The new features look great! I'm digging both 2x and 4x speed depending on what I'm doing at the time. There is a lot of extra flourish on each animation, though, such as gem converters, spawners and exploders all showing each individual gem spawn/explosion with a slight delay in between each one. Turbo trait animations to get the match started faster regardless is a big step up, but you also can't cast while they are going anymore. Overall a pretty big win in my book.
Some of the balance changes seem long overdue, but there are a few I'm wondering about.
My Artema costs 16 mana now instead of 15 for some reason? Intended balance change?
I think the Kerberos nerf misses the mark. Its still basically a coin flip for one mana match and now its less reliable on offense. ts not either of these things that makes the team meta, its the mere chance to devour with a single mana surge while having an extremely skull presence if you decide to bring anti-target-devour. Plus, now that it doesn't always summon, I can't use it as a "summoner" for guild wars. We'll have to wait until next week to see if this has any real impact, as there are actually strong event options this week. IMO, balancing RNG on an effect this polarizing by increasing/lowering the chance is simply not ever going to find a "sweet spot" where its balanced. For example, Kraken's weakness is not that it "only" has a 40% chance to devour, but that it only targets the last troop. Maw's is high mana cost. Kerberos is the fact that he gets very little out of the 16 mana if he doesn't devour, but 8 mana for the first attempt is simply too low.
Zephyros, if I'm not mistaken, is featured in the Warlord class unlock. I remember this being battle being actually pretty tough starting out with the starting troops/ a few gold keys / no hero class (since this would likely be your first one). Its not a huge deal once you get some troops and souls behind you, but I'm wondering how this will affect overall accessiblity to classes as part of the first time player experience (since this patch did spend some time on that).
Will veteran players have access to the Blade of Heroes for completionist sake? Its not showing up on my list, even under "show all".
I personally thought Famine would have been next reviewed after potentially changing mana shield. Or is that off the table now?
I'm also disappointed that Kruarg's third trait didn't get changed to something more suitable. Another victim of such a trait not really ever being possible to have a sweet spot. 5% is so low that you can skull an entire team with partial resistance to death and never see an activation. 10% you'd more than likely see an activation, but it would be high enough to be noticeable and draw complaints. Really can't win with this type of trait.
My main dislike about this patch is the new UI for the troop screen. You need extra inputs to do basically everything you did before. Everything is hidden in a sub menu. To get troops from a specific kingdom, you have to click through every other kingdom alphabetically. I understand some of this was probably done because its how it was laid out for primarily controllers but it really is a pain to navigate compared to before. I'm hoping this particular area can be improved to be more streamlined to meet the needs of a touch/mouse interface user. Reintroduction of the drop down boxes, for one.