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Yes - didn't mean that the game gets overnerfed as a whole. I think overall every balance pass did improve the game. I was indeed speaking about isolated nerfs of certain abilities. As Josh stated himself (some time ago) he'd rather do one big nerf and then rebuff if necessary instead of incrementally nerfing an ability. Thinking about it some more: Josh's approach may be better because it only hurts once. ;)

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Fun fact: if all Obs did was buff weak classes, I seriously doubt anyone would ever complain. Instead they tend to just nerf whatever's strong at the moment, instead of pulling the "bad" options up to be competitive. If a class is so strong that it trivializes content, well then make some harder content!

Yeah, as well as the player's point of view, the game developer might want to tweak and balance because if nobody wants to play as a chanter, then why are chanters in the game? Why did they work on all these abilities and dialogue options?

There's a limit to this line of thinking. At some point buffing everything to be in line with the vastly OP choice often means the entire games balance goes out of whack. Enemies will have to become so powerful that they 1 or 2 shot any non-tank character just by looking in their general direction. It makes the balance of the game extremely prone to swinginess. You end up praying you get lucky, or learn to save scum. MMO games have tried this style balance, and so far it's just not humanly possible to pull it off.

 

It's called powercreep and every game with constant content updates has it. Surprisingly, some companies (Square Enix for example; well, nowadays, because they used to be terrible at it too) do it remarkably well. The enemies get stronger, but your characters get stronger too. The scales keep going upwards. The bosses are doing more damage? Here's some new shiny gear with better defensive stats. Oh by the way, we buffed healers too! And while we were at it, some underperforming melee classes have been buffed aswell. THAT'S how you do balance.

 

Are you referring to Final Fantasy 14 when you bring up doing buffs right? Cause you've definitely got a minority opinion there. The forums and subreddit have gone ballistic over a large number of nerfs over the years. That's including the times where they have completely redesigned classes from the ground up and drastically changed how they played (Turret bards in Heavensward come to mind). They've only done better recently because they play it extremely safe now. Which in turn has made the grind very boring.

 

Also the standard power creep of MMO gear is not really relatable to a single player RPG. FF14, and any MMO really, they never end. They constantly need to give you new rewards, and new challenges to use those rewards on. Deadfire has a stopping point though. There's no reason to accept power creep. If something is the de facto choice because it's power level is drastically ahead of everything else, buffing everything else up to be drastically overpowered is not the solution. Most of the time nerfing something makes the overall game better. Doesn't matter how those nerfs make people feel.

 

Personally I think the world would be better off if people ignored how they feel and analyzed things logically.

Edited by protopersona

"As the murderhobo mantra goes: 'If you can't kill it, steal it.'" - Prince of Lies

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I'm not a fan of it personally, I'd prefer really small adjustments till you get it right.

This where MOBA experience helps. Its really hard to make minor unimpactful changes as even the slightest tweak - in the wrong place - can send meta haywire. Conversely, ambitious changes can wind up achieving nothing.

 

I wont bore folk here with examples from LoL. If u know the jargon id have to use, youd already know the content.

 

Really dont envy anyone with balancing job. Then again i dont envy people with many certain jobs.

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I AM A RENISANCE MAN

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Personally I think the world would be better off if people ignored how they feel and analyzed things logically.

Sorry couldnt help but pounce on this. *hard* disagree fam. World could use more self-awareness and empathy, not less.


I AM A RENISANCE MAN

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regardless, no nerf has invalidated a subclass, much less a class.  sure, loss o' brilliant for chanters made 'em less powerful and depowering summons made so beckoners were no longer op, but the idea that either were rendered impotent or weak is hyperbole... at best.  w/o win button silliness o' chanter aoe brilliant, were chanters relative weak compared to previous state?  sure, but has been no class or subclass rendered unplayable or even bad by obsidian balance efforts.  less op is not same as weak. 

 

Since you have no idea what you're talking about, further discussion is pointless. Next time verify before assuming something, because speaking in third person does not make you smarter.

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Since you have no idea what you're talking about, further discussion is pointless. Next time verify before assuming something, because speaking in third person does not make you smarter.

Gromnir posts like that since the beginning of times.

It doesn't have any impact on reasoning - which is sound in this case. So why bring it up?

 

I also think that nobody really gets the impression that Gromnir doesn't know what he's talking about.

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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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I do, because after the Chanter nerf no one ever wanted to play a Beckoner, because they were the most useless subclass of a Chanter. You know that very well, Boeroer. Calling it a hyperbole is proof enough that he's just assuming without actually trying it out.

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I do, because after the Chanter nerf no one ever wanted to play a Beckoner, because they were the most useless subclass of a Chanter. You know that very well, Boeroer. Calling it a hyperbole is proof enough that he's just assuming without actually trying it out.

You didn't get the point. The point was that a nerf of an ability wouldn't lead to a screwed playthrough because

a) you could retrain and

b) the nerf would make the class less OP but not unplayable.

That people wouldn't want to pick Beckoner as much after a nerf doesn't mean that it's unplayable.

Thus a statement that you can't finish a playthrough because one of your abilities got nerfed is hyperbole. Same as calling something "most useless". "Useless" isn't a term you can use a comparative with by the way. Useless is absolute. Beckoners are not useless - so calling them useless is hyperbole as well. So if Gromnir says you used hyperbole he's right.

 

He was not using hyperbole.

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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If you have a character focused on summoning suddenly become bad at summoning, your experience will not be positive. Or make an Evoker build around Missile spells. Remember when those were amazing? Yeah ok you can finish the game with any character running around naked, but if you're forcing yourself to do that just to not lose the time you invested in that character so far, then it's just silly.

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What's logical to one person may not be to another.

Then it's a good thing reality isn't subjective. :cat:
I mean, if you live in a cave by yourself, sure. The rest of us social animals have to deal with different opinions and perspectives and versions of the truth.

 

Case and point - does everyone who's played Deadfire think it's a great game? Nope, as evidenced by various user and critic reviews. So yes, reality is subjective.

Edited by Verde

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What's logical to one person may not be to another.

Then it's a good thing reality isn't subjective. :cat:
I mean, if you live in a cave by yourself, sure. The rest of us social animals have to deal with different opinions and perspectives and versions of the truth.

 

Case and point - does everyone who's played Deadfire think it's a great game? Nope, as evidenced by various user and critic reviews. So yes, reality is subjective.

 

 

The point ya missed it.  :facepalm:

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What's logical to one person may not be to another.

Then it's a good thing reality isn't subjective. :cat:
I mean, if you live in a cave by yourself, sure. The rest of us social animals have to deal with different opinions and perspectives and versions of the truth.

 

Case and point - does everyone who's played Deadfire think it's a great game? Nope, as evidenced by various user and critic reviews. So yes, reality is subjective.

The point ya missed it. :facepalm:

If it was sarcasm, then yes, I did haha.

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Personally I think the world would be better off if people ignored how they feel and analyzed things logically.

Sorry couldnt help but pounce on this. *hard* disagree fam. World could use more self-awareness and empathy, not less.

 

I don't see "thinking logically" and "self-awareness and empathy" to be mutually exclusive. You can feel sympathy for a person while still acknowledging that the perspective isn't rational. My point was rational thinking should be more common than emotional thinking. Sadly most cultures teach you to go with how you feel about something instead of analyzing facts.


"As the murderhobo mantra goes: 'If you can't kill it, steal it.'" - Prince of Lies

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The beckoner nerf was actually pretty sound. I bitched a bit, mainly because they are my favorite chanter subclass. But summons were too good. Where Obs got it wrong( I've never stated they are perfect, just really good) is they didn't nerf troubadour. Essentially both subclasses needed toning down. But beckoner is still very good.

I haven't followed the game a massive amount, but it seems to me that most classes/subclass builds are viable. That's pretty good going in an rpg.

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"Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, 'He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.' So, to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them."
"So they play that on their fascist banjos, eh?"
"You choose the wrong adjective."
"You've already used up all the others.”

 

Lord of Light

 

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I haven't followed the game a massive amount, but it seems to me that most classes/subclass builds are viable. That's pretty good going in an rpg.

Sounds like every rpg ever. "Viable" is a really broad term.

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I haven't followed the game a massive amount, but it seems to me that most classes/subclass builds are viable. That's pretty good going in an rpg.

Sounds like every rpg ever. "Viable" is a really broad term.

 

Well what's the alternative? That every class is so good it trivializes the content? In the going example earlier in the thread Beckoner pre-nerf was that. Hell even now after the nerfs chanter summons are top notch.

 

When some outlier trivializes most of the encounters in the game, I don't think the best answer is "buff up every other class to that level, then buff up the encounters to match." I'm sure some people enjoy having a ridiculously overpowered character. Personally I want my games to have some challenge to them so my tactics and choices have meaning. When I stumble on some god mode choice in the game it instantly drains my willingness to keep playing that game.

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"As the murderhobo mantra goes: 'If you can't kill it, steal it.'" - Prince of Lies

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there are plenty of different type of creatures in eora. if most of the time chanter does is summon ogre, i wouldn't call that awesome. i like to summon siren and elemental. i like that they have grimoires of their own like wizard.

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Before Set to their Purpose got torpedoed Fighter/Chanter was a pretty popular build. There are still a bunch of obsolete ones in the build list. I doubt you'd want to touch one now - between the big fighter damage nerfs and the loss of Brilliant that class combo really did get nuked from orbit.

 

The philosophy of over-nerfing then bringing it back up is sound from the perspective of getting it right quickly. It does depend on the speed of the patch cycle though. We've only had one major balance patch since the game went live; everything over-nerfed in the 1.1 patch is still over nerfed in 4.0. It's harder to defend the over-nerf then bring back up philosophy when you don't do the second part.

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On the concept of balance.

 

Seems to me that builds often being called, on this board but also elsewhere, "fun build", "nice find" or any other positive comment, are not balanced builds at all but rather the opposite. Such builds diverge from normal, not so good and not soo bad, builds. 

 

So my impression is that regardless of the essays Mr. Sawyer writes and presentations he gives, regardless of the amount of hypothesizing a rational thesis on how balance is important, many people play games for fun where fun often means the opposite of balance. 

 

Let's take this piece from post #48 as example:

 

Josh made interesting presentation of attributes system in PoE during GDC iirc. In AD&D scaling was terrible. In D&D were empty levels. No matter if your character has 10 or 11, 12 or 13 etc. It's stupid just like Bethesda's so called "Fallout 3" with skills like lockpicking. No matter if your character has it set to 50 or 74, it's the same value from system perspective. It's bad design.

 

 

Well, maybe is "bad" design but its better "seller". For an artist there is always the question, I guess, who do I create for? 

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I haven't followed the game a massive amount, but it seems to me that most classes/subclass builds are viable. That's pretty good going in an rpg.

Sounds like every rpg ever. "Viable" is a really broad term.

 

Well what's the alternative? That every class is so good it trivializes the content? In the going example earlier in the thread Beckoner pre-nerf was that. Hell even now after the nerfs chanter summons are top notch.

 

When some outlier trivializes most of the encounters in the game, I don't think the best answer is "buff up every other class to that level, then buff up the encounters to match." I'm sure some people enjoy having a ridiculously overpowered character. Personally I want my games to have some challenge to them so my tactics and choices have meaning. When I stumble on some god mode choice in the game it instantly drains my willingness to keep playing that game.

 

Or you could just, you know, not use that "god mode" choice? Because if you know something is borked and you use it anyway, it's your own fault. On the other side of the spectrum, there are people who actually prefer characters like these and are glad to be able to use them. Feeling strong in the endgame is the epitome of a heroic fantasy. And why do you care what other people do in their own playthroughs? It's a single player game, it doesn't affect you.

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Balance is more important in online competitive games. I don't really see the pt in aggressively balancing classes in a single player game unless we have a Wizard Slayer situation like BG2 where it's utter crap compared to every other class. Passed a certain pt it just begins tipping the scales too much. I'd rather see companies work on resolving bugs.

Edited by Verde
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Maybe if people would really read the post from Josh they wouldn't repeat this statement over and over. But since it doesn't seem to be enough to link to it I will quote it here:

 

Variants of this question are common in single-player CRPG circles. The implication is that balance is important in an MMO/multiplayer environment but it is not important (or so much less important that it doesn’t merit addressing in patches) in a single-player CRPG.

 

I would like to repudiate this in two general ways: 1) I will argue that overall balance is important and valuable for players in single-player CRPGs 2) I will argue that individual CRPG players and CRPG communities overall do not present consistent objections to tuning and this undermines the general complaint. It is not the responsibility of individuals or communities to be consistent in their feedback, but it is the job of the designer to design, which means considering the needs of the audience by listening to and interpreting feedback on a broader scale.

 

Yes, Balance is Important in Single-Player CRPGs

I think it’s easy enough to make the first point through reductio ad absurdum: why not give AD&D fighters 1d4 hit points per level, a worse THAC0 than wizards, and worse saving throws than any other class? Obviously it’s because playing them would feel terrible. Why don’t we give all of the enemies attacks that do 1-3 damage, a quarter of the hit points of the PCs, and rock-bottom defenses? Because playing through that would feel boring for anyone who had the slightest interest in combat content and systems.

 

Some may say, “Hey, no one is arguing that balance isn’t important at all,” but in fact that is what many people directly say or suggest. Maybe they don’t really mean it (which I will get to later), but that is often what comes up. If we can agree that some degree of balance is important, then there’s no point in suggesting anything to the contrary and we’re really just debating to what degree is balance important and worth a) design consideration pre-launch and b) patching.

 

In my view, balance in a single-player CRPG is important to the extent that it allows players making different character and gear choices to be viable through the content of the game. It is always important to remember that system design (including class, race, ability/spell, and item design) is one part of the equation. Content makes up the other big part (setting aside UI/UX for purposes of this discussion).

 

When our area and system designers build encounters, they have to be built around an understanding of party capabilities: their overall statistics, their available gear, their consumable items, and their various abilities. In a traditional D&D-style CRPG, this spectrum of possibility gets wider and wider the higher the levels get and the more gear becomes available to the player. The less balanced individual choices are from level to level and item to item, the more difficult it is for area designers to design content that works for a spectrum of choices.

 

It Was Actually a Problem in the Infinity Engine Games

One of the questions was, “Did you guys worry about this in… even the Icewind Dale series?” Well, no. I certainly didn’t worry about it in the original Icewind Dale. I assumed everyone who picked up the game was as conversant as me in AD&D 2nd Ed/Forgotten Realms rules and lore, had played hundreds of hours of it in tabletop with similarly aggressive psychogamers, and had weathered fair but diabolically brutal DMs whose scenarios demanded quick thinking and ruthless min-maxing tactics.

 

You might not believe the number of Black Isle QA testers (and developers) who yelled or cried in anger, virtually or in person, about how difficult some of the IWD scenarios were. One in particular was the Idol/priest fight in Lower Dorn’s Deep. I had a tester hootin’ and hollerin’ about how it was “impossible”, how he had tried to beat it for two hours and couldn’t make any progress. It was a scenario that I and my office mate (Kihan Pak) both beat on the first try.

 

image

On Heart of Winter, Burial Isle practically split QA in half. One half thought it was a cakewalk. The others acted like they were being forced to dive into a swimming pool full of razor blades.

 

image

The dividing factor was system mastery. AD&D 2nd Edition (and 3E) are systems with a boatload of trap choices, inherently bad builds, garbage spells/feats, and generally inferior options. They’re not presented as inferior options to the player. They’re presented as options… that turn out to be implicitly awful even in the best circumstances. To the next part of the question, “I mean really who cares if one class is OP or Race or Hybrid class?” The answer is, “The person being brutalized by content designed for the OP classes/races because they picked the ‘bad’ option.”

 

The broader that spectrum of choices is for players, the more difficult it is to design content that will be at a similar level of challenge for those players given any given combination of choices within that spectrum. And to restate what I wrote before, the balance is mostly important to the extent that viability, i.e., the ability to get through the content, is supported. BG, BG2, IWD, and IWD2 often failed that test. Once viability is addressed, I’m not particularly concerned about balance.

 

Tuning Down High-Powered Outliers

The exceptions are abilities and items that are so incredibly powerful across the board that it’s almost impossible to make any content challenging with them in play. If we design content to be challenging with those abilities/items in mind, any players who lack those abilities and items will effectively be crit path blocked. Their game has either ended or become so incredibly difficult that it’s no longer enjoyable. And if we don’t design content with the overpowered abilities and items in mind, any player who coincidentally or intentionally uses those items effectively no longer has any challenge going through the game. It becomes an unlabeled Easy difficulty slider rendering all other options/choices irrelevant.

 

In those cases, I advocate reducing the power of the abilities/items so players don’t trip over “Hey I guess I win” options and our testers can still use them in playthroughs and give meaningful feedback. There is one salient example I can think of: sniper rifles in Fallout: New Vegas. In Fallout 3, Bethesda had given sniper rifles a x5 crit rate modifier. Keep in mind that any attack from stealth (e.g. shooting an unaware target with a sniper rifle from long range) is automatically a crit. The x5 multiplier made even standard/close range combat shots have an incredibly high chance of critting. I didn’t notice that sniper rifles had that multiplier and it didn’t come up in testing prior to release. In release, players noticed it quickly and sniper rifles became the de facto way to handle most encounters. Why use a 12.7mm SMG or hunting pistol when any shot from a sniper rifle was likely to crit and do 90+ damage?

 

image

In one of the first patches, I reduced the crit rate multiplier to x2. There was initially a lot of complaining about it, as there always is when anything is tuned down, no matter how overpowered, but the sniper rifle retained its role and continues to be used in that role. It’s a sniper rifle. It’s good at sniping. It doesn’t need to be great at close range.

 

Inconsistent Player Feedback

There is one trend about player feedback regarding tuning that’s hard to argue against: communities generally complain about tuning anything down but applaud (or at least do not complain about) tuning things up. I can tune up 10 things in a patch and detune one thing and will hear far more feedback about the one thing that was detuned, no matter how marginal or necessary that detuning was. If there’s negative feedback about tuning something up, it’s usually because players feel it needs to be tuned up more.

 

In Patch 3.03 for Pillars of Eternity, Matt Sheets and I tuned up seven rogue abilities, five barbarian abilities, and a variety of other spells and abilities. Players generally seemed to like this, though some wished the rogue abilities had been tuned up more.

 

In Patch 3.04, the soulbound dagger The Unlabored Blade had a bug fixed where its 10% Firebug proc was never firing. Two weeks later, Patch 3.05 reduced the 10% proc to 3%. This was a change I had requested for 3.04 but it had been overlooked. I requested the change because daggers have a fast attack rate and that dagger has a +20% attack rate enchantment.

 

image

Which set of changes do you think I heard more feedback about? If you guessed the marginal drop in proc rate on the soulbound item that had only worked properly for two weeks, you’d be right. The rogue and barbarian changes affect far more players and more significantly, but “loss” (even if imagined for most players) weighs more heavily.

 

Despite having a reputation for only detuning, I tuned many more abilities and items up in PoE patches (and in F:NV patches, as well as the JSawyer mod) than down. Players remember the losses more than the gains, but both are a necessary part of the tuning process.

 

I could abstain from tuning, but I don’t think most players would benefit from that. Players remember early Diablo 3 tuning as particularly bad, but the game at launch (especially the economy and itemization) was poorly balanced, as Travis Day elaborated on in his 2017 GDC talk. In the long term, Diablo 3′s economy and itemization today are much better than they were at launch and I believe most players benefit from and appreciate that. Even if you effectively never played D3 as a multiplayer game, you still benefit from that.

 

I don’t expect players or communities to be consistent in their feedback, but as the director and, in many cases, the lone system designer, I have to make decisions on more than just the volume of feedback on any particular topic. Changes that make bad options better are almost universally good. Changes that make overpowered options worse are often still a good idea if I believe more players will benefit from the change. I didn’t hesitate to reduce the Petrified damage bonus from x4 to x2 in Pillars of Eternity because that affliction was far and away the best way to deal with difficult encounters, either through the Gaze of the Adragan spell or trap.

 

I Will Tune Again

Just to make this clear, while there will always be a point where I stop tuning a particular game, I’m never going to stop using patches as an opportunity to balance items, abilities, classes, encounters, enemies, etc. I’ve been house-ruling and tuning games since I noticed trap options and OP garbage in 2nd Edition AD&D in middle school. I re-wrote 5th Edition Ars Magica’s certamen system because it’s a cool idea that’s really uninteresting in play. I re-wrote Pathfinder/3.X’s armor system because, as many players have noted, it doesn’t actually provide many interesting options.

 

If I think players will benefit from adjusting the rules or the content and there’s an opportunity to make those changes, I’m going to do it. I certainly don’t expect players to like all of the changes I make, but if you object to the idea of post-launch balancing, you should probably never play any of the games I direct. I’m always going to tune them, if possible.

 

Thanks for reading.

Also the statement "rather work on bugs" was answered multiple times:

 

The people that do balance passes are not the same who fix bugs. So balancing is not taking away resources for bugfixing.

Edited by Boeroer
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