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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: How is class balancing going?

  1. #1
    Junior Member MadMage's Avatar
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    How is class balancing going?

    I'm having a hard time finding any patch notes on class changes and wanted to see how balancing was coming along - I stopped playing altogether some time ago when the developers decided to min-max Backbiters' stats to balance the fact that they made the ability too powerful (removing the armor break would have been a far easier fix, the thing didn't need to do damage, armor break and mobility) and ended up nerfing the class to uselessness; I am hoping they realized their error and don't have any classes with all of their 'max' points in willpower at this point. Is there a listing of class changes somewhere that isn't hidden amongst technical logs?

    Honestly, I was excited about this game but if the devs cannot balance abilities without crippling classes I'm just going to forget about this game.

  2. #2
    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    Hi there, you can see this link: https://stoicstudio.com/forum/forumdi...es-amp-Updates

    This is the only list available for changes/patches.

    BBs are just one class among the 12 we have right now. I would suggest you look at other units as well . Your feedback regarding the BB would be welcome though. If you have a discussion laid out (explain your points, the pros and cons, how it would work) then I would encourage you to post in the Factions discussion area.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kletian999's Avatar
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    It does certainly feel like putting points in Willpower is weaker than putting the points anywhere else. I can still say the backbiter is a great unit as long as they have their 3 break to fall back on. Reducing their natural break in exchange for more Strength and Armor might be an interesting trade off though.

  4. #4
    Junior Member MadMage's Avatar
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    @raven: so, the statement is "Sorry we killed that unit. Why not try one of the other 12?"; obviously with the assumption that if this is how one admittedly needed tweak was handled then others won't be as ham-fisted? If the person/people responsible for balancing units can't look at a unit that needs to be dialed back a bit and come up with something other than "let's just dump useful stats into willpower, that'll fix EVERYTHING!", then you need to find someone else to do the balancing.

    My suggestion for re-balancing the Backbiter would be to put their max strength back up around 11 or 12 and remove the armor break from their ability. As it is right now the ability does too much, makes the class' armor break stat useless (since the ability's AB is static regardless) and provides mobility. It's too good on it's own, which is why the class needed balancing. But lowering base strength completely skirted the issue and made the class hopelessly weak.

    @Keltian: Problem is they lowered the maximum for everything else. As the class with the highest willpower, this means they have the lowest possible stats overall; they can never be as good with such low base stats as any other class, regardless of how you distribute them.

    Lowering strength especially is crippling because it doesn't just effect power (which is all the class needed lowered); it effects survivability, as well. Which is made even worse by the fact that the Backbiters' ability effectively leaves them isolated on the field after a single use, often leaving them to be killed or nullified easily. So they're a weak one-shot that the developers swear will be 'amazing' at higher levels with greater range - which I have repeatedly stated will only end up getting them into more trouble and they don't even pack a punch for the sacrifice.
    Last edited by MadMage; 04-28-2013 at 09:21 AM.

  5. #5
    Junior Member MadMage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raven2134 View Post
    Hi there, you can see this link: https://stoicstudio.com/forum/forumdi...es-amp-Updates

    This is the only list available for changes/patches.
    I was hoping for a more complete list on a single page. I'd have done the patch update notes differently - put the notes themselves into a single thread and just posted the notes into it so people could scan the entire list at once and possibly post a new thread noting when an update is released linking back to this post.

  6. #6
    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    I am now running rank1 backbiter in my p12 tournament team and he really fits nicely there, being able to do break when needed and also scaring archers across the battlefield. I also run 2BB team taking experiments in p6 quickmatching, they are also of high use there. Also I can say I wasn't running backbiters prior to their nerf as I was finding it hard to play them so just moved to other units; now I'm implementing more of them in my plans.

    For a balancing discussion - I wonder whether is it interesting to have backbiter deal no break on his ability but rather hit for strength+2 on it? As a bonus for nerfing that armor break, he can either be upped to 11str, or have 100% hit chance on his ability.
    Though saying that - dealing break on run through is what makes him feared by opponents trying to not line up their units and breaking shieldwalls. Stripping backbiter of this would seriously damage half of his ability perception.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by netnazgul View Post
    dealing break on run through is what makes him feared by opponents trying to not line up their units and breaking shieldwalls. Stripping backbiter of this would seriously damage half of his ability perception.
    I'm talking P6 here.
    Well, actually people line up their shieldwalls like they just don't care, because with 10 strength units shieldwalling have more armour than the BB can efficiently break. So sure he's a good archer hunter, but dies right after. If you try to attack anything else, you end up hitting shieldwall and being useless.
    BB needed a nerf though.
    When you compare a RM to a BB, stats and ability wise, well, the calculation is really fast to do.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by MadMage View Post
    if this is how one admittedly[-]needed tweak was handled[,] then [why should we assume**] others won't be as ham-fisted? If the person/people responsible for balancing units can't look at a unit that needs to be dialed back a bit and come up with something other than "let's just dump useful stats into willpower, that'll fix EVERYTHING!", then you need to find someone else to do the balancing....But lowering base strength completely skirted the issue and made the class hopelessly weak.
    First of all, simple != ham-fisted. Most game balancing is not about redefining units (as you suggest), but about tweaking stats. I'm sure you can see that your insults towards the devs are not really called for here. Second, I like the BB on my team, and I win with some regularity. Oh, and he has AB of 3. RMs are better, but I feel that the imbalance is less than before.

    ** This is my best attempt at salvaging the grammar here.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kletian999's Avatar
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    I'm using a rank 2 BB in my builds. The trick with BBs is you shouldn't run forward early in the game. You should either let another target set up a break for massive damage, and/or use a runthrough that makes the BB either safer, blocking a great move of your opponent, or just 1 of two+ targets instead of "the only unit that's behind enemy lines".

    I do agree that rank 3 has never seemed that useful to me. I think lowering max break to 2, making the break of the power stat dependant, then increasing max str to 11 will make the unit more "killer" than "breaker" without being quite as super powerful as it used to be.

  10. #10
    Junior Member MadMage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by franknarf View Post
    First of all, simple != ham-fisted. Most game balancing is not about redefining units - as you suggest - but about tweaking stats. I'm sure you can see that your insults towards the devs are not really called for here. Second, I like the BB on my team and I win with some regularity; and he has AB of 3. RMs are better but I feel that the imbalance is less than before.

    ** This is my best attempt at salvaging the grammar here.
    My grammar is better than yours. You should have used hyphens around your side comment 'as you suggest' and added an unnecessary comma after 'like the BB on my team' and 'RMs are better' as well as starting a sentence with 'Oh,'; you should have separated the two sentences with a semicolon.

    You are right, simple is not always ham-fisted; in this instance I do believe the tweak was, however. A unit that often ends up isolated being easier to kill and packing less punch is ham-fisted. The problem with the unit was that the ability did too much and was subsequently too powerful, and thus needed to be slightly redefined; the threat is about being able to hit back-line units your opponent wants to protect, not armor breaking an entire line of units - and currently the ability does both. The devs need to pick one and not nerf the unit's core stats to make up for the power doing too much.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by MadMage View Post
    My grammar is better than yours. You should have used hyphens around your side comment 'as you suggest' and added an unnecessary comma after 'like the BB on my team' and 'RMs are better' as well as starting a sentence with 'Oh,'; you should have separated the two sentences with a semicolon.

    You are right, simple is not always ham-fisted; in this instance I do believe the tweak was, however. A unit that often ends up isolated being easier to kill and packing less punch is ham-fisted. The problem with the unit was that the ability did too much and was subsequently too powerful, and thus needed to be slightly redefined; the threat is about being able to hit back-line units your opponent wants to protect, not armor breaking an entire line of units - and currently the ability does both. The devs need to pick one and not nerf the unit's core stats to make up for the power doing too much.
    While you certainly have a point, I don't think agressivity is the way to go here.
    If you look to units' buffs/nerfs, you'll see that devs changed things for the shieldbanger classes, and did not make them overpowered but managed to take them up to the rest a bit.
    I'm saying this to underline that while you don't agree with the BB nerf, and clearly I understand your statement, you should keep in mind that they tend to make good moves as well, as the SB shows.
    I play two BBs at P6. I'm not a top player. I agree they could be tweaked a bit as to render them less of a one-shot unit, I certainly agree they're not on par with the overabused raidmaster.
    Last edited by No Leaf Clover; 04-29-2013 at 01:51 AM. Reason: Grammar. My, I don't want to get flamed!

  12. #12
    Member Yth's Avatar
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    The change to BBs was signifigant. Whether it should be considered ham-fisted is up for debate. In my opinion, BBs were too strong and their usage was too simple: max out stats, ignore break, move up and dive in as soon as you have access to a squishy target. The damage return you would get was disproportionately large compared to the time and effort invested in using a BB.

    So you could say that BBs were two steps too strong, and that lowering their str cap made them two steps weaker.

    The change to BBs forces you to change how you use them: now instead of going in at every opportunity, it is only worth it to go in when other units are there to support them, or when the enemy has to choose between several high priority targets. In this regard I think the change was good, as it forces you to use the BB in a subtle manner and have the proper timing, instead of using him as a big hammer that you smash things with without thinking.

    It can be argued that the correct usage of BBs is too situational or niche, especially compared to the awesome all-around Raidmaster. But I disagree that BBs are too weak, or even that they are weak.

  13. #13
    Member HappyRaccoon's Avatar
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    Just to chime in, whoever thought BBs got nerfed to oblivion really makes me wonder about your evaluation on any class balancing. 12 str BBs would have been absolutely insane on every level. If you watch my games in the p12 tourney you can see me use them to good effect.

  14. #14
    Junior Member MadMage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyRaccoon View Post
    Just to chime in, whoever thought BBs got nerfed to oblivion really makes me wonder about your evaluation on any class balancing. 12 str BBs would have been absolutely insane on every level. If you watch my games in the p12 tourney you can see me use them to good effect.
    Why would it be insane?

    The question isn't rhetorical; I want to know why you feel the BB having 12 strength is worse than any other class? I'll help you out - the only thing that really differentiates the classes is the abilities, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say you feel that way because you feel the ability plus a strength level on par with a parallel class is too much. Now, we know from the other classes that the strength itself isn't the issue - so it would be fair to infer that the problem resides in the ability being unbalanced, correct? So a proper balance would be to address the ability that makes the class overpowered, not the baseline stats which would otherwise be perfectly acceptable.

    I'm just not sure why this very simple logic evades thinking individuals.

  15. #15
    @MadMage: Raccoon may think that the point can be better made by demonstration than with logic. At least, after seeing how he/she uses them, you might no longer believe that Stoic "killed that unit". The videos are on the third post down in this thread: https://stoicstudio.com/forum/showthr...nd-p12-ONGOING!
    Last edited by franknarf; 04-29-2013 at 07:25 PM.

  16. #16
    Member HappyRaccoon's Avatar
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    @MadMage: Saying 12 str BBs are balanced is like saying that 2/3 SnB Siege Archers were balanced. The ability doesn't inherently make them broken. Backbiters still occupy a very threatening position and fill out their intended role quite well. The argument they need more strength and a worse ability actually just makes them MORE binary. It means that they would have even less options when maimed. At 10 strength the ability is strong but never feels broken. At 12 strength the ability is broken, and you could remove the 2 break from it. That just serves to make the ability less interesting, why bother? You're just expecting that balance should come at one angle when the current take is acceptable.

  17. #17
    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    Since this discussion is underway, I will be moving this thread to the proper area.

  18. #18
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    I am inclined to agree with MadMage's general POV, i.e. tweaking the ability and not the base-stats of the units. For instance, I'd have all raiders with more-or-less the same min/max stats, and then add the abilities to "flavor/specialize" them. When something is found OP, I'd tweak the ability, just like what was done w Slag-n-Burn. I think this is easier to handle when there are so many units in the game.

    In the particular example, having a 12STR BB should came at a cost of low armor. And so the deal was: BBs killed/maimed archers in one move, but soon after perished. A fair trade, if you consider that all units are equivalent. Personally, I don't feel that BBs were so OP, but rather that they thwarted the "traditional OP'ness" of archers! Now, seriously, from what I've read in this thread, to nerf the BB, I'd have gone for removing entirely the AB from the Run-Through; just being able to pass through enemy-lines (and obstacles!) is too much.
    Last edited by Aleonymous; 04-30-2013 at 03:14 AM.

  19. #19
    If you removed the armor break from the BB runthrough you have made him exactly like he is now. He will do the exact same damage on a runthrough without having the added bonus of allowing your other units to do damage.

    So try thinking about that why would you then bring a BB to the table when instead you could bring a TS or a raidmaster who would both perform much better with 12 str than the BB would without having armor break.

    Think a bit more clearly people

  20. #20
    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    I think what the analysis is missing is how first hit factors into that scenario. Balancing factors can come before or AFTER the unit does what the player wants it to do. When it comes before then measures can be taken to counter the scenario. When it comes after, there is less "counter" and more mitigate.

    Migitating damage is always the comparably worse course of action than preventing it, obviously.

    This, I believe, can be seen to the case with a fair share of balance tweaks that have gone into the game.

    1. WL SA super combo (old SnB and FA nerf). The issue of this synergy was that it could not be defended against without extreme measures. The damage was off the charts and best way to defend vs this was to run a hard counter build.

    2. SA ability and armor nerf. The SAs were too tanky at 10 armor, and it was incredibly hard to prevent 1 more cycle of break from them. In addition, the ability was too damage efficient. As others have described, if struck by mutliple rank 3 shots (using multiple archers), then the hobbling this created nullified the combined threat of the enemy team.

    3. BB str nerf. With the large mobility of the ability, there was an effective positional disadvantage because a BB could hit anything (warrior/archer) with impunity, before being maimed or killed.

    4. SB buff. The SBs could not do what they needed to do before being struck (again and again). In other words they were over-countered.

    It is true one route to go with the BB tweak was to nerf the ability. But I also think given their prevalance pre-tweak, 12 strength +2 break was too strong. Using the no break on the ability but keeping 12 str is also imo a poor solution, because all it takes is 1 Bloody flail or a couple of ignore armor HP chip hits to render run through completely useless. Perhaps, an 11 str max would be ideal for the unit, like it was when the BB was initially introduced. If ability range is too strong, then perhaps the ranged needs to be reduced, but the max number of squares that can be run through is the same (meaning that the BB can move 1 square, then run through to the 6th (the max range is the same).

    However, I think this issue of units acting freely with minimal countermeasures is still something we will actively be looking at.

    Right now the primary candidates for careful consideration are RMs and BMs.

    Note, if we nerfed BBs to less run through range, nothing would reach a rank 3 BM with 1 blocker.
    Last edited by raven2134; 04-30-2013 at 04:20 AM.

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