As many of you know, Casual Matchmaking for Dirty Bomb has been in the works for a long, long time.
With the system finally launching alongside the Javelin Update, we want to give you some extra insight into the system and what it means for the game.
Along with many UI tweaks, we've completely overhauled the Play screen.
Quick Join has been replaced with 'Casual', which will use a new matchmaking system in the North America and EU regions along with new team intro animations and post-match MVP lineup, and the existing Quick Join system in others.
Casual matchmaking provides us with the tools to better balance matches, and gives you the ability to (finally) play with your friends in a party.
It will take several matches to find existing players' true skill ratings, so please allow some time for the system to adjust.
Casual matchmaking is a complete overhaul. The system uses smart criteria to match you with similarly skilled players in the queue. It's also crucial to let new players learn the game's mechanics without being crushed by high level experts. As they say, today's noobs are tomorrow's competition, and the more players we have enjoying the game the more we can do to improve it.
While Casual mode is designed as a place to drop in and have fun, it's a shift away from the current free-for-all of Quick Join. Start-to-finish matches that provide a challenge are at the heart of Dirty Bomb, so committing to the match and your teammates is crucial, and players that repeatedly leave the lobby and matches will be penalized. Having said this, Casual won't require the same level of commitment as Ranked, and players who drop out can be replaced mid-match.
Casual Mode is 6v6, the new standard Dirty Bomb match size. We've been moving towards 6v6 and 5v5 with our map design philosophy since our initial launch, which allows for more strategic play and makes your role in matches more important.
Making true on one of the most requested features we've had since launching, Casual matchmaking gives you the ability to party up with 1 to 5 of your Steam friends and hone your teamplay in a casual setting. Splash Damage was founded by friends meeting through clan play, so this is the next step in our vision of forging long-lasting friendships in the game itself.
Regions outside of the EU and North America will continue to use Quick Join until their player pools can support high quality matchmaking. As we grow the game, we'll transition regions across to the new system when the time is right.
The server browser can still be used for Stopwatch Matches and our named Community Servers. Later this year, we'll also be introducing rentable servers, to give you more flexibility and control over your own matches.
Matchmaking is the future of Dirty Bomb. For many, it will be a significant change initially; Getting onto a server won't be as quick as before, and goofing off in games is less of an option.
But please stick with us; These are the foundations for a bright future that we're finally able to start laying for the game. We're 100% focused on improving the experience, and adding new and exciting features that are impossible with Quick Join (like matching players by preferred playing style).
Any feedback on ways we can improve matchmaking is, as always, more than welcome.
A Norwegian death dealer, a redone Dome, a bevy of new rewards, and the ability to Party Up with your friends in Casual matches; We present The Javelin Update.
Norwegian powerhouse Javelin is storming the city.
Sent by Scandinavian tech startup Ghostclip, she's proving out an experimental solution to ammo resupply in the place best fitted for it.
Her backpack prints ammo for herself and any teammates nearby, and her primary ability is devastating: A Reflex Rocket Launcher with two modes, a faster-firing standard setting and a slower yet spectacular laser guided alternative.
The first new Primary Weapon to hit the game in two years, The SHAR-C is a slow-firing, high damage, long range Assault Rifle that packs a powerful punch.
For now, the only way to get your hands on it is with select Javelin Loadouts, including her Default card.
Javelin's Axe is a horror to behold, but oh-so-satisfying to use. Use to deal high damage in a relatively short space of time.
Javelin's getting stuck right in.
Get her along with a Limited Edition 'Ghost' Case, containing one random Loadout Card with battle-scarred skin variant. Only available in Store until the 5th of September.
Along with many UI tweaks, we've completely overhauled the Play screen.
Quick Join has been replaced with 'Casual', which uses a new matchmaking system in the North America and EU regions, along with brand new team intro animations and post-match MVP lineup, and the existing Quick Join system in others.
Casual matchmaking provides us with the tools to better balance matches, and gives you the ability to (finally) play with your friends in a party!
It will take several matches to find existing players' true skill ratings, so please allow some time for the system to adjust. For more info and a rundown on our philosophy behind this huge addition to the game, click here.
We've overhauled the East-London airship-smuggling objective mission Dome, to bring it in line with our other maps.
Key changes include reducing it in size and complexity, to focus the action and give teams a clearer direction.
Read our recent rundown of the changes you'll find here.
Prove your mastery of speed and accuracy with these new Assault Course Trinket Rewards.
Complete the Assault Course in the specified times to unlock them, ranging from easy (Bronze) to insane (Cobalt).
To coincide with our new Norwegian noob-tuber and Assault Course rewards, you'll find a batch of new Steam Achievements ready to be unlocked.
We're upping the rewards in our new Daily Play Rewards system, with higher rarity Loadout Cards dropping as you play through the week.
Each case contains a single, random Loadout Card for one Merc, with rarities as follows:
Mk I. Case - Lead, Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, & Cobalt
Mk II. Case - Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, & Cobalt
Mk III. Case - Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, & Cobalt
Mk IV. Case - Bronze, Silver, Gold, & Cobalt
To make Mercs more attainable, we're splitting their price points into five distinct tiers and reducing the price of many of them.
Some Mercs that are less team-focused (like Vassili) have been bumped up a notch so that less new players will use them to the detriment of their teams.
We're introducing new in-game bundles with greater savings to replace the existing ones. Each contains five Mercs and a collection of extra gear.
Veterans 5-Pack - US$19.99 (save 50%)
Strikeforce 5-Pack - US$29.99 (save 50%)
5 x Mercs (Fragger, Fletcher, Kira, Phoenix, Redeye)
Firestorm 5-Pack - US$29.99 (save 50%)
Due to the low levels of usage (less than 0.10% of play time) Private matches are no longer available. Later this year, we'll be launching Server Rentals, which will give you more flexibility and control over your own matches.
Many of you have asked for the Tutorial to be made mandatory for new players, to better equip them for combat operations.
We've now made first time players enter the Tutorial by default, though they'll still be able to exit via the Menu. We'll be monitoring the change to see whether it improves the experience.
As with the Merc balance, we're now jumping back into the realms of Weapon balance by first addressing the most common concerns.
More finely tuned Weapon balance will be coming in the following months, but we want to see how these impact the game first.
These are controversial weapons in all games, not just in Dirty Bomb.
While we want to maintain their effectiveness in the right hands so good snipers are still valuable on the team, we've reduced the damage that body-shots will do with the following weapons.
This will still reward headshots, but will leave players with more health if the Sniper 'misses' and the shot hits the victim anywhere else.
The amount of damage output by these weapons is still too high in the right hands. We've reduce the damage of each bullet in the burst by 1. Bringing their damage-per-second output in line with the automatic Assault Rifles.
While Snipers Rifles can be among the controversial weapons, Shotguns will always be right at the top.
Our end goal is to have them equal in power with SMGs, since Mercs with them have access to both. With Shotguns being more situational and weaker at range than SMGs, they do need to be significantly more powerful in their close-range niche.
Having said that, we do feel that Shotguns are currently overly effective at point-blank range. With that in mind we've slightly increased the effective range of these weapons, while reducing the maximum possible headshot damage, and reducing the damage that they do to the lower-leg of opponents.
Similar to the high-damage Sniper Rifles, we want to reduce the body damage here but keep the current headshot damage to encourage people to take their time with these shots.
Following on from Turtle’s deployment to the streets of London, a new Merc is catching the eye of Jackal and the CDA; A Norwegian weapons tester with a giant rocket launcher on her back and a love of Lutefisk.
Javelin offers her explosive arsenal to take down strong defensive positions in the blink of an eye, and her experimental backpack automatically generates extra rounds for her ammo starved allies.
To give you an insight into Javelin, her abilities, her character and her design, we sat down with Game Designer c4Te and Lead of Art Nerd1princess to discuss some of the finer details.
The first thing many players will notice about Javelin is the arrival of a long-requested addition to Dirty Bomb’s arsenal; a rocket launcher.
c: “The rocket launcher actually has two different modes; we have a guided mode that is a nod to other, modern games but then we also have a standard fire mode that just goes straight forward as a fast rocket, a nod to old school shooters."
The danger of introducing such a powerful new weapon into a game like Dirty Bomb is balancing it against the existing Mercs, weapons and abilities, giving the existing pool enough tools to counter Javelin’s abilities and strengths.
c: “We’ve given Javelin a warm up time on her rocket launcher, giving people the chance to kill her before she fires, or the chance to evade and hide… Turtle is also a very strong counter to her, or, as with all other electronics in Dirty Bomb, we have Phantom, who’s EMP disables the guided mode on the rocket – causing people using it to fire their rockets off against the wall.”
One of the things we were keen to include were counters and plays for skilled players. It's possible to shoot down Javelin's rockets if you're fast enough, just as its possible to direct your rockets around a Turtle shield to destroy the generator and the players behind it.
Javelin has been tasked by Scandinavian tech startup Ghostclip to field test their new and experimental rapid ammunition technology, letting her shine when played in a supporting role.
c: “Like our other field supports she’s strong at destroying objectives, but she’s also a really good pool for ammo. However, compared to others that have to place ammo packs, she just needs to walk around and as others come close to her they get ammunition.”
Javelin has been tasked by Scandinavian tech startup Ghostclip to field test their new and experimental rapid ammunition technology, her design departing slightly from some of our more traditional Merc templates. As the flow of the Dirty Bomb team becomes more skilled and efficient as it scales up, players will begin to see more intricate designs.
Nerd1princess: "Hopefully it’s noticeable to players just how different Javelin is to the other Mercs. We’re trying to push the art, details and the tech forward, and trying to make her very readable in terms of appearance and functionality... We've been working a lot on how we design characters, both from a functionality vs appearance perspective, but we're also trying to push the tech as much as possible.
Taking care of every single detail on a Merc's body, not just their weaponry, but anatomy details as well. Javelin has a very detailed, high poly sculpture, so hopefully everyone will appreciate things like skin details and hair style which is a great cosmetic addition for Javelin."
While it's important for each of our Mercs to be unique in both character and design, it's also crucial that they fit into the world of Dirty Bomb, and are coherent with the lore.
N: "Javelin is an explosives specialist and she has a strong military background. She's a very tough girl... with a unique mix of strength and abilities. She's also an interesting character visually, and quite different from the other female characters."
As with anything in game development, honing the development process of new Mercs and other content is not always easy.
N: "There are always obstacles in development! Nothing goes smoothly or as planned, but at the same time that's a lot of fun. We've been very reactive in terms of issues and problems, we're making things better, faster and becoming more efficient"
c: "So far our testers are having loads of fun playing with her. We're incredibly excited to let the rest of the community get their hands on her."
N: "I hope she'll be well received. And I hope players will notice all of the attention to detail: anatomy, hairstyle, clothing - every single piece of clothing has been precisely designed!"
Javelin will be available in Dirty Bomb from Tuesday 22nd August. What do you think of her design and abilities?