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Quick BETA Update + Balancing Article!

RohanLikesForumsRohanLikesForums
LawBreakers Rep: 2,315
Posts: 46
Boss Key
edited March 29 in Beta Gameplay Feedback & Suggestions
LawBreakers,

Rohan Rivas here, communications dude from Boss Key Productions, and I want to give everyone a quick update.

It's been nearly two weeks since our first closed public Beta and the team is hard at work iterating on the game. The first closed public Beta was extremely valuable to us, as it provided important feedback on a lot of things, from balance issues to bugs, and everything in-between. Last week the team weighed feedback versus backend telemetry and data in an effort to inform changes to the game. Right now, programmers, engineers, QA and more are getting back into the game to hammer away, not only to further develop the game based on your feedback, but also add MORE to the next closed public Beta. This process takes time, and as we've said before, we're not doing these Betas as lip-service marketing for the game, they're real Betas, intended to improve the game experience. It'll be worth the wait.

So, while the team works hard, I want to assure our community that it won't be another eight months between closed Beta 0.1 and 0.2 - and that's a good thing!

From our end of things on the community side, we're going to continue to do some fun stuff to make the journey to closed public Beta 0.2 feel less long. New videos, contests, behind-the-scenes info, etc is all coming your way, starting with a lengthy (but crazy-interesting!) Q/A with our Lead Designer Dan Nanni featuring his developer insights regarding game balance. Our Community Manager Britt Webb sat down with Dan late last week to discuss the game balance process.

Everyone, thanks for joining us on this crazy ride. All of us at the studio can't wait until you can get your hands on the next closed public Beta and know that we're working hard to make that happen as soon as we can.

Britt, take it away! Read the full article ---> here <---over at our studio website and please let us know your questions in the thread below.

TTYS

BlindRobAzerekiAraielleirishrOyTorchXenithosJustSamRoOhDiNi

Comments

  • BrittalityBrittality
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    Yeah so we know that article is a little beef guys, but it has some great info we wanted to be sure to share. Take a read and feel free to ask any further questions you may have about our balancing.
    BlindRobAraielle
  • BlindRobBlindRob
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    edited March 28
    Good stuff.

    One question I had is how many things might you change between builds when testing, as well as how much time goes into play tests before you say "OK, this works." and move on?
    Testing changes no doubt takes time and while it would make sense to change one thing and play with it for a while , it doesn't seem feasible.
  • RohanLikesForumsRohanLikesForums
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    Boss Key
    BlindRob wrote: »
    Good stuff.

    One question I had is how many things might you change between builds when testing, as well as how much time goes into play tests before you say "OK, this works." and move on?
    Testing changes no doubt takes time and while it would make sense to change one thing and play with it for a while , it doesn't seem feasible.

    Hey Rob

    Changes are made, discussed and decided upon pretty quickly. The first step is weighing feedback against telemetry/data to make sure it's validated. Changes are often piecemeal, as you can't inject a bunch of variables all at one time because it'll be too disruptive. Right now balance changes are being reviewed in isolation of each other. This is a core group of designers that must make hard decisions on tweaks. Usually it's a couple days on bigger changes, as that amount of time provides enough runway for people to play test, share thoughts, implement adjustments and try again. Of course, a painter must learn when to stop painting -- so we have to sign off on things and move on pretty quick. The community will let us know if we've made the right move once it gets played in a larger pool.
    BlindRobRepulsar
  • rafarafa
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    edited March 28
    Can you guys tell what anti-cheat you use? Are you guys planning to bring the game to esports in the future? Are you guys gonna release more heroes in the future fast or slow like OW?
  • richardboeglirichardboegli
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    1) When you do the next beta, can you please give each person some additional invite codes so they can invite friends? OCE was dead
    2) OCE region needs more invites :)
  • BrittalityBrittality
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    1) When you do the next beta, can you please give each person some additional invite codes so they can invite friends? OCE was dead
    2) OCE region needs more invites :)

    Hey Richard,
    We've addressed your concern here on the first thread you posted on. http://forums.lawbreakers.nexon.net/discussion/1102/closed-beta-1-feedback-megathread

    If you would, try not to put the same message in multiple threads. We'll be sure to see it, so don't worry!
  • RohanLikesForumsRohanLikesForums
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    Boss Key
    rafa wrote: »
    Can you guys tell what anti-cheat you use? Are you guys planning to bring the game to esports in the future? Are you guys gonna release more heroes in the future fast or slow like OW?

    Yep, we're using NGS 3. We've been working very close with Nexon to improve it in real-time alongside LawBreakers and will continue to do so.

    For eSports - we're just creating the best possible competitive game we can, and it's up to the community if it evolves into an eSport.

    Creating new characters/roles is a complicated process. Injecting a new role into the game changes the entire dynamic of the game. Yes we will provide new roles post-launch, free of charge, as often as we can complete them. We don't know how long this will take, but we want to ensure quality over razor-thin quantity.
  • innocivinnociv
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    edited March 28
    It was hard to see that "here" link, since it's light grey.
  • KlokworkkKlokworkk
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    Serious Question: Balance has been a big discussion for the last few weeks after the CB1 ended.
    1) What tools do y'all currently have at your disposal to look at hard data versus player perception? How do you determine if something is actually OP or situationally OP? How okay are you with some balance being situationally OP?
    2) Are there times when the hard data doesn't line up with other hard data (For Example, say TTK on a gun is extremely low - like .3s - but in practice it is taking people up to 2s to secure a kill with it)? How does that change the approach for balance?
    3) Map design and game type heavily effects the balance of this game, with some characters being significantly stronger in CQC but very weak at long range, and vice versa - Was this an intentional design decision to have balance be tied so heavily to maps/modes? Are you at all worried about this maybe throwing balance as a whole on its head? Are you worried at all that this can make the game feel like there are actual hard counters versus players having a chance in every situation? Since before I believe Cliff said they wanted to avoid Paper-Rock-Scissors and make sure no one has to run from a fight, is that still the 'general' balance goal?

    Amusing Question: What are some amusing bugs y'all have found while messing with stuff internally? I love hearing stories about silly bugs causing things to go crazy :)
    Amerika
  • KangaJooKangaJoo
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    edited March 29
    Klokworkk wrote: »
    Are you worried at all that this can make the game feel like there are actual hard counters versus players having a chance in every situation? Since before I believe Cliff said they wanted to avoid Paper-Rock-Scissors and make sure no one has to run from a fight, is that still the 'general' balance goal?

    Honestly, it can feel that way pretty frequently with the close range characters. A lot of the battle is just about trying to engage people at not close range if they're an assassin or titan (and presumably rebalanced jug) since they pretty much auto win up close against the other classes. I'd much rather the close range characters had their main weapons made a bit less insane at cqb but tweak their secondaries so that they work half decent at medium-long range. That way it's not just "I'm fighting you up close, I win." or "I'm fighting you at mid range, you win." It would also avoid the problem, that the close range characters have where if they see someone like an enforcer or gs at mid-long range, they have to run away because nothing in their kit can touch them.
    Klokworkk
  • AmerikaAmerika
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    Klok pretty much nailed what I had to say in regards to asking about statistical tools that you can use to help get to the root of a problem. I'd also like to know if you factor in "fun" to the balance of a kit. For example, when facing two good Enforcer players who roam together, it's not very fun to constantly lose use of your abilities while also getting murdered. That situation can be rather frustrating since there isn't a lot you can do in regards to counter-play...yet it's a common one in Lawbreakers.

    Also, in that particular situation, do you get any statistics that would show this? How often does another player get killed either during an EMP or directly after (within a few seconds) compared to how often an Enforcer survives?

    I'd also like to ask how you are going to approach communication in regards to balance changes. You cited a couple of old examples of past power that was now changed but little from the new build. Going forward, do you plan on communicating not only the change but also the reason behind the change (citing statistics, logic, and fun) ? Multiple studios typically do not clarify their stance behind making or not making changes to avoid criticism. Which can be pretty frustrating for the community as you feel like you're being ignored. Recently studios like Capcom and Blizzard have been very vocal behind their logic with not just changes but in situations where no change is required. So you get a synopsis in patch notes but also a lot of information dumped on their forums to go with it. Which has been refreshing. Will BKP also approach changes in that manner?
  • RohanLikesForumsRohanLikesForums
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    Boss Key
    Klokworkk wrote: »
    Serious Question: Balance has been a big discussion for the last few weeks after the CB1 ended.
    1) What tools do y'all currently have at your disposal to look at hard data versus player perception? How do you determine if something is actually OP or situationally OP? How okay are you with some balance being situationally OP?
    2) Are there times when the hard data doesn't line up with other hard data (For Example, say TTK on a gun is extremely low - like .3s - but in practice it is taking people up to 2s to secure a kill with it)? How does that change the approach for balance?
    3) Map design and game type heavily effects the balance of this game, with some characters being significantly stronger in CQC but very weak at long range, and vice versa - Was this an intentional design decision to have balance be tied so heavily to maps/modes? Are you at all worried about this maybe throwing balance as a whole on its head? Are you worried at all that this can make the game feel like there are actual hard counters versus players having a chance in every situation? Since before I believe Cliff said they wanted to avoid Paper-Rock-Scissors and make sure no one has to run from a fight, is that still the 'general' balance goal?

    Amusing Question: What are some amusing bugs y'all have found while messing with stuff internally? I love hearing stories about silly bugs causing things to go crazy :)

    I will get our Lead Designer in here soon to answer your question! He'll do it more justice than I.
    Klokworkk
  • RohanLikesForumsRohanLikesForums
    LawBreakers Rep: 2,315
    Posts: 46
    Boss Key
    Amerika wrote: »
    Klok pretty much nailed what I had to say in regards to asking about statistical tools that you can use to help get to the root of a problem. I'd also like to know if you factor in "fun" to the balance of a kit. For example, when facing two good Enforcer players who roam together, it's not very fun to constantly lose use of your abilities while also getting murdered. That situation can be rather frustrating since there isn't a lot you can do in regards to counter-play...yet it's a common one in Lawbreakers.

    Also, in that particular situation, do you get any statistics that would show this? How often does another player get killed either during an EMP or directly after (within a few seconds) compared to how often an Enforcer survives?

    I'd also like to ask how you are going to approach communication in regards to balance changes. You cited a couple of old examples of past power that was now changed but little from the new build. Going forward, do you plan on communicating not only the change but also the reason behind the change (citing statistics, logic, and fun) ? Multiple studios typically do not clarify their stance behind making or not making changes to avoid criticism. Which can be pretty frustrating for the community as you feel like you're being ignored. Recently studios like Capcom and Blizzard have been very vocal behind their logic with not just changes but in situations where no change is required. So you get a synopsis in patch notes but also a lot of information dumped on their forums to go with it. Which has been refreshing. Will BKP also approach changes in that manner?

    While I let Dan address the deep balance questions, I'll speak to communication regarding balance changes.

    We want to do everything possible to provide our rationale regarding changes and present logic and reason. Yes, I would like to approach future patch updates with information like this, 100%. Regarding practices from places like Capcom and Blizzard -- they are very vocal, but also probably 4x larger than we are with more bandwidth to be able to do so, more regularly. Removing Dan or our other designs to do a deep synopsis means that they're not actively working on the game. It may seem like a simple thing to do, but to do it right, it takes time and effort (citing statistics, logic, fun). We're not indie size by any means, but we're also not Blizzard size either. It's hard to compare us to Blizzard in this capacity. All in all, I agree with you and I enjoy this type of approach very much, just know it's challenging to get this type of input when everyone's so busy. My goal is to aim to make things like this happen in the future!

    Klokworkk
  • BilboFragginsBilboFraggins
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    Boss Key
    Hey folks,

    I was out of town until yesterday, but now I'm back and can answer some questions.

    1) In terms of what we use to collect data, it's all done via in-engine hooks to gameplay events that are visualized on a database we output the information to. We're gathering data on every weapon/ability's effectiveness per role (accuracy, time to kill, average damage, survivability, etc), that give us details on what the specifics are that we can break down into maps and modes. Usually player perception starts the investigation, but the data is where we go to find what the culprit might be. But since every player is different, in terms of skill level, which also play a large part in perception, we track a score for players that tells us how "good" they are. This helps us determine whether or not weapons, abilities or roles, in general, have more or less effectiveness in a skillful player's hands, which heavily plays into the situational scenario.

    It's still a big work in progress, but as of right now we have a good chunk of data that gets spit out per player, per role, per match, so we can dig down deep into a specific situation during a match with a particular player, or float high above and see average stats for roles after several days/weeks/months worth of playtime.

    Situationally OP is how class-based gameplay should work, IMO. While we're trying to ensure that we're more like Chess than RPS, even in Chess some pieces have situationally overpowered moves, but much of it is based on the layout of the board, the skill of your opponent, and how well you know how to use the piece. Likewise, we want to make sure each role/weapon/ability can be situationally OP, but it is heavily dependent on how well you know the game, the map, the mode and your opponent. What we want to avoid is the Always OP situation, especially when it's tied to a single button press that requires no investment or advantageous situation.

    2) Yes, sometimes the data doesn't align. It's often in classic red-herring gameplay mechanics, like shotguns, rocket launchers, etc. Weapons that have a heavy reliance on all-or-nothing gameplay can sometimes lead to statistical confusion. For instance, a good player using a shotgun or a launcher will have a VERY high accuracy, making the weapon appear to be extremely effective in terms of accuracy and possibily TTK. But then an average player will pick it up (averages are how we generally look at stats) and the TTK might look much longer than desired, and accuracy might be way off expectations. You then have to compare stats and look at averages in a different way (higher skill vs. others), to see if this is just learning curve and difficulty in using the weapon, or if it's an issue game-wide.

    This gets even more chaotic when you mix abilities that don't do damage (or aren't designed to be DPS focused) into the mix. The Enforcer's Electromag gives him a combat advantage, but that also depends on whether or not they affect they target; Battle Medics can regenerate their own health, giving them longer than average survivability; Gunslingers can see enemies before they get to see them, allowing them to line up headshots more effectively. These can all lead to red-herring stats, which can appear to be OP, but then that goes back to the "situationally" portion of OP.

    But, even if we designed it to work that way, player sentiment might force us to reevaluate the decision. This is where we have to take time with our decisions. It's easy to knee-jerk react to changes, but that also leads to a lot of mistakes. So unless it's literally breaking the game, we like to let things breathe for a bit in order to collect the right data and observe the problem as much as we can, before coming to a decision on how to fix it.

    3) Maps and modes can often throw balance in additional chaos, and that's been a part of shooters from the very beginning. Sniper rifles are great in open maps, shotguns own tight corridor gameplay, etc. In traditional arena shooters that could be balanced out with weapon pickup placement, so we definitely do inherit some additional balance problems by tying our weapons and abilities to specific roles. But that's also why we've designed our modes, currently, to jump between both attacking and defending for any given team. We knew some of our roles would be better in open spaces, some better at defending, etc, so our modes allow that to be dynamic - you're always going to need someone great at battery running in Overcharge, because you can't always guarantee you'll have the battery in your base to defend. But we also know that modes might change the effectiveness of a role, even in the same map. For us, that's OK, it adds added layers of depth to the game, which we think is important.

    We're definitely trying to avoid the hard-counter route. Going back to the previous analogy, we want to be more Chess than Rock-Paper-Scissors. You might not have line of sight on a Knight in Chess as a Bishop, but that Knight, placed correctly, can still take the Bishop out. But it doesn't always play out that way, and in the right scenario and board layout, the Bishop can have the upper hand. That's in contrast to, Rock always beating Scissors, regardless of where the game is played and who is playing it. There will certainly be some roles that have advantages over others - slower, bigger targets will have a tough time against long range, precision roles in open areas, and melee characters will have a tough time against bruisers who can take a beating and dish out wide area damage. But that doesn't mean they'll always win those encounters, and a high skilled player will be able to turn the tables. They'll always have the tools to do it, so the question will be whether or not they know the game well enough to use those tools the right way, even in situations of disadvantage.

    Amusing Bug: Early on, when we were experimenting with gravity and impulse values, we didn't realize that the values stacked onto each other and accumulated, rather than overrode. So you could get into situations where you'd do something like Dash as the Assassin, but get hit by an explosive, and have a fast movement modifier applied, all stacking impulse values. If you were in a tight corridor, like underground in Grandview, you'd turn into a pinball and start bouncing around uncontrollably, until you got launched outside and completely off the map. Lots of laughs and a few nauseous players.
    cmbaily2LanceliogsDEVPROCBDerkynRoOhDiNi
  • DEVPROCBDEVPROCB
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    edited June 30
    **EDIT Just realized this thread was a sticky** Move on or delete this comment.
  • windiestfirewindiestfire
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    the Juggernaut class needs a improvement that I can have in the game when I use the Juggernaut ultimate armor I should be able to Sprint when using it and not slow down and stop me from sprinting please.
  • windiestfirewindiestfire
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    The reason I want this change to the Juggernaut class is because I couldn't keep up with my teammates on the objective like blitzball to help my team get the ball in the goal when I use my ultimate armor it would slow me down and stop me from sprinting and make me a bigger Target that's why I want the change.