Why is PvE Class Balancing so painfully slow?

90 Draenei Shaman
16690
This is supposed to be what Mastery was going to solve. It was repeatedly referred to as the dial they could turn if a spec needed a little more performance (or a little less), and would finally put a stop to players having to wait months or an entire tier of content for their characters to be adjusted.

In the end it never came to pass and it became just another stat on gear. I wish they would have followed through on it.


Spec passives are what they created in lieu of it. The knobs were used often enough in the beginning but have now fallen by the wayside sadly.

Do not bring up "the players did not like the roller coaster ride" crap. The only players who did not like it were the specs getting nerfed.


Considering "the roller coasted ride" consisted of both nerfs and buffs in every instance of it happening, by your definition EVERYONE that experienced the roller coaster ride didn't like it... >.>
Reply Quote
90 Human Death Knight
14215
How do you know exactly what is causing a spec to do worse than others? There are a number of reasons one spec could be better than another, especially at the beginning of an expansion. Gear, encounter design, player bias and probably a few other factors come into play.

Here's how a spec for a class that might not be better than another ends up looking much better: sims show spec A as being 2% better than spec B (we can't know this is actually true, but players believe it). The better players want that 2% bonus, so play spec A. Since these are better players in the first place, they're going to do more dps than those playing spec B regardless if there is any actual difference between the specs. So spec A starts pulling ahead. Then they also clear faster and so get better gear than most people playing spec B which makes spec A pull even further ahead. Now that 2% theoretical difference is showing up as a 10-15% difference in logs even though there may not be any actual difference. Should blizzard make changes in this instance even though there is nothing actually wrong with their design?

If a spec needs to be changed, a clear argument needs to be made showing exactly why it is underperforming and is something that should be fixed on Blizzard's end.
Edited by Nellise on 11/17/2012 12:19 PM PST
Reply Quote
90 Human Rogue
13000
I'm just gonna drop this right here.

Dev Watercooler - Rate of Change

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/3435893
Edited by Aeriwen on 11/17/2012 12:11 PM PST
Reply Quote
90 Human Warrior
12950
11/17/2012 09:40 AMPosted by Batar
This is supposed to be what Mastery was going to solve. It was repeatedly referred to as the dial they could turn if a spec needed a little more performance (or a little less), and would finally put a stop to players having to wait months or an entire tier of content for their characters to be adjusted.


This. Everyone seems to have forgotten this or started playing after it was implemented. No reason these differences can not be hot fixed in. Waiting for weeks or months for a patch is just silly. Do not bring up "the players did not like the roller coaster ride" crap. The only players who did not like it were the specs getting nerfed. No one who had low numbers complained about being buffed. If it is a problem then patch in the nerfs, but dont wait to buff the other specs that are underperforming.

Turn your little dial, Bam, BM, Arcane and anyone else who needs fixing is fixed.


A lot of people who were around then seem to have forgotten that what Mastery was when it was first introduced as a dial they could tune was basically all of what the specialization bonuses are now. Mastery as a stat was never intended to be a dial, because it has to be balanced against other stats (though you -would- think that they could at least use the fact that mastery is different for every spec they could at least make sure it is a competitive stat for all specs. For Arms and Fury both, Mastery is worth like a third as much as crit, if not worse)... the tuning dial for specs were the things like Plate Mastery and Seasoned Soldier, the passive abilities that give a flat boost to the class's damage that can be tuned easily.

For example, let's take Arms PVE (just because that's what I'm familiar with). If they wanted to bring up Arms PVE damage, it would be as simple as tuning Seasoned Soldier from 25% to 35%, which would give it the spec as a whole roughly a 7.5% damage boost, which is about how much it lags behind fury at higher gear levels. However the problem with just adjusting this dial is first PVP. People are already complaining about Arms burst in arena, as well as plenty of other things. Giving us a straight up damage increase isn't going to go over well with the player base, even if it would make PVE Arms warriors happy. The second problem is that it doesn't address fundamental scaling issues. If you make Arms competitive at the high end gear levels, Arms at low gear levels is going to be overpowered, and the hands down choice for any raiding guild starting out who hasn't geared up yet. This may not be a major concern for the developers, but I can't imagine it being something a lot of players would be happy with either.

I'm pretty sure that other classes/specs that are lagging behind have similar issues that simply turning the knobs would cause problems beyond that. Basically, you can use the dials to pick any one point, and balance for that point. But for a more well rounded balance to make everyone happy, in both PVE and PVP across various gear levels, it takes more in depth changes to the fundamentals. And those take developer time and probably a real patch to actually apply.
Reply Quote


Indeed. At this point, it is looking a like a junk stat and if you wanted to simplify the game and lessen the number of moving parts, removing mastery would be a good place to start. It's redundant. It adds nothing special to the game and in fact makes it harder to balance, not less.


Might be a junk stat for Mages, but that doesn't mean it's a junk stat overall.


It's a junk stat for everybody. If it cannot be used for the purpose of making quick balance adjustments then what is the point? We have plenty of dps stats for everybody, we don't need an extra one in the form of mastery. Whatever mastery is doing can be shifted back to the older stats.

This thing was sold to us as the secret for quickly fixing balance issues. It has signally failed to do so. It has in fact made it worse, because we have yet another moving part.

Blow it up, please. Simplify.
Edited by Deerde on 11/17/2012 12:43 PM PST
Reply Quote
90 Human Warrior
12950


Might be a junk stat for Mages, but that doesn't mean it's a junk stat overall.


It's a junk stat for everybody. If it cannot be used for the purpose of making quick balance adjustments then what it the point? We have plenty of dps stats for everybody, we don't need an extra one in the form of mastery. Whatever mastery is doing can be shifted back to the older stats.

This thing was sold to us as the secret for quickly fixing balance issues. It has signally failed to do so. It has in fact made it worse, because we have yet another moving part.

Blow it up, please. Simplify.


Without Mastery, we would have only Haste, Crit, and Hit as DPS stats. With Spirit/Expertise thrown in depending on spec. Two of those 4 stats have a cap you are expected to hit early. With only 2 other stats, gearing becomes boring as all of the gear has the same stats. Mastery gives another option for stats so that you get a little more variety in gear.

It would be nice if they tuned it such that Mastery was desirable for everybody, but as I pointed out in my last post you are misunderstanding and misrepresenting what Mastery was supposed to be. What you are trying to describe Mastery as eventually became specialization bonuses. Mastery the stat was one of three things that Mastery actually was in the initial design. After the developers realized this was confusing people like you, they moved the first two things (the dials) into specialization, and just left the stat as Mastery. Somehow years later though some people still haven't realized that change took place, and people are still confused as to why an attribute that can be geared for/against isn't being used as a balance mechanism, despite doing so being really stupid.
Reply Quote
90 Human Mage
IQ
8250
11/17/2012 12:46 PMPosted by Secondwind
It would be nice if they tuned it such that Mastery was desirable for everybody, but as I pointed out in my last post you are misunderstanding and misrepresenting what Mastery was supposed to be. What you are trying to describe Mastery as eventually became specialization bonuses. Mastery the stat was one of three things that Mastery actually was in the initial design. After the developers realized this was confusing people like you, they moved the first two things (the dials) into specialization, and just left the stat as Mastery. Somehow years later though some people still haven't realized that change took place, and people are still confused as to why an attribute that can be geared for/against isn't being used as a balance mechanism, despite doing so being really stupid.


Okay. The point is that there are and have been Specs performing below any realistic threshold for far to long. This expansion, last expansion and every one before that. Weeks or months, thats just ridiculous.
Reply Quote
90 Human Warrior
12950


Okay. The point is that there are and have been Specs performing below any realistic threshold for far to long. This expansion, last expansion and every one before that. Weeks or months, thats just ridiculous.


I'm not going to disagree with that. I am merely arguing that 1) It is a lot more involved than some people would lead you to believe. and 2) Mastery is not a balancing mechanism. Mastery as it currently exists was never intended to be a balancing mechanism. By the time Mastery hit live in 4.0, the balancing mechanisms had already been shifted to specializations.

Basically, I do think things should get fixed faster than they are. But the big problem is that just shifting numbers up and down (which they can do) has a lot of unintended side effects. Making other changes, such as modifying abilities/rotations/stat priorities can appeal to the larger audience rather than just balancing at one point, but takes more time to implement. Right now I think they could put out the changes faster. They seem like they are playing it extremely cautiously so as to avoid giving the playerbase whiplash, but I'd like to see more modifications happening on the PTR at the very least.
Reply Quote
1 Blood Elf Rogue
0
11/17/2012 12:41 PMPosted by Deerde
If it cannot be used for the purpose of making quick balance adjustments then what is the point?


The whole "being a flavored extra stat for classes" is the point. That was always the point too.
Reply Quote
This game moves slowly. They need 2-3 months to figure out which classes are too low, and then another 2-3 months to figure out how to buff them.

I attribute most of this to Blizzard's competent developer staff being sent to work on other assets than WoW.
Funny that you should say this - their balancing response time is faster than it's ever been. Whether the results are good is another argument, of course.
Reply Quote

It's [Mastery] a junk stat for everybody.

wat
Reply Quote
90 Orc Shaman
13750


Might be a junk stat for Mages, but that doesn't mean it's a junk stat overall.


It's a junk stat for everybody. If it cannot be used for the purpose of making quick balance adjustments then what is the point? We have plenty of dps stats for everybody, we don't need an extra one in the form of mastery. Whatever mastery is doing can be shifted back to the older stats.

This thing was sold to us as the secret for quickly fixing balance issues. It has signally failed to do so. It has in fact made it worse, because we have yet another moving part.

Blow it up, please. Simplify.


Variety? Gear is already pretty boring as far as stat distribution goes; the elimination of Mastery would make it even more boring. I'm for more variety, not less.

Plenty of dps stats? If we didn't have Mastery, then as the expansion went on we'd need like 3 pieces each to have Hit and Expertise, and after that everybody would be after Haste and Crit. Hell, sometimes we're almost at that point now - for the past 2 weeks before this one, I was unable to go below the Hit cap even after Reforging every single piece of Hit gear I had, and that was after switching out a few pieces with Hit for a few that were lower in item level but didn't have it.

Also, the relative values of Crit and Haste would need to be even lower than now, if they were the only stats, to make sure mechanics didn't start to get absurd the way they did at the end of Wrath.
Edited by Hyjinx on 11/17/2012 3:52 PM PST
Reply Quote
90 Undead Warlock
6970
I don't think anyone has a problem with mastery as a stat, per se. Ultimately, the spreadsheet guys will tell you which stats are best and in which order, and then you aim for stacking that. Simple, really. Sometimes mastery is something you want to stack - and sometimes it is not.

I think what people have a problem with is the promises the devs made long ago about mastery. I could've predicted this, because the same thing happened with resilience.

Resilience will Fix It.

Mastery will Fix It.

And probably 2 years hence, they'll come up with a new stat, call it "Ice Cream Cones", and you'll want to stack that or not as the spreadsheet guys figure it out. And of course, you'll hear -

Ice Cream Cones will Fix It.

Don't say I didn't warn you.
Reply Quote
I don't think anyone has a problem with mastery as a stat, per se. Ultimately, the spreadsheet guys will tell you which stats are best and in which order, and then you aim for stacking that. Simple, really. Sometimes mastery is something you want to stack - and sometimes it is not.

I think what people have a problem with is the promises the devs made long ago about mastery. I could've predicted this, because the same thing happened with resilience.

Resilience will Fix It.

Mastery will Fix It.

And probably 2 years hence, they'll come up with a new stat, call it "Ice Cream Cones", and you'll want to stack that or not as the spreadsheet guys figure it out. And of course, you'll hear -

Ice Cream Cones will Fix It.

Don't say I didn't warn you.


Precisely. It's turtles all the way down, people, and making the game harder to balance with each turtle.
Reply Quote
90 Undead Mage
14225
I asked this about a year ago before I left, the answer they gave me is that people don't like having to regem and relearn their class every couple of weeks, so they are only going to do balance updates during planned patches. Its one of the reasons I quit. -

http://blue.mmo-champion.com/topic/203278-why-did-the-number-tweaks/

"As we mentioned in the Rate of Change blog not long ago, we feel like we have reached a point where too many changes can do as much damage as not enough changes. It shouldn’t be too surprising to see lots of requests (or demands!) here on the forums for balance changes, whether those are small numbers tweaks or larger ability redesigns. The risk of the echo chamber effect can be strong though. A great majority of players don’t participate in forum discussions at all, and even among those who do, it tends to be those with a grievance who make a post. Indifferent players don’t often post to say they are indifferent, and many players won’t expend the effort to publicly state that they disagree with your idea. (When they do, they also risk igniting some exhausting flame wars.) But you have to remember that even if it seems like “everyone” is rallying for a certain change, you’re not seeing the majority and you have no idea if they would agree with the necessity of the change.

When asked directly, they might not even disagree with the their character getting buffed or a mechanic smoothed out. But over time these seemingly “no brainer” changes can build up into an intimidating list. Class changes, especially in between expansions, and especially when hotfixed in between two patches, can be exhausting for many players. They don’t want to have to figure out if their rotation or gear strategies have changed overnight. They don’t want to have to devour all the latest theorycrafting and wonder if they’re supposed to respec every time they log in. That sort of thing may be fun for a lot of you guys – the active forum community. Heck, it’s fun for the kind of people that end up being game developers. But that doesn’t mean it’s healthy for the game. We have to weigh very carefully whether a seemingly innocuous change is worth making, because those changes are not “free” in the sense that they do burn some political capital with players. We have definitely been getting the message lately that the design churn in the last few patches has been too great, so we’re trying to be more cautious.

It's the kind of topic that is worth discussing though. It may be that small changes to passive abilities, like the hunter, warlock and DK tweaks in 4.3, are small enough not to bother people. On the other hand, it could be that some players may be still living under a fear of change and we haven’t scaled back enough. "

(more posts about how this sucks)


"We didn’t say we weren’t going to make balance changes when we feel they are justified, and we have made many for 4.3 already. We just wanted to point out that too many changes, even with the noblest of goals, can be as unhealthy for the game as failing to make changes that are necessary. We don’t want to hit either extreme. Some players seem to be looking for near constant balance adjustments (weekly or more often), and while the designers would be thrilled to do it, they also believe it would have severe long-term consequences. You may not know the kinds of players who get weary of constant design noodling, because they might not post on the forums, but there are a lot of them out there. Our strategy will continue to be: make most changes in expansions, some changes with patches, and the occasional change via hotfix. "
Reply Quote
1 Blood Elf Rogue
0
11/17/2012 06:36 PMPosted by Deerde
Precisely. It's turtles all the way down, people, and making the game harder to balance with each turtle.


Where did you get the idea that mastery was supposed to be the savior of balance to begin with? As far as I remember it was just a one off comment ( and it was referring to base mastery, not the mastery stat, the latter of which can't be a primary knob to turn for obvious reasons ).

The whole point of the Mastery stat on gear was (and still is) to improve gearing options for casters and to serve as a replacement stat for tanks and physical DPS since they were removing Defense and Armor Penetration at the same time.
Reply Quote
11/17/2012 07:50 PMPosted by Aureus
Precisely. It's turtles all the way down, people, and making the game harder to balance with each turtle.


Where did you get the idea that mastery was supposed to be the savior of balance to begin with? As far as I remember it was just a one off comment ( and it was referring to base mastery, not the mastery stat, the latter of which can't be a primary knob to turn for obvious reasons ).



Lhiv suckered me into believing this.
Reply Quote
90 Human Mage
IQ
8250
11/17/2012 07:59 PMPosted by Deerde
Lhiv suckered me into believing this.


It was one of the original intentions. If they changed since then, fine, but that was one of their talking points.

It still could be used ,in its current form of spec specialization as secondwind pointed out, but so could a multitude of other things. it really does not matter how they fix poor performance as much as it does when.

that drivel that frostvein quoted is just that. No ones complaining about getting buffed. thats the stupidest thing ive read in a long time, and really since when have they ever cared about making people mad?

What they are saying there is "we know specs are underperforming, and we are okay with that, because people might get angry or confused. We have no problem letting these specs suck for months, until a major patch is deployed."

Sound about right?
Reply Quote
1 Blood Elf Rogue
0
11/17/2012 07:59 PMPosted by Deerde


Where did you get the idea that mastery was supposed to be the savior of balance to begin with? As far as I remember it was just a one off comment ( and it was referring to base mastery, not the mastery stat, the latter of which can't be a primary knob to turn for obvious reasons ).



Lhiv suckered me into believing this.


You should realize by now everything he says is deeply sugar coated.

They got rid of arp/spn in order to lessen the number of stats we need to juggle, then they add a new one in....

No they didn't. They got rid of those because they were problematic stats. Mastery was even mentioned specifically as being added to compensate for the removal of stats like those in the case of physical dps and tanks.
Reply Quote

Please report any Code of Conduct violations, including:

Threats of violence. We take these seriously and will alert the proper authorities.

Posts containing personal information about other players. This includes physical addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and inappropriate photos and/or videos.

Harassing or discriminatory language. This will not be tolerated.

Forums Code of Conduct

Report Post # written by

Reason
Explain (256 characters max)
Submit Cancel

Reported!

[Close]