Balance adjustments in the long term: You have a unit/option/weapon that is too strong/too weak in a way that is negatively affecting the game. What are some of the pros and cons of making a single larger adjustment versus making a serious of small adjustments over multiple updates ?

I think you’re missing something important here. Our overall goal with these balance updates isn’t necessarily to achieve perfectly balanced matchups. It isn’t even to achieve game balance that is “good enough”. The real purpose of balance updates is to keep the game interesting to the community so they want to keep playing it. We’re going to make balance changes even if the game is perfectly balanced already, because an unbalanced game that is interesting is infinitely better than a boring game that is balanced.

From Inception, Eames tells Arthur ALT

Because our goal is player engagement (that is, maintaining interest over time), it behooves us to make periodic large game adjustments so that players have more interesting things to research, experiment with, and discover. We combine these changes with new content (e.g. introducing a new playable character, character class, new kind of build, etc.) that will shake the existing meta up in order to excite and interest players, as well as entice lapsed players to come back and have a look at the new hotness. Whenever we put out a balance update, there’s usually a flurry of testing and theorycrafting to figure out what changed, how much has changed, what the new matchups are, what kind of new play is optimal, and so on.

A time lapse scene of clouds floating over a lake and a mountain.ALT

Player churn over time is normal - even for a perfectly balanced game. Life circumstances change, people drift away or lose interest, these are all normal and expected situations. This is also why it’s perfectly fine for some characters/classes/builds to be low tier. I’ve found that a significant percentage of players like playing with underpowered builds, often because they have something to prove, or they just like the play style even if it is underpowered.

Leslie Knope says ALT

We really only make emergency changes when the meta becomes so unbalanced that it causes the game to lose player engagement - i.e. if the unbalanced gameplay causes players to start quitting the game at a faster rate than normal. In that kind of situation, we try to remove the toxic element and return things to a more stable level of player engagement.

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