So there was a Dirty Bomb update yesterday, and boy-oh-boy it's causing quite the commotion within the community, although this appears to be the normal community reaction to pretty much any, and every change. I think that some valid points have been made with respect to this release, and we'll start by going over the new merc Phantom, a katana wielding tank, that can cloak himself to get behind enemy lines, and quickly mow down a large contingency of the enemy team, and then move on to the other changes.

Primary Ability: Refractive Armor
Phantom's pride and joy, his Refractive Armor, is the piece of technology that justifies his code name. He can activate this specialized suit of camouflage and, in only a few moments, fade from sight. The armor's power will drain for as long as he's invisible, although while he is moving the power will drain faster, as well as visually disrupting, making him easier to spot when chasing down the enemy.

Of course, this is armor, not some magic cloak! If Phantom is shot while Refractive Armor is enabled, that damage will instead deplete the Armor's remaining power, giving him enough time to close the gap and take advantage of his shiny new toy.

New Melee Weapon: The Katana
Phantom brings an entirely new melee weapon to the field: A razor-sharp Katana, ready and waiting to plunge into the back of an unsuspecting medic. It's slower and more unwieldy to use, but when it finds its target it hits for massive damage, carving foes up into nice little pieces.

Loadout Details:



Introduction to Phantom:

youtube preview

Now if you were to head over to /r/dirtybomb, you'll see that this merc has already garnered quite a fair bit of criticism from the community for being over-powered. This stems from one of the perks which provides an 20% Extra Melee Damage causing his light attack to dish out 78 damage, and his heavy attack to strike for 108 damage. On top of this his refractive armor acts as a HP boost giving him the the similar effective HP between a Fragger, and Rhino, oh and he's invisible mos of the time. With just this information is becomes clear that with a heavy attack he can essentially single-shot any of the lower HP mercs, and even an unsuspecting player with a heavier class will become quite easily frustrated that an invisible melee hero can decimate him without much of a chance. The response from some members has been to play with greater vigilance, and awareness, however, I think that unfairly characterizes the basis of the criticism that is being leveled at the merc.

These factors combined, in addition to the existence of little counter-play, means that he has forced the speed of the game down, while running amok on public servers, and may prove himself to be a similar menace in competitive games, bringing up, once again, the issue of balance... Just as a caution, I try to remind myself that the game is still in development with some of the planned hard counters yet to be released -- even then, I wish the developers were a little more careful in their planning, and deployment of mercs, as it may turn off potential players.

Beyond this new merc, there are also some other changes, including:

New XP Reward: Human Shield

It's about time we reward the loyal, valuable tanks that protect the weaker characters from getting turned into chunky salsa! The Human Shield XP reward gives players 1 XP per point of damage they take for a teammate, be it blocking a bullet or shielding them from an explosion. Just don't think its worth the XP bonus to shield Rhino's delicate frame with Aura's body.

Stilnotto Stiletto Knife:
  • Secondary attack damage reduced to 85 (from 90).
Revive Changes:
  • Reduced the invulnerability window Incapped players have after dying to 366ms (from 800ms). This exists so gibbing a player is a separate distinct action, rather than just continuing to fire while a body is collapsing to the ground.
  • Revive Invulnerability now begins once the player has stood up and can move. This allows players a final chance to Finish the revived player, just before they get-up
    Players now spend 0.7s getting up after a revive (from 1s).
Other Balance Changes:
  • Adjusted view kick so the kick speed also scales up with the amount of incoming damage received.
Bug Fixes and Game Improvements:

User Interface
  • Improved server browser performance.
  • Added server region to the server browser.
  • Updated the in-game voting UI to make it more obvious when a vote is triggered, and how close the vote is to passing.
  • Added player rankings to the scoreboard at the end of a Ranked game.
  • Removed 5v5 as option from Quick Join searching screen as the minimum sever size is 6v6.
  • Added a queue timer to Party Matchmaking.
  • Added more obvious notifications when players received a new item.
  • Sped up several lobby and warm-up times.
  • Fixed server filtering box to allow quoted strings.
  • Added functionality where servers will disconnect all players at the end of a match if a new build version is available.
  • Updated the audio when getting a Cobalt Loadout Card from a case.
  • Updated lighting and post-processing on Bridge to make it more consistent across all graphics settings.
  • Fixed broken roof on the train station in Terminal, should get damaged by all bullets and explosives now.
  • Updated the audio mix on Terminal and Chapel.
Notable Bug Fixes
  • Fix for REVIVR occasionally not reviving an incapped player.
  • Fixed an issue where rebinding keys could cause some functionality not to work whilst incapped.
  • Fixed an issue where players below level five could be invited to ranked matchmaking parties.
  • Fixed an issue where players could not Quick Join into servers that were in the "Lobby" state.
  • Fixed a bug where carryable objective indicator "friend or foe" would show for all players.
Links: Links: icon_db DirtyBomb Offical Website, icon_db Official Release Notes