The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    CarpeGuitarrem's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

    Although pragmatically, in many games the solution to avoiding exploitable mechanics is to focus on mechanics that can be exploited through analysis skills. For example, while an RTS is partially determined by APM, being able to analyze your opponent's strategy through the information you're able to gather about them is also key, and while many top players value being able to gain an advantage over opponents by exploiting their superior APM skills, what draws players to the game isn't APM, it's fast-paced information analysis that challenges them to discern a bigger picture from the flashes of data they pick up within the game.
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    Unless everyone's been lying to me and the next bunch of episodes are The Great Divide II, The Great Divide III, Return to the Great Divide, and Bride of the Great Divide, in which case I hate you all and I'm never touching Avatar again.

  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    Here's where you come to a crossroads:
    Is the game inherently unbalanced?
    Or are you just not doing what it takes to win? You know the rules of the game, your opponent knows the rules of the game. It's not like you're playing with different toolsets.
    Both statements can be, and frequently are true. First, the game is inherently imbalanced, for reasons explored in earlier posts, and second, you, the player, aren't doing what it takes to win. Let's take a really simple example:

    Destiny 2 Crucible is really imbalanced. The meta loadout is a high impact kinetic shotgun (Dust Rock Blues), and a pinnacle hand cannon (Luna's Howl). Getting both weapons requires a loooong effort, lots of farming to get the optimal set of perks on a randomly rolled shotgun, and then an even longer and possibly interminable grind to complete the quest to obtain the pinnacle hand cannon.

    Now there's a skill component, to be sure, this is still FPS PVP, you need to aim, you need to be able to predict enemy movement and anticipate where the enemy will be spawning, and these all require learning.

    But that doesn't make the process of earning this meta loadout fun, and it doesn't make having it very enjoyable, if you perhaps aren't particularly inclined to spend every game shotgun aping.

    This is why balance is important in the first place: Balanced game design offers players choices. Imbalanced game design offers players handicaps.

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    This is why balance is important in the first place: Balanced game design offers players choices. Imbalanced game design offers players handicaps.
    Following that, a simple but somewhat effective way to balance a game over time is nerfing the choices that are everybody is picking and buffing the options that nobody was choosing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Of Mantas View Post
    "You know, Durkon, I built this planet up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was a snarl. All the other gods said we were daft to build a planet over a snarl, but I built it all the same, just to show then. It got eaten by the snarl...

    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    Following that, a simple but somewhat effective way to balance a game over time is nerfing the choices that are everybody is picking and buffing the options that nobody was choosing.
    You have to be careful about that, because gamers are notoriously hivemindy. One month, character X is underpowered. The next month, they're OP OP but nothing changed.

    There was a hilarious incident where a League character's buffs were listed in patch notes but they forgot to actually roll them into the game. Players were swearing up and down that the character was too powerful, even after playing them. They thought the character had been buffed, but they couldn't tell that all the stats were the same.

    So yeah, balancing by popular opinion is fraught with problems, especially when a game is complicated enough that the impact of a change isn't obvious, or needs analytic skill to utilize. However, popularity of options is definitely one factor worth taking into account, just don't compromise fairness. Developers also have winrate data, although that data can be compromised if enough of the playerbase doesn't know how to use a kit effectively.
    Ludicrus Gaming: on games and story | My Steam Account
    Quote Originally Posted by Saph
    Unless everyone's been lying to me and the next bunch of episodes are The Great Divide II, The Great Divide III, Return to the Great Divide, and Bride of the Great Divide, in which case I hate you all and I'm never touching Avatar again.

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    You have to be careful about that, because gamers are notoriously hivemindy. One month, character X is underpowered. The next month, they're OP OP but nothing changed.

    There was a hilarious incident where a League character's buffs were listed in patch notes but they forgot to actually roll them into the game. Players were swearing up and down that the character was too powerful, even after playing them. They thought the character had been buffed, but they couldn't tell that all the stats were the same.

    So yeah, balancing by popular opinion is fraught with problems, especially when a game is complicated enough that the impact of a change isn't obvious, or needs analytic skill to utilize. However, popularity of options is definitely one factor worth taking into account, just don't compromise fairness. Developers also have winrate data, although that data can be compromised if enough of the playerbase doesn't know how to use a kit effectively.
    Heh, that reminds me of the time I was part of a playtest group for a mod and we had a shared internal version, then one time the main dev disabled one of the main mechanics and it took months for anybody to notice (or at least point it out). Although we were also like only around a dozen so pretty small sample size.

    Still, for big games you've got not only the general playerbase data but also ladders/ranks and tournaments in which the best players push the mechanics to the extreme, and the data gathered from the upper tiers can show a lot. Like I remember in Starcraft II Zerg late game was degenerating into "lol spam infestors until you run out of cap" at the higher levels so those got their two main abilities heavily nerfed.

    Similarly Terran tactic against Zerg late game had degenerated into "lol spam ghosts and then snipe everything", so snipe was nerfed to not be so super effective against everything in the zerg army.

    Both were stuff that casual players won't really pull off since infestor spam and ghost spam demands some crazy micro to work properly. But at the higher levels of play it started to become pretty evident that Terran vs Zerg was degenerating into an huge balls of snipers vs a huge ball of infestors every game if the match dragged on long enough.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Of Mantas View Post
    "You know, Durkon, I built this planet up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was a snarl. All the other gods said we were daft to build a planet over a snarl, but I built it all the same, just to show then. It got eaten by the snarl...

    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    Balanced game design offers players choices. Imbalanced game design offers players handicaps.
    ...I don't quite know what you think you're saying there. It certainly sounds good. But it's not quite right.

    A balanced game offers players choices, an unbalanced game is where those choices don't mean anything.*
    Playing Blood Bowl with Halfings, Goblins or Ogres basically means you're playing the game on hard mode. Playing with any of the 'Core' Teams is a lot easier.

    Elves vs. Skaven is a fine game.
    Elves vs. Ogres is a ****show.

    You're not going to win Street Fighter match with Dan, nor a Dragonball match with Hercule. It's not that you can't choose to play with those characters. It's that if you decide to play with those characters, you've basically chosen to lose games.

    *A game where the player doesn't have choices at all isn't so much a game, as it is gambling.

    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    You have to be careful about that, because gamers are notoriously hivemindy.
    I think more accurately, certain people just don't know what they're doing.
    In Brawl/Melee, Jigglypuff is notoriously difficult to play. 'Difficult to play' might as well mean 'trash tier' to a lot of people. However, very recently, a Jigglypuff won a major Smash Bros. tournament. Cue everyone jumping on the bandwagon. Surely if the best player in the world made Jigglypuff happen, I can too, right? Except remember that Jigglypuff is trash-tier (in the minds of scrubs), so it was obviously a fluke, because you keep flying off the level and being bad. And not, y'know...The best player in the world being the best player in the world.
    Last edited by Cheesegear; 2019-09-30 at 07:00 AM.
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  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    ...I don't quite know what you think you're saying there. It certainly sounds good. But it's not quite right.
    Okay. I used handicap in the golf sense of the term, but I generally don't prefer to engage in lexical arguments. I write my posts quickly, and judging from the rest of your response, you seem to agree with my intent. Yes, bad balance make choices into non-choices.

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