Back in May of 2020, between Season 3 and Season 4, the Steering Committee announced a move from an unscheduled, roughly 4-5 month cycle of releasing new seasons for public playtesting, with no break in-between playtest periods, to a new system of 3-months on, 3-months off of playtesting then tournament play that we’ve been using now for the past 3 Seasons (4, 5, and 6).
A lot of players were initially worried that 6 months between releasing each Season to the community might be too long to keep people engaged. However it turned out that the 3 month public playtesting period often involved making a lot of changes to cards, sometimes even late into the playtesting period. And players really only had about 3 months of approved play time to start getting a feel of how the finalized cards from the newest season were affecting the competitive meta before the next Season’s playtest release dropped another 20-25 cards on them that needed to be playtested.
With the completion of Season 6’s playtest period and community vote, we’ve gotten feedback from multiple sources in the community now that maybe IACP has gotten to the point where it’s releasing more cards than the community really has time to digest and appreciate before moving on to the next Season, and that it might be good to slow down a little bit. We know that the IACP has a small but dedicated community of players and we want to give players more time to explore the many new possibilities that IACP has opened up for Imperial Assault skirmish and competitive play.
Taking a Breather – Season 7 Delayed
We will be tentatively postponing Season 7’s release date for 3 months, from the original date of January 31st, now to April 25th. This will be an experiment for us to see if the community and the committee might be better served by a 6 month competitive Season following the 3 month playtest period, so effectively a 9-month Seasonal cycle. We feel that this will allow us to continue to release the the 20-25 cards per Season we’ve been doing so that we can add as much cool new and old Star Wars and IA content into a Season as we possibly can, without overwhelming and exhausting the community.
Our goal is to give the meta the time and room it needs to breathe and mature naturally before introducing a large batch of new content to the game. There is a natural ebb and flow to competitive metagames where new strategies are discovered and honed, and players find counters to those strategies, and counters to counters, and so on. But with smaller player bases, that can take more time to happen.
Scheduled Rebalancing Updates
However, the date on which Approved play for one season ended and the playtest period for a new season began usually brought not just new cards, but also needed balance adjustments for IACP cards from previous seasons, as we saw with the release of Season 4 and rebalancing of Royal Guards and Knowledge and Defense. We try to hold these rebalancing changes off until the release of the next season so that the community can enjoy the approved play period uninterrupted by changes that happen so frequently during the public playtesting period. But in the case where there are IACP cards that have clearly become problems affecting the balance of the meta, 6 months of competitive play without any rebalancing updates is a lot longer for people to endure than 3 months. We want to make sure that players know when to look forward to rebalancing changes to be prepared for them and to keep up hope that they are coming.
For that reason, we will still be releasing any necessary rebalancing changes to demonstrably overpowered IACP cards on the original Season 7 release date of January 31st, unless we feel that changes are urgently needed sooner than that to preserve the health of the game. When necessary, rebalancing updates can be applied to both fully approved and probationary approved cards, but again we will try to hold off on making changes until the scheduled date if possible. However these rebalances will be far more limited in scope than the changes we see during the playtest periods, with the number of cards and the amount of changes made being kept to the absolute minimum possible.
Rest assured, we are very closely monitoring the results of Season 6 tournaments and competitive league play, as well as the vassal game logs that you all continue to send us, and measuring both popularity and performance of cards that we suspect may be problematic, as well as listening to the feedback we get from the community about which cards might be currently overpowered or unbalanced after the most recent community vote. While we want to try and give the competitive community as much time to play with the Season 6 cards in their unaltered form as we can and give the metagame a chance to evolve and mature uninterrupted, we are willing to release an update ahead of schedule if we feel it is needed soon rather than later.
Join the Discussion
Want to give feedback about IACP designs and gameplay or interact with the online skirmish community? Make sure you’re part of the discussion and join the IACP Discord and Zions Finest Slack channels to become part of an active Imperial Assault community.