With the new season come new changes to the game and the North Star update is no exception.
Not only is it introducing a new operator and a reworked map, it is also bringing in sea changes to barrel attachments, various bulletproof primary gadgets (of Mira, Maestro, and Melusi), as well as the changes to bullet holes, client-sided bodies, and Smoke Canister propagation.
Let's dive into the changes, which are aplenty.
- New Operator: Thunderbird
- Black Mirror, Evil Eye, and Bulletproof Camera Changes
- Armour System and Barrel Attachment Changes
- Bullet Hole Fixes
- Client Side Bodies Removed
- Smoke Canister Propagation Fix
- Melusi Banshee Changes
- Reworked Map: Favela
- Post-Death Gadget Use (TTS only)
New Operator: Thunderbird
Operation North Star will see the first Native American operator in the game, Thunderbird.
Thunderbird will have a unique gadget on the defense, known as the Kona Station. The gadget will be non-bulletproof, featuring a 30 HP healing feature on a cooldown, and the defender will have three of them.
One bullet will be enough to destroy it, with an EMP also able to disable it.
Healing can be activated when an operator -- either on the attack or on the defense -- simply walks within two meters of the Kona Station, which will be a rotating turret deployed on the ground. But, if there are multiple players within range, priority will flow from defenders to attackers and then to lower HP operators to higher HP operators.
The Kona station can also be used to revive a downed operator, though the operator will have to manually revive themselves.
As for the loadout, Thunderbird will be a 3-speed operator, with the Finka Spear .308 Assault Rifle and the Caveira SPAS-15 shotgun as her primary options, the Lesion Q-929 pistol and Echo Bearing-9 SMG as the secondary options.
Her utility will also be strong, with options for two impact grenades or a C4.
Black Mirror, Evil Eye, and Bulletproof Camera Changes
Mira's Black Mirror gadget, Maestro's Evil Eye gadget, and the secondary Bulletproof Camera gadgets will all be receiving similar nerfs in a bid to combat oppressive, bulletproof defender utility.
Starting with Mira, her one-way windows will shatter after a melee, obscuring vision for the user thanks to an opaque spread of broken glass.
Similar changes will be coming to Maestro's Evil Eyes, whose bulletproof lenses will shatter after a melee attack, preventing them from transmitting information about attackers. Despite that, an Evil Eye will still be able to slide the lenses back and fire its laser, thus still enabling defenders to see the attackers and deal damage to them.
Bulletproof Cameras, too, will receive a similar change, with their lenses also shattering in an opaque manner after melee damage. However, they will also receive a slight buff, being able to shoot out an EMP charge to disable attacker gadgets.
This EMP will be on a cooldown and comes alongside a change that will allow the bulletproof cameras to be rotated.
Armour System and Barrel Attachment Changes
The new operation will also do away with the former, harder-to-understand armour rating system for operators, which is based on damage modifiers. Instead, each operator will be rated on their speed, as well as a direct HP system.
A current "3 armour" operator will thus start with 125 HP, a "2 armour" operator will start with 110 HP, while a "1 armour" operator will start with 100 HP.
The changes also mean that Rook's armour plates will now change, with them now giving a direct 20 HP boost to all who wear them.
Also changed will be Finka's boost, which will now simply act as a health boost and will no longer modify recoil patterns.
Barrel attachment changes mean that a fair few guns will see changes to their recoil patterns. Each attachment will now have a distinct firing pattern, with the confusion between the various options now eliminated.
Each attachment will now have a distinct modifier, such as Compensator only affecting horizontal recoil.
Bullet Hole Fixes
A major gameplay change will be the removal of bullet holes, which have been a source of frustration for ranked players and pro players alike.
Currently, shooting a wall would make a clean hole across both panels, enabling the player to see through it. But with the changes, players will no longer be able to see through the bullet holes, as the second layer of the wall will no longer have a hole even though the bullet propagation is unaffected.
There will also be no change to soft destruction's gun calibre mechanics, meaning that shotguns and high calibre guns will still create bigger holes.
Client Side Bodies Removed
With client-sided bodies often resulting in unfair situations, especially in competitive scenarios, bodies will now fade away after a few seconds and be replaced by a translucent icon. The icon feature also helps players identify bodies easier, which is often difficult due to operator uniforms.
Smoke Canister Propagation Fix
The season will also see a change to Smoke's Remote Gas Grenades. While the 'toxic babes' currently clip through walls, floors, and ceilings, the new propagation system will seek to ensure that no longer occurs.
The new system will follow the flame propagation system and cannot clip through walls, but can still go through drone holes.
The toxic canisters will also be easier to see through and will have a new sound effect.
Also changed will be the amount of damage taken, which would decrease as time went on, but will stay constant in the new version.
Melusi Banshee Changes
Also as explained in the Year 6 panel, Melusi will see her Banshee-SD gadgets now susceptible to destruction with a single shot once an operator is in its range.
This makes it much easier for attackers to deal with the Banshees and frees up any utility clearing them would have required.
Reworked Map: Favela
Also revealed was a rework of the map Favela, with it set to re-enter the casual rotation in its new form.
It will, however, not be included in ranked and will not be an option for competitive play either.
Post-Death Gadget Use (TTS Only)
As revealed in the Year 6 panel in February, post-death gadget use will now be introduced into the Technical Test Server (TTS), but not into the main game yet.
When a player dies they will be able to take control of any active drones or gadgets of theirs they have on the map. This includes stunning with Echos, shooting with Maestros or Zero cams, and activating Dokkaebi calls, Lion scans or Finka boosts.
This is a major change that will both keep casual players engaged and potentially shake up the competitive scene to a large degree as well.
North Star will be live on the Technical Test Server (TTS) on 25 May, Tuesday, with the season itself presumably launching a further two to three weeks later.