Icons Early Access Patch Notes 8/22/18

August 22, 2018

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We’re rolling out a fairly large patch this week. We’re introducing online Free For All battles, a new way to earn Spectra, and doing some much-needed adjustments to various game mechanics and characters to improve the balance in Icons.

GENERAL

  • Online Free For All is here! Our FFA matchmaking queue provides matches with 3 total players, while players can head to the custom lobby system to participate in 4-player matches with their friends.

  • Players are now granted Spectra upon earning their First Win of the Day.

  • We’ve done some revisions to the matchmaking logic for new players. They should be more quickly finding players similar to their skill level than before.

  • Updated UX for custom lobbies. They should now be more difficult to leave on accident.

  • First iteration of an AI system. AI should be significantly improved from their previous state

  • Fixed a bug where earning a character progression reward in a custom lobby and viewing it could break your client state.

GAME MECHANICS

Spike bounces have felt a bit lacking in meaningful interaction from the victim, so we’re making a few changes here and fixing a nasty bug that has been around for a while. First things first, grabs/throws no longer reset the untechable state. This isn’t a voluntary means of becoming grounded, so it shouldn’t be doing that. Next, we’re testing out a new way for the victim to have a say in their fate by allowing them to perform Directional Influence when they bounce. This DI is half as strong as DIing a regular attack, since they already have the opportunity to DI the attack that caused them to bounce. Lastly, a victim being bounced will travel further than previously, while sustaining the same amount of hitstun, making it a bit tougher for an opponent to follow up, though players may find that spikes can allow followups at earlier percents than before. We’ll be closely monitoring how spike bounces play out in the coming weeks and determining if further tuning is necessarily. We’re confident that these changes are a strong first step to retaining what makes spike bounces unique and fun to use while introducing options for the victim to feel like the interaction is fair.

Also in this patch, we’re loosening the reins on when players can perform Strike attacks in certain actions. Previously in Icons, eligibility of performing a Strike during Dash or Run depended on which Strike you wanted to do, and was sometimes not possible in Dash, instead resulting in a Dash Attack. To do so during a Run, you would need to enter a run turnaround or Crouch. That is no longer the case.

  • Spike bounces

    • Untechable spikes are no longer reset when a victim is grabbed

  • [NEW] Players may now DI (influence the direction of the knockback trajectory) a spike bounce. This instance of DI is half as strong as DIing regular attacks.

  • Knockback reduction on a bounce: 25% >>> 20%

  • Performing Strikes during Dash and Run

    • Using the right stick will now always result in the desired Strike at any time in Dash or Run.

AFI & GALU

Around Launch time, Afi & Galu received landing hitboxes on their multi-hit aerials. The primary point of these landing hitboxes is to prevent Afi & Galu from being punished for landing during the move despite hitting an opponent; if the final hitbox of the attack has come out, the purpose of the landing hitbox is no longer being met, and thus not needed. To that end, we’ve tuned the timings for when these hitboxes occur to line up with the active frames of those aerials, so if the last hit of an aerial comes out, a landing hitbox won’t.

  • Back-Aerial

    • The landing hitbox should no longer occur when they land if the final hit of Back-Air has already been active. Also, Afi & Galu will now play VFX when the landing hitbox occurs.

  • Down-Aerial

    • The landing hitbox should no longer occur when they land if the final hit of Down-Air has already been active.

ASHANI

A few minor buffs to Ashani are found here to try to help her out. Up-Aerial no longer reverses which previously prevented players from hitting opponents particularly deep with the hitboxes which is more favorable for comboing. Also, the KB stats have been tweaked to make comboing a bit more reliable, while also preventing the move from KOing until later percents. Up-Special gets a minor KB buff, and we’ve done some minor housekeeping on her Ledge Attack data to prevent some unfavorable behavior. Kidd and Raymer also receive the same change in this patch.

  • Ledge Attack

    • Knockback no longer reverses in trajectory if the opponent is behind Ashani

  • Up-Aerial

    • Base Knockback:: 30 >>> 40

    • Knockback Scaling:: 115 >>> 90

    • Knockback no longer reverses in trajectory if the opponent is behind Ashani

  • Up-Special (Electric Arc)

    • Knockback Scaling: 50 >>> 60

KIDD

Kidd’s power has been strongly tied to a select few of his moves for a good while, and we’re taking a look at dialing those down in this patch. Firstly his Dash Attack has quite high damage output and combo potential, so we’re reducing its damage and giving it more recovery frames. On top of making it more tight to combo out of, this also makes it more reasonable for an opponent to punish a whiffed or blocked Dash Attack. Kidd’s Back-Aerial has been infamous for its reverse hits; we’ve changed the active frames of the strong hit to more or less always prevent it from reversing. Players may find that they can use the reverse weak hit for combos. Kidd’s Down-Special now does less damage, has a smaller hitbox, and has a bit more hitlag so the opponent has more time to DI the move correctly. This may change the timing to jump out of it, but we’re hoping that the universal input buffer will account for most cases here. Lastly, Kidd’s Side-Special has been way too powerful for its associated risk. It now does less damage (which makes it weaker knockback-wise) and we’ve tweaked the active frames of the strong hit to last for a shorter amount of time, requiring Kidd to be closer when he begins his headbutt to land the strong hit. The weak hit’s hitboxes have been adjusted in size and positioning to make it more reasonable for an opponent to beat it out with hitboxes of their own, which should aid players hoping to edgeguard Kidd or deal with the move on stage.

  • Dash Attack

    • First hit damage:: 5 >>> 3

    • Animation duration:: 38 >>> 41

  • Ledge Attack

    • Knockback no longer reverses in trajectory if the opponent is behind Kidd.

  • Back-Aerial

    • Strong hit’s active frames:: 9-12 >> 10-12

  • Down-Special (Overload)

    • Damage:: 7 >>> 5

    • Hitbox size:: Reduced by 12.5%

    • Hitlag multiplier: 0.5 >>> 1x (changes from 4 -> 6 frames of hitlag when fresh when accounting for the damage reduction)

  • Side-Special (Jetpack Headbutt)

    • Strong Hit Damage: 15 >>> 14

    • Strong hit duration: 10 frames -> 5 frames

    • Weak hit duration increased & starts earlier to match.

    • Weak hit hitbox:: Reduced in size by ~10% and moved backward slightly

RAYMER

Raymer has been notorious for his close-quarters combat since his release. We still want Raymer to be a competent foe up close, but we’re reining in some of the more confusing and offputting behavior, and toning down some of his egregious options. Raymer’s Jabs see an additional frame of startup, this both changes his attack speed and makes it much less likely he hit someone who is behind him with these jabs. Raymer’s Side-Tilt sees some significant changes here as well. The move has been a catch-all tool for Raymer, granting him tons of range, coverage behind him, low endlag, and setting up for edgeguards or outright kills. We’ve adjusted the animation so that his foot isn’t behind him on the first active frame, which should help a lot on its own. We’ve also reduced the BKB of this move significantly, since it shouldn’t really be that strong for how much range it has. We also added another couple frames of recovery, enabling precise foes to punish poorly placed Side-Tilts with more confidence. We also took some time to clean up interactions with his Neutral-Air. The data changes listed have the primary goal of preventing double hits when Raymer hits with the move. The attack should still feel potent when used on shields, or when hitting with only the first hit. Lastly on the nerf front, we’ve reduced the knockback of an unbounced Side-Special (Ricochet Shot) significantly. We really want to ask more of an edgeguarding Raymer player than to simply aim an unbounced shot at a foe to send them to their doom; this change leaves the option there to snipe out a double jump, but not so much to outright secure kills as reliably as before. In other news, we’re doing some changes to his nSpecial (Gunslinger) to make it feel better to use, reducing the time it takes to use by quite a few frames. It should now line up more with the thematics of Raymer quickly firing off a volley of bullets. The damage and knockback has been reduced to compensate for the new frame data, they should now induce a short flinch duration rather than sending the victim launching backward. This move is now suitable for racking up damage quickly, rather than just being a worse Side-Special in capable hands.

  • Jab 1

    • Active Frames:: 4-6 >>> 5-6

  • Jab 2

    • Active Frames:: 4-7 >>> 5-7

  • Side-Tilt

    • Base Knockback:: 30 >>> 10

    • Total Duration:: 35 >>> 37 frames

    • Animation adjusted so Raymer’s foot is in front of him on the first active frame, rather than behind him.

    • Knockback no longer reverses in trajectory if the opponent is behind Raymer

  • Ledge Attack

    • Knockback no longer reverses in trajectory if the opponent is behind Raymer

  • Neutral-Aerial (First Hit):

    • Hitbox duration:: 6-8 >> 7-8

    • Base Knockback 0 -> 20

    • Knockback Scaling:: 100 >>> 80

    • Removed a hitbox that was on Raymer’s upper thigh

  • Neutral-Special (Gunslinger)

    • Startup frames:: 18 >>> 14

    • Looping frames:: 22 >>> 17

    • Damage per bullet:: 5 >>> 4 

    • Base Knockback:: 50 >>> 20

    • Knockback Scaling:: 25 >>> 0

  • Side-Special (Ricochet Shot)

    • Un-bounced bullet Knockback Scaling:: 100 >>> 50

WEISHAN

Weishan has had some egregious aspects of certain moves since his release in May, and this time around we’re looking to clean those up. His Side-Strike hitbox active frames are being cleaned up to line up with when Weishan’s Guandao is at least somewhat in front of him, rather than behind his head. We cleaned up the glow and textures on his Guandao to match the new active frames as well. Regarding Weishan’s Side-Tilt, the first active frame was capable of hitting below the ledge. We’ve pushed the first active frame back by a frame, so the hitboxes are active after his guandao has ended up above the stage in his swing. Weishan’s U-Throw has lower KB scaling to prevent KOs off the top; it may be a bit more reliable for lower percent strings now. Weishan’s Down-Special is an armored charge move that can KO if charged up enough; we’ve added an additional 8 frames of startup to require a more direct read on the part of Weishan to utilize it effectively. Additionally, nSpecial’s projectile hitbox lingered far too long, and hit below the stage, making it rather difficult to recover against. We’ve cleaned these up a bit. Lastly, we’ve made the hitbox coverage on Weishan’s uSpecial a bit weaker. While it’s still well protected compared to where his body hurtboxes are, players may find it a bit more plausible to hit him during this move, and otherwise position themselves closer to a recovering Wesihan without getting hit. It’s not all bad news for the Dragon though, as we’ve give him a few buffs in this patch as well. We’re giving his jab 3 a minor QoL to try to curb cases where Weishan gets punished on hit. The KB stats on Weishan’s Side-Special have also been changed to facilitate combos should a player land this vicious attack.

  • Jab 3

    • Base Knockback:: 40 >>> 50

  • S Strike 1

    • Active Frames:: 12-17 >>> 14-16

    • Total Duration:: 46 >>> 52

  • S Strike 2:

    • Active Frames:: 11-18 >>> 15-17

  • Side-Tilt

    • First active frame:: 11 >>> 12

  • Up-Throw

    • Knockback Scaling:: 90 >>> 75

  • Down-Special (Dragon’s Breath)

    • First Charge Frame:: 8 >>> 16

  • Neutral-Special (Dragon’s Tail)

    • Active Hit Frames on Projectile:: 15 >>> 8

    • Lowest Hitbox raised slightly above floor level

  • Side-Special (Dragon’s Bite)

    • Base Knockback:: 55 >>> 80

    • Knockback Scaling:: 50 >>> 35

  • Up-Special (Dragon’s Ascent):

    • Outermost Guandao hitbox removed

    • Late Hitbox sizes reduced by 10%

XANA

Xana is one of the stronger characters in the arena, and we wanted to take a look at a few of her more egregious options when we were cleaning up the cast in this patch. Her Jab 1 can be seen used repeatedly or linked into a grab, so we’ve added some additional endlag to it to curb this use. Additionally, we’ve pushed the hitboxes on her torso on Jab 1 & 2 forward a bit to prevent her from hitting foes that are behind her as often. Her Up-Tilt’s data was based heavily around its prior animation and didn’t account for the large arcing front to back swipe she has now. We’ve added a few frames of recovery and increased the KB on it to prevent repeated Up-Tilts, but players hoping to combo an Up-Tilt into another move will find this strategy to still be quite potent. Xana’s D-Strike has had a bit too much power since its rework for reliability, and Side-Strike has been a bit underwhelming to land. We’ve reduced the power and damage of D-Strike and given S-Strike a bit of a buff, hoping that this balances out the use cases of each instead of D-Strike always being the correct play. We also did some data cleanup on her U-Throw. The move has always been interruptible very early on in the animation to facilitate her potent throw followup game, but a bug existed where the last 6 frames of the move weren’t interruptible, which could leave the move feeling unresponsive. We’ve cleaned this up for this patch.

Lastly, the animation revisions we discussed on Reddit are being deployed to you all this week! We’ve done some improvements to her Side-Tilt and Up-Aerial animations. They see minor data changes to facilitate the new animations; while Up-Aerial seems like a nerf, she swipes the attack area more quickly than before, so in most cases this should feel better.

  • Jab

    • Jab 1 total duration:: 18 >>> 21 frames

    • Jab 1 & 2:: Torso hitboxes moved forward slightly.

  • Side-Tilt

    • Has a new animation!

    • Knockback no longer reverses in trajectory if the opponent is behind Xana

    • Hit duration:: 8-12 >>> 9-12

  • Up-Tilt

    • Interruptible on frame: 31 >>> 34

    • Knockback Scaling:: 60 >>> 70

  • Up-Aerial

    • Has a new animation!

    • Active frames:: 8-16 >>> 8-14

  • Down-Strike

    • First hit damage:: 6 >>> 5

    • Second hit damage:: 16 >>> 15

  • Side-Strike

    • Knockback Scaling:: 85 >>> 90

  • Up-Throw

    • Interruptibile on frames::: 26-39 >>> 26-45

ZHURONG

Pretty minor changes for the empress here. A hitbox cleanup on her U-air primarily to prevent it from hitting opponents below the ledge as she uses it close to the ground. Her specials also mostly see some cleanup in terms of bugs. Zhurong’s Side-Special allows her to drift early on, granting her some more mixups on recovery.

  • Up-Aerial  

    • Hitbox active frames:: 5-10 >>> 5-9

    • Weapon trail lifetime edited accordingly.

  • Down-Special (Phoenix Guard)

    • Transitions into the grounded version on land (to prevent traveling off of ledges)

    • Aerial version now has a max fall speed override so she doesn't fall as far during a successful aerial counter

  • Side-Special (Phoenix Rush):

    • Aerial version now allows Zhurong to drift starting on frame 36 (of 60).

  • Up-Special (Phoenix Flight)

    • Fixed a bug where Zhurong could land with 4 frames of landlag (instead of the intended 30) when landing on specific frames.