BALANCE DISCUSSION!

WiseChoicesWiseChoices Seattle, WA Join Date: 2014-12-19 Member: 200112Members Posts: 29 Advanced user
I wanted to see if you heard anything about the overall balance of the game lately, and if there are any plans for the future.

Specifically, the win ratio being 60% Alien - 40% Marine, I think last year it was 50/50.
Also, the average game length seems to have dropped to 15 minutes, I think last year it was 17 minutes.
Any news on when you think changes will be made to re-balance the game?

---

Suggestions to that might help:
  • revert the onos cost back to 55 res, lower the health/armor, damage, or speed.
  • move silence to shade hive (seems unfair to be able to pair vampirism and silence).
  • when using silence, attacks still make sound - only movement is silenced.
  • increase health of jetpack.
  • increase health of exo, or increase speed.
  • increase the radius of the observatory (more coverage to large marine bases).
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Comments

  • FrozenFrozen New York, NY Join Date: 2010-07-02 Member: 72228Members, Constellation Posts: 1,477 Advanced user
    Cysts are poison, they should be removed and the game rebalanced around this as needed. Any other effort before this happens is a waste of time.

    Also, 15-20 minutes is a great game time. What needs to reduce is the standard deviation of game times. No ns2 round should ever take more than 15-25 minutes. 30+ minute games kill motivation to play the next round, as "epic" as they may be.
    mattji104
    The_Welsh_Wizard
  • Deck_Deck_ Join Date: 2014-07-20 Member: 197526Members Posts: 298 Advanced user
    edited March 2017
    Frozen wrote: »
    Cysts are poison, they should be removed and the game rebalanced around this as needed. Any other effort before this happens is a waste of time.

    Also, 15-20 minutes is a great game time. What needs to reduce is the standard deviation of game times. No ns2 round should ever take more than 15-25 minutes. 30+ minute games kill motivation to play the next round, as "epic" as they may be.

    I agree with Frozen about game times. NS2 seems to work better when the games stay under 30 minutes. 40 minutes is also ok every once in awhile. Good length is between 15-25 minutes. That is why you want certain things to help the snowball mid game. You need teams to earn something for a big fight at that time of the round. It's also hard to judge in a pub, you don't know if people are just not being agressive enough when they have a huge lead.
  • MephillesMephilles Germany Join Date: 2013-08-07 Member: 186634Members, NS2 Map Tester Posts: 953 Advanced user
    From what I heard the only real issue with balance in public ns2 is onos-plosion due to no one playing lerk and fade.

    Also I am pretty sure Cpt. KnowYourNumbers aka @Nordic can provide some useful data here :tongue:
    return to zero
    BestProfileNameNordicHandschuh
  • IxianIxian Denmark Join Date: 2014-03-16 Member: 194783Members, Squad Five Blue Posts: 182 Advanced user
    While I am not UWE, I am a part of UWE's balance committee.

    Where did you get those win statisics from? It sounds like you only ever play descent or new custom maps.

    The onos change up to 62 was to make the onos ball reoccuring less frequently. It succeded in that but it only alliviates the problem, and players still have no great way of leaning to fade or lerk. Even then, it doesn't comply with your statistics, as it SEEMS like you want a 50/50, and you want to boost the aliens, with an earlier onos timing. This would also make the games shorter with an earlier onos timing. So I have a hard time understanding how this change ever would help you towards your own set goals.

    Silence to shade hive seems fair to me too. Never understood why it was moved in the first place, although people repeat that silence+celerity was overpowered, which i cannot help but to laugh out loud at.

    Completely agree that silence should silence movement, but the attack sound should be loud when attacking an enemy player (and only players - not when biting the air or attacking a structure). The lack of this at worst creates extreme frustration, especially as some marine flinching is not completely reliable.

    As to increasing the health of JPs and EXOs, I dont really see the logic behind it. There has been a tendency lately where marine commanders dont drop medpacks at all, and only get tech. Commanders who doesn't drop medpacks or aren't able to hit them, are going to find that their marines die much more often. This is not a problem with the JP, although it feels like shit when the comm lets you die without a medpack, but that is how most comms seem to want to play nowadays in public servers. This is far from the truth in competitive games, where medpacks are aboundant, and sometimes even too many. Talk with your commander about you dieing with a JP. As for EXOs, get your backup welders - increasing the HP wont do much, unless it is done to a point where it does too much. If you increase the base speed, you are going to get the problem of the mongolian archer - too mobile and too high damage.

    Observatories increased range? Are there any specific examples, where you feel like the observatory's range is too short?
    coolitic
  • SquishpokePOOPFACESquishpokePOOPFACE -21,248 posts (ignore below) Join Date: 2012-10-31 Member: 165262Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,611 Advanced user
    • bring back the old Lerk Spores where you poop them out, except this time allow you to bite and poop gas at the same time. I want that thick cropdusting action again
    • just slightly smaller health on Onos, b/c I'm seeing aggressive Onos getting off scott free when they woulda been dead in the old days. Timing/pricing is just right however
    • buff babblers
    • buff marine axe and rifle bash
    • make option for welders to be single key-use (so I can bind it to right click)
    • allow to buy stuff in spawn queue at a price premium (welders especially)
    • make marines able to walk backwards faster (it is seriously irritating)
    • make webs usable early
    • last but not least, allow railgun jumping (yes, it's exactly what you think it is)
    To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to play Natural Selection 2. The gameplay is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of military strategy and advanced mathematics you won't even win a single game. Theres also the game's nihilistic outlook, which is deftly woven into the game. The maps and artwork draw heavily from Riddley Scott's Alien franchise, for instance. The players understand this stuff, they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depth of the game, to realise that it's not just great, that it also says something about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike Natural Selection 2 truly ARE idiots. of course they wouldn't appreciate, for instance, the humour in the Marines' existential catchphrase "how do I get to be so good", which itself is a cryptic reference to the high degree of intelligence required to play the game as intended. I'm smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion when spectating a game. What fools... how I pity them. And, yes, by the way, i DO have a Fade tatoo. And no, you cannot see it. it's for the ladies' eyes only, and even then they have to demonstrate that they are within 50 hive skill points of my own (preferable lower) beforehand. Nothin personnel kid.
  • The_Welsh_WizardThe_Welsh_Wizard Join Date: 2013-09-10 Member: 188101Members, Reinforced - Supporter Posts: 770 Advanced user
    Give every weapon an alternative firemode, not only rifle.
    IeptBarakat
  • BestProfileNameBestProfileName Join Date: 2013-01-03 Member: 177320Members Posts: 448 Advanced user
    Do new people get flash warnings? For example, you're a lerk and you go down to 100-ish hp and it flashes up "GO BACK TO THE HIVE/CRAG/GORGE AND HEAL". Something like that?
  • ZdrytchXZdrytchX Australia Join Date: 2016-02-06 Member: 212662Members Posts: 101 Advanced user
    Ixian wrote: »
    players still have no great way of leaning to fade or lerk.
    Lerk dodging is simple as bobbing up-down and slightly left/right. What's tricky is doing that while landing bits on the enemy.

    As for fade, I think metabolise is the issue. As someone said, "from OP to Untouchable" in the right hands. While I myself actually suck at using FADE, it is because I have not adapted to using meta consistantly due to the weird posture of my key binds, which I do not plan on changing just because the FADE requires the use of the key.

    I think the Fade would probably be useful in the offensive (rather than just killing humans as it does now) by bringing back its vortex thing that nuetralises one target for a few seconds. As it seems from a gameplay perspective, UWE seems to focus more on teamplay rather than personal effort which is probably why the playerbase does not stick so long compared to a game like Trem. But if they want to go that far, perhaps Vortex is the right thing for the teamplay goal.

    NS1 has had lots of great feedback of satisfaction, and from my perspective, more than Trem actually had, but for NS2, where are the awards?
  • AxiorAxior Finland Join Date: 2016-01-31 Member: 212376Members Posts: 6 Fully active user
    From long silence let me speak this once.

    Just few thoughs on a good game which I would like to love more. These days love is starting slowly to faint because rounds too often go by the same formula. Its another issue to start with, but from my opinion aliens lack choices. NS2 is a good game but... It's missing something vital imho.

    I used to love fade in NS1, but in NS2 it never felt good to play with. Im not good with it and never will be, if it stays the same. There is absolutely no motivation to learn something which is not fun and has so petty rewards. In NS1 fade felt like threat as marine. Now its not, just big, fat and black flying "skulk" with knife to poke with. To play with fade sadly feels like fat and weak version of the old glory.

    If devs want people to play with it: make it more desirable. Seriously. Give fade something else than stab and instant deaths against sgs. If balance is the problem then counter-balance and give marines good use for current the "hmg" against fade. Other than sg that is.

    I'll rather lerk or onos anytime than try the current version of fade. From my pub experience many others seem to feel the same at least these days.

    If there still is intention to keep the playerbase alive and even growing, then especially fade needs some spice. Like others have said: fade feels like a bad investment. I agree fully. Its not even fun to play with, even less fun first learn how to play it. It's a pity that fade is this degenerated 2nd class khraa imho. Maybe, if you have invested few hundred hours for learning it shines, but... that's not for average sunday player like me.

    But what I really think devs should consider is that: for who for what reason NS2 is developed?If there is will for keeping old and gaining new players, then it should be combination of balance and fun. Later imho haven't been on the table enough. From the ignition of NS2 it has lacked new ideas while considering what NS1 was.

    May devs do as they wish, but I've noticed myself starting other games than NS2 more often, again. While NS1 had balance issues it surely was fun to play. For NS2 I know that average players come back: for fun, more often than seriously calculated balance for minority of pro players.

    Its devs choice. Breath or not to breath. As you wish.

    Thanks for everyone for good rounds and teamplay. For win or lose, it doesn't matter if its fun.
  • The_Welsh_WizardThe_Welsh_Wizard Join Date: 2013-09-10 Member: 188101Members, Reinforced - Supporter Posts: 770 Advanced user
    A fun game is not the opposite of the balanced game.
    coolitic
  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,730 Advanced user
    Mephilles wrote: »
    From what I heard the only real issue with balance in public ns2 is onos-plosion due to no one playing lerk and fade.

    Also I am pretty sure Cpt. KnowYourNumbers aka @Nordic can provide some useful data here :tongue:

    I am of the opinion that the onosplosion is one of the more important problems. It is not only because no one plays lerk and fade. I do not have data that can actually show this.
    Specifically, the win ratio being 60% Alien - 40% Marine, I think last year it was 50/50.
    Also, the average game length seems to have dropped to 15 minutes, I think last year it was 17 minutes.
    [/list]
    I do have these stats. WiseChoices, I believe you are getting these stats from DMD's wonitor page. These stats are a sample and are not representative of the whole game. Global winrates are close to 50/50. Since B310 NS2's winrates are 50.5/49.4 aliens/marines. DMD's wonitor page does show near 60% alien winrates on DMD servers. To rebalance the game so that DMD has near 50/50 winrates would not work for the rest of the community.
    The average game length has actually increased over the last year by a whopping 30 seconds. The global average game length is still about 17 minutes.

    Any news on when you think changes will be made to re-balance the game?
    [/list]
    I can answer this. There is not going to be a massive re-balance effort in NS2. If there are any balance changes, they will be incremental. UWE hasn't said this, but I really can't see them doing a massive rebalance.

    Incremental changes are better than a massive change. B250 was a massive change, and it alone made a lot of people leave. Incremental chances allow people to adapt. Incremental changes also allow the community to provide feedback individually on different changes. In a massive update, some things might not get the attention they deserve.
    From my perspective UWE has been trying to both with what little resources they have given to the game. They don't have an AAA budget, let alone an indie game budget. They have the budget of a game that has been out 6 years. I want to say, don't half ass two things, whole ass one thing. I just don't think they have the resources to do it. Unlike many of the people on the forums, I guess I am just happy they are at least trying even though I may not like what they end up doing.
  • FrozenFrozen New York, NY Join Date: 2010-07-02 Member: 72228Members, Constellation Posts: 1,477 Advanced user
    edited March 2017
    These fade comments are ridiculous. Fades are weak in lack of lerks. Not in and of themselves. The game is designed, whether devs or deck likes, to support fades being powerful in the presence of their lesser counterpart lerks.

    In competitive, and public to most of the extent, if your lerks are dead, you may as well skip fade if the other team is equally matched or better. Fades in the sequel have NEVER had the health to deal with any realistic, difficult situation.

    Believe it or not, the removal of cysts would let more lerks live because the urgency of res node attacks and pressure would be decreased. Right now most fades are fucked because their lerks are too dead to draw fire.

    Why does meta require 2 lerks again? The only way to resolve this without breaking the balance is lifeform limits. We might not want limits placed on games, but fuck, what's the lesser of two evils
    mattji104
    .trixX.HandschuhIeptBarakatcoolitic
  • FrozenFrozen New York, NY Join Date: 2010-07-02 Member: 72228Members, Constellation Posts: 1,477 Advanced user
    Problem: fade balls are ruining the game
    Response: let's fuck over everything we workedtoward
    Realistic response: fades are in a great spot, let's limit them to 2/6 so they can't be abused.

    Why are we rebalancing fades to force no more than two fades insteaf of allowing no more than 2 fades? Fuck is the difference except the game more boring than it needs to be
    mattji104
  • .trixX..trixX. Budapest Join Date: 2007-10-11 Member: 62605Members Posts: 850 Advanced user
    edited March 2017
    @Frozen i don't really get your loathing towards cysts (other than it's not explicitly necessary for the game). Removing cysts would do very little to decrease harvester attack pressure, ever since the dowstream cysts don't die when you break the chain (i'm talking vanilla game).

    Regarding the limits on lifeforms (and marine weapons), I too would like to see some kind of limit applied, but I'd place it in the hands of each commander, so they can convey the game-style they want to play. I've seen some fun stuff when the WHOLE team went lerk, without exception. We also tried gorge + hydra + shift rushes, and it IS feasible and fun (at least on pub). This applies to the marines too, there is a problem on pub when inexperienced players just buy flamers and nade launchers for no reason at all, and get slayed by fades and lerks.
    Hard-coding the limits would only decrease the variety of rounds... which is the hallmark of NS
    NO Cyril, when they're dead they're just hookers!
    Blrgcoolitic
  • HandschuhHandschuh Join Date: 2005-03-08 Member: 44338Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Community Developer Posts: 387 Advanced user
    edited March 2017
    A lifeformlimit would be awesome... having 5 unintended gorges would be awesome to prevent but it won't help with the issue of having to few lerks or fades.. limiting meta to lerknumber sounds nice at first but lowers the chance of a comeback drastically.. so I have mixed feelings
    • bring back the old Lerk Spores where you poop them out, except this time allow you to bite and poop gas at the same time. I want that thick cropdusting action again
    • just slightly smaller health on Onos, b/c I'm seeing aggressive Onos getting off scott free when they woulda been dead in the old days. Timing/pricing is just right however
    • buff babblers
    • buff marine axe and rifle bash
    • make option for welders to be single key-use (so I can bind it to right click)
    • allow to buy stuff in spawn queue at a price premium (welders especially)
    • make marines able to walk backwards faster (it is seriously irritating)
    • make webs usable early
    • last but not least, allow railgun jumping (yes, it's exactly what you think it is)

    Instead of making marines walk ffaster backwards it needs some kind of general tutorial how to execute the backwardjump ..
    Onos die easily enough if pubbers would learn how to focus fire and stop being a pussy when seeing one...it dies so fast it's amazing if you are only slightly coordinated..
    Buying welders while spawning would be nice, but more would be op
  • BlrgBlrg Join Date: 2013-09-01 Member: 187580Members, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Gold, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 153 Advanced user
    Before the game starts alien players should be able to specify on the scoreboard which lifeform they will evolve to (like TGNS did or something similar)

    You know how the community bullied over time marine commanders to go armor 1 first?
    That would also work on how many lifeforms of each type you need on your team. And would allow it in a way that can be recognized instantly for less experienced players. Right now most people are not aware of how many gorges, lerks or fades they had (or flashed) on their team.

    And commanders don't know if they have to bother researching metabolize, because maybe they will never have fades

    That also would allow the meta to be fixated in the most casual player minds. Similar to how they achieved this on MOBAs like league of legends

    (and yes I know that many commanders still don't go armor 1 first, but it is something that definitively improved from the first years)
    .trixX.BestProfileName
  • IeptBarakatIeptBarakat The most difficult name to speak ingame. Join Date: 2009-07-10 Member: 68107Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 2,679 Advanced user
    I'd play fade more if they were given more engagement options other than searching the map for a lone marine and hiding whenever 2-3 shotguns enter a room. It takes 4 swipes to kill a fully armored marine and more if they're receiving medkits, the current health and armor of the Fade can't stack up to the damage it receives at that part of the game and they don't have any other options since their structure damage is abysmal. It's almost better to fly around as a distraction for the other lifeforms to clean up at that point than it is to actually jump into the kill zone.

    So.. a few ideas. One is to obviously bring back acid rockets, second is to increase the stats of the Fade so they can return to their NS1 status (300hp/150armor/90swipedamage), and third...

    Area Void Bubble: The fade can generate an area of the void around him which sends all nearby entities into a separate plane of existence, inside this plane the marines are slowed and the fade gets a speed increase, friendly aliens retain their regular speed. This could be used offensively or defensively to create a separate room within a room where targets outside the void bubble can't shoot at targets inside the void bubble and vice versa. The void bubble dissipates when the fade dies or when enough time has passed.
    Axior
  • AeglosAeglos Join Date: 2010-04-06 Member: 71189Members Posts: 617 Advanced user
    Nordic wrote: »
    Mephilles wrote: »
    From what I heard the only real issue with balance in public ns2 is onos-plosion due to no one playing lerk and fade.

    Also I am pretty sure Cpt. KnowYourNumbers aka @Nordic can provide some useful data here :tongue:

    I am of the opinion that the onosplosion is one of the more important problems. It is not only because no one plays lerk and fade. I do not have data that can actually show this.

    Skulks too powerful / marines too weak. As bad as the onosplosion might be, actually being able to get there is more of a problem.
  • NousWandererNousWanderer Join Date: 2010-05-07 Member: 71646Members Posts: 258 Advanced user
    edited March 2017
    One low-risk change that probably won't have a huge impact, but would help: bump up the fade ground movement speed slightly. It's sluggish by design, but advanced fade movement is arguably trickier than advanced lerk movement (it is for me, at least), and I see a lot of bad fades greedily overreaching when their energy reserves are way too low to support an attack. If such a fade is up against a single competent marine that can juke and properly track, it has a good chance of going down, even if that marine hasn't spent any res on gear.

    A good example would be what happened to me the other day: an overconfident fade tried to rush me alone in nano, I juked around the fade, and hit him with a ~40% acc. LMG clip. While I was finishing him off with a pistol, his skulk counterpart decided it was time to try to kill me. The (terrible) skulk was hopping around and missing me, I reloaded, killed the skulk. Was promptly accused of hacking by both players and a different member of the alien team went spec to see if I was bogus. This was on an account with like 4k hive skill, but I guess that didn't factor in for them.

    Just another day in NS2. Dropping shitty pub fades like this isn't rare. So...

    Had the fade been slightly faster on the ground, I probably would have died. The downside of this change is that it might be perceived as encouraging bad fade play (because they shouldn't be walk-attacking in the first place). The upside of this change is that bad fade play is inevitable, and people ARE going to walk around when they shouldn't. Might as well give them a little boost in that scenario to help mitigate situations like the one I just described.
    Post edited by NousWanderer on
  • BestProfileNameBestProfileName Join Date: 2013-01-03 Member: 177320Members Posts: 448 Advanced user
    Blrg wrote: »
    Before the game starts alien players should be able to specify on the scoreboard which lifeform they will evolve to (like TGNS did or something similar)

    You know how the community bullied over time marine commanders to go armor 1 first?
    That would also work on how many lifeforms of each type you need on your team. And would allow it in a way that can be recognized instantly for less experienced players. Right now most people are not aware of how many gorges, lerks or fades they had (or flashed) on their team.

    And commanders don't know if they have to bother researching metabolize, because maybe they will never have fades

    That also would allow the meta to be fixated in the most casual player minds. Similar to how they achieved this on MOBAs like league of legends

    (and yes I know that many commanders still don't go armor 1 first, but it is something that definitively improved from the first years)

    that's a brilliant idea
  • IeptBarakatIeptBarakat The most difficult name to speak ingame. Join Date: 2009-07-10 Member: 68107Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 2,679 Advanced user
    edited March 2017
    It'd be a better idea if it didn't have to go through the scoreboard and the games teams didn't shuffle 5-10 times prior to starting a round.

    Having a screen show up for 15-30 seconds before the round starts with the lifeform portraits, a team chat box, and a list of the other players with their preferred lifeform would be better imo. Since it would give the teams a chance to strategize and potentially choose a commander at the last second if they haven't already.
    Post edited by IeptBarakat on
    NousWanderer
  • BestProfileNameBestProfileName Join Date: 2013-01-03 Member: 177320Members Posts: 448 Advanced user
    It'd be a better idea if it didn't have to go through the scoreboard and the games teams didn't shuffle 5-10 times prior to starting a round.

    Having a screen show up for 30 seconds before the round starts with the lifeform portraits, a team chat box, and a list of the other players with their preferred lifeform would be better imo. Since it would give the teams a chance to strategize and potentially choose a commander at the last second if they haven't already.

    Yeah, I agree. You could have preferred lifeforms in grey, and then when they've decided which one they're going to play, they can click on them so they get coloured in. If marines go fast sentries I tend to skip lerk and fade, unless there's a good gorge (i.e. someone who knows how to select weapon 3 and left-click in the right direction).
  • WiseChoicesWiseChoices Seattle, WA Join Date: 2014-12-19 Member: 200112Members Posts: 29 Advanced user
    Hi @Nordic . What is the date range for those stats? Are they a 30-day running average? 60 day, 90 day, etc.

    Are you able to pull stats that ignore rookie server stats? It would be interesting to see those. I think rookie servers tend to skew the stats with those 2 hour games and those new players coming from a typical FPS shooter and which means marines are easy to learn and alien is something entirely new to them.

    And yes, my stats for this post are speculation and do not reflex the game as a whole. I'm sure there are many factors like mods, custom maps, and specific player strategies that skew the numbers in the alien's favor (example: hank tunnels). If you have a concentrated group of players on a specific server that prefer to play alien, the stats will be more alien wins. That could be a likely possibility.

    In a perfect world, every game would be 25 minutes with intense back and forth action with a perfect 50/50 win ratio. o:)
  • WiseChoicesWiseChoices Seattle, WA Join Date: 2014-12-19 Member: 200112Members Posts: 29 Advanced user
    edited April 2017
    Hi @Ixian .

    I looked at stats on the vanilla maps. You are correct, Descent seems to have the most serious balance issue. Collectively, it looked like 60% alien wins, but Nortic has the actual data on it.

    I suggested lowering the cost of onos paired with lowering the health and damage. The point being to have a not-so-powerful creature that can be expendable, and a player can buy it again in another 6 minutes. Since there is no redemption ability in NS2, I think it would be fair if a player was able to purchase their preferred lifeform 2-3 times per match. Prolonging the purchase of the onos just makes it sound like the goal of the game is a race to deny the aliens from getting enough resources to buy their 1 onos that will never die.

    I agree that the commander should be skilled enough to accurately drop med packs, but in the peak of battle, it is commonly overwhelming to click all over the map trying to med and ammo everyone after a single powerful swipe from an onos or fade. I fade a lot and I can say it is really easy to bounce around a corner and land 2 swipes to a helpless JP and send him back to the spawning cue. :#

    I love playing Exo too. Always carry my trusty welder and hop out a lot to weld myself. Can't rely on the team for that. It would be cool if Exo had their own "bone shield" like ability.. perhaps a built-in Nano Shield ability with a cooldown? :)

    I do have a question though. Should the game be designed to have an equal opportunity of winning with 3 exos rushing the hive compared with 3 onos rushing a command chair?

    For the Observatories, I just had concerns about some of the tech points being in too large of rooms which forces commanders to buy 2 Obs for the base. I suppose the real question is, is the radius of the observatory the same as the radius of the drifter? It's a small concern really. Nothin serious.
  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,730 Advanced user
    edited April 2017
    Hi @Nordic . What is the date range for those stats? Are they a 30-day running average? 60 day, 90 day, etc.
    As mentioned in my post, those stats are from B310 onward. That is many thousands of games from a variety of popular servers, including DMD. They are without rookie servers. NS2 games have been about 17 minutes on average for years now. The median NS2 gametime has been about 15 minutes for years.

    The OP stated that win rates were overtly imbalanced, and that the average game length had dropped. You were using these as examples to show that balance was bad. In my previous post I explained that the metrics you were using to show balance was bad, were in reality not what you thought they were. In this post I will try to explain why your chosen metrics are not enough to justify good balance.

    30 day stats, even from that many servers do not provide very good stats. There is a lot of noise in the data. I will explain with an imaginary win rate percentages, assuming all factors remain equal. This assumption includes the same build, without any balance changes, and the same set of players. The first 30 day period may have a 55% alien win rate. The second 30 day period may have a 45% alien win rate. The third 30 day period may have a 60% alien winrate. And so on with the following alien win rate percentages for each subsequent 30 day period: 50%, 70%, 35%, 50%, 45%, 50%, 60%.... and so on.

    Oh wow, aliens had as high as a 75% win rate in one of those 30 day periods. Does this mean anything? No. It would not be unusual for NS2's winrate values to do this, even globally over any given subsequent 30 day periods. The variance would be even higher on a smaller sample size, such as the statistics for a single server. There is so much noise in win rate data that it takes a few thousand games to get a reasonable picture. I am exaggerating the range of these numbers a bit, but it does not change my point.

    If the win rates were 60/40 globally, there would definitely be a problem. 50/50 win rates globally is as good thing, but it does not mean there are no problems. NS2 does have near 50/50 win rates though. The factions are balanced in the amount that they win. This does not mean that the current game balance mechanics are good. By good, I mean what they ought to be.

    For example, the so called onosplosion is a problem right now. It is similar to the old fade ball problem. Now we have onos balls. Is it a good thing that in most games aliens can skip lerks and fades, and save for onos? Aliens will fall behind since marines will have the tech advantage, until onos come out at about the 14 minute mark. In my experience it is not uncommon for 40-50% of an alien team to save for onos. In a 12v12 game, it is very hard to fight against 4-5 onos. Aliens are able to take this onos ball, and mop up the rest of the map. Sometimes marines can defend well enough, but it is not too hard for 4-5 onos to wear down marine fortifications. 4-5 fades is difficult, but they can only do so much. 4-5 onos can do a lot of damage to everything. I can't imagine 8-10 onos on Wooza's server. I really do not think it should be this way.

    In my opinion, aliens are able to win too often because of a tunnel rush. In my experience, aliens use this method only when cornered. Should the game be like this? Is this a good game mechanic?

    Win rates are useful. It is good that win rates are near 50/50, and they are. Balance is fairly good right now, but it is far from perfect. There are many things that SHOULD be better. Should is the key word. You will see many normative statements in this thread. These are not facts, but opinions. There is not really any right answer. At this point, anything done to fix a clear problem will make many people unhappy. For example, people complained when the onos was increased to 62 pres cost from 55 pres. This was done to limit the onosplosion. Not only that, it was bringing the time onos come onto the field back to what it was before the pres changes awhile back. Making onos cost 62 pres was a reversion.

    Balancing NS2 is not easy.

    I do not feel like discussion solutions for these and other problems here. People should bug @Ixian @Wob and @IronHorse for that. They like discussing these things more than I do.
    From my perspective UWE has been trying to both with what little resources they have given to the game. They don't have an AAA budget, let alone an indie game budget. They have the budget of a game that has been out 6 years. I want to say, don't half ass two things, whole ass one thing. I just don't think they have the resources to do it. Unlike many of the people on the forums, I guess I am just happy they are at least trying even though I may not like what they end up doing.
    coolitic
  • MephillesMephilles Germany Join Date: 2013-08-07 Member: 186634Members, NS2 Map Tester Posts: 953 Advanced user
    As I have said before in a different thread somewhere:

    If a game wants to be balanced, then it needs to look at all layers of balance.
    The ones I know are:
    - balancing for win rates
    - balancing for item power
    - balancing for tech paths

    Balancing for winrates:

    Balancing the teams winratio between each other. You want to have a winrate as close to 50/50 as possible. Preferably this 50/50 ratio should be similar at any point of the game

    Balancing for item power:

    This means that each weapon, upgrade or ability should have a similar impact value to the game. I don't mean to have every weapon equally strong but being equally valuable depending on the time they can be researched. (cost is a factor here aswell)

    Balancing for tech paths:

    Basically saying that each tech route you choose has an equal chance of winning the game, but each one does require a unique playstyle by commander and fieldplayers.



    I have been thinking on how to balance this game mathematically.
    If you give each item a power level (power level just means effectivenes on the field, things like cost and research time will be ignored for that). Once you have those power levels devide them by the cost and you have the impact value, the higher the impact value the later in the game this item should be unlocked. (Power levels should be determined by the strongest ns2 players (multiple of them). Their knowledge about the game should help to make that quite precise.)

    This would balance for item power.

    Balancing for tech paths would seperate the items with similar impact value, so they get unlocked by something else. This way the techpaths should be somewhat balanced between each other. A graph to show the summarised impact value a team can has over time can help to compare different tech paths with each other and see at what time of the game which paths is the strongest and by how much.

    @Nordic since you are the maths guy I want to know if that would nail it or if I missed something
    return to zero
  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,730 Advanced user
    Mephilles wrote: »
    If a game wants to be balanced, then it needs to look at all layers of balance.
    The ones I know are:
    - balancing for win rates
    - balancing for item power
    - balancing for tech paths
    I would also add balancing for skill levels. This has two meanings too. It means making the win rates, item power, and tech paths work for as wide a skill range as possible. I think NS2 does an OK job at this. Win rates, item power, and tech path balance get iffy on the lower and upper skill levels. Sure, the game should be balanced for the highest skilled players. But it should also be balanced for as wide a range of players as possible.
    There is also balancing for skill level on individual servers. This is what NS2 struggles with the most in my opinion. It is not a matter of hive or shuffle being a problem like many think. I am rather surprised how well Hive actually works. Shuffle does a great job too, if people don't switch teams or leave. NS2 struggles to balance for skill levels because we have 1) A tiny player base and 2) a very high skill curve. In terms of skill, is very probably for the bottom 20% to be playing with the top 20% on any given server.

    Both are almost impossible to resolve.
    Mephilles wrote: »
    Balancing for tech paths would seperate the items with similar impact value, so they get unlocked by something else. This way the techpaths should be somewhat balanced between each other. A graph to show the summarised impact value a team can has over time can help to compare different tech paths with each other and see at what time of the game which paths is the strongest and by how much.

    Nordic since you are the maths guy I want to know if that would nail it or if I missed something

    This sounds similar to some thoughts of @Steelcap. He dislikes how NS2 balance has evolved incrementally over time. I think incremental change in an established product like this is a good thing.

    I REALLY would like to see a game theory analysis of tech paths in NS2 with complete and incomplete information. I think it would illuminate many things. I do not have the knowledge or skill do this, nor the time to learn right now.

    From my perspective UWE has been trying to both with what little resources they have given to the game. They don't have an AAA budget, let alone an indie game budget. They have the budget of a game that has been out 6 years. I want to say, don't half ass two things, whole ass one thing. I just don't think they have the resources to do it. Unlike many of the people on the forums, I guess I am just happy they are at least trying even though I may not like what they end up doing.
  • WiseChoicesWiseChoices Seattle, WA Join Date: 2014-12-19 Member: 200112Members Posts: 29 Advanced user
    Not sure how the shuffle system works, but I would imagine it looks like this:

    Readyroom Players' Skill:
    4000
    4000
    3000
    3000
    2000
    2000
    2000
    2000
    1000
    1000
    1000
    1000
    500
    500
    500
    500

    Hopefully players are shuffled this way:
    Aliens:
    4000
    3000
    2000
    2000
    1000
    1000
    500
    500
    Marines:
    4000
    3000
    2000
    2000
    1000
    1000
    500
    500

    Hopefully it's never shuffled this way:
    Aliens:
    4000
    4000
    3000
    1000
    500
    500
    500
    500
    Marines:
    3000
    2000
    2000
    2000
    2000
    1000
    1000
    1000

    --

    Also, maybe there could be a hive score for Alien and a hive score for Marine. Instead of a collective hive score.
  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,730 Advanced user
    edited April 2017
    Also, maybe there could be a hive score for Alien and a hive score for Marine. Instead of a collective hive score.
    I have wanted this for a long time. Many people ask for it. It is not so simple to implement though, and it would not solve the problem I described. You can read a developer response to that here.

    With the player skill values you listed, it is shuffled how you think it should be shuffled. If you want to play around with how players are shuffled, take a look at this thread.
    Post edited by Nordic on
    From my perspective UWE has been trying to both with what little resources they have given to the game. They don't have an AAA budget, let alone an indie game budget. They have the budget of a game that has been out 6 years. I want to say, don't half ass two things, whole ass one thing. I just don't think they have the resources to do it. Unlike many of the people on the forums, I guess I am just happy they are at least trying even though I may not like what they end up doing.
  • MephillesMephilles Germany Join Date: 2013-08-07 Member: 186634Members, NS2 Map Tester Posts: 953 Advanced user
    edited April 2017
    Isn't the balancing for skill a mechanic issue, on how easy it is to execute for example? Also I will honestly say I have no idea how well the tech paths are balanced in between each other in vanilla ns2. I can say that compmod is basically reduced to one valid techpath (with minor variations), especially for marines.
    return to zero
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