This time we have two things to announce so let's go first things first.
Some of you have noticed that there has been an update to the beta yesterday. Sorry for the delay with an official announcement, we had to agree on some things first.
The previous beta was meant to be the last one before the beta would switch to the live version but there have been complaints and suggestions for changes to the Tank Support doctrine. We had quite a lot of reservations to pretty much every "big rework" so we tried to implement the changes that seemed to have the most community support and that we didn't think would would turn the game for a worse.
The changes to the Tank Support doctrine:
These were discussed and probably most requested changes in the past few weeks. Only the removal of Assault Pioneers was put in as a compensation for the return of the Assault Grenadiers because keeping the Pioneers in this doctrine would allow it to dominate both infantry and vehicle/tank play so this should at least slow down a bit the infantry opening for this doctrine.- Panzer Grenadiers now have the same stats on Kar98 as Volksgrenadiers
- Changed Panther D for G version
- Changed Stuka Rocket unlock for Wespe unlock (Stuka Rockets for Hotchiss are now available in SE doctrine)
- Hotchkiss global cost changed to 320MP 30F (from 280MP 45F)
- Assault Grenadiers returned
- Removed Assault Pioneers
- Panzer Grenadiers can now have Suppressive Volley ability with G43
- Combat aura around Light vehicles and Tanks now applies to Assault Grenadiers too
- LMG unlock from TS doctrine replaced by Double AT Efforts
- Double AT Efforts now also give Vet level 1 to Panzerschreck squads
- AA emplacement unlock replaced with Vet level 1 unlock for PGrens
- Lowered the cost of Panzer IV J to 410MP 45Fuel (from 550MP 60F)
- Lowered the cost of Panzer IV H to 550MP 50Fuel (from 550MP 80F)
- Lowered HP of Jagdpanther to 800 (from 1000)
- Lowered the cost of Jagdpanther to 850MP 150F (form 1000MP 180F)
- Lowered the accuracy bonus of JPIV L70 in camo to 50% (from 55% - typo during the original value standardization)
The change of the LMG unlock for the Double AT Efforts was also a reoccuring request/suggestion. We were quite sceptical about it because we think it will allow this doc to hard counter US Armor and CW RE doctrines but maybe we're wrong so we decided to go with it and see how it works out. He, however, gave it a 3CP cost to delay it a little bit but at the same time we added an effect from another unlock from the old TH doctrine (Vet level for AT squads) so in the end it does more things but it is also more expensive.
Another thing that was discussed quite a lot was the performance of the Calliope Jeep, where people complained that with lower number of rockets it became rather useless. The suggestions were to increase the number of rockets again but that would go against the original intention behind the change. We rather revised the stats of the rockets and found some problems (especially that the rockets had quite a high chance to deal no damage to the units in the AoE) so that got changed and the maximum scatter got a little bit lower so there should be a bit better chance to hit with at least one rocket what you actually intended to. A thing that wasn't brought up but we noticed it was that the bigger scatter made life miserable for the 150mm Nebelwerfers and as a result they were rarely ever used, thus the scatter reduction was applied to it too.
The rest of the changes were mostly bug fixes or smaller balance changes to specific units:- Lowered the scatter of Calliope Jeep
- Fixed inconsistent damage settings of Calliope Jeep's Rockets
- Lowered the scatter of 150mm Nebelwerfer
So that is for the changelog-part of this announcement. Now for the second part.General:
- SMGs should no longer deal excessive damage to Marders
- HQ buildings of USA and WM can now get an upgrade that will heal infantry in the base sector (150MP 30 ammo)
- Triage centers now heal in the range of 20 (from 15)
- Jacksons and Command Panzer IV will now show an icon on tacmap (from a pink square)
- US and WM halftracks no longer get MGs when they transport troops but they have upgrade options to get permanent gunners
- Increased gun rotation in AA mode (usually double of what they have without AA)
- Lowered aim times of weapons in AA mode to 0 (from various values)
- Changed all recon planes so that AA weapons don't shoot at them
- Static AA guns (naked and emplaced) now have a visual indication of active AA mode (it was hard to say if the unit had AA mode active only by the elevated barel)
- Passangers in transporters can now be hit by incoming fire (applies to US, WM and PE transport halftracks and CW Bren Carrier, CTA armored car, Kangaroo)
- When a transporter gets destroyed each soldier inside has 75% chance to die (from 40-90% based on trasnporter type)
- Builder and engineer infantry units now repair destroyed points in 2 seconds
- Nashorn gun will no longer fail to penetrate M18 armor
- Quad emplacements no longer shoot at ground targets in AA mode
- Fixed a bug where Riflemen Garands reloaded after 4 shots instead of 8
- Lowered the suppression values of Riflemen Garands (due to higher RoF and fixed mag size, they were suppressing Volks with normal fire)
- Paradropped HMG in AB doc now also has the "fire mode switch" (was forgotten last time)
- Added an MG upgrade to halftrack (25 ammo; same requirements as other .50cals)
- Fixed a bug where the Ammo truck could lay mines at extremely long distances
- Ranger squads now require CQB unlock rather than Ranger truck (effectivelly lowering their CP requirement to 2CP from 4CP)
- Paradropped MG team in AB doctrine has now the 1919a4 MG (the one Ranger MG has)
- Fixed a bug where Straffing plane was shooting only from 3 MGs instead of all 4
- Straffing strike now changed to use "AP" bullets by default
- Removed "Straffe AP bullets" upgrade from WSC
- Increased the accuracy of M36 Jackson to 1/1/0.9/0.85 (from 1/1/0.75/0.75)
- Lowered cost of M36 Jackson to 600MP 75F
- After you get the 2nd Tank Depot upgrade M36 Jacksons will have engine upgrade by default
- Fixed a bug where 90mm guns would occasionally bounce off of Hetzers
- Changed the armor type of Rangers to standard infantry (from "elite infantry" which made snipers super accurate against them)
- "Experienced Tank Crews" now correctly gives Vet1 to 75mm Jumbo
- 75mm Jumbo now correctly gets advanced repairs when the upgrade is purcheased
- Added one soldier to the Assault Squad (this also increases the cost of the squad to 360MP from 288MP)
- Added Smoke Grenade ability to Assault Squad
- Fixed the unintended low cooldown values on some Lee-enfield rifles
- Fixed a bug where 2 pounder guns would need 2-3 hits to destroy a schwimmwagen
- Vickers HMG setup time increased to 6 seconds (from 3; same value as the US and Axis HMGs)
- FERN barrage from 105mm howitzer now also requires an Def/Infantry/RA doctrine to be fired
- Grenadiers description now says they require "Defensive Doctrine" instead of "Defensive Tactics"
- Urban Assault Stormtroopers now have a symbol different from Volksgrenadiers
- 105mm howitzers no longer get unintended range bonus at Vet3
- Pioneers in Defensive doctrine can now properly upgrade MP40 twice (new)
- Added an MG upgrade to halftrack (15 ammo)
- Lowered accuracy of StuPa to 0.75/0.6/0.45/0.2 (from 0.75/0.6/0.5/0.4)
- Lowered the cost of StuPa to 550MP 100F (from 600MP 100F 50 ammo)
- 20mm flak38 emplacement in Tank Support doctrine now correctly sits inside the emplacement
- Panzergrenadiers within the influence of a "Sprint aura" from halftracks will no longer be able to activate Sprint ability
- "Support Equipment" (Luft unlock) no longer mentions non-existent Fallshirmjäger Panzerschreck upgrade
- Luftwaffe pioneers in Forward Barracks now cost 300MP (same as the paradropped ones)
- Luftwaffe can now upgrade HEAT ammo on stubby PIV
- Nashorn gun will no longer fail to penetrate M18 armor
In two weeks, BK Mod will go through very big changes. For those of you just finding out about these changes and the "beta" now, here's a quick catch up:
For years BK has had a lot of trouble staying balanced between Axis and Allies. About a year and a half ago a survey was released by the devs to test a hypothesis on why the balance was alwasy so volatile. The results in the survey found that a key reason why balance was also so difficult was because all the doctrines did not fall under a common design philosophy. Some doctrines were very specialized and required teamwork, but when was well supported became over dominating monsters. Meanwhile, other doctrines were well rounded and independent, able to put up a good fight but never had the same overwhelming end-game power as other doctrines. Additionally, there were clear "rock paper scissors" game strategies where certain doctrines were clear counters to other doctrines. The made it hard for players to play their favorite doctrines if an opponent simply chose a pure counter.
After dozens of surveys to players, long forum discussions, and watching endless replays, the devs decided to make a first "test" changes as a pilot with the iconic armor doctrine vs blitzkrieg doctrine. The results were promising. It was decided that all doctrines would benefit if they were balanced to be playable in 1v1's against all other doctrines. The reworks on doctrines focused not specifically on balancing the game but removing the "rock paper scissors" element of doctrine choice in games. With more standardized doctrine designs, balance should theoretically be much easier in the long run.
Since the first doctrine reworks, the amount of changes and effort put into discussing, balancing, testing, and finally solidifying updates was extraordinarily painful for both devs and players. But, we as a community have finally come to a place where the patch can be released with some comfort that large scale changes will likely no longer happen. The devs are proud to announce the 5.2 Release - the patch that drives a new PvP oriented philosophy in doctrine design, allowing players to have their desired doctrines more viable in a 1v1 setting. This release is not the final for balancing BK, just a milestone towards what is hopefully a more exciting, fresh, and non-repetitive BK Mod experience. These changes are going to appear in BK Mod in about two weeks, but if you want to try the changes out early before the launch date feel free to download the beta (instructions here: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2685)
What are the changes? You can dig deep into the histories of the forum to find detailed explanations and discussions around the changes. It has been almost a year since the changes have started, the cumulative changelog can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3640
The changelog for the beta is going to locked until the final release. We know there is more balancing and testing to do. But for now please have fun and get some practice in the beta.
The exciting news doesn't stop there. Because the doctrines were designed with a "will the doctrine be able to participate in 1v1's" mentality in mind, we decided it would be great to also include a new 1v1 map! The map isn't quite done yet, but here's a quick preview on what's to come: But wait there is more! With a new patch and a new map, what better way to fully test everything than a full fledge tournament? A 1v1 tournament will be hosted to both test the new patch for balance analysis as well as test the players in their skills. More details on the tournament, its format, and how to enter soon.