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Galaxy Brain

"The Game is not Balanced around IO's"..... should it be?

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So, a shower thought to me was that we often tout the game as "Balanced on SO's". Hell, I make it a point to showcase sets on said metric as often as possible.... but we all know of the IO system and it really is not something gated away in secrecy with all the resources we have at our disposal to learn about it, or even just buy IO's at a whim with the AH being a slash command away.

 

Its often said that "new players wouldn't understand it", or it's simply too complex to be relied on. While both can be true, in today's age much more complex loot systems have come and gone for players to digest which to me mitigates the notion of people not grasping it. The complexity can be tough for sure given how many options there are, but IMHO I think there are a bunch of players who "use" the system enough to where I think it is a solid base of performance. Do they "optimize" it? No, but there is a weird blurry line between an SO build, a Generic IO build, a build with a few uniques, a build with some set bonuses and uniques.... and so on.

 

 

I think it's worth taking a gander at who is using the IO system. First, we need to know our audience:

 

image.png.ef84baff9fb13dfc6fce5bf383280929.png

 

Taken off Discord, these are the peak player counts per Shard on HC for the last 7 days as of this posting. On the whole, lets assume there have been 2955 players online this week. The AH is cross-shard, so looking into active bids on commonly sought-after IO's can give us an *idea* of how popular the IO system is, if we try and correlate 1 bid per player:

 

 

image.png.56ba6e5371a1db57fc9cb0b442850553.png

 

*LotG I divided by 5 as folks usually try to buy as many as they can

 

I could add more and more, but in my experience these are some of the most commonly slotted IO's across many builds. Now, this is not accurate for sure but if we take this correlation then we can guess that about 44% of active players are using the AH to buy and slot powerful IO's. If we ignore Gaussian/Achilles/KB IO's as not every set gets easy use from those (all others can be slotted in Health/Stamina/Take your pick of pool powers) and it shoots to around 56% average. With this observation we could assume that the IO system is at least *used* by half the players, even if we go just based on Miracle with close to a 47% ratio of Bids to Active Players in the past week, being a unique it could be assumed that 1 bid = 1 player here, though of course some may be buying a good chunk at a time... but that gets too squirrely. 

 

The point I want to bring up with this is that the IO system being used in general with the ability to slot powerful uniques changes things up. Any power that has +Def essentially has +Rech, -Def also has -Res (and damage procs), KB is easy to convert and is being done so (the ratio lines up with roughly the ratio of sets that have AoE KB powers), and so on and so forth. This doesnt even on ATO's which can be easily attained with Merits. It seems to me that many more players are actively using IO's to put themselves a step above the game, and to be honest IO's have been "the thing" for longer than SO's have if you look at the total lifespan. I guess I just want to open the floor to thoughts on this as within the HC community it seems a sizeable portion of people use them.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Galaxy Brain
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I don't think it's been true for a long time. 

 

Powers aren't balanced around SOs - content is.

 

(In other words: every challenge in the game should be beatable with a team/teams on all SOs.

 

And then there's gear logic:

Look at other generic MMOs. In starting gear, your rogue class should be roughly the same power as your fighter class.  When you're both wearing end game raid gear, the Rogue should still be roughly the same power level as the fighter.

Enhancements are the same. SOs are the cheap stuff every vendor sells, and IOs are the superior player-crafted, player-listed, or raid gear.

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I'm not sure how much the auction house data tells us. Some people have lowball bids for IOs (perhaps for multiples) all the time. Some people only bid when they're building a new toon. Some people have bad cases of altitis. Some people focus on their main.

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Pretty sure when  I look at character's Info I do not see 44% of them with lists of IO powers showing.

 

I would imagine that players who generate hundreds of million of influence weekly account for most of the AH activity in the IO market while not necessarily representing a large portion of the user base.

 

3.6 billion shares of stock are traded daily on the New York Stock Exchange. That does not mean that 47% of the planet is involved in trading stock on NYSE, nor that the average American is involved in a thousand trades daily. 

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Yeah . . . player-market is probably a messy thing to try and gather such information from.  Getting the actual numbers should happen before any decision-making happens.  And even then, having the numbers doesn't necessarily explain the -why- of them, and since motivation was already established as an important factor in this matter . . . 

 

Thanks for putting the effort in, @Galaxy Brain, but I think you're operating from a flawed premise at the start here.  Sorry.

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A great deal of bids have been active for a tremendous amount of time and it is only purely coincidental if these relate to active player bids.

 

Secondly: Even if you could determine the active bids from one week, it wouldn't be clear at all how many players are using IOs since a single player can represent many multiple bids, especially if they are a marketeer and are bidding on dozens at a time (such as me...). Assuming that 40 bids = 40 players is incorrect. One player may be bidding on 40 to flip. One player may bid on 5 LOTG recharges for a single character.

 

Thirdly: The market is rife with flipping. Assuming that one sale/bid equals a character with IOs is tenuous at best, given the amount of converters that are sold on a daily basis with the object of upgrading an IO. If someone is buying an IO, converting it and reselling it, that might suggest two IOs are being slotted into a character when in fact those two transactions only represent one new IO. This is probably a lesser detail as the first two are probably fatal to this analysis already sorry.

Edited by summers
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Anything below 50 should definitely not be balanced around IOs, but I think anything that would qualify as end game content should be balanced somewhere around a full assortment of semi-random uncommon set IO enhancements. Essentially, this means characters that have ~10 SOs worth of enhancement value in a typically 6 slotted power. 

 

Why uncommon sets? To keep things still accessible. With a good team, all content balanced around "slightly more than SOs" should still be doable even if some players choose to ignore using dropped gear and stick to the "common" vendor items. Besides, based on anecdotal evidence, most of the players who participate in 50+ content already use some set IOs.  

 

Being asked to use some set IOs isn't, in my opinion, an unreasonable threshold to cross to meet end game power requirements, just like being asked to use basic enhancements isn't unreasonable for basic content. That said, I'd never balance any dev made content around optimized builds.

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I script AE arcs as if the player is usIn IOs.

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Looking for SFMA content over multiple arcs? Search for the following arcs under "cranebump."

Part I: Ordinary People=Standard Operating Procedure, Hope and Bullets, The Last Full Measure: Investigation of a series of thefts leads you deep into a vengeful plot that threatens all of Paragon City. Will you and Kings Row's "ordinary" heroes be able to stop it?

Part II: The Omnibus Initiative=Friends & Lovers, Data Games, The Omnibus Project: A missing person investigation leads you into a multi-layered conspiracy, revealing an insidious organization (and a window into what happened during the "7-year gap" of missing Paragon history).

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Part IV: Penumbra=Dempsey’s Hard 8, A Flag and Sign, Auguries of Fate and Time (testing):  Palliderium has weaponized the Mobius Strip, removing all of Arachnos from the current time stream.  But considering that this group’s calculating, emotionally wounded “Pale Queen” can now order the removal of almost anyone at will, is this little more than a devil's bargain? Has the world traded Lord Recluse for something worse?

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The game IS balanced around I/Os.  Have you not encountered a team running +4/x8?  Or have you ever tried a Incarnate Trial with toons that are SOd?  

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7 hours ago, CrudeVileTerror said:

Yeah . . . player-market is probably a messy thing to try and gather such information from.  Getting the actual numbers should happen before any decision-making happens.  And even then, having the numbers doesn't necessarily explain the -why- of them, and since motivation was already established as an important factor in this matter . . . 

 

Thanks for putting the effort in, @Galaxy Brain, but I think you're operating from a flawed premise at the start here.  Sorry.

I agree and said it'd be inaccurate going into it, its just without datamining or going character to character and "checking" I don't really see a way otherwise 😞 As others said, some people may buy multiples per person, etc, but I don't think its that prevelant to throw it off.

 

My main point though is that compared to active players, the amount of IO's at least being bid on seems to be a sizeable enough portion to where it is actively used by "enough" players. To me, this seems enough to talk about at least some of the far more common ones like the Miracles, LotG's, etc that you see in literally *every* build, let alone going to the 9's.

 

 

 

 

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But where are you seeing these Builds?  Endgame?  Task Forces?  Raids?  Incarnate gameplay?  The kinds of content you personally enjoy getting involved in?

You start balancing around those players, and everyone else is going to be royally fucked.

I think the reasonable course of action remains to balance around the lowest common denominator, and then introduce specialized content for those looking to engage in more intense gameplay.  Keep this game as casual-friendly as possible, as that's decidedly one of its core strengths, and one nominally addressed in the Homecoming mission statement of being welcoming to everyone.

 

As for the size of the bidding pools . . . I'm a hoarder.  You can mark down at -LEAST- 300 of those bid IOs going to my storage bins.

Yes.  I know your snapshot only looked at one week.

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9 hours ago, Galaxy Brain said:

On the whole, lets assume there have been 2955 players online this week. The AH is cross-shard, so looking into active bids on commonly sought-after IO's can give us an *idea* of how popular the IO system is, if we try and correlate 1 bid per player:

 

 

image.png.56ba6e5371a1db57fc9cb0b442850553.png

 

*LotG I divided by 5 as folks usually try to buy as many as they can

 

I could add more and more, but in my experience these are some of the most commonly slotted IO's across many builds. Now, this is not accurate for sure but if we take this correlation then we can guess that about 44% of active players are using the AH to buy and slot powerful IO's. If we ignore Gaussian/Achilles/KB IO's as not every set gets easy use from those (all others can be slotted in Health/Stamina/Take your pick of pool powers) and it shoots to around 56% average. With this observation we could assume that the IO system is at least *used* by half the players, even if we go just based on Miracle with close to a 47% ratio of Bids to Active Players in the past week, being a unique it could be assumed that 1 bid = 1 player here, though of course some may be buying a good chunk at a time... but that gets too squirrely. 

 

I'd be careful about making assumptions based on outstanding bids in the AH, since it would be very easy for one person to skew those numbers.  Let's call that the, um, the Yomo(tm) Effect.

 

I can tell you that every day, about 100-300 unique "must haves" trade, which tells me that there are 100-300 new characters who use IOs entering the fray.


Who run Bartertown?

 

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3 hours ago, Snarky said:

The game IS balanced around I/Os.  Have you not encountered a team running +4/x8?  Or have you ever tried a Incarnate Trial with toons that are SOd?  


No.  No it is not.
A team running +4x8 is technically an anomaly.
Yes, we have lots of VERY hardcore, expert players HERE.  That doesn't mean the game is BALANCED around min-maxed-to-a-fare-thee-well builds are "the norm"

NOR SHOULD THEY BE.

 

You can still play through most of the game, perfectly fine, running nothing but SOs or generic IOs.

Some of the ultra-high-end and incarnate content will probably be a painful slog.  But the game is SUPPOSED TO BE a challenge.

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Is it, though?  Is it -supposed- to be a challenge?

My read on the game design philosophy was that it was supposed to be engaging to a variety of players, and that options for challenge were meant to offer something to those seeking challenge.

I mean, unless we go all the way back to Jack's Vision.  Ok.  Yeah.  Hearing the details of how he thought the game was meant to be played; he wanted players to suffer.  But he was out the door by, what; Issue 9?  And even before that point the rest of the Devs had started to make the game much more accessible, as I recall.

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3 minutes ago, Hyperstrike said:

Yes, we have lots of VERY hardcore, expert players HERE.  That doesn't mean the game is BALANCED around min-maxed-to-a-fare-thee-well builds are "the norm"

 

As I have been saying in a number of threads. I have no problem with the extreme players; I do get a bit exasperated at the continual movement towards lowering every bar to enable this play mode, make it all about racing to end-game content and builds, etc.

 

If I read the OP correctly, the game should be "balanced:" for this extreme play mode, leaving all others (those of us who don't scrabble for IO sets at every earliest opportunity, for example) to... what? "Learn better?"

 

No. Or, as Heinlein suggested, "Hell, no!"

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9 hours ago, Bastille Boy said:

I'm not sure how much the auction house data tells us. Some people have lowball bids for IOs (perhaps for multiples) all the time. Some people only bid when they're building a new toon. Some people have bad cases of altitis. Some people focus on their main.

I pretty much only use it to get stuff to convert into to make funds and then use those funds to buy what I need. And to sell purple recipes.

 

Any other time I'm vendoring yellow and white recipes I get.

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4 minutes ago, CrudeVileTerror said:

Is it, though?  Is it -supposed- to be a challenge?

My read on the game design philosophy was that it was supposed to be engaging to a variety of players, and that options for challenge were meant to offer something to those seeking challenge.

I mean, unless we go all the way back to Jack's Vision.  Ok.  Yeah.  Hearing the details of how he thought the game was meant to be played; he wanted players to suffer.  But he was out the door by, what; Issue 9?  And even before that point the rest of the Devs had started to make the game much more accessible, as I recall.



Yes.  You're supposed to feel "super", which is why the amount of enemies most characters can handle is larger than it is in other MMOs.
But Final Boss fights are generally tougher and sloggier.

And simply because Jack was wrong about lots of things doesn't mean he was wrong about EVERYTHING.
And not everyone wants to walk into a game where they just get slaughtered endlessly until the scar tissue builds up.
Look at the Praetorian content.  They made it more difficult at base.  How?  Endless ambushes.  Now, how popular starting Praetorian these days?
And if YOU feel your experience is too easy, this is why the devs finally implemented on-demand fine-tweaking of +Level and xSize.

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3 minutes ago, Hyperstrike said:


No.  No it is not.
A team running +4x8 is technically an anomaly.
Yes, we have lots of VERY hardcore, expert players HERE.  That doesn't mean the game is BALANCED around min-maxed-to-a-fare-thee-well builds are "the norm"

NOR SHOULD THEY BE.

 

You can still play through most of the game, perfectly fine, running nothing but SOs or generic IOs.

Some of the ultra-high-end and incarnate content will probably be a painful slog.  But the game is SUPPOSED TO BE a challenge.

I'm with you.

 

Those same players that cookie-cut their characters and WANT to smash the toughest mobs without missing or risking defeat ARE the same players complaining that the game isn't difficult enough.

 

I have always thought that City of Heroes was the Super-MMORPG.  A role-playing game. It isn't a chessboard tactics game.

And I don't mean role-playing like "I'm playing a tank" or "I'm a farming fire/fire magic tanker". 

I guess what role-playing was back-in-the-day is completely lost on some gamers (regardless of age).

Those of us that read comics don't read them to read about the adventures of a tank or a farming fire/fire magic tanker.

Characters have a conception. An origin. A way that they view the world.

We don't always have time to express that in-game, but it adds more to the game and the characters when we do more than "Tanker smash puny [insert opponent here]"

 

IO sets and IOs aren't necessary to play the game, they are things to eat up influence (gain influence for some of us ... hey, look, over there! Something shiny! Don't miss out, go look quick!) and give end-gamers something to do.

The actual game ended at level 50. By the time IOs and sets came out, the end-gamers were already grousing about having nothing to do.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love my procs and some set bonus here and there, but I was able to play the game with Training and DO enhances before the Market was added to the game ... and the game has been made EASIER since then.

 

So the game is not based around IO sets nor should it be. 

 

Now a particular enemy type (like quantums) that only shows up when someone with set IO's are in a mission... that might be something interesting!

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9 minutes ago, Shenanigunner said:

 

As I have been saying in a number of threads. I have no problem with the extreme players; I do get a bit exasperated at the continual movement towards lowering every bar to enable this play mode, make it all about racing to end-game content and builds, etc.

 

If I read the OP correctly, the game should be "balanced:" for this extreme play mode, leaving all others (those of us who don't scrabble for IO sets at every earliest opportunity, for example) to... what? "Learn better?"

 

No. Or, as Heinlein suggested, "Hell, no!"


Basically, some of us simply don't play often enough to accumulate huge quantities of Inf.
And you can do all the marketing tutorials you want, it doesn't mean everyone is going to be able to marketeer.
And not everyone wants to take up their precious play time with farming.

So NO, we should NOT be resetting the game to "You sign in and die on the character selection screen."

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8 minutes ago, UltraAlt said:

Now a particular enemy type (like quantums) that only shows up when someone with set IO's are in a mission...

As long as teaming up with someone set-IOed-out doesn't semi-permanently taint you as Quant bait!

 

 

Edited by DoctorDitko
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Disclaimer: Not a medical doctor. Do not take medical advice from Doctor Ditko. Also, not a physicist. Do not take advice on consensus reality from Doctor Ditko. But games? He used to pay his bills with games. (He's recovering well, thanks for asking!)

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I think you and I had a miscommunication somewhere, @Hyperstrike.

I am not in favour of getting slaughtered either.  Jack's vision was that 4 minions should be enough to defeat a player-character.

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3 minutes ago, UltraAlt said:

I'm with you.

 

Those same players that cookie-cut their characters and WANT to smash the toughest mobs without missing or risking defeat ARE the same players complaining that the game isn't difficult enough.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, UltraAlt said:

 

 

Now a particular enemy type (like quantums) that only shows up when someone with set IO's are in a mission... that might be something interesting!

Sure, if it's optional based on difficulty settings you the player set. And if folks who join your team are told ahead of time that you set this.

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2 minutes ago, Shenanigunner said:

 

As I have been saying in a number of threads. I have no problem with the extreme players; I do get a bit exasperated at the continual movement towards lowering every bar to enable this play mode, make it all about racing to end-game content and builds, etc.

 

If I read the OP correctly, the game should be "balanced:" for this extreme play mode, leaving all others (those of us who don't scrabble for IO sets at every earliest opportunity, for example) to... what? "Learn better?"

 

I wanna reply to this specifically, as this is the exact mindset that I see whenever the topic comes up.

 

1) The assumption that everyone is either "Super Duper my-first MMO casual" or "Balls to the wall EXTREME to the 2nd decimal point of effectiveness".

 

Tons of people *must* be in between, hell a generic IO build surpasses SO builds in sheer value past lvl 30, and if you continue that the lvl 50 or beyond lvl 50 generic IO's allow you to be significantly better than SO (2 lvl 55 IO's is roughly equal to 3 SO's, while just 2 lvl 50 IO's is about 90% as effective as 3 SO's, etc), If we wanna just compare values on the somewhat standard "3dam / 1 acc / 1 rech / 1 end" :

 

SO's = 95% Dam / 33% other // IO's = 99% Dam / 42% Other at lvl 50. 

 

The bump in Dam is negligible, but that is a decent bump in the other stats that can let you easily turn the difficulty up a notch.

 

Even if you take an SO build and with many of the sets that have -Def, Achilles Heel changes your offense considerably. As does slotting Numina/Perf Shifter/Etc into Health and Stamina that everyone gets. Or the variety of Pool Powers that allow Defense Sets for LotG or Uniques. How much "power" is there beyond the norm when you're essentially just running generic + a handful of special IO's? You're not Uberbuild9001, but you must certainly be better than the "norm" and many, many people must fall into there....

 

 

2) On that note, my OP was more talking to the point of "are enough people using IO's to where it has become more normal than SO's?" That doesn't mean "balance vs the uber builds", moreso "oh, 70% of people have beyond vanilla recovery and recharge.... interesting"

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1 minute ago, CrudeVileTerror said:

I think you and I had a miscommunication somewhere, @Hyperstrike.

I am not in favour of getting slaughtered either.  Jack's vision was that 4 minions should be enough to defeat a player-character.

And was absolute idiocy as a game vision.

 

Especially for anyone who actually read a comic book. . . 

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