Shards should be a good reason to redo characters

Since shards give a player the ability to outright purchase covers when they come up in the store, isn't that a good reason to update the characters?  

Scenario:
I'm sure quite a few of us have covers for Silver Surfer.  I'm at 10.  I'm not very likely to buy shards to finish him because in the end, I'm not going to use him much anyway.

However, what if he is slightly redone and placing a black hole suddenly generates more AP.  (It is really quite laughable that the most unique thing about him (beyond the immunity to stun) is out generated by Thor.  Thor generates 5 ap automatically each turn, while SS must spend 12 black ap in order to generate 15 ap over the course of 3 turns.)

A fun Silver Surfer suddenly makes me and probably others looking to purchase shards.

Purchasing shards for newer characters is probably not much of a thing since newer characters are more easilly obtained.  

In the end, shard spending could go up immensely with rebalances.  (boosts, not nerfs)

Comments

  • bluewolfbluewolf Posts: 3,597 Chairperson of the Boards
    The shard store is random. So that’s hurdle #1. Also those covers are expensive!  Over one Stark per cover. 

    No rebalance has moved a 5 into the meta. Surfer was actually already reworked several years ago.  Even the most recent 4* rebalances were either lateral or downward moves. 

    My opinion is there is little upside in a “positive” rebalance given the huge number of characters and testing that would be required in return for likely minimal uptick in sales/spending. 

    We all want them but the costs are probably too high for the devs to justify anymore. 
  • captainheathcaptainheath Posts: 107 Tile Toppler
    Yes, there are hurdles.  But I just don't get the cost is too high to justify.  

    Many other games regularly make small tweaks to characters for balancing purposes.  A balanced game is a fun game.  A fun game is more likely to be profitable than an unfun game.
  • bluewolfbluewolf Posts: 3,597 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited 11 January 2020, 19:23
    I don’t know the full extent of testing and who does what but their entire QA team is 4 people including a Manager and Lead. 

    If you assume you wanted to test just 100 characters (half the game) with a character on teams of 3, that would be 9,900 matches to run to make sure they work together (no bugs). 39,800 for 200 characters. 

    EDIT:  Let's go with 9900 matches and assume you need 5 minutes to do good, full testing for each match.  That's 49,500 minutes, or 825 hours, and with 4 people that's 5 weeks of work at 40 hours per week.  That's also not accounting for however much time is needed to note the team they ran, results, etc.

    Now they need to squeeze this in around testing of other things, like features, new characters, etc etc which are likely generate a lot more interest among players.

    Again for someone that most people already have rostered if they are going to, and probably have a decent amount of covers for.  And it likely won't move the needle enough that they abandon pursuit of a meta character in favor of the new rebalanced version of someone that will probably move to, assuming they follow past practices, the "good" category at best.

    Also, if the next rebalance isn’t Bishop that may be the last straw for me. 
  • captainheathcaptainheath Posts: 107 Tile Toppler
    For major reworks of characters, you would need a lot of testing.  If you just change a number such as ap cost, match damage, or the number of turns, I really see no reason you would need that much testing.
  • PiMacleodPiMacleod Posts: 449 Mover and Shaker
    All those hours of testing and all the work involved... It may be true.

    But lets be honest.  Not a single game gets balanced like that.  Even huge e-sports games dont get that attention... Overwatch, League of Legends, Smash Ultimate... You get the point -- huge games with huge studios dont get that time.

    What they DO get is fractured mini updates that guesstimate what exactly is needed.  A cooldown on an active ability reduced by a second or two....  Damage changed by a fraction....  Movement speed....  Little things.

    And its not done blindly.  They have online matches and data recorded.  Unless theres an immediately broken thing, they continue this for a set amount of time until immediate shock and awe of the changes gets smoothed out and tempered by player experience.  Metas are made, old ones sometimes break or fade away, and the game sometimes changes fundamentally... Or not at all.

    Then they repeat.  That data paves the way for the next set of tiny changes.  This character gets a tweak upwards, that one loses this pizzaz, and things are slightly yet noticeably different.  The patch gets released.  The game continues.  

    The PLAYERS are the testers in this scenario.  Of course, big studios can do this on private servers and such before a public release, but hey... This isnt a big studio.  And if they hedged the bets, looked at the data, read the forums (sparingly), they can see small obvious changes to make.  Release the patch.  Let us play.  Record the data.  Watch the forums.  Listen to outrage and praise alike.

    Continue this for a character in particular enough times until you see usage of said character rise to a respectible minimum.  Once it achieves that minimum, start work on the next patch for the character with the smallest usage statistic.

    As far as monitizing it goes, i think thats all up to the hype machine.  Us forum goers will probably not buy in if its not part of the meta or our personal completionist plans... However, we are a very small percentile of the player population.  The Fan Favorites would have us believe that Old Man Logan is one of the three most played or requested or whatever 5*s.  But these forums say otherwise.  Enough advertisement on FB and IG, in-game pop up advertisements, and maybe even breaking the beloved alphabetical sequence of required characters.  You know - make the next PvE that follows a character update require that character... No matter where they are in sequence.  Use it as not just advertisement in game for the change, but also testing data.

    Sure, i may not know every in and out, but i do know that a healthy roster will help the game's longevity, and may even help introduce new players to its wonder.  Its a lot easier to get interested in something that sounds fair... Not to mention, it might make everyone a bit happier if there werent balance issues to talk about.  Break Bishop down a hair, and throw that hair into Talos.  :smile:
  • JHawkIncJHawkInc Posts: 2,049 Chairperson of the Boards
    But lets be honest.  Not a single game gets balanced like that. 

    MPQ does. Talking about micro-adjustments and repeated tweaks to seek balance sounds nice, and many might prefer something like that, but this is absolutely NOT how MPQ has ever handled character updates. I don't mean for this to sound condescending, or too dismissive, but none of what you said is extremely relevant here because that's not how THESE devs choose to do things. We get complete overhauls that take forever to arrive, and are largely "one and done" updates, so they take their time because they don't intend to touch things again once the update goes live. It's meant to be a permanent fix for years to come.

    Not making a case for which way is better, just pointing out how things are here already.
  • ZeofarZeofar Posts: 45 Just Dropped In
    edited 12 January 2020, 13:18
    bluewolf said:
    I don’t know the full extent of testing and who does what [...]
    Neither do they, methinks.
    bluewolf said:
    If you assume you wanted to test just 100 characters (half the game) with a character on teams of 3, that would be 9,900 matches to run to make sure they work together (no bugs). 39,800 for 200 characters. 

    EDIT:  Let's go with 9900 matches and assume you need 5 minutes to do good, full testing for each match.  That's 49,500 minutes, or 825 hours, and with 4 people that's 5 weeks of work at 40 hours per week.  That's also not accounting for however much time is needed to note the team they ran, results, etc.
    There is NO industry that does software testing like this unless it is either reasonable to automate or is used in some kind of mission-critical life-or-death application. If automated, setting up and running tests like this for a character should be on the scale of a few hours, not weeks.
    JHawkInc said:
    Not making a case for which way is better, just pointing out how things are here already.
    Who would win
    Industry standard based on good sense and ability responsively improve your product
    OR
    Large, permanent (and frequently unpopular) updates to small features

  • bluewolfbluewolf Posts: 3,597 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited 12 January 2020, 14:29
    I admit I don't know much about their testing process exactly.  I guess I was just illustrating the point that their approach (complete rebalance) requires that basically the character be hashed out from the ground up, and it seems like nearly the same amount of work as a new character other than they start with the actual art, name etc and sometimes leave one power alone.  Anyway, I've heard them say it takes about 16 weeks to move a character from concept to release so it's probably 6-8 weeks of work for a rebalance.

    The reason behind complete reworks probably goes back to the size of the staff, 21 by my count in the credits.  They simply don't have the extra work capacity to do frequent tweaks to characters until they get them zeroed in when they have so many known projects to work on.

    My belief is they have certain things (new characters, store updates, costume and bundle creation, bug fixes, prepping the next events) that take top priority in the workflow and then they have the nice things like new PVEs, rebalances, and feature updates (shards) that happen more around the edges.  But again rebalances DO require hands on testing to see how the character plays with top existing characters.  If they aren't doing that, at least for the most used characters....it just seems like a bare minimum requirement when the game is designed around creating teams.  So a rebalance is somewhat of an unknown issue (how much back and forth between design and QA) and has a lot less visibility and possible upside in the era of dilution vs something that is immediately accessed, like a new engine or a new PVE or PVP.

    I don't know what the staff of Riot Games (League of Legends) is currently but according to wikipedia, there were over 1,000 people working on LoL in 2013.  So they are around 500 times larger than MPQ's development staff.

    I also don't know how many people play LoL currently but it looks like 100 million is (or was) a fair estimate.  My guesstimate on MPQ is about 100,000 - 150,000 in each PVE in all SCLs.  No one tracks the lower SCLs but the top ones (7-9) have about 55-60K total players.  Anyway you might assume that LoL makes about 1000 the amount of money MPQ does, probably more.

    What you may think is the "industry standard" may be very limited to only the very most successful games.

    Finally, despite the desires of longtime vets, dilution means that a very small % of players would benefit from, say, rebalancing all the 5's or even rebalancing someone like say Rescue.  If you are a newer player who is working on the 4's, the odds are basically 100% (you could, I suppose, drop a few hundred thousand dollars on the game) that you will NEVER get to the point where you are chasing covers for a mediocre 5, so what is the real point of spending all the time reworking those characters?  You may make the 4-6 year vets happy but they are already here.  New players will be lucky to hoard long enough to cover a set of 3 5's at some point and maybe do that again if they chose.  If you aren't already very deep into the 5 tier odds are that you won't care at all at any point in your time with the game about them improving a mid-tier 5.

  • HoundofShadowHoundofShadow Posts: 2,306 Chairperson of the Boards
    It seems like the meaning of rebalancing around here is largely limited to level the playing field for match damage, damage/ap,  and hp. 

    I think the dev has shared before that they have some kind of cap/power system (can't remember the term) to help them with the numbers/damages assigned to each character. It is definitely not foolproof, but it has been working for them most of the time. 

    If we were to look at the last 2 rebalances (Mr Fantastic and 5* Dr Ock), both of them received major changes to their abilities. Both didn't go over too well with the players in here because it either disrupt the synergy (Bishop associated with Mr Fantastic) or it changed one of the better abilities (Dr Ock).

    If we were to simplify both parties' goals of rebalancing, it can be stated as:

    players: increase match damage and damage/ap, and hp to match the last few 5* releases.

    devs: refreshes the characters to generate new interest in them by changing their abilities, and at the same time, try to keep it true to the nature of the character. Increases match damage as well.

    Given that players around here usually focus on match damage and damage/ap to determine whose abilities get used (effects aside), then, which tier of characters shall be used as the measuring stick for this? Should match damage and damage/ap of rebalanced characters be compared against top tier, good tier, or middle tier characters? If mid tier characters' damages are used as a measuring stick, then will it really make those characters better and increase their usages?



  • PiMacleodPiMacleod Posts: 449 Mover and Shaker
    The answer is obvious, Hound.  And thats if we are even assuming the scenario you present.

    You take the high ones.  Why?  Do i even need to state why?  
    Because thats what players want.  Big damage, faster play, etc.  Simultaneously, if more characters had that high end HP, some matches may take a match or two longer, but that would be loads better than taking mid or low tier guys damage as the norm (much more time increase due to damage dropped across the board).  

    Some people might say mid or low, but honestly, you'd just end up making people mad.  Bring everyone up, and now you didnt ruin someone elses game... You just made the opposition stronger.  It would be received a lot better than lowering high end guys damage.

    But i think you miss the point of why some of us keep saying to just change the numbers, Hound.  Its because its the easiest ATTEMPT at a fix.  Attempt is the key word, because it might take more than one try.  They can tweak a number.  Its just a value.  The patch goes live.  People play.  Data is gathered and forum goers post.  Let the shock and awe die down... See what filters through.  As long as something wasnt glaringly wrong, keep it, or even tweak something else, or whatever.  

    This way, the devs dont have to spend so many man hours developing a new character (essentially)... Its a simple number change, to one or a few values in a given character.  Example: lower the cost of Talos' blue and purple skills by 2 AP each.  Increase the amount of Ap destroyed in his blue by 1.  Release this with whatever new patch.  If people like it after a few weeks, keep it.  If it becomes a new broken dude, they can always flip the numbers back on a patch if needed.  Its just numbers. 

    Best part--  it wont hurt anyone's feelings if you do this to the lowest used characters.... the meta remains as it is, yet you might just stumble into creating a new meta team as well.  Which is a bonus for players, because we generally like meta stuff, and thats good for the game, because then those shards might generate revenue.
  • HoundofShadowHoundofShadow Posts: 2,306 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited 13 January 2020, 05:24
    Wouldn't you be introducing a big increase of power creep for all players? I think it will have ripple effects on many players who are in the lower tiers. Besides, the difficulty of the game (AI have higher damages, HP etc) might increase if that happens.

    The reactions towards nerfs have always been negative in many games. If the dev were to introduce buff and nerf often to a set of characters, it will cause players to lose confident in the characters that they are trying to chase. I have seen players in many other games saying that rebalancing, both buffs and then nerfs, bring uncertainties to them. They won't feel comfortable if the dev were to buff this character one moment, and then nerf them the other moment.

    For example, recently, MCOC's dev decided to do frequent balancing of their characters, and it has caused the players to feel uncomfortable. I don't think this is something that should be ignored.
  • PiMacleodPiMacleod Posts: 449 Mover and Shaker
    While i see what you are saying, i also see no reason to not try.

    If it causes uncertainties... Then change the value(s) back.  But ONLY after the shock wears off.  Gotta rip the bandaid, and wait for the first sting to wear off to see what its really like.

    Once again, its just numbers.  Not new skills, abilities, etc.  Just numbers.  These are tweakable per patch.  Interactions wont change... But the value will.  

    Remember when 5* Carnage was released... Or what everyone here calls him... Carbage?   I do.

    There was a lot of hope at first.  They had that sneak peek and it had no values assigned to the powers.  Do X damage, and create tiles of Y strength, yadda yadda yadda.  People were speculating wildly that if the values were right on, he could make waves....  Then they released the values, and he gained his forum nickname.  All because the values werent high enough.

    I think theres a ton of this in the game.  Silver Surfer is pretty awesome and i think the power set speaks to his comic book form well enough... Just make his match damage actually matter, increase his healing on his blue, and the overall effectiveness of his red and black.  Those are numbers.  If his healing were greatly increased, and maybe even cheaper AP cost, he could be a new tank for people to throw in.  An unstunable long lasting tank.  This wouldnt kill the meta... But it would make his viability as another anti-Bishop even stronger.

    And if people got uncertain?  Change it back.  But honestly, i dont see it.  Its not like im blind... I just see a community clammering for change.  This is easy to do.  I see people that enter the 4* tier and get overwhelmed as soon as they see the truth of dilution and only getting the characters that matter.  Wouldnt it be nice if MORE of them mattered?  A new 4* player could pull an X23 and maybe NOT feel like it was a waste... Maybe she'd actually be good!  More good characters, just based on values alone, could help transitioning players feel like they arent just spinning their wheels.  One person's hoard shows off some Bishops, Juggs, Medusas, etc... And another shows off Namor, Emma, Talos... But wouldnt it be cool if we could look at that second set and say "well, you dont have those passives, but MAN, at least the ones you pulled hit like a truck".  Something to say that it wasnt a waste of your resources.
  • captainheathcaptainheath Posts: 107 Tile Toppler
    The new offer is a great example.  I have 5 Jean Grey near fully covered.  Why would I spend $50 to get another cover of her when she is so clearly behind?  Simply modify some numbers.  Give her really high match damage or a high damage/low cost red so the player has reason to down her first.  I'm not going to spend that level of money on a character that I'll never use.
  • bluewolfbluewolf Posts: 3,597 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited 13 January 2020, 23:14
    The new offer is a great example.  I have 5 Jean Grey near fully covered.  Why would I spend $50 to get another cover of her when she is so clearly behind?  Simply modify some numbers.  Give her really high match damage or a high damage/low cost red so the player has reason to down her first.  I'm not going to spend that level of money on a character that I'll never use.
    I mean, look.  I agree 100% that they are not helping themselves by leaving characters untouched yet trying to sell  us covers for them.

    IMO buying Phoenix covers is such a bad idea at her current power level that it's borderline...well.....I won't say predatory, but it's a very bad idea.

    I am 100% behind the developers rebalancing people over pushing more new characters and diluting the tokens further, I assume the vast majority of players are months to years away from a complete roster as it is.

    My points earlier were simply my attempt to explain why, despite many many many many many many many! requests for them to rebalance/improve characters, we have not seen them do so in a very long time, and only very rarely over the past 2 years in a game that has only been around for 6.

    If the devs did address this idea they would probably just say "there are no plans at this time, but maybe we will in the future."  Unfortunately they have mostly shut down all communication.
  • captainheathcaptainheath Posts: 107 Tile Toppler
    I get what you are saying.  

    My post is just because I'm hoping the developers spend at least a little bit of time browsing the forums.  To me rebalancing characters the easy way by just adjusting the numbers in a spreadsheet is a no brainer.  They are leaving money on the table.
  • Daredevil217Daredevil217 Posts: 2,476 Chairperson of the Boards
    The new offer is a great example.  I have 5 Jean Grey near fully covered.  Why would I spend $50 to get another cover of her when she is so clearly behind?  Simply modify some numbers.  Give her really high match damage or a high damage/low cost red so the player has reason to down her first.  I'm not going to spend that level of money on a character that I'll never use.

    Yeah, I'm the perfect candidate for this offer.  I'm currently chasing Phoenix, as mine is close to finished at 5/4/2.  Jubilee is my sole 4* targeted hero.  I'm trying to get her to 320 (8 more!) for cover #12, so this offer would finish her.  Since I have all of the meta characters champed and over 400 pulls ready for Carbage/BRB/Villain, I don't mind utilizing in-game resources to target mediocre characters (I have to sharget someone when I pull my hoard), but using that much real life money on a cover for one, even if it is the cover that completes her... that's a very hard pass.  The $9.99 for 500 shards without the extras mentioned in the other thread would have probably gotten me, but they love adding extras and jacking up the price point.  Oh well.
  • PiMacleodPiMacleod Posts: 449 Mover and Shaker
    bluewolf said:
    The new offer is a great example.  I have 5 Jean Grey near fully covered.  Why would I spend $50 to get another cover of her when she is so clearly behind?  Simply modify some numbers.  Give her really high match damage or a high damage/low cost red so the player has reason to down her first.  I'm not going to spend that level of money on a character that I'll never use.
    I mean, look.  I agree 100% that they are not helping themselves by leaving characters untouched yet trying to sell  us covers for them.

    IMO buying Phoenix covers is such a bad idea at her current power level that it's borderline...well.....I won't say predatory, but it's a very bad idea.

    I am 100% behind the developers rebalancing people over pushing more new characters and diluting the tokens further, I assume the vast majority of players are months to years away from a complete roster as it is.

    My points earlier were simply my attempt to explain why, despite many many many many many many many! requests for them to rebalance/improve characters, we have not seen them do so in a very long time, and only very rarely over the past 2 years in a game that has only been around for 6.

    If the devs did address this idea they would probably just say "there are no plans at this time, but maybe we will in the future."  Unfortunately they have mostly shut down all communication.
    Yeah, we definitely get what you're saying.  Totally.  Been around long enough to have the conversation in my head.

    Im just all for having as many talking points out there for them to read/hear and to see that maybe theres an easy thing they are missing, that can easily generate interest -- which generally leads to revenue.

    If i was to never put it out there because im afraid of them telling me no (or just radio silence again), then man, i might as well quit the game.  Hope is the one thing that keeps a lot of things alive.  I hope that the next new 5* is worth my LTs.  I hope that the next 4* is interesting and cool (and maybe a hard Bishop counter?).  I hope that the next new Boss or PVE event is fun...  

    And i HOPE that at least one dev or employee of some sort reads these posts and sees potential in the idea.
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