OW update/balancing cycle is excruciatingly slow

General Discussion
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Highly Rated
TL:DR - The dev's balance philosophy of slow balancing cycles with more thought-out balance changes isn't paying off when most of their changes are either insignificant or just as bad as kneejerk changes made on the fly, and it's hurting the game.

Their unwillingness to use PTR to ACTUALLY TRY RADICAL CHANGES speaks volumes of how seemingly lost they are regarding their own game, while making the PTR pretty much useless


I think the biggest failing by far of the devs/balancing team is just how laughably slow it is on its game balancing updates.

We are not talking "player perception" here, where a particular class was perceived as OP/UP during the early days (Bastion was OP at release, then trash without a single nerf) or slaves of the Meta (Reinhardt was kinda OP during the 3Tank meta). We are talking about real balancing issues that took several months to even get partially addressed, such as:

Soldier 76 being overtuned (and percieved as such) for several months after his buff util he ultimately got a nerf,

Reaper being underpowered since the Nanoboost nerf several months ago, and only addressed just now,

Roadhog's divisive hook combo, which took 1 year to address,

PharaMercy (and to some extend, Pharah herself) has been a thorn in the side of many for months now, but nothing has been done nor said to address this,

Junkrat has been getting small incremental patches but nothing substantial, and thus is considered by many the worse of the worse,

etc.

The Devs seem to want slower, more thought out balance patches rather than regular patches that could shake the game too hard too fast, but the end result of their balance philosophy doesn't have much results to show for really, as their balancing method has produced A LOT of blunders and misguided changes, such as:

Ana's healing and heal-block where a problem, but Bliz nerfed her damage instead, completely missing the point of the problem and hurting Ana where it wasn't needed nor warranted. Now people are asking for a damage revert to her rifle

Bastion's rework, while it made Recon mode a lot more useful, it made the Sentry and Tank far too weak (after the Ironclad hotfix) to the point where his ult is actually a lot worse than before. Thus the rework pretty much accomplished nothing and Bastion is still F tier.

Roadhog's nerf finally addressed his 1HK combo but failed to provide him with the necessary tools to ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING USEFUL now considering he was designed around a 1HK combo (a horrible design choice in its own right). Now he's F tier and with no balance change or Dev update in sight.

They have a PTR, designed specifically to try WHATEVER THEY WANT and they don't use it. WTH Blizzard?

YOU HAVE THE PTR, USE IT. Try stuff, break the game, make radical changes, try new abilities, do SOMETHING WITH IT.

/rant
Highly Rated
They said they were going to use the PTR for "wild and frequent changes, most probably won't last long". Then they made no changes at all, and ignored all feedback. That was their first lie.
The second was that "everyone liked the changes", when the changes were 1: Soldier 76 damage buff, 2: Pharah jetpack buff, and 3: D.Va extra 100 hp, and faster movement while firing. Most people were against D.Va's 100 extra HP, and Soldier's damage buff. So it's not true that all of it was liked by "everyone".
Then they went on to delete the stickied thread from their archives about the PTR, and said in a video that the PTR was "primarily for bug testing". Three strikes, your out.
Highly Rated
I really hope this gets upvoted, I need to know that the devs read this.
Highly Rated
League of Legends, despite having 120+ heroes, a lot more variables (items, ability progresion, etc.) and a large competitive scene, has (or had, haven't played in more than a year) a very active dev team that constantly used the beta server and regularly put out tons of patches with champion reworks and such.

Sure, they might have been very conservative with their PBE, and it was essentially just a preview server like PTR at times, but they did make a lot of changes on regular basis.

And while they did also sat on certain changes for unacceptably long times (certain champions stayed OP or heavily played for far too long), you could make the excuse that they had a tighter balance and 6 times as many champions as OW, in a more complex meta, so it's kinda excusable.

I know one is an FPS and the other is a Moba, but still
Highly Rated
"We're viewing x hero very much right now." Even though our opinions and our stats show that this hero is underpowered; they think the hero is fine.
Highly Rated
Seems like in general Overwatch has recieved a very slow update ratio in general, when it comes to content AND fixing stuff.
Highly Rated
I agreed.
They WASTED the PTR. They can make much more aggressive changes on PTR and review the feedback from forum or creating some in-game mechanics (I wonder if they will do this)
07/04/2017 07:26 AMPosted by Hipnox
League of Legends, despite having 120+ heroes, a lot more variables (items, ability progresion, etc.) and a large competitive scene, has (or had, haven't played in more than a year) a very active dev team that constantly used the beta server and regularly put out tons of patches with champion reworks and such.

Sure, they might have been very conservative with their PBE, and it was essentially just a preview server like PTR at times, but they did make a lot of changes on regular basis.

And while they did also sat on certain changes for unacceptably long times (certain champions stayed OP or heavily played for far too long), you could make the excuse that they had a tighter balance and 6 times as many champions as OW, in a more complex meta, so it's kinda excusable.

I know one is an FPS and the other is a Moba, but still


I mean, they took the time completely redo pretty much EVERY champion that they ever created (some were too new, but others got redone several times). Even including visuals and portraits.
Plenty of the times, when they did touch a champion they did it thoroughly and not just "aw maybe a single points of damage increase/decrease will kick 'em back into meta".

In comparison, OW's balance team really leaves me with a lot to desire. Bastion is a mess and will probably continue to be so for months. Meanwhile, the meta is constantly stuck in the same place and the only way out they can figure is the nerfbat.
Highly Rated
Things they COULD be trying in PTR right now, but aren't:

> Pharah reduced fuel regeneration while not grounded
> Junkrat's riptire with increased HP
> Junkrat with an extra trap
> Junkrat with a trap ammo system
> Ana's healing block reduced to a percentage instead of 100% block
> Ana's damage at 70
> Ana dealing more damage when scoped
> McCree flashbang stopping momentum
> McCree with lower CD and longer dash in combat roll
> Tons of possible RH hook changes in order to revert the nerf (hook delay and tell, slower hook speed, less range, removal of stun effect for non-abilities, etc..)
> New alternatives to Scatter Arrow
> Giving Bastion's ult armor again
> Orisa not receiving headshots while on Fortify
etc..
Highly Rated
The best use of the PTR I've seen is when people pointed out the fact Bastion with ironclad was a complete monster. They made no changes and shipped it to live, then they panic nerfed it and Bastion just disappeared.

Ana was also a victim of a panic patch, just after release she was given more ammo and a faster reload speed.

Neither patch was positive in the long run.

I can definitely see the logic behind Blizzard's wait and see approach after 2 disasters like that.

There's definitely something that LoL has been much better about recently, there's no harm in admitting you made a mistake and un-nerfing a nerf or un-buffing a buff.

Rather than trying to fix a leak by creating another leak further on down the line and saying "look guys less water is coming out of the other one now!"
if they would iterate faster on balances, players will get used to changes and they will be small and more statistically oriented, e.g decrease ana dmg by 2... the more time you take to balance you do big changes and of course player base don't like changes. TBH current balance changes seems to me like some guy decides according to his/her whim and game design philosophy as to what is the perfect OW game, but then reality kicks in.
Agreed! But I read/heard somewhere that the PTR was not made to do experimental testing, but to make sure that the changes made are not breaking the game.

I wish PTR could be more than it is, though.
07/04/2017 07:59 AMPosted by atomahawk
if they would iterate faster on balances, players will get used to changes and they will be small and more statistically oriented, e.g decrease ana dmg by 2... the more time you take to balance you do big changes and of course player base don't like changes. TBH current balance changes seems to me like some guy decides according to his/her whim and game design philosophy as to what is the perfect OW game, but then reality kicks in.


LoL has both.

You often see +5 movement speed, -2 Armor to a hero in the same patch as a full rework for 10 others.

You do big changes when things aren't working at a design level ( Bastion, Zymmetra reworks) and small incremental changes where things aren't working at a balance level (soldier damage reduction).

Right now, blizzard aren't doing either of them with the frequency they SHOULD be doing.

The game is young and there are A LOT of design-level reworks they could be trying (Roadhog and Hanzo being some of the more obvious, which are fundamentally broken from design)
Highly Rated
Two incidents made me lose faith in balancing team.

1. Bastion wrecks havoc on PTR. People complain. Nothing is done and the patch goes live. After two days, Jeff plays Bastion, Tracer can't kill him, "thinks" it's a problem and nerf hammer is brought down instantly.

2. Ever since Ana was out, her biotic grenade prevented Winston's ultimate from bringing health to 1000. Instead it got healed to 500. Everyone knew this mechanic and thought this was intended. Recently they release a fix saying it wasn't. By then Ana has been out for several months, dominating all ranks and seeing play in Pro scene as well.

Makes you doubt whether they even test what they created before making it live, huh?

EDITED: Bastion can't kill Tracer -> Tracer can't kill Bastion
Highly Rated
they're doing a quality over quantity thing

but about that "quality" part
Ever since the Bastion changes it seems like a lot of people have little or no faith in the balancing of this game (not to mention the Roadhog and Ana changes).
It's still a great game for casual play, though :-)
i hope this post becomes highly rated and gets the attention of the balancing team, cos they need to see this.
EDIT: welp, the post gained 300+ upvotes since i last saw it, safe to assume people agree.
Highly Rated
Blizzard is very bad at balancing. If you look at the S76 buff, they put it live without any care of people opinions or even just pro opinions.

They made a "redesign" for Symmetra and put it live. They didn't care about what Symmetra players would like to see.

They decided to boost Pharah's mobility, no matter most maps are not designed for aerial fights and that hitscans have huge fall off.

They had their "vision" and the community has to adapt. Game balance is, by far, Blizzard biggest weakness. I don't know if they really want OW to be esport, but they should really patch far more often (and based on stats gathered in competitive plays).
Thanks Geoff.
The sad thing is that the balances aren't even thought out. Ana quick revert nerf, Orisa nerf on damage because of their views she was dangerous when all it was just a shield barrier problem, Pharah gaining more aoe damage when no one asked for that, taking away Reaper orbs and leaving him with life steal, Symmetra still stuck with having the shortest range beam that channels slow compared to other heroes that does instant damage and the only short range hero with 200hp.

Hanzo still with his scatter shot damage because lets face it. It's Jeff favorite hero so don't expect it to get nerf too hard, but probably leaving Orisa alive with 50p at most or something. Hanzo gets automatic kill shots due to pulling the string pretending that it was some sort of headshot where as Widowmaker actually has to struggle. Genji doesn't even have a cool down or charge feature on his right click spam.

Most of changes for many heroes should be done within 6 months. If anything by now all the heroes should of gotten some buffs and nerfs, but hardly some of them aren't even on the radar. When they finally get a buff it comes like this.

Winston:
    He can finally wear sandals now and by wearing them boost his movement speed by 5%

    Tesla cannon range has increase by 0.0001%


Symmetra:
    Can now use her Photon Projector as a grappling hook.

    Photon Projector second ability is no longer a fire orb. It's now a long range beam that can be charged up. Does high intensity damage at max.


Tracer:
    Recall can now set back the timer of the match.

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