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Mech Rebalance And Pts


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#1 Paul Inouye

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:04 PM

Hello MechWarriors,

So here's the big scoop about the new 'Mech Rebalance.

First off, let me explain the reason why this rebalance is happening. When we first started balancing the Inner Sphere 'Mechs, it was completely about making sure that every chassis had a role and that loadouts were not abused. Over the course of a year, we essentially balanced IS vs IS 'Mech technology/loadouts. Then came the Clan Invasion, and with it the introduction of Clan technology to the game. Clan technology is and commonly known to be over-powered using BattleTech rules. This is not what we wanted in MechWarrior Online.

Many of the past MechWarrior games resulted in an arms race trying to get to a few Clan 'Mechs, and everything from that point on was rendered pointless/obsolete. What we did for MWO was trying to keep as much flavor of Clan technology as we could without allowing it to be outright over-powered. We did this via distributed damage by the weapons, meaning Clan Autocannons would spread damage by firing multiple shots per volley, Clan lasers would burn for longer durations, Clan missiles would fire in streamed clusters. If the Clans were 100% over-powered, this change brought them down to about 70% over-powered. Slight changes were being introduced at this point to try to bring that down even further. It was also at this time that I was heavily invested in both time and attention into getting Community Warfare ready for the holiday season.

A set of fixes for overall 'Mech rebalances were suggested from certain parties, which made efforts to address the concerns of certain play styles and the competitive-based tiering of 'Mech capabilities. This eventually spawned into the Quirk system that is currently in the game. I will not try to pass the buck off on this, as it was my responsibility to monitor what was happening outside of Community Warfare. What I saw was an ever-growing disparity between a standard 'Mech chassis and the min/max end result of quirked 'Mechs. The level of power creep was growing with every pass of the quirk system, and certain 'Mechs started to perform far above their intended loadout capabilities. Community Warfare was finally wrapping up its intensive and time-pressured core development, and more of my time could now be spent on other parts of the game. This started a long series of discussions revolving around the current 'Mech balance and the direction that Quirks were taking the game.

After these long talks, it became very apparent that the new Quirk system was taking balancing in a direction we did not want to go in the first place. While the overall structure of the Quirk system had the right frame of mind, the implementation and values were straying too far from a properly balanced playing field.

This brings us to where we are today. Before bringing another large influx of players into the game through Steam, we need to take the opportunity now to reset and balance the 'Mechs in a manner that is best for the game in the long run.

I have to be honest with you; some of you will love this new system, others will hate it (especially those who might rely on 'meta' builds that push the limits of the current Quirk system). That being said, here is what the new balance system brings to MWO that the current system does not. Information Warfare/InfoTech is being brought to the forefront of 'Mech capabilities. This is something we had left untouched for far too long, but now is our chance to get it up to date. The time it takes for receiving target information, the distances over which you can share information and how long you can keep said information are all being implemented on a per-chassis basis. Another aspect that the new system brings into play is balancing ‘Mechs against each other at the variant level, prior to balancing them against each other at the chassis level. Once the variants have been balanced and made unique, each chassis within the same weight class is then investigated and rebalanced. It is only after all of this happens that we look at the final balance gap between IS and Clan technology.

The Process:

Each variant for a given chassis is examined based on its loadout, agility, and geometric layout (such as where the hardpoints are located). Each 'Mech is then given a score based on those factors. The scores fall into 4 categories: Protection (armor/structure), Firepower (loadout/hardpoint location/cooling efficiency), Mobility (speed/torso twist/torso pitch/etc) and InfoTech (this is new, but incorporates information gathering time, target retention time, and information sharing ranges/sensor ranges). These scores are then combined to give a base number which is used to compare variants within the chassis, and the first pass of balancing is then performed. No 'Mech within a chassis will be highly efficient in all 4 categories. This is where the first layer of 'Mech balance and Role Warfare makes each variant unique within its chassis. Here is an example using the Jenner JR7-D:

Posted Image

In the image above you will see that the Jenner D was more about movement and mid-range firepower. Its InfoTech score was set to the middle of the road as it shares InfoTech common to all 'Mechs at this current moment. To differentiate the Jenner D from its counterparts we buffed its ability to be more heat efficient and gave it the ability to gather information very quickly at longer ranges. Its overall protection doesn't change, as it is a Light 'Mech geared toward a more scouting-oriented role. The delta can be seen in the image below:

Posted Image

If you are the type of player who wants to play the Jenner in more of a striker role, you would probably go for the Jenner F at this point. To accommodate its specific role compared to the JR7-D, we would buff the JR7-F to have higher inner structure and higher firepower capabilities at the cost of reduced sensor range/sensor speed.

This is essentially the drive for the inter-chassis differentiation of variants. Next, we look at the global scoring of all 'Mechs of the same weight. 35-ton 'Mechs will now target an average 4-score system that will have them all performing around the same level. The above is repeated for each 'Mech variant in each 'Mech weight class. So yes, a 40-ton 'Mech has a different score to adhere to than a 45-ton 'Mech. The score will not vary widely, but it's enough to give it a slight edge over its counterpart.

This system is then run across every 'Mech in the game. All Inner Sphere 'Mechs are now in a relatively decent area for balance. Further tuning is needed, and there may be some data entry errors in the current PTS build, but it's important that we get what amounts to a massive change in the balancing system for MWO in front of you all as soon as possible. Much the same approach as above was taken for the Clans, but Omni-Pods of course had to be accounted for in the variant specific scores.

This brings us to today and the Public Test we are going to be running. The current PTS build comprises the first set of numbers in the database, and all of them are still open for tuning (drastically or only slightly, depending on metrics and your feedback).

There are aspects covered in this write-up, such as the above diamond graphs, that we will add to the 'Mech Stats screens when this feature goes live on to the production servers. We hope you can find some time to try out the new system and provide constructive feedback on what these changes have done to your style of gameplay.

Thank you for participating in the ‘Mech Rebalance PTS, and thank you for playing.


TL;DR:
* You should read the above.
* The current quirk system is not working as intended.
* The new system brings 'Mechs much more closely in line with each other while adding role and information warfare in a much deeper meaning to each 'Mech.
* This is the first pass at numbers and your feedback is requested.
* There are bugs and missing information elements but they will be addressed in a later build.

#2 Tennex

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:42 PM

Really love what you guys are going for

Love that mechs are getting looked at from the mobility and armor angle. If this system fails, i would love mobility and armor quirks to be added to our current system.

By removing weapon quirks, it takes another variable out of weapon balancing and just makes weapon balancing so much easier.
It also no long pigeonholes variants into specific builds

Instead of relying on weapon buffs, you guys are replacing them with mobility, protection and information buffs.
Really dig that concept, but its something that would take several months of public play to actually get balanced. (though it seems to me, it would be very arbitrary to decide whether a mech should get mobility, protection, or infowarfare buffs)

Also, huge problem with information warfare. Information warfare part of it is nonexistant, hard to use something as a balance point, when the Information warfare system is so shallow and underdeveloped. So it seems like some artificial depth was attempted with this target acquisition/relay difference btwn chassis.

We need some REAL depth in Information Warfare there needs to be multiple Information Warfare gameplay elements outside of just playing with visual target acquisition.

Edited by Tennex, 12 September 2015 - 06:28 AM.


#3 Tennex

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:48 PM

What is posted above seems to be under the assumption that all 4 components that you guys are looking at (firepower, movement, protection, infotech) are of equal contribution to balance. But with information warfare as it is now, it doesn't seem like that particular part of the rhombus is as robust as it should be. Therefore buffing/nerfing the information ability of a mech in this "Mechwarrior Value" system may have very limited impact.

For example, as Information warfare works in game now, i dont personally see any reason to take a mech with its rhombus leading towards Information Warfare over one with high firepower. (Why take a mech that can acquire targets 50% faster over one that has 5% more damage to Medium Lasers?)

Heres a suggestion from a previous thread that got 130+ upvotes. It can potentially bring a lot of depth to information warfare I hope you guys will consider it, at least further down the line:

http://mwomercs.com/...49#entry4564949

View PostTennex, on 15 July 2015 - 02:47 PM, said:

Heres a suggestion to information warfare/fixing ECM
Give all mechs Seismic Sensor by default as a "Radar"

Almost all mechs equip the module seismic sensor. It has become the de facto Radar of Mechwarrior Online. (don't freak out. Think of this change as just Seismic Sensor with more integration into Role Warfare)
Summary of what changing seismic sensor to Radar will do for the game :
  • Active/Passive Radar
  • True to lore implementation of ECM. That doesn't break all missiles
  • Visual/Missile Targeting is the ONLY mechanic of Information Warfare right now. This change will fix that
  • True to lore implementation of whatever the hell radar tech you can think of
  • Null Sig
And here is the how:



By actually having a Radar mechanic you are are able to implement features that are true to lore.
Meanwhile the Radar(seismic sensor) portion of the game is still kept separate from the Missile Lock/Visual Lock portion of the game. What this mean is:

#1 Just because you see mechs on your Radar(seismic sensor) doesn't mean you can lob LRMs at them. Just because you see them on Radar, doesn't mean you can have damage information on them. (A problem the developers sought to get rid of from the old game.)

#2 Lore ECM: Having a separate Radar and Missile targeting system means that ECM can have the Radar jamming portion of its function (invisible from Radar, jams enemy's Radar), without the missile targeting interference. I.E true to lore and does not break an entire 1/3 of the weapons.
Posted Image

#3 You can tune/adjust a mech's Radar capability without hindering its Missile/Visual Targeting ability. I.E if you lower the Missile Targeting range from 1000 you can no longer effectively use LRMS. Whereas if you lower the Radar radius there is no effect on viability of Missile weapons. Worried that giving light mechs 2x Visual/Missile Lock will wreck the game? Worry no more, giving light mechs 2x Radar range is fine and encouraged!

#4 Passive/Active Radar! Turn off your own Radar(Seismic Sensor), and other mechs will not see you on their Radar. This means mechs will still be able to sneak around, and have that stealth gameplay.



Heck, devs can add Null Sig if they wanted to if it no longer has functionality overlap with ECM. Miss your Sniper Raven? Slap that Null Sig onto a Rave, turn on Passive Radar and it works just like ECM does now without the broken umbrella.



Quote

The time it takes for receiving target information, the distances over which you can share information and how long you can keep said information are all being implemented on a per-chassis basis.


Tried it out, and honestly the Information Warfare system you guys are trying which resolves around target gathering time, and target relay time which differs between chassis makes things needlessly complicated and only hurts missiles.

I think if the Information Warfare system was more robust, you guys would have more to work with. But right now all its doing is making things complicated and not really contributing much in the end.

Edited by Tennex, 13 September 2015 - 08:30 AM.


#4 IraqiWalker

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:50 PM

Expect rage a plenty, but please sift past it and get to the good nuggets of feedback.

Also, glad to see this test session has no declared end time as of yet. This will allow us to really let loose.

Edited by IraqiWalker, 11 September 2015 - 01:51 PM.


#5 Wolf Clearwater

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:53 PM

ROLE WARFARE!!!!!!

#6 FupDup

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:54 PM

What stuck out to me the most:

View PostPaul Inouye, on 11 September 2015 - 01:04 PM, said:

Next, we look at the global scoring of all 'Mechs of the same weight. 35-ton 'Mechs will now target an average 4-score system that will have them all performing around the same level. The above is repeated for each 'Mech variant in each 'Mech weight class. So yes, a 40-ton 'Mech has a different score to adhere to than a 45-ton 'Mech. The score will not vary widely, but it's enough to give it a slight edge over its counterpart.


So if I'm reading this correctly, do you intend for the higher-tonnage mech to have a higher PowerLevel than the lower-tonnage mech (i.e. 45 ton mech superior to 40 ton mech)?

Edited by FupDup, 11 September 2015 - 01:54 PM.


#7 Chemie

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:55 PM

"All Inner Sphere 'Mechs are now in a relatively decent area for balance."

Great but are they balanced AGAINST clan mechs? It does not sound like they are. (They were not before the original quirks)

#8 jay35

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:55 PM

Paul,

I liked your post. I want to believe. It sounds wonderful. I just hope the end result is not a sea of sameness where the delta or variations between mechs is so minor as to be irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, i.e., actual gameplay.

For example, removing the Gauss quirk from the Grid Iron removes a unique gameplay element that makes it different from the other ballistic-hunched HBKs. Throwing a bunch of structure quirks on it does nothing to return that unique playstyle to it. It is a net loss for gameplay or playstyle diversity. It wasn't OP, it was just unique. That's the sort of quirk change that results in a sea of sameness because now the Grid Iron, regardless of what minor quirk it might get, no longer has a uniqueness to it and a unque playstyle that it offered (rapid-firing Gauss) has been removed from the game entirely.

Any thoughts on how to overcome that risk of sameness with the changes you described, particularly the removal of distinct weapon quirks?

Why not leave the Grid Iron's quirk alone, since with the quirk it scores strong in the firepower corner of the score spectrum and scores weak in the structure due to the XL engine people run in order to run the Gauss effectively. It scores average on maneuverability, so determine whether to nerf its sensors a bit if necessary and then you have it balanced on the grand scale but still unique within its chassis and weight class.

-----------

Tennex: Additional thoughts provided to the post you linked regarding Active/Passive radar, which I agree would be a wonderful addition to the info warfare pillar: http://mwomercs.com/...ost__p__4641721

Edited by jay35, 11 September 2015 - 02:04 PM.


#9 Alanna von Trebond

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:55 PM

This seems to be a step into the right direction!

#10 stjobe

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:56 PM

View PostPaul Inouye, on 11 September 2015 - 01:04 PM, said:

Next, we look at the global scoring of all 'Mechs of the same weight. 35-ton 'Mechs will now target an average 4-score system that will have them all performing around the same level. The above is repeated for each 'Mech variant in each 'Mech weight class. So yes, a 40-ton 'Mech has a different score to adhere to than a 45-ton 'Mech. The score will not vary widely, but it's enough to give it a slight edge over its counterpart.

I really, really hope I'm misunderstanding something here, because it sounds like you're saying that e.g. 45-ton 'mechs will be better than 40-ton 'mechs.

There already is little reason to pick a 'mech that isn't 35, 55, 75, or 100 tons, so please alleviate my fears that my Commandos will still be sub-par after this thing hits live.

#11 FupDup

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:57 PM

Another thing...you have quirks for durability, mobility, and sensors now, but almost entirely removed all firepower quirks. If firepower is one of the four dimensions to measure a mech's PowerLevel, I think that it's fair for firepower boosts on whichever chassis/variants are deemed to need it.

I can understand that you might not want things like 40% cooldown or whatever, but did the smaller weapon quirks like 5% range or 10% spread have to completely die in the process?

#12 Saint Atlas and the Commando Elf

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:57 PM

You seem to take the whole community feedback approach really serious now. I like that.

#13 Shredhead

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:59 PM

Could you please be more specific for all the people that can't run the PTS, because those graphs are nice and shiny, but I can't still determine how you intend to influence that diamond to change its shape. There are no numbers attached, and I don't even know if you want to keep quirks, or if you just change numbers in the game files for certain mechs. This is way too vague. Maybe you could show with the Jenner and maybe the Thunderbolt as examples, go into details please!

#14 Yosharian

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 02:01 PM

The Inner Sphere is dead. Long live the Clans.

#15 Averath

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 02:03 PM

View PostTennex, on 11 September 2015 - 01:48 PM, said:

From what is posted above seems to be under the assumption that all 4 components that you guys are looking at (firepower, movement, protection, infotech) are of equal contribution to balance. But with information warfare as it is now, it doesn't seem like that particular part of the rhombus is as robust as it should be. Therefore buffing/nerfing the information ability of a mech in this "Mechwarrior Value" system may have very limited impact.

For example, as Information warfare works in game now, i dont personally see any reason to take a mech with its rhombus leading towards Information Warfare over one with high firepower. (Why take a mech that can acquire targets 50% faster over one that has 5% more damage to Medium Lasers?)

Heres a suggestion from a previous thread that got 120+ upvotes I hope you guys will consider it, at least further down the line:



http://mwomercs.com/...ost__p__4564949


This seems to be an exceptional idea. Even if it doesn't work out, it is still definitely something to experiment with and try. You'll never know how well it will work if you don't even try it.

#16 IraqiWalker

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 02:04 PM

View PostYosharian, on 11 September 2015 - 02:01 PM, said:

The Inner Sphere is dead. Long live the Clans.

No, it really isn't. I'd recommend at this point that you cool off. Most of us are actually going to test things out, and start collecting data, and offering feedback. you know... Actually help out.

Whining won't help. Especially since we don't even know if PGI will end up changing anything after the test is done.

Edited by IraqiWalker, 11 September 2015 - 02:05 PM.


#17 Kmieciu

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 02:05 PM

View PostPaul Inouye, on 11 September 2015 - 01:04 PM, said:

If you are the type of player who wants to play the Jenner .

Hardly anyone uses the Jenner due to it's enormous CT hitbox.

#18 Perci

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 02:06 PM

I know this would require a drastic change but I would like to see quirks linked in with the faction and community warfare,

for example for each level of Davion faction loyalty you gain you can choose a ballistic skill quirk, or Steiner you would get a armour quirk, due to their mechanics and manufacturing specialization in that area. but you can only have one set of quirks applied to your mech and only if you are under contract to them.

also you can factor in planets with manufacturing facilities to give community warfare actual purpose.

#19 Monky

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 02:07 PM

Hooooo boy.

I just don't see how you're going to balance real firepower advantages on maps with static spawns and terrain (which allows scouting by deduction) with info warfare.

I mean, damn.

#20 coe7

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 02:07 PM

Congratulations for adding totally useless infotech stuff. You really do not understand your own game it seems? Anyone with even a sliver of skill hits the same with or without red box around the mech. Who are you trying to fool here? the masses I assume.

If this was the long awaited BV, you really should hop in an see what your highest tier players do in this game. Balance made for below average players has never worked on any game in history of gaming. Dissing meta players in your post and trying to limit how players should play your game really shows your ability as a player and in the end, as a designer.

Edited by coe7, 11 September 2015 - 02:09 PM.






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