With one very notable exception, as best I can recollect all War Robots updates have tended to hit the Android platform first. I’ve been advised that this is due to the more strenuous vetting requirements Apple subjects software to, rather than any staggered delivery on Pixonic’s part. (The “notable exception” was the matchmaker system rollout, which hit iOS a week or so in advance).
For those of us on the iOS side, this often means we get to live a little like Nostradamus, feet grounded in our present reality but one eye glued forward into the looming future coming our way.
At least, until I started my Android account. Now I’m a citizen of both platforms, and I can get a sense of what the changes will feel like before they hit iOS. This has been proven to be particularly useful with this latest update, 2.9, and its changes to some rocket weapons. Android gave me a week to brace myself.
The 2.9 update had a lot of changes that herald potential shifts in the metagame.
- Tulumbas, Pinatas, and Pins got both a damage buff as well as the “reloading fire” mechanic previously exclusive to Orkans
- Orkan damage buff
- Punisher and Punisher Mk. 2 damage buff
- Significant Gekko damage buff
- Bug fixes and tweaks, and new paint jobs
It was the first one that caught my eye right away, as presently I’m running a Tulumbas Doc on the Android account.
The Tulu Doc was the ultimate in burst-weapon patience. Yes, you could chain-fire four Tulumbas in two quick bursts, but after that you were completely defenseless for around fifteen seconds. That might not seem like a lot of time, but when you’ve got the enemy looking to see who poked them with a big ol’ stick and they know you’re vulnerable, life can come at you fast.
Not only that, but the old-style Tulumbas were very unforgiving. If you fired one, you fired them all, so you had to be sure of your target. If they ducked behind a building… if one of your allies stepped in your line of sight… or if they jumped out of the way, you were still emptying the magazine to zero effect.
So playing a Doc was very much a fire, duck, and run operation, where you spent a lot of time running and/or hiding, and not a lot of time actually engaging the enemy. It’s a fun ambush build, just as the Hydra Doc was a fun harassment build.
Now, with the changes to the Tulumbas– what a difference! Two early experiences best highlight how much more exciting this build has become in the wake of the changes.
The first time I played the Tulu Doc post-update, I was dropped into the frigid expanse of Yamantau. The Doc wasn’t my first choice- I still tend to favor the Plasmahad as my opener, and on this map in particular the center-beacon specialist Lancelot is typically waiting in the on-deck circle.
By the time I’d opted for the Doc, we were losing the match, and the Reds held the center pretty firmly. A Taran Fujin had set up shop there and made quite a nuisance of himself. I didn’t think I had the kill, but I had the opportunity and I took it, firing from the ground up at it. The stream of Tulumbas depleted the Ancile, then burned off his already-damaged life bar… juuuust short of actually killing it.
In the past, this would have been frustrating. He’d go on to regenerate his Ancile and I’d be looking for a place to hide for the next quarter-minute, before hoping I could try again. I don’t know if he attempted to move (thus deactivating his shield) or if I simply was faster on the draw than he was on the regeneration, but I was able to fire off a reload doing just enough to send his pilot skyward. Job done!
That was exciting, but it was just a patch on what happened soon after in Dead City, where the stars aligned to make my Doc feel like a lesser deity.
The scenario was almost the same, with center beacon being hotly contested. Griffins were leaping all over the place on both sides, plasma and bullets whizzing past. Seeing an opportunity, I waded into the cauldron in the middle with the Doc, and starting lobbing Tulus.
Now, again let’s think of how this would have unfolded a week ago. I had no shortage of injured targets, but Tulumbas were all-or-nothing. I’d want to find a wounded target, but not one so wounded that most of my payload would go wasted. Rather, I’d leave the critically injured for my teammates and hope they capitalized (not always the case), and instead go for another target.
I’d have to hope I’d be right, too, particularly with high-health bots like the Boa and Leo whose life bars can often deceptive. They might look grievously injured as a percentage of their overall health (what the health bars measure), but in terms of actual health points remaining could still be quite hale. If I chose poorly, I’d have to pop Quick Draw and use the second burst to finish the job.
So in short, a poor choice meant only one kill. Sound choices meant two kills.
With the new Tulumbas reload mechanic and the option to partial fire, I got four kills. A few shells towards that injured Griffin that just landed. Another Griffin that just barely survived an Aphid volley. A Gareth hoping to snatch the beacon. A lumbering Leo taking a beating. These were all kills of opportunity, and a collection of chances that seldom flower quite so ripely, but this was all but impossible before the change.
The Doc, in short, felt like a whole new bot. Much is made of the concern when nerfs devalue premium purchases (and not without cause), but as long-standing Rogatka owners can attest to, sometimes they give you a new lease on life.
If you’ve read this far, you’re exactly the kind of reader I’d value some input from. For awhile, I’ve been operating under the model of posts being around 1500 words, one to two posts a week. Each post typically touches upon more than one topic (except the stats posts, which follow a particular habit).
I am considering shifting to a smaller and more frequent format. Rather than one big “Battle Stories” that’s 1,500 words, I might instead split them into two smaller pieces of 750 words and post them within a couple days of one another.
I’ll be keen to hear your thoughts!