Jeff Kaplan chimes in on the power of Overwatch’s bird-watching robot and metagame balance

    
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Y'all know I love some robots.

Do you think Overwatch has made Bastion too powerful? The good news is that yes, Jeff Kaplan agrees with you, as he’s outright said that the team balanced him to be a bit too powerful right now. But the key word is “just a bit,” as Kaplan’s post is more about the nature of balancing a game and the perceived metagame vs. the actual metagame seen by developers at all levels.

Kaplan explains that when a hero is underpicked, that sometimes doesn’t mean that hero is underpowered; Mercy isn’t a frequent pick, for example, but she’s among the top five most powerful heroes in high-end play. Getting players to pick a hero more often often requires tuning up that hero, and that always makes the hero seem overpowered, because you’re going from almost never seeing that hero in action to seeing them constantly, along with a new power buff. This doesn’t necessarily mean the hero is overpowered, just that players need to adapt and see new strategies in action. The full post is well worth a read even if you’re not very into Overwatch, as the philosophies are applicable for any game with multiple choices for players.

Source: Official Site via VG24/7
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Sorenthaz

Sounds like LoL balance in a nutshell. Any time a champion becomes popular people scream how OP it is.

Granted there are definitely plenty of cases of OP champs that need to be toned down but for some ungodly reason aren’t. Namely ones that can burst champs down ridiculously fast to the point where there is no “counter play” which Riot loves to whip out as a regular buzz word.

koolthulu
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koolthulu

“Mercy isn’t a frequent pick, for example, but she’s among the top five most powerful heroes in high-end play.”

I think you misunderstood here. Jeff was saying player’s perception was that Mercy wasn’t ever picked, but in reality she was the 5th most played hero.

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Loopy

Jeff Kaplan is one of the rare developers that sounds truly humble and down to earth. His posts and comments are an indication that he really does listen to what the community is saying, that he has thick enough skin not to be bothered by trolls, and yet that he cares about people being happy with the final product.

It’s refreshing to see a dev team like Overwatch’s.. at least in a popular mainstream game.

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Leviathonlx

The thing with devs like Ion, Jeff, and Alex Afrasiabi is that they all were (or still are in the case of Ion as he’s still GM of Elitist Jerks) leaders of high end guilds. That makes it a bit easier for them to handle the community and know how to handle trolls.

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Sorenthaz

Yep ’cause they started as highly competitive gamers. That’s likely part of why WoW continues to focus a lot of efforts in catering to the top end even if everything below that is largely diluted for casual play.