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  1. #1
    Developer Vargouille's Avatar
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    Default Player Character Balance

    Dungeons & Dragons: Online isn't perfectly balanced. We're interested in discussing what balance means, and how important balance is to you, the players. We want to know how often you'd like to see balance changes.

    For this thread, we're looking particular at character balance, and how characters compare to one another. To some extent this borders on discussion of player characters vs. quest difficulty (and all that entails), but the focus here is player characters compared against other player characters (but not PvP). At some other time we may also look at other balance issues, such as Normal/Hard/Elite, or more specific issues like items, quests, monsters, traps, raids, or boss monsters.

    Why does Character Balance matter?

    We'd like a variety of roles and styles of play to be supported at a high level of play, without some builds that look like fun feeling bad to play because other characters seem so much more powerful. We've heard some level of concern over these topics and related issues. Perfect balance doesn't need to be achieved, and probably can't be achieved, but most or all playstyles should feel competitive. (We recognize that creating terrible character builds with the vast possibilities offered in DDO is always going to be possible, but we can probably all agree that's not the real issue.)

    In short, we want you to be able to play what you want to play, have fun doing it, and feel like you can be a worthwhile contributor to a party (if that's how you choose to play).

    Why isn't every character made stronger, to match the strongest characters already out there?

    • Challenge: We want to be able to provide challenges to those who seek that kind of gameplay. There should be limits to player-character power in order to achieve this, when comparing player characters against monsters, traps, bosses, etc.
    • Understanding what's already there: Minimizing changes also allows everyone to keep a consistent idea of what exists. If almost everything changes, it's like starting over from scratch, and therefore much harder to get everything right.
    • Time and resources matter: We can save a great deal of time by only changing a few overpowered abilities, rather than changing all other characters, monsters, traps, and quests to match those few most overpowered abilities or features. If we can spend a day or a week pulling back on the strongest rather than months increasing everything else, that leaves us far more time to implement new features.


    What are some examples of things that could be better balanced?

    We're keenly aware that each player probably has some topics they are concerned about, and we don't like to break characters or take away fun things that are already there. However, we may have been too cautious about balance changes in the past, especially after a new ability or feature has been launched. We'd like to know if you'd prefer changes to come more quickly, or if we should sit back and let you guys show us what can really be done before making changes.

    That said, some broad areas that we know perhaps could use some consideration:

    • Ranged combat vs. Melee Combat vs. Spellcasting, at all character levels. As an example, not so long ago, ranged combat was largely considered inferior to melee combat. We made some conscious decisions to try to improve the viability of ranged combat. That's at least a partial success, but has brought along some issues of its own.
    • Class & Race Balance: They don't all need to have identical appeal from a power perspective (as there are other reasons to play any class), but we should try to get them close enough that it doesn't feel bad to play any particular race or class, or that you feel forced to take any levels in a particular class to feel powerful.
    • Epic Destinies: We know some destinies are more popular than others, and also considered more powerful. Sometimes this is a result of unintended bugs. This could include discussions of Twists of Fate, so individual abilities vs. other abilities can still matter, though we don't expect to make every ability equally viable as a Twist of Fate (for its tier). Abilities that can't be twisted (Innate abilities and tier 5 & 6) should be largely considered as a group when comparing entire Destinies.

    This does mean potentially looking at things that rhyme with ten-thousand cars, many fought, caster's fritz, chirashi cambrian, the bunk crass, or american overtoad.


    We're happy to hear general thoughts on character balance, what you'd like to see, and also why you'd like to see certain changes (or non-changes.) We don't want to change any particular things without good reasons, so convince us!

    We'd love to also get feedback from as many of you as possible from this survey!


  2. #2
    Community Member Cardtrick's Avatar
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    Biggest thought -- be careful if you guys are going to make changes.

    Major changes should be brought up well in advance. Run them by the Player's Council. Include them in Release Notes. Include them in Lamma builds. Don't sneak them in at the last minute.

    When reading feedback, I hope and assume that you guys have a list of players who you trust a bit more than others. Try to bear in mind that the most vocal people are not necessarily the most knowledgeable or reasonable.

    I'll post some actual responses to what you asked for as well, this is just the first thing I wanted to get out there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard_Zero View Post
    One day I just wrote "Why Do I Die So Much?" in party chat, and that is how I learned about fortification.

  3. #3
    The Hatchery Roland_D'Arabel's Avatar
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    I am not going to get in to the specific details about this destiny, or that OP feat or monk splashing etc. because there are going to be many more people after my post with more to say about how everything OP should be nerfed and all the FotM builds are going to get what they have coming to them. Instead, Varg, I want to point out to you what I feel is the most important issue regarding this topic... all of these things that are overpowered, that people gravitate to are some of THE MOST FUN abilities and play styles in the game.

    In my opinion, the devs should be looking at how to make other classes, builds, destiny abilities more powerful, hence more fun. It is not a matter of Turbine looking at how the game is balanced because EE is still a big challenge to 95% of the player base even when they do build a FotM. What you need to do is address the reason why, despite the build diversity the game offers, people are drawn to only a few playstyles, destinies and builds. Fix the lame in the game and you will achieve better balance.
    Persius, Equus, Maeric, Khaaldun, Robotcoupe
    The Exploration Society ~ Thelanis

  4. #4
    Community Member Teh_Troll's Avatar
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    The first step is acknowledging a problem exists. Let me guess . . . the brokeness of class-balance is affecting the bottom line?

  5. #5
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    I think baby steps is the best way to nerf. Start with small nerfs instead of big. Eg blitz gives 20% per stack and caps at 200% bonus (10 stacks).

    I also think ED balance changes are easier to recover from since you can always change what ED you are in, the point layout, and your twists.
    Last edited by maddong; 03-21-2014 at 04:16 PM.

  6. #6
    Developer Vargouille's Avatar
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    Default

    Just to draw more attention to this:


    We love survey answers. Flood us with information, please!

  7. #7
    The Top Side GoldyGopher's Avatar
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    Default Quick Hitter

    I don't mind that a specific build is the highest DPS, I do mind that its the highest DPS by 50% to 100% increase to the next build.
    I don't mind that every classic build doesn't have a role in every quest/raid; I do mind that only a few builds seem to be catered to when new raids are designed.
    I don't mind that certain Epic Destinies benefit specific builds more than generic builds in the class sphere; I do mind that many ED are pigeon holed to only one type of build (cough cough Divine cough cough)

    I don't mind that every enhancement line isn't perfect, do mind that many that need more work aren't getting any.

    The Twilight Avengers are always recruiting - http://twilightavengersofeberron.yuku.com/topic/655

  8. #8
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    My 1st Edition-inspired 28-point Drow Fighter/Magic-User/Thief is fun to play, but he keeps dying all the time.

    Curses !!!

    More seriously though, imbalance is IMO a feature, not a bug.

    Sure -- some particularly exploitative build possibilities can overpower the game, and they should therefore be targetted with nerfage -- but it seems hard to do so without affecting the enjoyment of those who love to play "variantly optimised" toons just for the fun of it.

    But player freedom resides in the possibility of luck, surprise, risk-taking, gaming

    Too much homogenisation just kills the pleasure of it.

  9. #9
    Community Member redspecter23's Avatar
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    I think the one big thing at the core of the class balance issue is that going up close to melee in EE is infinitely more dangerous than staying at range to fight. Players that want to engage in melee don't have the proper tools to survive, while ranged toons can ignore the issue outright by just not engaging. Add to this the fact that the two new raids both feature dragons (which are a melee nightmare and a ranged dream fight) and you have your problem staring you right in the face.

    It's just not worth it to play a melee in the current game/metagame in epic elite. Ranged is safer and potentially much more powerful.

    Balance your melee/ranged issue first before going deeper and examining individual classes and abilities. Why is it so hard for a melee to get up close and stay alive for more than a few seconds without looking at specific abilities like bladeforged reconstruct or other built in burst heals? Is it intended that even with over 150+ PRR and an AC over 200 that a "tank" should still need to be burst healed every few seconds when engaged in EE combat? Shouldn't he have the tools to survive more that a second or two compared to another melee with 40 PRR and 0 AC?
    Kaarloe - Degenerate Matter - Argonnessen

  10. #10
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    Default

    The most important aspect to this is providing a real solid means to respec with changes.

    This means a REAL respec that fully works for everyone--a LR +20 is insufficient for many tri-class builds to respec with, and doesn't resolve alignment issues (like this poor fellow: https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthrea...Change-Quesion).

    They should also be FULL respecs (classes, alignment, race--pretty much everything except name).

    If I have a mechanism to roll with the changes, I'm generally cool.

  11. #11
    Community Member Vellrad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vargouille View Post
    Just to draw more attention to this:


    We love survey answers. Flood us with information, please!
    Asking about classes power without asking questions about multiclassing will provide flawed data.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vargouille View Post
    Just to draw more attention to this:


    We love survey answers. Flood us with information, please!
    Questions 1 & 2 in their current state do not let one answer with "0".

    Furthermore, your most powerful/least powerful questions not only fail to address those who avoid the Epic Destinies, but far more importantly they illustrate an overly binary approach to character development.

    --

    Sorry, I cannot in all honesty respond to this survey

  13. #13
    Community Member Cardtrick's Avatar
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    Do not nerf past lives. The level of grind (or money) it takes to achieve a past life is incredible, and there's no way to respec them and recoup that time and effort. Unless there's some obvious bug (like the old, old barbarian past life stacking thing), these should not change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vargouille View Post
    We'd like a variety of roles and styles of play to be supported at a high level of play, without some builds that look like fun feeling bad to play because other characters seem so much more powerful. We've heard some level of concern over these topics and related issues. Perfect balance doesn't need to be achieved, and probably can't be achieved, but most or all playstyles should feel competitive.
    This is the right attitude to have. The point of any rebalance needs to be to increase the number of options players have for character builds that enable them to enjoy difficult content at an appropriate level of challenge. If anyone, at any point in this thread, brings up PvP balance, I strongly encourage you to disregard any further input from them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vargouille View Post
    Time and resources matter: We can save a great deal of time by only changing a few overpowered abilities, rather than changing all other characters, monsters, traps, and quests to match those few most overpowered abilities or features. If we can spend a day or a week pulling back on the strongest rather than months increasing everything else, that leaves us far more time to implement new features.
    This is undeniably true, and I'm in favor of reducing power creep. But just don't forget how much people hate having their character made worse. It is certainly more effort to make 90% of characters better than it is to make 10% of them worse, but you don't risk alienating players.

    I absolutely know that some nerfs are inevitable, and will be good for the game -- I just encourage you to be as sparing with them as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vargouille View Post
    However, we may have been too cautious about balance changes in the past, especially after a new ability or feature has been launched. We'd like to know if you'd prefer changes to come more quickly, or if we should sit back and let you guys show us what can really be done before making changes.
    Quicker is better. Ideally, before anything even goes live. Failing that, then rip the bandage off fast before people get too attached and invest too much work, effort, time, and money into their characters. I repeat what I said above -- past life abilities should not be nerfed, ever. The ship has sailed.

    Strongly consider holding character building / DPS contests or solo completion time races for fresh builds on Lammania. Give meaningful rewards on the actual live game server for the best performances, to encourage people to participate, but also record these and look at the data. Make some balance decisions based on this -- what properly encouraged players can do when they're trying to optimize things. Doing this right will require either fixing character copy or significantly improving gearing options on Lamma.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vargouille View Post
    What are some examples of things that could be better balanced?
    Adding 2 or 6 monk levels should not improve virtually every build. It's insane that one of the worst things about 2 of the gimpiest classes (bard and barbarian) is that they're unable to splash monk.

    Taking 2 levels of monk is just insanely broken -- it gives you evasion, 2 free feats, great saves, along with access to one of the best ranged options in (zen archery/10k stars) and access to incredibly powerful stances (why on earth did you guys make the stance improvements into selectable feats?).

    A lot of this has to do with the state of the current endgame. Playing hard content at hard difficulties, it's extremely difficult to do well without some kind of decent ranged option, high saves, and evasion. Monk helps with all of that.

    I will have more thoughts later . . .
    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard_Zero View Post
    One day I just wrote "Why Do I Die So Much?" in party chat, and that is how I learned about fortification.

  14. #14
    Community Member Zavier's Avatar
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    Default Agreeing with Vellrad...uh oh

    Quote Originally Posted by Vellrad View Post
    Asking about classes power without asking questions about multiclassing will provide flawed data.
    Exactly!

    There is going to be an overwhelming black mark against monk class (and rightfully so since the enchancement pass(how in the world did you think kensai'ed centered blade wielders was going to be balanced or allow stance progressions freely without regard to monk levels)) but it is the combination of certain class which are even more potent. Having the ability to provide feedback about the multi's is more important imho.

  15. #15
    Founder & Hero Uska's Avatar
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    If you start making balance changes to classes to please the whiners please count on me canceling my sub renewel and quitting the game we need less changes from pnp not more I am on the border already but that kind of **** will do it.

    The ANTI-Realms FANBOI NUKE THE REALMS ITS THE ONLY REAL WAY TO BE SURE

  16. #16
    The Hatchery zwiebelring's Avatar
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    Frontloaded enhancement trees + frontloaded class splashes = cherry pick cookiecutter build ftw.
    Characters on Orien:
    Wanzer/ Klingtanz/ Incanta Superior/ Mercantus

  17. #17
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    this is gonna be a very fun thread so my popcorn is popping, that said

    for me just make it so bards can splash 2 monk and paladin and there epic
    destiny top tier works on bosses and balance will be achieved.

    your friend sil

  18. #18
    Intergalactic Space Crusader Livmo's Avatar
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    Default Sampling

    Please keep in mind you are only sampling from the Forums. I caution using this data as a sample representative of the whole DDO playing population. This would be akin to doing a random sample at a shopping mall and then inferring the data represents a sample of all the people in the world. I did not test to see if I can repeat this survey over and over to skew the results towards my style of play. I would not do that per say, but others might : ) )

    You won't make everyone happy and find complete balance, but I admire and salute you for attempting to bring moar balance. I will adapt.

    My only really beef at the moment is that too many peeps use the same/similar/flavor type of builds. In PnP DnD penalties discourage too much multiclassing. DDO is the opposite of PnP in that I get heckled for having a pure build.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vargouille View Post
    Dungeons & Dragons: Online isn't perfectly balanced. We're interested in discussing what balance means, and how important balance is to you, the players. We want to know how often you'd like to see balance changes.

    For this thread, we're looking particular at character balance, and how characters compare to one another. To some extent this borders on discussion of player characters vs. quest difficulty (and all that entails), but the focus here is player characters compared against other player characters (but not PvP). At some other time we may also look at other balance issues, such as Normal/Hard/Elite, or more specific issues like items, quests, monsters, traps, raids, or boss monsters.

    Why does Character Balance matter?

    We'd like a variety of roles and styles of play to be supported at a high level of play, without some builds that look like fun feeling bad to play because other characters seem so much more powerful. We've heard some level of concern over these topics and related issues. Perfect balance doesn't need to be achieved, and probably can't be achieved, but most or all playstyles should feel competitive. (We recognize that creating terrible character builds with the vast possibilities offered in DDO is always going to be possible, but we can probably all agree that's not the real issue.)

    In short, we want you to be able to play what you want to play, have fun doing it, and feel like you can be a worthwhile contributor to a party (if that's how you choose to play).

    Why isn't every character made stronger, to match the strongest characters already out there?

    • Challenge: We want to be able to provide challenges to those who seek that kind of gameplay. There should be limits to player-character power in order to achieve this, when comparing player characters against monsters, traps, bosses, etc.
    • Understanding what's already there: Minimizing changes also allows everyone to keep a consistent idea of what exists. If almost everything changes, it's like starting over from scratch, and therefore much harder to get everything right.
    • Time and resources matter: We can save a great deal of time by only changing a few overpowered abilities, rather than changing all other characters, monsters, traps, and quests to match those few most overpowered abilities or features. If we can spend a day or a week pulling back on the strongest rather than months increasing everything else, that leaves us far more time to implement new features.


    What are some examples of things that could be better balanced?

    We're keenly aware that each player probably has some topics they are concerned about, and we don't like to break characters or take away fun things that are already there. However, we may have been too cautious about balance changes in the past, especially after a new ability or feature has been launched. We'd like to know if you'd prefer changes to come more quickly, or if we should sit back and let you guys show us what can really be done before making changes.

    That said, some broad areas that we know perhaps could use some consideration:

    • Ranged combat vs. Melee Combat vs. Spellcasting, at all character levels. As an example, not so long ago, ranged combat was largely considered inferior to melee combat. We made some conscious decisions to try to improve the viability of ranged combat. That's at least a partial success, but has brought along some issues of its own.
    • Class & Race Balance: They don't all need to have identical appeal from a power perspective (as there are other reasons to play any class), but we should try to get them close enough that it doesn't feel bad to play any particular race or class, or that you feel forced to take any levels in a particular class to feel powerful.
    • Epic Destinies: We know some destinies are more popular than others, and also considered more powerful. Sometimes this is a result of unintended bugs. This could include discussions of Twists of Fate, so individual abilities vs. other abilities can still matter, though we don't expect to make every ability equally viable as a Twist of Fate (for its tier). Abilities that can't be twisted (Innate abilities and tier 5 & 6) should be largely considered as a group when comparing entire Destinies.

    This does mean potentially looking at things that rhyme with ten-thousand cars, many fought, caster's fritz, chirashi cambrian, the bunk crass, or american overtoad.


    We're happy to hear general thoughts on character balance, what you'd like to see, and also why you'd like to see certain changes (or non-changes.) We don't want to change any particular things without good reasons, so convince us!

    We'd love to also get feedback from as many of you as possible from this survey!


  19. #19
    Community Member Panzercat's Avatar
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    I am not in favor of finely tuned balanced classes. Reasonable balance is enough, even if some end up somewhat more stronger than others. You need some limited imbalance because there are all kinds of different players. Some players are not content unless they smack around bosses with their FOTM builds with uber powerful feats, enhancements, and their Keen Vorpal Blade Cuisinart of instant destruction whereas another player will be more satisfied defeating the same boss naked and armed with only a wet noodle and their wits. Tying to satisfied all is road to mediocre game play.

  20. #20
    Community Member Vellrad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Livmo View Post
    Please keep in mind you are only sampling from the Forums. I caution using this data as a sample representative of the whole DDO playing population. This would be akin to doing a random sample at a shopping mall and then inferring the data represents a sample of all the people in the world.
    No its not the same.

    People that don't post on the forum don't want their opinion to be listened to.
    Otherwise, they would speak up.
    They're silent, so they don't care.

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