StarCraft® II

Balance and the Community

Posts: 579
I'm not really one to compare StarCraft 2 to other titles, and gameplay wise that is not my intention with this thread. However, today I was looking through the League of Legends balance changes and updates on their forums and I couldn't help but breathe a breath of fresh air as I saw the developers communicating with the community.

I know David Kim has made posts listing his ideas, but very rarely does he ever converse with the community. Very rarely does he take ideas, and give feedback or thoughts on what is going through his mind. Contrary to this, the developers/balance designers at the League of Legends site communicate with the people who play their game and draw from their ideas (and they let them know it too).

Basically they keep them informed and constantly update them with what is going on, their thought process, and even the small changes they are considering as they come up with them. Their balancing system seems to be a very fluent process which is always evolving, as opposed to what we have here.

Now I'm not asking for a mirror image of what they have going on at Riot. I know they have ample issues themselves; but their communication, their speed in updating, everything seems to be thriving in comparison to Blizzard. So my question is to why Blizzard has not done anything similar? Communication, thoroughness, timeliness, the things Riot does fairly well, are not patented things. They are nothing more than common business ethics, and I feel that Blizzard is more than capable of executing them equally.

I don't ask for this game to become any different than it is, but I do ask that Blizzard exerts the same effort of a F2P game out of loyalty to their customer base. Ethics and what not aside, those things don't matter. It is simply good business. An involved team working on an evolving game will always generate more revenue. In the gaming world, stagnation kills, and it does so very quickly.

TLDR; Blizzard, please come back to StarCraft and make both this game and the community what it has the potential to be.

Edit: In addition to this, I feel the community has a responsibility as well. A responsibility to be constructive and meaningful with their posts. Of course the effort from Blizzard needs to be there, but a collective effort from the community should be in place as well. I quite like the upvote/downvote system as it allows for posts to be policed by their peers.
Edited by OneAMcStorm on 6/6/2014 10:53 AM PDT
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The hellbat/broodlord change was two weeks ago. Those need to be given time to make sure that they work. Same with all the other patches. They're not going to check in every week.
Edited by JorgeCis on 6/6/2014 11:31 AM PDT
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Well said. A blue post on this would be highly appreciated.
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+1
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Amen.

During the Q&A with David Kim he selected only the easiest questions and provided the most neutral and generic answers as possible. Plenty of people had good questions, and a couple of GM's participated in the Q&A. NO single GM question got answered. HTOMario had solid questions, repeated it after David kim ignored his question. Result: no answer.
The whole Q&A was just a farce, it was even better not to have the session.
Listening to the community? LOLOLOLOL When blink was OP we got the reply that they didnt see any changes in the race balance (Blizzard selected just 6 days of the ladder), but the maps in season 2 got adjusted to "reduce" the impact of blink.

Regardless the balance atm, Blizzard is hardly playing with any ideas on their test server to see how things are working out. Just an empty void...
Edited by Fietsbel on 6/6/2014 10:42 AM PDT
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Posts: 1,137
For the most part the increased communication by blizzard has been a bit of a farce. While the community managers are somewhat active they say little about the actual game. They have to try to constantly reassure people that everything gets read despite evidence to the contrary.

Even if blizz reads everything they must not take the concerns of the community very seriously. TvP has been a problem for months, the Swarm host even more so for even longer. Yet Blizzard has done very little to fix the problems. Their focus on indirect balance and matchups that have few problems in the first place is evidence of that. Put simply David Kim is out of touch with this game. The community has a better understanding of what is broken than Blizzard dose and that is sad. Understandable but sad.
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06/06/2014 10:57 AMPosted by Sizzlor
For the most part the increased communication by blizzard has been a bit of a farce. While the community managers are somewhat active they say little about the actual game. They have to try to constantly reassure people that everything gets read despite evidence to the contrary.

What evidence? There's no evidence that the developers aren't reading what is written here. In fact, there's solid proof they are, in that they've directly responded to certain topics and overall community communications.

So what is this evidence of them literally not reading the forums that you speak of?

06/06/2014 10:57 AMPosted by Sizzlor
Even if blizz reads everything they must not take the concerns of the community very seriously. TvP has been a problem for months, the Swarm host even more so for even longer. Yet Blizzard has done very little to fix the problems. Their focus on indirect balance and matchups that have few problems in the first place is evidence of that. Put simply David Kim is out of touch with this game. The community has a better understanding of what is broken than Blizzard dose and that is sad. Understandable but sad.

Because if they were actually reading, the very complex problem that is TvP would be magically fixed? No one has the answer to TvP because the matchup is balanced in such a way that it sacrifices its variety for the sake of variety in the other Protoss matchups. You act as if an answer could be pulled out of the clouds if Blizzard were actually listening and patched in next Tuesday. That strikes me as an unrealistic viewpoint to possess.
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This post wasn't intended to flame Blizzard for everyone taking this thread to do so.

As stated, I was simply looking through the LoL forums and found the interaction with their player base, their timeliness, testing changes with the community, conversing, everything just seemed to come together to create a much better environment for their player base.

My post is only asking of Blizzard to do the same for us (or similar), and in the edit for the community to return the favor with competent posts in regards to balance/design changes (not "QQ fixd nothing stupid blizz" type responses).
Edited by OneAMcStorm on 6/6/2014 11:10 AM PDT
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+1 agreed.
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06/06/2014 11:02 AMPosted by Doncroft
06/06/2014 10:57 AMPosted by Sizzlor
For the most part the increased communication by blizzard has been a bit of a farce. While the community managers are somewhat active they say little about the actual game. They have to try to constantly reassure people that everything gets read despite evidence to the contrary.

What evidence? There's no evidence that the developers aren't reading what is written here. In fact, there's solid proof they are, in that they've directly responded to certain topics and overall community communications.

So what is this evidence of them literally not reading the forums that you speak of?

06/06/2014 10:57 AMPosted by Sizzlor
Even if blizz reads everything they must not take the concerns of the community very seriously. TvP has been a problem for months, the Swarm host even more so for even longer. Yet Blizzard has done very little to fix the problems. Their focus on indirect balance and matchups that have few problems in the first place is evidence of that. Put simply David Kim is out of touch with this game. The community has a better understanding of what is broken than Blizzard dose and that is sad. Understandable but sad.

Because if they were actually reading, the very complex problem that is TvP would be magically fixed? No one has the answer to TvP because the matchup is balanced in such a way that it sacrifices its variety for the sake of variety in the other Protoss matchups. You act as if an answer could be pulled out of the clouds if Blizzard were actually listening and patched in next Tuesday. That strikes me as an unrealistic viewpoint to possess.


My evidence is that the problems still exist. If something is broken then it should be fixed. Don your over complicating things.

I cannot speak for Blizzard. I can only speak for my own knowledge and experiences. To me blizzard has not listened. That is my opinion and it is subject to change.
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Posts: 81
If you notice, LoL/Riot have been consistently patching the balance of LoL, there is a new patch forecast out, and meaningful changes to areas of the game that need tweaking.

And this happens routinely almost every 2-3 weeks-1 month timespan. It doesn't take them 1+ yr of a stale meta or all Terrans disappearing to act and make changes.

Riot also isn't scared to break their game. They make changes and error on the side of slightly too much, and then if it is, they tweak it back.

Blizzard right now really just does nothing, says nothing, and let's the game balance be absolutely terrible. Look at TvP early game. There are easily things that could have been tweaked over a year ago such as removing the e-bay requirement from missile turrets, reverting oracle speed, and buffing tank damage vs protoss...but they are too afraid to do any changes at all and that in turn has killed their own game.
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06/06/2014 11:08 AMPosted by OneAMcStorm
This post wasn't intended to flame Blizzard for everyone taking this thread to do so.

As stated, I was simply looking through the LoL forums and found the interaction with their player base, their timeliness, testing changes with the community, conversing, everything just seemed to come together to create a much better environment for their player base.

My post is only asking of Blizzard to do the same for us (or similar), and in the edit for the community to return the favor with competent posts in regards to balance/design changes (not "QQ fixd nothing stupid blizz" type responses).


Do not mistake my criticism for anger. Blizzard has done several good things. But they have also put themselves in this situation as well.
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06/06/2014 11:20 AMPosted by lIllIIIlIlII
If you notice, LoL/Riot have been consistently patching the balance of LoL, there is a new patch forecast out, and meaningful changes to areas of the game that need tweaking.

And this happens routinely almost every 2-3 weeks-1 month timespan. It doesn't take them 1+ yr of a stale meta or all Terrans disappearing to act and make changes.

Riot also isn't scared to break their game. They make changes and error on the side of slightly too much, and then if it is, they tweak it back.

Blizzard right now really just does nothing, says nothing, and let's the game balance be absolutely terrible. Look at TvP early game. There are easily things that could have been tweaked over a year ago such as removing the e-bay requirement from missile turrets, reverting oracle speed, and buffing tank damage vs protoss...but they are too afraid to do any changes at all and that in turn has killed their own game.


Blzzard has taken some big swings in the past, though not on a monthly basis. The biggest problem is that they try to Band-Aid around bad changes (Oracle Buff, WM overnerf, ect) instead of just reverting them.
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06/06/2014 11:17 AMPosted by Sizzlor
My evidence is that the problems still exist. If something is broken then it should be fixed. Don your over complicating things.

I cannot speak for Blizzard. I can only speak for my own knowledge and experiences. To me blizzard has not listened. That is my opinion and it is subject to change.

They do read most things on the forums (some stuff is bound to slip by) but the thing is no one can agree on anything. If they buff something people QQ, if they nerf something people QQ, if they make all the workers warhound workers for a day people QQ. They read ideas and pass the ideas along to the Devs and the Devs use the ideas that they like, there have been multiple instances of the Devs using ideas from the forums and implementing them in the game. I think Doncroft has at least 4, hell even I made a thread that ended up having something implemented.

06/06/2014 11:27 AMPosted by TheBentOne
Blzzard has taken some big swings in the past, though not on a monthly basis. The biggest problem is that they try to Band-Aid around bad changes (Oracle Buff, WM overnerf, ect) instead of just reverting them.

I agree

06/06/2014 11:20 AMPosted by lIllIIIlIlII
And this happens routinely almost every 2-3 weeks-1 month timespan.

There is also a new champion every 2-3 weeks, if you notice all the old champions hardly ever receive balance changes anymore. Also LoL matches are not as razor thin as SC2 matches are, the smallest of changes can break the game severely.
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Newbies Guide to StarCraft: http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/9882048889
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Edited by KillerofGods on 6/6/2014 11:34 AM PDT
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Balancing LOL and SC2 is not the same thing. LOL is one-dimensional game in comparison to SC2.
Also, 99% of balance suggestion threads here are proposed by heavily biased people. Only response blizz can do to majority of the threads is come and say :" Wow, that's absolutely terrible idea!" It wouldn't end well.
On the other hand, they were often responding to good ideas and sensible posts, it's not their fault those are extremely rare.
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06/06/2014 11:20 AMPosted by lIllIIIlIlII
If you notice, LoL/Riot have been consistently patching the balance of LoL, there is a new patch forecast out, and meaningful changes to areas of the game that need tweaking.

And this happens routinely almost every 2-3 weeks-1 month timespan. It doesn't take them 1+ yr of a stale meta or all Terrans disappearing to act and make changes.

Riot also isn't scared to break their game. They make changes and error on the side of slightly too much, and then if it is, they tweak it back.

Blizzard right now really just does nothing, says nothing, and let's the game balance be absolutely terrible. Look at TvP early game. There are easily things that could have been tweaked over a year ago such as removing the e-bay requirement from missile turrets, reverting oracle speed, and buffing tank damage vs protoss...but they are too afraid to do any changes at all and that in turn has killed their own game.


I may not have been clear on this side of things, but I was referencing this as well in my post. Small tweaks here and there keep LoL alive and ever evolving, which in turn does a lot to keep their players coming back for more.

The difference between StarCraft and League of Legends in this respect however is that the design of League can allow for more fluent changes without breaking the entire game. SC2 does need to be a bit more careful with their changes, but not to the extent of what we see now.

Let's take Nidalee in League for example. They have already tweaked her in a rework several times in the PBE. What is keeping Blizzard from doing the same with changes to their game in the public test area? Its a test server, there is no reason you can't start with 1 thing and change it 20 times until it works.

As well, they were making a post on item changes. The developers not but 1 day later said they were changing some of their ideas based on constructive criticism from the players in the forum responses.

It all just ties together to show Riot is listening to their player base, and implementing changes and tweaks as necessary, as well as rolling out large scale changes in a timely manner. They make big changes, they revert bad changes, they keep the game progressing forward.

Blizzard has the capabilities to do this, and there is a very successful model that is doing it right now. I know SC2 is a different game in terms of rolling out balance. But, with that said, the risk is not high, and the reward is there.

06/06/2014 11:42 AMPosted by Notax
Balancing LOL and SC2 is not the same thing. LOL is one-dimensional game in comparison to SC2.
Also, 99% of balance suggestion threads here are proposed by heavily biased people. Only response blizz can do to majority of the threads is come and say :" Wow, that's absolutely terrible idea!" It wouldn't end well.
On the other hand, they were often responding to good ideas and sensible posts, it's not their fault those are extremely rare.


This is why I recommended an upvote/downvote system similar to league. The highest upvoted comments move to the top and Blizzard takes notice of them first. Ignoring blatantly biased ideas is fine, but ignoring every idea is not good for the community or the game.
Edited by OneAMcStorm on 6/6/2014 11:57 AM PDT
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06/06/2014 11:51 AMPosted by OneAMcStorm
Let's take Nidalee in League for example. They have already tweaked her in a rework several times in the PBE. What is keeping Blizzard from doing the same with changes to their game in the public test area? Its a test server, there is no reason you can't start with 1 thing and change it 20 times until it works.


TeamLiquid ran a poll as to how many people actually play the balance test maps. 8% of respondents do.

http://www.teamliquid.net/poll/index.php?poll_id=609
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Posts: 579
06/06/2014 11:53 AMPosted by JorgeCis
06/06/2014 11:51 AMPosted by OneAMcStorm
Let's take Nidalee in League for example. They have already tweaked her in a rework several times in the PBE. What is keeping Blizzard from doing the same with changes to their game in the public test area? Its a test server, there is no reason you can't start with 1 thing and change it 20 times until it works.


TeamLiquid ran a poll as to how many people actually play the balance test maps. 8% of respondents do.

http://www.teamliquid.net/poll/index.php?poll_id=609


Then perhaps there is a need to promote beta testing play? I know WoW used a separate client that was quite popular, as well there was the HoTS beta client.
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Our communication efforts for the recent balance update went through a process that included many of the things you are mentioning here.

When we first came to the realization that a balance update may be needed, Dayvie made a detailed post with his thoughts on the match-ups and offered a few options that were being considered. After gathering feedback, he made a follow up post on the changes that we’d begin testing. As time passed, new changes were being considered to the Swarm Host and a post was made with thoughts on the current issues. This led to additional changes that were tested on the Balance Test Map, until a final update was provided a few days before the patch. This update provided details on a change to the Brood Lord, which was the most common suggestion we received from players on how to help with the ZvZ stalemate issue.

This sound very similar to the type of process that you’re looking for. We share our thoughts and ask for player feedback while also providing enough time to be able to make changes based on that feedback. We’re quite happy with how this process has worked thus far and it’s something we’d like to continue to do in the future. If you feel there are ways we can improve in this type of communication, we’d definitely love to hear your thoughts.

As for the comparisons to other games, there are many factors to consider in regards to balance, and how two games approach balance changes can differ. This is especially true when considering games from different genres. Some have already mentioned these differences, but I thought I would at least acknowledge the difficulty in using different games for comparison.
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06/06/2014 03:35 PMPosted by Psione
Our communication efforts for the recent balance update went through a process that included many of the things you are mentioning here.

When we first came to the realization that a balance update may be needed, Dayvie made a [url="http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/12673547828#1"]detailed post[/url] with his thoughts on the match-ups and offered a few options that were being considered. After gathering feedback, he made a [url="http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/12675158150#1"]follow up post[/url] on the changes that we’d begin testing. As time passed, new changes were being considered to the Swarm Host and a [url="http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/12675108879#1"]post [/url]was made with thoughts on the current issues. This led to additional changes that were tested on the Balance Test Map, until a final [url="http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/12877968284#1"]update [/url]was provided a few days before the patch. This update provided details on a change to the Brood Lord, which was the most common suggestion we received from players on how to help with the ZvZ stalemate issue.

This sound very similar to the type of process that you’re looking for. We share our thoughts and ask for player feedback while also providing enough time to be able to make changes based on that feedback. We’re quite happy with how this process has worked thus far and it’s something we’d like to continue to do in the future. If you feel there are ways we can improve in this type of communication, we’d definitely love to hear your thoughts.

As for the comparisons to other games, there are many factors to consider in regards to balance, and how two games approach balance changes can differ. This is especially true when considering games from different genres. Some have already mentioned these differences, but I thought I would at least acknowledge the difficulty in using different games for comparison.


<3
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