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An open letter to Bioware about how to balance this game

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
An open letter to Bioware about how to balance this game

Hoppinswtor's Avatar


Hoppinswtor
09.25.2017 , 02:46 PM | #1
I'm not even gonna address utilities here. This is strictly about numbers. I'm gonna come at you very plainly and very succinctly and speak to you as if you were a buddy in discord.

When 248 gear came out, most classes were parsing around 10k. Some specs lagged behind at 9500; others were close to 11k. Even the weakest specs were over-performing in high-end pve, relative to boss health pools and dps checks. In PvP, time to kill (TTK) was a bit too high even before factoring in utilities (the increase in player health pools between 4.0 and 5.0 was proportionately higher than the increase in DPS). In other words, people were already living too long. Nevertheless, some classes had really nice killing power and were satisfying to play (arsenal, deception, etc.).

So you had a problem on your hands: top-tier pve content was becoming too easy, and some burst specs were doing too much damage relative to other specs (and vice versa with some sustained specs). Now, your target DPS model is quite good; I agree that melee should do 5 percent more damage than ranged due the difference in uptime. Most of your classifications for specs were on point. I do feel that you should take rotation difficulty into account as well, but nobody is perfect. Your balancing model is fine as long as it's executed properly.

Bioware, you are not executing properly.

You decided on a target DPS that was LOWER than what virtually all specs were already doing. In other words, you wanted to nerf everyone except the bottom 2 or 3 specs. Everyone would get shafted so that they would be forced to gear up to clear pve content. You didn't want to touch the health pools in pve content for whatever reason.

If I played Final Fantasy VII and my characters were suddenly doing less damage as they leveled up, I'd be pretty upset. I would've expected enemies to get harder and have higher health pools instead. RPGs are about progression, not regression. We like to see our numbers increase over time to reflect our characters' mastery of their craft (as well as our own).

Furthermore, you foolishly decided to "smooth out" bursty specs like lightning (today) and virulence (a couple months ago), further decreasing killing power in PvP. Burst specs should have low valleys and high peaks by design. The whole idea behind a burst spec is to take someone by surprise (in PvP), or burn down adds and clear tight DPS checks (in PvE). You don't smooth out burst specs, especially when your TTK is already too high in pvp. It defies all logic.

Simply put, nerfing DPS:

(1) Increases the time to kill (TTK) in pvp, which was already too high before the widespread nerfs. People last way too long in pvp, and tanks/heals make too much of a difference. Ranked has become boring and tanks suck the fun out of PvP when most classes already lack true killing power. Regs are just a cleavefest. True globals (full kills in the span of a single GCD) are a rarity and almost a mathematical impossibility now. As a result, the skill cap is laughably low and livelord classes reign supreme.

(2) Takes the fun out of the game for the players. It's not satisfying to see your performance decrease massively, especially after you've finished min-maxing your gear and have taken the time to learn the intricacies of a spec. Yes, sometimes you need to make minor adjustments of a couple percent here and there, but when you are nerfing more than half of the specs by 5-10 percent because of a laughably low Target DPS figure, then EVERYONE feels a sense of loss! Including you, hence the mass player exodus you are currently witnessing. When you have paying customers, your goal is to upset as few of them as possible.

There is a better way to fix things.

Instead of adjusting everything DOWNWARD, you should adjust UPWARD and focus more on rebalancing the content. Make the target DPS ~10,250, instead of ~9750, so that very few classes end up getting nerfed. Some classes would get major buffs and players of those classes will become very happy pandas and eager to experiment. Arsenal would've been lowered to 9800 instead of 9300. Lightning would get a buff! Marksman would get a buff! Lethality would only get a slight nerf! Nobody is truly angry.

The best part is that TTK would go down in pvp and NOBODY would be upset about that. Nobody. It would push people to get better, especially healers and tanks, who are currently on easy street in PvP.

The only issue would be the DPS checks in top content. These checks would be a little easier since some classes would be getting significant buffs. Skilled players would be able to clear nightmare content in 242 gear if the target dps was 10,250 and no changes were made to health pools. This kills gear progression a bit, admittedly. So what do you do? Simply increase boss health pools in top content. The DPS checks will still be as challenging as they are now, yet most class changes will be in a positive direction, AND people will actually die faster in PvP. Players will now have to obtain 248 gear due to the higher health pools in nightmare content, but I know prog raiders and they are PERFECTLY fine with having slightly harder content. Everybody wins!

When you have to rebalance a game, you should balance upward to avoid upsetting people. We want to see our characters do better, not worse, even if it means our enemies have more health. That's just how RPGs work. We like big numbers in pve and we like to kill our buddies in PVP, and we like to do it in style with nice outfits and cool weapons. Regression sucks; at least give people the illusion of progress.

TL;DR: Your balancing approach has failed because you adjusted downward, not upward. Adjusting upward makes more people happy than not (because fewer classes get nerfed), and you can always adjust health pools to keep DPS checks high. And, most importantly, an increase in Target DPS will make PvP way more engaging due to the lower TTK. You see, you could've killed two birds with one stone. Pretty soon there will be no birds to kill at all.
Hoppin <Death Smile>
Hoppinator (Merc), Hoppin (Sorc), Hopposites (Mara), Hoptimal (Sin)
Hopalicious (Jugg), Oppinator (Operative), Hoptimize (PT)

RikuvonDrake's Avatar


RikuvonDrake
09.25.2017 , 03:44 PM | #2
The balancing approach should have been to increase the target DPS and buff all classes to match this and instead buff HP, Damage dealt and so on by mechanics and bosses, that way it would have had the same effect in practice, but people who feel the world is ruined if they do 9.3k DPS instead of 9.5 wouldn't be rioting.

Bloodworthy - Tomb of Freedon Nadd - The Red Eclipse - Darth Malgus

Hoppinswtor's Avatar


Hoppinswtor
09.25.2017 , 03:58 PM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by RikuvonDrake View Post
The balancing approach should have been to increase the target DPS and buff all classes to match this and instead buff HP, Damage dealt and so on by mechanics and bosses, that way it would have had the same effect in practice, but people who feel the world is ruined if they do 9.3k DPS instead of 9.5 wouldn't be rioting.
Yeah, that's exactly what I suggested. It would please everyone and perhaps keep people more engaged. People are more likely to resub and experiment with classes after buffs, not nerfs.
Hoppin <Death Smile>
Hoppinator (Merc), Hoppin (Sorc), Hopposites (Mara), Hoptimal (Sin)
Hopalicious (Jugg), Oppinator (Operative), Hoptimize (PT)

ottffsse's Avatar


ottffsse
09.26.2017 , 12:47 AM | #4
Honostly though what happened is that Patch 5 the max gear level was probably always planned as 242 and everything in PvE was designed around those numbers.

Look it it from the perspective of the game devs:
Option A: scale down overall dps while rebalancing over and under- achieving classes to get overall PvE balance right again after 248 gear messed it up for fixed 5.0 calculations. (kill two birds with one stone)
Option B: scale everyone's dps up - at least the lowest classes AND re-tune every PvE encounter for a new higher target number.

Which option requires less work?

I agree though that ttk in PvP is kind of high right now, it is because health pools vs ability damage has been scaled out of whack with every expansion. And 2/3 healer classes are still not adjusted.

I personally don't care if say I do less dps after an overhaul say on my marksman, lightning or anni etc as long as everything around is balanced - which is not -that has been frustrating - but I would say that is a problem of DcDs and utilities rather than raw dps.

Hoppinswtor's Avatar


Hoppinswtor
09.26.2017 , 03:17 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by ottffsse View Post
Guys get ready for that 252 gear and be happy again /sarcasm

***more heeps maor deeps yet same ttk
At which time all specs will be "overperforming" and will be "brought down to the DPS target" once again.
Hoppin <Death Smile>
Hoppinator (Merc), Hoppin (Sorc), Hopposites (Mara), Hoptimal (Sin)
Hopalicious (Jugg), Oppinator (Operative), Hoptimize (PT)

Eriamea's Avatar


Eriamea
09.27.2017 , 11:53 PM | #6
Amen @ OP.

I really don't get the massive generalized series of nerfs lately. They chose the lazy route.

The people who made this decision are not only angering the player base, they also end up hurting their bottom line. The latest changes to this game show terrible gaming decisions and poor business sense.

Torvai's Avatar


Torvai
09.28.2017 , 02:19 AM | #7
/Signed

Threjyan's Avatar


Threjyan
09.28.2017 , 07:32 AM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Hoppinswtor View Post
I'm not even gonna address utilities here. This is strictly about numbers. I'm gonna come at you very plainly and very succinctly and speak to you as if you were a buddy in discord.

When 248 gear came out, most classes were parsing around 10k. Some specs lagged behind at 9500; others were close to 11k. Even the weakest specs were over-performing in high-end pve, relative to boss health pools and dps checks. In PvP, time to kill (TTK) was a bit too high even before factoring in utilities (the increase in player health pools between 4.0 and 5.0 was proportionately higher than the increase in DPS). In other words, people were already living too long. Nevertheless, some classes had really nice killing power and were satisfying to play (arsenal, deception, etc.).
i stopped reading here.

Arsenal was broken in dps and still is in utilities.

Fun to play FOTM classes - kappa

Perhaps Arsenal was one of the most broken specs ever in this game, as far as i can recall
..The Path Of Excess Leads To The Tower Of Wisdom..

KendraP's Avatar


KendraP
09.28.2017 , 11:48 AM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by Threjyan View Post
i stopped reading here.

Arsenal was broken in dps and still is in utilities.

Fun to play FOTM classes - kappa

Perhaps Arsenal was one of the most broken specs ever in this game, as far as i can recall
I believe the reason he chose to not address utilities is because for the last few months when we complain a class is not over performing due to dps but because of utility, we are told they aren't messing with utilities until 5.6. Even ignoring the elephant in the room he has a point. I myself have been saying that they seem to be nerfing basically everyone, which would seem to imply they need to reexamine their target dps. That said, the op point about 248 gear resulting in higher dps where content was designed with probably 242 gear in mind is perfectly sound reason to me.

In a nutshell, I agree with op, rather than the blanket nerf hammer an up on content difficulty would have been nice. But that requires more work apparently than blanket nerfs to each class.

RevorteX's Avatar


RevorteX
09.29.2017 , 03:46 AM | #10
For a while,I have not read a more satisfying thread and an actual idea how to turn back and start walking on the right path. Good job OP.
For a while now,most threads were of people canceling subs because they dont like the changes,and who can blame them?
The main problems are nerfing classes which were already nerfed a lot and nerfing classes which were exactly where they supposed to be.This has to be turned arround to buffs and stalemates (Not touching a specific class which perfmors well)

/Signed