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dipstik's Avatar

09.16.2013 , 02:39 PM | #3
I think you are right, in that many do not pay much attention to this group of threads. Not sure if i want to clone this thread just yet, in general or elsewhere.

i remember a dev saying that they check all changes in warzones, fps, leveling and operations. this is most likely QA running content, but Kitru found out that some new content was never tested with a shadow tank. It is also possible that tanks and healers have fp and operation scripts to measure performance. :
"Finally, the perception of a specific class being not desirable can also be affected by the desirability of other classes. For example, Sage/Inquisitor healers are currently able to exceed our intended healing performance at times by affecting multiple heals with the same Conveyance/Force Bending buff. Game Update 1.2 will remove the ability to do so."
"All specs for all roles have a target performance. This is what drives the balance of the game: soloing, Heroics, PvP, Flashpoints, Operations... everything. When those targets aren't hit, we can't just ‘bring everyone up’ to the highest performer without negatively impacting the balance of the game and creating unsustainable inflation in our combat system. "
"Based on the feedback brought to us so far from testers playing on PTS along with metrics and combat logs gathered from our guild testers, we are going to make additional adjustments before Game Update 1.2 is promoted to the live servers. "
"The fact of the matter is that Scrapper DPS is closer to target in 1.2. Understandably, if you were already struggling with an encounter, you may view this as an undesired change. For clarity, we don't agree that this is "unfair" for "pure PVE" players as the changes are not meant to (despite popular perception) specifically target PVP over PVE."

"(b) In response to your feedback, we've re-tested all classes to ensure they are falling within our desired DPS targets and found one issue with Demo Round / Heatseeker Missile which was getting increased DPS, not just from other people's stacks but also from an unwanted interaction with other skills. That issue was corrected in the 1.2.0c patch this week.

(c) There has been some level of inflation in the overall DPS budget of the game as result of Legacy benefits and other changes. Over time, these add up and as it stands, we have established that the global burst potential across the game is slightly higher than we are targeting. We will likely take some minor to moderate action about this in the near future by adjustments to the magnitude and duration of offensive relics (longer duration, reduced magnitude, identical power amortized over time)."

It seems like they use ratio of overall damage of an ability to shoot for targets:
"That is correct. However, I'll repeat, the reduction in Grav Round damage was made to address how much damage Grav Round contributes to your total rotation - not to address how many times you press the Grav Round button. Players have run off with the idea that we're trying to eliminate Grav Round spamming, which is not the case. My goal has been to eliminate how effective Grav Round spamming is if it's all you do.

An effective Gunnery rotation still utilizes Grav Round as both a "build up" ability and a "resource dump" ability. That hasn't changed, nor was it my goal to change that. What has changed is that competitive DPS now comes from utilizing all of your key rotational abilities instead of leaning so very heavily on just Grav Round. I hope that's more clear now."
"For clarity, the purpose of the change was to address the issue that Grav Round, on its own, was responsible for too much of your overall DPS. In other words, using totally made up numbers, if all you did was mindlessly spam Grav Round, you could still achieve something like 85% (again, totally made up) of your total damage dealing potential.

Not only was it bad, it wasn't fun (for the target or the caster). When things are bad, not fun, and yet they're still effective, they become high profile candidates for tweaking.

What we did was lower Grav Round's damage and increase Demo Round's damage. I don't know what the net result is off the top of my head, but we feel it's much, much closer to a "rebalance" than an outright "nerf."

And in case you're worried, if it turns out to be more of a nerf than a rebalance (which we don't want to be the case), then we'll fix it. But even then that'll probably be in ways that don't directly affect the damage dealt by Grav Round."

Here is a direct quote talking about a script:
"Hey guys, I'm not seeing this internally, but after looking at the script, I did notice that the Barrage buff is removed prematurely when you are NOT dual wielding."

In regards to hybrid targets:
"nakomaru: You have mentioned DPS, healing and tanking "targets" as objective methods of balancing the roles in the game. Are there hybrid targets (e.g. healing & dps spec) as well? It seems some hybrid specs are viable on certain classes and out of the question on others. I suppose this has to do with objectively balancing lower tier skills across the classes.

Austin Peckenpaugh (Senior Designer): Yes and no. In your example of a healer and DPS hybrid, by and large, whatever damage you sacrifice you should pick up in healing. For example, if you gave up 10% damage, we'd expect you to pick up 10% healing. Sometimes that's the case, but sometimes you lose or pick up synergies that move you above or below an even shift. Because "hybrid" in our skill trees means "virtually any combination of points," it's certainly not the case that we have targets for every combination. However, we do have expectations, and we're happy with hybrid builds so long as they don't radically stray from our expectations."

PvP Metric: they looks at win ratio and composition:
"For example, teams with all Sages and Guardians do not even appear in the top 100 win ratios and the composition with the highest win ratios include a fairly even distribution of Advanced Classes. That, of course, is not an absolute conclusion, especially considering full team compositions rely on matchmaking. We’ll pay close attention to the variance in composition win ratio considering rating when full team queuing is enabled."

This is probably my favorite quote found yet:
"Austin Peckenpaugh (Senior Designer): The damage boosts to Snipers and Gunslingers that you're referring to was actually a targeted weapon damage boost. We found an error in the assumptions we use for the mathematical interactions between weapon damage and defense chances. Without going into the boring specifics, we found that weapon damage (especially in abilities with high costs, high cooldowns, or high activation times) could be somewhat underappreciated. When we change our assumptions and come up with a new model like in this situation, we have two diametrically opposed goals: 1) to propagate all necessary changes to the game so that it's using our most recent math, which opposes the second goal 2) maintaining balance without blindly following our math. We altered the abilities that would pick up a significant enough change to be worth making without having a negative effect on the balance of the game. The list you're referring to is the result.

Class change prioritization is a bigger topic. Without getting too long-winded on the subject, what we're aiming to do with any class change is get a class or spec as close to target as we can. These "targets" are objective math-based goals that apply identically to all like-roles. By that I mean that all DPS specs have the same target because they are all the same role: damage dealing. Tank roles have their own targets, and healing roles have their own targets. When someone is off target (too high or too low), we try to find non-invasive ways of bringing them closer to target. We don't try to bring classes closer to target because we're mean - we do it because the global game math assumes everyone hits their target. When someone doesn't hit their target, it has an adverse effect on the game at large. And since rebalancing the entire game to accommodate an outlying spec is completely infeasible, we address the outlying performers with class changes, individually, as appropriate. It's an ongoing experience that we'll never be done with, so prioritization is based on what we feel is the most egregious in any given patch. How we identify outliers and how we determine which is the most egregious is... another bigger topic."

Here is a quote that speaks to skill level and meeting targets:
"Hargan: Will the Commando Gunnery spec be rebalanced after the changes in Game Update 1.2 so that we are back on par with the DPS output of similarly geared Sages/Gunslingers/Sentinels in Operations?

Austin: I think I'll confirm a lot of suspicions with this answer, but the bugfix that addressed Demolition Round scaling had a large enough impact on Gunnery DPS that it surprised us, too. Although Gunnery and Arsenal had been hitting our targets, it became harder to do so than we were comfortable with. Another way to say that is that the "low end" of our test results was hit too frequently by too many people. The changes you're going to see are mostly in resource management and usability, which will make it easier for you to deliver the considerable damage you already wield. We'll have more detailed information for you soon."
this suggests that they analyze histograms from testers to see how many are hitting what dps, and in this case, the low end had higher frequencies.

Here they show that the sum of passive plus active mitigation has a specific target:
"We are also striving to make all tanks hit the same survivability targets for Game Update 1.3. Testing shows that the self-healing generated by Shadow/Assassin tanks is too powerful after the armor adjustment they receive via Combat Technique/Dark Charge. This armor adjustment should have brought Shadow/Assassin tanks to lower passive survivability levels than the heavy armor tanks, with the self-healing they provide making up for the difference. However, this armor adjustment was making them passively just as good as the heavy armor tanks, with the self-healing taking them a bit beyond our survivability targets. Rather than hit armor or self-healing too hard, we’ve opted to adjust both by a much smaller amount."
this is the spike problem shadows have been talking about.

Here is a rough outline of the process and philosophy of class balance/design:
"Class Changes
I think it’s important to first communicate that not all class changes are meant to address balance. In fact, I try and treat usability, quality of life, and balance all as equal parts of good class design. To that end, when class changes come to a server near you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your class was “too good” or “too bad” prior to the patch. In fact, it’s just as likely that these changes are meant to address kinks or even pains in your day-to-day play, ability functionality, and rotations.

However, many changes are made with the express purpose of changing balance. This is an ongoing process, but that doesn’t mean that we’re locked in a never-ending tug-of-war between the classes. In actuality, many components of classes are balanced against “hard targets.”

For example, some components of class balance have a “give and take” quality that is directly related to what other classes can do. If we lowered the cooldown of a Guardian’s Force Leap, the kiting and anti-kiting dynamic with ranged classes will have shifted. If, however, we increase the damage Vigilance and Focus Guardians deal, that moves them closer to or further away from our targets – the same targets shared by all DPS specs.

These targets are rigid in that all specs must hit them, but these same targets are also flexible that once a spec is within range of them, there’s some flexibility as to where that spec ultimately ends up. Is being 2% above target acceptable given how immobile you are? Is being 2% below target acceptable considering your off-healing and control capabilities? This is where our balance gets subjective and why, in spite of any mathematical accuracy, we’re constantly reevaluating class balance. It’s through this iterative process that we test our assumptions, using our own experiences and those of our players to identify the issues and, more importantly, identify non-invasive fixes."

Speaking to sin tank performance following 1.3, and hitting tank targets:
"Daitenzin: Does the team have any concerns about how the 1.3 changes will affect how Assassins/Shadows will perform as tanks compared to the other tanking options in an Operation situation?

Austin: No, not especially. I know a lot of players feel like this was a PvP fix that glossed over the idea of Operations survivability, but that just isn't the case. In reality, Shadow/Assassin tanks were slightly over-performing prior to Game Update 1.3, but some of that is obfuscated in the current climate of boss encounters. What some players have correctly identified as an issue is that some Operations bosses deal significantly more Force/tech damage than weapon damage, which favors tanks with high mitigation over those with high shield/avoidance.

Therefore, it'd be more accurate to say that I'm more concerned that we're currently overemphasizing armor and health pools (as the most valid channels of survivability) in Operations encounters. This may be the case because bosses aren't using enough weapon damage or because too many tank defenses only work against weapon damage. Not all channels of survivability can be balanced for every boss encounter, which is why tank survivability is measured against a norm, and why we're going to be pushing harder to hit that norm in the future - either through tweaks in boss damage or tweaks to the way shields work."

I found the 5% quote, when reffering to deception expectations.
"Deception should epitomize "hit-and-run" and "lone wolf" gameplay. Obviously that's less the case in Operations boss encounters, but if this is a question of sustained DPS, the short answer is that they hit within the same 5% "grace window" targeted by every DPS spec in the game."

Speaks to PvP versus PvE and how to balance for both (also sounds like the original heal to full in a few ways lol):
"Coldin: Every class who fights primarily in melee range (Assassins, Warriors, Powertechs) gets some kind of ability they can use to close the distance outside of 30 meters. That is except for Operatives. What's the reasoning behind the Operative's apparent lack of ability to quickly get within range to deal their most powerful attacks?

Austin: In PvP, the short answer is a combination of stealth (including Cloaking Screen), the ability to self-cleanse, and the ability to self-heal. Operatives also benefit from a good deal of control with snares, Sleep Dart, Debilitate, and Flash Bang, with additional roots, snares, and knockdowns available in skill trees. However, those things don't offer much benefit in boss fights that demand a high level of mobility and target switching. The question for us becomes one of how to best introduce a "fix" for a few encounters without dramatically impacting gameplay in other game modes or environments. That's a much longer answer, and something of an ongoing discussion. High mobility fights and encounters with a lot of target switching are proving to be fun ways for our Operations designers to challenge players. So with that theme keeping up, this issue is quickly floating to the top of our priority list."

this is funny: Why is Accuracy Back on Tank Armor? Senior Game Balance Designer Jason Attard talks about new gear and why accuracy is useful for tanks.
the link is broken:

This whole meet the developer blog seems very PvP centric. Peckenpauh seems more even handed when speaking about pve and pvp:

It seems that with 2.0, they changed the model by which DoT abilitiees are scored:
"DoT Improvements: We’ve changed the way we evaluate damage over time effects, so it should now be less costly to keep your DoTs up and to spread them around."

This is a good example of how they might shift around variables of an ability to reach target scores:
"Slow Time: Now has a 9-second cooldown (up from 7.5), costs 20 Force (down from 30), and deals slightly more damage."

Another quote that hints at how scoring and balancing is done:
"Changes to Smash: Smash hits for significantly less in 2.0, reducing Rage’s on demand burst. However, Smash is now responsible for less of Rage’s overall damage output, so these changes don’t negatively impact Rage’s sustained damage."
"Redistributed Damage: Damage has been redistributed from Smash into other abilities, reducing Smash’s contribution to your overall damage while increasing that of other key abilities."