We’re baaaaaaaack! And it feels so good.
First, great to have a patch! It’s got us all talking about Atlas again. I’m excited to play some more! Let’s talk about the specific changes. Overall, I don’t think there’s much to be ecstatic about (I mean, there aren’t that many changes), but it seems like the changes are actually fairly sensible given the current state of the game. Indeed, Shyguy’s post said they’re focused on bringing new players and sustainable growth to Atlas. I’ll raise a glass to that. Okay, on to the specifics:
- Season to last 6 months.
I’m OK with this. I think if Atlas is thriving, shorter seasons makes sense, but given its current state, a longer season is OK. Why? Sure, people have longer to climb and gain season levels, and ranked feels like less of a pressure cooker, but that’s offset by the season kind of dragging. Well, first, they likely don’t have content patches ready at the moment, and they want each season to be a little more “special.” We wish they did, but they don’t. So that’s a fairly good reason. There’s no real reason the ranked ladder needs to be tied to the rest of a “season,” but I don’t mind that it is.
More importantly, we don’t want to devalue a season. Even approaching it from the perspective of “who is Contender this season, who is Rank 1 this season” etc., having a longer season means it’s more impactful. I might actually try to push for Rank 1, you know? Whereas if we have tons of seasons, each one will be relatively meaningless to the point where everybody loses interest. Also, we want to encourage the better players to be at the top of the ladder in ranked, even if they don’t play much, and being able to play from time to time and still perform well on the ladder because you have a high winrate (like me this season, or say, like someone like Koyote traditionally) is much better than having the better players simply not play because why bother. And the days of “grind as many games as possible to climb” are behind us, so that’s not a concern.
2. No new lancers.
I don’t think anyone is surprised by this. Though we do need a new support. I recommend Spooky the Ghost.
3. You can acquire stuff from The Past.
I think this is a good decision. There’s some stuff that I want (overcons and emojis, used for communication) that I would enjoy being able to get. Stuff for communication, you know? Skins I feel less strongly on. And I do NOT like the idea of old titles, for example, being available to newer players. That should be where the old guard can have its prestige. That’s what titles ARE. But hey, we all have our Contender titles or our PPL Champion titles (ok some of don’t have those and I’m not salty about it you’re salty about it) and those will still look mighty nice in the new era. And I don’t think literally every old asset is going to be available, you know? But we’ll see. Ultimately, I think Atlas needs to attract new players. Duh. We all know this. So if there’s a lot more cool shit that a new player can get, great. If that brings more players to the game, well, I’ll take that tradeoff in exchange for one of my exclusive clubs being a little less exclusive.
4. You can buy season levels.
I approve of this decision as well. I’m no fan of “buy your way to success,” but these don’t affect actual gameplay. If the game becomes pay-to-win, that’s a HUGE issue that we’d need to address IMMEDIATELY. But as I understand it, this is really just a way for Gamigo to get some money from the games (especially from whales) and again, theoretically attract newer players who may have some spare bucks but not want to make a huge time commitment. Again, the fact of the matter is that we want Atlas to succeed, and if Gamigo can bring in more players and/or monetize the game more effectively without harming the core gameplay, that’s awesome.
5. New mods for lancers.
I’m OK with this, pending what the mods actually are. I foresee a lot of balance headaches and problems, and I don’t think it’s necessarily the “shake-up” the game needs. Maybe it’s designed to get old players to check out Atlas again, I don’t know. Koyote seems to think it’s a really good idea and will keep things fresh. I’m a bit more resistant to change, but I’m OK with it. I hope it doesn’t affect the playstyles we love — like there are certain mods that we’d be devastated to lose, right? Everyone has one or two favorites, and there are just some that are so character-defining that it’ll be insane not to have them.
That said, Koyote IS right that mod builds don’t see as much variety as we might like and having “staple” mods that are always taken is not great for the game as a theoretical matter. Possibly the devs can build certain “must-have” effects into the abilities themselves, with appropriate balance tweaks as needed, or leave in place certain “key” mods that are important but not necessarily must-takes (Aurora Paralazer granting Unstoppable comes to mind). Or maybe they’re just adding new mods without taking away some or all of the old ones. That works too.
Scroll down to the end of the article for a “brief” list of what I consider the most “essential” mods for each lancer to be and how sad I’d be to lose
them (5 is real sad, 1 is not that sad).
6. New ranked rewards!
7. Hexcellence and Oblivion reintroduced to the PvP queue.
Nooooo. The worst part of the changelog. These maps are dreadful. (And if you disagree, you’re wrong!) I hope they at least get tweaked to be more…well, playable.
8. The game isn’t being shut down.
Seriously. The fact that Gamigo is at least keeping Atlas alive, offering new patches, trying to monetize, taking the game seriously — that’s a great sign. Props to the Gamigo team for keeping the game we love alive and trying to resuscitate it. Our love aside, the game has tons of potential and it’s nice to see it not being given up on. I don’t know who is (still?) on the team besides Shyguy, but here’s to the best going forward!
9. That list I mentioned…(and stay tuned for another article with the WORST mods for each lancer!!!) These are the most essential mods for each lancer, imo, and how sad I’d be to see them gone (5 being most sad). As you can see, just because a mod is “core” doesn’t mean it’s interesting.
Asana — Vault: 5 — this needs to be baseline; reduce damage on the dash or something to compensate.
Aurora — Stable Ions: 4, Unstoppable on Paralazer: 4 — I don’t think either of these are must-takes, but the former is a personal favorite and the latter is just important as all hell, and if it’s removed there better be more unstoppable in its place somewhere. Aurora in general has a great variety of mods and I don’t think hers need much reworking. (Hopefully the devs still read Tiggarius.com? Maybe people can link the article somewhere?)
Blackburn — None. Lots of nice mods, but a lot of crappy ones too.
Brynn — Shieldbearer: 2 — this mod is too strong, wouldn’t mind seeing it go, but could go either way on it. Brynn has a lot of neat mods too.
Celeste — None. I would have said Mending Mists but we already got that nerf.
Dr. Finn — That’s A-Moray: 3, Unstopbubble: 2 — Ally eels opens up some new playstyle options for Finn / Finn teams. I’m not married to it, but it’s worth noting. Unstopbubble is just insane; wouldn’t mind seeing it go, but again, having some form of unstoppable is important for a support to remain relevant.
Elle — Dance of Death: 1, Block’n’Load: 4 — I’m not much of an Elle player, but I like Block’n’Load. Opens up some cool decisions. Dance of Death is a must-take and I’ve been sick of that since forever.
Garrison — Juiced Up: 4 — Garrison has some nice mod variety. I think Juiced Up is what I see most commonly taken on his ult, and it definitely offers some nice utility and rewards the thinking player or coordinated team. His mods don’t need much work imo.
Gremo — None — lot to choose from; almost went with Extra Fuel, but I really see a lot of different choices on Gremo’s abilities, even their dash.
Grey — Infrared Enhancement: 5, Agile Escape: 4 — Remove drone hits invis as a mod, but this effect needs to be made baseline. Agile Escape is pretty essential for Grey; I’m not really sure what you do if you take away this mod.
Helio — Ironclad: 5, Power Share: 4 — Please don’t take away Battleforged. Please. Might on shields is pretty insane, so for balance reasons I think I’d be a little more OK with losing that one. I’d also be sad about losing Sledge, but that’s more of a personal choice. HELIO’S MODS ARE GREAT PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH.
Isadora — None. This is really just a function of me not being familiar enough with Isadora’s gameplay and mod choices to really have an informed opinion here.
Juno — Stockades: 3, Shield Battery: 3 — This is tough. These effects are so essential that for Juno not to have them feels…very bad indeed. But these are must-takes, even at 3 points. Shield Battery you could conceivably build in to the ability, but Stockades…it’s such a unique and interesting effect. Maybe you do make that an inherent part of Lockdown. Obviously both abilities would need some balance tweaks. But yeah, that’s probably the best course of action here.
Kaigin — Stalker’s Mark: 2 — Kaigin’s mods got a revamp fairly recently, at least the ones on his primary. I don’t think he has many mandatory mods, and none that I consider super essential for a particular playstyle (though you could argue for Thick Smoke or Eclipse or something I guess). Interesting that of my two mains, I care loads about Helio’s mods and little about Kaigin’s. By the way, people are saying Kaigin is too strong right now, but I wouldn’t change anything — let the chips fall where they do with the new season and new mods and then reevaluate.
Khita — Leaf in the Wind: 5, Deluge of Arrows: 5 — please make Leaf in the Wind baseline. I’ve been asking for it for a while. It’s so wonderful for allowing good Khita players to make interesting shots. Deluge of Arrows is less important, but I just love it — it really opens up a lot of targeting potential with her ultimate. For this one, I’d prefer just leaving the mod in place. I’m OK investing 3 points for the effect and I think it’s reasonable not to. Honestly, Khita has some bad mods that could definitely be replaced, but her good ones are really fun and wonderful (energy on shields, lookin’ at you!).
Lex — Haste on primary: 4. Lex’s mods are almost all “do more damages or healings or shieldings or stuff. Maybe slow a thing, I don’t know.” I really like the “gain haste next turn” on primary — it’s fun, fits her kit, and makes for interesting decisions about when to primary. The rest of her mods are pretty boring — I don’t dislike them, mind you, but I just don’t care that much. They aren’t impactful on the way she is played.
Lockwood — Burst of Speed: 2. I see a variety of Lockwood builds — his mods are pretty good and flexible, overall. Burst of Speed on ultimate seems to be the most common. 3 extra range is just…wow. There’s a lot you can do with that. I wouldn’t mind seeing it go, though. Force Lockwood players to stay
in the fight a bit more with it. I’d like to see Lockwood get a little something in return though, maybe a mod that gives shields after he uses his ultimate so he can better support that playstyle.
Magnus — None. I actually think Magnus has reasonable mod diversity. None seem like must-takes, a lot seem fairly good (albeit in the nature of “do more of a thing”). But I wouldn’t be opposed to a shake-
Meridian — Back from the Brink: 2, Compound Fracture: 3. I think Back from the Brink is by far the most commonly taken Meridian mod, and it’s just really good. Simple as that. It’s not “special,” though. It’s just numbers. Occasionally you’ll think “maybe I’ll delay the heal one turn because it’s a larger number if they’re low” but the ability already works that way baseline. And even then, usually you just do it when you can, or when it’s off cooldown, or whatever. Boneshatter is also “just good.” Value. Hooray. So
yeah, I don’t mind a revamp of Meridian’s mods.
Nev:3 — None. Her kit works well baseline. The mods are all fluff. (No pun intended.)
Nix — Ammo Replication: 3, Drone Network: 1. Nix actually has a good variety of mods. People might say “oh haste on invis is essential” or “range on ult is a must” but I can think of reasonable minds differing on every single ability. So the ones I bring up are those that do something pretty unique. Drone Network lets Nix use drones a lot more in his play — which I find annoying, hence the 1, haha. And Ammo Replication gives some big play potential if you can trap multiple people — which of course I
enjoy. But I’m not married to either. (Obviously, saying I wouldn’t mind seeing something like range on ult replaced is contingent on it being replaced with something useful and interesting and not absolutely
nothing, you know? Read all this with that in mind.)
Orion — Divine Purpose: 4. There are definitely mods in Orion’s kit that are just “better” than others, plenty I didn’t list here, but I think there are at least 2 viable choices for every other ability. For Divine Purpose, I just don’t see a situation where I wouldn’t take this mod. It’s amazingly good, comes on an ability you are going to be using anyway, gives unstoppable to both…if it’s removed, Orion will need some other means of granting Unstoppable, I would think.
Oz — Faster Than Light: 5. Please give Oz’s ultimate a +1 increase in base range. Please. Make whatever other nerfs you need (since he’s in a decent spot actually) and tweak whatever mods you want, and then I don’t have to list this.
Phaedra — None. Phaedra has a lot of great mods, and relatively few truly awful mods, and some of her mods are better than others, but I can’t think of a single mod for which I think its absence would require an overhaul in Phaedra’s playstyle or playability. Even something like Tremors, which I almost put.
PuP — Play Time: 1. Can we delete PuP? Yay! I think Play Time is the only mod of PuP’s that is really mandatory. I’ve seen varying choices on the others (though Retractable Leash is also pretty popular).
Quark — Rapid Mutation: 3. Might Quark is cool! To the extent Quark is cool at all, which is “not very.” It’s at least a mod that isn’t just “heal slightly more” or whatever else his mods mostly do.
Rask — Controlled Fury: 1. I don’t like it, but it’s unique among his mods. I would also be sad to see Aftershock go — being able to hit all targets on his 2 is quite nice. Mods I wouldn’t mind seeing eliminated: Crippling Slash. I think everyone hates that mod.
Rufflebucket — GAMIGO, THIS IS WHAT WE CALL RAMPART. IT’S A LONG STORY. JUST NOD AND SMILE. — None. Maybe range on his 3 or something, but he sees a variety of mods used and I don’t think any are truly essential to what he does.
Su-Ren — None. Su’s mods are a bunch of weird garbage. A few are interesting, but tend to be on the weak side. Even Gaia’s Blessing, certainly her best and most commonly taken mod, is basically just a “my healing needs to do more healing lol” and not actually an interesting mod. I think Su-Ren is a prime candidate for a mod shake-up. (And by the way, can she get a means of giving unstoppable? If the other “core” healers — Aurora, Finn, Orion and Meridian — have one, she should too. She has a dash, but she pays for it with less hp and melee range. She doesn’t need to pay for it any further.)
Titus — Flurry of Daggers: 2. I think Titus has reasonable variety in terms of what mods you can use, and frankly most of them are in the nature of “do some more damage or get some healing” or something. Note, though, that the combination of healing mods does actually give Titus meaningful sustainability, which in turn represents a shift in how he is played (since he has relatively little else in the way of defensiveness). So modify at own risk, I guess. And re: Flurry of Daggers, I think it’s very powerful to reduce the cooldown on his dagger, but as Blatm would note, nobody likes dagger anyway, so I wouldn’t mind this mod being changed.
Tol-Ren — Vengeance Seeker: 2. Tol-Ren really enjoys that range increase on ult. Personally, I don’t care. Remove the ult’s energy refund and then we can talk. But without this mod, Tol-Ren is a fair bit weaker, it must be noted, and he was nerfed relatively recently.
Vonn — Rangefinder: 4, Permafrost: 4. Rangefinder is freaking insane and if you don’t take it, you’re wrong. I don’t know if I can recommend building it into Vonn’s kit, but I can safely say that if it is removed or changed, Vonn will definitely feel the effects of it in how he is played. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is up to you. What I wouldn’t do, though, is change Rangefinder AND take away Permafrost, which gives him a three-turn shield. Is that excessive? Eh — maybe. It’s pretty much a must-take. But if Vonn has range, he doesn’t need it as much, and if Vonn has this, he doesn’t need range as much. Ya dig?
Zuki — None. Zuki has a lot of decent choices for pretty much every ability. The ones I might keep are the Big One mods, because those actually change how the ability is used as opposed to just “do some more damage.” Notably, though, the mods of Zuki’s that tend to be strong tend to be ones that read “do more damage.” So yeah, I don’t mind a mod shake-up here.