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Season 3 Update Deep Dive!

24th Mar 2022

The upcoming Season 3: Lancer update brings a veritable armory of new content to Aliens: Fireteam Elite. We’ve invited Lead Systems & Combat Designer Chris Matz, Systems Designer Corey LeFever, and Systems Designer Tony Marasco to walk us through the new additions and share some insights into their development process. 

New Lancer Class Kit

The Season 3 update adds the new Lancer Class Kit, available to all players as soon as they get the update. This is the second Heavy weapons Class Kit added to Aliens: Fireteam Elite, following the Demolisher, which brings new abilities that open up unique playstyles for the game.

"For the Lancer, we wanted to provide a second kit with access to heavy weapons but that provided different gameplay options from the Demolisher. Where the Demolisher focuses on rapidly dealing with swarms of enemies, we wanted the Lancer to lean into standing its ground and dealing with larger foes. Both of the Lancer active Abilities push in this direction. Particle Lance hits extremely hard but covers a narrow area, making it perfect for maximizing damage on a single target. The second Lancer ability, Onslaught, slows movement speed and fire rate, but increases damage and temporarily removes the need to reload - allowing you to put out a punishing amount of damage wherever you focus. Finally, the Overwatch ability is what really emphasizes the Lancer’s “hold your ground” playstyle. It stacks a powerful set of buffs while standing still, but those stacks fall off while moving."

"To help further differentiate the Lancer’s gameplay, we wanted it to have access to different secondary weapons than the Demolisher. After some testing, we went with the CQW slot, which grants the class a variety of tools for dealing with enemies that get too close. Pairing hard-hitting CQWs that typically need lots of reloading, such as the M37 Pump Shotgun or the new X1 Fireball, alongside some of the longer range Heavy Weapons, such as the new M41E4 Heavy Pulse Rifle, allows the Lancer to deal with varied threats quite quickly via effective use of the Onslaught Ability."

- Chris Matz

Particle Lance: 

Fires a penetrating beam in front of you, damaging all enemies in its path. The beam passes through all foes but is blocked by any terrain.

This Ability can be customized with its two Replacer Perks:

  • Particle Burst: Triggers a penetrating energy burst centered on you that deals less damage, but stumbles and irradiates nearby enemies. For 6 seconds, affected foes take damage over time and 20% more weapon damage. Unlocked at Level 3, Perk size 2x1.
  • Particle Wave: Fires a short-range energy cone in front of you, damaging all enemies in its path. The cone passes through all foes but is blocked by any terrain. Struck enemies are stunned for up to 3 seconds. Also greatly increases your damage resistance for 3 seconds. Unlocked at Level 3, Perk size 2x1.

You can further customize Particle Lance with these Ability-specific Perks:

  • Disrupting Radiation: Particle Lance now slows struck enemies by 40% for 5 seconds. Unlocked at Level 8, Perk size 2x1.
  • Residual Charge: Foes killed by Particle Lance leave an Electrical Hazard at their corpse for 4 seconds, dealing damage over time to enemies. Unlocked at the Armory, Perk size 2x1.

"Onslaught is the second active Ability for the Lancer, leaning into the fantasy of a resilient, one-Marine artillery machine. "

- Corey LeFever 

Onslaught: 

Immediately reloads your current Weapon, then slows your Movement and Fire Rate by 20%, while increasing your Weapon Damage and Damage Resistance by 20%. Your Weapons automatically reload after every shot for the duration of the effect.

Customize Onslaught with these Ability-specific Perks:

  • Relentless Advance: When Onslaught is active, you no longer lose stacks of Overwatch while moving. Unlocked at Level 4, Perk size 3x1.
  • Unshakeable: Onslaught now grants immunity to most Stuns, Stumbles, and Knockdowns, and grants 150 Temporary Health for its duration. Unlocked at Level 4, Perk size 2x1.
  • Tenacious: Onslaught now lasts 20% longer and grants 5% more Weapon Damage and Damage Resistance. Unlocked at Level 6, Perk size 3x1.

"We really wanted to emphasize the Lancer's "Hold your ground" playstyle, which is why Overwatch will quickly generate stacks while standing still or in cover and lose them when you're moving around. The Perks that affect Overwatch make it stronger and offer some nice quality of life bonuses; such as increasing the window of time before stacks start falling off and gaining maximum stacks when you activate an Ability of choice."

- Tony Marasco

Overwatch: 

While standing still or in cover, you gain 1 stack of Overwatch a second, up to 5. Overwatch increases Accuracy, Damage, and Stability by 3% per stack. When out of cover and moving, you lose 1 stack of Overwatch a second.

Customize Overwatch with these Ability-specific Perks:

  • Rapid Assessment: When you activate the Ability this Perk is attached to, you gain max stacks of Overwatch. Unlocked at Level 2, Perk size 2x1.
  • Muscle Memory: Each stack of Overwatch now also grants 5% Aim Assist and Handling. Unlocked at Level 8, Perk size 2x1.
  • Omniscience: Overwatch can now stack 6 times. You now lose 1 stack of Overwatch after every 3 seconds of movement. Unlocked at the Armory, Perk size 3x1.

"Lancers can equip CQWs and Heavy Weapons, giving them access to some extremely powerful weapon combinations. There's a lot of slower, heavy hitting Weapons and higher Fire Rate Weapons to choose from. Whatever ends up being your favorite mixes of the two, the Kit also comes with a suite of new Perks to support both Weapon types."

- Corey LeFever

Buff Weapon performance with these Weapon-specific Perks:

  • Lancer Heavy Training: Increases Handling and Magazine Capacity of Heavy Weapons by 10%, and Max Ammo by 15%. Unlocked at Level 2, Perk size 2x2.
  • Lancer CQW Training: Increases Max Ammo of CQWs by 20% and Weapon Range by 15%. Unlocked at Level 2, Perk size 2x2.
  • Lancer Heavy Expertise: Increases Fire Rate and Reload Speed of Heavy Weapons by 15%. Unlocked at Level 5, Perk size 2x1.
  • Lancer CQW Expertise: Increases Weakpoint Damage, Weapon Handling, and Stumble chance of CQWs by 10%. Unlocked at Level 5, Perk size 2x1.
  • Lancer Heavy Mastery: Improves the Range and Stumble chance of Heavy Weapons by 15%. Unlocked at Level 7, Perk size 2x1.
  • Lancer CQW Mastery: Improves the Aim Assist and Magazine Capacity of CQW by 15%. Unlocked at Level 7, Perk size 2x1.

"When you're trying to lock down an area you'll likely be dealing with many high threat targets. We've given the Lancer many defensive tools so that they're able to do just this. You'll be able to gain defensive bonuses against enemies while you are in cover, against melee attacks, and hazards from said enemies. Even if you end up taking some hits, you'll end up shaking some of it off with health recovery perks. Meanwhile, perks like Back Me Up, offer a damage boost for your teammates while enemies are attacking you so that they can help keep enemies off of you."

- Tony Marasco

Unlock additional Lancer Perks for further customization of your playstyle and experiment by mixing and matching with other Classes:

  • Back Me Up: Allies deal 20% more damage to enemies targeting you. Unlocked at Level 3, Perk size 3x1.
  • Shake It Off: 20% of received damage is stored in a Recovery Pool. After not taking damage for 8 seconds, you recover the stored amount as Health over 4 seconds. Unlocked at Level 4, Perk size 4x1.
  • Fitness Training: Increases Incoming Healing and Max Health by 10%. Improves Stamina Recharge rate by 20%. Unlocked at Level 5, Perk size 3x1.
  • Resilience: Shake It Off now stores 30% of received damage in a Recovery Pool. After not taking damage for 6 seconds, you recover the stored amount as Health over 3 seconds. Unlocked at Level 6, Perk size 2x1.
  • Protective Layer: Damage from Melee attacks and environmental Hazards reduced by 20%. Unlocked at Level 6, Perk size 2x1.
  • High Impact Fire: Your damaging shots increase the chance for an enemy to be stumbled by 3%, stacking 5 times. Unlocked via Hidden Cache, Perk size 3x1.
  • Entrenched: 25% Reload Speed and 10% Damage Resistance while in cover. Unlocked via Hidden Cache, Perk size 2x1.

New Armat Weaponry

"With Season 3 we will be introducing 4 new Armat Weapons, one of each type. As always, we want these guns to provide a different and varied gameplay feel from existing weapons within their categories. Some achieve this in very obvious ways -  the X1 Fireball is the first projectile based weapon outside of the Heavy category. Others are more subtle - like the X45 Bombard Flechette Rifle, our second 4-round Burst DMR. It provides faster and more accurate shooting than the M41A3 Burst Rifle but isn’t quite as effective at longer ranges."

"We look forward to players finding the best situations to use these weapons, and the new loadout possibilities these bring to the game."

- Chris Matz

All four of these new weapons are available for purchase from SSgt Park’s Armory for Requisition Credits.

CQW

  • X1 Fireball - Most flamethrowers carry a lot of risk of friendly fire, so Armat worked toward one with a more localized area of effect. The Fireball is named for the "ball" of D17 Gel it lobs, which explodes on impact and coats the target area.

Heavy

  • M41E4 Heavy Pulse Rifle - The Heavy Pulse Rifle uses an M41 base that has been fully converted into a heavy machine gun. With immense stopping power and a wild kick, this slow-firing weapon is devastating when the user can keep it on target.

Rifle

  • X45 Bombard Flechette Rifle - Filling out Armat's Flechette line, the Bombard sits neatly between the X43 and X46, providing an accurate and automatic mid-range burst rifle that draws direct comparison to the venerable M41A3 Burst Rifle. Still utilizing a standard 4-round burst, the main differentiators are the ease of reload and its tight burst grouping.

Hand Gun

  • Mark 7 Mod 2 CQB Pistol - When wanting to provide great short-range potential in a small package, Armat eventually arrived at the Mark 7 Mod 2 Close Quarters Battle Pistol. By delivering an incredibly rapid burst of high-velocity rounds to a small area, targets can be dealt with quickly and accurately, even in high-stress situations.

New Perks

"For the upcoming Season 3 Perks, we took a look at our current Kits and wanted to add a handful of options in places that they were lacking. As examples, Demolisher is getting a couple of defensive options and Doc is getting a couple of offensive ones. We also wanted to make sure these new Perks fit thematically with their respective Kits and that the gameplay aligned with their playstyles."

"Other than the Kit-specific Perks, we're also adding a couple of Kit-neutral Perks. These Perks can be equipped by any Kit and provide more generic benefits. We're always looking into ways that we can expand options in the Perk boards and this was one that we were excited about!"

- Tony Marasco

This season we’re adding a whole new set of Perks for all existing Classes. Aside from the 23 new Perks added for the Lancer Class Kit, we’re also adding 2 new Perks for each of the other 6 Classes and 3 more neutral Perks that are available to all Classes.

Demolisher:

  • Reactive Charges: Getting hit by a melee attack triggers a concussive blast, knocking back nearby enemies. This can occur once every 30 seconds. Unlocked at the Armory, Perk size 1x3.
  • Braced for Launch: When Microrockets is activated, you gain 3 seconds of immunity to most Stumble, Stun, and Knock effects, and take 40% reduced damage. Unlocked via Hidden Cache, Perk size 1x2.

Doc: 

  • Doctor’s Orders: You gain 5% Weapon Damage and Handling for each party member, including yourself, that is above 75% Health. Unlocked at the Armory, Perk size 1x2.
  • Charitable Glow: Combat Stims now also improve the Doc's damage by 15%. Unlocked via Hidden Cache, Perk size 1x3.

Gunner: 

  • Overwhelming Fire: Dealing damage to an enemy that has 5 stacks of Focus Fire will now briefly stun the target. This effect may only occur against the same target once every 30 seconds. Unlocked at the Armory, Perk size 1x3.
  • Stopwatch: While Overclock is on cooldown you gain 20% of its unmodified benefits. Unlocked via Hidden Cache, Perk size 1x2.

Phalanx: 

  • Take a Stand: You deal 3% more damage for each nearby enemy. Unlocked at the Armory, Perk size 1x3.
  • Combat Inertia: Each time you kill an enemy, the damage of your next melee attack is increased by 100%, stacking up to 5 times. Unlocked via Hidden Cache, Perk size 1x2.

Recon: 

  • Combined Arms Tactics: When PUPS and Support Drone are both active, all allies are granted 20% increased Reload Speed, Weapon Handling and Range. Unlocked at the Armory, Perk size 2x2.
  • Chain Reaction: Killing an enemy increases the damage of your next shot by 30%. Unlocked via Hidden Cache, Perk size 1x2.

Technician:

  • Parasocial Relationship: You deal 20% more damage to the targets your turret has recently damaged. Unlocked at the Armory, Perk size 1x3.
  • Maximized Retention: When a foe enters the field of your Charged Coils, they have a 33% chance to be stunned for 2 seconds. Unlocked via Hidden Cache, Perk size 1x2.

Miscellaneous: 

  • Jackpot: Your weapon is instantly reloaded after killing any foe stronger than a Runner, Popper, Husk, or Working Joe. Unlocked at the Armory, Perk size 1x2.
  • Hold Still: You deal 30% more damage to enemies that are grappling allies. Unlocked at the Armory, Perk size 1x2.
  • Hazard Seals: Damage from acid pools and all other environmental hazards reduced by 25%. Unlocked at the Armory, Perk size 1x2.

New Challenge Cards

"We’re continuing to add Challenge Cards to spice up gameplay for those who want something new while also offering ways to boost yourself up and take down harder content."

- Tony Marasco

All eleven new Challenge Cards will be available as randomized mission rewards, Tactical Opportunity rewards, or available for purchase with Requisition Credits from SSgt Park’s Armory in a randomized Challenge Card Pack.

  • Overstimulated - Uncommon: No Bonus Rewards - Ability Recharge Speed is doubled.
  • High Caliber - Exotic: No Bonus Rewards - All Damage dealt by players is increased by 25%.
  • Overcompensating - Uncommon: 1.5x Credits - Your weapons recoil in the opposite direction
  • They Just Won't Die - Rare: 2x Credits - Armored enemies have twice as much armor.
  • Relentless Pursuers - Rare: 1.75x Experience & 1.75x Credits - Enemies are no longer affected by most Stun, Knock, or Stumble effects.
  • Miscalibrated - Rare: 1.5x Experience & 1.5x Credits - Weapon Accuracy is severely reduced.
  • Should've Used Duct Tape - Rare: 2x Credits - Swapping Weapons now takes 3 times longer.
  • Main Weaponry Only - Rare: 2x Credits - Your Secondary Kit ability and weapon are disabled.
  • Switch to Backups - Rare: 2x Experience - Your Primary Kit ability and weapon are disabled.
  • Just Me and My Guns - Exotic: 2x Experience & 2x Credits - Your Consumables, Medkits, and Kit Abilities are disabled.
  • Won't Stop Until You're Dead - Rare: 2.5x Credits - A Wey-Yu Heavy will spawn shortly after beginning the mission, at which point there will always be an active Heavy.

New in SSgt Park’s Shop

Use that stash of Requisition Credits and Reputation Scrip you’ve been putting aside at SSgt Park’s Armory to unlock all four new Armat Weapons, the BiMex Polarized Filters and UACM Cover Head Accessories, the Frontier Filigree and Mesh (Arid, Badlands, Steppe, Taiga) Weapon Colors, the United Americas Flag and ICSC Decals, and the Cry, Dance - Jig, Too Many, Pose - Casual, and Putting On A Show Emotes. A selection of brand-new Perks detailed further above will also be made available.

New Loadout Presets Feature

Season 3 also introduces the much-requested feature to save multiple Loadouts of your Kit, your Perks, and your Weapons using the new Presets feature.

"Our characters have lots of customization options - including your kit, which guns they use, the attachments for those guns, and the entire perk grid. For many situations in our game, swapping some of these out makes a lot of sense - different weapons for Synth missions, or maybe a different ability focus for Horde Mode. We wanted to make it easier to be able to swap around your gear, and not have to remember “which was my favorite for this mode?” every time you go into it."

"With Presets, you can name each one and customize them to be what you need for whatever situations you normally find yourself in, allowing you to quickly get into the action instead of spending time between missions reconfiguring your loadout."

- Chris Matz

This feature will automatically become enabled with the Season 3 update and will enable the following Presets:

  • Up to 10 Presets for each individual weapon, customizing their Colors, Decals, and Attachments.
  • Up to 10 Presets for each Class Kit’s Loadout, customizing their equipped Weapons, Outfit, Head Accessory, Perk Board, and Consumables.

With this update, a new tutorial will be available to walk players through this feature. At any time, you can create a new Preset with your own custom name for any of the listed sections or delete an older Preset you no longer need.

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