Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,971
Just so that this debate doesn't derail any other threads.

I know that many people here have expressed a dislike for balancing the game's space combat around duels. But let us collect the arguments for and against it:

Arguments that I see speak for balancing around duels:
  • 1v1 situations occur a lot in the game. In any PvP mode, you will have situations where 1v1 just happens. Having balanced the game around something else than 1v1 will essentially make some players feel like they are in an inferior ship. That is not a good feeling, and would thus be bad game marketing.
  • In fiction, 1v1 fights are exceptionally common, because they are attractive. It all depends on the hero and the villain, with no outside interference. "Who is the better man" is just an interesting question... in fiction. (In reality, it is a bit silly, of course, but that makes it no less attractive in fiction.)
  • It is much easier to test a combat system in 1v1 with multiple pairings than to organize a "test match" with a dozen or so people. It just requires less time, fewer people and less analysis to find out what is going on in 1v1.
  • It is easier to set up a system that is balanced for 1v1 which then scales well for higher numbers then to select a certain team size, balance everything around that team size, and then have it scale up and down properly so that people might enjoy anything else but matches of teams of exactly that size, because if one ship is a self-contained combat unit, bigger team sizes are just multiples of self-contained combat units, while when, say 4 ships are balanced as a self-contained combat unit, you have to find additional ways to have that half combat unit be useful in a 10v10 match, for example.

I would ask those who think that there are good arguments for balancing around a certain team size to list the arguments for it?
Career Officer
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 638
# 2
01-31-2013, 02:35 AM
A question: What is your definition of 1v1 balance?

Does this mean that for every ship S(1) with build B(1) and for every ship S(2) there exists a build B(2) such that S(2)+B(2) beats S(1)+B(1)? Or does it mean that one can (only) force a draw with the best build B(2)? Or does it mean that every build/ship can beat every other build/ship just via superior piloting skills?


A comment: You claim that it will be easy to scale 1v1 up to larger fights. Is that necessarily so?

Take for example chess. Nearly perfectly balanced 1v1, but how exactly would you implement a 2v2 chess match that is not just two parallel and independently played 1v1s? (I concede that chess is not a particularly good example.)
I am not convinced that it is particularly easy to implement 1v1 balance that scales up to bigger fights. Maybe you could offer an example of a game that uses this approach and works well?


Another comment: Look at Starcraft. Units are not balanced 1v1. On the other hand races are balanced in 1v1 and scale reasonably well in multiplayer fights. So I guess a 1v1 approach is not totally useless for balancing. On the other hand it if you take ships to be the equivalent of SC races, they will all end up being able to do pretty much the same.
I think much of the StarCraft 1v1 race balance relies on the fact that you can permanently adjust your strategy to match your opponent's attacks. In STO you cannot really alter your ship's boff and gear setup on the fly, so you would need to balance a static system for 1v1 and upscaling. Are you sure that this can be done without making all ships be almost identical to each other?
http://hilbertguide.com

Last edited by mancom; 01-31-2013 at 02:47 AM.
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,971
# 3
01-31-2013, 02:57 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mancom View Post
A question: What is your definition of 1v1 balance?
"One ship fights one ship. If both captains are equally competent and gear is of equivalent quality, the fight has equal chances to have one ship win, or have the other ship win."

Quote:
A comment: You claim that it will be easy to scale 1v1 up to larger fights. Is that necessarily so?
Not quite. I say it is easier to have a game that works as 1v1 scale up so that it also works as 4v4, 10v10, 1000v1000 than to have a game that is balanced around, say, 4v4, and then have it scale up and down.

Because, when 4 make a team, then what are 6? One and a half team - but as half teams don't work (the game is not balanced for half teams, after all), two guys are either useless or imbalance the game entirely, because they add something while the game isn't balanced for having it added (because the game is balanced for 4v4).

But if one ship is a self-contained combat unit (with differing areas of specialization), then bigger teams are "just" groups of self-contained combat units. So in the 6v6 above, any "extra" players will still be able to equally contribute to the team effort, because one ship counters one ship in one way or another.


Now, what are arguments for balancing for larger teams? We want to collect arguments for both sides, don't we?
Captain
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 11,542
# 4
01-31-2013, 02:58 AM
0 then 5, but not for PvP.

What?

0 - you balance each "thing" against itself. Each Ensign Tactical BOFF ability should be balanced against each Ensign Tactical BOFF ability. Each DHC is balanced against each Array. Each X is balanced against each Y, where X and Y are on the same level or type of thing. This is just a very loose and rough balance.

As you add each new level of X or Y, you will balance it around the previous and against itself. Each Lieutenant Tactical BOFF ability should be balanced against each Lieutenant Tactical BOFF ability...including how it interacts with the Ensign Tactical BOFF ability that was selected.

It's like building a house of cards, you start at the bottom and work your way up. If you don't balance part of it correctly on the way up, it will all come crashing down.

5 - five is the common group number in MMOs. Solo content may be difficult or easy depending on the skill and build of a player. It may be easy. A low threshold for completion is likely to be set to allow the majority of the playerbase to feel like "heroes" - to get it done.

Group content on the other hand, should present more of a challenge. The threshold can be and should be set higher. You will still face the easy and difficult issues, but you're setting a more realistic level here - what you want, what you feel is needed - so it provides a nifty target area for where you should look at balancing interaction between multiple players.

You go back to the loose balancing you did with 0, and you start going through the more likely combinations of everything from 0 to tighten up the balancing. Then you bring in some alpha testers to make sure that's working as intended. Then you bring in some beta testers who are likely to do all sorts of weird things you'd not expect players to do. You're able to adjust based on their feedback and the likelihood that what they did was exploited or that it causes a problem.

Not for PvP - the game is not just PvP. Neither is the game just PvE. Balancing for PvE will leave PvP unbalanced. Balancing for PvP will leave PvE unbalanced. You balance for the game, considering both PvE and PvP. Don't think of it as doing twice the work - it's not. If you don't do this though, you're definitely looking at more than twice the work in trying to juryrig it all together while dealing with an inflamed player community.

Appendix - balance does not mean everything has to be the same. Balance does not mean stagnation. Balance provides an opportunity for player skill to determine outcome. It's a good thing.

edit: Yes, I believe most of the things being brought up in the PvP balance thread also affect PvE balance - because the PvE is not balanced either. I believe that if you go and look at most of the things that some believe were balanced/fixed/buffed/nerfed for PvP - that you will find they were actually done to address PvE issues. Devs have even stated this on occasion - it's just the way it is.
Willard the Rat, Reman, F.T'varo - Rave, J.Trill, Kar'Fi - Mysk, Gorn, Varanus
Maal, Klingon, Mogh - Vegar, Orion, Marauder - R'ebel, Romulan, Haakona
Kopor, Nausicaan, Guramba - Nivuh, Ferasan, B'rel - Venit, Lethean, M.Qin

Last edited by virusdancer; 01-31-2013 at 03:10 AM.
Career Officer
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 638
# 5
01-31-2013, 03:20 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sophlogimo View Post
"One ship fights one ship. If both captains are equally competent and gear is of equivalent quality, the fight has equal chances to have one ship win, or have the other ship win."
Do I understand you correctly that this means that boff abilities and choice of gear (like beams vs cannons) is not really relevant (assuming sensible builds, not intentionally inferior ones) in your system? It would only impact the "style" of the combat and not the actual effectiveness?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sophlogimo View Post
Not quite. I say it is easier to have a game that works as 1v1 scale up so that it also works as 4v4, 10v10, 1000v1000 than to have a game that is balanced around, say, 4v4, and then have it scale up and down.
Do you have any particular arguments to back that up? Like maybe a different game that uses this approach?

Look at it this way: Going from 5v5 to 4v4 means a change in total power of -20% per team. Going from 1v1 to 5v5 means changing each team's power by +400%.

What seems like the easier approach?

Yes, scaling a team game all the way down to 1v1 is tricky. But I am absolutely not convinced that 1v1 balance is an easier way to achieve team balance (without making all ships the same in the process).
http://hilbertguide.com
Empire Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 442
# 6
01-31-2013, 03:40 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sophlogimo View Post
"One ship fights one ship. If both captains are equally competent and gear is of equivalent quality, the fight has equal chances to have one ship win, or have the other ship win."
that is always true... since you stated that both players are equally competent and gears are fo equivalent quality. No matter what devs change.
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,971
# 7
01-31-2013, 03:43 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mancom View Post
Do I understand you correctly that this means that boff abilities and choice of gear (like beams vs cannons) is not really relevant (assuming sensible builds, not intentionally inferior ones) in your system? It would only impact the "style" of the combat and not the actual effectiveness?
I am not sure what you mean by that.

What I mean is that, if both captains have equally competently selected their abilities and gear, and use the resulting ship build equally competently, then the fight should be balanced, that is, both should, all in all, have an equal chance to win the battle. Of course, the way they might win it will differ from ship class to ship class.

Quote:
Do you have any particular arguments to back that up?
I did give them in the part that you have certainly already read. If you don't agree with them, that's fine.

Quote:
Look at it this way: Going from 5v5 to 4v4 means a change in total power of -20% per team. Going from 1v1 to 5v5 means changing each team's power by +400%.

What seems like the easier approach?
Balancing around 5v5 means that a 4-player team is just not "80% of a full team", because in such a balancing situation, it entirely depends on which player is missing.

If it actually was 80% in any case, then it would be balanced 1v1, too, because then, of course, 20% of a 5-player-team is one player.

But when you have balanced specifically around 5-player-teams and not around a 1v1 situation, 1 player could be 5% of a team's power or 90%, in relative combat value and when broken down to 1 player. And then they end up in one of the many duel situations in the game, and see how imbalanced that one is.

The result of that will be that some players feel stronger in their ships, and others weaker, resulting in forum threads that complain how weak a given ship is.

And then, there might be slogans floating around like "Escorts Online" or the like.

Quote:
Yes, scaling a team game all the way down to 1v1 is tricky. But I am absolutely not convinced that 1v1 balance is an easier way to achieve team balance (without making all ships the same in the process).
Making all ships the same... that sort of is the conlusion. But don't take this out of context, because here's the catch: There are different styles to fight. Ships that can hold out longer, but do a little less damage. Ships that do a lot of spike damage, but have little durability. Ships that do all kinds of nifty technobabble stuff to defeat an opponent, and add disables to medium durability and medium damage.

That. at least, is the option that most people seem to prefer here on the forums. Another option would be to have them be best for fighting a given class of targets, but I was told that this was not popular at all (I am not sure why, though).

So what is there to convince anyone that 5v5 or any other team setup would be better to balance the game?

I asked for arguments for balancing for any team size >1, and for not balancing around 1v1 in the first place.

There don't seem to be any?
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,971
# 8
01-31-2013, 03:51 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by eurialo View Post
that is always true... since you stated that both players are equally competent and gears are fo equivalent quality. No matter what devs change.
That's a valid remark. So let me add:

A ship of equal quality (fleet level ship vs fleet level ship) should be considered equivalent gear, and any ship pairing of equal level should produce an interesting, balanced fight. Regardless of class - a cruiser vs an escort should be balanced, a sci ship vs an escort should be balanced, a sci ship vs a cruiser should be balanced, and same-class pairings, too.
Captain
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 11,542
# 9
01-31-2013, 04:36 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by eurialo View Post
that is always true... since you stated that both players are equally competent and gears are fo equivalent quality. No matter what devs change.
Well...no.

Take two players. Give each a quarter. Have them flip them about - heads/tails. They pretty much have a 50-50 chance of it being heads or tails.

Let's say heads is good and tails is bad. Still, 50-50 chance there.

Let's have them flip against each other.

Individually they had a 50% chance of something good happening.
There's only a 25% chance of something good happening for both of them.
There's a 75% chance of something good happening for one of them.

Opportunity is balanced. Outcome is not.

Then look at STO and all the RNG, eh? Hit, Crit, Weapon Procs, Ability Procs, DOFF Procs, Proc This, Proc That... the percentages might be smaller, but that one player is likely to have an advantage over the other does not change.

You could play against yourself - same you, same captain, same ship - and the odds favor one having the advantage over the other at any given point...
Willard the Rat, Reman, F.T'varo - Rave, J.Trill, Kar'Fi - Mysk, Gorn, Varanus
Maal, Klingon, Mogh - Vegar, Orion, Marauder - R'ebel, Romulan, Haakona
Kopor, Nausicaan, Guramba - Nivuh, Ferasan, B'rel - Venit, Lethean, M.Qin
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,400
# 10
01-31-2013, 05:59 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sophlogimo View Post
Arguments that I see speak for balancing around duels:
  • 1v1 situations occur a lot in the game. In any PvP mode, you will have situations where 1v1 just happens.


In any real team situation, this only happens when 1 target has decided to run away and 1 member of the opposite team decides to chase to finish them off.


In any real team situation, heading off to 1v1 an opponent for an extended duel is just ignoring your team. The team is stronger when all team members working in unison.


If a player is "joining" teams and ending up in a lot of 1v1 situations, my opinion is that they are a selfish player who is focused more on their own ego than the team's success.




Quote:
Originally Posted by sophlogimo View Post
  • It is much easier to test a combat system in 1v1 with multiple pairings than to organize a "test match" with a dozen or so people. It just requires less time, fewer people and less analysis to find out what is going on in 1v1.
Testing powers for a 1v1 system tells you nothing of value when those powers then arrive in a 5v5 system.


If you want to balance around 1v1, then there can be no teaming mode - which would just be sad and ridiculous.

Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:35 PM.