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When Balancing, It Is Easier To Change One Thing, Than To Have Everything Change Around That One Thing


Vaskadar
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In the case of the 'tier' system, there is no defining point in this game, no point of reference around which to balance the game, so we are left with weapons being given ludicrous numbers that far outclass (damage-wise) other weaponry in similar roles.

A brief history of the general meta in Warframe.

When I had started playing this game back in January, there were mods that made the game too easy, so they changed that. It was acceptable, because everyone was using the same weapon. They nerfed that gun. Then the dominant strategy shifted to shotguns, they had to nerf those too, as they were outperforming other weapons at their intended roles. People reacted negatively, as if the world had ended. I looked at it objectively, seeing as a designer should never want a single dominant strategy to rule the game, so they did away with the shotguns overlapping other weapons' roles. Armor ignore weapons such as the Akbolto, Fragor, Boltor were king at that point in time, shortly after the Gorgon nerf at around Update 6.something.something.

Open beta comes, mods drastically change the face of the game. New areas are added, etc. etc. Nyx and Banshee become flavor of the update with the advent of Endless Defense. The Paris bow is added, and various other aspects of the game changed. Rifles were left in the dust at this point in time. They were buffed. People rejoiced.

With update 8 came the dojos, and massive clans dominated the scene until 9. The gorgon was left in the dust along with various other weapons. DE had abandoned the sidegrade model afterward. Clan tech was absurdly expensive, so very few people had it for a long while. The flavor of the update was Vauban until 9. Then came Nova. Nova was widely considered broken for her ultimate power. She became the dominant strategy and the meta shifted yet again. People screamed and cried about nerfs, and sadly, DE wanted to please the crowd, so I'm afraid they haven't gotten around to doing exactly what needs to be done for the longevity of the gameplay. Meaningful balance changes, frequent balance changes too.

The thing is, Warframes shouldn't be tiered. Nobody should be left with a Warframe that cannot contribute meaningfully to the game. By that logic, neither should weaponry. With the exception of exclusive weaponry, clan tech, and primes, all market weapons should be sidegrades of one another... filling out niches and different roles/playstyles that the other doesn't. One extreme of the spectrum to the other. If it's stronger, make it slower or less accurate. If it's weaker, make it more accurate or faster, or easier to use.

What DE should do is look at their player telemetry, weapon usage, and evaluate what needs to be adjusted. Weapon costs don't really mean much at this point. Twice as expensive shouldn't mean twice as good, it should mean a greater difference from the other weaponry, in my honest opinion. Or, perhaps, define the tiers better, though weapons shouldn't be so drastically different in terms of damage potential and output. It makes a weapon that we had grown to love obsolete. Shouldn't stronger weapons have a higher skill floor? Shouldn't that be the case? Higher payoff for more effort?

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that DE will have to change things (probably for the better) sooner or later. Dominant strategies cannot remain in play forever, because the challenge of the game disappears.

Summary: Grinding shouldn't dictate player effectiveness in the game. DE has to go through and rebalance things eventually. Putting out new weapons all the time also means that some content will be left behind... which is sad, but unavoidable if they keep going down this route of 'end-game/late-game' content additions. Older content should be reworked/re-evaluated every so often to make things fresh for newcomers, so that they don't feel left out.

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There needs to be some kind of progression with gear though, Like different tiers of weapons with multiples choices. Like for example Mk-1 Braton and Braton. Or Strun and Hek. Burston and Hind. So some tiers is good and it ties nicely with the mastery rank system. 

 

But frames should not be tiered, weapons are easily changed and upgraded trough catalysts and formas and modding but frames stay mostly the same trough the entire game. So all frames should be balanced while filling a different role that can be useful in all missions. Right now vauban and frost are useful only on defense and MD. I would say Loki, Rhino and Excalibur are the pretty much perfectly balanced frames at the moment. Each has their uses in all missions. CC with damage and such. I guess Trinity is ok but well of life and energy vampire needs to be more potent. 

 

The problem now is that there is no middle ground weapon to balance around. For frames they should balance around the 3 I mentioned.

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Soma was a step in the wrong direction (because the only downside to it is its ammo economy), whereas Galatine was somewhat of a step in the right direction. Why is the Galatine okay in my book? Because you have to sacrifice a crucial stat to achieve ludicrous damage. Your swing speed is so incredibly slow that it's unlikely you'll get to do more than one swing (usually unnecessary however). Granted, the numbers they put up there are also a bit ludicrous.

Outclassing older content isn't a good idea. There are just a select few weapons that see usage nowadays because of this new generation of 'powergamer' crowd, who wants only to use the best possible weapons with the best possible builds to deal the quickest amount of damage at no sacrificial cost to effectiveness.

Whenever we get Armor 2.0, I really hope they do a proper balance patch to make sure that older content isn't thrown out the window by newer content... much as the Hek was tossed aside as soon as the Strun Wraith made an appearance.

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Honestly, I'm waiting to pass real judgement on weapon balance until after Armor 2.0 because that will change EVERYTHING.  Some time after I get used to it, I'll put out a thread that would be full-scale evaluation of what needs to happen with balance.

 

The irony of the Galatine IMO is that honestly, it is OP which is why it's balanced.  It's the only weapon that can stand tall against high-level enemies with any shred of hope of success due to it's positively monstrous damage output.

 

Honestly, I feel like the game left the realm of side-grades some time around what, 8.5?  It was then that weapons started to get buffed and we could start to see that upgrades were the trend.  Scott then confirmed this in a livestream two streams later.  They are going with a low-tier and a high-tier version of equipment.  Honestly, I gave up the fight.  At heart, I'd prefer sidegrades with higher mastery being required for more specialized weapons.  That said, economically, it's not as good for DE and many players like the sense of progression it gives.

 

The game has almost no sense of balance at this point.  I think I might just take my giant spreadsheet and just changing numbers until things look pretty after Armor 2.0.  Maybe I'll call the thread I'll create around it "Volt's Take on Weapon Balance (You Aren't Going To Like This)"

 

The game needs balance.  But how to do it is beyond me.  Anyone who does it will have to hard-impose a system on the game that will make a lot of people angry.  Right now, it's just free-flowing ooey-gooey balanceless madness.  Someone needs to just go through the math and pound this amorphous blob of numbers into a meaningful system.  People complain about obviously required nerfs, let alone the fine-toothed things that will be required to bring this feral beast under control.

Edited by Volt_Cruelerz
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I like your words. The line "Amorphous blob of numbers" is pretty apt.

Sidegrades would make it easier to maintain the difficulty curve, which is all I can say for them at this point. I'm about to give up on it, but still, there's very little indication of tiers as well, so we're currently in numbers limbo until armor 2.0.

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You raised a pretty good point especially about the avoiding dominant strategy.

Obviously it is easier said than done, with the current game mechanics where majority of the weapon are hardly unique (Melee weapon suffers the most) and heavily based on number and math plus Scott confirmed that there will be tier system. Now i don't mind the tier system, it gives some sense of progression and if being done correctly, high tier weapon will have sidegrades too, simple example is like Paris, Boltor and Braton, which i think three of these are a "bit" different from each other but not really overshadowing each others if we take it as all of these are in the same tier. But lately that is not the case as we can see they keep adding new content that is not really new, but rather higher tier more powerful older content.

I'd would like to writes more but since there are already lots of people writing about this kinds of things, and i really really hope it does not fall into deaf ears (which feels more and more as each update passed by).

Still i support the game whole heartly and buy platinum whenever i have spare money.

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I love this game, which is why I'm expressing my concerns as best I can. I want to see this game become more meaningful than a grindfest, more challenging than find X weapon and play easymode. I find that dominant strategies are unavoidable, but diversity in strategies is important. Adding more strategic options increases interest in the game, as well as adds depth and longevity.

 

Yes, depth and longevity come from a gradual change in challenges and different strategies that can be applied to a certain situation.

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