I went from excitement to play Titanfall 2 to puzzlement within an hour of playing last weekend. It’s not a ‘bad’ game. It just feels like this weird step backward from the first Titanfall.

No shields on Titans. Titans earned via killstreaks. Map design. Low TTK (time to kill). And the list goes on. Thankfully, there was a multiplayer technical test. Could you imagine if Titanfall 2 launched like this?

Respawn heard “a lot of passionate feedback from Titanfall fans.” And they are not just listening. They are acting. Despite the tech test being a couple months old, the developers are taking the feedback to heart and implementing several new changes. It’s not every change many fans want, but it’s a start.

Pilot movement in Titanfall 2

Outside of Titans, this is has been one of the biggest complaints from fans. Respawn explained why mobility feels so different in Titanfall 2:

We identified two major issues we wanted to solve in Titanfall 2. The first is that a lack of player predictability would often cause players to be shot from the back or sides. While flanking is an important part of gameplay, death often felt random instead of skillful. The second issue is that close range firefights were overly chaotic due to erratic player movement. So, changes to pilot mobility stemmed from a desire to improve our gunplay, and not a desire to slow down movement.

It’s comments like these that are puzzling for Titanfall fans. Titanfall’s movement guarantees chaotic close engagements. That’s what happens when you incorporate wall running and boost jumping.

To address the slower movement, Respawn will tweak air speed and wall-running speed to be faster. Cool.

Next up, the developers are fixing an issue that caused players to lose momentum while wall running. So far, so good.

The multiplayer test maps were another point of contention for me and many players. They just didn’t lend themselves well to Titanfall’s core wall running gameplay. Sure, there are videos of players stringing together impressive wall runs – but it’s not as intuitive as the first Titanfall.

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Fans wondered if open-ended maps like Homestead are the norm in Titanfall 2. Respawn emphatically stated no in a blog post today.

When designing maps, we strive to make them unique experiences. For example, Homestead changes things up by creating islands of Pilot gameplay where long-range weapons can be effective. This upcoming weekend a new map, Forwardbase Kodai, will be available for play. There is a wide variety of maps for the final game.

We’ll see if Forwardbase Kodai plays any better than Homestead. I hope so. I never thought of playing Titanfall to snipe. Titanfall was a game built on movement. Whether as a pilot or Titan. Long range combat took, and should always take, a back seat to movement.

Titans in Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2 titans

Ok, this is my biggest problem with the game right now. Where the hell is my Titan shield? Here’s how Respawn explains the decision to ditch shields.

First, we’ve changed from Titans having energy shields to a new Titan battery system which we believe improves rodeo gameplay and rewards teamwork. In Titanfall 1, rodeo was lethal to Titans, forcing pilots to disembark and engage in a 50 / 50 fight. In Titanfall 2, the rodeo pilot steals a battery and damages an enemy Titan. If they can give that battery to a friendly Titan, the Titan receives a shield and the Pilot gets Titan meter points. As players become more familiar with the system, we expect that Titans will live longer. This is an area we will continue to monitor leading up to launch.

Instead of just saying this is a horrible idea (which I think it is), I’ll offer a solution. Titans should start with shields, but you can keep the battery system in place to remove them. Also, removing the battery should take the shield down to 0, but still allow it to recharge.

Without recharging shields, Titans with low armor are always at a distinct disadvantage in Titan engagements. In Titanfall 1, shields gave players just enough to wiggle room to win some engagements. They are still at a disadvantage if they have lower armor, but it didn’t feel hopeless.

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Respawn is also tweaking Titan mobility. Dashes will now recharge faster. Here’s what they said.

We’ve reduced the number of baseline dashes by one compared to Titanfall 1, but all Titans have access to a new Titan kit that provides an additional dash. This is to balance new mobility or defensive options available to specific Titans. The Tech Test build, however, doesn’t include our fastest Titans. Despite our confidence in our top-end speed, we have heard your feedback that Ion and Scorch feel too slow.

Changes to Titanfall 2’s HUD

Many of you complained about the HUD “feeling too busy.” Yep, I agree. The developer will offer toggle options to turn HUD features on and off. Respawn is also tweaking the outlines around enemies to fade at extreme distances. They see the outline as an “important feature for friend or foe identification with the substantial amount of visual customization that will be available at launch in Titanfall 2.”

Map design, specifically the art direction, could help negate this issue instead of a bright red outline around players.

Thoughts on the changes coming to Titanfall 2

The changes sound good, but I can’t help but wonder why the gameplay was changed so much to begin with. Most of the complaints I heard about Titanfall 2 centered around lack of content (multiplayer modes and single player). I never heard anyone complain about Titans having shields or the movement was too fast. That’s what Titanfall is about. It would be like making Quake’s movement slower. It just doesn’t make sense.

I still hope Respawn takes a good, long look at Titan shields.

I’ll be giving Titanfall 2 another shot this weekend. I hope these changes help Titanfall 2 build on what Titanfall 1 did so well. Not change it just for the sake of changing.

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