Since Splatoon 2‘s release this summer, Nintendo has kept tabs on the game’s balance, faithfully supplying patches and fixes. This month has proved no exception, with version 1.4.0 going live yesterday.
A horde of bug remedies and balance changes are present in the update’s official patch notes. It seems the developers are doing their best to improve player experience heading into the latest Splatfest event this weekend.
The patch notes start off with some changes in the top echelon of the ranking system. Players ranked at S and above will find it slightly easier to fall down in rank, but it is no longer possible to fall more than five ranks at a time. These changes look to bring a little more fairness to the elite end of ranked battles.
Following the ranking changes is a huge list of fixes for issues in both Salmon Run and regular multiplayer modes. These bugs included powerups being applied incorrectly, players going out of bounds, and faulty animations.
While the fixes are a godsend in themselves, players generally pay the most attention to the balance changes applied to weapons, specials, and gear. Version 1.4.0 provides plenty of these changes, potentially shaking up player strategies and compositions heading into the Splatfest.
There are way too many changes to detail each in length, but we will briefly highlight some of the most notable ones.
Heavy nerfs to Baller special
Nintendo must have deemed the Baller too powerful, as the hamster-ball-like special was hit with possibly the hardest nerfs in the patch. The Baller now has a shorter explosion range and is easier to hear, but the most noticeable change is not actually applied to the special itself. Instead, almost every weapon and special on the patch notes have been given increased damage to the Baller, theoretically making it much easier to take down. Though I personally do not play at an extremely high level, I found the Baller annoying and tough to bring down safely, so this change is a boon to a player at my level.
Aerospray turf nerf
The Aerospray MG and RG weapons are a popular choice in the Turf War game mode due to their wide and consistent turf coverage. However, the patch notes include significant reductions to the guns’ coverage radius and the rate at which they turf the ground. Time will tell if this change causes players to fade from the Aerospray in the regular battle mode, or if it will continue to be a dominant presence.
All Rollers buffed
That’s right, each and every roller in Splatoon 2 has been given multiple enhancements. Some now reach top movement speed faster while rolling, some have increased turf coverage, and most will now have an easier time inking the ground in front of them while swinging. Whether it’s Splat, Carbon, Krak-on, Hero, Dynamo, or Flingza, the roller class has been handed a gift from the Nintendo gods.
Faster N-ZAP wielders
We will close by quickly covering my weapon of choice in Ranked battles, the N-ZAP ’85. While the gun itself did not change much, its effect on users did. The N-ZAP is now in a lighter weight class, meaning players wielding it can run and swim faster than ever before. Movement speed while firing (which is independent of weight class) has also been increased.
Splatoon 2 leaves its players much to consider after its latest patch. The fixes are definitely appreciated, while the balance changes must wait to be tested and judged. Personally, I am on board for two of our highlighted changes and disappointed with the other two. Perhaps the upcoming Splatfest will become a good proving ground for the update’s merit.