Just recent weeks we already have I think 3 or 4 graduate thesis level of balance change threads (400+ posts) . People are arguing from different angles and their own perspective.
But, from devs POV, what’s their goal for making balance changes? What objective are they trying to achieve? And how devs assess the balance changes? What metric are they using to determine if the balance change is good enough or still need more work? By that I don’t mean vague answers like “to make game more balanced”, “make the game more fun to play”, “fair to everyone”, but something that is definite, backed by assessable evidence and data.
For me, if balance changes or balance demands don’t meet with devs balance change goal, then those balance changes or demands will not be considered. The problem is, we don’t know exactly what their goal is. Proposing balance changes that fits the goal is a much better approach than just throwing darts on the board.
As for the , I think they are using a combination of online matches winrate and play rate to determine a baseline of balance changes. Devs certainly don’t want to see, say, franks winning 90% of the time while Khmer almost never win a fight. I think 50% winrate with a decent play rate (around 5% maybe?) is a good goal for them to consider the civ is well balanced. Sometimes specific matchups will be considered but I doubt this is their main focus.
I think their goal should be to limit changes as much as possible, and leave the changes in civ picks to adaptation in the meta. The meta has not settled and will not settle for a long while.
That doesn’t mean “never make changes” that means "make changes to the extremes and let the vague middle be sorted out by the players. If they get into the habit of changing things too often, they’ll be expected to be the source of adaptation over time, which should not be the case.
The fewer changes they make, the less things will be ruined, which require actual fixing. This is inarguable. As a dev, you will inevitably, irrevocably ■■■■ up and when you do, not only will it be on your record for the future but then it’ll be on your head to fix it. Therefore, their goal for balance should be getting their hands into the mix as little as possible and only when absolutely necessary. I hope they don’t start making change for change’s sake, as that’s usually how the problems get made.
I mean, that’s unavoidable, just because there will always be someone complaining about the things they don’t like. They’ll scream bloody murder over what to most is not a problem and to some is a benefit. Like for example, that one guy who wanted to make scouts way harder to lose to TCs since it’s such a huge part of the earlygame but all of his solutions would have made scouts in the hands of competent players utterly terrifying.
That’s why I specifically say the extremes. Change as little as you have to and let the player adaptation, not balance, be the driving force of the meta. Otherwise you’ll sign yourself up to the task that other games have with rotational balance (or designed imbalance) where you will ■■■■ up eventually and you will eventually ruin the balance irrevocably. This isn’t me doomsaying. This is a statistical certainty, and it’s something the balance team would be wise to avoid starting.
You guys are like babies when it comes to balance things, there was a time where viper and the top players from that time were proposing the balances changes for the forgotten empires expansion, then the FE team released a patch with things that were not even suggested and even against viper and the other tops, for example plum archer had lost 1 range back then in their first release.
Their balance criteria has always been pro low level players, that is reason why i am here, to be a small voice against such dramatic changes that impact medium and high levels, such as the indians and khmer stuff and as you can see they haven’t addressed those civs yet properly, in fact the newer patch will boost more indians.
I can give you 10 examples with real data of how broken leitis is and imp camel but there will be low players who think they are not that strong cus viper and hera doesn’t usem them in 1x1 tournaments, their understanding is so limited to what they can see but not comprehend, go and check latest threads they said imp camel and leitis will be dead and useless in the incoming patch, one of those guys was saying Lithuanians were so bad that only leitis was carrying the whole civ, well he got proven super wrong with the latest 1x1 tournaments but still he keeps pushing every single balance topic like if his knowledge was good enough.
Balance patches were common during the HD days, all the changes back then were following steam complains from very low levels, that is why the big community was not taking the hd seriously until the last expansion from there the Rise of rajas. In african kingdoms arrowlist was a castle age upgrade, so towers were unstoppable, tatoh had to humillate all players during a tournament just to show how broken that tec was and it was highly requested from those low players complaining how weak were castle age towers and useless.
I hope that can give you an idea of the big picture, they are doing changes following their own criteria based on complains but those changes in all the years of the FE team existence have never been justified, they say there is a balance team with few top players, but they don’t really follow those recommendations unless its a very bad thing like steppe lancers.
The pressure was too much from several pro players and the community that they did not fix the unit, they nerfed it so bad to the point to make that unit not worth making.
Balance changes make the game balanced. So, at least in standard conditions like 1v1 Arabia with 200 pop limit, every civ is enjoyable and playable.
Devs have done a pretty good job in the last year. For instance take a look to the weak civs. Persians, Koreans, Portuguese, Saracen, Teutons, Goths, Vietnamese, khmer, Tatars, Lithuanians, and probably also Turks and Bulgarians. All these civs have been buffed to compete with the current meta since DE.
Balance changes are almost concluded imo, maybe just Indians should be monitored since they are too focused on TG, and Italians are too focused on water. But it is just 2/35 of the civs
If you speak about the suggestions on this forum: Yes, most are from lower rated players and most of them are bad for that same reason. Those players havent a good knowledge of the game at all.
If you speak about the balance changes: Then NO. A big no. There is a reason why they have a small group of pros involved in the discussion about balance changes. They care about the balance changes for pros. They care more about their opinion then about ours opinion at this forum.
In end balance is much more important for higher level players, since lower level players arent capable to get the full benefit of the civ boni.
There is another reason to not take HD seriously: The experience of playing at voobly was so much better. The pros just had no reason to leave Voobly for HD. So HD was full of noobs with pretty much no pros. And if pros attempted to play at HD, it was because they like to troll the players. So yeah, no one took HD seriously.
In the end the balance of HD became popular because there was a mod at Voobly that allow you to play at Voobly if you own HD with the HD balance. So you could get the HD balance with the Voobly experience.
This seems fair to me. I would add to first look at high level only. For that range 50 +/- 5% winrates seems fair. For lower levels i would stratch the possible winrates a bit to about 50 +/- 10%. Balance is a bit less important at lower levels.
Also play rate of 5% means 1 out of 20 picks. We have 35 civs. I would love to see much play rates at around 3%, so most civs are pick with about the same pick rate. I would also see 3% play rate as a better target then 5% for this reason.
I doubt there is a systematic process behind that. Certainly there is no metric just because there is no objective way to determine what needs to be changed. When you listen to pro players the way most of them assess civs strenghts’ is based on how it feels to play them. That’s why sometimes you have civs that don’t get particularly much attention and suddenly a lot of players use them although there haven’t been recent changes. So in this sense balancing reacts to the meta which develops over time and is usually invented by top players.
From a corporate perspective you could say the goal is to keep as many players active/interested as possible. So to a certain degree the devs want to listen to the players’ feedback. This also includes this forums but major balance decisions are probably made or at least discussed within the balance discord consisting of top players and some casters.
I know nothing of the personal motivations from the developers, and my answers about them are all guesses despite the tightest reasoning I might have.
That being said, the goal of balance changes I hope to see is giving the top 10-to-20 most played maps no more than A, B, and C tier lists, with D or F tiers only showing up with specific civ matchups. Basically everything is usable, some civs are better than others depending on the map, and “automatic” losses come from counter picks and not from rolling a civ that’s just plain bad. I don’t know how to get there. But I’ll know it when I see it.