Note: Most of what’s below was shared with our beta testers yesterday when Version 58 Beta Round 1 started. For better visibility, we are sharing these notes with the general community as well (with minor edits for clarity/relevance).
Here’s some contextual light on the two VERY significant updates being tested in this beta round:
- The “Big Balance Update”
- Aether Reset Tokens
We’re planning to conduct the largest balance update in the history of Empires & Puzzles, and more than 200 Heroes will be affected.
NOTE: This is a very big update and will go through several beta rounds. We are NOT going to rush this out, and the details WILL go through multiple iterations. As of now, we have only just kicked off Version 58 Beta Round 1. In Round 2, we will most likely make many changes to the current list of adjustments. If deemed necessary, we will do the same in Round 3 — and so on.
So, a bit of history: for a long while in designing and balancing new Heroes, we’ve mainly placed our attention on crafting interesting Special Skills and fine-tuning their numbers. Raw stats weren’t too actively utilized for balance purposes — yes, newer Heroes were awarded slightly better stats, but we kept that incline extremely mild. This Special Skill-first approach had benefits; thanks to it, we were able to craft and release hundreds of interesting, powerful new Heroes over the years without ever excessively devaluing the existing cast. Many Classic Heroes, despite being six years old, still are competitive options at nearly all levels of play; we believe this alone speaks volumes.
In recent months, however, new Heroes have started to close in on the game’s upper ceiling for sensible Special Skill number values; we’re not at the breaking point yet, but we’re edging ever closer to it.
In Empires & Puzzles battles, frustration is mostly felt when you get either a useless starting board, or an unintended and unfavorable cascade. Of course, there is no way to outright prevent such instances of bad luck, since boards are always randomly generated (and luck always goes both ways — in the long run, it all balances out anyway). However, there is a BIG difference between an unlucky start leaving you in an unfavorable position, and an unlucky start leaving you with no room at all to mount a comeback. Unfortunately, the latter scenario has been becoming more and more frequent as of late, due to the power of Special Skills and number of synergistic Hero combinations having slowly-but-steadily increased over the years.
As such, we felt it would be best for the health of the game both in the short and long term to revise our approach to Hero design and balance at this point in time. The Big Balance Update — in which we have taken a comprehensive look at our more recent Heroes and made certain sweeping adjustments — is the first step we’re taking in line with our new philosophy.
The gist of our new direction is that Heroes’ power will now be allocated a bit more to raw stats, and a bit less to Special Skills. In addition, specific hard-cap values and rules have been set for many different types of Special Skills (e.g., “damage-to-all attacks should not go above N%”). As a result, Special Skills do a bit less damage whereas normal attacks (=Troop damage) do a bit more damage.
We believe that placing a reasonable upper limit on the power of Special Skills in this manner will make the game feel more FUN and FAIR, as less battles will be straight-up decided by the very first volley of Special Skills.
We would like to strongly emphasize that these tweaks are NOT a targeted attempt to kneecap any individual Hero or elevate specific kinds of Heroes. To the contrary, our internal testing tools indicate that in the grand scheme of things, the vast majority of the Heroes affected will simply remain about as powerful as they are now! There may be some shifts in the meta, of course, as players will have more Heroes to choose from (most of the 200+ Heroes affected by this update will become stronger options) — but overall, no Hero should see a drastic change to how competitive they are. What we’re aiming to change through this update is not individual Heroes’ strength relative to each other, but rather how battles — particularly at the top level of play — FEEL in general.
In sum, we believe that the Big Balance Update will not only give us a lot more room for creativity when designing future Heroes, but also provide players more room for strategic skill expression, making PvP battles a lot more fun and interactive.
In this section, we have some great news… and a tiny bit of mixed news.
We’ll give you the tiny bit of mixed news first: Tomes of Experience will no longer remove Ascension Material requirements when leveling up Limit Broken Heroes (Food, Iron, and Experience costs will still be fully covered). Instead, using a Tome of Experience will now give you a certain amount of Trainer Heroes.
We are aware some players may be disappointed by this change, but Tomes of Experience will certainly continue to be extremely valuable, especially with the addition of bonus Trainer Heroes. Please rest assured that this change won’t retroactively affect any Heroes that have been maxed via Tomes.
And now, for the big news: Aether Reset Tokens!
We know it can be quite frustrating when a huge update that affects a ton of Heroes all at once — such as the upcoming Big Balance Update — ends up negatively affecting a Hero that you’ve brought to max level very recently. We believe this new Aether Reset Token will be extremely welcome in such cases. Just to be clear, these Tokens cannot be earned as rewards or purchased via offers; they will only be gifted for free in certain situations.
Using an Aether Reset Token on a Limit Broken Hero will take them back to their original, non-Limit Broken max level. Below is an example using a Legendary Hero:
fully Ascended (4)
double Limit Broken (2)
max level (90)
max Emblems (20)
↓↓ Aether Reset Token used ↓↓
fully Ascended (4)
not Limit Broken (0)
max level (80)
no Emblems (0)
Aether Reset Tokens return 100% of the Aethers (both regular & Alpha), Ascension Materials (of all rarities), Emblems (both regular and Golden), and Experience (in the form of Trainer Heroes) that were used to train the Hero post-Limit Break. Roughly 50% of the Food and Iron used in that process will also be returned, in the form of Crates.
We hope the implementation of the Aether Reset Token will make you feel a lot more at ease when deciding which Hero(es) to Limit Break! We are currently considering giving at least one Aether Reset Token to ALL players when the Big Balance Update goes live.
Well, that’s it for today. Thanks for reading, and thank you always for your testing & feedback!
P.S. Our monthly/bimonthly buffs to older Heroes (that we had been doing regularly last year) will also resume soon! Sorry for the unexpected break — we simply haven't had the bandwidth for these recently, as getting the Big Balance Update ready was higher in priority. As always, please make sure to leave your two cents HERE, and we'll do our best to deliver.