Brilliant article on balance, makes you think..

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by badfucatus, November 24, 2014.

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  1. badfucatus

    badfucatus Active Member

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    Hi all,
    While mooching about on Digg, I came across this...

    http://forrestthewoods.com/unbalanced-design-of-super-smash-brothers/


    After all the debate we have here about balance, it got me thinking. Not in any cogent way, in fact it kinda lead to even more questions, seemingly without answer. I'd love to hear what you lot think. Oh, and it's written by some cool dude from Uber.
    cptconundrum likes this.
  2. duncane

    duncane Active Member

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    My thinking on this is that balance can change over time without actually changing because the element of surprise is very important. If you are a good player and you pick a character or strat that hasnt been seen for a while you get a temporary advantage.
  3. elodea

    elodea Post Master General

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    Yes ofcourse 'balance' changes. This is otherwise what people call the 'meta', which is developed by players as time progresses. The numbers don't change, but the way the players play each other does. This is what happens when a game focuses more on player interaction instead of just numbers, although having purposeful instabilities helps with that. Skill and information development changes over time, and how players deal with the changing risks and benefits as such is also moved.

    In games that don't have a good focus on player vs player interaction, you won't generally see this.

    Why picking low tier only characters is fun however is not because of anything to do with balance design. It's got to do with the game being designed to be fun from the start. Nintendo are great at that.
  4. DeadStretch

    DeadStretch Post Master General

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  5. badfucatus

    badfucatus Active Member

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    Opps, sorry mods. I missed that. Still, I was thinking how this correlates to our present situation/plight.
    It's easy to say that dox are op, after getting rolled a couple of times on ranked with the current meta. Easy because my ego won't let me accept that I was out micro-ed, my build order was out, or I made tactical errors.
    On the face of it, PA must be balanced, because with all have the same tools at our disposal. Yet as we all know, the current meta 'forces' us to use certain units. Is this the game's fault, or ours for lack of creativity?
    I dunno, it's making me brain hurt..
    True balance seems to be some Zen state.
  6. fine

    fine New Member

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    Two thirds of the characters in Smash are utter garbage, even after 12 years. There's only so many ways you can press A. The game obviously has not been designed for competitive play, and the meta revolves almost exclusively on abusing glitches. "It's a feature" isn't a magic bullet.

    I suggest you try picking a low tier character in SSB and trying how fun it is against a proficient Fox player.

    I don't think this article is very relevant for a modern RTS game designed to be competitive from ground up while undergoing active development. It doesn't even cost Uber $5k to patch their game.

    The tier changes point out one good rule though: the community shouldn't dictate balance changes.
  7. squishypon3

    squishypon3 Post Master General

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    I disagree on your last point, the community has done multiple balance mods that are more balanced than the current vanilla. Uber does most of their balance by either overbuffing or overnerfing units, then sometimes just forgetting about them.
  8. Gorbles

    Gorbles Post Master General

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    The fact that there are multiple balance mods, each of them with differing design goals, is why the community shouldn't dictate balance changes :)

    At least with Uber at the helm, there is no favouritism and everybody who disagrees with their vision is free to make their own.
  9. forrestthewoods

    forrestthewoods Uber Alumni

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    Strictly for the record I would like to emphasize a particular section of this post.


    "First, a disclaimer. This post is not reflective of any game I have worked on, am working on, or will work on. At all. I am a mere programmer and hold zero influence over design [1].

    Honestly I just really like Smash Brothers and want to share some cool things about how it's evolved over time. At least I think they're cool. And I hope you do to!"


    I wrote this post at home in my spare time for fun. I didn't consult with anyone at Uber or even ask permission. I'm a programmer, not a designer. I just like Smash Brothers and wanted to write some words about it. With the WiiU version having launched last Friday it felt like a good time to do so. What can I say, I've got a little fanboy in me! :)

    Anyhow, I'd like to keep writing words on the internet without having to clear them with my bosses first, so let's keep things civil in here! I'm buying my WiiU after Thanksgiving break so maybe some of us can smash it up online.
  10. cwarner7264

    cwarner7264 Moderator Alumni

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    Might be an idea to lock this thread and move discussion over to the linked one in 'Unrelated Discussion' to avoid any confusion in that case.
    cptconundrum likes this.
  11. jables

    jables Uber Employee

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    Bsport, Raevn, Remy561 and 5 others like this.
  12. cwarner7264

    cwarner7264 Moderator Alumni

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    You're welcome ;)
    Raevn, Remy561, jables and 1 other person like this.
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