Titanfall 2 developer Respawn Studios is currently experimenting with giving players less information in balance patch notes, with the aim that the obfuscation will avoid influencing player expectations.
Multiplayer gamers have spent years analysing patch notes and theorycrafting, sure of how the game will play out often days before the patch even makes it online, here Respawn are going to let players know what they’ve changed, but not providing any specifics for players to work with: you’ll know that a titan is getting a boost its health, for example, but you won’t know by how much.
If you look at the most recent patch notes on Reddit, you’ll see a description of what they’ve changed but nothing in the way of percentages or numbers.
In a piece with Waypoint Frechette said that the idea was down to Drew McCoy, Titanfall 2’s producer:
“He [McCoy] came in the room,” said Frechette, “and said ‘Hey, Jay, I have an idea, tell me what you think about this. What I want to do here is I want to try putting these patch notes out but let’s not go into the nitty gritty details with numbers and percentages. I want people to go into this with an open mind. I don’t want to color their perceptions. I want them to just play the game, see how it feels, and give us feedback on what they think is right.'”
Other developers might want to watch how this turns out. Frechette has suggested so far that the largely the response from the community has been positive. Respawn aren’t of course the only developers to steer away from over-detailed patch notes, but they’re in the middle of the competitive FPS bubble, where the norm is to spill out all of your details like these patch notes for Rainbow Six Siege’s 4.2 update, which has all the numbers, statistics and gifs for players to peruse.
“If I tell people up front ‘Hey, we lowered Tone’s shield wall by 20 percent,’ you’re going to have a lot of people, before they even play the game, say ‘But the 40mm cannon is too strong!’ or ‘Her salvo core is too powerful!'” Frechette said. “They’re already going into the game thinking that Respawn did it wrong, they didn’t address the issue that I feel they should have addressed. They’re already going into it with some negativity.”