[2018-04-24] Designer's Notes: Mid Season

Designer's Notes: Mid-Season

04/24/2018 12:00 PM

The “Designer’s Notes” series will provide you with insight into our Balancing team’s thoughts on Operator balancing around the middle of each Season. These will come after we have reviewed the data and feedback from the new Operators and changes. We are hosting an AMA on our subreddit starting at 1:00pm EDT (April 24th). After reading these changes, please head here to ask your questions!

We utilize data and player feedback to make decisions on adjustments. With that in mind, we wanted to share some of the data they have been looking at for our various Operators. The following charts plot the power (Win Delta) and popularity (Pick Rate) of the Operators on Attack and Defense. The Win Delta is the average win ratio when an Operator is picked minus the average win ratio when an Operator is not picked.





Upcoming Changes


Our data indicates that Lion is currently too strong. He is close to 100% pick in Pro League, and his win delta is too high in Ranked as well. We have also observed feedback stating that he was not fun to play against. As such, our Balancing team has been looking at a few changes to bring him in line with other Attackers.

Scan Outline

If you are detected by Lion’s Scan, it will stop displaying your outline as long as you are not moving. This has two main consequences:

  • If detected and a player stops moving, the outline will no longer appear – Attackers may know where you are, but you will be able to change your stance without them knowing.
  • If detected very briefly, it will be more difficult for Attackers to locate your position.

This is only a first step to give Defenders more options of counter-play against Lion’s detection. We are still looking into improving how Lion’s detection works and your feedback will help us get a better idea of how to proceed.

Scan Charges and Cooldown

We will be reducing the number of charges from 3 to 2, and increasing the cooldown between each charge from 10 to 20 seconds. We want to force players to make a more careful choice when they want to trigger Lion’s Scan. Players are currently able to chain the scans too much during crucial moments.


Jäger’s Magpies will no longer destroy Hibana’s X-KAIROS pellets. We have disabled that interaction, so that she cannot deny Jäger’s Magpie system so efficiently.

A single shot from the X-KAIROS launcher is able to deplete the charges from multiple Magpies without the large utility cost for the Attacking team. This contributes to Hibana’s overall utility, and thus increases her pick rate. Removing this interaction will drive teams to utilize more of their utility in order to maneuver around Jäger’s Magpie systems.


We are looking for ways to make Blitz fun to play without making him frustrating to play against.

As such, Blitz’s shield flash range is being reduced from 8 meters to 5 meters. He will also have fewer charges, from 5 to 4.

The Y3S1 Blitz change has brought his pick rate closer to the average, but his win delta remains too high. Reducing his flashing power is a first step in that direction. We are looking into ways to give Defenders more options to counter him at melee range, but that will take more time.


We are altering how players use the Electronic Rendering Cloak. It will now deplete its charge in 12 seconds, as opposed to 30 seconds. It will now refill in half the time, from 12 seconds to 6 seconds.

Following the nerf to Ela, Vigil has risen to the top of the pack and has become one of the strongest roamers in the game. This change will challenge Vigil player’s resource management, and require more skillful use to remain effective. We plan to keep an eye on his load out (weapons in particular) moving forward.


Hibana will be losing her Claymore, and receiving a Breaching Charge.

She is picked too often in Pro and Ranked play. This is because she brings crucial utility to the Attackers. She is better at gunfights than Thermite, but we want to adjust her utility before touching her weapons. Thermite will be the only hard breacher with a Claymore, and we expect this swap will rebalance their popularity. There may be more changes in the future, but we would like to keep an eye on the impact of this utility change first.


We are swapping out Ying’s Smoke Grenades for a Claymore.

She is currently too strong in highly organized groups, and too weak in high level Ranked matches. This change, coupled with the LMG changes, will make her a more balanced choice in both contexts.

LMG Damage

Globally, LMGs are too weak right now. We made a pass on their damage to normalize it against their generally low rate of fire. We will also review their recoil once we have implemented the new recoil system.






Current Status


Our data indicates that Finka’s win rate is too high right now. We want to take some time to investigate why that is before making any changes. Our focus will be to study the effects of her recoil reduction, speed boost through barbed wire, and health boost. For the speed and health boost, we will need more data to ensure that we are making the right adjustments. For Recoil, we do not want to change it before the implementation of the new recoil system. Doing so would result in clouded data and feedback.


Ela is currently in a much better place. The data indicates that she has an acceptable pick and win rate. We do not foresee any more changes being necessary in the short term, but will keep an eye on her.

Unique Operator Gadgets

Our team learned a lot from the test server and iterations on Blitz’s changes. One of our key takeaways being a clarification on priorities.

When an Operator’s core gameplay varies from your typical Siege gunplay, it is particularly difficult to handle balancing wise – with Shield Operators and Glaz being the best examples.

We will keep trying to make each Operator a viable choice, but we recognize that this cannot be done at the cost of players’ enjoyment. If we see that increasing an Operator’s pick rate while keeping their current mechanics is frustrating, we will look for other ways to make changes.

Current META

We have seen player feedback that the META currently feels faster than it has in the past. The average round length has gone from 2:24 to 2:15. We expect that the nerf to Lion will have an impact on how the META feels, and the length of rounds.


To ensure that your questions from these changes are answered, our balancing team will be participating in an AMA on our subreddit starting at 1:00pm EDT, April 24th. Please head here to ask them your questions! We look forward to seeing you there.

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