Balancing Team Games

When it comes to comp FPS multiplayer. How would approach balancing? looking at games like destiny and overwatch balance seems impossible with patches to fix things which may cause other problems and so on.

Okay, balancing a game like Destiny is probably impossible. It has random loot drops if I’m not mistaken, the complexity is way too high.

Overwatch seems more workable. I’m admittedly not an expert on the game, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Basically, Overwatch has a ton of character types that seem fairly useless, like all the snipers, turrets, and Mei. They’ve never been good, they probably never will be good, given the format of the game. They’ve been consistently bottom tier since the game came out. They’re strong at one thing, but have weak versatility, and are generally not objective oriented.

Meanwhile, some characters are consistently top tier, and they’re the healers, especially Lucio. Lucio is a combination healer and damage dealer that also speeds his team up. So he’s everything at once, totally indispensable. There’s a patch coming that aims to rework his concept so his healing range is smaller, his projectiles move faster, he heals faster, and can move faster from wallrides. The idea is instead of him just healbuffing fucking everyone, he has to pick and choose who to stand close to. He’ll still probably be top tier after this change, but it will do the game good.

There are some statements from one of the developers on balance in here.

One thing I have to agree with is, purely examining the pick rate in high level competitive play is not the best method of making a tier list. No fighting game would have tiers based on this type of metric. The trouble is that because it’s a team game, going the matchup route that fighting games have isn’t as effective in determining tiering, so character picks is about the only metric available. However based on the tier lists I keep seeing, it seems that a lot of the mid-tier characters are toss-ups, which is fine, but any character that is competent at healing becomes S-rank, and there’s all these character archetypes that seem to be noob crushers, but worthless in any effective capacity.

The other thing that seems to happen is that characters see-saw wildly from patch to patch due to heavy handed changes. We’re seeing 20-50% changes to the attributes of various characters in the patchnotes. Compare this to the Season 2 SFV changes, or the most recent balance patch and the difference should be obvious, most things are adjusted much more slightly in that game. As the game’s life cycle progresses, patches should be more and more gradual, as well as spaced out further from each other. Changing too much at once makes it difficult to tell what exactly is going to happen. Making the changes too big can over-correct and make the character too good or bad, or have unpredictable effects. You’d expect balance to improve over time, and perception of balance issues to improve over time, so progressively longer is necessary to pick up on balance issues, and the corrections can be less severe. Since we’re still seeing massive changes to character statistics, it’s an indication that either the balance team doesn’t know what they’re doing, or the game is still poorly balanced and needs big adjustments to bring characters in line.

Improving balance takes a delicate touch, and the right touch.

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