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Carrylex

To the Devs - stop creating a meta

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@Seph quote:

It all depends on how special you want your defenses to be. That is where your personal build comes in and the pool of passives / spheres you want to choose from. The more = the merrier. I don't want to be able to choose from only Speedy Harpoons and Shellshock. I want Speedy Harpoons, Splody Harpoons, Speedy + Splody, Splitting Harpoons, Splitting + Splody + Speedy + Multiple Projectiles (Path of Exile reference, lol. THAT WOULD BE HILARIOUS - Multiple Projectiles). Ping Pong Cannon (bouncing), Mushroom Cannon(poison, petrify (stoned (get it?!:D)), Chicken Cannon (pierce) and many more. 



Seph.

Awesome concept, but players still need to be able to progress from map to map and level to level.  Once Trendy fixes the progression problem I'm all for these awesome passives and even a return of the many weapon types from DDE.


But for those of us who did not get a lucky re-roll on our gear I un-emotionally say FIX THE PROGRESSION !!

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I think because each hero levels up with the exact same stats the only thing that makes them different is the stats on gear. This really means that we all basically have the same builds with a same difference based on how lucky your got on your drop. There is not enough variety to build each hero. Not to mention if you focus on a passive build you almost certainly need to pick the spheres that go with that passive.

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Well, yeah. Sadly, currently we have almost  nothing to choose from... The two things that bring a twist into the game are Serenity Aura passives and Blaze Balloon passives, Serenity for it's mechanics and Blaze for adding a purpose for looting crit-based items (aside the only actually benefiting defenses: cannons and auras). And phoenix mechanics is kinda nice. To play around in the tavern... Infinite loop... That's it :D

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Squire Wall - Hunter Trap - Mage Frost = SUCKZ!!


I want play my  Squire/Monk Build!!! <3 <3

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@Seph quote:
  • Tripwire is a passive, Amped Up is a passive, Pyromancer is a passive. How come i do not see people saying anything about those passives ruining the game?

You haven't seen the complaints that Amped Up is so strong that iPWR 80 gloves with it are better than iPWR 600 gloves without?  Maybe that's not ruining the entire game, but it's certainly annoying if your gear must have a certain passive or be junk.

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So I've read this and several other threads saying the devs have broken the game,  the devs are forcing us to play the way they want to,  the passives make us use certain builds,  blah blah blah... piss piss moan moan....


They have clearly stated,  on several occasions,  there are future "builds" coming,  meaning more passives are coming.  Maybe they should remove all passives,  roll back to pre alpha, and not release any new content until they have at least 8 sets of passives per character that all hold hands and don't over-power eachother.  


Only one problem with that.  Instead of people on here complaining about builds and passives,  people would be on here complaining about lack of variety,  being afk on nm4 and thinking about quiting playing the game,  saying trendy had no direction because they aren't releasing any new content....


Oh wait,  they are already saying all of that even with the new content.  Hmm I guess trendy is damned if they do,  damned if they don't.  I honestly hope the next official post we see from them says due to lack of community support and downright negativity,  we are pulling the plug on dd2. 


Now that, will be a thread worth reading. 

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Their obsession with balance is a joke, been complaining for months about it. It should be fun first and foremost and design around it. You can't balance a game like this without removing all the fun and diversity. Like DD1 did at several stages.

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I completely agree with Mokn - make NM1-NM3 fun. Don't worry about what is balanced or how easy it is. Make it fun, and then work on tuning it. Make NM4 difficult with minor gear increases - have a special pet or something similar for completion. Use NM1-3 as training wheels for NM4.

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Devs don't create the meta, the community does... Just like the current meta is to exploit whatever glitch shows up before it gets patched or do you think the devs wanted people using serenity auras and frosty towers like they did/do? The game is under development, new things will be released and players will more often than not want to try all the new stuff, good or bad. Unfortunately, a good percentage of the community doesn't really care and just want to "win" so instead of giving feedback to improve the game they just exploit bugs, glitches and unbalanced content and in the end everyone gets rolled back. A lot of people say flamethrower sucks, well I thought they were cool so I made a flamethrower apprentice and it's actually really good, so much so that I made an ap huntress with extended oil flask duration only to maximize my flamethrowers.


tldr: You can build whatever you want and have fun with it but if all you want is to win then just use the currently unbalanced heroes/defenses and or glitches to farm nightmare maps. Just don't call it meta and make it sound like the devs wanted this...

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@mokn quote:

Their obsession with balance is a joke, been complaining for months about it. It should be fun first and foremost and design around it. You can't balance a game like this without removing all the fun and diversity. Like DD1 did at several stages.

Having only 4 viable defenses is not fun though. Also I'm not concerned about perfect balance as much as I am concerned about relative balance. This is why I've been constantly asking about defense usage analytics - it allows the devs to leverage player data to achieve a perceived balance in the game. For example, if Trendy data mined current defense usage, they'd probably find a graph somewhat similar to this:

cACUQb6.png

Seeing this data, I'd give the most-used defenses a bit of a nerf and the least-used defenses a decent buff. I'd then wait a week and see what the graph looks like then. The ultimate goal here is to make the chart look like this:

VJPcFoA.png

But the thing is, the devs are making defense usage data much more difficult to obtain with build passives. Theres no way to digest or read a graph that separates hearty blockades from spike blockades, especially since there are varying degrees of the passive. This issue will only get worse as more build passives are introduced. While the game mechanics behind build passives have the potential to be fun, it cannot scale in such a manner that will allow the devs to easily achieve relative balance. Because of build passives, we currently have and will always have a single meta. Even if theyre able to even out the graph above, individual defenses will have metas of the best passives/skill spheres.

This is why I want ubers and mechanic-changing build passives to be separate defenses on new heroes. This is why I want all passives that are merely damage upgrades removed entirely. It puts Trendy in a position to use data to their advantage, as opposed to heresay, opinions, and guesswork. Best of all, there wouldn't be a meta, because all defenses and all skill spheres would be used equally.

In short, the more viable tools we have, the more enjoyable the game will be. Passives convolute what is viable. I would much rather 16 viable defenses with no passives than 4 viable defenses with dozens of worthless passives.

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@gigazelle quote:

Seeing this data, I'd give the most-used defenses a bit of a nerf and the least-used defenses a decent buff. I'd then wait a week and see what the graph looks like then. The ultimate goal here is to make the chart look like this:

VJPcFoA.png

That's a fine goal, but I have some doubts if it's achievable in practice.  Based on my observations of players across multiple games, a significant portion will seek the advice of others to beat the game in the easiest way possible.  This creates a strong bias towards a single popular strategy.  It doesn't necessarily need to be the only viable one, or even the most effective one - it may simply be the one for which a guide was posted first, or one that is very easy to explain.

There will always be those players that take their own path as well, but I doubt their numbers are sufficient to completely balance out the masses.  The situation can be improved from what it is now, but a noticeable bias towards the most popular build will remain.

I agree with you that build passives are likely to make the situation worse.  Even the independent players are likely to stick to one build they've found to work.  Build passives increase the threshold of switching to another build since it would require farming a new set of gear.  This in turn creates a bias towards the builds whose benefits are more apparent at a glance.

Another factor is the number of defenses competing for each role.  Skyguard is the only anti-air defense, so obviously it's going to see heavy use.  Meanwhile there are at least half a dozen options for magical damage against ground-based enemies.  And then there are the oddballs like training dummy that don't seem to have a clearly defined role.  It doesn't have the endurance to be a blockade nor the damage to be an offensive defense, and I don't think it has any special abilities either.

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[[31834,users]]

I think you're wrong about them being able to read the chart.  Right now they can simply assume that in NM all the builds are with passives, which is enough since there isn't a huge range of passives for each item.  So, for example, one way to nerf Spike Blockade relative to Arcane Barrier is to reduce Hearty.

In the long run, however, that won't work.  When players are choosing between four interesting options for their Spike Blockade, the fact that they know endgame players will be using passives won't be enough, since they won't know which passives are being used.

Unless they have more specific data.  If their data mining can tell them that 99.5% of all Frost Towers in NM have the buff passive, but only 56% have the improved slow passive, that would give them an idea what to balance.

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@tdb quote:

That's a fine goal, but I have some doubts if it's achievable in practice.  Based on my observations of players across multiple games, a significant portion will seek the advice of others to beat the game in the easiest way possible.  This creates a strong bias towards a single popular strategy.  It doesn't necessarily need to be the only viable one, or even the most effective one - it may simply be the one for which a guide was posted first, or one that is very easy to explain.

There will always be those players that take their own path as well, but I doubt their numbers are sufficient to completely balance out the masses.  The situation can be improved from what it is now, but a noticeable bias towards the most popular build will remain.

I agree with you that build passives are likely to make the situation worse.  Even the independent players are likely to stick to one build they've found to work.  Build passives increase the threshold of switching to another build since it would require farming a new set of gear.  This in turn creates a bias towards the builds whose benefits are more apparent at a glance.

Another factor is the number of defenses competing for each role.  Skyguard is the only anti-air defense, so obviously it's going to see heavy use.  Meanwhile there are at least half a dozen options for magical damage against ground-based enemies.  And then there are the oddballs like training dummy that don't seem to have a clearly defined role.  It doesn't have the endurance to be a blockade nor the damage to be an offensive defense, and I don't think it has any special abilities either.

That's why perceived balance is important, not perfect balance. When players see that the guides' defenses got nerfed, they're going to try something new and will be pleased to see that other strategies work as well. It would indeed be an endless cycle of balancing, but no defense would ever be completely left in the dust like we have right now.

@Andurian quote:

gigazelle

I think you're wrong about them being able to read the chart.  Right now they can simply assume that in NM all the builds are with passives, which is enough since there isn't a huge range of passives for each item.  So, for example, one way to nerf Spike Blockade relative to Arcane Barrier is to reduce Hearty.

In the long run, however, that won't work.  When players are choosing between four interesting options for their Spike Blockade, the fact that they know endgame players will be using passives won't be enough, since they won't know which passives are being used.

Unless they have more specific data.  If their data mining can tell them that 99.5% of all Frost Towers in NM have the buff passive, but only 56% have the improved slow passive, that would give them an idea what to balance.

Exactly - even if they had access to that data, the amount of effort it would take to determine the correct balance around them to make multiple passives equally viable would be astronomical. Even accessing that data in an easy-to-digest manner would be extremely difficult and time consuming, and would take many more iterations to get it right. If anyone cares about credibility here, I work supporting one of the most powerful web analytics tools for enterprises for over 5 years, and am partially responsible for the analytics implementation on adobe.com. Despite my experience on the subject, I cannot visualize a way to gauge the effectiveness of passives and adjust them accordingly in the current state of the game. However, if these build passives were separated into different defenses, that makes it much easier to determine which defense mechanics are overpowered and underpowered, and nudge the right numbers in the right direction.

That's why I'd much rather splody harpoons, frosty power, phoenix balloons, purge evil auras, and all ubers be completely separate defenses. It would be extremely easy to tell if that mechanic was being overused or underused. It would be much more difficult to determine that if it was a passive or skill sphere.

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@gigazelle quote:

That's why I'd much rather splody harppoons, frosty power, phoenix balloons, purge evil auras, and all auras be completely separate defenses. It would be extremely easy to tell if that mechanic was being overused or underused. It would be much more difficult to determine that if it was a passive or skill sphere.

I'd favor this, too.  Have the gender switched versions of the original heroes return, and give them the new passives as towers, auras, and traps.  Trendy needs to try adding classes to the game prior to release anyhow, as that will be something they'll be doing after release.  I think new classes will be one of the more touchy things to introduce, as well.  Too powerful and everyone will scream Pay to Win at the top of their lungs.  Too weak and nobody will buy them.

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@gigazelle quote:
@mokn quote:

Their obsession with balance is a joke, been complaining for months about it. It should be fun first and foremost and design around it. You can't balance a game like this without removing all the fun and diversity. Like DD1 did at several stages.

Having only 4 viable defenses is not fun though. Also I'm not concerned about perfect balance as much as I am concerned about relative balance.

I never said it was fun, i barely even play the game. I keep hoping for better but that hope has dwindled with the recent patches. 

I don't care about perfect balance either. The game could be 1 tower per class and have near perfect balance, that would be boring like it is now :) I only care that people aren't using the same 4 towers all the time and there's content that's near unbeatable for me so i have something to work towards.

I also want map specific leaderboards back with weekly resets and cosmetic rewards. It also gives them heaps of data looking at what the top 50 are doing.

I agree with your post tho, i want to have to think about my builds like other tower defense games.



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@gigazelle quote:(...) The ultimate goal here is to make the chart look like this:

VJPcFoA.png

But the thing is, the devs are making defense usage data much more difficult to obtain with build passives. Theres no way to digest or read a graph that separates hearty blockades from spike blockades, especially since there are varying degrees of the passive. (...)

The thing is, the graphs would never look like your ultimate goal. The reasons for that are many: DU costs (5*20DU trap = 2*50DU Earthshatter), area covered (2~3 blockades to close a lane; a ton of the same trap / 1 of multiple towers to defend it)...

We can't really consider just quantity as "participation", and considering DPS is out of the question, too - as some defenses don't even deal damage / are useful in other ways (apply slow, apply oil, freeze, yadda yadda).

IMHO You are putting way too much weight into your area of expertise (data analysis) when non-quantitative, fully qualitative aspects of the game (i feel it is "too slow"; "too time consuming"; "non-rewarding"; "no sense of progression"; "where is the fun?"; "I want to customize"; yadda) don't exactly depend on any kind of "balance" - be it perceived or "perfectly" engineered - and could potentially affect it's success way more than any effort put into balance.

Then, again, we can't really discuss "balance" right now, when their test-run vision (passives / builds) is still far, far away from realized (only ~1 build per hero; not even 1 build per tower; still no multiple possibilities for the same hero; still messy on the access methods, yadda).

Builds Passives can make or break this game, but trying to use "defense participation" to point a possible fault on the passive system (as in "it makes data analysis harder"), in my humble opinion, holds no water. There are other weak points if you want to somewhat confront their vision, but this one doesn't seem like one of 'em.

"Continuous balance" (or whatever peeps call it these days) is quite fun too, and is the approach on pretty much every big name on the industry: LoL nerfs or bumps the heroes depending on favoritism and player feedback all the time; pretty much every MMO rebalances player skills and classes on a seasonal basis; Smash Bros gets no balancing (so godly tier is a thing), but that is Nintendo so I shouldn't even cite it; Street Fighter tries to rebalance stuffs on each resell of the same game version - ultra, ex plus extra super... Now Street Fighter V wants to adjust character power seasonally based on championship player feedback.
...My point being: let the company try it's hand with the passives, juggle it around with "balance"... but please don't bash on it prematurely. "Passives chosen" could be compared like you are suggesting, but we don't have enough for that.

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@Jeshua quote:The thing is, the graphs would never look like your ultimate goal. The reasons for that are many: DU costs (5*20DU trap = 2*50DU Earthshatter), area covered (2~3 blockades to close a lane; a ton of the same trap / 1 of multiple towers to defend it)...

We can't really consider just quantity as "participation", and considering DPS is out of the question, too - as some defenses don't even deal damage / are useful in other ways (apply slow, apply oil, freeze, yadda yadda).

Participation metrics aren't quantitative though - if someone used 20 explosive traps and a single skyguard, they both get equal credit. If a defense participated in a build, that means it's being useful, no matter how many are being used. If a defense is too useful, you're going to see it in almost every build. If a defense is worthless, you're not going to see it at all. Since winning builds capitalize on utility, you're able to identify the defenses on both ends of the spectrum with fairly minimal effort.

You bring up an excellent point in that data is not the end-all-be-all. I think if we were shown a report like this from Trendy and they opened up a discussion saying "what are your thoughts on ABC overpowered defenses and XYZ useless defenses" we'd see a lot of collaboration and brainstorming going on.

@Jeshua quote:Then, again, we can't really discuss "balance" right now, when their test-run vision (passives / builds) is still far, far away from realized (only ~1 build per hero; not even 1 build per tower; still no multiple possibilities for the same hero; still messy on the access methods, yadda).

Builds Passives can make or break this game, but trying to use "defense participation" to point a possible fault on the passive system (as in "it makes data analysis harder"), in my humble opinion, holds no water. There are other weak points if you want to somewhat confront their vision, but this one doesn't seem like one of 'em.

It does not take a finished passive model to see that it cannot scale. Say for example every defense in the game had 5 separate passives tied to them. Not only would you have to balance those 5 passives around each other so they're used equally, but you also have to balance towers around each other as well. If one passive is used almost always for one defense making it viable (such as speedy harpoons), nerfing the passive could cause the entire defense to be worthless (which is exactly what would happen to the ballista). Additionally, buffing a less-used passive could make it incredibly overpowered and make it used in every build. Add this on top of balancing base values relative to other defenses, and you're dealing with balancing hell.

Another thing - because of this model, we are going to see far less new heroes in the game due to how much work is being put into each. Not only does Trendy have to create 4 new abilities and 4 new towers, they also get to create new ubers and passives for each as well. Considering the fact that it has taken them this long to release a mere 4 additional passives and how much effort goes into each, the amount of work it would take to release a new hero with an equivalent amount of passives is exorbitant to say the least. I would so much rather have a new hero with 4 abilities and defenses, let me gambit damage/attack speed/range, and that's it. Move on to working on the next hero and save the mechanic-changing passives for more defenses in the game. It's easier for Trendy to balance, easier for them to implement, and game mechanics are organized in such a way that is intuitive for all players.

@Jeshua quote:"Continuous balance" (or whatever peeps call it these days) is quite fun too, and is the approach on pretty much every big name on the industry: LoL nerfs or bumps the heroes depending on favoritism and player feedback all the time; pretty much every MMO rebalances player skills and classes on a seasonal basis; Smash Bros gets no balancing (so godly tier is a thing), but that is Nintendo so I shouldn't even cite it; Street Fighter tries to rebalance stuffs on each resell of the same game version - ultra, ex plus extra super... Now Street Fighter V wants to adjust character power seasonally based on championship player feedback.

Other than the fact that Smash Bros. actually does now get balance updates, I fully agree with continuous balancing. It's going to be a never-ending process, that's for sure. However, balance effort is much different than balancing results - Trendy can make all the efforts they want balancing the game, but worthless passives and OP passives are going to be constantly be all over the place with their current model.

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They've repeatedly stated that the intention is to introduce more choices besides the currently introduced "special" class builds. To stop developing a closed alpha game based on OPs reason makes no ***ing sense whatsoever.

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@gigazelle quote:(...) Participation metrics aren't quantitative though - if someone used 20 explosive traps and a single skyguard, they both get equal credit. (snip)
Ah, I see - so the values for the columns would be the number of play sessions from a given sample, with "participation" being boolean data for the presence of each tower... It makes way more sense now.
It really would be useful knowing what type of data their devs and analysts get access to, and how they are presenting their data pooling to the rest of the team.

@gigazelle quote:(...) I think if we were shown a report like this from Trendy and they opened up a discussion saying "what are your thoughts on ABC overpowered defenses and XYZ useless defenses" we'd see a lot of collaboration and brainstorming going on.
My feelings exactly.
I think it safe to assume that they know, be it from data mining or gut feeling, that towers like the Poison Dart pretty much don't see the light of day... and that in later game towers in general are being ditched in favor of traps and auras - thanks to their immateriality (almost no repairs needed)... but getting the devs to actually talk and ask us about this kind of stuff... would take us places.
...Unless they don't want "too many cooks in the kitchen", that is. Or the back and forth would slow down development almost to a standstill, as too many different ideas and too many visions clashing are harder to roadmap into actual work than the vision of just a few lead desig-... ... ugh

@gigazelle quote:It does not take a finished passive model to see that it cannot scale. Say for example every defense in the game had 5 separate passives tied to them. Not only would you have to balance those 5 passives around each other so they're used equally, but you also have to balance towers around each other as well. (...) Add this on top of balancing base values relative to other defenses, and you're dealing with balancing hell.
(...)

Other than the fact that Smash Bros. actually does now get balance updates, I fully agree with continuous balancing. It's going to be a never-ending process, that's for sure. However, balance effort is much different than balancing results - Trendy can make all the efforts they want balancing the game, but worthless passives and OP passives are going to be constantly be all over the place with their current model.

One interesting version of Continuous Balancing is the "Seasonal Nerf Hammer ™", where the devs for a game throw new toys into their sandbox to latter play whack a mole with their playerbase's meta, nerfing the flavor of the month to the ground and buffing the underdog to god status until next patch. This is the "proven working" (*not really but let's pretend) way to go with MOBAs and, if this aspect of their original vision of DD2 as a MOBA was kept, then what you call "balancing hell" is actually what they are striving for: creating new crazy stuff from time to time, messing around with the old stuff, making the player base have fun with it (even if flaming happens), then selling cash clothes. Maybe not, we can only conjecture when the team isn't that open with everything. (but then again, who is?)

I am giving 'em the benefit of doubt for now, as I really want to see (or at least hear about) where they want to get with the passives system... but I see your point.

Also it's nice to know that Smash Bros. went down the balance way - Meta Knight was too Meta. :P (awful joke)


EDIT: This Extra Credits' YouTube video on Perfect Imbalance may come in handy, so I'm adding it here. (link)

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Right now we have 1 ultra build a class and some minor ones. Come back when we have 3-4 builds each class. That isn't just building up stats. That are named on character sheet.

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A lot of people complain about balance as a thing that can be perfected, when in reality, it can't. I've never played or seen a game where the community agreed it was balanced. Even if it was magically balanced, the community wouldn't realize it, and select hardcore players that gravitated toward certain play styles would popularize a build, and thus it would be the 'slightly unbalanced' build.


Super Smash Brothers Melee is a great example of this. It is a game that didn't have balance patches, and yet characters became arbitrarily better over the 12 year period this study evaluated. A great example is Jigglypuff starting in the mid-trash tier and ending as the 5th best character. 


I say all of this simply to say a lot of the chatter here is spit balling balance suggestions without truly evaluating all of the abilities and combinations. There are tons of undiscovered build gems out there, and it's up to us to find them. Sure there are probably some towers that need to be buffed in some form or fashion, but most of the people here only know what a select few players have discovered and popularized due to a bug. They fixed the bug and decreased the difficulty of NM as they stated they would. Now, we can go out there and discover new builds/combinations to complete these challenges.

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