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Balance and Super-Heroes

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Agent Capricorn
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Balance and Super-Heroes

Okay,

Going to try and articulate my thoughts on this; MMO's becoming more and more obsessed with balance - to the point where massive division and resources are dumped into something that isn't really possible if your allowing players to have a personalized gameplay experience (ergo if you let folks make unique characters). I have to ask - does that really matter A lot in super-heroes?

I mean lets look at a lot of our various super-hero teams and their rosters; are those rosters really balanced? I am going to use a bit of a deliberately obscure reference here because as a Canadian and a long time comics fan - Alpha Flight. You got Snowbird who could shapeshift into animals vs Shaman who has a open ended and very powerful ability to use magic - just using those 2 team members if you put them in a competition to see "who is the toughest" or "who does the most damage?" or "who has the biggest suite of abilities" I think generally the catch-all magic user/doctor is going to always come out on top.

But does that matter? How big does the gap need to be before balance is a issue?

That's the question that I think needs to be considered

Myself - I believe Balance is achieved when measured against the expected challenges

If level 1 sentinel and level 1 gladiator are comparing Damage - the default assumptions should be "the Sentinel is tougher" and "The Gladiator does more damage" - can either of those characters overcome a level 1 threat if they focus on their strength? If the answer is yes - imo Balance has been achieved.
"But man - Sentinel hits harder then Warden!" who cares? Does the Warden offer something that Sentinel does not? If the answer is no - then that is where something may need some addressing - within the Guardian classification.

I mean its a tricky busieness - but at the end of the day as long as people are capable of overcoming the challenges - the numbers should not matter.

Oh last thing - for the LOVE of PETE do not make this game a mods & metrics game. I love data as much as the next guy - but communities love to use data to berate and generally mock/brag to the point where it becomes insufferable. I would hope the game is going to have fun gameplay and be social - not a flex-a-thon like WoW degenerated into - where everyone treats everyone else as means to an end; rather then ends themselves.

Cisco Certified - Long time PnP HERO - MSCE - Long time MMOer - Dripping Nerdom, nuff said

Tannim222
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Hi Agent C. We are a far into

Hi Agent C. We are a far into our game mechanics design and have considered many marrieds of performance for balance.

In general, balance isn’t “considering all things being equal”. It is about bounds, upper and lower, of performance across a range of metrics.

Our lower bound is based on our basic combat loop. Upper bounds are based on gain rates of rewards exceeding a certain threshold.

Because of the huge range of possible build combinations and how players may socket their character’s powers with improvements, anything between these bounds is considered “acceptable”. There may be certain adjustments required where certain power set mechanics prove too good comparably where it is a clear outlier for performance within those bounds.


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To me you can't really

To me you can't really balance a game like this by making sure that every character is "equivalent" to every other character. If you tried to make sure that Character A produced the same DPS or had the same Defense rating as Character B then the only way you could effectively do that is to make Character A and B 100% identical.

To achieve any measure of balance in a game like this you have to go beyond individual comparisons and consider the system to be more like a complex version of "rock-paper-scissors". Balance is based on the fundamental fact that Character A might be "better" than Character B in some quality but that's fine as long as Character C is "better" than Character A in some other quality. You're never really going to have balance directly between two characters when compared to each other in isolation but when you consider multiple characters interacting together you'll have balance in that they ALL act to balance each other collectively.

For what it's worth I'm not saying that collective rock-paper-scissors type balance is an easy thing to achieve in a game like this. I'm just saying if you want to have characters that have wildly different powers and abilities all working together in a single system the only way to do that is to have them all balance out each other as a group rather than individually one-on-one.

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I'm not sure I understand

I'm not sure I understand what is meant by this but heres my take on balance in a superhero game, as far as between powersets, there should be an overal parity of usefulness, but assymetrical, sort of like how with Starcraft, the Zerg are good at their thing, the Terrans at theirs, and the Protoss at theirs, its roughly balanced, but in a way where no "Archetype" in this case faction, plays the same, each retaining a large amount of viable strategies.

I believe it is VERY important for developers not to knee jerk react to feedback from players on power usefulness, while they should definitely take all of it into account, especially feedback from mid skilled players (pros are going to be skewed toward saying something is OP, and noobs wont know if its underpowered or not if they dont know how to use it) but should always do a thorough examination before any major changes are made, and should nerf with a scalpel at all times. it is far better to have to do a small nerf twice than do a big nerf once and find it was much too heavy.

Also it is INCREDIBLY important to maintain a similar status quo of support that COH had, healing being something you want a little of in most cases, but support should generally mean buffs, debuffs, and crowd control, as well as allowing all archetypes access to some amount of healing, CC, and buffs/defenses, even though by nature the balance of this will be different depending on what the archetype is supposed to do well or not.

Lothic wrote:

To me you can't really balance a game like this by making sure that every character is "equivalent" to every other character.

I believe the word you want to describe balance in the game as it should be is "Congruent" the geometry term makes sense if you think of those pokemon style hexagonal power grid things.

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I don't disagree with any

I don't disagree with any sentiments here; in reality I think "balance" has really been a term pushed because of the more competitive nature that modern MMO's have been pushing last few years; and the frequent PVP discussions that often pop up. I think "balance" should not be a high expectation - the problem with "tight" balance systems is every character and build begins to feel very much the same.

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Agent Capricorn wrote:
Agent Capricorn wrote:

the problem with "tight" balance systems is every character and build begins to feel very much the same.

to be fair they work for the kind of game that gets by on its gameplay and mechanics as easily as its story, but from what I can tell, no matter how good/active the combat system and mechanics are, for a superhero game the way to go is always with freedom of character creation and imagination, which doesn't play well with tight balance and challenging raids.

As a FFXIV veteran I can attest to the fun of a difficult savage (or Ultimate!) raid, however whether it is fun is very dependent on your raid group or having as much as a steady, mature, fun group to prog with, something that I've found is unsustainable long term as communities tend to get corrupted with the toxic kind of gamer a competitive atmosphere attracts.

The best way to preserve a fun community is to go for moderate challenge at best, at least compared to the kind of insanity games like FF14 will offer in endgame challenge content, leaving enough wiggle room for people who dont have all day to practice or who dont have a raid static group to have plenty of fun anytime.

Like, Something along the lines of a newly released 24 man difficulty (From FFXIV) in CoT (wipes people on their first run a few times but not really so hard with a few minutes paying attention to learn) would be good for endgame type stuff perhaps, although I tend to prefer smaller group sizes, like between 2 players and 8, to anything above that. Large armies going at an enemy only cheapen the feeling of awesomeness, especially when the characters are supposedly high level supers.

If you're going to throw more than 10 max level superheroes at something, it has to be on the scale of Galactus or Anti Monitor at least.

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

to be fair they work for the kind of game that gets by on its gameplay and mechanics as easily as its story, but from what I can tell, no matter how good/active the combat system and mechanics are, for a superhero game the way to go is always with freedom of character creation and imagination, which doesn't play well with tight balance and challenging raids..

Could not agree more - I think its important to accept that part of the super hero genre is characters making use of their powers to accomplish tasks sometimes in creative ways.

Cisco Certified - Long time PnP HERO - MSCE - Long time MMOer - Dripping Nerdom, nuff said

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:
Lothic wrote:

To me you can't really balance a game like this by making sure that every character is "equivalent" to every other character.

I believe the word you want to describe balance in the game as it should be is "Congruent" the geometry term makes sense if you think of those pokemon style hexagonal power grid things.

In geometry two figures or objects are "congruent" if they have the same shape and size, or if one has the same shape and size as the mirror image of the other. To me that sounds like another way to say they are "equivalent" which is exactly the quality that I don't think MMO game balance should be based on.

I used the analogy of "rock-paper-scissors" to describe how character balance should work in a MMO. There may actually be a fancier way to express that kind of multi-lateral relationship but I think that's basically the exact same concept you were describing with your Starcraft analogy.

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Agent Capricorn wrote:
Agent Capricorn wrote:

Could not agree more - I think its important to accept that part of the super hero genre is characters making use of their powers to accomplish tasks sometimes in creative ways.

To actually make this a big thing in a game like this would be very difficult, would probably need its own system for it, for instance you'd have options to break down a reinforced megastrong door if your character is high level superstrength or punch through a nigh indestructible wall to achieve a goal, while a character with matter manipulation might melt a hole in it, and a technopath would simply hack a door with their mind.

It's going to be tough to make different powers function very differently for the most part in terms of mechanical gameplay, although some degree of that is possible, for instance one of my favorite mechanics from FF14 is known as Universal Manipulation, in a certain extreme trial, and while it is too intense and punishing for this kind of game I can see how something similar could utilize ranged and melee abilities as well as knockback immunity and teleportation in interesting ways to deal with it differently depending on the powers avaliable in the group.

The original mechanic (too intense for this kinda game) would be shown here, there would need to be significant adjustments due to the original mechanic relying on the "tank/healer/dps" distinction to decide who gets tagged with which mechanic.

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Balance only matters in

Balance only matters in relation to competition. If players feel as if they are competing against one another, then they will compare their perfomance against each other. Unfortunately no game designed to be played simultaneously by more than one person is without competition, even if the players are on the same team. That's just human nature.

The easiest way to balance is to theoretically pit one character against another and ensure there is parity. Here's the example I'm going to use:
(the term offense is how much they reduce their opponent's defense)
(the term defense is a combination of damage mitigation, evasion percentage and hit points)
(battle is over when a participant's defense is 0 or less.
Character A: a balanced build. Offense = 2, Defense = 2, Heals = 0
Character B: A tank build. O=1, D=4, H=0
Character C: A glass cannon build. O=4, D=1, H=0
Character D: A healer build. O=1, D=2, H=0.5
character E: A controller build. O=1, D=1, can reduce opponent's O and D by half

If you pit any one against any other they will both reduce their opponent to 0 defense on the same turn. Thus they are balanced.

However, there are other metrics at play in an MMO. One of the most salient metrics is how long it takes to gind out levels. (I know, I know, the subject of grinding, power levelling and what the definition of what grinding even is, is a topic for several of its own threads of debate, but one can not deny that how fast one levels is a measure of d*ck size when it comes to a very large segment of MMO players, all of whom will be funding the game.) Because of these other metrics, some classes will be labelled as OP and others as anemic. Trying to level as a Healer or Controller, for instance, can be a very slow process. Regardless of how survivable and entertaining those classes may be to play, the fact they cant sweep through hordes of enemies like a hot knife through warm butter the way a balanced or cannon build can will be a cause for complaint among many.

As Tannim222 said up in comment #2, the ability of players to grow horizontally will add complexity to the balance equation as well, allowing players to skew the parity in favor of certain matchups, leading to more of a rock-paper-scissors form of parity. But I think leaving that in the hands of the players to decide is the best thing MWM can do. I'd like to be able to make a healer, for instance that is so poor on offense they can never win a solo fight if that meant they can keep an entire party alive in the worst encounters. And that's just one example. Maybe you make a character who is amazing at taking down single opponents but falls apart like a wet paper bag when facing three or more. The combinations and permutations for customizing characters for a player's personal playstyle is what is going to make CoT special.

Then add the different types of damage that CoT will have: Physical, Exotic and Energy, and the different delivery types: Melee, Ranged and AoE and you get an exponential increase in possible permutations and combinations for players to customize their characters' builds.

So when someone mentions "Balance" I almost what to laugh. How do you want to measure it? and how much agency do you want players to have to customize their character's playstyle?


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Balance only matters in relation to competition. If players feel as if they are competing against one another, then they will compare their perfomance against each other. Unfortunately no game designed to be played simultaneously by more than one person is without competition, even if the players are on the same team. That's just human nature.

The easiest way to balance is to theoretically pit one character against another and ensure there is parity. Here's the example I'm going to use:
(the term offense is how much they reduce their opponent's defense)
(the term defense is a combination of damage mitigation, evasion percentage and hit points)
(battle is over when a participant's defense is 0 or less.
Character A: a balanced build. Offense = 2, Defense = 2, Heals = 0
Character B: A tank build. O=1, D=4, H=0
Character C: A glass cannon build. O=4, D=1, H=0
Character D: A healer build. O=1, D=2, H=0.5
character E: A controller build. O=1, D=1, can reduce opponent's O and D by half

If you pit any one against any other they will both reduce their opponent to 0 defense on the same turn. Thus they are balanced.

I would still argue that "balance" cannot really be achieved by comparing one-on-one match-ups in MMOs. I see where you tried to "simplify" character match-ups by only considering abstract offense and defense values. Unfortunately during play there are many other factors to consider.

For instance there's the consideration of melee versus ranged engagements. A melee Scrapper might be able to pound a glass cannon Blaster into mush but the ranged Blaster should on-average be able to vaporize the Scrapper long before the Scrapper even gets close enough to hit him. The point here is that standard tactics play a huge part of determining whether one AT (again on average) should be able to outperform another. Another consideration are things like CC and/or permahold. If a Controller can permahold their opponent in a one-on-one battle then they are going to win a vast majority of the time. It might take a long time, but they will win.

This is part of the reason why the CoH Devs publicly admitted that they effectively gave up trying to balance ATs in terms of one-on-one engagements and considered overall balance to be more of a fluid "team vs team" affair which also emphasized the "rock-paper-scissors" version of balance.

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That is not true at all, most

That is not true at all, most forms of balance matter for all gameplay, such as powerset balance between sets, so players actually have choices that matter and theres not everyone and their mother playing flavor of the month.

Balance also matters becuase if content is always far too easy the game becomes boring and puts people to sleep playing it. Content does not need to be very difficult, but there has to be something moderately challenging to do at max level, it need not approach the same level as raids in games like FF14, in fact I dont think it CAN do that well with this kind of high customization game, but it should have something with mechanics and with enough consequence for being stupid that it is not a total snoozefest for a moderately skilled player.

A certain level of balance is a prerequisite for fun in a game, balance does not mean endless nerfs and making people weak.

To claim balance does not matter at all here is sheer thoughtless and baseless rambling that applies to no one but the people who never actually play a game but sit around at minimum level and RP only, which is all good and fine, but those people have zero business sticking their nose in gameplay related discussions.

Lothic wrote:

I would still argue that "balance" cannot really be achieved by comparing one-on-one match-ups in MMOs. I see where you tried to "simplify" character match-ups by only considering abstract offense and defense values. Unfortunately during play there are many other factors to consider.
.

PVP and PVE are almost always fundamentally different beasts, and trying to determine even pvp balance through seeing who wins a 1v1 in this kind of game is the height of incompetence given the nature of COH style buff/debuff/CC/damage/defense gameplay, and this would remain true in a (far superior) full action combat system using similar principles.

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

That is not true at all, most forms of balance matter for all gameplay, such as powerset balance between sets, so players actually have choices that matter and theres not everyone and their mother playing flavor of the month.

Balance also matters becuase if content is always far too easy the game becomes boring and puts people to sleep playing it. Content does not need to be very difficult, but there has to be something moderately challenging to do at max level, it need not approach the same level as raids in games like FF14, in fact I dont think it CAN do that well with this kind of high customization game, but it should have something with mechanics and with enough consequence for being stupid that it is not a total snoozefest for a moderately skilled player.

A certain level of balance is a prerequisite for fun in a game, balance does not mean endless nerfs and making people weak.

To claim balance does not matter at all here is sheer thoughtless and baseless rambling that applies to no one but the people who never actually play a game but sit around at minimum level and RP only, which is all good and fine, but those people have zero business sticking their nose in gameplay related discussions.

Lothic wrote:

I would still argue that "balance" cannot really be achieved by comparing one-on-one match-ups in MMOs. I see where you tried to "simplify" character match-ups by only considering abstract offense and defense values. Unfortunately during play there are many other factors to consider.

PVP and PVE are almost always fundamentally different beasts, and trying to determine even pvp balance through seeing who wins a 1v1 in this kind of game is the height of incompetence given the nature of COH style buff/debuff/CC/damage/defense gameplay, and this would remain true in a (far superior) full action combat system using similar principles.

I never said balance was unimportant or not necessary. I simply said that attempting to rest your concept of balance on the idea that "every single character should have an even 50/50 chance to defeat another character in one-on-one combat" is fundamentally flawed unless those two characters are 100% identical. Since we know that the character classes in MMOs are NOT 100% identical we also then know that overall game balance (of any sort) cannot rely on that alone.

P.S. I've successfully completed hundreds (if not a few thousand) end-game raids/trials/TFs during my time with CoH and other MMOs so the idea that you're implying I might be among those "who never actually play a game but sit around at minimum level and RP only, which is all good and fine, but those people have zero business sticking their nose in gameplay related discussions" is an infinitely laughable assumption on your part. Just saying...

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

I never said balance was unimportant or not necessary. I simply said that attempting to rest your concept of balance on the idea that "every single character should have an even 50/50 chance to defeat another character in one-on-one combat" is fundamentally flawed unless those two characters are 100% identical. Since we know that the character classes in MMOs are NOT 100% identical we also then know that overall game balance (of any sort) cannot rely on that alone.

Major misunderstanding here, that was not a reply to anything you said. I replied to one thing you said, mostly to agree with it, I was more responding to the person before you you were arguing with about balance not mattering, and my somewhat negative comments were not intended to refer to him or anyone in particular, just me being passionate about things which greatly affect things I care about, in a possibly greatly negative or positive way depending.

I dont really disagree with most of what you've been arguing here about balance, the "not playing the game" comment was in response to someone who would think balance does not matter at all, that would mean someone never plays and thus does not understand why it matters, or that they have a seriously messed up idea of what balance means.

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well I'd actually agree with

Well I'd actually agree with Huckleberry when he said:

Huckleberry wrote:

So when someone mentions "Balance" I almost what to laugh. How do you want to measure it? and how much agency do you want players to have to customize their character's playstyle?

because there are many different ways you can define "game balance" in a game like this.

For instance we clearly want the Devs to make sure there are no extreme versions of FOTM builds. Exploits are bad, period. But we must remember that there will still likely always be some builds that are better than others. The only way the Devs could keep that from happening is to make all ATs 100% cookie-cutter identical and no one really wants that.

Bottomline "balance" should not be a quest to make everyone and everything equal. It should simply prevent people from being "too strong" or "too weak" as defined by the Devs.

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Maybe I misunderstood what he

Maybe I misunderstood what he meant, becuase balance matters no matter how you look at it but yes balance is a much deeper concept than "Does X beat Y" even a game like Starcraft or Street Fighter knows this.

Is what you mean that obsessive pursuit of perfect balance is destructive? I absolutely agree, I think anyone who has played... Certain games for long enough, games destroyed by that same obsession would.

As long as balance is good enough that theres not one build that stands head and shoulders above the others its fine. PERFECT balance in this kind of game is frankly impossible entirely. even FFXIV cant achieve PERFECT balance despite being the single most class balanced MMO out there right now, with its classes offering no customization in playstyle as the tradeoff. Works for that, but definitely not for a COH successor.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Bottomline "balance" should not be a quest to make everyone and everything equal. It should simply prevent people from being "too strong" or "too weak" as defined by the Devs.

Pretty much this. As I said up thread there are a range of metrics we will be using to gauge the bounds of performance. There will be inter-Archetype metrics, cross Archetype metrics, and variations of content metrics.

One of our game play devs was basically an unofficial dev for the old game. He helped them identify performance metrics when they were literally using none for gauging balance. Before then it was mostly based on dev bias, “feel”, and feedback.

Feedback is important. Feel is important. Intent of design is important. And hard data is important. A good dev takes a mix of all them into account snd has to place them all into “the equation of balance considerations”.

Sometimes feedback and feel is more important that intended design. Sometimes data has to drive a decision. But all parts have to be considered.

And if one thing is certain, players will find ways to “break the game”we never even considered. I count that as a good thing.


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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

Maybe I misunderstood what he meant, becuase balance matters no matter how you look at it but yes balance is a much deeper concept than "Does X beat Y" even a game like Starcraft or Street Fighter knows this.

Is what you mean that obsessive pursuit of perfect balance is destructive? I absolutely agree, I think anyone who has played... Certain games for long enough, games destroyed by that same obsession would.

As long as balance is good enough that theres not one build that stands head and shoulders above the others its fine. PERFECT balance in this kind of game is frankly impossible entirely. even FFXIV cant achieve PERFECT balance despite being the single most class balanced MMO out there right now, with its classes offering no customization in playstyle as the tradeoff. Works for that, but definitely not for a COH successor.

I think we agree that much like everything else there's no such thing as "perfect" anything, including "perfect balance" in MMOs.

The Devs need to provide enough controls over the situation to prevent exploits and other obvious harmful extremes. But there should still be enough room in the system for players to explore different builds and figure out things that generally work better than other things. Even if you have a bunch of people saying "build ABC is the best" as long as plenty of people are still successfully playing with build XYZ then there's nothing really wrong with build ABC being "popular".

Again balance in games should not be about overall equality... it should be the elimination of the harmful extremes.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Yes and that elimination is

Yes and that elimination is often done better through making the weak options more powerful in some way rather than hurting the strong ones, it really depends on just how much stronger something is, and sometimes you nerf the too strong thing a little and bring the weak things up a bit at the same time.

Nerfing with a scalpel though is always superior to the sledgehammer, because small adjustments are easily fixed with another adjustment while huge changes cause massive ripples in the game that have unintended consequences quickly.

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I think balance, in the more

I think balance, in the more "everyone is about equal in power level to everyone else" sense, is only really necessary in PvP. Overwatch is a game where they constantly tweak little things here and there to try to make some characters more playable and others less OP. That game is pure PvP, no RPG. And people still talk about a 1 second increase to some ability's recharge time like it's the end of the world.

In MMORPGs where there is no PvP at all (I'm at a loss to think of one off the top of my head) it's totally ok for some classes to be noticeably more efficient than others, as long as everyone is having fun.

Destiny 2 and Guild Wars 2, both games that try to have both a PvP and a RPG component, tend to have to balance things differently for the two modes.

The problem, as I see it, is that RPGs and competitive things like PvP games are fundamentally different experiences and in my opinion should be kept separate anyway for that reason. In a PvP game, the object is to "win". In a RPG, the object is more about story telling and leveling up and building your character to be better at fighting monsters. In PvP, you need standardization of things like equipment allowed, rules to be followed, etc. Everyone on a football team has to wear the same color uniform for example.

All I'm really trying to say here is this: I think it's OKAY to make different powers etc work differently in PvP as opposed to PvE. That becomes necessary, at some point, anyway, I believe.

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No, Balance is neccesary in

No, Balance is neccesary in every game, in PVE and PVP, it's just done very differently in most cases.

Without a decent modicum of game balance one playstyle ends up far better than others, and people are deprived of choices where they can do well. If you can't understand why it's upsetting for your favorite playstyle or power type to be significantly weaker than others for no good reason, then for you, you're incredibly lucky, but for every one of you theres a few thousand gamers who think you're nuts no offense.

No one is saying we should obsess over making every playstyle exactly the same amount of useful, even in different ways, but that is definitely the impossible goal we are trying to get as reasonably close to as possible without ruining the game.

Without some sense of balance in PVE, or PVP, fun dies. its honestly simple to understand if you've played multiplayer games for long, pve or pvp alike.

PVP and PVE yes, must have powers work at least a little differently in each scenario so they can be seperately balanced or one gets ruined for the sake of the other that is just objective proven fact from games that arent designed for pvp first from day 1.

But to say balance itself isn't neccesary... whaaaat?

The very concept of balance IS that everyone is overall as useful in content as anyone else WHEN THE LEVEL OF SKILL AND CHARACTER PROGRESSION ARE EQUAL, and of course player skill is an incredibly nigh impossible thing to take perfectly into account but, thats the idea.

It doesn't have to be perfect, but an attempt has to be made to make each kind of character/power roughly equally useful in a very general sense, even though there will of course be a huge variety of ways it can be useful. Does it do damage? does it make other people do more damage? make enemies take more damage? Crowd Control? Damage shield? Temporary CC or knockback immunity? Does it help people with mobility, hence helping them avoid some massive aoe attacks they would otherwise have to get hit with? Does it do a combination of the above?

All these things are considerations. its a monumental task to achieve even a half decent level of overall balance in a game with such huge customization and I respect anyone willing to try and remain dedicated to the concepts the game is founded on, becuase while definitely doable, it is NOT easy.

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I think the proper unit for

I think the proper unit for measuring 'Balance' is 'Fun'. Unfortunately, every player has their own unique perception of 'Fun'.
For example, my Invulnerable/Energy Melee Tanker was a lot of fun for me. However, to extract the fun from my Spines/Invulnerability Scrapper, I had to learn a different playstyle and 'How to be Aggressive'.
My Dark/Dark Defender was all about Preparation and slowing the enemy down to a crawl, so she could properly serve them up. Much later, I tried a Force-Field/Energy Blast Defender, paired with a 'Twin' (also FF/EB) and those two worked best as ADHD, hyperspeed Aggressors, which seemed entirely 'wrong' for a Defender. "KB Everything!"
Meanwhile, what my Mind Control/Storm Summoning Controller could do to a pack of thugs was mind-blowing, as long as she controlled the Pace. Trying to keep up with the average 'Feral Scrapper' usually reduced her to an ineffectual 'healor'. Strategy and Control go out the window when the Scrapper starts foaming and screaming for "Blood!"

So, 'Fun' is situational and there really is no point in measuring 'Balance' between different Archetypes and playstyles. Character 'usefulness' and Power 'usefulness' are certainly viable scales for 'balancing'. Devs should keep an eye on those, but at the same time, they should ignore global 'balance' as nigh-impossible to manage.

Make it Fun! Tweak it a little, if it seems important. As long as it's Fun, most people will be too busy Playing to complain.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Bottomline "balance" should not be a quest to make everyone and everything equal. It should simply prevent people from being "too strong" or "too weak" as defined by the Devs.

In a gaming context, particularly in a multiplayer context, equality (especially when taken to excess) can become very very boring.

What you want to recognize (as a developer) is when the strong vs weak divide becomes too much of a divergence to be sustainable. In almost every single instance where I have engaged in this debate (usually in the context of other games) my personal stance has been that if the "gap" is too large then the solution is to maintain/hold the maximum while raising the minimum so as to narrow the gap between them. You also need to be looking at differences between minimum and maximum in two contexts ... absolute terms (10 vs 20) and in relative terms (x1 vs x2) ... because it's always possible to be "fine" in one context while completely lopsided in the other. Having done a tremendous amount of "rules based vehicle construction" in various gaming contexts (Mekton, Silhouette, Palladium(?), Mech Warrior, etc.) I can certainly attest to the fact that in any particular system of rules it is possible to find mathematical "sweet spots" where everything Just Works™ really well at specific defined parameter settings, which then fall apart pretty quickly once you start disturbing the distribution of numbers/factors either up or down AWAY FROM that "sweet spot" you've been working in.

Math can be funny that way sometimes.
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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

I think the proper unit for measuring 'Balance' is 'Fun'. Unfortunately, every player has their own unique perception of 'Fun'.

The problem with defining "balance" as simply something that players consider to be "the most fun" is that when something has to be nerfed the players involved consider it a complete betrayal by the Devs. Remember how many people bitched and moaned when ED had to be applied to CoH? Everyone who was taking advantage of their hyper-overpowered builds assumed that ED would spell the end of the game and a large number of people rage quit over it. But not only did it not kill the game but it arguably allowed it to flourish with the addition of better crafting in the later years of the game.

Just because some players have "fun" exploiting the game doesn't mean that what they're doing is "balanced".

Fireheart wrote:

So, 'Fun' is situational and there really is no point in measuring 'Balance' between different Archetypes and playstyles. Character 'usefulness' and Power 'usefulness' are certainly viable scales for 'balancing'. Devs should keep an eye on those, but at the same time, they should ignore global 'balance' as nigh-impossible to manage.

Again I would argue that trying to "balance between different Archetypes and playstyles" is literally impossible, not that there's just "no point" to it. When comparing characters one-on-one there will always be qualities between them that are better or worse than the other. Trying to balance a game on the basis of "one-on-one equality" is fundamentally flawed.

But "global balance" is actually POSSIBLE when you define it as something that prevents a specific character class/build from being too gimpy or too powerful when compared to all others as defined by the Devs. A game like this MUST have a sense of balance; it's just important to understand that the kind of balance the Devs use is not based on class equality but on the elimination of class extremes.

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You can definitely balance

You can definitely balance different playstyles and archetypes to a decent enough degree that players feel like they have a choice and one isnt head and shoulders superior to the other.

It's not worth it to obsess over the smallest differences in efficiency, as well as the fact some aspects of the utility may be situational or depend on group composition. For instance someone able to buff the defense stat (in COH thats evasion) would probably be most effective in a group of people in which that buff all takes them exactly to the cap, thus maximizing the benefits.

This means determining what is actually more effective requires extensive testing under every concievable circumstance that has a decent chance to happen.

Something like the state of energy melee at the time COH shut down is a major issue needing fixing, but something like Time vs Rad for support sets is much less urgent since they do different things, and even though one may be a bit better at what it is intended to do than the other, both are still more than viable options to be competitive vs other characters, pvewise.

Nobody is saying we should try for perfect balance, obsessing over that can destroy games. However if something is better to enough degree players feel like why should I even pick this set- when they LIKE the set and want to use it.. something needs a fix.

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Too many games try to apply

Too many games try to apply first person shooter "balance" to an MMO environment. Never going to work. A glass canon should be a CANON, not just a little bit better than the defense/dps at. TOG missed one point, the brought scrappers and brutes up comparable to blaster but left blasters without mez protection, which changes the game in a major way. I think the best the devs can do is kinda watch and learn from others mistakes. I am sure they have thought about this a lot.

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ivanhedgehog wrote:
ivanhedgehog wrote:

Too many games try to apply first person shooter "balance" to an MMO environment. Never going to work. A glass canon should be a CANON, not just a little bit better than the defense/dps at. TOG missed one point, the brought scrappers and brutes up comparable to blaster but left blasters without mez protection, which changes the game in a major way. I think the best the devs can do is kinda watch and learn from others mistakes. I am sure they have thought about this a lot.

A Glass Cannon should be a rare thing, and not an archetype but a specific way to build one. Only maybe 1 out of 250 players enjoys that kind of character.

Mez protection should be something everyone has/can get a certain amount of, just some more than others. melee focused builds should have more than ranged focused, and builds with defensive abilities should have more than builds without.

Blasters as they were in early COH were awful garbage. I'll admit that kind of character can work in a game with a real skill based combat system, no tab targeting garbage, active dodging, so you never actually HAVE to be hit and in fact with enough practice aka skill, you can avoid every attack and be untouchable with even 1 hp, however unlikely that would be due to the level of mastery and knowledge of the enemies required.

Something like PSo2, for instance, has combat far more suited to a superhero game than the superhero games. I feel more like a superhero there than I have in any other game, and likely ever will until someone makes a proper COH successor which discards what sucked about COH- the god awful combat lol.

You speak of First person shooter balance when FPS was never once brought up, and you seem to think in incredibly limited narrow terms for someone talking about a game trying to emulate COH, in which any archetype could be powerful solo given enough creative build work, it makes no sense.

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The functional definition of

The functional definition of a "Glass Cannon" build in a MMO can be generalized to "any build that enjoys the maximal levels of some character qualities at the expense/sacrifice of others". So in CoH terms Blasters were supposed to be the best ranged DPS AT in the game while "paying" for that by being relatively vulnerable to Mez. Basically the only way a Glass Cannon can be internally balanced (in any game) is if it's simultaneously very good at one thing and very weak at something else.

The problem with the CoH Blaster was that it wasn't a pure Glass Cannon in the strictest sense. By the time the game was shutdown the Blaster AT had been changed so that it WASN'T uniquely the best DPS class while at the same time it got an updated version of its Defiance inherent power which let them use some of their powers even while Mezzed. So the Blaster wasn't really fully "min/maxed" the way a Glass Cannon ought to be.

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Actually Glass Cannon has the

Actually Glass Cannon has the word Glass in it which implies that playing it feels glassy, compared to others, implying it is squishy in exchange for firepower, and hence its a more specific term.

I absolutely agree no one build should be best at EVERYTHING. but no build should be forced to be only good at ONE thing either, you should be able to be good at 2 or more things, maybe not quite as awesome as if you focused it all in one, but still good, then you'd be choosing where you'd be weaker in, and where you'd be average.

Power grids are way more than just a couple variables.

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

Actually Glass Cannon has the word Glass in it which implies that playing it feels glassy, compared to others, implying it is squishy in exchange for firepower, and hence its a more specific term.

I absolutely agree no one build should be best at EVERYTHING. but no build should be forced to be only good at ONE thing either, you should be able to be good at 2 or more things, maybe not quite as awesome as if you focused it all in one, but still good, then you'd be choosing where you'd be weaker in, and where you'd be average.

Power grids are way more than just a couple variables.

The phrase "Glass Cannon" has the word 'Glass' in it? Who knew. ;)

The point is that any Glass Cannon build in any MMO game enjoys the benefit of some characteristic being very good at the expense of another being very bad. It doesn't really matter how many "things" you're talking about; theoretically a Glass Cannon can be supreme in 50 different ways as long as it basically sucks in 50 other ways. If a build doesn't suffer from a minimal quality in order to balance its maximal one then it isn't really a "Glass Cannon".

Just to demonstrate that CoH Blasters aren't the only things in the universe that you could call a "Glass Cannon" one could simply look at the original Magic User back in the first editions of D&D. In order to balance out the fact that Magic Users could literally toss fireballs around they were prevented from wearing most armors, they couldn't use most weapons and they had the smallest hit-die for HPs. The Magic User as a class was the very embodiment of having major disadvantages to counter-balance its major advantages.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Guys, I think you are talking

Guys, I think you are talking past each other. Trying so hard to be understood, you forgot to try to understand.

While @Lothic was trying very hard to provide a generic description of Glass Cannon, saying "any build that enjoys the maximal levels of some character qualities at the expense/sacrifice of others," that definition omits the reason the word "glass" is used in the term, which @ZeeHero picked up upon. @ZeeHero merely wanted to point out that the term glass is used because it isn't just "at the expense of other [qualities]" it is specifically at the expense of being vulnerable.

For example, one would not call a scrapper a glass cannon just because it has no effective ranged attacks, would we? Yet, by a literal interpretation Lothic's definition, it would be. Now obviously that's not what Lothic meant, and in Lothic's own example he mentioned the vulnerability to Mez. So its pretty obvious to this third party that both forum posters are actually in agreement over the term.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Guys, I think you are talking past each other. Trying so hard to be understood, you forgot to try to understand.

While @Lothic was trying very hard to provide a generic description of Glass Cannon, saying "any build that enjoys the maximal levels of some character qualities at the expense/sacrifice of others," that definition omits the reason the word "glass" is used in the term, which @ZeeHero picked up upon. @ZeeHero merely wanted to point out that the term glass is used because it isn't just "at the expense of other [qualities]" it is specifically at the expense of being vulnerable.

For example, one would not call a scrapper a glass cannon just because it has no effective ranged attacks, would we? Yet, by a literal interpretation Lothic's definition, it would be. Now obviously that's not what Lothic meant, and in Lothic's own example he mentioned the vulnerability to Mez. So its pretty obvious to this third party that both forum posters are actually in agreement over the term.

Just pointing out I've seen the term "Glass Cannon" generalized in many different gaming contexts over the decades (hence my D&D example). And it strictly doesn't allow you to be "great one way and average in others". It literally means you're "great in one way and effectively suck in another". *shrugs*

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That's a binary glass cannon,

That's a binary glass cannon, in this kind of game, a COH successor, characters have way more variables than that, its more of a "Amazing at this, ok at this suck at that" or "Great at this and this, decent at this, suck at that" than "Bestest ever at this, worstest ever at that"

Theres a reason the classic binary glass cannon trope character is hugely unpopular. Having overwhelming firepower is meaningless if you spend too much time on the floor dead. far better to have merely "good" damage and "decent" to "good" survival than "amazing" damage and "crapola" survival every time.

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

That's a binary glass cannon, in this kind of game, a COH successor, characters have way more variables than that, its more of a "Amazing at this, ok at this suck at that" or "Great at this and this, decent at this, suck at that" than "Bestest ever at this, worstest ever at that"

Theres a reason the classic binary glass cannon trope character is hugely unpopular. Having overwhelming firepower is meaningless if you spend too much time on the floor dead. far better to have merely "good" damage and "decent" to "good" survival than "amazing" damage and "crapola" survival every time.

The COH blaster should have been 1 shotting minions easily. They had no defense, no mez protection. Their whole concept was "kill them before they kill me". unfortunately the devs nerfed their damage in the name of "balance". Mainly pvp balance. then they gave scrappers every bit as good offense and decent defense + mez protection. No wonder people were doing pylon tests on scrappers and brutes.I think you have to define what is sufficient power for each AT rather than all ats at once. If a scrapper does half as much damage as a blaster, but lives 4 times as long, just who is overpowered? You can see this in different games. swtor was bad for devs using a chainsaw instead of a scalpel.

Look at how they butchered EM on live. It was #1 in st..cant have that nerf it till its bottom half, it was last in AOE, leave it there, its fine. No one used EM outside of concept builds for a long time.

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I think the idea that

I think the idea that blasters were/are unpopular is an urban legend. While it's certainly true that a number of vocal people disliked blasters, the fact remains that any stats released by the devs or available on tracking sites showed that they were consistently in the top 2 or 3 of popular ATs.

I like MWM's approach to balance as stated by Tannim. My biggest fear around the mythical quest for balance is that it can make ATs/power sets feel samey. I want characters to actually play differently from one another; the more variety the better.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Samey balance is not good

Samey balance is not good balance when dealing with different archetypes and powersets, the kind of balance to go for is the kind Starcraft does with its factions, assymetrical balance. Also, I'm fine with there being glass cannon build options as long as nobody is made to feel forced into them or not play a certain concept, more choices are better, taking away some peoples choice to give one to others isnt.

in the superhero genre, there are more non glass cannon, rounded in some way, characters than not. Even when a character only has one special ability, that ability normally can be developed into many applications through practice and smart thinking.

Electric powers can control magnetism with enough mastery, Fire powers can develop into full fledged thermal on both ends of the spectrum, and most telekinetics have some latent telepathic ability, and vice versa.

Whether a character develops multiple applications is of course up to the player and build, but it should be a main option at the very very least. Most people prefer a somewhat rounded character for the simple fact its just easier to play in more situations.

Nobody is saying make glass cannons impossible, but neither should the existence of glass cannons make more mainstream playstyles any less good.

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There's a lot of posts here

There's a lot of posts here so sorry if someone already said this, but...

My general philosophy with balance is to never nerf. Instead, build up. There are some caveats mind you, literally game breaking stuff has to go. But if one type of playstyle out shines the other types of playstyles, then give the other playstyles something to compensate.

It's not perfect of course. But it's always a bad feeling for your class/role/whatever to be nerfed and feel less fun in the process. Especially if you picked the class/role/whatever because it just looked cool.

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Definitely mostly agree, and

Definitely mostly agree, and even when you must nerf its always better to keep it small, and sometimes you nerf one thing a little and improve the other a little.

A small nerf if it turns out not to be enough can always be adjusted later, a huge nerf causes a lot of player backlash and is not as easily fixed.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Remember how many people bitched and moaned when ED had to be applied to CoH? Everyone who was taking advantage of their hyper-overpowered builds assumed that ED would spell the end of the game and a large number of people rage quit over it.

I was ... and still am, all these years later ... one of those people.

I had an MA/SR Scrapper build that WORKED pre-ED and Global Defense Nerf (GDN).
It worked because I could 6 slot powers in Super Reflexes that couldn't usefully be slotted with much more than Defense Enhancements (go figure).
"Enhancement Diversification" completely BROKE my character to the point of making her UNPLAYABLE (because she couldn't survive being in combat).
I was one of the people who rage quit in absolute disgust, with feelings of betrayal by the devs that linger on to this day.

City of Heroes had been out for about a year when this happened.
It then took over TWO YEARS before the "fix" for the nerf (Inventions) was released.

TWO YEARS.

During those two years, I was very happy to be playing World of Warcraft instead of City of Heroes ... because of the ED+GDN debacle that "broke the game" for me.

Lothic wrote:

But not only did it not kill the game but it arguably allowed it to flourish with the addition of better crafting in the later years of the game.

Wow, that's a way to elide the truth of the matter on par with ... "Aside from notable exceptions, Germany was at peace with their neighbors during the 20th century."


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ED would have been fine if it

ED would have been fine if it had happened at the same time as the new invention system and IO sets, but it didn't. it did ruin the game for a while, and that is why.

Nerfs also have to be timed correctly with other updates in many cases.

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

That's a binary glass cannon, in this kind of game, a COH successor, characters have way more variables than that, its more of a "Amazing at this, ok at this suck at that" or "Great at this and this, decent at this, suck at that" than "Bestest ever at this, worstest ever at that"

Theres a reason the classic binary glass cannon trope character is hugely unpopular. Having overwhelming firepower is meaningless if you spend too much time on the floor dead. far better to have merely "good" damage and "decent" to "good" survival than "amazing" damage and "crapola" survival every time.

As you imply playing a Glass Cannon is not the type of build everyone will appreciate. But just because they may be difficult to play doesn't mean they are impossible or even "unpopular" as you implied. As I pointed out classic D&D Magic Users are Glass Cannons and people have been playing them in games for the better part of 50 years now.

To be clear the only way any Glass Cannon can effectively work in any game is if its "advantage" is borderline overpowered to compensate for its nearly unplayble "disadvantage". The problem with trying to use CoH Blasters as your "example" of a Glass Cannon is that (as I pointed out earlier) the Blaster was NOT a proper Glass Cannon in the strictest sense. Blasters had been nerfed to the point where their damage output was only barely strong enough to keep them from being killed every three seconds. If Blasters had been "proper" Glass Cannons they would have been far more deadly to properly compensate for their relative vulnerability.

You claim my definition of a Glass Cannon is somehow "too binary" but by definition they are builds that have an overwhelming advantage paired with a nearly unplayable disadvantage. That is the ONLY functional definition for them. They were never meant to be as easy to play as a more well-rounded type of build.

Glass Cannons are also (almost by definition) not meant to be something you can play solo. Glass Cannons work best in teams where their teammates can keep them alive. Most of the time when a Blaster face planted in CoH it was because they were either trying to play solo or they were on a team but not playing with good tactics. I personally played Blasters that went literally dozens of hours (or more) between deaths because I pretty much always played them in teams and I used good tactics. Glass Cannons can be tricky to play if you don't play them correctly but they are far from unplayable.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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I'm not saying its such a

I'm not saying its such a tiny minority who like that kind of playstyle, I personally am friends with a few people who do that as their signature thing, and I am all for it being an option so long as that option does not harm all the other options.

however, the amount of people I know who prefer non glass cannons still far outnumber those who prefer it. Just because its a minority playstyle doesn't mean it should not be included, so long as the inclusion isnt affecting other playstyles.

Also expecting someone to always play in teams is incredibly unrealistic for any character.

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Lothic wrote:
Redlynne wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Remember how many people bitched and moaned when ED had to be applied to CoH? Everyone who was taking advantage of their hyper-overpowered builds assumed that ED would spell the end of the game and a large number of people rage quit over it.

I was ... and still am, all these years later ... one of those people.

I had an MA/SR Scrapper build that WORKED pre-ED and Global Defense Nerf (GDN).
It worked because I could 6 slot powers in Super Reflexes that couldn't usefully be slotted with much more than Defense Enhancements (go figure).
"Enhancement Diversification" completely BROKE my character to the point of making her UNPLAYABLE (because she couldn't survive being in combat).
I was one of the people who rage quit in absolute disgust, with feelings of betrayal by the devs that linger on to this day.

City of Heroes had been out for about a year when this happened.
It then took over TWO YEARS before the "fix" for the nerf (Inventions) was released.

TWO YEARS.

During those two years, I was very happy to be playing World of Warcraft instead of City of Heroes ... because of the ED+GDN debacle that "broke the game" for me.

For what its worth I never said the "implementation" of ED+GDN was handled well. As you correctly pointed out the TWO YEAR delay between when ED was applied and the "fix" for ED was an incredibly bad situation which did cause the rage-quits I mentioned. You yourself are proof of that.

But I'll still stand by my assessment that ED+GDN didn't actually "break" the game - all it did was make a small number of (very arguably) overpowered builds less overpowered. I will be charitable to your POV on this by saying you simply got used to "taking advantage" of a system at the launch of CoH that was grossly unbalanced to begin with. The game should have NEVER allowed people to 6-slot things to begin with.

I'm sorry that your overpowered Scrapper got nerfed. I understand that you probably had a lot of fun playing it, just as I had a lot of fun playing with a Fire Controller who could have 10-12 Fire Imps going at the same time. But these builds were specifically overpowered and had to be nerfed to keep the game from imploding. Had the functionality of ED+GDN plus the crafting system been in place from the beginning there would have been ZERO PROBLEMS and no one would have missed the brokenness the game launched with.

Redlynne wrote:
Lothic wrote:

But not only did it not kill the game but it arguably allowed it to flourish with the addition of better crafting in the later years of the game.

Wow, that's a way to elide the truth of the matter on par with ... "Aside from notable exceptions, Germany was at peace with their neighbors during the 20th century."

Like I said I never suggested ED+GDN was implemented properly. In fact I think it's easy to argue that its implementation was one of the worst things the Devs of CoH ever did.

I only pointed out that in the long run it allowed the game to better support crafting (and even the Incarnate system) which enabled most builds to become far more powerful than they ever were pre ED.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Lothic
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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

I'm not saying its such a tiny minority who like that kind of playstyle, I personally am friends with a few people who do that as their signature thing, and I am all for it being an option so long as that option does not harm all the other options.

however, the amount of people I know who prefer non glass cannons still far outnumber those who prefer it. Just because its a minority playstyle doesn't mean it should not be included, so long as the inclusion isnt affecting other playstyles.

Again I never assumed Glass Cannons had to be "as popular" or "as easy to play" as more well rounded character types. If anything Glass Cannons are harder to play because their inherent disadvantages require a solid knowledge of tactics to make them survivable.

ZeeHero wrote:

Also expecting someone to always play in teams is incredibly unrealistic for any character.

Expecting all builds to be able to function equally well either soloing or in teams is unrealistic. I didn't say Blasters must always be in teams - I just correctly suggested the easiest way to mitigate the "disadvantages" of playing a Glass Cannon would be to play them in teams. How often do you see real life artillery or D&D Magic Users do anything "solo"?

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No one said all builds should

No one said all builds should function equally well in team or solo, but I should be able to solo at least with some setup with nearly any archetype and powerset combo, if I build it to do such.

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

No one said all builds should function equally well in team or solo, but I should be able to solo at least with some setup with nearly any archetype and powerset combo, if I build it to do such.

And again I never said a build must "only team" or "only solo". I simply implied Glass Cannons almost always work better in teams because it mitigates their disadvantages. That's Tactics 101. *shrugs*

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

For what its worth I never said

No ... you didn't. You glossed over the main and primary factor so as to (deliberately?) miss the elephant standing on your foot in the middle of the room.
I call that disingenuous and deceptive.

Lothic wrote:

But I'll still stand by my assessment that ED+GDN didn't actually "break" the game - all it did was make a small number of (very arguably) overpowered builds less overpowered. I will be charitable to your POV on this by saying you simply got used to "taking advantage" of a system at the launch of CoH that was grossly unbalanced to begin with.

I'll be similarly charitable in saying you don't know what you're talking about ... and ... your attempts to hold your own opinions up as authoritative (and therefore definitively both self-evidently true and the end of the matter) betray a sense of hubris that is both self-righteous and unbecoming.

Try again.

Lothic wrote:

The game should have NEVER allowed people to 6-slot things to begin with.

Except IT DID.
And as soon as you gain access to a time travel machine to fix that oversight, I'm sure you will.
Until then, you're blowing smoke.

Lothic wrote:

I'm sorry that your overpowered Scrapper got nerfed.

Lothic wrote:

Had the functionality of ED+GDN plus the crafting system been in place from the beginning there would have been ZERO PROBLEMS and no one would have missed the brokenness the game launched with.

*** IF ***
IF that had been true, then expectations would not have been wrecked the way they were in a way that created lasting damage for the game and trust in the development team.

But that wasn't what happened.
What happened was a Bait And Switch that took longer to fix than the game had been in release up to that point.
Remember, this was the episode that caused permanent HATRED for Jack Emmert as Statesman ... a sentiment that has stuck with him forever after.

When the feedback you get from your playerbase is so overwhelming that more than 90% of it is NEGATIVE ... and so voluminous that it CRASHES YOUR OFFICIAL FORUMS for three straight days ... and leaves your Community Management team with PTSD memories years later (I met Cuppa Jo and the reaction was STARK when the subject got mentioned!) ... and you IGNORE all of that feedback and go through with the changes anyway and the result is disaster like everyone was telling you it would be ...

Yeah, nice try Lothic.
But sure ... go ahead and minimize the problems and the responsibility for them like you have been.
Carefully avoiding mentioning the sinkhole that swallowed the game's future just when World of Warcraft was getting rolling ... well ... if THAT hadn't happened, things might have turned out quite differently, no?
But who's counting?

Lothic wrote:

I only pointed out that in the long run

In the long run, the game plateaued below where it had been before the debacle and eventually got shuttered.
In the long run, the game was almost impossible to maintain due to the spaghetti code nature of how it developed over time.
In the long run, we'll all be dead.

Or to put it another way ... you don't get a second chance to make a first impression.


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COH was actually not

COH was actually not shuttered because of ED nerf, but because it was used as a scapegoat for NCsoft's terrible handling of Guildwars 2 early on, they had to completely redo how they thoguht about that game working, and COH was made to take the fall since it was very old.

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

COH was actually not shuttered because of ED nerf, but because it was used as a scapegoat for NCsoft's terrible handling of Guildwars 2 early on, they had to completely redo how they thoguht about that game working, and COH was made to take the fall since it was very old.

Interesting theory. Care to support it? I'm not casting doubt, but I'd like to see how you got from point a to point b on that line of reasoning. Perhaps another thread would be better suited to such a tangent, however.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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This is really just what

This is really just what someone I know told me who happens to be very knowledgable about the history of both games, also the fact COH wasn't doing poorly when it was shuttered adds credence to the idea.

If anything COH would have eventually been shut down in a few more years due to the sheer age of the design and engine, but an even better game would have followed, I believe there were plans of some sort to have the incarnate stuff eventually end with our characters becoming gods of a new dimension or something, and then we'd make new heroes in this new world in a sequel.

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There was a time when NC$oft

There was a time when NC$oft had like 10 different games published in the NA market (and Europe) in the mid-2000s.
Then the axe came out and they started chopping off games all over their portfolio.
A few short years later and they were down to only 4 games.
Today it feels like they have only 2 franchises ... Guild Wars and Blade And Soul.

Doesn't matter to me, of course. NC$oft has earned a lifetime ban from my wallet.
Even if a game is "free to play" ... if it is published by NC$oft, I will not download, play or support such a title. Full stop.
I have more faith in private server hosted games than I do in NC$oft.


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[/quote=Redlynne]*** IF ***

[/quote=Redlynne]*** IF ***
IF that had been true, then expectations would not have been wrecked the way they were in a way that created lasting damage for the game and trust in the development team.

But that wasn't what happened.
What happened was a Bait And Switch that took longer to fix than the game had been in release up to that point.
Remember, this was the episode that caused permanent HATRED for Jack Emmert as Statesman ... a sentiment that has stuck with him forever after.

This is very true. Thing is, it wasn't supposed to be "if" the original plan was to put ED in place and the next issue after that release the crafting system with testing with players in between. The devs also wanted ED in place live for a bit to gather live data on it while they refined the crafting system. ED was released and then the crafting system at the time only testing internally was deemed to be...not good. From what I understand, it was almost entirely scrapped. The rest is history.

So, can we leave it at that? History. We've learned from it what we can. There really isn't much constructive use in rehashing old arguments about the old game that had been gone through ad nauseam.

A couple of things I'd like to point out about how City of Titans mechanics work for those who either aren't familiar or need a refresher. Any Secondary Power Set can end up being made into a Tertiary and every Tertiary Set is available for each Archetype.

Defense in CoT is a style-based mechanic, that is references if the attack is melee, ranged, or area effect and reduces the effect of an attack by the percentage of the Defense. Think of it as positional resistance.
What constitutes an attack? Any effect that is originated by an enemy, be it damage, debuff, or control.
Resistance uses Types. Those being Physical, Energy, and Exotic. Unless the Resistance specifies an effect, IE "damage", Resistance reduces any effect based on the Type it has by the percentage of Resistance.

Therefore, any Archetype could say, grab a Protection Set Tertiary that uses Defense or Resistance, and obtain some measure of protection even against controls. In essence, there really isn't a concept of "glass canon" for CoT.

Another major difference is how Controls work. They are non-binary in nature. That is, they aren't necessarily all or nothing. Controls have different ways they can affect your character, but at a most basic mechanic, they affect how or if you can use your powers. The same goes for controls against NPCs. Taking a look at say a Ranged / Manipulation Specification, where the secondary is likely to carry more control effects. This combo is difficult because it mainly relies on overwhelming force to defeat enemies. Some of those combinations may use melee ranged controls in the secondary. Barring any unique mechanics a set may have that offers some form of protection (including healing), without some form of protection or support Tertiary, this combo could be seen as fairly...vulnerable.

However, due to the nature of non-binary controls, attacking difficult targets like say a Boss, can still yield some measure of tactical advantage for the player of this combo because the control effects can reduce the effectiveness of the enemy during the fight. And at base, even a Boss with controls can't lock out a player character from all their powers, the player has a fighting chance. Against a full spawn that all have control attacks however (which could be a possibility), a player may need to make some wise decisions. All of this doesn't even consider Mastery Set combinations affecting performance either.


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Non binary controls is a

Non binary controls is a great idea, and its one thing I really like about the design strategy for CoT. it's also something that appears in fiction sometimes, been watching a series with superpowered people as well as certain things that can affect their ability to use their powers, the catch is there's really nothing that can simply nullify their ability to use their powers, instead theres a few different ways in which their control over their powers or ability to use them effectively can be messed with, and sometimes you can simply figure out a way to defeat their powers using the knowledge of exactly how they work against them.

it's just more interesting when stuff is non binary in nature.

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I'd actually like to see a

I'd actually like to see a mini update of sorts that explains the non-binary controls, with examples.

What I mean is let's say there are four types of control:

  1. Stop Movement
  2. Stop Actions
  3. Stop Both
  4. Knockdown/up

tell us what the effects are for each: from no-effect all the way through to full effect, or even an over-effect. (when I say overeffect, I'm talking about how puissant clerics don't just turn undead, they destroy them) But what would overeffect of a control power look like? maybe control effects spreading at half strength to all enemies within 5m of the target, for example.

And then, you could talk about how masteries and enhancements and refinements can affect these further.

A nice crunchy update like this would be well-recieved I think.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:
Lothic wrote:

For what its worth I never said

No ... you didn't. You glossed over the main and primary factor so as to (deliberately?) miss the elephant standing on your foot in the middle of the room.
I call that disingenuous and deceptive.

Lothic wrote:

But I'll still stand by my assessment that ED+GDN didn't actually "break" the game - all it did was make a small number of (very arguably) overpowered builds less overpowered. I will be charitable to your POV on this by saying you simply got used to "taking advantage" of a system at the launch of CoH that was grossly unbalanced to begin with.

I'll be similarly charitable in saying you don't know what you're talking about ... and ... your attempts to hold your own opinions up as authoritative (and therefore definitively both self-evidently true and the end of the matter) betray a sense of hubris that is both self-righteous and unbecoming.

Try again.

Lothic wrote:

The game should have NEVER allowed people to 6-slot things to begin with.

Except IT DID.
And as soon as you gain access to a time travel machine to fix that oversight, I'm sure you will.
Until then, you're blowing smoke.

Lothic wrote:

I'm sorry that your overpowered Scrapper got nerfed.

Lothic wrote:

Had the functionality of ED+GDN plus the crafting system been in place from the beginning there would have been ZERO PROBLEMS and no one would have missed the brokenness the game launched with.

*** IF ***
IF that had been true, then expectations would not have been wrecked the way they were in a way that created lasting damage for the game and trust in the development team.

But that wasn't what happened.
What happened was a Bait And Switch that took longer to fix than the game had been in release up to that point.
Remember, this was the episode that caused permanent HATRED for Jack Emmert as Statesman ... a sentiment that has stuck with him forever after.

When the feedback you get from your playerbase is so overwhelming that more than 90% of it is NEGATIVE ... and so voluminous that it CRASHES YOUR OFFICIAL FORUMS for three straight days ... and leaves your Community Management team with PTSD memories years later (I met Cuppa Jo and the reaction was STARK when the subject got mentioned!) ... and you IGNORE all of that feedback and go through with the changes anyway and the result is disaster like everyone was telling you it would be ...

Yeah, nice try Lothic.
But sure ... go ahead and minimize the problems and the responsibility for them like you have been.
Carefully avoiding mentioning the sinkhole that swallowed the game's future just when World of Warcraft was getting rolling ... well ... if THAT hadn't happened, things might have turned out quite differently, no?
But who's counting?

Lothic wrote:

I only pointed out that in the long run

In the long run, the game plateaued below where it had been before the debacle and eventually got shuttered.
In the long run, the game was almost impossible to maintain due to the spaghetti code nature of how it developed over time.
In the long run, we'll all be dead.

Or to put it another way ... you don't get a second chance to make a first impression.

Damn tell us how you really feel about all this lol.

All I can tell you is that ED+GDN barely affected ANY of the dozens of characters I had at the time. I continued to play straight through it along with thousands of others. Like I've said I certainly don't deny that many people like you decided to rage-quit over the very poor way Paragon Studios handled the situation. But after all this time if you don't want to accept the fact that not only did ED+GDN NOT kill the game but actually helped to make it work better in the long run then it seems there's nothing in heaven or earth that's ever going to convince you otherwise.

I'm sorry but I'll just have to continue to be, well, amused at how badly people like you lost their collective shit over this. Perhaps we can leave this topic by agreeing that hopefully MWM will have learned from this and make sure that CoT will not require such a major "restructuring" of their game years after launch.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Update on Controls

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Also, Lothic and Redlynne, I

Also, Lothic and Redlynne, I thought I had alluded to this but let me be straight forward:

Drop the talk about what hoe and why if the old game. Move on. Take it to PMs if you feel the absolute need to be more right about something that happened so freaking long ago in another game.

Thank you.


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Theres controls and there are

Theres controls and there are other support effects like debuffs, which can also be non binary in a sense, they just don't need to be as such due to being able to adjust number values easier than "Can I do this or not"

Since a control is by nature binary in its function, non binary control requires being able to apply the binary nature to some aspects and abilities but not others.

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

Also, Lothic and Redlynne, I thought I had alluded to this but let me be straight forward:

Drop the talk about what hoe and why if the old game. Move on. Take it to PMs if you feel the absolute need to be more right about something that happened so freaking long ago in another game.

Thank you.

For what it's worth I did offer an "olive branch" to Redlynne in my last post.

Oh and BTW the topic of ED+GDN is one of "game balance" which is relevant to this thread and how MWM may or may not screw up CoT if you guys don't LEARN FROM THE PAST. Your continued insistence that TOG somehow doesn't exist and/or is irrelevant to CoT frankly continues to be mind-boggling to me.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

Update on Controls

Update on Augments and Refinements

Update on Mastery Sets

I'd forgotten how informative the controls update was. Thanks for including the links. But leave it to the tech guy to miss the point I was trying to make. That's the same kind of answer I've seen from Doc Tyche also: "We've already discussed something very similar to what you're asking so we don't need to talk about it ever again." (<-paraphrase not actual quote) Sorry about that, but sometimes I think you guys just don't get marketing or PR. You guys are lookng at it as developers trying to maximize the efficiency of your time instead of marketers trying to make sure your game is understood and to feed the spongelike curiosity of your fans.
What I'm suggesting is an update that builds upon those mechanical foundations you've already put out to portray how it actually plays out in the game. How will players EXPERIENCE controls. I know, I know, you will still need to fine tune the threshholds so we end up with something playable. But this is what the controls update says:

Quote:
  • Concentration: A measure of your ability to activate your powers.
    • Concentration is affected by Hold, Sleep, and Disorient.
    • When affected, powers can not activate
  • Volition: A measure of your ability to target whomever you wish.
    • Volition is affected by Charm, Fear, and Aversion
    • When affected, powers can not target the controller.
  • Calm: A measure of your ability to shrug off provocations
    • Calm is affected by Taunt
    • When affected, powers can only target the originator
  • Movement: A measure of agility and overall resistance to snaring
    • Movement is affected by Movement Reduction
    • When affected, movement aspects are reduced

So, a new udate expanding upon this portion would be great. Talking about what effect a primary slotted ability would have versus a tertiary slotted power. What are the intended scales of effect for the game. In other words, how hard do you intend it to be for the average player to actually achieve maximum control effect? Or will they typically only see about 50% effect unless fully slotted with masteries, enhancements and refinements. And can a defensive payer ever achieve total resistance? Yes, we all know that final numbers will be based on testing and feedback, but tell us what your intent is. I also realize the distinction between magnitude and duration and while you've touched on it, I'm not sure you've actually come out to say which of either will effect which control method. You could give us some more insight on that, if you have more insight to give. And I would really like to see if you have considered over-effective controls. Do control effects top out at 100% effectiveness or is there an additional effect against targets who are more vulnerable or by characters who are uber-tweaked?

It would be an interesting gambit for a player to know that their glass cannon build that is particularly vulnerable to mez could potentially be a weakness that spreads to other team members as well.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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I like the idea that

I like the idea that concentration decides whether you can activate powers but I would suggest that a limited number of aura type or defensive powers not require concentration at all to activate, but are subconsiously active, and can be disabled through a different means, but would be much harder to stop.

Things like someones primary barrier against damage and all that.

Taking a hint from the failings of COH, defensive toggles that cost endurance were a terrible idea, and many powersets would fall flat as soon as they encountered any heavy end drain. it's more than enough to not be able to attack at no end, there is zero reason why all your defenses should also drop.

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

I like the idea that concentration decides whether you can activate powers but I would suggest that a limited number of aura type or defensive powers not require concentration at all to activate, but are subconsiously active, and can be disabled through a different means, but would be much harder to stop.

Things like someones primary barrier against damage and all that.

Taking a hint from the failings of COH, defensive toggles that cost endurance were a terrible idea, and many powersets would fall flat as soon as they encountered any heavy end drain. it's more than enough to not be able to attack at no end, there is zero reason why all your defenses should also drop.

I'd have no problem with powers in CoT that are "subconscious", powers that require "no concentration" to activate/maintain, or even powers that require nothing like Mana/END to keep them active.

But the opinion that a game having "defensive toggles that cost endurance was a terrible idea" is itself a very narrow and strange idea for a superhero game. It makes perfect sense for some types of superpowers to fail when you no longer have enough energy/power to keep them active.

If you want to make sure your "defensive toggles that cost endurance" don't fail then make sure you use proper tactics to avoid/mitigate that situation. *shrugs*

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

I'd forgotten how informative the controls update was. Thanks for including the links. But leave it to the tech guy to miss the point I was trying to make. That's the same kind of answer I've seen from Doc Tyche also: "We've already discussed something very similar to what you're asking so we don't need to talk about it ever again." (<-paraphrase not actual quote) Sorry about that, but sometimes I think you guys just don't get marketing or PR. You guys are lookng at it as developers trying to maximize the efficiency of your time instead of marketers trying to make sure your game is understood and to feed the spongelike curiosity of your fans.

Updates are only tangentially related to marketing and PR. They are more for discussions on our forums, forum discussions aren't marketing and PR, they are actually considered internal communication between community management / developers and players / forum posters.

Marketing and PR is more external facing. Marketing is for the intent on generating sales, getting attention to product. Creating ads and such. PR is about dealing with public sources such as other companies the studio may work with, setting up and monitoring interviews, etc.

Huckleberry wrote:

So, a new udate expanding upon this portion would be great. Talking about what effect a primary slotted ability would have versus a tertiary slotted power. What are the intended scales of effect for the game. In other words, how hard do you intend it to be for the average player to actually achieve maximum control effect? Or will they typically only see about 50% effect unless fully slotted with masteries, enhancements and refinements. And can a defensive payer ever achieve total resistance?

I highly doubt I'll ever do a write up on game theory using faux or even realistic numbers. That is what a general discussion is for. A larger write up such as what you are requesting will only serve to help those who are heavily invested in...math. Quite honestly, expanding upon how mechanics and systems combine is what actual game play is for. These are things better experienced by people in general and than those who want in depth math on mechanics.

ZeeHero wrote:

like the idea that concentration decides whether you can activate powers but I would suggest that a limited number of aura type or defensive powers not require concentration at all to activate, but are subconsiously active, and can be disabled through a different means, but would be much harder to stop.

Powers don't use Concentration or don't. All powers are affecting by controls attacking a "parameter" which is either Concentration, Volition, or Calm. Each power has a rating called Will Power. In general, Will Power is based on the power's Tier in the set. However, some powers may have a better or worse Will Power than their tier. It may even be possible to have a bonus to a power's Will Power at some point down the line...;)


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So its actually 3 different

So its actually 3 different stats that different powers use to determine whether a control prevents it from being used.

How will this affect the design of powerset mechanics and synergies, if sometimes specific powers just wont be usable? I'm sure that state wont last too long but it's interesting to think how it could affect gameplay.

How does breaking free from CC work? COH had a very lackluster system in its breakfree inspirations, relying on consumables to break holds is not fun, especially when you can only carry a limited amount. having a skill that has a cooldown affected by a "willpower" or such "anti CC" stats would be good, the higher your anti CC the more effective your innate ability to get out of a lock. I think it would be a good idea for it to use a different stat from the one that determines IF you get CCed though, so its possible to be weak to becoming controlled but strong to break it.

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Tannim222]
Tannim222 wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

So, a new udate expanding upon this portion would be great. Talking about what effect a primary slotted ability would have versus a tertiary slotted power. What are the intended scales of effect for the game. In other words, how hard do you intend it to be for the average player to actually achieve maximum control effect? Or will they typically only see about 50% effect unless fully slotted with masteries, enhancements and refinements. And can a defensive payer ever achieve total resistance?

I highly doubt I'll ever do a write up on game theory using faux or even realistic numbers. That is what a general discussion is for. A larger write up such as what you are requesting will only serve to help those who are heavily invested in...math. Quite honestly, expanding upon how mechanics and systems combine is what actual game play is for. These are things better experienced by people in general and than those who want in depth math on mechanics.

I think you're projecting here. You think in terms of math and numbers so you suspected that's what I was requesting you provide. Perhaps that's my own fault for using a number (50%) in my own comment. Mea culpa.

I think the fanbase is thirsty for more descriptors of what to expect out of the gameplay, and I think it would be nice to discuss what the intent is for controls. Your existing update on controls ralked about the algorithms and underneath the hood variables you're using well enough. Now we want to know, qualitatively what the intended gameplay will be. How effective should we expect controls to be? on the giving as well as the receiving end. How will primary verus secondary versus tertiary affect this? How will masteries? enhancements and refinements?

Zee Hero brings up another good question. Will we have Break Free abilities? If so will these be non-binary as well?
Inquiring minds want to know. I recommend you put this in your queue of PR updates.


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I think break free abilities

I think break free abilities should not be directly tied to whatever boosts your normal resistance to CC applying, since then stacking that one thing would be too powerful. However it should still be possible to improve the characters ability to break a CC which has landed on them.

For instance, if a telepath tries to take over someones actions, it is entirely possible for them to be unable to resist the takeover, but still break free within the next few seconds, since it's not a given they will realize it's happening until they start losing control.

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Will we have Break Free abilities? If so will these be non-binary as well?

After re-reading the "Update on Controls" it doesn't seem like having just one kind of "Break Free" effect would even make sense under the system they are giving us in CoT.

Apparently the things that would help us against having our powers Mezzed in CoT would be the following:

  • Anything that increases our character's Concentration stat
  • Anything that increases our character's Volition stat
  • Anything that increases our character's Calm stat
  • Anything that increases our character's Movement stat
  • Anything that lowers an individual power's Willpower requirement

So it seems there could be an entire spectrum of powers/effects that could raise/lower these values that would in essence be considered "buffs" or "debuffs" towards our degree of being Mezzed.

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What I was thinking of is a

What I was thinking of is a skill usable once in a while that restores the use of CCed powers immediately, but it would have a recharge time dictated by some stat or other seperate from normal resistances.

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

What I was thinking of is a skill usable once in a while that restores the use of CCed powers immediately

Sure why not? That skill/power could do any of the things I listed in my last post (i.e. temporarily reduce the Willpower required to use a power or temporarily increase your character's inherent Concentration stat).

ZeeHero wrote:

but it would have a recharge time dictated by some stat or other seperate from normal resistances.

The Concentration, Volition, Calm, Movement stats and the individual power Willpower values already seem to be quite separate from "normal resistances" or anything like that.

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What I Meant was normal

What I Meant was normal resistances to being CCed, otherwise you'd just be stacking whatever the most common one is for your abilities and it would also reduce the recharge of breakfree.. which could easily be broken.

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

So its actually 3 different stats that different powers use to determine whether a control prevents it from being used.

No. The Parameters of Concentration, Volition, and Charm aren't really "stats" that one power type uses over another. Instead they are parameters we used to state how a Control Effect generally affects a Power. Concentration based Controls affect if powers can be activated, so Holds, Sleeps, and Disorients. Volition based Controls affect how the Powers function in reference to the originator of the control. These are Charm and Fear. Calm affects how a power can target in relation to the originator, this is specifically, Taunt. Each Parameter type is given a hierarchy for what takes precedence. Concentration Effects are greater than Volition are greater than Calm. Within those, the control with the greatest value takes precedence. If of equal value, it is the most recent applied (greater duration).

ZeeHero wrote:

How will this affect the design of powerset mechanics and synergies, if sometimes specific powers just wont be usable? I'm sure that state wont last too long but it's interesting to think how it could affect gameplay.

They don't really have an affect on synergies. Controls all use the same type of improvement. Nothing outside of how the control effect is designed determines its base functionality. How power set synergies can deal with controls is based on if the set has Defense that is specified toward Control Effects or Resistance to the Control's (damage) Type (remember, that is Physical, Energy, or Exotic).

ZeeHero wrote:

How does breaking free from CC work? COH had a very lackluster system in its breakfree inspirations, relying on consumables to break holds is not fun, especially when you can only carry a limited amount. having a skill that has a cooldown affected by a "willpower" or such "anti CC" stats would be good, the higher your anti CC the more effective your innate ability to get out of a lock. I think it would be a good idea for it to use a different stat from the one that determines IF you get CCed though, so its possible to be weak to becoming controlled but strong to break it.

We covered our version of inspirations called Reserves. If your character doesn't have a power to deal with breaking out of control effects, you will need to slot the appropriate Reserve type, called Breakout. Reserves are filled by your character's natural Momentum decay. Momentum being built by attacking or being attacked. If you are fully affected by something like a Hold, are being attacked, and have a Breakout Reserve, the Momentum decay will fill the Reserve allowing you to activate it to break the controls on your character.

There are powers that allow for breaking out of control effects, mostly found in Protection Sets. As a general rule, they have a better Will Power rating than their power tier so they take longer to be affected by Controls. However, some do not allow for breaking free from control effects. These will either have their cost associated with a toggle or a switch. There are some that can actually be activated when under a control effect have an up front Power cost and also have a longer cool down with a duration. If you have access to the Avatar Builder, you can look at Protection Sets and take a look at the power descriptions.


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For me, the only 'Horrible

For me, the only 'Horrible-Bad' Nerf was when they changed the animations for Energy Melee. Admittedly, up 'til then, EM had been a mild 'buzz-saw' set, enhanced with Energy Transfer for the big-damned-hit. My problem was less with the lower damage output than with the sudden slowness, because all of the Other stats of the set could be adjusted through Enhancements. What I could Not affect was the sense of high-energy-combat that I got from it. And, if the 'buzz-saw' is what they were trying to reduce, why give us Dark Melee?
I had Chosen Energy Melee for the sense that, Here was a super-powered Boxer. Someone with Skill and Training, not just 'magic-juice' to make him stronger.

I genuinely hope that the Devs will give us Animations that Look like real training and skill, movement and style. Attack-chains that flow together with Purpose and weight. Please, no Kamehamehas, unless you're a Blaster!

Be Well!
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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

I genuinely hope that the Devs will give us Animations that Look like real training and skill, movement and style. Attack-chains that flow together with Purpose and weight.

The goal is a variety of styles with some looking “real” or an approximation of such, but others being…exaggerated. Not every concept is about looking like a “trained / skilled fighter”. Sometimes concepts lean toward more outlandish.

There are tools to help make various movements go together, but like costumes, only blame the player if a combination doesn’t “make sense” to you ;)


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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

All I can tell you is that ED+GDN barely affected ANY of the dozens of characters I had at the time.

Ah yes ... the I've got a sandwich so why would anyone in the world be hungry? stance.

Lothic wrote:

I'm sorry but I'll just have to continue to be, well, amused at how badly people like you lost their collective shit over this.


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The wisest of master Yoda's

The wisest of master Yoda's teachings is this one:

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:
Lothic wrote:

All I can tell you is that ED+GDN barely affected ANY of the dozens of characters I had at the time.

Ah yes ... the I've got a sandwich so why would anyone in the world be hungry? stance.

We've already established that some people rage-quit over ED+GDN for whatever reasons. You were quite clearly one of those people.

We've also already agreed that the way ED+GDN was handled by Paragon Studios was extremely poor and I'd easily go so far as to say they could not have handled it any worse than they did. It was a PR disaster of epic proportions that I hope the folks at MWM learned a very serious lesson from.

As a person who did not see the need to rage-quit over ED+GDN I can only offer my personal perspective of how it affected the game immediately afterwards. Obviously I had to adjust the builds of some of my characters because of it. Obviously I saw rants in the in-game chat about it. And lord knows there were all sorts of bloody angst and vitriol spewed across the forums by incredibly vocal people.

But (again from this one person's perspective) I feel that as bad as ED+GDN was at the time it was NOT worth quitting the game for. It did not spell THE END the game nor did it actually affect the overall number of people I saw playing. The game did not become a "ghost town" over it as much as you'd probably like to assume otherwise. Most people simply adapted and got over it.

Redlynne wrote:
Lothic wrote:

I'm sorry but I'll just have to continue to be, well, amused at how badly people like you lost their collective shit over this.

Sorry to be perfectly blunt but I feel that anyone who decided to rage-quit over ED+GDN basically overreacted. Paragon Studios came to the conclusion that they had made massive fundamental mistakes with their game system and they showed the courage (perhaps in a very hamfisted way) to take the steps necessary to correct those mistakes to save the game.

I'm not posting this to make you mad or feel bad about your decision to rage-quit over ED+GDN. I'm just reminding you that you were in the minority in doing so.

P.S. Don't make the mistake that I'm some kind of naive Paragon Studios apologist. I actually came very close to rage-quitting TOG back when they heavily nerfed Fire Controller Imps on FOUR different occasions within the span of just a few months. It sucked and I was massively pissed. Still I realized just how stupidly overpowered Fire Imps were before they were nerfed and I came to accept that they had to be nerfed for the betterment of the game.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

...they heavily nerfed Fire Controller Imps on FOUR different occasions within the span of just a few months. It sucked and I was massively pissed. Still I realized just how stupidly overpowered Fire Imps were before they were nerfed and I came to accept that they had to be nerfed for the betterment of the game.

In the spirit of this thread, would you care to expand upon this? I think your use of the subjective term "overpowered" and how it is applied would do us all good. Overpowered compared to what? Compared to other controller minions? compared to expected threats at your level? was it applicable to all levels or only to a range of character levels? or compared to other classes? or was it only overpowered when synergized with other abilities? (I'm not doubting you or disagreeing with you. Just because I call it a subjective term does not mean it isn't objectively true, only that it is an "opinion from a point of view based upon available facts." In fact I had a controller with demonic familiars and I seem to recall the little buggers made life easy, but that's about all I recall. It was a very long time ago.)


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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In terms of COH, I'd assume

In terms of COH, I'd assume the only reason for something to be nerfed that much is if it really was that overpowered compared to other troller pets.

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:
Lothic wrote:

...they heavily nerfed Fire Controller Imps on FOUR different occasions within the span of just a few months. It sucked and I was massively pissed. Still I realized just how stupidly overpowered Fire Imps were before they were nerfed and I came to accept that they had to be nerfed for the betterment of the game.

In the spirit of this thread, would you care to expand upon this? I think your use of the subjective term "overpowered" and how it is applied would do us all good. Overpowered compared to what? Compared to other controller minions? compared to expected threats at your level? was it applicable to all levels or only to a range of character levels? or compared to other classes? or was it only overpowered when synergized with other abilities? (I'm not doubting you or disagreeing with you. Just because I call it a subjective term does not mean it isn't objectively true, only that it is an "opinion from a point of view based upon available facts." In fact I had a controller with demonic familiars and I seem to recall the little buggers made life easy, but that's about all I recall. It was a very long time ago.)

As you said yourself it's been a very long time - the main Fire Imp nerfs I mentioned happened roughly back in early-mid 2005. I'll try to recall the exact details here.

Back when the game first launched the "Fire Imp" power of the Fire Controller would randomly summon 3 to 6 even-level Imps. These Imps had an expiration time limit of several minutes (I forget the exact time involved). But the important point to understand was that it was possible to Hasten the recharge time of the power (by all the usual ways one could reduce recharge times) down well BELOW the expiration time of the Imps.

Thus if you had the Fire Imp power recharge time reduced to the absolute minimum you could regularly have THREE separate castings of the Fire Imp power active at the same time. Doing the math you'll see it was theoretically possible to have up to 18 Fire Imps active at once! Of course that was the statistical ideal but even in common practice it was normal to have say 10-12 Imps going at once depending on how lucky your "3 to 6 random Imp" rolls went.

TBH it was somewhat difficult to keep this ridiculous "Imp engine" going while playing. You had to time your power activations perfectly and you'd have to start the process over again every time you zoned or entered a mission instance. But despite those issues it truly made any Fire controller a literal "Army of One". Keep in mind this was doable pretty much from Day One of CoH long before Masterminds ever entered the game.

Consider what you could do as a full Controller with a Mastermind style army... it was absolutely glorious! I might not go so far as to say it was the most powerful FOTM build that was ever exploited in the game's history but it was easily up in the top five. It was child's play to farm entire "plus level" maps solo the same way a full team of Scrappers might be able to. There was really almost nothing that you couldn't do - especially at the time before many of the more powerful AVs were added to the game in later years.

So yes it was "overpowered" in every way that really mattered. Clearly this was not just "my opinion" based on how swiftly and decisively the Devs began nerfing the Fire Imp power. Over the course of four incremental nerfings the Fire Imp power was reduced from what I described above down to a power that ONLY allowed 3 Imps out at a time (you could no longer do multiple castings) and reduced them to be -1 level to your character level (i.e. if you were a level 50 Fire Controller you could only have level 49 Imps). Frankly even nerfed down to that level I still always felt "powerful" as a Fire Controller.

So yes I was completely aware of how broken it was and like Redlynne I was totally pissed when my god-like build got massively nerfed. But I got back up on the proverbial horse, adapted to the new reality, and continued to have fun with the game for many years afterward despite it all.

ZeeHero wrote:

In terms of COH, I'd assume the only reason for something to be nerfed that much is if it really was that overpowered compared to other troller pets.

Bingo! As far as I'm aware no other Controller pet was nerfed so severely over the course of the game.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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A good example of what so

A good example of what so referenced earlier of “exceeding upper bounds of expected metrics / performance”.


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

A good example of what so referenced earlier of “exceeding upper bounds of expected metrics / performance”.

I can only imagine when people were beta testing the original Fire Imp power that they were just slotting it with Damage or Accuracy without ever thinking that it was well within possibility to have multiple castings of the same power running simultaneously. I don't know those details but I do know that Fire Imps fully slotted for Recharge didn't really hamper their overall usefulness.

I suspect had the original power been limited to only "one casting at a time" that by itself might have been enough to make the thing reasonably balanced. But I think the way people were able to exploit how it worked was so amazingly egregious that the Devs arguably nerfed the power down far worse than it really needed to be. It's hard to tell if it was a case of "overreaction" or not.

All I can say is that I played with the "totally nerfed" version of Fire Imps for 7+ years and I still had fun with them. ;)

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From the fan servers that

From the fan servers that came up post shutdown, I havent seen any controller pets capable of being double summoned, so I assume that wasn't intended if it was gone by shutdown. Stuff like Time Distortion CC field is stackable, but thats definitely intended, firstly the effect isnt that overpowering by itself, and you need a pretty tricked out time defender to get 3 fields out at once, not to mention the long activation time when you arent doing damage, so in the end its not adding a ton to your ability to solo and only moderately increasing your support utility, still that power wouldn't be worth taking if you couldnt stack it up a bit with enough work in cooldown reduction.

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Overpowered compared to what? Compared to other controller minions?

Definitely "overpowered" compared to other Controller minions ... especially Mind Control.
Oh man ... Mind Control got bludgeoned so HARD with the iron cored nerf bat ... and then got hit again and again and again for "good" measure.

All area effect controls had their their duration cut in half and their recharge time doubled ... and they could no longer be 6 slotted to compensate for the loss.
Uptime was basically 1/4 the pre-nerf baseline on the base stats and slotting options were reduced on top of that.

These "across the board" changes affected:
Mass Hypnosis
Telekinesis
Total Domination
Terrify
Mass Confusion

That's 5 out of 9 powers essentially crippled by the changes, relative to the previous baseline performance.
It meant that you had to 6-slot each of those powers just to approach the unslotted performance (not reach! merely approach) that the powerset had previously been capable of.

The insult piled onto injury was what happened to Telekinesis, one of the "defining" powers of the set.

Previously, Telekinesis (like all powers) had no Max Targets cap on it.
It also had the highest endurance cost of any toggle in the game (over 3 endurance per second!).

After the iron cored nerfbat finished bludgeoning Mind Control into submission (and near death/irrelevance) ... Telekinesis was given a Max Targets cap limit of ... FIVE ... with no changes to the endurance cost for the loss of capability.
FIVE ... for an Area of Effect toggle that cost more than double your baseline endurance recovery per second when unslotted (and without Stamina).
This change basically RUINED the power of Telekinesis in perpetuity ... and the insult was incredibly egregious ... so naturally it was NEVER ADDRESSED in all the years after.
Oh and the double recharge time was slapped onto the power too ... just to make sure it was used as little as possible.

So that was 5 out of 9 powers gratuitously nerfed into the ground to make the powerset as undesirable as possible to play.
Take a powerset's strengths and turn them all into liabilities and weaknesses ... all in the name of "balance" (that wasn't) when applied globally in a One Size Fits All "solution" to the problem of Controllers.
To put it mildly ... when you reduce the effectiveness of HALF A POWERSET to only ONE QUARTER of what it had been capable of ... there will be ... consequences ...

Mind Control went from being a CONTROLLER that fought in the City of Statues (so to speak) ... to being an underpowered Blaster that did some mez stuff as a side effect of using their powers.

Put simply, Mind Control got hit repeatedly (and quite indiscriminately) by the "cut it half, then cut it in half again, then cut it in half YET AGAIN" mentality that was involved in the Enhancement Dysfunction era.


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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

From the fan servers that came up post shutdown, I havent seen any controller pets capable of being double summoned, so I assume that wasn't intended if it was gone by shutdown.

As I said being able to have multiple simultaneous castings of Fire Imps was nerfed all the way back in 2005. The game itself launched in 2004 and lasted until almost 2013. So yeah it was very much gone long before shutdown.

As far a being something that was originally "intended" to be possible I actually do not know. Theoretically the Devs allowed Fire Imps to be castable multiple simultaneous times for YEARS (if you count the several years of beta plus the year or so it lasted after the launch of the game) so for all I know they either didn't realize or didn't accept that it was a big problem for quite a long time.

All I know for sure is that when the series of Fire Imp nerfs began to happen they happened all within the span of just a few months. A couple of them were even "hot fixes" that were done in-between Issue releases so they had become so motivated to get those nerfs into the game they didn't even wait until the standard Issue updates.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Overpowered compared to what? Compared to other controller minions?

Definitely "overpowered" compared to other Controller minions ... especially Mind Control.
Oh man ... Mind Control got bludgeoned so HARD with the iron cored nerf bat ... and then got hit again and again and again for "good" measure.

For what it's worth I never implied that other Controller types didn't get nerfed as well.

Mind Controllers were arguably one of the more powerful Controller types in the game so it stands to reason that if any Controller type ever had to be nerfed for being too powerful as a Controller it was going to be Mind Controllers. By comparison the overall "control" type powers of Fire Controllers were actually some of the weaker ones in the game so those powers (obviously not including Fire Imps) never got nerfed to the same serious degree.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

For what it's worth I never implied-


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:
Lothic wrote:

For what it's worth I never implied-

Uhm, yeah. I was being serious. No smiley faces here...

All of the Controller types in TOG ran along a spectrum from "most effective set of control powers" to "least effective set of control powers". Even after all the nerfs you pointed out Mind controllers were (pound for pound) still one of the most effective Controller types. They had a bunch of single-target CC powers (Fire really only had two) and they had Sleep, Fear and Confuse powers (Fire had none of those effects).

That's why Mind Controllers didn't have a pet - they didn't need one. On the other hand Fire Controllers seriously needed their Imps because as pure Controllers they were actually bottom-of-the-barrel CC power-wise.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

On the other hand Fire Controllers seriously needed their Imps because as pure Controllers they were actually bottom-of-the-barrel CC power-wise.

The best crowd control available is defeat/death of the opposition.
Makes it hard for them to keep fighting (unless if they have a self-rez, but even then you just pound them down again).


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:
Lothic wrote:

On the other hand Fire Controllers seriously needed their Imps because as pure Controllers they were actually bottom-of-the-barrel CC power-wise.

The best crowd control available is defeat/death of the opposition.
Makes it hard for them to keep fighting (unless if they have a self-rez, but even then you just pound them down again).

Everything's relative but yes, the best CC is always going to be the death of the enemy. That would probably be in Sun Tzu's "Art of MMO War". ;)

On the one hand I would easily argue that when considering CC powers alone the Fire Controller was among the worst Controller types in the game. But the fact that they arguably got the best DPS oriented Controller Pet in the game more than made up for its general CC "weakness". That situation was relatively balanced when the Fire Controller in question only had three -1 level Imps, but when that same Controller had access to up to 18 even-level Imps it was a nightmare.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012