balance

Here are all of the class nerfs and buffs coming with SWTOR’s 5.9

Just like a certain farmboy looking wistfully up at twin suns and thinking of his future, Star Wars: The Old Republic fans are looking ahead to next month’s Update 5.9 and the changes that it will bring. Among those will be the continuing effort to balance and adjust the game’s many class builds.

So what, exactly, is on the docket for class changes with 5.9? Tanks need to brace themselves for a nerf “across the board,” as BioWare says that they are doing too much damage. On the upside, tanks will get more threat generation to help in their role. Many non-tank builds are due for some utility changes to improve their survivability in combat encounters.

The team also called out Marauders and Sentinels for special changes, as they are “overperforming” according to the devs. While they’ll be getting a nerf to two of their combat skills, two other skills are being tweaked to reduce damage in a crowd control situation.

Source: Dulfy, #2, #3

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EVE Evolved: EVE Online’s March balance update has players excited

The EVE Online community came down pretty hard on CCP Games at the start of the year, with podcasts, blogs, and the Council of Stellar Management all highlighting a recent lack of balance changes and iterations. CCP responded with a renewed wave of updates, and it’s safe to say that the studio is absolutely knocking it out of the park. The upcoming March patch will include surprise buffs for the Muninn and Eagle, damage increases for the Cyclone and Drake Navy Issue, and an unexpected change to Attack Battlecruisers that could turn the fleet PvP meta completely on its head. The Orthrus is also finally getting its long-awaited nerf, and some careful tweaks will end the dominance of Ferox and Machariel fleets.

As if that wasn’t enough good news for one month, developers also plan to release a completely new class of ship designed exclusively for fleet commanders, are finally adding blueprint-locking to citadels and engineering complexes, and have some big territorial warfare improvements in the pipeline. The horrible but often necessary Jump Fatigue mechanic is finally being re-evaluated, and players will no longer be able to use citadel tethering mechanics to easily move capital ships in absolute safety. The territorial capture gameplay and the Entosis Link module used in nullsec sovereignty warfare are also being improved based on player feedback. The community hasn’t been this positive about upcoming changes for quite some time!

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I lay out the details of the upcoming ship balance overhaul, the new Monitor fleet command ship, and other changes coming in the March update.

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Guild Wars 2 previews upcoming PvP/WvW skill splits

A skill is going to have the same general effect in all arenas of Guild Wars 2, but there are a lot of things to be tweaked for the game’s PvP and WvW arenas. The development team has posted a roadmap of the upcoming skill splits and rebalancing, including several changes happening just for PvP and others for both PvP and WvW. Said roadmap also explains the goals with all of these skills, with an emphasis on greater build diversity, fewer passive effects in PvP, and less burst efficiency on instant-cast spells.

Naturally, the player community has looked over these changes, and there’s a debate currently running about whether or not several of the skill changes listed would also be hugely positive for the game’s PvE side as well. Whether or not this is accurate is something for the team to debate, but there have been responses from the devs that these buffs may also be applied to underperforming skills on the PvE side as well. So you might want to look through the full rundown even if you avoid PvP.

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Fortnite outlines a new roadmap for Battle Royale and removes submachine guns

The designers behind Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode have plans. What are those plans? You’ll need to go on a dangerous mission to retrieve them by sneaking into the… oh, never mind, you can just read them right here. That was straightforward.

Whether or not you’ll like what you read is a different discussion. Most players will probably like the prospect of 60 FPS on console versions of the game, west coast servers, and new character skins, but the game is also tossing regular submachine guns into the Vault (i.e. a metaphorical box from whence items cannot be pulled out and used). In short, it’s yanking the weapon from the game for the moment.

This isn’t to say that they’re bad, just that this balance change is meant to encourage using other weapons and to shake up the game’s metagame balance; in the future, other items can also be added to the vault and removed as time requires. There are also new social features and limited-time game modes planned, so on a whole the roadmap has lots of cool stuff to look forward to. It’s just slightly less if you love submachine guns.

Source: Official Site via VG24/7

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EVE Evolved: A matter of balance in EVE Online

Throughout its almost 15-year lifetime, EVE Online has walked a fine line between developing new features and iterating on existing gameplay. Development has to push forward on new features to keep the game fresh and attract new players, but balance issues can emerge in existing gameplay that equally make the game stale or less enjoyable. CCP Games hasn’t always responded to these issues in a timely manner, at times leaving known balance issues in the game for months or even years because development resources weren’t available to tackle those specific issues.

This strategy has been challenged recently by Council of Stellar Management member Jin’taan in his article “Balance is not optional,” in which he argues that CCP shouldn’t even be making balance changes compete for development time with other features. Player Capri Sun KraftFoods followed up with a look at EVE‘s modular item attribute system, arguing that almost any balance change can be implemented quickly and easily just by tweaking the right attributes. Could it be that easy to iterate on EVE‘s frequent balance issues, or does the nature of the game necessitate caution?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I break down the case for quicker iterative updates on balance issues, look at some of the challenges with balancing a game like EVE, and look at CCP’s new balance team.

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Just Survive brings construction improvements to the test server

The next update for Just Survive is up for testing, and it’s all about raiding bases. Not just in the sense of encouraging you to do so, though; the patch improves construction mechanics by adding another tier of materials and allowing you an easier time building things. It also makes it harder to besiege and destroy structures, so it’ll take more effort for people to break down your walls and blow up your hard-built structures.

Construction costs have also been reduced, along with several other balance changes meant to improve the overall raiding environment. You’ll also have an easier time fueling your raiding ventures with craftable Yeast to lead into plenty of Ethanol. Check out the full list of changes on the test server on the official site, which should force more of a risk-reward analysis when setting out to raid the structures of other players within the environment.

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Destiny 2 makes it look like experience requirements for engrams had increased, Bungie apologizes

Let’s just start with the good news here: Destiny 2 actually didn’t screw over players by pretending it had reduced experience gains while actually increasing requirements this time! That’s what appeared to have happened, and that’s what players were initially up in arms about; it looked at a glance like the XP requirements for Bright Engrams had gone up to 240,000 instead of being reduced to 120,000. But it turns out that this was an error with the API and one that was relatively quickly fixed.

The official response also contains an apology for the display issue and an admission that really, no one could be blamed for assuming that Bungie secretly increased requirements while claiming otherwise.

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Diablo III’s latest patch tweaks class balance and set balance

While Diablo III is getting a bit long in the tooth, there’s still plenty of space for the game to have its balance tweaked. The latest patch is all about adjusting the balance of class skills and class sets, nudging the performance on several sliders to make the weaker class options feel a bit more useful. Barbarians in particular have seen numbers boosted on several legendary items to make the effects on those items feel more pronounced in play.

Visual effects have also been toned down on abilities and passives that tended to hit large numbers of enemies, and some abilities have been redesigned to avoid strange gameplay quirks (like forcing Necromancers to refresh Skeletal Mages while already full). There are also the usual bug fixes and improvements, making for a patch that doesn’t add any new content but should make the process of hacking through familiar content slightly more pleasant.

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The Daily Grind: What one character option would you remove from your favorite MMO?

Good news, MMO fans! You’re getting to redesign your favorite MMO’s entire combat system. The bad news is that you’re doing so by removing one character option and that’s it. One class from World of Warcraft, one job from Final Fantasy XIV, one profession from Guild Wars 2, one ship type from EVE Online. You get the idea. There’s no adding; there’s just removing one thing and possibly giving some of its abilities to other classes.

And no, you can’t remove a role or drastically rearrange how roles work, either. If there are a dozen DPS options, you can remove one. That’s it.

So what would you pick and why? You can’t completely rewrite the game’s balance, but you can remove one thing from the game. What character option would you remove from your favorite MMO to revamp the combat? And do you think it would make enough difference for a major revamp to the game’s mechanics?

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EVE Vegas 2017: EVE Online’s free-to-play option is getting a huge boost

When EVE Online added its free-to-play alpha clone account option, it felt more like an infinite trial than a truly viable free tier. Alpha clone players are currently limited to a single faction’s ships, can only fly tech 1 cruiser sized ships and below, train skills at half the normal speed, and have access to only about 5 million skill points worth of skills. CCP Games initially expected there to be a section of the playerbase who would play alphas exclusively and never upgrade to a full account, but the options proved to be far too limiting and internal stats showed that most people upgraded to Omega quickly or quit.

At EVE Vegas 2017, CCP announced that EVE Online‘s free option is getting a massive boost this December after the Lifeblood expansion. Alpha clones will soon be able to fly battlecruisers and use tech 2 small and medium guns, allowing them to fly many of the common ships used in nullsec fleets and removing most of the power gap between alpha and omega pilots in those roles. They’ll also be able to fly battleships and train for all 4 races of ships, which has the side effect of allowing powerful pirate faction and cross-faction ships such as the Machariel and Stratios.

Read on for a brief breakdown how the new system will work for new and current players.

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SWTOR plays the nerf-and-buff game with Assassins, Shadows, Sages, and Sorcs in 5.5

The latest set of class changes for Star Wars: The Old Republic are like the circle of life. Deception Assassins and Infiltration Shadows? You’ve been overperforming! Enjoy losing damage and critical hit chance on several of your abilities so that you are closer to your expected DPS target. If you were enjoying have all of that damage… well, that’s too bad, you were doing too much.

On the other hand, Telekinetics Sages and Lightning Sorcerers? You weren’t doing enough damage. So you… also lost potency? On one attack, though; you also got a bigger damage boost for targets suffering a status ailment and you got a fixed bug to improve your overall damage. So you’re still doing better, although losing some damage when you were underperforming feels weird even if it makes perfect sense. But that’s the circle of balance, isn’t it?

Expect the changes coming in GU 5.5.

Source: Official Site (1, 2) via Dulfy

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Blade & Soul is revamping crafting in the Rise of the Gunslinger patch

What are you expecting for Blade & Soul’s Rise of the Gunslinger patch? Probably mostly gunslinging, possibly a strained Stephen King reference or two? But the patch has more than just guns and the slinging thereof, as you’ll also have the option of jumping in with a new set of crafting revamps. Players will be able to have three tasks for each guild and be able to reach level five for each guild, complete with several streamlined recipes alongside many new ones.

This also goes hand-in-hand with removing the gathering guilds from the game and making gathering a more direct task. Quartz and Spring Water are also being removed from the game to further streamline matters. If you’re uninterested in all of that and just want to sling some guns, don’t worry, there’s a collection of additional gunslinging-related screenshots just below. It’s almost like a craft.

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Neverwinter is going to refine the art of refinement

Are you a fan of Neverwinter’s current system of refinement? The developers certainly aren’t, which is why the system is being massively overhauled from top to bottom and streamlined. No more doubled refinement weekends, no more managing a huge system of items in your inventory just to manage what you’ll need for refinement, no more making Bonding the be-all and end-all of refinement. Now the system will use one unified currency, the item requirements have been vastly reduced, and doubled refinement weekends are going away forever.

The complete list of mechanical changes can be looked at here, as well. Player feedback has already brought up that this might impact the ability of players to really manage alts as well as the amount of bank space many players bought just to keep up with refinement; the changes to Bonding having less overall uptime have also been sharply negative. Of course, none of these changes is live yet, so you can feel free to join in the feedback thread to voice your own opinions.

Source: Refining Refinement, Technical data, feedback thread; thanks to Jon for the tip!

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