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The worrying trend in recent patch notes

Adotiln Urthadar.1823

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For years now, balance patch notes have been known for their occasional slip-ups and strange statements (who can forget the infamous “purity of purpose”?) But there seems to be an increased occurrence of these patch notes not merely being misleading, but completely incorrect.



Since the long balance patch drought was broken in May, there have been a number of instances where the notes claim significant changes have taken place, but that simply haven’t.


The second note of the most recent profession changes update claims that combo fields will now prioritise your own fields. This would be a massive improvement to the usability of a number of classes and combos therein, and one that I was incredibly pleased to see. This… didn’t actually happen. Based on everything I’ve heard and experienced, combo fields work exactly the same as they did before in all cases.


This strikes me as concerning because it means that a change managed to make it into both the preview notes, then the final notes, while not actually being in the patch at all.



It’s possible that the update worked in the test environment, but not in the live game for some reason, and will be fixed in a later update.


However, this has happened before. If we look at the May 11th balance patch, the notes say that boons were changed to have a maximum duration, while stack limits were removed. Again, this didn’t happen – or rather, the maximum duration was applied, but stack limits were left in place. This change effectively screwed boon application on two fronts, making some skills that apply frequent, short-duration boons like Time Warp much weaker. This has never been acknowledged, and over three months later, it looks like the devs have just forgotten about it and moved on.


It is astonishing to me that such a thing can happen – presumably if the change made it into the patch notes, the balance team believed it was a good idea and that they could implement it. The fact that it never actually got released, and no statement was ever made about it suggests a serious breakdown in communication. If the balance team were not including it in the release, why did they allow it to appear in two sets of patch notes? If it was bugged, why hasn’t it been fixed after three months with no acknowledgement? If they changed their mind, why didn’t they inform the players?



While these inconsistencies may not matter to a large part of the playerbase, they do matter to the most dedicated players. To give another example, the most recent patch also fundamentally changed the firebrand skill Ashes of the Just. The change effectively killed firebrand as a DPS build outside of organised groups and wasn’t mentioned in the notes. The closest thing we have was a note in the June 8th patch that it “now properly attributes its damage to the source for each stack of the effect.” At the time, this was another patch note that simply didn’t happen but now what are firebrand players supposed to think? Is this the intended effect that wasn’t included in June, or is it just a bug that will be fixed soon? People may want to regear, change groups comps etc. because of this change, but we have no way of knowing whether it’s here to stay because the patch notes cannot be considered a reliable source of information!



Patch notes are one of the most convenient, simplest ways of communicating what has changed in game, but I know people who no longer bother reading them because they don’t trust them to be correct. I would urge the people responsible to take a look at these issues, or at least let us know when mistakes have been made. I recognise that it’s not practical to respond to every bug in every patch, nor to guarantee that the notes include every single change (e.g. firebrand axe and thief pistol autos have reduced cast times, plaguelands has a combo field indicator when it isn’t a combo field), but for these “headline” changes I don’t believe it is unreasonable to expect some degree of consistency.

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There's actually plenty of minor things like that. 


Two things on top of my head:

Forceful Greatsword was changed in 2018 to no longer grant 10% increased damage, but extra power instead. 

Instead, it actually gave both. In 2019, they made another patch claiming to have fixed that - yet to this day, 2 years later, it still grants both 10% extra damage and the power increase (at least according to the tool tip). 

Meanwhile Zealous Blade, which had the same change applied, actually did lose the 10% modifier. 


Crimson Tide was changed in 2019 to grant 2% Life Force on hit, although someone forgot to add the %, so ever since, it grants 2 Life Force, flat.


I kind of wish I had kept a list, but yea, plenty things in the patch notes never actually make it into the game, even years past.

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