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The Curator

Game Balance & The Endgame

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Hey all,

 

Before we continue, a caveat: Some of the changes and plans mentioned below are either very early in development or still purely conceptual. Some of them will likely not make the cut and either change greatly or be scrapped entirely.

 

Since Homecoming launched there’s been a few questions and concerns about why we’re making certain balance changes, so with Page 6 just around the corner we thought it would make sense to explain our overarching goals in this area.

 

Expanding the end-game and creating more end-game content was an incredibly popular request in the A Question from The Homecoming Team thread, and is something that we are very interested in pursuing. However in order to be able to do that and for it actually work for everyone across the board, we need to clear up some of the existing balance issues in the game - both with specific powersets, whole ATs, and in more general areas.

 

endgame.thumb.png.80984c324856fc37ae512e9346fedbcf.png

 

The best way to describe the current state of balance in the endgame is probably unfinished. The game closed down mid-way through the Incarnate system being developed, and before it had been through any significant post-release balance passes. In addition, the impact it had on the rest of the game hadn’t yet been given much consideration.

 

Our overarching goal is to have every powerset / AT be viable and have a place in the game. Obviously, achieving this goal perfectly isn’t actually possible, so our true aim is to get as close to that bar as we are able to. In addition, we want your choices to matter. Currently there’s a large amount of homogenization at the endgame and many of the individual choices that you make for your character don’t have much of an impact, and for some decisions a few options are vastly stronger than anything else.

 

Powersets & ATs
This is where most of the balancing work has been done so far, and where a lot of work in the immediate future will also be happening. The primary goal with these changes is to ensure everything sits in a healthy medium, with every powerset being a valid pick and valuable in different circumstances. 

 

This means some sets will be buffed, and yes, some sets will be nerfed. However, we feel there are definitely more underperforming sets than there are overperforming ones - so expect to see more buffs than nerfs. There’s also a lot of sets to get through, so it may take a while for us to get to your favourite.

 

To date, we’ve looked at Tankers, Dominators, Snipe powers and a few individual powersets. In the near future we’re going to be rolling out improvements to Energy Melee, Trick Arrow and Blaster secondary sets, whilst also reworking Titan Weapons, one of the most overperforming sets.

 

titan.thumb.png.44eee7ab50a3b6671f6fa136ccf22eeb.png

 

Bringing these overperforming sets down to a healthy level is important in ensuring those key goals stated above are met. When one set is able to outdamage every other set in almost every circumstance, it causes those other sets to be less viable choices, and also makes it impractical for us to begin work on the end game - do we balance it around Titan Weapons or Trick Arrow?

 

The answer is neither, of course. We want to balance around that healthy medium, but we’re not quite there yet.

 

Procs & PPM
Something we’ve recently started looking at is procs. We’re only scratching the surface here, but our goals are similar to that with powersets: Bringing each option towards a happy medium. One big topic that needs looking at specifically is PPM. This system was still in beta when the game shut down, so it never really graduated properly to the live servers, and never received any follow-up balance passes.

 

There are numerous issues right now, such as the interaction it has with different types of recharge bonuses and AoEs, which causes the system to be unintuitive (slotting for recharge can make a power… less good!) in some areas and not well balanced in other areas (many procs are very strong in AoEs and very weak in single targets). 

 

Along with improving general game balance there’s a secondary benefit to cleaning up PPM and procs: it will allow us to continue building new enhancement sets with new and unique procs and set bonuses.

 

We’ve got no firm plans to discuss just yet, but it is a key area we will be looking at in the future.

 

Lastly...
We’re also looking at other areas long-term, such as the impact that Incarnate abilities have on non-Incarnate content, Incarnate crafting, how +special buffs interact with long duration +def powers, and improving the enhancement system below level 50. You'll hear more about these as we start exploring them in the future.

 

And that’s all for today. We hope the above has shed some light on why we’ve been making the changes that we’ve been making.

 

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24 minutes ago, The Curator said:

Before we continue, a caveat: Some of the changes and plans mentioned below are either very early in development or still purely conceptual. Some of them will likely not make the cut and either change greatly or be scrapped entirely.

 

*wonders how many people will ignore this and/or get angry when something massively changes or gets scrapped.*

 

That said, I think the game's in good hands here, and look forward to what you guys do.

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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.

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This is really comforting to read. It feels like the goals are in the right place for me. 🙂

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9 minutes ago, kiramon said:

Good stuff on ppm. Are we keeping the cottage rule in effect tho... hmm

I believe the cottage rule has already been broken in a few instances.

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7 minutes ago, kiramon said:

Good stuff on ppm. Are we keeping the cottage rule in effect tho... hmm

Cottage rule is an off-hand comment a dev said as a general guideline they follow and people took it too literal and it has now become anti-progress / balance. I wouldn't always consult it for every change unless you're literally trying to make energy melee shoot cottages.

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@Greycat brings up a good point.

Perhaps the caveat should be highlighted with a different colour to really draw people's attention to it.  It pays to emphasize that things are still in a state of eternal change.

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42 minutes ago, The Curator said:

...reworking Titan Weapons, one of the most overperforming sets.

It's about time TW got nerfed. Bio-armor also needs to have a look at as well as far as "over-preformance".

 

Spoiler

Buff Regen

 

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1 minute ago, FoulVileTerror said:

@Greycat brings up a good point.

Perhaps the caveat should be highlighted with a different colour to really draw people's attention to it.  It pays to emphasize that things are still in a state of eternal change.

 

You could highlight it, make it font size 60, and make it blink, and people would still ignore it and eventually complain when something changes.

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1 minute ago, FoulVileTerror said:

@Greycat brings up a good point.

Perhaps the caveat should be highlighted with a different colour to really draw people's attention to it.  It pays to emphasize that things are still in a state of eternal change.

*chuckle* It wouldn't. It could be 72 point, Bold, underlined and Red and people would still get annoyed when something didn't come through or got changed that was "promised."

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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.

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Please make teleport powers like worm hole from gravity control affect boss mobs. Biggest request as it’s pretty dead skill atm.

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2 minutes ago, Jimmy said:

There, it's yellow. Now let's not turn this into a thread discussing font choices 🙂

But I wanted to suggest comic sans!   🙂

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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.

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I read it more like veiled threats from the nerf bat than comforting reassurance that they will 'fix' things. I would love to hear how this happy medium is planned to be achieved.  Broad strokes are nice, but some detail is appreciated.

What even is considered "working as intended" in the power range they hope to match?  It mostly just sounds like they want to make the game harder.

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So long as we don't go down the slope of nerfing anything perceived to be slightly stronger than average, this sounds good on paper.

 

 

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Thank you for sharing information about your plans for endgame.

I look forward to seeing information about your plans for the rest of the game too when you're able to.  

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 Love the idea of balance among ATs, I like the concept of parity...

 

But not lets do the old broken set of balance were some ATs are all about support (the ones shafted) while other ATs can do both team and solo quite well. Would be nice, if the "support ATs could be fixed to be at par with any other AT for both Solo and group activities.

 

Sue

 

I play a Storm/Dark Defender, so I am not the buffing kind, my contribution is to ACC debuff the baddies and pound them, but my damage is so handicapped in groups, that defeating a boss is pathetic, the saying death a hundred cut, well if you are defender, it would be more like depth by 1000 cuts... Another issue, my only survivability to mobs is defense, and there are more and more anti-def mobs  that impact support classes far more than melee classes. I get it, we want challenge, but does 100% of the challenge must be accomplished at the  non-melee's back?

 

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49 minutes ago, The Curator said:

Currently there’s a large amount of homogenization at the endgame and many of the individual choices that you make for your character don’t have much of an impact, and for some decisions a few options are vastly stronger than anything else.

 

 

Be very careful. If everyone does something, that means they enjoy it.

 

You start making it harder to hit the defense softcap with IOs / mess with hasten / noodle too much with endgame staples, and you're going to irritate every endgame player. (To the point where it will overshadow all the good stuff you're doing.)

 

49 minutes ago, The Curator said:

We’re also looking at [...] the impact that Incarnate abilities have on non-Incarnate content[...]

 

Again, be careful. Nobody wants to play City of Respecs because you decided to switch off Incarnate powers in regular content.

 

I think it's wise to accept that 8-man content at level 50 is actually just 4-man content now. I would say accept this as the status-quo and build new content on this understanding, rather than mess too much with players. (I.e. New content = 4man limit. Hard as hell. Insane rewards.)

 

There's a thread here from the playerbase about balancing and MMORPGs you might find interesting. Some varied takes found within (Mine is the correct one, of course :classic_wink:):

 

Is game balance pointless in MMORPGs?

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City of Heroes Class of 2001.

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All I can say is that I'm glad you guys decided to make this update and I'm excited to see what comes next. I'm curious about the blaster the secondaries. 

 

It's just too bad about regen. Can't we agree it's been nerfed enough already? 

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I do hope ATs that currently don't have much place in endgame content get looked at.

 

Controllers, Dominators especially have issues as CC powers are mostly irrelevant.  Things that you can control die so fast that it doesn't really matter.  Things that don't die quick you usually can't control.  

 

Support sets have such anemic damage, outside of a few builds that are proc centric or a certain combination.  There's no reason for that any more.  Not being able to self buff has always struck me as wrong.  

 

Can't wait to see what ideas come out for them.

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