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Bioware needs to seriously address Class Balance Issues

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > PvP
Bioware needs to seriously address Class Balance Issues

ArchangelLBC's Avatar


ArchangelLBC
08.01.2012 , 12:51 AM | #1
This is not a QQ thread. It is not about any one specific class or classes. That being said while I really want a response from a dev, I know I am unlikely to get it so I figure this might serve as a sounding board for some good discussion, though since this is the internet I might be more likely to get a dev response but who knows! The internet can surprise you in a good way every once in awhile. Warning: Long Wall of Text probably incoming.

We talk about this class or that class being overpowered, and we talk about balance being subjective and up for debate, and while that's true the fact is that the only people whose opinion matters at the end of the day when it comes to class balance is the dev's opinions. That being said I haven't gone through every dev post ever made on the subject so links to things they've said is very helpful, and there is always the hope, however faint it may be that our opinions can influence dev opinions.

That being said, while the term OP comes up a lot the fact is that I'm not really very sure what that means. Overpowered requires a context in order to be well defined, which is required before such a thing can be reasonably discussed.

When we say a class is OP what do we really mean? Often we mean that another class walked all over us in a warzone or a 1v1 and we consider ourselves good players so the only explanation is that the class must be overpowered.

At the heart of this complaint though is a feeling that classes should be balanced for 1v1 encounters. In such situations clearly classes that require team support to function properly are going to feel underpowered and classes that are well equipped to win 1v1 encounters are going to seem overpowered. This may account for the large cryouts of nerf we on the forums for Maras/Sents, PTs/VGs, and occasionally Sniper's/Gunslingers.

But then someone will come along and rightly say that this game focuses on objective based PVP not 1v1 death matches. In this case, a class could be rightly considered overpowered if it can contribute significantly more to success in these objective based games over other classes. But whereas it's very easy to point out when a class is OPd 1v1 (can they reasonably expect to win any 1v1 encounter they run into against other classes? Probably OPd) contribution to objectives is a much more nebulous concept.

It is this concept that I'd like BW to define for us. What do they consider good balance in this context? From this standpoint we not only have to look at classes' roles but how those roles contribute to the objectives of the various warzones and more importantly the other abilities those classes have seemingly independent of their role of DPS, Tank, or Healer, as well as how each AC is able to contribute to it's stated role.

As an example, BW has stated several times that their metrics have all classes performing within their 5% window for damage. I play a DPS commando which most would agree is underpowered atm, but I know from my performance in PVE that from a damage perspective they're absolutely right. Yet my ability to consistently fulfill a DPS role in warzones is nonexistent (the consistency that is, possibly a L2P issue) and when we look at things beyond simply dealing damage there are even more glaring issues.

Lets look at some of the classes and their ability to contribute to their role, as well as the extra utility they can bring to different warzones.

Juggs/Guardians: Can tank or DPS. Arguably the best ball carriers in Hutt Ball due to decent defensive cooldowns and most importanty their crazy mobility with the ability to leap to friend and foe alike. In the tank role they are sturdy enough, but of the three tanks I don't consider them the best for solo guarding an objective.

Shadows/Assasins: Can tank or DPS. Arguably right now their best PVP spec is actually a hybrid spec, but they are definitely some of the best solo guards in the game which is a utility which can't be overstated enough. The ability to survive solo in a 2v1 or even 3v1 situation and prevent caps is a powerful one. In addition while their resiliance and speed boosts make them ok ball carriers, they really shine in hutt ball in their ability to stealth to the endzone, receive a pass, and then force speed into the endzone cleansing all snares on their way (with resilliance up to prevent further roots/snares. From a tank perspective they are the squishiest of the three tanks because BW designed their mitigation around shielding and defense chance, both of which are very subpar in PVP. Shield especially due to the large number of attacks that are simply unshieldable. The ability to stealth in any spec is a powerful tool in any warzone however as winning the contested node is often about drawing defenders away to the off node and shadows do this extremely well.

Vanguards/Powertechs: Can Tank or DPS. Of the three tanks the VG/PT is the only one you hear for the nerf cries from the DPS perspective. This is because they have very very high burst that requires very little set up time which is exactly what's most valued in PVP. They are the worst ball carriers of the three tanks, but their grapple, which is available on any spec, is a very powerful defensive tool which shouldn't be overlooked. They are some of the sturdiest tanks if you need someone to survive without many defensive cooldowns, and in their most popular DPS spec they are the definition of a glass cannon.


Now if we look at the three tanks there is a very real argument that neither is OPd compared to the others in that regard. If we look at the utility they bring they each contribute something relatively unique. This is good balance among tanking classes. They each have a variety of useful tools and each is decently differentiated from the others. The only issue here I think is the lack of viability of shield tanking which makes Shadows less attractive in that role, but their 1v1 capabilities and ability to either solo assault or solo guard a node makes up for it in large part (this is a matter worthy of debate in my opinion, and also where I'd like BW to chime in).

That was an example, certainly not an exhaustive list of each classes abilities, but looking at it with a very cursory glance I don't see any glaring issues of balance from a PVP perspective.

This brings us to the real sources of contention which are DPS and Healers.

On the DPS side I may just have to give up and assume that BW doesn't want all ACs viable in all possible roles in all aspects of the game. I may QQ about how lackluster Commando DPS is in PVP due to what I see is a lack of tools needed to reach our damage potential, but then on the PVE side of things I have one of the best sustained DPS classes in the game. Conversely, while DPS Operatives remain one of the good PVP DPS specs in the game (if played right, I know you guys have had a lot of nerfs) they're pretty much non existent in endgame PVE because Operative sustained DPS is pretty crap and while the good players can do ok they'd be much better switching to a class with better sustained damage, preferably ranged.

That might not sit well when we consider that a class like sentinel is viable in both aspects, but then that's the one and only time I'll concede the argument that sentinels can only do one thing has any real validity (I'm not saying this makes it ok. I don't think it does, but at least here that line of reasoning might possibly have a place).

Ok I'm rambling a bit. What am I trying to say?

I'm saying that BW needs to give us clear goals for class balance in PVP. It doesn't matter if all classes can do the same amount of damage if some classes don't have the tools necessary to do that damage (if balancing for massive DPS battles). It doesn't matter that some classes don't have the tools to deal damage if they bring added, and invaluable, utility in an objective (if balancing for objective based PVP). As an example I see constantly that Operative DPS needs help. The little buggers annoy me but I'll concede that maybe they do. Nevertheless that 8s ranged AoE 8s mez can and often is the difference between getting the cap or not getting the cap. If balancing for objectives thats something to take into consideration. If balancing for damage it's not.

But in order for those of us on the forums to have any reasonable discussions we need to know what BW is trying to balance for and have some way to reasonably discuss, possibly even quantify, how well each class is balanced in that regard. Otherwise all those metrics are just worthless raw data that doesn't actually help anything.


Ok look I feel like I'm just rambling right now, but I guess what I'm saying is, we need to know what BW wants classes to contribute before we can really say how operatives should be nerfed again.
In update 2.9 the game will simply uninstall itself for you.

-Wnd

Daiyukie's Avatar


Daiyukie
08.01.2012 , 02:46 AM | #2
Quote: Originally Posted by ArchangelLBC View Post
That being said, while the term OP comes up a lot the fact is that I'm not really very sure what that means. Overpowered requires a context in order to be well defined, which is required before such a thing can be reasonably discussed.

When we say a class is OP what do we really mean? Often we mean that another class walked all over us in a warzone or a 1v1 and we consider ourselves good players so the only explanation is that the class must be overpowered.

At the heart of this complaint though is a feeling that classes should be balanced for 1v1 encounters. In such situations clearly classes that require team support to function properly are going to feel underpowered and classes that are well equipped to win 1v1 encounters are going to seem overpowered. This may account for the large cryouts of nerf we on the forums for Maras/Sents, PTs/VGs, and occasionally Sniper's/Gunslingers.
I'm going to stop you right there, because I disagree. At the heart of the complaint is the feeling of "I couldn't do anything to stop that." Obviously it takes some amount of class knowledge (both yours and the attacker's) to spot what could have been done better, so it's often a L2P issue, but when you go over the fight, you look at what killed you, what didn't work against the other guy and you just go "I couldn't have done anything else. There's no answer to that." That is OverPowered in the proper sense of the term, not the L2P QQ meaning.

Quote: Originally Posted by ArchangelLBC View Post
But then someone will come along and rightly say that this game focuses on objective based PVP not 1v1 death matches. In this case, a class could be rightly considered overpowered if it can contribute significantly more to success in these objective based games over other classes. But whereas it's very easy to point out when a class is OPd 1v1 (can they reasonably expect to win any 1v1 encounter they run into against other classes? Probably OPd) contribution to objectives is a much more nebulous concept.

It is this concept that I'd like BW to define for us. What do they consider good balance in this context? From this standpoint we not only have to look at classes' roles but how those roles contribute to the objectives of the various warzones and more importantly the other abilities those classes have seemingly independent of their role of DPS, Tank, or Healer, as well as how each AC is able to contribute to it's stated role.

As an example, BW has stated several times that their metrics have all classes performing within their 5% window for damage. I play a DPS commando which most would agree is underpowered atm, but I know from my performance in PVE that from a damage perspective they're absolutely right. Yet my ability to consistently fulfill a DPS role in warzones is nonexistent (the consistency that is, possibly a L2P issue) and when we look at things beyond simply dealing damage there are even more glaring issues.

Lets look at some of the classes and their ability to contribute to their role, as well as the extra utility they can bring to different warzones.

Juggs/Guardians: Can tank or DPS. Arguably the best ball carriers in Hutt Ball due to decent defensive cooldowns and most importanty their crazy mobility with the ability to leap to friend and foe alike. In the tank role they are sturdy enough, but of the three tanks I don't consider them the best for solo guarding an objective.

Shadows/Assasins: Can tank or DPS. Arguably right now their best PVP spec is actually a hybrid spec, but they are definitely some of the best solo guards in the game which is a utility which can't be overstated enough. The ability to survive solo in a 2v1 or even 3v1 situation and prevent caps is a powerful one. In addition while their resiliance and speed boosts make them ok ball carriers, they really shine in hutt ball in their ability to stealth to the endzone, receive a pass, and then force speed into the endzone cleansing all snares on their way (with resilliance up to prevent further roots/snares. From a tank perspective they are the squishiest of the three tanks because BW designed their mitigation around shielding and defense chance, both of which are very subpar in PVP. Shield especially due to the large number of attacks that are simply unshieldable. The ability to stealth in any spec is a powerful tool in any warzone however as winning the contested node is often about drawing defenders away to the off node and shadows do this extremely well.

Vanguards/Powertechs: Can Tank or DPS. Of the three tanks the VG/PT is the only one you hear for the nerf cries from the DPS perspective. This is because they have very very high burst that requires very little set up time which is exactly what's most valued in PVP. They are the worst ball carriers of the three tanks, but their grapple, which is available on any spec, is a very powerful defensive tool which shouldn't be overlooked. They are some of the sturdiest tanks if you need someone to survive without many defensive cooldowns, and in their most popular DPS spec they are the definition of a glass cannon.


Now if we look at the three tanks there is a very real argument that neither is OPd compared to the others in that regard. If we look at the utility they bring they each contribute something relatively unique. This is good balance among tanking classes. They each have a variety of useful tools and each is decently differentiated from the others. The only issue here I think is the lack of viability of shield tanking which makes Shadows less attractive in that role, but their 1v1 capabilities and ability to either solo assault or solo guard a node makes up for it in large part (this is a matter worthy of debate in my opinion, and also where I'd like BW to chime in).

That was an example, certainly not an exhaustive list of each classes abilities, but looking at it with a very cursory glance I don't see any glaring issues of balance from a PVP perspective.

This brings us to the real sources of contention which are DPS and Healers.

On the DPS side I may just have to give up and assume that BW doesn't want all ACs viable in all possible roles in all aspects of the game. I may QQ about how lackluster Commando DPS is in PVP due to what I see is a lack of tools needed to reach our damage potential, but then on the PVE side of things I have one of the best sustained DPS classes in the game. Conversely, while DPS Operatives remain one of the good PVP DPS specs in the game (if played right, I know you guys have had a lot of nerfs) they're pretty much non existent in endgame PVE because Operative sustained DPS is pretty crap and while the good players can do ok they'd be much better switching to a class with better sustained damage, preferably ranged.

That might not sit well when we consider that a class like sentinel is viable in both aspects, but then that's the one and only time I'll concede the argument that sentinels can only do one thing has any real validity (I'm not saying this makes it ok. I don't think it does, but at least here that line of reasoning might possibly have a place).

Ok I'm rambling a bit. What am I trying to say?

I'm saying that BW needs to give us clear goals for class balance in PVP.It doesn't matter if all classes can do the same amount of damage if some classes don't have the tools necessary to do that damage (if balancing for massive DPS battles). It doesn't matter that some classes don't have the tools to deal damage if they bring added, and invaluable, utility in an objective (if balancing for objective based PVP). As an example I see constantly that Operative DPS needs help. The little buggers annoy me but I'll concede that maybe they do. Nevertheless that 8s ranged AoE 8s mez can and often is the difference between getting the cap or not getting the cap. If balancing for objectives thats something to take into consideration. If balancing for damage it's not.

But in order for those of us on the forums to have any reasonable discussions we need to know what BW is trying to balance for and have some way to reasonably discuss, possibly even quantify, how well each class is balanced in that regard. Otherwise all those metrics are just worthless raw data that doesn't actually help anything.


Ok look I feel like I'm just rambling right now, but I guess what I'm saying is, we need to know what BW wants classes to contribute before we can really say how operatives should be nerfed again.
I underlined three key points that stood out, first being that Bioware was too ambitious with the classes. As much as people say they want to move away from the trinity of DPS/Tank/Heals, when they're given that, they cry foul and complain. Every class is so unique and brings something different to the table that people choose DPS, see another DPS and cry that they can't do what that other guy is doing. That's how it's DESIGNED and for some reason people don't like that. They do want to have it all, as the second underline states. That's what people want and what they don't receive, so they cry.

For the third underline, this is communication. All Bioware ever says is some vague stuff about metrics. TALK TO US, tell us specifically what goal they're meant to hit and where each class is currently standing. They've said before that Sage/Sorc need to L2P, Commando DPS is designed to be immobile as tradeoff for the great damage they do, that Operatives aren't supposed to stunlock people from 100% to 0% and that Infiltration Shadows are hit-and-run and shouldn't be taking damage. This is all by design, but there's not enough of that kind of specific "Look, this is what the class is envisioned, this is what this spec gives you the option for, if you don't like it, there's this spec or this other class." They need a class guide/description that's not all fluff and has actual in-game relevance, preferably replacing the text that you get when you choose your AC.
"Everyone not as good as me is a Noob. Everyone better than me is a No Lifer" - The Code of the Bads
Quote: Originally Posted by gwrtheyn
atm Concealment Operative are like a dog humping on your leg,anoying,but not lethal
Quote: Originally Posted by jaxxxster
Solution : Nerf Operatives. Again.

Orcron's Avatar


Orcron
08.01.2012 , 03:02 AM | #3
They aren't gonna balance crap. All they are gonna do is focus on this f2p bs an expect the remaining subs to put up with what ever crap that is bug or screwed up with the game until they get around to it. Here have a Cartel Coin for your troubles.
There is no peace, there is anger There is no fear, there is power There is no death, there is immortality There is no weakness, there is the Dark Side

Shadowday_'s Avatar


Shadowday_
08.01.2012 , 03:53 AM | #4
Biggest issue in many cases is people expecting to do things that their spec and class is not meant to do and play it like that. See all the time Immortal jugs (or atleast I think they are since they run around in tank stance) running with might stimm not using their taunts or guard, sorcs standing "tanking" 1-2 dps instead off kitting em etc. etc. People go into a WZ with the expectation to play there class and spec like it is not meant to be played. I play Immortal jug as main, my role is to prevent dmg via guard, taunt and controlling the enemy players. I use my CC constant, have 4 diffrent onces and my taunts are rearly off cd.. That is my role and thats how I play it. If I wanted to dps I whoud have repsect into rage or vengange tree. Versialielty off my class is big, but the spec got alot to say on how you play it.

On the topic off OP and Bioware comunication on how the classes are meant to work it is about time they make a clear deffinition on it. I am used from other PvP games that some have insane dps, but is "squisy" to level it out, some can take insane amount off dmg, but has low dps etc. etc. But personally feel that the balance is missing in the game in many cases and it starting to show in the game. I play Empire side and latly I noticed that I am facing more and more Vanguards in WZ and that I am playing with more and more powertechs. "Flavor off the month" I call it, but now it is getting out off hand. One WZ there were: 5 Vanguards and 4 Powertechs in the game of 16 players. Many low HP and seamed to be rerolls, but the worst part is they beat the snot out off full WH geared mara and a sorc dps. Now not saying they played perfect the mara and sorc, but when a 13.500 HP Vanguard (that is recruit gear) do more dmg then a WH mara that plays good, the numbers are off. Also face em alot on my jug and the time to set upp and the dmg output is just insane. Sure it be fine if they had to be stationary or "squisy" to counter this, but that is not the case. They kite like a boss and have cds to survive from a nuke. That is my personal OP winning, but point is the "matrix" as Bioware calls it need to be deifned and made clear, If you roll sorc you gone be "squishy", but you got ways to survive, jugs can take dmg and do dmg, but not the best etc. etc. Now it just feels like Bioware is making it and sticking to it instead off balancing it.

Sorry for bad english, but not my native langauge.

uncle_monty's Avatar


uncle_monty
08.01.2012 , 11:19 AM | #5
Hello Archangel,

Your posts are always beautifully and eloquently written. You are no fool. However I have either greatly misinterpreted what you have written, or I have missed the point., in that it seems very clear to me what each class should be doing. I have never understood what people want as balance.

In my opinion there should not be balance. If there is total balance then it means that every tanking class, for example, should have exactly the same abilities and exactly the same equipment. This would be rubbish in my opinion. There is no other way to achieve balance. Your skill as a player will always outweigh the limitations of your class. In my opinion each class should retain its strengths and limitations.

Best regards and happy gaming ,
"You now understand why an exotic weapon or unfamiliar style will be more difficult to defend against, but until you become an expert in a particular style, in the heat of combat your mind will still struggle to grasp it's limitations."
Dark Lord Kas'im - Darth Bane 1 Path of Destruction

uncle_monty's Avatar


uncle_monty
08.01.2012 , 11:24 AM | #6
P.S. By the way there are no 1v1 encounters; I am crouched in a corner caning your *** with my smuggler
"You now understand why an exotic weapon or unfamiliar style will be more difficult to defend against, but until you become an expert in a particular style, in the heat of combat your mind will still struggle to grasp it's limitations."
Dark Lord Kas'im - Darth Bane 1 Path of Destruction

Rasticles's Avatar


Rasticles
08.01.2012 , 12:35 PM | #7
From: EAWare
Subject: Class Balance

Dear Player......

Huh? Did you say something? We were unable to make out what you were complaining about due to your Cartel Coin Balance being at Zero. Should you obtain our Cartel Coin Premium Package, we may even listen.....

May the Force be with you .....

/sarcasm
Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post

Also, as a friendly reminder, the purpose of this blog is not to highlight the most talked about issues on the forums, but fun, interesting, and productive threads outside of General Discussion.

Katsuragisama's Avatar


Katsuragisama
08.01.2012 , 12:37 PM | #8
Why would they address class balance, when they could reimplement items that have existed in the databases since launch? They're much too busy focusing on how to add those items to the cash shop, than class balance. We could hope though.

Edit to add: The guy who out posted me has the same idea too. Read his sig. Or just listen to this sound clip, here. We paid them this much so far, why would they bother to listen now?
Quote: Originally Posted by John Riccitiello, Electronic Arts Inc. - CEO
When you are six hours into playing Battlefield and you run out of ammo in your clip, and we ask you for a dollar to reload, you're really not very price sensitive at that point in time... We're not gouging, but we're charging.

TyrellJonez's Avatar


TyrellJonez
08.01.2012 , 01:06 PM | #9
How bout simply adding the Marauder's Leaps to the list of things that are affected by resolve? Its this simple, a marauder is faced down by 5 angry, charging opponenets.

Marauder leaps to healer, AOE flashbang, 5 people are stunned for 9 seconds while the marauder runs away.
Response: 3 of the 5 pop their CC break and prepare to fight.

Marauder number 2 leaps in, repeats marauder 1's tactic.

5 people stunned for 9-18 seconds depending on if they popped a CC break. the 2 marauders then start picking off the weakest to strongest until they are all dead. anyone who tries to run gets doubled leaped, stunning them for 2 seconds per leap. 5 people were CC'ed and killed with minimal resistance.

Does anyone else see anything wrong with that scenario??

For gods sake put the leap on the damn resolve system. OR wait for GW2 to steal your pvp player base. Whatever you do, if you do nothing, all that money your counting instead of doing your damn jobs will get smaller in the coming months.
If they don't wanna see the hood in me, be satisfied when you see the good in me

Derian's Avatar


Derian
08.01.2012 , 01:21 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by TyrellJonez View Post
How bout simply adding the Marauder's Leaps to the list of things that are affected by resolve? Its this simple, a marauder is faced down by 5 angry, charging opponenets.

Marauder leaps to healer, AOE flashbang, 5 people are stunned for 9 seconds while the marauder runs away.
Response: 3 of the 5 pop their CC break and prepare to fight.

Marauder number 2 leaps in, repeats marauder 1's tactic.

5 people stunned for 9-18 seconds depending on if they popped a CC break. the 2 marauders then start picking off the weakest to strongest until they are all dead. anyone who tries to run gets doubled leaped, stunning them for 2 seconds per leap. 5 people were CC'ed and killed with minimal resistance.

Does anyone else see anything wrong with that scenario??

For gods sake put the leap on the damn resolve system. OR wait for GW2 to steal your pvp player base. Whatever you do, if you do nothing, all that money your counting instead of doing your damn jobs will get smaller in the coming months.
1) The scenario you described is ridiculous. 2) if you make roots add to resolve, than you are going to cry a lot harder about Marauders, when they can't be rooted.

And for god's sake Awe is NOT a Stun it breaks on damage.
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