Thoughts on Monthly Sweeping Rebalances

ThaRoadWarrior
ThaRoadWarrior Posts: 8,063 Chairperson of the Boards
edited 8 June 2022, 16:11 in MPQ General Discussion
In the Broken Circle dev blog, @DevpoolMPQ_BCS announced:



[...] -Micro / Macro Rebalances are coming to MPQ. Every month you'll see sweeping changes to underperforming characters to breathe new life into your roster. As the game has grown, so too has its philosophies and metrics surrounding character performance. Later this summer you can expect to see announcements and patch-notes, as well as development blogs where we peel back the curtain on the actions we're taking to update your favorites.
[...] Until next time,

James



I just wanted to jump in and talk a little bit about how changes like that may have some unforeseen, but easy to foresee, knock on effects to player engagement if they are handled in a heavy handed way (as evidenced by "sweeping changes" rather than "incremental adjustments").

Really what I'd like to make sure stays present in any re-balance discussion is that at the 5* tier, it can take actual, human years to champ an older 5* (admittedly it's much easier these days with shards and feeders than it once was, but still not what I would call a trivial thing), or to earn enough resources to champ a crop of Latest 3 in the face of bad RNG. I am currently on Day 2,314, and I still have 6 5* characters that need 1-4 covers to be champable (not including the current latest 3 that are also unchamped). So adjectives like "sweeping," whether that means making a good character less good or a bad character less bad, can be extremely impactful to a roster that just has a few champed 5*s to work with. 

We (players) know that usage metrics are available, and those will give you a quantitative view of who is being used how often, but it may not give you a qualitative insight into why or why not a character is popular, which means you sort of have to guess about what you need to make changes to. This can lead to things like we saw with Robby Reyes where his one "cool" power became his dump stat and he got less interesting - sort of a 1 step forward 2 steps back thing, when what you want is something more along the lines of what happened to Jean Grey who just got better enough where you would want to use her without the concept for the powers totally changing. There are absolutely characters who are just plain not good enough to use, and many of the longtime players could offer opinions about why, so I would love it if the balance initiative came with some community back and forth.

Now it could be that players just have a PTSD for any "rebalance" being essentially a permanent change, and having more of a living adjustment that can go up and down regularly will make this not as bad. That just hasn't historically been how it works around here, so I thought it would be helpful to just mention the realities of how any character changes will hit a roster.
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Comments

  • HoundofShadow
    HoundofShadow Posts: 7,118 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited 8 June 2022, 16:37
    The dev mentioned only underperforming characters. They haven't said anything about Okoye, Polaris, Thor etc yet.

    Also, since he's a long time fan of game, it means someone in LINE knows him unless he's a casual player, or he knows what the forum players dislike. The first few up for sweeping changes would likely be Kingpin, Wasp, Bruce Banner, Talos, Emma Frost etc.

    Let's see how much this dev understand the passionate players.

    On a side note, please don't touch Mysterio, Mr Sinister and Bishop.  :'(
  • ThaRoadWarrior
    ThaRoadWarrior Posts: 8,063 Chairperson of the Boards
    Well, I'm not necessarily trying to parse every little bit of syntax from the one direct comm we've gotten so far. But saying "sweeping changes every month" is a little alarming lol. It takes way longer than a month to pivot a roster to respond to changes, so I would hope that these things are being thought through in a holistic way.
  • DAZ0273
    DAZ0273 Posts: 6,552 Chairperson of the Boards
    "Underperforming" suggests not living up to potential, in which case does that mean potential in terms of the character or in terms of the characters game performance? So for example they might look at Emperor God Doom and think this guy should be doing much more damage and be top tier. Or they might look at a character and think that as is currently their powers are not working as best they could in game performance. Maybe it might be a bit of both. To fix Wasp requires either total redesign or a partner who creates Swarm tiles. Whereas making Thanos more like his old ranking probably just needs adjusting damage and power costs.
  • KGB
    KGB Posts: 2,032 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited 8 June 2022, 19:06
    One hopes they concentrate in the 3* and 4* tiers for the first few months (lots of characters in both tiers need help).

    That way we can see what 'sweeping' means and if they make any mistakes they don't break the game in any meaningful manner for end game play. Given the adjustments in the 5* tier earlier this year, we know they are really cognizant of making mistakes in the end game play because of how long it takes to cover those characters.

    KGB
  • captainheath
    captainheath Posts: 189 Tile Toppler
    This has me concerned too.  I've been here since three months after it started.  If the toons I didn't concentrate on for eight years suddenly become lesser than those I worked on for years, I'll quit.
  • KGB
    KGB Posts: 2,032 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited 8 June 2022, 22:55
    This has me concerned too.  I've been here since three months after it started.  If the toons I didn't concentrate on for eight years suddenly become lesser than those I worked on for years, I'll quit.
    I think you mean better as I hope you've worked on the better toons for the past 8 years :p

    KGB
  • Bad
    Bad Posts: 2,304 Chairperson of the Boards
    I can understand dev message. 
    Not all 5*s, but there are some who just aren't useful. 
    Kingping, magneto, cable, havok, captain marvel, rescue, are relatively moderns 5*s too slow, too uneffective characters for to use them when godboost, and actually as they are not ancient classics a number adjustement won't help them. 
    They need real changes on one or two of their powers because effectively the game has grown and its metrics and philosophies.
  • HoundofShadow
    HoundofShadow Posts: 7,118 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited 9 June 2022, 02:05
    I think regardless of how they do it, some players will be unhappy. If they want to play it safe, they could just do a modern health/match damage boost.

    However, it sounds like BCS is going to make big changes to the spreadsheets that Demiurge used to balance characters. If they think like those players who are only interested in chasing top characters, I see dark days coming: power creep would happen at a much faster pace and abilities of characters would be less interesting and more generic. Also, it sounds like how good a character is depends on how good they are in comics/movies/tv shows etc.
  • ThaRoadWarrior
    ThaRoadWarrior Posts: 8,063 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited 9 June 2022, 12:43
    Would you say the answer is to remedially bloat those tiers of play, or to hasten new players through into the mid/end game of 4*-5* tier by adding rewards?
  • dianetics
    dianetics Posts: 681 Critical Contributor
    It’s pretty obvious you want to move players towards the end game more quickly. I made a fresh alt account last year with no spending, and after 8 months I had a few champed 3*s and a Polaris with 6 covers.

    if you want to keep new players you have to get them engaged early. Not everyone is a grinder and with that they have feed higher tier rewards a bit faster 
  • Bad
    Bad Posts: 2,304 Chairperson of the Boards
    I think it's an issue which was needed to engage on, and not really intended to move players. 
    The godboost is a partial attempt to add diversity to the teams(and suggested by us, by the way). It's the easy shortcut.
    What it should be the ideal would be characters performing well and then players using them often. 
    The former team was afraid of make a rebalance too good, and then their rebalanced characters usually are good when godboosted. 
    It will be interesting to see if the new team is not afraid to actually buff characters to being good. 
    And possibly that would drive to rebalance all characters until have all of them updated. That's an huge work. 
    If they rip off the former balance spreadsheets, I'm ok with that. After all those spreadsheets gave the ok to characters such as MK, and thst was 3 months ago. 
  • ThaRoadWarrior
    ThaRoadWarrior Posts: 8,063 Chairperson of the Boards
    I think anyone trying to balance this game has a real job on their hands when looking at both modes of play (i guess all three modes of play if you consider puzzle gauntlet its own thing, which it probably is given the alternate victory conditions). Without knowing how characters are balanced today, it seems highly possible to write a bot that would run AI vs AI matches where one AI, the player controlled simulator was able to chase a match 5 on purpose but with some variability in how often they "saw" it, and see how often that character won. With this many characters it's just very hard to create a model for various roster shapes that will tell you whether this one is going to move the needle or not at all levels of play. I think the rule of thumb (that I made up) that "every 5* is going to be somebody's only 5* champ" should prevent you from having too many Wa5ps and Fi5ks come out, but it may have prevented an iHulk from coming out, so I don't know if it's the hard and fast razor to cut content with.

  • Tiger_Wong
    Tiger_Wong Posts: 776 Critical Contributor
    I look forward to any and all rebalances. Hopefully, they’re all great. 
  • Bad
    Bad Posts: 2,304 Chairperson of the Boards
     We've got some great things in the works, and we're excited to see some long-shelved characters get some use. 

    More on this to come.
    Thanks for your answer devpool. That's thrilling.
    Hint: if you remove all powers above 9 AP and adding a damaging passive here and there, that character repently would feel himself totally unshelved :)
    We'll be waiting for the changes.
  • HoundofShadow
    HoundofShadow Posts: 7,118 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited 9 June 2022, 16:32
    Maybe the dev wants to drop some hint to let us guess who's the first lucky pick to whet some appetite.  :p
  • KGB
    KGB Posts: 2,032 Chairperson of the Boards
    Maybe the dev wants to drop some hint to let us guess who's the first lucky pick to whet some appetite.  :p

    It's gotta be Bagman right :p

    KGB
  • HoundofShadow
    HoundofShadow Posts: 7,118 Chairperson of the Boards
    One baby step at a time, and let's start with 1* Yelena.
  • Vhailorx
    Vhailorx Posts: 5,618 Chairperson of the Boards
    Bad said:
     We've got some great things in the works, and we're excited to see some long-shelved characters get some use. 

    More on this to come.
    Thanks for your answer devpool. That's thrilling.
    Hint: if you remove all powers above 9 AP and adding a damaging passive here and there, that character repently would feel himself totally unshelved :)
    We'll be waiting for the changes.

    9ap, and even 8ap, powers are a little meh in the current meta. . .5ap powers please!

    :)


  • wymtime
    wymtime Posts: 3,721 Chairperson of the Boards
    I am personally all for balance changes.  With the weekly buff of 5* it will not make a huge difference in the haves and have nots.  Let’s say for example they buff 5* Heimdall and he becomes a top 2 5* in the game.  Because of weekly buffs he won’t be OP in PVP when he isn’t buffed.  The only thing it will help is in Sim.  Unless that take a 5* and make them completely broken like original Gambit this will only be a good thing