Dev Blog 07: Is it possible to balance 27 powers?


#1

This blog I would like to talk about balancing the different powers in the game and how we do it.

As you know there are a lot of different powers in the game. Up until recently, we didn’t have exact measures for how powerful certain powers were. However, recently we have added more stats, so we can now show you how the powers are currently balanced, and how we will balance them in an upcoming update.

Balancing method

Balancing goes in small steps. This means to us:

a. The power is fun to use

this basically means if the power feels good to use. If it gets players excited.

b. The power doesn’t feel unfair

Unfairness is assessed by determining if a player was able to avoid getting hit by a power. Could he/she counteract it? A good example of this is Laser. In the past, the charge up time of laser was so short, that nobody would be able to dodge a reasonably well-placed laser shot. Laser was hard to use, and it might not steal a lot of points, however, as a victim there was no way to combat it, and thus it was not fun to play against, and people could label it as unfair and quit the game. By increasing the charge up time, players are able to dodge laser if they need to.

c. Estimate correct attack and defense value for new power

Then we do some internal testing and estimate the balanced attack and defense numbers. However, this is hard because we are just a small team. In the end, we bring it to you guys and you can test it out and bring in the data

d. Collect and analyze data

We collect data on powers, like:

  • times it is installed in a ship
  • times it is used per round
  • hits done per round
  • hits received per round
  • points earned per round
  • points lost per round
  • survival points earned per round

We collect this data from all users. But for balancing the powers we only look at players who we think are able to handle the powers well. This means players with a rank of over 1400.

An important plot to make is the following plot:

In this plot, the points stolen is set out against the survival points earned. Each bubble is a power and the size of the power is the number of installs / user (counting for players who have not unlocked certain powers). If a power is high to the right, it means that it does well for survivability. One can expect to have jump and brake over there. If a power is high on the top, it means it steals a lot of points. Note that we subtracted the expectation value of survival points from the survival points axis, to better highlight the impact from steals and survivals. A power can be balanced when it earns a lot of survival points and when it doesn’t steal a lot of points. Or when it steals a lot of points and doesn’t earn a lot of survival points.

Note that there is a large spread in points stolen, but a relatively small spread in survivability. So powers have a big impact on how many points players steal, but not on how much surviving is impacted. In general, it is hard to make a power better in surviving, but it is relatively easy in letting a power steal fewer points (or prevent from points being stolen). The latter can be achieved by simply changing the attack and defense values of the power. Also, in general, it is easier to lower the attack value of a power than to increase the defense of a power.

e. Determine perfect balance line

We want to have a balance in the game between surviving and stealing points. This can be represented by a guiding line. A guiding line could be the pink line in the graph. This tells something about how important we want stealing to be. By lowering the pink line we can make the game more about surviving and less about stealing points. To make diverse gameplay we decided to lower the guiding line from the pink to the orange line. This will mean quite some lower attack values for many powers, but still more defense for most defensive powers like shield and brake.

Note that in the past we didn’t have these stats, and that is also why there are so many powers in imbalance before this update.

f. Account for ‘easy’ and ‘unpopular’ powers

If a power is very easy to use, we aim it to be for beginners to have fun with, but not necessarily for pros to use it all the time, as it requires little skill to use. On the other hand, if a power is unpopular at the moment, we might decide to balance it in favor of the power, so that more people will try it out.

What about this update

This update is the first update where we will try to get all powers on the orange guiding line. This means that most powers will see a reduction of their attack value. Some of the defensive powers will be changed not only in its defense but also on how they work:

  • brake: shorter cooldown
  • shield: shorter duration
  • thin: shorter cooldown
  • Corner: shorter cooldown

this so that they will become more popular to use.

So that is how we balance the game in a nutshell. Thanks for reading!


#2

So excited! :star_struck:

I find it pretty fascinating what is the weapon with this comparatively small dot at (6,11), though. :hushed: It seems like some extremely useful weapon that few people want to use.

Wonder what it is… some time ago I’d have said Multi Shot, but by now a lot of people got aware of its strength so it’s being played much more than before so that’s probably not the one. I’m thinking Trigger Bomb maybe… cause it’s hard to use and I generally see mostly the best players play it - so it might be that if someone is counted to its statistics, it’s only those who are best players in the first place… I guess? :thinking:

Could you disclose @Geert which are those 5 standing-out powers at the top of the chart, and this one sad lonely weak power whom nobody likes, at (8, -2) :sleepy::sleepy: (I’m thinking Angle Turns… Such sad a life for this weapon…)? Guess it’s not any large secret what the imbalances were, since we’ll learn this from seeing the att/def changes anyway :slight_smile:


#3

Cool, thanks for the effort to explain all that, it was really enlightening!

Question about the plot above: if I have shield equipped and hit someone with one shot, will both shield and one shot increase in net points stolen?
Also: does net points stolen also capture the points lost while having the module equipped?


#4

really good questions.

In short, we count up all the points stolen per round from either of the 2 powers and split them over both powers. This is because you never know if a brake or speed has aided you in attacking a person.

net points stolen = points stolen - points lost in a round. That is why it is negative for some powers


#5

This exactly what I was aiming for.

So I guess the reason it is not centered around 0 is because you only look at players with rating > 1400? Otherwise it should be 0 sum no? :thinking:


#6

that is right


#7

Just a question, you mostly base yourself on the pts stoled, but with can die in our own mine and Fever and we Will lose pts and recovering back Right after, i just wanted to know if those “suicide” was counted? Cuz i always see huge nerf to mine (especialy trigger :c)


#8

The net points stolen is points earned - points lost. Anyway, mines self triggering is not counted in the stats.


#9

Ok phew, only a tought in my head :stuck_out_tongue:


#10

I really don’t want to be a jerk, these informations and measuring methods look relevant, but there are still some facts i can’t get over.
image
This is stealth mine with 137 on lvl1, an attacking module.
I wanted to find a low level fever to compare, so here we have speedy on lvl2 with 184 attacking.
So far, all the fevers played a supporting/assisting role imo, but now fevers are better for attacking, than the tipically attacking modules.
So as for the mine modules, they are pretty much the same with fevers, a round stuff, what can be placed on the map and gives you points when sb drives into it. The big difference is, that fevers have an effect, and they give more points. That is illogical for me. Oh, and i didn’t even mention, that stealth is also a legendary item, but it doesn’t seem to be too legendary… So we also reached the point, where module types don’t mean anything anymore.


#11

Fevers, can’t let you break through walls etc. though. If you remember the graph Geert gave, mines and bombs which allow you to survive longer give fewer points than fevers which don’t help you survive longer at all. At the moment the game is still skewed towards powers who take points rather than powers which help you survive, but that is mostly because there are very few players who are really good at surviving. Once players get better at survival, pathfinding etc, it will be easier to compare the advantage you get from survival (making powers like mines etc, more valuable) with the advantage from point stealing. Also, now that the line has moved down from purple to orange, survival should become more important making stealth and other mine modules more valuable.

Also imo stealth, which with good placement consistently hits 2 or 3 players each round since its invisible, is still one of the best powers on the game.

(Hope what I said makes sense)


#12

This is surely healthy, hah?
Having all the field spammed with fevers, each of them stealing a lot of points (yes, more than mines) and causing a deadly effect.
I really don’t understand, how would this be normal and well balanced…


#13

Please sign my petition to put a limited life time on all drops :smile:


#14

idk looks ok to me…just the average curving for a grandmaster like you.


#15

whats wrong with it?


#16

I think fever spam over the gamefield is ok because otherwise would be like cf2 or cf3 with everybody camping xd
Cheers