I love Blackout in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, but it's clear the developers at Treyarch are having trouble working out a sweet spot for perhaps its most troublesome feature: armour.
Armour has been tweaked this way and that ever since Black Ops 4 came out back in October as Treyarch has tried to settle it down in a place that makes for a good experience.
For those who don't know, armour is a pick-up that comes in three levels, the third being the most durable. It's a powerful item for all the obvious reasons: it mitigates damage, thus increasing "time to kill". In a firefight, armour can be the difference between life and death.
But armour has proved troublesome for Blackout. Players have complained it's too powerful, and going up against players with armour can be a frustrating, "bullet sponge-like" experience. It came as no surprise to see Treyarch nerf armour in Black Ops 4's first major balance patch at the end of October.
Recently, Treyarch added a new armour repair system, designed to make players feel like they could continue to use their armour even after it had been shredded during a firefight. But this didn't go down particularly well with players, either, as it meant you'd end up facing more enemies with full armour more often.
Now, armour has seen yet another round of tuning for Blackout, with Treyarch saying it's better balanced the long-term effectiveness of level two and level three armour, and reduced how frequently armour can be repaired.
The update, which is live now, reduces level two and level three armour durability to match level one armour durability. It also reduces the maximum number of armour plates that can be stacked from 10 to five. The update increases the time required to use an armour plates from two seconds to three. And, relates, the Paladin weapon damage against armour has been slightly increased to reduce the number of shots needed to take down enemies wearing level three armour.
In short, armour has been nerfed again.
"While we're pleased to see armor lasting through more than one gunfight with this redesign, we agreed that level two and level three armor was a bit too durable," Treyarch said in a post on the Black Ops 4 subreddit.
"With the durability dialed back on these, players should be able to destroy their enemies' armour more frequently.
"We've reduced how frequently armour can be repaired by increasing the time required to repair armour, which will be most noticeable in active gunfights. In a game where an extra second can make all the difference, this change gives aggressors more opportunities to close the distance on enemies as they repair their armor more slowly than before."
All of this makes a lot of sense, and, hopefully, will get Blackout's fiddly armour system into an agreeable spot. Treyarch said it's not done with tuning armour, either, so perhaps more nerfs are to come.