Leading the changes this time is another round of massive buffs for Viper, whose kit was previously improved in patch 1.02. The most impactful update is to her Viper’s Pit ultimate. The agent can now be outside the skill’s area-of-effect (AOE) for up to 15 seconds, from the initial five, while enemies inside the AOE will have their minimap obscured.
“With Viper being allowed out of her ult for such a short period of time, we felt that she was not only limited in the plays she could make, but also gave too much continuous information to her enemies,” Riot explained. “The ability to move outside the ult smoke more freely should provide some new and interesting mind games for Viper to play – and hopefully puts the strategic pressure back on the enemy.”
The temporary damage from Viper’s decay debuff, which is applied when enemies come into contact with her smokes, has also been increased from 10 to 15 per second. The debuff also now sustains for two-and-a-half seconds before it starts to wear off. Lastly, her Poison Cloud and Toxic Screen abilities now last longer when activated at the same time as they do not “consume additional fuel beyond the cost of having one active”.
On the other hand, notable nerfs have been applied to Raze and Brimstone. The cost for both agents’ ultimate abilities, Showstopper and Orbital Strike, respectively, have been increased to seven ult points. Riot explained that both skills were too “impactful” at a lower cost.
In addition, Brimstone’s Stim Beacon will no longer accidentally buff enemies, while its effect radius will not be visible to the opposing team anymore. “The Stim Beacon is meant to be a pretty situational ability but we felt that revealing Brimstone’s location and having the potential to accidentally buff enemies was making this ability significantly weaker than we’d like,” Riot noted.
The final agent update is to Cypher’s Cyber Cage ability: the skill can now be picked up during the pre-round buy phase.
Patch 1.04 also tweaks the Classic pistol, which is the weapon players get for free every round. Several bugs for the gun, such as running and jumping inaccuracy penalties, have been fixed. Meanwhile, the efficacy of the right-click spread shot has also been tuned, alongside a 10 per cent accuracy bonus while crouching or staying stationary.
The patch also features a UI change for the pre-round weapon shop, a handful of performance updates and a slew of bug fixes. For the full list of changes, check out the patch notes here.
The changes to Viper and Raze were previously hinted at by lead character designer Ryan “Morello” Scott during a Twitch stream. He also stated then that changes would be coming to Breach and Sage in the future, although it’s currently unknown when those will arrive.
The previous patch, 1.03, revamped the mid-tier Guardian rifle. The price of the weapon has been reduced from 2,700 to 2,500 credits, with a slower rate of fire of 4.75 from 6.5. On the other hand, the gun’s penetration power has been upped from medium to heavy, alongside a slightly higher input queue.