Update to Supports (7/3/18)



  • TensuunTensuun Posts: 98 Match Maker

    Hey all,

    Since we launched Supports, we've been paying close attention to the community's reception of them, and listening to your feedback. One piece we heard repeatedly is that Supports just weren't strong enough to bother playing with. We're thinking about how to respond to all all of your feedback, but this was the piece that we felt we could address the quickest.
    Quicker than increasing the amount of RISO available for players to earn in events, quicker than increasing the number/quality of supports offered as rewards (placement/progression), quicker than making vaults of realistic size and acceptable odds so that you have a decent chance of getting a support instead of another 2* cover?
    Yes, actually, because none of those changes can be rolled back easily. I predict the amount of red iso-8 in rewards will likely be increased to about 2.5x the current "normal" amount pretty soon, but in the mean time increasing the rate to 5x and specifically calling it out as a temporary, special-event thing means they always have the option of backing off to "regular" reward sizes if 2.5x or 5x is making the average player advance too quickly.

    It's much lower impact to make a change "going forward" that is independent of the player's resource income. The hard part will be calibration: there's selection bias introduced by Supports' negative reception to date, which is to say the only players who will even attempt to acquire the new style of Support will be those who still believe it might be useful and those who are just addicted to spending money on this specific game. And then within that group, only about 13% of the people trying to get this Support will actually get it, which I believe means this strategy is almost guaranteed to make about 90% of players either angry or apathetic/neutral with regard to this specific feature. The harm of the change itself to overall gameplay balance is indeed reduced by this strategy, because only a very very small fraction of players have an opportunity to "own" a game-breaking item. But, as already discussed, there are some higher-level downsides to announcing this item in the first place, plus the benefits are similarly reduced.
  • ZeiramMRZeiramMR Posts: 1,306 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited July 2018
    moss04 said:
    Since 5 star supports basically can't be acquired, this change actually makes supports worse. Now you can only realistically get 2 perks on any support, and most likely the most useful perk will be the third one if the newest "improved" perk is a good example of future designs.  At least some of the old supports had good perks at 2, 3, or 4.
    Imagine that with the change, perk 2 is equal to perk 3 AND perk 4 from a support today. Possibly with improved numbers. That's what I'm reading here. I'd say that makes 3* supports better than today, and 4* supports, at the very least, more or less the same.
    This is in fact the case, and they did themselves a disservice by not describing how the Level 1 Match Damage perk here compares to similar perks in the OP.

    I can't speak to the different leveling curve that is described, but if WG followed the same curve as other Supports, the damage is around 2.5-3.6x the values of other perks. Look at the details for Sharon Carter perks 1 and 3 or the Black Order perks as a comparison.
  • TensuunTensuun Posts: 98 Match Maker
    edited July 2018
    I think there is a certain type of person (and I think that I am one) who has difficulty getting excited about something that will not positively affect themselves or someone they are personally connected to. I can get excited about all-electric-powered vehicles even though I can't imagine ever being able to afford one, because I know to expect a long-term ecological benefit (though personally, I am actually pretty skeptical about that too given the short-term ecological cost of fabricating the darned things). I can get excited about the outcome of a soccer game my sister is playing, because I care about her and want her to win. I cannot get excited about this FIFA thing, because nobody I know is playing in it and I'm not participating in a betting pool. I cannot get excited about lotteries, because even when I "play" with an office pool, I am almost certain we will never win more than we paid.

    If Supports could help out 2* characters, I'd be excited about my wife getting to hit Progression rewards more easily in Story Events.

    If Supports were accessible within my budget (which allows for some monthly spending but not blowing through $150 of Hero Points), I'd be excited about getting to try out the hot new thing.

    If Supports were generally well-received, I'd be excited about my Alliance members being more engaged, helping other people strategize, and a big improvement to the game's overall health, regardless of how it affected me personally. 

    I've just crossed the halfway mark in championing my 4* roster, but I still watch the 3* Powered-Up list during Alliance Events because my wife and many of my Alliance members tend to ask for advice on good teams and tactics to use when the battles start getting tough. Supports are not like this. Most of them give their most important bonus exclusively when equipped to specific characters, or introduce mechanics that don't make sense with most characters.

    I have exactly two supports that are above Rank 2.

    Proxima Midnight is Rank 4, level 26.
    - Her Rank 1 perk has a 6% chance to create a Strength 31 Strike Tile at the beginning of each turn. After 10 turns, there is a (1-0.06)^10 = 54% chance that zero Strike Tiles have been created, so about half the time I don't get to witness this perk doing anything. If a Strike Tile is ever created, there's a chance it gets matched away. If it doesn't get matched away, it increases my damage a bit, although since I am playing with level 270+ characters, a single match-3 with Team-Up tiles already deals 43*3 = 129 damage, and most other matches do much more, and since I am playing on SCL 7 or higher, most of the opponents I want to deal more damage to have 15k or more life. This perk might be handy if it triggers while I am playing Iron Fist, or if it happens to choose a black tile while I am playing Nova. It is unfortunate that neither of these characters have any significant synergy with Villains, since this Support can only be equipped to Villains.
    - Her Rank 2 perk increases base Red match damage by 25. Since she is level 26, I am not sure what the relationship between levels and match damage is here, exactly, especially because progression is so opaque, but it sure doesn't seem like I'll get more than one point of additional damage per 1,000 red iso-8 spent. This perk isn't useful if I equip it to a character who has low Red match damage, since other characters with naturally-high Red damage will still deal the damage and "tank" if I match that color first, so I only see this perk in action if I equip it to a character who uses Red. That plus the restriction that this Support can only be equipped by Villains means that I only see this perk take effect if I give it to Carnage, Red Hulk, Ragnarok, Magneto, or Sentry. For some reason, this support cannot be equipped by Cyclops (Uncanny X-Men). I don't make the rules.
    - Her Rank 3 perk increases a character's maximum health by 430. My Red Hulk is level 175 and has 12k health, so with this Support equipped he now has 12.5k health, which means he is able to survive 0.7 additional procs of "Seeing Red", assuming the enemy doesn't do too much overkill damage for each proc.
    - Her Rank 4 perk has a 16.53% chance to grant 3 Red AP at the start of a battle. This is not useful to Red Hulk, because he does not spend Red AP. This is potentially very useful to Sentry, since it lets him use his Red power without having to first match away all of the Red Tiles on the board. This is somewhat useful to Magneto and Ragnarok, who can use their Red powers a little earlier. This is marginally useful to Carnage, whose Red power is really disappointing no matter when or how he uses it. This would be useful to Cyclops (Uncanny X-Men), but for some reason he is not able to equip Proxima Midnight. This is also potentially useful on other Villain characters if they have other Red AP users on their team, but Villains without red in their colors don't benefit from the Rank 1 perk, and off the top of my head I personally cannot think of any heroes with Red AP powers who pair particularly well with any particular Villain character.
    - My chance of obtaining her Rank 5 perk is extremely low, and has been decreasing monotonically since this Support was released, so I cannot base expense decisions on the effects of this perk and have no reason to care what it does right now. What it does is increase damage dealt by powers by a small amount.
    - The Black Order are probably the closest I've seen to what I'd want most Supports to be. So far, the only character who can efficiently use every single perk Proxima Midnight offers is Carnage, but there are other characters who can make some use of her. The benefits are still pretty subtle, but I can sort of understand a reluctance to disrupt gameplay balance too heavily without the ability to scale things back down a bit. I think the most interesting of these is Ebony Maw; he's actually the one Black Order support I don't have access to at all, but the idea of increasing Thanos' "base Black match damage" by some amount before Thanos sets up an "Infinite Power" tile interests me, especially since it changes 3* Thanos from "obviously 5/3/5" to "maybe this character does enough base match damage for a percentage bonus to make an actual difference". And all without a "Synergy Perk" or equipment restriction that specifies this only works on Thanos. Maybe I'll get to try this out next year.

    Element Guns is Rank 3, level 30.
    - Rank 1 grants a 15.82% chance of creating a strength 46 Attack tile when the supported character fires a power. This means for every power that character uses during the course of a match, I can on average expect to deal an additional 7 damage at the end of that turn, and continue doing so if the Attack tile doesn't get matched away by the opponent. This is not impressive, even for characters who use powers pretty frequently, especially since most characters don't interact with Attack tiles at all once they're placed. But the chance to proc is relevant; characters who make Strike tiles usually want to pair up with characters who make Attack tiles, and vice versa, but if a Support can be relied upon to produce at least one Attack tile before the match ends on its own, then the Attack tile creator might not be needed. Unfortunately, the spammiest powers belong to Cloak & Dagger and Hawkguy, either of whom would create Attack tiles on their own before this perk does anything.
    - Rank 2 increases a character's base Yellow match damage by 26. This is slightly higher than what Proxima Midnight offers, and from a lower level, so... that's weird. Whatever.
    - Rank 3 gives a 17.57% chance to Fortify a friendly special tile whenever the supported character makes a match. This is actually pretty good, and might be worth upgrading further, but with in-game information alone, I'm not really sure how much further I can improve my chances per 10k red iso-8 spent.
    - At this point, it seems like this Support could be handy if given to a character on a team that also includes Power Man or Shuri, since the Attack tiles produced offer something "friendly" to fortify, and these characters can make use of fortified tiles. It might be interesting to try this out on Pink Panther, letting him benefit from increased Yellow match damage while his matches in general benefit Shuri and reinforce friendly tiles Panther creates. Unfortunately, neither Shuri nor Panther is close enough to 13 covers for me to anticipate making use of this Support on such a team.
    - I don't have enough purple iso-8 to level-up my 5* characters, and my "powered-up" 3* characters can barely compete with my not-powered-up 4* characters, so the only character left that this might be given to is Star-Lord himself.
    - If equipped to Star-Lord specifically, a "synergy perk" unlocks, which has a 31.99% chance to grant 3 random AP for each Guardian of the Galaxy on the team. No four-star GotG character can use yellow AP, so if I run an all-GotG team, there's a chance to get 9 AP, but there are more chances than usual to get 0 AP. On the other hand, a team of Star-Lord, Gamora, and a yellow-user like Nico or Cap'n Falcon would be able to use any color of AP to activate a power, and if it happens to be blue then Gamora can stun enemies right at the start of the match. That's...actually pretty powerful in theory, although in practice I haven't seen it happen yet.

    Overall, I feel like I've spent some time thinking about how Supports as they are can be useful in my daily gameplay, but they've been generally unsatisfying to actually play with, and I haven't seen any reason to change my team-building strategies or switch Supports very often.
  • venyveny Posts: 834 Critical Contributor
    Actually, you know what would be lovely?  You know that node in Webbed Wonder that rewards a Howard cover?  How about adding an optional node to each PVE story that does not award any points whatsoever, just a Support token.  That way, the players who enjoy Supports can play it for a prize that we want, and the players who seem offended by the very existence of the things and want our fun toys taken away from us can skip the node and not worry about earning one.
    Supports (or at least RISO) should be also somehow implemented into DDQ.
  • smkspysmkspy Posts: 2,024 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited July 2018
    I wouldn't know whether supports are weak or strong...I can't obtain them and those few I do have don't earn enough riso to get leveled.
  • JaedenkaalJaedenkaal Posts: 3,340 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited July 2018
    Tensuun said:
    [a bunch of stuff]
    Interesting analysis.

    To expand on what you are saying, most scalable support values increase at a constant amount per level. You can see this from the preview post values. For example, Proxima Midnight's Rank 1 bonus increases by a flat 0.04016% and 0.61 Strike tile strength per level all the way up to 15% and Strength 168 at level 250. 

    Unless they change the fundamental structure of Support leveling, however, you can always find the difference between the level 250 value and level 1 value, and divide by 249 to find the expected rate of change per level. 

    You are correct; there is no way to identify this information in game. 

    Since you asked, another example: Your Element Guns rank 3 bonus increases by about 0.26% per level. (At least, until they make all the support changes hinted at elsewhere).

    Since the Red ISO cost increases per level, your effect per Red ISO spent decreases per level.

    I do think its worth mentioning that Support bonuses that don't improve the supported character's stats directly can also improve your whole team, for example, creating Strike tiles, Fortifying special tiles, generating AP, etc...
    I think it's also worth noting that although the special tiles created don't always have an impactful strength, they do count as one entire tile of their type for characters who care about whole numbers of tiles. You'll still get a burst of health when matched with Medusa around, you can still strengthen the daylights out of them with 4* Carol, and so on.
  • marshallmarshall Posts: 163 Tile Toppler
    +1 on all mentions of how slow it is to acquire and level supports compared to say 5*s. Due to that lack of availability, I've been in a holding pattern and I haven't spent any Red Iso on my supports.

    I'd like to voice a different opinion that the main thing that bothers me about supports is the RNG factor.

    Love the base match changes, pre-defined buffs/health etc, but not so much those that give a % chance to do X. The game is random enough as it is and I'd like to have more reliable strategies than, 'wonder if I'll get that extra AP from chimichangas'.

  • zodiac339zodiac339 Posts: 1,931 Chairperson of the Boards
    The weakness of supports so far has a lot to do with lack of availability.

    Step 1: provide every player with the rank 1 of every support except stones. They’re minor enough items that it will barely affect the game, but will be beneficial to newer players who don’t have an effective way to aquire them.
    Step 2: More Red ISO. A lot more Red ISO. The anemic trickle of Red ISO we’re gaining makes the ISO-8 drought look like massive arterial spray in comparison.
    Step 3: make Support tokens legitimately available as prizes. Top 25 in a season bracket is not availability. Toss in a standard for top, say, 50? 100? In Story events. Top 25 in Versus should have been per event to begin with, and season needs to go to at least top 100.

    I’d also suggest a weekly Deadpool Daily mission for an advanced token.
  • Twomp_thaDJTwomp_thaDJ Posts: 233 Tile Toppler
    So I seem to be in the majority on this one, where I would like to use supports but trying to find ways to obtain them seems scarce. So powering up those supports only seems beneficial to those who spend $$$ since they only are guaranteed in hero for hires and the vaults are suspect. Also are you guys redoing the old supports so that they only have 3 perk levels? And if I already have 2 levels on those supports are they now lost?.. 
  • axmossaxmoss Posts: 70 Match Maker
    619k of RISO to go Level 1 to Level 250. I can't even save 553k of REGULAR ISO-8 to level my 5-stars from 255 to 450. My highest leveled Support is the blackbird, and when Gambit becomes nerfed at the end of the month, there's not much I want to dump my RISO into because I can't even obtain any support that's not Rank 1 or 2 (even though there's a chance to get Rank 3s).
  • LystrataLystrata Posts: 322 Mover and Shaker
    Agree with basically everyone else.

    Supports aren't strong enough to bother playing with, but that's more or less an mpq-1st-world problem as it only affects people who can even get them to begin with.

    Supports are absurdly rare to obtain, and when you do obtain them, you're then facing the likelihood of getting a duplicate cover anyway. I am still genuinely baffled about rolling out a feature that you're not actually letting the players interact with.
  • ColognoisseurColognoisseur Posts: 748 Critical Contributor
    I applaud the cautious approach especially if they have knowledge that a few of these supports can be game-changers.
    The early favorite seems to be The Milano with 4* grocket with those who have leveled it seeing extra damage from the generated countdown.
    I've enjoyed using Korg with Gladiathor; beyond that none of the supports have made a positive impression on the other characters they are on.

    As long as caution remains ascendant it will be a long slog before supports become useful.
  • DeNappaDeNappa Posts: 981 Critical Contributor
    It's probably been said in this thread already (didnt read through it yet) but in my opinion 'strength of supports' isn't the core issue. The main issues seem to be:
    • Availability
    • Red ISO distribution
    • Bad interface for equipping, inspecting
    Because if you were able actually acquire AND level them, they don't seem too bad. Although a slight increase in numbers is probably okay, too. (My Korg support places strength 17 (!) protect tiles when 5Thor fires a power... yeah that's not really gonna help now is it? It actually blocks those tiles from destruction by his green passive...) 
  • Nick441234Nick441234 Posts: 1,496 Chairperson of the Boards
    Why doesn't this apply to all the supports available? 
  • twistmonkeytwistmonkey Posts: 79 Match Maker
    To echo others in this thread, we don't really know how powerful supports are, because we don't have access to rISO to level them.

    As an example, I generally 1.2k in PVP and full prog in PVE and I have 158k of rISO and one support at level 39.

    My suggestion to the devs to get everyone hyped for supports and really show off the feature: as a one time exception, let every player have one 5* support of their choice (ok no infinity stones, whatever) and give them enough rISO to max it to lvl 250. Boom! Suddenly everyone can see the potential for how much a good support can affect gameplay.

    Not sure of the mechanics of how they'd do this (presumably this would be via CS emails rather than anything in game) but I know it would at make me sit up and take notice of supports.
  • DAZ0273DAZ0273 Posts: 4,012 Chairperson of the Boards
    Or they could just have a Supports boost list and power them up on a cyclical basis like they do the characters.

  • SpudgutterSpudgutter Posts: 716 Critical Contributor
    Thanks for accepting and addressing that supports are not well received.  Credit where it is due.  I know that i have used their weakness as a negative point to bash on them, so at least there is that. 

    That said, imo, you missed the mark again.  Do us a favor, and go through this thread thoroughly.  Listen to what the players are saying.  They are still difficult to get, too expensive to level up, etc.  

    I wont add too much, but i have to ask; if this only applies supports going forward, why did you just devalue the few ones we already have?  Why would i be encouraged to go for these, if they might be outpaced by another change in another couple of months?  
  • AlexNapalmAlexNapalm Posts: 118 Tile Toppler
    SnowcaTT said:
    Make them available, they are just soooo rare and hard to level.

    Vet player with 15 5*'s champed all the 4*'s champed.

    I have one 5* support
    I have one 3* support
    That's it. Everything else is 2* or lower.
    "Everything else" being 13/33. Can't find them.
    Not that it would matter - my 5* support is "up to" level 119, I barely would have maxed any 2* support at this time.

    Supports and Riso need to be MUCH more common to make me pay any attention to them.

    Indeed. It's pretty much harder to get ANY support than it is to get a 5* character. That feels really off. 
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