For most high-level players logging in this week, the first indication that there have been balance changes (apart from the brief notice in the News popup) will be when their shield breaks.
At high levels (above 20) is now much, much, much easier to break the shields. See the Unofficial Change Log
for secifics on the change. Basically, Shield 3 and Shield 4, which are unlocked at level 22 and 30 respectively, have gotten a serious nerf. Now instead of shielding 2 damage per point of energy burned, which is how they worked before the patch, they actually deplete energy *faster* than the damage they prevent.
Couple this with the energy-drain effect on the electric weapons, and it is now very, very easy to break your opponent's shields. You have a few options for how to adjust to this change:
(1) Get LOTS of energy. At levels 43 and up, you can take the Flower Power Chassis, which has a starting energy capacity of 100. Once you're done adding energy modules, you could probably have 150 energy available. But don't forget that if you plan to fire weapons or run the Electric Drone with that energy, they will draw as much as 50 energy per round.
(2) Buy a lower-level shield. I am currently using Shield 2, which only protects you from 30% of the incoming damage, but consumes just 1 energy per point of damage prevented.
(3) Go back to spamming HP. When I was level 15-20, before I got access to the old, indispensible Shield 3 (50% damage reduction, cost of 1 energy per 2 points of damage), I used to run one or two of the Armor modules at any given time. Well, I'm back to doing that.
The best part about this change is that I'm not running through one or two Repair Kits in every match (for now, anyway). It's definitely going to mean that games are faster and more exciting, because you have to watch your energy much more carefully.
Finally, I'd like to mention that I don't feel bad about repeatedly breaking the shields of people who haven't figured out this change yet. They have to learn about the changes to Shield 4 somehow, right? And it's so, so easy. Bring a Blue Rein or even a Big Blue Blast, and the Electric Drone. Wait until the enemy hits you with an electric attack (or don't... I've dropped guys from 93 energy to zero with this sequence) and then strike.
- TP to range 1.
- Fire Blue Rein.
- Let your drone do the rest.
This usually works even if the enemy has Electric Damage Reduction (it has to. Everyone above Level 30 has this damage reduction, at the highest level available, in every build).