Walker Assault Mode, the 40-player versus mode that pits Rebels versus the Empire in Star Wars Battlefront's signature mode, has been rebalanced following feedback from the beta, with success now more likely for those playing as the Rebellion.
When DICE's Star Wars Battlefront got a beta last month, Rebel players of Walker Assault (on Hoth) noticed it was much harder to win than it was when playing as the Empire, sparking some debate over whether the imbalance was intentional - the Rebellion facing an uphill struggle they're destined to lose, as is the case in The Empire Strikes Back's Battle of Hoth from which the mode draws inspiration.
"When you're running betas, the feedback you're looking for is that balance stuff," Star Wars Battlefront designer Jamie Keen told Eurogamer. "The interesting thing that happened is that it was imbalanced and then people were like 'it should be - it's about the Walkers assaulting Hoth!' That thematic story stuff you don't expect, but it is such an evocative franchise."
DICE acknowledged it was a balancing issue, and now we've played the final version it's clear alterations have been made.
Now, a weak-spot under the AT-ATs is exposed (pictured) - rather than them being all-over vulnerable - as the Y-Wings make their bombing run, encouraging players to rush forward and making it easier to topple the giant walkers when they do.
Over the course of several matches we played on Walker Assault across Hoth and the mode's other maps on Tatooine, Sullust and Endor the Rebels and Empire shared the wins.
"We have changed how the Walkers work," Keen explained. "We've got weak points on them now, so it's not a question of turning them into a bullet sponge. There have been general balancing tweaks like the damage levels from various weapons, different ion bursts and what they do to the walkers. It's not one specific area, it's across the board."
And was there ever any intention for the mode to have its asymmetry weighted in a certain way? "It actually isn't supposed to be unbalanced! It should be 50/50 in terms of success ratio, that's what we're gunning for. It's interesting, people's receptiveness that it would be unbalanced. It was fun to see people taking it that way!"