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  1. #1
    Community Member BigErkyKid's Avatar
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    Default (towards a) Gold standard in balance testing

    Everyone has an opinion about the state of balance in the game. However, we haven't come together to a consensus on what constitute good "tests" for balance. Devs be devs, purposely obscure with regards to what is a "good" test to convince them. So, let's build a consensus of our own (to the posters: ignore the trolling and baiting that will follow, focus on the topic).

    We need good measures, IMO, for: i) boss DPS, ii) trash DPS, iii) questing "power". Let's start with boss DPS, since it is likely to be the simplest.

    What constitutes a good test mob for boss DPS:

    • Easy access: testing is a PITA, let's not make it a raid boss hidden after a long beatdowm (Mrs. bumbum spider goddess?).
    • Relevant: gimmicky content, old bosses no one cares about, etc.
    • Beefy: enough HPs to avoid the short term buffs fallacy.


    How should the reports be?

    • Transparent: specify build and gear, rotations; if you needed a tank / healer, report that too (they scale the instance differently).
    • Video or not video: video is preferred, but other reports will be accepted (expect them to be contested).
    • Multiple rounds: or the 5 beatdowns rule; a single beatdown is prone to crit fishing on martial builds (feel free to speed up the video, or provide multiple links).


    The potential pitfalls:

    • Racer toons: characters build specifically to "win" boss DPS racers are a problem; transparency solves this partially, but it is left the objective reader.
    • Special boss mechanics: some bosses have special mechanics (teleports, cleaves, melee range), so they might alter the results wrt to kobold boss types.
    • Non-comparable submissions: a player goes in with full debuffs, and the next does not.


    With all this in mind, what is a good test mob? Well, no need to re-invent the wheel. Mr Bruntsmash in Cabal for One (https://ddowiki.com/page/A_Cabal_for_One).

    The rules of the modified Bruntsmash test:

    1. No debuffs: it is expected that someone would be applying those debuffs in a group setting. While some builds have easier access to them (fast attackers stacking then swapping), it would create a layer of complication that we cannot solve easily. The fact that does debuffs scale damage roughly equally across builds guarantees that this won't bias the test excessively. Specifically: i) always use the same weapon; ii) do not use class, PRE or ED based debuffers (jade strike, INQ vuln stacks); iii) the exception to this rule is deception and sneak attack debuff, which are allowed (SA is too innate to some builds to disallow it, and it wouldn't happen in real play).
    2. No external buffs: other players are not allowed to buff you; it would make it very hard to replicate.
    3. Full transparency: report your rotation, build, gear, group composition.
    4. Number of skulls: 5 skulls rule of thumb; has more HPs to resist the shortest burst.


    Failure to comply with the rules of the test disqualifies a submission. There are plenty of venues to post for just bragging rights, but it is of limited use in balance discussions.


    My suggestion is to first make a baseline boss DPS as "fair" as possible (did I miss anything?), then move on to different bosses, and the rest of things to be tested.

    Let's turn balance discussions into something constructive, and not the current toxic mess they are. I appeal to those powergamers out there that are already doing this to come out and contribute to the community. Finally, remember, do NOT feed the trolls (no matter how irritating).

  2. #2
    Community Member Chai's Avatar
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    Lets see a post about balancing against all characteristics rather than just DPS. Once this crowd demonstrates they understand what true game balance is, these discussions will stop being (your words here) the toxic mess that they are and can then be more constructive.

    The reason why this suggestion does NOT demonstrate an understanding of how balance works, is once you get your wish and they homogenize DPS to one benchmark, specific archetypes will drop completely out of he meta for good. Why play a platform with bad recovery and mitigation if theres no DPS reward for doing so (glass cannon) when we can play on the platform that has the same DPS, but better recovery and mitigation?

    Games that succeed at class balance:
    1. Bug fix patch
    2. Balance patch
    3. Feature addition patch
    4. Expansion
    ~Repeat 1-3 on regular interval.
    ~Repeat 4 at regular interval with longer amounts of time between.

    The issues I see in DDO which inhibit any kind of class balance ever happening are:
    1. Company chooses to revamp one class at a time along with an update which adds features and fixes bugs. (no dichotomy for different kinds of patches. When its ready its checked in, etc)
    2. Game revenue hitched to character power creep - this influences their choice to implement vertical progression system, ignoring any lateral and horizontal system potential.
    3. Players not willing to wait for long period of time for all class revamps to balance game - knee jerk reactions with apples to oranges comparisons - comparing revamped classes with non revamped classes - resulting in nerf demands.
    4. Many players have a completely archaic and unrealistic view of modern development practices, who question the knowledge of players who are aware of modern development practices, inhibiting any potential for real discussion to occur.
    5. Players completely unwilling to admit they are part of the issue, claiming 100% company fault 0% player fault (while its own issue, also a part of issue 3)

    Historically in DDO too many things couched in terms of balance ended up being rock saying paper is OP but scissors is fine. When acted on, balance has never occurred - it only served to usher in a new equally impactful (both positive and negative) meta build.

    Nerfing the munchkin's current build has never saved a game. It has also never turned a munchkin into anything else, other than the same munchkin playing a different OP build.

    While we might not gravitate toward that playstyle, driving those folks away from games usually has a large negative impact on the rest of the community. With their lust for figuring out all the synergies to build the most powerful character, they usually get there first, well before everyone else. They author up wiki and guides for what works and what doesnt, create build docs the rest of us follow, run all the tests to eek the last few percentage points of power out of their builds - helps determine where diminishing return thresholds are etc....when these folks are encouraged to leave the community, the wiki's go stale, the build forum becomes a graveyard of old outdated no-longer-relevant builds, and it becomes far easier to make build mistakes (can be costly in a game like DDO where backtracking a mistake requires a feat swap or an LR).

    All for what? Nerfing their current thing, and enjoying some schadenfreude as they retreat back to their build enthusiast lair to get back to the drawing board, only to reappear on the next OP thing they figured out?

    This is before we discuss the negative impact the nerfs heavily advocated for all couched in the name of game balance, had on the game. People complaining melee sucks now. Undo all melee nerfs since paladin revamp, and no melee build is OP in the current meta. Heck they could even undo the U9 glancing blow nerf. (yeah kids, get in the way back machine). THF would likely still be in last place, but at least its on the same lap in the race, rather than having been lapped twice over. The state of melee currently demonstrates how the usual suspects dont have a grasp on how real balance in a game works. Melee suffered nerf after nerf due to the same "constructive" balance talks, and look at the impact that had. Want this discussion to be constructive? Then some pattern recognition is in order, and when the negative patterns are recognized, stop engaging in them. This means being objective and letting go of old bias as well.

    Edit: Also keep in mind I am saying this from a platform of not caring whether this current thing gets nerfed or not. Its not the current nerf talk I am advocating against, its all of the nerf demands thinly veiled as game balance requests, couched in terms of "ruining my fun when someone else plays it" etc...which I advocate against. Melee (especially THF) isnt even a red headed step child anymore. Its more like the witch that got exiled from the town of grindville, and for what, because it contributed to the community TOO WELL. Irony indeed. Multiple layers.

    We'd send the inquisitor to investigate this mysterious disappearance, but he's been chased off by the nerf mob too.

    The usual nerf advocates would not be able to tolerate the real mega-nerf that would need to occur to actually bring balance to DDO - something 10+ years of demanding nerfs to a single class because it performs better than what they currently play has yet to accomplish. In a scenario where revenue generation wasnt directly tethered to selling character power, instead of nerfing one thing at a time three times a year which has never worked in DDO to achieve balance, the nerf bat I would lay down on this game would be more like a nerf low orbit ion cannon - something to the effect that would melt everything people ground for and paid for over the past 8 years or so down to scrap, and after the crying stopped (and the tears collected for display in the trophy case) the "new" version of the post nerf game would look something akin to 2009 right before TR happened. It might require waiting a year or two for people to recover from the shock and hurt backsides this would cause (heck, most are doing that anyhow) but when people came back, they would get to experience the game in its best era, with a thriving endgame, when accomplishment integrity mattered, resource management was a thing, and the classes all did something desirable by other classes.

    After that set up a lateral progression system, which doesnt always increase the power every single update, and instead creates and designs loot that is not based on current builds, but on getting people to play a more diverse array of builds by causing the community to create more builds around the larger quantity of interesting and unique items. This broadens the current meta into something complex rather than the current strategy of switching up the meta completely while favoring one archetype over all others. Combine that with having classes which are unique and have desirable abilities (i know, repeated from above), without every single problem being solved with a consumable or gear item that provides blanket immunities. Part of this would involve handing out immunities en masse as abilities, but you can only be invulnerable to the specific thing for a few seconds, and it would be on a cooldown. This would create a higher skill ceiling with more APM to play characters at the highest level (allowing us to collect more tears for the trophy case from those who dont like to push more than 2 buttons a minute) but still keep the skill floor low enough that non optimized builds played by auto attackers with potatoes for hands can succeed in the lower difficulty settings.

    Then Id give the mobs all the same abilities, and even more unique ones the players dont have. You want real challenge? You got it. Defeat those mobs over there with warlock levels, eldritch chain blasting your party while they smile at you from behind their barricades. Dont just charge in, they might have set traps, and are currently baiting you to do just that.

    After recovering in other games for a year or two, and the sobbing on the forums stopped (one can dream, right?), this is what players would come back and find.

    In game balance, diversity is far more important than fairness or homogenization.

    Real diversity is having the class that do actual different things (not simply semantically different) and then excel at one while being mediocre at the rest. Then the player actually has to make a real choice to gain one, while sacrificing the other. The 'sameness" type of class balancing the forumites are demanding nowdays does not account for real diversity.

    I will provide some examples of real diversity.

    Scale of 1-10. you get 25 points to allocate.
    ---------------
    Cleric
    -----------------
    Heal 10
    damage dealing 3
    damage mitigation 7
    crowd control 5
    ---------------
    Bard
    --------------
    Heal 7
    damage dealing 5
    damage mitigation 4
    crowd control 9
    -----------------
    Ranger
    ---------------
    Heal 6
    damage dealing 10
    damage mitigation 5
    crowd control 4
    ----------------------
    fighter tank
    ---------------------
    Heal 2
    damage dealing 8
    damage mitigation 10
    crowd control 5

    This is real diversity (and why homogenization of DPS as "balance" will fail). Classes are better at different things and all are desired. The problem is in DDO, all are no longer desired, so people measure class performance largely based on DPS with a secondary emphasis on survivability, then demand sameness balance in those areas. When those same people complain about class homogenization, this is a direct contradiction in logic, because it is their very demand of class balance which created the class homogenization in the first place.

    In D&D the enforcing the trade off is what keeps the balance and also keeps the diversity. In my example of someone wants their fighter to be a 10 in damage dealing, they have to move points from something else, like falling to an 8 in mitigation to get it.
    Last edited by Chai; 10-01-2019 at 05:59 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Teh_Troll View Post
    We are no more d000m'd then we were a week ago. Note - This was posted in 10/2013 (when concurrency was ~4x what it is today)

  3. #3
    The Hatchery Cernunan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chai View Post
    Lets see a post about balancing against all characteristics rather than just DPS. Once this crowd demonstrates they understand what true game balance is, these discussions will stop being (your words here) the toxic mess that they are and can then be more constructive.

    The reason why this suggestion does NOT demonstrate an understanding of how balance works, is once you get your wish and they homogenize DPS to one benchmark, specific archetypes will drop completely out of he meta for good. Why play a platform with bad recovery and mitigation if theres no DPS reward for doing so (glass cannon) when we can play on the platform that has the same DPS, but better recovery and mitigation?

    Games that succeed at class balance:
    1. Bug fix patch
    2. Balance patch
    3. Feature addition patch
    4. Expansion
    ~Repeat 1-3 on regular interval.
    ~Repeat 4 at regular interval with longer amounts of time between.

    The issues I see in DDO which inhibit any kind of class balance ever happening are:
    1. Company chooses to revamp one class at a time along with an update which adds features and fixes bugs. (no dichotomy for different kinds of patches. When its ready its checked in, etc)
    2. Game revenue hitched to character power creep - this influences their choice to implement vertical progression system, ignoring any lateral and horizontal system potential.
    3. Players not willing to wait for long period of time for all class revamps to balance game - knee jerk reactions with apples to oranges comparisons - comparing revamped classes with non revamped classes - resulting in nerf demands.
    4. Many players have a completely archaic and unrealistic view of modern development practices, who question the knowledge of players who are aware of modern development practices, inhibiting any potential for real discussion to occur.
    5. Players completely unwilling to admit they are part of the issue, claiming 100% company fault 0% player fault (while its own issue, also a part of issue 3)

    Historically in DDO too many things couched in terms of balance ended up being rock saying paper is OP but scissors is fine. When acted on, balance has never occurred - it only served to usher in a new equally impactful (both positive and negative) meta build.

    Nerfing the munchkin's current build has never saved a game. It has also never turned a munchkin into anything else, other than the same munchkin playing a different OP build.

    While we might not gravitate toward that playstyle, driving those folks away from games usually has a large negative impact on the rest of the community. With their lust for figuring out all the synergies to build the most powerful character, they usually get there first, well before everyone else. They author up wiki and guides for what works and what doesnt, create build docs the rest of us follow, run all the tests to eek the last few percentage points of power out of their builds - helps determine where diminishing return thresholds are etc....when these folks are encouraged to leave the community, the wiki's go stale, the build forum becomes a graveyard of old outdated no-longer-relevant builds, and it becomes far easier to make build mistakes (can be costly in a game like DDO where backtracking a mistake requires a feat swap or an LR).

    All for what? Nerfing their current thing, and enjoying some schadenfreude as they retreat back to their build enthusiast lair to get back to the drawing board, only to reappear on the next OP thing they figured out?

    This is before we discuss the negative impact the nerfs heavily advocated for all couched in the name of game balance, had on the game. People complaining melee sucks now. Undo all melee nerfs since paladin revamp, and no melee build is OP in the current meta. Heck they could even undo the U9 glancing blow nerf. (yeah kids, get in the way back machine). THF would likely still be in last place, but at least its on the same lap in the race, rather than having been lapped twice over. The state of melee currently demonstrates how the usual suspects dont have a grasp on how real balance in a game works. Melee suffered nerf after nerf due to the same "constructive" balance talks, and look at the impact that had. Want this discussion to be constructive? Then some pattern recognition is in order, and when the negative patterns are recognized, stop engaging in them. This means being objective and letting go of old bias as well.

    Edit: Also keep in mind I am saying this from a platform of not caring whether this current thing gets nerfed or not. Its not the current nerf talk I am advocating against, its all of the nerf demands thinly veiled as game balance requests, couched in terms of "ruining my fun when someone else plays it" etc...which I advocate against. Melee (especially THF) isnt even a red headed step child anymore. Its more like the witch that got exiled from the town of grindville, and for what, because it contributed to the community TOO WELL. Irony indeed. Multiple layers.

    We'd send the inquisitor to investigate this mysterious disappearance, but he's been chased off by the nerf mob too.

    The usual nerf advocates would not be able to tolerate the real mega-nerf that would need to occur to actually bring balance to DDO - something 10+ years of demanding nerfs to a single class because it performs better than what they currently play has yet to accomplish. In a scenario where revenue generation wasnt directly tethered to selling character power, instead of nerfing one thing at a time three times a year which has never worked in DDO to achieve balance, the nerf bat I would lay down on this game would be more like a nerf low orbit ion cannon - something to the effect that would melt everything people ground for and paid for over the past 8 years or so down to scrap, and after the crying stopped (and the tears collected for display in the trophy case) the "new" version of the post nerf game would look something akin to 2009 right before TR happened. It might require waiting a year or two for people to recover from the shock and hurt backsides this would cause (heck, most are doing that anyhow) but when people came back, they would get to experience the game in its best era, with a thriving endgame, when accomplishment integrity mattered, resource management was a thing, and the classes all did something desirable by other classes.

    After that set up a lateral progression system, which doesnt always increase the power every single update, and instead creates and designs loot that is not based on current builds, but on getting people to play a more diverse array of builds by causing the community to create more builds around the larger quantity of interesting and unique items. This broadens the current meta into something complex rather than the current strategy of switching up the meta completely while favoring one archetype over all others. Combine that with having classes which are unique and have desirable abilities (i know, repeated from above), without every single problem being solved with a consumable or gear item that provides blanket immunities. Part of this would involve handing out immunities en masse as abilities, but you can only be invulnerable to the specific thing for a few seconds, and it would be on a cooldown. This would create a higher skill ceiling with more APM to play characters at the highest level (allowing us to collect more tears for the trophy case from those who dont like to push more than 2 buttons a minute) but still keep the skill floor low enough that non optimized builds played by auto attackers with potatoes for hands can succeed in the lower difficulty settings.

    Then Id give the mobs all the same abilities, and even more unique ones the players dont have. You want real challenge? You got it. Defeat those mobs over there with warlock levels, eldritch chain blasting your party while they smile at you from behind their barricades. Dont just charge in, they might have set traps, and are currently baiting you to do just that.

    After recovering in other games for a year or two, and the sobbing on the forums stopped (one can dream, right?), this is what players would come back and find.

    In game balance, diversity is far more important than fairness or homogenization.

    Real diversity is having the class that do actual different things (not simply semantically different) and then excel at one while being mediocre at the rest. Then the player actually has to make a real choice to gain one, while sacrificing the other. The 'sameness" type of class balancing the forumites are demanding nowdays does not account for real diversity.

    I will provide some examples of real diversity.

    Scale of 1-10. you get 25 points to allocate.
    ---------------
    Cleric
    -----------------
    Heal 10
    damage dealing 3
    damage mitigation 7
    crowd control 5
    ---------------
    Bard
    --------------
    Heal 7
    damage dealing 5
    damage mitigation 4
    crowd control 9
    -----------------
    Ranger
    ---------------
    Heal 6
    damage dealing 10
    damage mitigation 5
    crowd control 4
    ----------------------
    fighter tank
    ---------------------
    Heal 2
    damage dealing 8
    damage mitigation 10
    crowd control 5

    This is real diversity (and why homogenization of DPS as "balance" will fail). Classes are better at different things and all are desired. The problem is in DDO, all are no longer desired, so people measure class performance largely based on DPS with a secondary emphasis on survivability, then demand sameness balance in those areas. When those same people complain about class homogenization, this is a direct contradiction in logic, because it is their very demand of class balance which created the class homogenization in the first place.

    In D&D the enforcing the trade off is what keeps the balance and also keeps the diversity. In my example of someone wants their fighter to be a 10 in damage dealing, they have to move points from something else, like falling to an 8 in mitigation to get it.


    This
    Quote Originally Posted by Drwaz99 View Post
    While it's not difficult to figure out, it's a mindless, stupid and eye-bleeding grind. It's not too hard to figure out that is not what this game needs right now. 2-3 million karma ok, there's some pain for your gain. But really, the EPL's are not worth the pain of 6 million XP in off destinies/sphere's.
    Quote Originally Posted by PermaBanned View Post
    Profit quantity has been prioritized above product quality.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chai View Post
    *snip*
    Well said!

  5. #5
    Community Member Potatofasf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chai View Post
    ... Classes are better at different things and all are desired. The problem is in DDO, all are no longer desired, so people measure class performance largely based on DPS with a secondary emphasis on survivability, then demand sameness balance in those areas. When those same people complain about class homogenization, this is a direct contradiction in logic, because it is their very demand of class balance which created the class homogenization in the first place.

    In D&D the enforcing the trade off is what keeps the balance and also keeps the diversity. In my example of someone wants their fighter to be a 10 in damage dealing, they have to move points from something else, like falling to an 8 in mitigation to get it.
    All well said and explained, but... DDO nowadays has a severe flaw - lack of player base to sustain a healthy group environment, the game is a solo it through based. So have a Cleric incapable of deal decent damage or a Fighter incapable of self healing turn to be a slog through content fest. The majority of players will search (and found) the most "balanced" DPS/Survivability setup to solo thing, if groups occur fine, but in the end solo content faster will be the norm. For those whom advocate/crave for flavor and "!D&D!" immersion will be make it or break it, some will leave other will outcry in the forum for "balance" "nerf" "make this great again".

    In a PnP D&D environment without Reincarnation System with EXP need escalation (1st life X - 2nd life X+X/2 - 3rd life X+(X.2)) the Dungeon Master (even on a solo based campaign) will handle to the player a scenario that he can beat with the build he choose and make available NPCs to help him in his quests. DDO as a digital D&D environment has a set of static mechanics that privileges some kind of build and penalize others, players over the years have found ways to overcome that static mechanics then comes the nerf bat, so players found ways once again and this dance goes on.

    SSG... Turbine... Warner Bros... or whatever runs this... after the MoTU release and the Cap expansion based it in Dungeons & Dragons Animated Series instead of the Source Books. The game is a lawnmower, hamsterwheel, powercreep shop.
    Last edited by Potatofasf; 10-01-2019 at 07:47 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Bruntsmash, yes, thumbs up, 100% agree, great suggestion. No "reasonable observer" could disagree with beating down Bruntsmash. Bruntsmash it is. Case closed.

    Suggestion, skip "ii) trash DPS" because it can be adequately incorporated into "iii) questing power", then post a thread for "questing power".

    I shouldn't be so dismissive, you're passionate about this, it's cool. If DDO was 500+ quests of zoning in and killing one fat mob in 15 to 60 seconds it would seem more vital to me but I think the concept of "questing power" is going to be more useful and generate more interesting discussion when it comes to exploring the idea of build performance. It can be a part of the picture but at least for me it's the smaller part.

    For what it's worth I think you can't limit debuffing the way you suggested, what about a sorcerer's awaken elemental weakness? Stricken Form? Conduction? Those are definitely inherent qualities of a build so you can't fully test a build without them. If you're testing a build that uses a weapon I'd go as far to say smart weapon selection and swapping as needed is still a quality of your build as well (and does Quick Draw make a difference), but I could see why some may disagree. Disallowing any build to use the tools at their disposal, like enhancement effects or weapon swapping is not going to give you the same result you'd get playing for real in game which should be a goal - these tests should reflect the in game reality for how players play (while solo, I presume), and no one would knowingly limit themselves that way. As long as you do want to judge solo performance which is my assumption, I agree it is important to disallow buffing from a partner (one of those videos posted earlier looked like the solo guy had the modern day equivalent of the Axer package at the start).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chai View Post
    Lets see a post about balancing against all characteristics rather than just DPS.
    I agree. DPS is one aspect but the ultimate metric in the game is clearing quests quickly.

    I think rather than looking at one encounter, ie Bruntsmash, as a benchmark merely for DPS, we should be picking one quest as a benchmark and comparing how fast builds can clear it, on a certain difficulty, while achieving certain objectives (optionals, trapping, conquest, no-death, etc.)

    Comparing TTCs will give us a better sense of a build's overall efficacy in real-game scenarios. Crucible might be the best overall test - it really rewards you for overall efficacy in all facets: kill speed, move speed, trap defense, spell defense/saves, ranged, melee. Its rather long for a benchmark though and the maze part is a waste, and some of the stuff is random. I'm not sure what the best test would be since I dont have VIP...maybe one of the new pack, I've seen that they're pretty creative and not just dungeon-crawl DPS tests.

  8. #8
    Staggering LightBear's Avatar
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    In such a game there would be one race, one class, one stat, one save, one skill, one feat and no such thing as thaco.

    Race: Balance
    Class: Balance
    Stat: Balance
    Save: Balance
    Skill: Balance
    Feat: Balance


  9. #9
    Community Member DaggomaticDwarf's Avatar
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    Default Omg yes!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chai View Post
    Lets see a post about balancing against all characteristics rather than just DPS. Once this crowd demonstrates they understand what true game balance is, these discussions will stop being (your words here) the toxic mess that they are and can then be more constructive.

    The reason why this suggestion does NOT demonstrate an understanding of how balance works, is once you get your wish and they homogenize DPS to one benchmark, specific archetypes will drop completely out of he meta for good. Why play a platform with bad recovery and mitigation if theres no DPS reward for doing so (glass cannon) when we can play on the platform that has the same DPS, but better recovery and mitigation?

    Games that succeed at class balance:
    1. Bug fix patch
    2. Balance patch
    3. Feature addition patch
    4. Expansion
    ~Repeat 1-3 on regular interval.
    ~Repeat 4 at regular interval with longer amounts of time between.

    The issues I see in DDO which inhibit any kind of class balance ever happening are:
    1. Company chooses to revamp one class at a time along with an update which adds features and fixes bugs. (no dichotomy for different kinds of patches. When its ready its checked in, etc)
    2. Game revenue hitched to character power creep - this influences their choice to implement vertical progression system, ignoring any lateral and horizontal system potential.
    3. Players not willing to wait for long period of time for all class revamps to balance game - knee jerk reactions with apples to oranges comparisons - comparing revamped classes with non revamped classes - resulting in nerf demands.
    4. Many players have a completely archaic and unrealistic view of modern development practices, who question the knowledge of players who are aware of modern development practices, inhibiting any potential for real discussion to occur.
    5. Players completely unwilling to admit they are part of the issue, claiming 100% company fault 0% player fault (while its own issue, also a part of issue 3)

    Historically in DDO too many things couched in terms of balance ended up being rock saying paper is OP but scissors is fine. When acted on, balance has never occurred - it only served to usher in a new equally impactful (both positive and negative) meta build.

    Nerfing the munchkin's current build has never saved a game. It has also never turned a munchkin into anything else, other than the same munchkin playing a different OP build.

    While we might not gravitate toward that playstyle, driving those folks away from games usually has a large negative impact on the rest of the community. With their lust for figuring out all the synergies to build the most powerful character, they usually get there first, well before everyone else. They author up wiki and guides for what works and what doesnt, create build docs the rest of us follow, run all the tests to eek the last few percentage points of power out of their builds - helps determine where diminishing return thresholds are etc....when these folks are encouraged to leave the community, the wiki's go stale, the build forum becomes a graveyard of old outdated no-longer-relevant builds, and it becomes far easier to make build mistakes (can be costly in a game like DDO where backtracking a mistake requires a feat swap or an LR).

    All for what? Nerfing their current thing, and enjoying some schadenfreude as they retreat back to their build enthusiast lair to get back to the drawing board, only to reappear on the next OP thing they figured out?

    This is before we discuss the negative impact the nerfs heavily advocated for all couched in the name of game balance, had on the game. People complaining melee sucks now. Undo all melee nerfs since paladin revamp, and no melee build is OP in the current meta. Heck they could even undo the U9 glancing blow nerf. (yeah kids, get in the way back machine). THF would likely still be in last place, but at least its on the same lap in the race, rather than having been lapped twice over. The state of melee currently demonstrates how the usual suspects dont have a grasp on how real balance in a game works. Melee suffered nerf after nerf due to the same "constructive" balance talks, and look at the impact that had. Want this discussion to be constructive? Then some pattern recognition is in order, and when the negative patterns are recognized, stop engaging in them. This means being objective and letting go of old bias as well.

    Edit: Also keep in mind I am saying this from a platform of not caring whether this current thing gets nerfed or not. Its not the current nerf talk I am advocating against, its all of the nerf demands thinly veiled as game balance requests, couched in terms of "ruining my fun when someone else plays it" etc...which I advocate against. Melee (especially THF) isnt even a red headed step child anymore. Its more like the witch that got exiled from the town of grindville, and for what, because it contributed to the community TOO WELL. Irony indeed. Multiple layers.

    We'd send the inquisitor to investigate this mysterious disappearance, but he's been chased off by the nerf mob too.

    The usual nerf advocates would not be able to tolerate the real mega-nerf that would need to occur to actually bring balance to DDO - something 10+ years of demanding nerfs to a single class because it performs better than what they currently play has yet to accomplish. In a scenario where revenue generation wasnt directly tethered to selling character power, instead of nerfing one thing at a time three times a year which has never worked in DDO to achieve balance, the nerf bat I would lay down on this game would be more like a nerf low orbit ion cannon - something to the effect that would melt everything people ground for and paid for over the past 8 years or so down to scrap, and after the crying stopped (and the tears collected for display in the trophy case) the "new" version of the post nerf game would look something akin to 2009 right before TR happened. It might require waiting a year or two for people to recover from the shock and hurt backsides this would cause (heck, most are doing that anyhow) but when people came back, they would get to experience the game in its best era, with a thriving endgame, when accomplishment integrity mattered, resource management was a thing, and the classes all did something desirable by other classes.

    After that set up a lateral progression system, which doesnt always increase the power every single update, and instead creates and designs loot that is not based on current builds, but on getting people to play a more diverse array of builds by causing the community to create more builds around the larger quantity of interesting and unique items. This broadens the current meta into something complex rather than the current strategy of switching up the meta completely while favoring one archetype over all others. Combine that with having classes which are unique and have desirable abilities (i know, repeated from above), without every single problem being solved with a consumable or gear item that provides blanket immunities. Part of this would involve handing out immunities en masse as abilities, but you can only be invulnerable to the specific thing for a few seconds, and it would be on a cooldown. This would create a higher skill ceiling with more APM to play characters at the highest level (allowing us to collect more tears for the trophy case from those who dont like to push more than 2 buttons a minute) but still keep the skill floor low enough that non optimized builds played by auto attackers with potatoes for hands can succeed in the lower difficulty settings.

    Then Id give the mobs all the same abilities, and even more unique ones the players dont have. You want real challenge? You got it. Defeat those mobs over there with warlock levels, eldritch chain blasting your party while they smile at you from behind their barricades. Dont just charge in, they might have set traps, and are currently baiting you to do just that.

    After recovering in other games for a year or two, and the sobbing on the forums stopped (one can dream, right?), this is what players would come back and find.

    In game balance, diversity is far more important than fairness or homogenization.

    Real diversity is having the class that do actual different things (not simply semantically different) and then excel at one while being mediocre at the rest. Then the player actually has to make a real choice to gain one, while sacrificing the other. The 'sameness" type of class balancing the forumites are demanding nowdays does not account for real diversity.

    I will provide some examples of real diversity.

    Scale of 1-10. you get 25 points to allocate.
    ---------------
    Cleric
    -----------------
    Heal 10
    damage dealing 3
    damage mitigation 7
    crowd control 5
    ---------------
    Bard
    --------------
    Heal 7
    damage dealing 5
    damage mitigation 4
    crowd control 9
    -----------------
    Ranger
    ---------------
    Heal 6
    damage dealing 10
    damage mitigation 5
    crowd control 4
    ----------------------
    fighter tank
    ---------------------
    Heal 2
    damage dealing 8
    damage mitigation 10
    crowd control 5

    This is real diversity (and why homogenization of DPS as "balance" will fail). Classes are better at different things and all are desired. The problem is in DDO, all are no longer desired, so people measure class performance largely based on DPS with a secondary emphasis on survivability, then demand sameness balance in those areas. When those same people complain about class homogenization, this is a direct contradiction in logic, because it is their very demand of class balance which created the class homogenization in the first place.

    In D&D the enforcing the trade off is what keeps the balance and also keeps the diversity. In my example of someone wants their fighter to be a 10 in damage dealing, they have to move points from something else, like falling to an 8 in mitigation to get it.
    This sums it up PERFECTLY! Thx Chai! Though I feel most won't understand.

    Dagg.
    If A Dwarf falls in the forest does he make a sound? YES! Ah Gawd Dang Sons of a *BEEP*
    Guild leader of the "Order of the Never Empty Mug"-Khyber Server-Varda, Daggummet, Xotika, Angelheart, Annaleeza, Keirza, Gearszin, Iluvatar, Sindeamon, and Pippsqueek

  10. #10
    Community Member DaggomaticDwarf's Avatar
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    Default Nice

    Quote Originally Posted by Potatofasf View Post
    All well said and explained, but... DDO nowadays has a severe flaw - lack of player base to sustain a healthy group environment, the game is a solo it through based. So have a Cleric incapable of deal decent damage or a Fighter incapable of self healing turn to be a slog through content fest. The majority of players will search (and found) the most "balanced" DPS/Survivability setup to solo thing, if groups occur fine, but in the end solo content faster will be the norm. For those whom advocate/crave for flavor and "!D&D!" immersion will be make it or break it, some will leave other will outcry in the forum for "balance" "nerf" "make this great again".

    In a PnP D&D environment without Reincarnation System with EXP need escalation (1st life X - 2nd life X+X/2 - 3rd life X+(X.2)) the Dungeon Master (even on a solo based campaign) will handle to the player a scenario that he can beat with the build he choose and make available NPCs to help him in his quests. DDO as a digital D&D environment has a set of static mechanics that privileges some kind of build and penalize others, players over the years have found ways to overcome that static mechanics then comes the nerf bat, so players found ways once again and this dance goes on.

    SSG... Turbine... Warner Bros... or whatever runs this... after the MoTU release and the Cap expansion based it in Dungeons & Dragons Animated Series instead of the Source Books. The game is a lawnmower, hamsterwheel, powercreep shop.
    This illusion of balance they want, broke this game. The illusion of balance will not fix this game. If we went the route suggested in the OP, it would be the nail in the coffin. At this point though, there's no going back. For every true DnD'rs still around, there are twice as many "Headshot'rs",

    Dagg.
    If A Dwarf falls in the forest does he make a sound? YES! Ah Gawd Dang Sons of a *BEEP*
    Guild leader of the "Order of the Never Empty Mug"-Khyber Server-Varda, Daggummet, Xotika, Angelheart, Annaleeza, Keirza, Gearszin, Iluvatar, Sindeamon, and Pippsqueek

  11. #11
    Community Member Bacab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chai View Post
    I will provide some examples of real diversity.

    Scale of 1-10. you get 25 points to allocate.
    ---------------
    Cleric
    -----------------
    Heal 10
    damage dealing 3
    damage mitigation 7
    crowd control 5
    ---------------
    Bard
    --------------
    Heal 7
    damage dealing 5
    damage mitigation 4
    crowd control 9
    -----------------
    Ranger
    ---------------
    Heal 6
    damage dealing 10
    damage mitigation 5
    crowd control 4
    ----------------------
    fighter tank
    ---------------------
    Heal 2
    damage dealing 8
    damage mitigation 10
    crowd control 5

    This is real diversity (and why homogenization of DPS as "balance" will fail). Classes are better at different things and all are desired. The problem is in DDO, all are no longer desired, so people measure class performance largely based on DPS with a secondary emphasis on survivability, then demand sameness balance in those areas. When those same people complain about class homogenization, this is a direct contradiction in logic, because it is their very demand of class balance which created the class homogenization in the first place.

    In D&D the enforcing the trade off is what keeps the balance and also keeps the diversity. In my example of someone wants their fighter to be a 10 in damage dealing, they have to move points from something else, like falling to an 8 in mitigation to get it.
    I agree with this a ton.

    The only thing that I wish was different was that often in DDO, just being ranged damage (can be bows, can be spells) you are afforded a lot of damage mitigation.

    This is where the "return damage idea" (damage from X distance is reflected onto the caster/ranged) from an earlier thread would really be nice. I am unsure if DDO (as a game engine) could implement this though?

    You some other ideas on how to deal with the ranged damage mitigation as well.
    "Hireling" and "Hjealer"
    Member of THACO on Ghallanda

  12. #12
    Community Member DaggomaticDwarf's Avatar
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    Default OH Heck NO!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacab View Post
    I agree with this a ton.

    The only thing that I wish was different was that often in DDO, just being ranged damage (can be bows, can be spells) you are afforded a lot of damage mitigation.

    This is where the "return damage idea" (damage from X distance is reflected onto the caster/ranged) from an earlier thread would really be nice. I am unsure if DDO (as a game engine) could implement this though?

    You some other ideas on how to deal with the ranged damage mitigation as well.
    You want to penalized a class for using one of their greatest defenses? It's called RANGED meaning not in Melee. I don't think even history could support this.

    Image a group of archers on the battle field with either one arm tied behind there back or the legs bound.

    Dagg.
    If A Dwarf falls in the forest does he make a sound? YES! Ah Gawd Dang Sons of a *BEEP*
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  13. #13
    Master Assassin nokowi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaggomaticDwarf View Post
    You want to penalized a class for using one of their greatest defenses? It's called RANGED meaning not in Melee. I don't think even history could support this.

    Image a group of archers on the battle field with either one arm tied behind there back or the legs bound.

    Dagg.
    It's fairly easy to come up with an analogy or example to support your opinion, but you also need to do so to think about where your opinion might be inaccurate.

    Did you ever think about what happens when a group of archers get attacked in melee? The battle is over, and you are dead. No chance to reload or fire at all. Not too many archers successfully jump over enemies wielding swords and picks while reloading their bow and firing at them.

    When people talk about a balanced game, the important thing is to have trade-offs. If you want the benefit of ranged, you have to be willing to give up something for that defense in a balanced game, just like in reality. Not too many armies composed entirely of archers for that exact reason... The mechanism doesn't have to be purely on D&D or based entirely on what is realistic, but the trade-offs MUST be there in good design.
    Last edited by nokowi; 10-01-2019 at 11:57 AM.

  14. #14
    Staggering LightBear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaggomaticDwarf View Post
    This sums it up PERFECTLY! Thx Chai! Though I feel most won't understand.

    Dagg.
    You can also break it up as offense vs defense, being able to handle a situation through non combative means or go hack-n-slash, let's not forget about reach, speed or initiative.

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    Default Balance, what do we really want?

    What we want I can't precisely say. But I'll say what I want, and I suspect a lot of people agree with it.
    When we say balance, the exact DPS numbers aren't really what we mean. It is the holistic power of toons, including offense, defense, healing, utility, and speed that we mean.
    How do you measure that? Well, you could make some sort of benchmark, but honestly, why bother? Just look at what people are actually running in the most commonly posted groups, which right now is r1 or so, with flex from elite to about r3. Everything else is kinda boutique.

    What we want is for people to naturally select a reasonable variety of archetypes. Healing, blasting, shooting, melee, stealth, etc. If our groups are something like 4 inquisitors and 2 sorcerers, well, there's a problem. We don't want the rules to manufacture that meta. Why? It is boring and lame. If the meta gives us a tempest, an assassin, a sorcerer, a cleric or fvs, a warrior, and a warlock though, that's kosher. So we want diversity. Diversity is achieved by having a substantial number of tier 1 classes/builds in the meta and insuring that there's at least something fight-y, something shoot-y, and something blast-y represented there. Besides diversity at the macro level, we also would like to see combined arms---that is, a group of mixed capabilities should achieve better, by and large and on the average, to a one-dimensional group (e.g., all inquisitors). Making pale masters a bit more group-able is a recent change that helps a bit on that level.

  16. #16
    Community Member DaggomaticDwarf's Avatar
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    Default It's not my opinion...

    Quote Originally Posted by nokowi View Post
    It's fairly easy to come up with an analogy or example to support your opinion, but you also need to do so to think about where your opinion might be inaccurate.

    Did you ever think about what happens when a group of archers get attacked in melee? The battle is over, and you are dead. No chance to reload or fire at all. Not too many archers successfully jump over enemies wielding swords and picks while reloading their bow and firing at them.

    When people talk about a balanced game, the important thing is to have trade-offs. If you want the benefit of ranged, you have to be willing to give up something for that defense in a balanced game, just like in reality. Not too many armies composed entirely of archers for that exact reason... The mechanism doesn't have to be purely on D&D or based entirely on what is realistic, but the trade-offs MUST be there in good design.
    It's facts of war.

    https://www.definitions.net/definition/ranged+weapon

    And if the melee made it past the front line of opposing melee then the battle was over before the first archer fell.

    I am also thinking that those archers didn't put enough points into jump.

    Dagg.
    If A Dwarf falls in the forest does he make a sound? YES! Ah Gawd Dang Sons of a *BEEP*
    Guild leader of the "Order of the Never Empty Mug"-Khyber Server-Varda, Daggummet, Xotika, Angelheart, Annaleeza, Keirza, Gearszin, Iluvatar, Sindeamon, and Pippsqueek

  17. #17
    Community Member Tlorrd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigErkyKid View Post
    ... Snip ...
    So are you going to at least post a video of "one of your builds" for your own experiment? Or do you want everyone else to do your work for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nachomammashouse View Post
    The devs got bamboozled by the forum warriors.

  18. #18
    Community Member DaggomaticDwarf's Avatar
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    Default Sadly

    Quote Originally Posted by Tlorrd View Post
    So are you going to at least post a video of "one of your builds" for your own experiment? Or do you want everyone else to do your work for you.
    As I stated before, there are YouTube videos to support almost anyone's argument.

    Dagg.
    If A Dwarf falls in the forest does he make a sound? YES! Ah Gawd Dang Sons of a *BEEP*
    Guild leader of the "Order of the Never Empty Mug"-Khyber Server-Varda, Daggummet, Xotika, Angelheart, Annaleeza, Keirza, Gearszin, Iluvatar, Sindeamon, and Pippsqueek

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    The most important part of the test is that it is a first life character wearing nothing but the loot he happens to have found while getting to that level (no repetition of any quests in an attempt to farm for loot). Balance should not be around a perfect set of gear or 100 past lives.

  20. #20
    Community Member Potatofasf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erethizon View Post
    The most important part of the test is that it is a first life character wearing nothing but the loot he happens to have found while getting to that level (no repetition of any quests in an attempt to farm for loot). Balance should not be around a perfect set of gear or 100 past lives.
    That!

    If there is a test balance, it would focus level by level not by "end game Cap" or at least at Level 20 where is a fairly point that everyone (even on first life) have to raise to make choices to either going further on Epic content or Reincarnate.
    With gear that cover the basic of the basic, no Set Bonus, no Fancy rare to find itens.
    No Signature...

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