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Why Balancing From A Bubble And Ignoring Your Community Is An Awful Idea, Pgi.


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Poll: User Satisfication Poll (596 member(s) have cast votes)

Are you happy with PGI's community interaction?

  1. Yes (133 votes [22.35%])

    Percentage of vote: 22.35%

  2. No (433 votes [72.77%])

    Percentage of vote: 72.77%

  3. Other (explain) (29 votes [4.87%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.87%

How do you feel MW:O is progressing?

  1. In the right direction (71 votes [11.93%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.93%

  2. More right than wrong (186 votes [31.26%])

    Percentage of vote: 31.26%

  3. More wrong than right (222 votes [37.31%])

    Percentage of vote: 37.31%

  4. In the wrong direction (105 votes [17.65%])

    Percentage of vote: 17.65%

  5. Other (Explain) (11 votes [1.85%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.85%

How balanced do you feel the mechs and weapons are?

  1. Well balanced (28 votes [4.71%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.71%

  2. More well balanced guns than badly balanced ones (192 votes [32.27%])

    Percentage of vote: 32.27%

  3. More badly balanced guns than well balanced ones (219 votes [36.81%])

    Percentage of vote: 36.81%

  4. Very imbalanced (144 votes [24.20%])

    Percentage of vote: 24.20%

  5. Other (Explain) (12 votes [2.02%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.02%

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#1 Victor Morson

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:04 PM

I'll start this post with an analogy. You ever know a kid growing up who thought he was the supreme fighting game champion, before games like that existed on the internet? He could beat all his friends routinely and played all the character campaigns.

Then said kid went to a neighborhood arcade and throw his quarter up against a group playing his best game. Little did he know, these people kept up on the hard data for the game, to really know which moves work and which do not. Said kid lasts about 10 seconds and doesn't land a single punch through repeated virtual beatings.

Now, those same arcade players go to a regional tournament, say nothing of nationals. Now they're against people who practice the exact same information, but do so for hours. They've developed combos based purely on frame data and math. Needless to say, the arcade players last as long as the first kid did.

What is my point? It's getting increasingly obvious that PGI is balancing from that kid's POV, from a complete bubble. They are seeing what weapons need buffs and nerfs based on two things:

- Overall number of people taking items/'mechs - this is a terrible indicator. As in my example, if you're just fighting a handful of people with no connection to the larger balanced world outside, you're likely to take bad characters 'mechs and gear. There's always going to be a low more people in lower skill brackets to keep those numbers up, too, even if anyone who sticks with the game (the people who pay most) will eventually shed all of them.

- More importantly, without an understanding how things play out in practice combined with our access to all the same weapon data PGI has lead to the upper crust of MW:O understanding the game far, far, far better than the devs or even the test team. While the developers simply do not have the time to spend on these aspects we do, their test team and whoever is handling balance should positively be connected to the community, including a direct line to more people who understand the game balance. There's a lot of top tier teams out there with a lot of players that would be valuable resource.

As for testers, if you aren't letting them on an open build every so often, they aren't going to get it.

We've run into PGI numerous times in game, and everyone at PGI runs horrible frankenbuilds. I'm unsure if this is because you think they are good in the game, or because you don't want to advertise the fact that taking the best items exclusively is how you actually win. I could buy either. But if your understanding of balance is so poor to think these work - similar to a lot of Fraken pilots who keep thinking they can make their build work and take every small victory against an equally awful 'mech as validation that they do - we have a problem.

Honestly you guys used to listen to the community and be, well, too involved. Lead devs would often come onto the forums and that likely bit you on the hand, I get that. I thought that was a bad idea at the time because I figured it'd eventually end badly. However, at some point, you guys swapped to the other extreme where now it feels like every time you try to balance the game, add a feature or change something, it feels like a random version of balance mad libs from people who no connect to the community, new and "pro" alike.

The total shutdown of communication from the supposed "Community Manager" has lead to a ton of apprehension. Paul announced that "Alpha-Strike nerf" concept that, if you read it carefully (6 Meds is specific to the Swayback, it's stated in the example, it likely kicks in at 4 for meds too) makes no sense and even in a best case scenario, does absolutely nothing about the builds that are actual problems..... and we rioted. We rioted and rioted and rioted until we sounded like broken records. Result: Nothing. Not one word.

This is to say nothing about the supreme backlash to things like 3rd person. While I fully understand the forums are a minority and we have a lot of niche, insane groups here (I really wish anyone trying to convert the game into a 1:1 Tabletop recreation would stop posting, honestly - spirit of the ideas are fine, but some of you would be happier with dice roll combat) that make it a chore sometimes, but overall... the forums are a cross section of the community. We've got casual posters, new posters, veteran posters.. sure it might be hard to sift through them all, but lately PGI outright ignores it when everyone is on the same page. When 95% of the forums agrees on something, you can bet that represents a huge part of your community, as well.

Long story short.. PGI, you need to stop the isolation. I hate to say this because I really thought you guys did a fine community job now, but whoever you have as a "community manager" needs to be.. reassigned promptly. They're not doing their job. They are offering no response to outcries, aren't opening dialogue with the kinds of players that could help grant them perspective and definitely aren't relaying our balance concerns.. except in one case: Massive overnerfing.

I've come to the conclusion that if there's enough topics on something - i.e. "LRMs OP!" - PGI will eventually massively nerf them into worthlessness eventually, and do so in a massively heavy handed manner. I expect once the PPC cries get loud enough, PPCs will abruptly be made into something inferior to a Machine Gun and then left there for months.

-

Again, I like so much about the game it is a shame to see it outright imploding from a balance POV and it largely seems to because the devs got tired of community crap and have just hit the mute button on everyone. IT'S NOT WORKING.

I would go as far as to say the situation remains dire. LRMs are proving not to be powerful enough to end the meta at this point, still badly needing at least a .1 damage boost. SRMs are still merely backup guns, leaving mediums without punch. PPC + Gauss remains the PB&J of the game and is the absolute best config (the fact there is an 'absolute best config' is bad) available no matter the 'mech. Large Pulse ate a nerf (The Small Pulse is good now, for the love of God don't touch it again), LBX/10 and AC/10 are crappy joke weapons - Ultra/5s aren't good without huge groups we can't mount on most 'mechs.. a lot of chassis are inferior purely on their badly designed hitboxes (looking at you, Jaggermech)..

It just goes on and on. There's entire classes of weapons that are worthless; nobody is going to be effective in a brawler build unless the damage output is greater than a sniper build up close, and it's not. Nobody is going to play an LRM 'mech if PPCs still provide twice the damage bonus - and don't tell me about indirect fire, because indirect fire is borderline useless right now. I'm OK with that, as it was the main reason LRMs were hard to balance, but I mean.. you're wasting ammo if your indirecting 9 times out of 10.

OK, at this point I've developed into a ramble, but I have been getting increasingly frustrated. It feels like we're not going in the right direction with the game to the point that PGI actively trying to tank their own game has become a meme.. and it's one with a lot of truth to it, given the way you guys have been handling both communication with the community and your concepts of balance.

I really think you guys locally play the game you think you've built, not the one that is actually here. You badly need to stop metrics from people doing the same, because they will inevitably reach one of two fates: Total burnout because they're tired of being outclassed by balance issues, or they adapt to those issues and become the thing that was killing them. The extreme minority of people who refuse to adapt but don't burn out are almost exclusively very bullheaded table top players who, again, would be happier with dice rolls.

You need to do something and soon. If we continue on this path for the next few months with zero community feedback, horribly wasted resources at PGI ("We don't have time to fix missiles, check out this -insert really awful universally hated concept here-!") and people tweaking balance that have clearly no clue at all about how balance is playing out in a practical environment, I'm really not sure we'll still have this game next year.

Also while there are a TON of terrible ideas on the forums, there have been many very good suggestions for fixes to many of these problems. Instead we get things like Paul announcing an alpha strike nerf that sounds like it was thought out and written down on the back of a napkin at a bar during a hard night of drinking. There's absolutely zero thought put into it, and people have explained over and over why, but yet that is still - at the time of this writing - the latest dev announcement. Not one word to the community back on it after pages and pages of it. That is an ugly situation.

So yeah. This turned out to be more of a rant than I intended it to be. I'm just watching this whole thing circle the drain because there's a couple people that have apparently decided to totally ignore universal outcries chose balancing decisions by throwing darts at a dartboard, likely again due to ignorance of doing balance testing purely within an internal test bubble on isolated builds in a game with this much room for min/max'ing. It's a terrible combo.

So I'll leave with this: Again, I wish no ill will to PGI or anyone working there. I know I am coming off as negative a lot, but if anything, I'm hoping that maybe something will get their attention and snap them out of this cycle. I've said it before, but if PGI were a person, I'd be calling an intervention to remind them of all the good things they've done and get people to try to talk them out of this incredibly self-destructive path they've gone to.

Edited by Victor Morson, 23 June 2013 - 02:11 PM.


#2 FupDup

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:14 PM

View PostVictor Morson, on 23 June 2013 - 02:04 PM, said:

I would go as far as to say the situation remains dire. LRMs are proving not to be powerful enough to end the meta at this point, still badly needing at least a .1 damage boost.


Actually, I'd say the main issue with Lurms (at least IMO) is that AMS seems a bit too strong and too many people equip it...this makes you pretty much have to boat Lurms in crazy amounts to get stuff done. A secondary issue might be projectile speed, because Lurms seem to be relatively poop if you try them from outside of ~500-600 meters. Right now they seem more like a brawling weapon meant for medium/close ranges than "long range" like their name implies they should be.


I won't comment on the other things right now because HOLY MOTHER OF GOD WALL O' TEXT!

Edited by FupDup, 23 June 2013 - 02:14 PM.


#3 Victor Morson

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:18 PM

View PostFupDup, on 23 June 2013 - 02:14 PM, said:

Actually, I'd say the main issue with Lurms (at least IMO) is that AMS seems a bit too strong and too many people equip it...this makes you pretty much have to boat Lurms in crazy amounts to get stuff done. A secondary issue might be projectile speed, because Lurms seem to be relatively poop if you try them from outside of ~500-600 meters. Right now they seem more like a brawling weapon meant for medium/close ranges than "long range" like their name implies they should be.


Agreed, that's definitely part of it. I think their raw damage is questionable as-is at 1.1, but the AMS they buffed to deal with the super missiles and didn't de-buff is rough.

Really I could write a whole other wall of text on that, but what it boils down to is AMS range. I think if the range was greatly reduced so it could only fire on missiles right before impact (also cutting down on the effect of missiles passing over allies with AMS and getting shredded on the way in) it would allow the AMS to remain balanced at it's new damage value.

So yeah. Definitely right on the AMS and I think adjusting it's range is the way to go to fix it, personally.

View PostFupDup, on 23 June 2013 - 02:14 PM, said:

I won't comment on the other things right now because HOLY MOTHER OF GOD WALL O' TEXT!


It turned into far more of one than I started out, honestly. I've been talking to a lot of the remaining unit leaders and this feeling is so thick in the air you could cut it with a knife and I myself have been more than a little frustrated with PPC Warrior lately, and I like PPCs! I don't even want them nerf'ed, but I do want brawlers and support that are viable counters.

Literally the only role worth playing if you're not a scout is sniper.

#4 Phaesphoros

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:20 PM

View PostVictor Morson, on 23 June 2013 - 02:04 PM, said:

The total shutdown of communication from the supposed "Community Manager" has lead to a ton of apprehension. Paul announced that "Alpha-Strike nerf" concept that, if you read it carefully (6 Meds is specific to the Swayback, it's stated in the example, it likely kicks in at 4 for meds too) makes no sense and even in a best case scenario, does absolutely nothing about the builds that are actual problems..... and we rioted. We rioted and rioted and rioted until we sounded like broken records. Result: Nothing. Not one word.

This is to say nothing about the supreme backlash to things like 3rd person. While I fully understand the forums are a minority and we have a lot of niche, insane groups here (I really wish anyone trying to convert the game into a 1:1 Tabletop recreation would stop posting, honestly - spirit of the ideas are fine, but some of you would be happier with dice roll combat) that make it a chore sometimes, but overall... the forums are a cross section of the community. We've got casual posters, new posters, veteran posters.. sure it might be hard to sift through them all, but lately PGI outright ignores it when everyone is on the same page. When 95% of the forums agrees on something, you can bet that represents a huge part of your community, as well.

Long story short.. PGI, you need to stop the isolation. I hate to say this because I really thought you guys did a fine community job now, but whoever you have as a "community manager" needs to be.. reassigned promptly. They're not doing their job. They are offering no response to outcries, aren't opening dialogue with the kinds of players that could help grant them perspective and definitely aren't relaying our balance concerns.. except in one case: Massive overnerfing.

The rest is a matter of debate. PGI is very silent, and even more in the last weeks (we don't even get ISN News Flashes any more). If you miss a deadline, I expect an explanation and/or apologies. Not silence. If you're too busy with UI 2.0 / launch preparation / whatever... tell us. Don't ever be silent, how else should we know you're still alive?

Edit: Oh and your information publishing management is a joke. There's info on twitter, reddit, facebook, NGNG / interviews, your so-called "Knowledge base" and spread out in the entire forum. Even if you weren't silent, you've had to check all those to find something.

Edited by Phaesphoros, 23 June 2013 - 02:25 PM.


#5 Victor Morson

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:23 PM

View PostPhaesphoros, on 23 June 2013 - 02:20 PM, said:

The rest is a matter of debate. PGI is very silent, and even more in the last weeks (we don't even get ISN News Flashes any more). If you miss a deadline, I expect an explanation and/or apologies. Not silence. If you're too busy with UI 2.0 / launch preparation / whatever... tell us. Don't ever be silent, how else should we know you're still alive?


Communication goes a long way.

For example with the alpha nerf I ranted on, I've said before and will say again.. just one tweet would have quelled community rage. A simple "Hey we heard your feedback, we're looking into it!" would have done the trick.

That's the primary job of a community manager and partly why I'm saying that stuff too. These guys used to be very involved but lately it feels like there is a complete disconnect.

#6 Chavette

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:25 PM

Yeah, I feel like April was the highpoint of the game, after that it went all bugged up and they came out with the hgn they've been trying to nerf properly ever since.

They were actually talking to people too, many of them.

#7 FupDup

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:27 PM

View PostVictor Morson, on 23 June 2013 - 02:04 PM, said:

The total shutdown of communication from the supposed "Community Manager" has lead to a ton of apprehension. Paul announced that "Alpha-Strike nerf" concept that, if you read it carefully (6 Meds is specific to the Swayback, it's stated in the example, it likely kicks in at 4 for meds too) makes no sense and even in a best case scenario, does absolutely nothing about the builds that are actual problems..... and we rioted. We rioted and rioted and rioted until we sounded like broken records. Result: Nothing. Not one word.

Having re-read the post, I can't see anything that says that the Swayback will get a different limit than other mechs. Here is the part I'm using as evidence:

Posted Image

He doesn't say anything along the lines of "6 is the limit just for the Swayback, other mechs get a different limit." All in all, there is no evidence to suggest that 4 ML would be the limit on non-Swayback chassis (besides the point, 4 is just a stupid number to put it at because ML aren't an issue no matter how many of them you mount).

Edited by FupDup, 23 June 2013 - 02:27 PM.


#8 Corvus Antaka

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:27 PM

I disagree. The only major problem right now is the PPC/Gauss/AC40 alpha boats, and PGI knows and is working on fixes.

Outside my disagreement with no collisiosns/DFA for release otherwise i think the game is doing well, and once UI 2.0 hits and fixes come in for the pinpoint alpha heat issues things should be close to just fine.

Patience for now.

#9 Victor Morson

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:27 PM

View PostChavette, on 23 June 2013 - 02:25 PM, said:

Yeah, I feel like April was the highpoint of the game, after that it went all bugged up and they came out with the hgn they've been trying to nerf properly ever since.

They were actually talking to people too, many of them.


I think April was pretty much the exact time I feel like things started flying off the rails too. Not because of the Highlander, but like you say, it's when it feels like they totally isolated themselves and have remained that way since.

Again, I realize it's probably a bad idea for major devs to frequently post on the forums under their real identities and how that can go to some strange community entitlement backlash fast. I'm just wishing that someone was keeping their finger on the community pulse, and releasing statements either on the site or social media, to keep us tuned in. That's the happy middle ground most companies take, and I think it's very reasonable.

#10 Sephlock

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:27 PM

Quote

We've run into PGI numerous times in game, and everyone at PGI runs horrible frankenbuilds. I'm unsure if this is because you think they are good in the game, or because you don't want to advertise the fact that taking the best items exclusively is how you actually win. I could buy either. But if your understanding of balance is so poor to think these work - similar to a lot of Fraken pilots who keep thinking they can make their build work and take every small victory against an equally awful 'mech as validation that they do - we have a problem.


I was just thinking- wouldn't it be HILARIOUS if the Clan invasion was initiated by random people being dropped into matches against stock Clan mechs piloted by devs :D?

The epic slaughter...



@ 0:28 MLAS SPAM + PINPOINT AIM!

@ 1:06 LRM RAIN!

(Honestly, pinpoint convergence ALONE should screw over a lot of clan mechs solely because every single one will only be as strong as its most heavily armored side torso... EVERYONE with brains will simply aim for a side torso and BAM, dead clanner.)

Edited by Sephlock, 23 June 2013 - 02:28 PM.


#11 Homeless Bill

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:28 PM

The only thing that irritates me is that they offer no rationale for whatever they do announce. There's no explanation for why they think nine medium lasers is as big of a problem as five PPCs. There's no explanation for why a heat penalty was picked over other potential solutions. They just make a decision, give us no reason for it, and roll with it. And altering course after that decision is made never happens.

PGI can't be hostage to the community's desires, but they shouldn't ignore it, either.

#12 FupDup

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:29 PM

View PostSephlock, on 23 June 2013 - 02:27 PM, said:

(Honestly, pinpoint convergence ALONE should screw over a lot of clan mechs solely because every single one will only be as strong as its most heavily armored side torso... EVERYONE with brains will simply aim for a side torso and BAM, dead clanner.)

Clan XL engines take 2 side torso destructions for a kill because they only occupy 2 slots per side torso (the TT rule is 3 engine crits = death).

Edited by FupDup, 23 June 2013 - 02:29 PM.


#13 Sephlock

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:31 PM

View PostFupDup, on 23 June 2013 - 02:29 PM, said:


Clan XL engines take 2 side torso destructions for a kill because they only occupy 2 slots per side torso (the TT rule is 3 engine crits = death).
Fair enough, but do you honestly think PGI has programmed it that way? (as opposed to "IF XL ENGINE THEN LOSING SIDETORSO = DEATH"?

#14 Victor Morson

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:31 PM

View PostFupDup, on 23 June 2013 - 02:27 PM, said:

Having re-read the post, I can't see anything that says that the Swayback will get a different limit than other mechs. Here is the part I'm using as evidence:

...

He doesn't say anything along the lines of "6 is the limit just for the Swayback, other mechs get a different limit." All in all, there is no evidence to suggest that 4 ML would be the limit on non-Swayback chassis (besides the point, 4 is just a stupid number to put it at because ML aren't an issue no matter how many of them you mount).


It's confusingly written, but this part is what I'm talking about:

Quote

Mech Model: Hunchback-4P
This Mech (known as the Swayback) is capable of firing 9 energy weapons all at the same time. There are 6 energy hardpoints in the pod on its shoulder, one on each arm and one on the head. The most common build for this Mech is to boat it with Medium Lasers.

We take into consideration that the 6-pack pod is intended to be fired all at once and a player should not be penalized for this. It is for this reason that we would set the Medium Laser threshold to 6; meaning that firing 6 MLs simultaneously will NOT suffer from a heat scale penalty. The 6 MLs will generate the standard amount of heat currently in the game.


I believe it was confirmed at some point that this 6-limit is a specific quirk to the Swayback because it is "supposed to fire 6 from it's shoulder pack." Namely that various 'mechs would get various quirks that override the core limit, which sounds like it would start at 4.

The goofiest part about it is, however, that this does absolutely nothing about 3 PPC/1 Gauss boats that are the actual issue in the first place, however.

Edited by Victor Morson, 23 June 2013 - 02:32 PM.


#15 Sephlock

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:32 PM

View PostHomeless Bill, on 23 June 2013 - 02:28 PM, said:

The only thing that irritates me is that they offer no rationale for whatever they do announce. There's no explanation for why they think nine medium lasers is as big of a problem as five PPCs. There's no explanation for why a heat penalty was picked over other potential solutions. They just make a decision, give us no reason for it, and roll with it. And altering course after that decision is made never happens.

PGI can't be hostage to the community's desires, but they shouldn't ignore it, either.
They don't- its just that when they do listen, it's about the wrong things (LRMs, SSRMs).

#16 FupDup

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:32 PM

View PostSephlock, on 23 June 2013 - 02:31 PM, said:

Fair enough, but do you honestly think PGI has programmed it that way? (as opposed to "IF XL ENGINE THEN LOSING SIDETORSO = DEATH"?

Their current programming is most likely the way you're referring to, but I'd imagine that they would make a special rule for Clan XL (especially for the poor, poor Timber Wolf...).

#17 Victor Morson

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:34 PM

View PostSephlock, on 23 June 2013 - 02:32 PM, said:

They don't- its just that when they do listen, it's about the wrong things (LRMs, SSRMs).


I get the impression that they read the topics, not the content, and if they see enough topics on a subject they blindly nerf it instead of at least skimming the threads to read points/counter-points.

EDIT: Kind of shocked/laughing that anyone voted "Well balanced" on the gun list. Someone hasn't tried to take an LBX 'mech against a Gauss PPC one, I think.

Edited by Victor Morson, 23 June 2013 - 02:36 PM.


#18 FupDup

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:36 PM

View PostVictor Morson, on 23 June 2013 - 02:31 PM, said:

...
Namely that various 'mechs would get various quirks that override the core limit, which sounds like it would start at 4
....

Well, until I see hard evidence in the form of a dev post with confirmation I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that builds like the 6 ML Jenner/Quickdraw don't get pooped on. Right now we're just abstracting text that doesn't make any concrete claims about the limit differing per chassis.

Where do you keep getting the specific value of 4 from, anyways?

Edited by FupDup, 23 June 2013 - 02:36 PM.


#19 Iron Hyena

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:36 PM

You have very long winded opinions. Most of us think the game is fine.

#20 Felbombling

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:39 PM

Vic, I cannot imagine that you honestly think there are players here who want dice rolling in this game. The closest I've seen to suggest that would be people asking for the death of pinpoint weapon convergence, and offering up systems that help simulate something less game-breaking. You lost me there, while I generally agree with most everything else you've said in your post.

The one thing that just blows my mind, endlessly, is the total lack of forethought going into some of the decisions PGI make. I've got friends that will never come back after getting thrown to the wolves as a new player. The way ECM was implemented was downright shocking. Their vice-like determination not to change some obviously broken core mechanics is just amazing, as well. I cannot imagine this game being in balance at any level until they revisit some core mechanics, because you can tweak the living **** out of every weapon on the chart, but unless the core mechanics change, people will just migrate to the next best weapon. It is plain as day that it has happened, continues to happen and will continue again and again.





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