Few games undergo transformations like Splatoon. Since its launch, Nintendo’s multiplayer shooter has expanded exponentially, having a whole year of free content being added constantly alongside a basketful of patches to further balance the game. While the latest downloadable content may be the last, the developers over at Nintendo have been just as busy preparing more changes to the game in the upcoming Version 2.6 patch to prim and polish the Wii U game more than ever.
There won’t necessarily be any new weapons, but there are plenty of alterations to the game’s abilities, stages, and Splatfest incoming. Many of the abilities will be getting some buffs, probably for added variation to player customization, and to raise the stakes a bit more when choosing your preferred abilities and loadout. All the ability changes are as follows:
- Ink Saver Main: Maximum ink saved amount changed from 40% to 45% (5% overall effect increase)
- Ink Saver Sub: Maximum ink saved amount changed from 25% to 35% (10% overall effect increase)
- Ink Recovery Up: Maximum ink recovery speed increase changed from 67% to 82% (15% overall effect increase)
- Special Duration Up: Maximum special extension for Inkzooka and Bomb Rush changed from 40% to 60%. For Inkstrike and Killer Wail, special duration will now shorten the amount of time where your movement is restricted after using them.
- Opening Gambit: The increase to run speed and swim speed will be the equivalent of having 3 mains of each.
- Last-Ditch Effort: For ranked battles, the effects activate when the enemy’s counter goes below 30. It will also be active during overtime. Quick Respawn is also added to the ability’s set of buffs.
- Tenacity: Special gauge increases 20% faster than previously.
- Comeback: Special Charge Up is added to the ability’s set of buffs.
- Haunt: Anytime you are tagged by an enemy Echolocator, Point Sensor, or Haunt, you get buffed with Damage Up, Defense Up, and Run Speed Up.
- Recon: You will be able to see the enemy on your map for 3.5 seconds after leaving the spawn point. Additionally you can now see what weapon each enemy has equipped on your map.
- Bomb Sniffer: Damage dealt by Splat Bombs, Suction Bombs, Seekers, and Ink Mines do 40% less damage to you if you’re not in the OHKO range. Burst Bombs also do 20% less. (Not sure if this means splash damage only or if direct hits from BBs also have decreased damage)
As for stages, the object placement in Regular Battles has been altered to more closely reflect that of Splat Zones in Arowana Mall and Moray Towers, most likely for consistency.
The updates coming to matchmaking seem to be the best improvements so far, though. Previously, teammates would be matched up randomly. After update, however, the game will take players’ weapons into consideration when selecting which team to assign each player. As a result, you can expect a lot more balance between teams, evening the odds more successfully.
Also, Ranked Battle matchmaking get some changes to disallow variances in ranks from being matched up, to even the playing field even more. More specifically, the ranks that won’t be matched together any longer are S+ with S, S with A+, A- with B+, and B- with C+. Although, these changes may be subject to change if matchmaking ends up taking too long after the update.
In an attempt to iron even more of the wrinkles in Ranked Battles, the patch will have the game recognize when a team is at a disadvantage because a teammate may have been disconnected and they lose as a result. In the event of this, the winning team’s points will be decreased an amount proportional to the time benefited from the the opposing team’s disadvantage.
To top it all off, Splatfest will get its own adjustments, both mechanical and cosmetic:
- During Splatfests what was previously the Vibe Meter will now display your Splatfest Power.
- Initial Splatfest Power level depends upon your current Ranked Battle rank.
- Splatfest Power level will change depending on wins or losses during Splatfest Battles.
- The player with the highest Splatfest Power on the winning team will receive a slightly larger boost to their Splatfest Power than their teammates after the match.
- Until now, Splatfest matchmaking favored grouping players with similar play styles. Players will now be more likely to play with those of similar Splatfest Power level.
- The higher a team’s average Splatfest Power level, the more Splatfest Points they will earn after winning.
It’s nice to see Nintendo paying such close attention to the inner workings of its online community, and all the minute adjustments that can really improve the long-term quality of Splatoon. While there is the strong possibility that we won’t be seeing any new stages or weapons, at least until Splatoon 2 shows up, fans can rest assured that the game won’t stop being a work in progress and won’t stop improving more and more. At this point, Splatoon is basically the gift that keeps on giving.
You can download the patch on March 8th, to update to Splatoon version 2.6, and get a load of all the changes everything has to offer.