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Percieved Bias and Game Balancing

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aardvak001
Posts: 9

Percieved Bias and Game Balancing

Post#1 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:46 pm

Quick edit: THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT CLASS IMBALANCE OR SAYING 1 CLASS IS BETTER THAN ANOTHER. Please actually read what i'm saying rather than what you are expecting to read. Thank you :)

First my own situation. I am a warband leader in an organised destro guild and play pretty much daily in RvR and most cities. What i'm trying to figure out is why there has been such a protracted outcry of complaints from both order and destro regarding game balance. I have some comments about where I think these complaints come from and possibly even an idea or two that may help going forward. I think it fits into 3 main points: Class population balance, Skill balance and realm mentality. But before I get into the guts of this a disclaimer. Sure I'm going to have my own biases, but I am going to try and back everything I say with clear evidence or at least state my assertions where necessary. I don't have much experience playing order, however I know people who do and have taken their feedback. I actually want to try and sort this so please refrain from flame posts or parroting 'order/destro bias' or 'the devs hate my class/realm', it isn't helpful.

Class Population Balance
By this I mean how each of the 12 classes are represented on each realm, what percentage of players play dps/tank/healer in RvR and cities. Firstly my experiences on destro. I actually think destro has a pretty decent mix of dps/tank/healer when it comes to cities. My guild generally has enough players online to form 2 competitive groups of 2-2-2 and judging by the /5 chat most often healers are required, with occasionally tanks being needed. This is probably about where i'd expect to see the population as dps classes are the most popular. If i join an semi-organised warband in RvR we usually have just about enough tanks, and are generally lacking 2-3 healers over a 24 man wb, but again this seems pretty well balanced, I rarely look at a setup and see a really mismatched group.
My experiences of playing against order in cities however are in stark contrast. I generally hit cities in EU primetime or just after, and the majority of instances I get into, probably around 80%, the order group I am up against is seriously lacking either tanks or healers, or both. I have been in instances with 1 tank 0 healers, or 0 tanks and maybe 20% of the time 0 healers. In the vast majority of these cases my premade group completely stomps the presumably solo queued group I am up against. Most of the time the order characters don't get to show their classes off at all simply due to their composition.
On the occasion where I have fought against order premades, I reckon my winrate is around 50%, providing our group has a good leader and everyone does their job well. I have even been in an instance of a 14vs13 city and our 2-2-2+2 group lost to an order group comprising 5 tanks, 8 dps and 0 healers.

I spoke to an old friend of mine who played WaR on live and has played RoR with probably a dozen RR80 order characters, they know their stuff. I asked them 'roughly what percentage of order groups are premades, and how much solo queueing is there?' and their response which i quote, 'I would say its like 20% premades rest Solo, could be more premades but most of them are from alliances and most are very bad. Very few is rejecting classes also.
I mostly Solo these days or duo with xxx and xxx but if I get into a 12v12 idc really cause I get bags either way'

This leads me to my first observation. I believe that a higher proportion of destro groups that enter cities are either 12, 18 or 24 man premade groups of 2-2-2 players, with 1 person leading either by voice or text. Assuming perfect class balance across the 2 realms, this would lead to a higher winrate within each city if you have more premades. Over a long period of time this would also lead to that side winning overall city pairings far more. If you assume destro gets, say 3 free wins per city where it's premade vs solo in a 20 instance city, order would have to win 11 of the remaining 17 cities, which is no mean feat. If there are 5 solo groups vs premades order would need to win over 2/3 of the remaining cities, something that does not happen very often for either side.
Let's take my friend's number as an albeit purely anecdotal number. In a 20 instance city, if there are 4 order premades, lets give them those 4 wins. From my experience i reckon maybe 60% of destro queue as a group of 12 or more, let's give them a 75% winrate, that's 9 wins. The remaining 4 instances lets say are pug vs pug, and as such have a 50% winrate each. That gives a total city score of 11-9, which looks remarkably similar to almost every city for the last few months.

My first question for a developer. Are there any metrics which show winrate in cities for premade vs pug, premade vs premade and pug vs pug. This would give a far better representation of how medium sized groups of players fare against each other than rather simply looking at overall winrate. At a bare minimum I would like to see how many players solo queue for each side. This reason, the number of solo queue vs premade queue provides the apparent disparity in 'class/realm imbalance' in my opinion.

Class Skill Balance
This section I am going to try and discuss the difference between various classes to try and explain specifically where alot of destro complaints arise from, leading to the phrase 'order bias'. In the last few months patch after patch have introduced buffs to order classes and nerfs to destro ones. Today's patch is an example where marauder damage was reduced and ironbreaker healing was increased. This is a long debated topic and i don't really want to get into it too far. I believe the main outcry from destro side is the perceived buffing of order characters whilst destro appears to be neglected.

This is no better exemplified than the disparity between squig herder and shadow warrior. The classes were originally designed as mirrors but that line has been blurred in RoR. When shadow warrior recently got the buffs to aoe and ST ranged builds, developers said that once they were happy with the balance of shadow warrior they would apply a similar process to squig herder and make the ranged build more viable. As of writing this, squig herder is yet to recieve a buff of any kind to it's ranged build and as such the class remains entirely one dimensional, compared with the shadow warrior that now has 3 viable builds.
Another notable difference between classes is the difference between rain of fire and pit of shades on bright wizard and sorceress respectively. The skills are essentially identical apart from the fact that rain of fire can stack with itself where as pit of shades cannot. This objectively provides bright wizards with more aoe bomb capabilities than sorc due to a theoretical damage ceiling significantly higher with a group of bright wizards compared with a group of sorceresses.
The final example, despite there being many more, i'd like to give is the difference between KoTBS and Chosen, specifically the difference between Solar Flare and Shatter faith. The major difference between the 2 morals is that the KoTBS variant strips all moral from 9 players, whereas shatter faith simply dispels a blessing. The chosen moral is never used simply because it's garbage, however the knight moral is used a lot, specifically in keep and fort sieges, to deny opposition access to their best skill.

Before anyone accuses me of order bias or order players retaliate with their own skill imbalances. My goal with this section is not necessarily to make the devs give destro more buffs. I am simply trying to explain why destro is so vocal about calling devs out at perceived bias. It is pretty disheartening to see a notable order guild publicly boycott cities after being hammered by 3 marauders, only to see the exact spec those marauders were using nerfed in the very next patch. Though it may not be the case, from the point of view of a destro player, and in my case, someone who tries to organise groups and design competitive groups and builds, it is a series of constant setbacks forcing us to cling on to the best of what remains and rebuild around that, only to see order appear to call for the nerf of our next best tactic and see it happen immediately. I feel as though our dps players are being forced into fewer and fewer choices when it comes to build options, to the point where classes such as choppa, marauder and squig herder have only 1 viable build and in the case of squig herders and witch elves, barely ever see any play in organised groups because they are simply outclassed by better characters.

By forcing either destro or order classes down a single build or by making certain classes simply worse than others, it highlights what is good and thus makes it seem even more powerful when used en-masse. An example. Lets say there are 3 classes that do damage, A, B and C. A does 1000 dps, B does 1100 dps and C does 1200 dps, which class is everyone going to pick? It's obviously going to be C. If I face a group entirely composed of C class and I lose to it, I will quite naturally assume C is overpowered and my opponents are simply gaming the system. This is the exact scenario that is happening on destro, why would I bother putting in squig herders into my warband when a marauder is better. If I then take 3 marauders into a city and win, of course they will be highlighted as 'OP'.
As I said at the start, I am not saying the devs hate destro. I am not saying there is order bias. I don't know. What I AM saying is that the feeling on destro side, irrespective of whether it is founded or not, is that the cream of destro setups are being slowly picked off one by one as they become the best that is available.
My question for a developer. Why is it that it appears that the major area of game balancing happens at the top end of the meta? The best classes get nerfed and classes near the middle of the meta pack are buffed upwards. I feel there is little love (positive or negative) from the developers for lesser played classes; squig herder, witch elf, witch hunter and blackguard. I also feel there is too much attention (both positive and negative) paid to the overplayed classes such as white lion, KoTBS, marauder, choppa.

Realm Mentality
This section I will only talk about destro mentality from my experience as I cannot speak for order players. People joke about destro pride a lot when we are defending the last fort before a city, but as a general rule from my experience, the vast majority of destro players will defend IC to the end. Throwing is not really ever considered and there is often a serious backlash in chat when it is suggested. I assume this is the same for order. When it comes to cities however, my guild, and by the way people attempt to make premades in /5, play cities to win. We want to win that city pairing, and the gear comes along with it. Again, i'd like to think order do the same.

Here's the bit that will totally divide everyone and most likely get me a bunch of hate. Because destro have been pushing recently, and been winning cities recently, I believe the momentum is firmly with destro. This will inevitably lead to an increase of numbers and a demoralizing effect on order. Please correct me if i'm wrong but the large number of solo queues suggests to me at least, that order are queueing for cities, and fighting in RvR without truly believing that they are fighting on fair ground, numbers-wise or balance-wise. I want to say that this kind of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and that the real reason that destro are winning campaigns at the moment is down to a cycle of behaivour.
1) Demoralised order lose a city - players move to destro temporarily.
2) players pick the classes that appear be doing well on destro and play those.
3) Over-subscribed classes are highlighted in medium scale fighting (cities) making them appear stronger than they necessarily are and are nerfed, destro finds the next best tactic.
4) Demoralise order lose a city - players move to destro temporarily.
This cycle of player movement is not healthy for either side and when the over-subscribed classes are then nerfed, players either change class or change realm, which only enables the whole cycle to start afresh. I'd also like to add that this behavior would most likely happen if the roles were reversed, i only used order as an example because they are the ones on the back foot at the moment.

My Challenge to Developers and in part, to players
To developers, when i am picking which class to play, i want to struggle because each class is as viable as each other. Some may be more niche or situationally good, but good nonetheless. I want to be encouraged to play classes that no-one else is playing, for order that might be more healers or tanks instead of dps, for destro that might be witch elves, squig herders or blackguards. I want to be able as a warband leader to open my group to any class, and be as competitive as before. I want to be able to see a balanced (or at least playable) setup irrespective of whether I play in premades or solo.

To players, everybody loves to complain, but it rarely helps a situation. If you win, great, keep going and improving on your tactics, continue to find builds that are great for the lesser classes and try to incorporate them into your setups. If you lose, try again next time, try something different. If a class looks OP, don't simply complain and hope for someone else to fix it for you, counter it, find a way of beating it with what you have. I have never played an mmo where there was a single best strategy with no counters.

Personally I hope that the developers can read this and at least understand where some of the animosity comes from, because at the end of the day I think the thing that every single person wants from this game is to have a challenging, fun and most importantly, fair game to play. If any developers want to reach out to me to discuss this further then I'm happy to talk. I'd also love to see the mystical data that is collected because without this it is impossible for anyone to make any concrete conclusions.
Last edited by aardvak001 on Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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darkt1981
Posts: 5

Re: Percieved Bias and Game Balancing

Post#2 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:01 pm

Amen my brother Amen,

Feels like the game is going down the so called "Meta build path" where your not invited in a group because you dont play the meta build.
What ever happend to play the game like YOU like to play, offcourse balancing classes isnt easy, but like you stated in your text above there is a issue that needs to be a dressed.

I really hope the devs pick this up, or i see a very bad future for the game where people will just leave after being fed up with this and move on, throwing away so many years of hard works the devs did for nothing and for me that would be a very very sad day, just like the day live was canceled.

Akalukz
Posts: 817

Re: Percieved Bias and Game Balancing

Post#3 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:09 pm

Honestly a lot of the issues are unfixed bugs. I would assume RoF stacking is a bug, as it is not supposed to stack. Same for a lot of AoE not giving immunity to others than the target. AoE Knockdown / Pull etc.

The balance team is trying something that is impossible... balancing classes that are not exact mirrors... so what they should probably do, is a meta change ever 3-6 months were they nerf the Flavor of the quarter builds and buff other builds to keep the game interesting.

Some of the recent changes really hurt the game. Content locked by forts/city. you take what is probably the most popular part of the game ORvR, restrict pugs/solo players from being part of keep siges, then squeeze them into pop capped forts followed by a buggy scenario queuer that is 100% unlike ORvR and is not PuG nor solo-friendly, and can't figure out why it's suffering....because there are a whole lot more PuG and solo players than anyone cares to admit, and you are seeing them being less and less likely to participate in content that they can't be successful at. Not only successful, but 0 chance of being successful.
-= Agony =-

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Ramlaen
Posts: 92

Re: Percieved Bias and Game Balancing

Post#4 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:16 pm

This is no better exemplified than the disparity between squig herder and shadow warrior. The classes were originally designed as mirrors but that line has been blurred in RoR. When shadow warrior recently got the buffs to aoe and ST ranged builds, developers said that once they were happy with the balance of shadow warrior they would apply a similar process to squig herder and make the ranged build more viable. As of writing this, squig herder is yet to recieve a buff of any kind to it's ranged build and as such the class remains entirely one dimensional, compared with the shadow warrior that now has 3 viable builds.
This is amazing.
Ramlaen, Longhaul, Wolfnrock, Grashop

raistomen
Posts: 92

Re: Percieved Bias and Game Balancing

Post#5 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:20 pm

WLs still topping dps charts .5+1 mil + any equal geared destro player.

but it doesnt matter, because they still end up being , most of the time , in wonky ass comps. I need to start recording the stats more. Almost always , WL up top, doesnt matter if its a win or loss.

But none of that will matter if order is demoralized and/or going in with stupid comps

Vandoles
Posts: 246

Re: Percieved Bias and Game Balancing

Post#6 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:26 pm

Many of the issues stem from a very "hardcore" point of view when approaching balancing and you posted another one. It will not achieve anything that isn't already happening.

Here's an example of a small thing you'll never notice when you're the "core" - order heavily suffers from having less tanks. This is not a balance issue, its simply the fact 2H bruiser builds are not very fun on order, so rolling a tank is less fun. Of course as a hardcore player/core audience you'll think nobody in their right mind would balance their spreadsheet that is the game to you in such a way that the numbers are less, but they simply will.

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Gurf
Posts: 119

Re: Percieved Bias and Game Balancing

Post#7 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:27 pm

A few points: I don't think Rain of Fire stacks for BW, unless something has been broken, when that stacked on live it meant insta death for anyone and was probably the most broken stage ever in this game, it isn't like that now. Also there is no point comparing one morale or ability when comparing classes and saying one is better than another then that is evidence of bias, for example where is the RP mirror of the Zealot morale tactic? there are probably dozens of such comparisons you can make on both sides.

IB was buffed a little bit because it was obviously the worst tank on either side and worse than BG, just look at the better Order guilds many of them don't accept applications from IB, do you really begrudge them trying to fix this?

I would give the devs a chance with SH, they said they are working on it and after the SW issues they probably want to take a bit more time with it so it isn't borked. Also the MSH is currently very strong, for City play much stronger than SW due to its great aoe damage, which is probably why they looked at SW first.

My experience in City in both pug and premade is that it became boring quickly playing on Order as most Des premades just group up in a melee ball, CC you , pull you, interrupt you and aoe you to death with you barely having the chance to do anything, aoe damage killing you stupidly quickly. It wasn't like you always felt you were being outplayed or outsmarted by people who had worked on their team play for months on end (like you occasionally do in scenarios), you just felt like you are beaten by very easy tactics and setups that any group of Des players thrown in together could pull off as long as they have enemy addon and Discord. After a while you just going in half interested and just play around and wait for your bags

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Glorian
Posts: 4667

Re: Percieved Bias and Game Balancing

Post#8 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:29 pm

OP has a lot of viable points on composition and class meta behavior of players.

Although that SW paragraph is completely wrong. Ranged SW got Half a carrot that was then reduced by half a carrot in the following weeks.

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Fatpig
Posts: 49

Re: Percieved Bias and Game Balancing

Post#9 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:29 pm

"developers said that once they were happy with the balance of shadow warrior they would apply a similar process to squig herder"
So have the developers said they are happy with the balance now?

"WLs still topping dps charts .5+1 mil + any equal geared destro player"
Well....I've got screen shots from a game a few weeks back, where a Mara did 4.2m top damage in city, next highest was a MSH at 2.3m, then another Mara. Whats your point? Every game is different?

aardvak001
Posts: 9

Re: Percieved Bias and Game Balancing

Post#10 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:34 pm

Gurf wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:27 pm
I don't think Rain of Fire stacks for BW...
My experience in City in both pug and premade is that it became boring quickly playing on Order as most Des premades just group up in a melee ball, CC you , pull you, interrupt you and aoe you to death with you barely having the chance to do anything, aoe damage killing you stupidly quickly. It wasn't like you always felt you were being outplayed or outsmarted by people who had worked on their team play for months on end (like you occasionally do in scenarios), you just felt like you are beaten by very easy tactics and setups that any group of Des players thrown in together could pull off as long as they have enemy addon and Discord. After a while you just going in half interested and just play around and wait for your bags
Rain of fire does stack, combat logs have shown this.
The melee bomb comment is exactly the same for destro, it's KoTBS, slayer, BW and WP. Big bomb group.
Last edited by aardvak001 on Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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