Feedback Foibles and Balance Blunders

Over the past month I’ve noticed that a lot of the balance feedback that shows up here comes in the form of calls for nerfs. What’s concerning, however, is that in pretty much every case of this it’s been eventually revealed that it’s coming from players who don’t have a very good grasp of the game, whether it be from a lack of experience with a wide enough variety of classes, not playing the game on Legend, or simply not understanding fundamental game or class mechanics. This leads to opinion driven by some irrational/illogical thinking eg trying to use scorecards to prove something is OP. This seems to have directly resulted in 1.0.8.2 taking the game in a pretty negative direction from a balance standpoint, most notably with HS getting more-or-less obliterated when all that the class needed was very minor tweaks and for the bugs associated with his ult to be fixed.

1.0.7 was the healthiest the game has ever felt. The vast majority of classes could compete with one another evenly, most classes had a well defined identity, and, most important, most classes were fun and balanced to play, resulting in a healthier meta and a healthier game. 1.0.8 helped a few classes and broke a few others due to bugs, but instead of simply addressing the bugs and focusing on maintaining balance, we got 1.0.8.2 which set the game’s balance back and hurt the health of the game and meta.

Please take feedback related to balance with a grain of salt (or a shot of penicillin). Not everyone who posts here has the game’s, the dev’s, or the balance’s best interests at heart. More still simply lack sufficient gameplay experience for their balance feedback to be taken at face value. It’s not hard for people to misrepresent things to push for changes they want personally but that don’t actually improve the health of the game or appeal to the playerbase at large. It doesn’t feel like a great deal of thought, testing, or care is being put into the adjustments that are being made, especially when so many classes are so close to one another but you decide to just arbitrarily pwn a few. People can and do permaquit games over these kinds of kneejerk balance blunders when the classes they most enjoy are neutered, especially when they were only ever on par with the other balanced classes in the game. I don’t even particularly care for the classes negatively affected by the latest patch but just knowing what you did to them gives me a bad taste in my mouth when I think of logging on.

Fix the bugs affecting balance before making drastic balance changes. Eg. HS’s ult was bugged but you nerfed everything about him as though the character was working as intended. Fix the bugs, then make an honest and skillful assessment. Same goes with issues affecting melee combat: lil hard to truly assess things when we all still take ghost hits, extended range hits when on inclines, rollerblading mobs, 180 slam-spin bosses w damage that procs before the animation begins, 20ft reach packmasters, gutter runners that spawn directly on top of someone pre-pounced, super-stacking, and a plethora of audio issues.

Take an objective approach to balance by assessing class potential and output instead of subjective aspects of any given class. A lot of feedback is, “x class can do this plz nerf” without considering the things it can’t do or whether or not the overall output is still on par with other classes. Regardless of team contributions (eg. auras), every class should have the potential to be close on the scorecard. This doesn’t mean they need to be close in every area but rather overall. That’s one of the things that made VT1 so fun and balanced. In 1.0.7 and even 1.0.8.0, this was the case for most classes. The game is more fun when you know you can still do well on the scorecard on any class you’re on. If someone can hop on every character and achieve comparable output with every class with comparable effort, then you know those classes are balanced. If it takes a lot more effort to do it on some classes, that’s something that can be addressed carefully after, balancing the “fun” and “ease” of the class while still preserving that class’ balanced output and potential. Again, this can only happen after the bugs affecting that class are addressed, however.

So far, balance adjustments do not feel like they have been guided by Order, praise Sigmar, they feel like they’ve been thrust into the Realm of Chaos to be tainted in Tseentchian/Slaaneshian ways: either change for the sake of change or change driven by misrepresentation, bias, pride, ego, or desire. Please be more careful when making class adjustments, as there is a ton of bias and misconception amongst the overall community as to where balance sits and it’s largely wrong. Lastly nerfs should be avoided, especially since a lot of classes right now fall into the “top tier” potential range. Buff the classes that are lagging to this level then adjust the QoL, fun, and “smoothness” elements to ensure every character is enjoyable.

Edit: Really good point brought up here that I forgot to mention.

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So very much this.

If it is impossible for FS to hire more/better QA, I would advise them to select some players with lots and lots of hours in the game, and offer them an opportunity to provide feedback, or even possibly closed beta tests of balance changes.

I know FS already works closely with modders, so this should be doable. The selected group would have to be reasonably large to control for accidentally recruiting very like-minded players.

Really the very best would be hire more QA however, just have a group of in-house people that play legend all the time and can make informed recommendations.

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This is something I can absolutely attest to. People were doing this for months. You could even take the most objective opinion to them with evidence to support what you’re saying and those people would just dump on everyone and everything until they got their way. This was one of the reasons I treated those kinds of people with hostility. The developers were catering to those people and in turn were worsening an enjoyable game and their attention was distracted from more pressing matters. The balance has felt like a yo-yo at times too because FS will respond to people on forums and then after making changes, you see a total flip on the forums because the people who knew something was okay will come on the forums while the people complaining before enjoy their bitter success.

I imagine it comes down to the trait of selfishness. Just take things like political elections. Do people vote for policies or people that best benefit their society? Or do they vote for policies and people that best benefit them alone? People don’t do their research or consider the consequences of their actions. They just ignorantly demand what they want without giving a second thought about anyone or anything else.

It feels like this is something most people don’t do.

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Would definitely prefer they just hire more QA as opposed to the community approach. Actual legal accountability that way and they’re forced to have skin in the game vis-a-vis does not look good on them if they don’t make objectively-minded decisions. Too easy for community feedback to be corrupted, eg the feedback on this forum. Finding it’s too hard for rational thinkers to quash the bs also given that inflammatory rhetoric is flashier than well-reasoned discussions.

Yeah absolutely, more QA would be better. It would also have the added benefit of more people bugtesting and validating code, not just better for balance.

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I agree. For the time being, no balancing whatsoever should take place apart from things like the effect from changing damage calculation, which obviously is a huge change and things were bound to be in need of fixing. Fix talents that dont work or not as they should, but leave weapons, damage multiplier and abilities as they are for the time being. You cannot do balancing with just balancing each carreer after the nex, it needs to be an overall change.

The reason why it simply doesn’t make sense now is that apart from things stated that distort our ability to truly assert the effectiveness of melee (which, overall, is in a rather good spot all things considered) like ghost swings, models stacking, phantom hits, hits through blocks that shouldn’t do damage, enemies hitting you without animations, enemies spawning next to you with their attack animations already buffered, single enemies sometimes doing triple to quadruple the damage they usually do, is one thing:

We don’t know how difficult the game is actually supposed to be because of the AI director, the spawns and even the aggressiveness of enemies depends on how powerful the host’s CPU is. Ever played with a host that had an overclocked CPU with thirteen worker threads? Because I did and trust me, it is madness, hordes and ambushes being thrown at you literally within 30 seconds of each other, hordes having three times as many mooks as usual, ambient mobs that consist of sometimes DOZENS of elites (especially nice if you jump down on Convocation and are faced with THIRTY MONKS), and specials spawning in an endless conga line of disablers, gas and warpshot. Is that how Legend is supposed to be? Or is it when I deliberately decrease my worker threads, overload my CPU and have the map practically empty with mobs that only attack when I get within touching range of them?
We won’t know until dedicated servers hit the scene and even then, it is very doubtful we will get a consistent experience. But right now, we do not actually know what the game is supposed to be like and what is owed to the code behaving like it does?

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Really good point about the AI director. I’ll add that to the OP. That was a huge factor for my personal (incorrect) assessment of the balance of the game in 1.0.6 because the AI director was totally haywire for me so very few classes were remotely viable because the only way to survive was full AoE all of the time. That’s obviously not right and not how the game is so, as I mentioned a while ago in another thread, no two people’s games are the same so it’s currently extremely hard to balance in an objective way.

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This ^

Remember when everyone complained about WS who was honestly fine but no one said a word about huntsman active for like weeks? Basically people call for nerfs on what seem like OP mechanics but play on lower difficulties. A good example would be everyone who said ranger vet was unplayable and bad compared to other careers, sure his damage was relatively lackluster for awhile compared to say BH saltz, but on lower difficulties you find tons of items but Ranger’s talents are a massive boon on higher difficulties or deeds, in particular ones that have 0 drops.

Agree, I liked the changes to ranger vet’s active and the crossbow changes, otherwise I think everything post 1.0.7 was generally a step backwards.

Even the best posters and even myself sometimes get a bit salty and post something idiotic because we generally care and get upset when something is misrepresented.

This is really important, for example I think in 1.0.7 a skilled huntsman could generally outperform a BH, that said BH has a considerably more reliable and easy to use toolkit and has generally been considered one of the better classes since beta, now that huntsman and WS have been progressively nerfed since Beta the “gap” in risk to reward has become even more glaringly obvious, if we want BH to stay the same other classes may need to be brought up to par, being able to infinitely spam tripple shot volly xbow is pretty braindead gameplay.

It feels like the niche classes are getting nerfed to remove their niche roll with no form of recompense where as things like BH and Sienna who are basically “good” at everything have remained somewhat constant.

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People also have a tendency to exaggerate their points, consciously or not, and many people take an on/off stance on things. If something isn’t in perfect balance (in their opinion), it’s either “completely op” or “useless”. See practically any particular topic pre- and post-nerf for examples.

Also, when some people cry for particular nerfs or buffs, they don’t always consider what else those changes affect. Giving the dwarf guaranteed crits doesn’t affect only his damage output, it affects everything triggered by crits, including Career skill cooldown, ammo generation and so on. Arming Sword is shared between Sienna and Kruber, and buffing it on one means buffing it on the other; changing it to Kruber’s general level could easily make it too good on Sienna. Two-hander on Victor fills a niche (dedicated crowd-killer) but on Kruber, gets lost between Exec, Halberd and Hammer.

While this isn’t a competitive game (despite some people apparently trying to make it one, at least earlier) and as such, metagame cannot usually be left to balance itself out, balancing still needs to be done carefully. FS seems to go a little overboard with the nerfings, possibly depending on who is the one deciding or actually doing a particular balance change. With my earlier points, and those of other posters, both FS and forumgoers easily overreact to things. As long as these things are acknowledged and taken into consideration (in the form of “is this thing really as OP/bad as the loudest people claim?”), we should get better, more careful balancing.

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I agree with most of that. In regards to the weapons change thing though I feel like they should be capable of independently altering weapons for different characters/classes. I’d expect a 90lb elderly woman’s swing have different melee performance than a 250lb human juggernaut of a soldier.

This is the part I feel has been lacking so far. A lot of changes haven’t assessed the veracity of the various cries for nerf/buff and it’s extremely frustrating.

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