“Increased the initial reload speed of Benedict’s UPR-SM23 Rocket Launcher.”
I’m sorry, but that’s a terrible, vague description. Let me fix that for you.
“Changed Benedict’s reload so that rockets aren’t replenished until after the reload animation is complete.”
“Changed Benedict’s reload in such a way to completely disallow reload weaving/cancelling, as well as to further restrict his damage output.”
And while we’re at it, maybe add this:
“Firing during the opening frames of a Benedict reload animation can still cause rockets to fail to launch, and doing so after loading multiple rockets can cause a glitch that drops the rocket magazine count back to where it was when you started reloading. Don’t get your hopes up for a fix.”
Also, there seems to be a slight fire rate buff to the launcher, but I guess that wasn’t worth mentioning in the notes.
Look, I get it… constant rocket spam was strong–but it wasn’t any more overpowered than Galilea’s ridiculous stack of CC, or Ghalt’s stupid hook, or any of the other things in this game that players abuse to get an advantage.
The damage nerf was a step in a fair, level-headed direction. Heck, you could have dropped his damage even further. When two experienced teams came up against each other, Benedict wasn’t about crazy burst damage, or diving for a lame rocket kill. It was about space control, denying teams access to certain parts of the map with the credible threat of a steady stream of rockets. It was one of the few skill-based counters to abusive, CC-spam steamroll teams, especially ones that had lag on their side.
So now, Benedict’s damage mechanics have been fundamentally altered from their behavior at launch. Up until now, a big part of managing his damage output was having the ability to quickly get another rocket in his launcher after firing. That’s what enabled reload weaving, sure, but even if you weren’t doing that, he still needed the ability to quickly shove another rocket into the chamber, for that extra little bump of potential damage.
Now, he gets to fire 1-5 rockets, then get stuck an obvious, ugly, predictable downtime, in which any experienced opponent will thrash him into oblivion. His early-game damage output is abysmal, and even after a few levels, it remains constrained to a targeted burst. His combat role is now limited to that of a vulture, who dives on anything he can drop by dumping his entire kit, which will typically be five rockets (or ten, if you’re willing to burn Hawkeye), then later down the Helix, damage-infused Liftoff and the oft-disappointing Boomsday. In other words, he’s a less-effective version of Orendi.
For XP gain, he’s relegated to basic minion clear, as he wasn’t that good at taking out Thralls or Elites to begin with, and now he’s even worse. Of course, this also makes him even more terrible that he already was in certain Story missions, especially when fighting Eldrid minions and bosses.
Is he completely crippled? No. But if I pick him, I can’t make a single mistake, or I’m just going to feed the enemy team XP. It was already hard enough to play Benedict against a good ISIC, WF, or OM, and now, I’m convinced it’s pretty much impossible. So I’m not going to pick him. At all. My teams deserve better.
I’m sorry, but on the surface, it looks like the development team caved in to all the organized whining. What actually happened internally doesn’t really matter, because the front-facing narrative appears to be one in which developers validated recent complaints from the player base. And it sets a really, really crappy precedent–if I don’t like dying to a strong hero, all I have to do is get a bunch of my friends together, set up a big soapbox, and scream the loudest.
I guess with the player population as small as it is, especially on PC, any group that complains qualifies as a vocal majority. I would prefer the devs follow their own compass, but it seems clear that’s not what’s going to happen.