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View Full Version : Unpacking the season 6 state of balance.



Knight_Raime
10-01-2018, 08:31 PM
Been a minute since i've made a thread. I did say I was going to take a more casual approach to the game in efforts to be able to continue to enjoy it. Which means less "game fix" threads. So this recap is a big talk amongst the community and like many of you I was upset. But rather than making a thread that's screaming about how wrong they are I figured i'd do something different. So in this thread i'm going to quote pieces from their post, attempt to translate it into something more understandable, and then give my personal opinion on it. It might be a long ish read. So if you just want my overall feeling/take away from the blog post it will be at the very bottom with a TLDR tag. EDIT: For those wondering here is their follow up post after the blog. https://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1937707-Season-6-State-of-Balance-Follow-Up


Conq:

"Conqueror still extremely strong in 1v1. The ability to do a forward dodge and Shield Bash or Guard Break can impose good pressure across the cast. However – what’s interesting here is that while the Conqueror is strong for that reason – when you look at the rest of the top list, they mostly want to counter-attack. The suspicion is that the other top characters (especially Centurion, Lawbringer, Shugoki) would beat Conquerors by countering, and not by initiating combat. This is a large reason for the hesitancy to nerf Conqueror’s Shield Bash – while it’s a difficult pressure tool to deal with, we do need pressuring attacks that force reactions, and control the pace of combat. Instead of nerfing the strong tools, we prefer to continue to improve the weak tools."

What they mean: Conq has a forward bash mix up that forces a read on a good portion of the cast. (this makes him strong.) Specifically 3 heros centurion, LB, and Goki can only beat him by playing defensively and making good reads. These 3 heros have weak offensive tools which contributes to this situation. Thus they rely on their strong defensive tools to beat him. We're afraid of nerfing conq's shield bash because those 3 heros show us what gameplay is like without moves to pressure their opponents. We would rather make sure all heros have some kind of ability to pressure opponents than get rid of high pressure moves.

Personal opinion: This was worded very poorly. But I agree with their overall position. That being we need high pressure moves. Conq's bash imo, while strong, isn't the defining reason of his strength. Rather it's how safe he is in general. He has a lot of very strong option selects which allow him to be safe offensively. And his bash is relatively safe for what it is. That being said anyone with a dodge attack/bash that can delay it can deal with it on reaction. And most other members of the cast can deal with it on read. It's only these 3 specific hero's (and maybe 1-2 more) that have no way to actually deal with it other than hoping to dodge and GB. That's the issue with the bash imo. (that and the stamina damage when OOS.) So I don't think it should be nerfed.

Lawbringer:

"In this duel Win Rate dataset, Lawbringer is placed at 6th position. In Season 5, we saw Lawbringer at 10th position. Lawbringer appears to be performing above expectations, and at 51% Win Rate is above the curve. Since it’s duel, we know this performance is not due to his bombs or ganking potential – so presumably the high performance is in large part due to high counter-attacking potential. We recognize that Lawbringer’s ability to “shove on block” makes Lawbringer a bigger beneficiary of the Switch Stance bug than most heroes. We will keep an eye on Lawbringer and see if his position changes after Patch 1.27 fixes the Switch Stance bug. We will keep an eye on Lawbringer and see if his position changes after Patch 1.27 fixes the Switch Stance bug, but based on his current performance in 1v1 and 4v4, he’s not at the top of our priority list."

What they mean: Lawbringer has a lot of strong parry options. Light parry into top unblockable for 45? damage. and any parry into impale for 50 damage are the two main ones. Due to easy access to the shove on block it allows him to chip down non assassins. And with proper reads he's got options to deal with assassins on shove on block. Due to the instant guard switch bug it made his shove on block/strong parry options have more presence. We know shove on block is an annoying tool. But due to his current positions in 1v1 and 4v4 we don't think he needs addressing immediately.

My opinion: LB has some interesting mix up options after a shove and how strong his parry game is particularly with impale is just gross. He's not a difficult fight. Just an annoying one. I don't believe in relying on win rate to dictate what is and isn't a priority. The community has been hounding at them for months explaining exactly what's wrong with him and how to improve him. I personally haven't seen any one particular rework get settled on. But the general idea seems to be making in combo attacks better, give him some kind of offense, potentially make long arm an answer to bash mix ups, give armor to heavies, remove parry into impale, and make his zone off parry unblockable. Anyway. I don't care what the data says. The devs openly acknowledge how important pressure is in their conq statement. And they even go as far to recognize that LB can't exert pressure due to weak offensive tools. In my opinion if you can't be offensive that's a major problem and makes that hero a priority. Period.

Peacekeeper:

"Peacekeeper received a double whammy in Season 6 with both the Switch Stance issue as well as damage nerfs to her Heavy attacks. While her performance is lower than expected, we are waiting to see how the fix to the Switch Stance bug will affect her before we act on her. As her performance was too high previously, and we are convinced that the Switch Stance bug directly hurt all the Assassins, we first want to see the effects of fixing the Switch Stance bug (in Patch 1.27), and only afterwards decide what we need to do, to ensure that she doesn’t end up being overtuned again."

What they mean: We recognize that PK feels like she was hit harder than other heros due to getting hit with her rework damage nerfs and the guard switch bug which effects assassins the most due to their speedy attacks. She's not performing as well as we thought but we feel that she might do good enough now that instant guard switch is gone. We want to see how she performs when she can be much more offensive. After seeing this we will decide what to do to her to make her better off without making her the best hero in the game again.

My opinion: The instant guard switch made her follow up unreactable 400ms light and her unreactable dagger cancel weaker than they normally would be. She should technically be better now because instant guard switch is gone. And while that was an issue it's not pk's only major issues. Forcing most of her damage behind bleeds is a double whammy against her. One because that gives the opponent plenty of time to chip her down with better out right damage. And two all of her bleed attacks sans her kidney stabs are chain enders. Meaning instead of keeping the pressure up on her opponent she reverts back to neutral. This makes her a passive assassin instead of an active one. She also is incapable of getting a heavy on GB. meaning executions (which while important now are going to be far more important post marching fire) are too hard to achieve. So while she's going to perform better now it's not enough. She needs more damage and things that allow her to maintain offense so bleed can exist as actual pressure.

Valk:


"Valkyrie has been bottom of the pack for a while (45% Win Rate in Season 5 and Season 6). She just received a rework in Season 7 and while it’s too early to make a strong note about where she stands, the earliest indicators were that it had a positive effect on her viability. The early data had her at 54% Win Rate, below Conqueror but above the rest of the pack. We’ll see where she will be as more data comes in - we are still keeping a close eye on the character."

What they mean: We just reworked Valk. We don't want to do anything yet. Win rate says she's doing alright though.

My opinion: Honestly the frustrating thing here is both Valk and LB had previous statements made about them. LB was mentioned in one of the blogs stating something along the lines of "we want to remove shove on block but only with other changes down the line." And Valk on their den was "she's very much still a work in progress. not 100% happy with where she is right now. Will continue to work on her." The devs since then have back peddled on both and used their reasoning for doing so as "win rates." If the devs wanted to back out on LB/valk changes because they need/want to address other things first then just say so. Valk is, imo, better than she used to be overall. But they over nerfed some. If they simply reverted her dodge attack changes, gave her delay window on sweep back, and let her knock people down with shield tackle when they're oos she'd be basically perfect. She's servicable atm. But not interesting due to being shoe horned into specific ways to play.

Gladiator:

"Gladiator was 45% Win Rate in Season 5, and is 46% in Season 6. This is a very interesting case, as we’re aware that the Zone Attack is really good, and we believe the key to Gladiator’s power. While the stamina cost is really high (as compared to Conqueror’s Shield Bash), the Win Rate doesn’t seem to reflect the power of this move. It’s surprising to see this character consistently perform under expectations."

What they mean: His win rate doesn't reflect his current tier placement that we've seen from the tournament players. We recognize how strong his zone is and is the reason for his placement in said tier list. But because he's not over performing with win rate we're leaving him and his zone alone.

My opinion: Probably one of the bigger blunders of the post. Because no matter how I choose to look at it or word it it's always coming out as something like "no you" in regards to top tier players opinions. It doesn't matter if gladiator is the worst hero or best hero in the game. It doesn't matter if his win rate is the perfect 50% or if he's winning 90% of the time. His zone has zero GB vulnerability (only move in the game like this) and is practically impossible to punish even on a read by most of the roster. It needs to be addressed. It's not like nerfing it and buffing his base kit are insanely difficult either. I just feel like the devs don't understand this character and that's why he's not being looked at.

Aramusha:

"Aramusha dropped in the Pick Rate, while his Win Rate remained almost the same. We attribute this to the negative perception that Dodge Normalization had on the Aramusha – it effectively was a loss of power as he had 500ms Side Dodge Recovery, which was nerfed in his case to 600ms.

While all heroes were set to 600ms, the ones that had better timings before saw this as a nerf. Since his Win Rate was barely touched, this seems to be a perception issue more than a balancing issue, and as such we will not update this in the near future."

What they mean: The community claims that the dodge recovery normalization nerfed aramusha into unplayable territory. We recognize that he's not favored by the torunament players. But we also recognize how impossible he feels to deal with for new players. Despite such a polarizing opinion his win rate remains surprisingly balanced. So because of that we believe the cries of over nerfs are more about perception than reality. And thus we won't be reverting the change to his dodge recovery.

My opinion: The reason people cried about this nerf was because for whatever reason when he had 500ms dodge recovery he also didn't have the forced dodge cooldown that prevents you from chaining dodges. Highlander is still capable of this in OF. And 500ms recovery alone doesn't cause this as both pk and shaman had this and they could not chain their dodges. Regardless. This particular tactic was not well known to the community at large. It was mainly a top player thing. So this explains why his win rate didn't falter much but his pick rate went down slightly. Regardless The devs shouldn't take this as reason to ignore aramusha. Again just because the data says things might be fine doesn't mean you shouldn't look deeper. Just like LB you've had your best players telling you what's up with him. He can't really apply pressure either. Which makes him a priority.

Light spam/assassin meta:

"An issue we read about from non-top tier players is that they talk about a “light spam”, or an “assassin meta”. This has been a difficulty to approach balancing-wise for us, since these complaints often drown out the evidence of how weak “light spam” is at the top level of play. When we look at the dataset above, we see Shaman is the only Assassin in the top half of the Win Rate, and Shaman isn’t famous for her “light spam” at any level of play.

In presenting our data here, we want players to understand that “light spam”, while annoying, doesn’t actually yield overpowered characters. Learning to combat such offense is an important step for a player to improve their For Honor skillset. As our intention is to keep pushing 1v1 combat into a meta in which offense is more viable, it’s important that the community understand where we stand on this topic."

What they mean: We hear that people complain about assassins being the best heros. But shaman is the only one in our data (see above) that was above 50% win rate. We hear that light spam is frustrating for newer/less skillful players. But we want you to see that once you become a better player spam isn't as prevelant because it just doesn't work. Just because a move or tactic might come off as strong to you right now it doesn't mean it's an actual problem or the character themselves is over powered. We're making this point because we're tired of people bringing these points up asking for something to be done. Our stance is that assassins are not the only good heros. and that light spam is not an issue.

My opinion: It's nice of them to take an official stance on something, even if it's worded a little poorly. However referencing this data is their big mess up here. Because this data was gathered when the instant guard switch bug was in play. And standard guard heros couldn't dodge after hitstun/guard switch like assassins could. So while their heart is in the right place regarding light spam the data is a poor choice to stand on when regarding assassins. Currently only 2 assassins are S tier in duels. So they're not meta anymore. But as I said. This is mainly because standard guard heros can now evade just as well as assassins can.

Other: The positives to take away from this and their follow up is that:
~Goki is being worked on.
~centurion might be getting looked at.
~dodge into roll is being addressed.
~ways to make offense more viable overall are still being worked on.

TLDR: The dev's biggest sin here was how they worded themselves. Some of their opinions miss the mark quite a bit and it doesn't help that some long standing issues with the community (things like LB's current state, conq's bash, and light spam) they took a stance on but not in the way people were hoping. So in one way or another the blog post annoys a lot of players, casual players and competitive players. I feel like one of the bigger pushes they tried to make with this post was that they were trying to convince us that win rate isn't the only thing they care about. Well. If they were indeed trying to convince us of that they sure didn't convince me. And I know i'm not the only one who feels this way. Doesn't help that one of their other sources of gathering data is based on player skill. Which is dictated by wins. Anyway. Going over and doing this thread has helped me gain a bit better perspective. I'm less angry. But I'm still not happy.

Thanks for reading~

UbiInsulin
10-01-2018, 09:26 PM
Linking this (https://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1937707-Season-6-State-of-Balance-Follow-Up) as well in case anyone missed our follow-up/clarifications.

Great post, Knight Raime. And we've definitely sent the team a number of suggestions that line up with what you outline in your "My Opinion" sections.

Knight_Raime
10-01-2018, 09:49 PM
Linking this (https://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1937707-Season-6-State-of-Balance-Follow-Up) as well in case anyone missed our follow-up/clarifications.

Great post, Knight Raime. And we've definitely sent the team a number of suggestions that line up with what you outline in your "My Opinion" sections.

-facepalm-

When I was typing the conq part I reminded myself to link the follow up. But forgot to do so after making the post :L
i'll edit my OP to add it in.

CandleInTheDark
10-02-2018, 02:32 AM
While they could look at Valkyrie I don't think she is in as bad a state as people have been saying. I think you have to use more of her kit now, certainly, but I wouldn't want a kit based solely around shield crush in the same way Warden's is around shoulder bash or Conqueror around shield bash. She has definite 1v1 mindgame potential in that she can go to the sweep, catch you with a side heavy (which can be cancelled into another bash) or go to her light finishers depending on how the opponent has been reacting and those side finishers make her very capable of controlling the field 1vx as the only lights that can manipulate an opponent, especially if you are good at target switching and making the first attack thrown at someone a side light that knocks them off a ledge, into a hazard or into one of their teammates stunning both of them, I have personally walked out of 1v2 and have killed two in a 1v4 then was able to back off when backup arrived.

Outside that, a lot I agree with, I made the same point on that this was perhaps not the right set of data to talk about light spam.

Sneakly20
10-02-2018, 03:32 AM
Iím generally concerned about the dodge roll that they are looking at. If players are good enough to read most mix up plays then thatís where this shines. Iím worried about things generally known to be powerful such as HL kick to grab and the wardens SB.

A delayed dodge will (generally) avoid both kick and grab. With the roll easily avoiding the whole mix up. The catch here is that although we have no idea how the roll will be addressed, in the case of my examples above it could mean the difference of eating low or no damage straight 40 damage in both cases.

Not turning this into a dodge roll thread and Iím probably making this a bigger deal than it is but Iím concerned on how they will address this since the devs tend to have ... interesting decision making.

Knight_Raime
10-02-2018, 03:56 AM
While they could look at Valkyrie I don't think she is in as bad a state as people have been saying. I think you have to use more of her kit now, certainly, but I wouldn't want a kit based solely around shield crush in the same way Warden's is around shoulder bash or Conqueror around shield bash. She has definite 1v1 mindgame potential in that she can go to the sweep, catch you with a side heavy (which can be cancelled into another bash) or go to her light finishers depending on how the opponent has been reacting and those side finishers make her very capable of controlling the field 1vx as the only lights that can manipulate an opponent, especially if you are good at target switching and making the first attack thrown at someone a side light that knocks them off a ledge, into a hazard or into one of their teammates stunning both of them, I have personally walked out of 1v2 and have killed two in a 1v4 then was able to back off when backup arrived.

Outside that, a lot I agree with, I made the same point on that this was perhaps not the right set of data to talk about light spam.

Oh i'm not saying that she's in dire need atm. I'm just saying she deff needs some work done. Sweep, at least at my level, only lands like once or twice. And that's usually because people accidentally do the sweep that looks like half the animation is gone. (this sweep is only 20ish ms faster than standard sweep.) If the old delay window was there it would be a lot more usable. She deff has stuff going for her. like side light finishers into a wall splat for free damage, sweep guaranteed on throw if you splat them with the throw, her superior lights do lots of damage and shoulder pin does better damage. Shield tackle can negate almost an offensive pressure on her. etc.

Knight_Raime
10-02-2018, 03:59 AM
I’m generally concerned about the dodge roll that they are looking at. If players are good enough to read most mix up plays then that’s where this shines. I’m worried about things generally known to be powerful such as HL kick to grab and the wardens SB.

A delayed dodge will (generally) avoid both kick and grab. With the roll easily avoiding the whole mix up. The catch here is that although we have no idea how the roll will be addressed, in the case of my examples above it could mean the difference of eating low or no damage straight 40 damage in both cases.

Not turning this into a dodge roll thread and I’m probably making this a bigger deal than it is but I’m concerned on how they will address this since the devs tend to have ... interesting decision making.

Dodge into roll isn't a read based action. It's reaction based. You dodge early against whatever is coming your way. and if you see a GB indicator or something like a mix up you're not fond of you unlock on reaction and it turns into a roll. This also allows deflect attempts to be safe as well. it basically eliminates any pressure someone could exert on you. Nerfing this by adding a GB vulnerability to the start of a dodge will fix this issue without nerfing what rolls themselves currently get you away from. You can still go straight into a roll atm against a kick/toss and avoid it. Same with wardens bash. It's just that the roll could be punished if they read it. Which is fine imo.