After spending several hours today playing 160 RTDs, it's become obvious that Epic's attempt to nerf jail builds has been a gigantic failure. Jail builds are now much easier and cheaper than before because you don't need to place any crowd control traps – you can just upgrade the walls to T3, put down one or two BASEs, and place a wall healing trap or two as needed. Out of about 20 runs I did on public today, in only one did the team attempt a damage build, and we lost. Out of the 19 jail runs, 17 were successful and went smoothly, apart from the occasional whiner making toxic comments about jail builds.
The player base is now even more divided and bitter. Those who enjoy the occasional jail build (including myself) are building even more jails, and those who don't like jail builds (the vocal minority) are even more angry and frustrated. Meanwhile anyone who builds trap tunnels is annoyed that tar pits, wall launchers, wall lights and other tunnel essentials basically don't work any more, and that unintelligent trap spamming is now the best way to make an effective damage build. Anyone who has invested time building their Twine endurance has obviously been royally screwed over. This situation is clearly untenable and I predict Epic will make further changes over the next weeks or months to fix their mistake.
I think there are basically six different things they could do to fix this mess.
- Admit that CC immunity was a big mistake, and simply undo it. Everything would go back to the way it was last week (except the trap mat changes). The anti-jail lobbyists would be mad. I doubt they will be willing to do this right off the bat, since it would be a giant admission of failure. I would be impressed and happy if they do this.
- Make additional changes to nerf jail builds. Given they are listening to the vocal minority and seem intent on stopping jail builds at any cost, this seems the more likely route. I can think of five things they could do:
- Make husks do more melee damage to walls again. Given the CC immunity, this will make all missions substantially harder. Since trap tunnels are nerfed, it would lead to even more trap spamming, lots more players will start buying traps from Gameflip, and the game play will become even more boring than some already think jail building is. Endurance players would be even more screwed than they already are. This seems like a bad option, but unfortunately a likely one, since it's easy and will quiet those whining about the new jail build meta.
- Nerf the constructors' ability to heal walls and increase building health. They would have to nerf the healing 6th perks on traps too. Given that these perks are already on the weak side, and that Ice King is now dead, this would render constructors completely useless as a class, apart from recycling. They are already boring to play (getting to do jail builds and sit back and watch the traps work was one of the very few fun points of playing constructor) and nobody will bother any more. Endurance players would be even further screwed. I don't think they will do this.
- Change the mix of husks that spawns in the first wave on RTDs and other missions. If the first wave always had say two smashers and half a dozen riot shield huskies, jail builds would be much harder, players would be forced to kill the smashers and all hell would break loose, and the only way to win reliably would be to do an extensive damage build. This wouldn't affect endurance players negatively, and seems like the best option, but not the most likely.
- Make stall traps do some damage, e.g. by making any knockback do a small amount of damage. If they do this they'll need to be very careful – if tar pits or sound walls now set off propanes, trap tunnels would be badly affected. I think it's hard for them to make a change like this without screwing up something else unexpectedly. The amount of damage would need to be carefully calibrated, otherwise either the stall traps become too powerful and husks are killed too easily, making missions too easy, or they don't do enough damage and jail builds still work fine because it takes too long for the stall traps to actually kill a husk. Getting this right across all power level of mission would be tricky. Given that it's hard, I don't think they'll do this. It could work if done well.
- Add a kill counter and enforce a minimum required number of kills to succeed. This could work, if the threshold number of husks was sufficiently high that just killing everything on the last few files is not sufficient to meet it. It would need to be carefully communicated, with the counter added to the UI both during the mission and on the Defeat/Victory screen. It's at odds with the basic premise of an RTD (If all the files were successfully retrieved, or the shelter is successfully repaired, the van launched, why does it matter how many husks were killed?) so it would be a bit odd, but it would definitely make jail builds pointless. It would turn the game even more solidly into a "run and gun" style shooter, which would make the anti-jail lobbyists happy. It wouldn't affect endurance players. However, given that this requires changing the UI and screwing up the mission stories, I don't think they'll do this either.
The best thing for the game, I think, would be to reverse the CC immunity changes in their entirety, undo the husk melee damage nerf, and then put smashers and other harder hitting husks in the initial wave on all missions. Jail builds would be much harder, as originally intended. Damage builds with clever trap tunnel designs would work well again. Endurance players would be happy. This is what they should have done in the first place.
Sadly though, if they actually do try to address this mess, I don't think they will admit CC immunity was a mistake and reverse it. My prediction is they will just make husks do more damage to walls again. The era of Gameflip trap spam will be upon us, endurance will be dead forever, and the game will be well and truly neutered.
I do hope Epic listens, and does the right thing.