Special Q&A about balancePublished Saturday, 14 May 2022
Yesterday, the developers released a special Q&A post that revealed upcoming buffs to a few employees and details about how they balance the game.
Before we move on to the Q&A, let's talk about the upcoming balance changes first.
Developer comment: Dracasia while being designed as a front-line attacker with the ability to chase enemies can't really do that due to her survivability being too low. The change will make her tankier and will remove some limitations that were added to her kit on release.
HP increased by 12%,
HIT increased by 78%,
Grappling Anchor special skill cooldown has reduced from 22 seconds to 3 seconds,
Shark's Bite ultimate has been changed. The self seal skill effect has been removed and the duration of Hitstun immunity was increased from 10 seconds to 15 seconds.
Developer comment: Estaque's attack pattern that solely targets the backline is already something that's unique and strong, but it takes a lot of time for her to enter and leave Firing Mode. This change will drastically improve the time needed before Estaque is ready to fire.
Increased the speed of entering Firing Mode by 25%,
Increased the speed of leaving Firing Mode by 82%
Developer comment: Being a Sniper with a really short range that's forced to stay on the frontline Shena has a lot of issues being relevant in the current meta. This change will lower her cost and slightly increase her range, giving her a bit more breathing space.
Deployment Cost reduced from 3 to 2,
Basic Attack range increased from 150 to 250,
Mortifying Movement special skill has been changed. Shena will no longer charge forward recklessly before attacking, and the attack speed and range of the skill were increased. Perfect Evasion buff has been lowered from 8s to 5s.
Questions and Answers
As you can see from the buffs above, they are pretty simple compared to the previous balance changes made by the dev team. The reason behind this is that they're changing their philosophy of balancing the game and they plan to make such smaller changes more often moving forward. Considering that there are over 200 characters in the game already, and quite a lot of them are sitting on players' benches instead of being used, they want to make smaller changes more often and try to make them viable this way before doing a full rework.
Let's move to the Q&N now.
What's your plan for future Rearms and how they will be balanced?
Before we answer the question we need to talk about the identity of the characters in our game. Awakened characters have a high cost, but merely deploying them can alter the flow of the battle. But in the case of normal characters, their lower cost means that they are the ones doing the dirty work. You can compare them to generals and soldiers.
As for Rearmed characters, we wanted to make them special and strong and we admit we overdid it in some cases. This created an issue where a Rearmed character while having a lower cost than an Awakened one, had the same - or even higher - impact on the battlefield.
The biggest problems happened with Rearms that didn't change the identity of the base character but merely improved upon it. And we admit, we way overdid it in some cases and we will make sure this won't happen again with all the Rearms that will be released in the future. That's why we have changed the guidelines used during the process of creating a new Rearm and we will continue to adjust them as we gather more feedback.
What are the criteria you consider when choosing the next character to be Rearmed?
Previously it was split between choosing a character that was underwhelming and rarely used or a character that was being used, but still had some issues that prevented it from being great. Miya, Laura, Orca, and Elizabeth are examples of the first group, while Xiao Lin, Esterosa, and Kang belong to the second group.
After Rearm Kang was released, we abandoned the policy and moving forward, we will only choose characters that are weak and not popular among the players.
How does the character design and balance process look like?
After we decide on the character's kit we check its performance in both PVE and PVP and if the design purpose was fulfilled. The tests take into account various gear levels to cover how the character performs with low, middle, and high investment.
Once we get the initial results, we search for areas where changes are required and reiterate till we're happy with how the character performs.
Do you really test characters without any equipment on them?
This isn't true. The screenshot that we posted in the last Dev Note was taken from notes made by our testing team.
As we mentioned in the previous question, we test various gear sets on every new character, but to do that properly we need a baseline - that is how the characters perform without any gear on. But it's nothing more than a baseline used to compare the proper results and it isn't considered when finalizing the balance.
Can't you reveal the upcoming characters' kits earlier than a day before they are released?
In an ideal world, we would love to do that, but considering we're releasing a few new characters each month (even more now with rearms) just releasing their kits earlier would do more harm than good. In a lot of cases, you need to see how a character performs, and just reading their kit is not enough to form an opinion or provide valid feedback.
Still, we discussed the idea of test servers, where some of our players could test things easier, but for now, it's shelved due to technical limitations and worries about spoilers running rampant.
Why don't you balance PVE and PVP separately?
We already do that. When a character that was designed with PVE focus in mind, performs too well in PVP - or the opposite - we try to make the changes to its kit without affecting the PVE performance.
However, sometimes it's not possible. For example, when we want to change the deployment cost of a character, we can't really split it between PVP and PVE and we try to give the character something in return, so PVE won't be affected as much by the change.
Still, we don't like nerfs - nobody does - and we only do them as a last resort.
Recently you released a lot of characters that ignore the frontline and go straight for the backline. Will the trend continue?
Counter Side is a battle scroller game, and if every battle will look the same - with two frontlines clashing and the better one surviving - the game would grow stale really quickly.
That's why with new characters we're trying different things that could shake the meta and change how the game is played. But don't worry, if the meta will favor one type of team too heavily we will implement changes to switch things up.
Do you plan to add more counters to Sleep, Confusion, and Stealth?
Characters and operators that remove various debuffs will continue to be added to the game to provide players with a variety of ways to deal with the stronger and more game-changing debuffs.
Camping teams have become really popular recently. Do you plan to do anything about them?
While camping is a valid tactic, especially for those players that prefer to defend and react to what their opponent does, we are aware of the issues it creates in the current meta.
We're constantly monitoring how the Tower-oriented teams perform (especially those that use Nestkeeper Xiao) and we plan to not release any characters that could make those teams perform even better. In addition to that, we're thinking about introducing some changes to the Gauntlet that could make camping not as popular as it is. For example by reducing or removing the safe zone near the ship or adding a debuff to the ship that constantly reduces its HP if it will stay on 10 Deployment Resources for too long.
We're still doing internal tests, and we will let you know in a separate note about our plans to fix it.
Do you plan to make any changes to the point system or the matchmaking in the Gauntlet?
The Gauntlet system was created long long time ago and due to various reasons, it's hard to make bigger changes to it without basically rewriting everything from scratch. But it's something we're considering because we see that there are a lot of issues with it.
When do you plan to release the Consortium Wars?
As we mentioned in the 37th Dev Notes, CW has been postponed for now, because we want to focus on making changes to the Gauntlet first. There are two areas that we want to focus on:
Improving the matchmaking and scoring system
While we already made various changes to how matchmaking and scoring work, there's still a long way to go. What we want to do short-term, is improve the matchmaking, so it doesn't take into account just the rating, but also the overall progress of the player's account with what characters he has unlocked, his gear, etc.
Strategy Battle improvements
In the recent poll, we've discovered that while a lot of our players love real-time PVP, they are scared of losing points and it stops them from actually playing the mode after some time. Even if they still have Strategy Battle available to them, the mode is considered boring.
That's why we plan to revamp how SB works to make it more fun and exciting and we will share the details with you once we finalize them.
Do you plan to reveal the rates for raids appearing?
Currently, you can find all the rates for character and equipment pulls in-game, but in case of events occurrences like raids or dispatch missions, it's something that is not required to be visible to players and we plan to keep it that way to reduce the amount of clutter in the game.
Do you plan to improve combat visibility?
We're aware that when multiple awakened characters clash the battlefield is barely visible and it's something that we plan to adjust. We already made some small changes to the visual side of some skills to make them less obstructive.
Furthermore, we're currently testing functionality that allows players to hide special skill effects, but still, keep all the information the players require. We will add the functionality as soon as we're done with testing and deem it ready.
Please add the ability to check the character's PVP stats in-game.
The ability to toggle between PVE and PVP stats is coming soon!
Can you make announcements about unplanned maintenance in-game too?
We're sorry for the recent server issues and we can confirm that such functionality will be added to the client soon.
Can you unify the unit's range and add an ability to check it in-game?
We plan to change all character descriptions to use range rather than meters and also make add new functionality to the Practice Mode that will allow you to enable a background that shows all ranges.
Why is there a difference between the Eternium efficiency between some Side Stories?
Some of the older Side stories were created a long time ago and they use different systems than the recently added ones. We are aware of the differences and for now, we don't plan any changes.
Do you plan to add more ways to farm Unit Data for SR characters?
All SR characters are available through recruitment and while we plan to make some SR farmable from time to time, making all of them farmable is difficult.
Why don't you simply add more SR to be available in Operations?
This part of the game was created a very long time ago and adding new features there is really hard to do. Still, we plan to rewrite this part of the game, to make it possible again.
Can you add a way to check summoned units' stats in-game?
While this sounds like simple functionality, with the way the UI is designed, it's actually really hard to do. Still, we plan to make some changes to the Catalogue later this year, so we can add the summoned units there too.
Do you plan to rerun Nicole's event?
To tell you the truth, the chances of it appearing again in the same form are pretty low, because the amount of resources players earned through it could break the game's health if it would be rerun.
We're aware that players loved the event, and we plan to make some changes to it, to bring it in-line in our other events.
Do you plan to release skins featuring Korean traditions and style?
More Korean high school and hanbok (traditional dress) skins will be released this year!
I would like to learn more about the characters. Do you have anything planned about that?
Yes, we will add more information to the character profile and this will be done as a part of the Catalogue and Profile redesign.
Also, the missing Side and Short Stories will be added alongside this update.
Well, that was a lot to translate. Hope you're having a nice weekend! - Antillar
Link to the Q&A post: Nexon Forum.