PTS 3 is in the works and will be deployed in the days to come. A complete Patch Note will be published when all changes are made, but until then, we thought it would be interesting to share some of the learnings from PTS 2 with you.

1. Reloading while sprinting
We did an experiment on PTS2 with slowing the player to a run if he reloads while sprinting and interrupting reloads if he starts sprinting. The purpose was to make sure there was a rhythm to combat where the player has to consider that he will be more vulnerable, as sprinting makes the player hard to hit. This was meant to encourage cover use and longer range combat.
What we saw though was that it created too big of a change to the feel of the game that players have grown accustomed to, especially in PvE. It also needed some more work to feel smooth and well supported in all cases.
To that effect, we will remove the restrictions for the next PTS phase and you can again reload while sprinting.

2. Normalization issues
Our very first attempt at normalization was largely successful in creating a more balanced and equal PvP situation in the Last Stand game mode, reducing the impact of min-maxed gear while achieving the Time to Kill and Time to Be Killed that we are looking for.
However, some changes will be made to the method for the next phase of testing. As the major bonuses on gear have been adjusted we now feel more comfortable letting them have an impact on the Last Stand Game mode balance and so will not be scaling them down as aggressively as before. We also have adjusted how we normalize armor and mitigation to even out the damage effectiveness of guns vs skills. Generally speaking, guns did the right amount of damage but skills did a little too much on PTS 2 Last Stand. We look forward to feedback on these changes in the next phase of the PTS.

3. Skill power meta
We saw the pendulum shift very quickly to builds focusing on electronics and Skill Power being the dominating ones on PTS 2. This was a result of a revamp of how skillpower scales, where we removed the diminishing returns and made investing heavily into that niche pay off. We are very happy to see Skill Power builds come back to life, but our goal is to have a large amount of different builds and playstyles viable, so we will be making adjustments accordingly:

3a. Cooldowns & power of skills
To make sure that other types of builds are more viable again, we’re making cooldowns at low Skill Power a little shorter than they were on PTS 2, allowing DPS, Balanced and Tank builds more frequent access to their tools. We’ve also made it so that Skill Power does not lower cooldowns as much as it did, meaning that we don’t reach quite as short cooldowns at high skill power levels as we did on PTS 2.
We’ve also made adjustments to haste to reign in what was possible to achieve in terms of very fast cooldowns. More details to come in the patch notes, but we look forward to seeing how these adjustments feel to players on the next phase of the PTS

3b. Support station range and overlap
Support station became quite strong with the new Skill Power, and gained a lot of utility with the revamp to Reclaimer.
On PTS 2, we tried a different range setting for it. This however turned out to be so small that it frustrated solo players relying on their support station, restricting them too much in their movement. To that effect, we’re increasing the base range and adjusting the bonus of Reclaimer down a little instead, to reduce the difference between the two versions.
Furthermore, to make sure that we don’t get super-groups stacking multiple support stations for very large healing efficiency, we’re adding a system to prevent overlapping stations to all heal the same player.

3c. Countering Skill Objects
We observed that some skill objects, such as support stations, seeker mines and turrets, were too difficult to counter. We are making sure they are more vulnerable to elemental damage such as explosions and fire. It doesn’t mean they will be super squishy, just that they react more predictably to those effects.
As requested by many, we’re also making the Disruptor Sticky Bomb detonate on impact to be easier to hit skill objects such as seeker mines with.

3d. Seeker mines
The Cluster variety of Seeker Mine was seen a lot on PTS 2. We believe that a fair tradeoff for getting multiple Seeker Mines on the cluster variety is that they do not stagger the enemy like the base one does. Therefore, we are removing that effect from them (Cluster only). They also will receive a change with cooldown increase and a shift of their damage where parts of the damage they deal will be moved from the initial explosion to the bleed effect afterwards.

3e. Turret
Similarly to Seeker mine, the turret could become a tad bit too powerful with high Skill Power builds, to the point where it would be almost invulnerable in PvP. We will make a few adjustments by reducing its range and health, but preserve the damage output, to make sure it keeps its role as a side damage companion when used with proper positioning, rather than a long-range damage beast.

4. Exotic Weapon changes

4a. Historian
The Historian was meant to allow a new type of playstyle based on skill power. It was an experiment testing the boundaries of what the pros and cons of certain builds should be. What we observed though was that it was completely removing challenge of skill builds, giving them a great weapon to use while having to invest nothing into other stats than their Skill Power focused ones. The Historian is now changed to be a weapon centered around the Firearms stat, a place where damage scaling with your build investment feels more natural.

4b. Caduceus
The Caduceus was meant to create a low grade sustained healing role, useful for situations where you have constant low-grade damage. A few adjustments will be made to make sure it fills that role and isn’t being abused. It will receive a cooldown on how often it can hit each player, to prevent a group to stack multiple users of caduceus, creating too much healing per second. Secondly, it was being used predominantly to sustain by almost every type of build, making it dangerously close to a “must pick”, something we want to avoid. To that effect, the healing amount now scales with skill power, putting the weapon in the support-player niche.

5. Survivability

5a. Added base health
On PTS 2 we revamped how health worked. There are answers in our health FAQ on why: While the reduced Health amounts on major bonuses were good for build diversity, we feel we should go a little higher with the base health a player has in the end game, and have increased that by around 37%.

5b. Medkits
Medkits gained utility already on PTS 1 in that they can cleanse status effects. On the other hand, they also lost a little utility since they could no longer overheal. This was done to equalize the length of PvP encounters and address situations where the user sustained through PvE encounters using med packs without having to think about cover or tactics. We do want to try out reducing the cooldown on medkits again since we suspect that the changes even out in themselves and do perhaps not require a longer cooldown after all.

6. Seeker gear set
After trying out two versions of this gear set and evaluating players’ feedback as well as statistics we have decided not to release the S.E.E.K.R. gear set in its current form. Its effect wasn’t unique enough, its use clear enough for players and it wasn’t quite fun enough to play with. It will be remove from the game with PTS 3.

7. Legendary
While Legendary mode was a bit less in the spotlight during this PTS phase, we did receive a lot of great feedback on it. One of the main concern however was that it was often deemed as too punishing due to the lack of checkpoints, especially for a group dying in the last encounter. There will now be one checkpoint in each Legendary mission. However, in order to preserve some level of punishing aspect of late wiping, the checkpoint is added approximately halfway through the mission.

These are some of the main learning and changes to expect with PTS 3. We hope these will address the main feedback and concerns that we have received from all of you following the two phases of PTS. Once again, your feedback is crucial to shape this update, so we hope for just the same level of investment with the next phase!

Expect the complete patch notes tomorrow.

Thank you agents!
The Division Dev Team