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Zero-K v1.9.4.1 - Shield, Spider, Hover and Tank

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20 months ago

This is the first big balance patch of the year, just in time for the second tournament series of the year. Shieldbots are better early and have more tools in their arsenal, but the standard shieldball is less powerful. Hover and Tank have buffs for improved unit variety and to bring them up to the power level of Rover. Spider has a few small tweaks to make them less reliant on Venom.

Lobster Roll Series Two

Lobster Roll series two will start on the 17th of April and is open to everyone. There is a round robin warm-up tournament this coming weekend, on the 10th of April. Sign up to the round robin here. Join the Discord server for announcements about the upcoming series.

Map Rotation

The following changes have been applied to the matchmaking pool. The full pool can be viewed here.

  • Added - Crubick Plains, Aurelian, Calayo, Red Comet Remake, Fairyland, Sertaleina.
  • Removed - Sparkles Reef, Prestige, Otago, Iced Coffee, Ravaged, Mechadansonia.
  • Updated - Cobalt Dream, Dune Patrol Redux, Fallendell.

Bot Balance

Shieldbots are the main issue among the bot factories, and it was not just an issue of overall power. Players in the middle of the ladder were having trouble against the Shield midgame, while those at the top found Shield to be at too much of an early disadvantage. To solve this we buffed their early game while nerfing the standard shieldball. We have also tweaked Spiders to make them less reliant on Venom.

Bandit is a bit better to help Shieldbots through the early game.
  • Health 330 -> 340
  • DPS increased by 2.5%

Convict is faster to assist early expansion.
  • Speed 60 -> 61.5

Rogue has a nerf to save some matchups from mass Rogue supported by the buffed Bandit.
  • Health 580 -> 540
  • Turn rate reduced by 10%.
  • Projectile velocity 192 -> 185
  • Damage 350 -> 340

Thug regenerates slower to make shield charge more valuable.
  • Speed 57.75 -> 57 (what a weird number, now same as Outlaw)
  • Shield capacity 1250 -> 1200
  • Shield regen 16/s -> 14/s

Felon has 18.8% less DPS and charges slower.
  • Shield regen 18/s -> 16/s
  • Aim time 0.3s -> 0.166s
  • Reload 0.13s -> 0.16s
  • Charge per shot 75 -> 80
  • Damage 108.4 -> 110

Outlaw takes on more responsibility for riot power from Felon.
  • Cost 260 -> 250
  • Health 1050 -> 1100
  • DPS increased by 13%

Vandal takes on more responsibility for anti-air power from Felon.
  • Range 880 -> 900

Racketeer is slightly easier to field.
  • Cost 350 -> 340
  • Speed 51 -> 52.5

Snitch is slightly harder to position.
  • Speed 120 -> 117

Dirtbag is better at spotting and harassing.
  • Speed 78 -> 84
  • Sight range 560 -> 600
  • Reload 2s -> 1.9s
  • Damage 45 -> 55

Reaver has a buff to help Glaive deal with Bandit.
  • Cost 220 -> 210
  • Speed 1.71 -> 1.75
  • Reload 0.5s -> 0.466s

Flea is harder to spot when burrowed.
  • Decloak Radius 200 -> 160

Venom has less stun uptime, as well as slightly less DPS.
  • Reload time 1.1s -> 1.133s.

Hermit is one of the more maligned assaults, so gains some assault power.
  • Cost 160 -> 150
  • Health 1400 -> 1500

Widow drains more energy to make it harder to field early on.
  • Cloak cost 12/4 -> 15/5 (Moving/Static)

Vehicle Balance

Rover is dominating the vehicle matchups, yet there were few complaints about Rover itself. We took this to mean that Rovers feel fun and well balanced, even when losing to them, so opted mostly leave the factory alone. Instead, we took a look at Hover and Tank. Hover has a decent earlygame but a lack of transitions, so we buffed some of their more niche units, while Tank has the opposite problem, so we buffed Tank earlygame.

Fencer is more vulnerable.
  • Health 560 -> 530
  • Setup time is 6.6% longer

Quill is now only slightly more expensive than a standard constructor.
  • Cost 130 -> 125

Halberd can be unleashed now that Anti-Bait makes it less annoying to fight.
  • Cost 240 -> 210

Mace is a better riot at the expense of a little range.
  • Health 1300 -> 1400
  • Range 345 -> 340
  • Aims 20% faster
  • DPS increased by 10%

Kodachi feels fairer to fight so can afford a buff.
  • Cost 180 -> 175
  • Health 670 -> 680

Welder is cheaper but also more vulnerable to raiders.
  • Cost 200 -> 185
  • Health 1800 -> 1700
  • DPS reduced by 4%

Ogre needs a buff to fight Mace 1v1 and win.
  • Health 1850 -> 1950


There are now some optional resource panels to enable under 'Settings/HUD Panels/Economy Panel' with Simple Settings disabled. They need to be positioned with Ctrl+F11. There are two panels to track constructor activity, a panel for overdrive, and a panel for wind speed.

Other Changes:
  • Added Shield Charge/Maximum to aggregate selection stats and switched some rows to improve order stability.
  • Added Avoid Bad Targets toggle for Claw, Ultimatum, Scorpion and Nimbus.
  • Nimbus flies a little closer to make it reliably fire at tall turrets.
  • Artemis overkill prevention is more careful about wasting missiles.
  • Mace skirms more unit types.


  • Fixed two bugs that caused some terraform shapes to stall at 99% completion.
  • Fixed commander drone duplication upon morph.
  • Crab is better at uncurling.
  • Clear Factory Queue now works with factories set to Wait.
  • Fixed Artemis not firing when on land of height zero.
  • Landbound Urchins are better at firing into the deep ocean.
  • Fixed transports having trouble unloading tall units.
  • Fixed some edge cases with antinukes.
  • Fixed Ravager suspension.
  • Tacnuke sounds now play at higher priority.
+14 / -0

20 months ago
So many changes, expect lots of complaint about the dirtbags and hover, raider player will enjoy new toys: the spread and run Halberds and dirtbags.
+1 / -0

20 months ago
Holy fuck, a hermit buff. For years they told me I was crazy, they told me that I dream too big
+4 / -0
I cannot wait to yeet dirtbags at my opponents at high speeds.

Felon has 18.8% less DPS and charges slower.

ATrankATOSTIC is crying
+1 / -0
The DPS change is less drastic than it looks. Felon is often limited by charge rather than fire rate, so this change mostly affects its ability to pick off units at the edge of its range rather than its damage output in a full battle. It gives enemies more time to get some damage on the shield before Felon depletes it. The damage and shot cost change means it is only 4.9% worse at converting shield charge into damage.

Thug charges slower too, so if you're running a Felon on the recharge from empty Thugs, then Felon deals 16.2% less DPS due to worse damage/charge and Thug charge/second. The overall aim is to increase the amount of time a shieldball has to wait to recharge between assaults. Shieldbots needed something for the early game, and it seemed quite dangerous to just buff Bandit and Convict without anticipating the strong shieldball transition. The balance can be refined if Shieldbots are getting through the early game but then lack midgame options.
+3 / -0
20 months ago
My icon buffed :D
+5 / -0
Sad about the nerfed Felon and Venom, but like the Kodachi and Flea buffs.
+3 / -0

20 months ago
In before Hermit spam meta.
+2 / -0

20 months ago
In before Hermit spam meta.

There is value in finding the upper and lower bounds of balanced unit power.
+1 / -0
Hermit spam was good already against Rovers if they don't have the room to maneuver around them.
Hermit is mostly just good as spam where they overrun the enemy with sheer mass. I'd expect that balancing them for that against most match-ups is on a razor thin edge, but it also heavily depends on the map aswell.
+4 / -0

20 months ago
This will go down as the Halberd patch imo.
+6 / -0

20 months ago
you know that Hermit is the favorite unit of ROrankSigero? Let`s hope he doesn`t find out and returns....
+2 / -0

20 months ago
Looks great, can't wait to get into it.


Aw, I was hoping we'd see a bigger gun on the Welder if it was going to get tweaked. Like cut its health down to 1000 but upgrade its pew-pew into a heatray or a leveler sidearm or something.
+1 / -0

20 months ago
Welder DPS/Cost was buffed by 3.8% by this patch though
+1 / -0

20 months ago
Assault buffs are always nice to see. :)
Gonna be weird seeing a Hermit/Halberd domination.

Welder seems to be gradually losing its distinctiveness... Other cons have had a 20% hp boost and Welder has had a 15% hp nerf over the past few years.
+3 / -0

19 months ago
Welder seems to be gradually losing its distinctiveness... Other cons have had a 20% hp boost and Welder has had a 15% hp nerf over the past few years.

Name one other con that can solo a Lotus by going up to it and shooting it in face.
+4 / -0

19 months ago
Honestly, the "distinctiveness" of the welder has always been about its weapon more than its tankiness. Lots of cons are tanky, but only the welder is armed.
+1 / -0

19 months ago
and then there is jumpy-con with a solid dps of 7.5 + 90slow
+2 / -0
Welder did cost 200M with such a price tag and such terrain disadvantage compared to Weaver it deserved to shoot lotus in the face!
+0 / -0
it deserved to shoot lotus in the face!

It still beats Lotus 1v1.
+2 / -0
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