The cause of my considerations:
As soon as AOE IV was released there were complains about broken civs and how the developers were not able to deliver balanced civs from the start. Until before the start of the Genesis tournament the French were considered as OP and many asked for a balancing patch, as far as I can judge as a mere spectator. During this tournament the French civ could not meet the expectations. (At this point, I do not care whether the reason is that the players only developed counter strategies instead of also improving the french strategy or whether the French really aren’t that OP.) So I was thinking…
Assume that the developers not only implemented the game, but also have the perfect meta for each civ. Let’s further assume that the game is perfectly balanced when each civ is played perfectly according to their best meta. Then, the game gets released and the player base has to learn the game from scratch and develop strategies how to play each civ. For some civs it might be easy to find good/perfect metas, for some others it might be more difficult and might take a very long time to do so. So, while the player base is learning the game and understanding the mechanics better and better, they discover new and better metas and counter strategies. However, until the best strategies of all civs are revealed, the perfectly balanced game may not be considered as balanced by the player base.
What should developers do in this probably very unrealistic thought experiment if the community asks for balancing patches?
- Reveal the perfect meta for each civ? I guess not, since this is the players task and fun to discover!?
- Do nothing with the remark that the players have not yet discovered the perfect strategies?
- Listen to the player base and update an in theory perfectly balanced game because the game is unbalanced with the so far discovered strategies?
- Other possibilities?
So far I tend to the 3rd proposal. However, I don’t think balancing patches should be released too early, since the players also need some time to find new strategies.
My conclusion based on this answer:
It would be a waste of resources if the developers try to implement a perfectly balanced game before release and therefore it should not be the expectations of the players. It is more efficient to balance the game along with the learning curve of the player base.
What are your thoughts on this?