapons have been realigned to an ideal range, to allow for alternate playstyles while softening some of the harsh divides that rendered vehicles useless in certain situations they were unequipped for. Unlike infantry, vehicles can’t swap loadouts on the fly, or return with a new loadout quickly after death. Because of this, we’re increasing the opportunities for vehicles to interact with one another, instead of being forced to either run or die. Below you’ll find more specific breakdowns were modified in coordination with this update.

 

Infantry Rocket Launchers

Most rocket launchers have gained increased reload speeds, more ammunition, faster ammo box resupplies, a reduction in damage dealt, and most launchers have lost the ability to one-shot infantry targets. The Decimator remains the hardest hitting rocket launcher, having the slowest reload speed and the ability to one-shot kill.

In general, lock-on launcher ranges have been reduced, and lock-on speeds have been increased. The dumbfire+G2G lock-on launcher and dumbfire+G2A lock-on launchers, as well as the Swarm and Annihilator, have all been diversified more to excel in different areas, and add more flavor to loadout setups. A new change for all anti-air lock-on weaponry, including TR’s Striker, ACE Rocklets, and Locklets, is that they now use the flak damage type for splash, which has no effect on infantry.

 

C4

Throwing and triggering C4 is now more smooth and responsive. With the added control, we’ve also reduced its damage output against most vehicles. Two bricks of C-4 placed on a Main Battle Tank will still destroy it, but a single brick will no longer take 80% of an MBT’s life landing nearby.

 

NS-AM7 Archer

The Archer Anti-Material Rifle has gained some increased damage against most vehicles, and lost a bit of that damage against MAX units. Its primary role is still as a MAX hunting weapon, but the added versatility against vehicles helps make it more desirable in more situations. In addition, projectiles that travel past 25 meters will explode in a small area of effect for minor damage.

 

Empire Specific Anti-Infantry Secondary Weapons (MBT, Harasser, Sunderer, ANT, Flash)

The Canister (NC Vanguard/Harasser), PPA (VS Magrider/Harasser), and Marauder (TR Prowler/Harasser), are now capable of dealing light damage to heavily armored vehicles, allowing for more versatility on those platforms.

 

Common Pool Anti-Infantry Secondary Weapons (MBT, Harasser, Sunderer, ANT, Flash)

The Kobalt solidifies its role as the most reliable anti-infantry secondary weapon, and is also the only anti-infantry weapon that does not damage heavily armored vehicles. The Bulldog retains the highest single-shot splash damage and area of effect of any infantry weapon, and remains with an anti-infantry focus. Fury has been moved more toward the anti-vehicle side of the spectrum, while keeping some of its bite against infantry targets.

 

Empire Specific Anti-Vehicle Secondary Weapons (MBT, Harasser, Sunderer, ANT, Flash)

Anti-Vehicle Weapons have been separated into categories based on their new effective ranges. For the most part, the longer effective range a weapon has, the less damage output it has. These categories aren’t too different from their previous Live state, but their stats have been honed more toward this end.

Close Range AV

  • Mjolnir (NC)
  • Vulcan (TR)
  • Aphelion (VS)

Mid-Range AV

  • Enforcer (NC)
  • Saron (VS)

Long Range AV

  • Gatekeeper (TR)

The Gatekeeper has been significantly changed in this update. Instead of a constant damage-over time weapon, the Gatekeeper is now a more skill-based burst weapon that is more effective out to longer ranges than other empire specific weapons. Upon a trigger press, it unleashes a salvo of eight rockets at once, and then reloads.

 

Common Pool Anti-Vehicle Secondary Weapons (MBT, Harasser, Sunderer, ANT, Flash)

Like their empire specific counterparts, the common pool weapons have received similar range categorizing and adjustments.

Mid-Range AV

  • Basilisk
  • Ranger (Anti-Air)

Long Range AV

  • Halberd
  • Walker (Anti-Air)

 

Valkyrie Weapons

Across the board, the effectiveness of the Valkyrie’s weapons have received some improvements. In terms of power, these weapons now have damage output more similar to an ESF weapon, instead of a Sunderer turret.

 

Liberator Weapons and Armor

All Liberator noseguns can now swivel while aiming down sights. (This feature is not available on PS4.)

The damage output of most Liberator weapons has been reduced in favor of more sustained damage over time, as opposed to burst damage output.

The intention of these changes are to allow Liberators to participate in larger scaled fights, while relying more on crewmates to supplement the vehicle’s weaknesses. The increased 50% belly armor increases survivability in gunship-like circumstances, whereas a skillful pilot can also take advantage of this additional belly armor to help combat ESF and other hostile aircraft. 

 

MBT and Lightning Main Cannons

Main Battle Tanks and the Lightning have received a pass on their main cannons that allows them to compete more closely with one another, and overall gravity and projectile speeds have been reduced to bring in the common effective ranges of these weapons.

HEAT now stands out as the fastest reloading and highest damage over time cannon; AP has the best velocity and lowest gravity of the other cannons, as well as higher alpha damage per hit; and HESH has the best splash damage, and the same direct damage as AP, but suffers from AP’s poor reload speed, and HEAT’s lower velocity and heavier projectile.

The Lightning’s C75 Viper has been repurposed as a tank busting weapon that unloads a high amount of damage over its 6 round magazine, but can only achieve that damage over short ranges, due to heavy cone of fire bloom.

 

ESF Weaponry

ESF noseguns for the most part retain a similar (and in some cases the exact same) time to kill against other ESF as they previously did. However, ESF noseguns are now more useful against Liberators and Galaxies.

A2A lock-on missiles have been changed into a two-round magazine, and still emphasize their role as anti-Galaxy and anti-Liberator weapons, but are a bit more effective with this update than they were on Live.

Hornet Missiles have had some of their damage potential returned to them, especially when dealing with MBT and Lightnings.

 

Vehicle Abilities

Vanguard Shield

Has been renamed Forward Vanguard Shield

Instead of adding an additional health pool upon activation, the shield will now decrease the damage from top and front by 67%, and from the sides by 34% for a short time.

 

C-Barrier

Instead of eating resources each time it receives damage, The ANT’s C-Barrier ability will now provide a 20% armor increase while the ability is active.

 

Vehicle Certifications

Composite Armor (Flash, Harasser, ESF, Valkyrie, Liberator, Galaxy)

Equipping composite armor now increases the overall health of a vehicle, instead of increasing individual resistances. The health boosts range from 10% to 30% depending on the vehicle equipping it. In most cases, this health boost is the difference between death and being able to soak an additional tank round or rocket.

 

Flanker Armor (Lightning, MBT)

Lightning and MBT Armors have been refunded, and a new “Flanker Armor” has been added.

Flanker Armor increases resistance to C4, ensuring that two bricks will not be able to kill a Main Battle Tank.

Lightnings will still be destroyed with two well-placed bricks, but the damage of each brick is significantly reduced, complementing the small size and maneuverability of the platform.

 

Infantry/MAX Cert Lines

Nanoweave and Kinetic Armor

MAX’s Kinetic Armor and infantry’s Nanoweave Armor now reduce different resist types by 20%, based on rank, instead of increasing the amount of resistance with each rank. This change allows low ranks of the ability to be immediately competitive with higher ranks in most situations.

  • Rank 1: Reduces small arms damage by 20%.
  • Rank 2: Reduces small arms and heavy machine gun damage by 20%.
  • Rank 3: Reduces small arms, heavy machine gun, and gatling damage by 20%.
  • Rank 4: Reduces small arms, heavy machine gun, gatling, and soft-point machine guns, damage by 20%.
  • Rank 5: Reduces small arms, heavy machine gun, gatling, soft-point machine guns, and anti-materiel rifles by 20%.

 

MAX Flak Armor

The MAX Flak Armor cert line has been renamed Ordnance Armor, and follows a different progression path than infantry’s Flak Armor on Live. 

  • Rank 1: Reduces common explosion damage by 50%.
  • Rank 2: Reduces common explosion damage by 50%, and infantry rocket damage by 20%.
  • Rank 3: Reduces common explosion, tank mine, and C4 damage by 50%; and infantry rocket damage by 20%.
  • Rank 4: Reduces common explosion, tank mine, and C4 damage by 50%; and infantry rocket and tank shell damage by 20%.
  • Rank 5: Reduces common explosion, tank mine, and C4 damage by 50%; and infantry rocket, tank shell, light AV, and A2G explosive damage by 20%.

 

Flight Suit

Fuel capacity per rank from 10/13/15/20 to 30/35/38/40%.

Reduces the cooldown time on Ambusher jump jets by 0.60/0.80/0.90/1 second.

Rank 3 cert cost from 150 to 200.

Rank 4 cert cost from 250 to 500.

Dev note: Previous benefits didn't influence the player's playstyle to a noticeable degree, leading to less desirability as a suit slot option. This buff makes the suit slot more competitive, and adds functionality for Ambusher Jump Jets.

 

Cosmetics

Doku’s Zealot Armor (VS) may now be purchased a la carte in the depot.

The following cosmetics have also been added:

  • Sunderer Barricade Body Kit, from Giz
  • Sunderer Barricade Bumper, from Giz
  • Galaxy Halo Zeta Cockpit, from Giz
  • Galaxy Farrow Cockpit, from Giz
  • Lynx Helmet, from G1ngerBoy
  • First Strike Helmet, from G1ngerBoy
  • Armageddon Helmet, from G1ngerBoy
  • Galaxy Torpedo Intake, from LorrMaster
  • Primarch Heavy Assault Armor, from Steveo

 

Misc. Changes and Additions

  • Much like Air Deterrence experience, “Vehicle Damage” experience can now be gained by dealing damage to ground vehicles while playing as infantry.
  • Tank cannon tracers are now more visible and faction colored.
  • Spear Phalanx Turrets have also received faction specific tracers.
  • Reduced the camera shake area of effect and intensity on a handful of explosion types.
  • TR rocket launchers overall now take up less screen space.
  • Zoomed out the loadout screen camera on all Blackhand pistols to accommodate the longer barrel.
  • Increased visibility of smoke screen particles on lower settings.
  • NS-20 Gorgon directives now show left and right in their names.
  • Breaking down implants now has a sound effect associated with it.
  • Repair Module repair rate on Elysium Spawn Tube from 150 per sec. to 50 per sec.
  • VS Proximity Mine velocity from 10 to 5 (now in line with NC’s Bouncing Betty).
  • Safe Fall rank 5’s collision damage resistance increased from 20% to 50%.
  • Slightly increased the brightness of Amerish's darkest hours.

 

Bug Fixes

  • Corrected an issue where three continents could remain open without enough players to support them.
  • Fixed a collision issue with the Sunderer Garage east of Quartz Ridge Camp.
  • TR Heavy Assault rocket launchers should no longer show visible clipping of the shoulder while sprinting.
  • Removed ghost capture area inside Crimson Bluff Tower.
  • Fixed some ghost capture point areas in the Feldspar Canyon Base tower area.
  • Arroyo Torre's "A" point has been moved out of the tower and into a western building.
  • Added grav lift particles to TI Alloys spawn room lift.
  • The "Horn of Liberty" description has been updated for various vehicles.
  • Damaging targets who have Clear Vision equipped with small arms weapons will no longer trigger a resist icon.
  • Fixed ZOE rank 5 right side not applying the armor debuff while activated.
  • BioLab domes will now render the full dome at long distances.
  • The NSX Amaterasu knife can now be trialed.
  • Sunderer Light Stripe Tire should now illuminate.
  • TR heavy assault male shin plate should no longer stretch incorrectly with composite armor equipped.
  • Vampire implant no longer triggers in a vehicle.
  • Fixed floating model pieces on Magrider’s main cannon.
  • Fixed typos in the Magrider's Magburn ability.
  • NS "Heatwave" Decimator should no longer show a missing clip during reload.
  • Corrected some issues causing microstuttering.
  • Adjusted Hossin sky file to reduce lense flare blowout when firing some weapons.
  • TX1-FB Repeater, Beamer VS3-FB, and NC4-FB Mag-Shot are now treated as sidearms for the purposes of directive pistol kills and sidearm specific implant abilities.
  • NS-45 Pilot’s loadout screen firemode tooltip has been corrected.
  • NS-45 Pilot’s audio has received a minor adjustment.
  • Fixed improper camoing of some NS optics.
  • BLOP Armor Decal renamed F4 Armor Decal, per the outfit's request.

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