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March 24th
Dev Blog: Champion Balance Update (March 2020) 
Posted in Idle Champions.

Since July of last year we've had an item on our 'to-do list' that we've been pushing further and further back. First it was to make room in our development schedule for Feats, then came Patrons, followed by Patron Challenges & Advanced Effects Descriptions, Updated Time Gates, and Offline Progress.

It has been a busy 8 months! But we never forgot about finishing our balance update for our remaining Year One Champions, and today we're going to talk about the updates to those Champions coming with our v1.0 Launch / Spring Extravaganza Update tomorrow. This blog ended up being a bit of a longer one, so we've included a Table of Contents for you to browse.

Would you like to know more? Read on!

Table of Contents


General Updates

As many players may be aware, Champions with debuff abilities are quite powerful in the current meta because they allow you to double-dip on their debuffs when you use ultimate attacks. Champions' base attacks take into account the debuff in their damage and thus that increased damage determines your BUD. When you use an ultimate attack it uses the BUD value for the damage and then applies the debuff again, allowing debuffs to double dip, something that regular formation buffs do not do. Unfortunately this is something that we feel needs to change, as it means that debuff Champions are simply too powerful compared to their non-debuffing counterparts. The biggest change in this patch is that debuffs will no longer apply to ultimate attacks. They will still apply to base attacks, and so still influence BUD just like normal formation abilities do, but ultimates will no longer double dip. This will not affect the BUD that players can obtain, but will affect the top area that players can grind to as ultimate damage may be drastically reduced. We will continue to monitor the results of this change over the coming days and weeks and take action to offset the lost progress if necessary.

Ultimate Damage Change

Ultimate attacks will no longer have their damage increased by debuffs on enemies. Affected abilities include, but may not be limited to: Minsc's "Go for the Eyes!" (ultimate debuff portion), Gromma's "Spiked Shell", Strix's "Poor Hygiene", Catti-brie's "Mark for Death", Donaar's "Command: Flee", Warden's "Hex", Aila's "Storm Soul/Storm Aura", Spurt's "Wa-speration: Skunky", Krull's "Plague: Pain", Minsc's "Favored Enemies", and Regis' "Ruby Weakness".

Level 'Soft Cap' Increase

New upgrades have been added for all Champions, increasing the soft cap to approximately e62/e63 gold.

Champion Updates

Dungeons & Dragons Deekin Scalesinger

Deekin Scalesinger

Deekin's Story of Doom stacked a little differently from other support Champions so we tweaked how buffs apply to it to bring him more in line with the others. This necessitated a rebalance of all of his Story of Doom upgrades, so he should come out a little ahead of where he used to be with average gear levels. We also expanded his speed-up abilities through a new specialization choice and feat.
  • Buffs to Story of Doom now apply to the post-stack value instead of the pre-stack value.
  • Upgrades for Story of Doom have been rebalanced given the above change.
  • The Epic Tale of Little Kobold specialization now increases the effect of "Story of Doom" by 100%, up from 50%.
  • Added new specialization choice, Boss Wants Speed, which increases the effect of Confidence in the Boss by 100%.
  • Added a new Feat to increase the effect of Confidence in the Boss.

Dungeons & Dragons Gromma Nander

Gromma Nander

No changes to Gromma this go-round as she was already tweaked somewhat recently in the Tanking Healing & Shielding Update and sees decent usage (though we will watch the effects of the ultimate damage change and tweak things accordingly).


Dungeons & Dragons Ishi Snaggletooth

Ishi Snaggletooth

We've shown Ishi a lot of love with boosts to her DPS and gold find. Some of her abilities that used to stack additively now stack multiplicatively, really rewarding you for building a non-human focused formation. We removed her two gold find-related specializations and replaced them with a single ability that boosts her gold find when she gets a killing blow. We've also updated her Friends to X specializations with new races, increasing her synergy possibilities.
  • The Monsters Are People Too! ability now stacks multiplicatively instead of additively and we have increased the base stack size to 100%, up from 25%.
  • Increased the base effect of Let's Find Some Treasure, however this ability continues to stack additively.
  • The specializations Wait for it! and Clear 'em out! have been removed
    • Upgrades for the above specialization have been removed.
  • Added a new ability, Treasure Hunter, which increases the effect of Let's Find Some Treasure for 5 seconds after Ishi gets a killing blow.
  • Added new races to the Friends to X specializations.
  • The Friends to X specializations now stack multiplicatively.
  • The gear in slot 2 which increased Global DPS now increases Ishi's DPS.
  • Ishi's self DPS upgrades have been redistributed.

Dungeons & Dragons Dhadius the Scarlet

Dhadius the Scarlet

Dhadius got both some DPS and Support tweaks. A properly utilized Dhadius should excel at buffing high intellect, magic using Champions, with even his buffs now varying over time based on his trademark Practice Makes Perfect ability.
  • Added a new ability, Together In Magic, which increases the effect of Skill Empowerment on Champions with a magic base attack.
  • The Empowered Orbs specialization now also increases Dhadius' damage by 400%.
  • The Empowered Empowerment specialization now also increases the effect of Skill Empowerment by 50% for each stack of Practice Makes Perfect that is active.
  • The Chromatic Specialist upgrade no longer requires the Empowered Orbs specialization, so Dhadius will now more often cast the same elemental orbs in a row regardless of specialization choice.
  • Dhadius' self DPS upgrades have been rebalanced.

Dungeons & Dragons Krond

Krond

Krond was already a pretty powerful evil damage dealer, thanks to his earlier rebalance when his event re-ran again in year 2 and the addition of more strong or evil Champions over the past year. We've made some small tweaks, but nothing major.
  • Updated the advanced effect display of Survival of the Fittest to reflect that upgrades and equipment apply to the pre-stack multiplier value (a rare occurrence in the current meta).
  • Updated the Cantrip: Shocking Grasp specialization to also stun the affected target for 3 seconds.
  • Reduced the damage multiplier of the individual Cantrip: Fire Bolt fire bolts so that Cantrip: Shocking Grasp may be a superior choice vs. individual enemies.

Dungeons & Dragons Hitch

Hitch

As the least-recently created Champion in the rebalance, Hitch needed quite a bit of love. While his Friendly ability was invaluable in the meta in the past he has fallen out of favor more recently. With that in mind we've completely redone his dagger throwing ability and added some big buffing power there that ramps up in certain situations. Since we want this new Hitch to focus on buffing others, we've removed his DPS tag and reorganized some of his equipment buffs and feats in order to emphasize his support role.
  • Renamed Friendly to Natural Performer.
  • Added a new ability, Ricochet, which gives Hitch's thrown daggers a chance to bounce off of their target and hit another target. Each time they do Hitch increases the effect of the "Natural Performer" ability. This effect can stack with each ricochet and the stacks degrade naturally over time. Due to years of intense practice (and some DM hand-waving), daggers can ricochet off of an enemy and then strike the same enemy again. There are buffs to this ability that increase both its ricochet chance and the bonus it provides.
  • Replaced Hitch's self DPS feats with ones that increase the damage bonus from Ricochet.
  • Added a new Feat that increases the odds of the Ricochet ability proc'ing.
  • Added a new epic Feat that increases the number of daggers thrown.
  • Removed many upgrades that increase the number of daggers thrown.
  • Removed DPS tag.
  • Changed the effect of Hitch's slot 1 and slot 2 equipment (to Buff Ricochet Damage Bonus and Global DPS respectively).

Dungeons & Dragons Birdsong

Birdsong

Birdsong is one of my personal favorite Champions, so I wanted to make sure that we addressed some of her long-standing issues in this update. The main issue she has is that while she's a decent buffer, her Song of Victory stacks are very difficult to consistently keep up, especially if she's not also your main damage dealer. To fix this we've added new specialization choices that add a secondary trigger for Tempo of Victory, each tuned with a certain situation in mind. Now even if Birdsong isn't your primary damage dealer she can keep her song-based-buff going long and loud. We've also given her upgrades some love to make sure she can stand tall as either a primary DPS option or a powerful support Champion.
  • Individual stacks of Tempo of Victory are now multiplicative with each other instead of additive, and buffs to this ability apply to the post-stack multiplier.
  • Added a new set of specializations:
    • The new Soloist specialization increases Birdsong's damage by 400% and increases the base cooldown of Tempo of Victory stacks to 60 seconds.
    • The new Concertino specialization causes Tempo of Victory stacks to also be triggered when any Champion affected by Song of Battle (including Birdsong) gets a kill. Stacks triggered in this way last for at least 10 seconds.
    • The new Crescendo specialization causes Tempo of Victory stacks to also be triggered when any Champion affected by Song of Battle (including Birdsong) attacks a boss enemy. Stacks triggered in this way last for at least 5 seconds.
  • None of these specializations affect the fact that Birdsong getting a kill will continue to trigger a stack of Tempo of Victory that lasts for at least 15 seconds.
  • Added a new feat that buffs Tempo of Victory.
  • Birdsong's slot 2 gear now buffs Tempo of Victory.
  • Birdsong's upgrades have been rebalanced to increase both her buffing ability and her self damage, including new buffs for Song of Battle and global damage.

Dungeons & Dragons Barrowin Undurr

Barrowin Undurr

As one of our earliest "OP" champions, Barrowin's power has waned over time as we've tried one thing or another to fix her. She also suffers from being in the same slot as some powerhouse Champions that see a lot more use than she does. We've decided to double down on the niche that we want Barrowin to fill: the best support in the game for Champions that attack very very slowly. We've completely redesigned her Blessed Hammer ability in a way that directly emphasizes this core design, and given her a number of other small buffs as well.
  • Barrowin's Blessed Hammer ability now statically buffs adjacent Champions based on the differential between her attack speed as theirs, causing Champions with slower attacks to receive a much larger buff.
  • Barrowin's Healing Word ability will now buff Tank Champions in the column in front of her by half its normal amount.
  • Barrowin's Even Temper ability will now trigger whenever any ally that is eligible for Healing Word is attacked (Champions in the same column or Tank Champions in the column ahead of her).
  • Barrowin's ultimate now increases her attack speed by 2 seconds for 15 seconds following its use.
  • Barrowin's base attack speed has been adjusted.
  • Added a new Feat that reduces Barrowin's base attack speed.
  • Rebalanced all buffs to Blessed Hammer.

Dungeons & Dragons Strix Beestinger

Strix Beestinger

We expanded upon Strix's "Haunted" ability in order to increase her buffing ability in certain situations. If your team is having trouble defeating a boss, why not turn all those wipes into a good thing?
  • Strix's Haunted ability will now persist its stacks through area changes, and can add multiple stacks for the same Champion if they are killed multiple times during an adventure.
  • Strix's existing specializations have been completely removed and replaced with three new options.
    • Added Anxious Fireballs specialization which increases Strix's base attack cooldown by 2 seconds and her damage by 300%.
    • Added Echoes of the Past specialization which increases the effect of Haunted by 200%.
    • Added Smelly Lunch specialization which increases the effect of Poor Hygiene by 100%.
  • Updated Strix's upgrades (for Haunted, Poor Hygiene, Global DPS, and Self DPS).

Dungeons & Dragons Azaka Stormfang

Azaka Stormfang

No changes to Azaka at this time. We were hesitant to do too much too quickly; the ultimate changes will be a big adjustment in this update, and we wanted to hold off on changing players' other major farming technique at the same time.


These changes will go live as part of the v1.0 Launch / Spring Extravaganza Update. As always, we look forward to your feedback: let us know in a Community Q&A or feedback post on the Idle Champions Subreddit, on the Steam forums, or on the Official Idle Champions Discord!
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